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Daily Devotion

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May 3
Jesus’ Unpopular Ideas
Bible in a Year:

Give to the one who asks you.

Matthew 5:42
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Today's Scripture & Insight:
Matthew 5:38–48
For fifteen years, Mike Burden held hate-filled meetings in the memorabilia shop he ran in his small town. But in 2012 when his wife began to question his involvement, his heart softened. He realized how wrong his racist views were and didn’t want to be that person any longer. The militant group retaliated by kicking his family out of the apartment they’d been renting from one of the members.
Where did he turn for help? Surprisingly, he went to a local black pastor with whom he’d clashed. The pastor and his church provided housing and groceries for Mike’s family for some time. When asked why he agreed to help, Pastor Kennedy explained, “Jesus Christ did some very unpopular things. When it’s time to help, you do what God wants you to do.” Later Mike spoke at Kennedy’s church and apologized to the black community for his part in spreading hatred.
Jesus taught some unpopular ideas in the Sermon on the Mount: “Give to the one who asks you . . . . Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:42, 44). That’s the upside-down way of thinking God calls us to follow. Though it looks like weakness, it’s actually acting out of God’s strength.
The One who teaches us is the One who gives the power to live out this upside-down life in whatever way He asks of us.
By: Anne Cetas
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Reflect & Pray
How are you living out Jesus’ words of giving to those who ask and loving your enemies? What would you like to change?
God, help me to love others as You love me. Show me how to do that today.
 

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THE TRUTH ABOUT ADAM AND EVE
May 03, 2021
“When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.” Genesis 3:6
The subject of the “original sin” is often one of great debate. The interesting thing here is not that Adam and Eve could disobey God, but that they chose to disobey God!

Why did they do this? Why did their free will lead them to choose something contrary to God’s will, which they would later discover to be sin? And furthermore, how could they choose to sin when they were made perfect?

Well, because they could. We, too, sin because we cannot help it, because we acquired their sin nature that causes us to do so. It’s as if the result of Adam and Eve’s sin infected us with a spiritual illness that makes it impossible for us not to sin. Confused yet?

So, sin began in the Garden of Eden as the devil tempted the original couple to disobey God. And how did the serpent bring about this willingness to fall into sin? He told them that the Word of God could not be trusted.

The “original sin” occurred when Adam and Eve accepted Satan’s word that God was a liar, and to this day, the devil’s point of attack is to draw us away from the will of God by attacking His Word—the trustworthiness and authority of scripture. When Satan is successful in doing this, then man begins to make himself his own god and seeks to do what is right in his own eyes.

Sin began when Adam and Eve chose to stop trusting God and started playing god themselves. They allowed their own desires to replace the Word of God. Sadly, this sin has become ingrained in the nature of man and has, over time, caused man to rationalize, justify, and perform even the most heinous acts of evil.

How about you? As you face temptations and decisions, do you listen to the Word of God and obey, or do you let Satan help you justify your own desires? Only one way is the best. The other way creates chaos.

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May 5
It’s Who You Know
Bible in a Year:

I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.

Philippians 3:8
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Today's Scripture & Insight:
Philippians 3:7–11
In early 2019, Charlie VanderMeer died at the age of eighty-four. For many decades, he was known to thousands and thousands of people as Uncle Charlie, the host of the national radio broadcast Children’s Bible Hour. The day before Uncle Charlie slipped into eternity, he told a good friend, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Of course, I’m talking about Jesus Christ.”
Even as he faced the end of his life, Uncle Charlie couldn’t help but talk about Jesus and the necessity for people to receive Him as their Savior.
The apostle Paul considered knowing Jesus his most important task: “I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him” (Philippians 3:8–9). And how do we know Jesus? “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).
We may know facts about Jesus, we may know all about the church, and we may even be familiar with the Bible. But the only way to know Jesus as Savior is to accept His free gift of salvation. He’s the Who we need to know.
By: Dave Branon
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Reflect & Pray
In your relationship with Jesus, how have you experienced that it’s Who you know, not what? What has Christ’s forgiveness meant to you?
Father God, I pray for all who’ve yet to come to know Jesus by believing in Him and accepting His sacrifice on their behalf. And if I’m one who hasn’t received Jesus as my Savior, may I confess with my mouth “Jesus is Lord” today.
 

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May 6
Heavy but Hopeful
Bible in a Year:

Lord, you are the God who saves me.

Psalm 88:1
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Today's Scripture & Insight:
Psalm 88:1–13
In a Peanuts comic strip, the very enterprising character Lucy advertised “psychiatric help” for five cents. Linus found his way to her office and acknowledged his “deep feelings of depression.” When he asked her what he could do about his condition, Lucy’s quick reply was, “Snap out of it! Five cents, please.”
While such lighthearted entertainment brings a momentary smile, the sadness and gloom that can grip us when real life happens is not that easily dismissed. Feelings of hopelessness and despair are real, and sometimes professional attention is needed.
Lucy’s advice wasn’t helpful in addressing real anguish. However, the writer of Psalm 88 does offer something instructive and hopeful. A truckload of trouble had arrived at his doorstep. And so, with raw honesty, he poured out his heart to God. “I am overwhelmed with troubles and my life draws near to death” (v. 3). “You have put me in the lowest pit, in the darkest depths” (v. 6). “Darkness is my closest friend” (v. 18). We hear, feel, and perhaps identify with the psalmist’s pain. Yet, that’s not all. His lament is laced with hope. “Lord, you are the God who saves me; day and night I cry out to you. May my prayer come before you; turn your ear to my cry” (vv. 1–2; see vv. 9, 13). Heavy things do come and practical steps such as counsel and medical care may be needed. But never abandon hope in God.
By: Arthur Jackson
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Reflect & Pray
When have you turned to God in the midst of your despair? What’s keeping you from crying out to Him now?
Father, help me to see Your open, welcome arms regardless of my situation.
 

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DEAR MOM
May 09, 2021
“Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.” – Proverbs 31:31
Motherhood is one of the most challenging and often thankless jobs to ever exist. Yet, there’s something about that relationship with ‘Mom’ that is unlike any other – the unconditional love, support, and sacrifice of many mothers are unparalleled. For this reason, we celebrate moms on Mother’s Day. It’s a moment to recognize and appreciate their role in guiding and growing us in faith and thanking God for their impact on our lives!

There are many different categories of moms: there is the stay at home mom, the working mom, the single mom, adoptive mom, foster mom, stepmom, and countless other mother-figures, such as big sisters, grandmothers, aunts, neighbors, teachers, and friends, who have stepped into this critical role. Remember all the ways your mom or mother-figure loved, sacrificed, and spoke into your life. Today is a day to say thank you.

Mother’s Day, however, isn’t always a day of celebration and gratitude. For many, it can be a truly painful reminder of a mother who has passed away, the mother who was never known, or one who left a deep wound. It can also be a harsh reminder for a grieving mother of a child gone too soon, or the one who never made it into this world. And for those who are still praying for a child, it’s important to recognize, remember, and pray for those hurting on this day.

In Isaiah, God speaks to those who mourn: “As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you (Is. 66:13).” No matter what kind of relationship you have or had with your mother, God cares deeply.

So, as you celebrate Mother’s Day, be sure to call or stop by to show the Mom in your life some extra love and gratitude for standing by your side through all of life’s ups and downs. And remember those whose hearts are heavy today, praying that God’s presence will be a comfort in the midst of heartache.

Finally, for all the mothers reading this message today, I pray that God may continue to care for you, strengthen you, and equip you for the incredible responsibility and calling He has placed on your lives. Thank you for all you do!

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May 11
Listening to Wise Advice
Bible in a Year:

The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice.

Proverbs 12:15
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Today's Scripture & Insight:
Proverbs 12:2–15
During the American Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln once found himself wanting to please a politician, so he issued a command to transfer certain Union Army regiments. When the secretary of war, Edwin Stanton, received the order, he refused to carry it out. He said that the president was a fool. Lincoln was told what Stanton had said, and he replied: “If Stanton said I’m a fool, then I must be, for he is nearly always right. I’ll see for myself.” As the two men talked, the president quickly realized that his decision was a serious mistake, and without hesitation he withdrew it. Though Stanton had called Lincoln a fool, the president proved wise by not digging in his heels when Stanton disagreed with him. Instead, Lincoln listened to advice, considered it, and changed his mind.
Have you ever encountered someone who simply wouldn’t listen to wise advice? (See 1 Kings 12:1–11.) It can be infuriating, can’t it? Or, even more personal, have you ever refused to listen to advice? As Proverbs 12:15 says, “The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice.” People may not always be right, but the same goes for us! Knowing that everyone makes mistakes, only fools assume they’re the exception. Instead, let’s exercise godly wisdom and listen to the wise advice of others—even if we initially disagree. Sometimes that’s exactly how God works for our good (v. 2).
By: Con Campbell
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Reflect & Pray
Why are you sometimes reluctant to listen to the wise advice of others? How can you be sure the advice you receive reflects true wisdom?
God of wisdom, teach me Your ways and help me to avoid folly. Thank You for putting others in my life who are in a position to offer helpful advice when I need
 

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May 12
Renewed Vision
Bible in a Year:

My heart rejoices in the Lord; in the Lord my horn is lifted high.

1 Samuel 2:1
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Today's Scripture & Insight:
1 Samuel 1:10–18; 2:1–2
After a painful minor surgery on my left eye, my doctor recommended a vision test. With confidence, I covered my right eye and read each line on the chart with ease. Covering my left eye, I gasped. How could I not realize I’d been so blind?
While adjusting to new glasses and renewed vision, I thought of how daily trials often caused me to be spiritually nearsighted. Focusing only on what I could see up-close—my pain and ever-changing circumstances—I became blind to the faithfulness of my eternal and unchanging God. With such a limited perspective, hope became an unattainable blur.
First Samuel 1 tells the story of another woman who failed to recognize God’s trustworthiness while focusing on her current anguish, uncertainty, and loss. For years, Hannah had endured childlessness and endless torment from Peninnah, the other wife of her husband Elkanah. Hannah’s husband adored her, but contentment evaded her. One day, she prayed with bitter honesty. When Eli the priest questioned her, she explained her situation. As she left, he prayed that God would grant her request (1 Samuel 1:17). Though Hannah’s situation didn’t change immediately, she walked away with confident hope (v. 18).
Her prayer in 1 Samuel 2:1–2 reveals a shift in Hannah’s focus. Even before her circumstances improved, Hannah’s renewed vision changed her perspective and her attitude. She rejoiced in the ongoing presence of God—her Rock and everlasting hope.
By: Xochitl Dixon
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Reflect & Pray
How will focusing on God's unchanging nature instead of your circumstances give you greater hope? Where are you currently struggling with spiritual nearsightedness?
God, please renew my vision so I can focus on Your constant presence and live with an eternal perspective in all circumstances.
 

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May 17
Pursued by Love
Bible in a Year:

I will say, “Salvation comes from the Lord.”

Jonah 2:9
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Today's Scripture & Insight:
Jonah 2:1–9
“I fled Him, down the nights and down the days,” opens the famous poem “The Hound of Heaven” by English poet Francis Thompson. Thompson describes Jesus’ unceasing pursuit—despite his efforts to hide, or even run away, from God. The poet imagines God speaking to him and saying, “I am He whom thou seekest!”
The pursuing love of God is a central theme of the book of Jonah. The prophet received an assignment to tell the people of Nineveh (notorious enemies of Israel) about their need to turn to God, but instead “Jonah ran away from the Lord” (Jonah 1:3). He secured passage on a ship sailing in the opposite direction of Nineveh, but the vessel was soon overcome by a violent storm. To save the ship’s crew, Jonah was thrown overboard before being swallowed by a large fish (1:15–17).
In his own beautiful poem, Jonah recounted that despite his best efforts to run away from God, God pursued him. When Jonah was overcome by his situation and needed to be saved, he cried out to God in prayer and turned toward His love (2:2, 8). God answered and provided rescue not only for Jonah, but for his Assyrian enemies as well (3:10).
As described in both poems, there may be seasons of our lives when we try to run from God. Even then Jesus loves us and is at work guiding us back into restored relationship with Him (1 John 1:9).
By: Lisa M. Samra
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Reflect & Pray
When have you tried to run from God? How did He provide rescue?
Jesus, thank You for lovingly pursuing me to offer rescue.
 

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May 18
Facing the Darkness
Bible in a Year:

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light.

Isaiah 9:2
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Today's Scripture & Insight:
Isaiah 9:2–6
In the mid-1960s, two people participated in research on the effects of darkness on the human psyche. They entered separate caves, while researchers tracked their eating and sleeping habits. One remained in total darkness for 88 days, the other 126 days. Each guessed how long they could remain in darkness and were off by months. One took what he thought was a short nap only to discover he’d slept for 30 hours. Darkness is disorienting.
The people of God found themselves in the darkness of impending exile. They waited, unsure of what would take place. The prophet Isaiah used darkness as a metaphor for their disorientation and as a way of speaking about God’s judgment (Isaiah 8:22). Previously, the Egyptians had been visited with darkness as a plague (Exodus 10:21–29). Now Israel found herself in darkness.
But a light would come. “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned” (Isaiah 9:2). Oppression would be broken, disorientation would end. A Child would come to change everything and bring about a new day—a day of forgiveness and freedom (v. 6).
Jesus did come! And although the darkness of the world can be disorienting, may we experience the comfort of the forgiveness, freedom, and light found in Christ.
By: Glenn Packiam
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Reflect & Pray
What would it look like to embrace a new day of freedom and forgiveness? How can you welcome the light of Christ today?
Dear Jesus, shine Your light into my life. Bring forgiveness and freedom. Help me to live in the light of Your arrival.
 

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May 19
She Did What She Could
Bible in a Year:

She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial.

Mark 14:8
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Today's Scripture & Insight:
Mark 14:3–9
She loaded the plastic container of cupcakes onto the conveyor belt, sending it toward the cashier. Next came the birthday card and various bags of chips. Hair escaped from her ponytail, crowning her fatigued forehead. Her toddler clamored for attention. The clerk announced the total and the mom’s face fell. “Oh, I guess I’ll have to put something back. But these are for her party,” she sighed, glancing regretfully at her child.
Standing behind her in line, another customer recognized such pain. Jesus’ words to Mary of Bethany echoed in her mind: “She did what she could” (Mark 14:8). After anointing Him with a bottle of expensive nard before His death and burial, Mary was ridiculed by the disciples. Jesus corrected His followers by celebrating what she had done. He didn’t say, “She did all she could,” but rather, “She did what she could.” The lavish cost of the perfume wasn’t His point. It was Mary’s investment of her love in action that mattered. A relationship with Jesus results in a response.
In that moment, before the mom could object, the second customer leaned forward and inserted her credit card into the reader, paying for the purchase. It wasn’t a large expense, and she had extra funds that month. But to that mom, it was everything. A gesture of pure love poured out in her moment of need.
By: Elisa Morgan
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Reflect & Pray
In what unexpected ways has Jesus helped you? What might you do—not all, but what—to love Jesus back in a need you see today?
Father, open my eyes to see You inviting me to do what I can do today.
 

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WHAT’S YOUR CHRIST STORY?
May 23, 2021
‘They (the churches of Judea) only heard the report: ‘The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.’ And they praised God because of me.” Galatians 1: 23 & 24
We talked yesterday about the fact that we all have a story to tell. For followers of Jesus, our stories couldn’t be more powerful! Why? Because our stories tell others about Jesus. Too often, we don’t share our stories of encountering Jesus because we just don’t know how to do it.

The apostle Paul demonstrated a clear three-step method to sharing our faith journey with others:

  1. Life BEFORE Christ: Paul grew up in what today is southern Turkey. He was from a good, Jewish family and at around 12 years old he went to Jerusalem to study under the greatest Rabbi of his day. As an adult, Paul began persecuting the followers of Jesus, becoming one of the original religious terrorists. Like any religious terrorist – Paul believed with all his heart, that what he was doing was right.
  2. ENCOUNTERING Christ: As Paul was on his way to Damascus, modern-day Syria, seeking to imprison followers of Jesus– he encountered Christ. Jesus appeared in the form of dazzling light, blinding Paul for three days and forcing him to wrestle with everything he had known and believed up until that point. It was at this moment in his story that Paul recognized the truth about Jesus. This is repentance: the change of mind that leads to a change of direction, a change of heart, and a change of priorities.
Until a person is convicted of their sinfulness compared to the sinlessness of Jesus Christ, he/she will never understand the third part of the story.

  1. Life AFTER Christ: Paul, the staunchest anti-Jesus advocate there ever was became the greatest missionary in the history of the church and the author of much of the New Testament. All because of a life-changing encounter with Jesus Christ.
So what’s your Christ story? No story is complete until it has all three parts: before Christ, encountering Christ and after meeting Christ. If your story is simply part one – make today the turning point. Open your heart to Christ and allow Him to radically transform your life! And if, like Paul, you’ve encountered Christ– when is the last time you shared it? Because a story is meant to be told – it’s a big reason that God chose you. Ask God for an opportunity to share your story today.
 

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May 25
Shift into Neutral
Bible in a Year:

And after the fire came a gentle whisper.

1 Kings 19:12
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Today's Scripture & Insight:
1 Kings 19:9–12, 15–18
The man ahead of me at the carwash was on a mission. He purposefully strode to the back of his pickup and removed the hitch, so it wouldn’t snag the high-powered rolling brushes. He paid the attendant then pulled onto the automated track—where he left his truck in drive. The attendant shouted after him, “Neutral! Neutral!” but the man’s windows were up and he couldn’t hear. He zipped through the car wash in four seconds flat. His truck barely got wet.
Elijah was on a mission too. He was busy serving God in big ways. He had just defeated the prophets of Baal in a supernatural showdown, which left him drained (see 1 Kings 18:16–39). He needed time in neutral. God brought Elijah to Mount Horeb, where He had appeared to Moses long before. Once again God shook the mountain. But He wasn’t in the rock-shattering wind, earthquake, or raging fire. Instead, God came to Elijah in a gentle whisper. “When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out” to meet God (1 Kings 19:13).
You and I are on a mission. We put our lives in drive to accomplish big things for our Savior. But if we never shift down to neutral, we can zip through life and miss the outpouring of His Spirit. God whispers, “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). Neutral! Neutral!
By: Mike Wittmer
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How do you slow down to spend time with your Father? Why is time in neutral necessary for driven people?
Father, I am still because You are God.
 

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May 26
Brave Love
Bible in a Year:

Do everything in love.

1 Corinthians 16:14
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Today's Scripture & Insight:
1 Corinthians 16:10–14
The four chaplains weren’t known as “heroes.” But on a frigid February night in 1943, when their transport ship, the SS Dorchester, was torpedoed off the coast of Greenland during World War II, the four gave their all to calm hundreds of panicked soldiers. With the ship sinking and injured men jumping for overcrowded lifeboats, the four chaplains calmed the pandemonium by “preaching courage,” a survivor said.
When life jackets ran out, each took his off, giving it to a frightened young man. They had determined to go down with the ship so that others might live. Said one survivor, “It was the finest thing I have seen or hope to see this side of heaven.”
Linking arms as the ship began to sink, the chaplains prayed aloud together, offering encouragement to those perishing with them.
Bravery marks their saga. Love, however, defines the gift the four offered. Paul urged such love of all believers, including those in the storm-tossed church at Corinth. Roiled by conflict, corruption, and sin, Paul urged them to “be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong” (1 Corinthians 16:13). Then he added, “Do everything in love” (v. 14).
It’s a sterling command for every believer in Jesus, especially during a crisis. In life, when upheaval threatens, our bravest response reflects Christ—giving to others His love.
By: Patricia Raybon
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Reflect & Pray
Why does selfless love reflect Jesus? How can His love influence how you respond in a turbulent situation?
Jesus, when I don’t feel brave, which is often, stir up my courage to boldly offer love.
 

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May 27
Flourish Again
Bible in a Year:

The more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread.

Exodus 1:12
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Today's Scripture & Insight:
Exodus 1:6–14
Given enough sunlight and water, vibrant wildflowers carpet areas of California such as Antelope Valley and Figueroa Mountain. But what happens when drought strikes? Scientists have discovered that certain wildflowers store large quantities of their seeds underground instead of allowing them to push through the soil and bloom. After the drought, the plants use the seeds they've saved to begin to flourish again.
The ancient Israelites thrived in the land of Egypt, despite harsh conditions. Slave masters forced them to work in fields and make bricks. Ruthless overseers required them to build entire cities for Pharaoh. The king of Egypt even tried to use infanticide to reduce their numbers. However, because God sustained them, “the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread” (Exodus 1:12). Many Bible scholars estimate that the population of Israelite men, women, and children grew to two million (or more) during their time in Egypt.
God, who preserved His people then, is upholding us today as well. He can help us in any environment. We may worry about enduring through another season. But the Bible assures us that God, who “cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and [are gone] tomorrow,” can provide for our needs (Matthew 6:30 nlt).
By: Jennifer Benson Schuldt
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Reflect & Pray
Why is it so hard to trust God during life’s “dry” seasons? How has God provided for you in the past, and how might the story of His faithfulness encourage someone you know?
Father, sometimes it’s so hard to keep going. Please meet my needs today, and help me to persevere through the power of Your Holy Spirit.

Read Why Doesn’t God Answer Me? Trusting in Times of Doubt and Trial at DiscoverySeries.org/HP112.
 

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WE SHOULD ALWAYS HONOR OUR PARENTS
May 30, 2021
“Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise)…” – Ephesians 6:2
Having watched both my mother and father exchange their earthly homes for their heavenly home, I am even more keenly aware of this truth: the toughest stage of life is parenting our parents. It’s a role-reversal both parent and child would rather avoid. But the Bible clearly teaches us to honor our parents, and that means caring for them when they are old. Let me suggest a few thoughts:

  • Make the Time. The greatest gift you can give your aging parents is time. So, if physical distance is great, take time to call or write on a regular basis.
  • Be Prayerful and Sensitive. When parents can no longer care for themselves or their home, be sensitive when helping them think about where they will live – whether in their own home with the aid of healthcare workers, a retirement center, a nursing home, or even with you.
  • Be motivated by LOVE, not guilt. As you face these tough decisions, be motivated by love, not guilt. Do what they most need, not what you want most. You should always allow them as much dignity as is possible in making decisions with and for them on their behalf.
Honoring our parents sometimes means parenting our parents. Remember, we reap what we sow. One day we hope that our children will have learned from us how to care for us when we are old.

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June 1
God of Justice
Bible in a Year:

I trust in your unfailing love.

Psalm 13:5
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Today's Scripture & Insight:
Psalm 13
She was perhaps the greatest “scapecow” in history. We don’t know if her name was Daisy, Madeline, or Gwendolyn (each name has been suggested), but Mrs. O’Leary’s cow was blamed for the 1871 Great Chicago Fire that left every third resident of the city homeless. Carried by strong winds through wooden structures, the fire burned for three days and took the lives of nearly three hundred people.
For years, many believed the fire began when the cow knocked over a lantern left burning in a shed. After further investigation—126 years later—the city’s Committee on Police and Fire passed a resolution exonerating the cow and her owners and suggesting the activities of a neighbor warranted scrutiny.
Justice often takes time, and Scripture acknowledges how difficult that can be. The refrain, “How long?” is repeated four times in Psalm 13: “How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?” (vv. 1–2). But in the middle of his lament, David finds reason for faith and hope: “But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation” (v. 5).
Even when justice is delayed, God’s love will never fail us. We can trust and rest in Him not just for the moment but for eternity.
By: James Banks
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Reflect & Pray
In what ways has God shown you His unfailing love? How will you demonstrate trust in Him today?
Loving God, help me to trust You even when I can’t see what You’re doing. I’m thankful I can rest in Your goodness and faithfulness today.
Watch “What Is Justice?” at go.odb.org/WhatIsJustice.
 

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June 2
A Remarkable Life
Bible in a Year:

Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors.

1 Peter 2:12 nlt
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Today's Scripture & Insight:
1 Peter 2:9–12
I came to learn about Catherine Hamlin, a remarkable Australian surgeon, through reading her obituary. In Ethiopia, Catherine and her husband established the world’s only hospital dedicated to curing women from the devastating physical and emotional trauma of obstetric fistulas, a common injury in the developing world that can occur during childbirth. Catherine is credited with overseeing the treatment of more than 60,000 women.
Still operating at the hospital when she was ninety-two years old, and still beginning each day with a cup of tea and Bible study, Hamlin told curious questioners that she was an ordinary believer in Jesus who was simply doing the job God had given her to do.
I was grateful to learn about her remarkable life because she powerfully exemplified for me Scripture’s encouragement to believers to live our lives in such a way that even people who actively reject God “may see your good deeds and glorify God” (1 Peter 2:12).
The power of God’s Spirit that called us out of spiritual darkness into a relationship with Him (v. 9) can also transform our work or areas of service into testimonies of our faith. In whatever passion or skill God has gifted us, we can embrace added meaning and purpose in doing all of it in a manner that has the power to point people to Him.
By: Lisa M. Samra
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Reflect & Pray
What has God called you to do? How might you do it today in Jesus’ name?
Jesus, may Your love and grace be evident in my words and deeds today.
 

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June 3
It’s Okay to Lament
Bible in a Year:

The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him.

Lamentations 3:25
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Today's Scripture & Insight:
Lamentations 3:19–26
I dropped to my knees and let my tears fall to the floor. “God, why aren’t you taking care of me?” I cried. It was during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. I’d been laid-off for almost a month, and something had gone wrong with my unemployment application. I hadn’t received any money yet, and the stimulus check the US government had promised hadn’t arrived. Deep down, I trusted that God would work out everything. I believed He truly loved me and would take care of me, but in that moment, I felt abandoned.
The book of Lamentations reminds us it’s okay to lament. The book was likely written during or soon after the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem in 587 bc. It describes the affliction (3:1, 19), oppression (1:18), and starvation (2:20; 4:10) the people faced. Yet, in the middle of the book the author remembers why he could hope: “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (3:22–23). Despite the devastation, the author remembered that God remains faithful.
Sometimes it feels impossible to believe that “the Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him” (v. 25), especially when we don’t see an end to our suffering. But we can cry out to Him, trust that He hears us, and that He’ll be faithful to see us through.
By: Julie Schwab
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Reflect & Pray
What’s making it difficult for you to trust God today? What will help you feel comfortable enough to cry out to Him?
Father, I need You right now. Please help me to trust You to come through for me in my difficult situation.

To learn more about suffering and the Christian faith, visit ChristianUniversity.org/CA211.
 

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FAITH TO ACT WHEREVER THE HOLY SPIRIT LEADS
June 06, 2021
“Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, ‘Go south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.’ So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official…The Spirit told Philip, ‘Go to that chariot and stay near it.’” Acts 8:26-27a, 29
A few years ago, I was on my way to visit a new couple who had visited our church. It was a Monday night and after preaching three times the day before, I was tired and began complaining to God. “This is way too far to drive – why am I wasting my time? These people aren’t going to come all this way to our church.”

Eventually, I arrived and as soon as we sat down, the husband asked how he could become a Christian. Stunned, I silently asked God to forgive my attitude and to help me not mess up this opportunity! In spite of my sorry attitude before the visit, the man became a Christian that very night. Sometimes when God asks us to trust Him, even when we’re tired, it doesn’t make sense. The question is will we listen?

Philip was a very gifted teacher and evangelist in the early days of the church. As he traveled and shared the story of Jesus Christ, people responded. Suddenly, right in the middle of great crowds coming to Christ, God asked Philip to leave and take a trip along a 60-mile desert road between Jerusalem and Gaza. If I were Philip, it would have been easy to question God. How could he leave NOW with so much happening? Nobody lives in the desert. But Philip trusted God and left.

Sure enough, he ran into a very influential Ethiopian man reading from the book of Isaiah. Not only that, but this man was reading the prophecy of Jesus’ death on the cross written more than 700 years before Christ (Isaiah 53). Talk about a God-orchestrated meeting! Feeling prompted by the Holy Spirit, Philip walked over to the man and began a conversation that would lead him to Christ. That man became the first African believer. Talk about significant; he even became the first one to take the gospel to a whole continent. Wow!

It’s rare to stumble into a situation when someone is so ready to accept the Gospel, yet the question we have to ask ourselves is: Are we paying attention? Will we recognize the nudge of the Holy Spirit to move, act, and share? Or are we too focused on our individual lives, our schedule, and our comfort? Follow Philip’s example – of bold faith and obedience, no matter where the Holy Spirit leads.
 
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