Mark 2:1-5

Verse(s) Jesus again entered Capernaum (returning home).  They gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them.  Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them.  Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”

Insight: The truest expression of friendship is bringing others to Jesus. The four guys who rolled their buddy up like a human burrito in order to get him to Jesus didn’t let the fact that there was no room detour them from their mission. They recognized that obstacles are also opportunities. The result was miraculous - their friends healing and their faith ignited. Jesus didn’t just deal with his most obvious need (being paralyzed) but his most important need (forgiveness from sins). What are you doing to bring your friends to Jesus and Jesus to your friends?

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for dealing with our most important needs, not just our most obvious. Healing this mans body as well as his soul is a powerful reminder of your desire and ability to set us from from the inside out. Help us to recognize our role in brining others to you. In your Name Dear Lord, Amen.

Jeffery Portmann

Mark 1:9-11

Verse(s) At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son,whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”

Insight: Jesus models water baptism for every believer. For us, it’s an outward expression of the inward transformation that Jesus makes possible through His life, death and resurrection. Water baptism is symbolic of dying (being buried) to our old selves, and rising from the dead (spiritually). When Jesus came out of the water, the Holy Spirit descended on Him and God the Father spoke his blessing over Jesus. If you have not been baptized in water - publicly declaring your commitment to Christ, it is an important next step modeled by Jesus himself. (You can learn more about water baptism go to newhopech.com Spiritual Development tab.)

Prayer: What a beautiful model you’ve provided for us Jesus. May we know the same blessing of God over our lives. That you love us. That you speak to us like a loving Heavenly Father who has our best in mind. Thank you for the gift of Water Baptism and the bold message of hope and promise that is represents! In your precious name, Amen.

Jeffery Portmann

Acts 28:1-6

Verse(s): Once safely on shore, we found out that the island was called Malta. The islanders showed us unusual kindness. They built a fire and welcomed us all because it was raining and cold. Paul gathered a pile of brushwood and, as he put it on the fire, a viper, driven out by the heat, fastened itself on his hand. When the islanders saw the snake hanging from his hand, they said to each other, “This man must be a murderer; for though he escaped from the sea, the goddess Justice has not allowed him to live.” But Paul shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no ill effects. The people expected him to swell up or suddenly fall dead; but after waiting a long time and seeing nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and said he was a god.

Insight: On his way to stand trial in Rome, the ship Paul was on ran aground and broke apart. Everyone survived and once they got ashore something miraculous happened. Paul surviving the snake bite caused the people of Malta to want to worship him rather than God. He would have none of that. It can be easy for something amazing or even miraculous to happen and for us to want to take the credit. Only God is worthy of worship. There is one God and we’re not Him.

Prayer: Lord, please forgive us/me for any time that I have taken credit for something that only you could do. You alone are God. You alone are worthy of worship and praise. I stand in awe of you today and will point people to You not me. Amen.

Jeffery Portmann

Psalm 23:1-3,6

Verse(s): The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Insight: This short Psalm paints one of the clearest pictures of God’s unwavering love for us as well as His role in our lives. A Shepherds primary roles is leading the flock through each season and ensuring their safety. What’s interesting is that like sheep, we tend to wander off and get distracted. These verses are such a beautiful reminder of how God cares for and promises to provide goodness and love for us culminating with His Very Presence.

Prayer: Your unfailing love for us - like a shepherd caring for his flock brings such great peace and hope for both today and every day following. I choose today to stay close to you and thank you for leading me to places of refreshing and nourishment. I love you Lord.

Jeffery Portmann

Psalm 22:11

Verse: Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there is no one to help.

Insight: Some days we feel alone despite having people near us: friends, family, even our spouse. But God is always near. He will not renege on his promise to be close to the brokenhearted. If you find yourself feeling alone, you’re not the first to wrestle with these thoughts, as we read from King David’s cry above. Cling to the promise that God will never leave you nor forsake you today.

Prayer: Sometimes, I think no one can relate to my pain and discouragement. When things go bad or my heart gets wounded help me not to forget that you are near. Help me to hold firmly to the promise that you will never leave me. Thanks for the reminder that i’m not the only one who has ever felt this way. I love you Lord, Amen.

Jeffery Portmann

Acts 25:24-25

Verse(s): Festus said: “King Agrippa, and all who are present with us, you see this man! The whole Jewish community has petitioned me about him in Jerusalem and here in Caesarea, shouting that he ought not to live any longer.  found he had done nothing deserving of death, but because he made his appeal to the Emperor I decided to send him to Rome.

Insight: Imprisoned in Caesarea, Paul wanted to have his case heard in Rome which was his right as a Roman Citizen. Festus appealing to King Agrippa, who would then send Paul to Rome provided a platform for Christianity on a much broader scale. Prior to Paul being tried in Rome Christianity was considered a sect which somewhat slowed it’s spread. (Paul’s Roman prison is a place that can be visited still today among the ruins near the Senate and Colosseum ruins.)

Prayer: Lord, you want all people to come to relationship with you and will utilize any and all opportunities to make that possible. Help me today to recognize the privilege I have in sharing the good news of the gospel whether in prison or as a free person. In your Name. Amen

Jeffery Portmann

Acts 24:27

Verse: When two years had passed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus, but because Felix wanted to grant a favor to the Jews, he left Paul in prison.

Insight: After accepting Christ as Lord of our lives we can begin to think that that life will be free from pain, loss, and disappointment. That is not true and we have numerous examples of how God allows us to “stay in the middle of a storm” but promises to “be with us.” Paul being left in prison is just one example of this. God uses every situation, even our heartache and disappointment for his glory and our development.

Prayer: Jesus, thank you for your promise of being “with us” regardless of the season or setting. Help us to learn to trust your plan when we don’t see the outcome we’re praying for. In your Name, Amen.

Jeffery Portmann

Leviticus 26:3-4

Verse: “If you walk in my statutes and observe my commandments and do them, then I will give you your rains in their season, and the land shall yield its increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit.

Insight: We tend to first seek the provision instead of the Provider. As we seek Him first for wisdom and direction, God will show us the harvest ready to reap.

Prayer: Dear Lord, may I never lose sight of who you are. I don’t want to limit you by trusting my self-sufficiency. My sufficiency and contentment rests in You, my Provider. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Victor

Psalm 25:4-5

Verse: Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.

Insight: As we seek God in prayer and through His Word, He will straighten our path. His wisdom grows as we patiently wait on His prompting for the day.

Prayer: Thank you Father for sending your Son, Jesus, the Way, the Truth, and the Life, to reveal more of your heart to me. May the noise of this world never become a hindrance to hear your truth and to follow your path. In Christ Jesus, Amen.

Victor

Psalm 24:3-5

Verse: Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully. He will receive blessing from the Lord and righteousness from the God of his salvation.

Insight: As Christians, we want to be in the presence of God. Our sinfulness hinders us from sensing His Spirit. However, the more we seek Him with all of our hearts, the more we will surrender our sinful thoughts and a desire for obedience and to worship Him will grow. His grace endures forever and our grateful hearts will move us towards a lifestyle of worship.

Prayer: Loving and graceful God. I thank you for teaching me how to get closer to you. Cleanse my heart and make it white as snow. Purify my lips so that only praises will flow out of my mouth. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Victor

Leviticus 20:24

Verse: But I have said to you, ‘You shall inherit their land, and I will give it to you to possess, a land flowing with milk and honey.’ I am the Lord your God, who has separated you from the peoples.

Insight: We have been chosen, not to be hindered from what the world offers but to be blessed by God, the source of all provision. We are co-heirs with Christ and as such, we get to enjoy on earth as it is in heaven, as we believe, declare, and depend on Him.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you because your promises and blessings are above and beyond anything the world can offer. I am in this world but I am not of this world. May I never forget your promises and live by them. In Jesus’ Mighty Name. Amen.

Victor

Psalm 13:5-6

Verse: But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, because he has dealt bountifully with me.

Insight: The world places its trust on finances, careers, and people. Unfortunately nothing lasts like God’s unfailing love and provision. When we place our trust in Him, the peace that surpasses all understanding overflows our hearts and we can’t stop from thanking Him.

Prayer: Father, source of love and grace, I thank you for loving me first. For teaching me how to live in victory, knowing that my trust is in you. I will worship you now and forever. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Victor

Exodus 15:1-2

Verse: “I will sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea. The Lord is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father's God, and I will exalt him.

Insight: Jesus already has the victory. It is finished! We cannot focus on the past or be afraid of the future. The spirit of fear should be in control no more. We have true freedom and we must declare it and worship Him as Moses did in this song.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord for delivering me from eternal separation from your loving presence. The enemy might attempt to discourage me during times of trials but I hold on to your promises and the victories already won. I will always praise you and exalt you for ever, Amen.

Victor

Exodus 13:21-22

VerseAnd the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night. The pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night did not depart from before the people.

Insight: Although it might not feel like it, God will never leave us on the desert. Even in the midst of trials, He supplies for our needs as we follow His path and are grateful for His provision.

Prayer: Father, may I never forget how much you care for me, especially when I can’t see the end. I want to follow your lead day and night. I desire to form an attitude of gratitude because you are my Provider, my Counselor, my Redeemer. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Victor

Exodus 12:50-51

VerseSo all the people of Israel followed all the Lord’s commands to Moses and Aaron. On that very day the Lord brought the people of Israel out of the land of Egypt like an army.

Insight: God is always on time. We may often wish for an instant answer to our prayers when something unexpected takes place in our lives, but the truth is that God is never surprised. He has already walked the road ahead of us. Obedience then is the key to experiencing the freedom of living out God’s plan.

Prayer: Lord, help me to live in faith and obedience in the unexpected moments of life. I trust you in all things and at all times. I want to experience the freedom of living out your plan for my life every day. In Jesus name, Amen.

Nathan P.

Acts 15:8-9

Verse“God knows people’s hearts, and he confirmed that he accepts Gentiles by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as he did to us.  He made no distinction between us and them, for he cleansed their hearts through faith.”

Insight: God’s gift of salvation is available equally to all who confess their sins and accept Jesus as the Lord of their life. Our present, past, and the amount of sin in our lives will not change that truth or add additional requirements for those most in need of God’s grace.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for making your grace and gift of salvation equally available for all. Help me to remember that our good can’t get us in and our bad can’t keep us out, and to share your love and encouragement with those I meet today. In Jesus name, Amen.

Nathan P.

Psalms 19: 1

The heavens proclaim the glory of God: The skies display his craftsmanship.

Insight

As I write this it is snowing outside. It is a swirling beautiful mess of white flakes surrounding the sky. As each snow flake falls it is different in shape and design. It is amazing to think that God would take the time to craft such small beautiful delicate flakes. Today was a reminder of the heavens and skies proclaiming God’s craftsmanship and glory. Today I am reminded that God is in the details and to always be ready to see his power at work in everything.

Prayer

Dear Jesus, Thank you for the beautiful reminder of just how great and mighty and powerful you are. Help us to see your glory and craftsmanship in everything we see and do. Thank you for loving us and for this beautiful reminder of your power through some snow falling on our ground. Amen

Amy H.

Exodus 36:5

They went to Moses and reported, The people have given more than enough materials to complete the job the Lord has commanded us to do!

Insight

I love this verse. Reading about people giving, sharing and the need being completely and exceedingly met! When we take the focus off needing to keep everything we have individually and learn to share freely what God has given us, the need will always be exceedingly met.

Prayer

Dear Jesus, Thank you that when I put you first in all areas of my life all my needs will be met. Thank you for blessing me to be able to share with others. Help me to put others first and to always be willing to share freely. Amen

Amy H.

Acts 2:4

“They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to talk in different languages, as the Spirit enabled them to speak.”

INSIGHT: This is the pivotal point in human history, when God the Holy Spirit, end-welled/humankind the need of mankind changed from hope to a present reality. The Holy Spirit had come upon several people throughout the Old Testament. But here, the Holy Spirit came to stay, thus we can also be baptized (submerged) in the Holy Spirit. Jesus began His public ministry right after the Holy Spirit came upon Him. Should we be following in His steps?

PRAYER: Father, thank You for dwelling within me by Your Holy Spirit (Ruach Hokadesh). Please give me the wisdom to discern His leading and the power to obey His direction. By Your gifts of the Holy Spirit, I believe that we can be part of our own pivotal point in history. In Jesus Name.

Charlie Goodman

Exodus 12:25

“When you come to the land which the Lord will give you, as he promised, you are to observe this ceremony”.

INSIGHT: This instruction means “to guard over this act of worship” by doing it just as God had instructed as believers we are involved in “acts of worship” from the time we arise to our laying down. As “disciplined students” (disciples) we are to observe the ceremonies He has given. These ceremonies like love, acceptance and forgiveness will help us to come into the land He has given us. His Kingdom.

PRAYER: Father, I ask You to give me and understanding of the ceremonies of worship You have called me to. Let me be a servant of worship and to observe You in the land into which You have called me. Let me live to inherit Your promises in Jesus Name.

Charlie Goodman