April 23rd

Scripture - Mark 4

Observation - Jesus used the parable of a mustard seed to show how God delights in small things. A mustard is about the size of a pinhead but can grow into a large plant. Abraham became the father of many nations and Jesus offers salvation to the world. In God’s kingdom, simple truth takes hold, small faith flourishes and phenomenal growth takes place.

Application - Where is your faith at today? Do you spend your days worrying, or do you let your faith carry you through day-to-day. By spending time in the word and in prayer your faith grows from a small mustard seed, to something enormous.

Prayer - Lord, I cannot see you but I know that you are there. I trust that you hold me in the palm of your hand. Help me to live every day with this perspective. Help me to understand that even if I have a little bit of faith, you can move mountains with it. Help my faith to grow every day. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

April 22nd

Scripture - Mark 3

Observation - Jesus was simply asking the people of the synagogue a question. He wanted them to realize that their obsession with the technicalities of the law had blinded them from discovering God’s love. Jesus saw their stubborn hearts and it angered him. Jesus didn’t fly off of the handle with his anger or yell at the people. Instead, his anger in this moment drove him towards compassion and love for the people.

Application - What causes your anger to go off? Is it a loved one? A spouse? Rush hour traffic? Whatever it is, take a minute to check your heart to see what stirs up anger in you. Our anger is very human and most times it is not driven by love. When our human side gets angry, we tend to be hurtful towards people, even ourselves. Ask God to help you choose to LOVE rather that live in anger. If anger pushes you towards a change of heart -to focus on LOVE, it can be helpful.

 Prayer - Lord, I confess my anger to you. When I confess, you are faithful and just to forgive. Cleanse my heart of all unrighteousness. Examine my heart and protect me from falling into temptation. Lead me instead towards loving people well. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

April 21st

Scripture - Mark 2

Observation - The religious leaders of Jesus’ time really had no idea who he was. In viewing him, the leaders just saw a man who was trying to claim “authority.” They didn’t seem to know that Jesus was there to establish a connection once again between man and God and that he was in fact the Son of God. Jesus saw the faith of the friends of the man who was paralyzed. Jesus then forgave the mans sins. The religious leaders were shocked that a person, other than God himself would claim to do such a thing. Then Jesus took it a step farther and healed the man. They had been looking for the savior for so long, that they didn’t realize he was standing right in front of them. 

Application - Have you ever felt judged by your past, your circumstances, or even choices that you’ve made? Or maybe, never felt like you measured up to someone’s expectations? When the paralytic man was carried to the house on a mat, the crowd couldn’t see past his appearance or their own desire to be in the house. Then, he was lowered through the roof. Jesus saw past the distractions and the crowd, he saw this man with compassion. Jesus has made a way to make all brokenness whole. Don’t feel like you ever too far gone, for the Savior to make your brokenness whole. He is after all, the same savior who called Levi, a tax collector to follow  him too.

Prayer - Father, help me to trust that you see past my brokenness. Thank you for meeting me in my brokenness and making me whole. Somedays I feel weak and unwise. Thank you for your grace and forgiveness. Give me wisdom over all areas of my life. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

April 20th

Scripture - Mark 1

Observation - In this chapter, we read about John the Baptist, who set the stage for the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. Then, Jesus called some people to be his followers, his disciples. Shortly after Jesus began his ministry, we see that he is more than just a good person, with good principles. Jesus was able to perform miracles because he is the son of God.

Application - Whether you just recently heard God’s invitation to follow him, or you have been following Jesus for decades, God is always welcoming us onto his team. What areas of your life is God inviting you to leave behind so that you can follow Him?

Prayer - Father, Thank you for always pursuing me and welcoming me onto your team. Would you help me respond to your invitation to follow you with every part of my life? In Jesus name, Amen.

April 19th

Scripture - Luke 24

Observation - Disappointment and confusion seemed to have moved into the lives of Jesus’ followers . In this chapter we meet of those followers as they travelled down the road. They had hoped the true Messiah had come, but their religious leaders had handed him over to be crucified. Like everyone else, they thought Jesus had come to redeem Israel politically and establish a physical kingdom that would overthrow the Roman rule and set them free. Instead, Jesus came and did so much more than that! He established a kingdom that he still rules over today and he removed sin’s stronghold so that people could become citizens of God’s spiritual kingdom. He still redeems in a way today that leaves us in constant awe of him.

Application - Our Savior is risen! As a follower of Christ this is the constant that we know and grow with on a daily basis. We know that this walk takes sacrifice, that most days seems so hard. Do you know Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior? If not, this weekend is a perfect opportunity for you to jump all in with Him. This chapter finds a number of Christ followers hopeless too. Invite God to display HOPE to you as you continue to navigate this life that often looks different than we expected.

Prayer - Lord Jesus, I ask you to forgive me of my sins. I ask you to come into my life and cleanse my heart and spirit. Make me a whole and new person in you Jesus. I ask that you surround me of your love and always let me know of your goodness, love, peace, joy, and patience. In Your name I pray, Amen.

April 18th

Scripture - Luke 23

Observation - Jesus’s ultimate sacrifice is recorded in this chapter. In man’s eyes he was guilty of the worst crimes and hung on the cross. But the payment wasn’t for any guilt of His own, it was God’s payment for all of humankind’s sins. The only way to cover our sin was to give a pure and blameless blood sacrifice. As the blood of Jesus stained the cross, so was death and sin lifted off of our lives. We are now able to be redeemed -to be in relationship with God, through Jesus Christ, our Savior’s sacrifice.

Application - As Easter draws nears, it is a great time to remember what Jesus did for us. Sometimes it’s easy to forget or let the idea of the cross become common to us. But, when we really take a minute to remember what Christ did, it does something to our spirits. The work of the cross brings true wholeness into our lives. Maybe that is why Jesus encouraged us to reflect often on His body and blood given for the forgiveness of our sins. Think back on your own salvation story. Take a few moments to write down your story as a way to reflect on God’s good grace and redemption of your life.

Prayer - God, thank you for sending your only son, Jesus to be a living sacrifice for me. Thank-you for my salvation and sanctification. Captivate me in your holiness. Purify my soul, mind, heart, and spirit. Burn the areas out of my life that are not pleasing to you. In your name I pray, Amen.

April 17th

Scripture - Luke 22

Observation - The gathering of Jewish religious leaders examined Jesus, hoping his response would give them something to accuse him of- enough to result in the death penalty by the Roman authorities. Jesus’ response to their questions was to declare, “I am,” which is similar to the way God presented himself to Moses. When Jesus said this the leaders took what he was saying as proclaiming himself God, which was the highest form of blasphemy and the crime was punishable by death. It’s just what they needed to turn Jesus over to Pilate.

Application - Have there been times where life has been on trial for you? While our sins are indeed punishable by death, Jesus has stepped in to serve the death penalty that we deserve and has given us everlasting life instead. All we have to do is accept him and give our trials over to him. What trial, what challenge, do you need to allow Jesus to step into today in your life?

Prayer - Jesus thank you for being my redeemer. Without you I would face a life full of worry and uncertainty. I wouldn’t know my next steps and would be completely lost without your shining life. I thank you Jesus for every moment that I get to spend in your presence. In your name I pray, amen.

April 16th

Scripture - Luke 21

Observation - In this chapter, Jesus honored a humble widow who gave everything she had. Jesus also prophesied about coming days where persecution would be rampant, but he encouraged his followers to stand strong. Even when put on trial, it would be their opportunity to tell people about Jesus! 

Application - It sounds exciting to be all in, fully committed right? Full commitment comes at a high cost though. It can be challenging to be fully committed, but Jesus helps us grab some perspective in this chapter. A widow’s small offering is actually more than just a tiny amount of money, because she gave everything she had. In preparing his followers for coming persecution, the perspective Jesus points them towards is not to focus on things falling apart around them, rather he invited them to see the opportunities God gives them to share HOPE in the midst of hopelessness. How can you focus on the opportunities to give your all in he midst of the challenges you face today? How can you invite God to direct your perspective differently today?

Prayer - God, Thank you for helping me fix my eyes on you and the opportunities to surrender all I have to you. When the world around me starts to crumble, help me to fix my eyes on the opportunities you are giving me to share your hope, rather than being caught in despair and anxiety. In Jesus name, Amen.

April 15th

Scripture - Luke 20

Observation - The parable of the vineyard hit home to many of the people who were listening to Jesus tell it. The owner of the vineyard represents God; The vineyard is Israel; the tenant farmers are the religious leaders; the servants are the prophets; and the son is the Messiah. Jesus creatively told the coming of his death and resurrection through this parable. Most of the people are shocked by the details of this story and couldn’t believe the mistreatment of the servants and death of the son. But hey didn’t realize that they soon would give Jesus over to be killed. The good news is that Jesus is the cornerstone that holds up God’s kingdom. Soon the people will have a choice; reject God forever, or come to know him through his son, Jesus Christ.

Application - Have you ever felt rejection in life? It’s a tough pill to swallow sometimes. How did you handle the rejection? Just think how Jesus might feel when we have rejected him at times in our lives. Thankfully, Jesus doesn’t become bitter like we tend to do. Instead he so graciously still loves us and always has his arms wide open to welcome us home when we are ready for him. Throughout this chapter, we read about Jesus’ interaction with ‘religious’ people and leaders of the day who didn’t realize that the savior they were waiting for was standing right in front of them. How can reflecting on the fact that Jesus overcame the grave for us change the way we’ll live our lives out today?

Prayer - Lord, help me to see what You are doing throughout the day. Help me to live a life that is a reflection of you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

April 14th

Scripture - Luke 19

Observation - While at Zacchaeus’ house, Jesus used a parable to teach the people about his kingdom. He encouraged the people to remain faithful until the kingdom arrives through the second coming of Jesus. Some of the servants in the parable multiplied what God had trusted them with. One of the other servants in the parable tried to play it safe by holding onto all his belongings. He didn’t manage what the nobleman had entrusted to him and it was taken from the servant.

Then Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. The same people that welcomed him there with praise and triumph would soon be the people that would shout that he should be hung on the cross. The crowd was anticipating that Jesus would soon be their earthly king and free them from Roman rule. Making his way into the city, Jesus wept over the city, knowing that many of the people there, were missing the fact that the True Messiah had come because they were expecting him to look different than he did.

Application - It - In our lives today we can let worry, insecurities, and fear hold us back from doing what God has called us to do. Instead, we should step out to God’s call and be faithful and trust that He knows what he is doing with our lives. What has he given you to manage right now? It might not seem like much, but will you manage and care for why he’s given you?

Prayer - Jesus, help me have faith that goes beyond my own understanding. Take fear out of my life and replace it with your peace. Help me to be faithful with the people and things you have trusted me with to manage. Give me wisdom on how to multiply what you’ve given me, for your glory. The path may be rocky, but your hand guides and steadies me. In your name I pray, Amen.

April 13th

Scripture - Luke 18

Observation - Jesus tells a parable about a Persistent Widow, to help us learn how to pray. The story sets a model of persistent prayer, that is tenacious, constant, and insistent. Jesus encourages one to ask again and again and again in the face of what seems like unresponsiveness. God through his love for us responds eagerly to our persistence. Jesus ends with a question to think on. Can faith be found anywhere on earth?

Application - The story of the widow sets an example of someone who realized their need, and knew who could fix it. God will ‘surely give justice to his chosen people who cry out to him day and night’. Some days it feels like prayers go unheard. Then there are days that we only pray when we feel like it or when troubles come our way. But a healthy prayer life is found in spending time simply talking with God. How can you change your prayer life? Would you say your pray life is healthy or non-existent? What is a big distraction in your life that you could take away and instead use prayer to fill that time? The most important thing about prayer is not about the words or ways that you pray. The most important thing about prayer is that you simply begin.

Prayer - Father, with all the distractions in life it is hard sometimes to turn off the noise and focus on you. Whatever is keeping my attention away from you show me what that it is. Grow my prayer life and grow my faith. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

April 12th

Scripture - Luke 17

Observation - Jesus refers to the millstone in his teaching as an example of how much weight a person bears when living in sin. He teaches his disciples that the number times a person has sinned doesn’t matter when a person asks for forgiveness. He explain to them that a person will always be forgiven when they repent of their sins. The disciples responded to Jesus by asking him to grow their faith even more. Jesus simply stated that faith begins as small as a mustard seed. Jesus knew how much this moment would stretch his followers’ faith, but Jesus also knew that they would be able to forgive as their faith grew and stretched.

Application - Forgiveness seems to be the one thing that most people find hard to do. It seems easier to take the moment that something was done to you and bury it deep in your heart. But what happens is that moment begins to grow roots of bitterness and from the bitterness comes anger and unforgiveness. It begins to turn you into someone that no one wants to be around. Forgiveness is not only for the benefit of the other person, but rather a valuable moment for you to give your situation over to God. Take some time to ask God to help you forgive anyone that you have held back forgiveness from, after all, he is the Master of forgiveness. 

Prayer - Father, thank you for your gift of forgiveness. Your mercy flows over me in spite of my faults and failures. Your Word says to, “clothe yourselves with love, which binds together in perfect harmony.” (Col 3:14) Help me demonstrate unconditional love today, even to those who hurt me. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

April 11th

Scripture - Luke 16

Observation - When first looking at this chapter Jesus seems to be saying that things have changed around here, but then again, nothing has changes. What Jesus is really saying is that the coming of the Messiah builds on the foundation the prophets laid. Jesus doesn’t abolish the law, he fulfills it. Think of it like this. You have a plain white room with no decoration. Later, you come in and paint the room a nice neutral color, add decoration, and possibly some new furniture. The room seems to be a different place but is actually the same place magnified. Jesus’ message doesn’t cancel out what the prophets have said but adds depth and meaning to it. The law prepares the way for God to show his love through Jesus. The law cannot bring righteousness or oneness with God; however, the law shows us our need for a Savior and points us to Christ who Is the only way. 

Application - We would like to think that we can go out and do our own, but the reality is that we need our Savior. Think about your life before you came to Christ and what it was like. Now, think about your life after you came into relationship with Jesus. What an awesome transformation your life took! He made something beautiful from the ashes that were scattered in your life! 

Prayer - Lord, I am so grateful for keeping those around me safe and loved. Thank you for your blessings in my life. I pray that you remind me of just how blessed I am and that you never let me forget to show gratitude in all areas of my life. In your name I pray, amen.

April 10th

Scripture - Luke 15

Observation - Jesus tells us constantly through his words that he is the seeker of the lost. He tells three stories of lost items in Luke 15. A sheep, a coin, and a son. When each item is found Jesus talks about the celebration and rejoicing that they are no longer lost but found. The same goes for a person who has strayed far from the presence of God. They may have wandered for a while but when they come back to knowing Him, all of heaven rejoices.

Application - Have you ever lost your way, lost hope, or felt like you were losing your mind? Have you ever felt like you were lost to the world, or even to yourself? Take inventory of what you have lost recently and ask God to help show you how to rejoice through those losses. You are not rejoicing over the loss but rather God takes things that have strayed away from us and marvelously restores them to us in ways we might not immediately recognize or appreciate. 

Prayer - Father, help me to see how you work out every moment of my life; the good and the bad, the wins and the losses. It is hard to see your exact plan and there just may be moments that I totally don’t get. That’s where your wisdom comes into play. I know that there will be times I don’t completely understand the why and will have to learn to trust in you for those moments. Lead and guide me. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

April 9th

Scripture - Luke 14

Observation - Jesus went to eat dinner in the home of a leader of the Pharisee on the Sabbath. While he was there, he healed a man after asking the Pharisee’s if it was ok to heal someone on the Sabbath. The Pharisees couldn’t tell him if it was ok to heal someone on that day. Instead they were intent on following religious rules, finding their own place of importance, rather than blessing others. Then Jesus told a parable about being invited to a banquet by the Father. The guests who were originally invited all had excuses about why they could not come to the banquet. Instead, the master invited others to the banquet.

Application -   Jesus was all about blessing and caring for those in need. Sometimes it is so easy to get caught up in the tasks and rules of our faith. Jesus set an example of this by healing a man on a day that many people were more worried about what not to do, rather than the opportunity to care for someone that was right in front of them. Then remember that God invites us to the banquet with him. The people in Jesus story who were invited at first were too caught up in all sorts of tasks and events. God invites us to come into his presence, to celebrate at the banquet table. What distracts you from fixing your eyes on Jesus and being in his presence? How can you make being in his presence a priority today?

Prayer - God, help me not to get caught up in the work and tasks of my faith. Instead, help me to make being in your presence a priority. Help me to fix my eyes on you God. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

April 5th

Scripture - Luke 10

Observation - Sometimes portions of the Bible can be small, but significant. Towards the end of the chapter part of Mary and Martha’s story is told. As Jesus was about to enter their home, Martha was running around trying to prepare everything and get the house and food ready for Jesus’ arrival. But, when he arrived… Mary, instead of helping her sister, chose to sit at the feet of Jesus. Seeing her sister sitting there, Martha complained having to do everything herself, but Jesus told her that Mary is right where she should be.

Application -  There are days that we get so busy that we miss intricate, intimate moments with our Savior. We are so busy doing work, serving, taking care of family, and raising children, that Jesus has to yell over the noise and shuffle to get our attention. What can you do in your life to change up the time that you spend with Jesus? What time could you exchange so that you could have more time with Jesus?

Prayer - Father, life can get absolutely crazy. I know there are things I could put aside in order to fill my life with more time with you. At the end of the day, you are all that matters. I know the more I surrender to you, the more you’ll pour back into me. I love you God. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

April 4th

Scripture - Luke 9

Observation - Jesus sent out the twelve disciples who He had given authority to preach the gospel, heal the sick, and drive out demons. The people followed Jesus as he spoke about the Kingdom of God. He fed five thousand people with just five loaves of bread and two fish. Jesus made a little go a long way. Jesus’ transfiguration was a display of that glory of God. Even in his transfiguration, a great spiritual moment, Jesus was willing to speak about death and sufferings. 

Application - How is your prayer life? Do you talk to Jesus daily? Do you carve out time to spend time with him? It’s not always easy in our busy lives to find that time with Jesus. Try taking just five minutes a day to start praying -this might help you learn how to spend quality time with God. As you spend that time it will grow into more.

Prayer - Father, you’ve shown me through your Son that prayer is an essential part of my walk with you. It allows me time to bring my worries, issues, and fears and lay them at your feet. It is also a time to praise you and thank you for each of my blessings. Would you build a passion in my heart to always keep pursing you and help me to build our secret place together.