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The

Intervention Heaven’s response to Earth’s ailments

PSALM A Lenten Study on the Benefits of the Cross

103


Praise the LORD, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the LORD, my soul, and forget not all his benefits— who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. The LORD works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed. He made known his ways to Moses, his deeds to the people of Israel: The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.


As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust. The life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more. But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children— with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts. The LORD has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all. Praise the LORD, you his angels, you mighty ones who do his bidding, who obey his word. Praise the LORD, all his heavenly hosts, you his servants who do his will. Praise the LORD, all his works everywhere in his dominion. Praise the LORD, my soul.


DAY 1 | Ash Wednesday, February 22

Observation

About Lent

Ash Wednesday

Marjorie Thompson writes in her book Soul Feast, “Lent was understood as an opportunity to return to the life of natural communion with God that was lost to us in the Fall.” As we travel through this season of Lent and prepare ourselves for Holy Week, it is our hope that these devotionals will draw your thoughts to The Intervention of the cross. It is through the work that Christ did for us that day that helps us effectively balance Earth’s ailments with Heaven’s benefits.

According to the Canonical gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, Jesus spent forty days fasting in the desert before the beginning of his public ministry, during which he endured temptation by Satan. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of this forty day liturgical period of prayer and fasting. It derives its name from the practice of placing ashes on the foreheads of adherents as a sign of mourning and repentance to God. The ashes used are typically gathered after the palms from the previous year’s Palm Sunday are burned.

We often talk about the gift of focus at Valley Christian Center. This season is an intentional opportunity for you to give God your gift of focus. As we draw near to Him through contemplating the thoughts contained herein, each beautifully written by the people of VCC, He promises to draw near to us. On this first day of Lent, choose now to give God your commitment to offer your focus on the benefits He has given us through the sacrifice of the cross. May Our Lord grant us all the graces we need and desire to grow deeper in our relationship with Him. Just to be is a blessing. Just to live is holy. { Abraham Joshua Heschel }


DAY 2 | Thursday, February 23

God's Benefit Package I remember the first day of my first job at Lockheed in the Human Resources department. For three hours, I sat down with an HR representative to go over my benefits. It was 1989 and I had just graduated from LeTourneau University with an Electrical Engineering degree as an energized and naïve 22 year old. Besides my starting salary (which was 31K a year), there was medical (fully paid with no co-payment), full dental and vision, life insurance and a 401K (where Lockheed matched up to 8% of my salary). Beyond that, there were gym benefits, a sports program on site, access to numerous company cafeterias, discount tickets to local plays and concerts, golf access on Moffett Field’s private course and membership to Lockheed’s credit union. When all was said and done, I must have left Human Resources that day with a stack of papers six inches high. All benefits of my new job as a Lockheed satellite engineer. The planet we all share is full of heartache and suffering, disappointment and disease, injustice and death. We all need help, assistance, intervention. Psalm 103 presents us with a list of benefits that God provides: pardon, wholeness, rescue, affection, fulfillment, rest, affirmation, celebration, adoption, understanding, compassion, intimacy, honor, love, mercy, grace and eternity. I call these “Heaven’s response to Earth’s ailments.” For Lent this year, I thought we would intersect these benefits with the cross of Christ. Forty days of pondering what God afforded us in Jesus Christ. 40 days to consider the depth, breadth and height of God’s love for us. 40 days of thanksgiving and praise to the One who freely shares with us His nature, His focus and His power. 40 days of examining our benefits. 40 days to ponder The Intervention. –ROGER VALCI

I am graven on the palms of His hands. I am never out of His mind. All my knowledge of Him depends on His sustained initiative in knowing me. I know Him, because He first knew me, and continues to know me. He knows me as a friend, One who loves me; there is no moment when His eye is off me, or His attention distracted from me, and no moment, therefore, when His care falters. { J.J. Packer }

Observation


Today’s Theme

DAY 3 | Friday, February 24

Blessings

Verse 1 | Praise the LORD, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.

The Cross Portrayed through Blessings Observation

How many of us use the word blessing freely, and without considering the full power, privilege and intentionality behind it? In Webster’s 1828 Dictionary (which used the KJV to explain its definitions), it states that a blessing is to pronounce a wish of happiness onto someone, or to set apart for holy purposes, to praise or glorify God or the Lord Jesus Christ, to speak God’s goodness to one another. This means that a blessing can be given both horizontally (person to person) and vertically (God to us and us to God). What a striking portrayal of the Cross! Is it too far a stretch to imagine that in our intentional acts of blessing, we not only bring happiness and speak God’s goodness to each other, but that we also show our honor of and praise to God for all He did for us on the Cross? When we acknowledge the holiness of this act – and His act of compassion toward us, is it not a personal and passionate expression of our praise to God? Henri Nouwen says, “His (Christ’s) appearance in our midst has made it undeniably clear that changing the human heart and changing human society are not separate tasks, but are as interconnected as the two beams of the cross.” As we journey through this season, let’s pray that God makes each of us a greater and intentional blessing as we surrender ourselves to Him for this purpose. —KELLY KINDALL

DIGGING DEEPER Daily Scripture Readings 2 Corinthians 9:8 Ephesians 1:3

Christ will always accept the faith that puts its trust in Him. { Andrew Murray }

LIFE CHANGERS Room for Improvement

Suggestion for Meditation Consider how the Cross has changed you. Thought to Ponder How does bringing the Cross into our act of blessing change our perspective toward God and toward others?


DAY 4 | Saturday, February 25

Today’s Theme Benefits

Verse 2 | Praise the LORD, my soul, and forget not all his benefits:

A Treasury of Benefits The vibrant, God-saturated memory of man in the Garden of Eden felt the blow of sin as an amnesia. Gone was the crisp awareness of vital connection and all-consuming affection for our Creator. Now there was the “through a glass darkly” memories. Our minds were filled with SELF – and dark, sin-filled and dismal are those thoughts.

Observation

But God reached down with nail-pierced hands and wrote TRUTH freshly on Creation. And we strain to remember until all His glorious benefits come rushing back, not one of them lost between the cracks of sinful self. We lean into the memories and muse on His kind graces, and He brings verbs to life – forgives, heals, redeems, crowns. An eternal fountain of continual favors are conferred on us! We see His benefits as “gathering together all the varied threads of His mercy.” – J. Perowne We think on them with every ounce of mental strength and we are re-defined. “Arise, self, and praise the Lord for the priceless treasury of His many benefits!” –DARYL FLEMING

LIFE CHANGERS Room for Improvement

Suggestion for Meditation Reflect on one benefit today. Thought to Ponder I can be defined by His benefits.

DIGGING DEEPER Daily Scripture Readings

Ephesians 2 Psalm 147 At the heart of the gospel is a God who deliberately surrenders to the wild, irresistable power of love. { Philip Yancey }


February

26

Sunday,

lost

The intervention to the He made known his ways to Moses, his deeds to the people of Israel:

Psalm 103:7


DAY 5 | Monday, February 27

Today’s Theme Guilt | Pardon

Verse 3 | ...who forgives all your sins...

Repent and be Forgiven! Jesus, I give you praise and thank you for loving me so much. You would forgive me of sins, past present and future. I wandered in the world as a lost sheep; you found me, loved me and forgave me of my sins.

Observation

Thank you for forgiveness of my sin, cleansing of my heart and freedom from the guilt I have carried. God, take away the guilt of my sin by your pardoning mercy, break the power of it by renewing grace. Daily search my life and my heart for sins both exposed and hidden from the view of others. Jesus, I ask for the power of the Holy Spirit to position my heart to receive revelation of sin in my life and courage to repent and turn from sin. Forgive me, Lord, for the sins I have committed, direct me this day on the path of righteousness – your path, not mine! Praise the Lord who forgives all your sins! –JOHN OWEN

LIFE CHANGERS Room for Improvement

Suggestion for Meditation Jesus, search me and reveal my sin! Thought to Ponder Jesus, make me a slave to righteousness!

DIGGING DEEPER Daily Scripture Readings

Romans 6:1-18

This is the mystery of the riches of divine grace for sinners, for by a wonderful exchange our sins are now not ours but Christ’s, and Christ’s righteousness is not Christ’s, but ours. { Martin Luther }


Today’s Theme

DAY 6 | Tuesday, February 28

Broken | Whole

Verse 3 | ...and heals all your diseases,

Are We Broken People? Observation

How can we, as a people, be whole with God? What does that even mean? All my life, I have been told that you are either whole with God, or broken without Him. But how? The answer is sin. Sin breaks you down both physically and mentally. It can become a disease. In my Bible class, we are told that we are born with sin, not with God. When the sin breaks you down, who is there to pick up the pieces again? No one is and you can fall deeper and deeper. You keep trying to find a way to fix yourself. You’re trying to find the glue with which to patch yourself up. Sin breaks a person down and without God to protect you, sin will tear you apart. When you find Him, you are forgiven. Forgiveness builds you back up. Who are you without the Lord? You are broken. Who are you with the Lord? You are whole. You are healed. –ZACH SAWKO

DIGGING DEEPER Daily Scripture Readings But the soul renounced shall abide in the boundlessness of God’s life. This is liberty, this is prosperity. The more we lose, the more we gain. { Watchman Nee }

2 Chronicles 7:14 Psalm 51:2, 10-12 Psalm 86:5 1 John 1:9 Hebrews 8:12

LIFE CHANGERS Room for Improvement

Suggestion for Meditation When you feel down, turn to God for the answer. Thought to Ponder Who are you? Are you broken, or are you whole?


DAY 7 | Wednesday, February 29

Today’s Theme Trapped | Rescued

Verse 4 | ... who redeems your life from the pit...

“Jesus, Don’t Let Me Die!” My teenage son was driving home from work at 1:00 AM, taking the back roads to Livermore. The storm had been blowing and pouring for three days. As Matthew was driving 50 mph on those dark country road, his tire blew out and he lost control of his car.

Observation

It is our God, “who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion.” Scriptures tell us from Genesis to Revelation that our God saves. He is faithful and just to rescue us in our times of trouble. “Mom, I was so scared. The car came two feet off the ground on one side. I thought I was going to flip into the ditch. I yelled out, ‘Jesus, don’t let me die’ and the car came back under control.” As Matthew continued with his frightening story, I saw in my mind’s eye how my heavenly Father held back the rain. Jesus knelt in the dirt with his hand on Matthew’s back, calming my child as he changed his first tire. –LISA NORTON

LIFE CHANGERS Room for Improvement

DIGGING DEEPER

Suggestion for Meditation Casting Crown’s “Praise You in the Storm” (on YouTube) Thought to Ponder Recognize God’s willingness and ability to rescue me.

Daily Scripture Readings 2 Timothy 4:17-18 Psalm 138:7 Isaiah 43:1-2 Psalm 46:1 Hebrews 13:6

Above all the grace and the gifts that Christ gives to his beloved is that of overcoming self. { Francis of Assisi }


Today’s Theme

DAY 8 | Thursday, March 1

Curse | Affection

Verse 4 | ...and crowns you with love and compassion...

He Paid The Price Observation

Our generous Lord God Almighty has paid the price for our eternal salvation through Jesus’ great sacrifice on the cross. That same sacrifice covers us daily as we traverse the pits and pitfalls that we experience. The pit is the self-pity, doubt, depression, anguish and hurt that touches our lives. To protect us from the scum of the pit, the Lord crowns us with His attributes that begin at the top of our head, in our mind, down to our hearts, and fully encases us and protects us. God is love; His love surrounds us inside and out, setting up a barrier to those things of the pit. His compassion washes over us to soften our hearts and minds to God’s great gifts of love, mercy and grace. May each of us rejoice in the Lord’s glorious gifts daily and pour them out onto others. –SHARON LANHAM

DIGGING DEEPER Daily Scripture Readings

“The best measure of a spiritual life is not its ecstasies but its obedience.” { Oswald Chambers }

2 Samuel 22:3-4 Psalm 27 Psalm 51:10 John 16:33 Acts 4:10,12

LIFE CHANGERS Room for Improvement

Suggestion for Meditation Express gratitude for what God has already used for good in your life. Thought to Ponder How can you be proactive today about softening your heart and mind toward God in a new way?


DAY 9 | Friday, March 2

Today’s Theme Bored | Fulfilled

Verse 5 | ... who satisfies your desires with good things...

True Fulfillment Oftentimes when bored, I seek entertainment, something fun to satisfy my desires, to momentarily ignore my troubles. Although entertainment has its place, it is a cheap replacement for fulfillment. You see entertainment is mostly self-focused. I need not invest myself; I merely gratify my senses. Food, games, movies, or music, all good fun! Entertainment is passive; I am a spectator, not a participant. But, once the show is done, I am vulnerable again to immediate boredom.

Observation

Fulfillment is different. Fulfillment comes from using time, a precious gift, for purposes beyond myself. It is found in a God-focused personal time of seeking. Fulfillment involves setting myself aside entirely, quieting my personal desires and allowing God to change me. Fulfillment is active. Basking in His presence, soaking in His love, gaining new hope, and waiting for His Spirit. God’s presence brings me the truly good things, and empowers me to live moment by moment for Him. After a taste of His presence, I am refreshed, youthful, and hungry for more of God’s moving in my life. –ANGELA BRUGGEMAN

LIFE CHANGERS Room for Improvement

Suggestion for Meditation How do you handle boredom? Thought to Ponder Commit to pressing in to God’s presence and experience true fulfillment.

DIGGING DEEPER Daily Scripture Readings

Psalms 103:5 Psalms 90:14 Isaiah 40:30 - 31 Nobody ever outgrows Scripture; the book widens and deepens with our years. { Charles H. Spurgeon }


Today’s Theme

DAY 10 | Saturday, March 3

Weary | Rest

Verse 5 | ...so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

My Response to God’s Gifts Observation

David is on a roll in this psalm, praising the Lord for everything good in his life. David’s spirit is soaring as he says “who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” Is David over the top with this metaphor? In what way is youth renewed by God’s provision in our lives? My first reaction is that as great as God’s gifts are, they don’t make me youthful. But then I think of personalities that were showered with gifts from God, with different results. Howard Hughes, billionaire, philanthropist, and inventor, is probably best remembered as a recluse, shut away from friends and family in a vain attempt to extend his life by avoiding contamination. Among his philanthropic gestures, Hughes endowed the Howard Hughes Medical Institute with enough capital to make it the second-wealthiest philanthropic organization in the United States and the second best endowed medical research foundation in the world. In spite of his wealth, power, generosity, and talent, the last half of his life was characterized by fear and misery rather than youthful renewal. Contrast this with the life of evangelist Billy Graham, bestowed with abundant gifts from God that are not only a benefit to the world’s lost, but he has the joy and vitality of a typical man many years his junior. The lesson: God’s good gifts must be met with an attitude of gratitude. If we have not allowed the Holy Spirit to shape our attitude, the gifts from God fail to renew us. However, if we have allowed the Holy Spirit to do his work in us, we are renewed by God’s provision for us. –CRAIG BAYSINGER

DIGGING DEEPER Daily Scripture Readings

Thou hast created us for Thyself, and our heart is not quiet until it rests in Thee. { Augustine }

Isaiah 40:31 Jeremiah 31:25 Psalm 51:10 Romans 12:1 & 2 Colossians 3:10-12

LIFE CHANGERS Room for Improvement

Suggestion for Meditation

Enjoy a Sabbath.

Thought to Ponder Will I allow God’s gifts to renew me?


soul

4

Sunday,

March

The intervention to our Psalm 103:3a; 8-12

... who forgives all your sins....

The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.


Today’s Theme Oppression | Intervention

DAY 11 | Monday, March 5 Verse 6 | The LORD works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.

The Lord Works Observation

One of the great truths of the Bible that we hold dear is that the God of the universe is a God of righteousness and justice. He cares deeply for the oppressed and He is working to bring about justice. Our dear friend, Ben Hoogendoorn, the president of the Canadian Food for the Hungry organization, told us a story of one of his visits to Africa. He visited a refugee camp after a genocide. He said that, even with all his experiences, he was overwhelmed by the pain and suffering he witnessed. He cried, “God, this is too much! Please, help me to see you in all of this. Where are you?” Just when he thought his faith was failing him, a small hand reached out for his. A little disfigured girl looked up at him with the most beautiful smile. He said that he saw Jesus in her face. And Jesus said, “I am here.” That’s all Ben needed to hear to put all his heart and effort in helping the refugees there. Ben began to work. –JANET YAO

DIGGING DEEPER Daily Scripture Readings Deuteronomy 10:18 Psalm 9:9, 10:17, 103:6 Luke 10:30-37 How glorious the splendor of a human heart that trusts that it is loved! { Brennan Manning }

LIFE CHANGERS Room for Improvement

Suggestion for Meditation He calls on us to be his fellow workers. Thought to Ponder Is God calling you to work?


DAY 12 | Tuesday, March 6

Today’s Theme

Alienation | God’s Watchful Eye Verse 6 | The LORD works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.

God Always Watches Us One day while I was on a fishing trip with my dad and some friends on the Klamath River, I got separated from my dad. I couldn’t see him or anyone else. I was all alone in the river fishing on some rocks and knew that at some point every day, they would open the dam and release the water, causing the river to rise and move more quickly. I became scared and began to pray to God. My dad heard my call for him, too. Then my dad came into view.

Observation

God had kept me safe. Even when no human was around, God was watching me and I could talk to Him and ask for His protection. Because I am a Christian and believe that Jesus suffered on the cross for me, I am able to go to Him in prayer in times of need (or just to talk) and He will help me. If you believe wholeheartedly in the Lord, He will help you and never leave you alone. –ZACH KISER

LIFE CHANGERS Room for Improvement

Suggestion for Meditation Take a walk and be alone with God. Thought to Ponder Think of a time you felt alone but looking back now, know that God was with you.

DIGGING DEEPER Daily Scripture Readings

Isaiah 9:7 Ecclesiastes 4:10-11 Proverb 3:5-7 Luke 4:18-19 Matthew 5:10

God does not give us everything we want, but He does fulfill His promises... leading us along the best and straightest paths to Himself. { Dietrich Bonhoeffer }


Today’s Theme Confusion | Revelation

DAY 13 | Wednesday, March 7 Verse 7 | He made known his ways to Moses, his deeds to the people of Israel:

The Comforter For All Time Observation

The God who allowed Moses to make intercession for the Israelites sent His one and only son to make intercession for us. Verse 7 of this Psalm refers to one of Moses’ intercessions that he made with God for the people of Israel.The covenant God made with Moses included the Promised Land but He had become so frustrated with the “stiff necked” Israelites that He no longer wanted to accompany them there. This was a deal breaker for Moses so he asked God to change His mind. In the days of the Israelites, Moses was one of the select few people to whom God would allow access. When Christ was crucified on the cross He ushered in God’s new covenant. When we have questions or concerns, we can now go directly to Him. God’s Holy Spirit (not available to all believers until Christ ascended into Heaven) now enables all Christians to know God’s ways. He will always be with us and will intercede for us personally. Easter is the Church’s way of reminding us of God’s loving deeds for us in showing His unlimited love for the world. –DAN MORRISON

DIGGING DEEPER Daily Scripture Readings Exodus 33:1-17 and 34:10 Psalm 147:19 and 78:11 God, I pray Thee, light these idle sticks of my life, that I may burn for Thee. Consume my life, my God, for it is Thine. { Jim Elliot }

LIFE CHANGERS Room for Improvement

Suggestion for Meditation Ask Him to show His ways to you. Thought to Ponder Why did Jesus have to leave us?


DAY 14 | Thursday, March 8

Today’s Theme Darkness | Insight

Verse 7 | He made known his ways to Moses, his deeds to the people of Israel:

God is Good; His Faithfulness is Everlasting Today, let’s remember how Jesus died on the cross for our redemption so that we can be set free. Remember that God is able even when we do not see it for ourselves. Remember that throughout life’s situations, God will never leave us. Remember that God is able to do more than we can ask or imagine, and speaks words of faith and hope to us in our hardest times.

Bless the LORD, O my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name. He has done great things. Bless his holy name.

Observation

God is the same yesterday, today, and forever: His word never changes. How gracious is our God, full of love and kindness. How great is our God, who sent His son to live a life as a man, to feel all our emotions of joy, pain, love, hate, but who never judges or criticizes us, yet endured the cross, the beating, the pain, the suffering so that we could live and be reunited in God and returned back to the rightful place with Him. The beauty of God’s love is more that words can express, the beauty of His unconditional love more that we can fathom. Come to His throne of grace, let go of your hurts and pains from the past; come again to newness of life in Christ, where in His abounding love, He sings and dances over you. –FLORENCE BAMIDELE

LIFE CHANGERS Room for Improvement

DIGGING DEEPER

Suggestion for Meditation Trust in God’s Word; He will never let you down. Thought to Ponder Now is the time to come to Jesus, now is the time to come and live in His peace and harmony.

Daily Scripture Readings

Isaiah 40 Psalm 8 Zephaniah 3:17

In darkness there is no choice. It is light that enables us to see the differences between things; and it is Christ who gives us light. { C.T. Whitemell }


Today’s Theme

DAY 15 | Friday, March 9

Wrath | Mercy

Verse 8 | The LORD is compassionate and gracious,

"No Soup for You!" Observation

Whether it’s a speeding ticket or a slap on the wrist, we’ve all felt the wrath/consequences of our shortcomings. God is bigger than that! God is compassionate, HE IS gracious, HE IS slow to anger, and HE IS up to His ears in love for us. Have we failed? Yes. Do we deserve wrath? Yes. HOWEVER God says, “It’s okay; you sinned; let’s learn from it and move on. You’re forgiven, I love you; we’re going to wash you and clean you.” “Let’s put these sins that so easily entangle behind you.” Think of a rebellious child. Do they deserve correction? Yes; however as a parent or adult you correct that child, desire them to put their rebelliousness behind them, and try again. God is no different; He witnesses our shortcomings and gives mercy. He sent his Son to receive the wrath we deserve. A question to ask yourself is, “Do you accept His mercy?” or do you feel it’s only for others? God forgives you but do you forgive yourself? –MIKE STENE

DIGGING DEEPER Both God’s love and God’s wrath are ratcheted up in the move from the old covenant to the new, from the Old Testament to the New. These themes barrel along through redemptive history, unresolved, until they come to a resounding climax - in the cross. { D. A. Carson }

Daily Scripture Readings Psalm 103:8

LIFE CHANGERS Room for Improvement

Suggestion for Meditation Would you forgive a child of a wrong? Why wouldn’t God forgive you? Thought to Ponder Are you accepting His mercy or are you just expecting His wrath?


DAY 16 | Saturday, March 10

Today’s Theme Condemnation | Grace

Verse 8 | ... slow to anger, abounding in love.

Was It Really About Me? When I think of the cross itself, I cannot help but picture it as the cruel device that it was designed to be. And when I picture the life that I have lived and the mistakes that I have made, I know that I deserve to hang on that cruel device. God said “Men of perverse heart shall be far from me and I will have nothing to do with evil.” Yet the same God who spoke those words also said, “I am slow to anger and I am overflowing with love.”

Observation

So how do I get around the fact that my actions deserve the penalty in full? The truth is, I can’t. That’s why just before I was to be nailed to that cross…grace took my place. What is grace you ask? Grace is the undeserved favor of God. By that grace, He forgave undeserving sinners such as you and me the totality of our sins. And in so doing He freely and mercifully gave us the complete righteousness of Jesus Christ. Without the cross, I am nothing… –TIM LUDDEN

LIFE CHANGERS Room for Improvement

Suggestion for Meditation Consider His grace in your life. Thought to Ponder How am I applying His grace?

DIGGING DEEPER Daily Scripture Readings Job 38:4-11 Isaiah 30:18 Proverbs 22:11 Romans 5:17 Ephesians 1:7

Grace is not simply leniency when we have sinned. Grace is the enabling gift of God not to sin. Grace is power, not just pardon. Therefore the effort we make to obey God is not an effort done in our own strength, but in the strength which God supplies. { John Piper }


11

Sunday,

March

body

The intervention to our He made known his ways to Moses, his deeds to the people of Israel:

Psalm 103:3b


DAY 17 | Monday, March 12

Today’s Theme Accusation | Affirmation

Verse 9 | He will not always accuse...

Touched By God's Hand When you look back through the course of your life, do you see God’s hand? It was His hand that patted you on the back when you stepped out in faith, and comforted you when you were wounded. It was His hand that guided you through the darkness of the night, and it was His hand that chastened you when you sinned against Him.

Observation

One day, His accusations will cease and the opportunity for mercy and repentance will end. God strives to bring people to the truth; the reality that a life separated from Him is one that eventually leads to judgement. This process, or accusations as King David wrote, is rooted in His everlasting love and driven by a passion to be in a covenant relationship with you. Where is God’s hand in your life today? –DWIGHT DAVIS

LIFE CHANGERS Room for Improvement

Suggestion for Meditation God loves you enough to chasten you. Thought to Ponder How do you know if God is trying to get your attention?

DIGGING DEEPER Daily Scripture Readings

Psalm 78:38-39 Isaiah 57:16

For the first time in our walks of faith, we found something so old and so basic that is seemed stunningly new and profound. We are all ragamuffins, and we are all endlessly wrapped in God’s arms of grace. { Michael W. Smith }


Today’s Theme

DAY 18 | Tuesday, March 13

Grudges | God Lets Go

Verse 9 | ... nor will he harbor his anger forever;

Letting Go Observation

It’s amazing how God can turn ugly, awful situations into opportunities to show His grace and mercy. Maybe you have been wronged, maybe you have been hurt, maybe you have been abused. You did nothing to deserve what happened to you. It makes you angry, it is unfair, it is unacceptable. You have the “right” to harbor your anger – or so you think. In passing, someone has the nerve to tell you that you need to “Let it go.” …. “Let it go?” They don’t know what happened. How can you simply let something go when you feel so strongly? How can you “let it go” when you’ve been hurt so much? These very thoughts were what I used to think. As the Lord has been patient with me, and I have learned more of His grace, the question really has become how can I not let it go. Harboring a grudge, bitterness or anger is toxic. It poisons our heart and prevents us from receiving the fullness of God’s love and forgiveness. “Letting go” is freeing, and is eventually healing. Praise the Lord that He does not harbor anger toward me in all the times I have wronged Him! –KIM GAWEL

DIGGING DEEPER Daily Scripture Readings I do not understand the mystery of grace -only that it meets us where we are and does not leave us where it found us. { Anne Lamott }

Romans 8:28 Ephesians 4:26-27, 31 James 1:3 1 Timothy 1:16

LIFE CHANGERS Room for Improvement

Suggestion for Meditation He does not harbor anger toward me, therefore I cannot harbor anger against others. Thought to Ponder Eternally grateful for God’s grace and mercy.


DAY 19 | Wednesday, March 14

Today’s Theme Punishment | A Party

Verse 10 | ... he does not treat us as our sins deserve...

Beyond Forgiveness God is not in the revenge business when it comes to His children. Our sin does not equal our punishment. What we deserve is stricken from the accounting books by the precious blood of Christ. We should be reimbursed for our sin with a penalty, but instead we receive mercy. That kind of forgiveness is a divine act and is not often duplicated in humanity.

Observation

The Holy Spirit can nudge us and fill us to behave with His heart but it takes a great death in our humanness to behave like He does. Elisabeth Elliot, wife of Jim Elliot who was killed in 1956 as he attempted to make contact with the Auca Indians to win them to Christ, allowed God to manifest His heart of mercy in a radical act. She went back to the Aucas and won the tribe to Christ. She did not seek revenge for the wrongdoing. God does not seek revenge for our iniquities; the cross took the payment due on all our sin. –DARYL FLEMING

LIFE CHANGERS Room for Improvement

Suggestion for Meditation Christ’s blood blankets our sin from God’s sight. Thought to Ponder If you saw yourself as forgiven, how would you live?

DIGGING DEEPER Daily Scripture Readings I Timothy 1:1-17

My deepest awareness of myself is that I am deeply loved by Jesus Christ and I have done nothing to earn it or deserve it. { Brennan Manning }


Today’s Theme

DAY 20 | Thursday, March 15

Penalty | Clemency Webster defines mercy as: “compassion or forbearance shown especially to an offender, lenient or compassionate treatment. A blessing that is an act of divine favor or compassion.”

Observation

Verse 10 | ...or repay us according to our iniquities.

Mercy Over Fairness When a crime is committed, we ask for justice; if the punishment isn’t what we expect, we scream “unfair.” We want the punishment to fit the crime. But what if things were different? What if our sins were caught on video and instantly streamed into the worldwide web? Our friends and family would get news feeds on their computer or smart phone showing what we did. The world would see our sins, fully exposed, and would expect us to be punished accordingly – not according to God’s mercy, but according to man’s. Can you imagine being punished according to the world’s standards or to those before Jesus came to this earth? None of us would be here today! Praise God that because Jesus died on the cross for us, we are forgiven. Not for some sins, but for all. No shame, no fear. Instead, through mercy, we can come to His throne, lifting up our hands in worship, knowing that we are forgiven and will not be reminded of our sins. Micah 7:19 states that God has thrown our sins into the deepest part of the ocean, never to be remembered again. Lord, I am so thankful that you died on the cross so I wouldn’t be treated as I deserve. –Gladys Santos-Cavener

DIGGING DEEPER Daily Scripture Readings Hebrews 8:12 Ezra 9:13 Romans 6:23

LIFE CHANGERS Room for Improvement

Suggestion for Meditation Lord, help me be more like You. Thought to Ponder How can I show mercy and forgiveness to someone else?


DAY 21 | Friday, March 16

Today’s Theme Conditional Love | Expansive Love

Verse 11 | For as high as the heavens are above the earth,

It Is Beyond Our Understanding In preparing this devotional, much time has lapsed pondering how to describe the vastness between the heavens and the earth (Ps.103:11a). Looking at the heavens through photos and video from the Hubble telescope didn’t provide the answer nor did any other research help. My conclusion is, such space can best be described and understood from scripture itself. Job provides this explanation: “Can you understand the secrets of God? Can you search the limits of God All-Powerful? God’s limits are higher than the heavens. You cannot reach them. They are deeper than where the dead are. You cannot know them. His limits are longer than the earth and wider than the sea” (Job 11:7-9). “For as high as the heavens are above the earth …” (Psalm 103:11a) is an illustration of the deep love God has for us. We cannot fathom it. It is beyond our understanding. We can only humbly accept it, praise and thank God for it, and enjoy Him always. –SUSANN JOHNSON

LIFE CHANGERS Room for Improvement

Suggestion for Meditation All God’s creation bears His signature. Thought to Ponder Praise God, Thank Him and Enjoy Him.

Observation

DIGGING DEEPER Daily Scripture Readings

Genesis 1:1 Romans 8:39 John 3:16 Psalms 19:1-4, 103, and 69:34 Intense love does not measure, it just gives. { Mother Teresa }


Today’s Theme

DAY 22 | Saturday, March 17

Doubt | Targeted Reward

Verse 11 | ... so great is his love for those who fear him;

God's Great Love for Me Observation

Have you ever read today’s verse and wondered, “Why would I want to fear the Lord ?” I have...but then I realized in this context, the fear is, in reality, not to be afraid. It is: To be in AWE of Him ... feeling of admiration, solemn wonder To have RESPECT for Him ... high opinion, worthy of our esteem To TRUST Him ... confident hope, security To view Him with profound REVERENCE...honor, dignity Looking at the word fear in this context gives me a whole new love for my Heavenly Father. Knowing, feeling, and observing His unending love, compassion, His grace, His peace that passes all understanding (and so much more) makes me want to be able to show the world this love through me. You have probably heard or seen this many times in the past, but it is worth repeating: “The only Jesus some may ever see is the Jesus shown in me.” Being His hands and feet for the unbelieving and hurting seems the least I can do in return for all that I receive from Him. –MARTY WALKER

DIGGING DEEPER Daily Scripture Readings Job 28:28 Proverbs 1:7 Psalm 25:12 If we could see how much the Lord loves us – and truly feel it – we would never be the same again. { R. T. Kendall }

LIFE CHANGERS Room for Improvement

Suggestion for Meditation What Would I Do Without His Love? Thought to Ponder What can I do to show HIS Love?


oppressed

18

Sunday,

March

The intervention for the The LORD works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.

Psalm 103:6


Today’s Theme

DAY 23 | Monday, March 19

Unworthiness | Limitless Grace Verse 12 | ...as far as the east is from the west,

How Far is Far? Observation

These words are used to illustrate how far God has removed our sins from us. They do not represent the opposite sides of our earth, which becomes our initial point of reference. Instead, they are talking about “those opposite points in the heavens: the meaning is, that as far as the eastern point of the heavens is from the western point of them.” (John Gill’s exposition of the Bible). Or in other words, infinity. The distance is incalculable. East never meets west. Mark Hall and Bernie Herms have written a song titled, East to West, which is sung by the group Casting Crowns. One verse says: “Jesus, you know just how far the east is from the west. I don’t have to see the man I’ve been come rising up in me again.” The guilt we feel from our sins and the sorrow we carry as a result of those sins is so far removed from us that we will not be burdened by either of them again. –PAM BLINN

DIGGING DEEPER Daily Scripture Readings

I do not know any way to explain why God’s grace touches a man who seems unworthy of it. { Whittaker Chambers }

Jeremiah 31:34, 33:8, & 50:20 Mark 11:25, Luke 6:37 & 17:3 John 20:23 2 Colossians 2:7 & 3:13

LIFE CHANGERS Room for Improvement

Suggestion for Meditation If God can’t remember our sins, why do we? Thought to Ponder Can you forgive as God forgives?


DAY 24 | Tuesday, March 20

Today’s Theme Burden of Guilt | Lightened

Verse 12 | ... so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

Rewriting Chapters of Life Are there chapters from your life you would choose to forget, if only you could? Or do you wish you could erase them as though they never happened? What if you could remove the pain – the guilt associated with the memory? How is this possible? The blood of Jesus is the only thing that has the power to remove guilt. When we ask God to remove our guilt and forgive us, a miracle takes place and a chapter in our life is rewritten. We don’t deserve it, but God who loves us, goes out of His way daily to wash us clean, so we can live free from guilt. He will wash us as often as we come and ask.

Observation

David experienced this miracle and really understood just how free he really was from the guilt of his past. He personally experienced God’s generosity which caused him to want to share the good news with us. This is such good news. We don’t have to live with our guilt! And we don’t have to worry about the guilt coming back, because “so far He has removed our transgressions from us.” The blood of Jesus permanently separates us from that guilt. We can live “guilt-free.” –HOLLY MERRELL

LIFE CHANGERS Room for Improvement

Suggestion for Meditation So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. Thought to Ponder Enter into a lightened, “guilt-free” life today.

DIGGING DEEPER Daily Scripture Readings Matthew 11:28-30

Guilt is the source of sorrows, the avenging fiend that follows us behind with whips and stings. { Nicholas Rowe }


Today’s Theme

DAY 25 | Wednesday, March 21

Orphaned | Fathering

Verse 13 | As a father has compassion on his children,

Heavenly Father | Earthly Father Observation

An orphan’s life is a hard life. Last year, I was in the play Oliver. It was fun, but being an orphan is a lot of work. It is so lonely and you have no idea who your parents are. I would be so sad if I was an orphan. I am thankful for having a great father – for having a father that cares and takes care of me. The one father who gave me my earthly father is God. Thank you so much, Lord, for giving me a great father. –ERIN VALCI

DIGGING DEEPER Daily Scripture Readings Through faith in Jesus each one us may call God “Abba.” (Abba is the Hebrew intimate word for “daddy.”) { Lambert Dolphin }

Psalm 119:77 Isaiah 30:18 Luke 15:11-32

LIFE CHANGERS Room for Improvement

Suggestion for Meditation Just as we honor our earthly father, think about what honoring God means. Thought to Ponder Consider how your earthly father impacts your view of your heavenly Father.


DAY 26 | Thursday, March 22

Today’s Theme Neglect | Compassion

Verse 13 | ...so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;

His Compassionate Touch “Disease had plagued me for twelve years. Doctors gave up on me. I was alone, depressed and hopeless. I heard about a man who healed the sick. I went to see him. I knew if I could just touch him, I would be healed.

Observation

The crowd was thick. In my desperation, I pressed through and reached to touch his cloak. I was instantly aware the bleeding stopped. The pain was gone. He asked who touched him. I cried out inside, ME! He’s asking for ME – He wants to talk to ME! For the first time I felt accepted, cherished, cared about.” Feelings of neglect, abandonment and loneliness take us down a road to self-pity, shame and depression. Yes, injustice has been done…yes, it wasn’t your fault. God, where are you? We cry. The enemy has us where he wants us….alone. Our Lord reaches out to us, wraps his arms around us, reminding us we’re not alone or neglected – accept His compassion today. –JANAE VALCI

LIFE CHANGERS Room for Improvement

Suggestion for Meditation Your sovereign Lord loves you more than you can imagine. Thought to Ponder Have you reached out to touch Him today?

DIGGING DEEPER Daily Scripture Readings

Isaiah 30:18, 49:13 and 54:10 Matthew 9:36 Nehemiah 9:19 Psalm 86:15

You may call God love, you may call God goodness, but the best name for God is compassion. { Meister Eckhart }


Today’s Theme

DAY 27 | Friday, March 23

Distance | Intimacy

Verse 14 | ... for he knows how we are formed,

He Knows...Yet He Loves Observation

To be fully known. It’s that moment where the mess of who you are is completely exposed, and even with a hint of freedom in the air…you’re fighting the fear that is building inside. Because when others encounter the ugliness of who we are…they run. So, with this pattern engrained in our minds, how crazy is it to encounter God? When the world turns to run, He steps closer. In spite of all we do intentionally and unintentionally to create distance …He still draws near. It’s something beyond comprehension. It’s glorious, wonderful, and terrifying all at the same time. Because in the midst of our awe over his contradictory nature you realize the intense level of intimacy and there is this moment of sheer panic. You pray that He won’t see the tremendous imperfections in your life. Logic screams that He’s going to abandon you, because that’s what we deserve. But against it all…He doesn’t. He wraps His arms around you and whispers gently in your ear… “I know everything…And I am still madly in love with you.” –GLENNIS LAMM

DIGGING DEEPER Daily Scripture Readings If we communicate with Him only on a surface level, we cheat ourselves and hinder fulfillment of the Lord’s ultimate goal for us— an intimate relationship with Him. { Charles Stanley }

Psalms 103:14a John: 21:1-25

“Love means you’ve seen all and it only moves you to love more.” ~ Anonymous

LIFE CHANGERS Room for Improvement

Suggestion for Meditation Focus on the vastness of the distance between you and God. Thought to Ponder Marvel at how great God’s love is to completely close the gap.


DAY 28 | Saturday, March 24

Today’s Theme Ignorance | Understanding

Verse 14 | ... he remembers that we are dust.

Wiping Away the Dust Imagine a house in which all of its surfaces are collecting dust; every room, every table, every shelf. Could this be your own house? (Let’s hope not!) When we think of dust, images of these unwanted particles gathering on the things we cherish most flash before our eyes. We don’t understand where or how it appears when it seems like only yesterday we wiped it away.

Observation

In our own lives, we let relationships, work, and hobbies gather like dust. Our everyday schedules seem to rule our lives while unaware of its effects on our relationship with God. Our spiritual lives begin to collect dust as we skip daily meditation and think to ourselves that we will give extra at a later time. Our ignorance takes over. But He remembers. God’s sovereignty humbles us, and through His word, we understand exactly what we are called to do. This understanding wipes away the dust and ignorance built up in our lives, enabling us to succeed. –CODY VAN DUSSEN

LIFE CHANGERS Room for Improvement

Suggestion for Meditation He embraces our frailties. Thought to Ponder Sometimes we forget, but He remembers.

DIGGING DEEPER Daily Scripture Readings

Isaiah 40:31 2 Corinthians 12:1-10

Confessing our weakness is a source of strength. “When I am weak, then I am strong.” (II Corinthians 12:10) In humility we understand and admit our frailty; we’re realistic about our limitations. { Unknown }


25

Sunday,

March

children

The intervention to our But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children—

Psalm 103:17


DAY 29 | Monday, March 26

Today’s Theme Insignificance | Eternity

Verse 15 | The life of mortals is like grass,

Magnifying the Cross Grass is a common metaphor used in the Bible to describe how brief and fleeting life is. Our lives are as insignificant as grass in terms of longevity and endurance. Psalm 90:6 states, “In the morning it (the grass) flourishes and grows up. In the evening it is cut down and withers.” Life is short and has little meaning when compared to our everlasting and eternal God. He is the only one who changes our insignificance from that of a blade of grass to the significance of a beloved son or daughter of the Almighty God. It is the cross of Jesus Christ that made that shift in our value possible.

Observation

As we grow in our understanding of the cross, our lives begin to take on more value. We see that it is not about who we are, but about who He is and what He’s done. Let the cross be a reminder to us of our importance to God. Let the cross represent the sacrifice that brought a new worth to our lives – a sacrifice that gave us eternity! –LILLIAN KINNEY

LIFE CHANGERS Room for Improvement

Suggestion for Meditation Time is short. Use it wisely. Meditation Song: Who am I by Casting Crowns (found on YouTube) Thought to Ponder Magnify the Power of the Cross.

DIGGING DEEPER Daily Scripture Readings

Isaiah 40:6-8 Psalm 90:5-6 Matthew 6:30 1 Peter 1:23-25 John 1:12

This life was not intended to be the place of our perfection, but the preparation for it. { Richard Baxter }


Today’s Theme

DAY 30 | Tuesday, March 27

Frailty | Sustenance

Verse 15 | ... they flourish like a flower of the field;

God's Mercy is Better than Life Observation

How long and lasting is God’s mercy to His people? It will continue longer than their lives, and survive their present state on earth. Look to those who have a good memory, as well as a good understanding, and remember God’s commandments; not to just talk about them, but to do them and be ruled by them. God’s mercy – which belongs to these – will last longer than their lives on earth, and therefore they need not be troubled though their lives are short, since death itself cannot infringe on their bliss and joy of God’s mercy. To our immortal souls, the mercies of the Lord are everlasting to everlasting and until the world no longer exists. The truth of His promise shall be unto our children’s children; provided they walk in the steps of their forefathers and keep His covenant, then shall mercy be shown to them. The flower of the field is seen by some as beautiful for a season. God’s mercy is beautiful to all for eternity. –STAN COOPER

You needn’t worry about not feeling brave. Our Lord didn’t-see the scene in Gethsemane. How thankful I am that when God became Man, He did not choose to become a man of iron nerves: that would not have helped weaklings like you and me nearly so much. { C. S. Lewis }

DIGGING DEEPER Daily Scripture Readings Ephesians 2:4-5

LIFE CHANGERS Room for Improvement

Suggestion for Meditation

God’s mercy must be passed on to others.

Thought to Ponder Is your mercy enough to make a difference?


DAY 31 | Wednesday, March 28

Today’s Theme Vulnerability | Endurance

Verse 16 | ... the wind blows over it and it is gone,

The Ultimate Death _ Magnificent Life Since the fall of man, the world and everything in it became vulnerable. Humanity is continuously threatened by death, emotional and physical temptations, and\or natural disasters. From the womb, we are exposed. As we age, vulnerability will take us places we wish we had never gone or those for which we are thankful we did. We may take breaths in this life of relief that hurt because we’re appreciative of one more day. However, let everything we do in this gift of life do it as unto the Lord.

Observation

We all have a common destiny and none of us know the exact hour. Hold on to our Father’s word in the darkest of hours. Jesus conquered the grave and death has lost its sting. Press on carrying the death of Christ within you. Find strength in illuminating His light of hope. God has not abandoned us. He has given us the Spirit as a deposit guaranteeing what is to come. Love, serve, and endure for the sake of the cross, for those will reign with Him. Although we live the consequence of sin, Jesus was given the ultimate death so we may have life; let us live the proof of His magnificent resurrection. –Evie D’Amelio

LIFE CHANGERS Room for Improvement

Suggestion for Meditation Lose your life to the unpredictable one of God.

Thought to Ponder How do you live your life?

DIGGING DEEPER Daily Scripture Readings

Ecclesiastes 9:5-12 | Hebrews 2: 14 2 Timothy 2: 11-13 | James 4:13-14 Matthew 6:25, 27 Romans 15:4-6 1Timothy 6:11-12

When we were children, we used to think that when we were grown-up we would no longer be vulnerable. But to grow up is to accept vulnerability... To be alive is to be vulnerable. { Madeleine L’Engle }


Today’s Theme

DAY 32 | Thursday, March 29

Forgettable | Impact

Verse 16 | ... and its place remembers it no more.

Triumph by the Cross Observation

We are nothing without the cross and everything with it. “Things of the world” are like “flowers in the field” as noted in Psalm 103: they wither and are forgotten. The daily scripture readings give multiple examples of our insignificance without Christ and the allpowerful, world-conquering principles the cross provides, if only we seek it and embrace The Holy Spirit’s daily guidance and power. Do we disregard and disband the world? Absolutely not. We are commissioned to tell the world about Christ. We do this in living out the Biblical principles, while also sharing scripture with others. In Colossians 2:15, we find that when we deny ourselves and brush off worldly defeat, we disarm those powers and authorities, showing others how much more eternal is taking up the cross and following Christ. 1 Corinthians 1:17 convicts us to not share our “human” wisdom but to let Christ shine through us as we share the Bible and allow Christ to live in us so others may see past this world and to eternal life. May all of these daily scriptures keep us fixed upon Jesus. –KATHY STEWART

DIGGING DEEPER Daily Scripture Readings

Next to faith, this is the highest art -to be content with the calling in which God has placed you. { Martin Luther }

Colossians 2:15 Matthew 10:38 Luke 9:23 1 Corinthians 1:17 Hebrews 12:2

LIFE CHANGERS Room for Improvement

Suggestion for Meditation Visualize the Cross to keep the world in perspective. Thought to Ponder Seek out “world” victories each day and defeat them with the powerful Cross.


DAY 33 | Friday, March 30 Verse 17 | But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children—

Today’s Theme Separation | Commitment

Nothing Can Separate Me from God's Covenant

We live in a world where nothing is lasting and everyone is afraid of commitment. The word commitment has become a big taboo in our society. Exit strategies are always at the top of the list of any commitments made. Whether in marriages, friendships, or anything that ties you in. We are always looking to see where the back door is, and how we can get out when the going gets tough. Our love is tainted with these kinds of emotions.

Observation

Not so the love of God, as we read in Psalm 103:17, that his love and commitment to us is forever. Not only does he commit to us, but he promises to extend his faithfulness and salvation to our children’s children. My friends, when we are long gone, God will still be committed to our children and our grandchildren. Wow, what awesome love and commitment! Who can love like God does, which is clearly demonstrated on the cross? Our God is an AWESOME GOD! –OLGA BAHU

LIFE CHANGERS Room for Improvement

DIGGING DEEPER

Suggestion for Meditation Look at the love of God, demonstrated by Jesus’ commitment to the cross to purchase our freedom. Thought to Ponder God’s covenant to us will never change; it is from everlasting to everlasting, and His favor to a thousand generations.

Daily Scripture Readings

Romans 8:28 Isaiah 49:15,16

My dear Jesus, my Savior, is so deeply written in my heart, that I feel confident, that if my heart were to be cut open and chopped to pieces, the name of Jesus would be found written on every piece. { St. Ignatius of Antioch }


Today’s Theme Temporary | Legacy

DAY 34 | Saturday, March 31 Verse 17 | But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children—

Relay Real Truth Observation

As for man, his days are like yours, as a flower of the field, so he flourishes. For the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more. Ever watch a relay race at a track meet? The excitement gets to you; as you observe each runner skillfully run the race, he must also carefully place a baton into the hand of the next runner who dashes off quickly to another along the track. For each generation, we have that responsibility to firmly and faithfully impart God’s word, the truth, to the next generation. Our baton: teach the Bible. The whistle has blown and the race has begun. As one team with one vision in mind, we head toward the tape and the Coach. Leave a legacy of love. –MAE EVANS

DIGGING DEEPER Our days are numbered. The legacy we leave is not just in our possessions, but in the quality of our lives. The greatest waste in all of our earth, which cannot be recycled or reclaimed, is our waste of the time that God has given us each day. { Billy Graham }

Daily Scripture Readings Psalm 37:25 1 John 5:-912 Proverbs 22:6, 1:2-7 Deuteronomy 6:4-7

LIFE CHANGERS Room for Improvement

Suggestion for Meditation Are you investing in the next generation? If so, how are you doing it? Thought to Ponder What kind of legacy do you want to leave?


1

Sunday,

April

fragile faithful

The intervention to the Psalm 103:13-18

As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust. The life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more. But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children— with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts.


Today’s Theme

DAY 35 | Monday, April 2

Disobedience | Faithfulness

Verse 18 | ... with those who keep his covenant...

His Faithfulness Overpowers our Disobedience Observation

We all mess up. It’s a part of human life; we’re imperfect. Though throughout our lifetime we may sway away from our faith or turn down a path of disobedience, God is always right there. He’s right behind us, just waiting for that moment when we turn around and jump right back into His loving arms. So we’re imperfect and God’s not; I’m sure you’re all well aware of that, but it’s because of what Christ did for us that we are saved. It’s because of His act of complete selflessness and indescribable love for us sinners, the souls destined for Hell, that He came and walked among us. It’s why He died the most horrific, painful death possible to save us, to reverse our fate. This act is what broke down the barrier between God and us. His act of faithfulness to what needed to be done in order to save our petty lives is what allows us to know that if we have accepted Him as our Lord and Savior, we will never suffer eternally. Jesus’ incredible act of obedience, along with God’s unwavering faithfulness to His children, is what reassures us that no matter what we may do to go astray, our heavenly Father will always be there to welcome us back when we choose to come home. –ELLEN KISER

DIGGING DEEPER Daily Scripture Readings

“The best measure of a spiritual life is not its ecstasies but its obedience.” { Oswald Chambers }

Deuteronomy 29:9 Lamentations 3:22-23 Proverbs 16:6 1 John 1:9 Romans 5:8

LIFE CHANGERS Room for Improvement

Suggestion for Meditation Thank God for His love and forgiveness. Thought to Ponder Think of areas in your life in which you need to be more obedient to God.


DAY 36 | Tuesday, April 3

Today’s Theme Indifference | Honor

Verse 18 | ... and remember to obey his precepts.

Live a Life of Dedicated Faith! Let’s begin by defining the word precept: originating from the Latin word præcipere, meaning to teach. A commandment or instruction intended as an authoritative rule of action, respecting moral conduct.

Observation

Life is short…put in the perspective that God’s promises and covenants are everlasting, our time here on earth is relatively limited. It is His instruction that we live each day loving, obeying, holding fast to, and serving Him. Jesus walked this Earth, I believe, so that He could lead by example; everything He did was a lesson in which He taught us how we, too, should live (His precepts) – in total submission to the Father. Each day I am reminded that I am not perfect…each day God graciously forgives me of any failures on my part to honor Him in everything I do…while working, driving, playing, or even at church. Yes, sometimes we even let down our guard at church. God doesn’t expect us to be perfect but He does expect us to be steadfast and obedient, standing firm in our commitment to Him. –DIANA GARNHART

LIFE CHANGERS Room for Improvement

Suggestion for Meditation Listen quietly, hear His voice, welcome His presence. Thought to Ponder How strong is your commitment? Increase it!

DIGGING DEEPER Daily Scripture Readings

Precepts | Psalms 19:8; 111:7, 10 Command/Commandment | Joshua 22:5 John 14:15; Matthew 22:37-38 Teach/Obey | Matthew 28:19-20 John 14: 23-24, 26

The greatest honour we can give Almightly God is to live gladly because of the knowledge of his love. { Julian of Norwich }


Today’s Theme Foreigner | Citizenship

DAY 37 | Wednesday, April 4 Verse 19 | The LORD has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all.

The Dance Observation

I love dancing with the King. Those times in my life when it feels as if God and I are in perfect step, the ballroom is exquisite, the orchestra amazing, and the King and I are dressed in our finest clothes. 1-2-3,1-2-3,1-2-3 goes the waltz...can you hear it? Unfortunately, the world gets me every time. The glitz and the glamour appear so shiny: “Oh, I want that!” or “How come I can’t get that?” Satan slithers, making life look much better than it actually is and for a moment (usually longer), I fall under his spell. But oh what a gracious God we serve. Because He is my King, He is constantly after my heart - and because I have danced, tasted life with God, what my heart really wants is Him. Life doesn’t always go the way I want it; there’s heartache and sorrow. Each day brings reminders of how we indeed are strangers on Earth, expectations of the life ahead. Until Paradise, I want to dance the best I can. To not seek Him for blessings, but rather for encounters with God that grow me closer to Him and sweep me off my feet. –SARA HEISE

DIGGING DEEPER Daily Scripture Readings And the Father will dance over you in joy! He will take delight in whom He loves. Is that a choir I hear, singing the praises of God? No, the Lord God Himself is exulting o’er you in song! { Mark Hayes }

Hebrews 11

LIFE CHANGERS Room for Improvement

Suggestion for Meditation Put music on and dance. Thought to Ponder Are you after blessings from God or encounters with Him?


DAY 38 | Maundy Thursday, April 5 Verse 20 | Praise the LORD, you his angels, you mighty ones who do his bidding, who obey his word.

Negativity | Praise in Service

"Yes, Lord."

Obedience begins with listening and then hearing the Voice of the Lord. Our Precious Lord Jesus pleaded in the garden to be released from the cross, but He listened for His Father’s Voice. And afterward, He was strengthened to face what His Father had for Him to do. He took on “the very nature of a servant,” humbling Himself and obeying His Father. What am I facing? What has God called me to do with my life? This year? This month? Today? What I give up, what I sacrifice, is not the question, but rather will I obey? –MARY ROBERTS Yes, Lord, I will love You. Yes, Lord, I will follow. Yes, Lord, I will be Your child. –Grant Nordwall O Love that will not let me go, I rest my weary soul in Thee; I give Thee back the life I owe, That in Thine ocean depths its flow may richer, fuller be. –Cecil Alexander

LIFE CHANGERS Room for Improvement

Suggestion for Meditation Listen for what God is saying. Thought to Ponder

To obey is better than sacrifice.

Today’s Theme

DIGGING DEEPER Daily Scripture Readings

Deuteronomy 6:3 I Samuel 15:22 Luke 22:39-44 John 10:1-5, 14:23 Acts 5:29 Philippians 2:8

Maundy Thursday Maundy Thursday, also known as Holy Thursday, Covenant Thursday, Great & Holy Thursday, and Thursday of Mysteries, is the Christian feast or holy day falling on the Thursday before Easter that commemorates the Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the Apostles as described in the Canonical gospels. It is the fifth day of Holy Week, and is preceded by Holy Wednesday and followed by Good Friday. The Mass of the Lord’s Supper initiates the Easter Triduum, the three days of Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday that commemorate the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus. It is normally celebrated in the evening, when Friday begins according to Jewish tradition.


Today’s Theme Rebellion | Praise in Obedience

Good Friday Good Friday is a religious holiday observed primarily by Christians commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and his death at Calvary. The holiday is observed during Holy Week on the Friday preceding Easter Sunday, and may coincide with the Jewish observance of Passover. It is also known as Black Friday, Holy Friday, Great Friday, or Easter Friday, though the latter normally refers to the Friday in Easter week. Based on the details of the Canonical gospels, the Crucifixion of Jesus was most probably on a Friday (John 19:42). The estimated year of Good Friday is AD 33, by two different groups, and originally as AD 34 by Isaac Newton via the differences between the Biblical and Julian calendars and the crescent of the moon. A third method, using a completely different astronomical approach based on a lunar Crucifixion darkness and eclipse model (consistent with Apostle Peter’s reference to a “moon of blood” in Acts 2:20), points to Friday, 3 April AD 33.

DAY 39 | Good Friday, April 6 Verse 21| Praise the LORD, all his heavenly hosts, you his servants who do his will.

What Do You Want Your Dash To Represent? “When you die, there’s going to be a tombstone. It’s going to have your name, it’s going to have the year you were born, and it’s going to have the day you died. In between, there’s going to be a dash. And that dash is going to represent everything that you did in your life; good and bad. It’s how you’re remembered. What do you want your dash to represent?” This is a famous quote said by Tim Tebow, the starting quarterback for the Denver Broncos. The dash in the middle of those two dates on your tombstone is going to represent EVERYTHING you did in your life. In Psalms 103:21 it says, “Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts, you his servants who do his will.” One of God’s wills is to serve Him. First of all, we are to serve Him with a great attitude. When we serve Him, we are suppose to do it whole-heartedly, without holding anything back. We can also serve God by serving men. So I challenge you, try to serve someone today, and see how it changes your day. –MIRIAM ANTHONY

DIGGING DEEPER Daily Scripture Readings 1 Peter 4:10-11 Mark 10:44-45 Joshua 24:15

LIFE CHANGERS Room for Improvement

Suggestion for Meditation Try doing your devotion outside; admiring God’s wonderful creation. Thought to Ponder Try to go out of your way to help someone today.


DAY 40 | Saturday, April 7

Today’s Theme Triviality | Praise in Response

Verse 22 | Praise the LORD, all his works everywhere in his dominion. Praise the LORD, my soul.

According to Plan

It’s hard to imagine the range of emotions they must have experienced that day: they saw Him with their own eyes, cringingly nailed to a cross, bleeding, His life ebbing away, and then the unthinkable, yet anticipated death...all “according to plan.” I can’t help but wonder if they questioned whether things would really go according to plan now that He’d been laid in the tomb. He was, after all, a man. He had walked among them, ate with them, shared stories with them – could He now overcome the finality of death? And did He mean it when He said that they were worth the price He would pay with His life? Were they really so important in His eyes that He would choose to die for them? The hope was, of course, that it was all true.

Trivial: of little worth or importance.

Observation

Are we so different from them? Would we – do we – hope, but also sometimes wonder? Tomorrow is Easter Sunday, the day of His resurrection. Tomorrow we celebrate the fact that things did go according to plan. But today, in these moments when the magnitude of imagining ALL His works praising Him – and our place in that response – let’s not get lost in feelings of insignificance, little worth or little importance. Let’s instead praise Him for His love for us and His joy in a gift that draws us closer in relationship with our risen Creator. –KELLY KINDALL

LIFE CHANGERS Room for Improvement

Suggestion for Meditation Identify ways in which you feel insignificant; contrast them with promises found in the Bible. Thought to Ponder Consider your significance being so great that Someone would actually die for you.

DIGGING DEEPER Daily Scripture Readings Hebrews 13:5 Galatians 2:20 2 Peter 1:19-21 Psalm 33:4

Men have said that the cross of Christ was not a heroic thing, but I want to tell you that the cross of Jesus Christ has put more heroism in the souls of men than any other event in human history. { John G. Lake }


8

Sunday,

April

ross C

The intervention to the Praise the LORD, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the LORD, my soul, and forget not all his benefits— Praise the LORD, you his angels, you mighty ones who do his bidding, who obey his word. Praise the LORD, all his heavenly hosts, you his servants who do his will. Praise the LORD, all his works everywhere in his dominion. Praise the LORD, my soul.

Psalm 103:1-2 & 20-22


Reflections How has this season changed me and my perception of God’s blessings and benefits?


Praise the LORD, my soul, and forget not all his benefits—

Roger Valci, Lead Pastor | 7500 Inspiration Drive | Dublin, CA | (925) 560-6202 | www.ComeDiscoverVCC.org © Copyright 2012 | Valley Christian Center | All Rights Reserved.

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