Daily Reflections

When the impact of Covid-19 hit us in March 2020, one of our first responses was to “go to God” by immersing ourselves in the Bible and prayer.  We decided to do this together by reading the same Scripture passages each day through the Moravian Text reading plan, and then having one of our staff team share through video or written form what God highlighted for them.  What a community devotional journal we have now – 9 months of hearing from God and following His leading in our lives!

Now for the next stage.  You have seen many of our staff model for us how to engage with God’s Word each day, and now we are encouraging you to do the same.  Instead of posting daily reflections from our church staff, we are inviting and challenging you to keep “going to God” by immersing yourself in His Word and reflecting on what He is saying to you and what He is inviting you to do about it.

Here are some ways you could do this:


    • Share with others – You can start an online group with a few friends (maybe use What’s App) to share what God highlights for you in His Word. This provides accountability and support, and give you insights from each other’s perspectives.  You can call and share your thoughts over the phone.  You can share regularly as a family, Community Group, or Missional Community what God is highlighting for you in His Word.  Find a way to grow closer to God and one another!

    • Lead others – You could also invest in a group (family, friends, Community Group) by imitating what the staff team did and creating a blog or vlog to share what stood out to you from the daily reading and what God’s leading you to do. You could do this daily, weekly, or occasionally.  Perhaps a few others would join you in doing the same.  Just think of the record you’d have after just a few weeks of God speaking to you all!

So how will you “go to God” this year through reading His Word and prayer?  Whatever plan you chose, God will use it to change your way of thinking and living, and enable you to enter more fully into the life of His Kingdom.  May this be so in you and in our church family this year.

 
 

January 1, 2021  

Week of Dec 28 - Dec 30 

 

By Reagan Bowors

Today's Readings:  Advent theme of Love: Isaiah 49:15-18

 

By Jan Varner

Today's Readings:  Psalm 149:1-4; Acts 8:9-25

I love it when, against all odds, the little guy overcomes the impossible and rises to victory. Rocky! Remember the Titans!

The Bible is full of examples of God’s people who were underdogs - ill equipped, ill prepared and inadequate – who turned their humble hearts to God and received His victory.  Psalm 149 tells us ‘the Lord takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with victory.”

Moses was more humble than anyone on the face of the earth (Numbers 12:3) and through him, God delivered the entire nation of Israel and led them to the Promised Land. God loves a humble heart.

In contrast, in the Book of Acts we find Simon the Sorcerer, boasting ‘that he was someone great.’ He ‘amazed the people of Samaria,’ and they claimed he was ‘the Great Power of God.’ (Acts 8:9-11) Simon saw that when Peter and John placed their hands on believers they received the Holy Spirit.  Thinking he could buy the gift of God with money, he offered to pay Peter and John for that same ability. To this request, Peter responded that Simon’s heart was not right before God. He could see he was full of bitterness and sin.

Peter wasn’t fooled by a proud heart. Neither is God.

But a humble heart is something God can work with.   Jesus said, “. . .  whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.’(Matt 18:4) (ESV).  Jesus knew all about being humble.  He was the greatest in heaven, and he became a baby – vulnerable, helpless and utterly dependent.  He humbled himself by living in obedience to God, and then, “he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Phil 2:8)

Christ was humble and God crowned him with victory – just as He promised!   We are heirs of that victory, so let’s imitate his example, walk in humility and thank God for the victory.

“For the Lord takes delight in his people, he crowns the humble with victory.” (Psalm 149:4)

 

By Brad Friesen

Today's Readings:  Psalm 149:5-9; Acts 8:26-40

Week of Dec 21 - Dec 26

 

By Corinne Thomas

Today's Readings:  Advent theme of Peace: Isaiah 9:6-7

 

By Warren Wiebe

Today's Readings:  Psalm 146; Acts 6:8-7:3

Naming the Baby

“For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6

One of the first great responsibilities of new parents is to name their child. Some will opt for a Bible name, others will pick a family name.  Still others will pick a character quality, a celebrity, or the name of a good friend.  Of course—some will go for trendy or popular. They will certainly shun any name of someone they don’t like.

The greatest Christmas verse in the Old Testament talks about the names given to the future Messiah. These carefully chosen names speak of who this Baby will be in His essence.

  •       Wonderful Counselor speaks of His omniscience (all knowing).  The New Testament adds, “In Him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Col. 2:3)
  •       Mighty God speaks of His deity and omnipotence (all powerful).  That little baby in Mary’s arms created the stars that shone above them in Bethlehem.
  •       Everlasting Father speaks of His eternity and close relationship with us.  We must teach our children that the Lord Jesus never began in Bethlehem.  He is without beginning.
  •       Prince of Peace refers to his absolute rule and reign.  In the end, He will be victorious and triumphant over evil, pain and death.  He will usher in peace to every corner of our world.

 

Today in our reflection, think about these names.

  1. Do you value counseling? Should you reach out to the Wonderful Counselor—and possibly to someone else who could listen and speak into your life?
  2. What does the power of God mean to you?  Are you receiving more comfort today from his immense power, or his powerful gentle presence?
  3. Think of your own father.  What does an Everlasting Father mean in the recesses of your heart?

 

 

By Jonathan Lutz-O.

Today's Readings:  Psalm 147:1-6; Acts 7:4-16

 

By Travis Wilkins

Christmas Eve

 

By Patricia Garner

Christmas Day

And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. Luke 1:14

The most supreme thing we need is to have a Saviour. Since we have been created for a relationship with God, there will always be an emptiness in our life until we stop running in darkness from one perceived source of joy to another.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

When the wisemen saw the Star of Bethlehem, they were overjoyed.  They fell-down and worshipped Jesus, overflowing with joy of the fulfillment of the profit Mica on the birth of Jesus as the Prince of Peace - the Messiah. Then they presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 

The Star represents a promise you will be saved. To overflow with the joy of Christ’s coming as the wisemen rejoiced on Jesus as the Light of the World. There is a warmth in in the light. Do you remember when you first experience the warmth of the light of the lord?

Jesus, the light of the world, came to push back the darkness. Those who trust in him are filled with his Holy Spirit, so we fully experience the power of light, that dispels darkness. 

The spirit of the Lord and the light of the Star is calling you, beckoning your soul to follow it; like the wise men followed the Start of Bethlehem.   Willingly, joyfully, they followed it leading them to truth.

Is Holy Spirit stirring in your heart, calling you by name to come out of darkness to the light. To experience true peace and Joy. Let’s celebrate Christmas. Overflow with the joy!  Allow, the light of his gospel be revealed in your soul. Allow the light of Jesus to illuminate your darkest days. 

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:5

Amen

 

By Becky Timmons

Today's Readings:  Psalm 148:1-6; Acts 7:44-60

Happy Boxing Day! Maybe today looks a little different than past years but sometimes an interruption is what we need. This advent season we have been looking at the ways that Jesus interrupted life as we knew it to bring us hope, joy, peace and love.

Every year in my home there is always one BIG present under the tree. As a kid that was the one I wanted to see my name on! But never have I seen someone look at the big present under the tree and without even opening it say “no thanks, it’s not something I need” that would be ludicrous right? But believe it or not, there are people who refuse those gifts. 

In Acts Stephen addresses some of these people, he says “You stiff necked people…you resist the Holy Spirit”. Just after Jesus came, people were refusing the gift He brought them! It’s easy to think they were out to lunch but then I think about myself and how many have times I have refused gifts from God the Father. Jesus came into this world as the most life changing, amazing gift we could ever receive, but we have to choose to open them.

Today I encourage you to open His gift of peace. Sit quietly for a few minutes to ponder the sufficiency of our God who makes Heaven his throne and the earth His footstool. This God has all things under His authority and we can rest in peace knowing that He is FOR us not against us. He wants us to live in shadow of His wings, a picture of shelter, refuge and care. 

May you experience His peace with you today.

Week of Dec 14 - Dec 19 

 

By Jigs Gonzales

Today's Readings:  Advent theme of Joy: Isaiah 35

 

By Lois Derksen

Today's Readings:  Psalm 144:1-4; Acts 4:13-22

The rest of the story

Years ago there was a man on television who told ‘The Rest of the Story’. He would share a forgotten piece of history revealing a surprising twist at the end of the story.

The prologue to today’s story reveals Peter, John and the lame man as the main characters. Peter and John are in trouble again with the religious leaders of the day because they healed a lame man who was begging at the temple gate, a man who had likely been there for years. People recognized him and a good many would have tossed him a few coins on their way to pray in the temple. The crowd’s response to his healing was one of wonder and awe. Peter and John not only healed the man in Jesus name, but they boldly spoke about Jesus and five thousand people believed the truth.

We step into the story with Peter and John standing before the religious leaders who don’t know what to do. The crowd's response presented a problem for the religious leaders. Everyone one saw this ‘notable’ sign. Not a miracle mind you, just a notable sign. They cannot say it didn’t happen because so many witnessed it.

The religious leaders’ words reveal the rest of their story. ‘But to stop this thing from spreading any further among the people, we must warn them to speak no longer to anyone in this name!’ Jesus brings threat and insecurity to those whose hearts are closed. In their blindness, the religious leaders believed that their attempt to limit the spread of Jesus' name would put an end to His truth.

I am challenged to ask myself what I do when I don’t know what to do with Jesus' truths. When he asks me to do or believe something I’m not comfortable with, do I stop speaking about him or put him out of mind? What is the rest of my story? What is the rest of your story?

 

By Kevin Trick

Today's Readings:  Psalm 144:5-8; Acts 4:23-37

 

By Travis Wilkins

Today's Readings:  Psalm 144:9-15; Acts 5:1-11

 

By Greg Grunau

Today's Readings:  Psalm 145:1-7; Acts 5:12-16

There’s a really cool progression in today’s Scripture readings regarding God’s presence and power revealed in the world. We start with Yahweh (God’s name in the Old Testament), then move to Jesus (God come to earth in the New Testament), and then move to Jesus’ disciples.

Psalm 145 describes God’s amazing name/character and God’s awesome works in the world. Yahweh is the great King, a greatness no-one can fathom, revealed in glorious splendor and majesty, and full of abundant goodness and righteousness. It also describes God’s actions or works as wonderful, powerful, awesome, and great. God is beautifully good and amazingly powerful – the best and greatest King of all!

The gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) describe Jesus as God’s Son, as being both divine and human. And Jesus does whatever His Father (Yahweh) tells Him to do, including healing the sick from all kinds of sickness and casting out evil spirits. Jesus is the embodiment of God’s beautiful goodness and God’s amazing power!

The book of Acts reveals the mind-blowing truth – the love and power of Yahweh and of Jesus now resides in Jesus’ disciples since they are filled with His Holy Spirit. That’s why they could do “signs and wonders” and heal the sick and cast out evil spirits – because the Spirit of Jesus was living and working in and through them. Jesus said they would do “even greater things” than Him, and they did.

We often forget who we are, or rather whose we are. If we have given our lives to Jesus and received His Holy Spirit, then we to can do whatever He calls us to do – we have His goodness and His power living in us. Our identity as God’s children gives us our authority to do all that God calls us to do … not whatever we feel like doing, but whatever He leads us to do.

How is Jesus inviting you to receive more of your identity from Him and step out in His authority to do what He’s calling you to do today?

 

By Lucas Van B.

Today's Readings: Psalm 145:8-16; Acts 5:17-40

Have you ever been in a situation where any solution seemed impossible? The apostles were in prison (Acts 5:17) at the mercy of hostile leaders. The rulers were fueled by intense emotion and the situation was dire, but the apostles found angelic help. Then they received a surprising assignment and a second deliverance from God.

The first rescue came from an angel who opened prison doors. Angels are at work in all our lives daily, though rarely observable. There is an unseen spiritual battle surrounding our daily choices. Dark, mighty forces inflame peoples' hearts to bring harm. Yet, mightier forces of God are at work, aided by the prayers of his people. The ruling Sadducees didn't believe in angels and ironically, it was an angel that rescued the apostles.

The angel then sent the apostles to the very centre of the conflict. “Go stand in the temple courts.” The ruling council, shocked at this development, was determined to kill them. God's second deliverance came through a leader, Gamaliel. His insightful words restrained the forces of evil. The wonderful, pure, kingdom of God advanced. “The Lord is faithful to all His promises (Ps 145:13).”

Many situations are not so positive. Some, then and now, are not spared. But in every situation, God remains trustworthy, loving, and good. Pastor Henry said, “Throughout history, neither persecution nor pandemics have been able to destroy the church. In fact, the church became stronger each time.”

CSC Global Worker, Derryl Friesen recently quoted Hudson Taylor, “There are three stages to every great work of God; first it is impossible, then it is difficult, then it is done."

If you face an impossibility, go forward. Find strength as you worship God. Call upon him to send his angels. Stand firm. Our God reigns.

Week of Dec 7 - Dec 12 

 

By Wayne Smele

Today's Readings:  Advent theme of Hope: Isaiah 40:1-5

 

 

By Shari Scott

Today's Readings:  Psalm 140:6-13; Acts 2:1-13

As it is for many, Christmas is my favorite time of the year. And even though for much of the world’s populace, the reason for Christmas has been lost, we as Christians, celebrate the birth of our LORD and look forward with hope and faith to the day He returns to set all things right.

Included in the many things that are so incredible about being a Christ follower is the ability to be real with Him. Nobody models this better than King David in today’s reading of Psalm 140:6-13. I don’t know why so many of us think that our conversations with the LORD need to be polite, as one would address their teacher or an elder. While we certainly need to revere our LORD, I for one want to be a “friend of God” like Moses or a “man after God’s own heart” like David. When I think about my closest friends, they don’t get carefully articulated speech. Indeed, our conversations reflect what we’re feeling.

David pours out his heart as a child to a parent. First, David proclaims who God is in his life: “You are my God!” Then, he comments on their relationship: “You rescued me! You protected me!” And then, he lets the LORD know in no uncertain terms how he would like the LORD to deal with his enemies: “Let them be destroyed by the very evil they have planned for me! Let burning coals fall down on their heads! Let them be thrown into the fire or into the watery pits from which they can’t escape! Don’t let liars prosper here in our land! Cause great disasters to fall on the violent!”

And finally, feeling better after his rant, David acknowledges the fact that he knows that, “…the LORD will help those they persecute (and) give justice to the poor. (The) righteous people are praising (His) name (and) the godly will live in His presence.”

I’m going to take a lesson in being “real” from King David.

Jesus, God Incarnate, is that friend with whom we can be real and honest. He is the reason for this season and in Him lies our faith and hope. To God be the glory!

 

 

By Wes Gorman

Today's Readings:  Psalm 141:1-4; Acts 2:14-28

 

 

By Travis Wilkins

Today's Readings:  Psalm 141:5-10; Acts 2:29-47

 

 

By Dorothy Martin

Today's Readings:  Psalm 142; Acts 3:1-10

“Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. And a man lame from birth was being carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple that is called the Beautiful Gate to ask alms of those entering the temple. Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms. And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.” And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. And leaping up, he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. And all the people saw him walking and praising God, and recognized him as the one who sat at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, asking for alms. And they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.” Acts 3:1-10

On Sunday, while on my way to church, I stopped at a traffic light. A shabbily dressed figure caught my eye. Making his way down the road on the centre line, he clutched a sign in his gloveless hands. “Anything helps”, the sign read. His head down and his body language disengaged.

In Acts 3:1-10, we read the story of the lame beggar. Peter and John were about to enter the temple, perhaps to join in for the afternoon prayers. Here they found a man waiting at the gate of the temple. The man did not have a sign but called out for money. It is this part of the narrative that jumped out to me. “Peter directed his gaze at him” Acts 3:4. Amidst the businesses of the day, Peter stopped because he realized that this man needed healing not only physically but spiritually as well. (vs. 6).

Peter told the man to “look at him”. The beggar gave Peter his full attention. The moment was heavy with anticipation. The man did not know what he was going to get, but he was expectant. What he got was much more than money!

Peter then called on the name of Jesus shifting the focus from what he could give the beggar and revealing the transforming power that Jesus Christ offers.

As we gaze at the people around us; those of different socio-economic status, immigrants, those with disabilities, people of different racial and ethnic backgrounds, are we focusing on our own needs rather than the necessities of others? Each one of us is called to reach out, and call on the name of Jesus who sees the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of us all.

Maybe you have been in the situation I was in last Sunday. Maybe you have poked through your cup holder for money to give (or maybe not). Even if we have nothing to give, like Peter, should we not be offering what we DO have - which is the love and transforming power of Jesus Christ? What’s in your “cup holder”? What can you give?

 

 

By Jimmy Scott

Today's Readings:  Psalm 143:1-6; Acts 3:11-26

Is it too easy for us sometimes to forget how important repentance is? As I read through the verses for today, specifically Acts 3:11-26, I am drawn to Peter’s words in verses 19 to 20.

“Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord…”

I love that Peter introduces the “cause and effect”’ of repentance in his sermon here. He not only encourages the people (and us!) to repent, but he also makes sure we know what comes with repentance. He encourages us to repent – so that our sins may be blotted out by God; and to repent – so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.

It’s so easy sometimes in our human weakness to get so stuck up in pride that we don’t even realize we have to repent, or on the flipside, for us to be so overwhelmed by shame and guilt of the enemy’s making of our own that we have a fear to approach God, even to repent. Repentance needs to be more for us than just saying sorry when we’ve messed up bad, but to be a daily rhythm. Every day that goes by in our journey of being sanctified, we could have obeyed God better, we could have given Him more. This is the reality of our human journey, is that we’re not perfect, and we always could be better. I don’t say this to shame, I say it to encourage! God gives us the opportunity in His grace to meet with Him as much as we want, to realize our mistakes or wrongdoings big or small, and to fix our eyes upon Him. He blots out our sins forever, and He gives us supernatural refreshment in His perfect, Holy presence. He is just that good of a God.

 

Week of Nov 30 - Dec 5 

 

By Shari Scott

Today's Readings:  Psalm 183:1-5; John 19:38-20:9

 

 

By Lawrence Irwin

Today's Readings:  Psalm 138:6-8; John 20:10-23

We read in John 20:21-22 the following: ”Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” ;

This event happens after Jesus is resurrected from the dead, and He appears to His disciples and speaks to them. There are three main themes that Jesus shares in these two verses. ;

The First theme is Peace. Jesus came to bring peace between us and God, between us and others, and bring peace in our hearts. Are you experiencing the peace of Jesus today? Once we experience this peace in Christ, we are now to share Jesus with others.

The Second theme is Sending. As disciples of Jesus, He calls us to be on mission in a lost and broken world. We are to live like Jesus lived. As the Father sent Jesus into the world, He now sends us to be the hands and feet of Jesus to those around us. As Christians we are all sent by God to make an impact in this world, to be Christs Ambassadors. ;

The Third Theme is Power. We can’t even come close to living like Jesus lived without the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus breathed on His disciples saying, “Receive the Holy Spirit”. In Acts 1:8 Jesus says, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you. And you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth”

This Christmas Lets not only experience the peace of Jesus, lets extend it to others; through the power of the Holy Spirit

 

 

By Steve Griffin

Today's Readings:  Psalm 139:1-6; John 20:24-31

 

 

By Travis Wilkins

Today's Readings:  Psalm 139:7-12;John 21:1-14

 

 

By Katherine Milum

Today's Readings:  Psalm 139:13-16; John 21:15-25

The words that come to mind as I read this section of Psalm 139 are craftsmanship and purpose. The passage speaks of the intricacy and detail with which God created us, and the purposefulness with which he ordained every day of our lives.

My husband was a craftsman, building custom wood furniture. When someone came to him with a request, he would take time to listen to that person and their ideas, discerning the project’s purpose and how it would fit into their home. Next came a design. Then he would carefully, meticulously (yes, he was a perfectionist!), construct a beautiful piece of furniture that would endure.

Similarly, middle eastern carpets and tapestries are carefully designed and crafted. The different coloured threads are creatively and skillfully woven to form something unique and wonderful to behold, and of great value. Perhaps one hanging on the wall inspired David to write this Psalm.

This is how God created us and how He sees us! Our DNA, our physical attributes, personality, family, cultural heritage, and experiences of joy and sorrow in our lives are part of God tapestry that He has intentionally woven into us. And he’s done this for a very specific purpose, for each day of your life that He has planned for you. You were perfectly created as a gift for your time and place in the world!

It’s often difficult for us to see ourselves this way. The enemy attacks us with lies about our beauty and value, making us feel unworthy of God’s love. Friend, you are God’s treasure, his craftmanship –an extraordinary gift to the world and to your community.

Ask the Holy Spirit to show you how you have been uniquely created to give God pleasure, and given as a valuable gift to your community. If you listen carefully, He may tell you more than you asked or imagined!

 

 

By Tim Hayes

Today's Readings:  Psalm 139:17-24; Acts 1:1-14

The scriptures for today are most meaningful to me for several reasons. Part of the Psalm was given to me at my baptismal service and while I was learning the meaning of ‘believers’ baptism I experienced the baptism with the Holy Spirit which Jesus promised to his disciples if they were prepared to WAIT.

Now I have said it, wait… everyone loves the great commission found at the end of the gospels, ‘go and make disciples, go and preach the gospel,’ but not many people really appreciate waiting for anything.

Acts 1:4 ‘On one occasion, while he was eating with them (who doesn’t like eating?) he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days, you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

Being totally immersed in water is a sign that all of me now belongs to Jesus. When Jesus fills us with His Spirit there is a problem… we leak, hence the need for being continually filled with the Spirt, daily, which other scriptures speak about.

Now we come to one of my life verses, Acts 1:8 “…you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem (Local), and in all Judea (National) and Samaria (International), and to the ends of the earth.”

Wow! Where are you today? Have you even started to witness and testify to your family, friends and neighbours about Jesus yet? What about people outside of our circle of influence, who incidentally might not like us? And then have you given any thought to the rest of the world? I believe the last words Jesus spoke before he was taken up into heaven are probably pretty important, don’t you?

 

Week of Nov 23 - 28 

 

By Craig Murray

Today's Readings: Psalm 133; John 18:1-11

 

 

By Meagan Harrison

Today's Readings: Psalm 134; John 18:12-24

I love that God knows exactly the words we need to read when studying scripture. Today’s reading of Psalm 134 is nice and short, in fact this Psalm is only three verses long, but these few words are powerful and very meaningful to me, especially right now. Psalm 134:1 says, “Come, bless the Lord, all you servants of the Lord, who stand by night in the house of the Lord!” This verse is very directive and is a great reminder to all of us to worship the Lord because we are His servants, but the piece that catches my attention is the call to those who were working at night.

My husband and I have four young kids, and our youngest is just about three months old so we are up A LOT at night! And to be honest, I am exhausted! I have been known to grumble and complain (just ask those close to me!) rather than enjoying these hours in the middle of the night with our son. Ashamedly, sometimes the same goes for my time with the Lord. In those night hours I pray for patience and rest, but I neglect to thank God for the many wonderful things He’s blessed me with, or honour Him with words of praise. But this Psalm reminds me that He is there. During those dark and quiet (or sometimes not so quiet!) moments, He is there and watching over me, and He is there with you too. So, to those of you who are young parents, to those of you who work shift-work, or to those of you who just can’t sleep, your Heavenly Father sees you, He knows your struggles, and He also wants to hear from you. You may wish you were sound asleep, but instead see it as an opportunity to fulfill your duty as a servant of the Lord and bless Him.

 

 

By Mike Schorr

Today's Readings: Psalm 135:1-12; John 18:25-40

 

 

By Travis Wilkins

Today's Readings: Psalm 135:13-21; John 19:1-11

 

 

By Gail Kirwan

Today's Readings: Psalm 136; John 19:12-24

A couple of years ago so I started a new hobby. I borrowed my sons camera and out I went fiddling around with the settings snapping pictures of everything and anything. Thinking, “look at me I’m a photographer”, until I got home and actually looked at the pictures… some were blurry, the colors were off, too light and too dark.

But I did not get discouraged! I kept playing with the settings. My goodness, when you capture Gods masterpiece picture perfect, it's immeasurably beautiful. It is only Him that can make something so mesmerizing that it takes your breath away. I no doubt believe that in that moment God was trying to get my attention! To stop and take a moment to take in His glorious creation. That's how He sees us, as His masterpieces, beautifully wonderfully created, unique, intricate and stunning. One that He tenderly loves forever!

What an honor and privilege to know and have a God who is mighty, powerful, never changing, a provider, healer and miracle worker. He is a God who is good and easy to please. He truly cares and is our protector and comforter in times of need. Whatever the circumstance may be.

Psalm 136 says He’s the God who chose us when we were nothing! He has rescued us from the power of our enemies! He blesses us continuously with His grace, wisdom, love and affection.

Stop and rest today as you read these words from your Lord and Creator. Be comforted by knowing that God is faithful, is always looking over us. How do we respond to such a wonderful loving God, but to give praise and thanks to our Lord of Lords and King of Kings!

I pray that today you will know how amazing God is how much you are adored and how He tenderly loves you forever!

 

 

By Jared Harrison

Today's Readings: Psalm 137; John 19:25-37

John 19:32-35

32 The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. 33 But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34 Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. 35 The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe.

There are some memories you just can’t forget. I’ll never forget seeing my wife walk down the aisle on our wedding day. I’ll never forget the moment when our first child was born. I’ll never forget the moment I crashed my brother’s Corvette (luckily there wasn’t too much damage)! The apostle John had a memory he couldn’t forget. He saw his best friend, Jesus, executed on the cross. But Jesus was more than a best friend. He was God living among us. The heart of the Christian faith is that God entered the human race, grew up and lived in our midst; he taught, healed, and revealed to us who he is. Jesus revealed that the God of the universe is willing to become the least of all, to suffer and die the worst kind of death imaginable in order that we might be reconciled to him and be with him forever. This isn’t a myth, a philosophy, or wishful thinking. John saw it with his own eyes, and through his eyes we can see the Son of God, displaying his great love for us by being crucified in our place for our wrongs. If you ever doubt God’s love, look to the cross. If you ever doubt that Jesus really came, look to the Scriptures. They are a faithful witness. “The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe.”

Week of Nov 16 - 21 

 

By Becky Timmons

Today's Readings: Psalm 127; John 15:9-17

 

 

By Jan Varner

Today's Readings: Psalm 128; John 15:18-16:4

Jesus invites us to love Him and remain in His love. He wants us to put our faith and trust in Him, and love each other the way He loves us. His message is simple and timeless, but we all know it isn’t easy.

We live in a culture that doesn’t value simple, timeless messages. Our world is complicated and it’s constantly screaming for attention and change. It’s easy for us to move away from quiet truths and direct our attention to the things that are making the biggest noise, waving the shiniest items, showing us how much fun everyone else is having. It’s easy to start listening to this relentless worldly noisemaker and start believing that it knows what it’s talking about. Except it doesn’t.

Jesus cautions us to not put our faith and trust in this world. Why? Because it is godless, and because the world does not love us. The world will sell us stuff, attempt to hold power over us, and influence us for its own benefit, but it doesn’t love us.

How many times have you been pushed aside, belittled, betrayed, and rejected by this world? Jesus tells us that when we are no longer living on the world’s terms, we can expect to be treated as He was. He says, ‘If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.’ (John 15:19)

So, if we have been chosen out of this world, let’s not keep running to catch up to it, and let’s quit marching to it’s beat. It’s a cold place to be, anyway. Instead, let’s love God, remain in his love, and love others the way he loves us. It’s countercultural but it’s beautiful in its simplicity. God is very near and He is a warm safe place to be, and in times like these that is good news indeed.

 

 

By Brad Friesen

Today's Readings: Psalm 129; John 16:5-16

 

 

By Travis Wilkins

Today's Readings: Psalm 130; John 16:17-33

 

 

By Jason Erhardt

Today's Readings: Psalm 131; John 17:1-19

In John 17 we read a beautiful prayer that Jesus prays for his disciples…for us! In this prayer Jesus affirms his authority over all people as well as the glory he had with the Father before the world began, and will have throughout eternity. It’s all about God’s glory!

In verses 11-16 “Christ does not pray that they (His followers) might be rich and great in the world, but that they might be kept from sin, strengthened for their duty, and brought safe to heaven. The prosperity of the soul is the best prosperity. They are not left here to pursue the same objects as the men around them, but to glorify God, and to serve their generation.” (Matthew Henry, early 18th century minister and theologian).

Jesus reveals what His priority is for us, His followers. Our calling is to glorify God in all things, and to serve the people in our community and beyond.

So here’s the question I have to ask myself:

What am I living or striving for? Is it financial security and comfort? Is it success that the world values; prestige, popularity, the “good life”? Or am I truly living for the glory of God and to serve people? I’m afraid I have to answer “yes, often” to those first questions and “only sometimes” to the last question. Perhaps you share my struggle.

So how do we turn our habits and inclinations from living for ourselves to living for the glory of God? One way is by doing what we’re doing right now; meditating on God’s word and His loving call to live for His glory, and by regularly praying the type of prayer Jesus prayed (adapted from verses 11,15-19): Holy Father, keep us faithful to Your name, so that we may be one with You as You and Jesus are one. Sanctify us to live in accordance with the truth. Protect us from the evil one as You send us into the world to bring glory to Your name! Amen.

 

 

By Todd Bowors

Today's Readings: Psalm 132; John 17:20-26

John 17:20-26 Reflection

I’ll be honest with you. When I first read this scripture I was at a loss as to how I would write a reflection on it. I looked up commentaries to see how I could give a short, inspiring, and thought provoking look into what this scripture is telling us. There was one that stood out to me. It didn’t try to explain the depths of what Jesus was saying. It pointed out what Jesus was doing and when. He was praying, on the night that He was to be betrayed and taken away to be killed. Jesus knew what was coming and yet He was praying, for His followers, the ones sleeping just then, as well as the ones yet to come. I know that when I leave my three boys alone I give them instructions before I go. Jesus could have been going over all the things that He had taught His disciples to remind them and make sure nothing was left out. Instead, He was praying, for them, for us and the Church.

The Bible says that Jesus is right now sitting at the right hand of the Father, interceding for us (Romans 8:34). How do you feel when you learn that someone is praying for you? I know that the promise that Jesus is praying for me is very encouraging to me in the season that we are in. Let your faith rise up with that knowledge as you face challenges each day. Jesus knows what you are facing and He is praying for you right now. Receive the peace that He offers in exchange for the burdens that you may be carrying (Philippians 4:6-7). And when you feel that peace covering you, ask Him who you can pray for, in partnership with Him. God be with you this day.

Todd Bowors

( Ephesians 3:14-21)

 

Week of Nov 9 - 15 

 

By Jonathan Lutz-O.

Today's Readings: Psalm 121; John 13:1-17

 

 

By Warren Wiebe

Today's Readings: Psalm 122; John 13:18-30

I Want This to be Over—RIGHT NOW !

The author of this reflection  is not qualified to write on patience:  His prayer for patience has never been answered.  The patient soul may want to disregard his words—but if you have an affinity with him in this area,  at least take a moment or two to weigh his reflection.

In days of old:

  •         Noah labored on one job for 120 years…
  •         God’s people made bricks in the hot sun for 400 years …
  •         Moses chased sheep for 40 years and then chased people in the wilderness for another 40…
  •         Jacob worked like a slave for 14 years for the girl he loved…
  •         Israel spent 70 years in captivity, and for 400 years, they never heard the voice of God…
  •         Do you want me to go on…?

In our modern age:

  •         If you lived in the first half of the last century, you spent 10 years in World Wars…
  •         If you lived in the Dirty Thirties—you spend almost a decade in the Great Depression…
  •         If you are a new Canadian—some of you have been waiting for multiple years to be reunited with your family…
  •         Some of you have been waiting multiple years for an answer to an urgent prayer…
  •         I have a friend waiting for multiple years for an organ to save his life…

 

We all want this pandemic to end.  Of course we do.  But the process of suffering and hardship is often a long one.  Our prayers tend to focus on resolution…but is God more interested in process. The work of God is transformative—but the truth is, it is often tedious.  Try praying for God to move a little more quickly and see where that gets you.  Remember that old Scripture:  “He makes all things beautiful in His time”! Here are good words for those of us who are always in a hurry:   “Wait on the Lord!  Be of good courage, and Wait on the Lord”.  It’s in the Bible somewhere…I just don’t have the time to look it up…

 

 

 

By Jorel Quemuel

Today's Readings: Psalm 123; John 13:31-38

 

 

By Travis Wilkins

Today's Readings: Psalm 124; John 14:1-14

 

 

By Patricia Garner

Today's Readings: John 14:15-24 and Psalm 125

Love and Obedience, in John’s Gospel, verses 15, 21, and 23 reflect a common thread on the subject of obedience as an expression of love of God our Father.

Jesus emphasized obedience in clear terms. To be obedient is an act of loving God. So, the question is; how are you doing in showing your love for Jesus through pure obedience?

Perhaps this is a time to reconcile and take inventory of our lives and the lives of our loved ones and ask ourselves, how much do we really love the lord?

Jesus made promises that are tied to those who express their love through obedience. Jesus will bring the council of the Holy Spirit into the life of the believer to walk with them. The same way Jesus would minister to us. Holy spirit will take his place.

John 15:20: ”On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you”

In Verse 23, Jesus speaks of himself, and God the Father that come into the lives of believers and is accomplished by the Holy Spirit. This highlights the unification of the Trinity.

So, if your faith resides in Jesus and if you believe and trust in him for salvation, by the power of the Holy Spirit, lives can be changed, hearts can be transformed, People can be saved.

Have you met someone who really trusts in the lord and witnessed their level of tranquility and strength? They stand strong like a beautiful, glorious, majestic mountains that cannot be moved but abides forever.

The songs of Psalm 125 are during the ascent on the journey to the temple of Mount Zion, which stands strong.

Those that trust in the lord are like a mountain that cannot be shaken.

This is a song declaring the stability to those who trust in the lord.

If you have been feeling fearful lately, on your own without protection, I encourage you to take Psalm 125:2, and insert your name in place of “his people”.

“As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds (your name) both now and forevermore

He is surrounding you with his protective hand…. Amen

 

 

By Greg Grunau

Today's Readings: Psalm 126; John 14:25-15:8

Here’s something I heard a lot growing up in the church: “read your Bible and pray every day.” How does this saying make you feel: guilty, proud, burdened, challenged, inspired, bored? And why do you feel that way?

I fully believe in the importance of reading the Bible and praying, but way too often this phrase has been communicated as a task or activity that good Christians are supposed to do – that’s it. That is an incredibly shallow perspective. The most important thing in life isn’t actually the Bible or prayer, but knowing and experiencing Jesus in our lives, and through Jesus the Father and the Holy Spirit.

What strikes me about our passage in John 15 today is that it’s all about one thing: deeper relationship with Jesus, that is: intimacy with Him, dependence on Him, receiving fullness of life from him, and bearing fruit through Him. That’s what “remain in Jesus” is all about. Jesus is the living Word, and two great ways to receive from Jesus is through the written Word (the Bible) and through hearing His voice for ourselves (prayer). These two things will always work together to help us towards the true goal – remaining in Jesus, and living out of Jesus’ life.

Yes, read the Bible and pray, but go deeper – do those things in order to engage in a deeper, moment-by-moment relationship with Jesus so that you are His true disciples (v.8), remaining in Him and bearing good fruit through Him that brings glory to the Father.

How is Jesus inviting you to rest in Him and receive life from Him today? How might Jesus be challenging you to trust and obey what He’s already said to you, so that in obeying Him you bear good fruit that lasts? Share that with someone today, and with their support, take a step or two deeper into the abundant life He has for you (John 10:10). It will be difficult at times – you will work hard and “plant in tears”, but in the end you will be able to “harvest with shouts of joy.” (Psalm 126:5)

 

Week of Nov 2 - 7 

 

By Jigs Gonzales

Today's Readings: Psalm 119:137-144; John 11:31-44

 

 

By Lois Derksen

Today's Readings: Psalm 119:145-152; John 11:45-57

John 11:45-57

Mary unknown

The Mary we know best is the the young woman who becomes the mother of Jesus. For many of us Mary remains frozen in time as a young mother, who believes in miracles, with a supporting role to Jesus the Saviour of the world. And then we disregard Mary.

But Mary flies under the radar doing her best work. A few weeks ago we discover Mary’s influence at a wedding where Jesus makes water into wine. Mary, with full confidence points out the need for wine and insists the servants follow Jesus instructions. Mary – a woman of confidence and faith

And now we see Mary in a new light as the woman who people came to see. Why did people come to see Mary? She was just the mother of Jesus. What kind of woman was Mary that people came to see her? Was it just because she was the person they knew who knew someone they wanted to meet? Even if that was the reason, and I don’t believe it was, Mary recognized those who came were placed in her life to influence and bless. Her invitation to her guests was to hear and see what Jesus did. And the fruit was that many believed. Mary – the quiet evangelist

How many of us are invisible like Mary? How many of us believe Satan’s lie that because we are invisible we don’t make an impact. Like Mary, God confidently places before us the gift of friends, family and strangers who need to be filled with true hope. I am challenged to ask if I get caught up in the lie that I don’t matter and don’t make a difference when God brings someone into my world. Am I courageous enough to step out of the false belief that I am unnoticed and unseen and joyfully grasp the opportunity to share true hope? What is God saying to you?

 

 

By Kevin Trick

Today's Readings: Psalm 119:153-160; John 12:1-11

 

 

No Daily Reflection today

 

 

No Daily Reflection today

 

 

By Lucas Van B.

Today's Readings: Psalm 120; John 12:37-50

The final days had come. They were in Jerusalem. The crowds were divided. The key leadership, hardened in self-righteousness, was set against Jesus. The very force of their presence intimidated others.

Yet, great crowds believed that Jesus was the new David – the new deliverer. Short days earlier, they said, “Hosanna, Son of David.” In contrast, Jesus continued to teach, “the Son of Man must be glorified ... as a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies.” His way was sacrifice, not force.

Have you ever been near a crowd driven hard by emotion? For years, I never thought that I would be in a society so churned as the societies of the world are today. In our day, the lack of agreement about a myriad of issues threatens to drive a wedge within families, cities, churches, and every facet of society.

There is one test that matters. There is one Judge who determines what it true . Our part is to follow Jesus who said, “All who put their trust in me will no longer remain in the dark... For I did not come to judge the world, but to save it (John 12:46,47). The way of sharpness and turmoil is not the way of the cross. We can cry out to God (Psalm 120), and say, “Rescue me, O God.”

God gives wisdom as described in James 4:17 (NLT) “But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favouritism and is always sincere.”

Pause and ask God for his pure, healing wisdom today for self and for society. He is trustworthy. In him is light.

 

Week of Oct 26 - Oct 31 

 

By Wayne Smele

Today's Readings: Psalm 119:89-96; John 10:1-10

 

 

By Wes Gorman

Today's Readings: Psalm 119:97-104; John 10:11-21

I tend to get anxious when I have to construct something from IKEA, Amazon or Wayfair with only a sheet of somewhat vague instructions. I panic because I know I need clear guidelines, or rules whenever I assemble a piece of furniture. I can’t do it without them. I break into cold sweats when I open a MALM, or LOMMARP, or KALLAX box from IKEA, or when we get something we ordered online and feverishly hunt for the assembly instructions only to find that they are unclear and sometimes barely even pass for English!

Clear, well written instructions keep me on track. They prevent me from going off and doing what I think is best - like making an IKEA abomination that would be useless and possibly dangerous.

People wonder if God’s Word is relevant for today. Can His law, commands and truth give us guidance in this fast-paced, scientifically-advanced world?

The Psalmist in our passage certainly thinks there is truth, guidance and wisdom in God’s commands and instructions. The writer says that God’s Laws help us do what is right, help us build the framework and fabric of our lives the way God designed us. His commands make me wiser and give me a greater insight than any earthly teacher can give. They keep me from walking in evil ways, and give me an understanding that will help me discern what is false and harmful to me.

My Creator and Designer has provided me with an amazing, clear, relevant guidebook for how I should live!! Ignoring it means my life will be misshapen and a mess.

When I know God’s Word, His Truth, I will know His voice and obey when He speaks to me; when His Spirit prompts me. As John 10 tells us, when I know my Heavenly Father’s voice, I will also recognize the voice of my Saviour, Jesus, and the Good Shepherd who will give me His guidance and salvation and will help me to love Him, and love and serve others for Him. Jesus says His sheep know His voice and listen to Him. Being in touch with His Word is essential to be led in right paths, and guided in wise ways!

Do you know the voice of the Good Shepherd when you hear it? Do you know what God is saying to you, and what He would like you to do about it? Spending time in His Word and talking with Him regularly will help you know the voice and heart of your Creator and Saviour so you can discern His direction and plan for you.

 

 

By Pam Aramburu

Today's Readings: Psalm 119:105-112; John 10:22-33

 

 

By Travis Wilkins

Today's Readings: Psalm 119:113-120; John 10:34-42

 

 

By Dorothy Martin

Today's Readings: Psalm 119:121-128; John 11:1-16

Psalms 119:121-128

“I have done what is righteous and just; do not leave me to my oppressors.  Ensure your servant's well-being; let not the arrogant oppress me. My eyes fail, looking for your salvation, looking for your righteous promise.  Deal with your servant according to your love and teach me your decrees. I am your servant; give me discernment that I may understand your statutes.  It is time for you to act, O LORD; your law is being broken. Because I love your commands more than gold, more than pure gold, and because I consider all your precepts right, I hate every wrong path."

One of the go-to scriptures that I often talk or sing about in Children’s Ministries is that we are to love the Lord God with all our heart, all our soul and all our mind. The psalmist gets the fullness of this principle and declares that he loves the commands of God more than anything, even more than gold! We also see this psalmist as someone who delights in being the Lord’s servant. In these verses, the word “servant” occurs three times and is at the heart of this meditation.  Obviously, he wants to walk according to God’s will, however, do you detect an air of slight impatience?  I did. Sometimes we get a bit impatient with God and wonder why He doesn't intervene WHEN we think He should. Or in the WAY we think He should. God's ways are not our ways, and His thoughts are not our thoughts. How we see ourselves in our relationship to God greatly impacts our actions and how we think. Do we think God exists to serve us? Do we make our demands known and use God as a genie in a bottle?  We need to understand that it isn't God who needs to change when God doesn't act in the manner that we expect Him to! 

In the verses above, the psalmist prays boldly and passionately. His fervent prayer is born out of a love for God’s righteousness and an abhorrence to sin. I am encouraged and challenged by his depth of feeling and love for God. For some, boldness in prayer can be uncomfortable. While God is not our genie in a bottle, he has invited us to pray to him boldly, “So let us come boldly to the very throne of God and stay there to receive his mercy and to find grace to help us in our times of need” Hebrews 4:16. We are invited to come to God, boldly yearning for God’s will and truth to prevail. Prayer is our direct line to the throne room of God. God wants to hear from us and teach us. God expects us to come to Him. We come with humble passionate hearts. Understanding that we exist to serve Him, our master, we seek His righteousness.  What are you praying boldly for?

 

 

By Jimmy Scott

Today's Readings: Today's Readings: Psalm 119:129-136; John 11:17-30

Psalm 119 is one of my favourite Psalms. Each different section has a new thought, a new perspective on God and all his goodness. Today, we look at verses 129 through 136. I want to focus specifically on verse 129:

“Your testimonies are wonderful; therefore my soul keeps them.”

We often think of testimonies as our salvation story, but it’s so much more than that. Our testimony encompasses all that God does in our life. A testimony could be as small as having a rough day, and God nudging a friend to encourage you with something from His word, or as big as God physically healing someone when you’ve prayed.

Testimonies are a powerful thing friends, and I am finding myself in this season more than ever looking back at all the things God has done, all the times He’s been so faithful and so good, and letting those influence and change my perspective of the future.

If we have seen God move before, and we all have in some way, then we know that we can trust Him to move again. 

So today as you read this and as you go about your day, I encourage you to take some time and ponder on all the things God has done in your life up to this very moment. Maybe it was something that happened yesterday, maybe it was something that happened 10 years ago that’s nearly been forgotten, but what testimony does the Lord want you thinking about? Maybe God wants to remind you of a testimony because of the spiritual battles that you may be facing now. We know that the Bible also says that “We will overcome; by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony.” 

Grab a notepad, a journal, your phone, and write out the story that God reminds you of and brings you to, and rest in that story as you go about your day and week. Let it be a powerful builder of faith for you as we continue to move through this season. God isn’t finished with you yet!”

 

Week of Oct 19 - Oct 24 

 

By Shari Scott

Today's Readings: Psalm 119:41-48; John 8:12-30

 

 

By Lawrence Irwin

Today's Readings: Psalm 119:49-56; John 8:31-41

Psalm 119:33-37
33
Teach me, Lord, the way of your decrees,
that I may follow it to the end.
34
Give me understanding, so that I may keep your law
and obey it with all my heart.
35
Direct me in the path of your commands,
for there I find delight.
36
Turn my heart toward your statutes
and not toward selfish gain.
37
Turn my eyes away from worthless things;
preserve my life according to your word.

We all have our favourite sources of information. When you want to know what's happening in the world, no doubt you have your favourite news source. When you're curious about the latest developments in science or need to know the latest sports scores, find the hottest sales or simply check the weather, you know where to go! But what's your go-to source for ultimate truth? What's your primary source for perspective about life? When it comes to life's big questions, are we turning to our sources? Or to the Source? Look at the beginning of each verse in today's Scripture and hear the longing of the psalmist to drink in and be saturated and guided by God and His Word: "Teach me… Give me understanding… Direct me… Turn my heart… Turn my eyes…" Today let's acknowledge the Source of all wisdom and spend time with God soaking in His Word. Try praying these verses every day this week along with the psalmist.

 

By Steve Griffin

Today's Readings: Psalm 119:57-64; John 8:42-59

 

 

 

 

By Katherine Milium

Today's Readings: Psalm 119:73-80; John 9:13-34

As I read this portion of Psalm 119 together with the passage from John, I wonder - what would this blind man have felt as he recited this Psalm, which had been taught and ingrained in him since childhood? Did it ring true, or did he question it’s meaning? Before encountering Jesus, could he recite this Psalm in the synagogue, and praise a God who created him blind since birth? Could he say that “in faithfulness You have afflicted me”? Did he feel “comforted” by God’s lovingkindness? In a honour-shame based culture, did praying this Psalm and meditating on God’s laws give him an understanding of God’s love for him that alleviated the social shame of his disability? Was he still waiting in faith for something he didn’t quite fully understand? In the end, the blind man received physical as well as spiritual sight. He received honour as the recipient of God’s grace, and his courageous response to the Pharisees is recorded in Scripture.

In times of difficulty it can be too easy for me to allow my thoughts to dwell on the struggle, rather than on the character and faithfulness of God, and I lose perspective. When I choose instead to meditate on the precepts of God, asking Him for understanding, He is faithful to give spiritual sight, and I can trust that He has a purpose for allowing whatever circumstance is troubling me.

Take a moment to read these verses of the Psalms again and meditate on them. As you reflect on your own life circumstances, will you believe, in faith, that God has fashioned you and made you thus? That there is a purpose behind your situation, and that as you “wait for His Word”, He will honour your faithfulness? What is the evidence in your life that God is with you, that He has compassion and lovingkindness towards you? Ask Jesus to open your eyes to see, and then, like the formerly blind man, go in confidence and tell others what Jesus has done for you, and invite them to become His disciples too!

 

 

By Mike Schorr

Today's Readings: Psalm 119:81-88; John 9:35-41

"How long must your servant wait?"

The past five years, my wife has been suffering with extreme pain: full body swelling, joint aches, insomnia and extreme fatigue. She has good and bad days, the bad ones only having the strength to lay on the couch for long stretches. We have spent years praying for her healing. We have spent hours and hours crying. We have desperately cried out to God to come to our rescue. We have brought together our church family and elders to pray, and have had amazing support thankfully. And yet, her pain goes on without explanation. Without a diagnosis. Without treatment. This has been the most painful thing we have ever experienced.

"How long must your servant wait?"

Maybe you are going through something similar. I can genuinely say that I understand the waiting. I'm sorry for the pain you are experiencing. There is no easy answer I can give. I wish I could.

CS Lewis once said, "I know now Lord, why you utter no answer. You yourself are the answer."

What answer are you searching for? What are you waiting for?

The bible shows us that man has been waiting for a very long time for THE answer to our ultimate need. And that this matters more than any other answer we are waiting for.

Jesus…is the answer.

Jesus meets our greatest need: forgiveness and righteousness through Christ alone.

Jesus reveals here in John 9 that He is the Son of Man. The Messiah. God incarnate, born to redeem humanity. The one the earth has been waiting and searching for.

So, servant, if Jesus is the answer…then follow Him. Learn from Him. Serve like Him. See like Him. Listen like Him. Pray like Him. Love like Him. Thankfully, if anyone knows anything about suffering…it's Jesus.

He is the answer.

 

Week of Oct 12 - Oct 17 

 

By Craig Murray

Today's Readings: Psalm 118:22-29; John 6:60-71

 

 

By Tim Hayes

Today's Readings: Psalm 119:1-8; John 7:1-13

As we start to read through Psalm 119 there are a couple of things that are good to keep in mind. It is the longest chapter of the whole Bible. Each paragraph or stanza contains 8 verses and each one starts with one of the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet, making a total of 176 verses. The whole Psalm is full of praise and celebration for the Word of God which each of these daily reflections is based on.

I would like us to reflect on the second part of the second verse; ‘Blessed are they who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart.’

I can clearly remember as a child in Sunday school learning and singing this song in front of my parents with the actions.

‘Two little eyes to look to God,
two little ears to hear his Word,
two little feet to walk in his ways,
two little lips to sing his praise,
two little hands to do his will,
and one little heart to love him still’

I can well remember the chuckles from the parents when the children got their hearts in the wrong place!

Here is my point, is your heart in the right place? Are we seeking God with all our heart or do we have divided loyalties? Part of us wants to obey God’s word as an insurance policy so that everything works out right in the end for us. However today if we want to be truly blessed and favored by God we will be those who consistently seek him and long for God with all our hearts.

If there is one thing I have learned during this pandemic is the importance of being all in for the right things. Anything that I can’t put my heart and soul into becomes secondary and my resolve is to keep the main things, the main thing. What about you?

 

 

By Reagan Bowors

Today's Readings: Psalm 119:9-16; John 7:14-24

 

 

By Travis Wilkins

Today's Readings: Psalm 119:17-24; John 7:25-44

 

 

By Gail Kirwan

Today's Readings: Psalm 119:25-32; John 7:45-52

There are many changes happening on a daily/hourly basis and we can find ourselves confused, worried, troubled and tired. In these places, the enemy may try to convince us that we are of NO worth to God and we are hopeless… we can find ourselves depressed and in great despair…but God’s word can and will deliver us from that place.

Psalm 119 vs 25-32, we find the Psalmist in despair, and weary with sorrow. His response is to cry out to God for help for understanding, he meditates on the word of God and asks God to strengthen him according to His word.

Have we set our hearts and minds on God’s direction and words of truth for our lives? As we choose to turn our sights towards Him as a Father who never leaves us, is for us and not against us and who loves us, it brings our focus BACK to who the Father is… BACK on His truth.

And you know what is amazing! As we focus our attention on Him, He sets our hearts free. He gives us freedom and relief from the circumstances that surround us. The more we dive in and study God's word and get to know Him as Father and walk in obedience to His Word, our lives are filled with joy and peace.

What an amazing God we have; we are never left alone! He is always there to direct and comfort us. I invite you to turn to Him, dive into and saturate in the truth of His word, come to know Him as a Father and entrust everything to Him. He desperately wants to know you and see you living in healing, wholeness and freedom. “The truth will set you free and you will be free indeed” John 8:32

 

 

By Jared Harrison

Today's Readings: Psalm 119:33-40; John 8:1-11

Psalm 119:33-37

33
Teach me, Lord, the way of your decrees,
that I may follow it to the end.
34
Give me understanding, so that I may keep your law
and obey it with all my heart.
35
Direct me in the path of your commands,
for there I find delight.
36
Turn my heart toward your statutes
and not toward selfish gain.
37
Turn my eyes away from worthless things;
preserve my life according to your word.

We all have our favourite sources of information. When you want to know what's happening in the world, no doubt you have your favourite news source. When you're curious about the latest developments in science or need to know the latest sports scores, find the hottest sales or simply check the weather, you know where to go! But what's your go-to source for ultimate truth? What's your primary source for perspective about life? When it comes to life's big questions, are we turning to our sources? Or to the Source? Look at the beginning of each verse in today's Scripture and hear the longing of the psalmist to drink in and be saturated and guided by God and His Word: "Teach me… Give me understanding… Direct me… Turn my heart… Turn my eyes…" Today let's acknowledge the Source of all wisdom and spend time with God soaking in His Word. Try praying these verses every day this week along with the psalmist.

 

Week of Oct 5 - Oct 10 

 

By Becky Timmons

Today's Readings: Psalm 116:8-14; John 5:31-47

 

 

By Stacey McCune

Today's Readings: Psalm 116:15-19; John 6:1-15

Today’s scripture reading is from John 6:1-15. I love this passage of scripture. I love the young boy’s heart and that he was willing to give up his food for others and that out of the generosity an incredible miracle of multiplication happened. Recently, my husband and I have been walking through a journey of learning to believe that God will and does provide for us as He said He would. During COVID-19 there has been times of uncertainty, anxiety and questions of “how will we pay for that?”, “will there be more work?”, “will we be healthy?” etc.

The passage today from John 6 is such a beautiful reminder of how Jesus provides for his people. Sometimes the provision comes through the faithfulness of God’s children. Sometimes the provision comes through us stepping out in faith and doing what He has asked us to do. Or other times our provision comes from us sitting at the feet of Jesus and believing what He has said in in his word will come true.

The questions I want you to ask yourselves are:

- Do I truly believe that He is Jehovah Jireh (the God who provides)?
- What is He calling me to do in this season?
- In what area do I need to step out in faith?
- Does God want to use me to be provision for someone else?

I encourage you to spend some time asking Holy Spirit to speak to you about the questions above. I write to you today as one person who has experienced the countless times of the Lords provision in my life. Rest in the incredible peace that Jehovah Jireh is with you!

 

 

By Brad Friesen

Today's Readings: Psalm 117; John 6:16-24

 

 

By Travis/prayer team

Today's Readings: Psalm 118:1-9; John 6:25-42

 

 

By Jason Erhardt

Today's Readings: Psalm 118:10-14; John 6:43-51

I find it exciting and faith building to be reminded that many of the miracles God performed for the children of Israel point to, or culminate in Jesus Christ. God sustained his children in the wilderness with manna from heaven, but much more so, Jesus is the true bread of heaven providing spiritual sustenance and eternal life!

In the passage we read today from John 6:43-51, Jesus tells us that salvation depends on God’s initiative; that God draws us to himself and that the one who believes has eternal life (vs. 44, 47).

Then Jesus contrasts the bread that he offers with the bread of their ancestors, who died in the wilderness without having seen the Promised Land (vs. 48). Jesus promises that those who eat of the spiritual bread that he offers will never die (vs. 49).

In vs. 51, Jesus says, “This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” This speaks of the vicarious atonement whereby Jesus took our place, paying the price for our sin with his own body to reconcile us with God.

Everyday we have a tangible reminder of this as we sit down to eat, or gather for a meal. Our food satisfies our physical hunger, but only temporarily. In contrast, Jesus said, “Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” (vs. 35).

Like a mini communion service, our meals can be an opportunity to remember that Jesus is the bread of heaven. When we break bread at home, or wherever we are, may we remember that His body was broken to give us life.

We’ve adopted this as part of our family brunches over the last few months and it’s been very meaningful.

I leave you with this prayer that my late granddad would pray before every meal. “We thank Thee, Lord, for this our food, for life and health and every good. May manna to our souls be given, the bread of life sent down from heaven. Amen”

 

 

By Jan Varner

Today's Readings: Psalm 118:15-21; John 6:52-59

Psalm 118:15-21

How many of us truly outwardly praise God for victory in our lives? I find it so easy to pray for victory, and yet when victory comes, I often settle for my mild brand of quietly, privately, giving thanks to my Lord and Saviour. I often don’t spread the news, or express my thanksgiving to God in public. Perhaps I need to rethink that.

Psalm 118: 15-21 is a psalm of praise and thanksgiving. Here, King David describes his form of praise and worship during times of victory. “Shouts of joy and victory resound in the tents of the righteous. . . I will proclaim what the Lord has done. . . I will enter and give thanks to the Lord. . . I will give you thanks, for you answered me; you have become my salvation.” Now that’s praise!

Ezra 3:10-11 refers to verses from Psalm 118 that were sung by those who had returned to Jerusalem after 70 years of captivity. This praise involved singing, trumpets and cymbals. It was intentional, public, and Ezra says it was prescribed by David king of Israel (Ezra 3:10)

Observant Jews recite Psalm 118 on Jewish holidays to express joy and thanksgiving and to exalt the One who did the giving.

In our Canadian culture we are fairly good about sitting around the Thanksgiving table and expressing thanks for the good things in our lives. But in that moment, how much emphasis do we place on exalting the one who does the giving?

This week I am going to reflect on the things from which God has delivered me. I am going to think about the promises God has fulfilled in my life, and remember all the times He has shown me the way. And when it comes time to sit around our Thanksgiving table and recite the things for which we are truly thankful, this year I will spend more time specifically, publicly, joyfully, pointing to the One who did the giving. How about you?

 

Week of Sept 28 - Oct 3 

 

By Jonathan Lutz-O.

Today's Readings: Psalm 112; John 4:1-26

 

 

By Warren Wiebe

Today's Readings: Psalm 113; John 4:27-38

Doing the Will of God

In our passage today, we read that the Lord Jesus sought to do the will of God. There was nothing more important to Him.

I find that many Christians truly want to do God's will--it's very much a part of their desire. However, the question always arises: "What is the will of God for my life"? May I be so bold as to suggest that I not only know the will of God for my life--I also know the will of God for your life! Does that sound presumptuous?

Let me tell you what God's will is for your life:

1. It is God's will for your life that you are always thankful! I Thessalonians 5:18 says, "give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus". Being thankful towards God, and others around us pleases God, and should be the heartbeat of every believer. How are you doing in this area--how is God nudging you in the area of gratitude?

2. Second, it is God's will for you to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 5:17 tells us that we should understand God's will--which is to be filled with the Holy Spirit. We are to be immersed in the Holy Spirit. A ego lead life that is self directed, self indulgent, and self focused is so contrary to what God desires for us. How are you doing in this area? Is the Holy Spirit truly the life force in your spiritual journey?

3.Third, it is God's will for you to do good! I Peter 2:15 says that this is God's will for you. The Bible doesn't tell you what to do...in a world of hurt and pain--you are to find a need. It shouldn't be that difficult. You are surrounded by need. MEET IT! It's God's will for your life. Relection: "What in the world are you doing"?!?!?!

4. Finally, it is God's will for you to avoid sexual immorality. There is is in I Thessalonians 4:3. The Holy Spirit flourishes where there is holy living. Sex is a most wonderful gift from a loving heavenly Father. Disrespect it--and it will lead to much, much heartache. How are you doing in this area?

These are the big rocks. If you follow them, the pebbles of those little decisions on what God's will is will all fall into place. Trust me on that.

 

 

By Greg Grunau

Today's Readings: Psalm 114; John 4:39-42

 

 

By Wes Gorman

Today's Readings: Psalm 115:1-8; John 4:43-54

 

 

By Patricia Gardner

Today's Readings: Psalm 115:9-18; John 5:1-15

Our Lord is greater than our fears, our weakness and sickness. He is our help and shield. He is the Way, The Truth and the Life.

In this season, to many, it may appear as though life has knocked them down, or perhaps they have been treated unjustly.

Our world at this time, is soaked in despair and uncertainty. We are seeing story after story of the how this COVID season has permeated our society and affected our ability to move forward and gain stable footing. To some, this may be a time of one’s deepest valley.

Every year, at the Feast of the Pentecost, People went “UP” to Jerusalem. In the Bible, whenever you go to Jerusalem, it is always “UP”. The place where we will seek God and spend time with the Lord. At the Healing pools of Bethesda in Jerusalem, Jesus came to one single man in the midst of many, and healed him. One man trusted in the Jesus, and was blessed.

The point here is not only that Jesus heals. He certainly can, but more importantly, Jesus is greater than the gods and greater than our worries and weakness, greater than our sin and pride, greater than our sickness and greater than what we as people hold onto in fear and uncertainty. Jesus takes us beyond our hurts and sorrows and truly liberates us.

Healing one person at a time, is the way to the kingdom of God. One “Mustard” seed turns tiny seeds of faith into bushes of life.

With palms up to the heavens to receive his blessings; trust in the Lord with your concerns and fears. So, to leave you with this; how can you regularly remind yourself that God is your only help and shield?

 

 

By Jorel Quemuel

Today's Readings: Psalm 116:1-7; John 5:16-30

I want you to think of a person you look up to. It could be your father, your mother, your brother or your sister. It could be a pastor, a mentor, a famous speaker, a friend or another person in which you see something praiseworthy. What would you feel if they took time off their schedule to notice you, to help you, to meet you and to make themselves available to you? Isn't it humbling?

When I read Psalm 116 in the NLT version, the part that immediately stood out to me was the phrase “he bends down” to me. In Psalm 116:2, it says, “Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath!” Wow! It's the perfect example of how God always reaches out to us. I always see it like a father or a mother bending down to reach and pick up their baby. God is like that to us! And as much as God is our friend, I can't forget that He still is Sovereign. He is Almighty! He is our Creator! And He still takes time to bend down to our level to listen to us.

"How kind the Lord is! How good he is! So merciful, this God of ours!", from Psalm 116:5 What should be our response? Let's look at our passage in John 5:16-30 NLT.

One response we want to focus on today is to keep leaning on Jesus. In John 5:30, Jesus says, “I can do nothing on my own”. Even Jesus relies on God the Father for every action he makes! He has already shown us an example. We should follow the same.

Now let's ask ourselves, do we lean on Jesus as much as we should, whether things are good or bad?

Lord Jesus, thank you for always meeting us where we are at. You are not far away to hear us. Help us to take a pause in our daily lives to thank you and let you be the center of our lives. Amen.

 

Week of Sept 21 - Sept 26 

 

By Becky Dryden

Today's Readings: Psalm 108:6-13; John 1:43-51

 

 

By Lois Derksen

Today's Readings: Psalm 109:1-7; John 2:1-11

Generosity

Faith

We all know the story of Jesus making water into wine. Everybody is at the wedding and the wine runs out. And Mary has a great idea. NO wine, Jesus is here. He can fix this. And in so many words she tells him this. Son, we have a catastrophe on our hands, they have no wine. But there’s so much more to this story. Mary had never seen Jesus do a miracle and yet she fully believed he would. It wasn’t that she was an unrealistic mother. She knew because she not only knew her son but she knew the promises God had given her and the Israelites through history. She believed with all her heart that Jesus was the Son of God.

On the other hand Jesus was an unwilling participant in this event. He clearly told him mom this wasn’t the right time and yet he responded with generosity. He honoured his mom by doing what she believed he was called to. And in his generosity he made an overflow of the very best wine.

What was God up to that Jesus was thrust into the limelight before he thought it was time? Why did this happen at a wedding, a time of joy and celebration. By the amount of wine it seems like God’s big reveal was when everyone in the town was there to see the very first miracle. His reveal included the important and the servants, both gossips in their own right. Also Included in the group were Jesus fledgling disciples.

A simple unspoken request, the solid faith of a mom who believes unequivocably, and Jesus’ glory is displayed to everyone that matters especially his disciples who ‘believed in him’.

The question I grapple with is; am I like Mary, continuing to hide in my heart all the things I have learned in my relationship with Jesus or like the disicples who needed a visual display to believe in Him. What about you?

 

 

By Kevin Trick

Today's Readings: Psalm 109:8-20; John 2:12-25

 

 

By Pastor Travis

Today's Readings: Psalm 109:21-31; John 3:1-15

 

 

By Pastor Jigs Gonzales

Today's Readings: Psalm 110; John 3:16-26

Right understanding is crucial in our day to day relationship. I remembered a time when I was sitting at the train. An elderly lady sitting across kept looking at me. I caught her several times and tried to avoid her stare. At first I was successful but as she kept looking I thought “what is wrong with this woman. My stop was next and to my shocked she stood up too. I freaked out. When the train slowly stopped, she stood next to me and said “your zipper was undone”. I felt so embarrassed and at the same time realized that this woman wanted to save me from further humiliation.

Wrong impressions, understanding or concepts can harm us. This is not only true physically, but spiritually. Having wrong spiritual concepts can lead to wrong interpretations of the bible and lifestyle, that can lead to eternal separation from God.

In Jesus’ day, the Pharisees thought, correctly, that the promised Messiah would be a physical descendant of David. They thought that he would merely be a great man who would reign on the physical throne of David. They did not realize that He would be the eternal God.

To correct them, Jesus asked them: “What do you think about the Christ, whose son is He?”. They correctly answered that He would be the son of David, Jesus then asked, “If David calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his son?” He was showing them that their thinking was inadequate on this most crucial question.

The question remains the most important question for us to answer: “What do we think about Christ?” We may think there are more important questions in life but all these questions are secondary, because the answer to them center on the answer to the question, “What do we think about Christ?” Once we’ve figured that out, we’ve settled who is the Lord in our life then we’ll find resolve under the authority of Christ and His Word. Faith in Christ must be grounded in a personal knowledge of Him and His Word. Jesus is the Messiah.

 

By Lucas Van B.

Today's Readings: Psalm 111; John 3:27-36

Have you ever sought a promotion, or a special job or role, only to find that you didn’t fit - that it didn’t match your gifts? Have you ever hung on to something that was beyond its time, only to see it rust and decay in your hands?

John the Baptist had much success to hang on to, and we can learn from him. He had a great ministry and a wide following. As a result of his preaching and his work to prepare the way for Jesus, people came to hear him from all of Judea, from Jerusalem, and the region of the Jordan (Matthew 3:5). A spirit of repentance and humility invaded the land of Israel and beyond.

John’s focus remained on pointing the way to Jesus. He saw that his purpose was fulfilled. This delighted him, and his “joy was complete.”

A key principle of scripture is that God will accomplish his purposes. His plan will not be thwarted. Whenever he chooses to work through us, we can be certain that his purpose will be fulfilled.

If we hold on to past accomplishments or to personal reputation and honour, we will only find the stress that comes from depending on the unknown and vacillating opinions and decisions of others. Our part is to let go and, as we fulfill the creation mandate to care for the earth (Genesis 1:28), to point the way to God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness. The details will vary for each one, and they come into focus as we speak to God, as we read the Word and as we listen to the Holy Spirit and the godly counsel of God’s people. These are part of our discipleship, and as we follow, the next steps become clear.

If you seek to fulfill what is given to you, you can find joy in the completion of the task, and you can find strength to carry you through the dark times. If you allow Jesus to increase, and yourself to stay in the background, your joy will be full.

 

Week of Sept 14 - Sept 19 

 

By Wayne Smele

Today's Readings: Psalm 107:1-9; Luke 24:13-27

 

 

By Pamela Aramburu

Today's Readings: Psalm 107:10-16; Luke 24:28-35

Does it feel like you are sitting in darkness, utter darkness some days?

In today’s reading the Psalmist illustrates sin and salvation. Sin, in verse 11 is rebelling against God’s commands, and the result is suffering in iron chains, sitting in utter darkness and stumbling with no one to help. Darkness is a common synonym for a dungeon-- while there are not physical dungeons anymore, our mind and heart can find itself in its own form of a dungeon. And what gets us there? Sin. It imprisons us and holds us in bondage.

Satan is hard at work trying to hurt God by separating us from Him, His children, and separating His children from one another. Satan knows us so well, and knows how to lie to us, tempt us, and cause us to fall into sin.

I hate to admit this, but in my own life I constantly find myself stumbling and falling into sin. Sometimes it’s gossip… sometimes I think my way is better, and I hold on to control! Sin can take many forms – and even something that seems as “small” as gossip can lead us into that dungeon. All sin binds us, but as Christ followers, God’s grace sets us free!

Let’s now take a moment to go to God...

Ask God to open your eyes to any sin in your life….

Confess your sin to God and ask for His forgiveness…

Reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you….

Ask God to open your eyes to His endless love for you!

Thank God for His forgiveness, for His grace, for His unfailing love.

 

 

By Wes Gorman

Today's Readings: Psalm 107:17-22; Luke 24:36-53

 

 

By Dorothy Martin

Today's Readings: Psalm 107:33-43; John 1:14-28

As an old song written by Bob Dylan in the 1960s bemoans, ‘The Times They Are a Changin’, you don’t need to be a historian or a social scientist to know that this is most certainly true today. Looking back over the last century, we acknowledge many turning points - historical events and inventions such as; the industrial revolution, the invention of the printing press, WWII, 9/11, the advancement of the cyber age and currently the global pandemic - have changed the way we think and live, but as I read through John 1:14-28, I am reminded that a critical moment in humanity’s existence is written in the first book of John. John 1:14 declares that the Word became flesh.

The Word became flesh. When Jesus came and added his humanity he did not subtract his deity. He grew, ate, slept, walked, talked and experienced hardships and built relationships. He knew about loss and pain. It is self evident that His shared human experience fully expresses that ‘the times were ALWAYS changin’. When he came, he became the visible expression of the invisible God. Let’s sit in that for a moment... the love of God now beating in a human heart. The mercy of God shining through human hands that brought healing. John 1:14 changes everything...more than anything ever could! “Even now?” You may ask. Yes! Especially now!

Jesus came. He came for each of us personally and he offers truth and grace. He didn’t choose to just reside on earth, he made his dwelling among us. Eugene H Peterson’s The Message paraphrases John 1:14 like this, “the word became flesh and blood and moved into the neighbourhood”. Jesus personally comes to each of us. He offers truth, forgiveness and grace. He doesn’t stand at a distance, He is in our neighbourhood. While we know that throughout history there have been many life altering events (and we have experienced a multitude of significant occurrences in our own lives), the most crucial, most transforming...and eternal turning point we will EVER encounter is receiving Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior! He has made himself known and is personally reaching out to you. Out of his fullness we have received his grace. Will you respond?

 

 

By Jimmy Scott

Today's Readings: Psalm 108:1-5; John 1:29-42

“I will sing and make melody with all my being”

Isn’t it interesting to think about how often singing and worshipping through music is talked about Biblically? It’s mind blowing to me that something like music has gone through thousands of years of changes and it is still such a relevant part of culture, and our church culture today.

That said, for all that we talk about worship and all that we read about it in the Bible, how often are we pursuing the Lord through times of worship? If it’s only Sunday mornings, then maybe we’ve missed the mark on what David gets at when he says “I will sing and make melody with all my being.”

I may be a bit biased when it comes to a love for music, being a Worship Pastor, but I would like to propose that there is a reason God gave us music, and also asks that we worship Him with it. Everyone, inside and outside of the church listens to music, because music does something. It confronts and communicates emotions without saying a single word, it breaks down barriers but can build up encouragement with a simple pluck of a string or hit of a cymbal.

When we worship God musically, I believe He takes those emotional connections (He created emotions, after all!) and He allows us to partner them with the words we sing and our devotion to Him. This means that we can sing about joy, even through sadness, and come out the other side rejoicing in our Father’s goodness. It means we can sing about His faithfulness, even when we feel hopeless, and one song later we feel like we could conquer any problem with Jesus at our side.

I encourage you to take some time today to sing and praise God musically. In your car, in your living room, with a worship song playing in the background or without, or maybe just put on some instrumental music and ask God to meet you through the music as you soak in His presence. Worship Him in spirit and in truth and know that He is God.

Week of Sept 7 - Sept 12 

 

By Shari Scott

Today's Readings:Psalm 106:1-5; Luke 22:63-71

 

 

By Lawrence Irwin

Today's Readings:Psalm 106:6-12; Luke 23:1-12

Who is Jesus? and why does it matter?

Luke 22:63-71

In this passage Jesus reveals that He is the Christ, and as the Messiah He is fully God and Fully man. He refers to Himself as, "son of man," and the, "I AM." That He will ascend and sit at the right hand of God. In the book of Revelations we see Jesus worshipped the same as God is worshiped. We see throughout scripture that angels tell humans they encounter not to worship them, that they are only created beings like them, but Jesus willing recieves our worship.

You see, knowing who Jesus is; Matters!

When we deviate from who Jesus is; we end up being deceived, and can end up in a cult. All cults and false religions will redefine who Jesus is, usually taking away His diety, and claiming him to be just a prophet, a good man, or a lessor god.

But Jesus makes it clear in this passage that He is fully God, and is Fully Man. Jesus is referred to as both the Son of God, and Son of man, in the scriptures. John 1 states; " that the Word was with God, the word was God, and that the Word became flesh and dwelt amongst us". The Son of God is the Word. We must understand that God is one, but three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. One essence, Three persons. The Son left Heaven becoming the God/man Jesus.

In Isaiah 59:16-17, Jesus is prophesied about, when it says, "He (God) saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no one to intercede; then His own arm brought him salvation, and his righteousness upheld Him. He put on righteousness as a beast plate, and a helmet of salvation on His head..."

Because Jesus is both 100 percent God and 100 percent man, He is the perfect and only mediator between God and man. He can relate to God because he is God, He can relate to man because he is man.

Fully God:

One argument from many who oppose the gospel is that It seems Cruel that God would send His son to suffer and die on the cross, some say it is child abuse, but the truth is something far different happened at the cross; when God himself takes our spot through Himself as the Son. God steps in the Gap for us, in the person of Jesus, the God/Man. God did not send someone else, out of love and justice, God himself took our place and paid the price for our sins, in the person of Jesus Christ.

Because Jesus is fully God we can come to Him with anything, because He is all powerful, all knowing, everywhere present.

So we can go to Jesus as fully God, knowing He has power over any situation that we find ourselves in, we also go to him in our suffering, knowing that He understands our pain, because he went through more pain and suffering than any other human being.

Lets trust in Jesus like never before Church, because of who He is!!!

 

 

By Steve Griffin

Today's Readings:Psalm 106:13-23; Luke 23:13-31

 

 

By Katherine Milum

Psalm 106: 32-39; Luke 23:44-56

These verses in Psalm 106 are heavy with the weight of disobedience and rebellion. Strong language describes the extent of the people’s rebellion against God, to the point where they have even sacrificed their children to demons and the land is “polluted with blood”.

The evil nature of sin is palpable in this Psalm, and carries through into Luke’s description of the crucifixion, as the weight of the world’s sin is cast on Jesus, darkness descends over the whole land, and Jesus takes his last breath. There are three groups of observers /responders here. First, there is the Roman Centurion – he’s just there doing his job. Then there are those who came for the “spectacle”. Third, Jesus’ followers and friends are observing from a distance. Jesus’ acquaintances are passive, with their hopes for a Messiah crushed. The spectators express grief but walk away when the show is done. It’s the Roman Centurion who proclaims, “surely this was a righteous man” and is moved to praise God. He may not understand yet who Jesus is, but he sees with eyes of faith that something supernatural has happened, that darkness has not conquered, and he responds accordingly.

This weight of sin and disobedience to God can feel heavy in our world today, with the ever-present reality of disease, darkness, and death. On the anniversary of 9-11, with the impact of Covid-19 on our lives, ongoing racial injustice, and refugees fleeing persecution, we know our world is broken. Where is God in all of this? Where are God’s people? Is God really in control? I sometimes find myself asking these questions. Sometimes I feel grief and just want to hide in my bed till it all goes away. Sometimes I feel afraid. When this happens, I need to respond like the Roman soldier. I might not understand the full picture, but I need to have faith that there is hope beyond the darkness, and respond with praises to our God.

If you are feeling the heaviness of our world, how will you praise to God in the midst of it today?

 

By Corinne Thomas

Psalm 106:40-48; Luke 24:1-12

I am amazed at how today’s two passages pair so well together. The psalm speaks to the story of God’s people and how they chose not to obey Him. God let other nations win and take them captive. The psalmist says that many times God delivered them but they still did not listen and obey. Yet God had compassion on them and continued to show them mercy. Finally, the psalmist, representing the people, realized that only God could save them. Then enter the New Testament scripture that speaks to the resurrection of Christ.

I might be one of the few that enjoy reading the scriptures that are found in the books of the Kings, Chronicles and Samuels. I don’t really prefer reading about how difficult the people of Israel had it and how they continually ignored God; but I appreciate seeing how God constantly chose to be with them, even when they did not choose God back. He continued to love them and save them, time after time. Looking back, we see that God allowed trouble to come to the Israelites in order to show them how much He loved them, and that He wanted to save them, even when they didn’t deserve it.

There is a lot happening in our world right now. How many of us are letting these situations and circumstances that we are currently facing drive us closer to God? How many of us are using this time to seek opportunities to see that God is trustworthy and faithful, now, just like He was with the Israelites?

I am not sure about you, but I am so thankful that God’s love, forgiveness, compassion, mercy and grace are not dependent on our faithfulness to Him. God saw His people and how they were not choosing Him, and yet that didn’t change His plan to send His son Jesus to die on the cross for our sins…so that we can live with our loving Heavenly Father someday. This was His plan from the beginning and I am so thankful that His plan did not change.

Week of Aug 31- Sept 5 

 

By Becky Timmons

Today's Readings:Psalm 104:31-35; Luke 21:29-38

 

 

By Christine Hayes

Today's Readings:Psalm 105:1-7; Luke 22:1-13

Just this morning I was talking with my mother, who miraculously survived Covid-19, she spent 9.5 weeks in the hospital with no visitors and only phone calls. The hospital told us to prepare for her to die as there was nothing, they could do for her. We asked for prayer and had Christians all around the world praying and interceding on her behalf and our almighty God did a miracle and she survived! Although none of her family were able to visit her, as she started to recover, her doctor, who was a Christian, would come and see her when he was on a break and they would share about the ways the Lord was working in their lives, he would pray for her healing and she for his safety working amongst people suffering with the virus. We were discussing the fact that although this year was not as any of us had expected it to be, through it all we can see the hand of God at work!

My husband, Tim, and I have been privileged to take some time this summer to go camping. During this time away we have been able to view the handiwork of our God in many different ways; the beauty of the flowers underfoot, the majesty of the mountains, the warmth of the sun, the splendour of the stars and even the power of the untameable wind that actually flipped my kayak over and gave me a special encounter with the ice cold water of the lake!

As we read in Psalm 105:1-2 ‘Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done. Sing to him; tell of all his wonderful acts.’ All of creations was made for our enjoyment but most of all to declare the might and power of the creator himself!

During these difficult times let us take our eyes off the politicians, doctors and news reporters and look to our God, who is more than able to bring us through these trying times. Remember that the God who created the universe created you and me and he is only a prayer away.

 

 

By Mike Schorr

Today's Readings:Psalm 105:8-15; Luke 22:14-23

What do you see when you look at the cup and bread?

The Israelites saw the Passover. When they looked at the cup and bread they remembered the time God miraculously passed over their ancestors homes and spared their lives. They were thankful for God's faithfulness to His covenant and their deliverance from Egypt.

For many years leading up to this moment -- this was what the people saw.

Yet…the Passover also represented a prophetic type of sacrifice that was to be fulfilled in Christ.

Finally, in this moment in Luke 22:14-23, it is revealed.

Jesus began a new remembrance.

Jesus fulfilled the ultimate sacrifice needed for the world. For you and me. And only He could do it. When Christians look at the cup and bread, we see Christ's sacrifice on the cross for our sin. His body crushed and blood poured out for us. His resurrection that gave us the hope we hold onto. The divine exchange that changed everything.

Communion is a far cry from just a tradition. It represents everything that matters.

It's wonderful to think that Jesus and the disciples shared the very first communion. The same communion we share today.

Christian, as we look at the cup and bread, may we LOOK BACK and remember Jesus Christ and his death in our place; may we LOOK IN and reflect on whether that death has transformed us; and may we LOOK FORWARD to the promise when He will make all things new.

 

 

By Pastor Travis

Today's Readings: Psalm 105:16-22; Luke 22:24-38

 

 

By Gail Kirwan

Today's Readings: Psalm 105:23-36; Luke 22:39-51

Do you have a secret place of prayer where you go to offer your heart to the Lord?

In Luke 22:39-42 the night before Jesus was crucified, he goes to the Mount of Olives, his “place of secret prayer”. There he withdraws from his disciples to be alone with the Father. Kneeling he prays, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup of agony away from me. But no matter what, your will must be mine.” 

Surrendering to the Father in prayer wasn't a last-minute thing used to change his most difficult trial. In prayer Jesus refueled, re-centered his call in ministry, gained strength, rejoiced, praised, worshipped, and shared struggles. Jesus modelled a life drawing close to the Father continually.

What would it look like to surrender our will on a daily basis, asking for His is will to be done in and through our lives? It can be in the quiet of the morning, or the cool of the evening. It can be hiking in the mountains or taking the bus to work. The important thing is that we have "the secret place" where we meet our Father and say, "Father I want your will, not mine.”

At the start and end of my day I go to God in my secret place to pray. I surrender to Him. I ask Him to use me mightily and powerfully for His kingdom purposes.

One thing I know for sure is that the Father is a jealous, caring, loving God who wants to be in relationship with you. He wants you to spend time with Him.

Take a moment right now to pause and posture yourself before the Father. Surrender your will to Him, allow Him to speak to your heart, and His peace and love will flow over you. Listen to what He might want to say to you. 

 

Prayer:

Father, thank you for meeting me in "our secret place." I surrender my will and my life to you, trusting in your gracious promises and your glorious future for me. Use me mightily and powerfully for your kingdom work. Give me the strength and courage to follow where you lead me. In Jesus' name, Amen.

 

 

By Jared Harrison

Today's Readings: Psalm 105:37-45; Luke 22:52-62

54 Then seizing him, they led him away and took him into the house of the high priest. Peter followed at a distance. 55 And when some there had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter sat down with them. 56 A servant girl saw him seated there in the firelight. She looked closely at him and said, “This man was with him.”

57But he denied it. “Woman, I don’t know him,” he said.

Many years ago I worked for a carpet cleaning company, and at one of our jobs I accidentally nicked a piece of a client’s expensive wood furniture with the cleaning machine I was using. I finished the cleaning, received payment, and left without saying anything about the damaged furniture. I’ve always regretted not saying something. I’m sure we’ve all had experiences in life where we wished we would have said something. 

What about when it comes to our faith in Jesus? Are there times when we had an opportunity to witness for him but couldn’t seem to find the words, or the courage? Times we could have given him the glory but instead took it for ourselves? We may never experience a situation like Peter’s in Luke 22, where his confession of Christ likely would have cost him his life. But can we resolve today, that when opportunity arises, we’ll be ready to respond with courage and honesty when it comes to our knowledge of and relationship  with Jesus? God is full of grace. He has forgiven me. He forgave and restored Peter. And we can be encouraged by the same Peter who later penned these words, “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have…” (1 Peter 3:15).

 

 

 

Week of Aug 24- Aug 29 

 

By Craig Murray

Today's Readings: Psalm 103:6-18; Luke 19:45-20:8

 

 

By Meagan Harrison

Today's Readings: Psalm 103:19-22; Luke 20:9-19

Depending on which version of the Bible you choose to read, you’ll see two different phrases used through-out Psalm 103 and at the beginning of 104; either “Bless the Lord,” or “Praise the Lord.” Other words you could use in place of those would be worship, glorify, honour, exalt, magnify and adore. This entire Psalm, David gives us reasons why we should thank and worship our Lord, from His righteousness, to His great sympathy for His creation.

In looking at today’s reading of Psalm 103, we see David contrasting God with His creation on earth and His angels, establishing His sovereignty literally over all creation, including those that dwell with Him in heaven. Not only are we called to honour and exalt the Lord, but the angels are too! Verse 21 says, “Bless the Lord, all His hosts, His ministers, who do His will!” All those that do God’s work with Him are to glorify and adore Him. That’s a lot of beings, earthly and heavenly! Doesn’t that make you feel like you’re apart of something even bigger?

Standing amidst a crowd of people singing praises to the Lord is a pretty powerful experience, but have you ever had the privilege of doing that among a group of children? It’s amazing! Thinking more about these specific words, “Bless the Lord, O my soul,” I am reminded of the song with these exact words by Matt Redman, 10 000 Reasons. Several years ago in children’s ministry we taught the kids the actions to this song, and the image of them singing and signing the words sticks in mind to this day, and it will continue to do so. They were so intent on getting the actions right that they couldn’t help but worship God with entire bodies. Being in that moment I felt like I was apart of something greater, and to couple that image with the picture of a heavenly choir joining in with those young ones is truly spectacular!

 

 

By Brad Friesen

Today's Readings: Psalm 104:1-9; Luke 20:20-26

 

 

By Pastor Travis

Today's Readings: Psalm 104:10-18; Luke 20:27-40

 

 

By Jason Erhardt

Today's Readings: Psalm 104:19-23; Luke 20:41-21:4

Does it occur to you that narcissism is on the rise in our society? It seems
we live in a “me” culture, and that more and more people have a need to
draw attention to themselves (think social media). For many there is a lack of humility and self awareness; a posturing to keep up with, or rather, exceed the “Jones”. This was an issue in the 1st century as well, but the biggest culprits were the religious leaders!

In Luke 20:45-47, one of the passages for today’s reading, Jesus calls
them out on it!
 “Beware of the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing
robes and love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honour at
banquets. They devour widows’ houses and for a show make lengthy
prayers.”

The sobering truth is that this isn’t a “them” thing. This is something that
each of us is prone to. We need to be on guard to check our motives. Are
we conscious of bringing glory to God in all circumstances, or do we
sometimes seek glory for ourselves, even when doing good things for the
kingdom? Are we sometimes guilty of being self focussed in our service
and take advantage of our privilege?

William Barclay comments on this passage saying, “God will always
condemn the man who uses a position of trust to further his own ends and to pander to his own comfort.”

In Micah we read that the opposite of self-seeking is our calling as God’s
children: “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the
Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly
with your God.” (Micah 6:8)

Oh God, we beg of You to keep us from pride, ambition, covetousness, and every evil thing; and teach us to seek that honour which comes from You alone. (adapted from Matthew Henry)

 

 

By Reagan Bowors

Today's Readings: Psalm 104:24-30; Luke 21:5-28

How many are your works, LORD! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. There is the sea, vast and spacious, teeming with creatures beyond number— living things both large and small. There the ships go to and fro, and Leviathan, which you formed to frolic there. All creatures look to you to give them their food at the proper time. When you give it to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are satisfied with good things. When you hide your face, they are terrified; when you take away their breath, they die and return to the dust. When you send your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the ground.

The psalmist continues in amazement as he looks at nature and creation. It wasn’t an act of purposelessness or randomness. But an act of wisdom of our great Heavenly Father who has ownership over all. Created with skill and insight, everything was created with purpose. The creatures depend on God to supply their needs. All they need is to gather in and receive. His provision is everywhere and we need wisdom and effort to gather it in. Just like the animals of the sea we are so dependent on God that if He were to withdraw from us, we would perish. But the outpouring of His spirit is life and renewal.

Sometimes we are arrogant and think we don’t need God but our every breath depends on Him. Not only do we depend on God for our very life but we also depend on Him for the way we live our life.

Is there an area of your life that you need to surrender to God? Admitting your complete dependence on Him?




Week of Aug 17- Aug 22 

 

By Jimmy Scott

Today's Readings: Joshua 24:14-Judges 1:16; Psalm 100; Luke 18:1-17

 

 

By Kevin Trick

Today's Readings: Judges 1:17-2:23; Psalm 101; Luke 18:18-30

The Rich Young Ruler

In today’s reading, Jesus encounters a rich, young leader or official. Remember from a Jewish, Old Testament perspective, this man had everything going for him. He was wealthy, religious, and concerned about eternal life. It was assumed that he was blessed by God. Mark, who records this same encounter, tells us that Jesus’ disciples were amazed. It was probably them who said, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus gives an illustration even a child can understand. There is no way a camel can go through the eye of a needle. “Who can enter the Kingdom of God?” That’s the question that has been asked from the beginning of time. Jesus is turning the tables, pointing out that salvation is entirely impossible if based on human achievement.

“What is impossible with man (entry by way of a human ingenuity or works) is possible with God (entry which comes by way of a divine work).” [v.27]

The only solution to our inability to “do good” is a heart transplant. Yes, anyone can do a “good deed”, but the critical element is the motivation, the “heart reason”. Remember in Ezekiel where God promises a day when we can receive a new heart. What man cannot do, only God can do.

Peter wants to confirm that he’s okay. Jesus affirms the disciples, but Matthew records how Jesus warns them about being complacent. He agrees that the disciples have given up alot to follow Jesus, but, in Matthew, he adds “The first shall be last and the last shall be first.”

Jesus is saying that “you cannot save yourself”, but whoever turns to God, He will never turn away.

Jesus is inviting the rich young man to join him on his journey, to become one of the disciples, to spend time with Jesus and learn from him on a day-by-day basis. What a wonderful invitation! We, too, are invited to come to Jesus, and then to enjoy his company, his presence. To be taught along the way by his Word and Spirit. To become part of his great extended family, the Body of Christ. "Come, follow me," is the invitation Jesus extends to you and me.

 

 

By Lois Derksen

Today's Readings: Judges 3; Psalm 102:1-11; Luke 18:31-43

Faith=Risk

A blind beggar, Bartimaeus, was sitting by the side of the road when Jesus went by. Often, beggars are invisible and this man was no different. Blind beggars acutely hear the world around them and he knew about Jesus. He knew he was the Son of David and most likely knew the Jewish Saviour would come from that lineage. I imagine Bartimaeus spent quite a bit of his time, as he sat in the dust, thinking about the ‘what if’s’ of life. What if I could see, what if the rumours of a healer were true, do I even believe I can be healed, what if he came by here? What would I do? Would I hesitate or shout out for a chance to see?

And then one day, as a large crowd went by he asked what was happening. And his heart began to thud in his chest when they said Jesus was passing by! Jesus the one who might, no, could heal! Bartimaeus cast aside fear and shouted for all he was worth. When the crowd scolded him, he ignore them and shouted even louder. What if! What if nothing happened? What if his risk changed his life?

Jesus heard Bartimaeus and asked for him. ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ ‘ Oh Rabbi, I want to see!’ And immediately he could see. Not because of his desire or Jesus compassion but because of his faith! A blind, unnoticed beggar with amazing faith. As Bartimaeus followed in noisy praise along the road his joy was so great the crowd around him broke into praise too.

Bartimaeus’ faith challenges me to ask if my faith gives me the courage to risk my security. Is my faith confident and unwavering? And how does my praise infect the lives of those around me in their own faith response?

How does Bartimaeus’ faith challenge you to live differently?

 

 

By Pastor Travis/Prayer Team

Today's Readings: Judges 4; Psalm 102:12-22; Luke 19:1-10

 

 

By Jigs Gonzales

Today's Readings: Judges 5; Psalm 102:23-28; Luke 19:11-27

 

 

By Jan Varner

Today's Readings: Judges 6; Psalm 103:1-5; Luke 19:28-44

“Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits – who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” Ps. 103:1-5

What a beautiful psalm! Here, we find David throwing himself into worship. He is utterly, fully, completely adoring his creator. With all of his soul, with every ounce of his innermost being he is worshipping his Father. I can imagine him reaching for the heavens with his fingers splayed and his arms open wide, face tilted toward the heavens, lifting up every ounce of his being to his cherished, beloved Maker.

Long gone are the Old Covenant days of sacrificing bulls and goats. The New Covenant calls for a sacrifice of praise. Hebrews 13:15 tells us to ‘continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise,’ calling it the fruit of our lips. Psalm 150 tells us to “. . . praise him in his mighty heavens. praise him for his surpassing greatness . . . Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.’

Today is a good day to not forget ‘all his benefits.’ He forgives our sins and saves us from death, he heals us – ultimately, all of us, from our disease and brokenness, he crowns us (think of a coronation – what an honour) with love and compassion. Not only that but he satisfies our desires with good things. He offers us life and the heart-satisfaction to enjoy it.

These are the benefits we ought not forget. As we lift up our voices and bring our sacrifice of praise, let’s give God all the glory for who he is and for what he has done. He loves you, and He is worthy!

 




Week of Aug 10- Aug 15  

 

By Greg Grunau

Today's Readings: Joshua 18:1-19:9; Psalm 96:1-9; Luke 16:1-15

Jesus gives this strange parable in which the good guy is someone who cheats the boss who just fired him so that he will have more friends to support him afterwards. Doesn’t that sound just a bit strange to you? But if we look a little closer, especially to the end (verses 13-15), it helps us understand what Jesus is trying to get across. In Jesus’ own words, “You cannot serve both God and money.” We can serve God or we can serve money, but we can’t do both. How is this connected to the story of the shrewd manager?

The shrewd manager valued money and he valued relationships – they’ve both good things, and I believe Jesus sees it this way as well. Money and other physical resources are not bad in themselves, but one of them has much more value than the other, and that’s the core issue. The Pharisees of Jesus’ day and many people in our society today tend to use people in order to get more money, but the shrewd manager actually shows us how to use money in order to invest in relationships with people … and that’s why Jesus commends him. He knew instinctively that jobs come and go, and money comes and go, but strong relationships are of significantly greater value.

What do we value most in our lives? Our words won’t give us the answer as much as our calendars and decisions will – how we spend our time and energy. Are we still thinking that financial security is a top value, or are we choosing to learn how to trust God with our security? Are we using people and loving money, or using money and loving people … and investing our resources to serve people? Loving God means that we release our grip on our money, even the little that we might have, and use it wisely to invest in God’s Kingdom work in this world. May we let God change our hearts to reflect His heart towards money and people, and use the one to bless the other.

 

 

By Shari Scott

Today's Readings: Joshua 19:10-39; Psalm 96:10-13; Luke 16:16-31

There are days when I just want to dance my way down the street, hands in the air, marvelling at God’s creation and the fact that I’m a part of it! Hiking through the mountains, watching scenery change gazing out of a car window, or even walking my dog can bring a song to my heart and praise to my lips.

I think King David felt the same way in today’s reading of Psalm 96: 10-13, “Say among the nations, ‘The LORD reigns!...Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and all that fills it; let the field exult, and everything in it! Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy before the LORD…’ (ESV). Can’t you just feel that he’s about ready to burst in his proclamation of God’s glory?! (I hear each declaration in a rising crescendo!)

Make no mistake, here, David is not idolizing the nature, but rather joins with nature in worshiping the Creator of it. David is well familiar with Him. His magnificence. His majesty. His character in “judging the peoples with equity”.

We see that equity played out as Jesus tells us about in the parable of the rich, selfish, and uncaring man in Luke 16: 19-30. Far more interested in his own gain rather than the fate of Lazarus who languished before the rich man, he had no pity on him whatsoever. When the man died, however, he noticed immediately how well Lazarus fared compared to himself. He begs Father Abraham to send ministering angels to his family so that they might escape the same fate but is told that a testimony of this kind won’t change the hearts of anyone if they hadn’t been changed by the Word already offered them.

We are all have ample opportunity to believe and should we remain silent, “Even the rocks cry out…” Luke 19:40. His glory shines all around us as He makes Himself known.

 

 

By Jan Varner

Today's Readings: Joshua 19:40-21:8; Psalm 97:1-6; Luke 17:1-10

 

 

By Pastor Travis Wilkins

Today's Readings: Joshua 21:9-45; Psalm 97:7-12; Luke 17:11-19

 

 

By Pastor Wes Gorman

Today's Readings: Joshua 22; Psalm 98; Luke 17:20-25

 

 

By Pastor Lawson Brown

Today's Readings: Joshua 23:1-24:13; Psalm 99; Luke 17:26-37

James woke up to an empty house – his wife was missing – there was no sign of where she was. Julia worked beside several other bank tellers – and right before her eyes the man beside her just vanished! A nanny was playing with several children and in a blink of an eye, they were gone!

Within an hour, it became known all around the world that something devastating had happened. Millions of people had mysteriously disappeared.

There will be no way to stave off the tsunami of panic that will grip the hearts of billions, in minutes. Aircraft will fall from the skies – unpiloted. Freeways will become littered with tangled masses of metal. Schools formerly filled with the sounds of happy children – will now stand nearly empty, and oh so quiet.

The whole planet will see this thing – and life will never be the same for anyone.

Do you believe what Jesus taught his disciples when he said: “Two people will be asleep in one bed; One will be taken, the other left. Two women will be grinding flour together at the mill. One will be taken, the other left” [Luke 17:34-35]?

Jesus’ story of the ten bridesmaids underscores this same teaching [Matthew 25].

Paul adds that those that have already died in Christ will suddenly be caught up from the place where their remains lay. And for those that are still alive – all who love Jesus will be transformed and taken up to meet the Lord in the air [read I Thessalonians 4].

We all know the feeling of relief we feel upon waking out of a bad dream. On the other hand, most of us know the feeling of wishing that something we are experiencing really was – just a dream.

Here is some really good news: We still have opportunity to choose which outcome will be ours before this day comes!

I invite you to internalize the words of Jesus. Ask him what it is he wants you to do, in response.

 

Week of Aug 31 - September 5  

 

By Becky Timmons

Today's Readings: Psalm 104:31-35; Luke 21:29-38

 

Week of Aug 3- Aug 8  

 

By Craig Murray

Today's Readings: Joshua 10:29-11:23; Psalm 92:1-8; Luke 13:18-30

 

 

By Ashwin Ramani

Today's Readings: Joshua 12:1-13:7; Psalm 92:9-15; Luke 13:31-14:6

I want to share a brief reflection from our readings from the Psalms. Jesus came to give us abundant life. Our world around us may be in chaos, but God’s people can experience His peace! Psalm 92:9-15 offers us great visual imagery of what this life looks like. Our text highlights the extent of evil and the active presence of evildoers. We cannot minimize the fact that evil forces are at work in this world. However, God’s people can remain confident in His promises. As we let our roots go deep, we can spiritually flourish no matter our circumstances.

Psa 92:12 says, “The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon”. I read that palm trees can grow up to 70 feet and can live for close to 100 years. The cedars of Lebanon are also massive trees with large trunks. The righteous can be compared to these trees! Though evil may seem to prevail, God assures that the righteous will flourish and grow. We already know the end outcome that all evil will be utterly removed from the face of the earth. No one can stop the progress and growth of God’s people. It is because God is our source who promises to sustain us. Our responsibility is to be rooted in our relationship with God by feeding on His Word and responding to the promptings of His Spirit. Don’t be unnerved by the increase in evil. Our God is in control, and He will bless us and keep us fresh all through this journey of life.

 

 

By Lawrence Irwin

Today's Readings: Joshua 13:8-14:5; Psalm 93; Luke 14:7-24

 

 

By Pastor Travis

Today's Readings: Joshua 14:6-15:19; Psalm 94:1-11; Luke 14:25-32

 

 

By Steve Griffin

Today's Readings: Joshua 15:20-63; Psalm 94:12-23; Luke 15:1-10

As we consider the readings selected for today, we start with a theme of Homeland, move to the sense of loss if God is not with us and come to questions of a lost sheep and a lost coin and the critical need and concern of being found.

This scripture carries us along a theme for sure and it is a theme that should be apparent to us in times such as these.

We need a home and a place to belong but a home is really only bricks and mortar if we find ourselves lost and alone.

Some of you reading this know this feeling and this reality: I have personally heard from some of you.

You may have a place to live and you may be grateful for it but months of quarantine and uncertainty and fear show that so much more than a ‘place’ is needed.

Psalm 94 refers to something (which elsewhere in scripture) is called ‘Ebenezer’ ; a word meaning ‘God has been our help thus far’.

In this Psalm it says ‘unless the Lord had helped me, I soon would have settled in the …grave…(and) your unfailing love , O Lord supported me when doubts filled my mind- Your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer’.

I am sure this has been emphasized again and again in these many daily reflections and it is my prayer that this HAS been such a source of comfort for you… That when doubts filled your mind- maybe about food or job or just a general feeling of anxiety or hopelessness- you felt God leaning in; comfort like a breath of fresh air in a still and lonely room and you knew (that beyond your house)- He is your home, your homeland, One who never stops chasing you when you at your lowest.

The only One to get you through …

 

 

By Katherine Milum

Today's Readings: Joshua 16-17; Psalm 95; Luke 15:11-32

Jesus tells the story of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15 in response to criticism from religious leaders that he hangs out with “sinners”. It could also be called the story of the Resentful Older Brother, or the Story of the Forgiving and Compassionate Father, for each of them are also central to the story. As I ponder this story, there are several images that persist: the younger son leaving home, with quick, confident (arrogant) steps. The Father watching for him daily, wondering: “Where is he? Is he okay?”, longing and praying for his protection and return. The son returning, no longer confident and swaggering, but with slow, tired steps and shame-filled posture. No longer dressed in fine clothes but in rags, hoping he will at the very most be given a place as a servant. It has taken him great courage and humility to come this far. The image of the Father discarding all dignity to RUN to his son and embrace him. The lavishness of forgiveness so quickly and freely bestowed.

The image foremost in my mind, is the image of home…the place where we all long to be. The place of safety we yearn for when we are afraid, the place of acceptance when we feel ashamed, the place of healing when we are hurt. The place of feasting when we feel emptied. The place of belonging when we have been rejected. The place of joy and celebration and community when we have felt utterly sad and alone. The place of light that draws us when we have been walking in darkness. We long to be there, because that is where our Father is. This is the Kingdom of God – a place of unconditional forgiveness and great joy where we who have been lost are truly found.

And yet, there is the older son. While his younger brother has been forgiven, restored and welcomed home, he refuses to join the celebration. He remains outside, clinging stubbornly to his resentment and pride. Jesus is speaking to the religious leaders here, challenging them to re-think their understanding of who is welcomed into God’s Kingdom. He invites them to lay aside their self-righteousness and pride and join in the family celebration.

Jesus is speaking to me as well. The older son reminds me of the times when I too, hold onto resentment, envy, stubbornness, self-righteousness, unforgiveness, or pride, and refuse to enter into the joy of living fully in God’s Kingdom. It’s a terrible place to be, yet sometimes I linger there. Like the Father in this story, God finds me and says, “Come, join the celebration!” Like the younger son returning home, this requires courage and humility. The choice is mine.

If you feel like you are standing on the outside, looking in, your Father invites you to join the celebration, where, as his beloved son or daughter, you belong. Will you choose courage, humility and joy?

 

Week of July 27 - Aug 1  

 

By Mike Schorr

Today's Readings: Joshua 3-4; Psalm 89:30-37; Luke 12:1-12

 

 

By Reagan Bowers

Today's Readings: Joshua 5-6; Psalm 89:38-45; Luke 12:13-21

"Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” But he said to him, “Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?” And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods.And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”

I don’t know about you but there have been seasons in my life where I found my security in money. Like the rich farmer, we can be tempted to think that having large amounts of money or possessions stored up can make you secure. A lot of us in this pandemic season have experienced job loss, which of course comes with loss of income or a significant decrease in income. Where is our security in money now? No amount of wealth can keep us from getting Covid-19. No amount of wealth can keep our relationships healthy and our families stable. In fact, wealth can sometimes drive a wedge between family members just like the two brothers in this story. Jesus warns us in verse 15 “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” No amount of wealth can secure our life with God. I don’t believe God is saying that we shouldn’t be good stewards of our money and not save for our future or that money in itself is wrong but our focus shouldn’t be to gain security from our bank account. Our security comes from our Heavenly Father… it’s so exciting to me because I know I can put all my trust and faith in Him. I can watch my bank account decrease without it affecting my security because my Father says to me… “Reagan, I will supply all of your needs according to my glorious riches in Christ Jesus”. (Philippians 4:19) Now, that is good news!!! And he’s saying the same thing to you.

So, ask God where he sees you placing your security in instead of Him. What is he asking you to do about it?

 

 

By Jared Harrison

Today's Readings: Joshua 7; Psalm 89:46-52; Luke 12:22-34

 

 

By Pastor Travis

Today's Readings: Joshua 8:1-29; Psalm 90; Luke 12:35-48

 

 

By Shari Scott

Today's Readings:  Joshua 8:30-9:27; Psalm 91:1-8; Luke 12:49-59

 

 

By Meagan Harrison

Today's Readings:  Joshua 10:1-28; Psalm 91:9-16; Luke 13:1-17

I have the wonderful privilege of working in children’s ministry and the story found in Joshua 10 of the sun standing still is so exciting! Joshua and his army needed more time to defeat their enemies so Joshua called out to our Almighty God and asked for a miracle. He asked for the sun to stand still so that the Amorites wouldn’t be able to sneak away under the cover of darkness. Joshua 10:13 says. “So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, till the nation avenged itself on it’s enemies.” Wow!! This passage demonstrates the incredible faith Joshua had in God’s power, but more importantly, the incredible power our God possesses.

We also see in this text God hurling down hailstones on the Israelites enemies, and as I sit and write this, we are experiencing a tornado watch and a severe thunderstorm warning, not something unique to the Calgary area this summer! Outside my window the hail is really coming down, and the pieces are getting bigger. My son and daughter just brought me a few! I can’t imagine the size of hailstones the Lord threw down that day because as it reads in verse 11, “…more of them died from the hailstones than were killed by the swords of the Israelites.” I am clearly seeing, just as Joshua and the Israelites witnessed, the amazing power and work of our God.

One of my Bible college professors, a man many of you know and love, Dr. Lucas van Boeschoten, once reminded us in class that every time we read a passage of scripture, whether it’s for the 1st time, or the 100th time, God always reveals something new to us. And reading these verses today, staring out my window I know this to be true! God brought these words alive to me, He made an already incredible story even crazier and showed me in a very real way how awesome His power is.

Week of July 20 - July 25  

 

By Dorothy Martin

Today's Readings: Deut. 29:22-31:8; Psalm 88:1-5; Luke 10:17-24

 

 

By Greg Grunau

Today's Readings: Deut. 31:9-32:9; Psalm 88:6-12; Luke 10:25-42

There are two separate stories here. In the first one Jesus describes the work to be done (loving God and loving neighbour), and in the second one Jesus affirms the rest to be received (Mary just being with Jesus). I am reminded that this powerful combination appears in Ephesians 2:8-10 as well – that we are saved by grace and not works, and yet out of that grace we discover the good works God has created us to do.

Let’s focus on Luke 10:25-28 for a moment. How would you have answered the question “what must I do to inherit eternal life”? Our typical answer is “invite Jesus into your heart, and you have eternal life” … after all, it’s all about grace and a free gift. But that’s not the answer Jesus gives. Instead, Jesus affirms the Jewish biblical expert’s answer that eternal life comes through loving God with all your being, in every area of your life, and then extending God’s love to your neighbour as well. In other words, it’s about receiving God’s grace through Jesus and then letting Jesus transform you into a Lover of God and Neighbour – that’s what leads to eternal life. Grace that has been received always leads to good works. To top it all off, Jesus shares a story in which a despised person from a marginalized racial group is the hero – the very personification of God’s love. The Samaritan’s love shows that he has eternal life, and he is the model Jesus gives to the Jewish biblical expert of someone who has eternal life. Wow, Jesus is really raising the challenge here! How is He challenging you through this story?

Jesus invites us to sit at His feet and soak in His love AND to extend His love to others, including marginalized people. Both are critical aspects of the abundant life He has for us. How is He inviting you to embrace His eternal life and love more today? 

 

 

By Jason Erhardt

Today's Readings: Deut. 32:10-43; Psalm 88:13-18; Luke 11:1-13

 

 

By Pastor Travis

Today's Readings: Deut. 32:44-33:17; Psalm 89:1-8; Luke 11:14-28

 

 

By Brad Friesen

Today's Readings: Deut. 33:18-34:12; Psalm 89:9-18; Luke 11:29-36

 

 

By Tim Hayes

Today's Readings: Deut. 32:44-33:17; Psalm 89:1-8; Luke 11:14-28

Joshua 1:1-9

When my son was fifteen, he delivered newspapers to save money so he could buy a truck that he would be able to drive when he turned sixteen. He was so excited the day we went out and came back with a black GMC S15. That summer we worked hard on it, buying tools, spares, paint etc. he watched intently as I shared my knowledge of mechanics with him and then taught him how to drive. The day finally came when he drove off down the road on his own, a Dad’s dream come true. Several years later I watched as my son, who was now a master mechanic, change a major component on my car. I was so proud of him; he had not only learnt what I could teach him but had achieved even more!

When we look at the scripture today, we see that Moses had an aide, Joshua, it is obvious that he worked alongside Moses, watching everything he did and although we don’t know much about him the Lord did. He offered Joshua no further training but said to him, Moses is dead, now it’s your turn to lead my people into the Promised Land, and don’t worry I will be with you just like I was with Moses.

How about you? Is the Lord stirring your heart to move out on your own or to encourage someone else to have a go themselves? Remember the words God spoke to Joshua, ‘…as I was with Moses so I will be with you.’ Joshua completed the mission Moses started. Jesus, before he went back to Heaven, commissioned us to make disciples, the disciples started it and we are continuing his mission today. Spend time with Jesus and he will equip you for the job!

 

 

 

Week of July 13 - July 18  

 

By Jigs Gonzales

Today's Readings: Deut. 23:1-24:13; Psalm 84:8-12; Luke 9:1-11

 

 

By Lucas van Boeschoten

Today's Readings: Deut. 24:14-25:19; Psalm 85:1-7; Luke 9:12-27

Can you imagine walking along the road with Jesus today? As you walk, he turns and asks you, “Who do people say that I am?” You answer guardedly and truthfully. “My Muslim friends say that you are a great and holy prophet. My Christian friends say that you are Creator of everything, and Saviour of all who trust in you. Most of my other friends say that you are good and that your sayings are important, but many have not even read about your life.”

He turns, pauses, and looks you in the eye. His eyes are searching, loving, challenging. “But what about you?” he asks. “Who do you say I am?” You pause too, and look at the ground for just a moment. What do you answer?

Maybe, like Peter, you can say, “You are the Christ.” Or maybe you feel alone like John the Baptist in prison (Matthew 11:3), who said, “Are you the one who was to come?” Jesus commends these men in both situations, because he knew the heart.

If you are bursting with faith and hope and love, give thanks to God. Be hopeful during times of testing and rejection. Faithfully and bravely carry the cross. Invite people to actually learn of Jesus and the way to Life.

If you feel worn and alone and are unsure, Jesus does not reject you. Speak truthfully to him who is full of grace and truth. Don’t believe your doubts and don’t live your doubts. Speak to him from the heart and trust him who knows what it is to be alone. His alone-ness is for you. Seasons of refreshing will come. The one who trusts in Jesus will never be disappointed.

Take some time today to allow Jesus to ask you, “Who do you say that I am?” As you answer him, trust the One to whom you speak.

Then you can ask him,
Lord, what are you saying to me today?
Lord, what you want me to do?

 

 

By Jan Varner

Today's Readings: Deut. 26:1-27:13; Psalm 85:8-13; Luke 9:28-36

 

 

By Kent Priebe

Today's Readings: Deut. 27:14-28:24; Psalm 86:1-10; Luke 9:37-50

 

 

By Wayne Smele

Today's Readings:  Deut. 28:25-57; Psalm 86:11-17; Luke 9:51-62

 

 

 

By Becky Timmons

Today's Readings:  Deut. 28:58-29:21; Psalm 87; Luke 10:1-16

 

 

 

 

Week of July 6 - July 11  

 

By Wes Gorman

Today's Readings: Deut. 14:22-15:18; Psalm 82:1-4; Luke 7:31-38

 

 

 

By Lawson Brown

Today's Readings: Deut. 15:19-17:7; Psalm 82:5-8; Luke 7:39-50

A broken woman was in his audience – her attention rivetted, her thoughts and feelings totally captivated. She drank in the Master’s teachings – she witnessed his healings. She made a decision.

Later, she heard that one of the local Pharisees had invited Jesus to his home. He would be the flavor-of-the-week talk show guest sponsored by Simon the Pharisee.

The Pharisees were rich and when they threw an event – anyone was welcome to attend. Typically, an open-air courtyard surrounded by protective living quarters provided ample space for healthy socializing. But probably not social distancing on this day :o). Jesus, you see, generated a lot of attention and we can assume that many were gathered there that day.

Mid-eastern hospitality required that the dusty feet of guests be bathed by servants, drops of fragrant oil gently applied to the hair, a customary kiss lovingly given. See the guests gathering to recline at the tables to enjoy sumptuous foods.

And then this special lady did something scandalous.

Moved by gratitude and love, she knelt at Jesus’ feet - drenching them with her tears. Letting down her hair, she cleansed the feet of the Master – something that Simon the Pharisee neglected to do.

Once used to seduce her many lovers for her survival - she used the gifts she had to give our Jesus her purest love. Her hair, her eyes, her kisses, and perfume – lavishly, opulently poured out.

Imagine the quiet stillness that stole into Simon’s courtyard in those historic seconds! Did the others, like Jesus, sense Simon’s cynical judgments?

Jesus forgave her, took away her shame and freed her to be the Lady his Father saw her to be! She in turn lavished her new-found love upon him.

On the contrary, Simon the Pharisee was put off and confessed no need of the Saviour. A mark of the Pharisee is that they get all awkward and flustered whenever Jesus is around.

You know I am so glad that our Jesus got to know the love of a few wonderful women – pure, open-hearted, heart-melting. After all, he shaped the woman’s heart with that potential.

But was it her love that impressed the Master the most? Think again of the words at the start of this writing: “She drank in his teachings. She witnessed his miracles, she made a decision” [my words].

But here are the words that tell all: “Your sins are forgiven…Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

Reflection Questions:

Have you ever heard the Lord of the Universe say to you: “Your sins are forgiven – your faith has saved you – forever live in my peace”?

We have no record of any prayer or confession of faith by this woman. Come to think of it, same for Zacchaeus! How did Jesus know that she really had “faith” and why is that so important to him?

 

 

By Greg Grunau

Today's Readings: Deut. 17:8-18:22; Psalm 83:1-8; Luke 8:1-15

Luke 8:1-15 – Jesus used parables a lot when He taught. Parables use common pictures or ideas to unpack spiritual truths. They require a person to ask questions and think deeper in order to understand what’s really being taught. Parables tend to “weed out” people who are just interested in a cool idea but actually have no plan to understand and apply it to their lives.

In this Parable of the Sower, the seed represents God’s Word and the soil represent our hearts. Here is what struck me this time: every person is hearing Jesus’ words, but only some are responding. The person with the hard heart (path) doesn’t believe, the person with the somewhat hard heart (rocky soil) believes but only for a little while, and the person with the mixed heart (thorny soil) believes but doesn’t mature. It’s only the person with the soft heart (good soil) who fully believes (hears and obeys) God’s Word, resulting in a bumper crop.

The word “believe” doesn’t mean agreeing with – it means obeying it. As James 2:14-26 says, faith without action is dead. In Luke 6:46-49, Jesus said that hearing His words and not acting on them is like building a house without any foundation – and when storms hit, it collapses. A soft heart has one primary quality – it hears and obeys; it is open and listening to God’s words, digging deeper to understand them and putting them into practice every day.

Which soil reflects your heart today? Are you open to God helping you soften it, or remove ungodly rocks, or remove distracting thorns?

Take some time today to let God reveal your heart to you (good and bad) and to show you how He wants to continue to transform your heart. Ask Him what He wants you to do as a “next step” in terms of listening to His voice and doing what He says, and then tell someone about it (to provide you support and accountability) so that you actually do it. If you start doing this each day, then according to Jesus your heart will change and your life will bear great fruit!

 

By Pastor Travis

Today's Readings: Deut. 19:1-20:9; Psalm 83:9-12; Luke 8:16-25

 

 

 

By Jimmy Scott

Today's Readings: Deut. 20:10-21:23; Psalm 83:13-18; Luke 8:26-39

 

 

 

By Meagan Harrison

Today's Readings: Deut. 22; Psalm 84:1-7; Luke 8:40-56

As I read the words of Psalm 84, I am reminded of the well known song, “Better Is One Day” by Matt Redman. Our Lord’s dwelling place is so lovely, our soul longs to be there with Him! I know that we don’t need to be in a church building in order to feel close to God and to worship, but from a young age I really do feel like my soul longed to be in the Lord’s house. Going to church every Sunday, being there on Bible study nights or when my parents were practicing with the choir, I wanted to be there! Of course I was happy to see my friends and play, but I also felt safe there, I was comfortable and felt comforted while I was there. And as I grew up, that didn’t change. When it became my choice to attend a service, I wanted to be there. I would soak up the music and dove into the sermons, writing furiously, trying not to miss a word. As a mom, I see that excitement to go to church in my own children, especially my oldest daughter, and I pray that desire continues.

But it’s not about how I feel, or how my kids feel, when we are in the church building, but about our longing to love and praise the One who created us and made it possible for us to be there. Psalm 84:4 says, “Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you,” and then in verse 12 we read, “O Lord Almighty, blessed is the man who trusts in you.” Our souls may long to be with our Heavenly Father, but as the second part of verse 2 states, “…my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God,” meaning our whole beings must desire to want to be with Him, and we must give Him our all.

Digging deeper into the inspiration behind this Psalm, I can see the author was encouraging his audience to look to the Lord’s dwelling place as not a physical space where His followers worship, but a place where we actually meet the living God. We must come before Him, spend time with Him, listen to Him, talk to Him, just as you would any friend you may go to meet. Which means, we don’t have to go anywhere to meet the living God, because He is always with us. We just have to make the choice to make time for Him. Our Heavenly Father is always ready to spend time with us. Is your soul, is your heart, is your mind, is your whole being ready to meet with Him?

 

 

Week of June 29 - July 4  

 

By Steve Griffin

Today's Readings:  Deut. 7; Psalm 80:1-7; Luke 6:1-11

 

 

 

By Katherine Milium

Today's Readings:  Deut. 8:1-9:6; Psalm 80:8-11; Luke 6:12-26

The setting for the passage in Deuteronomy is the East side of the Jordan River, looking over to the land promised the people of Israel by God since they left Egypt. This is the moment they’ve been waiting for 40 years – since they were children and turned back after their forefathers responded with fear rather than faith and refused to cross over. Moses even reminds the people in this passage that the giants are still there and still big, and that the nations they need to conquer are still greater and stronger than they are. How will they respond this time?

As I read this passage, the command to “remember” resonated with me.

What am I supposed to remember?
When it feels like I’ve been waiting a long time for a promise of God to be fulfilled?
When it feels like I’ve spent a lot of time wandering around going nowhere? When I’ve disobeyed God and am experiencing the consequences of brokenness and pain in my life?
When it feels like I don’t have the courage or strength to step into the promises God has placed before me? When it feels too big or like I don’t deserve it?

I need to remember God always acts to do good for me. The Israelites spent 40 years wandering in the wilderness so that they would be humbled and tested. God is developing patience and character in me.

I need to remember that God always has a purpose bigger than myself. Yes, the Israelites spent many years wandering the wilderness, but God brought them into the Promised Land, and went before them to fight for them. His grace and purpose are bigger than my weakness. God’s promises are not fulfilled through my righteousness, but by His grace and for His glory.

I need to remember God’s provision in my past; how has He has already led me through wilderness experiences. I need to remember the miracles of daily provision - water and food each day, and shoes to wear (more than one pair even).

What does God promise you? What do you need to remember that gives you courage to move forward in faith?

 

By Pastor Mitch Osmond

Today's Readings:  Deut. 9:7-10:22; Psalm 80:12-19; Luke 6:27-38

 

 

 

By Pastor Travis

Today's Readings:  Deut. 11; Psalm 81:1-5; Luke 6:39-49

 

 

 

By Shari Scott

Today's Readings:  Deut. 12; Psalm 81:6-10; Luke 7:1-17

 

 

 

By Pastor Jacob George

Today's Readings:  Deut. 13:1-14:21; Psalm 81:11-16; Luke 7:18-30

It is my mother’s 90th birthday today. She died a few years ago, but her legacy of loving the Lord with a passion, lives on in the lives of many who had the privilege of interacting with her. My mother’s only mission in life was to live for Christ, and be His hands and feet here on earth. She taught History in a very large girls’ school of more than 2000 students, and was in charge of discipline – not an easy task, I’m sure you’ll agree! Though students knew Mrs. Jacob dealt very fairly with all, if you were sent to her, you definitely did that walk to her staff room in fear and trembling! But what the students didn’t know at the time (and I as her son did) was that she had the softest of hearts, and always took the time to talk to the errant student and find out what was going on in her life. When students were remorseful and asked for forgiveness, she would send them away with a stern warning of future consequences if the misdemeanor was repeated, and at the same time smoothed the path for them with the teacher who had sent them to her in the first place! She could be counted on for that. And many a student could be seen doing a happy dance outside the staff room – they had won a reprieve, a second chance!

As I meditated on the passage of Scripture from Psalm 81, it reminded me of my mother – an earthly reflection of God’s love, faithfulness and forgiveness so readily available to each one us. He truly is a God of second chances… and sometimes third, fourth and even “seventy times seven” (Mathew 18:22)! Time and time again the people of Israel disobeyed and rebelled against God, and every time they repented and cried out to Him, He readily forgave them and came to their rescue. Yet they disobeyed Him, forgot His faithfulness and His love for them! In verse 11 & 12 of Psalm 81 He says, But my people would not listen to me; Israel would not submit to me. So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts to follow their own devices. How it must have grieved our Heavenly Father to see His people with their hardened hearts doing their own thing! And today, thousands of years later, I’m certain that same cry still rings through heaven. “But my church doesn’t listen to My voice! My people will not listen to me.” Unfortunately, we still have “stubborn hearts”.

The world, its voices, and its ways are so entrenched in our lives that sometimes it’s difficult to see God’s path for us, and hear God’s voice. It is like the pits in a cling peach; embedded deep into the fruit and extremely difficult to get out, because the fruit is literally woven into the pit. But because of Christ’s redeeming work on the cross we have been given that second chance. It’s just like a ‘Mulligan’ – a great metaphor for those who play golf - it means a second chance! When a golfer misses a shot, there is no penalty, the slate is wiped clean and he is allowed a second shot. Yes, because of the cross, our slate of life’s errors will be wiped clean too.

I am glad the psalm did not end at verse 12. In the following verses, we see the love of God for His people and His desire to show mercy, on full display. All God needs is a repentant heart. And when we, His people, repent and return to Him, He is ready to not just deal with our enemies and the situations we are caught in, (vv. 14-15), but His promise is to restore and satisfy our souls (vs. 16).

Our God is a God of Forgiveness and Restoration, friends. What a fabulous hope! May His Word bring healing and restoration to your life. God bless you and may the Joy of the Lord be your strength.

 

 

Week of June 22 - June 27 

 

By Pastor Kevin Trick

Today's Readings:  Deut. 1:19-46; Psalm 78:32-39; Luke 4:14-21

 

 

 

By Lois Derksen

Today's Readings:  Deut. 2; Psalm 78:40-55; Luke 4:22-30

God’s children acting like children

Deut 2:7 The Lord your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands. He has watched over your journey through this vast wilderness. These forty years the Lord your God has been with you, and you have not lacked anything.

Imagine 40 years of waiting and constant transition during the waiting. Imagine 40 years of wishing for something else! You've seen food rain down from heaven, water gush from a rock, the sea open before you and your pursuing enemies destroyed, and yet it is not enough. The waiting continued, with an ungrateful heart.

Deuteronomy 2:7 declares God’s blessing and protection for 40 years over ungrateful children. Children who often sang ‘it’s not fair’ anchored by the unspoken message that the Israelites really didn’t like what God was doing. In Psalm 78 after reiterating how the Israelites vexed Him, forgot His power, rebelled, grieved Him and tested him, He reminds them of his loving care. He brought them out of bondage, led them, guided them (so they were unafraid), drove out their enemies and settled them in the home they had been dreaming about. He blessed them despite the complaints.

When my children were young, I often heard the refrain ‘it’s not fair.’ The perceived unfairness ranged from who got the best place at the table to wearing hand me down clothing to consequences for treating a sibling harshly. I wonder how often God hears the ‘it’s not fair’ refrain from his children acting like children today.

As I explore what this means for me, I wonder how often God hears the unspoken refrain ‘it’s not fair.’ How would I change if I were to turn away from wanting fairness, instead turning to praise him for blessing the work of my hands, thanking him for being with me and watching over me in the journey?

 

By Pastor Greg Grunau

Today's Readings:  Deut. 3; Psalm 78:56-64; Luke 4:31-44

 

 

 

By Pastor Travis

Today's Readings:  Deut. 4:1-31; Psalm 78:65-72; Luke 5:1-11

 

 

 

By Pastor Lawrence Irwin

Today's Readings:  Deut. 4:32-5:21; Psalm 79:1-8; Luke 5:12-26

 

 

 

By Pastor Ashwin Ramani

Today's Readings: Deut. 5:22-6:25; Psalm 79:9-13; Luke 5:27-39

Followers of Jesus have access to His voice. The voice of Jesus like a Shepherd guides us in the path of life. Jesus Himself stated it very clearly: “My sheep listen to my voice” (John 10:27). It is easy to allow this incredible truth to become all too common. One of the perils of our spiritual life is to allow familiarity to breed contempt. Today, I want us to be in awe of what an incredible privilege we have in hearing the voice of Jesus through the written Word of God!

To regain this sense of awe, reflect for a moment on Deut 5:22-6:25. Here, Moses recalls the people’s reaction when they heard the voice of the LORD for the very first time. The impact of God’s revelation left the people in great fear that those who heard the voice of God might die! The Israelites said “But now, why should we die? This great fire will consume us, and we will die if we hear the voice of the Lord our God any longer” (Deut 5:25). While the people of the Old Covenant were terrified of hearing the voice of God, those of us who are in the New Covenant receive life by hearing God’s voice! God speaks to us directly through the Bible and we have the blessing of following His clear instructions through His inspired Word. What a privilege we have as Christ followers!

As you read the Scripture passages for today, know that God is eager to speak to you! What is God saying to you? What are you going to do about it?

 




Week of June 15 - June 20 

 

By Brad Friesen

Today's Readings:  Numbers 31:48-32:27; Psalm 77:1-9; Luke 2:21-32

 

 

 

By Christine Hayes

Today's Readings:  Numbers 32:28-33:9; Psalm 77:10-15; Luke 2:33-40

Luke 2:36-38

“There was also a prophet, Anna… she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.”

A few years ago, my husband and I were on a road trip in the USA, we had planned and prepared for this prolonged trip, we had a GPS, a map and even a Trip-Tik guide. Our destination on this day was the Grand Canyon. We drove mile after mile beginning to wonder if we would ever reach our destination, the land was so flat and so dry. Then we saw a crevice opening beside us in the distance, a little disappointing really as it was seemed just a few feet wide. We drove on and on and on! Then suddenly, the canyon started to open before us with a view that is almost indescribable. The colours and shapes and the depth were far greater than we had even anticipated.

This memory came to mind as I read of Anna in our reading today, she too had been anticipating all of her life the coming of the Messiah, something far great than a geographical feature even of the magnitude of the Grand Canyon.

Can you imagine, you are eighty four years old, you have never left the church and you get up in the morning to start your daily ritual and wham you come face to face with Jesus! This is what happened to Anna. For years she had heard the scriptures that told there would be a Messiah that would redeem the world. I wonder if she had ever considered she would live to see this day. In her eighty-four years had she imagined what He would be like; a warrior on a horse, a handsome man of great height a great teacher… Instead she sees a little baby carried in the arms of His mother and yet she is so in tune with what is going on she immediately recognises the Son of God, the Saviour of the World, the Messiah! Her reaction was to give thanks to God. This little boy was only eight days old, born in a stable of all places, heralded by angels and visited by shepherds and now causing a commotion in the Temple it’s no wonder that his parents, Mary and Joseph, marvelled at all the things that had been said about Him as they returned to their little town of Nazareth.

What would your reaction be if you had been in the Temple that day, would you have recognised Jesus? Sometimes our lives seem mundane perhaps even dull as we live the daily routines we find ourselves in but what if we were more like Anna, constantly on the lookout for the ways that God shows up in our lives; perhaps in the smile of a child, the beauty of a sunset or a kind word. Let us be expectant each day that we might see Jesus in the little things around us and embrace the life changing power His presence can make in our lives.

 

By Mike Schorr

Today's Readings:  Numbers 33:10-56; Psalm 77:16-20; Luke 2:41-52

 

 

 

By Pastor Travis

Today's Readings:  Numbers 34; Psalm 78:1-8; Luke 3:1-20

 

 

 

By Pastor Jared Harrison

Today's Readings:  Numbers 35:1-30; Psalm 78:9-16; Luke 3:21-38

 

 

 

By Reagan Bowors

Today's Readings:  Numbers 35:31-Deuteronomy 1:18; Psalm 78:17-31; Luke 4:1-13

These verses in Luke tell a familiar story of Jesus being tempted by the devil in the wilderness. In this Covid-19 season, I too find myself tempted. I am hungering to be in control of my life, to decide when and where I can go out, who I can see, or to give a friend or relative a hug. I am tempted to rebel and choose my own re-launch date and how that will look. I want to go into my friend’s home and share a meal as if the world has not been impacted with a pandemic. I am tempted to find my own peace, with worldly comforts, from food, to distractions, and being busy. I want to choose the end of this season; I want to fix it in my own power and strength. Daily, I surrender by weaknesses to God, my need to be in control and create my own peace. As I read God’s word I am reminded of where my strength comes from. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christs’ sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

How are you being tempted in this season? What is God saying to you in response to this temptation?

 

 

 

Week of June 8 - June 13 

 

By Pastor Wayne

Today's Readings: Numbers 26:25-56; Psalm 73:21-28; Luke 1:26-38

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Pastor Becky

Today's Readings: Numbers 26:57-27:23; Psalm 74:1-9; Luke 1:39-45

God's Good Plan

As I read the passages of scripture for today, at first I thought that they had absolutely nothing to do with each other. As I spent more time pondering it, I came to understand that these scriptures, when held up next to each other, speak to God’s Sovereign plan. In Numbers the lineage is marked out that leads us to Moses and Joshua who lead God’s people through the desert and into the promised land. The lament from the Psalms was written after the destruction of the Holy Temple, which in the midst of prosperity must have felt devastating. Then finally, in Luke we get a hint of the Messiah to come as the Holy Spirit comes upon Elizabeth with an understanding of God’s plan through Mary.

In each of these cases God’s plan came through adversity and trial. I cannot recall a time in scripture when God moved from abundance to more abundance. At that point I am not sure we would even notice! More often than not, we learn most through our own brokenness and struggle. I wish that were not the case, but it was true for the Israelites and it is true for me. There is an old hymn that says “Lord I need you, oh I need you, every hour I need you”. In my head I know this to be true but in my average day there are a lot of forgetful moments when I do my own thing.

However, in the midst of a challenge or struggle I am keenly aware of my need for Jesus! As a result I lean heavily on His grace and I trust in His character. I submit myself to his plan because I am reminded by the Israelites, by the Psalmist, and by the life of Jesus that He has a very good plan. 

 

 

 

By Pastor Greg

Today's Readings: Numbers 28:1-29:6; Psalm 74:10-17; Luke 1:46-56

 

 

 

By Pastor Travis

Today's Readings: Numbers 29:7-40; Psalm 74:18-23; Luke 1:57-66

 

 

 

Pastor Craig Murray

Today's Readings: Numbers 30:1-31:12; Psalm 75; Luke 1:67-80

 

 

 

By Jason Erhardt

Today's Readings:  Numbers 31:13-47; Psalm 76; Luke 2:1-20

In the dark days of the 1st century when God had been silent for 400 years, that’s just the time that He chose to become flesh and make his dwelling among us. All of us. I love it that God chose to announce the birth of His son, the Saviour of the world, to working class sheep farmers, not royalty or the who’s who, but simple shepherds. He came for all of us regardless of our position, culture or background. And what a spectacular display! Can you imagine what it would have been like to experience it? You’re sitting quietly on a hillside, maybe chatting, maybe snoozing, maybe dreaming, when all of a sudden heavenly beings start to appear in front of you in the night sky. Terrifying! Would you have been able to even hear the message that was given to you? The angel may have seen the shepherd’s reaction, or knew how overwhelming the glory of God would be for them, so the first thing he said was, “don’t be afraid.” It makes me think of the announcement on an airplane when the flight attendant says, “if the cabin suddenly loses pressure, the oxygen masks will fall from the above compartment. Place the mask securely over your mouth and nose and breathe normally.” Are you kidding me? Breathe normally? Good luck with that. I doubt the shepherds could breathe normally at that moment.

But they did hear the message! “I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”

For all people! A Saviour!

In these dark days of the global pandemic and unrest in our streets, God still dwells among us by His Holy Spirit. God’s plan for our salvation has been accomplished. We have the very presence of Christ to cheer and to guide; to give strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow. Light of life, you came in flesh, born into human pain and joy, and gave us power to be your children. Grant us faith, O Christ, to see your presence among us, so that all of creation may sing new songs of gladness and walk in the way of peace. Amen.

 

 

 

 

Week of June 1 - June 7 

 

By Pastor Jared

Today's Readings: Numbers 20:1-21:9; Psalm 71:9-18a; Mark 15:1-20

 

 

 

By Pastor Jacob

Today's Readings: Numbers 21:10-22:6; Psalm 71:18b-24; Mark 15:21-32

Mark 15: 21-32

As I meditated on this passage of scripture it reminded me of an old Hymn -  Man of sorrows what a name for the Son of God who came, ruined sinners to reclaim: Hallelujah, what a Savior! Bearing shame and scoffing rude, in my place condemned he stood, sealed my pardon with his blood: Hallelujah, what a Savior! Guilty, vile and helpless we; spotless Lamb of God was he, sacrificed to set us free: Hallelujah, what a Savior

Every time I think of my Saviours sacrifice on the cross for me, it brings me to tears. They scourged Him, they spat on Him. Spit does not hurt a man, it hurts their very soul. How it must have hurt our Saviour. They put a crown of thorns on his head. A criminal condemned to death by Roman law was forced to carry his own cross.  Soldiers made him carry it to the place of execution usually by the longest route possible. This prolonged the public humiliation and agony of carrying a weight that bowed the head and broke the back into a posture of submission. Jesus fell under the weight of his cross and could go no further. The Roman soldiers compelled another man to carry it for him.  Simon had come a long distance from Cyrene (in North Africa, present-day Libya) to Jerusalem for the Passover feast when his plans were inconveniently changed. The last thing he wanted to do was to participate in the public execution of a criminal. But he had no choice since Roman authority could not be challenged without serious consequences. Mark records that Simon was the father of Alexander and Rufus (Mark 15:21). The reference to Alexander and Rufus certainly does presuppose that Mark expected many of his readers to know them, in person or by reputation. Who knows, if Simon had not been compelled to carry Jesus's cross, he may never have been challenged with the message of the cross and the meaning of the Christian faith which his two sons embraced.  

Then they hung Jesus on a Cross. In spite of the excruciating pain and agony and the crowds mocking and insulting Him, He looked down at them with compassion and said Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.  Hallelujah What A SAVIOUR.

 

Today, think of what the cross experience means to you? Which other God in History, laid down his life so that we might have life and have it abundantly.  

The truth is, Jesus chose the cross. God allowed Simon to carry the cross Jesus couldn't carry, so Jesus could die the death Simon did not want to die. This morning Jesus is asking "will you accept My cross?"

Simon had plenty of feelings about what was happening to him.

We have all sorts of feelings about what is going on, especially during this time.

But, when we do carry the cross, we will see that what starts out looking like a terrible inconvenience, is actually another door of transformation and grace.

This morning my prayer for you is that is that you will walk in that anointing and authority to know that you are sons and daughters of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, for you have been placed here for a time such as this and May the Joy of the Lord BE YOUR STRENGTH. Have a blessed day.

 

 

 

By Pastor Kevin

Today's Readings: Numbers 22:7-41; Psalm 72:1-11; Mark 15:33-47

 

 

 

By Pastor Travis

Today's Readings: Numbers 23; Psalm 72:12-20; Mark 16:1-13

 

 

 

By Pastor Lawrence

Today's Readings: Numbers 24-25; Psalm 73:1-12; Mark 16:14-Luke 1:4

 

 

 

By Shari Scott

Today's Readings: Numbers 26:1-24; Psalm 73:13-20; Luke 1:5-25

Throughout the history of mankind, there have been many times of uncertainty and challenge. We don’t like uncertainty – it makes us feel out of control about our lives and our future. Maybe you’re a planner like me and you plan your day and your week, setting goals for what you’d like to get accomplished. 

I was excited to make plans for 2020 – the year, metaphorically, of perfect vision and clarity of purpose. Busily crossing things off my lists for January and February, I was stopped short in March when the lockdown of COVID-19 hit us so abruptly.

The panic I witnessed around me, the rules and protocols put into place, the empty store shelves, and general pandemonium was a shock to my system. In my lifetime, nothing of this magnitude had transpired and I felt confused, uncomfortable, and untethered.

Numbers 26 begins, “After the plague, the LORD said to Moses and to Eleazar the son of Aaron, the priest…’” (ESV)

The plague to which the LORD was referring was that of poisonous snakes, the bite from which caused death to the Israelites. The LORD had Moses fashion a bronze snake and hang it on a post; anyone inflicted need only look at it and they would be healed. 

Here’s what comes to mind for me in this scenario: every time I look at a situation, I get that feeling of being untethered. I become anxious and worried, imagining all sorts of devastating outcomes. Making the LORD my focus puts everything else into proper perspective. By giving the Israelites the bronze snake to gaze upon, they were reminded of the LORD’s provision and protection. 

For us today, Jesus Himself, made the comparison of being lifted up as Moses lifted up the serpent (John 3:14-15). He invites us to look to Him, focus on Him, and believe. He tethers us, heals us, and cares for us. 

Helen Lemmel penned it best:

“Turn your eyes upon Jesus.
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace.” 

Amen.

 

 

 

Week of May 25 - May 30 

 

By Pastor Barry

Today's Readings: Numbers 14; Psalm 69:1-12; Mark 14:1-11

 

 

 

By Pastor Craig

Today's Readings: Numbers 15:1-31; Psalm 69:13-21; Mark 14:12-31

I’ve been thinking over the last week about how God guides us.  On Alpha, some guests have been talking about this, and then this weekend as we cut down a big spruce tree in our front yard, I had great chats with my neighbours about how God guides us!

Thinking of how God has guided me the last decade, people often ask why we moved from the UK to Canada?  How we knew that God was leading us here?  Were there any signs along the way?  Were you afraid to get it wrong?  It’s been fun reflecting on the last 6 years we’ve lived here, as it’s brought focus to the ways God has confirmed our calling to Canada.

And today, as I read the verses from our scripture readings, these 2 verses stood out: “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him. Say to owner of the house he enters, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’”

The way these 2 disciples experienced God’s guidance really spoke to me.  Why?  Because it’s not the way it normally goes for me!  I have known specific times when God’s guidance has been this clear, but most of the time it’s not like that at all!  Wouldn’t it be great if God gave us such an exact road map for following His guidance, like in these verses?  Sometimes God gives us incredibly clear instruction, speaking clearly to us.  But usually, it’s a bit like following the breadcrumbs of the Holy Spirit.  He lays one down one step in front of us, then another a little farther along, and so on.

Over the years, wise leaders have encouraged me to ask some searching questions as I’m following the breadcrumbs of where God is leading.  Questions like:  What is God wanting to grow in me through this?’  ‘Am I unwilling to sacrifice something for this? ‘Is the outcome consistent with God’s character?  Does the bible have to say anything on this, either generally or in my regular daily devotions?  Am I willing to be challenged and change my mind?  What do others have to say about it?  Do I feel peaceful about it?  These questions have become very helpful as I’ve considered what God is up to! 

Maybe today if you’re discerning the breadcrumbs of the Holy Spirit, start by asking yourself, ‘’What is God wanting to grow in me through this?’  Don’t rush it, trust He’s with you, and allow Him to speak into your life.

And maybe this time or another time, He will send you to meet a man with a water jar!  But in case He doesn’t, follow the breadcrumbs of the Holy Spirit’s leading. 

 

 

 

By Pastor Grover

Today's Readings: Numbers 15:32-16:27; Psalm 69:22-29; Mark 14:32-42

 

 

 

By Pastor Travis

Today's Readings: Numbers 16:28-17:13; Psalm 69:30-36; Mark 14:43-52

 

 

 

By Pastor Jan

Today's Readings: Numbers 18:1-24; Psalm 70; Mark 14:53-65

 

 

 

By Pastor Ashwin

Today's Readings: Numbers 18:25-19:22; Psalm 71:1-8; Mark 14:66-72

Mark 14:66-72 – Spiritual Failures

Have you ever failed in your Christian life, in your discipleship, in your commitment to Jesus? Maybe a nagging, ongoing sin problem keeps tormenting you. It could be an unresolved issue from the past that surfaces repeatedly. I do not think anyone is exempt from spiritual failures. If there is one person who knew this firsthand, it was the Apostle Peter!

Earlier in Mark’s Gospel, Peter had declared emphatically that even if everyone else failed he would not. Peter saw himself as invincible and immune to spiritual failures. However, at the time of Jesus’ trial, Peter gave in to his fears and acted selfishly. He couldn’t stand up to a young girl’s accusation and completely disassociated himself from Jesus. After denying Jesus three different times, Peter realized the gravity of his actions, broke down, and wept. It must have been the most painful moment in Peter’s life. We thank God that the story does not end here but Jesus graciously restores Peter. He gives him yet another chance to get up and persevere in the Christian race. Peter eventually became the spiritual leader of the early church and went on to do great things for God’s Kingdom!

Spiritual failures reveal to us that we are not self-sufficient. We need to rely on God daily to live in victory! Failure do not define a true follower of Jesus Christ. When we repent, that very moment our fellowship with Christ is renewed and our slate becomes clean. The greatest failure is our failure to reach out to God. Get up, get back on the race, and rely on God’s grace to carry you to the finish line.

 

 

 

 

Week of May 18 - May 23 

 

By Pastor Warren

Today's Readings: Numbers 7:72-8:4; Psalm 66:16-20; Mark 12:13-17

I’d like to write about one thing you might be struggling with. Someone who is reading this reflection is battling self condemnation. Never mind the judgements or insults others may direct towards you—you are really good at “giving it to yourself”! Oh the things you say to yourself: “I’m no good, or why am I such an idiot, or what is wrong with me, or God could never love someone like me—I’m such a failure”. Possibly when you were young, an authority figure said these things to you, and you’ve internalized these words like those paper towels which absorb a small lake of water.

Generally, our self condemnation is triggered by our: mistakes, poor choices, repeated sins. Getting down on ourselves is our “go to”—but this is more than regret or remorse. It’s deeper. It’s a self loathing—a condemnation we serve ourselves without the possibility of redemption. God may create the world in six days—but He can’t do anything with me. I’m a lost cause.

I introduce our text today. Psalm 66:20 “Praise be to God…Who has not withheld His love from me”. Read it again. Reread it. Rereread it. Rerereread it.

Has anyone ever withheld their love from you? God never has. Have you ever withheld your love from someone? God never has. Have you ever seen someone withhold love from someone else? God has never done that. You may be sick of yourself—but God is not sick of you. You may not believe in yourself—but God believes in you. You may think you’re the worst person on earth—but “Praise be to God…Who has not withheld His  love from you”.

We love it when our preachers remind us that “all have sinned”. Yet somehow when we make a mistake, we are surprised. When the poet says, “To err is human”—we acquiesce. Yet when we err—it’s the end of the world. To be sure, when we make a mistake, or repeated mistakes sincere remorse is most appropriate. But self loathing and self condemnation is not.

If what I have said is true, try this! Instead of self condemnation, give yourself self compassion. That’s right…self compassion. You show kindness to everyone else on the block—show some kindness to yourself.  Repent genuinely, ask God to forgive you, and then forgive yourself. It’s a good thing to give compassion! Don’t you agree? Say it out loud!  IT’S A GOOD THING TO GIVE COMPASSION! Then why couldn’t you gift it to you? Why couldn’t you do that? Self compassion is not self love, or self pity, or self worth—and don’t say it’s something “new age”! (What is wrong with you?) No, compassion is a Godly response to someone who is hurting…and today, you are hurting…maybe you should give some compassion to you!

“Praise be to God…Who has not withheld his love from me”!

 

 

 

By Pastor Lawson

Today's Readings: Numbers 8:5-9:14; Psalm 67; Mark 12:18-34

 

 

 

By Pastor Tim

Today's Readings: Numbers 9:15-10:36; Psalm 68:1-6; Mark 12:35-44

 

 

 

By Pastor Travis

Today's Readings: Numbers 11; Psalm 68:7-18; Mark 13:1-13

 

 

 

By Pastor Kent

Today's Readings: Numbers 12:1-13:16; Psalm 68:19-27; Mark 13:14-27

 

 

 

By Pastor Wes

Today's Readings: Numbers 13:17-33; Psalm 68:28-35; Mark 13:28-37

It may come as a surprise to some, but I’m not very tall.  In my ‘glory years’ I topped out at 5 ft 8 ½ in – not exactly NBA material, but perfect for re-enactments of “The Hobbit”. 

Needless to say, I wasn’t a school yard bully, or a “scrapper”. In fact, my only two fist fights with anyone (besides my brother) were with people my size (or smaller) and they were both disasters. I’m sticking with my 0-2 record and don’t plan to come out of retirement anytime soon.

Truth be told, if we are going to pick a fight, we don’t really like to pick fights with people that are bigger than us, do we? Unless we know we have someone bigger to back us up.

I’m not sure what Caleb, the Israelite spy, looked like but perhaps because I relate to him I’ve always pictured Caleb as a smaller guy – a sneaky little spy-guy. Whatever he looked like, he was a tenacious man of great conviction who had guts, and deep faith, who wasn’t afraid to take on a bigger foe.

I think that’s why this story of the 12 spies has always bugged me.  I get really upset with the 10 “Negative Nellies” who put a huge damper on the whole conquest-of-Canaan deal.  It blows me away that even though they were being called to pick a fight with something bigger than they were they didn’t recall the power, provision, and deliverance of their God who brought them out of Egypt and kept them safe in the wilderness. Didn’t they know that they had the upper hand because the One True God was on their side? Their negative report caused great despair amongst the people and made them doubt God’s power to give them the promised land.

So frustrating, isn’t it?!  But I wonder if I am much different?

The Super Spies, Caleb and Joshua, trusted God without wavering.  They knew that with God at their side they would conquer the land He promised to them, commanded them to take, and covenanted to give to them.  Joshua and Caleb believe in the promises of God; the strength and provision of God; the power and unfailing love of God; and they believed they could call on God as the psalmist did in Psalm 68 when he says,

“Summon your power, God;

    Show us your strength, Our God, as you have done before…..

Proclaim the power of God,

    Whose majesty is over Israel,

    Whose power is in the heavens.

You, God are awesome in your sanctuary;

    The God of Israel gives power and strength to his people.

Praise be to God!”

When I read this story, I want to believe, despite my size, that I’m just like Caleb who spoke against the wimpy spies who counselled against attacking the land; that I would stand up before the whole assembly and boldly proclaim, “we can certainly do this!”.  As I stand against the overwhelming odds in my life, I want to believe that, in the power, strength, and protection of God in all circumstances I would always say, “with His help I can certainly do this!”

But do I? I’m sorry to say that too often when I feel the call to do something for God, to step out in faith, to glorify Him, I fall into fear, despair and lack of confidence. I try to face it alone, and, by myself, I can’t accomplish the daunting things He is calling me to do.  I need to put my full trust in Him.

Who do you identify with in this story? The ten, or the two? Are you feeling too small and insignificant to do what He is asking of you? What giants are you facing today, in the week ahead?  What is making you feel like a ‘grasshopper’; holding you back from fulfilling God’s call in your life, preventing you from doing the great things that will show God’s power and draw people to Him through you? 

Remember, we don’t have to fear or despair or cower when God calls us, he doesn’t leave us to our own devices.  He will accomplish His will in and through us.  We just have to be bold, courageous, and faithful. Call on our Great God to come in power and strength and majesty.  He will give strength and power to His people and we will conquer the giants and take the land.  We can certainly do it!

 

 

 

Week of May 11 - May 16 

 

By Pastor Jacob

Today's Readings: Numbers 3:33-4:14; Psalm 63; Mark 10:13-31

 

 

 

By Pastor Jan

Today's Readings: Numbers 4:15-49; Psalm 64; Mark 10:32-45

A family of four gathers for supper at the kitchen table. It’s been an exciting day and each person is in very fine spirits. Their discussion bustles with news of everyone’s unusually triumphant day. Mom is a realtor and she sold a house today. Dad got a significant promotion. 17-year old Zach was voted Leader of the Student Leadership team. Five-year old Lucy found her favourite blue pencil crayon. Everyone agrees that this was an exceptional day. 

The conversation turns into friendly banter as each family member exaggerates their accomplishment in an attempt to one-up the other.  Who had the best day? Whose success was the greatest? The intensity increases and a new question is raised. Who actually is the greatest?  Self-promotions become embellished, stories get sillier, and when the meal is over they remain at the table, fully enjoying their rivalry. Lucy wiggles out of her chair and begins to clear the table. She has never cleared the table before, but she is thoroughly enjoying the playful competition and doesn’t want it to end. She carefully removes the dishes from the table and returns to her chair.  

The conversation peaks and finally culminates in victory when Zach excitedly leaps out of his chair and proclaims, ‘I’m the Leader of the Leadership Team, and that makes me the Leader of Leaders! No one beats that, so now we all know that I am the greatest of all! Plus I’m the best looking.  Just sayin’. . . ’  Everyone laughs.  

‘All kidding aside,’ Dad says, ‘I think we can safely agree that everyone had a great day, but not one of us is actually ‘the greatest.’’

Is it true that not one person in the kitchen was the greatest?  Actually, it’s not. According to Jesus, at that moment in time someone in the room really is the greatest. It’s Lucy.

Don’t we all want to shine and have some measure of greatness? Jesus’ disciples did. In fact Scripture tells us that several times the disciples jostled for the position of ‘greatest.’ But Jesus explained to them that worldly greatness was the exact opposite of Kingdom greatness. Worldly greatness displayed itself through power, prestige, influence and achievement. Kingdom greatness was clothed in love, sacrifice, obedience, humility and servant-heartedness.

Jesus said,  “. . . Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10: 43-45)

Even Jesus did not come to be served, but to serve. He defined greatness by what we give and how we treat others. Not by how we build ourselves up.   

And that is why, at a kitchen table surrounded by people who were older and wiser, people who had more experience, people who had achieved and succeeded, little Lucy’s simple act of clearing off the table made her the greatest person in the room.  

That’s how it works with Jesus. And that’s pretty great.

 

 

 

By Pastor Jared

Today's Readings: Numbers 5; Psalm 65:1-8; Mark 10:46-52

 

 

 

By Pastor Travis

Today's Readings: Numbers 6; Psalm 65:9-13; Mark 11:1-1

 

 

By Pastor Lawrence

Today's Readings: Numbers 7:1-35; Psalm 66:1-7; Mark 11:12-26

 

 

 

By Pastor Kevin

Today's Readings: Numbers 7:36-71; Psalm 66:8-15; Mark 11:27-12:12

The Bible often uses pictures and images to help us grapple with truth.

We see Jesus was walking in the temple and the chief priests, the scribes and the elders approached Him and began to question His authority. Jesus answered their question with a question about John the Baptizer's authority, which they refused to answer because they were afraid their answer would upset the people.

As they questioned Jesus' authority, Jesus painted them another picture. It was a picture of a vineyard. Everyone understood what this vineyard represented, Israel. The owner is God, the tenant farmers are the Jewish leaders, the slaves are the prophets, and the only son is, of course, Jesus. Jesus' authority comes from His Father who sent Him just as the son in the parable received his authority from his father.

Commenting on Jesus' parable in Mark 12 Luther said, "If I were God and the world treated me as it treated him, I would kick the wretched thing to pieces." What would you do if this was your vineyard? Would you round up your army and march on those vine-growers and butcher all of them? Listen to what the Scriptures say:

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8 NASB)

There never was a more loving Father, and there never was a more loved Son. Jesus, in this parable, is telling His audience that He is not a prophet; He is the Son. He has been sent by His Father to possess what is His. But they will reject Him and put Him to death. This was "in your face" stuff. The teachers of the law, chief priests and elders flinched at the conclusion of Jesus' words because they knew that they didn't come out of this parable well.

They knew this parable was about them, but because they were afraid of the people, they did nothing except walk away. They would settle this in a few days when they would arrest the Son and have him put to death just as Jesus predicted they would.

When confronted with the truth of who Jesus is, what is our response? Don't end up like the religious elite of Israel and walk away; trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

 

 

Week of May 4 - May 9 

 

By Pastor Greg

Today's Readings: Leviticus 26:1-35; Psalm 58; Mark 8:22-38

 

 

 

By Pastor Craig

Today's Readings: Leviticus 26:36-27:15; Psalm 59:1-9; Mark 9:1-10

Mark 9: 2-10

I remember the first day at my new school back in Scotland, when I was 10 years old. I arrived to my new school, feeling anxious and excited to be starting this new journey. On my first day of school, I entered the school gymnasium where I was told we gathered daily for the school assembly. We had our school uniform checked, we sang a hymn together, we recited The Lord’s Prayer, and then had some school announcements… including the list of detentions. I thought, ‘Day One of the new school year, and some of my fellow students had already managed to earn a detention... what kind of students do they have in this school?’ To my horror my name was read out by the Principal in a seemingly familiar way: ‘Craig... pause... Murray.’ came the call.

My knees went weak. I stopped breathing. I could hardly believe it...I’ve only been here for 15 minutes! What could this brand new student… all 10 years of him possibly have done in 15 minutes to warrant a detention?? I thought about how to protest my innocence, but I didn’t know what to say because I was terrified!  

Like me, have you ever not known what to say because you were terrified? Maybe the circumstances back then - or today - seem overwhelming? You may not have stood in your school assembly falsely accused… but I would guess all of us have faced circumstances in life so big - that we have been completely stopped in our tracks!

In this morning's verses, I got to read one of my favourite stories about Peter. Mark 9: 2-10 tells an amazing account of Jesus and 3 of his closet disciples, Peter included. Jesus invited the 3 up with him to a mountainside, which was a regular part of His prayer life. But on this mountainside, something different happens, in fact something amazing happens… ‘His appearance changed from the inside out, right before their eyes.  His clothes shimmered, glistening white, whiter than any bleach could make them.  Elijah, along with Moses, came into view, in deep conversation with Jesus’ - Mark 9: 2-4, The Message.

You could say this was a moment when ‘heaven touches earth’, and Jesus is seen in His divine nature. Get this... Peter, and the other 2 guys that day got to witness a snapshot of heaven, when Moses and Elijah - 2 key Old Testament figures come to talk with Jesus. We’re not told about what… but we are told what happens next.

We’re told Peter opens his mouth and wrecks this ‘heaven touching earth moment’. Peter’s brain hasn’t had time to process what is happening - the passage says he’s terrified - but that doesn’t stop him! He interrupts their conversation, asking Jesus, ‘Excuse me teacher, sorry to bother you whilst you’re glowing ever so so brightly… I maybe... well… sorry to interrupt again… but I’ve been thinking… maybe I could build some shelters for the 3 of you?’

In the next couple of verses - we read that Peter is the only person on record who has officially been ‘shooshed’ by God for talking too much! If ever someone deserved a detention, Peter is our guy! He interupts a ‘deep conversation’ Jesus was having with 2 of the most important Old Testament characters, and Peter walks on over and interrupts them!  What was he thinking? Was he thinking at all? How could he have mis-read the moment so badly?

But consider the rest of Peter’s story. Jesus continues to invite Peter to be part of his life, to offer him friendship, and to model a way of living that would transform the world through the Gospel message that has always been the basis of the church! It’s an amazing thought that the guy who was ‘shooshed’ by God in our passage was the same guy who Jesus chose to launch the global church.

We all have messed up and got ahead of God in the situations we’re facing, especially when they are overwhelming. Often we forget, or we don’t see that God is with us because we’re too busy looking at the circumstance before us. We too often jump to action, rather than leaning into Him whilst we wait, to see what He wants to do about the circumstance!

Right now, many of us are facing a huge amount of uncertainty. We don’t need to list the circumstances, because they are different and real for each of us. We do however need to remind ourselves to lean into God in this season in new ways. How do we do that? One way is by being real with ourselves and God, and admitting we have questions about the circumstances we’re facing, as this draws us closer to Him. Finding a safe place to discuss these questions we have about faith is so important, as it helps us lean into God. If you want to lean in at this time, then join us on Alpha Online, where you’ll meet others doing the same. Sign up for Alpha Online here:  www.cschurch.ca/alpha 

------

Now in case anyone is still wondering whether my 10 year old self had to live with the scars of false detention-ment for the rest of his life, let me complete my story.  I hadn’t noticed during my sentencing, that a teacher had quietly walked up behind me, and tapped me on the shoulder.  I was too terrified with what my parents were going to say to even notice!  My teacher tapped me again, this time whispering in my ear…‘don’t worry Craig, there are actually 2 Craig Murrays at the school, it’s the other one who has the detention!’ 

Don’t get ahead of God.  He’s wanting to whisper something in your ear you’ll want to hear!

 

 

By Pastor Brad

Today's Readings: Leviticus 27:16-Numbers 1:16; Psalm 59:10-17; Mark 9:11-29

 

 

 

By Pastor Travis

Today's Readings: Numbers 1:17-54; Psalm 60; Mark 9:30-37

 

 

 

By Pastor Grover

Today's Readings: Numbers 2; Psalm 61; Mark 9:38-50

 

 

 

By Pastor Barry

Today's Readings: Numbers 3:1-32; Psalm 62; Mark 10:1-12

Psalm 62:5 (ESV) For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. 

One of the hardest things to do in life is to wait. Maybe you are waiting for that online retail package you ordered to finally arrive. Maybe you are waiting to receive and spend the tax refund you know you are due. Or maybe it’s for something long term—waiting on a potential career opportunity that has yet to materialize, or waiting for a relationship that is not within your control. Waiting on God can sometimes be even harder and longer. Consider Abraham who waited twenty-five years to receive the promised child, or Joseph who waited thirteen years for God to fulfill his teenage dreams, or David who waited about fifteen years between being anointed king and actually becoming a king. 

In the first verse of Psalm 62 David waits for God in silence. Literally the text reads, “only toward God is my soul of silence.” It is not just that David’s soul is silent, but that his soul is seeking God in the silence. David is waiting for God when all that he discerns around him is silence. In the silence he affirms once again what is true—that God is his rock and his salvation, and that as a result he (David) “shall not be greatly shaken.” We wonder even if he is at least feeling a little shaken and a little concerned. This is natural because as verses 3 and 4 indicate, David is indeed in the battle zone. He is under attack; his soul is being tried. 

Then in verses 5 and 6 we see almost identical language of verses 1 and 2 with a few subtle changes. This time it’s a command of David to his soul to wait for God alone in silence. David is expectant that God will speak as he waits in silence. David now acknowledges that God is not just the provider of his salvation, but God is the source of his hope. Hope as a biblical concept is always pregnant with expectation. God will act, and he will respond, and David’s faith is strengthened in that hope. His language in verse 6 also slightly shifts from verse 2, as David can now assert that he “shall not be shaken” without any qualification. 

Verses 8-10 show us the tension that David is experiencing amidst his crisis—to place his trust in God for his full provision rather than his own devices—whether it be extortion, robbery or merely putting his trust in money and riches. Where is David going to place his trust? Is he going to place it in his own cunning, his abilities and his wealth? Or is his trust and faith truly to be placed in God alone? God’s silence is the occasion to test our hearts. Is our confidence in him alone, that as we pour out our heart, he is sufficient and willing to provide for our needs? Or is our heart focused our own devices, to scramble and worry and improvise? 

Verses 11 and 12 wrap up in David hearing God now speak. Notice the twofold truth expressed. Both power and love belong to God. It is vital that both of these belong to God. He could be able to help us with power, but not willing to do so with love. Or he could be willing to do so with love, but not actually able to do so with power. But God affirms twice to David in telling him that he is both able and willing. God is not only the one who is able to deliver us from the crisis, but he is fully loving and caring to do so. 

Some of us find ourselves now waiting in the silence for God to speak. David reminds us in this Psalm that even in the silence we are to wait expectantly for God to speak. We are to trust him amidst the waiting even when we are so tempted to turn to our own devices. And when God does speak we will be inevitably reminded of the truth that he is not only able to meet all our needs, but he will do so.

Where are you not fully trusting God in your situation? Pour out your heart before him. Then take some time in silence and wait to hear what God has to say to you.  

And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Phil. 4:19 (ESV)

 

 

 

 

Week of April 27 - May 3 

 

By Pastor Lawson

Today's Readings: Leviticus 20:9-21:12; Psalm 55:16-19; Mark 6:45-56

 

 

 

By Pastor Tim

Today's Readings: Leviticus 21:13-22:16; Psalm 55:20-23; Mark 7:1-8

 

Mark 7:1-8

6 He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written:

“‘These people honor me with their lips,  but their hearts are far from me. 7 They worship me in vain;  their teachings are merely human rules.’ 8 You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.”

 

Have you ever honoured God with your lips, but your heart has been far from Him? In our own lives, do we say and do what is right but in our hearts begrudge it? That would make us like the pharisees, who were hypocrites. Jesus was far more perceptive of what was going on and saw beyond the actions to the intentions and He called the people out on it. The traditions that the pharisees where being challenged about, in and of themselves were not wrong; washing their hands and sanitizing their surroundings, after all it’s the one way we can protect ourselves from the COVID-19 virus, but they were using it as an excuse to be busy ‘serving’ God without actually serving Him, they were busy doing nothing.

Our God is not looking for perfection from us, if we make mistakes, he will forgive us, what he longs for is a close relationship with us and for a willingness to live our daily lives in a way that honours him. He wants us to keep a check on what is in our hearts ‘for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.’(Matt 12:34b)  

When we first came to Canada, we lived on the Shelley Reservation, near Price George, in the northern part of BC. It was an amazing experience. We lived amongst the First Nation people and became friends with some that are still friends today. One of the elders, Mary, spoke the Carrier language fluently, she was a lovely unassuming woman, I asked her if she could translate the Prayer of Jabez into their language for me, as I loved the guttural sounds of the language (I even tried to learn to say it which caused them to smile at my English accent trying to get my tongue around sounds that were far from native to me). This prayer was being prayed by Christians around the turn of the millennium and can be found in 1 Chronicles 4:10,  'Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain’.  I can still remember the look of concern on her face when she said there are not the words in my language to stop causing people pain, so I have translated the last phrase to say that I may do good always… This was a very profound moment for us and set the course for our ministry. Even in the toughest times when perhaps things have been said and done that could be misunderstood, and there were many as we tried to learn their culture, in our hearts the desire has always been to ‘do good always’ and one of the chiefs actually recognized this publicly. 

We find ourselves in a moment in history that is unprecedented, a time when the whole world came to a standstill, but it is also a time when we can bring comfort to others who are sick, suffering hardship or even mourning because of this terrible pandemic. We can show the love of Christ, sincerely from our hearts when we are living in a close relationship with Him, to the world through our caring actions and words – we can ‘do good always.’ Although the doors of the buildings are closed the church is still alive and well, made up of many individuals who’s hearts are true from which the cause of Centre Street Church continues as we are committed to accomplishing the redemptive purposes of Christ in the world.

Remember if our hearts are right with God, we will do good always!

 

Thought to ponder:

Are we willing to spend time with God, prayerfully reflecting on His words, so that our attitudes and actions will be pleasing to Him? David prayed in the Psalm 51:10, ‘Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me’.

 

 

 

By Pastor Kent

Today's Readings: Leviticus 22:17-23:22; Psalm 56:1-8; Mark 7:9-23

 

 

 

By Pastor Travis

Today's Readings: Leviticus 23:23-24:9; Psalm 56:9-13; Mark 7:24-37

 

 

 

By Pastor Wes

Today's Readings: Leviticus 24:10-25:17; Psalm 57:1-6; Mark 8:1-13

 

 

 

By Pastor Ashwin

Today's Readings: Leviticus 25:18-55; Psalm 57:7-11; Mark 8:14-21

Psa 57:7-11 – Awake, my Soul

Psa 57 is a Psalm of Lament, written by an individual who is pursued by his vicious enemies. David’s life was under grave danger and he had to hide in a cave. To use the language of our day – David was self-isolating! However, after pouring out his complaints to God, David affirms great confidence in God’s love and faithfulness!

Keep in mind – David’s threat remained. His life was still under great risk and his circumstances had not changed. However, a dramatic change had happened in David’s heart! He is praising God in the midst of His suffering! David writes in the last part of Psa 57:8 I will awaken the dawn.” It means the sun that dawns will find David awake and worshipping God!  David discovers the vastness of God’s love and faithfulness in this posture of worship! This enables David to leave his sombre mood behind and praise God from the rooftops in public. After all, God is not a tribal deity but He deserves public praise because He is Sovereign over the nations! With renewed confidence, David declares:

I will praise you, Lord, among the nations;
    I will sing of you among the peoples.
For great is your love, reaching to the heavens;
    your faithfulness reaches to the skies. Psa 57:9-10

I have found myself in David’s shoes several times in the last few weeks. When I hear yet another negative news report, yet another update on COVID 19 from our Province and yet another social media post of doom and gloom – my heart sinks and I allow the negativity to dampen my spirit. But when I lift my voice to worship and reflect on the vastness of God’s love and faithfulness in my own life, my perspective and outlook changes and my heart bursts forth with praise!

Today, would you allow heartfelt worship to awaken your soul to God’s love and faithfulness? 

 

 

 

 

Week of April 20 - April 26 

 

By Pastor Travis

Today's Readings: Leviticus 14:19-57; Psalm 51:13-19; Mark 5:1-20

 

 

 

By Pastor Jacob

Today's Readings: Leviticus 15:1-24; Psalm 52; Mark 5:21-43

Mark 5: 25-34 – The Bible does not give her name. She is only known as “ a woman “. She came to Jesus with an affliction that dogged her for twelve long years. A persistent hemorrhage that had branded her as “ceremonially unclean”. Her condition barred her from normal contact with her family, friends and neighbours. Nor was she permitted to worship the Lord in the temple. Though no fault of hers, she became an outsider, an “ untouchable “.

In desperation she spent all her resources – seeking a cure. Yet disappointment followed disappointment. No Doctor could help her. Her health deteriorated, and she was reduced to poverty, isolated from her family and friends.

But one day she heard about this remarkable itinerant Teacher. A Nazarene named Jesus. Some claimed he was prophet, others, that they had seen him cure people with only a word or a touch. Some even whispered the word Messias. Messiah! That very day she had heard that he might be passing by her village.

Excitement preceded him, as though the air was charged with electricity. Her heart must have beat faster. Oh, if only she could draw near to Him, if only He might touch her. Impossible! She was unclean, nobody had touched her for a long time, let alone a great Rabbi. And if she did cross His path, how could she possibly speak to him in front of this large crowd – the nature of her burden? Imagine the shame, the humiliation, the rejection and yet……

Desperation may lead people to act irrationally, yet it may lead to strong, bold even shameless actions. The woman’s “ plan “ might not have been a plan at all, it was a sudden impulse, a reaching after the hope and healing that she so longed for and had eluded her for so long. The crowd surged. He was walking quickly, the one called Jesus, was intent and purposeful. She looked for a small window of opportunity and found one. Scripture says, that she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.”  (Mark 5:27 – 28)

It only took a moment. One quick lunge And power flowed into her body.  Her bleeding stopped immediately and she was healed. Healed. Not only of her bleeding. The Master’s parting words held out even more wondrous hope than she dared believe. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed youGo in peace and be freed from your suffering (Mark 5:34). The word He used for healing spoke of salvation and forgiveness of sins. One touch of faith – one desperate act of reaching after the grace of God in Christ, and a woman’s life was never the same.

Though millennia has passed, He is the same God, yesterday, today and forever. A simple touch of faith releases a mighty surge of healing and saving power. 

Points to ponder:

  • What do you want Jesus to do for you today?
  • Expect the Unexpected. Is there anything that is impossible for Him?
  • I would like to encourage you today, to make it a daily practice to spend much time at the feet of Jesus, meditating on His Word and seeking His face in prayer. 

 

 

 

By Pastor Wes

Today's Readings: Leviticus 15:25-16:25; Psalm 53; Mark 6:1-6

 

 

 

By Pastor Travis

Today's Readings: Leviticus 16:26-18:5; Psalm 54; Mark 6:7-13

 

 

 

By Pastor Warren

Today's Readings: Leviticus 18:6-19:11; Psalm 55:1-8; Mark 6:14-29

Getting Along

I have always been curious about how the animals got along on Noah’s ark. How did predator and prey coexist in such small confines? In 2013, there was another great flood—this one in our backyard. I heard about a guy in High River who took his boat and went door to door rescuing people and pets from their homes. As the story goes, dogs and cats in the boat seemed to realize the urgency of the hour—and they got along as they floated to safety. Even in prophetic Scripture a future day is envisioned when “the lion will lie down with the lamb”!

All this leads me to the present and to this point: How are we as families, cramped together in our homes getting along? The first few days may have been a novelty, but are you going just a little crazy being penned up with people you used to like? Our Scripture today talks about wanting to escape—“Oh that I had wings like a dove; then I would fly away and be at rest! I would fly far away to the quiet of the wilderness  (Psalm 55:6,7).  Is there anyone who would jump and say, “That’s me! Let me out of my house! I can’t take it anymore”!

Today, we are going to be very practical. Because the truth is—we do love our families. We would never just bolt! But maybe we need a few skills to survive with the people we love. May I show you the secret of how to THRIVE today in your house?

 

Talk. First talk to God—and do this as a family. After breakfast, together ask God for patience and strength to “love when the lovin’ is difficult”.

Have your own space – every family member should have their “safe place” or “city of refuge”! Note: if you’re a clean freak—this may not be a time for you to take your stand. Don’t sweat the little stuff. You have bigger fish to fry.

Routine is the key. In these times, never wake up  without a plan. Meal times, study times, online times, free/fun times, bed times should be part of a schedule. Routine doesn’t always sound like fun, and it shouldn’t be too rigid—but if you plan fun in routine—it will keep everybody on the same page.

Invention. You cannot survive without something to stimulate body, soul and mind. Why don’t family members each come up with (invent) a “new thing of interest”! A new hobby—learning a new language (there are excellent  online helps for this), start a new collection, take an online course, learn to play the guitar, sew a dress, learn to knit, get crafty, get fit, memorize Scripture, restore a old piece of furniture, upgrade your tech skills (how important is that)! etc.

Voice. 3 times a week, have IPR. InterPersonal Relationships. After supper, you talk! And everybody in the family has a voice. This is a time for honesty. Talk about how you ‘re truly feeling—how you're coping, the things that have bothered you—the things you have enjoyed. Share your feelings with specific family members, and share your own frustrations about yourself. This is a safe place. There is no defensiveness, just sharing and listening. You’d be amazed how this helps. 

Environment. Get outside. Get fresh air. Sit in the sun. Go for a drive and see beauty. Walk, Run, Play, and sign those petitions to open the golf courses! Lol. Of course, you will go outside safely, practicing physical distancing.


Do these things, and you and your family will THRIVE. Because if predators and prey, dogs and cats, lions and lambs can get along…then so can you.

 

 

 

By Pastor Jared

Today's Readings: Leviticus 19:20-20:8; Psalm 55:9-15; Mark 6:30-44

Mark 6:30-44

30 The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. 31 Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”

32 So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. 33 But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. 34 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.

35 By this time it was late in the day, so his disciples came to him. “This is a remote place,” they said, “and it’s already very late. 36 Send the people away so that they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.”

37 But he answered, “You give them something to eat.”

They said to him, “That would take more than half a year’s wages[e]! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?”

38 “How many loaves do you have?” he asked. “Go and see.”

When they found out, they said, “Five—and two fish.”

39 Then Jesus directed them to have all the people sit down in groups on the green grass. 40 So they sat down in groups of hundreds and fifties. 41 Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to his disciples to distribute to the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. 42 They all ate and were satisfied, 43 and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish. 44 The number of the men who had eaten was five thousand.

 

My wife and I have three children, all under the age of five. Needless to say, this is a busy stage of life! My wife’s days are full to overflowing with getting kids dressed, preparing meals, helping kids to actually eat the meals, cleaning up after meals, wiping noses, trips to the washroom, mediating arguments, finding activities for the kids to do. When my work day is done I jump into the fray – meals, play, bath time, bedtime, clean up. And after all is said and done, all I want to do is put my feet up and read a book or put something on the TV! But every time I’m nestled into my chair, I have to brace myself for the inevitable call: “Dad! I’m scared” or “Dad! I’m still hungry.” The work is not yet over! 

In Mark 6:30-44 Jesus calls his disciples away to rest after a season of hard work. He had sent them throughout Israel to proclaim the gospel. They preached, taught, healed, and cast out demons – they were exhilarated, but also exhausted. “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest,” Jesus invited them. What a relief and a joy to hear those words from the Master! They piled into a boat to find a solitary place with Jesus, but as soon as they arrived on shore, they faced yet another large, needy crowd who had anticipated their arrival. No rest would be had here! But Jesus had compassion on the people because they were like sheep without a shepherd (v. 34) and he began teaching them. The day drew on and the disciples, no doubt still looking forward to the promised rest, suggested that Jesus send the people away so they could find food. But Jesus declared that the work wasn’t yet completed: “You give them something to eat,” he told his disciples. But how could they? How much food would be needed to feed five thousand (and that was just the men)? It would take deep pockets and a herculean effort to find, purchase, and bring food for all to that isolated place. All they could find was five loaves of bread and two fish. But with Jesus, their meagre supply was sufficient. He had the people sit down, took the loaves and fish, gave thanks to the Father, and began doling out handful after handful of bread and fish to his amazed disciples, who distributed it to the people. All ate and were satisfied that day, with leftovers to spare. 

Our world today is at a standstill. Before the pandemic, perhaps your schedule was jam-packed. Like the disciples sent out by Jesus, you were hard at work. But now all that has changed. Is Jesus calling you apart to a time of rest? “Come with me to a quiet place and get some rest.” Will you take Jesus up on his offer? Or perhaps this season has been anything but restful for you. You were anticipating business as usual in 2020, vacations and all, but now you find your workplace is frantically launching in a new direction to keep pace with the changing times. Or maybe you find yourself battling on the front lines against COVID-19 itself. Maybe your battlefront is full time care of your children who would otherwise be in school. You're crying out for rest but the Master is saying that the work is not yet done: “You give them something to eat” (v. 37). 

Whether in a season of rest or toil, are we open to sensing Jesus’ compassion for the lost sheep in our lives (v. 34)? How might he be summoning us to address needs around us? The needs are great; our resources small. Let us bring our meagre supply to the Lord. In his mighty hands our resources are multiplied to accomplish his mission. Surely it will be enough, with leftovers to spare.


 

 

 

Week of April 13 - April 18 

 

By Pastor Lawson

Today's Readings: Leviticus 8:18-9:11; Psalm 49:13-20; Mark 3:1-12

 

 

 

By Pastor Barry

Today’s Readings: Psalm 50:1-6; Leviticus 9:12-10:20; Mark 3:13-19

Psalm 50:3 (NLT) Our God approaches and is not silent; consuming fire goes ahead of him and all around him a storm rages. 

Some of the simplest lessons we are taught as children are some of the most important. But do we still take heed of them as adults? One of those lessons is: Don’t play with fire. Most of us have fond memories of being at a campfire as kids. We would roast marshmallows over the fire and sometimes poke the fire with sticks and then twirl them creating a mini-light show. The fire was a source of great fun. Fire is also necessary for life. It provides heat and light—the sun which we depend on each day is a massive ball of fire! 

But fire also commands our respect, for when we don’t respect the power and force of fire, it can also consume us. Playing with fire is just as dangerous for us adults as it is for children. Though fire is a source of life for us, it also powerfully represents God’s holiness and his judgement of those who are casual and disregard his holiness. We have a dramatic portrayal of this in Leviticus in the figures of Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron the priest. In the final verses of Leviticus 9, we see the whole assembly of the Israelites sharing in an amazing experience of divine fire. Moses and Aaron bless the people and the glory of God appears to the whole community. Out of the Lord’s presence comes forth a great fire that consumes the entire burnt offering on top of the altar.  The text tells us, “the people shouted with joy and fell face down on the ground (Lev 9:24 NLT)”. What a moment. Sheer joy, ecstasy and utter trepidation all rolled into one experience of God’s power and presence! 

But what follows is the not so happy story of Aaron’s priestly sons, Nadab and Abihu. For in the beginning of chapter 10, they decide to conduct their own pyro-technic light show. They light up their own incense burners and conduct their own ceremony apart from God’s command to do so.  Once again fire blazes forth from the Lord’s presence, but this time it consumes Nadab and Abihu! Oops! A mistake? Were they just a bit too cavalier about playing with the Lord’s fire? God responds to the situation with these words: “I will display my holiness through those who come near me. I will display my glory before all the people (Lev 10:3 NLT).” 

Fire is a powerful picture of God’s holiness. And we are continuously reminded in Scripture that disregarding God’s holiness has serious consequences. Even a godly and humble guy like Moses had to learn this lesson. After Moses strikes the rock instead of speaking to it as God has commanded him, we read, “because you did not trust me enough to demonstrate my holiness to the people of Israel, you will not lead them into the land I am giving them (Num 20:12 NLT).” Wow! Big consequences for Moses on that one. Perhaps we want to feel a bit sorry for Moses. He was really stressed after all. They were in the wilderness. There wasn’t any water for miles. Everyone around him was complaining. It was a crisis situation—a matter of life and death. But in the midst of crisis, God is still there.  He is still in control. And he is still holy. And true faith means acknowledging and upholding God for who he is amidst the crisis. 

Some of us are experiencing crisis right now. The question to ponder is simply this: What does it mean for us to believe that God is holy in the midst of our situation? One thing it means is to acknowledge that God is in charge. He is set apart and above every problem we face. No virus, no economic collapse, no pain or death takes him by surprise. He is able to do whatever is needed and he justly governs all things, and he still commands our respect. A second thing is to acknowledge that he is good and he cares for us, his children. Yes, we may be stressed out and feel pushed to the brink. But he is there and he does care for us amidst whatever pressure or struggle we face. His character has not changed. Finally, it also means to acknowledge that God knows what we need even more than we know what we need. We don’t need to tell him what we need as much as we need to trust him for what we need. Faith, after all, is having assurance about the things we cannot see our way through at the moment (Heb 11:1). Acknowledging his holiness requires true believing faith.  

What area do you fall short of acknowledging God’s holiness in your life? Take time now for confession and communion with him.  

Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshipping him with holy fear and awe. For our God is a devouring fire.  Heb 12:28-29 (NLT)

 

 

 

 

By Pastor Lawrence

Today's Readings: Leviticus 11:1-28; Psalm 50:7-15; Mark 3:20-35

 

 

 

By Pastor Travis

Today's Readings: Leviticus 11:29-13:8; Psalm 50:16-23; Mark 4:1-20

 

 

 

By Pastor Jan

Today's Readings: Leviticus 13:9-46; Psalm 51:1-6; Mark 4:21-29

 

Mark 4:21-29

Who doesn’t like to understand the ‘big picture’?

Understanding the big picture helps us plan our lives and figure out where we are in the grand scheme of things. It helps us move forward in a meaningful way.

Has your big picture been shaken lately? Covid19 has caused the things we once held as certainties to be no longer so. Our finances, jobs, social relationships, and health have become more vulnerable. Our understanding of the future is unclear.  

Where in the world are we heading?

Fortunately for us, the Kingdom of God (God’s big picture) is not shaken. God’s Will, here on Earth, is not in a state of upheaval. It is the same as it’s always been.  

Jesus said, 

This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain – first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.

Mark 4:26-29

We have no idea how God turns a seed into a head of grain. Luckily, it’s not our job to figure that out. In Jesus’ illustration, we are the sower of the seeds. Our job is to scatter the seeds (spread God’s word and do God’s will). It is God’s job to cause the grain to grow (advance His Kingdom). We don’t understand the intricacies of how God grows grain, changes hearts, advances his Kingdom. But the good news is He is always doing it.    

We can rest in the fact that whether we are fretting, rejoicing, waking or sleeping, God is always at work. We need only to walk in God’s will and trust in Him to provide the increase.

So let’s continue to love our neighbours, share the Gospel, act justly, show mercy, and walk humbly with God. He’ll do the rest, even while we’re sleeping.

It’s His big picture after all, and it’s unshakable.

  • How can you very practically show God’s love to someone today?
  • How can you encourage someone today to keep their eyes on God’s big picture?

 

 

 

By Pastor Grover

Today's Readings: Leviticus 13:47-14:18; Psalm 51:7-12; Mark 4:30-41

Looking Past the Storm: Mark 4:35-41

Living in Alberta we have all experienced some crazy weather patterns.  Mark Twain’s quote which has become the running joke for years in Alberta has been;

“If you don’t like the weather in Alberta now, just wait a few minutes.”

We are currently in a storm but it’s not related to weather patterns – it’s a storm that is affecting our very way of life. The “few minutes” wait has turned into weeks and honestly there doesn’t appear to be any light at the end of the tunnel.

In my quiet time this morning (reading out of the Moravian text) I came across the familiar story of Jesus and his disciples crossing the Sea of Galilee when an unexpected storm rolls in. The waves threaten to sink the boat and take their lives. Where is Jesus in this story? Bailing out water? Steering the ship towards the shore? NO - Jesus is upfront…fast asleep.

Asleep! How can he be asleep? Terrified, the disciples wake him and ask if he cares that they might be killed. Jesus gets up, tells the wind and waves to be still, and then asks the disciples why they are so afraid. What’s going on here? Is the question going through his disciples minds. On the other hand – Jesus seems a little too casual for their liking.

As we navigate this current pandemic, what lenses are you looking through to interpret this story?  We can be fairly confident that Jesus knows the Father’s plan. He knows that this is not the death he has come for. He also, presumably, knows that he can command the wind and waves and they will obey. So he has no cause for concern.

But I find a compelling truth in the events following this story.

When they do arrive on the other side, they are immediately met by a man possessed by many demons. Jesus comes to this man, the one whom no one else dares approach. Jesus is no longer casual. Now we see Jesus relentlessly pursuing the demons that afflict this man (Mark 5:8). Jesus is on the offensive. Earlier, when Jesus says to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side” (v. 35), he isn’t just making an idle suggestion. Jesus is intentional - he moves with purpose, knowing that the other side of the lake, past the storm – there is a battleground.

So while they are crossing, no matter the ferocity of the wind or the size of the waves, Jesus is unconcerned. Jesus mission is not to confront the storm, rather, his mission lies on the other side of it. There is nothing to fear on the water.

Storms of life have a certain way of threatening our faith. There are certain unexpected storms that cause us to question God’s goodness. Prolonged illness, the death of a loved one, a loss of purpose, a marriage destroyed—and it seems like God is asleep. If God really cared, if he really understood, then why would he allow these things to happen?

When we look at this storm (found in Mark 4) through the lenses of the good news it becomes clear that the storm is not the point. The storm is real and terrifying—the disciples believe that they will not survive—but the point is not about surviving the storm. The point is about who is in the boat with them.

Yes, Jesus can calm the storms of our lives.  But Jesus didn’t come to calm storms. Jesus came to seek and save the lost. Jesus didn’t come to give me a comfortable life, he came to defeat death and to make all things new.

I am not trying to diminish anyone’s suffering, and I would never suggest that you shouldn’t cry out to Jesus when you are in the midst of a storm. He does, after all, get up and calm the storm in this story.  Storms are frightening, I know. I know what it is to think that God doesn’t care, and why is he asleep on the job? I know what it is to feel useless, helpless, and hopeless. And if that’s how you are feeling right now, take courage.

Jesus does not take people out into the middle of the sea to drown them. He takes people across the sea so that they can participate in his work of restoration and redemption. Jesus does not stand afar off to do this. No, he enters the darkness, the evil, the suffering of this world, and he transforms it from within.

If we are following him, then we too will enter this darkness. We need to keep Jesus in sight (Hebrews 12:2). We need to understand who this is, asleep in the boat. The storm is not where you face the enemy. The storm is where you meet Jesus. It is in adversity, when we come to the end of ourselves, that we see the power of God in our lives.

Relief from the storm is not the best thing that can happen to you. The best thing that can happen is for you to be conformed to the image of Jesus. The enemy can use the storm to make you anxious, afraid, hurt, and discouraged. God can use it to make you fearless, secure, and steadfast.

16 So we do not lose heart. Though our self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison. -2 Corinthians 4:16-17

Some thoughts to ponder:

  • What lenses are you wearing through this current storm? Fear or faith?
  • Where are you seeing the goodness of God in your life today?
  • What or who may God be preparing for you on the other side of this storm?


 

 

 

 

Week of April 6 - April 11 

 

By Pastor Greg

Today's Readings: Exodus 40:24-Leviticus 1:17; Psalm 45:1-9; Mark 1:1-8

 

 

 

By Pastor Tim

Today's Readings: Leviticus 2-3; Psalm 45:10-17; Mark 1:9-20

 

Mark 1:9-20

16 As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 17 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” 18 At once they left their nets and followed him.”

What a lot happens in eleven verses! Firstly, Jesus is baptized and God, His heavenly father speaks and declares, “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” And then he is sent into the desert to be tempted by the devil himself, but even through this trying time he was attended by angels. Next his cousin John is thrown into prison. After all this Jesus makes a declaration, The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”

Now it was time for action! Jesus makes a declaration about the Kingdom of God because of the voice of God, that emanated from heaven, saying that Jesus was his son, whom he loved and that he was well pleased with. This indicates to me that when Jesus had been sent by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted he returned with the reason for his being on earth etched on his mind, it was now time for a new way of living and thinking. He immediately started to fulfill his destiny. Jesus calls fishermen and retrains them to journey with him under his influence as he strives to fulfill his father’s plan.

I lived for 20 years in a small deep-sea fishing village called Mevagissey, in Cornwall England, where we raised our family. I can tell you that most fishermen do not choose this career as it is extremely hard, physically demanding and potentially life threatening. Most fishermen come from several generations of fishermen. Jesus was inviting these men into a new way of living and thinking, one that would guarantee that their lives would never be the same again. He then challenged them not only to join him but for them to become fishers of men as well.

I know many people who have quickly responded to the invitation to follow Jesus, indeed who wouldn’t want to especially under these current circumstances? Learning new skills is often challenging, especially if we have had previous experiences that make it harder, but Jesus wants to make us fishers of men.

There was a lake about three hours north of Prince George in BC. The only access to this lake was via another lake with a small portage between the two. It’s a lake that I had to agree not to disclose its name or exact location! I was taken there as a 50th birthday gift.

While I had fished on the ocean back in England, it was from a boat not a canoe. As soon as I tried casting, I flipped the canoe over, however once I learned the new skill, I happily caught my quota of delicious rainbow trout within a very short time. What I had to learn were the skill to fish from a canoe on a lake, the speed at which to trawl the lure, the type of lure and the weight that was needed to make sure that we caught large fish towards the bottom of the lake.

The purpose of this story is to help us understand that in these unprecedented times, when everything as we know it has changed, this also includes how to ‘fish for people’ or to put it in modern language, how to invite our friends to join us at one of the many activities we are blessed with in CSC. The coming months will provide an opportunity to follow Jesus as he still calls his disciples to fish for others who need to hear and receive the good news. Reaching out to friends and neighbors while social distancing will be different but as we listen to Jesus and find out what he is saying to us and then do as he says… we might even have to change our minds (repent) about the old methods of doing things and embrace (believe) the new way, but it will be rewarding.

Once we understand what Jesus is calling us to do then we need to put it into practice and to use a fishing idiom, ‘tight lines’!!

Some thoughts to ponder:

  • What things, that I used to do, will I need to stop doing?
  • Am I willing to embrace the new ways of doing things?
  • How is Jesus inviting me to learn new skills to share the good news about Jesus in these days?

 

 

  

 

By Pastor Craig

Today's Readings: Leviticus 4:; Psalm 46; Mark 1:21-34

 

 

 

By Pastor Travis

Today's Readings: Leviticus 5:1-6:13; Psalm 47; Mark 1:35-45

 

 

 

By Pastor Greg

Today's Readings: Leviticus 6:14-7:21; Psalm 48; Mark 2:1-12

 

 

 

By Pastor Kevin

Today's Readings: Leviticus 7:22-8:17; Psalm 49:1-12; Mark 2:13-28

 

What do you do when your expectations or beliefs fail to line up with the behaviour or reality of what is happening? This is called “cognitive dissonance” – when what we believe and what actually happens don’t align.  This can happen when we approach Jesus. 

When one pursues Jesus, they can have one of two responses: accept Him for who He is or reject Him because He doesn’t fall into your idea of who He should be.

In Mark 2:13-28, we see examples of this clash between how some people wanted to see things and the reality of how things actually were:

First, Levi (Matthew) accepts Jesus for who He is, following Him and introducing Him to his friends and co-workers. Levi realizes Jesus came for sinners, of which he is one.  The Pharisees (religious men following their own path under the guise of religious rules) question Jesus’ friendship with such people, demonstrating their reluctance to accept Jesus for who He is. They felt they kept all the rules, so they didn’t need anything or anyone else.

Second, it’s the Kingdom of God, not the Kingdom of man’s understanding of God.  God determines the rules of His Kingdom for man, not the other way around.  The Pharisees had their way of doing things, and expected Jesus to fall in line.  But He didn’t. Whether it was structure around fasting or the Sabbath, these were intended to point to, not replace, the true sacrifice, who is Jesus.  He is the lens through which we examine and live out life. Jesus is the King, and as such, He determines the rules of His Kingdom, and we follow Him.

Third, God’s ways are to free you, not make you a prisoner. The Pharisees put restrictions around everything one could do, believing that adhering to the rules would make one suitable for God’s Kingdom. They believed keeping the Sabbath rules would bring you Sabbath rest. But through Jesus, He brings the Sabbath rest we long for. We enter into God’s rest through Jesus Christ. Christ’s call is simple. “Come unto Me, and I will give you rest.”

Two choices: our way or Jesus’ way; the way we desire things to be or Jesus’ ways and purposes.  All through history, God is eager to reveal Himself to whoever is seeking, but we must see Him as He is, not as we want Him to be. What, or more importantly, who are you following?

 

 

 

 

Week of March 30 - April 4 

 

Pandemic? Don't Panic - Be Fruitful

By Pastor Warren


But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
- Galatians 5:22-23a (NLT)

In a time of worldwide pandemic, the natural question is, “What do we do?” Physically, we follow our health care professionals and government leaders. But what about spiritually? What if we were guided by the Holy Spirit in this time? What if we let the Spirit produce His life in us during the pandemic? The Bible calls this the Fruit of the Spirit.


The first Fruit of the Spirit is…Love.

We’ve been learning a lot of new words these days—COVID, social distancing, asymptomatic, etc. But maybe today we need to be reminded of the greatest word of all: Love. The Bible teaches there is a supernatural love that flows from the Holy Spirit into our hearts—and I would say into our hands. Jesus says, “This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you” (John 15:12 NLT). Would you think about how love might be the most powerful force in this time of pandemic? Would you think about what it looks like to love God, love your family, love your neighbours, love your enemies and love yourself? Today’s simple question is: How will you express love, and to whom will you express love in these incredible days?

 

Prayer:

1. Pray that you will know the unconditional love of God in your own heart. Take a few moments to “soak in His love”.

2. Pray that the Holy Spirit will flow in and through you. Confess any known sin—and ask Him to give you supernatural love.

3. Pray that the Holy Spirit will show you practical ways of expressing His love to others.

 

 

 

 

Pandemic? Don't Panic - Be Fruitful

By Pastor Warren


But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
- Galatians 5:22-23a (NLT)


The second Fruit of the Spirit is…Joy.

If ever there were two words that don’t seem to belong together, they are: Joy and Pandemic. It’s like putting spinach together with ice cream! But what if the Holy Spirit is desiring to produce joy in you today? Jesus is clear: He wants to inject joy inside of you, joy that will find expression in your everyday life. “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full” (John 15:12). As we are seeing, that’s not the natural response to what we are facing. The question is, how do you think the Lord wants you to express joy today? What does it look like? Is it simply a friendly smile? Is it an encouraging word? An appropriate joke? A word of caution: lightheartedness can be off-putting to people around you who may be really hurting. Think about “sensitive joy” and its expression.

 

Prayer:

1. Pray about what might need to come out of your heart so that joy can enter into your heart.

2. Pray about practical things you could do to bring joy into someone’s life.

3. Pray for wisdom in the expression of your joy.

 

 

 

Pandemic? Don't Panic - Be Fruitful

By Pastor Warren


But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
- Galatians 5:22-23a (NLT)

 

The third Fruit of the Spirit is…Peace.

Almost never in the history of the world has there been a universal crisis. Even during two world wars, there were countries that were isolated from those horrific conflicts. But this is different. In every corner of the world, governments are planning strategies to protect. In every corner of the world, churches are planning strategies to minister. Never has the planet been more together. We are also connected in global worry.


But we read that the Spirit wants to produce peace in us. Jesus said, “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid” (John 14:17 NLT). Peace is not the absence of conflict—it’s the strong confidence that God is in control in the midst of conflict. Let’s reflect on this thought: Would you even need God’s peace if you were never in conflict? Of course, we must express concern for those around us. We must feel concern for the challenges in our families. But in the tone of our voices, in the lines on our faces — can we project confidence in God… because we have received the peace of His Spirit?


Prayer:

1. Ask God to produce His peace in you. Call someone, and pray together for God’s peace.

2. Pray how you can show God’s peace without using words.

3. Pray for Centre Street Church. What would it look like for us to show God’s peace to our city?

 

 

 

Prayer @mycschurch

By Pastor Travis

 

 

 

By Pastor Jacob 

 

 

 


By Pastor Lawson

 

 

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