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April 2021

Drama

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God will not be contained by any of our expectations, least of all those that attempt to domesticate his terrifying creativity. Beneath the thin veneer of our decent and orderly routines there is probably more drama than we want to see. — M. Craig Barnes

Jesus looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly. All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.” (Luke 19:5-7, NIV)

They arrived at Jerusalem. Immediately on entering the Temple Jesus started throwing out everyone who had set up shop there, buying and selling. He kicked over the tables of the bankers and the stalls of the pigeon merchants. He didn’t let anyone even carry a basket through the Temple. And then he taught them, quoting this text: “My house was designated a house of prayer for the nations; You’ve turned it into a hangout for thieves.” (Mark 11:15-17, MSG)

Once we have seen Him in a stable, we can never be sure where He will appear or to what lengths he will go or to what ludicrous depths of self-humiliation He will descend in His wild pursuit of men. ― Frederick Buechner

May you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. (Ephesians 3:18-19, NLT)


Devoted

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Now there was a man named Joseph, from the Jewish town of Arimathea. He was a member of the council, a good and righteous man, who had not consented to their decision and action; and he was looking for the kingdom of God. This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. (Luke 23:50-52, ESV)

Joseph was more devoted to the dead Savior than many of us are to the risen one. When we do not get what we want from Jesus, when we want it, we quickly abandon him and turn to more promising saviors. Yet Joseph invites us to stay with Jesus even after our devotion appears hopeless. Go ahead and bury him if you have to. Admit that you feel hopeless. Yet stay by the tomb and do not turn to other hopes, because the story isn’t over yet. Joseph was going to get to use that tomb for someone else. — M. Craig Barnes

I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, … I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. (Philippians 3:8-11, NIV)

Keep abandoned to Him. —Oswald Chambers


Absent

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After the celebration was over, they started home to Nazareth, but [the boy] Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents didn’t miss him at first, because they assumed he was among the other travelers. But when he didn’t show up that evening, they started looking for him among their relatives and friends. (Luke 2:43-44, NLT)

It took one day to lose [the boy] Jesus, and three days to find Him. It is easier to lose the anointing than it is to get it back. But if we truly want to recover His presence in our lives, it can happen. — R.T. Kendall

We must make sure of Jesus or we travel in vain. Nothing is so futile as religious activity that only imagines the Lord’s presence. … It is wrong to doubt His presence when we may be sure of it, but it is foolish to imagine His presence when there is proper occasion to doubt it. — Vance Havner

Delilah lulled Samson to sleep with his head in her lap, and then she called in a man to shave off the seven locks of his hair. In this way she began to bring him down, and his strength left him. Then she cried out, “Samson! The Philistines have come to capture you!” When he woke up, he thought, “I will do as before and shake myself free.” But he didn’t realize the Lord had left him. (Judges 16:19-20, NLT)

Don’t grieve God. Don’t break his heart. His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for himself. Don’t take such a gift for granted. (Ephesians 4:30, MSG)


Discover

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Mountaintops are for views and inspiration, but fruit is grown in the valleys.

                                                — Billy Graham

Life in the wilderness is not easy, but it does serve a sacred purpose—it is the place where we learn faith. In the desert places of life we wonder how we will survive but discover God is our hope. We often get lost but discover Jesus Christ is our Savior. We are frightened but discover that the Holy Spirit is our comfort. With this vision of God’s faithfulness before us, we can then enter into this promised future without knowing how he will provide. — M. Craig Barnes

The priests will carry the Ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth. As soon as their feet touch the water, the flow of water will be cut off upstream, and the river will stand up like a wall. (Joshua 3:13, NLT)

The answer is the problem because the problem, trial, pain, difficulty make me look to God, and His power rests on us in a way we would never otherwise experience. — Jim Cymbala

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see. (1 Peter 1:3-5, NLT)


Guard

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We are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12, NLT)

Satan and his legions are out to disable the body, deceive the mind, and discourage the spirit. Some he devours as a roaring lion. Some he leads astray as an angel of light. Others he besets as the accuser. He attacks through morals, through the mind, and through moods. Truly our souls need to be on their guard. — Vance Havner

My soul, be on thy guard;
ten thousand foes arise;
the hosts of sin are pressing hard
to draw thee from the skies. — George Heath

Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. (Proverbs 4:23, NLT)

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7, NIV)