The scripture tells us that God created each and everyone of us to know and love. But the scripture also tells us the truth. That you and I made a choice to live as though love had never come. We looked at the life that God offered and we said, "No, we want to be in control, we want to call the...
When we stop living for our own glory, we stop being limited by our own abilities and our own efforts and we begin to live by the power of God - the Holy Spirit inside of us! That's very clearly what the scripture teaches. In 2 Corinthians 12:9, the Apostle Paul asked God three times to take...
When they saw him walking on the water, they were terrified. “It's a ghost!” they said, and screamed with fear. Jesus spoke to them at once. “Courage!” he said. “It is I. Don't be afraid!” (Matthew 14:26-27) How are you dealing with your fears so far this...
Why does Jesus' death matter? Not as some historical artifact of time passed, but why is it the center of what matters in my life and in your life? Matthew 27:1-45 talks about the death of Jesus, the murder at the center of all human history. With all that you have to do. With the...
Hebrews 1:3 says, "The son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of His being." This glory that you long for, that you cannot find in sexuality or material things. The glory that you cannot find in the affirmation and applause of other broken people. This glory that we...
There is no way you can be married and walk this life together without it being hard sometimes. I realize that in marriage, there are a million different scenarios. I realize that everybody’s life is different, but I’m just telling you there is so much grace when we refuse to quit!...
When God acts in our lives and works to rescue us, there is a purpose for that. The purpose is that we get to live in His presence. We get to be with God; God rescues us to be with Him! When you are with someone you love, it’s a joyful thing and God’s joy is you! God’s heart...
God came down to planet earth and became one of us, to lift us by grace and truth to a life that is new forever. When we believe we are released from our slavery, we are released from all of the destructive gravity of sin. This gravitational pull is so strong, it drags us into addictions, it...
When you miss grace, you're always going to stay away from God like a stern parent that you can never please. Religion leaves you stuck, and wears you out. It tries to appear perfect, and tries to force a change that always seems to snap back into old patterns. When you live without grace, you...
The scripture says, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23) Now we live in this crazy gap between where God wants us to be, in His love, and on the other side, the scripture says that "The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 6:23)
This death is serious! It's eternal. It separates us, it twists us --it makes us angry!
It leads us down paths where we hurt people and it leads us to do stupid things sexually. It leads us to try other things to make us feel good in terms of chemicals and drugs and parties and gambling and all kinds of lies because the party always ends but the love of God never does!
And so the scripture says that God loved us so much that He built a bridge! This bridge was the life of Jesus! This was the love of Jesus! (John 3:16)
When they saw him walking on the water, they were terrified. “It's a ghost!” they said, and screamed with fear. Jesus spoke to them at once. “Courage!” he said. “It is I. Don't be afraid!” (Matthew 14:26-27)
How are you dealing with your fears so far this week?
Are you letting them overcome you, or have you found the strength in Christ to press through them? No matter where you are on that spectrum, there is hope.
When Peter saw Jesus walking on the water, he was able to overcome his fear. But once he lost sight of Jesus and began to doubt, that is the moment he started to sink.
Keep your eyes on Jesus. He has set the example for us, and he has the strength that we all lack. He is stretching out his hand to us, and all you have to do is grab hold, never let go, and never look back.
If you find yourself struggling, remember the words to the song “Oceans” (Hillsong United):
Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You've never failed me and You won't start now
His grace abounds, no matter where you are. It’s never too late. There is no fear too great nor sorrow too deep where he cannot find you. Reach out your hand and call on him. He will lift you up.
Even David, oftentimes considered to be one of the greatest kings of all time, knew fear. Time and again he called out to God because he knew that with him, even a small boy could face a giant.
I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me; he freed me from all my fears. (Psalm 34:4)
Receive devotionals like this one in your inbox each week when you sign up to receive Life Lifters from Severn Run. Sign Up Now!
Why does Jesus' death matter?
Not as some historical artifact of time passed, but why is it the center of what matters in my life and in your life? Matthew 27:1-45 talks about the death of Jesus, the murder at the center of all human history.
With all that you have to do. With the bills to pay, the schools to go to, the things to learn, the love to find, the love to give, the children to raise - whatever it is that so occupies your mind and your heart, whatever it is that you think is most important right now, there is something more important still. It is not some long ago disconnected event, it is the centerpiece of your life!
Romans 3:25 says "God presented Him as a sacrifice of atonement through faith in His blood." The Atonement is where Jesus offered Himself as a sacrifice for sins. So Jesus became a sacrifice, and by believing in the meaning of what God did in dying for us, our sins can be lifted, forgiven, erased - carried away!
It matters because Jesus' death defeats the gravity of 'The Fall' - that's what it does! In "The Fall," we chose our own way, we rebelled against God and the result was we were cast out of Eden. We wanted freedom from the love and relationship of God and what we got was insanity, chaos, brokenness and the gravity of sin introduced a cancer into all of life!
Gravity - There is this continual 'pulling down' of force that is unseen and unstoppable and it not only affects physical objects, it effects everything in your life!
Every good intention that you have.
It affects your mind and how you think about money and sexuality...there is a downward pull on those things.
Let's think about being depressed. What does being 'depressed' mean? It means something is pushing down!
In most of our lives, there are like one or two sins that are like drugs, they offer us something 'other than' God, and we turn to them over and over again. Then we say we'll never do that again and then 'gravity' happens and then the attempt to lift it up - but down it goes!
All of this is what the Bible tells us is part of 'The Fall'.
In Jesus' death, He was an atoning sacrifice that literally answered and canceled all of the sin of all of humanity - when we believe!
So the gravity of 'The Fall' is beaten, when we connect the death of Jesus with our living, and we can then live defying gravity until Heaven comes!
What I'm telling you is that when we believe in the death of Jesus, we become free and the downward force of the gravity is overcome!
Now I want you to understand, we are living in the age of redemption. There is an age of restoration that is coming when there will be no more sin!
No more downward pull. No more gravity!
But I until then, if you are a believer, do not think that you are a failure because you have to struggle - you are a great success! An airplane has to struggle to get off the ground and defy gravity! Even after it launches into the air, it can't then say "Ok, I'm in the air, everything should be easy, shut the engines off!" Yet, some believers say "Oh, I accepted Jesus, everything should be easy if God loves me, no more tears, no more pain, no more crying." No, that's heaven, but until then, we have to go through it, we have to keep moving forward, we have to overcome in faith through God's grace!
In our struggle, until the restoration, we have the promise of God that we do not have to be victims of our own lust, of our own consumerism, we do not have to live depressed and down, we can soar as high as the grace of God! There will always be a struggle here on planet earth, but so what, we can win! Jesus' death defeats the gravity of the fall; you are not fated to fail!
The scripture says, in 1 John 2:2, "He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, not only for ours, but for the sins of the whole world." Jesus died for you - If you and I will connect the meaning of His death to the ongoing meaning of our lives, everything changes! Father God I pray, in Jesus' name, that we would hear the story of the death of Jesus and that we would connect the meaning of His death to the living of our lives! -Dr. Drew Shofner
Hebrews 1:3 says, "The son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of His being." This glory that you long for, that you cannot find in sexuality or material things. The glory that you cannot find in the affirmation and applause of other broken people. This glory that we seek, is to be connected to the glory of God Himself!
Jesus is the exact representation of His being!
So when we see Jesus, we say "That is what God is like!" When we wonder if God is this vengeful God, intending to crush us and rub our faces in our mess, we look at Jesus and we see Him love the woman taken into adultery. We see Jesus lift her up and say "Just go, and sin no more." (John 8:1-11)
We see Jesus walking among broken people, touching them and healing them and wrapping His arms around them. We see Jesus going out of His way, inconveniencing Himself to be with people who don't know what God's face looks like, and when they saw Jesus, then they have seen the face of God!
God's ultimate plan of revelation is to send His child into a light-less world.
You are the child that God is sending into a broken world!
I am the child that God is sending into a broken world!
We are to go as Jesus went and we are to walk out of our way and we are not to live self concerned and self consumed!
All of our significance has been gifted by grace. All of our identity has been affirmed by God, so we are free! Now, instead of pushing our own agendas, we have died with Christ and we have allowed God to reveal, to His world, what love looks like through His child! -Dr. Drew Shofner