June 2 – I Will Remember – Two-way communication

The following is a YouVersion plan written by the Billy Graham Center. To participate with this plan on YouVersion, download the app, create an account and click on the link here to participate:

I Will Remember – YouVersion Plan

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Read Habakkuk 2:1-20, Genesis 32:22-32

A quick glance at the Old Testament prophets tells us that although each played a critical role in speaking truth to God’s people—often prior to or during times of tragedy and crisis—prophets had hard lives. Most were the target of persecution and attack. They were sometimes beaten, imprisoned, and mocked. 

However, each also possessed a quality which we can demonstrate during times of personal or global crisis—open communication. Habbukuk, the 7th-century prophet who prophesied an imminent Chaldean invasion to the people of Judah, is a fascinating example of what it looks like to communicate openly with God during times of uncertainty and fear. 

Meaning “embracer,” his very name foretells what we will see as we read through the three chapters of Habbakuk. It’s a back-and-forth conversation which goes something like this: Habbakuk cries out to God for help and God responds with reminders of what he is doing. 

In one moving verse, Habbakuk exclaims, “I will take my watchpost and station myself on the tower, and look out to see what he will say to me” (2:1). Can you just imagine? It’s the picture of stubbornness—of complete trust that God will answer and that Habbakuk will wait as long as necessary to receive that answer. Only a few verses later, the Lord does respond; but in his response, he tells Habbukuk that his answer will not come now: “If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay” (2:3). 

Perhaps this conjures up images of Jacob wrestling with God in Genesis 32 and his cry that “I won’t let you go unless you bless me” (v. 26). In times of difficulty, we keep pressing forward with God. We believe and trust that the more we press into him, the more he will offer back to us. 

Crisis reveals a communication channel that is two-way. We cry out to God, and he responds. We wait upon God, and he answers. It’s time to sit on our watchposts and see what God is trying to say to us. 

Questions for Reflection

Cry out to God. And then wait. Believe he will answer. And be in awe of his response. 

How can we speak the truth to those around us that communication with God can be a two-way street?

May 26 – I Will Remember – When your world falls apart

The following is a YouVersion plan written by the Billy Graham Center. To participate with this plan on YouVersion, download the app, create an account and click on the link here to participate:

I Will Remember – YouVersion Plan

Don’t forget to share your comments and takeaways every day!

Read Genesis 1:26–31; 2:15–25; 3:1–19

There are many people today who believe their world is falling apart. That world could be physical, financial, vocational, relational, personal, or spiritual. 

When someone feels as though his or her world is falling apart, what that person is saying is that there has been this instant shift from the good to the bad. The good he or she had worked for, invested in, spent time with, enjoyed, and/or loved, is, in a moment, gone. 

This is the picture in Genesis 1, 2, and 3. In these chapters, we read that God created, built, invested in, and enjoyed his perfect creation. In addition, he created man in his own image for the purpose of reflecting his glory throughout the created order. Being his prized creation, Adam and Eve enjoyed perfect fellowship with their Creator as well as with one another. In short, there was shalom (total flourishing) over the whole earth. 

However, in a single moment shalom was shattered. Rebellion entered into God’s perfectly created order when Eve and Adam cognitively chose to disobey his word and ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. At that moment, their world fell apart. 

Their world of perfection, harmony, peace, love, unity, and fellowship ended. They instantaneously realized they were naked. Rather than seeking God to fix this feeling, this change of reality, they sought to fix it themselves. And when they sensed God’s presence, they played a little game of “Hide and Seek” with God. But even when they came out of hiding, they immediately began blaming someone else for the crashing of their world. 

In short, their situation—a world in shambles—was now one of fear, confusion, shame, guilt, embarrassment, and chaos. 

In the midst of a broken world, God speaks a word of hope. We see this word of hope in Genesis 3:15 where he promises than an offspring (a child) of Eve would bruise the head of the serpent. Scholars refer to this as the “first gospel” where God promises to reconcile the world to himself, to restore the world to a pre-fall state, and to consummate his cosmic divine kingdom. He will accomplish this by crushing the head of the serpent, ultimately defeating sin. 

To foreshadow this promise, God clothes Adam and Eve’s nakedness by using animal skin (Gen. 3:21). 

Maybe you feel as though your world is falling apart. Maybe you feel, in general, that the world is falling apart. If so, remember today the wonderful promise that God made to Adam and Eve, which was fulfilled when Jesus (the offspring of Eve) went to the cross to die for the sin of the world. Remember that the Lord will one day fully reverse a world that has fallen apart to a world of total flourishing (shalom). 

Questions for Reflection

How does it seem your world is falling apart, and where do you sense God meeting you in that? 

How can you speak the truth of restoration into the lives of those around you?


We would like to thank Billy Graham Center for providing this plan. For more information, please visit: http://www.billygrahamcenter.com

May 16 – Extraordinary Women of the Bible – Sarah

Read Hebrews 11:11 and Genesis 18:1-15, 21:1-7

When God appeared to Abraham in Genesis 12, telling Him that he would be the father of a great nation, there was one big issue: Abraham was well past the typical age that you would have kids with his wife, Sarah, being well past the child bearing age.

As you read through the story of Sarah, there are definitely ups and downs. There are times when they believed in God’s promise and there were times when they tried to take matters into their own hands and made a huge mess of things.

Sarah’s story can be summed up by “hoping against hope”. Even when it didn’t make sense, at the end of the day, they submitted to God’s plan and they were blessed as a result. God is faithful and will keep His promises to us. Sarah believed and was blessed.

After reading Sarah’s story, you may find yourself thinking of areas in your life that you are hoping against hope. You may want, so badly, for something to happen and you are beginning to have your doubts.

What Abraham and Sarah had to understand was that God operates from a whole different perspective than us. He knew what His plan for mankind entailed and knew what needed to happen for that to take place. He knew that Sarah would bear a son and that all of Israel, His chosen people, would follow.

He knew it. All of Heaven knew it. On earth, Sarah laughed.

What seems impossible in your life? God is not a genie who’s going to grant all your wishes exactly how you ask them. Instead of thinking like that, I encourage you to consider changing your perspective and focus on truth.

What does God say in His Word about your circumstances? What promises has He already made?

The rubber meets the road when you have to decide if you are fully going to surrender your situation to God. Are you going to allow Him to fully control what the outcome is?

“…she considered Him faithful who made the promise.”

Do you consider God faithful? Do you trust that He will come through where He promised He would?

God is faithful…even when we struggle to believe.

Jake Lawson

May 15 – Extraordinary Women of the Bible – Eve

Read Genesis 3:1-24

This chapter is a very well known one in the Bible as, through it, we discover the impact that sin has on the world. Before this chapter, Adam, Eve and God were living in harmony in the garden of Eden until they went against God’s will and ate from the tree from the knowledge of good and evil. As a result, they were banished from the garden and, from chapter 4 throughout most of the Bible, sin wreaks havoc on the world.

What makes Eve extraordinary isn’t the first sin she committed, but what came after.

We read swift and heavy punishments as a result of their (Adam, Eve and the serpent) sin. God made it clear that life would never be the same and that their sin would have ripple effects on generations to come.

The issue wasn’t just that she and Adam took from the tree they were forbade to eat from. On a deeper level, their issue was that they compromised their faith, the truth of God and allowed the serpent to talk them into second guessing what God had said.

However, the story doesn’t stop there. Adam calls his wife Eve because, according to verse 20, she would become the mother of all the living. It would be, through Eve, that the rest of the world would come about.

In the midst of so much sin, darkness and death, God gives promises of life and, even, salvation. In verse 15, God tells the serpent that he will strike the heal of her offspring (Jesus) but that He would crush his head indicating that, through Jesus’ death on the cross, sin, evil and Satan would be overthrown.

What can we learn from the story of Eve…other than what not to do?

Looking back, their issue was compromise. They allowed the words of someone else to trump those that God had given them. As you look over your life, where are you making compromises in your faith? In what way are you not fully surrendering yourself to God? Are you allowing sin to slowly enter into your life unchecked?

The story here, and throughout the Bible, is clear. Sin will be punished. We must trust God’s words above all.

Where are you making compromises? What are you going to do to focus on the truth of God’s Word to fight that temptation?

Also, take a moment to reflect on Genesis 3 and the promise of life that came as a result of it. Thank God for His mercy and grace.

Jake Lawson

March 15 – Hard Questions 2.0 – “Why do you condemn homosexuality? I thought God created and loves everyone?”

Read 1 Timothy 2:3-4 and Genesis 2:24

A buddy of mine is a die-hard sports fan and once asked me to go to one of his favorite team’s games. Now, I personally could care less about who won but thought it would be a fun experience. This particular game, his team lost to a team they should easily have beat, leaving fans frustrated and even enraged.

As we were walking to my car in the parking garage, my friend was irate to say the least. He was yelling at the team, the city, the stadium…the whole 9 yards. The game’s outcome led him to condemn this particular city and the team within it.

It genuinely makes me sick to my stomach that many Christians have the same approach to dealing with homosexuality. We picket physically and blast digitally to the point that you can’t blame people for having a sour taste in their mouths whenever they think or hear about Christianity. We even take it upon ourselves to condemn people to Hell.

Logically, people are led to ask why we, as Christians, condemn homosexuality because, after all, God created and loves everyone.

First, I want to answer the question directly and then talk about what we believe about homosexuality and why.

The answer to the question is very simple:

It’s not our job to condemn anyone.

To take it a step further, consider the words of John 3:

“For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.”

Jesus wasn’t even sent to condemn the world, so why would we think that’s our job?

People quote the truth of Genesis 2:24 and use it as ammo to attack other people:

“That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.”

While, yes, that is what we believe, it is easy for us to lose sight of our goal when interacting with people with different viewpoints, which is to close the gap between God and them…not push it farther away.

“This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”

God wants people to come to a knowledge of truth, period. Us berating people, either online or in person, is not going to accomplish that goal.

It’s only going to further the gap we are fighting to close.

The goal is to fight against sin. Homosexuality is a sin. Lust is a sin. Anger can be a sin. Using your words to tear others down is a sin. Binge eating is a sin. Self-harm is a sin. Pride is a sin.

Our job isn’t to condemn. Our job is to draw others to a personal relationship with Jesus.

Who can you reach out to today and encourage to pursue such a relationship? Who have you condemned, regardless of the sin, that you need to ask for their forgiveness? How can you fight for godly relationships and encourage others to do the same?

Jake Lawson

March 14 – Hard Questions 2.0 – “Why can’t I be left alone to make my own choices for my own body?”

Read Genesis 1:26-27 and Psalm 139:13-17

We live in a world where we are told we can be whoever we want to be and can change our bodies however we feel fit. Whether it be social media, news or television, this notion of “do whatever makes you happy or makes you feel like your authentic self” is such a loud message.

When answering the question, “Why can’t I be left alone to make my own choices for my own body?”, we have to remember that our bodies are not our own and so much more is at stake.

When you are a follower of Jesus, His Word is our guiding light in this broken world and there are certain standards set before us.

Observing what is written in Genesis and Psalms, we have to notice that there is a sense of authority which begs this question:

“Whose are you?”

There is such power in both of these verses because the Lord looks at His creation and, after calling it good, acknowledges there is need for more. He creates man with a standard, a purpose and authority over His creation. With creating man, Psalm 139 reminds us that He knew us before we were even a thought in our parents’ minds.

There is such care and love in these perspectives that it is hard to not see that God knows us best. With knowing us best, He also sees the purpose that our lives hold.

I remember sitting in Bible school when studying Leviticus 19 and the topic of tattoos came up.

Our pastor and teacher went on to give us the perspective contextually what the Lord was telling Moses, but gave us a principle from that passage that stays with me to this day.

He stated, “We must understand that every choice we make with our body will have consequences. Good or bad. We need to remember that our definition of good and bad is different than God’s. If you were called to be a missionary in a certain country and you had tattoos, that would cause a barrier between you and the purpose God called for your life. It limits what He can do with you.”

Think about that. If we did whatever we wanted with our bodies, it has the potential to limit what the Lord’s intent on our life is.

When you look at your body without the perspective of the Lord’s authority, it can very easily be difficult to not understand that His standards for your life and your body are holy.

So, I ask again, whose are you?

Who holds authority over your life, your choices, your body? Are you being a good steward of it?

Kelly Lawson

December 22 – Behind the Christmas Card – Comparison

Read Genesis 3:1-13

“So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate . . . (Gen. 3:6).”

It could be the story of nearly every Christmas experience that ever was. We can’t see the amazing of all that we have because we’re too busy comparing. Each time we think we have the best, we find someone else’s bigger, better, more enticing version of it. Maybe it’s a gift for a child’s teacher or the lights outside our homes. Perhaps it’s the family Christmas movie night made less perfect by a friend’s post on Facebook of her picture-perfect family baking cookies and stringing popcorn before taking a long walk together with big mugs of hot cocoa. No matter how much we have been given, when we turn our focus from gratitude for what we have to realizing what we’re missing, we open the door to discontent. “Comparison,” Theodore Roosevelt said, “is the thief of joy.”

The story traces back to the beginning of time. Eve and Adam and Almighty God walked together in the Garden until Satan showed up and pointed out what they did not have. They couldn’t see all that God had given them anymore because their attention had turned to what He had withheld. And perfect intimacy with the Giver of all good things was broken when that terrible thief named comparison snuck in.

Perhaps it’s never more prevalent than at Christmastime. We have so much, yet there is always someone with more. If we let our focus go there, we will miss the true joy of the incredible gifts we have.

Don’t let that be your experience this year. Instead, remember what God did when He gave you this life, this grace, this beautiful moment, this Christmas season.

Bria Wasson

November 30 – By Faith or By Sight


We all face some level of uncertainty, don’t we? Life is filled with uncertain moments like…when you get that text from a boss or significant other that simply says, “We need to talk,” or the moment a test or exam is handed out in class and the only thing you’re certain of is your name. No doubt the phrase “uncertain times” has become a bit of a catch phrase to describe our current reality. No matter if times are certain or uncertain, there are only 2 ways to live life…one is by faith and the other is by sight.

Last year, I took my sons to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. We enjoyed our visit, but one experience stood out to us. It’s an exhibit called “A Game for Life” that features you sitting in a locker room, listening to virtual holograms of famous coaches like Vince Lombardi and players like Joe Namath. It’s a picture of what it’s like to live by faith in a world consumed by sight. When you live by faith, you can fully follow God even when life is uncertain.

In Hebrews 11, the author writes more about today’s central character than anyone else. While he lived thousands of years ago, I think you’ll be able to relate to some of his defining moments. His name is Abraham and he is considered the Father of Faith, because faith defined his defining moments. He faced many tests and they were turning points where he discovered that great opportunity is often hidden in the middle of great uncertainty. God makes a promise to him that is recorded in the opening of the Bible, “The Lord had said to Abram, ‘Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.’  So Abram went, as the Lord had told him…” (Genesis 12:1-4a)

Abraham’s response to God’s promise shows us 3 ways to fully follow God when times are uncertain:

Leave the past behind, look ahead with anticipation and live today trusting God.

Which one do you struggle with the most? We’ll take a look into each one of these in this week’s posts.

Nick Cleveland

October 25 – Say What Now? – “Leave your Country, Family and Land and I’ll Give You a Nation, Name and Blessing”

Read Genesis 12:1-5

Abraham’s story is one of my favorites, maybe because of the trust exchange between Abraham and God. 

I’m so glad I’ve been re-reading Abraham’s story recently. 

Knowing and believing the Kingdom perspective and knowing that Jesus changes everything helps my journey to sustain my trust in the Lord. Jake and I believe in a loving God who only has the best in mind for us, our family and our children. He is a God who loves us more than we will ever know. 

However, it is not always easy to trust. 

If you read Abraham’s story and think “he must be a super spiritual guy to be able to trust the Lord with all He asked Abraham to do”, the answer is no. Abraham was a normal guy just like you and me. He knew the Lord, He knew the power that God processed and He trusted Him because of his personal relationship with God. 

I think the difference between those who trust the Lord and those who do not is the question, “How well do you know God?”. 

Knowledge doesn’t equal intimacy and lack of intimacy equals lack of trust. 

I compare this to our closest relationship. For me, this is Jake. I don’t trust him just because of what I know about him, I trust him because I know him. I know him better than most. I see things most do not and vice versa. There is a trust exchange much like between Abraham and the Lord. 

When you look at your life, can you say that you fully and intimately know the Lord? In that intimacy with Jesus comes the trust exchange.

Do you have that? 

Charles Swindoll’s book “So You Want to Be Like Christ” dives into the notion that knowledge does not equal intimacy. He says in chapter three, while focusing on slowing our pace through silence and solitude, that “If you refuse to be still, if you do not seek times for silence and solitude, you may gain some knowledge about God without knowing Him at all”.

Abraham knew the Lord intimately and, therefore, the depth of trust was built. Asking Abraham to leave his home may have been scary and filled with uncertainty, but it was nothing compared to knowing and trusting his Lord and following after Him. 

Where are you? Are you filled with a depth of intimacy that allows for a trust exchange to grow or are you focused on knowledge and pride of pedigree?

As you read through Abraham’s story, put yourself in his shoes and see what your choice would be.

Kelly Lawson

October 22 – Say What Now? – “Build an Ark and I’ll Bring the Flood”

Read Genesis 9:6-22

We often see Noah’s ark depicted as a cartoon type of boat with a giraffe’s head sticking out of the top and an elephant squeezed onto the deck with a lion standing beside. It was really hard to imagine how large the ark would have been, let alone how 8 people could have possibly taken care of that many animals, feeding them and keeping them from killing each other. 

The details leave us with more questions than answers. How could such a vehicle be designed and constructed without modern equipment or computers? How could all of the animals fit in there?

Two summers ago, we took our grandkids to see the replica of the Ark that is on display in Kentucky and it all started to make sense. It is a sight to behold and, once you are inside, all your questions will disappear. 

We don’t know how much knowledge Noah had about ship building, but looking at this replica, one knows that, no matter how smart Noah was, there had to be divine intervention. However, building the ship isn’t the most important lesson learned from the story.  Noah’s willingness to say, “Yes!” to God, even when it seemed like an impossible task, should be the model for all of us.

Although the story of Noah centers around the Ark as it was a true masterpiece of man’s making, what was inside – eight righteous people – was God’s masterpiece that He wanted to preserve.

I can’t help thinking what it must have been like for the people who were not in the ark. I can’t even imagine how horrible it was for them to be drowning literally because of their sin.  They had no hope of being rescued. No chance of a passing lifeboat to take them aboard. Not even any chance of grabbing ahold of a tree or higher ground to climb up on!

No hope of survival.

That is the way some people feel today.  They are drowning in their whirlpool of one sin after another.  Maybe they have hardened their hearts and closed their ears to anything that people have said to try to help them.  It might be someone in a far-off land or your next-door neighbor.  Maybe it is someone in your own family. Just because a person has a smile on their face doesn’t mean that they aren’t dying inside.  They may have lost hope and can’t see a bright future for themselves.  There have been so many people dying lately of an overdose of drugs or committing suicide. How very sad that is!

We, who are believers in Christ, are in His lifeboat and should be on a search and rescue mission.  Instead of turning our backs on people who are drowning in sin, we need to be seeking and reaching out to them. Like Noah, when God shows us who He wants us to talk to or befriend, we should without hesitation say, “Yes!” It takes a lot of courage to put yourself out there, but, just like Noah, God will be there to guide you and give you the strength and knowledge you need. Are you willing to reach out your hand, introduce the lost to the real first responder, Jesus, and pull them into the boat of eternal life?

Their life depends on it because, when the rain comes, it’s too late.

Pat Arnold