our journey home
 
Our 365 Daily Readings and Devotionals for 2018

September 10

Procrastination Kills
by Kevin Clark
 
It happens every year. The stores are filled with shoppers on Christmas Eve. Many taxpayers wait until the last day and the last hours to file taxes. But some things never change. Procrastination is an unnecessary pressure of our creation. Intentions are good but “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.”
 
The story Jesus tells his followers in today’s reading reflects a similar sentiment. He warns them and us not to put off the choices that have eternal consequences. The “deadline” is looming, and we are only promised this moment.

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September 9

Future Foretold
By Doug Dierdorf

Have you ever seen a Fortune Teller Machine? You know… Zoltar… or some variation of either a Sultan or a mysterious woman with a crystal ball. How about the “Magic 8 Ball?” Even as young kids we make paper origami guessing games that you place on your fingers and open up to reveal some statement like “yes” or “in the next few days.” My point is that humans are born with a desire to know the future. We want to know what’s next.

In today’s passage, we see Jesus giving his followers a glimpse of what is to come. He doesn’t sugar coat it, but he also provides hope. As you read this passage from Luke, I pray that you hear the voice of God as He leans in toward you and speaks the words…”I got this.”

Your future is in His hands so if you want to know the future; I suggest you keep pressing into the One who holds it. Don’t seek the future. Seek the One who makes your future and my future even possible. Look to Jesus today. Maybe start by simply thanking Him for what He has already done in your life. Gratitude is always a great place to start.

 

 

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September 8

 
Practice what He preached!
by Pat Norman

Matthew 23: 1-39   Every verse in this chapter was spoken by Jesus in the temple court, to the crowd, His disciples, teachers of the law, Pharisees and, today, to all of us. In verses 1 – 4, Jesus advises the crowd and His disciples to listen to and obey what the teachers of Moses’ law say, but not to do what they do because “they do not practice what they preach”.  Jesus gives specific examples in 5 – 12 of things done to be seen, greeted with respect, seated in places of honor and making lengthy prayers for show.

Then in verses 13 – 33, Jesus directly addresses the teachers and Pharisees and begins a “woe to you” tongue lashing (that must be directed to us, also) denouncing them as hypocrites, serpents, a brood of vipers, murderers, and devourers of widow’s houses.  There is so much to comprehend in these declarations that I went to my reference Bible for help and found these “woe to you” headings as
 
(1) antagonism to God
(2) oppression – hypocrisy
(3) damnation of souls
(4) false vows
(5) outward show
(6) false cleansings
(7) self-righteousness
(8) boasting and self-conceit.
 

Do we need a translator to tell us what to do and how to live, so that we will not suffer the same promise of condemnation to hell Jesus promises in verse 33 to that Jerusalem generation … and to us… for not practicing what He preached?


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September 6

Pay the Tax Man

by Andy Avalos

Luke 20:20-40

 
As believers and followers of Jesus whatever we say, whatever we do, is a reflection of how people perceive Jesus. There’s a natural and a spiritual value in everything we do. 
 
Today, as much as in the days of Jesus, people are constantly seeking to discredit Jesus.  Our actions are constantly being examined by those around us seeking to discredit our faith. In the natural, God has established every government and has established a means in which that government can be sustained.  In the same way,  He has established a way in which the church can be sustained financially as well. God teaches us to obey the laws of the land.   Spiritually speaking, doing what’s right in order to honor God before man keeps us spiritually healthy. Separating what is natural from what is spiritual draws us to a closer walk with Jesus and gives us a discerning spirit that makes us aware that our actions are a reflection of our faith in Jesus Christ and gives value to our testimony.
 
 
Blessings 
Pastor Andy

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September 5

It’s a Party!!!
by Kevin Clark
Matthew 22:1-14

Jilted by His guest, the King not wanting the prepared feast to go to waist invites the most unlikely of guests. The new guests, clothed in the Kings invitation gather for the party. The new party plan seems to be going well when an interloper is discovered. The party crasher stands out among the guest because they do not have the proper attire. Confronted, the intruder responds with silent defiance affirming the offense.
 
The Host is jilted again by a person clothed by their self-righteousness. It turns out; the invitation came with new clothing. The unlikely guests who were once unworthy are made worthy. Those who were dirty are made clean. Those who were outside are now insiders. Those who had no position are now part of the family.
 
You have received your invitation. Are you coming to the party?

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September 4

“A Tale of Two Sons”

Matthew 21:28-32

By David Voight

My children are a true joy…most days.  Just like it was when I was growing up, my kids had daily chores around the house.  It was always nice to have them complete their chores without asking more than once.  My son was the one I had to keep after.  He would, how do you say, get a little “distracted.”  He had all the right intentions but sometimes would just let his responsibilities slip.  But just as kids will be kids, sometimes he would say he was going to do it and just blatantly disobey me.  As a dad, I can relate to Jesus’ words today.

Jesus is speaking to the “righteous” religious leaders.  The parable he uses is one of two sons being asked to go into the vineyard to work.  One says “no” and goes anyway, and the other says “yes” and doesn’t show.  How many of us can relate to this story?  The point that Jesus drives home is that so many times we see the so-called righteous doing God’s work only to realize the hypocrisy behind their intentions.  They are “performing” for man and not “living” for God.  God loved us so much he sent Jesus to bridge the gap between God and us.  His message is for the broken, and we are all broken.  Some of us are just afraid to admit it.  Which son are you today?  Performing for man’s approval or living for God?  God’s approval is just a prayer away.


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September 3

Yoda: Meekness and Power
by Kevin Clark
Mark 11:20-33
 
When we are first introduced to Yoda in the mid-seventies summer blockbuster, he is teaching young Skywalker with words. The strange quips become the lexicon of Lukes training. What remains a mystery is the extent of the little green creatures strength. Soon the power of this little teacher will become fully evident.
 
Jesus may have still been quite a mystery to His followers. His disciples have heard His powerful and profound teachings, they have seen his merciful healings and even witnessed his gracious miracles, but all that changes when He condemns a tree for not bearing fruit. The next day as they pass the condemned tree, just a mere twenty-four hours after the words were spoken, “it had withered from the roots up.” The nature of the powerful words of Jesus took a profound twist. The power of Jesus, God with us, has ended in words of condemnation.
 
We enjoy basking in the overwhelming examples of Gods love, it is easy to overlook the righteousness His holiness and glory demands. 
 

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September 2

You can’t believe everything you see.
by Kevin Clark
 
We are living in a wonderful age of technology.  But, we can’t believe everything we see!  Images are altered, enhanced, cropped and manipulated with such precision and skill that we no longer can trust what we are seeing.  
 
Obviously, none of that technology existed in first century Jerusalem, and yet many of those who witnessed the miracles of Jesus choose not to believe what they saw.  Others believed but decide not to follow Jesus. Isaiah’s prophesies fulfilled. Many eyewitnesses would reject the Messiah.  How brave then, are those who stand against the darkness of their generation and embrace the Light of the World? How even more courageous is are the believers in this generation, who with less visual evidence, have chosen to believe. Children of the Light! 

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September 1

Preparation
by Kevin Clark
 
27 So anyone who eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord unworthily is guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28 That is why you should examine yourself before eating the bread and drinking the cup. 
 
Scary thoughts for those of us who only want to honor the Lord in all we do!  That is why we take an opportunity to prepare our hearts for the beautiful and solemn occasions we celebrate together at the Lord’s table.  This weekend we are gathering for just such a moment of worship and reflection.  In light of the weightiness of this matter, I invite you to prepare. Prayer of Confession
 
Again, Jesus provides for us to stand in His presence without guilt and shame. Hallelujah!

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August 31

The Blessing

 
People always are accepting or asking for God’s blessings.  Everyone’s aware of God’s goodness because of the blessings they receive, but anointing is something that few seek. 
Samuel anointed both Saul and David with oil signifying that they both would become kings of Israel.  In the Old Testament, anointing is mentioned 20 times; olive oil mixed with specific spices used by the priests to anoint people.  Much like the high priest is the only one to go behind the veil in the tabernacle, so it was with anointing.  Only certain people were anointed, set apart from everyone else for a specific service.
 
When the woman anointed Jesus with the perfume, she realized and acknowledged His authority.  When Jesus was in the synagogue he read, ” you have anointed me to speak the good news”.   In ministry, when sharing the gospel or leading worship, I always pray for God’s anointing to be on me.  I don’t just want to be a clanging symbol, but want to walk in the authority that we have been given in Jesus Christ.  Don’t only seek God’s blessings, but also His anointing!
 
Blessings.
Pastor Andy 
 

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