Monday, March 26, 2018

When it was evening, Jesus came with the twelve. And when they had taken their places and were eating, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me.” Mark 14:17-18.

Can you imagine Jesus saying that to you? We’d all think, “No, not me!” The disciples were faithful followers of Jesus, there was no way one of them would betray him. We’d like to think we are this way as faithful Christians, but the reality is there are times in our lives where we betray Jesus and his teachings, maybe not as literal as Judas’ betrayal, but it still happens. When we know the right thing to do but do the opposite. When we see something happening we know is wrong but say nothing. There are things we do and don’t even realize. The challenge is to recognize them and change the way we react. This is always difficult with the influences around us but with God’s guidance, we can live like Jesus taught us to, every day.

Prayer: God, please guide me to do the right thing. I know I am not perfect, but even when I stray, lead me back to you. Amen

Allison Grove

Saturday, March 24, 2018

They brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it, and he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut in the fields. Then those who went ahead and those who followed were shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!” Mark 11: 7-9

What a glorious day it must have been! Worshiped and glorified with celebration and singing by faithful friends and masses of adoring followers! With his triumphal entry into Jerusalem, Jesus fulfilled the ancient prophecies, establishing that he was indeed the Messiah, and setting in motion the drama for the week ahead.

Despite the prophecy, many of the people were waiting for a king of worldly power with pomp and might, rather than a poor and humble servant with a meek heart coming in poverty and riding on a donkey. Later in the week, the faith of even his most ardent followers would certainly be challenged as they struggled with events and their disappointment, even denying their faith in fear.

How often in our pain and struggles and worries with the world do we wonder why God would allow such things? How often do we fail as disciples who blindly accepted his calling to procure the colt? How often do we fail in service as his followers who offered and laid down their garments in his path? We certainly fail in fear to sing his praises in a loud voice to a corrupt and powerful world.

With the triumphal entry God proclaimed his kingdom, not of riches, might, nor power, but of humility, comfort, redemption, and forgiveness of our sins. But like the crowds, we grovel and worry in the misery, sin, and death of this world rather than trust in God’s word. Not even the disciples fully understood the significance of Jesus triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Let us remember the importance of recognizing Jesus as the King he is, not necessarily the king we desire.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, amid our struggles and the disappointments with this world, please make triumphal entries into each of our hearts, so that we can know and accept you on your terms, offer our garments in your service, and sing Hosannas to your glory every day. Hosanna to the living Lord! Amen.

Dave Russo

Friday, March 23, 2018

Whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. Mark 10: 43-45

When I was a sophomore in high school I auditioned and lost against an incoming freshman for one of the trombone spots in our jazz ensemble. I was older and felt confident I would be awarded the spot as the more senior player. I expected to get the reward and recognition because of who I was. How often in our life do we do a good job at work, school, a sport or even at church and expect to be rewarded? We want the pay raise, the certificate that says we did a great job, the trophy that says we were great.

In the story that preceded the verse for today, the disciples were debating among themselves who was greatest. They felt as followers they had achieved a level of greatness by being with Jesus and expected to be rewarded. Jesus basically replied, to be great isn’t about who you are, but rather what you do for others. Jesus stated that we should not expect to be served but rather we should be humble and serve others. Jesus then continues to foreshadow his death, telling them he came to serve us and was willing to give his life for the forgiveness of our sins.

Prayer: God, we ask that you continue to remind us greatness is not about a status or a position we hold, but rather it is about serving you and one another. Amen.

Mike Stockslager

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Therefore God has exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2: 9-11

God exalted Jesus in many ways. The lowest period of Jesus’ life was his death and burial. Or was it? God used this time of sorrow to show us who Jesus truly was. He raised him from the dead. Then to demonstrate his true power which Jesus possessed, God returned him to heaven and seated him at his right hand. Let’s break this down… To be exalted is to be placed at a high or powerful level, and held in a prestigious regard. I don’t know about you, but taking such a humble subject as Jesus and placing him next to God demonstrates the love God has shown everyone who obeys him.
Bending the knee is to submit to someone, sometimes by force. And confessing he is Lord is to agree with or profess the same thing. In ancient times, and unfortunately in some of the world today, this was done not out of respect, but fear. Jesus being a humble fellow wants us to embrace this act not out of fear, but love. He wants us to follow willingly. He accomplished this by not only his teachings and performing miracles but by also being like us. Living a modest life. Being human. He didn’t have all the frills of being in heaven. He completed his mission his Father sent him to do. Save his people. Jesus taught us how to be, all while inhabiting a human body. Jesus’ life and death continually shows us that God loves us and leads us always, even when we can’t or won’t see it.
As Christians we know we aren’t perfect and through God’s grace he is working on us. Everyday. With the encouragement of Christ we can be as humble as he is and walk in unity with the fellowship of the Spirit.

Prayer: Lord, let me bow my knee and praise your name along with my brothers and sisters. We humbly ask you to mold us in Jesus’ image with your grace upon us.

Kristen Kessler

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed by demons begged him that he might be with him. But Jesus refused, and said to him, “Go home to your friends, and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and what mercy he has shown you.” Mark 5: 18-19

After a powerful spiritual experience like this, with a complete and miraculous healing, you can understand why the previously demon-possessed man wanted to stay with Jesus. He may even have felt, like a lot of us, that he wanted to remain around him and bask in the presence of a great, powerful and popular man (“I want to be with DA MAN!”).

But Jesus told him to go home and pass on what had been done for him to those in his community – family, friends and neighbors. He was to be an evangelist and give back what had been freely given to him. As a saying goes, “You have to give it away to keep it.” Giving back to the Lord can take many forms. There are many ways to do service work just like there are different parts working together in the body of Christ which is the church. The smallest or most grueling and mundane tasks are just as important as any other. As Jesus said, “Whatever you do to the least of my brethren, that you do unto me.” All the servants create little points of light all over the place to illuminate a world with much darkness. Who knows, you may be the only Bible that someone reads when you do little acts of kindness.

Prayer: Dear God, grant us strength as we go out from here to be of service to you and our neighbors.

Erica Gibney

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother, Andrew, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Follow me and I will make you fish for the people.” And immediately they left their nets and followed him. Mark 1 16-18

Simon and Andrew had known the great works of Jesus. It was easy for them to follow him, as Jesus’ light shines bright. They knew there was so much to gain in being influenced and transformed on this journey of faith. Jesus chose them, as his light would shine through them. They would now gather and draw people to them to help change their lives for God. Simon and Andrew were no longer casting nets for fish, but were now casting the net of the gospel to draw the people into God’s Kingdom. This was now their livelihood, this was now the way of their life.

Allow God into your life, to lead and guide you, as he has chosen you to shine bright. He has chosen you to help others draw near, so that you may influence, and have great positive impact .You can help gather others to be brought into God’s Kingdom. Show them the beauty, cast your shadow, so that they can see what it is to be in God’s grace. God knows our talents, give what you have to him, give your time as you are so much more, and he will lead you in the right direction. God’s Work, Our Hands!

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for choosing us to be disciples of your kingdom. Thank you for the opportunities to learn your ways, and be able to draw others into your kingdom, so they may know their Lord and Savior. Thank you, Lord, for our talents, and knowing that we are so much more, and have so much more to offer in your grace. May our light always shine bright. In God’s name we pray, Amen.

Michelle Herson