First Steps – May 13, 2019

Last week’s First Steps’ Devotional centered on God’s Prevenient Grace – the work of God before one responds to God’s call.  This week, our topic is what happens the moment one responds to that call.  Upon human response, a person experiences conversion in the form of God’s Justifying Grace.

Paul wrote to the church in Corinth: “In Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them” (2 Cor 5:19).  Justifying Grace is the work of God that reconciles, pardons, and restores a person.  It is here that sins are forgiven and the image of God in a person, which was distorted by sin, is renewed.  

Again, this is a gift from God and something God does for the person.  The relationship is mended without jumping through hoops, restitution given, or personal atonement.  The death and resurrection of Jesus was all that was needed.  A person only needs to respond by faith in God’s grace in Jesus Christ.  


 

This week’s reading:

  • Monday – 1 Cor. 12
  • Tuesday – 1 Cor. 13, 1 Cor. 14
  • Wednesday – 1 Cor. 15, 1 Cor. 16
  • Thursday – 2 Cor. 1, 2 Cor. 2
  • Friday – 2 Cor. 3, 2 Cor. 4, 2 Cor. 5, 2 Cor. 6


Please Pray for:

  • Ongoing Building Renovations, Modifications.
  • Our families, homes, workplace, church, and community.
  • Those who are unwillingly absent.
  • Those who are grieving and depressed.
  • Our nation and our leaders.
  • The United Methodist Church.

First Steps – April 29, 2019

When we think of Jesus and his disciples, we mostly think that the disciples needed Jesus and we miss the reality of how much Jesus needed the disciples. When we view the last week of his life, especially the last night of his life, we can easily see how much Jesus needed his disciples. He actually called them his friends and the ones who had stood by him in his trials.

On that last night, they shared the annual celebratory Passover meal filled with roasted lamb, wine, and much laughter. At some point, the night turned sober and even dark when Jesus got up from the table, washed their feet, and then shared that one of them was going to betray him. Strange as that was, the disciples’ denial was in the form of a question, “Surely not I?” Perhaps it was at that moment that they realized that all of them were flawed and that given the right circumstances, they too would betray and run.

Though we will never know their exact thoughts on that last night, we can draw strength from knowing our own frailties. It has been my experience that most moral failures occur when one is least aware of what temptation cords are being strummed. It is one thing to know one’s strengths but something completely different to know one’s weaknesses. Know your strengths, but also know those areas that present the greatest temptations. If you don’t know them, ask God. He will surely tell you.


This week’s reading:

  • Monday – Mark 11, Mark 12
  • Tuesday – Mark 13, Mark 14
  • Wednesday – Mark 15, Mark 16
  • Thursday – Gal. 1, Gal. 2
  • Friday – Gal. 3, Gal. 4

Please pray for:

  • New Youth Building Dedication and Service on May 5.
  • High School Senior Sunday, May 12.
  • Ongoing Building Renovations, Modifications.
  • Our families, homes, workplace, church, and community.
  • Those who are unwillingly absent.
  • Those who are grieving and depressed.
  • Our nation and our leaders.
  • The United Methodist Church.

First Steps – April 22, 2019

In the 2nd Century, Aristedes gave this witness to Emperor Hadrian when asked about Christians: “Truly this is a new people, and there is something divine in them.” Do you believe that there is something divine in you? Though we would theologically agree with Aristedes, I wonder if we live that way?

This week, would you do things differently if you believed that there is something divine in you? If so, what would be different? Paul reminds us of who we are as a people of faith in 2 Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old has gone, the new is here.”

Because of faith in Christ, the divine is in you! Now, live accordingly.



This week’s reading:

  • Monday – Mark 1, Mark 2
  • Tuesday – Mark 3, Mark 4
  • Wednesday – Mark 5, Mark 6
  • Thursday – Mark 7, Mark 8
  • Friday – Mark 9, Mark 10

 

Please Pray for:

  • Those who are grieving and depressed.
  • Those who are unwillingly absent.
  • Our families, homes, workplace, church, and community.
  • Our nation and our leaders.
  • Ongoing Building Renovations, Modifications, and Phase 3: Completion of New Youth Building and rear parking.
  • The United Methodist Church.