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Showing posts from July, 2019

Day 4 verse 2

strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said. Acts 14:22 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/act.14.22.NIV

Day 4 verse 1

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To God’s holy people in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus:  Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in hea

Live by the Spirit: Day 4

The Spirit Makes Us Secure In him...you...were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. —Ephesians 1:13-14 God’s great desire for his people is that we feel secure in his love and in his power. Everything else in life may be unstable—our health, our family, our job, our education, our society, our world. At any of these levels you may feel as if you are out on a ledge forty stories up in an unpredictable wind. You feel yourself losing balance and falling, and every brick you grab pulls out of its mortar. Since God does all things for the praise of his glory, and since believing his Word magnifies that glory, God takes decisive steps to secure for himself the magnification of his glory forever: he seals the believer with the Holy Spirit, and guarantees that we will come to our inheritance praising his glory. God is so passionately committed to having a people for his own possessi

Day 3 verse

For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants. Isaiah 44:3 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/isa.44.3.NIV

Live by the Spirit: Day 3

The Spirit Conquers Fear For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants. —Isaiah 44:3 Do you know why it is easier to be nice to people on Friday than it is on Monday? Isn’t it because hope is like a river that flows into us from a bright future, fills up the reservoir of our joy, and then overflows in kindness to others? On Friday rest and recreation are just around the corner, so close we can taste them. By hope we taste the power of the weekend to come. The little reservoir of our joy begins to fill. And if the weekend looks bright enough, our reservoir of joy will fill to the brim and start to spill over. This spillover of joy onto other people is called love. So you are always nicer to people when you feel happy about your future. Hope fills you with joy, and joy spills over in smiles and kind words and helpful deeds. It happens before vacations, before birthdays, bef

Day 2 verses 5 & 6

And the words of the Lord are flawless, like silver purified in a crucible, like gold refined seven times. Psalm 12:6 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/psa.12.6.NIV Sanctify them by  the truth; your word is truth. John 17:17 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/jhn.17.17.NIV

Day 2 verses 3 & 4

And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe. 1 Thessalonians 2:13 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/1th.2.13.NIV As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,  so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:10‭-‬11 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/isa.55.10-11.NIV

Live by the Spirit: Day 2 verses 1 & 2

Your righteousness is everlasting and your law is true. Psalm 119:142 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/psa.119.142.NIV God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. Hebrews 6:18 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/heb.6.18.NIV

Live by the Spirit: Day 2

The Spirit Guides Us Time after time the Scriptures help us make sense out of life’s puzzles: failing marriages, rebellious children, drug addiction, warring nations, the return of leaves in spring, the insatiable longings of our hearts, the fear of death, the coming into being of children, the universality of praise and blame, the prevalence of pride, and the admiration of self-denial. The Bible confirms its divine origin again and again as it makes sense out of our experience in the real world and points the way to harmony. I hope, therefore, that one of the doctrines which we cherish enough to die for (and live for!) is that the Holy Spirit is the divine author of all Scripture. O, that we had all day to talk about the wonderful implications of this doctrine! The eternal Holy Spirit, the Spirit of love and delight between the Father and the Son, is the author of Scripture. Therefore, it is true (Psalm 119:142) and altogether reliable (Hebrews 6:18). It is powerful, working

Day 1 verse 4

I have made you  known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.” John 17:26 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/jhn.17.26.NIV

Day 1 verse 3

You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you. Romans 8:9‭-‬11 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/rom.8.9-11.NIV

Live by the Spirit: Day 1 verse 2

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. John 1:1‭-‬3 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/jhn.1.1-3.NIV

Live by the Spirit: Day 1 verse 1

these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. 1 Corinthians 2:10‭-‬12 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/1co.2.10-12.NIV

Live by the Spirit: Day 1

The Spirit is God’s Delight The Holy Spirit is God. The person who indwells us, leads us, and purifies us is no one less than God, the Holy Spirit. The simple evidence for this is the frequent designation “Spirit of God.” The Spirit is “of God” not because God created him, but because he shares God’s nature and comes forth eternally from God (see 1 Corinthians 2:10–12). If the Son of God is equally eternal with the Father, as John 1:1–3 makes clear that he is, then so is the Holy Spirit equally eternal with them both, because, according to Romans 8:9–11, the Spirit of Christ is one and the same with the Spirit of God. If this were not so, we would have to imagine that there was a time when the Son had no Spirit and the Father had no Spirit. But the Holy Spirit is essential to the relationship between the Father and the Son. He is, to use Handley C.G. Moule’s words, “the Result, the Bond, the Vehicle, of their everlasting mutual delight and love” (Person and Work of the Holy Spirit

Day 7 verses 3 -5

But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.” 2 Chronicles 15:7 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/2ch.15.7.NIV Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. 1 Corinthians 16:13 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/1co.16.13.NIV You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 Timothy 2:1 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/2ti.2.1.NIV

Finding Freedom from Fear - Day 7 verses 1 - 2

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/jos.1.9.NIV Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Ephesians 6:10‭-‬13 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/eph.6.10-13.NIV

Finding Freedom from Fear - Day 7

Strong and Courageous in the Lord Joshua 1:9 We must be strong and courageous as we march through life. Fear and discouragement can be conquered only with strength and courage brought by the firm realization of God’s presence. God is with us, and He will never leave nor forsake us. This is His promise to us just as it was to Joshua. His unfailing presence is always with us wherever we go. Therefore, we must stand strong and courageous against all the enemies, trials, and temptations that confront us. No matter how many crushing problems, tough situations, or difficult people we face—no matter how many lustful temptations or terrifying trials we face—God is right there with us. God will deliver us and give us victory over the enemy that confronts us. We must stand strong and courageous, conquering all opposition and fulfilling our task for the Lord. Study Questions: It is not always easy to be strong and courageous. How can you build up a heart full of courage and strength?  A

Day 6 verses 1 - 3

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. Psalm 23:4 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/psa.23.4.NIV Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life. You stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes; with your right hand you save me. Psalm 138:7 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/psa.138.7.NIV But now, this is what the Lord says— he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.  When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. Isaiah 43:1‭-‬2 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/isa.43.1-2.NIV

Finding Freedom from Fear - Day 6

Through The Darkest Valley Psalms 23:4 Some scholars think the valley of the shadow of death was the name of an actual valley, an extremely dangerous one, through which shepherds and their flocks were forced to cross. Valleys are symbols of the darkest times of life. The valley of the shadow of death speaks of life’s gravest circumstances, fearful occasions when death is a real possibility. David testified that he was not afraid to walk through life’s darkest valleys. Although he was defenseless, he was not alone in the peril: his Shepherd was with him. The Lord would protect him and keep him close to His side. David was comforted—turned from fear and terror—because his Shepherd was skillfully armed with His rod and His staff. David was fearless in the valley because he knew his Shepherd would protect him from all deadly threats, including his own waywardness. His Shepherd would keep him close to His side in the darkness and would be with him through every step until he passed s

Day 5 verse 3

Shout for joy to the Lord , all the earth.  Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.  Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his ; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.  Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.  For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. Psalm 100:1‭-‬5 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/psa.100.1-5.NIV

Finding Freedom from Fear - Day 5 verses 1 & 2

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.  In God, whose word I praise— in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? Psalm 56:3‭-‬4 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/psa.56.3-4.NIV So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” Hebrews 13:6 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/heb.13.6.NIV

Finding Freedom from Fear - Day 5

Trust in God Psalms 56:3–4 David had unwisely placed himself in a situation that intensified his fear: not only was Saul seeking his life, but Achish and the officials of Gath were also considering what to do with him. David confronted his fear with unwavering trust in the Lord and by praising the Lord for the reliability of His Word. Years earlier, God had chosen and had secretly anointed David to be Israel’s future king. Now, David was buoyed by the confidence that God would fulfill that which He had promised. Secure in God’s sovereign plan for his life, David determined that he would not fear what mortal man could do to him. No human being could overrule God’s purpose for his life. Trusting in the Lord like David did can eliminate any fear you have. Praising God and relying on His Word produces resilience and trust in God that will give you confidence that His ultimate purposes for your life will prevail even in the state of fearing particular outcomes.  “Never be afraid to

Finding Freedom from Fear - Day 4 verses 4 & 5

In my distress I called to the Lord ; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears. Psalm 18:6 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/psa.18.6.NIV I love the Lord , for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy.  Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live.  The cords of death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came over me; I was overcome by distress and sorrow.  Then I called on the name of the Lord : “ Lord , save me!”  The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion.  The Lord protects the unwary; when I was brought low, he saved me. Psalm 116:1‭-‬6 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/psa.116.1-6.NIV

Finding Freedom from Fear - Day 4 verses 1-3

I sought the Lord , and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Psalm 34:4 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/psa.34.4.NIV I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. John 15:11 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/jhn.15.11.NIV Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/1pe.5.7.NIV

Finding Freedom from Fear - Day 4

Seeking Christ in Light of Fears Psalms 34:4 David had already experienced a number of terrors in his young life: a lion, a bear, and a giant pagan warrior. Now, the jealous, unstable king of his own nation was pursuing him. Most recently, he had foolishly fled into enemy territory, where he found himself staring straight into the eyes of Gath’s king and his guards. In each of these terrifying circumstances, David’s life was on the line. Gripped by the gravity of the situation at hand, David sought the Lord, earnestly asking Him for His guidance and protection. In every case, God heard and answered by giving him strength and guidance. The Lord had delivered David from these dangers by empowering him to fight his enemy or by showing him how to escape. You may not be going up against a lion, bear, or giant pagan warrior. Your fears may be more internal. You may be battling the fear of cultural pressures, of failure, or incompetence, or even of committing to something. With David,

Finding Freedom from Fear - Day 3 verses 4-6

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength Ephesians 1:18‭-‬19 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/eph.1.18-19.NIV I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, Ephesians 3:16 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/eph.3.16.NIV being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, Colossians 1:11 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/col.1.11.NIV

Finding Freedom from Fear - Day 3 verses 1- 3

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/2ti.1.7.NIV But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/act.1.8.NIV With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all Acts 4:33 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/act.4.33.NIV

Finding Freedom from Fear - Day 3

A Spirit Not of Fear 2 Timothy 1:7 God has not given us the spirit of fear or timidity. Too often believers fear using their gifts. They fear speaking up for Christ and the gospel. Being very honest, we have all experienced these fears at one time or another. Consequently, we failed to witness—to use our gift in speaking up for Christ and in proclaiming the gospel. Is it possible to keep from fearing if we live for Christ in this world, a world that is so evil and abusive? How can we keep from being apprehensive if we witness for Christ day by day? How can we be bold when the world thinks that religion is to be kept in the church and not out in the world? How can we stand up for Christ when people mock and poke fun at anyone who lives for Christ? How can we stand for what God’s Word says is right? This verse tells us how: we let God equip us. God’s equipment does not include fear. The fact is clearly stated: God does not give us the spirit of timidity; God gives us the spirit of

Finding Freedom from Fear - Day 2 verses 3 & 4

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/deu.31.6.NIV So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/isa.41.10.NIV

Finding Freedom from Fear - Day 2 verses 1 & 2

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/rom.8.31.NIV The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/psa.27.1.NIV

Finding Freedom from Fear - Day 2

God’s Promises Isaiah 41:10, 13, 14 God spoke these encouraging words to His people to help them endure captivity. God assured His people that He would protect them in the here and now, in the present distress they were experiencing. No doubt God’s promise of freeing His people from the coming captivity was very encouraging, especially to the true believers who were to endure the Babylonian captivity. But they needed far more than just a distant, future hope of deliverance. Righteous believers needed to know that God was with them day by day in their present painful circumstances. So God met their need and gave them a most wonderful promise: whether in the present or in the future and in whatever circumstances, God’s people were not to fear. His encouraging words to His people of old are also for His people living today. He gives three reasons why, as believers, we should not be anxious or afraid. First, we are not to fear because He Himself will be with us (v.10). He will stren

Finding Freedom from Fear - Day 1 verse 3 & 4

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. Psalm 23:4 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/psa.23.4.NIV There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:18 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/1jn.4.18.NIV

Finding Freedom from Fear - Day 1 verses 1 & 2

At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them. But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen. 2 Timothy 4:16‭-‬18 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/2ti.4.16-18.NIV Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. Psalm 23:4 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/psa.23.4.NIV

New Reading Plan - Finding Freedom from Fear - Day 1

Perfect Love Drives out Fear  1 John 4:18 Fear causes anxiety, dread, alarm, fright, panic, and terror. It causes all kinds of unpleasant emotions, phobias, neuroses, and even the more serious psychotic disorders. The torment of fear is one of the worst problems we humans face. God’s Word teaches that being a slave to fear indicates that we have not been made perfect in love. We are not fully grasping (perfecting) God’s love and care of God for us. As a result, we are not loving other people like we should; we are not growing more and more in love.  In addition, being gripped by fear indicates when we are inward-focused. Our eyes are on ourselves, not on God and others like they should be. In summary, we can only be set free from fear by the perfect love of God. The more we know of God’s love and care and the more we love other people, the more fear is conquered in our lives. The reason is clearly seen in the promises of God. God loves us so much that He will take care of us t

"Chase the Lion" - Day 7 verse

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/jer.1.5.NIV

"Chase the Lion" - Day 7

“Your Destiny Unfolds” “Before I formed you in the womb.” This phrase should fill you with a sense of destiny. It’s your spiritual birthright. God has ordained your days, ordered your footsteps, and prepared good works in advance. And he did it before you were even conceived. The irony of destiny is that it’s rarely discerned at the time. Sometimes it’s not even revealed until after we die. David may have reigned over a kingdom of millions, but his psalms have inspired billions. That is David’s longest legacy, whether he knew it at the time or not. And I’m guessing not. Your greatest influence might be posthumous. It’s one more way God gets the last laugh and gets the glory! Your greatest influence might be the children or church or charitable trust that outlive you. For the record, this is one reason why I write. Books are time capsules. I write because I want my great-great-grandchildren to know what I lived for, what I was willing to die for. And if others want to read my boo

"Chase the Lion" - Day 6 verse

Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the Lord has helped us.” 1 Samuel 7:12 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/1sa.7.12.NIV

"Chase the Lion" - Day 6

“So Far So God” After the Israelites pulled off an upset victory over the Philistines, the prophet Samuel built an altar and named it Ebenezer, signifying that the Lord had helped them up to that point. The altar was a way of saying to the people, “The God who did it before can do it again.” We all need Ebenezers. Reminders that the God who got us  here  will get us  there . That the God who did  this will do  that . An Ebenezer is a way of recognizing and celebrating the success God has given us along the way in pursuing our dream. After our church built our coffeehouse on Capitol Hill, we decided to name it Ebenezers. We were afraid that some people would associate it with Ebenezer Scrooge, but it was a risk worth taking. There were so many miracles in the process of purchasing, rezoning, and building our coffeehouse that we wanted to name it what it was. On our coffee sleeves at Ebenezers, there is a Scripture reference that looks like a SKU code—ISAM712. There are also ini

"Chase the Lion" - Day 5 verse

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. Genesis 50:20 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/gen.50.20.NIV

"Chase the Lion" - Day 5

“Dealing with Would-Be Dream Destroyers” Remember the story of Joseph? His heartless brothers fake his death, selling him to human traffickers. Things go from bad to worse, and Joseph ends up in an Egyptian dungeon. Thirteen years later, in the most amazing rise to political power ever, Joseph becomes Pharaoh’s right-hand man. That’s when his brothers come begging for food. But instead of taking revenge on his brothers, Joseph says, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Let me reverse-engineer this. Do you remember  why  Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery in the first place? The short answer is Genesis 37:8: “They hated him all the more because of his dream.” They mockingly called Joseph “the dreamer” (verse 19). Your dreams will inspire many people, no doubt. But your dreams will also summon opposition. They will cause a wide variety of reactions, including jealousy and anger. Some people m

"Chase the Lion" - Day 4 verse

“To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write:  These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. Revelation 3:7 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/rev.3.7.NIV

"Chase the Lion" - Day 4

“God’s Greatest Pre Moves” For thirteen years, National Community Church met in the movie theaters at DC’s Union Station, where a hundred thousand people pass through every day. That not only put us in the middle of the marketplace, it put us on the map. Not many churches have their own metro stop, train station, or taxi stand that drops off at their front door! That golden opportunity started with a phone call informing me that Giddings School, the public school where we met, was closing its doors because of fire code violations. My immediate reaction was fear because it put us on the verge of becoming a homeless church. But I soon discovered that some of God’s best pre moves are closed doors. As I look back, I laugh at the fact that I was so scared when the doors to Giddings School closed. I even have the journal entry where I wrote that we had been “backed into a corner.” It felt like we had fallen into a pit with a lion on a snowy day. I couldn’t see a way out at the time.

"Chase the Lion" - Day 3 verses 1 & 2

Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/pro.16.18.NIV Before a downfall the heart is haughty, but humility comes before honor. Proverbs 18:12 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/pro.18.12.NIV

"Chase the Lion" - Day 3

“The Prologue to Every Success Story” The American Puritan preacher Cotton Mather invited a young Benjamin Franklin over for dinner one night and showed him his library. As they walked through a narrow passage into the library, Mather yelled back at Franklin, “Stoop! Stoop!” Franklin didn’t understand the exhortation until it was too late, bumping his head on a low beam. Mather turned the situation into a sermon. “Let this be a caution to you not always to hold your head so high. Stoop, young man, stoop—as you go through this world—and you’ll miss many hard thumps.” Many years later, Franklin told Mather’s son that he never forgot that moment. “This advice, thus beat into my head, has frequently been of use to me,” said Franklin. “And I often think of it when I see pride mortified and misfortunes brought upon people by carrying their heads too high.” One of the defining moments of my life was getting cut down to size by a summer intern. I made a prideful statement about our

"Chase the Lion" - Day 2 verse

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/2co.10.5.NIV

"Chase the Lion" - Day 2

“From Dreaming to Doing” Growing up, I heard today’s verse interpreted in negative terms. Take sinful thoughts captive and keep them out of your mind. And that  is half the battle. But if we focus on the negative implications while ignoring the positive possibilities, it becomes a half-truth. It’s also about capturing creative thoughts and keeping them in our minds. Simply put, it’s about stewarding every idea inspired by the Holy Spirit. Every dream is created twice. The first creation is mental. Every invention, every business, every building, every painting is conceived in the right-brain imagination first. It’s nothing more than a single-cell idea at that point. The second creation is physical. You make it obedient to Christ via blood, sweat, and tears. If your dream is a book, you make it obedient with a keyboard. If your dream is playing professional sport, you make it obedient at the gym. If your dream is making music, you make it obedient one note at a time. Your d

Chase the Lion - verse

Benaiah son of Jehoiada, a valiant fighter from Kabzeel, performed great exploits. He struck down Moab’s two mightiest warriors. He also went down into a pit on a snowy day and killed a lion. 2 Samuel 23:20 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/2sa.23.20.NIV

New Reading Plan - Chase the Lion

“Stalk or Be Stalked” Scripture doesn’t explain what Benaiah was doing or where he was going when he crossed paths with the lion. We don’t know the time of day or his frame of mind. But Scripture does reveal his reaction, and it was a gutsy one. Put yourself in Benaiah’s snowshoes. Your vision is obscured by falling snow and frozen breath. Out of the corner of your eye you detect movement. Pupils dilate. Muscles flex. Adrenaline rushes. It’s a prowling lion stalking its prey, you. In the wild, man vs. lion scripts the same way every time. Man runs, lion chases, King of the Beasts eats manwich for lunch. But Benaiah flips the script. That’s what courage does! I don’t know if it was the look in his eye or the spear in his hand, but the lion turns tail and Benaiah gives chase. He tracks paw prints in the freshly fallen snow, finally coming to the place where the ground has given way beneath the lion’s five-hundred-pound frame. Yellow eyes glare back from out of the pit. Benaiah

"THE WAY" - Day 14 verses 1 & 2

The manna stopped the day after they ate this food from the land; there was no longer any manna for the Israelites, but that year they ate the produce of Canaan. Joshua 5:12 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/jos.5.12.NIV You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. John 15:16 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/jhn.15.16.NIV

"THE WAY" - Last Day - Day 14

Walking With Him Works Wait, what? The manna stopped once they crossed over?  Initially this verse seems negative, but the rest of the verse tells us why:  once they walked into this new promise, they were meant to become fruitful. God now wanted them to cultivate the land, not just wander in the wilderness. He wanted them to participate in the miracle, not just spectate as it fell from the sky. He wanted his people as his partners, not puppets or slaves.  What grace! What a miracle, that the Creator would want to walk with  and work with his creation!  When we walk with the Lord we don’t just see miracles along the way. He wants us to help produce or even  be miracles along the way. He wants us to bear lasting fruit (John 15:16) not just consume daily bread.  Just as he told Moses to use what was in his hand to see the sea open, and used what little a small boy had to feed thousands, and just as Peter had to step out of the boat to follow Jesus onto the water, we too are cr

"THE WAY" - Day 13 verses 1 & 2

Joshua told the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.” Joshua 3:5 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/jos.3.5.NIV So when the people broke camp to cross the Jordan, the priests carrying the ark of the covenant went ahead of them. Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest. Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water’s edge, the water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap a great distance away, at a town called Adam in the vicinity of Zarethan, while the water flowing down to the Sea of the Arabah (that is, the Dead Sea) was completely cut off. So the people crossed over opposite Jericho. Joshua 3:14‭-‬16 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/jos.3.14-16.NIV

"THE WAY" - Day 13

Draw A Line In The Sand A time came in the Israelites’ journey when they had to “cross over” to the Promise. The journey didn’t stop there, but for them to get where they needed to go they had to cross the Jordan, leave their past behind and walk into their future.  The same is true for us. There are times along the way when we have to draw a line in the sand and decide to cut off what’s behind us and walk into a new season, or walk out of unhelpful ways of living and thinking and into new ways.  Let’s not be like those stubborn Israelites that died in the wilderness because they couldn’t let go of the past. We’ve come too far on the journey to stop short of our promise. Let’s be like Joshua’s generation that crossed over and walked, not into the unknown, but into promised, new things. What is one “old” or unhelpful thing that you could stop doing and what is one “new” life-giving thing that you could start doing today?