Memorial Day is a day of remembrance…remembering those who paid the ultimate price in military service for our country...a day of honoring our past. “No one has greater love than this: to lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13 CSB
There are those today who want to live as if the past never happened…to erase history instead of using what we can learn from our past to influence our present and help direct us to our future.
“Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” George Santayana
“O my people, listen to my instructions. Open your ears to what I am saying, for I will speak to you in a parable. I will teach you hidden lessons from our past— stories we have heard and known, stories our ancestors handed down to us. We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the Lord, about his power and his mighty wonders. For he issued his laws to Jacob; he gave his instructions to Israel. He commanded our ancestors to teach them to their children, so the next generation might know them— even the children not yet born— and they in turn will teach their own children. So each generation should set its hope anew on God, not forgetting his glorious miracles and obeying his commands. Then they will not be like their ancestors— stubborn, rebellious, and unfaithful, refusing to give their hearts to God.” Psalm 78:1-8
What has God done for you?
How will others know?
“But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?…” Romans 10:14-15
Take the hidden lessons in your life, whether good or bad, and share them…pass them forward to others…don’t just wait and let others try to figure out what makes you who you are…tell them…show them…teach them.
Scripture Reading for the Week: Psalm 78
Prayer: Lord, thank you for the lessons throughout my life. Lessons learned from the past...lessons lived in the present...lessons shared for the future. Amen
Jesus had the natural ability to draw a crowd just about everywhere He went. Many were curious, interested in seeing if what they had heard was true. Some were in need of help while others were hungry. They heard Truth proclaimed and saw the living Truth in person, but many weren’t really interested in knowing the Truth. As a result, some fought...some fizzled...and yet, some followed. Many times just as quickly as a crowd gathered around Him, when He challenged them to commit to the Truth, He would lose them.
Some things never change. What was true in Jesus’ day is true in our world today. What was evident then as well as today is that most in the crowd couldn’t or can’t answer the question: “Who is Jesus?” There are still those who don’t believe His claims, and so they fight against Him. Others feel Jesus is asking a difficult thing of them...He asks for a real commitment, and they are unwilling to believe…and so they fizzle. “A faith that fizzles before the finish was faulty from the first.”
But there are those who follow Him and make a commitment to Him because they’ve discovered the real Truth.
In Christ we have...
Have you committed your life to Him?
“And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” John 8:32
Scripture Readings for the Week: John 6:1-71
Prayer: Jesus, thank you for revealing the Truth to me. Thank you for setting me free. Help me to live in that freedom everyday. Amen
Think about the spiritual journey of your life. If you were to chart your journey on a graph, it would most likely be full of highs and lows. Now think about the people you’ve encountered along your journey…those people that God placed in your life who have been a strong spiritual influence in your growth as a Christian.
Spiritual influences often come in the form of modeled behavior as we observe how others are living their lives...good or bad. Spiritual influences also come as we live life in the spirit together.
Take a look at a mother’s spiritual influence in her son’s life. In 2 Timothy 1:5-7 NLT, Paul writes the following to Timothy: “I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois and your mother, Eunice. And I know that same faith continues strong in you. This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”
Later Paul wrote: “But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught. You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you. You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus.” 2 Timothy 3:14-15 NLT
In these passages we see the example of a mother’s legacy. Timothy’s mother Eunice and grandmother Lois passed to Timothy a legacy of faith, strength, a love for God’s word, and a hope in God’s salvation. What an incredible legacy.
What have you received from your spiritual influencers?
What is the legacy that you are passing on to others?
Scripture Readings for the Week:
Sunday - 2 Timothy 1
Monday - 2 Timothy 2
Tuesday - 2 Timothy 3
Wednesday - 1 John 2:26-27
Thursday - Philippians 4:9
Friday - 1 Corinthians 10:34
Saturday - Romans 5:1
Prayer: Lord, thank you for those people you have faithfully placed in my life through the years who have passed along the wonderful legacy of knowing and loving you. Amen
How would you complete this thought? Jesus is…
The Bible speaks to His identity saying Jesus is…
The Bible also speaks to His abilities saying that Jesus is able...
“Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.” Galatians 3:20
Bartimaeus shouted to Jesus “Son of David, have mercy on me!” When Jesus heard him, he stopped and said, “Tell him to come here.”...Bartimaeus threw aside his coat, jumped up, and came to Jesus. “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked. “My Rabbi, ” the blind man said, “I want to see!”
Mark 10:48-51 NLT
Jesus is asking you two questions today.
“Who do you say I am?”
“What do you want me to do for you?”
Scripture Readings for the Week:
Sunday - Acts 1:4-8
Monday - Hebrews 13:8
Tuesday - Matthew 16:13-16
Wednesday - Mark 10:48-51
Thursday - Galatians 3:20
Friday - Romans 10:9-10
Saturday - 1 John 5:1-5
Jesus, you are my Lord...my redeemer...my friend. I want to live in your power and strength and help others to know you as I do. Amen
Where do we go from here? What now?
Can’t you imagine these might be included in the questions swirling through the minds of the disciples after Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection.
In Acts 1:4-8 we find the instructions they received from Jesus: “And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
They were given a task to complete...a job to finish…a mission to accomplish. But, they were told to wait. Often times God tells us to wait. Psalm 46:10 says: “Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.”
While God may want to utilize our period of waiting to enlighten us, energize us, encourage us and equip us, we often spend the time worrying, fretting and speculating about all the what if scenarios we can dream up. Our problem is we focus more on ourselves than on God. We need to remember that God says: “know that I am God!”
Maybe you find yourself in a season of waiting today. God wants to use this season to develop in you a greater dependency on Him…a greater knowledge of His ways…a higher level of trust and faith in Him.
In His time He will move you from this season of waiting and wondering to a new season of working on the mission He wants you to accomplish for Him. But the truth is the waiting and wondering is all part of the work; it’s a vital time of preparation.
The work assignment we’ve been given is found in Matthew 28:18-20: “Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Scripture Readings for the Week:
Sunday - Acts 1:4-8
Monday - Matthew 28:18-20
Tuesday - Luke 19:10
Wednesday - Psalm 96:2
Thursday - Luke 15:1-7
Friday - Luke 15:8-10
Saturday - Luke 15:11-32
Father, I want to know you and your ways. Help me to empty myself of me and fill my life with more of you. Amen
Without the resurrection we would have no hope, but because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ we are able to live with great expectation…hope.
(1 Peter 1:3-9 NLT) “All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see. So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.”
The truth is that faith and hope go hand in hand. The very foundation of faith is grounded in hope. “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.”
Resurrection hope tells us…
All my hope is in Jesus.
Scripture Readings for the Week:
Sunday - 1 Peter 1:3-9
Monday - John 14:1-7
Tuesday - Mark 16:1-8
Wednesday - Luke 24:1-12
Thursday - John 17:33
Friday - Romans 6:4
Saturday - 1 John 1:9, Romans 10:9-10
Lord, thank you for the hope found in Jesus. Amen
Expressions of love come in many different forms. A card, note, or letter…a phone call, conversation…all of these are expressions of love through words. Love is perhaps more often expressed through actions. Doing laundry, cleaning house, and preparing meals for your family…Working 40+ hours a week to provide food, clothing, and a home for those you love.
In 1 Thessalonians 1:2-3 Paul describes what he recalls about the church at Thessalonica: “We recall…your work produced by faith, your labor motivated by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.”
“Labor motivated by love”… expressions of love in word and deed
Some of the greatest examples of love that were ever heard or seen were expressed during the last week that Jesus walked this earth.
In Jesus’ prayer the night before He was crucified He prayed for you and me:
“I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me. I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me.” John 17:20-23
Look at the ways Jesus expressed His love for you and me…
Earlier in Jesus’ ministry He said:
“There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.” John 15:13-14
“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.” John 3:16-17
Scripture Readings for the Week:
Jesus, thank you for loving me. Help me to love others as you love me. Amen
Paul writes in 1 Thessalonians 1:2-3 CSB: “We always thank God for all of you, making mention of you constantly in our prayers. We recall, in the presence of our God and Father, your work produced by faith, your labor motivated by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Over the next three weeks we’re going to be looking at the following three aspects of living out the Christian life:
Hebrews 10:38 - “And my righteous ones will live by faith…”
What does it mean to live by faith? The bible says, “Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.” Hebrews 11:1
Living by faith is demonstrated when we act on what we believe. The way many people live their lives shows that their faith is in themselves. But as Christians, living by faith should be the result of what we believe about God. Therefore, if our desire is to live by faith in God, it is essential we know and understand what we believe.
Paul wanted to make sure the church at Philippi understood the work God had begun in them. A good “work produced by faith”...“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” Philippians 1:6 And in the last chapter of Paul’s letter to the Philippians, he makes this declaration of faith: “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13
Are you living your life based on what you can do or what God can do through you?
Sunday - Hebrews 11:1-40
Monday - Romans 1:17
Tuesday - Matthew 6:33
Wednesday - Jeremiah 29:11-13
Thursday - Hebrews 12:1-2
Friday - 1 Thessalonians 1:2-5
Saturday - 1 Corinthians 13:13
Lord, I want to live a life evidenced by my faith in you. “Show me the right path, O Lord; point out the road for me to follow. Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you.” Psalms 25:4-5 NLT. Amen
Have you ever seen a quality in the life of someone that made you want that quality in your own life?
Following someone else isn’t always easy. We are independent thinkers. We want to do things our way, and we often don’t readily trust others, unless we know them well.
The Bible says:
“Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.” 1 John 2:6
Are you willing to be as self-less as He was?
Are you willing to follow His example?
Following Jesus' example affects our relationships with others. Are you willing to be an example for others to follow?
Paul says follow my example of following Christ…
“Dear brothers and sisters, pattern your lives after mine, and learn from those who follow our example.” Philippians 3:17
“Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:9
Remember, there is only one way this is possible. Paul said, “My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20
It’s only possible through the power of Christ in you.
Jesus is saying, “follow me.”
What will you do?
Scripture Readings: Sunday - 1 John 2:6
Monday -Philippians 3:17
Tuesday - 1 Timothy 4:12
Wednesday - Titus 2:7
Thursday - Ephesians 5:1-2
Friday - Colossians 3:13
Saturday - John 13:1-17
Father, help me to live like Jesus…love like Jesus…and lead others to do the same. Thank you for the example of Jesus in my life. Amen
Bro. Joe Metts