May 23rd

Scripture - 1 Samuel 2

Observation - It’s hard to imagine what Hannah went through when she gave Samuel over to the Lord. Even though her arms probably ached for his touch or hug, she was still faithful in what God asked her to do. God saw that and reward Hannah for her faithfulness. He gave her three more sons and two daughters.

Application - God is so good to those who are faithful in following and serving him. We are promised such good and awesome things when we put our lives into the hands of our loving father. We may not always see riches or perfect health, but God fills us with his love, kindness, and patience. Keep following God and see what he has for you.

Prayer - Father God, thank you for loving me through every up and down that life has thrown my way. I have seen how much you love me and take care of me. I want to always follow in your ways and study your word. I want my life to overflow with your spirit. I love you father. Amen.

May 22nd

Scripture - 1 Samuel 1

Observation - In Hebrew society, one of the greatest tragedies that could happen to a woman was not being able to have children. They thought that having a child was a blessing and if you didn’t have any it was a curse. Was Hannah cursed by God to not have children? The Bible never said that God had cursed her, but he did close her womb for a season. After Hannah cried out to God and prayed, he opened her womb and she conceived Samuel, who she had promised to the Lord when he came of age. 

Application - What have you been praying for that seems unanswered? God may not always answer our prayers the way we think it should happen or how it should look. Still, God invites us to always keep praying and pressing forward. Sometimes we have to shift our prayers away from ourselves and towards those who are suffering and brokenhearted. You may not see the results of your prayers here on earth, but we can know that God does hear us and is walking with us. Beyond this life, we will be rewarded in heaven one day for our faithfulness. 

Prayer - Father, I trust in you with my entire heart. There are days though that I find my faith lacking. I find it hard to have even a small seed of faith. I pray each day you would renew that faith in me and grow it large and beyond what I could ever comprehend. I rest in the fact that you do what Your word says you will do. Grow my faith father. In your name I pray, Amen.

May 21st

Scripture - Romans 16

Observation - The issue Paul raises here is a matter of participation. His desire is that the Roman CHristinas will become wise in rgard to goodness. Such wisdom comes from two sources: participation (in goodness) and revelation (from God). When Solomon asked for wisdom, God was pleased to grant his request. Paul also exhorts the believers to e innocent about evil. Here, innonces comes because of non participation. It wiould be illogical for us to immerse ourselves in sin in order to learn how to avoid it. Thankfully, wisdom and the leading of the Spirit can help us to discern which sitauations and behaviors to avoid. 

Application - Have you ever been around something and thought, “I can do this or try this just this once, just to see what it’s like.” The bad thing with that idea is that it can become a stumbling block in our lives. We don’t have to immerse ourselves in worldly activity in order to understand people. God gives us the tools needed to love and help people. We need only ask.

Prayer - Lord, I can longer make it alone in this world. I need you every second, every minute, every hour of my life. Continue to walk beside me and mold me as I progress, and strive to become a better, stronger person in You. Guide my actions, my thoughts, my words, my deeds. Allow me not to give in to things that are tempting. In your name I pray, amen.

May 20th

Scripture - Romans 15

Observation - As community of believers we all come with different talents, backgrounds, and insights. Most times we agree on the same doctrinal issues, we also hold many different opinions on smaller theological issues. Paul is not saying that we need to be identical. He does, however, direct us to be unified in our main beliefs like how we are saved and be one in spirit and purpose. 

Application - Invite God to show you how you can be a unifying presence in your ministry or community. If there is an ongoing struggle that you are privy to, consider inviting the key individuals to your home, not to rehash the issue, but to pray that God will unite the entire group in spirit and purpose.

Prayer - Dear God, some days are hard when I’m struggling or hurting. I fight fear and worry at every turn of my life. Thank you in the midst of it all, you haven’t left me to fend for myself. Forgive me when I fall short. I lay everything down at your feet. Thank you for lifting my burdens and making me whole again. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

May 17th

Scripture - Romans 12

Observation - We no longer have to offer animal sacrifices because Christ made the ultimate sacrifice. Now, believers are living sacrifices when we die to our own desires and put God first and choose his will over our own and follow him instead of the world. God delights in the fact that we choose to put him first and follow his path.

Application - What have you had to give up for God? Has he been pulling on your heart to let go of something? It’s hard to let go of stuff that delights our flesh. It’s easy to keep going in the direction of the world. But, the more we get closer to our Savior, the less we desire to hold onto things that keep us out of alignment with God’s will. Ask God what it is that keeps you far from him.

Prayer - Father, help me to live a holy life that is pleasing to you. I offer my life to you and lay it down at the altar of your feet. Take the things that are not pleasing to you and replace it with your word and your love. Let my life be a constant example of your love flowing through me.

May 16th

Scripture - Romans 11

Observation - Paul makes one thing clear: we could not be chosen by God were it not for his grace. This beautiful grace extends to both Jews and Gentiles. Paul points out that when Elijah grieved because he thought he was the only one left serving God, the Lord assured him there was still a remnant who worshiped him. With this as his example, Paul reassures his listeners that God has not abandoned his people and that there is a faithful remnant of believers who are following Christ.

Application - Have you ever felt like you were the only one going through a hard time? Satan loves nothing more than for us to feel like no one will understand our issues. He wants to keep us isolated and alone. When we are together with other believers, we begin to see that what we go through others are as well and that makes us a stronger unit. We are able to link arms together and carry each other in prayer.

Prayer - Jesus, on days that I feel lonely, help me to remember that you are right beside me. Guide me to your word and help me find scripture that reminds me of your love for me. Help me find others who are going through the same thing. Surround me with other believers. In your name I pray, amen.

May 15th

Scripture - Romans 10

Observation - God’s people knew of God, but they consistently rejected the truth in his words because they believed that they had to gain God’s approval through being good and doing good works. They didn’t understand righteousness or apply it to their lives. What they lacked gaining insight on was that it is only through Christ, the whole and true manifestation of God’s righteousness, can people become right with God. By protecting the law, they missed God’s great truth: He has sent his son as their Savior. 

Application - As a Christian, it is easy to get caught up in following certain rules or figuring out how far is too far when making choices. But the truth is that when we apply Christ to our lives, dig deep in his word, and lead a life of prayer, we don’t have to worry about rules and regulations. Accepting Christ as our savior, we realize that HE makes us complete and whole. As we allow Christ to take over our lives, the old patterns of our lives fall away, and He shines through, bearing good fruit.

Prayer - Jesus, each day I want you to be in my life. I want to walk beside you and talk with you. Help me first to rely on you, rather than my own works. I desire your heart and passions to flood my life. Help me keep my eyes forward and on you. My old way of life is done and over with. My new life is captured by you. In your name I pray, amen.

May 14th

Scripture - Romans 9

Observation - Like the potter who crafts each pot, bowl or cup to meet a specific objective, God forms each one of us with his Plan to bring the Hope of salvation. Near the end of the chapter, Paul contrasts those who are saved by faith and those who try to gain salvation by following God’s laws. The only way to be made right with God is by faith, not by works.

Application - We have a choice in how we respond to things that happen to us in this world. We can try to respond to all of the challenges life brings us, or trust God, knowing that no matter what life holds, God has designed us and will walk with us through each challenge that we face. God invites us to trust him to pick up the pieces and make us whole. What is an area of your life that you’ve been trying to hold together on your own lately, that you could instead surrender to Jesus? 

Prayer - Father, I pray that you give me a heart of wisdom. I pray that I will always make wise choices. Help to trust in you when making good choices. More importantly, help me to trust that you are with me, that you make me whole rather than my successes. In fact, thank you for seeing past my failures and making me whole by what you’ve done, rather than anything I could ever do. Give me a heart that is willing to obey you and to respond to you in faith and wisdom. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

May 13th

Scripture - Romans 8

Observation - God works everything in believers’ lives for their “good.” This doesn’t mean that everything works for pleasant lifestyles, enjoyable futures and happiness. The “good” here, though it isn’t defined or specified, is to be understood as a spiritual and eternal “good.” God uses everything in believers’ lives-and often the difficult things in their lives-to remake them, and to transform them into the likeness of his Son. Even the events and the tragedies that the enemy hurls at us, intending to destroy us, God can create purpose in spite of the shrapnel they cause. Everything that happens to us - the easy, the difficult, the grief, the pain, the joy - Can have purpose because of God: to make us more like Jesus.

Application - Each day that we are given is never promised to be full of joy and happiness. Life can be a tough road to walk down. Most days, when bad or terrible things happen, we don’t completely understand why. When the enemy causes destruction there usually isn’t a ‘why’. Regardless,  God invites us to keep stepping out in faith and trusting and leaning on him. Through each situation, God makes you stronger and more like him.

Prayer - Lord, I know that I am weak. I struggle most days to think clearly. I ask you to clear my thinking and renew my mind. I take those things that weigh heavy on my heart and lift them up to you. Give me your strength father. In your name I pray, amen. 

May 12th

Scripture - Romans 7

Observation - Humans are sinful creatures by nature. It is something that automatically happens at births. No one can get around it. However, God longs to restore humanity back into a place of agreement with his good and perfect will. Paul himself explained how much of a struggle it is to live for God, when he said, “But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me.” (Romans 7:20-23). Paul didn’t stay there though, he also celebrated the overcoming power of God when he said, “Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.” (Romans 7:25)

Application - How do we handle sins that are stronger than our will? In our strength, we can do nothing. But we can achieve victory over them through Jesus Christ and through the Spirit of God, who mercifully frees us from the law of sin and death and enables us to live holy lives. Take some time to pray, thanking Jesus for overcoming sin, because of him, we have power over sin, and grace when we fall.

Prayer - Father, each day help me to make the right choices. I know that when things come my way that tempt me, I can’t do it on my own accord. My strength isn’t enough to defeat temptation and get the sin out of my life. I can only do that through the work of your son, Jesus. I realize that I, like Paul struggle to do what’s right. I realize just how much I need you- Your Strength to fight, and your Grace to get back up when I fall. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

May 11th

Scripture - Romans 6

Observation - Paul used the illustration of slavery to explain that his readers would end up obeying something - whether the sinful desires that so easily would lead to destruction, or discovering God’s freedom and choose to follow his way of living. Each of his readers had something or someone that serve and obey -would they choose to obey God or sin? The question is, who would be their master? Sin or righteousness? If they chose sin, they chose a road that would lead to death. But if they embraced righteousness, they would given holiness and eternal life in Christ. 

Application - Choosing the path of righteousness can be difficult. It often takes a lot of sacrifice in order to live a life God’s way. It is so easy to choose the master of sin -living after our own sinful ways. Have you felt that struggle? Paul was helping us understand that this is a struggle, a fight -and God has given us freedom from the sin that trips us up so often. “ Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace.” What does it look like to live FREE from sin today in your life, and instead to choose life in God’s grace?

Prayer - Jesus,  may nothing separate me from you today. It is so easy for me to fall back into the old way of living, but you have given me grace and freedom! Teach me how to choose only your way so each step will lead me closer to you. Help me walk by the Word and not by my feelings. Help me to not be distracted from your path. Guide my steps each and every day. In your name I pray, amen.

May 10th

Scripture - Romans 5

Observation - Suffering can cause people to feel hopeless or it can give them greater hope. It’s all in how they respond to the “joy” of suffering. Some focus on their suffering and become hopeless, despondent people. Others focus on God’s work in their lives and respond as Paul describes here. First, believers can cling to HOPE in Christ, yet suffering can teach believers to be steadfast and determined. This, in turn, builds character. Strong character produces trust in God and his plan for their future. They have hope.

Application - Are you suffering today? Jot down five to ten things that have come, or could come, from your current trial. Even though at times you don’t know exactly what he’s doing in your life, admit that to God invite him to show you how to trust him through those times.

Prayer - Father, when I face challenges, help me to see the work you are doing, the character you are building in me. On days I feel overwhelmed or like I can’t go on, I ask that you surround me with your strength. I thank you father for bringing me through trials, and making me victorious and stronger. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

May 9th

Scripture - Romans 4

Observation - Paul was explaining to his readers that no amount of works could have saved Abraham, and no amount of works could save them either. The only way for anyone to be saved is through Faith in Christ alone. He is the one who has made a way for all humankind -anyone that would believe.

Application - It is easy to think that if we try hard enough, pray more, do all of the right things, live a good life that we will be saved. But none of that saved Abraham. It was through faith that he was saved, and it is still through Faith in Christ that anyone can be saved. Take some time to thank God for what he has done -thank him that there is no way to earn salvation ourselves.

Prayer - God thank you for making a way for me to be make whole and complete-not by my own efforts, but through your work on the cross. My own efforts can get me no where, but your work on the cross sets me free from the death and destruction of the sin that so often trips me up. Because of YOU JESUS, I am saved! Thank you.

May 7th

Scripture - Romans 2

Observation - Paul was encouraging the Church to realize that it wasn’t enough just to know God’s word and truth... God is inviting his followers to respond to and live out his words. It was easy for the religious, law focused, believers to look at how someone else didn’t measure up, but Paul was inviting them to “practice what they were preaching.”. He wasn’t inviting his readers to judge more. He was inviting them to live out a genuine, surrendered life for God.

Application - It is not enough to just know what is right. God is inviting us live it. If there is a contrast between what comes from our lips and what is manifested in our lives, it might be a good time to ask God for help. Life will always be a struggle- it’s not easy to live this faith out, but God is waiting for us to rely on him. Take some time ask God for help in the areas of your life where God is inviting you to live out the faith that he is growing in you.

Prayer - Father, help me to always speak truth from my lips. Help my mind to slow down and think of what to say before I speak. I always want to speak life to others, encourage them, and show them love with my actions. In your name I pray, Amen.

May 6th

Scripture - Romans 1

Observation - Paul took time to point out just how grateful he was for the people that God has placed in his life, these people that he is called to minister to, the people that Romans is written to. Paul also reminded his readers that the Gospel is the GOOD NEWS that God makes us right in his site, not our own action. Yet Paul also urged his readers to worship the CREATOR, rather than the things that God has created. He was warning the church not to follow the ways of the world, and instead follow God.

Application - Take some time to practice gratitude -thank God for the people that he has placed in your life. After that, take some time to contemplate just how amazing the GOOD NEWS of Christ really is.

Prayer - God, thank you for placing so many amazing people in my life. Thank you for reminding me to influence others by caring the GOOD NEWS into every relationship I am in. Would you give me courage to let people know through my life and conversation that you LOVE them UNCONDITIONALLY, and walk with them through their and my struggles, because you LOVE US too much to leave us where we’re at. Thank you for all that you are, for the LIFE that you give us, Amen.

May 5th

Scripture - Mark 16

Observation - Jesus commissioned his followers to “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.16Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned. 17These miraculous signs will accompany those who believe: They will cast out demons in my name, and they will speak in new languages.16:17 Or new tongues;some manuscripts do not include new. 18They will be able to handle snakes with safety, and if they drink anything poisonous, it won’t hurt them. They will be able to place their hands on the sick, and they will be healed.” His followers listened to what he said an Miracles happened! Lives were changed, and lives continue to be transformed to this day.

Application - What could it look like for you to follow the GREAT COMMISSION in your own life? We are, after all commissioned by Christ as His followers to follow this same COMMISSION! How does this effect how you show up to your work, to school, how you interact with your family?

Prayer -  Jesus, help me to respond to your GREAT COMMISSION. Use me to love and reach those that are hurt and broken. Will you lead me and guide me, giving me the words that need to be said? I thank you for your redemptive power working in my life, but also pray that I could be used to connect people who need to hear your PLAN, HOPE, and FUTURE. Lastly God, would you give me creativity and wisdom on how I can uniquely carry out your Commission with personality, gifts, and sphere of influence that you have given me. Thank you for redeeming my life and making me whole. In your name I pray, amen.