Thank You!

A2FC_LogoJust wanted to say, “Thank You” to all who made the commitment to walk with us through the “Ashes to Fire” journey.  I know that you were strengthened and blessed as you opened your heart to God’s Word.

Now, let me encourage you to maintain the good habits you developed!  Continue to read Scripture daily!  Continue to consider how to apply the Scripture to your everyday life!  Invite others to join you on the journey!

One tool that I have found helpful in keeping up with reading the Bible daily is the YouVersion.com Bible app.  It offers numerous Bible reading plans which can even remind you daily if you’d like.  I have completed 3 reading plans using the app, two of which were read-through-the-Bible-in-a-year plans.  Of course, there are lots of shorter plans to choose from also.  The reading plans are also available via your computer at youversion.com.  Let me challenge you to try one!   Click here to explore the options.

“I have hidden your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you.” – Psalm 119:11 (NIV)

Meditation Questions for #AshesToFire – Pentecost Sunday

Please join us at church today to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ! For directions see our home page.

Consider the following questions as you meditate on the Bible passages for today (Click here to read today’s Bible passages).

Read John 14:8-17, 25-27.  When have you seen the Father at work in your life?  How do we know what God the Father is like?  Are you doing the works of Jesus?  What does it mean to ask in Jesus’ name?

Pentecost_HolySpirit Desends-2Read Acts 2:1-21.  How many different languages did the crowd hear the disciples speaking?  Why do you think God wanted the diverse crowd gathered for the Jewish feast of Pentecost to hear the good news in their native languages?

Meditate on Psalm 104:24-34.  What have you seen in nature recently that has displayed the Lord’s wisdom and greatness?  When have you seen God supply what is needed for His creatures?  What is your response to the Lord’s greatness?

Read Romans 8:14-17.  Are you being led by the Spirit of God?  Are you a slave to fear?  What does it mean to you be be adopted by God the Father?  Have you sensed God’s Spirit confirming to you that you are a child of God?  Why are glory and suffering connected?

Thank you for joining us on the journey from “Ashes to Fire” this Spring (from Ash Wednesday to Pentecost Sunday).  We’d love for you to leave a comment below or send us an e-mail at office@jaxnaz.org if this devotional resource was a help or blessing to you.  We hope that you have established a habit of and hunger for reading God’s Word on a daily basis.  Don’t give up the journey!  See you at Faith Church!

Photo:  Beacon Hill Press

Meditation Questions for #AshesToFire – Easter Wk7 Saturday

Consider the following questions as you meditate on the Bible passages for today (Click here to read today’s Bible passages).

Read Psalm 11:4, 7. Does the fact that the Lord’s “gaze examines humankind” make you affirmed or frightened? Why?

Sunrise Kaho'olawe Hawaii
“For you who revere my name the sun of righteousness shall rise, with healing in its wings.” – Malachi 4:2

Read Malachi 4:2, 5. How does a calf act when released from its stall? What does that picture say to you about the joy God is promising?  How has the “sun of righteousness” brought healing to you?

Read Acts 28:30-31. What would you do if you were placed on house arrest? What does Paul do in that circumstance?

Read John 21:20-25. Do you compare yourself to others? What do Jesus’ words challenge us to do when we are tempted to focus on God’s plan for others? Consider reading one chapter of the Gospel of John each day next week and look in each chapter to see if you can find one or both of the purposes (listed in today’s passage) John says are behind his writing of the Gospel.

Meditate on Psalm 33:1, 21-22. What is a practical application-action which you could build into your life from the Psalmist’s words, “Praise befits the upright”? How does someone who hopes in the Lord live and think?

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Meditation Questions for #AshesToFire – Easter Wk7 Friday

Consider the following questions as you meditate on the Bible passages for today (Click here to read today’s Bible passages).

In Heaven
“For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him.” – Psalm 103:11

Read Psalm 103:11-13.  How high are the heavens?  How far is the east from the west?  Why does the Psalmist use these distances to describe God’s love and forgiveness?  In what ways is God like the best father you know?  In what ways is God better than the best father you know?

Read Malachi 3:17.  What does it mean to you to know that you belong to the Lord?  How has the Father spared you?

Read Acts 26:19-20.  Have you obeyed God’s vision for you?  Have you repented and turned to God?  Are your actions consistent with a repentant attitude?

Read John 21:15-19.  Do you love Jesus?  What “sheep” has He placed in your care?  What steps do you need to take today to follow Him?

Read Psalm 102:12-13, 16.  What is implied when the Psalmist says that the Lord is enthroned forever?  When have you experienced the Lord arising to offer you compassion?  Have you ever seen the Lord’s glory?

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Meditation Questions for #AshesToFire – Easter Wk7 Thursday

Consider the following questions as you meditate on the Bible passages for today (Click here to read today’s Bible passages).

Footsteps
“You show me the path of life.” – Psalm 16:11

Read Psalm 16:9-11.  Are you confident that you are following the “path of life?”  Are you living in God’s presence?

Read Malachi 3:10.  Have you experienced the blessings that result when you are obedient to God’s call to “bring the full tithe into the storehouse?”

Read Acts 23:11.  How has God encouraged you?  What mission does God have in store for you?

Read John 17:20-26.  Who has believed in Jesus through your testimony?  Are you living in unity with other believers?  Have you asked God to let His love live in you?

Read Psalm 105:1, 3-4.  Do you call on the name of the Lord?  Do you tell people what the Lord has done for you?  Does your heart seek the Lord continually?

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Meditation Questions for #AshesToFire – Easter Wk7 Wednesday

Consider the following questions as you meditate on the Bible passages for today (Click here to read today’s Bible passages).

Read Psalm 68:32, 35.  What does it mean to say that God is “Awesome…in his sanctuary?”  When have you received power and strength from God?

Read Malachi 3:6, 7.  What is your response to the fact that the Lord does not change?  How do you respond to change in your life?  According to this passage, what does it take for God to return to you?

Watching his flock
“Keep watch over yourselves and over all the flock…” Acts 20:28

Read Acts 20:27-28.  Are you fulfilling God’s purpose?  How could you help care for the people around you?

Read John 17:11-19.  Why does Jesus want you to be protected from the evil one?  Why does Jesus leave His disciples in the world?  What is your response to the fact that Jesus prayed for the sanctification of His disciples?  Are you willing to let Jesus sanctify you?

Read Psalm 119:129-130, 135.  How can we “unfold” God’s words?  Have you discovered, like the Psalmist did, that God’s “decrees are wonderful?”  Are you willing to learn His statutes?  What will you do to learn them?

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Meditation Questions for #AshesToFire – Easter Wk7 Tuesday

Consider the following questions as you meditate on the Bible passages for today (Click here to read today’s Bible passages).

Read Psalm 68:19-20.  How has the Lord borne you up?  How has the Lord borne your burdens?  How has God provided for us an “escape from death?”

melting furnace for (0.1-200KG) metal me lting
“For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap” – Malachi 3:2

Read Malachi 3:2-3.  Are you willing to ask the Lord to refine you until you may stand in God’s presence in righteousness?  What areas of your life need to be purified?

Read Acts 20:24.  Why was Paul willing to give his life in order “to testify to the good news of God’s grace?”  To what are you willing to give your life?

Read John 17:1-11.  Do you know God and His Son, Jesus Christ?  Have you accepted His words?  What does it mean to you to know that Jesus prays for you?  What work has God given you to do?

Read Psalm 95:1, 6-7.  What song would you use to offer worship to God today?  Does your body posture (such as bowing down, kneeling, sitting, standing, etc.) help you worship God?  What does it mean to be “the sheep of his hand?”

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Meditation Questions for #AshesToFire – Easter Wk7 Monday

Consider the following questions as you meditate on the Bible passages for today (Click here to read today’s Bible passages).

Read Psalm 68:1, 3-4.  Are you joyful?  Consider expressing your joy today by singing “praises to his name.”  What song expresses your joy to the Lord?

The Long Road Home
“For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name is great among the nations” – Malachi 1:11

Read Malachi 1;11.  What is your reaction to the fact that God’s name is great among the nations around the world, from the rising of the sun to its setting?  What does it mean to you to say that God’s name is great?

Read Acts 19:2, 6.  The believers in Ephesus had not received the blessing for which they had not asked.  Have you asked to receive the Holy Spirit?

Read John 16:29-33.  Do you believe Jesus came from God?  Do you have peace?  What persecution have you had to face?  What is your response to the knowledge that Jesus has conquered the world?

Read Psalm  89:15-16, 18.  Why were those who participated in the Lord’s festivals (“who know the festal shout”) happy?  Is it possible for you to “exult in [God’s] name all day long?”  Think about how you might offer praise to God all day long (Remember, there is more than one way to offer praise!).

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Meditation Questions for #AshesToFire – Easter Wk7 Sunday

Please join us at church today to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ! For directions see our home page.

Consider the following questions as you meditate on the Bible passages for today (Click here to read today’s Bible passages).

Read John 17:20-26.  What does it mean to be “one” with other believers?  Is there anything preventing you from being “one” with other believers?  Is Jesus’ love in you?  Are you sharing it?

Read Acts 16:16-34.  Why did Paul disrupt someone’s money-making plan?  Do Paul’s actions reveal anything about the Christian view of the value of a person vs. the importance of making money or were his actions solely in reaction to his annoyance?  Why do you think God allowed Paul & Silas to be put in prison?

pacific morning
“The Lord is king! Let the earth rejoice;
let the many coastlands be glad!” – Psalm 97:1

Read Psalm 97.  If the Lord is King, what does that say about what our response to Him should be?  Where have you seen the Lord’s glory in the world around you?  Consider taking time right now to offer thanks to the Lord.

Read Revelation 22:12-14, 16-17, 20-21.  What does it mean to “wash [your] robes” so that you might have the right to the tree of life?  What does it mean to accept Jesus’ offer of the “water of life?”  Are you ready for Jesus to return?

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Meditation Questions for #AshesToFire – Easter Wk6 Saturday

Consider the following questions as you meditate on the Bible passages for today (Click here to read today’s Bible passages.).

Read Psalm 47:8-9.  What is implied by the Psalmist’s statement, “God is king over the nations?”  What does it imply about God to say “the shields of the earth belong to God?”

Read Zechariah 14:20-21a.  How would you approach life differently if everything around you was “Holy to the Lord,” set apart for God, dedicated to the glory of God?  What if you yourself were “Holy to the Lord?”

Read Acts 18:25, 28.  What is significant to you about Apollos’ ministry?  Why was his ministry effective?  What might that imply about your personal ministry or that of your church?  What are the implications of saying that “the Messiah is Jesus?”

Read John 16:23-28.  What does it mean to ask “in Jesus’ name?”  Do your requests honor Jesus’ name?  For what are you asking the Father?

Mike Rohde's Custom Moleskine Planner
“Teach us to count our days that we might gain a wise heart.” – Psalm 90:12

Meditate on Psalm 90:12, 17.  If you live an average life span, how many days do you have left?  How might numbering those days help you gain a “wise heart?”  Can you ask God to “prosper the work of our hands?”

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Meditation Questions for #AshesToFire – Easter Wk6 Friday

Consider the following questions as you meditate on the Bible passages for today (Click here to read today’s Bible passages.).

Read Psalm 96:1, 8-9. If you were to sing to the Lord a new song, what would you sing about? What offering could you bring to the Lord? What does it mean to “Worship the Lord in holy splendor?”

Read Zechariah 14:9-11. If “the Lord will become king over all the earth” how should we respond to Him today? What does the promise of Jerusalem’s security mean for you?

Read Acts 18:9-10. Why was Paul told to be not afraid and not to be silent? About what was Paul to speak?

Read John 16:20-23. What do we learn about both pain and joy from Jesus’ words? What does Jesus mean when He uses the illustration contrasting a woman’s labor pains with her joy at childbirth?

Read Psalm 85:7-8. In what ways have you seen the Lord’s steadfast love in your life? Have you asked Him to save you? Are you listening to what the Lord is saying to you? Have you turned to Him in your heart?

Geborgenheit
But when her child is born, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy

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Meditation Questions for #AshesToFire – Easter Wk6 Thursday

Consider the following questions as you meditate on the Bible passages for today (Click here to read today’s Bible passages.)

Read Psalm 47:1-2, 5-6, 8. Why are we called to clap, shout and sing praises to God? How awesome would God have to be for you to feel comfortable acting this way? How awesome do you think God is? Meditate on and then act on the challenges in Psalm 47:1-2, 5-6, 8.

Johnson's Shut-ins  Missouri Ozarks
“On that day living waters shall flow out from Jerusalem.” – Zechariah 14:8

Read Zechariah 14:4-5, 8. Are you looking for the Lord’s coming? Is there anything you need to do to be ready for His coming? Who are the “holy ones” who will be with Him? What is the significance of “living waters” flowing out from Jerusalem?

Read Acts 18:1, 5. Why was Paul able to focus on proclaiming the Word after Silas and Timothy joined him in Corinth? What was the theme of Paul’s message to the Jews there? How does Paul’s ministry provide guidance for ours?

Read John 16:16-20. Consider the significance of Jesus’ knowing about his return to His Father before it happened. Consider the significance of Jesus’ knowing beforehand that He would come back from the dead and that the disciples’ pain would turn to joy! What hope does this give you for your times of weeping, mourning and pain?

Read Psalm 24:3-5. Is it possible to live with clean hands, a pure heart, true worship and honesty? Could it be possible if God’s Spirit were living in and through us? What is promised to those who live this way?

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Devotional for “Ashes to Fire” – Easter Wk6 Wednesday

Consider the following questions as you meditate on the Bible passages for today (see the link to the passages below).

A Black Hole Overflows (NASA, Chandra, 2/2/09)
“Praise the Lord from the heavens; praise him in the heights!” Psalm 148:1

Carve out some time today to offer God praise. What are the top 3 things for which you would give God praise? Meditate today on the words of Psalm 148:1, 11, 13.

What does God promise to do when you call on His name? Is there any significance in knowing that you are part of God’s people, His family? Are you able to say, “The Lord is my God?” Read Zechariah 13:9.

How has God already blessed you in allowing you to be born and live where you are? How did your surroundings help prepare you to search for God? What evidence have you seen to support the idea that God “is not far from each one of us?” Read Acts 17:24, 26-28.

Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you into all the truth. Read John 16:12-15 and ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand more fully who Jesus is revealed to be in this passage. How does this passage imply we should respond to Jesus’ words?

Take every opportunity you have today to look at the sky, during daylight and night, and consider what the heavens reveal about the One who made them. What does Psalm 8:3-5 tell us about who we are as humans?

Click here to read today’s Bible passages.

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Devotional for “Ashes to Fire” – Easter Wk6 Tuesday

Consider the following questions as you meditate on the Bible passages for today (see the link to the passages below).

Why does the Psalmist give thanks to the Lord in Psalm 138:2-3?  For what do you give thanks to the Lord?  Have you called to the Lord today?

Have you ever been wounded by friends?  How did Jesus respond when betrayed by friends?  Read Zechariah 13:6.

St Paul Baptizing
“Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” – Acts 16:31

Would you know how to help someone be saved from their sins and from an eternity in hell?  How did Paul & Silas guide the jailer to salvation?  Read Acts 16:29-31.

Why did Jesus say it was better for the disciples for Him to go away?  Why did the disciples feel it was better for Him to stay with them?  What is the truth about sin, righteousness and judgment that the Holy Spirit is trying to convey to the world?  Meditate on John 16:5-11.

What glorious deeds of the Lord do you need to share with the next generation?  What stories of God’s work in your life need to be remembered?  Think about the implications of Psalm 78:4, 7.

Click here to read today’s Bible passages.

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Devotional for “Ashes to Fire” – Easter Wk6 Monday

Consider the following questions as you meditate on the Bible passages for today (see the link to the passages below).

Who or what makes you glad?  What do you think makes God glad?  Read Psalm 149:2, 4.

"On that day a fountain shall be opened for the house of David"
“On that day a fountain shall be opened for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and iniquity.” Zechariah 31:1

Are you praying for the salvation of the Jewish people?  What does Zechariah say God has planned for them?  What is the sin-cleansing fountain that will be opened for the House of David?  Read Zechariah 12:10; and 13:1.

What prompted Lydia’s attentiveness?  What prompted Lydia to be baptized?  What prompted Lydia’s hospitality?  What is prompting you?  Read Acts 16:14-15.

How could you testify about Jesus?  Jesus said “an hour is coming when those who kill you will think that by doing so they are offering worship to God.”  Who would do such a thing?  Why were Jesus’ disciples still willing to testify about Him?  Are you willing?  Think about Jesus’ words in John 15:26-16:4.

Have you ever asked God to forgive “the iniquities of our ancestors?”  Why do we need God’s compassion?  How could God bring glory to His name by delivering & forgiving us?  Meditate on Psalm 79:8-9.

Click here to read today’s Bible passages.

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Devotional for “Ashes to Fire” – Easter Wk6 Sunday

Please join us at church today to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ! For directions see our home page.

Consider the following questions as you meditate on the Bible passages for today (see the link to the passages below).

Are you willing to let God make His home with you?  How do you know if you truly love God?  Are you experiencing God’s peace in the midst of a troubled world?  Read John 14:23-29.

Easter6_PeaceDoes our city need a “place of prayer?”  Does it have one?  Do you know anyone who is seeking God?  What could you do to help that person find Him?  Read Acts 16:9-15.

How could God bless us so that His saving power might be made known among the nations?  How could we be part of helping “all the ends of the earth [to] revere him?”  Meditate on Psalm 67.

What will be the place of the nations in the New Heavenly Jerusalem?  In what way does God’s heart for the nations show up in His Holy City?  What description of this city is most meaningful to you?  Read Revelation 21:10, 22-27; 22:1-5.

Click here to read today’s Bible passages.

Photo:  Beacon Hill Press

 

Devotional for “Ashes to Fire” – Easter Wk5 Friday

Consider the following questions as you meditate on the Bible passages for today (see the link to the passages below).

"You have been a fortress for me and a refuge in the day of my distress"
“You have been a fortress for me and a refuge in the day of my distress” – Psalm 59:16

David refers to God’s “steadfast love” three times in Psalm 59:9-10, 16-17.  Why might God’s steadfast love be important to David?  Why might God’s steadfast love be important to you? How has God been a fortress for you and a refuge in the day of your distress?

What might cause someone to annul a covenant?  In what ways did God’s people reject Him?  Read Zechariah 11:7, 10, 14.

Have you ever sent someone to encourage believers and to proclaim the Word (If you are part of our church you have!)?  Whom have you encouraged recently?  When have you shared God’s Word with someone?  Read Acts 15:32, 34-35.

How did Jesus show you the greatest kind of love?  What does it mean to be a friend of Jesus, not just a servant?  How do you respond to the revelation that Jesus has chosen you?  Are you willing to produce lasting fruit?  Meditate on John 15:18-21.

Why do you want the Lord to remember you today?  For what are you seeking the Lord’s help?  Read Psalm 106:4-5.

Click here to read today’s Bible passages.

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Devotional for “Ashes to Fire” – Easter Wk5 Thursday

Consider the following questions as you meditate on the Bible passages for today (see the link to the passages below).

What words does the Psalmist use to describe the Lord?  What words would you use?  What is the response that the Psalmist calls us to make to the Lord?  Meditate on Psalm 96:6-7, 9.

Word "cloud" based on today's Bible readingsWhat does it mean to be redeemed?  What does it mean to be brought home?  Are you “strong in the Lord?”  Do you “walk in his name?”  Think about the meaning of Zechariah 10:8, 10, 12.

The prophet Amos envisioned the Lord calling His people and the Gentiles to seek Him.  Why was it so hard for the Jewish leaders and even some Church leaders of the 1st Century to be open to God’s global mission?  Read Acts 15:13, 15-17 and consider how you are partnering with God’s global mission today.

How can we abide in Jesus’ love? How can we live with Jesus’ complete joy within?  Meditate on the meaning of Jesus’ words in John 15:9-11.

How has God taught you?  When was the last time you told someone something wonderful that God did for you?  Consider singing a song of joy & praise to God today as you read Psalm 71:17, 21-24.

Click here to read today’s Bible passages.

Photo:  Scripture Word “cloud” via wordle.net

Devotional for “Ashes to Fire” – Easter Wk5 Wednesday

Consider the following questions as you meditate on the Bible passages for today (see the link to the passages below).

Why was David glad to have the opportunity to go to the house of the Lord?  Why would he pray for the peace of Jerusalem?  Read Psalm 122:1, 6-7, 9.

What does God do to save Judah?  Read Zechariah 10:6 and consider what God has done so that you might be saved.

How did God make it clear that He accepted Gentiles as well as Jews?  Have you asked God to give you His Holy Spirit, and to cleanse your heart?  Do you have faith that He will if you ask?  Meditate on Acts 15:8-9.

"I am the Vine"
“He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit.” John 15:2

Are you willing to be cleansed by the Word so that you can be more fruitful?  What does it mean to abide in the Vine (Jesus)?  What fruit do you see being produced in your life?  Read John 15:1-8 several times.

What does it mean to say that the Lord’s word is “firmly fixed in heaven?”  What difference does it make to you to know that the Lord’s faithfulness endures to all generations?  Consider what Psalm 119:89-90, 93 tell us about the Lord.

Click here to read today’s Bible passages.

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Devotional for “Ashes to Fire” – Easter Wk5 Tuesday

Consider the following questions as you meditate on the Bible passages for today (see the link to the passages below).

How have you seen the glory and power of God’s kingdom? What does it mean to you to know that the Lord is near to all who call on him? Meditate on the words of Psalm 145:10-11, 17-18.

051003 storting crown prince's crown
“for like the jewels of a crown they shall shine on his land.” – Zechariah 9:16

What is implied by saying that we are God’s flock? What is implied by saying that God’s people are like “the jewels of a crown?” Read Zechariah 9:16-17.

What could you do to proclaim the good news? What are you doing to make disciples? Have you strengthened someone’s soul this week? Why must we endure persecutions in order to enter the kingdom of God? Consider the implications of Acts 14:21-22.

Are you enjoying the Lord’s peace or is your heart troubled and/or fearful? Why did Jesus let His disciples know ahead of time what was going to happen to Him? Read John 14:27-31.

Are you waiting for God? Who is your rock, your salvation, your fortress? Read Psalm 62:1-2, 12.

Click here to read today’s Bible passages.

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Devotional for “Ashes to Fire” – Easter Wk5 Monday

Consider the following questions as you meditate on the Bible passages for today (see the link to the passages below).

Why should we give God glory?  Why should we not try to bring glory to ourselves?  Read Psalm 115:1, 16.

Are you able to rejoice greatly?  Read Zechariah 9:9-10 to see why Zechariah calls Jerusalem to rejoice.  Have you received the peace of the King?

Have you turned from worthless things to the living God?  Do you bring good news to others?  Consider how Paul & Barnabas reacted to the praise of the people of Lystra.  Consider their words recorded in Acts 14:15.

How are we to express our love for God, according to Jesus in John 14:21-26?  Meditate on this passage and consider how much your life expressed your love for God.  Have you allowed the Father & Son to make their home with you?

“In the shadow of your wings I take refuge” – Psalm 57:1

When have you experienced God’s mercy?  When have you experienced the protection of God from the storms of life?  Consider praying for God to fulfill his purpose for you.  Read & meditate on the words of Psalm 57:1-2, 5.

Click here to read today’s Bible passage.

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Devotional for “Ashes to Fire” – Easter Wk5 Sunday

Please join us at church today to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ! For directions see our home page.

Consider the following questions as you meditate on the Bible passages for today (see the link to the passages below).

What does it mean to love one another as Jesus loved us? How is it different from the Old Testament command to “love your neighbor as yourself?” Read John 13:31-35.

Where do you see prejudice in our culture today? What are the implications for our culture from the lesson Peter learned in Acts 11:1-18. How can we make sure that all people, regardless of cultural or personal prejudices, know that God welcomes them into His family?

Solar Eclipse, Ending (NASA, Hinode, 01/07/11)
“Praise him, sun and moon; praise him, all you shining stars!” – Psalm 148:3

Read Psalm 148 and count how many parts of God’s creation are listed as offering praise to God? What are the implications of their example for your life?

Which aspect of the new heaven, new earth or new city is most intriguing or interesting to you? Why? Which aspect most serves to create a desire in your heart to live in this new world designed by God for us? Read Revelation 21:1-16.

Click here to read today’s Bible passages.

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Devotional for “Ashes to Fire” – Easter Wk4 Saturday

Consider the following questions as you meditate on the Bible passages for today (see the link to the passages below).

singing natureIf you were to write a song to sing to the Lord, what would it be about?  What “marvelous things” has God done for you?  How do you “make a joyful noise to the Lord?”  Read Isaiah 98:1, 4.

Have you experienced the Lord guarding you?  If so, in what way?  Has the Lord protected you from an oppressor?  How?  Think about the words of Zechariah 9:6b, 8.

Are you willing to be used by God to be a light to someone whom others might consider an outcast?  What part could you play in bringing “salvation to the ends of the earth?”  Read Acts 13:47-48.

Do you have an accurate understanding of God the Father?  Does He look just like Jesus?  What is the family resemblance that Jesus describes in John 14:7-14?  For what are you asking Jesus today?

What burden are you carrying today?  Are you willing to “cast your burden on the Lord?”  Meditate on the words of Psalm 55:22.

Click here to read today’s Bible passages.

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Devotional for “Ashes to Fire” – Easter Wk4 Friday

Consider the following questions as you meditate on the Bible passages for today (see the link to the passages below).

2013-04-14 13.23.55How does God make the nations the heritage of His Anointed One?  What part do you play in helping bring the nations to Christ?  What does it mean to serve the Lord with fear, with trembling?  How strong is your desire to serve the Lord?  Read Psalm 2:7-8a, 11, 13c.

How do you “seek the Lord of hosts?”  What does it mean to “entreat the favor of the Lord?”  Do others know that God is with you?  Consider the words of Zechariah 8:21-23.

How important is it that God has fulfilled the promises He made across the years to the people of God?  How significant is it that those promises were fulfilled “by raising Jesus?”  Meditate on Acts 13:32-33.

What do you do when your heart is troubled?  What do you think the dwelling place in heaven that Jesus is preparing will be like?  Why does Jesus want to be with us forever?  Read John 14:1-6 and meditate on the meaning of Jesus’ words, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

In what “desolate pit” did Jesus find you?  How did Jesus rescue you?  What new song did Jesus give you?  Think about the meaning of Psalm 40:1-3 in your life.

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Devotional for “Ashes to Fire” – Easter Wk4 Thursday

Consider the following questions as you meditate on the Bible passages for today (see the link to the passages below.)

Why should we declare the Lord’s faithfulness to our generation? …or to the last generation?  …or to the next generation?  What does the Psalmist mean by saying that the Lord’s “steadfast love is established forever?”  Meditate on Psalm 89:1-2.

Thank you to W.J. Bill Harrison
“There shall be a sowing of peace; the vine shall yield its fruit…” – Zechariah 8:12

What does the phrase “a sowing of peace” mean?  Why does God want our “hands [to] be strong?”  Read Zechariah 8:12-13.

What qualities do you think it would take to be a person “after [God’s] heart?”  Are you a person who will carry out all God’s wishes?  What difference would it make to your descendants if you were?  Consider the example of David, who was not perfect, but who, because of his repentant spirit, was forgiven.  Read Acts 13:22-23.

Is it a Judas-betrayal to act as if we are better than our Master, or as if we know better than He does?  What are the implications of accepting Jesus’ messengers?  Meditate on the words of Jesus in John 13:16-20.

If I asked you for a reason to praise the Lord, what reason would you give?  Why do you think the Psalmist says the name of the Lord is to be praised from dawn to dusk?  Read Psalm 113:1-3.

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Devotional for “Ashes to Fire” – Easter Wk4 Wednesday

Consider the following questions as you meditate on the Bible passages for today (see the link to the passages below).

Why do we ask God to bless us or be gracious to us?  Why does the Psalmist desire God’s grace and blessings?  How are you using God’s blessings to share God’s saving power among all nations?  Read Psalm 67:1-2, 7.

Would your city be called “the faithful city?”  Why or why not?  What would it take to make it so?  What if you started by choosing to be God’s faithful person?  Meditate on Zechariah 8:3, 8.

Prayer
“Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.” – Acts 13:3

How long has it been since you were “worshipping the Lord and fasting?”  How long has it been since the Holy Spirit gave you clear direction for fulfilling His mission?  Are you praying for the Lord’s guidance?  Is it possible that worship and fasting help our “spiritual ears” be more aware of God’s voice?  Read Acts 13:1-3 and consider what might help you tune in to God’s message.  (Then do it!)

According to Jesus’ words in John 12:44-50 how closely connected are He and the Father?  How important are Jesus’ words?  Why are they that important?  Meditate on John 12:44-50.

How valuable is your life?  How valuable is your soul?  Who would pay that price to save you?  Consider your answers as you read Psalm 49:7-8, 15.

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Devotional for “Ashes to Fire” – Easter Wk4 Tuesday

Consider the following questions as you meditate on the Bible passages for today (see the link to the passages below).

Why did the Psalmist say that God loved the “gates of Zion?”  Why is Jerusalem called the “city of God?”  What does this say about God’s love for humanity and His desire to have a relationship with us?  Read Psalm 87:1-2.

Why is fairness in your decisions important?  Why do you want to be treated with kindness and mercy?  Are you oppressing widows, orphans, aliens, the poor or anyone?  Are you planning evil toward anyone?  If so, what changes do you need to make?  Consider the implications of Zechariah 7:9-10.

Where do you see the grace of God around you?  Whom are you exhorting to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast devotion?  Are you full of the Holy Spirit and faith?  Who is one person you could bring to the Lord?  (Start first by bringing them to the Lord in prayer!)  Read Acts 11:23-24.

Why does the good shepherd lay down his life for his sheep?  Why does the hired hand run away when threatened?  Are you listening to the Good Shepherd’s voice?  Meditate on the words of John 10:11-18.

the journey home
“Your name, O God, like your praise, reaches to the ends of the earth.” – Psalm 48:10

What has God’s steadfast love meant to you?  How could you help God’s name reach the ends of the earth?  How do you respond to knowing that God’s right hand is filled with victory?  How will you praise God today?  Ponder the words of Psalm 48:9-10, and 48:1.

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Devotional for “Ashes to Fire” – Easter Wk4 Monday

Consider the following questions as you meditate on the Bible passages for today (see the link to the passages below).

Evening Drink
“As the deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God.” – Psalm 42:1

Do you thirst for God at least as much as you thirst for water?  Do you pray as often as you drink?  How strong is your hope in God?  Read Psalm 42:1-2, 5-6.

Have you ever helped “build the temple of the Lord?”  Have you ever been part of a Work & Witness trip to help bu

ild a church?  If so, you may have helped fulfill this Scripture!  Are you building your life as a spiritual temple for the Lord?  What could you do today to make your life a holy temple in which the Lord can live?  Pray about Zechariah 6:15.

Have you asked the Holy Spirit to baptize you, to fill you, to cleanse you, to empower you?  If not, why not now?  Read Acts 11:15-16 and ask the Lord to fulfill this promise in your life!

Are you able to recognize the Lord’s “voice?”  Are you following Him as your shepherd?  Are you living the “life to the full” that Jesus offers?  If not, why not?  Meditate today on John 10:1-10.

Are you living with integrity?  How has the Lord been gracious to you and raised you up?  What praise can you offer to God today?  Read Psalm 41:10, 12-13.

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Devotional for “Ashes to Fire” – Easter Wk4 Sunday

Please join us at church today to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ! For directions see our home page.

Consider the following questions as you meditate on the Bible passages for today (see the link to the passages below).

Do you believe that Jesus is the Messiah? Is it possible to tell if Jesus is the Messiah by what He did? Are you listening for Jesus’ voice? Read John 10:22-30.

Why do bad things happen to good people? Why aren’t all good people raised from the dead when we choose? Why aren’t all good people kept from dying? What was the result of Tabitha’s being raised from the dead? Consider the implications of Acts 9:36-43.

Shepherd
“The Lord is my shepherd” – Psalm 23:1

How has the Lord guided you? How has the Lord provided for you? What “valleys” has the Lord brought you through? When have you seen God’s goodness and love pursuing you? Meditate on the words of Psalm 23.

What must God be like to evoke the amount and level of praise expressed in Revelation 7:9-17? Have you ever been through tribulation? If not, how do you think you would respond if you did face tribulation? How does God respond to those who have endured tribulation?

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Devotional for “Ashes to Fire” – Easter Wk3 Saturday

Consider the following questions as you meditate on the Bible passages for today (see the link to the passages below).

What can you give to the Lord in light of all that He has done for you?  Have you fulfilled any vows you have made to Him?  Read Psalm 116:12-14.

The Vision of the New Heaven and the New Earth...
“…the former things shall not be remembered…” Isaiah 65:17.

What would you most like to see in the new heavens and new earth that the Lord has promised us?  What former things do you want to forget?  What would He have to create for you to “rejoice forever” in it?  Meditate on Isaiah 65:17-18.

What would it look like for you to speak boldly in the name of the Lord?  Would you have to live “in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of he Holy Spirit” in order to speak boldly for Jesus?  Think about the implications of Paul’s ministry for your life and church as you read Acts 9:28, 31.

Why did Peter continue to follow Jesus when others quit following Jesus?  Who does Peter say Jesus is?  What are the implications of this?  What demands do Peter’s words make on our lives?  Read John 6:60-69 and consider what it means for Jesus to be the Holy One of God.

Has God sent out His light and truth since the Psalmist prayed his prayer?  Are you letting God’s light and truth lead you?  Is God your “exceeding joy?”  What does that mean?  Meditate on Psalm 43:3-4.

Click here to read today’s Bible passages.

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Devotional for “Ashes to Fire” – Easter Wk3 Friday

Consider the following questions as you meditate on the Bible passages for today (see the link to the passages below).

Why should nations & peoples praise the Lord?  How have you seen the Lord’s steadfast love and faithfulness in your life?  Worship the Lord as you read Psalm 117.

Have you ever tried to count all the things that the Lord has done for you?  Have you ever told your family members the things that the Lord has done for you?  Consider writing down some of the significant ways the Lord has blessed you.  Read Isaiah 63:7.

How do you explain Saul/Paul’s rapid transformation:  from persecuting the followers of Jesus to proclaiming Jesus as the Son of God?  Have you seen a change in the direction of your life?  Think about the implications of Acts 9:19-20.

“Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them.” Jesus in John 6:56

What does Jesus mean by telling his listeners to “eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood?”  Was Jesus advocating cannibalism?  If not, what did He mean?  Is there any connection with His later institution of the Last Supper?  What does it mean to have Jesus live within us?  Meditate on John 6:52-59.

How has God fulfilled His promises to you?  List at least 3 that come to mind that have brought you joy.  Consider offering God praise today through a song or make up your own music to sing Psalm 105:42-43, 45.

Click here to read today’s Bible passages.

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Devotional for “Ashes to Fire” – Easter Wk3 Thursday

Consider the following questions as you meditate on the Bible passages for today (see the link to the passages below).

What prayer has God answered for you recently?  Whom have you told about what God did?  Read what God did for the Psalmist in Psalm 66:16, 19-20.

How can we have our whole being “exult” in our God?  (To “exult” can mean “to show or feel a lively or triumphant joy; rejoice exceedingly; be highly elated or jubilant.”)  Does meditating on God’s salvation for you make you want to exult?  Read Isaiah 61:10.

Philip catechizes the Ethiopian Eunuch
“Philip began to speak and…proclaimed to him the good news about Jesus.” Acts 8:35

Do you know someone who has questions about God, faith or the Bible?  Are you willing to come alongside them to search for answers?  Read how God used Philip in Acts 8:29-31, 35.

How has God drawn you to Jesus?  How has God taught you?  Do you believe that Jesus is the bread of life?  Meditate on the words of Jesus in John 6:44-51.

The Psalmist David says we are to “depart from evil.”  What practical steps does that call for in your life?  David says we are to “do good.”  What action does that prompt for you today?  Meditate on David’s words in Psalm 37:27-28, 34.

Click here to read today’s Bible passages.

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Devotional for “Ashes to Fire” – Easter Wk3 Wednesday

Consider the following questions as you meditate on the Bible passages for today (see the link to the passages below).

How do you usually express praise to God?  Think about the ways the Psalmist expressed his praise in Psalm 66:1-5.

Eclipse
“The sun shall no longer be your light by day…but the Lord will be your everlasting light.” – Isaiah 60:19

What does it mean to you to know that the Lord outshines the sun and moon, that He “will be your everlasting light?”  What might this mean to you on dark days when it seems that all other lights have been extinguished?  Meditate on the words of Isaiah 60:19.

Why did Philip go to Samaria, to those considered by the Jews to be outcasts?  Whom do you know who needs to hear about Jesus?  Would you consider going to tell them?  Read what Philip did in Acts 8:5-6.

Do you want to be raised up on the last day?  Find out how that is possible by reading what Jesus says in John 6:35-40.  What does it mean to receive Jesus, the bread of life?

How does keeping the law of the Lord result in liberty?  What does the Psalmist mean in Psalm 119:41, 44-45, 48?  Meditate on God’s steadfast love and salvation, and on His law, precepts and commandments as you read this passage.

Click here to read today’s Bible passages.

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Devotional for “Ashes to Fire” – Easter Wk3 Tuesday

Consider the following questions as you meditate on the Bible passages for today (see the link to the passages below).

From what do you need rescued?  What is your request to the Lord?  Read the Psalmist’s requests in Psalm 31:1-2.

What steps could you take to maintain a “contrite and humble” spirit?  What is God’s response to those who live that way?  What are the implications of the fact that God inhabits eternity?  Meditate on Isaiah 57:15, 19.

Beam this up - Stradbroke Island (Straddie)
“Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the clouds.” – Psalm 36:5

What is the significance of the fact that Stephen, as he is being opposed and heckled by those who heard his message, sees into heaven, sees the glory of God and sees Jesus standing at the right hand of God?  Consider God’s response to the first Christian martyr recorded in Acts 7.

Why was the crowd seeking a sign?  Did they want literal bread or the True Bread from heaven, Jesus?  What are the implications of Jesus’ saying that He is bread of life?  Consider how you should live if Jesus is the True Bread.  Read John 6:30-35.

How far does the Lord’s love reach?  If you know the song, “Your Love, O Lord,” hum or sing the song as you offer praise to the Lord for His steadfast love!  Read Psalm 36:5, 10.

Click here to read today’s Bible passages.

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Devotional for “Ashes to Fire” – Easter Wk3 Monday

Consider the following questions as you meditate on the Bible passages for today (see the link to the passages below).

What way have you chosen? What do you set before you? To what do you cling? What path are you running? Meditate on these questions as you read Psalm 119:30-32.

Why should you seek the Lord today? Is there anything you need to forsake? What are the implications of Isaiah’s promise that God will “abundantly pardon” those who return to Him? Read Isaiah 55:6-7.

Stoning of the ProtomartyrWhat was the source of the grace and power that Stephen shared? What do you think Stephen looked like when he was addressing the council? Read Acts 6:8-10, 15 and consider praying for grace and power sufficient to fulfill God’s purpose for you.

To what lengths do you go to seek Jesus? Are you seeking Jesus or what He can give you? For what kind of food are you working? Have you believed in the One whom God has sent? Meditate on John 6:22-29.

What is a “wonderful deed” that the Lord has done for you? With whom could you share what He did for you? Read Psalm 9:1-2.

Click here to read today’s Bible passages.

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Devotional for “Ashes to Fire” – Easter Wk3 Sunday

Please join us at church today to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ! For directions see our home page.

Consider the following questions as you meditate on the Bible passages for today (see the link to the passages below).

Easter3_Jesus PeterWhy do you think Peter and his companions went fishing? What was Jesus getting at in asking Peter three times if he loved Him? Read John 21:1-19 and consider what you would say if Jesus asked those questions of you.

Why was Saul persecuting the church? Why was Ananias willing to find Saul and deliver a message to him? Would you be willing to let God use you to help someone else find Him? Read Acts 9:1-20 and then ask God to show you whom you could help on their faith journey.

Have you ever experienced healing? In either case, what was your response? If the Lord hid his face from you, what would be your response? What requests did David make of the Lord in Psalm 30?

Why is the Lamb (Jesus) considered worthy? Who are the ones offering praise to the Lamb in Revelation 5:11-14? What is being offered to the Lamb? How could we intentionally join in, offering the Lamb what is due to Him? Think about how you could offer praise to Jesus daily.

Click here to read today’s Bible passages.

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Devotional for “Ashes to Fire” – Easter Wk2 Saturday

Consider the following questions as you meditate on the Bible passages for today (see the link to the passages below).

For what should you offer the Lord praise today? If you were to write a song of praise to the Lord, what would it be about? Where do you see the steadfast love of the Lord in the earth around you? Meditate on Psalm 33:1, 3-5.

Have you ever struggled with fear and discouragement? Have you ever felt under attack? What does Isaiah say to someone facing these challenges? Read Isaiah 54:4, 17.

How did the early church choose its leaders? What were the criteria that they used to select them? Consider the implications of Acts 6:3, 5 for church leadership today.

Thunderbolts and lightning, very very frightening
” It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them.” – John 6:17

Are you facing a storm today? How does the story of Jesus’ calming the storm speak to you in your life right now? Do you know someone who needs to know that Jesus has not left them alone in their storm? Read John 6:16-21 and imagine that you were one of the disciples in the storm-tossed boat.

What are the top two reasons to give God praise that are on your heart today? Read Psalm 117 and find the top two reasons for which the Psalmist praises God. Can you relate to his reasons?

Click here to read today’s Bible passages.

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Devotional for “Ashes to Fire” – Easter Wk2 Friday

Consider the following questions as you meditate on the Bible passages for today (see the link to the passages below).

Roman Road
“Teach me your way, O Lord,
and lead me on a level path
because of my enemies.” – Psalm 27:11

Are you learning the Lord’s ways?  Are you walking on a “level path?”  Do you find it hard to “wait for the Lord?”  Why or why not?  Read Psalm 27:11, 13-14 (or if you have time read the entire Psalm).

How can we introduce others to Jesus?  Are you a messenger who announces peace and brings good news?  Consider how you might become one “who announces salvation.”  Think about the implications of Isaiah 52:6-7.

Read Acts 5:34-35, 38-39 and consider whether Gamaliel was right.  What evidence do you have to back up your answer?  Are you trying to support or overthrow what God is doing in our day?  Pray about your answer.

What do we learn about Jesus in John 6:1-15?  Why did Jesus challenge His disciples to feed the crowd?  What did the disciples learn about themselves?  What overwhelming need are you facing that you are wondering how to meet?  Read the passage from John 6 and consider how Jesus may be challenging your faith today.

Read Psalm 134:1-2 and consider taking time this evening before bedtime to offer praise to God.

Click here to read today’s Bible passages.

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Devotional for “Ashes to Fire” – Easter Wk2 Thursday

Consider the following questions as you meditate on the Bible passages for today (see the link to the passages below).

Have you taken refuge in the Lord?  Have you chosen to live a righteous life (with the Lord’s help!)?  Read Psalm 34:15, 22 and consider your response.

Nature's highway without the road noise
“He will comfort all her waste places,
and will make her wilderness like Eden,” – Isaiah 51:3

Are there wilderness places in your life that you would like the Lord to make like the Garden of Eden?  Do you need the Lord’s comfort?  Would you be open to having joy, gladness, thanksgiving and the voice of song in your life?  Meditate on Isaiah 51:3.

Why did Peter and the apostles risk jail in order to obey God?  What was the heart of the apostles’ message?  Have you repented of your sins and received God’s forgiveness?  Consider talking with God about His offer of forgiveness as you read Acts 5:29-31.

What does John 3:31-36 tell us about Jesus?  What difference does believing in God’s Son make?  Does it matter if one doesn’t believe in Jesus?  Read John 3:31-36 to learn more.

What is implied by the Psalmist’s description of God’s promises?  How important is it to you to have the Lord’s protection?  Meditate on Psalm 12:6-7.

Click here to read today’s Bible passages.

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Devotional for Ashes to Fire – Easter Wk2 Wednesday

Consider the following questions as you meditate on the Bible passages for today (see the link to the passages below).

How is it possible to “bless the Lord at all times?”  How could we make our whole lives a blessing to God?  How could we keep His praise in our mouths continually?  Meditate on Psalm 34:1-3

A Night View Around the Mediterranean Sea (NASA, International Space Station, 02/25/12)
“I will give you as a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.” – Isaiah 49:6

Why is the Lord not satisfied with reaching only our family?  Why does the Lord want to reach the nations, to the end of the earth?  What could we do to help to share His light with the world?  Pray about your place in world evangelism as you read Isaiah 49:5-6.

Why did the angel deliver the apostles from prison?  Why are we kept free?  Read Acts 5:19-21 and consider your God-given mission.

Why did Jesus come into the world?  Have you received His gift of eternal life?  Will you believe in Him and choose to live in the light?  Think about Jesus’ words in John 3:16-21.

Do you need an answer from God?  Ask God for that answer, along with the Psalmist’s request in Psalm 13:3, 5.  Do you trust in God’s steadfast love and rejoice in His salvation?  Take time to offer Him praise today!

Click here to read today’s Bible passages.

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Devotional for Ashes to Fire – Easter Wk2 Tuesday

Consider the following questions as you meditate on the Bible passages for today (see the link to the passages below).

The Psalmist emphasizes the Lord’s sovereignty, strength and eternal nature in Psalm 93:1-2.  How do these descriptions of God help you as you face the challenges of your day?

Isaiah reveals that the Lord laid out the foundation of the earth and spread out the heavens.  Does this qualify Him to “[lead] you in the way you should go?”  Why or why not?  Meditate on Isaiah 48:12-13, 17.

With whom are you “of one heart and soul?”  Do you believe you will ever experience this?  Is it possible for a church family or at least the leaders of a church family to be “of one heart and soul?”  Is there any direct relationship between this level of unity and the reports of “great power” and “great grace?”  What steps would you need to take to pursue this level of unity and of effective ministry?  Read Acts 4:32-33.

Bronze SerpentHave you been born from above?  Are you allowing the Holy Spirit to bring you new life?  How was Moses’ lifting up a serpent in the wilderness an illustration of the Son of Man being lifted up?  Have you received the eternal life Jesus promised?  Pray about what Jesus says in John 3:7-15.

The Psalmists says that the Lord examines humankind.  Is that idea comforting or frightening?  Why?  What does the Psalmist imply in Psalm 11:4, 7 is necessary if we are to behold the Lord’s face?

Click here to read today’s Bible passages.

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Devotional for Ashes to Fire – Easter Wk2 Monday

Consider the following questions as you meditate on the Bible passages for today (see the link to the passages below).

Physicists of many nations
“Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage.” – Psalm 2:8

Psalm 2 says that the Lord will make the nations the heritage of His Son.  What does this mean?  Read Psalm 2:7-8.  What could you do to help the nations learn about the Lord?

How close are you to the Lord’s deliverance?  How has God brought deliverance near?  Are you willing to receive His salvation?  Meditate on Isaiah 46:12-13.

The response of the apostles to persecution was not to pray for protection, but to pray for boldness.  What does that say about their focus and commitment?  Would you be willing to pray for God to do what only He can do?  Think about the apostles’ approach to ministry found in Acts 4:29-30.

Have you been born of the Spirit, born from above?  Have you received a new life from Christ?  Are you willing to?  Admit that you have sinned; Believe that Jesus died to offer you new life; Claim the forgiveness and salvation He offers;  Don’t wait!  Read John 3:1-8.

What does the Psalmist mean when he asks for the light of the Lord’s face to shine on him?  How does our relationship with God affect our sense of peace?  Could the state of our relationship with God possibly affect our ability to get a good night’s sleep?  Why or why not?  Consider what the Psalmist says in Psalm 4:6-8.

Click here to read today’s Bible passages.

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Devotional for Ashes to Fire – Easter Wk2 Sunday

Please join us at church today to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ! For directions see our home page.

Consider the following questions as you meditate on the Bible passages for today (see the link to the passages below).

Easter2_Jesus ThomasJesus offered His disciples His Holy Spirit.  Have you invited His Holy Spirit to live in and through you?  What is your response to Thomas’ reaction to the news that Jesus had risen?  What would have been your reaction to seeing the risen Jesus appear in the room with you?  Read John 20:19-31 and consider why John wrote this Gospel.

Why did the high priest want the apostles to be quiet?  Why did Peter say that they needed to obey God rather than any human authority?  What was the content of the apostles’ message?  What we we learn from the apostles’ example?  Read Acts 5:27-32.

How have you seen the Lord’s goodness this week?  Take a moment to give Him thanks!  Has the Lord become your salvation?  If the Lord has made this day for you, what does that imply about what you should do with it?  Mediate on Psalm 118:1-2, 14-29.

John says in Revelation 1:4-8 that Jesus loves us and freed us from our sins by his blood.  Have you accepted Jesus’ love for you and the deliverance from sin that He bought for us with His own blood?  What does it mean for John to say that we are to be priests serving his God and Father?  How are you serving God today?  Think about the implications of this passage for your life and service to others.

Click here to read today’s Bible passages.

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Devotional for Ashes to Fire – Easter Wk1 Saturday

Consider the following questions as you meditate on the Bible passages for today (see the link to the passages below).

What are your favorite “glad songs of victory?”  Did you “recount the deeds of the Lord” to someone yesterday?  To whom could you tell the story of what God has done for you?  Think about Psalm 118;14-15, 17.

Isaiah says that there is only one God and that He provided for us a Savior.  What should our response be to such a God?  Meditate on Isaiah 45:21-23.

Before the Sanhedrin, St. John's College, Cambridge
Peter and John before the Sanhedrin

How should we respond if the commands of God and those of men differ?  How did Peter & John respond?  Consider the implications of Acts 4:18-20 for our day.

Why did Jesus’ disciples have so much trouble believing that Jesus had risen from the dead?  Do you believe?  What is the good news that His disciples are to share with the world?  Are you spreading the good news?  How?  Read Mark 16:9-15.

How can we “bless the Lord?”  What could we do or say that would be a blessing to God?  Think about this as you read Psalm 104:1, 33-34.

Click here to read today’s Bible passages.

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Devotional for Ashes to Fire – Easter Wk1 Friday

Consider the following questions as you meditate on the Bible passages for today (see the link to the passages below).

What does the Psalmist mean by his reference to the “cornerstone?”  How did the Apostle Paul make use of the word “cornerstone” (see Ephesians 2:19-21)?  Read Psalm 118:22-24 and compare.

Has the Lord “swept away your transgressions like a cloud and your sins like a mist?”  Have you asked Him to?  Pray a prayer based on your response to what Isaiah says in Isaiah 44:21-22.

How use does Peter make of the word “cornerstone” in Acts 4:10-11?  What does this tell us about who Peter believed Jesus to be?  What other clues to who Jesus is can you find in this passage?

Boat on the Sea of Galilee (Lake Tiberias, Gennesareth).
“Simon Peter said to them, ‘I am going fishing.’” – John 21:3

Why, do you think, did Peter and these other disciples go back to fishing?  How were they able to catch so many fish?  Why didn’t Peter wait for the boat to take him to shore?  What do you learn about Jesus and about the disciples from John 21:1-14?

The Psalmist is determined to use his life to “recount the deeds of the Lord.”  What are you doing with your life?  Are you entering the “gates of righteousness?”  Meditate on Psalm 118:17, 19, and 28.

Click here to read today’s Bible passages.

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Devotional for Ashes to Fire – Easter Wk1 Thursday

Consider the following questions as you meditate on the Bible passages for today (see the link to the passages below).

Blue Marble - 2002
“He sends out his command to the earth” – Psalm 147:15

How often do you sing praises to God?  What usually prompts you to do so?  How important is God’s Word to you?  Where is the evidence in your life of the importance of God’s Word to you?  Read Psalm 147:1, 15, 19.

What are the implications of Isaiah’s saying that there is no god besides the Lord, the King of Israel, and His Redeemer, the Lord of hosts?  What is implied by Isaiah’s saying that we are God’s witnesses?  Meditate on Isaiah 44:6 & 8.

What happens when we repent according to Peter in Acts 3:19-20?  Have you repented?  If not, why not?

What might have been your reaction if you had been with the disciples when they saw the resurrected Jesus for the first time?  How did Jesus prove that He was truly real…alive and not just a vision or a ghost?  What did Jesus help His disciples understand?  What did He ask them to do?  Meditate on Luke 24:35-48.

Put what the Psalmist is saying in Psalm 148:1, 11, 13 into your own words.  How is the Lord praised “from the heavens” and “in the heights?”

Click here to read today’s Bible passages.

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Devotional for Ashes to Fire – Easter Wk1 Wednesday

Consider the following questions as you meditate on the Bible passages for today (see the link to the passages below).

For what will you give thanks to God today?  Why do you need to call on His name today?  What has God done for you that you need to tell others about today?  What song of praise for God is on your mind today?  Make a joyful noise to Him!  Mediate on the words of Psalm 105:1-3.

What things in the past will you choose to forget?  What new thing is God wanting to do in your life? What wilderness in your life needs a God-built road?

Canyonlands National Park
“rivers in the desert” – Isaiah 43:19

What is the desert you are crossing that needs a divinely-fed river?  Think about God’s promise to you in Isaiah 43:14, 18-19.

In what way do you need the Lord’s healing?  What would it mean for you to “stand up and walk?”  Are you willing to take that “step?”  Whom do you know who is looking for the wrong thing?  How could you help them to connect with what God wants for them?  Pray about how the transformation of Acts 3 could impact you or those you know today.

Have you ever been confused about what God is doing in your life or in our world?  Have you ever looked back in your life and realized that Jesus was with you even when you didn’t realize it?  How does the story of Jesus’ walk to Emmaus challenge your faith today?  Meditate on what it might mean for Jesus to walk with you today as you read Luke 24:13-35.

How might it change the way you live if you choose to always give glory to God instead of seeking it for yourself?  In what ways have you seen that “the Lord has been mindful of us?”  In what ways have you seen that your reverence for God has resulted in blessing?  Read Psalm 115:1, 12-13 thoughtfully.

Click here to read today’s Bible passages.

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Devotional for Ashes to Fire – Easter Wk1 Tuesday

Consider the following questions as you meditate on the Bible passages for today (see the link to the passages below).

The Psalmist says that the “word of the Lord is upright.” How do you incorporate the word of the Lord into your life? Read Psalm 33:4-5, 21-22 and consider if your life reflects the Lord’s values.

Upon what do most people depend for their salvation? According to Isaiah 43:11-13, where do we find salvation?

What does it mean to say that Jesus had been made both Lord and Messiah? Think about the implications of what Peter said in Acts 2:36.

Tomb door and window_2034Peter’s words in Acts 2 found their origin in his personal experience seeing the empty tomb. What would have been your response to seeing the empty tomb? Read Luke 24:8-12 and consider how Peter came to understand that Jesus was the risen Christ?

What does the Psalmist mean when he says that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom?” How has God “sent redemption to his people?” Have you received this gift of redemption? Meditate on Psalm 111:1, 9-10.

Click here to read today’s Bible passages.

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Devotional for Ashes to Fire – Easter Monday

Consider the following questions as you meditate on the Bible passages for today (see the link to the passages below).

Why is the word “majestic” a good description of God?  Why does the Psalmist say that “holiness befits” the Lord’s house forevermore?  What song comes to mind as you read Psalm 93:1, 4-5?

Fiery furnace, Michaelhouse, CambridgeCan you think of times when God’s people had to pass through the waters?  When have God’s people had to walk through fire?  How did God protect His people in these trials?  How has God protected you?  Consider writing out Isaiah 43:2-3 on a 3×5 card to carry with you so you can pull it out and remind yourself of God’s protection.

Why did God plan for Jesus to be crucified?  Why was Jesus raised up from death?  Read Acts 2:23-24 to find out more.

Why were the women (& the other disciples) perplexed when Jesus was not found in the tomb?  How often you looked for life in dead places?  Meditate on Luke 24:1-7.

Are you confident that you will enjoy the fullness of joy in God’s presence when you die?  Have you chosen to take refuge in God?  If not, would you choose to do so now?  Read Psalm 16:1, 9-11 and ask God to be your refuge, to forgive you of your sins and give you eternal life.  (We’d love to celebrate with you when you make this decision, so please let us know!)

Click here to read today’s Bible passages.

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Devotional for Ashes to Fire – Easter Sunday

Please join us at church today to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ! For directions see our home page.  Happy Easter!

Consider the following questions as you meditate on the Bible passages for today (see the link to the passages below).

How does Jesus’ resurrection change the world? What is different since He has conquered death?  Meditate on John 20:1-18.

20130330-184520.jpgWhich part of the new world God is promising in Isaiah 65:17-25 is most appealing to you? Why? What changes has God already made in your life?

How do you express joy? How will you rejoice today in what God has done? Join with the Psalmist in rejoicing as you read Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24.

How does Christ’s resurrection change the meaning of death for you? What impact does Christ’s resurrection have on the amount of hope you live with on a daily basis? Consider Paul’s words to the church in Corinth as you read 1 Corinthians 15:19-26.

Click here to read today’s Bible passages.

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Devotional for Ashes to Fire – Lent Wk6 Holy Saturday (Holy Week)

Consider the following questions as you meditate on the Bible passages for today (see the link to the passages below).

What brings you gladness and joy?  Do you have confidence that you will be in the Lord’s presence when you die?  Read Psalm 16:9-11.  Do you have the same confidence that the Psalmist does?

The rescue of IsaacWhat parallels and contrasts do you see in the story of the Abraham offering Isaac and Christ offering Himself as a sacrifice?  How does God provide a lamb for the sacrifice in both cases?  Think about God’s grace as you read Genesis 22:7-8.

What tests did Jesus overcome?  What tests have you faced?  In what ways have you experienced the sympathy of Christ?  Meditate on the words of Hebrews 4:15-16.

When have you seen the goodness of the Lord in your life?  How do you stay strong during those times when you are waiting on the Lord to act?  Read Psalm 27:13-14.

Click here to read today’s Bible passages.

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Devotional for Ashes to Fire – Lent Wk6 Good Friday (Holy Week)

Consider the following questions as you meditate on the Bible passages for today (see the link to the passages below).

When have you faced rejection?  How was Jesus treated?  Think about the prophetic description of Jesus found in Psalm 31:11-12, 13b.

Why was Jesus rejected?  Does it make a difference to you to know that Jesus endured suffering, and infirmity and also took our iniquity upon Himself?  Meditate on Isaiah 53:3-4, 6.

What does it mean to be ransomed by the precious blood of Christ?  How should we respond to someone who took our place, paying the death penalty we owed?  Read 1 Peter 1:18-19.

"It Is Finished"Read through John’s eyewitness account of Jesus’ crucifixion.  What does this Good Friday mean to you?  How many fulfilled prophecies does John refer to in this passage, John 19:16-37?  What is your response to what Jesus did for you?

Has Jesus delivered you?  If not, do you want to be delivered?  Meditate on Psalm 40:1, 13, and 17.  Would you consider asking Him to deliver you now?  Ask Him to forgive you of your sins!  He has promised that if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (cf. 1 John 1:9)

Why were Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus who had previously seemed to be afraid to acknowledge Jesus publicly now ready to acknowledge their devotion to Him even to the Roman Governor/Prefect?  (Prayerfully read John 19:38-42.)  Is there anything keeping you from publicly acknowledging your devotion to Jesus?  Do you want Jesus to acknowledge you in His Kingdom or to be ashamed of you (cf. Mark 8:38)

Click here to read today’s Bible passages.

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Devotional for Ashes to Fire – Lent Wk6 Thursday (Holy Week)

Consider the following questions as you meditate on the Bible passages for today (see the link to the passages below).

Does Psalm 89:26-27 tell us something about Jesus?  If so, what?  In 1 Timothy 6 and in Revelation 17 & 19 Jesus is called “King of Kings and Lord of lords.”  Do you see any parallels with our reading today in Psalm 89?

How has the Lord brought you good news?  How has He bound up your broken heart?  How has the Lord set you free?  Meditate on the Mission of the Servant of God shared in Isaiah 61:1-2.

"I am the Bread of Life."What does the Lord’s Supper mean to you?  Do you pay attention to the meaning being conveyed in the bread and fruit of the vine?  What is the meaning of the New Covenant that Jesus is establishing with His disciples?  Think about what Paul is telling the church in 1 Corinthians 11:27-29.

What is the significance of Jesus reading the passage from Isaiah 61 in the synagogue in Nazareth?  How did Jesus fulfill this passage?  Examine Luke 4:16-21 to determine how Jesus fulfilled Isaiah’s words.

What are the things or people we are tempted to depend upon instead of the Lord?  How can we make Him our refuge instead of other things?  Meditate on the words of Psalm 142:5.

Click here to read today’s Bible passages.

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Ashes to Fire – Lent Wk6 Wednesday (Holy Week)

Consider the following questions as you meditate on the Bible passages for today (see the link to the passages below).

How does the Psalmist’s experience described in Psalm 69 compare with what Jesus faced?  Can you relate to what the Psalmist experienced?  In what way?  How does Jesus’ endurance in excruciating suffering speak to you?  Read Psalm 69:20-21, 29.

How is it that Isaiah’s description so closely matches Jesus’ experiences during Holy Week?  Why did Jesus willingly go to through the suffering He endured?  How did the Lord help both the prophet and His Son and protect them from disgrace?  Mediate on the words of Isaiah 50:6-7.

How has the Lord given you strength?  Consider telling someone today how the Lord has met a specific need you had.  What needs are you facing right now?  Ask the Lord to provide for those needs as promised in Philippians 4:12-13, 19.

Black HaloWhy do you think Judas decided to betray Jesus?  If Jesus knew Judas would betray Him, why did He invite Judas to be one of His disciples?  Why did Jesus warn His disciples that one of them would betray Him?  Why does Jesus challenge Judas with the knowledge that he will betray Jesus?  Think about the compassion and grace of the second chance given to Judas in Matthew 26:14-25.

Do you believe that the Lord will keep His covenant with you?  Which promises are you calling upon Him to fulfill for you today?  Meditate on Psalm 17:18, 20-22

Click here to read today’s Bible passages.

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Ashes to Fire – Lent Wk6 Tuesday (Holy Week)

Consider the following questions as you meditate on the Bible passages for today (see the link to the passages below).

What does it mean to you to say that The Lord is your hope, your trust? Meditate on Psalm 71:3, 5, 6c.

World Bank/IMF 2009Annual Meetings opening plenary session
“I will give you as a light to the nations,
that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.” – Isaiah 49:6c

What are the implications of God’s choice to offer His salvation to the nations (not just for Israel), to the ends of the earth? What does it imply for the mission of His church? Read Isaiah 49:6.

What do you need to forget? Toward what do you need to reach? What goal has God given you? Pray about Philippians 3:13b-14.

Why was Jesus troubled? Why did Jesus allow Judas to carry out his plan to betray Him? How did Jesus glorify God the Father? How did the Father glorify Jesus? Think about Jesus’ choice to go to the cross as you read John 13:21-33, 36-38.

Is there someone in your life who will stand up for you? How did Jesus stand up for you? Meditate on the words of Psalm 94:16-17, 22.

Click here to read today’s Bible passages.

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Ashes to Fire – Lent Wk6 Monday (Holy Week)

Consider the following questions as you meditate on the Bible passages for today (see the link to the passages below).

Of what are you afraid?  How does the Psalmist address our fears in this passage?  Read Psalm 27.

“I have given you as a covenant to the people,
a light to the nations” – Isaiah 42:6b

How could we become a “light to the nations?”  What action could you take today to bring deliverance to those in need?  Meditate on Isaiah 42:6-8.

Do you know the power of Christ’s resurrection?  What does Paul mean by this?  What does it mean to share in Christ’s sufferings?  Are you confident that you will share in the resurrection from the dead?  Read Philippians 3:10-11, or if you have time, all of Chapter 3.

How has Jesus brought new life, renewal or healing into your family?  How have you expressed your thanks to Him for these gifts of grace?  What could you do today to express your gratitude to Jesus?  Consider Mary’s actions recorded in John 12:1-11.

How earnestly is the Psalmist in seeking God in Psalm 69:16-18?  How earnest are you in seeking Him?  Do you seek God only when you are in trouble, or is seeking God a noticeable characteristic of your life?

Click here to read today’s Bible passages.

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Ashes to Fire – Lent Wk6 – Palm Sunday

Please join us for worship today and invite someone to come with you!  Our home page has information on our meeting times and location.

Consider the following questions as you meditate on the Bible passages for today (see the link to the passages below).

PalmSunday_Triumphal EntryWhat role do worship and praise have in your day-to-day life?  How might your life be different if worship was as important to you as breathing?  Read Luke 19:28-40 and think about what Jesus said about the stones!

Notice that Isaiah gives us the words of One who was struck and insulted.  Of whom is Isaiah speaking?  What do you learn about this Person from this passage?  Consider the description given in Isaiah 50:4-9.

Of whom is the Psalmist speaking:  of himself or of someone else?  Do you relate to what he describes?  If so, in what way?  How does the person described respond to all these problems?  What can we learn from this?  Meditate on Psalm 31:9-16.

In what ways did Jesus humble Himself in order to come to earth?  In what ways has the Father determined to exalt His Son?  What is your reaction/response to Jesus’ choice to become like us?  What is your reaction/response to the Father’s decision to exalt Jesus?  Read Philippians 2:5-11 through slowly, out loud, if possible.

Click here to read today’s Bible passages.

Photo:  Beacon Hill Press

Ashes to Fire – Lent Wk5 Saturday

Consider the following questions as you meditate on the Bible passages for today (see the link to the passages below).

Lightning Striking Longs Peak Foothills 6CWhen & where have you seen the Lord’s power in nature?  Has the Lord ever delivered you from physical threat or danger?  Read the Psalmist’s experience in Psalm 18:12-13, 16, 19.

What is your response to God’s desire to establish an everlasting covenant with you?  Are you willing to be in covenant with Him?  Respond to God’s invitation in Ezekiel 37:26-27.

Are you at peace with everyone?  Are you willing to pursue peace with everyone?  Are you pursuing holiness?  Do you want to see God?  What is the connection between thanksgiving and worship?  What does it mean for the writer of Hebrews to say that “our God is a consuming fire?”  Meditate on Hebrews 12:14, 28-29.

Responding to Jesus’ raising of Lazarus, the Jewish High Priest Caiaphas led the Jewish leaders in deciding to kill Jesus, since they feared that the Romans would come and destroy their Temple and their nation.  They decided it was better that one man die for the sake of saving the nation.  Compare or contrast their idea of saving their nation with Jesus’ plan.  Consider the plans of the Jews and of Jesus as you read John 11:45-56.

Do you ever get discouraged?  If so, what usually gets you down?  What is the Psalmist’s prescription for encouragement?  Think about Psalm 43:5.

Click here to read today’s Bible passages.

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Ashes to Fire – Lent Wk5 Friday

Consider the following questions as you meditate on the Bible passages for today (see the link to the passages below).

Why do you call upon the Lord?  Are you facing distress today?  What does the Psalmist testify is the Lord’s response when we call upon Him?  Read Psalm 18:3, 6.

Durham Church HDR
“Teach me to do your will,
for you are my God.
Let your good spirit lead me
on a level path.” – Psalm 143:10

What is the difference between a test and a temptation?  How has the Lord delivered you?  Consider the words of Jeremiah 20:12-13.

How does your faith strengthen and help you?  How do the stories of the heroes of faith affect your faith?  Meditate on the words of Hebrews 11:32-34.

Consider the implications of Jesus’ words, “I am God’s Son.”  Many of the Jews of Jesus’ day refused to believe Jesus’ claim.  What is your response?  Think about what Jesus said in John 10:31-42.

Do you know what God’s will is for you?  Consider praying the Psalmist’s prayer found in Psalm 143:9-10.

Click here to read today’s Bible passages.

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Ashes to Fire – Lent Wk5 Thursday

Consider the following questions as you meditate on the Bible passages for today (see the link to the passages below).

What does it mean to seek the Lord’s “presence continually?”  What clues are there in the passage to discover what it means?  Are you willing to do what the Psalmist calls us to do?  Consider Psalm 105:4-6.

How can we be blameless before God?  How does Abram’s obedience speak to you?  Are you living in covenant with God?  What did it mean for Abram to do so?  Study Genesis 17.

CounselThe writer of Hebrews says that Abraham believed that God could raise the dead.  Do you?  What difference does your faith in God’s power make?  Are you willing to act on your faith in God?  Think about Abraham’s faith as you read Hebrews 11:17, 19.

What claim is Jesus making about His power and the promise of resurrection in John 8:51-59?  Why did the Jews who heard his statement have a hard time believing?  Do you believe Jesus?  What proof of Jesus’ power do we have that they didn’t yet have?  Meditate on John 8:51-59 and consider what your response will be to Jesus’ words.

What encouragement is offered by the Psalmist to those whose spirits are “faint?”  Do you ever pray aloud to the Lord (it’s not the only way to pray, but the Psalmist implies that sometimes he prays aloud)?  Would sometimes praying aloud help you keep focused and alert during your prayer time?  What supplications or complaints do you need to share with the Lord right now?  Read Psalm 142:1-3 aloud (unless it would bother someone near you) and then share your prayer out loud with the Lord.

Click here to read today’s Bible passages.

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Ashes to Fire – Lent Wk5 Wednesday

Consider the following questions as you meditate on the Bible passages for today (see the link to the passages below).

Walking Out From Gimli
“Blessed be my rock,
and exalted be the God of my salvation” – Psalm 18:46

What does it mean for the Psalmist David to say that the Lord is his rock?  Why did David extol the Lord?  Has the Lord been your rock?  Will you extol Him?  Meditate on Psalm 18:46, 48-49.

What were Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego willing to do to remain faithful to the Lord?  What were they not willing to do?  What was Nebuchadnezzar’s response to their faith and God’s miraculous response?  Read Daniel 3:28 (and all of Chapter 3 if you have time!).

Why is faith important?  Are you living out your faith in God?  What are you doing to “diligently seek Him?”  Read Hebrews 11:6.

What are the implications of Jesus’ words: “everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin”?  What are the implications of Jesus’ words: “if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.”  Are you a slave to sin or are you free?  Do you have faith that Jesus could actually set you free from sin?  Pray about Jesus’ words found in John 8:31-42.

Do you fear (reverence) the Lord and walk in His ways?  What is promised to those who do?  Consider the words of the Psalmist in Psalm 128:1-2, 4.

Click here to read today’s Bible passages.

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Ashes to Fire – Lent Wk5 Tuesday

Consider the following questions as you meditate on the Bible passages for today (see the link to the passages below).

Pen, Diary and Glasses
“Let this be recorded for a generation to come” – Psalm 102:18

What would you want recorded about what God has done in your life in order that a future generation may praise Him?  How has God rescued you?  Psalm 102:18-20.

Consider what the Lord is preparing His people for in Numbers 21:8-9.  What parallels do you see between this story and that of Jesus’ crucifixion?

In Old Testament times, only the High Priest was permitted to go behind the curtain of the Holy of Holies.  What encouragement does the reading from Hebrews 10:19-22 give to those of us living under the new covenant?

What is the key to avoid dying in our sins?  What does Jesus reveal about His relationship with His Father?  Study John 8:21-30 to find out more.

How has the Lord delivered you?  How have you offered the Lord public praise?  Meditate on the words of Psalm 35:9-10, 18.

Click here to read today’s Bible passages.

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Ashes to Fire – Lent Wk5 Monday

Consider the following questions as you meditate on the Bible passages for today (see the link to the passages below).

What would the Lord discover if he tested you unexpectedly?  Are you seeking refuge in God?  Read Psalm 17:3-7.

What is the condition of your heart?  Have you asked God to change your heart?  Have you asked God to put His Spirit in you?  Will you?  Read Ezekiel 36:26-27.

What does it mean for the Lord to put His laws in our hearts and on our minds?  Consider the implications of Hebrews 10:15-17.  What difference would it make if our motivation for The Raising of Lazarusrighteous behavior is internal instead of external?

How has Jesus brought life to the dead places in your life?  What does the raising of Lazarus from the grave say to you about Jesus power?  …about our hope of eternal life?  Read John 11:1-45.

How has the Lord upheld you?  Are you willing to speak to praise the Lord?  (Consider leaving a comment below offering praise to God!)  Meditate on Psalm 145:13-14, 21.

Click here to read today’s Bible passages.

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