May 16 – Defining Moments – Nathan and David

Read Psalm 51:1-19 and 2 Samuel 12:1-14

Until Nathan confronted him, David was stuck in his own secret prison of shame from the darkness of what he’d done. “For I know my transgression, and my sin is always before me,” he’d written in Psalm 51. Not only had he taken the wife of another man, he’d secretly had that man murdered. So, I have to wonder if the exposing of David’s secret sins released a high-pressure valve in his heart as Nathan spoke on behalf of God.

All the shame and the guilt David had been carrying alone was found out.

Murder, adultery, lying, deceit.

He’d been trying to hide it in his heart, but God had seen it all. As soon as David heard that God knew his secrets, he was undone. So, he quickly confessed. And David’s broken confession became wholehearted repentance, a turning point for him.

“I have sinned against the LORD.”

2 Sam. 12:13a

We know from what he wrote in Psalm 51 that he missed the intimacy he had enjoyed with the Lord for so long. And so, spirit-crushed and utterly broken, David affirmed his wrongdoing and was forgiven just as soon as it was said.

“Nathan replied, ‘The LORD has taken away your sin.’”

2 Sam. 12:13b

David was a broken man who had fallen hard into sin and guilt and shame. I imagine it was among the darkest times of his life. But his brokenness was all that God required.

“My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.”

Ps. 51:17

David needed to turn from his pride and stop trying to keep his shameful secrets from the only One who could save him from them.

Perhaps you can relate to the darkness of secret shame and the isolated prison of guilt. Maybe you need a turning point, too. Maybe you’re tired of trying to hide it from the God who already sees it. If so, this good news is for you! Come clean with God. Just agree with Him about the shame, let Him know that you know. Tell Him that you’re broken and seek forgiveness. He is ready to restore you, to walk you to the turning point just like He did with David. It’s time to turn to Him and let Him rebuild you.

It’s time for God to make you new.

Bria Wasson

November 19 – Prayer for my Kids – Hunger for the Word

Read Psalm 119:9-16

There is so much pressure on you as a parent. You are crafting the mind and heart of a child and teaching them how to live and make sense of this world.

At the time of this writing, I am 29 years old and I still am learning from my parents. Their wisdom is unparalleled. They are the people who crafted my mind and heart into what it is today and taught me how to make sense of this world. Now, I have a son of my own and I am teaching him how things work and why certain things happen. I want Mattie to always be able to come up to Dad and ask about anything.

However, I want him, one day, to value his Heavenly Father’s opinion more than his dad’s.

I want both Mattie and Emma to have a hunger for the Word of their heavenly Father. I hope they understand that, while I love them more than anything in this world, I am human and make mistakes. I hope that, when they encounter trials in their life, they have a desire to please and honor God above me.

“With my lips I recount all the laws that come from your mouth.”

I recently remember a stressful situation I was in. I was trying to calmly operate through it but I could feel my anxiety rising, almost to the boiling point. I was seconds away from bursting out in tears when I could almost hear the sound logic of my dad in my mind, “Settle down. Take a breath. Handle one thing at a time. What are we going to do?” It was seriously as if he was there with me.

I hope Mattie and Emma internalize Scripture to the point that it comes out when they encounter real life situations. I hope that they will hear the voice of their heavenly Father in their heart and they follow His guidance.

So much in this world is based off human logic and emotion and not that of God. I earnestly pray that Mattie and Emma aren’t dragged away into this way of thinking. I pray that they would see through the cloud and see the light of truth.

Pray that your kids have a hunger for God’s Word. In what way are you crafting their hearts and minds and teaching them how to make sense of this world? Are you pointing them to Christ? Do they see the authority of Scripture?

Talk about being for the next generation! What if the next generation understood the authority of Scripture and held it in high regard? What if they based their lives and decision making off of its content?

That’s a next generation that is bright.

Jake Lawson

October 22 – I Will Remember: Because of God, the Future Is Bright!

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 Psalms 27:13-14, Psalms 31:24, Psalms 121:1-2

He had lost everything, his family had been broken, and he had been imprisoned. And yet two centuries ago, when a reporter asked missionary Adoniram Judson what would happen to Burma (where he served for 40 years) after war had devastated the land, he exclaimed, “The future is as bright as the promises of God!”

What faith has to offer us is the ability to see and to believe that our reality today will not last forever. When all is dark around us and those near us cry “We are perishing!” we can lift our eyes up to the hills as the Psalmist did and repeat, “…where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth” (Ps. 121:1-2).

None of us knows what the future holds. None of us can say that after great tragedy life will be the same. ‘Normal’ becomes relative and sometimes must be drastically redefined. 

What we do know is that we have a God who promises to be with us, throughout all generations, who never changes, and who is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Psalm 27:13 says, “I believe that I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living!” It’s a radical faith that looks at God’s work throughout history and remembers that after all tragedy, life continues. It is a radical faith that accepts that ‘normal’ may be difficult for a while, but nonetheless believes that difficult does not mean ‘absent from God’s goodness.’ 

The tragedy of this moment screams at us that this is all there is. It mocks us and woos us into thinking that tomorrow is but a darkened room where none can enter. 

Nothing could be further from the truth. There is a tomorrow, and despite what our hearts keep telling us, it is bright. Because God is in it. His goodness is in it. “Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord” (Ps. 27:14).

Questions for Reflection

Do you believe that the future is as bright as the promises of God? What does this mean on a day-to-day basis for you? 

How can we remind those around us that the goodness of the Lord will come, and in fact, has come?

October 19 – I Will Remember: He Makes Everything Beautiful in Its Time

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 Ecclesiastes 3:1-11, Psalms 30:5

C.S. Lewis once wrote, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains; it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” Verse 11 of Ecclesiastes 3 is the culmination of a set of contrasting pairs meant to assure us that everything that happens is pregnant with meaning: “He has made everything beautiful in his time.” A time to be born and a time to die, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time for war and a time for peace. What, though, is beautiful about war or death, or killing or giving up, or throwing away or tearing down? 

Those of us who have gone through difficult times on a personal scale, and now many of us dealing with uncertainty on a global scale, can attest to the fact that tragedy and loss are never pleasing. Over and over in the Psalms, we see David expressing the enormity of his grief, anger, fear, anxiety, and depression to God. But over and over, we see the culminating effect of this pouring out of emotion to God: praise and discovering yet another reason we need God.

What is beautiful about war and death and everything bad that comes our way is that we are allowed to go deeper in our faith than we ever could in good times. When we are financially stable and loved by others, when we are healthy and have job security, our tendencies are to stray from complete and utter dependence upon God. This is simply human nature.

We drift unless something—Someone—continually finds a way to pull us back to the anchor of our souls. How many of us, after all, can look back on difficult times and see marking points of when our faith was richer and deeper? 

We cannot go so far as to say that war itself is beautiful. Or that a natural disaster is. Or that cancer is. Or that mass disease is. What we can say is that through these ashes is the possibility of God doing things beyond what we “can ask or imagine.”

We are forced into a place of dependence, and when we do so, we find our God has been waiting for us to run into his arms the whole time. Thus begins a new level of trust and faith that we would have never experienced otherwise.

Questions for Reflection

In the brokenness of our world today, where can you see glimpses of the beauty of which Ecclesiastes 3 is speaking? 

How can you speak that beauty into the lives of those around you who are dealing with fear and anxiety?

October 5 – Living Courageously – Self or God Confidence

Read Psalm 56:3-4 and 2 Timothy 1:7

 “Have confidence in yourself and faith in your ability to succeed.”

This is a slogan we used while coaching high school boys’ basketball. This slogan was plastered on the front of the bus so, whenever you would get on or off the bus, you would see it. It may have helped our boys become a little more confident when we played road games on a different court in front of fans who were rooting for the other team. It was hard to measure whether signs like that helped. It was definitely a positive sign and It could help young people think in a positive way.

We talked about Jesus and encouraged our players to have a positive attitude and be self-confident with poems like IF by Rudyard Kipling and THE MAN WHO THINKS HE CAN by Walter Wintle. We hoped and prayed that the same message would carry over and into their lives as they moved into adulthood.

We would pray before every game. That is the key idea! We would pray The Lord’s Prayer together in the locker room after every game. We talked about God and how He is always with you (Romans 8:31). We tried our best to model confidence and faith in God.

When a person has God-confidence, he is depending completely upon God and His strength to handle the things in life. It’s not about your strength or the confidence that you put into earthly things. God is at work in your circumstances. Having a worldly focus means putting your confidence into things like money, education, people, and appearance among other things. To have confidence in God and in ourselves is something many of us lack at times.  Even Timothy seemed to lack confidence at times.

“God doesn’t want us to be shy with his gifts, but bold and loving and sensible.”

2 Timothy 1:5-7 MSG

So, focus on God’s truth.

Self-talk can help you become more confident and more dependent on God (2 Cor 10:5b). Memorize and repeat scripture verses and worship songs to yourself. Repeat it in your mind. Scripture and prayer are our weapons!

While teaching high school seniors, I would stand in front of about 25 students and sometimes I was not real confident. By repeating the lyrics to a worship song, it would give me more self-confidence and God-confidence, knowing that I’m working for God, not men (see Col 3:23). One example is a song titled “Here’s My Heart Lord” by Casting Crowns: (video below)

“Here’s my heart, Lord

Speak what is true,

I am found, I am Yours,

I am loved, I’m made pure,

I have life, I can breathe,

I am healed, I am free.

Here’s my heart, Lord

Speak what is true.”

Live with courage. Encourage yourself and others with self-confidence and God-confidence.

Pray for God’s guidance!

Why not start now?

Tom Weckesser

October 4 – Living Courageously – Daily Bible Study

Read Psalms 119:105 and Matthew 4:4

Why is daily Bible study so hard? I really think it is one of the enemy’s greatest tricks. No matter how great the experiences we have had in the past, at some point, we will begin to feel it is monotonous. Maybe we will get turned off by a weird chapter that doesn’t mesh with our present culture or we begin to feel the temptation that it is more beneficial to just listen to a podcast by our favorite speaker or worship from our favorite playlist.

Hopefully, by mentioning these common roadblocks, you can breathe a sigh of relief.

You are not alone.

This is an overused, unoriginal attack of the enemy. You need to label it and fight against it. Fight toward The Word. You are not having a crisis of faith. Rather your faith is being fought for.

We read in the verses above that the Word is literally as important as eating food. We know that without eating food we will die.

Pretty important, eh?

But, if I’m being honest, I don’t just need food, I love food. A pancake breakfast? A Chic-Fil-A lunch? A juicy steak dinner? Any of these sound insanely tempting but being told to read my Bible daily can feel as if I’m on some sort of spiritual diet.

Why is this?

The answer is simple. It’s because Satan doesn’t want you reading your Bible!

We need to stop approaching our Bible time as reading mere words on a page. This time is a doorway that leads to a personal relationship with the Creator of the Universe. This is not a collection of stories for entertainment or antidotes for self-help. God wants to communicate with you through His Words.

Literally.

The Word is “a lamp to your feet and a light on your (daily) path” It is a compass to your day. When we read our Bible, it is like putting an address into a navigation system and asking for directions.

Right now, pray out loud, “Lord, speak to me. What do you want to say to me that will guide my day today?” Now begin reading in your Bible wherever you feel led and read until a verse pops out. This may be immediate or this may be several chapters deep. But you will feel a flutter in your gut. A moment that is not “from you”. This is the Holy Spirit speaking to you through His Word. He is giving you your direction. It will be to a person, to a prayer, to a truth within, to a destination that needs dealt with TODAY.

Now, this is getting exciting!

Welcome to daily Bible study… enjoy the ride.

Nate Torrence

September 28 – Living Courageously – Be Bold and Confident

Read Psalms 23:1-6 and 1 Corinthians 15:58

If I were to ask you to imagine a bold and confident person, what are the characteristics that come to mind?

In my head I think of a warrior of some type. One who is setting the pace of their battle with confrontation rather than being forced to react to it. A gladiator of action. But after reading the verses above, I am presented with a different perspective: one I believe to be the true imagery of boldness and confidence.

Psalms 23 contains one of my favorite word pictures:

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies

Now, to me, that is a pretty strong example of boldness. When in the presence of my enemies, I will not be planning an attack nor will I be planning a defense to their attack. Instead, I will go sit at a table God has prepared for me and nonchalantly eat a meal right in the center of the room. I trust in His perspective on the situation so much, I will throw out any notion of fear or retaliation and sit with my sword on the ground. I will defuse the room and my own anxieties. I hate to eat when I’m nervous.

So, what a true example of inner peace, to actually EAT in that environment.

In 1 Corinthians, Paul gives us a similar visual of a spiritual warrior when he says: “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you.” We might want to label this as some sort of “act of stubbornness” (IE: YOU CAN NEVER GET ME TO MOVE OR CHANGE MY MIND!) But I believe Paul is referencing the ability to walk straight into the center of an “unsafe for Christians” environment and not be shaken. To be calm in the eye of the storm… to have enough self-control to stand firm and not be moved!

What is your definition of being bold and confident? Is it more sword swinging than table sharing?

When was the last time you had a conversation with someone of a different political view or religion? Could you talk about hot topics without being overrun by your own emotions? What good is a perspective if we lack the ability to convey it in a calm, inoffensive way? I encourage you to be more than just a person with opinions. Seek perspective based within actual relationships.

That, to me, is the true definition of a bold and confident spiritual warrior.

Never forget, our most poignant spiritual battles have nothing to do with who we defeat and everything to do with who we save.

Nate Torrence

September 8 – A Changing Culture – Handling Success

Read Matthew 6:33, Proverbs 16:3 and Psalm 101:5b

“Just bought a book on narcissism. It’s great. It’s all about me.”

Have you ever watched the old video segments of The Beatles in 1963 from The Ed Sullivan show? You would see that these guys were hungry for success and had worked hard to produce pleasant music. They were young and ready to make some money. They were enthusiastic, excited and singing love songs such as THIS BOY (my favorite), SHE LOVES YOU and I WANT TO HOLD YOUR HAND.

Then, as I watched old video segments from 1965 through 1969, their attitudes changed. A lot of my friends say that their music got even better but what I saw were guys who weren’t as hungry and excited. They were burnt out. How could they not have been burnt out with the fame they experienced?

As they approached 1970 when the band broke up, they became drug addicts. Their music changed from love songs to drug songs such as LUCY IN THE SKY WITH DIAMONDS, WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIENDS and DAY TRIPPER. Many people liked the music better. I didn’t. What changed?

Then on March 4, 1966 The Beatles’ John Lennon said, “We are more popular than Jesus.”

Reactions included radio stations banning Beatles music and rallies of boys and girls stomping on their records and bonfires of Beatles material.


Audio Adrenaline, a band of 5 Christian men aged twentysomething, sang a song titled NEVER GONNA BE AS BIG AS JESUS in 1996. This song was a response to The Beatles’ claim that they were bigger than Jesus.

“Never gonna be as big as Jesus

Never gonna hold the world in my hands

Never gonna be as big as Jesus

Never gonna build the promise land

But that, that’s all right, O.K. with me.

I could build a tower to heaven

Get on top and touch the sky

I could write a million songs

All designed to glorify

I could be about as good

Good as any human could

But that won’t get me by.”

How do you handle success? Do you work to avoid arrogance? When you become successful, it is natural to become arrogant and not realize it – too much pride, personal superiority and thinking you are more important than others.

But Jesus said to seek Him first:

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

That is how to avoid arrogance and handle success in a modest way.

In 2021, we have a culture that has changed. Arrogance and narcissism seem to be common. Jesus said to seek Him first.

Pray for humility!

As Christians, many parts of our life are UPSIDE DOWN from the rest of the world.

Avoid arrogance.

Do you seek Him first in all that you do?

Tom Weckesser

September 7 – A Changing Culture – Heartache

Read Psalm 34:18

Do you ever feel like life just hits you where it hurts?

Like you’re walking down the street, minding your own business, just enjoying your day and, all of a sudden, life comes up and punches you in the gut? The punch was so hard you lost your breath and completely fell to your knees. You’ve forgotten where you were going and what you were doing.

Hopefully you haven’t literally, randomly been punched in the gut that you dropped to your knees, but perhaps it sounds familiar because you’ve also had this feeling. Life is just hard. Sometimes it’s so painful and it was something you weren’t expecting. Those painful moments in life completely change everything.

Not just for that day, but forever.

Think about the most painful time in your life. For some of you, this thought comes quickly and maybe you think of many different excruciating times. For others, there might be one thing that stands out.

Personally, I can pin a few moments to be some of my most painful memories. Maybe you’re walking through this season right now, as we speak. So, do you have that most painful moment? Okay, now I want you to think about the people who willingly took the time to talk to you about that specific thing. Maybe they didn’t have the words, but they acknowledged it simply by giving you a hug and saying,, “I am here for you, and I love you.”

How much did that matter for your healing?

Perhaps you haven’t experienced that because maybe you haven’t talked about that painful thing. If that’s the case, imagine the pure freedom that would come with just simply talking to someone about it, whether it’s the loss of a loved one, a traumatic event that happened to you, a friend who broke your trust, or some type of abuse inflicted on you by someone in your life. Are you afraid to talk about it because you think people are going to judge you for feeling something? Are you afraid that it will be awkward?

What’s holding you back?

Here’s what I know, God promises us to be near to the broken hearted. Just like the friend you let into that painful space in your life, God wants you to let Him into that place. When you trust God to hold you in those moments, there will be such healing. I know it can be scary to be vulnerable with others and sometimes even with God, but, even when it’s hard, He will still be there. We’re not promised that life as a follower of Christ would be easy, but we have been promised that His presence will be there when times are tough.

What better love is that, for someone to be in the heartache with you? Maybe today you need to write it out and share with God what’s going on internally. Maybe you need to yell it out to Him. Whatever way you process things, be intentional this week to do just that and lay your pain and broken heart in His hand so He can save you as your spirit is crushed.

Michelle Perrino

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