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Our 365 Daily Readings and Devotionals for 2018

August 30

Lose to Gain?

by Catie Seip

 

I find it interesting that all four gospels have some variation of this statement, “Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” Matthew 16:25 puts it this way, “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it,  but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” All of the authors must have believed this was imperative to the life of a believer.

Have you ever read a verse or story and suddenly you see it in a new light that gives it new meaning? That’s the beauty of scripture; God continues to reveal things even through the same text throughout various seasons in our life. This verse is one of those for me.
 
While in college, I took the summer off to go on a month-long mission trip to Ghana, Africa. The summer off turned into a year because God turned my world upside-down. I was so concerned about staying on track and graduating on time that I almost missed the beautiful adventure and work that God wanted to do through me and in me. After that summer, I understood what Jesus meant when He said, “if you lose your life for my sake, you’ll find it.” You might be thinking, “I don’t like the sound of losing my life…I like my life the way it is.” Whatever you’re holding onto is nothing compared to the freedom, joy and peace that Jesus has to offer. So, the question isn’t what do you have to lose, but what will you gain through life in Christ?

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August 29

Envious of God’s Generosity?

by Valery Dierdorf

Matt. 20:1-19

Don’t forget I was here first! I’ve been working longer than them! Did you forget I trained them? It’s just not fair!

Right before this text, we had the Scribes and Pharisees not liking that the children not only could come straight to Jesus but then he said, “The Kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Are you kidding me?!?!  They thought their ‘position’ entitled heaven to belong to them.  See, he was trying to teach the first will be last and the last will be first.  Earthly view of importance and privileges versus the heavenly view.

Jesus’ mission and purpose are unlike anything the world has ever seen or heard before. He is committed to this self-sacrificing love.

In the final part of this passage, V16-19, he wasn’t trying to predict his death like a spoiler alert. He was trying to take each event to bring more understanding of the Kingdom of God. He was giving hints if you will.  Something different, unsettling, is going on.  It is about reversals of expectations, roles, and rules.  He was here to change something…or a lot of things.

Every great leader has or will die. But Jesus was setting them up for his return before his death.  Everything would be different very soon. 


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August 28

“Dirty Hands”

By David Voight

Mark 10:35-53

 

When I was a kid growing up, we were no strangers to hard work.  Whether it was on the farm or working around the house trying to keep out the elements, my dad always lead by example of what it was to have pride in your work.  Sometimes the task for the day was not all that desirable, but we did it anyway.  The one take away that I live by today and try to instill in my kids; “never ask someone to do something that you’re not willing to do yourself.”  Delegation is necessary, but respect comes from the person who is willing to get their hands dirty right alongside of you.  I learned that from my dad.

Today as I read the passage, the first thing I see is Jesus’ disciples looking for a place of honor at the left and right hand of Jesus; a place of importance and power.  How many of us live our lives striving for recognition or power?  Jesus’ response is not what they expected. “Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else.”(V43, 44)  Jesus gave up his throne in order to get his hands dirty for our sake.

With us, it should be different as well.  Our own desire for leadership and recognition should be trumped by humility to serve.  Not service for our own ambitions, but service for God’s plan.  There’s a whole world out there dying without the hope that we have in Jesus.  It’s time to get out there and get our hands dirty, too!


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August 27

The Relentless Widow     

by Valery Dierdorf

Luke 18:1-14

I remember stories of my fourth brother, Richard, getting his first job simply because of his relentless pursuit. Every week, then some weeks every day, he would go ask the manager of the company he wanted to work for if there was an opening yet. Day after day, week after week. Finally, the manager told my mother, “I have to hire your son so he will leave me alone! LOL! He not only was a great worker, but he stayed in that line of work until he retired.

The same is seen in this passage about a relentless widow. Yet, how wonderful it is that the Lord points out if the world will respond to people who are consistent and relentless in their request, how much more and quickly God will bring justice for His children.

 God hears the earnest cry for help. Psalms 34:15 lets us know His eye is on His children and His ear is inclined or attentive to their cry.

What would be different in your life, your home, your neighborhood, schools or even our church, if we would be persistent-relentless-humble–sincere after God’s will in our lives?  See, I don’t want to settle for God’s ‘permissive’ will…I’m after His ‘perfect’ will for my life, my family, my church and my friends.

Guess it’s time to rev up my relentless prayer request and then let God be Lord of all and trust Him to bring the best.


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August 26

What To Do With The Truth?

By Alana Willey

John 12:37-50

Have you ever tried to tell your side of the story and were not believed? Ever tried to sell a fantastic product, but no one would pause to consider your pitch? Have you ever tried to convince a toddler that a new food was delicious, only to be met with tightly closed lips?

Can you imagine the frustration and hurt Jesus must have felt when, despite His miracles, people still would not believe? What’s more, His message was not simply “His side of the story” or a strong opinion, but the truth. The truth that he was the Messiah. The truth that his lessons were a manual on how to love God and love people. The truth that He was the only way.

Now, think of how disappointing it must have been when some did believe but were too afraid to admit it. Too afraid to lose their social standing and privileges to change their lives and the lives of others.

Thankfully, not everyone who heard Jesus’s message was a cynic or fearful of the opinion of others. For two thousand years, believers have boldly put their trust in Him and shared the light that Jesus ignited. Where would you be if no one had shared their faith with you? Who could you help save if you weren’t afraid?

 


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