March 12 – Hard Questions 2.0 – “Everyone knows Jesus was a good man and wise teacher…but Son of God?”

Read John 10:25, 33 and Mark 14:61

I’ve heard it said, more than once, that Jesus was a great man, teacher and prophet.

However, Jesus clearly claimed to be God in many places in the Bible!

In John 10, there is a group of Jews around Jesus and they say to Him: “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” In verse 25 Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep.” Then in verse 33, in answer to Jesus asking for what miracles were they stoning Him, their answer was “We are not stoning you for any of these” replied the Jews, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.”

Another time Jesus claims to be God is in Mark 14 when standing trial before the religious leaders. In verse 61, the high priest asks Jesus “Are you the Christ, the Son of the blessed One?”

“I am” said Jesus. The people listening all knew Jesus was claiming to be God so they condemned Him to death.

These are just two examples of Jesus claiming to be God, there are others.

So, what do we do with this?

Jesus didn’t say He was a teacher or a prophet, He says “I am God!”

If I were to tell you “I am God”, what would you think of me? You’d probably think I was crazy and you would be right. With Jesus, there is no middle ground, He either was and is God OR He was a lunatic!

Enough with this stuff that He was just a good man and a good teacher. Jesus claimed to be God and He proved it by dying on the cross and then raising from the dead after three days, just as He said He would!

Jesus also said:

“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

John 14:6

So, the ball is now in our court. We can choose to believe that Jesus is God or that He was just a man. Not deciding is the same as not believing.

Our eternity hangs in the balance and if Jesus is God, which I totally believe He is, then He is the only way to peace with God the Father and therefore the only way to heaven.

What are YOU going to do with Jesus? What place is He going to have in your life? What impact does Jesus being God have on your outlook on faith?

Mike Molter

January 23 – Prayers of Jesus – To Start the Morning

Read Mark 1:35-36 and Matthew 5:21-42

Since I have a pride problem that I am working to solve, I often don’t need anybody to give me directions. After all, I am in a hurry. I really don’t need your directions or advice.

With that pathetic attitude, Birdie and I recently set out for a 25-minute walk to visit a venue in a big American city. I didn’t need directions because we made the same city walk 5 years ago. Why would we need directions? I knew the way through the city! We started walking and, after about half an hour, Birdie says, “Let’s check our GPS.” Then the GPS took us away from our destination because of similar names. So, then I started asking people (3 total) on the street for directions. By the time we got there and then walked back, I had walked 7 miles.

If you follow God’s directions for life, you can enjoy His blessings and be a blessing to others. And when you are beginning a journey, the best time to get good directions is before you begin.

Start each day waiting and seeking directions from God. This involves patience, time and prayer. Set the tone for your day and how you will live, act and how you will speak. Your words are a big key in how your day is going to go.

“Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this…shine.”Matthew 5:14-16

Shine. Be different. Start your day with God by reading the Bible for direction and talking with God. That is how to shine and be different in a dark and selfish world.

Begin your day with gratitude and by laying your requests before God. Listen to Him. Follow Jesus’ directions for life by reading the Bible every day. To follow the straight path that God has designed for us in the Bible is efficient and it keeps us from wasting our time and energy. The Bible is sacred! It is an anthology – a compilation of texts – that include instructions, stories, poetry, and prophecies. It is different than our world.

“While it was still night, way before dawn, he got up and went out to a secluded spot and prayed.”Mark 1:35

“Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.” Proverbs 3:6

Tom Weckesser

December 17 – Honoring God – With our love

Read Psalm 51:10 and Mark 12: 30-31

Brandon’s parents divorced when he was three years old, and he was raised by his mother for six years before she remarried. He said that during his early life, he grew bitter towards his family, but in high school he converted to Christianity, learned forgiveness and then forgave his parents.

He was given a guitar as a Christmas gift at the age of 13, and around the same time he began writing his first songs. He was a choir member at his school and was encouraged by his music teacher to pursue music.

Brandon was invited to a “Young Life” camp as a teenager where he “heard about Jesus for the first time” and he says that Young Life “showed me Christ and got me plugged into a church”. After high school, he became a Young Life leader and is still involved with this ministry.

Brandon Heath started writing songs such as Give Me Your Eyes – songs about honoring God with your love and with your eyes. It was nominated for numerous awards. It’s about how our lives can be full of confusion and chaos. And all those people in our lives – going somewhere – he asks, “Why have I never cared?”

He asks God to “Give me Your eyes for just one second, Give me Your eyes so I can see, Everything that I keep missing – Give Your love for humanity.”

Our love is really all we have to give to people!

We can pray for others and give them our love, our time, our listening skills, our interest, our resources and our hospitality. I can put down my device and I can make sure they know how much I love them. I can serve them, rejoice with them and mourn with them. I can introduce them to Jesus (See John 1:35-42).

That is what we can give people – our love.

We honor God by loving others. Jesus said, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” – John 13:35

We can honor God through obedience. Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commands.” – John 14:15

We can honor God with humility. Jesus said, “God blesses those who are humble, for they will inherit the whole earth.” – Matthew 5:5

We can honor God with our eyes. Jesus said, “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light”. – Matthew 6:22

There are hurting people practically everywhere. Do we see them? Are we prepared to honor God by acting and demonstrating God’s love?

How do you honor God?

Tom Weckesser

August 22 – Heaven FAQ’s – What will life be like for those who don’t go to Heaven?

Read Luke 16:19-31 and Mark 9:42-49

I don’t remember a lot of firsts in my life like learning to read, walk, sing, ride a bike or swim.  To me, I have always been able to do those things. Likewise, I don’t remember not being able to talk to God. I’ve prayed for friends who were hurting or for God to give me strength to get through tough times since I was little. As a young child, I remember talking to God many times while riding my bike up and down a side street in our neighborhood.

Through the years, our conversations have gotten more complex, along with my professional, financial and parental worries.

Talking to Him and feeling His presence with me has always brought me comfort and assurance that, no matter what, He would be right beside me.

Sometimes He would ask me to do things. Sometimes I would question the reason or my abilities, but He always came through and equipped me for whatever I needed to complete the task.

One time, however, was different.  I can’t remember what it was that God was urging me to do, but I do remember I was not eager to do it.  Everywhere I turned, He was reminding me of the task I did not want to do.  If I turned on the TV, there it was.  If I read a book, it would appear in the text.  If I was talking to a friend, there it was again. I felt like I was in a bad Jim Carrey movie!

As I was driving to work one day, I turned on the radio and there it was again!  I had had it! And without thinking I shouted, “God, just leave me alone!” Just that fast I shouted, ” NO!”  Because right there on Oak Hill Road in Wooster, Ohio all alone in my car, I truly believe that God gave me a glimpse of what it would be like totally without God!

Oh, there weren’t any little men running around with pitch forks and with horns on their heads.  I didn’t stick around long enough to feel the fire, but it was real!

It was just a total absence of God, and I couldn’t stand it for even a millisecond!   There was total emptiness, total despair, total isolation rolled all into one.

How sad it is for people around us who don’t know God, who feel that emptiness, despair, and isolation every day here on Earth.  Their financial condition has nothing to do with their “Heart for God” condition. I know some very financially poor people who are millionaires spiritually!

All the money in the world can’t buy you a ticket into heaven and spare you from hell’s fire.  Like with the rich man in the passage, once you die, it is too late to change courses.

It is up to us to introduce people we meet to our God and His Son Jesus before it is too late!

Hell is more than a cuss word.  It is a real place and you definitely don’t want to live there eternally!

Pat Arnold

July 4 – Names of Jesus – Prophet

Read Mark 6:1-6

Jesus showed up in His hometown with His 12 best friends. He began to teach. His authority was from God, not other humans.

He was a hit, impressing practically everyone. “We had no idea He was this good!” they said. “How did He get so wise all of a sudden, get such ability?”

But in the next breath they were finding fault with Him: “He’s just a carpenter—Mary’s boy. We’ve known Him since He was a kid. We know His brothers, James, Justus, Jude, and Simon, and his sisters. Who does He think He is?” (Mark 6:1-3 MSG).

Even after all the miracles of healing which Jesus worked, He still was not accepted even in His own town. As He taught in the synagogue, there the audience was amazed how this ordinary man, whom they knew as a carpenter, could attain such wisdom. They rejected Him.

Why? Perhaps they did not know what He had done. Perhaps they were jealous. But they did not welcome Him, even though He was a prophet and the Son of God. At a later time, He entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?” The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth.”

A prophet is a spokesman for God (Exodus 7:1 and John 4:19). The teachings of Jesus apply to us today:

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”.   Mark 10:45 NIV
(Jesus was a servant)

“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6. (Jesus is the only way).

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”.  Matthew 6:33
(Our priorities are important).

“…let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”.   Matthew 5:16 NIV
(Our daily attitude can positively affect others)

“… Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”. Mark 12:30
(The greatest commandment).

“Love your neighbor as yourself.” Mark 12:31.
(A great way to live).

Tom Weckesser

Questions to consider:

  • What does this name of Jesus mean to you?
  • Where did Jesus receive His authority and why is that so important?
  • Based on the shared definition of a prophet, how can you be one today? Who can you bring closer to Christ?

April 15 – Easter Week – Good Friday

Editor:  This week is Easter Week, also called Passion Week and Holy Week.  During each day this week, Every Day with God will focus on some of the events involving Jesus on the different days of this week, which ultimately led to His death and resurrection. 

Read Mark 15:21-40

On Good Friday, Jesus was crucified on Golgotha, which means the Place of the Skull (Mark 15:22) The sky turned dark for three hours (Mark 15:33). Jesus cried, “Father! Into your hands I commit my spirit!” and He died (Luke 23:46).

But why did Jesus have to die?

From a human perspective, the Jewish leaders plotted against him, Judas betrayed Him, Herod and Pilate tried Him, and the Roman soldiers executed Him. As Luke puts it, “Wicked men put him to death by nailing him to the cross” (Acts 2:23).

But Acts 2:23 says, Jesus was “handed over by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge.” To understand the death of Christ, we have to understand that He died for two main reasons:

1. Jesus Died to Bring Us Near to God.

The Apostle Paul declares: “You who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ” (Eph. 2:13).  All humans stand condemned before God. Our sins separate us from Him whose character is holy and perfect.  

By shedding His blood on the cross, Jesus took the punishment we deserve and offered us His righteousness. He died for us…. in our place.  To bring us near to God, “Christ died for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous” (1 Pet. 3:18). If “the unrighteous” is all of us, “the righteous” is Jesus Himself.

When we trust Christ for our salvation, we are making a trade. By faith, we trade our sin and its death penalty for His righteousness and life. This is called the “substitutionary atonement.”

Christ died on the cross as our substitute. Without Him, we would suffer the death penalty for our own sins. “He [God] made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

The writer to the Hebrews puts it another way: “And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (Hebrews 9:22).

Some object, “Shedding blood seems so barbaric. Is it really necessary? Why doesn’t God simply forgive us?” Because God is holy, He must judge sin.  At the cross, God poured out His judgment on His Son, satisfying His own wrath and making it possible for Him to forgive us.

But there’s even more…

2. Jesus Died to Reveal God’s Infinite Love.

God reveals His majesty and power in creation.  His promises to Abraham show His concern for the whole world. But at the cross, we witness the final and dramatic proof of His love and justice.

Romans makes this clear: “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). Christ’s death puts beyond all doubt the fact that God loves us.

God doesn’t forgive us by turning a blind eye to our sin or by overlooking it. Forgiveness is costly. At the cross we see not only God’s love, but also the seriousness with which He takes our sin.

Where would we be if God had not sent His Son to die for us? Without the cross, we’d be “darkened in our understanding of God and alienated from the life of God” (Eph. 4:18).

The death of Jesus simply changes everything. I pray each of us will join Paul in saying, “I will never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Gal. 6:14).

Bob Fetterhoff

April 11 – Easter Week – Monday

Editor:  This week is Easter Week, also called Passion Week and Holy Week.  During each day this week, Every Day with God will focus on some of the events involving Jesus on the different days of this week, which ultimately led to His death and resurrection. 

Read Mark 11:13-18

Do you know that God sometimes gets angry? When asked to describe God, people often say, “God is love.”  And He is!  But, contrary to what some believe, that’s not His only quality. Among many other ways He is described, God is also holy!

God is not some gentle, soft spoken grandfather-in-the-sky with a casual indifference to what is happening here on earth.  When things in this world get radically twisted from what He planned, it angers Him!

Does it surprise you to learn that Jesus got angry?  While walking from Bethany to Jerusalem on Monday of Holy Week, He cursed a fruitless fig tree. Jesus knew that fig trees bear fruit twice a year — in June and September. This was April.  Even unripened fruit should have still been available for Him to eat, yet it was fruitless, so Jesus cursed the tree.

In the same way, the nation of Israel was professing to be fruitful and faithful (waving palm leaves as He entered their city), yet the Jewish people were fruitless in practicing their faith.  Someone wrote, “Profession without practice was the curse of the Jews.”   A few days later, the Jewish leaders would deny their King and crucify Him.

Nowhere is God‘s distaste for religious hypocrisy more evident than when Jesus cleansed the Temple on Monday of Holy Week. When He arrived at the Temple, he found the courts full of corrupt money changers. He began overthrowing their tables and cleared the Temple by saying, “My temple will be a house of prayer,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves” (Luke 19:46).  Apparently, the merchants had forgotten whose house the Temple was!

The events on Monday of Easter Week set up the events which happened on Thursday. By clearing the temple, Jesus criticized the leaders who allowed and promoted the activity happening in the Temple. He rebuked the religious leaders and told a parable meant to criticize them (Matthew 21:45-46).

The religious leaders had been concerned about Jesus before this, but His actions on Monday and Tuesday of Holy Week clinched it. They wanted him dead!

So why did Jesus flip the tables?

1. The religious leaders were turning what was supposed to be God’s house of prayer into a marketplace! 

  • It had even become a place where those selling animals and exchanging currency were ripping off the people. Greedy merchants probably cheated their buyers whenever they could, especially during the feasts when pilgrims from far away crowded the temple area.
  • Was Jesus upset at the Temple becoming a market place?  Sure!  Was Jesus upset that there was dishonest gain and “robbery” happening in the market place?  Absolutely.  Was Jesus upset that the religious leaders of His day were part of the problem in the Temple?  Yes! Most likely, it was a combination of all the above.

2. The market cut off the Gentiles from their place of worshipping the God of Israel. 

  • The court of Gentiles was a promised worship location for the Gentiles, built specifically in the Temple for those outside the Jewish faith to worship the God of Israel! They were supposed to be included, but were restricted by the practices taking place at the Temple. 

Here are some crucial questions for all of us, based on these events from Monday of Easter Week:

  1. Do I create barriers in my life that distract people from seeing the presence of God?
  2. Does the profession of my mouth match the attitudes in my heart before God?
  3. Are my personal resources used in a wise, God-glorifying way?

Bob Fetterhoff

April 10 – Easter Week – Palm Sunday

Read Mark 11:1-11 

Palm Sunday!

Instantly most of us think of palm branches, donkeys and Easter. It’s one of the best recognized Christian holidays on our calendar.

In some churches, children hear the story in Sunday school, wave palm branches while marching through the aisles of a worship service and picture themselves welcoming Jesus into Jerusalem. Nothing substitutes, however, for actually standing on the Mount of Olives to imagine the scene on the first Palm Sunday 2000 years ago. It’s a moving moment, even for the stoics.

The shouts of the crowd long ago provide some of the most familiar words in the Bible: “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Mark 11:9b).  Zechariah’s prediction was fulfilled in this moment: “See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, and a colt, the fall of a donkey” (Zechariah 9:9b).

What was behind the events of that first Palm Sunday? Some Bible students believe that, when the people waved palm branches, they were making a political statement – like waving a national flag to commemorate when the Maccabees revolted against Antiochus, the Syrian tyrant. After all, palm branches were used to celebrate that victory!

For sure, some in the crowd hoped that Jesus would reestablish the glory of the Davidic kingdom to Israel. They thought He might be the One to fulfill the words of Isaiah: “In the last days the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and all nations will stream to it.” (Isaiah 2:2).

The first coming of Christ was not designed to establish a political kingdom, however. In the eternal plan of the Father, Jesus came as a Suffering Servant who would be “…pierced for our transgressions, …crushed for our iniquities”. (Isaiah 53:5). Clearly “the Lord laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6b).

A few days after that first Palm Sunday, the religious leaders stirred up the crowd to yell, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” Talk about the whim of public opinion!  Is it hard to imagine that some of the same people who wanted to crown Jesus as king demanded His death a few days later?

Well, it’s not hard for me.  As I look honestly at the cracks, crevices and corners of my life, I see the inconsistency, rebellion and sin in my own heart. I recognize that, at times, I “speak out of both sides of my mouth.”  I pledge undying love and loyalty to my Lord and Savior yet still choose to disobey his clear guidance for my life. 

I understand what Paul meant when he said:

“I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me” (Romans 7:21-24). 

Is there any hope?  Am I just doomed to imitate the fickleness of the 1st Century crowd that ultimately called for the crucifixion of my Lord?  

The only answer is to immerse my heart, mind and soul with the following words of Romans: “Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord…Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 7:25;8:1-2).

Bob Fetterhoff

February 20 – Gospel Readthrough – Mark 16-Luke 4 Review

The day after Christmas, Jeff Walter challenged us to draw closer to God by reading through the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John leading up to Easter.

This week, you read Mark 15 through Luke 4.

We thought that it would be important, as we continue to make our way through the gospels, more specifically Matthew, to pause once a week to reflect over what we have read so far.

A huge part of reading the Bible, or internalizing any kind of biblical truth for that matter, is application. How are you applying what you’ve read to your life? In what way are you going to become a more fully devoted follower of Christ as a result of your reading?

So, whenever you are reading this Sunday, February 20th, what lessons are you taking away from Mark 15 through Luke 4? What stood out to you? What do you have questions about? I know there are a lot of takeaways from these chapters, but I challenge you to focus on even just one.

Take today to reflect on this past week’s readings and pray for God to open your heart and ideas to the principles you will receive this next week as we read chapters 5-10.

Thanks for taking on this challenge!

FYI, we have a private Facebook group for this challenge where people can interact with others and share what they’re learning. If you are interested in joining this group, email Sharon ( to receive an invite!

Jake Lawson

February 15 – Gospel Readthrough – Mark 16

Read Mark 16:1-20

“He has risen. He is not here.”

I very much enjoyed it when Phil Wickman sang at our church a few years ago. He sang about Jesus and the songs encouraged me about living my life in a way that honors Him. The next year, Birdie and I and some friends went to Akron to see MercyMe in concert. They also sing about Jesus.  They sing about Easter. Singing can be a thankful expression of freedom.

His Name Is Jesus is a song about Easter by Phil Wickman:

“The King is in the room,

Come see the scars of love upon His hands,

We’ll watch the darkness flee at His command,

Who is this King?”

“His name is Jesus,

Light of the world,

There’s freedom in His name.”

When Jesus appeared to the disciples after the resurrection – what a moment that must have been!

“The hands of the resurrected Jesus had scars on them… ‘Look at my hands; look at my feet—it’s really me. Touch me. Look me over from head to toe’…As He said this, He showed them His hands and feet…” (from Luke 24: 36-41 Jesus Appears to The Disciples).

How is there freedom in the name of Christ?

“…there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.”

Romans 8:1

The freedom in His name is explained here:

“And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.”

Romans 8:2

So, the Spirit of Jesus Christ frees you from the sin that we all are guilty of. As a Christian you are free from your past. You once were lost. Now you are found and free!

David Crowder also sings about the same life-giving freedom that Christ offers – from sin’s power that leads to death – in his song PROVE IT:

“If you’re free prove it,

If you’re not lose the chains on your soul –

Come, freedom.”

The fact is that in Mark 16, the resurrection is about freedom. It is about freedom from sin. You and I have an opportunity to be free from sin through Jesus Christ. By asking Him into our lives, we can take the step to freedom from sin.

The apostle John, “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (John 13:23) wrote about it in John 8:36 –

“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”

The King is in the room!

Tom Weckesser