John 5:6-7

 When Jesus saw him and knew he had been ill for a long time, he asked him, “Would you like to get well?” “I can’t, sir,” the sick man said, “for I have no one to put me into the pool when the water bubbles up. Someone else always gets there ahead of me.”

Insight:

Rather than answering Jesus with a “yes” or a “no,” he says “I can’t,” essentially saying I am stuck in this position. We can sometimes have our own places of stuckness where we believe we can’t escape or see a change or healing. Yet as this crippled man discovered, Jesus is able to do the impossible. Look to him today and seek him for the deliverance, or healing that you need and then trust his timing.

Prayer:

Lord I lift up to you the areas where I am stuck and need healing. I can’t fix these things on my own and I ask for your healing to flow through me today. Give me wisdom and direction and strength to get me where you want me to be. Amen.

Justin Keeler

John 4:4

…He had to go through Samaria on the way.

Insight:

I love that Jesus always had plans for people while he was on the way somewhere. In this case he wanted to reach out to a woman who had a bad reputation around town and to be able to share hope for a new life with her. Let’s look for opportunities to share the good news of Jesus “along the way.” In picking up kids to go play at the park, or meeting a friend for coffee, or while out shopping. It’s in these along the way moments that some of the most profound ministry happens.

Prayer:

Jesus open my eyes and my heart today to recognize opportunities to minister to people I cross paths with or who you direct me to connect with. Amen.

Justin Keeler

Psalm 62:5-6

Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him. He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress where I will not be shaken.

Insight:

In the busyness of our days it can be difficult to just stop and wait quietly. Sometimes the quiet scares us, but it is where we can be reminded of the source of our daily hope and that Jesus is a rock and fortress for us. When life seems to be shaking us, he is where we need to run for comfort and stability in the midst of it. Take a moment to quiet your heart and mind and focus on Jesus. He is your ROCK.

Prayer:

Lord I thank you that I can turn to you today for comfort and hope. I give you all the things in my world that are shaking right now and I ask that you would set my feet firm on you today. Amen.

Justin Keeler

Psalm 107:1-2

Give thanks to the Lord for he is good! His faithful love endures forever. Has the Lord redeemed you? Then speak out! Tell others he has saved you from your enemies.

Insight:

One of the most profound habits we can have in our lives is gratitude. It keeps us focused on the good whether we are in good times or bad. Another benefit of expressing gratitude, is that it can be a tool for sharing God’s goodness with others who don’t know him. Your story about his work in your life could be the very thing that they need to turn the corner and open the door of their heart to Jesus.

Insight:

Lord I am so grateful today for your goodness in my life and the kindness and patience you have shown me. Help me to share that same gratitude of who you are to me with someone who needs to hear of your goodness and salvation. Amen.

Justin Keeler

John 1:12

But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.

Insight:

The rights that we have in our lives are all gifts and the greatest of the rights available to us is the right to be a son or daughter of God. To not just be one of his subjects but his child. And by our faith in the person and work of Jesus, we are able to have this right and be unconditionally loved by a perfect heavenly Father.

Prayer:

Jesus I thank you for giving me the right to be a child of God and that I didn’t have to earn it or be good enough for it, but you just accepted me based on my faith in you. Help me to live today in a way that reflects you to those around me.

Justin Keeler

2 Peter 3:14

And so, dear friends, while you are waiting for these things to happen, make every effort to be found living peaceful lives that are pure and blameless in his sight.

Insight:

The things Peter is refering to is the passing away of the heavens and earth as we know them, and the judgement of all people by the Lord before He creates a new heaven and new earth. While we may not be around to personally witness this, Peter’s conclusion is that we need to keep in mind that there is a future in store for us where we are completely right with God and get to enjoy the beauty of His presence forever. And it is in light of this that we should live a life that is pleasing and honoring to God.

Prayer:

Lord I thank you for the forgiveness of my sins and that because of your forgiveness I can look forward to a future in heaven with you forever, free of sickness, pain and sin. Help me to live now in a way that honors you and shows the world around me your love, so they can also experience your forgiveness.

Justin Keeler

Isaiah 53:10

But it was the Lord’s good plan to crush Him and fill him with grief. Yet when his life is made an offering for sin, he will have a multitude of children, many heirs. He will enjoy a long life, ad the Lord’s plan will prosper in His hands.

Insight:

Jesus went through incredible physical and emotional pain leading up to and during his crucifixion. And on the other side of that pain and anguish the way was opened for everyone who wanted, to turn from their sins, receive complete forgiveness and be welcomed into God’s family forever.

Prayer:

Jesus thank you for enduring the pain and shame of the cross for our sins and for making a way for us to be forgiven and live passionate and purposeful lives. Thank you that our hope is not just in this life but also in the one to come.

Justin Keeler

2 Peter 1:3

“By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence.”

Insight:

The power to live a godly life comes from God. Because we don’t have the resources to be truly godly, God allows us to “share his divine nature” in order to keep us from sin and to help us live for him. When we are born again, God by his Spirit empowers us with his own goodness. (John 3:6; 14:17-23; 2 Corinthians 5:21; and 1 Peter 1:22-23) To enjoy the privileges God offers us freely, we must grow in our knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord. (Life Application Study Bible)

Prayer:

Jesus, we do want to live a godly life. Help us look to you and not ourselves. We receive your ‘divine nature’ so that we can live above Sin and live life fully in you.

Ray

1 Peter 5:7

“Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.”

Insight:

Carrying your worries, stresses, and daily struggles by yourself shows that you have not trusted God fully in your life. It takes humility, however, to recognize that God cares, to admit your need, and let others in God’s family help you. Sometimes we think that struggles caused by our own sin and foolishness are not God’s concern. But when we turn to God in repentance, he will bear the weight even of those struggles.

Prayer:

Jesus, guard our hearts against the pride, and shame, that causes us to turn away from you when we need help. Help us bring you all our hurts and hang-ups, and humble ourselves before you.

Ray

1 Peter 4:10

“God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.”

Insight:

Our abilities should be faithfully used in serving others; none are for our own exclusive enjoyment. Everyone has some gifts; find yours and use them. Peter mentions a couple gifts, and Paul mentions others in Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12 and Ephesians 4. Even as you are seeking to discover your gifts, if you see a need, seek to meet it. You will find gifts in areas you might not have guessed. (Life Application Study Bible)

Prayer:

Jesus, help us realize and recognize the gifts you have entrusted to us. Give us courage to step out and serve, knowing that we honor you when we invest in others.

Ray

1 Peter 3:9

“Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God called you to do, and he will bless you for it.”

Insight:

In our fallen world, it is often deemed acceptable by some to tear people down verbally or to get back at them if we feel hurt. Peter, remembering Jesus’ teaching to turn the other cheek (Matthew 5:39) encourages his readers to pay back wrongs with a blessing, such as praying for the offenders. In God’s kingdom, revenge is unacceptable behavior, as is insulting a person, no matter how indirectly it is done. Rise above getting back at those who hurt you. Instead of reacting angrily to these people, pray for them. (Life Application Study Bible)

Prayer:

Jesus, help us not take the easy way and react the same as we were treated. Realizing we don’t know all the things others are dealing with - help us just pray for them instead, and leave the matter with you.

Ray

1 Peter 2:1-2

“So get rid of all evil behavior. Be done with all deceit, hypocrisy, jealousy, and all unkind speech. Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation.”

Insight:

One characteristic all children share is that they want to grow up - to be like big brother or sister or like their parents. When we are born again, we become spiritual newborn babies. If we are healthy, we will yearn to grow. The need for milk is a natural instinct for a baby, and it signals the desire for nourishment that will lead to growth. Once we see our need for God’s Word and begin to find nourishment in Christ, our spiritual appetite will increase, and we will start to mature. (Life Application Study Bible)

Prayer:

Jesus, we want to grow up to be like you. Give us a strong desire for your Word - we want to be nourished and become mature followers.

Ray

1 Peter 1:6

 “So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while.”

Insight:

Peter mentions trials and suffering several times in this letter. All believers face such trials when they let their light shine into darkness. We must  accept trials as part of the refining process that burns away impurities and prepares us to meet Christ. As gold is heated, impurities float to the top and can be skimmed off. Likewise, our trials, struggles, and persecutions refine us and strengthen our faith. (Life Application Study Bible)

Prayer:

Jesus, difficulties are unpleasant, but we understand from your word, they can be used to mature us. Help us keep our eyes on you and anticipate the joy ahead.

Ray

James 5:9

“Don’t grumble about each other, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. For look - the Judge is standing at the door.”

Insight:

When things go wrong, we tend to grumble against and blame others for our miseries. Blaming others is easier than owning our share of the responsibility, but it can be both destructive and sinful. Before you judge others for their shortcomings, remember that Christ the Judge will come to evaluate each of us. He will not let us get away with shifting the blame to others. (Life Application Study Bible)

Prayer:

Jesus, difficulties are unpleasant, but we understand from your word, they can be used to mature us. Help us keep our eyes on you and anticipate the joy ahead.

Ray

James 4:7-8

 

“So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.Come close to God, and God will come close to you.”

Insight:

There are a couple truths in this verse that we can be reminded of. We serve a Holy and perfect God and that should remind us to be humble before him. There is hope for us when we feel like the devil is gaining on us. God reminds us that we have the authority to push back and resist the enemy, and he must leave. Lastly, there is peace in remembering that when we seek after Jesus, he wants to draw close to us. This is a promise, that God will draw near to us when we draw close to him – what an incredible truth!

Prayer:

Father, thank you for desiring to be close to us. Even when our feelings do not line up with this truth, we call our hearts and minds into alignment with what your word says. You have given us tools to withstand any challenges the enemy might throw our way and we are so grateful for the intimacy you want for our relationships with you. Amen.

Brittany

James 3:17

“But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others.”

Insight:

If we were to describe our culture, many of us would not choose the words that we see listed in this verse. Gods Kingdom in many ways is an upside-down kingdom. It is the opposite of the world we see around us. The voice of Jesus or wisdom, is always pure. It is an advocate for peace, so incredibly gently, and models for us a teachable spirit. The bible tells us when we lack wisdom, to ask God. Our lives can be marked by the wisdom and grace of God, and the fruitfulness of that wisdom.

Prayer:

Lord, thank you for your goodness. Wisdom and clarity from you is such a gift. Help me to be a person of peace, always gentle, and to continue to develop a teachable spirit. I am in such great need of you and am so grateful that you want to help me! Amen.

Brittany

James 2:17

So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.”

Insight:

Faith is essential to our walk and relationship with Jesus. There are times when faith fills in the gap in the things we do not understand. However, our actions and deeds still matter. We believe your goodness can’t get you into heaven just as your badness cannot get you out. Once we have said yes to Jesus, it does not make everything easy, but we do have a model for what our lives should look like. When we lean into him each day, he helps us become more like him. The world should recognize us as Christ followers because our lives will be marked by fruitfulness.

Prayer:

Lord, thank you for your gift of salvation and free gift of grace. I am so grateful that my actions do not disqualify me from your love. Help me to be more like you. I want my life to be marked by your grace. Amen.

Brittany

James 1:5

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”

Insight:

This verse reminds us that God wants good things for us. He wants more for us than from us. When we lack clarity, or the busyness of our day can cloud our direction, God is ready and willing to provide us wisdom. This verse reminds us we can complicate things that sometimes God meant to be simple. When we need something, ask.

Prayer:

Lord, I am in desperate need of you. When I lack clarity, please remind me to seek after you first. I can feel weighed down by task at hand, but my heart wants to hear from you first on all things. I love you, Amen.  

Brittany

Isaiah 26:3

“You will keep in perfect peace
    those whose minds are steadfast,
    because they trust in you.”

Insight:

Peace is something that does not come naturally to our culture. There are many times that our current hardship outweighs the peace we feel. This verse reminds us that because we trust in the Lord, he will provide a peace for us that is unlike any other form of contentment the world might offer. Sometimes our minds can feel anything but “steadfast”. The good news is this: we have a steady and loving God we can put our trust in – it is in him, we find perfect peace.

Prayer:

Father, thank you for being the one things I can count on to steady my mind today. The peace you bring to my heart and mind, can only be found in the close proximity I have to you. Help me to continue to trust that you are working all things out for good. I love you, Amen.

Brittany

Hebrews 12:1-2

“And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Insight:

A friend recently reminded me that things that are hard, can still be good. Perseverance usually isn’t needed from us when things are going really smooth in our lives. Perseverance is defined as “continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition”. Perseverance is usually not easy and can require a great deal of effort from us. The good news is, we are not alone. Jesus modeled pushing onward for us all throughout scripture. Even at the cross, when God the Father had to turn his back to the sin that his Son took on for you and I, Jesus had joy set before him. He knew the reward of being with us forever was worth his current pain. You can do this. Whatever the trial is, you can do this because you are never alone.

Prayer:

Lord, thank you for helping us in every circumstance. You give us strength when we call to you. You love us and want to help us. Help us to continue to persevere, even when it seems we have nothing left. You provide all that we need. We love you, Amen.

Brittany