Daily Devotional from Jen Auer 04-08-24

Friends, as followers of Jesus, you and I are called to live in His likeness. We must ask the Holy Spirit to give us spiritual eyes to see others like Jesus sees them, spiritual ears to hear what Jesus needs us to hear and soften our hearts to receive the heart of Jesus so we can love others like He loves them.

Matthew (25) reminds us in “The Final Judgment” that when Jesus returns, He will separate the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep on His right hand and the goats on His left hand. Those on His right will enter His Kingdom as they will have loved God’s Family like Jesus loved them; while He will curse the ones on His left for when they did not love the least of God’s children, they were not loving Jesus. Friends, this is a message for the Church and about God’s Family. You and I will be separated as sheep and goats. This is not about all believers being sheep and all unbelievers being goats, no, this is about how you and I treat one another as believers, and as a part of God’s Family.

John reminds us in today’s passage that we are commanded to love one another within our spiritual Family within God’s Church. It seems simple, but I want you to be completely honest with yourself when you answer these questions: Do you love all of your spiritual brothers and sisters in the same way Jesus loves them? Do you take a humble posture in your relationships with your spiritual brothers and sisters? If you are looking back at Matthew 25, do you feed the hungry, give something to drink to the thirsty, show hospitality to a stranger, cloth the naked, care for the sick, and visit the imprisoned? Friends, we must remember that when we judge another believer, we are judging Jesus. John uses the word “hate”, and you might be thinking, well, I don’t hate anyone, so I will be fine during the Final Judgement. Remember, our call to love our brothers and sisters is to love them like Jesus loves them, not simple to just not hate them. One of the Greek translations of the word hate is to think against someone. If we are being completely honest, we have all had thoughts against others within the spiritual Family. So, we really need to be asking the Holy Spirit to change our hearts to be more and more in alignment with the heart of Jesus, so that we are living in His Light, in His likeness, and loving as He calls us, His sheep, to love His other sheep.

1 John 2:7-11 (NLT)
A New Commandment

7 Dear friends, I am not writing a new commandment for you; rather it is an old one you have had from the very beginning. This old commandment—to love one another—is the same message you heard before. 8 Yet it is also new. Jesus lived the truth of this commandment, and you also are living it. For the darkness is disappearing, and the true light is already shining.

9 If anyone claims, “I am living in the light,” but hates a fellow believer, that person is still living in darkness. 10 Anyone who loves a fellow believer is living in the light and does not cause others to stumble. 11 But anyone who hates a fellow believer is still living and walking in darkness. Such a person does not know the way to go, having been blinded by the darkness.

Prayer: Jesus, thank You for setting the example of how we are to love one another. Help us, Holy Spirit, to be convicted when we are not loving our brothers and sisters as You call us to love them. Guide our souls and hearts to be more like Jesus. Help us with our spiritual blindness, deafness, and hard human hearts. We want to be Your sheep that follow Your voice. May You guide us today to love like You love, help our hearts feel Your limitless love for Your Family. We ask all of this in Your Name, Jesus. Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 01-12-24

Intro: Each year I pray to know myself the way I am known by God; it is an ongoing journey of faith and discovery. Through the years, what I have learned about myself is God has made me rather intuitive about people in general, but especially about the family of faith. I tend to be self-aware and most of the time have a fair understanding of my weaknesses, strengths, and motives, as well as discerning what inspires, motivates, or detours others. These are gifts from God to help me focus on my personal growth, as well as the spiritual formation of others within my care in relationship with God. The goal before me is bringing the healing love of God to people so they can experience the Truth for their lives: Jesus. What does it take to convince you God knows exactly who you are every moment?

In our passage for today, Jesus connects with Philip and Nathaniel in order to begin their journey of faith toward the Truth. Philip has been a follower of John the Baptist, but John quickly tells his disciples Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away sin and it is time to follow Him. Philip encounters Jesus through His personal invitation; in that moment, Philip is convinced Jesus is the long-awaited Messiah. Philip quickly locates his friend, Nathaniel, to invite him to meet Jesus. Nathaniel is hesitant to believe anything good or excellent from God could come out of Nazareth—the Jews considered Nazareth a low-living and sinful place. Philip does not judge Nathaniel’s prejudice, instead he invites Nathaniel to see and experience Jesus for himself. Truth and salvation come to Nathaniel, because Jesus reveals He has been watching him. When God reveals His omniscient [all-knowing] nature through Christ, we have a revelation the Lord has always been near us. That understanding engages our faith and seeking God through faith becomes the goal for our futures.

We should never forget hope comes to lead us out of spiritual Nazareth; Jesus draws us out of the sinful places in which we have lived. His Light begins to lead us to the abundant places of faith where we know Him and we know ourselves. He never forces His way upon us, but if we will listen carefully we will see and know ourselves as we are seen and known by God. People seem to be looking for their identity in a sinful world; however, only Jesus—who formed us in our mother’s wombs—knows the Truth and can guide us toward that discovery.

John 1:43-51 (VOICE)
43-44 The next day Jesus set out to go into Galilee; and when He came upon Philip, He invited him to join them.

Jesus: Follow Me.
Philip, like Andrew and Peter, came from a town called Bethsaida; and he decided to make the journey with Him. 45 Philip found Nathanael, a friend, and burst in with excitement:

Philip: We have found the One. Moses wrote about Him in the Law, all the prophets spoke of the day when He would come, and now He is here—His name is Jesus, son of Joseph the carpenter; and He comes from Nazareth.

Nathanael: 46 How can anything good come from a place like Nazareth?

Philip: Come with me, and see for yourself.
47 As Philip and Nathanael approached, Jesus saw Nathanael and spoke to those standing around Him.
Jesus: Look closely, and you will see an Israelite who is a truth-teller.

Nathanael (overhearing Jesus): 48 How would You know this about me? We have never met.

Jesus: I have been watching you before Philip invited you here. Earlier in the day, you were enjoying the shade and fruit of the fig tree. I saw you then.

Nathanael: 49 Teacher, You are the One—God’s own Son and Israel’s King.

Jesus: 50 Nathanael, if all it takes for you to believe is My telling you I saw you under the fig tree, then what you will see later will astound you. 51 I tell you the truth: before our journey is complete, you will see the heavens standing open while heavenly messengers ascend and descend, swirling around the Son of Man.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for this lesson, today, from the Word. Please keep our hearts tender like Philip and open to a change in thinking like Nathaniel. May sharing the gospel and growing in spiritual maturity be our focus and goal, because we know that is your desire for us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Evangelical Devotional 07-29-23

Last week, we looked at the College Campus Revivals throughout the Jesus Movement.  It was such an amazing thing to read about and get a better understanding of what evangelism looked like on a college campus.  This week, I want to examine at a very familiar individual who people think about when it comes to evangelism: Billy Graham.  I’m not talking about the famous wrestler “Superstar” Billy Graham.  I’m referring the famous Christian speaker who travelled all around the world growing the Kingdom of God.  Before he started his crusade, he had served as a college president at Northwestern College in Minneapolis and attended an annual conference for Christian colleges and met three different people: Chuck Templeton, Henrietta Mears, and J. Edwin Orr.  I will go more further about those individuals next time.  After he had attended this conference, he decided to begin a crusade to bring people to the Lord.  The day before the crusade started, He had partaken in an interview with Stuart Hamblin, whose was a well known West Coast radio personality, where Graham invited him to a gathering and Hamblin endorsed Graham’s mission.  Not only that, but Hamblin gave his life to the Lord that morning.  Because of this conversion, Graham took it as a sign from the Lord and continued his crusade.  


I want to challenge you to step out in faith but don’t step in the circle.  When we start doing this, we will begin to see what God is trying to reveal to us and what we need to do to stay in tuned or in lined with Him.  If Billy Graham had the confidence to go and share the word with other people all around the world, then we can have the confidence to share His word with others in our own backyard.  I recognize that it’s easier said than done, however, we need to remember that we are all servants for the Lord and it is our responsibility to equip the saints for the work of service (Ephesians 4:12).  Jesus said that the Son did not come to be served, but to serve (Mark 10:45).  Let’s serve for the Lord as the church.  


Heavenly Father, I pray for Your continuous strength and wisdom as we continue to do the things that You have called us to.  As we grow Your Kingdom, let us not be ashamed of it.  Instead, let us embrace it and let Your word shine before others so that the darkness will flee and Your light will shine through.  In Jesus name I pray, amen.  

Evangelical Devotion 07-22-23

Last week, we looked at several people throughout the Jesus Movement from the 1960s and the 1970s.  I would encourage you to dive deeper into this movement because there is a lot of great information.  This week, we are going to look at a different movement known as The College Campus Revival from the early 1970s.  It was interesting to examine and look at because it happened on a college campus.  Most of the time, we would hear some negative news coming out of a college campus, but this time is different.  This specific revival came out of Asbury College in Wilmore Kentucky.  It started off like any other day by students attending chapel and diving deeper into His word and seeking His understanding.  This chapel was led by Dean Custer Reynolds.  He started and then he asked other students by sharing their personal testimony.  Once he finished, then more students shared their testimony with the school.  One by one, the students asked for a spiritual renewal in their lives. The chapel was filled and people were waiting in lines to share.  Because of this, classes were canceled for the week and had a revival for 144 hours.  Because of the popularity of this revival, there were sessions led by Reynolds and a few others.  As a result of the sessions, 2,000 witness teams went out and spoke to nearly 130 college campuses.  


I want to challenge you to think about what it means to step out in faith.  I remember watching an episode of the TV series “The Chosen” and there was a scene where Matthew and Philip are having a dialogue about what it means to be on the outside of the circle.  This stuck out to me because so often we want to be included and inside the circle, but sometimes it is good for us to be on the outside of the circle.  Here’s what I’m saying: you can step out in faith without stepping into the circle.  In other words, we cannot be conformed to the patterns of this world, but instead we should be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2).  I want to challenge you to step out in faith but don’t step in the circle.  When we start doing this, we will begin to see what God is trying to reveal to us and what we need to do to stay in tuned or in lined with Him.  If those students have the ability to go and share the word with other colleges, then we can have the confidence to share His word with others.  


Heavenly Father, I pray for Your continuous strength and wisdom as we continue to do the things that You have called us to.  As we grow Your Kingdom, let us not be ashamed of it.  Instead, let us embrace it and let Your word shine before others so that the darkness will flee and Your light will shine through.  In Jesus name I pray, amen.  

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 05-05-23

Intro: God calls us by name and pursues us for a relationship in order to lead us on the righteous path for our lives. Yesterday, we looked at the call of Abram; to leave what was familiar in order to go to the unfamiliar with God. Today, we look at the call of Moses; to return to an oppressive environment (Egypt) in order to lead more people to the liberating God. Abram’s call was a vocational challenge to build his faith. Moses’ call was a complete reorientation of his life to build God’s people in faith.

Initially, Moses protests God’s call; he is overwhelmed by God’s presence and instruction. Moses experiences the holy One; he sees the supernatural power of God before him in the burning bush that is not destroyed. He feels unworthy to lead God’s people, because he can’t get beyond seeing things from a human perspective. God gives a promise to Abraham; God also gives a promise to Moses. God gives a promise to you and me. Five very important words for us to remember today, “I will be with you!” If God is with you, then you have all you need.

Exodus 3:1-6 NLT Moses and the Burning Bush
3 One day Moses was tending the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian. He led the flock far into the wilderness and came to Sinai, the mountain of God. 2 There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a blazing fire from the middle of a bush. Moses stared in amazement. Though the bush was engulfed in flames, it didn’t burn up. 3 “This is amazing,” Moses said to himself. “Why isn’t that bush burning up? I must go see it.”

4 When the Lord saw Moses coming to take a closer look, God called to him from the middle of the bush, “Moses! Moses!”

“Here I am!” Moses replied.

5 “Do not come any closer,” the Lord warned. “Take off your sandals, for you are standing on holy ground. 6 I am the God of your father—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” When Moses heard this, he covered his face because he was afraid to look at God.
7 Then the Lord told him, “I have certainly seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their cries of distress because of their harsh slave drivers. Yes, I am aware of their suffering. 8 So I have come down to rescue them from the power of the Egyptians and lead them out of Egypt into their own fertile and spacious land. 9 Look! The cry of the people of Israel has reached me, and I have seen how harshly the Egyptians abuse them. 10 Now go, for I am sending you to Pharaoh. You must lead my people Israel out of Egypt.”

11 But Moses protested to God, “Who am I to appear before Pharaoh? Who am I to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt?” 12 God answered, “I will be with you.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for the call that rests on your children; you have a plan for each of our lives. We need to follow you and allow your grace to help us because you are all we need. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 04-12-23

Intro: Every day is a new day for God’s chosen people—those who have accepted the cross of Christ as Father God’s Way of atonement, obedient in following Christ the Son out of sin and into Truth, and joyfully embracing the miraculous realm of Kingdom Life (righteousness, peace, and joy in the Spirit). Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one can come to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). You

Today will unfold before you as a new day with God; our relationship with God is one of revelation and discovery so celebrate the possibilities that may occupy your day. Because of our covenant with Christ, we have been granted access to the presence of Father God where we can enjoy His goodness and favor. Jesus is the Cornerstone or foundation for the Church, so we can receive healing for our souls and vitality in His Spirit. God is our Provider and He longs to satisfy His children with good and righteous gifts that lead us into our destiny. This is the day the Lord has made…REJOICE!

Psalm 118: 1, 19-24 NLT
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!
His faithful love endures forever.
Open for me the gates where the righteous enter,
and I will go in and thank the Lord.
These gates lead to the presence of the Lord,
and the godly enter there.
I thank you for answering my prayer
and giving me victory!
The stone that the builders rejected
has now become the cornerstone.
This is the Lord’s doing,
and it is wonderful to see.
This is the day the Lord has made.
We will rejoice and be glad in it.

Prayer: Father, we pause to thank you for your faithful love toward us as your children; your Way of loving us is amazing. Please continue to open our hearts more fully to receive the Truth you have for us as we follow your firstborn Son, Jesus. Holy Spirit, please make us aware of your presence with us each day and lead us forward into victorious Kingdom living even while we are in the midst of this sinful world. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Attention: Please come and join us tonight…
New Bible Study Series: The Chosen
Season 1: What Does It Mean to Be Chosen?
Starting Date: 4/12 @ 7:00PM

This Bible Study is designed to be used in conjunction with The Chosen—a streaming television series about the life of Jesus. Each session works in tandem with an episode from the story and each episode brings together the Old and the New Testaments. Because each week’s video is unique in its length, we are looking for points of continuity between the Old and New Testament, and because discussion plays a very big part in the study, the lessons will range from 1-1.5 hrs. We will not be able to live stream the video, but you can watch each episode through a link posted on our website. The discussion following the video each week will be streamed for those who cannot attend in person, but want to be a part of the study dialogue.

If you are just beginning on your path with Jesus or you have had a relationship with Jesus for years, being chosen by God has endless applications that will inspire and renew an inner sense of purpose. Make a commitment to attend; I will have a study guide waiting for you…

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 03-28-23

Intro: During this Lenten season, every devotional will begin with a quote from C.S. Lewis (author and theologian), followed by two readings: 1) A passage from the Psalter and 2) a writing from one of the Old Testament prophets or New Testament authors. We will look at both passages as a whole through the fulfilling work and wisdom of Christ—Truth.
With an unquenchable thirst, we open our hearts to welcome the kindness of God and in so doing, we drink from the heavenly Living Water who sets us free from the dry wilderness of sin, guilt, and spiritual barrenness that permeates the world.

“The hardness of God is kinder than the softness of men, and His compulsion is our liberation.” (CS Lewis; Checkmate)

God’s Word or instructions are not only beneficial for humanity if we desire wisdom, it is a delight that nourishes a dry and thirsty soul. God designed and created us to thirst and desire his commands of love, so we can enjoy his presence. Therefore, the instructions of the Lord are the very gifts that revive us and give joy to our hearts. Thinking about God as the Giver of every possible good thing that exists is a proper mindset that will lead us into eternal life with him (James 1:17; Heb 11:6).

Certainly, we can become weighed down in life by guilt and fear, but we do not have to live in the world’s valley of dry bones. God is full of compassion; he is the liberator who comes and not only gives us beautiful and helpful guidance, but issues warnings about spiritual dangers we can avoid. He reveals his character of love and compassion and if we are open to the work of the Spirit, God will pursue and cleanse us from anything unrighteous hiding in our souls. It is important to remember what we say flows from what is in our hearts (Lu 6:45). In our passage today for the Psalter, David sings and asks God to help him with his thoughts and the words he utters. If every human being would invite God to soften and reshape the words we speak to one another, it would change the atmosphere around us. As a beautiful example, David brings his thoughts and words to the altar of God as an offering to receive and redirect.

Psalm 19:7-14 NLT
The instructions of the Lord are perfect,
    reviving the soul.
The decrees of the Lord are trustworthy,
    making wise the simple.

The commandments of the Lord are right,
    bringing joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are clear,
    giving insight for living.

Reverence for the Lord is pure,
    lasting forever.
The laws of the Lord are true;
    each one is fair.
They are more desirable than gold,
    even the finest gold.
They are sweeter than honey,
    even honey dripping from the comb.
They are a warning to your servant,
    a great reward for those who obey them.
How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart?
    Cleanse me from these hidden faults.
Keep your servant from deliberate sins!
    Don’t let them control me.
Then I will be free of guilt
    and innocent of great sin.
May the words of my mouth
    and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing to you,
    O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

In our passage today from the prophet Isaiah, we learn reconciliation with God comes through listening, seeking, and calling on the Lord for salvation. This reconciliation is the only action that will quench humanity’s spiritual thirst. When we connect to Christ, we connect to the Living Water which begins to help us grow and produce the abundant fruit of God’s nature. We may not even know how spiritually dry, parched or thirsty we truly are until we call upon the Lord, he imparts the Living Water to our souls, and our lives begin to change. Only then are we satisfied, made alive with the eternal life of God, and productive for the Kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (Ro 14:17).

To choose to stay distant from God is to live foolishly and recklessly. We cannot comprehend the utter holiness of God’s thoughts with our human minds. Therefore, we need to align ourselves with his Word which gives us a glimpse of his divine nature and character. Friends, we must remain near to God, because the world has a way of hardening our hearts against the Compassionate One [Jesus] who actually came to liberate us from sin, death, and separation from God. Be reconciled with God, in Christ, and be spiritually alive!

Isaiah 55:1a, 8-13 NLT
Is anyone thirsty? Come and drink—
“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.
    “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.

For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so my ways are higher than your ways
    and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.
“The rain and snow come down from the heavens
    and stay on the ground to water the earth.
They cause the grain to grow,
    producing seed for the farmer
    and bread for the hungry.
It is the same with my word.
    I send it out, and it always produces fruit.
It will accomplish all I want it to,
    and it will prosper everywhere I send it.
You will live in joy and peace.
    The mountains and hills will burst into song,
    and the trees of the field will clap their hands!
Where once there were thorns, cypress trees will grow.
    Where nettles grew, myrtles will sprout up.
These events will bring great honor to the Lord’s name;
    they will be an everlasting sign of his power and love.”

Prayer: Lord, thank you for being the Living Water that quenches our spiritual thirst. This world is a wilderness that leaves humanity dry, empty, and fruitless; but you provide your powerful Spirit to quench our thirst and fill us with your amazing presence when we seek you and your Kingdom. Thank you for the righteousness, peace, and joy you bring our lives every day. Continue to help us grow and prosper in the Spirit. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Daily Lenten Devotional from Pastor Mary 02-23-23

Intro: At Connect2Christ Church, Lent is a time of prayer—a 40 day journey (not including Sundays) where we acknowledge and praise God for his merciful love that restores us in the Truth—Christ. During Lent, we will reflect on the Truth for our lives found in God’s Word, be willing to repent from our sin against the Truth, renew our commitment to be lead by the Spirit of Truth, and invite the Lord to revive us by his love and grace to grow in the Truth.

During this Lenten season, every devotional will begin with a quote from C.S. Lewis (author and theologian), followed by two readings: 1) A passage from the Psalter and 2) a writing from one of the Old Testament prophets or New Testament authors. We will look at both passages as a whole through the fulfilling work and wisdom of Christ—Truth is a Person.

“The greater the sin, the greater the mercy: the deeper the death,
the brighter the rebirth” (C.S. Lewis, Miracles).

In our passage from the Psalms today, God offers a choice between two paths for human life: A righteous path built on obedience to God’s Word and a wicked path built on sin and the desires of human flesh. God’s love and mercy for us is great; therefore, he wants us to flourish and prosper in every area of our lives.

Psalm 1:1-3 NLT
Oh, the joys of those who do not
follow the advice of the wicked,
or stand around with sinners,
or join in with mockers.
But they delight in the law of the Lord,
meditating on it day and night.
They are like trees planted along the riverbank,
bearing fruit each season.
Their leaves never wither,
and they prosper in all they do.

In our passage from the Apostle Paul and his letter to the Romans, we are reminded the whole of creation has been affected by Adam’s fall into sin leaving humanity spiritually barren and unable to bear righteous fruit. We are also reminded of God’s promise—found in Christ—to lead us out of sin and into blessing. The Holy Spirit is our Helper who will cause us to prosper and produce the fruit of righteousness. Therefore, we must follow the powerful God-life of the Spirit every day into greater growth and victory.

Romans 8:22-27 VOICE
22 For we know that all creation groans in unison with birthing pains up until now. 23 And there is more; it’s not just creation—all of us are groaning together too. Though we have already tasted the firstfruits of the Spirit, we are longing for the total redemption of our bodies that comes when our adoption as children of God is complete— 24 for we have been saved in this hope and for this future. But hope does not involve what we already have or see. For who goes around hoping for what he already has? 25 But if we wait expectantly for things we have never seen, then we hope with true perseverance and eager anticipation.

26 A similar thing happens when we pray. We are weak and do not know how to pray, so the Spirit steps in and articulates prayers for us with groaning too profound for words. 27 Don’t you know that He who pursues and explores the human heart intimately knows the Spirit’s mind because He pleads to God for His saints to align their lives with the will of God?

Christ Quote: “Those people who are listening to Me, those people who hear what I say and live according to My teachings—you are like a wise man who built his house on a rock, on a firm foundation” (Mat 7:24).

Prayer: Lord, help us to put to death the desires of our flesh that are not aligned with your will for our lives. Holy Spirit, thank you for praying for us and helping us walk each day in newness of life on your path of righteousness. Revive and restore us through the power of your love as we place our hope for total redemption in you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 01-31-23

January 31, 2023

Intro: Every day, as children of God, we have an opportunity to respond with faith to the evil permeating the world.  When human beings fail to value the Creator and his good and righteous character, then those individuals have wandered into evil’s camp to feed on unrighteousness.  For this reason, James instructs believers, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” [4:7]. We must prepare for these times, so we can handle them wisely. 

David has some answers for us in our passage today.  First, we are reminded to trust the Lord; to lean our whole being in his direction and place our confidence in his integrity, justice, and power to conquer evil by doing good [Ro 12:21].  If we are devoted to doing what is good, then we are devoted to divine wisdom.  Next, we take delight in the Lord; we experience pleasure and joy in his presence because he remains faithful to love us righteously.  Finally, with our trust and delight properly focused, we are able to commit or entrust everything—our lives, families, relationships, jobs, finances, and future—to the Lord because we believe he is the best One to guide our lives.  

God knows us better than we know him or know ourselves.  If our trust, delight, and commitments are in the Righteous One, we will have the help we need.  In the gospel of John, Jesus says, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world” [16:33].

Psalm 37:3-5 NLT


Trust in the Lord and do good.
    Then you will live safely in the land and prosper.

Take delight in the Lord,
    and he will give you your heart’s desires.

Commit everything you do to the Lord.
    Trust him, and he will help you.

Prayer:  Lord, thank you for this wonderful reminder today about the righteous power found in my trust, delight, and commitment to you.  Help me align my soul in these righteous ways, today, so evil gains no foothold in my life.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 11-30-22

Intro: If you spend time in the Word of God, you will run across passages where God speaks of Himself as the faithful Creator and Husband who has committed Himself to His Bride (Israel and the Church). Because of the ongoing practice of sin, Israel continually separated herself from her Husband. So, God released Israel for a brief time—seventy years in Babylonian exile—to learn some valuable lessons about His power, purpose, and promise. Now, seventy years does not seem like a brief time to me, but I guess in light of eternity, it is brief indeed. The Exile of Israel was similar to the Flood, because both happened due to humanity’s sinfulness and unfaithfulness to the Creator and Husband. Yet, the Lord made a promise to restore all of creation after the Flood and His people after the Exile; and He did.

In our passage today, God speaks through the Prophet Isaiah about His faithful love for Israel. The Exile was a traumatic and humiliating thing for Israel; yet, God was merciful and remained their saving Hope. The people claimed to be God’s chosen ones, but instead of resting in the protective care of her Husband and wearing the righteous garments He provided, Israel found herself vulnerable and oppressed wearing the filthy things of the world. How much better would it have been for Israel to stay in the Holy City close to God instead of wandering away by wearing the sins of the world?

Our lesson and response today is to thank God for His faithful and enduring love in the midst of humanity’s unfaithfulness. If we will turn toward God each day and live for His honor and glory—reflect His character—we will enjoy His presence and protection; we will grow in wholeness as we experience divine blessings. God wants to redeem Israel and the Church and draw each to Himself to become One. What can we learn from all of this today? “Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world” (James 4:8).

Isaiah 54: 9-10 NLT

“Just as I swore in the time of Noah    that I would never again let a flood cover the earth,so now I swear    that I will never again be angry and punish you.
For the mountains may move and the hills disappear, but even then my faithful love for you will remain.    My covenant of blessing will never be broken,”    says the Lord, who has mercy on you.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for your faithful love. Please continue to teach us about your enduring love, as well as help us to live righteously far beyond the hatred and filth of the world. In Jesus’ name. Amen.