Day 1

A Moment w Cross.jpg

I was coming into Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover, like I do every year. But for some reason, when I got into Jerusalem, there were so many more people than I had remembered before. The Passover is an exciting, joyous time of year. It’s a celebration of our faith. People wave and smile, they talk, and there’s a stronger sense of community than other times of year. Like I said though, this time was different. People seemed agitated and angry. There was a sense of tension I had never felt before. As I entered the city, I began to pushing my through the crowd, just trying to get to my mom’s house. But then, I saw what all the commotion was about. I saw Him. There was this, man, or what was left of a man. Beaten and bloody, a criminal was my initial guess. They had Him carrying the cross He would be crucified on. People were shouting at Him, spitting, and throwing things. I turned to leave, when a guard grabbed my arm and pulled me from among the crowd. He commanded that I carry this cross. My first thought was, “If I get this guy’s blood on me, I’m a criminal, I’m officially unclean.” Fearful of what would happened if I didn’t obey, I bent down to accept the cross. Our eyes met, and in that moment I knew, I just knew this man was exactly who He said He was. He was the Son of God. Struggling to find strength, I shouldered the cross and we ascended the hill together. They nailed His hands and His feet to the cross, and raised it above all of us. After hours of pain and struggle, He looked towards the heavens and breathed His last breath. 

Leaving the summit called Golgotha, I knew this was the day I helped Jesus carry my cross. He bled and died on the cross for my sin, for my shame.”

Bible Passage: 

“As they came out of the city, they stopped an African man named Simon, a native of Libya. He was passing by, just coming in from the countryside with his two sons, Alexander and Rufus, and the soldiers forced him to carry the heavy crossbeam for Jesus. They brought Jesus to the execution site called Golgotha, which means “Skull Hill.” There they offered him a mild painkiller, a drink of wine mixed with gall, but he refused to drink it. They nailed his hands and feet to the cross. The soldiers divided his clothing among themselves by rolling dice to see who would win them. It was nine o’clock in the morning when they finally crucified him. Above his head they placed a sign with the inscription of the charge against him, which read, “This is the King of the Jews.”

Mark 15:21-26 TPT

Observation:

Jesus touched so many lives when He was on earth. Most of the time, it was the unsavory characters - the ones that most people threw aside and didn’t think twice about. But, Jesus was there for every sick heart that needed healing. Put yourself in the shoes of Simon, who carried Jesus’s cross. Imagine that it is your own as he did..the heaviness that weighs upon your shoulders, trying to hoist it up, but always falling under the weight of it, slipping and falling in the dirt. But with that heavy cross, our Savior paid for our sins and give us a place to call home. A place to feel safe at last.

Prayer: 

Dear Jesus - 

You carried the cross for my sin and shame. I find myself so thankful today for what you have done. You carried my cross for me. I will never understand the weight of the world on your shoulders, but I am grateful you chose to do it. Because of your willing sacrifice, I am free. 


Day 2

moment of faith WIDE.jpg

I stood there on the edge of the boat, listening as Jesus called out my name. I was panicked on the inside. He was calling for me to step out onto the water. All I could think was that I would instantly sink. Fear was quickly eating away at my thoughts. I took a deep breath and stepped out. For a few moments, as my eyes stayed focused on His, I stayed above the waves. I was soon taken over by fear though, and I began to sink. I closed my eyes, and saw a hand reach out to me and pull me back up again. As we went back to shore, I felt ashamed of my fear. Jesus pulled me into His embrace, and I felt the warmth of His love."

Bible Passage:

As soon as the people were fed, Jesus told his disciples to get into their boat and to go to the other side of the lake while he stayed behind to dismiss the people. After the crowds dispersed, Jesus went up into the hills to pray. And as night fell he was there praying alone with God.

But the disciples, who were now in the middle of the lake, ran into trouble, for their boat was tossed about by the high winds and heavy seas.

At about four o’clock in the morning, Jesus came to them, walking on the waves! When the disciples saw him walking on top of the water, they were terrified and screamed, “A ghost!”

Then Jesus said, “Be brave and don’t be afraid. I am here!”

Peter shouted out, “Lord, if it’s really you, then have me join you on the water!”

“Come and join me,” Jesus replied.

So Peter stepped out onto the water and began to walk toward Jesus. But when he realized how high the waves were, he became frightened and started to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he cried out.

Jesus immediately stretched out his hand and lifted him up and said, “What little faith you have! Why would you let doubt win?”

 And the very moment they both stepped into the boat, the raging wind ceased. Then all the disciples crouched down before him and worshiped Jesus. They said in adoration, “You are truly the Son of God!” 

Matthew 14:22-33 TPT

Observation:

Faith is a muscle we all have to exercise. We don’t suddenly acquire perfect faith when we become a Christian. It’s something we have to work to develop. Think about a baby’s first steps. A baby doesn’t come out of the womb ready to walk. It has to grow strong before it can even attempt to stand up on its legs, and the process of learning to stand and walk usually involves more falling down than anything else! It takes time and effort, but eventually the baby is forging a path ahead. The next thing you know, you’re chasing them around the house! That’s how our faith should be! It should grow more and more, and even when we do stumble, we don’t have to start from the beginning, but we bounce right back up and continue moving forward. 

Prayer:

Dear Jesus - 

Help me to continue growing my faith. Like Peter, it’s easy to fall back into doubt when I take my eyes and focus off of you. Help me to increase the steps of faith that I take on my journey, so that I may grow in my ability to follow You. 

Day 3

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My sister was running around the house like a madwoman. She kept pestering me about how perfect the house needed to be. She didn’t want one area to look out of place. As she shuffled about, I was in my room looking for my finest perfume. He was coming today. Our Master, the one called Jesus. Inside, I was jumping for joy. My heart was leaping, knowing He was going to be here. Martha barked my name, saying that he had arrived. I grabbed my alabaster jar, the most expensive thing I owned, and made my way to Jesus. His brown eyes smiled at me. I gestured for him to sit down and remove His sandals. I opened the jar, and a sweet, fragrant aroma flowed out. I poured some over His feet, massaging it in. Then, I wiped His feet dry with my hair. It was the purest form of worship I could give this Savior who had changed my life, along with so many others.”

Bible Passage: 

As Jesus and the disciples continued on their journey, they came to a village where a woman welcomed Jesus into her home. Her name was Martha and she had a sister named Mary. Mary sat down attentively before the Master, absorbing every revelation he shared. But Martha became exasperated by finishing the numerous household chores in preparation for her guests, so she interrupted Jesus and said, “Lord, don’t you think it’s unfair that my sister left me to do all the work by myself? You should tell her to get up and help me.”

The Lord answered her, “Martha, my beloved Martha. Why are you upset and troubled, pulled away by all these many distractions? Are they really that important? Mary has discovered the one thing most important by choosing to sit at my feet. She is undistracted, and I won’t take this privilege from her.”

Luke 10:38-42 The Passion Translation TPT

Observation:

Do you always give your best to Jesus? We have so much going on in life that most days, it’s easy to get super distracted and miss connecting with Jesus at all. Even in worship, it’s easy for our minds to wander and not focus on the One who gave us everything. Distraction is one of the Enemy’s most effective tools that he uses to keep us from having intimate moments with our Savior. He knows that in those intimate moments, change takes place. As we become more Christ-like, we become a powerful force against the enemy and our purpose is strengthened. In moments of worship, take time to clear your mind and focus on who Jesus really is, and the sacrifice He made. Let the words travel from your mind to your heart, and give Jesus a sweet, fragrance of worship that is pleasing to Him.

Prayer: 

Dear Jesus,

Help me to focus on You completely. Like Mary in Luke 10, help me to put You before anything else in my life. The sweet fragrance of my worship is what you want. I make a choice today to place You first in my life. Above life’s distractions, beyond my worries and superseding my selfish desires. I choose to worship you. Amen.

Day 4

mother.jpg

“My child... My sweet boy... You proclaimed countless times that You were going away. How was I supposed to know this is what You meant? I knew You were destined for greatness the moment the angel came to me. I was told You would be the Savior of all God's children. Is this truly the only way? Standing here, watching them crucify my child. I should have protected You. What more could I have done? What words could I have spoken? In this moment, Your life flashes before my eyes. Nursing You. Holding your hand as You learned to walk. Playing with You in the fields. Joseph and I did all we could to provide for You. I did all I could to listen. I'm sorry I grew weary at times with 

Your followers. I just selfishly wish that we could’ve spent more time together. But, there were miracles that needed to be done. Healing that needed to come. Prophecies that needed to be fulfilled. Now, here I stand, seeing my child beaten beyond the point of  recognition. But, I still recognize You. My baby boy. But more than that, so much more than that. You are my Savior, Jesus Christ.”

Bible Passage:

“Now when the soldiers crucified Jesus, they divided up his clothes into four shares, one for each of them. But his tunic was seamless, woven from the top to the bottom as a single garment. So the soldiers said to each other, “Don’t tear it—let’s throw dice to see who gets it!” The soldiers did all of this not knowing they fulfilled the Scripture that says, “They divided my garments among them and gambled for my garment.” Mary, Jesus’ mother, was standing next to his cross, along with Mary’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. So when Jesus looked down and saw the disciple he loved standing with her, he said, “Mother, look—John will be a son to you.” Then he said, “ John, look—she will be a mother to you!” From that day on, John accepted Mary into his home as one of his own family.” John 19:23-27 TPT

Observation:

Throughout the books of the gospel, we see Jesus' life from four different perspectives. Four different disciples. These men walked with Jesus every single day during the few years of His ministry. But take a step back and try to imagine what it must have been like for Mary, His mother who raised Him, to see our Savior, her son, up on that cross. Her own flesh and blood. Jesus’ death on the cross was absolutely heartbreaking and yet absolutely necessary. May we never take the seriousness of our salvation for granted. Thank you, Jesus, for your sacrifice. No amount of saying "thank you" will ever be enough, but may we live our lives finding ways to always show our thanks. Amen. 

Prayer:

Dear Jesus - 

I take a moment to reflect on that cross. I take a moment to think about how Mary, your mother, must have felt. May I never take for granted the sacrifice that not only you made, but also the sacrifice of the lives that surrounded you. I am forever grateful. 

Day 5

woman.jpg

“I had dealt with my problem for so many years. I was pointed to and stared at in my village. I felt ashamed and unclean. Always unclean. No one wanted me around. I was cast aside from society; lonely, I cried myself to sleep each night. I never thought that I would be healed of my personal, woman issues. It was not a topic that most people wanted to talk about. I was desperate, running from doctor to doctor, hoping to find a cure. Then, Jesus walked through my village. I pushed my way through the crowd, but they pushed back. Finally, on my hands and knees, I crawled through the crowd, reached out my hand, and touched the hem of His robe. An electric shock pulsed through my body, from my head to my toes. I stood up, knowing something was different. The men around Him glared at me, but Jesus, with his warm, kind eyes took my hands in His and said that I was healed. Tears of joy rolled down my cheeks. All of those years of pain erased with just one touch of His healing power. 

Bible Passage:

In the crowd that day was a woman who had suffered greatly for twelve years from slow bleeding. Even though she had spent all that she had on healers, she was still suffering. Pressing in through the crowd, she came up behind Jesus and touched the tassel of his prayer shawl. Instantly her bleeding stopped and she was healed.

Jesus suddenly stopped and said to his disciples, “Someone touched me. Who is it?”

While they all denied it, Peter pointed out, “Master, everyone is touching you, trying to  get close to you. The crowds are so thick[e] we can’t walk through all these people without being jostled.”

Jesus replied, “Yes, but I felt power surge through me. Someone touched me to be healed, and they received their healing.”

When the woman realized she couldn’t hide any longer, she came and fell trembling at Jesus’ feet. Before the entire crowd she declared, “I was desperate to touch you, Jesus, for I knew if I could just touch even the fringe of your robe[f] I would be healed.”

Jesus responded, “Beloved daughter, your faith in me has released your healing. You may go with my peace.”

Luke 8:43-48 The Passion Translation TPT


Observation:

It’s hard to imagine what this woman was going through. All we know of her is that she had a bleeding problem for a number of years. Some translations say up to twelve. It was such an intense struggle that it drove her to push through the crowds of people, and do something unconventional. She reached out and touched the hem of Jesus’s robe. She didn’t even have his hands touch her. Her faith in Him gave her body the complete healing that it needed. 

Facing tough news or challenges with our health or the health of someone we love is never easy. Sometimes, these seasons can have a way of feeling like they will go on forever. We can begin to doubt that Jesus is our healer. Through his blood shed on the cross, we no longer have to be a slave to the fear of sickness. Our faith rises as we reach out to Him, and trust the outcome, knowing He is always within our reach. 


Prayer:

Dear Jesus - 

Give me faith like the woman who pressed through the crowd to touch the hem of your garment. Even though life's struggles press against me, grow my faith to reach out to you as my healer and to continue to hope no matter how grave things look. 

Day 6

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"I stood on the deck of the ship, while the wind and rain whipped through me. I was scared, wet, and cold. Jesus, however, was soundly asleep below deck. I looked at the other disciples as they huddled together, all too scared to do the task. I sighed inwardly and walked down the steps. I got close, and spoke over the noise, over the storm. After three tries, He finally woke up. Sternly, He looked at me, and I said, “Master, there’s a storm raging above.” His brown eyes gazed at me, and I knew He could sense my fear. He walked up the steps, and rebuked the wind and waves. In an instant, the sea was calm, the sun shone bright, and the birds flew around us. I was shocked and amazed. 

He looked at us and said, “Why were you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” With that, He descended back into the belly of the ship to continue resting. 

Feeling embarrassed, I said out loud, “What kind of man is this? Even the wind and waves obey Him.”

Bible Passage:

One day Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s get in a boat and go across to the other side of the lake.” So they set sail. Soon Jesus fell asleep. The wind rose, and the fierce wind became a violent squall that threatened to swamp their boat. So the disciples woke Jesus up and said, “Master, Master, we’re sinking! Don’t you care that we’re going to drown?”

With great authority Jesus rebuked the howling wind and surging waves, and instantly they stopped and became as smooth as glass. Then Jesus said to them, “Why are you fearful? Have you lost your faith in me?”

Shocked and shaken, they said with amazement to one another, “Who is this man who has authority over winds and waves that they obey him?”

Luke 8:23-25 TPT


Observation:

There is one thing we can count on - there will be storms in life that come our way. Sometimes, it may be short-lived; but very often, the storm comes and lasts for a season. How we respond the storm reveals the strength of our faith. Having a firm foundation before we even encounter a storm will help in the midst of us the storm.

Even though we know the One who saves us, we can still tend to live in fear of the unknown. When we feel overwhelmed by darkness and uncertainty, all we need do is cry out to Jesus. Remember, Jesus never leaves us. This world won’t save us. Our friends won’t save us. Not even our family will save us. Only Jesus can save us, and He alone is our hope!

Prayer:

Dear Jesus -

Forgive me for my lack of faith. Help me to see when my faith is wavering. In those moments, may I seek You and only You. Be my guide, my protector, and my hope!

Day 7

jesus7.jpg

Another day drawing water from the well. I always come during the hottest time of day, to avoid running in to anyone else. No one else draws water at this time. I'm all alone. No one to judge me. No one to look down on me. No one to ask questions. I don't need reminders of what a mess my life is. So, I avoid everyone. I prefer the blazing scorch of the sun's heat over the spiritual weight of their judging eyes. 

But, today is different. Today, there’s a man at the well. A Jewish man. He wants me to draw him some water. Why is he interacting with? To acknowledge me, a woman, is already out of the ordinary, but a Jewish man to talking to a Samaritan is unheard of! The more we talk though, the more at peace I feel. Somehow, he’s telling me all about my life, but not in a judgmental manor. It’s more of a loving manor. He’s offering me living water that will quench my soul, promising that I’ll never thirst again. In Him. I’m finding everything I’ve been longing for.”

Bible Passage:

Soon the news reached the Jewish religious leaders known as the Pharisees that Jesus was drawing greater crowds of followers coming to be baptized than John. (Although Jesus didn’t baptize, but had his disciples baptize the people.) Jesus heard what was being said and abruptly left Judea and returned to the province of Galilee, 4 and he had to pass through Samaritan territory.

Jesus arrived at the Samaritan village of Sychar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son, Joseph, long ago. Wearied by his long journey, he sat on the edge of Jacob’s well. He sent his disciples into the village to buy food, for it was already afternoon.

Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink of water.”

Surprised, she said, “Why would a Jewish man ask a Samaritan woman for a drink of water?”

Jesus replied, “If you only knew who I am and the gift that God wants to give you—you’d ask me for a drink, and I would give to you living water.”

The woman replied, “But sir, you don’t even have a bucket and this well is very deep. So where do you find this ‘living water’? Do you really think that you are greater than our ancestor Jacob who dug this well and drank from it himself, along with his children and livestock?”

Jesus answered, “If you drink from Jacob’s well you’ll be thirsty again and again, 14 but if anyone drinks the living water I give them, they will never thirst again and will be forever satisfied! For when you drink the water I give you it becomes a gushing fountain of the Holy Spirit, springing up and flooding you with endless life!

The woman replied, “Let me drink that water so I’ll never be thirsty again and won’t have to come back here to draw water.”

Jesus said, “Go get your husband and bring him back here.”

“But I’m not married,” the woman answered.

“That’s true,” Jesus said, “for you’ve been married five times and now you’re living with a man who is not your husband. You have told the truth.”

The woman said, “You must be a prophet! So tell me this: Why do our fathers worship God here on this nearby mountain, but your people teach that Jerusalem is the place where we must worship. Which is right?”

Jesus responded, 21 “Believe me, dear woman, the time has come when you won’t worship the Father on a mountain nor in Jerusalem, but in your heart. Your people don’t really know the One they worship. We Jews worship out of our experience, for it’s from the Jews that salvation is made available. From here on, worshiping the Father will not be a matter of the right place but with the right heart. For God is a Spirit, and he longs to have sincere worshipers who worship and adore him in the realm of the Spirit and in truth.”

The woman said, “This is all so confusing, but I do know that the Anointed One is coming—the true Messiah. And when he comes, he will tell us everything we need to know.”

Jesus said to her, “You don’t have to wait any longer, the Anointed One is here speaking with you—I am the One you’re looking for.”

At that moment the disciples returned and were stunned to see Jesus speaking with the Samaritan woman. Yet none of them dared to ask him why or what they were discussing. All at once, the woman dropped her water jar and ran off to her village and told everyone,  “Come and meet a man at the well who told me everything I’ve ever done! He could be the Anointed One we’ve been waiting for.”  Hearing this, the people came streaming out of the village to go see Jesus.

John 4 TPT

Observation:

The woman at the well lived in the destruction of her ways and decisions. She avoided the judgement of others through simple avoidance. She knew the corrupted life she was living. Jesus always went against the grain, responding with loving correction. He knew all about the woman’s mess before she even approached the well, and He sat there with her, loving her through it all. She didn't need a reminder of her disfunction. She needed love and healing and hope. 

What mess do you convince yourself is too great for God's forgiveness? What healing do you need? Shame is always looking to discourage our hearts and take up residence in our minds. It seeks to cast you down into the lowest of lows, and keep you from living out the purpose God has planned for your life.

God is full of love and compassion. He longs to reach out and hold you in His embrace. Will you let Him near your heart today, so that He can tear down the shame in your life? He is the God of the impossible. He is capable and willing to do it all!

Prayer:

Dear Jesus - 

Help me to move past the shame or guilt that I may be holding on to in my heart. Like the woman at well, give me eyes to see the grace and mercy You offer. You are the living water, and I come thirsty for more of You in my life.