September 3 – Missions Spotlight – Abby Radcliffe

Read Deuteronomy 10:12-22

Ministry: Training and evangelizing young adults in Taiwan

Missionary: Abby Radcliffe

The fragrant aroma fills my nostrils each time I walk out of my home. It’s a combination of spices that, over time, has become familiar. This is the smell of incense burning slowly as the Taiwanese people worship their gods and ancestors. Ancestor worship is deeply woven within the Taiwanese culture.

My name is Abby, and I have had the privilege of being in Taiwan since March of 2020. I work as an intern at an English and Bible training center. Our aim is to raise up young adults to be leaders and disciple makers in their churches and communities. Specifically, I have been teaching English and Bible classes to Taiwanese adults, college age and up.

Our students come from a variety of backgrounds and beliefs. One of my former English students, Stanley, is an active worshipper of Mazu, the goddess of the sea. Many times, worship of these gods is motivated by the desire to be blessed. Who can blame them? Everybody wants a good life.  

As a Christ follower, I am grateful that I don’t have the pressure of this ritualistic worship. Still, in Christianity, the motivation to worship for blessing may still be there; it just looks different when played out. In my own life, I can feel as though God will bless me if I do what He wants. If I spend time with Him in the morning, He will reward me with a good day. Often, I need to take a step back and evaluate my motivation.

In Deuteronomy 10, God shows the people of Israel who He is and the type of worship He requires from them. It’s interesting that God specifically mentions that He does not take bribes. He cannot be bought with our worship. I cannot offer to Him 30 minutes of my morning in exchange for a day that is problem free. His exchange rate isn’t based on my performance, rather it is based solely on His grace.

We see in Deuteronomy what God requires of the Israelites, “to fear the Lord your God, to walk in his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul…” (vs. 12, ESV). They were to do that, not because of what God will give them, but simply because they know who He is (vs. 14), and they have seen how He has worked (vs. 21). So, we can still offer Him 30 minutes of our morning, but for a different reason.

Abby Radcliffe

July 28 – $ – Stewardship

Read Psalm 24:1, Deuteronomy 8:18 and Colossians 3:23-24

I first began to understand the true concept of stewardship when I worked in the trust department of a local bank. A trustee is responsible for carrying out the wishes and direction of the owner of the assets and resources that have been placed in the trust. The trustee does not own those assets and resources; he is simply to manage them based on the wishes and direction of the owner.

Psalm 24:1 says:

“The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.”

Everything that we have is the Lord’s and we are stewards (trustees) of his resources.  So what does that mean? First of all we have to acknowledge that what we have is not ours, including our time, money, abilities, wisdom and relationships.  We have been entrusted with the care and management of what we have been given but it is not ours.  We may think that by our own ability we have acquired what we have.  Deuteronomy 8:18 reminds us to:

“Remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth”.

As a steward, we are responsible to manage those resources according to God’s desires and instruction.  Bill Peel at The High Calling writes “Although God gives us ‘all things to enjoy,’ nothing is ours. Nothing really belongs to us. God owns everything; we’re responsible for how we treat it and what we do with it. Owners have rights; stewards have responsibilities.” 

We are responsible for managing what has been entrusted to us to bring glory and honor to God! How are you managing your time, money, abilities, wisdom and relationships to bring glory and honor to God?

As a steward, we are accountable for how we manage what has been given us. Many times in the financial world, trustees will have to give an accounting to a court of law to show that they honored the wishes and directions of the owner and that they managed those assets prudently. As stewards of God’s resources we will give an account of how we managed His assets.  So how do you manage the free time that you have? The money that you have? The abilities you have been given? The relationships you have been entrusted with?

If we are faithful in fulfilling our role of steward, we are promised a reward. In Colossians 3:23-24 we are told “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.”

Manage what you have for the glory of the Lord!

Jeff Swartzentruber

February 9 – Faithfulness – He fights for us

Read Deuteronomy 3:22, 20:4 and Joshua 23:10

“God, I’m really sorry for…”

Have you ever prayed something like that? It’s a simple call for forgiveness. When we know we have done something wrong and are asking to be forgiven. However, have you ever thought about what takes place in the spiritual realm when a simple prayer like that is uttered?

Let me assure you, it’s not as simple as you may think.

We are in this series talking about God’s faithfulness. He is constant and consistent in many different ways but specifically in the way that He fights for us. You will see in our reading today the promise that was made to the Israelites that God would never forsake them and would always fight for them. If you read just a little of the Israelites’ journey, you will know that they didn’t necessarily deserve to have such divine backup.

The truth is, neither do we. When we pray to God for the forgiveness of our sins. Immediately a battle takes place. Satan, the Accuser, immediately interjects and points out just why we shouldn’t be forgiven.

“Seriously?! Jake wants you to forgive him because of this thing that he said? We can all agree that this is the same guy who has done these things and thought these thoughts, right? If there’s anyone that doesn’t deserve forgiveness, it’s this dude.”

As soon as Satan utters his last word, Jesus agrees.

“Yeah, I know that Jake has said these things, thought these thoughts and done these things. I know that no matter how much I forgive him, he’s still going to sin. However, when I died on the cross I died to cover such sin. An injustice took place, I agree. However, I died for that, it’s paid for.”

Imagine the scene.

Talk about not deserving something.

Now, Romans 6 is very clear in talking about how we shouldn’t abuse grace or continuing to sin thinking that it’s okay because we will always be forgiven. However, we always have someone who will fight for us even when we don’t deserve it.

Jesus fights for you. How are you going to fight for others?

Who in your life needs to be fought for? Who do you need to forgive? Who is discouraged that needs to know someone’s in their corner?

I challenge you to take a moment to think of someone (or multiple people) who you are going to commit to fight for.

Who are we if we know Christ fights for us and don’t return to favor to other people?

Jake Lawson

February 8 – Faithfulness – He is Always with Us

Read Deuteronomy 31:6, Psalm 119:6-7 and Matthew 28:16-20

What a beautiful truth to remember and yet, how often do we forget that Jesus is always with us? Over the last 6 months, the Lord has taught me a great deal about His presence. He has taught me that He did not promise that we would not struggle or deal with heartache and scary times but that, through all of it, He is with me.

I am a follower of Jesus. The powerful effect of that is I have His Spirit within me, guiding, teaching, molding, ministering and prompting me into the direction that best reflects Him and His intent for my life.

Walking through life not knowing how to handle certain situations or how to navigate them can be extremely scary and by no means is it easy. However, we are promised peace through it all.  We are promised that, no matter the circumstance, no matter the situation, His presence is accessible.

As a worship leader, one of my favorite songs that I have the honor of leading is “Nothing Else” by Cory Asbury. In this song, he reflects on the conversations many of us have had. Apologizing for forgetting that He is first and foremost. Apologizing for going through the motions of maybe saying and doing the right things but not really doing it with the motive of honoring Him but doing it because it is what we should do.

He constantly asks to take him back to where He and the Lord started. Mostly to remind him of the powerful truths the Lord shared with him in the beginning of their relationship.

The majority of the song that Cory wrote was expressing his desire not to be away from the Lord’s presence, that he just wants to be still at His feet.

What I love, the visual that I often receive while leading, is that, in and of itself. But instead of setting aside a “time” for this to be active. I find myself realizing that this can be at any point in time.

As Moses, David and Matthew state, He is always with us. Once the veil was torn, His spirit was accessible and we are able to talk with, pray to, and worship the Lord whenever. He is there. All around us, surrounding us, keeping us in the palm of His hand.

Don’t forget – He is there, ready, willing and wanting you to come to Him.
But also, He is present for the hard times too.
We must remember, whatever the times, whatever the situation, He knows about them. He is not surprised by them and He will use them for His Glory. That we must cling to Him as we come into the upcoming days, weeks, months, and years.

He is ALWAYS with us.

Kelly Lawson

October 6 – Attributes of God – Justice

Read Deuteronomy 32:4

“He started it.”

“She told me to do it.”

“No one said not to . . .”

I hear these phrases frequently from my young students at school. They really do want to please the teacher at their age, but even more so, they don’t want to get in trouble. For the most part, they are rule followers and expect everyone to be held accountable. Believe me; they are quick to tell me if someone is NOT following the rules. And surprisingly, they like to see their classmates get their deserved consequences. In some way, it is reassuring to them that all is in order; that bad behavior is not tolerated and good behavior is rewarded. In a very basic way, they are seeking justice. They want to know that right is right and wrong is wrong.

We serve a God who is just. It is His very nature. God always does what is right. He cannot help but do what is right. In Deuteronomy 32, Moses is addressing the Israelite people and he proclaims that “God is the Rock; His work is perfect. Everything He does is just and fair.” It is almost like a warning to the people:  Look out, Moses warns, nothing gets past this guy. He doesn’t bend the rules to let you off the hook.

Haven’t we grown to expect just that? We have become accustomed to, and even expect, people to cut us a break instead of sticking to the rules. When driving, we know we can get away with driving a little bit over the posted speed limit, so we do. We expect deadlines to be extended when we can’t quite meet them. We want the person who tickets cars for parking too long to extend a little grace and allow us to park a few minutes longer than posted.

Prior to Moses’ proclamation to the people, He delivered the Ten Commandments to the Israelites. These rules were meant to establish right from wrong. God was helping His people by setting these rules in place and creating an equal playing field for all. However, when things didn’t go as the Israelites expected, they started bending those rules. They bent them so far, they broke. And God, being just, couldn’t look the other way. He won’t look the other way for us either.

It should be reassuring to us that we don’t have to hit a moving or changing target. He will be consistent and fair to all.

Tammy Finney

October 3 – Attributes of God – Faithfullness

Read Deuteronomy 7:9

“Great is thy faithfulness, Lord onto me!”

This is one of my all-time favorite hymns. Why? Because it reminds me of all the promises that God has been faithful to fulfill in my life and yours.

“Great is thy faithfulness Oh God my father”.

Promise #1 –  He promises to be our father and we are His children.  God is the father to the homeless and the hopeless. Those who society praises and those they shun.  But He isn’t just any father but a faithful father who will love us when we fail, and even when we aren’t so “lovable” To a young child who has to grow up without an earthly father, this is a priceless blessing on cold and lonely nights.

There is no shadow of turning with thee!  Thou changes not, thy compassions they fail not; as thou has been, though forever will be!”

Promise #2 –  He doesn’t change.  And He will not change.  He doesn’t have rules for us one day and different ones on the next.   The promises He made to saints in the Bible, He makes also to us today. As He was with David when he faced Goliath, or Daniel in the lion’s den or Noah in the flood.  God is with us as we are flooded with anxiety,  facing gigantic obstacles in our lives, and angry people are ready to devour us.

Summer and Winter, and Spring time and harvest, sun moon and stars in their courses above.  Join with all nature in manifold witness to thy great faithfulness, mercy, and love.”

Promise #3 – Just as the sunshine comes after the rain and spring buds come after the snow, God will never fail.  The darkness in our lives will be followed by light if we will just hang in there with God.  No matter how bad today looks, there is always tomorrow. Only God knows what tomorrow might bring.  But whatever it is, we know God will be there to help us get through it. He has promised that “He will never leave us or forsake us!’ We can all count on that as being true.

“Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth. Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide. Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow. Blessing all mine with 10,000 besides.”

We all mess up. We fall way short of what we need to be. But God is always willing to forgive us and let us start each day fresh with a clean slate.

How can we ask for more? We have God’s presence with us in the good times and the bad, in the scary times and happy times. Like a good father holding the back of the bike seat as his child learns how to balance a 2-wheeler without training wheels, God is faithfully watching over us and, along with the saints in heaven, cheering us on to victory in this sometimes-crazy race called life!

Pat Arnold

June 21 – Father’s Day 2020 – Transcendent Qualities Of A Good Father

Read 1 John 3:1, Proverbs 20:7 and Deuteronomy 6:4-5

For all of the fathers out there, a hearty “Happy Father’s Day” from everyone here at EverydaywithGod and Grace Church! This is a day that we celebrate fathers and the gift that they are to all of us! Here at Grace Church in Wooster, Pastor Nick along with Billy and Bob will talk this morning about the qualities of a good father. Now, there is a truth that not all of us are fathers and not all of us have had great relationships with our earthly fathers. Regardless of that fact, there is a truth that we know of a Heavenly Father who is good all of the time and part of what makes Him good are the qualities that we can apply to our own lives. You will hear today, or later this week, about how we need to love no matter what, lead by example and live for what lasts. Just like these are the qualities of a good father, these are qualities that, if we all apply them to our own lives, can change the world.

Do you believe it?

This week, you will hear from a couple of us about some passages in Scripture that talk about fatherhood but more geared towards our Heavenly Father. So, if you aren’t a father or have a complicated relationship with yours, my challenge to you is to read these next 6 devotionals and reflect on your relationship with your Heavenly Father. If you are a father, allow these devotionals to be a challenge to you!

Father’s Day is usually a day that we all take time to express, the best that we know how, just how thankful we are for them for the influence they’ve had on our lives. How thankful would you say you are for your relationship with your Heavenly Father and all that He has done for you? Do you truly recognize all that He did for you by sending His only Son to die for your sins so you could be spared from eternal torment because of your sin?

Spend a few minutes in prayer. Thank God for loving you no matter what, leading by example and living for what truly lasts…our soul.

Jake Lawson

March 20 – Faithful – He is Gracious and Faithful

Read Deuteronomy 7:1-26

I am not much of a sports fan.  I don’t really follow a team in any sport.  If I do, it is enough to catch the final score.  That way I do not appear to real sports fan like a completely uninformed person from another planet.

I suppose, if I were to become a sports fan, I would select a team leading their league.  Why invest my energies in a lost cause or an underdog?  (Sidebar:  I guess I wouldn’t be a Browns fan!)

Based on that same logic, I suppose that I never would have chosen the nation of Israel.  But God did.  It wasn’t that they were the biggest and strongest with a proven track record.  No, our Heavenly Father chose them, without logical reason, out of grace.  Moses makes that clear in verse 7 and 8.  They were not the largest nation…not the “favored team.”  The truth is, when He selected them, they numbered only two, Abraham and Sarah.  His choice of them was seemingly arbitrary, independent of anything they had done.  Nevertheless, He placed His love on them.

To be sure, Israel and the church are different entities.  But our experience of grace is the same.  If you are a Christ follower, don’t forget that your Father’s selection of you is no different.   There is nothing that you brought to the table that made you appealing to God.  Still, He loves you.

But Moses also reminded the nation chosen out of grace that God is a faithful covenant keeper (v. 9).  The promises made to Abraham more than 400 years before would be kept to the future thousandth generation of those who love Him.

He will be faithful to you as well.  He will never abandon you.  As one who began a work in you, He promises to bring that work to completion at the return of Christ (Phil. 1:6).

This gracious, faithful God is One who yearns for and is deserving of our complete devotion.

Thank you, God!

Steve Kern

August 10 – His story: Man’s rescue – The song God wrote

Read Deuteronomy 32:1-47

So Moses wrote down this song that day and taught it to the Israelites. (31:22)

God had written a song.  And He chose Moses to perform it.  It would be among his final public proclamations before following God up the mountain to die. (v48ff)  Had Moses himself written the song, perhaps it would have been a bit more upbeat.  But God Himself wrote the lyrics and hand-delivered them to Moses.  A song written by none other than God Himself.

When I think about “songs of praise,” my thoughts don’t go to God’s judgment or His chastening.  Rather, I think of the more likable characteristics of God.  Remembering the great things He has done in the past.  Admiring His beauty and almighty strength.  The greatness and faithfulness of God my Rock are what I like to sing about when I lift my voice in praise to Him.  Perhaps Moses felt the same way.  In fact, maybe that’s why God wrote the song rather than giving Moses a blank slate with some musical notations and a general direction.

The song was to be a testimony against the people of God for when they would rebel and oppose His ways.  A way for them to remember that God called it right, even as they would forget all that He had done on their behalf.

Now write down for yourselves this song and teach it to the Israelites and have them sing it, so that it may be a witness for me against them. . . And when many disasters and difficulties come upon them, this song will testify against them, because it will not be forgotten by their descendants. (Dt. 31:19,21)

The lyrics read like a story.  One that begins and ends with the mighty and perfect name of the LORD.  The Rock Who always acts perfectly and justly and “who does no wrong.” (Dt. 32:4)  Even in their chastening, the LORD God is just.  Even in the difficulty that the Israelites would eventually bring on themselves, faithful God would remain true to His Word.  And the Israelites needed to know.  They needed the lyrics inscribed on the pages of their minds so that they would not forget Yahweh, the LORD.

The song rings true for us as well.  It begins with the mighty name of God.  And it ends on the same note.  Always just and faithful and true, God the Rock has always been and will always be the One True God.  When we choose our own way and go against His, He remains true.  When He works on our behalf to show us the emptiness of an idol we have let take His place, still His faithfulness never wavers.

Oh, that we would learn to trust His song and sing it too.

Bria Wasson

May 17 – Trip to the Holy Land – Mt. Nebo

DAY 5 – MT. NEBO

Theme: Holiness

Read Deuteronomy 32:48-52

Moses has often been called, “the greatest leader of Israel’s history.” Yet the Bible also describes him as “the meekest man in all the earth” (Numbers 12:3). He wasn’t always like that.

During the first 40 years of his life, Moses probably thought he was something special. Rescued from the reeds of the Nile River as an infant, he lived a charmed life in the palace of the king of Egypt. One day, he saw an Egyptian beating a fellow-Israelite, so he intervened and killed the man.

He fled for his life and came to the land of Midian, where he spent the next 40 years caring for the flocks of his father-in-law. He learned survival skills in the desert, an invaluable asset which God would use during the last third of his life.

One day God called Moses from a burning bush and commissioned him to lead His people out of Egypt following 400 years of bondage. Moses then led the Israelites on the Exodus through the Sinai desert, across the dry land at the bottom of the Red Sea, through Midian, around Edom to the brink of the Promised Land. Along the way God miraculously provided food and water for His people day after day.

On one occasion, Moses was commanded to speak to a rock so life-giving water could flow from it. Instead, because of his frustration with the griping of the Israelites, Moses struck the rock in anger. That one act of disobedience prevented Moses from entering the Promised Land (Numbers 20:12).  That might sound harsh, but God was emphasizing for all of us, and for all-time, that He cannot tolerate sin.  His standard is not 99%. His standard is absolute perfection. Anything less cannot be tolerated.

Moses was prevented from experiencing the land of promise because he did not uphold God’s holiness among the Israelites. (Deuteronomy 32:51).  Here’s the question everyone should answer: How am I preventing God’s blessing by my own disobedience? Is there some area of my life where God cannot pour out his blessings because I am not sensitive to Him?

Prayer of reflection:  Lord God, what have I permitted in my life that is hindering the work you want to do in me and through me?

Bob Fetterhoff