Joshua 1:9

Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

Insight: Three times God told Joshua to be strong and courageous.  The third time, he elaborated further by telling him specifically not to be terrified or discouraged.  I don't know this for sure, but I like to think that this was because God knew Joshua WAS terrified and discouraged.  With the great leader Moses being dead & a huge job to accomplish (entering into the Promised Land), Joshua was probably shaking in his boots, like most of us would be.  However, when God commanded Joshua to take courage and be strong, he didn't give him a pep talk about how great Joshua was or remind him how all his years of training as Moses' assistant had prepared him for this moment.  Instead, God reminded Joshua that HE Himself would be with him.  Because Joshua's confidence wasn't to be in his own qualifications but in the very presence of God.

Prayer: Father, thank you that the reason I can be strong and courageous is because YOU are with me.  No matter what I face, no matter how big or how daunting, if you are with me I know I can move forward with confidence.  Your presence is everything, help me to hide myself in you every day.


Ephesians 2:4-5

God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!)

insight: Even when we ran from and rejected God, God chased after us. Being separated from God meant we had no life, but God gave us life through Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. All it takes is for us to stop running, turn around, and accept the gift God’s is extending to us.

prayer: God, I often chase after things that have little eternal significance. All the while you are chasing after me, inviting me to turn around and accept the gift you have given. Today I recognize my greatest need is you. I accept the gift you have given me.


Ephesians 1:5

God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.

insight: God’s intent all along has been to adopt us into his family through what Jesus has done for us. This wasn’t “Plan B.” No one twisted his arm. He is so excited about bringing us into his family!

prayer: God, thank you for adopting me as I am. My value and worth is found in being your child. Today, help me to live with confidence in who I am in you.


Galatians 6:1

Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself.

Insight: None of us are perfect, and we all need someone in our corner to both encourage and correct us. Paul instructs us to correct another believer gently and with a humble recognition that we all stumble from time to time. Correction should never be punitive or vindictive. It’s always about bringing someone back onto the right path.

Prayer: Jesus, show me who I can encourage today. And give me the courage and humility to receive correction from others who are in my corner. I know we are better together. 


Galatians 5:16, 22-23

So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Insight: Our natural tendencies tend to be selfish and ultimately destructive to self and others.  But as we invite God's Spirit to walk with us and lead us each moment of the day, he rubs off on us.  His characteristics (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control) becomes our characteristics.  Our focus should never be on trying to become a better person out of our own inner strength or will.  Our focus should be on walking and talking with God each moment of the day through prayer as he shapes our desires, thoughts, and actions.  This is people becoming the church.

Prayer: Holy Spirit, I choose to walk with you today.  To a certain extent, I can change my behavior, but I cannot change my heart.  That's something only you can do.  Please change me from the inside out so your characteristics naturally become mine.  


Galatians 5:13-14

Do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.  For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Insight: While Jesus freed us from needing to follow the Law of Moses in order to be part of God's family, the Bible never says we should live however we want.  Our freedom in Jesus should motivate us to love others more fully.  Jesus himself said, "I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other."  Jesus' sacrificial life defines our identity as his followers, and this new identity in Jesus transforms the way we live.

Prayer: Jesus, I want my identity to be so deeply rooted in you that it changes everything about me.  Your sacrificial life is my example and motivation for how to love others.  Help me to embrace your love for me so I can love others more fully.


Galatians 3:26-28

For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Insight: We all are invited to be God’s kids, and in this new identity we stand as equals.  In Paul’s society (the author of Galatians), there were obvious divisions of race, economic status, and gender.  Those same division exist in our world today.  But we are all equally in need of being reconciled to God - which is our greatest need.  God created the beautiful, diverse tapestry of humanity and invites all of us to know him through Jesus’ death and resurrection on our behalf.

Prayer: God, help me to view myself and others as you do.  You value each of us more than I can comprehend.  I want your love to be expressed through me today!


Galatians 2:20

My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.

Insight: Paul was writing as a Jewish man who once religiously followed each of God’s laws to be on God’s good side.  That old way of life, Paul said, was put to death alongside Jesus.  When Jesus died on the cross, he took upon himself the result of our rebellion against God (death) and dealt with it once and for all in his resurrection.  For Paul, his life was no longer defined by his performance but by Jesus.

Prayer: Jesus, thank you that my life is defined by you and the sacrifice you made on my behalf.  Father, I want obedience to flow out of my identity as your child.  Holy Spirit, empower me to live a life that represents you well but never to try to earn your favor through my own effort.


Galatians 1:3

“May God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.”

Insight: Peace. Peace is that breath of fresh air when you first get off the plane on vacation. Peace is on Christmas morning when you watch your kids open up gifts and you want to stall time. The bible tells us that the peace God offers is one that the world cannot give. We are given this peace by declaring Jesus as Lord and then trusting him in every circumstance.

Prayer: Jesus, thank you for your peace. This is not a peace that just come and goes. But a peace that we can live in. When the storms of life do their thing, help us to have a strong hold on the peace that you offer. We love you and look to you!


Mark 16:15

‘And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.’”

Insight: At newhope, we use the language of Presenting Hope. This simply means that Jesus is lord and we have the opportunity to present that hope to our friends, neighbors, teammates, classmates, and work associates. Preaching the good news, presenting hope, doesn’t need to look like standing on a table and bringing down fire. We present this hope by encouraging others, loving others before ourselves, inviting them to be in our community at church or community groups, or by simply smiling when others frown. 

Prayer: Jesus, help us to present hope in every opportunity that you place in front of us. Our world is broken and is in desperate need of our savior. Help us to present that hope by the way we speak, the way we smile, and the way that we care for people. As your Holy Spirit resides in us, give us the faith and boldness to let others know how good you are.


Deuteronomy 7:6

“For you are a holy people, who belong to the Lord your God. Of all the people on earth, the Lord your God has chosen you to be his own special treasure.” 

Insight: When I was in grade school, I started to collect stamps. I decided to go to a stamp collection, and found out quickly that I did not belong there. There was no one there under the age of 60! Compare that to how I feel at home. Home is where I belong! I do not have to preface my statements, laughter comes easiest here, and I feel loved and cared for. You belong to God. You never have to feel like I did at a stamp convention with him, he loves and adores you for you! 

Prayer: Lord, we belong to you. You are our father, our best friend, our companion, and our advocate. Help us choose today to be reminded that we belong to you even when we don’t feel that way at times. Our emotions can toss us around, but the truth still stands. We are treasured by you!


Psalms 43:5

“Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again - my savior and my God!”

Insight: It is interesting to me that the author of this psalm used the phrase “praise him again” other than just praise him. I like to think that the author wanted to remind us to come back to what we know is true and that all of us have the tendency to wander. Praising God doesn’t have to be based on the circumstances in front of us. It can be based off of what we have seen Jesus do throughout scripture and previously in our own lives. Jesus is good and loves each of us deeply, he should be praised daily! 

Prayer: Jesus, forgive me for the fact that my heart has the tendency to wander from what is right and true. I acknowledge today that you are good, that you love me, and that you are my God. Help us to start today with praise in our hearts for all that you are. You are worthy of our praise and affection. Amen


Psalms 36:7

“How precious is your unfailing love, O God! All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings.”

Insight: Were you ever picked last for a team during recess? Yeah, me either. Being picked last stated the obvious to all those around. No one really wanted you on their team. Ouch! We see in this scripture that Jesus would choose you and I, every time. No matter how gifted you are or aren’t, fashionable, financially successful, etc, God says you are worthy of his love and he chooses you. Every time! 

Prayer: Jesus, the world has a way of making us feel insignificant and just not quite enough. I thank you that I find your unconditional love every time I come to you. Under your wings, the words of others and the expectations the world put on me seem very small. Help us today to be reminded of your love, and that you would choose us every time.


Mark 12:31

Mark 12:31

“The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.” 

Insight: Love God and love people. If you have been in church at all, you have probably heard this statement before. Really easy to say, much harder to do. I recently heard from a friend, “Find the gold in someone else today.” Loving others means putting them in front of you. Their hopes, dreams, or small moments. Let’s take the third seat. Love God, and then love others by finding the gold in them today. 

Prayer: Dear Jesus, thank you that you always see greatness in me. You took the back seat and gave your life for me so that I can spend eternity with you. Help me to have even a sliver of this love for others. I want to see the gold in others today before I see my own wants and needs. Amen. 


Mark 11:23-24

“I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart. I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours.”

Insight: The power of belief. I remember reading this verse as a child and then praying for a million dollars, it didn’t happen. I really thought I believed that God could! What I love about Jesus is that he knows what is best for us at all times. We then get the opportunity to pray and believe that he will come through, and I believe that he does when we ask. It just looks different than what we would expect. The important part is that we pray and truly believe he will come through. If we do, our faith has already won no matter what the out come.

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, I thank you that you are good in every circumstance. I also thank you that you give us the opportunity to pray and trust that you will come through. That is what faith is. Help us today to pray and when we do, to trust you no matter what the outcome. Because you are always good!


Mark 10:15-16

I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” Then he took the children in his arms and placed his hands on their heads and blessed them.

Insight - Jesus loved talking about heaven, faith and children. The reason? all three are really linked together, faith is the one needed requirement to enter heaven and Jesus wanted to leave no doubt as to what kind of faith was needed! So, he took all the children in his arms and declared to all mankind, this childlike faith is what you need. Pure, honest, humble faith!

Prayer - Jesus, there are days I struggle with feeling like I even have enough faith to get through the day, but I am reminded that all you want from me is the faith of a child. So I bring you my simple, but deep confession of faith today that declares, like a child that you are my heavenly father and that is enough for me. I look to you today to do what only you can do!  Amen.


Mark 9:23-24

 “What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.”The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!”

Insight - Perhaps one of the most honest and human responses found in the Bible, is this father who is desperate for a miracle. How many times have you struggled with unbelief? We know that Jesus had the power to do anything he wants, but we stop short of believing he would do it for us! Take comfort in knowing that you are not alone in feeling this way, furthermore in our reading today we see that Jesus can handle our lack of faith, in fact all he needs is a very small measure of faith to do the impossible!

Prayer -  Jesus, I really do believe that you can do the impossible! But I also struggle with unbelief at the same time, help me to overcome. I thank you that even mustard seed size faith can move mountains, I look to you today to do what only you can do. Amen




Mark 8:34

Then, calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me.

Insight - Jesus called to the crowd. This was an invitation for anyone to join him on his mission. Think about it, he was saying I know you have seen the 12 men I call my disciples to this point, but now I am opening up the position of "Disciple" to everyone! Now the new job opening has some interesting requirements, three things really. First you have to stop living life according to your plans, second there may be hard work involved as you care for others, and third you have a new leader and his name is Jesus. Follow me, Jesus said.

Prayer - Jesus, I have always thought that it was religious and professional trained ministers that were supposed to do ministry. But I know now you are calling me  to join you on your mission to heal the world!  Help me to surrender my plans, to be willing to do the work of caring for others, and as I choose to follow you please give me the strength needed to keep my eyes on you when the stress and circumstances of life press in on me. Amen


Mark 7:14-15

 Then Jesus called to the crowd to come and hear. “All of you listen,” he said, “and try to understand. It’s not what goes into your body that defiles you; you are defiled by what comes from your heart.”

Insight - Try to understand. Jesus knew that the human heart was sometimes slow to grasp truth! But he still had a very powerful point to make, he wanted us to really come to terms with the fact that it's what in our hearts that really matters. We tend to focus on the external, while Jesus reminds us that it's what is inside us that both defiles us or defines us as well. May we then guard our hearts and fill them with the truth of God's word today.

Prayer - Jesus, thank you for your patience, I want to understand your teaching regarding my heart condition. Please teach me to guard my heart and to allow you to have full ownership of it as well. Help me to not just "follow the rules" or to practice outward religious exercises, but instead I will examine my heart first as I seek to live for and worship you!  Amen.


Mark 6:2-3

The next Sabbath he began teaching in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed. They asked, “Where did he get all this wisdom and the power to perform such miracles?” 3 Then they scoffed, “He’s just a carpenter, the son of Mary and the brother of James, Joseph,Judas, and Simon. And his sisters live right here among us.” They were deeply offended and refused to believe in him.

Insight - He is JUST a carpenter! We are so inclined at times to place labels on people, we only look on the outside and do not see the true identity of those around us. If Jesus had to navigate this with the people he was trying to serve , love and share the Good News with, then we can expect the same. We all will struggle with the "I am just a....." but knowing WHO you are and WHOSE you are will help you stay focused on your mission, just like Jesus!

Prayer -Jesus, at times I struggle with who I really am. My career, status , age or other labels seem to stick and define me. I want to be free to walk in my true identity today, just like you were not "just a carpenter" , I believe and confess that I am a child of God created with a purpose! Thank you for loving me and giving me new life. Amen.