2021 Spring Weekly Devotionals

List of 15 items.

  • May 3rd

    Share Hope

    And who will harm you if you are deeply committed to what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear or be disturbed, but honor the Messiah as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you. However, do this with gentleness and respect, keeping your conscience clear, so that when you are accused, those who denounce your Christian life will be put to shame. 1 Peter 3:13-16

    It is interesting that Peter is talking about suffering in this passage. Very few of us have ever experienced anything along the lines of persecution for our faith, but many of us have had our faith questioned and challenged…and even caught a little “grief” because of our beliefs.

    Peter raises some great thoughts as we respond:
    1. Who will harm us if we are committed to what is good? Ultimately, what is “good” is God. To walk into any situation with the understanding that God has our back and nothing in this world can keep us from what He has for us, should bring a beautiful peace to our hearts.
    2. In our suffering we are blessed. To suffer, or experience discouragement, because we follow Jesus is a gift and an honor. This is why Paul proclaims, “I am crucified with Christ”. To be identified with Jesus in any circumstance is a blessing!
    3. Honor the Messiah as Lord. We should always have a reverence for God and His holiness in our hearts. This is about our posture before God in every circumstance. Allow Him, not the world, to dictate our perspective. This is the same attitude as “hollowed be Your name” in the Lord’s Prayer.
    4. Always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you. If we claim to follow Christ, we should be able to talk about that to anyone, and confidently explain why. Where does our “hope’ come from? Our “hope” comes from the reality that our eternity is secure because of the death and resurrection of Jesus!
    5. Do this with gentleness and respect. This is where many of us can drop the ball…often we are defensive, judgmental, or disrespectful when sharing our hope with others. This is not the way of Christ. Even when we are criticized or challenged about our faith our response should always be one of humility and kindness.
    When we truly respond out of the hope that we have, others will want to know where our hope comes from and how they too can have it.
    Are you ready to “give a defense – an answer – for the hope that is in you? Do you understand the life-altering nature of that hope? Always be ready…and respond with gentleness and respect.

    Prayer: Father, thank you for the hope that we can enjoy because Jesus died for our sins, and was resurrected. May we always be ready to share that hope as an act of love to others. Amen.
  • April 26th

    Where is YOUR hope?

    Where is your hope? What have you placed your hope in? “Hope” and the word “faith” are somewhat interchangeable here. We have the tendency to place our hope and faith in many things. Unfortunately, we often place our hope in things that aren’t very secure…things that are not eternal.

    Perhaps this old hymn can direct our hearts:
    My hope is built on nothing less, than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
    I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

    On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.
    When darkness veils His lovely face, I rest on His unchanging grace;
    In every high and stormy gale, my anchor holds within the veil.

    On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.
    His oath, His covenant, and blood, support me in the whelming flood;
    When every earthly prop gives way, He then is all my Hope and Stay.

    On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand.
    When He shall come with trumpet sound, oh, may I then in Him be found,
    Clothed in His righteousness alone, faultless to stand before the throne!

    On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.
    Paul challenges and encourages the church at Ephesus with this prayer…

    I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, would give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. I pray that the perception of your mind may be enlightened so you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the glorious riches of His inheritance among the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of His power to us who believe, according to the working of His vast strength. Ephesians 1:17-19
    If you are looking for something to place your hope and faith in today…look no further. Jesus is the anchor that our souls need in this life. True hope is found in Him alone.

    Prayer: Father, thank you that we have something eternally secure to place our hope in. Thank you for Jesus. Amen.
  • April 19th


    Many would simply refer to hope as “wishful thinking”. Typical hope…the hope we usually talk about in our day-to-day, actually expresses “uncertainty” rather than “certainty”.

    You can say “I hope we win the baseball game this afternoon”. This expresses a desire to win, but no certainty that you will win. You don’t really know if you will win or not. You can say “I hope I make a 95 or above on the English test today”. Again, there is a desire, but no certainty. The world’s general idea of hope communicates “uncertainty” at best.

    Biblical hope is different. Biblical hope not only desires something good to happen…it fully expects it to happen. And, it is confident that it will happen.

    We live in a broken world…chaos and conflict seem to surround us. Our physical bodies will die one day. It is really easy to become down, or to even feel “hopeless” when we look at all that is going on in the world.

    When Jesus died on the cross and was resurrected, God began to restore ALL things back to himself. Everything that was broken in the Garden, our hearts and our sinful nature…all things restored back to God. That means there is something to look forward to…that means that we have a purpose in this life – on this earth, because we can be a part of something bigger than ourselves. That means that even death does not win, because Jesus has conquered that as well.
    The death and resurrection of Jesus changes everything. Everything. And this is where our HOPE comes from. We can, because of Jesus, not only desire that things get better and be restored…we can fully expect and be confident that they will. That is biblical hope.

    Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. (Hebrews 10:19-23)

    And that, is what true HOPE is all about. In Christ, this is the hope that we confidently have.

    We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. Hebrews 6:19

    Anchors are good things. So much in our lives changes and shifts daily. This truth…what Jesus has done – this is our anchor…and it gives us hope.

    Prayer: Father, thank you for hope. Thank you that the resurrection of Jesus changes everything. May we live differently because of the hope that we have. Amen.
  • April 12th


    Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come. Everything is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: That is, in Christ, God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed the message of reconciliation to us. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, certain that God is appealing through us. We plead on Christ’s behalf, “Be reconciled to God.” 1 Corinthians 5:17-20

    Ministry of reconciliation. That just sounds cool. The whole idea of biblical reconciliation means that “in Christ”, we can return to God’s favor…where we began when God created mankind in His own image. Sin crept, mankind fell, and we found ourselves out of God’s favor. 1 Corinthians 5:17-20 reminds us that Christ’s life, death, and resurrection restores and reconciles us back to God.

    Then, in Christ, God gives us the “ministry of reconciliation”. He has “committed the message of reconciliation to us”. God invites us to be a part of the restorative work He is doing in the world. Having been made right with God we get to help others become restored into a relationship with God.

    Is that how you and I go about our day? Looking intently to help people be restored to God?

    One of the most important ways this plays out in our lives is in our relationships with others. Do you have relationships with others that are broken? Have you “chosen sides” in a conflict with someone over politics, or religion, or some other issue? How can we help someone be reconciled to God if we can’t even – in kindness and with respect – agree to disagree on the smaller issues in life?

    Love must be without hypocrisy. Detest evil; cling to what is good. Show family affection to one another with brotherly love. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not lack diligence; be fervent in spirit; serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope; be patient in affliction; be persistent in prayer. Share with the saints in their needs; pursue hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep. Be in agreement with one another. Do not be proud; instead, associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own estimation. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Try to do what is honorable in everyone’s eyes. If possible, on your part, live at peace with everyone. Romans 12:9-18

    These are not suggestions. Romans 12 is a picture of what the body of Christ is supposed to look like…what you and I are supposed to look like.

    God has invited us to be a part of the work He is doing…He has given us a message of hope. Maybe, today, the first step in sharing that hope is to restore and reconcile a relationship that is broken. You and I can play an incredible role in the work God is doing to restore and reconcile all things to Himself.

    Prayer: Father, thank you for allowing us to be a part of the “ministry of reconciliation”. Help us, Father, to begin by “living at peace with everyone”. Amen.
  • April 5th


    On the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark. She saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. So she ran to Simon Peter and to the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put Him!”
    At that, Peter and the other disciple went out, heading for the tomb. The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and got to the tomb first. Stooping down, he saw the linen cloths lying there, yet he did not go in. Then, following him, Simon Peter came also. He entered the tomb and saw the linen cloths lying there. The wrapping that had been on His head was not lying with the linen cloths but was folded up in a separate place by itself. The other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, then entered the tomb, saw, and believed. John 20:1-8
    Running is active…some would say. Outside of exercise however, running would indicate a sense of urgency. Perhaps one is in a hurry…or being chased, even. Maybe there is a sense of excitement! Maybe there is something so important, that it warrants us getting there immediately. And maybe, we are running after something because our love for that something – or someone – is so great.
    Mary saw that the stone had been rolled away…”So she ran….”
    Mary told Peter and another disciple…so THEY ran…and one “outran” the other.
    The resurrection of Jesus requires a response from us. If we love Jesus, how will we respond to His death and resurrection? How will we respond to the fact that His love for us was so great that He died for us? Will we run after Him with our whole hearts? Will we run and tell someone…everyone, what Jesus has done?
    Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that lay before Him endured a cross and despised the shame and has sat down at the right hand of God’s throne. Hebrews 12:1-2
    Prayer: Father, may we run after you with everything we have…thank you for Jesus. Amen.
  • March 29th

    The “Work” of Love

    What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can his faith save him?
     If a brother or sister is without clothes and lacks daily food and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,” but you don’t give them what the body needs, what good is it?  In the same way faith, if it doesn’t have works, is dead by itself. James 2:14-17
    Faith is trusting God to do in us what we cannot do in ourselves. Faith in God…in His grace to us, is what restores us into a relationship with Him. Our works – our good deeds, our positive actions, our church attendance – none of these things can do in us what God through Jesus has done. However, true faith will always result in good works.
    When we surrender to God, He begins to work in us and make us more like Jesus…
    I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6
    As we trust God to work in us – as our lives are surrendered to His will – He begins to produce fruit in us. It is what we are created to do…just like an apple tree will produce apples. If it doesn’t, then it isn’t fulfilling its purpose. A life surrendered to Jesus will begin to produce works…or “fruit”, that looks like Jesus. What will that fruit be?
    But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23
    What would the world look like if this was the fruit that each of us walked in every day?
    “So what’s the test? What’s the true test of faith? Repentance - belief in Jesus, which is shown in love for God - - - followed by love for one another. Love then becomes the ultimate test of faith. James says faith is proven by how you love your brothers and sisters.” Michael Deutsch
    Jesus himself challenges that the greatest two things we can give ourselves to is “loving God and loving our neighbor”. We show God our love for Him by trusting in Him…He then gives us the ability to love our neighbor. This is faith in action….
    Trust God today and allow him to begin producing fruit in your life. This is how we change the world…
    Prayer: Father, we surrender to You today…do in us what we cannot do in ourselves. May our faith truly produce works that honor You! Amen.
  • March 22nd

    Salt and Light.

    “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:13-16

    Salt and light are two REALLY good things. Think about it…salt adds flavor. We love to eat and when what we are eating can be enhanced – made better even – that is a good thing! And consider light…sunlight, a lamp in a dark room, a flashlight on a dim trail, or a fire in a dark and cold cabin. Light provides warmth and allows us to see where we could not before.

    When Jesus arrived on earth he ushered in a “New Kingdom”. Many would say it was an upside down kingdom…Jesus pushed against the status quo and totally upended the way people were relating to each other. In Matthew 5 – also known as the “Sermon on the Mount”, Jesus challenged those who would follow Him to live differently and to be “salt and light”. More than that, He said that if we follow Him, we ARE salt and light simply by association with Jesus.

    The question then becomes, “How do we taste, and is our light hidden under a basket?” What do salt and light look like in this new paradigm?

    “True righteousness is not a matter of outward conformity to a list of rules and regulations…that is what the Scribes and Pharisees had. True righteousness is a matter of having a changed heart. Each of the Beatitudes, except the last one, describes a character quality of the person that has a changed heart. These are not characteristics that you can generate yourself, instead they are marks of the working of the Holy Spirit in your life. These are evidences of a person being regenerate, born-again, made alive in Christ, being a true Christian.” Scott Harris

    If we follow Christ, we should look different to the world. But this is a good thing! Do we add flavor to a hurting and somewhat chaotic world? Do we provide light and warmth? Many feel when they follow Christ they are supposed to withdraw from the world and keep their faith to themselves…NO! We are supposed to be salt and light!

    Where can you add flavor today? Where can you provide light? You are the “salt of the earth”, so be salty! You are the “light of the world”, so “let your light shine”!

    Prayer: Father, help us be salt and light for you so we can make a difference in a hurting world! Show us today where we can be that difference. Amen.
  • March 8th

    Active Empathy
    "But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him?" 1 John 3:17
    True empathy not only enables us to “feel” what others are feeling, but it also causes us to act on their behalf.
    How often have we seen a neighbor in need, or hurting, and responded, “I’ll be praying for you” or “Let us know how we can help”? Empathy leads us to act...to step into that situation and help.
    The empathy of Jesus was always active.
    Soon afterward he went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a great crowd went with him. As he drew near to the gate of the town, behold, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow, and a considerable crowd from the town was with her. And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.” Then he came up and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” And the dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother.
    How easy would it have been for Jesus to offer His condolences, and reply, “I’ll be thinking of you and your family”? Or to simply write a kind note and send it over with one of his disciples?
    Jesus had the ability to make a difference and so He did.
    You and I may not have the ability to bring the dead to life, but we can make a difference in the lives of those hurting around us. God has gifted each of us to help in specific and unique ways. He has given us resources to use and time to help. But we have to make the decision to help. Simply talking about it won’t bring change.
    If we have the ability to help yet we pass on or dismiss the opportunity, are we loving the way that Jesus does? Are we loving the way He has loved us? May our hearts be ever open to those in need.
    Prayer: Father, lead us to have an active empathy for others. In Jesus name, Amen.
  • March 1st

    Empathy requires a selfless heart.

    We would all like to think that we are empathetic people. After all, it makes us sad when people are hurting. No one likes to see someone else struggling or in pain. However, as soon as it begins to cost us something…well, maybe someone else can hurt with them. Maybe someone else is more equipped to help…to show, empathy. Truly, that is not empathy at all.

    “Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep.” Romans 12:15

    With requires our presence. With indicates engagement. With listens to the story. With mandates that we step away from and even sacrifice our own situation in order to be “all in” with someone who is hurting. Are we able to “rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep” when our focus is on our own situation…our own needs? Can we be of the same mind with some who is suffering if we are unable to take our eyes off of ourselves?

    “…in humility consider others as more important than yourselves.” Philippians 2:3

    In Philippians, Paul is encouraging unity. A foundational requirement, as Paul challenges, is humility. It is taking our focus off of ourselves and thinking of others first.

    Jesus did this for us. As a matter of fact, Jesus was so empathetic towards you and me that scripture says “He emptied Himself…” (Phil. 2:7). Jesus emptied Himself of His own situation, His own glory, the leverage of His power…and He became a servant and a human. In obedience, He humbled Himself. For. Us.

    This is our example. Paul even tells us to “…make our own attitude that of Christ Jesus”. The empathy of Jesus cost him something. Empathizing with others will cost us something too.

    This is what it means to “Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep.” With is bigger than shooting a text and saying “I’m praying for you”. With is different than sending a book or an article to help get them through. With “in humility, considers others as more important…” With says, “I hurt with you, and I’m in the fight with you”. With requires a selfless heart.

    This is where most of us have work to do. It is difficult for many of us to get past ourselves…our own needs, our current situation. But we can get there. God has equipped each of us to love this way. He has given us what we need to step into the struggle of others and serve them…minister to them, empathize with them.

    Prayer: Father, give us big hearts for people…all people but especially those that are hurting. Help us to selflessly love the way you do. Amen.
  • February 8th

    Compassionate Clothes

    “Therefore, God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, put on heartfelt compassion…” Colossians 3:12

    Every day. Every day we do it. Every day we wake up and we get dressed…we put on clothes. Though we often dress ourselves without even thinking about it, putting on clothes does serve a purpose. Clothes protect our bodies from the elements. If it’s cold outside, we dress in warmer clothes. If it is raining, we dress to stay dry. Certain clothes are also made for certain occasions. We have work clothes and play clothes, and school clothes, and special clothes to exercise in. Every day we put on clothes…and we put them on for a reason.

    In Paul’s letter to the Colossians, Paul compares our former or “old” life, with the “new” life we have in Christ. He reminds us that the new life we have in Christ should begin to look more and more like Christ, and less like the world. He lists things that we should put away or “take off” like malice, greed, and idolatry. Then in verse 12 of chapter 3, he challenges us to “put on heartfelt compassion”, among other things…that look like Jesus.

    Put on. The Greek word for this is enduo…it means to “clothe yourself” or to “get dressed”.

    Clothe yourselves with heartfelt compassion”. The Greek translation for this term refers to a strong, emotional, “gut” feeling of mercy for others in their struggle. When we have this level of compassion for others, we are literally sharing their emotional pain. We are hurting with them.

    We have learned that empathy is the ability, among other things, to “feel” with another person who is going through a difficult and even painful season or experience. This level of compassion is empathy. And Paul reminds us that when we wake up in the morning – every day – we are to clothe ourselves with heartfelt compassion just as we would put on a shirt. And we are to know that wearing compassion serves a purpose.

    People all around us are hurting. The list of adjectives is extensive…heartbroken, diseased, hungry, oppressed, confused, betrayed, marginalized, outcast, lonely. As creatures made “new in Christ”, the first thing hurting people should see when they look at us is not a new shirt, or a new hat...but heartfelt compassion.

    What you put on in the morning matters. There is a world that desperately needs to see us wearing something different. Are we dressing for the mirror, or for a broken and hurting world? How different would the landscape of our world look if everyone was clothed in compassion?

    What if we all took off or put away pride, and hate, and anger, and selfishness. God, let it begin with us…

    Prayer: Father, thank you that you looked at us and you were wearing heartfelt compassion. May we clothe ourselves in the same way. Amen.
  • February 1st

    Empathy is the ability to stand in someone else’s shoes, understand their story, and feel their pain.

    Actor Denzel Washington recently said that “proximity breeds empathy”, bringing to light the reality that being close to people, being in relationship with them…gives us insight into their experience and therefore the ability to understand and even share their hurt.

    During those many days the king of Egypt died, and the people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help. Their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God. And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. God saw the people of Israel—and God knew (Exodus 2:23-25).

    We have always had a God who was able to know and feel our hurt. And God – who is the epitome of empathy – stepped into humanity as Jesus. Jesus came close to share our experience. He so fully empathized with humanity that He ultimately took on its sin.

    According to author Joe Puentes,

    “Empathy creates connection and fosters belonging. It enables us to act compassionately towards others. Empathy is a visceral or deep inward feeling that when ignited within us moves us deeply into the life of another, and unites us in another person’s emotional experience.”

    Puentes goes on to say,

    “Jesus coming to earth to sit with us, walk with us, cry and laugh with us, and to share in our suffering and temptations, and to feel what we feel; I don’t know about you, but I feel felt. If this isn’t empathy, then I don’t know what it is.”

    And we have the opportunity to empathize with other people too. The first step toward reflecting and modeling the empathy of Jesus is to find ourselves in close proximity with people. To step into the hard and often messy lives of others. To be in relationship with people…to hear and understand their story, and to ultimately share their pain.

    Is there someone you don’t understand? Start a conversation with them and get to know their story…hear their heart, and begin to feel their struggle and their hurt. People are moved when we take the time to know them and step into their story.

    Prayer: Father, give us the ability to see and feel the pain of others…and in the name of Jesus walk with them toward healing and restoration. Thank you for doing that with us. Amen
  • January 25th

    Justice and Unity.

    For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. Ephesians 2:14-16

    There is much talk about unity these days…about pursuing and seeking unity in our world. Indeed, it is hard to find unity. We do seem divided on multiple fronts. Religion, politics, philosophies…name an issue and you can usually find two extreme beliefs for that issue.

    Many seek and even create this division because they so desperately want to be on “a side”…to be teamed up with a group of similar people all in the name of being able to bark at the other side.
    There are many reasons for this…however the most glaring reason is that we are choosing to see ourselves better than others. Our philosophy, our politics, our religion, our traditions…are better than those of the “other side”. So, we look down on them, we yell down at them, we post down about them, and division is what naturally follows. Any chance for unity is thrown out the window as soon as we place other people below ourselves.

    For He himself is our peace…Jesus died on the cross ultimately satisfying justice, in order to restore mankind to a relationship with God. In dying, He tore down any wall dividing us in order to make us one.

    Jesus’ form of justice restored people who had been wronged. ALL people who had been wronged in Jesus’ kingdom, were worthy of being restored. Restoration heals. Restoration narrows divides. Restoration reinstates value and worth. Restoration unifies. And Jesus sees and values ALL people as worthy of being restored.

    Do we?

    Unity in our world will begin with us seeing value and worth in other people…in ALL people. If justice is seeing all people as equal…and treating them that way, then justice does indeed lead to unity.

    The truth of the matter is, we are all going to disagree on a number of things. That is natural. Is it necessary, however, to place those that disagree with us below us? To see them as less? To discount their humanity and treat them with disdain. What is biblical or Christ-like about that?

    If we are truly passionate about justice, then we will be just as passionate about the value and worth of every person. This was Jesus’ form of justice. And this is a major step in the journey toward unity.

    Prayer: Father…in Jesus, make us one. May this glorify you, Amen.
  • January 18th

    Finding Fault.

    We are literally surrounded by brokenness. People are hurting everywhere…some we know about and many we do not. Diseased, marginalized, oppressed, abused, heartbroken people all around us.
    Compassion SHOULD be our heart's first response and most overwhelming emotion. As a matter of fact, Colossians 3:12 tells us to “put on compassion”…and Jesus models compassion every time He sees a hurting person or group of people (Matthew 9:36). His form of justice is about restoring people in whatever state He finds them.

    Often, however, as we see hurting people our first response is to wonder how they got there. What did they do wrong to find themselves here? Whose fault is this? Jesus never looked at people that way (aren’t we glad He doesn’t look at us that way?). John gives an account of a teachable moment between Jesus and His disciples…

    As He was passing by, He saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” John 9:1-2

    “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” Jesus answered. “This came about so that God’s works might be displayed in him. John 9:3
    Does it matter? Are we seriously going to analyze whether or not there were actions or circumstances that put a person in a certain situation, or are we going to see a need – as Jesus did – and meet the need? Are we aware that God is honored and glorified when His people respond in love and compassion, and minister to hurting people?

    Jesus was crystal clear in His mandate in Matthew 25,

    “For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat; 
    I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink; 
    I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; 
    I was sick and you took care of Me; 
    I was in prison and you visited Me…”
    “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me.”

    The restoration and reconciliation of broken people is at the heart of what it means to follow Jesus. Surely we won’t be a people who stop to wonder if they are worthy or not before we help? “…so that God’s work might be displayed.”

    Prayer: Father, we are part of your strategy to minister to the broken in this world. May we step into those relationships with Your love and Your compassion. Amen.
  • January 11th


    “The Bible’s teaching on justice is much more comprehensive than simply punishing the wrongdoer. A life following Jesus will bring us to the most difficult corners of the world, ministering in deed and with his Word to those encountering the greatest suffering and marginalizationTo follow Jesus in the world is to join in his story of restoring all of creation to its God-intended flourishing. Our labors following the perfect shepherd will be partial, flawed and prone to setback, sure. But the direction of the story is comprehensively forward, so let’s follow Jesus in his full work of restoration. Of justice. Of shalom.” Mike Kelly

    Scripture reminds us that when Jesus came to earth one of His priorities was to “bring justice to the nations”, to “bring forth justice”, and to “establish justice on earth” (Isaiah 41:1-4). This speaks volumes about the Kingdom that Jesus was ushering in…it also speaks volumes about the condition of the world. There was a justice problem…justice was not being upheld. Justice was not being practiced. Injustice was the norm. 
    • Roman oppression was heavy as taxation led to hunger and poverty
    • Favoritism was being shown to the religious elite, leaving “others” out
    • The sick and diseased were neglected and cast out
    • Dishonesty was rampant 
    • People were judging one another
    Just to scratch the surface. And Jesus came to set these wrongs right. But His kingdom was to be bigger than simply setting what was wrong, right. Jesus also taught that justice was about embracing all that was good and all that was right, in the name of restoring creation back to Himself. 

    Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness (also translated “justice”), for they will be filled.” Matthew 5:6

    As Mike Kelly mentions, Jesus wants us to join Him as He restores creation “…to its God-intended flourishing”. Flourishing is a beautiful word…it speaks to creating an environment where one can grow and develop in a healthy and vigorous way. Sweet spot. Each of us living our best life.

    Jesus came to establish justice so every human (having been created in the Image of God) could flourish…could live their best life. 

    And, He has invited us to be a part of this beautiful story. This is why you and I have got to be passionate about championing justice. A life flourishing under a compassionate, loving, and Holy Father is what we were all created for. Will we join Jesus in “establishing justice on earth”?

    Prayer: Father. Thank you for the example of Jesus as He establishes justice here on earth. May we hunger and thirst for justice as well! Amen.
  • January 4th

    Bringing Justice.
    “Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will bring justice to the nations...In faithfulness he will bring forth justice; he will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth. In his teaching the islands will put their hope” Isaiah 42:1-4

    The Prophet Isaiah is known for many things…most famously, however, he is known for beautifully introducing the Messiah. As he declared the coming of Jesus, Isaiah described how he would come as a child who would be a “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace” (Isa 9:6). He described how He would come from the line of David and from the “stump of Jesse” (Isa 11:1). He told how Jesus would “not have an impressive form or majesty” (Isa 53:2), and how would be “pierced because of our transgressions, crushed because of our iniquities” (Isa 53:5). 

    In chapter 42 however, Isaiah reminds us that a major part of Christ’s reign on the earth would be to establish justice. Jesus came to bring justice to the nations. Justice was a priority to Jesus…it was at the top of His agenda. It was crucially important to Him, so it should be important to those of us claiming to follow Him as well. 

    When Jesus came justice was crying out on two fronts:
    1. Humanity…all of which was created in the “image of God”, was not treating each other with justice. They were not treating each other with equality. Favoritism, oppression, abuse, neglect, and poverty were all prevalent. Jesus came to establish justice…
    “The Spirit of the Lord is on me because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free…” Luke 4:18
    1. The world was broken and justice demanded that someone pay for sin. Jesus established justice in this way as well.
    For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21

    So Jesus paid the ultimate price for us…satisfying justice, so we would be covered in the gracious gift of His righteousness. How beautiful and sacrificial is that? How could we not then, be passionate about justice with others in the same way that Jesus is? How could we not be moved with compassion for the poor, the oppressed, the neglected, the marginalized, and the broken?

    When Jesus came to “establish justice on earth”, His aim was also to establish Justice in our hearts. May the things that are important to Jesus become of utmost importance to us!

    Prayer: Father, establish justice in my heart. May I see and treat my fellow man as Jesus did, and as he still does today. Amen.

Hyde Park Schools admits students of any race, color, national or ethnic origin, or religious affiliation, to all rights, privileges, programs and activities available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of gender, race, creed, color, national or ethnic origin in administration of its education policies, scholarship, athletic, or other school-administered programs.