Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 12-3-21

Intro: Yesterday, in our passage from Luke, Zechariah shared about how God had moved in sovereign and miraculous ways throughout history. He shared about God’s faithfulness to redeem Abraham, David, and all who would fear the Lord; God promised to bless all people and help them conquer sin. Today, Zechariah’s praise and prophecy becomes more personal. Zechariah speaks a prophetic word over his baby son, John (the Baptist). God had chosen John for a special role in the ministry of the Messiah. John would be a prophetic preacher proclaiming every person’s need for salvation and leading them to Jesus who would bring them into his shalom [peace/well-being/reconciliation]

Jesus truly does illuminate our paths with shalom. First, he brings us peace or reconciliation with God, because sin disrupts shalom. Second, Jesus brings us peace or reconciliation with others, because we need help moving beyond oppressive tendencies, greed, and arrogance in our social relationships. Third, Jesus brings us peace or reconciliation within our own hearts. We can experience inner security, an emotional sense of well-being, and rest in confidence because God is with us. Now, we wait for God to reconcile all things to himself through Jesus Christ the Lord (Col 1:20).

Luke 1:76-79
76 
And to you I prophesy, my little son,
    you will be known as the prophet of the Most High.
    You will be a forerunner,
    going before the face of Lord Yahweh,
    to prepare hearts to embrace his ways.
77 
You will preach to his people the revelation of salvation,
    the cancellation of all our sins, to bring us back to God.
78 
The splendor-light of heaven’s glorious sunrise
    is about to break upon us in holy visitation,
    all because the merciful heart of our God is so very tender.
79 
The word from heaven will come to us
    with dazzling light to shine upon those
    who live in darkness, near death’s dark shadow.
    And he will illuminate the path that leads to the way of peace.”

Prayer: Lord, thank you for the way you have worked through obedient people in the past, to bring us into a future where we can experience your holy presence and shalom. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 12-02-21

Intro: Can you imagine not being able to speak for months and then all of a sudden you open your mouth and praise for God just comes rolling out like a flood? Such is the case with Zechariah; he was temporarily deaf and mute. While he was silent—as a consequence of doubting the Word of the Lord—he had a great deal of time to connect the OT prophecies regarding the coming of the promised Messiah. So, when Zechariah is released to speak and he realizes he is smack dab in the middle of Christ’s revelation, this man of God cannot stop sharing what he has learned about the Lord’s promises.

Life is full of experiences, right? Sometimes we view our experiences as terribly negative, but in the midst of even the most difficult times of life, we can find something positive if we will look for the Lord in the midst of the pain. Zechariah decided if his faith could take him through this difficult and silent time and deliver him on the other side of the challenge, that he would proclaim the goodness of God and help others connect their lives in the fulfillment of prophecy—to proclaim the advent of the Christ.

Our challenge today is to understand we serve the God of Israel—the God of ALL Hope. We are the redeemed who are saved and rescued from our spiritual enemies. We are free to live in Christ’s righteousness. Our hope is not built upon doubt; rather, our hope is built upon the righteousness and faithfulness of God to fulfill his promises—to bless and reward his people. And, always remember not one of God’s promises is impossible for him. ”Praise the Lord, the God of Israel!”

Luke 1:68-75 (NLT)
68 
“Praise the Lord, the God of Israel,
    because he has visited and redeemed his people.
69 
He has sent us a mighty Savior
    from the royal line of his servant David,
70 
just as he promised
    through his holy prophets long ago.
71 
Now we will be saved from our enemies
    and from all who hate us (Ps. 106:10).
72 
He has been merciful to our ancestors
    by remembering his sacred covenant—
73 
the covenant he swore with an oath
    to our ancestor Abraham.
74 
We have been rescued from our enemies
    so we can serve God without fear,
75 
in holiness and righteousness
    for as long as we live.

Prayer: Open our eyes, Lord, we want to see Jesus. To reach out and touch him and say that we love him. Open our ears, Lord, and teach us to listen. Open our eyes Lord, we want to see Jesus! Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 12-01-21

Intro: While camping along the Myakka River last week, I noticed the daylight was quickly swallowed up by the darkness every evening about five-thirty. Because there were minimal lights surrounding our campsite, the darkness was intense and a bit unsettling. Therefore, while walking Gracie I carried a flashlight with me so I could see where to go. That light kept me from wandering off the path. Similarly, the Light [Wisdom] of God’s Word keeps me on the righteous path when darkness tries to enter my soul (Ps 119:105).

In our passage today, Moses reminds us we are living in the darkness of this world, but the Light of God’s love and presence within us helps to navigate our paths. Praise is due him! He created the orbs of light in the sky to bless us and give us light and hope in the darkness while we wait for his return. He gave us the ability to experience the Light of his Spirit to help us trust when we cannot see. Moses wants us to remember that life is short, so it is important to live our lives in the Wisdom of the Lord. May the favor of the Lord rest upon us, today, and Light our way!

Psalm 90:11-17 (TPT)
11 
Lord, who fully knows the power [strength] of your passion
    and the intensity of your emotions?
12 
Help us to remember that our days are numbered,
    and help us to interpret our lives correctly.
    Set your wisdom deeply in our hearts
    so that we may accept your correction [in order to gain a wise heart].
13 
Return to us again, O God!
    How much longer will it take until you show us
    your abundant compassion?
14 
Let the sunrise of your love end our dark night.
    Break through our clouded dawn again!
    Only you can satisfy our hearts,
    filling [satisfying] us with songs of joy to the end of our days.
15 
We’ve been overwhelmed with grief [trouble, harm];
    come now and overwhelm us with gladness.
    Replace our years of trouble with decades of delight.
16 
Let us see your miracles again, and let the rising generation
    see the glorious wonders [greatness] you’re famous for.
17 
O Lord our God, let your sweet beauty [favor] rest upon us.
    Come work with us [establish the work for us], and then our works will endure;
    you will give us success in all we do.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for the Light of spiritual understanding that leads me to place my hope in you each day. Your salvation is real and always present. Blessed be your name! In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 11-29-21

Today’s devotion is 2 Peter 3: “The Day of the Lord Is Coming”. Many believe that 2 Peter was written to address the same audience as 1 Peter, the Christians near the AD 60s who were scattered by persecution. Peter wrote to encourage these believers, and his message continues to be an encouragement for us as believers. Peter wanted believers to live for Christ, and to beware of false teachers, and as believers we must continue to do the same. 2 Peter 2 speaks strongly against false teachers as “they promise freedom, but they themselves are slaves of sin and corruption. For you are a slave to whatever controls you.” (2 Peter 2:19) Peter sought to demolish these false teachings about Christ’s return within his letters. We know that Christ is returning, and so we must be prepared. The false teachers of Peter’s time are no different than the false teachers of today. Peter reminds us that God is the Creator, and just like in the time of Noah, in the time of Sodom and Gomorrah, in the time of Israel’s exile, etc. God can alter the course of nature and circumstances to bring judgement on humanity for sin. God hates sin because it opposes His very holy nature and is the work of Satan, and Jesus taught about this in John 8:31-59. As followers of Christ, we should be looking forward to His return. Teachers who shy away from the Truth of Christ’s return, as found in Revelation and throughout scripture, are falsely teaching, and we know because EVERY Word within the Bible is to be learned and applied to our lives. Our spiritual family, at C2C Church, is blessed to learn and grow from a biblically sound teacher who shares the entire Bible and leads by the example of Christ. Brothers and sisters, we must reject false teachings and be living holy lives in oneness with Christ as His return is near.

2 Peter 3 (NLT)
The Day of the Lord Is Coming

1 This is my second letter to you, dear friends, and in both of them I have tried to stimulate your wholesome thinking and refresh your memory. 2 I want you to remember what the holy prophets said long ago and what our Lord and Savior commanded through your apostles.

3 Most importantly, I want to remind you that in the last days scoffers will come, mocking the truth and following their own desires. 4 They will say, “What happened to the promise that Jesus is coming again? From before the times of our ancestors, everything has remained the same since the world was first created.”

5 They deliberately forget that God made the heavens long ago by the word of his command, and he brought the earth out from the water and surrounded it with water. 6 Then he used the water to destroy the ancient world with a mighty flood. 7 And by the same word, the present heavens and earth have been stored up for fire. They are being kept for the day of judgment, when ungodly people will be destroyed.

8 But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day. 9 The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent. 10 But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief. Then the heavens will pass away with a terrible noise, and the very elements themselves will disappear in fire, and the earth and everything on it will be found to deserve judgment.

11 Since everything around us is going to be destroyed like this, what holy and godly lives you should live, 12 looking forward to the day of God and hurrying it along. On that day, he will set the heavens on fire, and the elements will melt away in the flames. 13 But we are looking forward to the new heavens and new earth he has promised, a world filled with God’s righteousness.

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.

15 And remember, our Lord’s patience gives people time to be saved. This is what our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you with the wisdom God gave him— 16 speaking of these things in all of his letters. Some of his comments are hard to understand, and those who are ignorant and unstable have twisted his letters to mean something quite different, just as they do with other parts of Scripture. And this will result in their destruction.

Peter’s Final Words

17 You already know these things, dear friends. So be on guard; then you will not be carried away by the errors of these wicked people and lose your own secure footing. 18 Rather, you must grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

All glory to him, both now and forever! Amen.

Prayer: Jesus, Thank You for being our Teacher, and thank You for our earthly spiritual teacher, Pastor Mary. We ask for your continued guidance and strength for her each day. We also ask for Your spirit of discernment to guide us when we listen to other teachers, may we be disgusted when we witness false teachings. Thank You for Your oneness with us. I ask all of this in Your Precious and Holy Name, Jesus. Amen.

Written by: Jennifer Auer, Pastor Mary Haley’s Assistant

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 11-26-21

Intro:  In our passage from the psalter today, David clearly desires to live in the will of God. Through his prayer, his soul ascends to God.  He welcomes God’s correction and guidance. David craves God’s steadfast covenantal love to surround him—the lovingkindness [hesed] of the Lord. He wants to be seen through the eyes of God’s mercy; a benefit God extends to humble sinners.   May we pray this prayer for our lives with the heart of David in Jesus’ name.

Psalm 25:4-10 TPT

Direct me, Yahweh, throughout my journey

    so I can experience your plans for my life.

    Reveal the life-paths that are pleasing to you.

Escort me into your truth [move me forward]; take me by the hand and teach me.   For you are the God of my salvation;

    I have wrapped my heart into yours all day long! to tie together by twisting while I wait]

6–7 

Forgive my failures as a young man,

    and overlook the sins of my immaturity.

    Give me grace, Yahweh! Always look at me

    through your eyes of love—

    your forgiving eyes of mercy and compassion.

    When you think of me, see me as one you love and care for.

How good you are to me!

    When people turn to you, Yahweh,

    they discover how easy you are to please—so faithful and true!

    Joyfully you teach them the proper path,

    even when they go astray.

Keep showing the humble your path,

    and lead them into the best decision.

    Bring revelation-light that trains them in the truth.

10 

Loving are all the ways of Yahweh, loving and faithful for those who keep his covenant.

Prayer:  Lord Yahweh, I praise you for how your Holy Spirit escorts me each day into the truth.  May I respond by allowing the truth to keep me faithful to the life that pleases you.  Thank you for your beautiful hesed that covers and cares for me.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 11-25-21

Intro: On my walk with Gracie after breakfast, yesterday, I enjoyed more of the beauty of God’s creation; each step led us to another place of awareness. We carefully walked by a beautiful river’s edge; the sun was dancing on the surface and life filled the water [fish, snakes, and alligators…oh my!]. We listened to the gentle breeze blow through the trees and we stopped to hear a variety of birds sing as they gathered food. One of the birds was a percussionist; a woodpecker rhythmically discovering new bugs. Amazingly, it was all working together for the glory of Creator God. During the whole walk, I thought about how each creature was living to the blessing and movement of God’s Word to be fruitful and fill the earth; God saw what he had created was good [Gen 1:20-23]. I noticed it, too.

Today is Thanksgiving Day—a national holiday to be thankful for the year’s harvest and the many blessings we have experienced. In the Bible, thanksgiving is humanity’s response to God’s goodness and grace with gratitude; we acknowledge the lovingkindness of the Giver—the Lord. Our thankful hearts are pleasing to God, because it develops our trust in his provision. With thanksgiving, we present our requests to God and the peace of Christ guards our hearts. When the peace of Christ rules in our hearts, thankfulness becomes our lifestyle and we mature in Christ’s attitude. Gratitude to the Father should flow like a River from our lips every day.

In our passage today, we are reminded to trust God for his care and provision in our lives; all of creation lives according to his rule. God takes care of creation—his birds—so assuredly he will take care of his humans, too. Our part is to seek his Kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy and to pray for the Kingdom realm of God. “Don’t worry about a thing; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done” [Phil 4:6]. The Giver is Good and there is no need to worry. Thank you, Abba!

Matthew 6:25-33 (NLT) Don’t Worry
25 “This is why I tell you to never be worried about your life, for all that you need will be provided, such as food, water, clothing—everything your body needs. Isn’t there more to your life than a meal? Isn’t your body more than clothing?

26 “Consider the birds—do you think they worry about their existence? They don’t plant or reap or store up food, yet your heavenly Father provides them each with food. Aren’t you much more valuable to your Father than they? 27 So, which one of you by worrying could add anything to your life?

28 “And why would you worry about your clothing? Look at all the beautiful flowers of the field. They don’t work or toil, 29 and yet not even Solomon in all his splendor was robed in beauty like one of these! 30 So if God has clothed the meadow with hay, which is here for such a short time and then dried up and burned, won’t he provide for you the clothes you need—you of little faith?

31 “So then, forsake your worries! Why would you say, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ 32 For that is what the unbelievers chase after. Doesn’t your heavenly Father already know the things your bodies require?

33 “So above all, constantly seek God’s kingdom and his righteousness, then all these less important things will be given to you abundantly.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for the blessings you continually pour into my life and the lives of my loved ones. Your amazing goodness just spills over our lives. We trust you to take care of us as we pray for the manifestation of your Kingdom on earth. May believers across the globe express abundant thanksgiving, today and every day, for the glory of your name. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Happy Thanksgiving! Love you all! May God continue to bless you and keep you in his loving care!

…and just for giggles:

“May your stuffing be tasty
May your turkey be plump,
May your potatoes and gravy
Have nary a lump.
May your yams be delicious
And your pies take the prize,
And may your Thanksgiving dinner
Stay off your thighs!”
Anonymous

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 11-24-21

Intro: Chapter 16 of the gospel of John is filled with so many things for which to be thankful—thanksgiving is the Christian way of life. Thankfulness is how we respond to the goodness and grace of God. Jesus tells his followers [us] many truths about his identity, work, and our future as his disciples. First, the world hated Jesus and it will hate us; however, so we will not abandon our faith from the struggles, he sent the Holy Spirit as our Helper [vv.1-4] Thank you, Jesus, for our warning and the work of our Helper! Second, we can live confidently in God’s wisdom because it is the Spirit’s work to convict humanity of sin, the availability of God’s righteousness, and the judgment that will come to the world for its rebellion against God’s authority [vv. 8-10]. Thank you, Jesus, we can follow the Holy Spirit into your work of righteousness and the proclamation of Truth! Third, because of our connection to Christ, we can go directly to the Father and ask in Jesus’ name for our needs to be met, he will provide for our success, and we will experience the joy of our salvation [v.24]. Thank you, Jesus, for being our divine connection to the Good Father!

In our passage today—continuation of John 16—Jesus tells his disciples they will be scattered and soon sent out into the world with the Spirit; Jesus is returning to the Heavenly Father. Now, Jesus sits at the righteous right hand—the power of the Father—and there he rests until he returns to destroy evil for good [1 Pet 3:22]. When Christ comes to earth the second time, he brings about the Kingdom of God: the absolute rule of God over all creation and humanity. In the meantime, we must dwell in the Word of God and listen to the Voice of the Spirit each day. This is the peace [welfare] Jesus has provided for us. Thank you Jesus for putting everything in order so in your provision and power we can be confident, courageous, and more than conquerors! Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ [1 Cor. 15:57].

John 16:25-33
25 “I have spoken to you using figurative language [parables/metaphors], but the time is coming when I will no longer teach you with veiled speech, but I will teach you about the Father with your eyes unveiled [open]. 26 And I will not need to ask the Father on your behalf, for you’ll ask him directly because of your new relationship with me [in my name]. 27 For the Father tenderly loves you, because you love me and believe that I’ve come from God. 28 I came to you sent from the Father’s presence, and I entered into the created world, and now I will leave this world and return to the Father’s side.”

29 His disciples said, “At last you’re speaking to us clearly and not using veiled speech and metaphors! 30 Now we understand that you know everything there is to know, and we don’t need to question you further. And everything you’ve taught us convinces us that you have come directly from God!”

31 Jesus replied, “Now you finally believe in me. 32 And the time has come when you will all be scattered, and each one of you will go your own way, leaving me alone! [fulfillment of Zechariah 13:7]. Yet I am never alone, for the Father is always with me. 33 And everything I’ve taught you is so that the peace which is in me will be in you and will give you great confidence as you rest in me. For in this unbelieving world you will experience trouble and sorrows, but you must be courageous, for I have conquered the world!” [taken power back; cannot defeat us]

Prayer: Lord, thank you for everything you have provided, so I can join you in your mission to redeem the world. I am filled with gratitude, praise, and a willing heart. May I live confidently, courageously, and ready to conqueror the spiritual battles before me in the power of your Spirit. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 11-23-21

Intro: Ezekiel is a prophetic visionary used by God to gain Israel’s attention. God’s people—Israel—have been worshiping other gods while trying to worship the one true Lord; therefore, they are experiencing judgment. (Note: remember judgment can be translated “to distinguish”). The Word lends Light to help us distinguish, but it’s our choice. This situation is really no different with many professing Christians, today. The pleasures of this tangible world can lure us to compromise our commitment to follow God’s Word and ways. According to Romans 12:2, humanity can easily try to live with one foot in the world [conforming to the behavior and customs of the world] and one foot in the Kingdom [renewed in thought and transformed by God’s Word]. Eventually the Word will make us choose between the things that call for our allegiance or devotion. It’s the same with Israel in our passage this morning. God will bring a symbolic fork in the road and at the appointed time God’s people will choose the Sovereign Lord of lords and the King of kings—Jesus—the Living Word.

Ezekiel 20:39-44 NLT
39 “As for you, O people of Israel, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: Go right ahead and worship your idols, but sooner or later you will obey me and will stop bringing shame on my holy name by worshiping idols. 40 For on my holy mountain, the great mountain of Israel, says the Sovereign Lord, the people of Israel will someday worship me, and I will accept them. There I will require that you bring me all your offerings and choice gifts and sacrifices. 41 When I bring you home from exile, you will be like a pleasing sacrifice to me. And I will display my holiness through you as all the nations watch. 42 Then when I have brought you home to the land I promised with a solemn oath to give to your ancestors, you will know that I am the Lord. 43 You will look back on all the ways you defiled yourselves and will hate yourselves because of the evil you have done. 44 You will know that I am the Lord, O people of Israel, when I have honored my name by treating you mercifully in spite of your wickedness. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken!”

Prayer: Lord, I ask You to help me distinguish and make wise choices for my life, today. I profess my love and devotion to Christ and the work of Grace. Continue to renew my mind, so I may fully live in your Kingdom of Love. I realize the proof of my choice will be manifest in my actions. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 11-22-21

November 22, 2021

Today we are looking at the first 8 of the 11 verses of Psalm 63. The context of this Psalm is that King David is fleeing from his son, Absalom. If you go on to read verses 9 – 11 you will clearly see that David felt that his life was in grave danger, and it would be at the hands of his own son. During this time, David was in the desert of Judah, which was not only a dry and barren place, but it was not David’s home, which was Jerusalem. So, David longs for the presence of God in this physical and spiritual place within his life.

You and I can find ourselves in places like David. Ok…so, maybe we currently do not have a family member seeking to kill us, but each of us have many physical and spiritual moments in the “desert”. There are times when we feel lost and are searching for the Lord. Times when our souls (our minds, wills, and emotions) are so thirsty that all we need is a sip of the refreshing and renewing baptismal water of the Living Christ to follow through and around us. So, how do we get that “water”? Friends, we PRAY, we spend daily time in the WORD, and we begin to cling to the Truth that the Lord will “satisfy me more than the richest” of this world, more than your family, more than your friends, more than time on your electronics, more than your job, more than your favorite hobby, more than anything else that is coming to your mind right now. All you have to do is “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Matthew 7:7-8)

Pastor Mary shared many sections of the New Testament during Wednesday’s Bible Study, but there were three verses that so beautifully connect to today’s verses within the Old Testament. So, here are those verses so that you can be remind of just how much Jesus wants to care for you before you go into today’s verses:

“Then Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.’” (Matthew 11:28-30)

Psalm 63 (NLT)
A psalm of David, regarding a time when David was in the wilderness of Judah.

1 O God, you are my God;
I earnestly search for you.
My soul thirsts for you;
my whole body longs for you
in this parched and weary land
where there is no water.
2 I have seen you in your sanctuary
and gazed upon your power and glory.
3 Your unfailing love is better than life itself;
how I praise you!
4 I will praise you as long as I live,
lifting up my hands to you in prayer.
5 You satisfy me more than the richest feast.
I will praise you with songs of joy.

6 I lie awake thinking of you,
meditating on you through the night.
7 Because you are my helper,
I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings.
8 I cling to you;
your strong right hand holds me securely.

Prayer: Jesus, Thank You for being my Home, my safe place to rest, my place to be renewed, my place to be restored. I ask for Your renewing baptismal water to flow through and around me each day, because I am not capable without You. Help me to grow closer to You, Lord. Fill my days with more of You, and less of this world. I ask all of this in Your Precious and Holy Name, Jesus. Amen.

Written by: Jennifer Auer, Pastor Mary Haley’s Assistant

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 11-19-21

Intro: “Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed [honored] be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done; on earth as it is in heaven” (Mat 6:9-10). The Lord’s prayer is a great blessing for believers, because it is an example of how we should praise the Lord and pray for his work in the world, as well as ask him to provide the things we need and for the strength to meet the challenges we face each day.

Lately, I have been praying and asking the Lord to bring his spiritual reign to earth. According to Scripture, God’s kingdom was announced through the covenant the Lord made with Abraham (Luke 13:28-29), the kingdom is present in the heart of every believer (Luke 17:21), and one day God’s kingdom will be complete when all evil is destroyed and God establishes the new heaven and earth (Rev 21:1).

In our passage today, the Apostle Paul reminds us completion comes to the kingdom when the Lord humbles every other earthly government, authority, and power; it all must come to an end, because there is no place for any hostility against Father God or his Word. In the meantime we wait for Jesus to defeat Satan and evil. May it be soon.

1 Corinthians 15:20-28 (TPT)
20 But the truth is, Christ is risen from the dead, as the firstfruit of a great resurrection harvest of those who have died. 21 For since death came through a man, Adam, it is fitting that the resurrection of the dead has also come through a man, Christ. 22 Even as all who are in Adam die, so also all who are in Christ will be made alive. 23 But each one in his proper order: Christ, the firstfruits, then those who belong to Christ in his presence.

24 Then the final stage of completion comes, when he will bring to an end every other rulership, authority, and power, and he will hand over his kingdom to Father God. 25 Until then he is destined to reign as King until all hostility has been subdued and placed under his feet. 26 And the last enemy to be subdued and eliminated is death itself.

27 The Father has placed all things in subjection under the feet of Christ. Yet when it says, “all things,” it is understood that the Father does not include himself, for he is the one who placed all things in subjection to Christ. 28 However, when everything is subdued and in submission to him, then the Son himself will be subject to the Father, who put all things under his feet. This is so that Father God will be everything in everyone!

Prayer: Father, I thank you for bringing all things under the authority of Christ. Every last enemy must go. I pray for your will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. In Jesus’ name. Amen.