Daily Devotion

Day 21

August 27

Rob Moeller

Ephesians 2:12-13 NIV

Remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

What kind of life are you living? How do people see you? What would people ask you?

Though Paul and Silas were arrested, beaten, and imprisoned for doing good, they were filled with joy and sang praises to God. It seemed as if nothing would make them stop praising God. What did the prisoners see? Did it make the prisoners want to change their lives?

It would have been easy for Paul and Silas to escape, thinking God provided another miraculous jailbreak. But to them, the lives of others were more important than their own personal freedom and comfort. Would Paul and Silas have acted in the same manner before meeting Jesus? The jailer saw the prison doors open, but the prisoners remained, just hanging out with Paul. What did the jailer see? How did it make the jailer feel? The jailer was so impressed by Paul and Silas, by the love they showed to him, and from their ability to take joy even in misery, that he instantly wanted to change to the kind of life that Paul and Silas have.

This passage has always been a favorite of mine as it deals personally with how we are to act in this world and what it takes to be a child of God. That night was a night of repentance and renovation. The jailer looked after Paul and Silas’s wounds and truly sought God.  The result was a new and better life complete with God. That night the jailer and his household found salvation through grace that is only found by faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

I recently went through a period of renovation. It was a time where my life felt flat, knowing Jesus was there but not fully experiencing Him. I needed some time to stop and reflect and let the Master Architect re-engineer and take control of my life. One detail I see in Paul and his ministry is that Jesus was always in his thoughts. He was always praying and always worshipping, in good and bad times. This is very hard for me with all the distractions of this world. It is not easy to stop, reflect and turn away from the old to a new and better life.

Prayer: Father Almighty, show us the way to you. Father, show us what it means to have Jesus dwelling within us. Father, show us what needs to be changed and give us the strength to receive your will. Lord, we love everything about you. Guide us to act out a joyous Christian life so we may stand out to others and have them ask us how to be saved. Amen.

Day 20

August 26

Pastor Bill McKinley

Galatians 4:7

So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.

How are you connected to Jesus?

This is an important question, possibly one of the most important of your life. Often it seems we think of him as far off, or not able to have a relationship, or that he is oppressive – “don’t do this” or “do this”. In the early part of our being in relationship with Jesus, we may need to feel this way – that he is telling us what to do. A lot of us coming out of trauma, addiction, struggle may need more structure or guidance. Even if we don’t have those experiences, we often may feel that Christianity is a bunch of rules – we are the bottom and Jesus lords it over us. 

We can’t be connected to Jesus long term like this, thinking of ourselves as a “slave” to be told what to do and when to do it, not having any agency ourselves. This passage reminds us that to be connected to Jesus is to realize that we are his children. When we are baptized, we enter a special relationship where he captures us and sets us free. Free from sin, shame, guilt, addictions – whatever is holding us back, whatever is separating us from being connected to God at a deeper level. When we are his children, this frees us from our feelings of slavery. We can have a relationship built on love and not guilt or oppression – this becomes a lifelong walk in love instead of slavery.

We are now heirs! Jesus has given us all authority, power, and knowledge to go out into the world, to be connected to him as a father is connected to his children and gives them all he has when he leaves the world. We have been given authority, power, and the love to not be equal with Jesus but to take over here on earth for him to spread his work. If you see yourself connected to Jesus and feel as a slave, you haven’t grown into a real relationship with him. But when you see yourself as a child and heir of the Heavenly King, you live out your relationship out of love – you accept that love and are able to impact the people and world around you because you have power and authority that has been given to you by your father.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for rescuing me from my sin and shame. Change me to see me as a child and heir of the Heavenly King. Lord Jesus, help me to grow deeper in connectedness to you, to see my sonship/daughtership in my relationship to you. Help me to see the freedom that I have in you. Lord, send me out in the world as your child seeking to bring your message to those around me. Amen.

Day 19

August 25

Frank Hertkorn

Revelation 3:20 NIV

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.

This verse is told by John thru a vision and is directed at the church of Laodicea. The church is Christian, but Christ Himself has been locked out. Rather than turn His back on them, He knocks, seeking someone to acknowledge the church’s need and open the door. If they would repent, Jesus would come in and take His rightful place in the church. 

The lukewarm deeds of the Laodiceans were not in keeping with true salvation. Lukewarm deeds, those done without joy, without love, and without the fire of the Spirit, do harm to the people watching or receiving. The lukewarm are those who claim to know God but live as though He doesn’t exist. They may go to church but their inner state is one of self-righteous complacency. 

Jesus seeking admittance to the church! It’s disquieting to think of Jesus standing outside of the church and knocking, but that’s the position He was in. The Laodicean church had shut the door on the Head of the church; they were smug in their prosperity, but Jesus was left standing in the cold. He was an outsider to the hearts of the entire congregation.

I have spoken often of me putting Jesus in my back pocket while I lived the life I want. With Jesus in my back pocket, I can live and do as I wish knowing I will be forgiven. However, this also reminds me of Jesus telling us in Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” This is another disquieting statement. Here we may be rationalizing that we are right with Jesus when in reality Jesus is still in our back pocket. 

God has placed me in a ministry that I never could have imagined. I have seen severely disabled children ride horses. I have comforted a family when their son suffered seizures. I have taken older gentlemen with brain trauma for an afternoon to give family and caretakers a break. I hold a Stepping Stones class at CtK to give families an hour of worry-free time with God. (shameless plug we could use help at 11:00 a.m.) Halfway thru, about 5 years, I started realizing that God was smiling on me and giving me more responsibility. 

Open the door! Jesus is knocking for you. Show Jesus your deeds are done WITH joy, WITH love, and WITH the fire of the Spirit! Keep Jesus out of your back pocket and in front of you leading the way.  

Prayer: Father, how wonderful you are. We look to you for guidance and love ALL of the time. Jesus we are truly blessed and loved to know that you care enough for us to knock and wait for us to answer. Help us to hear your knock, Lord. Help us to reach for the door knob and answer with faith, humility and servitude. Amen.

Day 18

August 24

Denise Deahl

Galatians 6:2 NIV

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

Everybody knows the world needs changing. I don’t know anyone who thinks our culture is moving in a good direction. I do know the solution though. The answer comes in knowing Jesus Christ, believing that we, Christians, are capable of accomplishing the change needed, and joining together to fulfill the law of Christ, loving one another. I can walk alongside you and encourage you, and I can ask you to do the same for me, because that’s part of carrying each other’s burdens. That’s what Christians have been doing for two thousand years! 

The early Christians were living and loving like nobody else. I didn’t just make up this solution. I try not to re-create the wheel, when someone’s already created it for me. You can find it yourself, in the Bible, God’s Word. The first Christians dealt with very similar situations, but the scenarios they faced in transforming the culture and changing the world were even worse than those we face today. What’d they do? They lived differently. They lived and loved and worked differently than everyone else around them. They watched out for each other, even despite individual differences, as opposed to everyone fending for themselves. They lived in such a way that, today, we might say it’s too good to be true or there’s got to be a catch. 

Christians today can inspire every person we touch with simple acts of generosity, kindness, patience, thoughtfulness, and selflessness. There is nothing more attractive than somebody actually living the teachings of Jesus Christ. It is amazingly attractive to all men and women, always has been, always will be. This fulfills the law of Christ ~ love one another.

The world needs changing! The first Christians changed the world. They had something the people of their time needed and wanted. When someone became a Christian during those early years, they became part of an active community that provided both spiritual and practical benefits and protections. They redefined their lives by allowing the teachings of Jesus to rearrange their priorities and they did it together, as communities. So, both as individuals and as communities, they were living life in a very attractive way. Whose burdens are you carrying today? Are you allowing the teachings of Jesus to rearrange your priorities?

Prayer: Dear Jesus, help me to recognize and carry the burdens of my brothers and sisters in need today and so fulfill the law of Christ. I want the world to know I am a Christian by your love expressed through me.

Amen.

Day 17

August 23

Gloria Denise

Colossians 1:17 NIV

He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.

God is the connection for all of us!

Sometimes I may have a day or even a whole week when I am feeling alone. (Don’t we all?) I’m very busy with a full calendar and surrounded by people all day, but still feeling lonely. In my heart, I know God is with me and I can talk to Him anytime I want but for me it’s not the same as hearing another person’s voice. Then my head starts to get the better of me, letting the enemy creep in and start poking at me, making me feel worse.

But then…a stranger walks in, someone I have never met. They proceed to tell me that I am special in God’s eyes, created by Him for something great and to continue to let my light shine. In that moment I know God is talking to me, out loud not in my head, reassuring me that I am not alone. He is giving me uplifting hope when I need it the most.

God works through all of us, giving us hope and support, in the way that is just right for our needs. Some do hear God in their head, others hear Him through worship or sermons. I hear God through kind strangers. We are all connected, touching each other’s lives, often without even realizing it.

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for taking care of me and talking to me out loud when I need it most. You never fail me and I am so grateful for those little miracles!!

Amen.

Day 16

August 22

Don Simon

Matthew 6:21 NIV

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

In this passage, Jesus is talking to the disciples about matters of the heart. He’s instructing them to connect their inward beliefs with their outward actions. In verses 19 through 21, He’s instructing them (and us) to place our highest value on the things that matter most, and He’s talking about more than just monetary things. He’s talking to us about anything we value that takes our time and attention.

The word treasure can either mean “a collection of valuable objects that has been hidden away”, or it describes the “actions we take regarding what we consider valuable”. When we treasure something, we deliberately care for it because it gives us pleasure and we consider it special. 

Caring for a treasure takes our time and attention. We return to it, admire it, watch over it, and protect it from damage. Most importantly, we think about it often because we imagine what this treasure will do for us now and in the future.

What does that mean for us today? Jesus is telling us not to spend our time and attention on things that only have value in this world. He wants us to spend our time and attention on things that have eternal value in His world.

What are some of the things that I will leave behind when I go to be with Him – my job, my possessions, my success, my hobbies, my pleasures, my friends, or my family? Compare these to what I will take with me to heaven – every moment I spend with Him, every act of service I do in His name, every verse of scripture I hide in my heart, every prayer I ever utter, every person I lead to Christ, and every moment of fellowship I spend with another believer. Think about it…what do we want to give our time and attention to?

We can have treasures that have incredible value in our future life with God in heaven. Anything that does not have value in His world might just be some junk in our lives we can leave behind.

Prayer: Lord, help us to value You more than anything else in this world. Change us on the inside and show us the incredible value of living for your Kingdom and loving what you love.

Amen.

Day 15

August 21

Carl Jackson

Romans 5:6-8 NIV

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

I am a sinner saved by God’s grace. Psalm 51:5 says, “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me”. My Lord and my Savior Jesus Christ came into my life at the right time. He looked beyond all my faults and saw my needs. He rescued me. It blows my mind thinking about how Jesus died for me. I know how I am and I know how I was. It is hard to comprehend the love He has for me. “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us”. Therefore, I let my light shine everywhere I go. The light is Jesus Christ that is in me. 

It is so important that we stay connected to Jesus Christ, so that we can stay connected to each other. Here at CtK, it is no big I and little you. We are all one in Christ Jesus. God loves us all the same. We are strong when we are connected to one another. The fingers are weak when they are separated, but when the fingers come together and make a fist, they are strong. We have power when we come together as believers. There is nothing we cannot do with the power of God on our side.

We here at CtK are family. We come together on Sundays and throughout the week. We come to worship and praise God. We come to build one another up, to learn, to love and to help one another. We can only do this if we stay connected. Our walk with Jesus is not to be alone, but with one another, hand in hand and arm in arm. When we walk with Jesus, Jesus is walking with us. My brothers and my sisters let’s journey together in Jesus’ Name!

Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, We thank you for your love, your mercies, your grace and for dying for us. Make us one in spirit and in Your truth. Let us always acknowledge You and let us not lean on our own understanding. Let us continue to look toward You in good times and bad times. You are our very help in time of trouble. We love you and we magnify your Name. We ask it all in Jesus’ Name. 

Amen.

Day 14

August 20

Karen Rodgers

John 1:14 NIV

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

When thinking about connecting to people, in our lives, Christ gives the greatest example of connecting in this verse. There was a gap between humanity and heaven. A gap so large, that we could never close it on our own. When He (The Word) became flesh and dwelt among us, His intent and purpose was to close this gap. Before Him, connecting to God involved blood sacrifices on altars, going to a priest, and following laws laid out in the Old Testament. God knew the only way to bridge that gap was to send Jesus to us, to dwell among us and to die for us. Jesus becoming flesh and paying the ultimate price for our freedom with his life, was the greatest connection ever known. Jesus lived as a human, had friends and family, and developed relationships. He connected with people in His life in such a way that Christianity spread through the entire world! His example of community with His disciples and the people He connected with while on earth, is a perfect model of how we are to connect with people in our lives. Christ was full of grace and truth, not to keep to Himself, but to share with us. We in turn are to share this with others. Encountering Christ should be life changing for us. Shouldn’t that also mean when we encounter others, those moments should also be life changing? 

I have made two friends in the last few months, simply by being “present in the moment”. While I was mountain biking, I noticed a lady looking at directions on her phone. I asked if she was good with the trail, and she said she was a little turned around. I took her on a tour of my favorite route. We exchanged numbers and have ridden together since then, with plans for more adventures. Another time, I was waiting for an oil change. I planned to sit in the lobby, put headphones in to look occupied and write this devotional. Then I realized I was planning to write a devotional on connection, by disconnecting! So, I did not put the headphones in, and instead I made another friend with someone who was new to the area. We exchanged numbers and have connected again since that encounter. I think the times we seek to connect to others, like Christ demonstrated for us, are the times we are honoring His example with our lives.

Prayer: Father, may we always seek to live in grace and truth. Help us to dwell among the people we interact with daily and seek to connect our lives to others, as you sought to connect with us, by sending Jesus to us.

Be the ultimate connection of grace and truth, Amen.

Day 13

August 19

Peter Kruzan

1 Corinthians 12:12-14 NIV

Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.

Many things make us unique from others. Some distinctions make us feel proud and valued. Sally is such a good artist! Johnny can really sing! However, other distinctions are used to categorize and control. Where one lives or the color of one’s skin far too often determine social standing and opportunity.

I remember a childhood TV show with an educational song, “Which of these things is not like the others?” Various pictures flashed up on the TV screen and you were asked to call out the one that was different. As I remember, the images were harmless categories like birds and fish and such. However, the practice of placing objects into categories is deeply rooted. Mankind seems determined to create and use short-cuts and cheat-sheets to determine who is important and who can be ignored. Fortunately, God provides a better way through Christ that does not ignore us as individuals nor does His way lock us into harmful social constructs!

If you have ever seen a beautiful tapestry and then turned it over to inspect the back, you know that what is beautiful on one side is often messy on the other. God knew that mankind would sin, and He knew that positive differences would become hopelessly intertwined with humans creating and abusing differences for selfish purposes. The passage above demonstrates how He brings together what mankind tried to separate. Within the context of the Body, value is given to those parts that are often ignored and marginalized. Distinctness is not lost but reimagined into something beautiful. What Satan tried to destroy through division, God redeemed and reconnected for His kingdom. We each find wholeness and connection through God’s work to redeem what was broken. Each is valuable and has a special purpose within the Body of Christ, not despite our differences, but because of our differences. Wow, only God can do that!

Prayer: Dear Lord, I praise you for transforming what was hopelessly broken into a picture of your power. Thank you for bringing us together in Christ, each unique and special in your eyes. Show me today how you have uniquely prepared me to be an important part of the church. Help me to see others as you see them and give me opportunity to value those often overlooked.

Amen.

Day 12

August 18

Mara Burgos

1 John 1:7 NIV

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

I remember as a little girl in Sunday school singing “This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine”. As children full of joy and wonder, it feels easy to shine our lights. We love our parents and family so much. It almost seems like second nature to love Jesus just as intensely. 

As we get older, we crave belonging and connection early, starting at school, then work and even church. I remember my parents being intentional in making connections at church after and before service. Of course, it felt super awkward; like trial and error some were instantaneous,  others required true vulnerability and the power of prayer. 

As I reflect on this scripture, I am comforted by knowing that one thing always remains: we are all sons and daughters of God and no matter where we come from or where our paths are going, we all share a passion in getting close to Jesus’s heart, often seeking forgiveness for our sins in hopes of a chance at daily redemption. Even if this was the 100,000th time in our life. 

That’s the beauty of this verse.  It’s short, sweet and to the point: 

1. Walk in the light = Obey the word and let your God given light shine. When we walk in the light, we maintain a God connection. But when we choose to step away from it, our fellowship with God will be interrupted. 

2. Have fellowship = Make friends with people that know the word of God which in turn can uplift and support you in good and bad times.

3. Blood of Jesus purifies us = Sin is the cause of a broken relationship with God. We pray for forgiveness with true repentance, and we are purified. 

Prayer: Jesus, I praise you because you loved me first. Please forgive me of my sins and thank you that with your blood you cleanse me every day. It is your grace and mercy that allows me to walk in your heavenly light. Therefore, help me be a beacon of your light, love and understanding. Help me be a better brother/sister in Christ for my family, neighbors, friends, church congregation and anyone that you send across my path. Grant me the discernment to hear your voice and be guided by your love and light in obedience to your perfect will. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.