Daily Devotion

Day 1

August 7

Lindsey Jackman

John 15:12-13 NIV

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

As I read this passage and began to pray about what it means to love each other as Jesus has loved us and the great love of laying down one’s life for one’s friends, I think of the powerful friendships I have known; people who have sacrificed their time, talent and treasures to echo Jesus’ love in my life. Without hesitation they’ve followed this command and laid down the wants and needs of their own lives to show God’s love to me. 

I had a great need for this love when I became a new mom. I began to isolate myself as I struggled to manage the sleep deprivation, feeding schedule and the stress and anxiety of caring for my precious newborn. But God was with me and answered my prayers! I was introduced to the MOPs (Moms of Preschoolers) group at church and immediately found connection. I found other moms who were struggling like me and could relate to and rationalize all of my experiences, but I also found mothers who were farther along in their journey and could love on us as they had been loved when they were brand new moms. 

They showed God’s love to us, as it had been shown to them. They laid down their time to give hope to us. Now as a mother (slightly) farther along in my journey, I know the importance of being part of a community where we love each other as God has loved us and I pray others can feel God’s love through me.

Our God is loving! He wants us to be connected with Him and with each other. God wants us to be surrounded with the support and encouragement. He desires you to have a joyful purposeful life!

Prayer: Heavenly Father, we thank you for your Word, we thank you for your truth, and we thank you for your never-failing love. Help us remember to lay down our lives for one another is not necessarily one grand act, but acts done daily that glorify you, Lord. Help us to live like you and for you and guide our hearts to love each other as you have love us, Lord. We trust you. We love you and we praise you!

Amen.

Day 21

January 29

Frank Hertkorn

Acts 16:31-34

They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved— you and your household.” Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptized. The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole household. 

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

January 28

Holly Armstrong

Ezekiel 37:4-6

Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’” 

Sometimes all hope can seem lost. Are you in a marriage or relationship that seems hopeless? Have you been battling with infertility or something else that just breaks your heart time and time again? Does your job or financial situation make you feel like you’re fighting a losing battle, that you can’t get ahead no matter how hard you try? Or maybe your health is declining without any more treatment options, and you just feel broken and depressed? Or, maybe you have lost faith in something like the church, the government, or perhaps humanity as a whole, and all hope just seems lost? Whatever you are dealing with today, sometimes that feeling of hopelessness can just feel utterly overwhelming. God, however, does NOT leave us in our despair to walk the valleys alone. In fact, sometimes, he purposefully allows us to enter a valley, just so we can see Him and his power a bit more clearly. In Ezekiel 37, the hand of the Lord came upon Ezekiel, and it set him down into a valley that was full of dry bones. God then spoke to Ezekiel, telling him to prophesy to the bones, to command them to come alive again – with the purpose of knowing that God is Lord. Ezekiel obeyed God’s command, and with a rattling, the bones came together, with tendons, flesh, and skin. Again, God spoke to Ezekiel and commanded him to prophesy for a breath to enter into those bones. And again, Ezekiel obeyed, and the breath of God turned dry bones into a new living army. What seemed utterly hopeless and dead became alive again.

God took Ezekiel into a valley so he could see more clearly. (What valley is God having you walkthrough? Are you just angry at God for placing you there, or are you like Ezekiel and you have the willingness to go where God leads, wherever that might be?)

God commanded Ezekiel to prophesy to the bones. (What is God asking of you today about your particular situation? Are you taking the time to listen to God’s voice in your life?)

Ezekiel obeyed God’s commands. (Are you willing to do whatever He asks, no matter how ridiculous it might sound to human ears – like talking to a bunch of dead bones? Or are you hesitant to obey because it just seems too impossible?)

God spoke breath into those bones. (Without the Holy Spirit, nothing that was once dead can ever become alive again. Do you have the faith and patience to wait for the Holy Spirit to move into those dead areas of your life?)

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, I pray today for anyone who is struggling with hopelessness. Sometimes scenarios can simply seem impossible, too hard, too dead. Father, I pray that you give every person reading this hope. May they realize that you promised to walk through the valleys with them. May you give them fresh eyes to see your magnificence and fresh ears to listen to your commands. May you give them the faith to believe that you are more powerful than they could ever imagine. And may your Holy Spirit breathe life into their souls….so that others may know that YOU ARE LORD! Thank you for being patient with us as our faith grows, and most importantly, thank you for never leaving us alone.

In the name of your Son, Jesus Christ, Amen.

Day 19

January 27

Devon Ragoonath 

Jeremiah 24:4-7

Then the word of the Lord came to me: “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Like these good figs, I regard as good the exiles from Judah, whom I sent away from this place to the land of the Babylonians. My eyes will watch over them for their good, and I will bring them back to this land. I will build them up and not tear them down; I will plant them and not uproot them. I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart. 

Chapter 24 of Jeremiah talks about two baskets of figs that God shares with Jeremiah as a vision for what He is doing this time. In today’s reading, God’s promises immediately catch my attention. He promises to watch over the exiles he sent off, He promises that He will bring them back, He will build them up and not tear them down and that He will plant them and not uproot them. God also promises that He will give them a heart to know Him and that He is the Lord. 

As we are almost one month into the new year, many of our “New Year’s resolutions” may be quickly fading off. My excitement and anxiousness have slowly fallen back into my previous routines. However, I am reminded here that God promises to build me up and not tear me down. God is the King of construction and is the best carpenter there is! He can renovate our hearts and our lives, our families, workplace, community, if we allow Him to take over. He will watch over us for our good! Giving away control can sometimes be a struggle as we all want to be in the driver’s seat. I once saw on a recent TikTok trend someone posting an encouragement piece saying… we can get on a plane and relax and have no clue who the pilot is, we can get on a boat and relax having no clue who the captain is, we can live in a house that was built having no clue who the builders and architects were, then why can’t we put our unwavering trust into God? God promises to give us a heart to know Him. He reminds us that we are his people and that He is our God. It is not too late to let God take control and renovate our hearts, lives, family, etc. Pray with me. 

Prayer: Dear Lord, I trust you. I know that you are God and that you only have in mind what’s best for me. I know God that you will always watch over me and build me up. I know that you will always show me what’s good for my own being. God, I know that I am yours and that even when I veer off course that you will bring me back. God, thank you for never leaving my side. I promise to do better this year in letting you in and letting you be in control.

In Your name, Amen.

Day 18

January 26

Pastor Craig Bollinger

Hebrews 3:3-4  

Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself. For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything. 

Who gets the praise? We live in a “look at me” world. If you are a Christian, you know that the right answer is Jesus. Yet, in the back of our minds, we still cry out, ”look at me”. We want to be noticed. We want to be somebody. We desire praise! 

As the writer of Hebrews expresses – Jesus (being one with God) is the builder of everything. The one who puts everything together is far more praiseworthy than the object that is built. We see magnificent buildings and structures in the world that have captured the eye in great praise. If you go to the list of the most famous architects in the world, you will see structures that will take your breath away. Moses was a great leader. In the world, there are many great leaders, pastors, designers who stand out in the world view for what they have achieved. However, it is God who created everything, every person, every gift, every idea, every ability. It is God who created the world and it is God, through His son Jesus, who saves the world. It is only Jesus who takes us beyond the moment, the finite – to the future and to eternity. It is only Jesus who can forgive sin, wash our ugly brokenness away, breathe life into us and raise us up on the last day. Everything in the world points to God. Certainly, human beings can do marvelous things, but only because God, as the master builder, has first built us. 

One of the most beautiful things about God, through his Son Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit, is that he can also renovate and restore us. God is not only in the creation building business, but He is also in the renovation business. Buildings get old. Cracks emerge. Beauty fades. However, as we lean on Jesus and place our confidence in Him, He has the power to renovate and restore the beauty in each of us. He has the power to renovate the broken areas of our lives. He has the power to raise up that which has fallen. So, when you and I are tempted to want to claim praise, pause for a moment, and let’s turn our attention to the ONE worthy of all praise – the one who created and designed everything good about us.

Prayer: Gracious Father, creator, and architect of all that is seen and unseen, invade our hearts with your glory and our minds with your praise.

Amen!

Day 17

January 25

Kyle Hearn

Revelation 21:5-8

He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!“ Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” He said to me, “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty, I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters, and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” 

I remember when my car battery was dying and I needed to buy a new battery ASAP. I had to plan what needed to get done, how much it would cost, where I was going to get the battery from, and thought of the consequence if I did not get it soon! All of these thoughts are in our passage today, Revelation 21:5-8. Jesus beautifully tells us how he plans to renovate by making all things new, the cost, the supplies needed, and the consequences if His renovation does not take place. 

Jesus is always looking to place his “newness” in your life and church. Personally, my comfort with keeping what is, and stubbornness towards embracing what’s new can hinder my walk with Christ. I constantly need to lay my life down so I can walk as the new creation I am, and you are too. How will we do it? Jesus says “It is done… because I am..” How much will it cost us? Jesus says “I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life.” This is our life of faith! Trusting Jesus paid the ultimate price so we could live renovated! It tells us that Jesus was, is, and will be, and Jesus will judge the living and the dead. Take comfort in that today, in a fast-changing world with evil surrounding us, Jesus holds all power! He paid the ultimate price so you can live a renovated life. I don’t want you to miss out! May you embrace the messiness of His renovation in your life, for He is making all things new!

Prayer: Abba Father, Thank you that you have and will continue to renovate my life and church. You paid the price so I wouldn’t have to, you give me life, and I trust you are the judge so I don’t have to be. Have your way in my life and tell me what areas of my life need your new work. Your will be done!

In Jesus I pray, Amen!

Day 16

January 24

Maegan Garcia

Matthew 7:24-27

Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.

In any relationship, in any structure, in any job, anything you can think of, there needs to be a strong foundation of SOMETHING. When we are thinking of a relationship between couples or friends, maybe even family an example of a strong foundation could be communication. If we are thinking of a job, a strong foundation could be your knowledge of the job. The list goes on and on and we can think of a strong foundation for almost anything in our lives. As Christians what if we restructured our way of thinking and put Jesus as that foundation first? If we made Jesus our foundation in our relationships, then communication gets a little easier. If we made Jesus the foundation of our job, then we can pray for the ability to hold and gain more knowledge. I know it sounds a lot easier than it is, but that’s what faith is for. Believing that Jesus can and WILL get it done. By making Jesus the rock that is the foundation in your life, the storms and battles will not shake you that easy. 

My entire life I have been a micromanager. I’m set on the mindset of, if I want it done right, I have to do it myself. So, I’m one of those people that say putting Jesus first, the faith in Him first, is easier said than done. But I also know that I am a walking testimony of knowing that when God says He will do it, then it is already done. Psalms 119:89 says: “Your word, LORD, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens.”

Prayer: So, I challenge you. Pray and meditate on what is maybe causing you stress, anxiety, etc., then ask yourself and ask Jesus to help you restructure your plan of action with Him as the foundation. Write it down if you have to. Jesus is faithful, it is who He is. His word is settled in heaven, it will be done, it HAS been done.

Amen. 

Day 15

January 23

Michal Tuttle

John 3:3-8

Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!” Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ”You must be born again.” The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” 

What does it mean to be born again? I believe it means that you get a new life to learn again with a constant helper, the Spirit of God. It means that your life can be transformed and your mind renewed as you learn how to walk again, how to speak again, how to love deeper, and how to depend on God more. Your eyes are open to a new world of wonder as you realize that God is there to surround you each and every step. Spending time with God gives you strength, peace, hope, calm. He is faithful and He never fails to keep a promise. Though we may not see Him with our eyes, we can see Him through His blessings as He shows up in so many ways: 

In the words of a song that gives just the right encouragement when you need it most.

In the actions of a stranger who serves others when they see a need or feel an indescribable urge.

When His people lift up their voices and sing His praises as the joy of His Spirit sweeps through a room. 

To be born again is to see God’s beauty and love with new eyes as He works around us. 

Prayer: Lord, please work in our hearts to see and hear You more. Help us to feel You more as Your Spirit renews us. Remind us that You are here with us and that You give strength to the weary and increase the power of the weak. We place our hope in You, that You will help us to persevere through all of the challenges we are facing in our world as You hold us upright. Thank You for loving us and showing us how to live through Your Word. Thank You for never letting go and never giving up on us, even when we rebel and try to do our own thing. You are everything. Nothing can fill us as You do. You are more precious than anything we could even fathom.

Thank you, my Father. Amen.

Day 14

January 22

Julie Holmquist

Joel 2:25

I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten – the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm – my great army that I sent among you. 

After ordering at the drive-thru menu board, my husband and I pulled up to pay at the first window. I noticed the woman was a little too friendly as she took our cash. “Is this woman actually flirting with my husband?” I wondered. The longer we sat there waiting for the next car to move forward, the more she unabashedly continued to flirt. I was jealous – and rightly so. He is MY husband.

Did you know that God is also jealous of us? We are His people, and He wants our wholehearted devotion. It’s not because He is egotistical and selfish, but because He only wants good for us. He knows the pain and destruction that come when we go our own way.

In the book of Joel, we read about God’s promise of impending judgment on His people’s unfaithfulness and idolatry. He was going to send swarms of locusts to completely decimate the land. There would be no oil, no grain, no wine. But even in God’s judgment, He promises His mercy when they repent and return to Him with all their hearts with fasting and weeping and mourning. Repentance always precedes restoration. Through their repentance, God promised to repay them for the years the locusts have eaten. They would again have grain, new wine, and olive oil – enough to satisfy them fully.

Although Jesus suffered the full extent of God’s wrath and took the judgment for our sin upon Himself, He still disciplines us because He loves us, but it’s never punitive. Instead, it is to teach, train and correct us. He is a jealous God. He will use everything to bring us back to Himself when we’ve wandered, when we’ve flirted with the world and have been unfaithful to Him. We can, however, be assured that His discipline is not without a promise of restoration.

Prayer: Dear God, As a dearly loved child of Yours, I am no longer the recipient of Your wrath. Still, I know the Word says that You discipline those You love. Make me willing to receive Your discipline. Prick my heart when I have removed You from Your rightful place in my life. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Day 13

January 21

Jacob Lail 

Ephesians 2:8-10

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. 

We don’t make or give ourselves the salvation we want, for that salvation only comes from God’s grace. All of God’s children are crafted by him and come to life from the breath he puts into us. Verse 9 reminds us that we don’t gain salvation from our own works so that we can’t boast about doing something that only God can do. The verse is telling us to have humility, to be humble. Growing up I would hear, “Don’t get too big for your britches” or “Your ego is gonna be the size of a balloon if you don’t quit.” Being confident is one thing, but over-confidence can lead to massive downfalls. You can get swallowed up in your mind and lose track of where the true path that you’re supposed to be following has gone. It’s like going off the trail in the woods to look at something cool, but getting lost. Ironically, most often the path isn’t that far away, but we get so caught up in being lost that we freak out and wander farther. When we feel as if we have lost sight of God, we can panic and think that we have lost him forever. However, God is not that far away and he waits for us with open arms. Grace is God’s power and his forgiveness. God has created us to do good works (as read in Verse 10) in his name for all to benefit from. We can seem to fall from His grace or even see ourselves in such a way that we begin to feel as if we don’t deserve forgiveness for our acts against the Father, but salvation isn’t up to us to give to ourselves because only God can give us that salvation through His grace.

For today’s look at the renovation of ourselves, let’s look at the renovation of our relationship with God and His grace and salvation for us. Analyze what you do in your everyday life and see where you need to change some things because they go against what God asks of us. Re-read today’s passage (over and over if needed) if you feel that you are undeserving of His grace and salvation. Remember that God saves us, and no matter how far we go off the path, he waits for us with open arms and tears of joy. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for everything that you do for us. Thank you for breathing life into us and, through your grace, offering us salvation so that we may join you in heaven. You are an amazing Father, and we love you.

Amen.