RSVP for Christmas Eve Services here


Daily Devotions from Pastor Scott

Our Daily Bread Devotionals
Pastor Scott encourages us to make it a top priority to devote time meeting with God each day. The online resource he recommends is Our Daily Bread. According to Pastor Scott, “Our Daily Bread has consistently delivered Biblically-based and practically oriented daily devotions for decades. Their website is top notch and offers video options, read through the Bible options, and journaling options as well. If you are hungering to grow your relationship with God, these online daily devotionals will give all of us spiritual nourishment, encourage us to read God’s Word, and deepen our walk with Jesus.”
Monday, June 15, 2020

On Being Generous
Mountain Life Devotional Day 62

Proverbs 11:25 A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.

One of the greatest traits any of us can be known for is generosity.  For believers in Jesus, our generosity should be patterned after God’s.  When we stop and think about just how generous God has been to us, it will truly amaze us.  Romans 8:32 gives us a great understanding of God’s generosity to us.  It reads, “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all--how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?”

So why is it that we often struggle with being generous to others?  Is it related to our fear of not having enough?  The logic of withholding from others goes like this: I am afraid I do not have enough, so I cannot afford to be as generous as I would like to be.

God’s Word challenges us in this faulty logic.  In fact, in Proverbs 11:25 we learn that when we are generous, God will see to it that we will have enough to continue to be so.  So the real question is not do you and I have enough to begin being generous. The real question is simply this, when will we choose to be generous with others with what we do have?  If we take God at His Word, the sooner we start the better. Yes, generosity is the ultimate win-win.  Not only will others be refreshed in receiving a gift motivated by love, we will be refreshed in the joy of giving and being used of God in this way.  

So who is God leading you to be generous to today?  One way to determine this is to ask God to bring someone to mind who needs to be refreshed. When we sense a need along these lines, it will bring us great satisfaction to stop withholding, and to start being generous.  Let me caution you however, that becoming generous can become a contagious activity for all who give it a try.
Friday, June 12, 2020

I want to invite everyone to make the time to join our church family in a special day of prayer today, Friday, June 12. With all the unique and ongoing challenges we are facing at this difficult chapter in history, dedicating time to pray in a united fashion today is the best thing to do. It need not take your whole day, but it will take an intentional commitment to join in and pray. I am praying that we will all make this most important commitment.

The attached prayer guide came together in a God-inspired kind of way. Use it to be a source of encouragement for you today and in the future as well.

Lovingly for Christ and His Kingdom,
Pastor Scott
Thursday, June 11, 2020

Inner Peace
Mountain Life Devotional Day 61

Isaiah 26:3 “You keep everyone in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because they place their trust in you.”

The reason we often lack peace is that we are prone to put our eyes on everything but God. God wants us to experience His peace at all times and Isaiah 26:3 lets us know that the way we access God’s peace is by keeping our mind on Him. We all have times when the circumstances of life are overwhelming to us; at these times we will instantly lose our peace, unless we have anchored our souls on God.

A steady gaze on God will steady us when the problems of this life are seemingly too much for us. One of the greatest reasons to renew and restore our faith in God is that our problems are not too big for Him! As we fix our gaze on Him, and in so doing realize how big He is, our problems shrink in comparison and our souls are endowed with His peace.

So what one problem or challenge has you in a state of anxiety or undue stress these days? Can you name it? Whatever it is, the promise of God’s peace through God’s presence is exactly what most of us need right now. Let’s all slow down and put our mind on God and His greatness! His Love! His goodness! His mercy! His grace! His kindness! His righteousness! His holiness! His justice! His majesty! I have a hunch that when we do, our anxiety will greatly shrink, or disappear completely, in the wonderful reality that it is our BIG God, Who IS with us, who WILL see us through, and Who WILL give us a peace beyond human understanding! May the Peace of Jesus be yours today!

Bible passage for meditation: John 14:27

If you want to sing about what we have been considering click here for a rendition of “Woke Up This Morning With My Mind Stayed on Jesus."
Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Slowing Down
Mountain Life Devotional Day 60

Psalm 46:10 “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

Have you noticed how hard it is for all of us to slow down? It seems to me that we are going faster and faster as the years go by. So here are some worthwhile questions to ponder:
  • Why do you think people are running so fast at this time in American culture? 
  • Why do we often choose fast over slow? 
  • What are we missing out on when we run our lives on fast most of the time?

My wife and I are enjoying some very special spring hikes in the mountains of Pinebrook. Hiking has been good for us on many levels; not only are we getting in better shape - we are also thoroughly enjoying all the wonderful spring wild flowers! They are absolutely marvelous to behold, never ceasing to amaze us with their subtle and quiet beauty along the sides of our well-used trails. We are always tempted to take some home…and sometimes we do. But there is only one way to enjoy the flowers that colorfully decorate our hike and that is to go slow enough to actually look so we see them.

The same thing is true when it comes to growing and deepening our relationship with God. We have to go slow enough to look at Him, making it a priority to walk with Him and be in His presence. When we do, we always find that there is so much more to take in than we ever thought possible. May God increase our desire and give us the grace to slow down so we don’t miss out on the best view in all the world - God in His beauty and glory! He is waiting for us; now it’s our choice whether we will slow down or run right past.

Bible passage for meditation: Psalm 27:4 “One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek Him in His temple.”
Tuesday, June 9, 2020

The Sin of Favoritism
Mountain Life Devotional Day 59

James 2:1 “My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism.” 

One of the easiest things in the world to do is to fall prey to the sin of favoritism. According to the book of James, favoritism is the sin of treating some people noticeably better than others because of their position in society. This, in effect, puts people down - often the very ones who need to be lifted up. I know I have been guilty of this sin without always recognizing it. I am (aren’t we all) naturally more attracted to some people than others, and my natural inclination is to move towards the attractive people and away from the less attractive. My natural inclinations are not always the right ones. James tells us that all people should be treated with favor regardless of any natural attraction we may or may not have toward them.

For me, overcoming the sin of favoritism requires being honest with myself, which is actually harder to do than it would seem. The question I need to ask myself is this: who might I be overlooking, not showing love to, because I am so busy focusing my time and attention on one of my favorites? It is as if God is saying to me, “Scott, I love everybody and I want you to keep an eye out for everybody - especially those who, for whatever reason, might be overlooked by others. As best that you can, treat everybody in such a way that they know they are special!” In James’ day, those who were likely to be overlooked were the poor people in the church. Who is it in our day?

When we allow God to open our eyes to see all people, and then to fill our hearts with love for all people, something quite amazing happens - all people become our favorites and we desire to love everyone, not leaving anyone out! That is an exciting way to live, is it not?

Bible passage for meditation: Matthew 25:31-46
Monday, June 8, 2020

Love Seeks Understanding!
Mountain Life Devotional Day 58

James 1:19 “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”

One of the ways I know that God’s Word is truly God’s Word is that it speaks so powerfully to our human condition. James 1:19 addresses our tendency to be slow to listen well, quick to speak and quick to become angry. He tells us that it is God’s desire to grow us into people who do just the opposite. I think we all would say that God certainly has His work cut out for Him!

Something that can help us become better listeners is to get in touch with our need to speak. Are you aware of why you may be inclined to be quick to speak? I realize that my need to speak comes from both a desire for others to think well of me and a need to process my thoughts out loud. Another reason I can be quick to speak is that I have a need to defend myself. The more we can own that a certain degree of our quick speaking is related to our ego needs, the more we can ask God for greater humility in this regard. Being quick to listen requires that we really become other-centered.

One beautiful thing about love is that it has a primary goal of understanding other people. To love well we need to understand where another person is coming from; we cannot assume we know this, as we all come from different places on most issues. We will only gain this understanding through listening intently - giving others our total attention - which is an act of love because it takes energy and effort on our part. There are at least two levels of listening and the best listeners tune into both.
  1. listening for the content of the message, (what they mean) and 
  2. listening for the heart (what is going on deep inside as they share content). 

May God give us the grace today to engage in conversations in which we listen for both content and heart-connection, with the loving goal of entering into a deeper understanding. Listening with love shows others how special they are to us and enriches us all with prospering, heart relationships.

Bible passage for meditation: Proverbs 14:29
Friday, June 5, 2020

Mountain Life Devotional Day 57

Pastor Robert Bartko - Guest Contributor

Matthew 4:1-4 “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

You have heard it said so many times before, “good things come in small packages.” Well that’s not always the case! In one of the tiniest of words used in the passage above, lies a sort of kryptonite that is very harmful to man; and that is the tiny word “if.” Why, the word “if?” With the craftiness of a sort of Trojan Horse, the devil sets a trap of temptation churned up from the deepest depths of hell. But this is not a temptation for Jesus to physically fill his incredibly hungry stomach, or for Jesus to perform a miracle outside of the will of the Father. The devil did not say to Jesus “Because You are the Son of God”, or “Since You are the Son of God.” But with incredible covertness, the devil uses the word “if” to sow a seed of doubt. For in using this word “if,” the devil calls into question the very Word of God.

It’s very easy for us to sit back, look at this passage from Matthew, and know that Jesus Christ was the Son of God. But don’t forget Hebrews 4:15 which tells us that Jesus was also human and was tempted in every way that we are. Try to imagine going 40 days without food. The Bible says Jesus “was hungry.” That almost seems to be a bit understated. Jesus was STARVING! He was alone, exhausted, physically weak and very vulnerable. And seeing Jesus in this state, the devil, with the punch accuracy reminiscent of Sugar Ray Leonard, takes aim to try and deliver a blow to Jesus. The devil did not try to deliver this punch to Jesus on the third day, or the tenth or thirtieth day, no! But with incredible planning and craftiness, the devil comes at Jesus on the fortieth day; when by now, the body is beginning to eat itself, and the hunger pains are ripping through the body of Jesus. The devil, like a crafty hunter, waits for Jesus to be at His weakest.

With that word “if,” the devil is bringing into dispute the very foundation of God’s Word. For we read that just before Jesus went into the wilderness, and at His baptism, the skies opened up and God proclaimed that this is His Son in whom He is well pleased. And now 40 long, hungry, isolated, exhausting days later, the devil throws this question onto the table. But with incredible precision, Jesus gets down to business and brings incredible clarity when He states, that life is not about physical food or the present time, but about the rich spiritual food of God’s Word, and His coming Kingdom.

But my friends, think about this for a moment, we face this same temptation every day, and in many decisions we are presented with. The Bible tells us in 1 Peter that “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” Our enemy the devil, is very skilled at waiting patiently. He is waiting for our weakest moments in life, and the right circumstances as to when he will launch his fiery darts, darts of doubt. And those darts are usually specifically aimed at the Word of God given to us. When life throws that word “if” onto our daily path, it many times presents us with a fork in our path. One way leads us onto a path of the Truth of God’s Word, and the other onto a path of the lies of the devil. It’s at these “if” forks in the road, we are presented with a choice. Do I take the path that is filled with anxiety, worry, doubt, fear and death; or do I take the path of trusting God’s Word and in doing so, experience a journey on God’s path, which in turn is filled with promises of peace, joy and God’s abundant life?

Jesus tells us in John 10:10“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”
Thursday, June 4, 2020

God's Faithful Love
Mountain Life Devotional Day 56

Psalms 36:5 Your steadfast love, O LORD, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds.

Do you remember lying on the summer grass as a child, watching the white, fluffy clouds float through the sky? Did you look for animals and other shapes in those clouds?  Did you wonder how far away they really were, or what it would be like to float on one of them? Maybe you still do that today! Most of us are quite impressed when we take the time to look at the wonder and beauty of the clouds. In our verse above, the Psalmist helps us better appreciate God’s truly incredible faithfulness by telling us that it extends all the way up to the sky and clouds above.

God’s faithfulness is one of the main themes in the Bible. Have you ever spent time contemplating the amazing significance of the truth that God is totally faithful? When I think about the faithfulness of God, I think about the reality that He is a God who is always there for us; a God who always fulfills His promises to us. This does not mean that He is like a Genie in a bottle, at our beck and call. Rather, because God is faithful we can rest assured that He is working out His purposes in the world, through the ups and downs of life, even when we cannot see it in the moment. We know that He always has us in His mind and will see to it that, in the end, we will be victorious in Him.

When we begin to grasp the faithfulness of God, we can rest in His consistent and everlasting love for us. We can find our hope in knowing that nothing can separate us from His love, and that for all eternity we will be soaking it in and sharing it with each other. We can trust in God because His faithfulness extends to the skies and clouds above!

Bible passage for meditation: Romans 8
Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Trusting God - Part 3
Mountain Life Devotional Day 55

Psalm 56:3-4 (NLT) “But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in You.  I praise God for what He has promised. I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me?”

One of the things that we all experience as humans is fear. When I think about what is underneath my own fear, I realize that it is often a fear of being hurt. I don’t want to be hurt - who does? Fear is often our response to what people in our lives can do to us. So one of the devastating consequences of fear is that we pull away from each other. The problem with moving away from people is that it eliminates the possibility of loving them.

So how do we overcome our fears? The Psalmist suggests that when we are afraid we can make a conscious choice to trust in God. This is a practical approach, for it reveals that there is something we can do about our fear; we can use it to propel us to greater dependence upon, and trust in, God. In a simple illustration, I often see this in a basketball player who prays just before shooting a free throw. The prayer is very real to the player because they do not want to miss the free throw and they are trusting God for help. When our fears cause us to turn to God, they are transformed into something helpful, as we should always be turning toward God.

Is there a fear inside of you that is growing and causing you to lose your joy and confidence in living? Can you name it? Let’s bring our fears to God and ask Him to give us greater faith in His goodness, power and love so that we choose to put our trust in Him. When we do, He will free us from the burden of fear and replace it with the joy of knowing that He is faithful and His promises are true.

Bible passage for meditation: Isaiah 26:3
Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Trusting God - Part 2
Mountain Life Devotional Day 54

“Trust is not a passive state of mind. It is a vigorous act of the soul by which we choose to lay hold on the promises of God and cling to them despite the adversity that at times seeks to overwhelm us.”    ― Jerry Bridges, Trusting God: Even When Life Hurts

If you are like me, you have a love-hate relationship with roller coasters. I love the thrill and the challenge of riding modern day roller coasters that even turn me upside down. I just wish I was younger so that the motion did not make me feel oozy. How much are you a roller coaster person?

Well, life itself has a way of taking us on some unexpected roller coaster rides. Many of us may feel this way during the pandemic. When we are being turned upside down the big question is, will we continue to trust in God and His promises?

The Apostle Paul serves as a great example of a man who continued to trust in God despite some very difficult and painful circumstances. As he continued to trust God, God met him in a very real way in his time of need and gave him the grace to endure. This is why he was able to tell his young disciple Timothy to also endure in difficult times. In 2 Timothy 2:3 we read, “Endure suffering along with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.” Paul had no problem accepting that suffering was part of the Christian life and needed to be accepted as such.

We all take our turns with real suffering in this life. May God give us all the grace to endure and continue to trust in Him at all times, for He is faithful and He is good. This means that, as we endure, He will see us through our suffering to the other side. So let’s buckle up and hang on for the ride, trusting God in each twist and turn. The best is yet to come!

Bible passage for meditation: Isaiah 43:1-2
Monday, June 1, 2020

Trusting God
Mountain Life Devotional Day 53

Psalm 20:7 “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.”

Trusting God is a very personal decision. We can’t really live in this world without trusting in someone or something at least some of the time. The very act of trusting suggests that we can’t do it all; we really do need each other. I wonder to what extent you and I trust God today. How can we deepen this trust?

What is the basis by which we choose to trust someone? I love the ratings that are included on eBay sellers’ usernames because their ratings reveal just how trustworthy they have been in fulfilling past agreements with buyers. This means that, if you buy something from someone with an excellent rating, you can rest assured that you will not get ripped off. In the same way, most of us choose to trust someone based on our experience with his or her track record of being trustworthy.

If you agree with this, then choosing to trust God comes down to deciding whether or not we believe He is worthy of our trust. So let’s think about times in our past when we have decided to trust Him - did He come through? Let’s also think about Jesus' death on the cross for our sins - does that not give us great reason to trust Him today?

In all the situations that are giving us cause for concern today, to what extent are we choosing to trust the Lord? What a privilege it is for us as believers in Jesus, that we can choose to trust God and entrust to Him any and every concern we have! When we choose to trust in the name of the Lord our God, in this very act of trusting He will give us the peace we are looking for deep in our souls.

Bible passage for meditation: Philippians 4:4-9
Friday, May 29, 2020

Overcoming Depression
Mountain Life Devotional Day 52

Psalm 42:5 “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” 

We all could wish that life was easy and that everything would always go our way, but most of us find out that this is not the way life goes at certain bends in the journey. It is very common for us to battle some level of depression when we face difficulties that linger. We can all be refreshed, in times of discouragement and depression, by the honesty of the Psalmist in Psalm 42. He shows us, in the midst of his battle to hang onto faith and hope in God, what it is like to bring our discouragement and inner struggles to the Lord. Amazingly, In the midst of his struggles he is still able to experience God’s love - even at night, which is often the darkest time for us if we are discouraged. As we go through our struggles in life, we will all have a choice to make: will we put our trust and hope in God or will we throw in the towel?

Let us all take some time right now and meditate on this Psalm (see below).  It will help us realize that our best choice is to stay with God, for He is always our best hope through the ups and downs of life. His love will win the day so let us hang onto Him!

Psalm 42 “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God.  My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?  My tears have been my food day and night, while people say to me all day long, ‘Where is your God?’ These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go to the house of God under the protection of the Mighty One with shouts of joy and praise among the festive throng. Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember You from the land of the Jordan, the heights of Hermon—from Mount Mizar. Deep calls to deep in the roar of Your waterfalls; all Your waves and breakers have swept over me. By day the LORD directs His love, at night His song is with me— a prayer to the God of my life. I say to God my Rock, ‘Why have You forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?’ My bones suffer mortal agony as my foes taunt me, saying to me all day long, “Where is your God?” Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God.”
Thursday, May 28, 2020

What Is Better Than Life?
Mountain Life Devotional Day 51

Psalm 63:3 Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.

What did David mean when he said that God's love is better than life? This declaration is truly worth pondering! Take some time before reading further and meditate on what you think he meant by this. How is God’s love better than life?

Could it be that David understood that before, during and after our life, as we know it on earth, is the love of God? In other words, we would not even have life if not for His love, the life we now have is fully enriched because of God's love and finally, when God calls us home, we will be fully surrounded by His love.

Another way of thinking about it is this: If this world were completely void of God's love, it would be rather empty. We would lose just about everything that we enjoy and love. We love so much in this life because God is love and He shares his love with us in so many ways.

The best way to understand the greatness of God’s love is to experience it personally through a living relationship with Jesus Christ. Today we can experience God's love personally as we open our hearts to Him and praise His holy name. When we take the time to soak in and think about His love, we will heartily agree with king David that truly God's love is better than life!

Bible passage for meditation: Romans 8:37-39
Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Thirsting for God
Mountain Life Devotional Day 50

Psalm 63:1 “You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.”

Many people have a God-aversion; they choose to go everywhere else but to God to have their deepest longings fulfilled. Sometimes I do so as well. However, I have found that nothing can satisfy my heart longings like God does! A genuine and deep thirst for God is the best thirst we can cultivate as God’s children. How is your thirst for God these days?

Amazingly, God is waiting for us to come to Him. The opportunity to open our heart to Him is always available. When we come to Him, He meets us where we are and touches us with His love, even as He guides us in the truth.

We may be hesitant to come because we may fear His disapproval or even His judgment. The good news is that He is waiting with open arms, full of mercy and grace. He accepts us where we are and wants to help us become more and more like Jesus. He wants to set us free by the truth, and He will lovingly bring His truth to us so we can take it in and be transformed by it.

Today, let's pause and let God know how very much we thirst for Him. If we are lacking in thirst, we can ask Him for it. The best way to live each day is to come to Him and ask Him to fulfill the deepest longing of our heart as only He can! If we do this we will be spared much grief and, in its place, experience much love.

Bible passage for meditation: Psalm 63
Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Passion for Jesus
Mountain Life Devotional Day 49

Philippians 3:10-11 “I want to know Christ— yes, to know the power of His resurrection and participation in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.”

It is really easy to become distracted in life. In fact, it may well be that we live in the most distracted age in all of history. Take out a pen and jot down your answers to these questions:
  1. How distracted have you been of late?
  2. What have you allowed to distract you?
  3. From what are you being distracted?

Perhaps the reason we become distracted is that we simply prefer to live this way. We can learn a lot from the Apostle Paul; he did not allow himself to become distracted. His love for Jesus was so great that it directed his heart to the main thing – to know Jesus and live for Him. Paul reveals that it is possible to have this single-hearted focus. He made knowing Jesus and sharing his life with Jesus the centerpiece of his life; nothing else mattered to Paul as much as this did. He found the fullness in life that we are all looking for by setting his heart affection on Jesus. I believe Paul came to understand that the greatest privilege in this life is getting to know Jesus and growing in love with Him! This did not take away from his life, but added to it.

Do you and I really believe our fullness in life will come by setting our hearts’ affections on Jesus? What is God leading you to do this week to make knowing and loving Jesus your top priority? Is there a distraction that needs to be addressed at a soul level? May we allow God to work in all of our hearts so that we gain a renewed and deep desire to get to know Jesus and linger in His presence.

Bible passage for meditation: 2 Peter 1:23:18
Monday, May 25, 2020

Being Stretched and Kneaded
Mountain Life Devotional Day 48

Pastor Andrew Camp - Guest Contributor

From a cursory glance on social media and the scarcity of flour at the grocery store, one could surmise that the national hobby during the pandemic is bread making. Everyone is trying their hand at sourdough bread. Claire and I used to have a sourdough starter, but it died on us a few years back. I blame becoming a parent on that.

Even though we have not been making sourdough bread, a process in which you feed the starter daily, we have made our fair share of bread, including sandwich bread and most recently fresh bagels. I use Joshua Weissman’s recipe, which you can watch here.

As with most yeasted bread recipes, to truly make a great bread requires kneading the dough, in the case of the bagel recipe, ten minutes. Kneading is what develops gluten, which is the protein in bread that gives it its distinctive chew while remaining light and not dense. One way to know if you have developed the right amount of gluten is what is called the window-pane test. You can Google it to learn more.

If you have kneaded dough, you know that this is not a gentle process. You are stretching and massaging the dough. I find kneading to be a great way to work out stress, as I can take my aggression out on the dough and not on people.

Kneading is not only a rough process, but it also takes time. There is no short-cut method. If you want the bread you are after, you have to knead the dough.

While the Bible never speaks of kneading as a metaphor for God’s work in us, it does talk about him being the potter and we the clay (Isaiah 64:8), and also talks of God as the refiner and purifier of silver and gold (Malachi 3:3).

My guess is that few of us will take up pottery or become refiners of precious metals, which is why I think the metaphor of kneading might help you and me to think about God’s work in us during this pandemic. He is stretching each of us to develop in us something new. He is strengthening all of us who let him. The process is not easy nor is it something we like at the time.

Few of us can say with confidence right now all that God is doing in us through this time, but as you bake bread…

Remember the finished product. Remember the smell of fresh bread. Remember as you slice into the bread and hear the crackle of the crust, and smear butter and watch it melt. It was worth it.
Friday, May 22, 2020

The Power of Perseverance
Mountain Life Devotional Day 47

Pastor Jordan Price - Guest Contributor

As many of you know, my dad was forced into emergency heart surgery three weeks ago. I am happy to report that he is doing amazing! Thanks to all of you who prayed for him and our family. During this trial, I have watched my dad lean heavily on the Word to give him peace, joy, and hope. The passage that he continually meditated on was Romans 5:3-5 which says, “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” While watching my dad walk through this challenging season, I have been able to observe the power of perseverance, the foundation of character, and the strength of hope on full display. I have realized that trials and suffering will do one of two things in our lives. They will draw us closer to God and our character will shine or they will push us away from God and expose character issues.

Since moving to Park City, I must admit that I have never seen a community more passionate about exercise! Over time and with discipline, many of these people have learned to actually enjoy the pain associated with a killer workout. While I am not a health and fitness guru, I do know the truth of the old phrase, “No Pain - No Gain.” As athletes train, their muscle fibers actually tear down. While this tearing is painful in the moment, this is what creates the opportunity for growth! The body takes proteins and begins to sow them into the fabric of the muscle making the muscle stronger than before. The beauty of this illustration is that the same is true for pain in our own lives. There are many forms of “tearing” that happen when we go through trials. It hurts and we want it over, but this is where perseverance comes into play. Just like the athlete who has to persevere for growth, we must do the same thing in our trials. We must keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and trust that He will work all things for our good and His glory.

In closing, I want to encourage you today to take some time to reflect on what God is refining in your character through this season. James sums it up best in James 1:2-4, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” Perseverance is the secret ingredient to us becoming mature and complete, not lacking anything. That sounds pretty appealing to me! Lastly, ask God to give you Spirit-filled strength to persevere and that God would accomplish everything in you and through you that he wants to in this season.

Thanks for reading and I hope this encourages you to keep fighting the good fight!
Thursday, May 21, 2020

Depending on God Alone
Mountain Life Devotional Day 46

Psalm 46:1 “I wait patiently for God to save me; I depend on Him alone.”

If we all take a step back and think about it—we are totally dependent on God. The entire Psalm 46 helps us put this into perspective in a powerful way. Today let’s all spend some time meditating on this amazing Psalm. After spending some time soaking it in, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Do I depend on God for everything important in life and for life itself?
  2. What difference does/would depending on God alone make in the way I deal with the problems, challenges and opportunities of life?
  3. Am I currently experiencing the salvation, protection and shelter of God in my life?

Psalm 46 (Good News Translation) I wait patiently for God to save me; I depend on Him alone. He alone protects and saves me; He is my defender, and I shall never be defeated. How much longer will all of you attack someone who is no stronger than a broken-down fence? You only want to bring him down from his place of honor; you take pleasure in lies. You speak words of blessing, but in your heart you curse him. I depend on God alone; I put my hope in Him. He alone protects and saves me; He is my defender, and I shall never be defeated. My salvation and honor depend on God; He is my strong protector; He is my shelter. Trust in God at all times, my people. Tell Him all your troubles, for He is our refuge. Human beings are all like a puff of breath; great and small alike are worthless. Put them on the scales, and they weigh nothing; they are lighter than a mere breath. Don't put your trust in violence; don't hope to gain anything by robbery; even if your riches increase, don't depend on them. More than once I have heard God say that power belongs to Him and that His love is constant. You Yourself, O Lord, reward everyone according to their deeds.

As we begin our day, let’s lift up a prayer to God in praise and gratitude for Who He is – our God Who never lets us down and will always see us through!
Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Depending on Our Great God
Mountain Life Devotional Day 45

Matthew 19:26 Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible but with God all things are possible."

One of the things we must avoid in life is making God smaller than He is. When we shrink God down to a “comfortable size” we are much less likely to depend on Him. Our problems get bigger as our view of God gets smaller. The reality is, God is much bigger than any of us think He is! The more we grow in our faith and Biblical understanding of the greatness of God, the more we will want to worship Him. A great question to ask ourselves is this: “How Big is my God?” Take a moment and ponder your answer to this question.
In C.S. Lewis’ Prince Caspian, a child named Lucy came face to face with the lion Aslan (a Christ figure) after not being with him for a long time. When she saw him, although Aslan had not changed, her view of him had changed in a very significant way.

“Aslan, you’re bigger,” she said.
“That is because you’re older, little one,” answered Aslan.
“Not because you are?” asked Lucy.
“I am not. But every year you grow, you will find me bigger.”

Our problems seem big if we have no one bigger to help us deal with them. But when we realize that God is with us to help us in our time of need, our problems shrink in significance against the backdrop of His greatness and power. What may seem overwhelming to us is not to Him. What problem or challenge are you facing today that is worthy of note? As we worship God in His greatness, whatever that problem may be will not be insurmountable in light of Who He is. So let’s put God between ourselves and any difficulties in our lives. Then let’s trust Him and discover in a new and wonderful way just how big He really is!

Bible passages for meditation: Jeremiah 10:6Psalm 96:41 Chronicles 29:11
Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Total Dependence on God
Mountain Life Devotional Day 44

John 15:5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

One thing that every loving parent wants to teach their children is how to grow up and take care of themselves. We want our children to eventually become independent (hopefully around the age of 18 and not 28 - LOL). At the same time, we also want them to become increasingly dependent on God. Have you considered why total dependence on God is so important for all of God’s children?

I’m afraid that many of us live as if we really don’t need God unless the going gets really tough – this is a big mistake. The reality is we need God more than our very next breath; in fact, we need Him FOR our very next breath! Our life comes from Him and He is the one who brings us new life through faith in Jesus. We need to learn dependence on God in order to live our day-to-day lives to the fullest. And we also need to learn to depend on Him because He has big, “God-sized” things for us to do – things we know we could never do without Him.

Do you have any idea what “God-sized” job He wants you to do? This is an important question for us to take some time to answer. When was the last time you asked Him this question? How about today - like right now? I am afraid we often choose to do only those things we think we can do without Him. God has so much more for us! He wants to show us the big things He can do in and through us when we live in total dependence on Him! Are you open to stepping out of your comfort zone and taking an adventure of faith with God that will force you to completely depend on Him? Am I? Now, in these days of uncertainty, is not the time to shrink back in fear, but to move forward in faith and total dependence on God! Let’s take that step, remembering that He is faithful and He will not leave us or forsake us.

Bible passage for meditation: Psalm 121
Friday, May 15, 2020

Encouragement and Hospitality
Mountain Life Devotional Day 43

Romans 12:13 “When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.”

One of the most encouraging experiences of my life took place during my college years while I was doing ministry at Grace Youth Camp in Upper Silver Lake, Michigan. A family there, who had the gift of hospitality, helped me understand what that gift is all about. The gift of hospitality is the gift of making someone feel at home! This couple actually treated me as if I were one of their own children. They opened three things to me: their hearts, their home and their refrigerator (and you know how much a 20-something man can eat)! I don’t know about you, but even to this day, if someone opens these three things to me I have no doubt that they genuinely love me! When we experience genuine love from someone who shares the gift of hospitality with us, we can’t help but be encouraged. Our souls all long for home.

Sharing hospitality may seem more difficult now that people cannot come to our homes as freely as they did pre-pandemic. However, hospitality is not dependent on having people in our home; we can share hospitality both inside and outside of our homes. Hospitality begins as an inner attitude that allows God to widen the love boundaries of our hearts to more and more people. A wider love boundary gives us the desire to relate generously to people like they are family. This is always an internal work of the Spirit of God, who helps us see all believers in Jesus as members of the same family - the family of God.

So essentially, sharing hospitality gives us opportunities to find creative ways of making people feel that they are truly part of our family. For some people this assumes “breaking bread” together, for others it is doing a mutually enjoyable activity together. Still for others, it can happen in serving together. In all cases, hospitality deepens bonds of love. If we are being hospitable, people are in no hurry to leave because it just plain feels good to be loved and encouraged in this way. Is there someone with whom God is calling you to creatively share hospitality in the coming days? Let’s all ask God to widen the love boundary of our heart so that when the opportunity comes we will look forward to sharing hospitality.

Bible passage for meditation: 1 Thessalonians 2:7-20
Thursday, May 14, 2020

Encouraged to Stay Connected
Mountain Life Devotional Day 42

Hebrews 10:24-25 “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

Whenever we stay connected with a friend or relative we have the wonderful potential to inspire them to move into God’s plan for their life. In order to help them in this way, Hebrews 10:24 suggests we have to think about how we might be able to motivate (“spur”) them toward love and good deeds. Can you think of ways other believers in Jesus have done this for you? Can you think of a way you can do this for someone God brings to your mind this week? Sometimes I find myself lost in my own little world and I need someone to remind me that there are all kinds of opportunities to put love into action. One of my favorite examples of this is when believers share with me their genuine excitement in living for Jesus and sharing His love with others. Enthusiasm for the things of God is truly contagious!

However, if we are to give and receive help in living life God’s way, we need to stay connected. This is not always easy or natural; there is often a subtle pull in us to move away from each other. Sustaining and growing quality relationships can be difficult because, well, people are people (and so are we)! Many Christ followers fall out of the habit of being engaged in their local church except for Christmas and Easter. Have you been able to figure out what is going on in the lives of believers who disengage from their local church? Have you ever been tempted to do so? Hebrews 10:25 suggests that this is a very real temptation. But the good news is that those who understand the importance of staying connected can encourage those who are drifting to reconnect and not miss out on all that God has for them. The bottom line does not change—we really do need each other and we all benefit when we are engaged in the local church. Let’s be open to being used of God in this way; let’s ask Him for opportunities to use our influence for the glory of God and the growth of all Christ-followers.

Bible passage for meditation: Philippians 2:19-24
Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Quite a Nickname!
Mountain Life Devotional Day 41

Acts 4:36 “For instance, there was Joseph, the one the apostles nicknamed Barnabas (which means ‘Son of Encouragement). He was from the tribe of Levi and came from the island of Cyprus.”

Who doesn’t want encouragers in their life? —I know I do! Have you noticed that some people have a knack for encouraging others? I believe we can all learn a lot from those who both understand and practice the art of encouragement. There was one man in the Bible who was so good at encouraging others that he earned the nickname “Son of Encouragement.” I think we would have all loved Barnabas, for whenever he was with people, he knew how to lift them up.

If you study Barnabas’ life you will see that one reason he earned this accolade was the way he viewed people. Barnabas could see people’s potential; because he did he would stick with them, knowing it was just a matter of time until they would blossom according to their God-given design. This was such a strong part of his make-up that it actually resulted in a significant conflict between Barnabas and his traveling companion for church planting, the apostle Paul. They could not get on the same page regarding keeping a young man, John Mark, on their team for what would have been their second missionary journey. Paul felt that John Mark was not mature enough to go and would therefore hinder their ministry. Barnabas believed that going on a second missionary journey would help young John Mark become the man God intended him to be. We often wonder who was right in this decision, as it resulted in Barnabas and Paul parting ways (Acts 15:36-41). But in God’s wise sovereignty He used this difference to open up two different paths of ministry for Barnabas and Paul.

So how do you and I view people? Are we quick to become disappointed when they let us down and do we pull away from them accordingly? Or do we see their God-given potential, which leads us to be willing to encourage them even when they are struggling? For some people, one encouraging person can be the difference between their throwing in the towel or rising above their circumstances. We all need to know that someone believes in us and that we are loved and valued, especially when we are struggling.

Let us pray that God will give us eyes to see the potential of all the people we know during every season of life.  When we are open to seeing people as God sees them, it will change the way we relate to them. We will receive a God-given desire to come alongside them and be a real source of encouragement. The difference this can make in someone’s life will have far greater impact than we may ever realize. Who knows, somebody along the way may even give us the nickname, “The Encourager!”

Bible passage for meditation: Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Encouraging One Another
Mountain Life Devotional Day 40

1 Thessalonians 5:11 “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up…..”

One of the greatest things we can do for each other is to encourage one another and build each other up. On any given day, a certain percentage of the people we know are in need of encouragement. Life has a way of getting us down. We want everything to go our way, but life throws us curve balls that are hard to deal with. During a pandemic it is particularly easy to get discouraged, especially when we are not sure how long it will last. For many of us, almost everything we do seems more difficult in these days; this can lead to fatigue, which can lead to different levels of discouragement.

So has anyone encouraged you lately? If so, what did they do that you found encouraging? Has God led you to encourage someone of late? How did they respond? Many people simply need to hear the voice of a friend sharing a good word to help them think on a higher plane with gratitude. One great way to encourage another person is to help them realize how blessed we are even when things are not going well. Sometimes it takes a friend to help us see something we are missing. Sometimes it takes a friend to help us keep our faith in God when we are spending too much time looking down rather than looking up.

So I want to urge us all to allow God to put a person on our mind that we sense may be struggling today, and call them with one simple goal - to encourage them and build them up. I plan on doing this and hope you will join me! If you do it and it is a good experience for you, shoot me a quick email and let me know about it ( If you send me an email, I promise to respond and tell you about my experience as well. I know God will be pleased when we make this call and I have a hunch it may be the best thing we do today! So are you in? Let’s do it and God bless you as you do!

Bible passage for meditation: Philippians 2:19-20
Monday, May 11, 2020

Healthy Spiritual Habits
Mountain Life Devotional Day 39

Guest Contributor: Pastor Jordan Price

We are designed as creatures of habit – just think about how many times we unintentionally open our email or social media apps a day! We typically eat the same foods, go to bed around the same time, and socialize with the same people. Whether we realize it or not, habits make us who we are. Luke 5:16 says, “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Notice the subtle insertion of the word “often.” Jesus formed a spiritual habit of secluded prayer that was noticed by his followers. Another moment where we get a glimpse into the habits of Jesus is Luke 4:16. “He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom.” Jesus made weekly attendance at the local synagogue part of his weekly routine. It was not by coincidence that Jesus lived a life full of power and the fruit of the Spirit! By his life, Jesus was setting an example for all of his followers to implement into their lives for maximum transformation and kingdom effectiveness. If we are to make it to the place in life that we dream of, we must remember that the destination is essential for the direction of the journey. Think of when we use a GPS app – we insert the destination before we start moving in the direction. All of us are moving in a direction in life, but are the steps that we are taking leading to the destination we are hoping for? In our faith journey, we have rare mountaintop moments that propel us forward in life, but more often, it is the everyday habits that direct our course. Forming healthy spiritual habits is essential to our continued growth and our discovering God’s special plan for our lives.

I know for Francesca and me, COVID-19 has slowed us down and caused us to be confronted with our habits. We have been able to step back and assess whether the direction we are headed is leading us to the destination we dream of. Ultimately, we can already see how God has used this season to refine and renew us. Things that previously seemed so important have faded into the background and things of true value have emerged and we have grown to savor them with gratitude and renewed vigor.

If you made it this far, thanks for taking the time read and I hope you are challenged and encouraged!
Friday, May 8, 2020

Can You Hold Your Tongue?
Mountain Life Devotional Day 38

Proverbs 17:27-28 “The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint, and whoever has understanding is even-tempered. Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues."

How self-aware are you? As we grow in maturity we develop greater self-awareness. Part of self-awareness is recognizing when our emotions have kicked in to such an extent that we are likely to say things we will regret later. We have all experienced “word regret” after saying something that did not need to be spoken. Owning the fact that our tongues have power to inflict pain or to heal is a major theme in God’s Word.

Why does understanding help us become even-tempered? (See verses above.) To be even-tempered (calm under pressure) requires the ability to tune in to how we are feeling. It requires making sure our emotions do not get carried away so that they flow into our choice of words and tone of voice. We need to grow in understanding ourselves so that we do not let our “self” get the best of us. This is similar to the idea of not going shopping for food on an empty stomach, which is costly because it creates feelings that cause us to put things into our cart that we otherwise would not even consider buying. (However, if you are foodie, like me, you actually prefer to shop on an empty stomach because then you will have more choices once you get home-LOL!)

I find it helpful to ask God for the wisdom to better understand why I speak the way I do. Some people have a greater need to speak out than others; I am in that camp of people. One reason I am apt to over-verbalize is that for some reason I feel better when I speak every so often. What I also truly accept is that God’s goal for my speaking is not for me to feel better, but rather that others can benefit from my words. So I need God to help me with greater verbal restraint. Ironically, some of you need God to help you speak up more, as the wisdom God has given you needs to be heard. One of the things that these verses in Proverbs 17 help us all get a hold of is this - because we are prone to let our emotions guide our speaking, we are wise to first employ some restraint. We need to check ourselves in terms of our motives and our emotions, to make sure both are in a good place prior to letting words out. If we do this, God will give us the grace to say nothing when our words would not be beneficial. And the words we do speak will have a much higher possibility of being words used wisely for the benefit of another!

Bible passage for Meditation: Psalm 141:3
Thursday, May 7, 2020

Beneficial Words Only!
Mountain Life Devotional Day 37

Ephesians 4:29 “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

God wants us to own that we are responsible for what comes out of our mouths. He holds us responsible for each word we speak. Because this is true, we all have a huge challenge to make sure what we say is helpful and not hurtful.

God’s Word gives us great guidance to help us determine what we choose to say. The main goal for our words, according to Ephesians 4:20, is that they benefit those who listen. The primary way this happens is when our words build others up, rather than tearing them down.

Sadly, if you are like me, you know how to put others down with words. In fact, some people seem to excel at doing this. To the extent our words have fallen into the unwholesome category, we need to confess this sin and ask God to change our heart.

Now happily, God can teach us to speak words that are truly wholesome. This is one of the best learning processes in which we can participate. The key is to think about the needs of others before we create our words. If we are honest, we will admit that we often speak in order to prove our own point or build ourselves up. If we start with this goal we will fall short. Rather, if we allow God to get a hold of our hearts, He will help us to think of the needs of others and then find words to meet those needs as our primary goal. This a beautiful way to speak because it is totally in line with what love does; love seeks to understand the other person and meet their needs as an expression of our love. May God help us become more loving and in tune with the needs of those we speak to today! I know this is one sure way to have the best possible day!

Bible passage for Meditation: Proverbs 15:4
Wednesday, May 6, 2020

How's Your Seasoning?
Mountain Life Devotional Day 36

Colossians 3:16 “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” 

Do you have a favorite seasoning that is your “go-to” when it comes to cooking? The right seasoning on our food makes all the difference. In fact, the right seasoning can make or break a meal. Today we want to consider a powerful truth about how we are “seasoning” our words. The truth goes like this: the right seasoning on our words makes all the difference in how they are received by, and how they benefit, those who hear them. God wants us to learn to speak in such a way that everyone benefits and He knows that how we season our words is crucial to achieving this goal. Speaking in a beneficial way is much more difficult than it seems, for we all can, at times, be reactive in our words. When we become reactive we run the risk of blurting out responses that pull the relationship in a negative direction. One thing we particularly have to avoid is speaking before we have thought through how what we say, and how we say it, will impact the listener. The reality for all of us is that there are different ways to communicate a message, and some ways are much better than others. It all comes down to how we season our words.

In order to season our words we have to be slow to speak (James 1:19). Seasoning well is always a thoughtful process; in order to season well, we have to stop and consider both the kind and the amount of seasoning to add. God has the best possible seasoning for us to sprinkle generously on our words; this seasoning is called grace! Grace seasoning always has the goal of finding the right words and speaking them in such a way that the listener can best take them in. Grace seasoning takes into account the person to whom we are talking and what may well be going on in their life. It is slow to judge and quick to build up and edify. It avoids speaking in anger. Grace seasoning is enhanced when we choose to give the benefit of the doubt. Such seasoning helps our words come across in the best possible way. Even when we speak some truthful words that may not be easy to hear, when we season them with grace the person on the receiving end will know we care about them. They will experience our truthful words coming across not harshly, but rather with love.

It is my prayer for you and me today that we will ask God to fill our hearts with His grace so that we in turn may season our words with grace. When we speak with grace, our conversations will be a blessing to others and we ourselves will have a better day than if we merely toss out words indiscriminately. The fruit of using grace seasoning on our words is in the quality of the relationships that we form with people who look forward to more grace-filled conversations with us in the future. How glad we can be that grace seasoning is a free gift that God wants to give to us so we can share it with others!

Bible passage for Meditation: Psalm 19:14
Tuesday, May 5, 2020

The Heart-Tongue Connection
Mountain Life Devotional Day 35

Luke 6:45 “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of."

One of the most powerful weapons we all carry is our tongue. The words that come out of our mouths have great power to hurt or heal those who come into their path. Often we fail to own just how strong a weapon this is, and we may not even fully realize what is really coming out of our mouths. But will we claim full responsibility for what we say and how we say it?

To a certain extent we can’t help what words we say on a given day. We may think we are in total control of the words we end up saying, but in reality these words are merely reflections and expressions of what is already in our heart. So angry words flow from an angry heart, kind words from a kind heart and wise words from a wise heart. There is a direct line between what is in our heart and the words we choose at any given moment.

Are you in touch with what words are flowing from your lips these days? Are the people in your life finding your words beneficial, insightful, uplifting, affirming, honest, loving and helpful? We need to be open to the feedback others give us as our words enter their being. This will help us own how our words are affecting the listener and at the same time provide for us a window into what is really going on in our hearts when we speak.

Since no one has a perfect record when it comes to only speaking words that are good, we need to be humble enough to go before God when our words do not bring a smile to His face. We need to ask Him to forgive us, cleanse us and fill our hearts with that which is good. When we do, He does! This often leads us to want to ask forgiveness from anyone who has been hurt by our words.  As we do these things, we will be much more able to use our tongues to be a source of good and not harm to those we love.

Bible passage for Meditation: James 3:1-13
Monday, May 4, 2020

God of the Details
Mountain Life Devotional Day 34

Luke 12:7 “Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”

Some people have a hard time believing that God is interested in the details of our lives. They either see Him as a big picture God or as a God who has become aloof. These are false views of God. The truth is that God not only knows about the details of our life, but He cares about them big time. It’s the same kind of a love that a loving parent has for his or her child. A loving parent is very interested in the details of their children’s lives. That’s why loving parents attend parent-teacher conferences; they would not miss them. That’s why, as an adult, my mom would at times let me know that she missed being tuned into more of the details of my life. When she told me this, I could feel the tremendous loving heart she had toward me. It’s built into a mom to be interested in the particulars and the pieces, and this all comes from the heart of God shaping the heart of a mother.

This means that God knows how we are feeling and what we are up to. He knows what we are thinking and what we desire. He knows our joys and our sorrows. He knows our victories and our defeats. He knows our anxieties and how confident we feel. That’s why we can share everything with Him; that’s why the gift of prayer is such a wonderful gift. For the basic premise of praying is this: we can share anything and everything with God because He cares and He listens (1 Peter 5:7). He never tunes us out. He is always there for us. He never postures Himself as a disinterested bystander in our life. Rather, He is the definitive active participant. Yes, its true--- no one cares more about you and me more than He does! He has even counted the very hairs on our head (bald people - he counts your former hairs).

So as we begin this new week, let’s share what we are feeling and thinking with God. Let’s pray for His hand of blessing over our life and His touch of love in our heart. Let’s pray for His wisdom and for His will to be done. Let’s give Him praise and thanks for being the God of our details, always wanting what is best for us.

Bible passages for Meditation: 1 Peter 5:7Psalm 8
Friday, May 1, 2020

Simple Acts of Kindness
Mountain Life Devotional Day 33

Colossians 3:12 “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”

One of the best ways to go through a pandemic is by doing acts of kindness. Acts of kindness can be defined as doing something for someone that they will enjoy, letting them know that they are valuable in that someone is thinking of them. Simple acts of kindness in difficult times make a huge difference in the lives of both the giver and the receiver. For the giver, such acts take us right out of our tendency toward self-centeredness and move us into the joy of making a difference through being other-centered. This is the joy of being used by God! For the receiver, such acts provide an immediate uplift and connect them with the caring heart of the giver in a beautiful way.

My wife is good at making homemade chicken soup. I am good at delivering the soup. I just delivered her soup to someone who turned 77 years old as a birthday gift. Now, initially I was just doing my duty and being a deliveryman. I was checking this off my daily “to do list.” But as soon as my friend opened the door, I realized that this was more than a quick delivery; it was an opportunity to connect heart-to-heart. So for a few minutes we caught up on life and I got a surge of joy inside as I wished him an authentic happy birthday. The experience moved from doing him a kindness to an exchange of love, which made my day!

So I want to invite you to allow God to do two things for you today:
  1. Think of “something” you can do for someone to brighten their day…and then
  2. Ask God to bring a person to mind that you can do that “something” for. Then make it a priority to go out of your way and make it happen! It just might do more for you than you could begin to imagine as God uses you to bless someone with a simple act of kindness. I do know it’s one of the best ways to live in and through a pandemic!

Bible passage for Meditation: Proverbs 11:25
Thursday, April 30, 2020

Endurance and Patience
Mountain Life Devotional Day 32

Colossians 1:11-12 “May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from His glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light."

One character quality that most of us struggle with is patience. Certainly this season of pandemic has made it a very real daily struggle. “Why be patient when we can have it now?” is the question we quietly ask in a culture of instant gratification. We have become experts in the practice of impatience and our impatience pours out into our relationships with each other. Along with our self-focused impatience comes a tendency to be more irritable, frustrated, judgmental and angry. I don’t think any of us want to be known for these character qualities! So we need to own that our impatience not only pollutes our own souls - it also affects others in all kinds of adverse ways.

When we step back and think about it, God wants us to endure because through endurance, among other things, we learn patience. Patience is a God-like quality, a fruit of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers (Galatians 5:22-23). I wonder how many of us realize just how patient God has been with us as we have often fumbled and bumbled our way through the Christian life. We would all be in a world of hurt if God had not been, or did not continue to be, very patient with each of us!

Think of someone right now who is testing your patience. What are they doing or not doing that is creating this test? Take a deep breath and pray for them. Thank God for them. Think about all their positive qualities. Ask God to give you greater insight into their unique personality and their unique life-situation. Stop trying to change them; start trying to better appreciate them and find a way to come alongside them to help them grow or deal with their life. Remember, they are God’s handiwork and He sees their potential. Ask God to show you how you can help them move toward their potential as a child of God.

Today is a day to trade in our impatience with someone for patience toward him or her. God can help us learn from His patience with us and from His eternal perspective. God is never in a hurry; why do you think we often choose hurry? Let’s thank God for His patience with us and ask Him for the grace to be more patient with others. As this happens, our own souls will prosper and others will better appreciate, and greatly benefit from, our loving role in their lives.

Bible passage for Meditation: 1 Corinthians 13:1-8
Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Endurance to the Finish Line
Mountain Life Devotional Day 31

Hebrews 12:1-3 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

Yesterday we saw the relationship between endurance and traveling light. Today, I would like us to consider the important relationship between endurance and fixing our eyes on Jesus. There are several reasons why running with our eyes on Jesus is so important. First of all, since it is His race we are running, we need to keep our eyes on Him to make sure we are running the right race in the right manner. It is easy to get off track; if we take our eyes off of Jesus, before we know it we may find ourselves going the wrong direction, running a race He never intended us to run. He is our north star; we are running both for Him and toward Him.

Secondly, with our eyes fixed on Him when the going gets tough, we find encouragement in knowing that Jesus is not asking us to do something that He Himself was unwilling to do. Any suffering we endure in this life (and we will all have to deal with suffering along the way,) connects us with the ultimate suffering He was willing to endure on our behalf. Jesus was willing to die for us because of His great love for us, and He asks us to be willing to suffer for Him as an expression of our great love for Him. We also gain strength in the realization that He will be with us in our suffering and see us through it.

Finally, when we face hard times, the question we inevitably ask ourselves is this: Is it worth it? We need a good answer to this question or there will be no incentive to continue. The greatest incentive to continue to the finish line is in seeing Jesus waiting to receive us as we cross it! Hebrews 11:6 tells us that He rewards those who diligently seek Him. The greatest reward we could ever receive is none other than Jesus Himself; He is our great reward! As we fix our eyes on Jesus, we see Him at the right hand of God. This reminds us that our suffering will come to an end and God will welcome us into His glorious presence when our life on earth is over. Yes, God will reward every believer who endures to the end and finishes strong with His grace and for His glory. Fixing our eyes on Jesus is the key to running our race with endurance all the way into His loving arms!

Bible passage for Meditation: Hebrews 11:1-16
Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Running His Race
Mountain Life Devotional Day 30

Hebrews 12:1-2 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.”

One of the keys to endurance is realizing that we are all called by God to run in the race that we call life. When we receive Jesus we are no longer spectators; we are all runners in a race that God asks us to run for Him. We are in effect running in His race. Though He gives each of us a unique race, one thing we all share in common is that our race is much more like a marathon than a sprint.

Now we all know that running a marathon takes an entirely different strategy and approach than a sprint. A marathon tests us on many levels, including the will to keep on keeping on when almost every part of us would rather stop. Let’s be perfectly honest - we will experience pain when we run His race and pain is no fun. I wish the Christian life was always easy, but it is not. In fact, if we think it is always going to be easy, we will be sorely disappointed. But what will never disappoint us in the Christian life is the reality that God is with us and He is good (Psalm 100:5)! This does not mean that everything that happens to us or around us is good, but rather that God will create good through it and help us find the good in it (Romans 8:28). However, we will only experience the good in difficult times when we run with perseverance; if we give up too soon, we will miss out (Galatians 6:9).

One of the keys to running with perseverance is traveling light. Have you ever seen a marathon runner carrying a backpack? Why not? It is hard enough to simply run a marathon, let alone to have a heavy weight on our back. In the same way, God can help us travel light as we confess our sins to Him and experience being set free from the weight of our sin and guilt (1 John 1:9-10). This freedom is a great motivator for us to run His race with our life - Jesus has set us free by dying on the cross for our sins so we can not just run, but run in the freedom of His grace (Acts 13:38-39)! Would you be willing right now to take several minutes and get real with God? Let’s confess any sin that we have been carrying around and ask Jesus to set us free so we can run His race like we have never run it before! If you need help putting a certain sin behind you, talk to a mature Christian; seek their counsel and prayer (James 5:16). Tomorrow, we will delve even deeper into the dynamics of running His race with perseverance over the entire course of our life.

Bible passage for Meditation: 1 Corinthians 9:16-27 especially verse 24
Monday, April 27, 2020

Your Battery - Charged or Depleted?
Mountain Life Devotional Day 29

Romans 15:5-6 “May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 

Some days many of us feel like our battery is losing much of its charge – especially during this season of pandemic. Where do we go to find more “charge” for our personal battery when it is running on low? We often don’t think about it, but the best place to go for more power and endurance is God Himself. He is waiting for us to turn to Him and ask for strength, so why is it that we don’t think about going to God early and often? I know that I often fail to realize that God wants to give me what I need, when I need it. I often live with a sense that I must meet my own needs and I must somehow find the strength I need for today in myself. This leads to fatigue and discouragement.

In Romans 15:5 we learn that God wants to give to us endurance and encouragement each and every day of our lives. He does not expect us to have enough strength to live the life He has for us. This is great news because it once again shows that God knows what is going on in our lives and He wants not only to live in us, but also to give us what we need to live a life that is pleasing to Him, fulfilling for ourselves, and helpful to others.

I love what Paul said, in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” Let’s learn from Paul today and go to God; let’s ask Him to give us His strength so we can win over any challenges that He asks us to face this day. When we prayerfully ask God for endurance and encouragement, our personal battery will be charged with the loving and powerful presence of the God of the universe! Sometimes it’s a jump charge, sometimes a lower trickle charge, (and sometimes He may lead us to first take better care of ourselves so we have more to give to others) but it will happen. With His power we can delve into today with real hope. Then, at the end of the day, we can look back and see that it was God’s power in us that made all the difference! To Him be the glory, Amen.

Bible passage for Meditation: Romans 15:1-13
Friday, April 24, 2020

Mountain Life Devotional Day 28

2 Timothy 4:13 “When you come, be sure to bring the coat I left with Carpus at Troas. Also bring my books, and especially my papers.”

One of the things that make it difficult to live well during this pandemic is the fact that we are not sure where the finish line is. Since no one can say when we will reach the finish line, the premium on endurance is very high. What we do know is this: as each week goes by we are deeper into the race, so we have to pace ourselves in order to keep running until we reach that finish line.

My men’s Life Group talked about endurance this week. Many helpful perspectives were shared, one having to do with our need for support. Adequate support can make all the difference when we are running a long race like the one in which we now find ourselves. If we are running alone, without support, we are not likely to run very well; we may even quit too soon. Our verse above reveals that even the great Apostle Paul needed support.

What is the key to gaining support? It starts with humility on our part, which gives us a willingness to ask for help. There really are no bionic people; we are all humans with strengths, weaknesses and limitations. How readily do you ask for support when, or even before, the going gets tough? We need to examine our hearts if we are slow to ask for support so that we can be honest with ourselves and address any underlying issues that surface. I know that early in my ministry I carried around the myth of my own self-sufficiency. That is, I did not ask for support because I thought that, as a pastor, I was called to give support but not ask for it. I was so wrong in this. If fact when we step back we will realize that it is not fair to only give support and not be open to receiving it. What I found out is that people, by in large, want to be supportive; we all have a need to be needed! We all need others and they need us. We need love to flow from person to person, back and forth. The more we own this, the more we will live accordingly.

The Apostle Paul helps us understand the importance of support when he says in Galatians 6:2, “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” We can see from this verse that we take turns carrying each other’s burdens. Sometimes we share our burdens with others, and other times we come alongside someone else and help carry their burdens. I think sometimes we do a little bit of both at the same time.

So who are you providing emotional, spiritual, relational or financial support for during these times? Who is providing some for you? Let’s be sure that we are both giving and open to receiving support during this time. Let’s be humble enough to ask for some support if we need it. I think we will be delightfully surprised if we do. It will be very sweet to cross the finish line together, cheering each other on and celebrating together!

Bible passages for Meditation: Exodus 7:8-14; Hebrews 13:16; Proverbs 19:17
Thursday, April 23, 2020

Judging Others
Mountain Life Devotional Day 27

Matthew 7:1-2  “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

Have you noticed how readily we are inclined to judge other people? By judging others, I mean coming to a conclusion about their character, or some aspect of their life, in a way that causes us to think lesser of them even though we rarely have all the facts.

Maybe we are inclined to judge others because our eyes look out, not in. More likely, however, we are judging others because of our own pride - how superior we feel or need to feel. I always think that we do what we like to do so, in some kind of way, judging others works for us. At least we think it does.

Jesus knows better. He tells us that we should use our capacity for judgment first and foremost on ourselves. When we do this, we will be less likely to judge others, as God will reveal to us just how much work we have to do on our own stuff. The more we are humble enough to work on our own issues, shortcomings and sins, the less time and even interest we will have in fixating on those of others.

I think Dietrich Bonhoeffer said it well: “Judging others makes us blind, whereas love is illuminating. By judging others we blind ourselves to our own evil and to the grace which others are just as entitled to as we are.”

So today can we all admit that judging others is not consistent with being a Christ-follower? If we have been guilty of doing so of late, let’s ask God for forgiveness. Let’s ask God to work in our hearts so that we have great love for people and a willingness to journey with them and help them when they are struggling, as we allow Him to make us His children, full of grace and truth.

Bible passage for Meditation: Matthew 7:1-5
Wednesday, April 22, 2020

God's Pursuit of You
Mountain Life Devotional Day 26

Isaiah 53:6 “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” 

If you are like me, then your tendency is to move away from people who decide to move away from you. There are many reasons we move away, but a main one is self-protection. We want to protect ourselves from any further rejection. We can be honest; it really hurts when people we care about move away from us. Amazingly, God does not have this same tendency. He is a God on pursuit. He pursues those He loves and, for reasons that we can’t fully understand, He loves people like you and me, even when we move away from Him. He shows us that true love takes the initiative and does not reject someone who has rebelled.

So when we wonder how much God loves us, all we have to do is open up our hearts to His all-pursuing love. He wants nothing more than to have us come to Him so we can enjoy the life that He alone can give to us. As you read this, I am praying that you experience His love for you no matter what your current relationship is with Him. This will happen as you realize that Jesus not only did not move away from us in our rebellion, He took all our sins on Himself (1 Peter 2:24). His love for us is richer and deeper than our human love, which is conditioned on how another acts towards us. But Praise God, when we moved away, He made a way! He died for our sins to make a way, and He invites us to always come to Him.

May this be a day when we stop resisting His eternal love for us, but rather open our hearts to it. The way that Jesus has made for us is the way back home. The loving relationship He invites us into is the most important relationship we will ever have and it’s available today as a gift. May we all draw closer to Him and give Him our hearts today, drawn by His love, which is unlike any other in all the world. It’s the very love that our hearts long for!

Bible passage for Meditation: Romans 5:1-11
Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Who Am I Living For?
Mountain Life Devotional Day 25

2 Corinthians 5:14,15 “For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again.” 

They say that 90 percent of an iceberg is not readily seen because it is under the water. The same is true for our motives; what others see us do does not tell them what is really going on inside. People see our actions, but they will guess when it comes to our motives. In fact, sometimes we ourselves are not totally sure of our own motives. In contrast, God knows what is going on under the surface of our lives (1 Samuel 16:7). So one of the greatest questions we can ask ourselves is this one, "What is my motive behind what I am doing with my life?"

The apostle Paul reveals what is to be our most significant underlying motive - to live for Jesus. This is a powerful motive because it will change the entire orientation of our life. If it is our desire to live for Jesus, we will consistently be tuned in to what He wants us to be about. We will open His Word both to get to know Him better and to integrate His values, principles and teachings into our hearts and minds.

Once we have the courage to look inside, we will come to the conclusion that our motives are often mixed. The good news is that God can help us develop motives that are increasingly pure as we allow Him to work in our hearts. We can ask Him to help us adopt the attitude of the Psalmist in chapter 40:8 which says, “I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.” When our motives are made pure, our desire to live for Jesus will grow for sure.

Let’s read slowly and then pray Psalm 19:14 to the Lord right now.
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to You, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer. 

Bible passage for Meditation: Psalm 19
Monday, April 20, 2020

The Pure in Heart
Mountain Life Devotional Day 24

Psalm 51:10 “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”

One of God’s great desires for His children is that we would become pure in heart. Jesus said, in His sermon on the mount, “Blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God” (Matthew 5:8) because a pure heart opens our eyes to the awesomeness of His greatness; His beauty will enthrall us. Seeing God changes the way we see everything else, always for the better.

Now I think most of us know that we cannot make our own hearts pure; only a great work of God can purify a heart. The good news is that He can do what we could never do! He will make our hearts pure when we surrender them to Him, for wherever God rules, purity will follow.

Deitrich Bonhoffer helps us understand how we can become pure and what happens to us when God does this wonderful work in our heart in following quote:
“Who is pure in heart? Only those who have surrendered their hearts completely to Jesus that He may reign in them alone. Only those whose hearts are undefiled by their own evil--and by their own virtues too. The pure in heart have a child-like simplicity like Adam before the fall, innocent alike of good and evil: their hearts are not ruled by their conscience, but by the will of Jesus.”

As we begin this new week, may we surrender our hearts to the rule and reign of Jesus. When He is seated on the throne of our lives, He will surely make our hearts pure. Our desire to see Him and delight in Him will grow in the process. Our vision for living life His way will grow powerfully in us.

Join me in praying this prayer of surrender: Lord Jesus, I surrender anew my life to You. Thank You for who You are and for all that You have done and continue to do for me. I ask You to sit on the throne of my heart and purify it as only You can. Give me a desire to open Your Word and allow You to speak to me through it. Help me see You in all Your beauty and holiness. Give me a desire to see others the way You see them and to love them with Your love. Come, Holy Spirit, help me to live in Your power so that I will be a blessing to those I interact with this week! In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

Bible passage for Meditation: Psalm 24
Friday, April 17, 2020

Putting Words to Our Faith
Mountain Life Devotional Day 23

Psalm 40:9-10 “I proclaim Your saving acts in the great assembly; I do not seal my lips, LORD, as You know. I do not hide Your righteousness in my heart; I speak of Your faithfulness and Your saving help. I do not conceal Your love and Your faithfulness from the great assembly.”

It would be interesting if, at the end of a day, God would send us a manuscript of all the words we spoke. It would be even more interesting if He highlighted how many times we spoke of Him to others in a natural kind of way. One sign of Christian maturity is putting words to our faith and experience with God.

In Psalm 40:1-3 we see a movement from crying out to the Lord because we are in a pit, to being lifted out of the pit, to having our feet set on a rock, to having a new song of praise placed in our heart. As a result of God helping us and changing our disposition, others take note and are also inclined to turn to Him. This is quite a positive movement!

In Psalm 40:4-10 there is yet another great development. This occurs when we choose to trust God in the midst of our challenge and take the time to think about all the wonders and blessings He has given to us. This is part of what it means to look up, rather than down. As we think about the blessings we do have, they will always give us a broader, faith-strengthened perspective, which will help us better handle any difficulty in which we may find ourselves.

Once we turn to God, allowing Him to get us out of our funk as we realize in a new way that God is good and that He has done wonderful things, we will naturally want to tell others about Him. Not only is this about giving credit where credit is due; it is also about helping other people see what they may not be seeing. When we fail to speak up about God when the opportunity presents itself, our soul shrinks; when we choose to speak up, our soul expands. Something really good happens in our souls when we put words to our faith. Something significant also happens in another person’s soul when they hear us give God praise and thanks in genuine ways. It’s not about showing how “spiritual” we are; it’s about sharing, in a humble way, how awesome God is. May God free up our spirit and help us put genuine words to our faith today—for when we do, we grow, others are blessed and God is glorified!

Bible passages for Meditation: Psalm 71:15-16; Psalm 96:2-4; Isaiah 52:7-10
Thursday, April 16, 2020

The Gift of Song
Mountain Life Devotional Day 22

Psalm 40:3 “He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the LORD and put their trust in Him.”

The challenge in difficult times is to look up rather than down. For many reasons the human tendency is to look down and this is a big mistake. Looking down is a symptom of taking all the burdens of life on ourselves. Yesterday, we considered Psalm 40:1-2 and we were encouraged to turn to the Lord. As we do, He lifts us up out of the pit and places our feet on the rock. But He will do more than that; He will put a new song in our mouth (Psalm 40:3)!

The gift of song is one of God’s greatest gifts to us. When words and thoughts are set to music, they more readily capture our hearts and minds. The gift of song allows us to celebrate the best things in life in ways that allow the celebration to move through our being and deep into our souls.

One of the manifestations of God’s Spirit in us is song. When The Spirit of God fills us He sets our hearts to singing. We read in Ephesians 5:18-20, “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

In one of the most difficult times in their ministry, Paul and Silas found themselves in a nasty jail cell in the town of Philippi (Acts 16:16-34). They could have looked down, but then they would have stayed down. Instead, they chose to look up and God blessed them as they turned to Him in their time of trial. They began praying and singing praise songs in jail, cultivating through their singing a spirit of thankfulness. This singing not only brought strength to their souls, it also blessed the other prisoners and changed the atmosphere of the jail in a powerful way. As they sang, God orchestrated an earthquake that led both to their release, and to their leading the jailer and his family to the Lord.

May you and I, in this season of pandemic, choose to look up when we are tempted to look down. It’s a choice we can make. It’s always the right choice. May we ask God’s Spirit to put songs in our heart; may we find ourselves playing praise music and singing along. It will not only be good for our souls, it will change the atmosphere of our homes! Here’s one suggestion of a song you can take in on YouTube that I am sure will bless you and help you as you look up to the One who will see us through this season of life:
Praise You In This Storm by Casting Crowns

Have a blessed day in Jesus!

Bible passages for Meditation: Acts 16:16-40; Ephesians 5:18-20
Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Letting God Be God
Mountain Life Devotional Day 21

Psalm 40:1-2 ” I waited patiently for the Lord; He turned to me and heard my cry.  He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.”

I suppose, if we were honest, we would love it if God were at our beck and call. That is, if He would give us everything we asked for when we asked for it. We would turn God into our assistant and His job description would be to fulfill our every whim and desire. If this were the case, it would guarantee that we would become increasingly spoiled. We would be in charge, not Him. It is good news that God loves us too much to allow that to happen! He is both all-wise and all-loving; He knows what is best for us and we often do not. I, for instance, find myself wanting to take in more chocolate during this pandemic, but that does not mean I should eat more than a few ounces a day. I desire more than that, but wisdom tells me take in less. God knows that what we need more than anything is more of Him. Sometimes we acknowledge this and other times we do not. The irony of more difficult times, like the time in which we currently find ourselves, is that, although we would never ask God for them, they do cause us to turn to Him. Are you turning to God these days? Am I? One thing we can be certain of is this - If we turn to Him, He will turn His ear toward us and listen to us. He will lift us up out of any pit in which we may find ourselves and give us what we need according to His all-wise and all-loving plan. We will need to be patient, for the answer will come in His time and not ours. In the meantime, in His presence is the best place for us to be. Knowing He cares will bring great comfort and assurance. Seeing Him work will bring joy to our souls.

When we turn to God we are putting our life into His hands. We are entrusting both our today and our future to Him. We will pray, “Your kingdom come, Your will be done in my life and in the lives of all Your people.” This, in the end, will fill our hearts with the assurance that everything will turn out according to God’s good plan. This allows God to be our God, and takes away the pressure that comes when we think we are in charge. We trade in this pressure for His peace. Praise His name!

Bible passage for Meditation: Psalm 40
Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Reflecting Glory Back to God
Mountain Life Devotional Day 20

Guest Contributor: Pastor Steve White

I grew up in Nigeria where soccer was the sport of choice. On one beautiful, hot, sunny day; it was recess. My team was practicing shots on goal. Normally that was fun, but the team captain raised the stakes this fine day. You were not allowed to leave the field until you actually scored a goal – and since recess only lasted so long you had to score fast. The pressure intensified when I realized we would be shooting against Denny. Denny was the ultimate goalie. He was an animal … nothing got by Denny. We lined up; he blocked shot after shot. And all of a sudden it was my turn. I approached the ball, I stutter-stepped, I looked down at the left corner, I kicked up to the right corner…and Denny leaped…in the wrong direction. I scored! It was a thing of beauty; glory was mine! Or so I thought.

When Jesus talked about glory, he meant something completely different. One of my favorite prayers of Jesus is in John 17:1 where he prays this:
Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, 

To us, glory has to do with having people see how awesome we are. For that brief moment in the soccer field, it was all about me. I was great; glory was mine!

As Jesus was using the idea, to glorify is to reveal the true character of someone. To glorify involves showing the real nature and the real purpose of someone. In this case, Jesus was praying that we would be able to see the true character of God.

Jesus went on in verse four to explain how it worked:
I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.

Wouldn’t it be amazing to be able to say that to God? I did exactly what you called me to do; I completely fulfilled your purpose for me. And in so doing, I was able to glorify God, to reveal to the world the true character of God.

Jesus asked that God would give him glory specifically so that he could reflect glory back to God. Does my life reflect the character of God to a hurting world? Am I accomplishing everything God asks of me?

I scored the goal. I was basking in the glory as I trotted off the field. And then I realized that I was basking all by myself. My teacher was focused on adding or subtracting; I wasn’t paying much attention at the time. The other kids didn’t really care either. They only cared about their own goals. When I work hard to draw attention to myself, to make sure others know how awesome I am, it eventually ends in depression. Every time.

So let me ask: what is one thing you can do today that will point attention away from you, and instead, reflect God’s nature to the people around you? imagine what would happen if we each lived our lives in such a way that people saw God for who he really is.

Imagine what would happen if we stopped drawing attention to ourselves and started living our lives in such a way that we bring glory to God.

Bible passage for Meditation: John 17:1-26
Monday, April 13, 2020

The First Easter
Mountain Life Devotional Day 19

Guest Contributor: Pastor Andrew Camp

Easter is the most important day for Christians. For on that day, we celebrate Jesus’s triumphal conquering of death. We celebrate new life. We celebrate that as believers in Jesus, we have been freed from the bonds of sin and death.

We can claim with confidence Paul’s words in Romans 8:11, “And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.” Because of the Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead, we are in the process of becoming new creatures. We have new life because of Easter.

Amen and amen.

And yet, this year because of the pandemic, something feels different, at least for me, and I am guessing, for many of you. It didn’t feel right being at home and not joining with hundreds of you in resounding chorus. The joy was and is there. The hope was and is there.

And yet, this year I felt a little more uncertain. A little more timid. A little more fearful, even.

That is why I am thankful for John’s words in John 20:19-21.
"On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’ After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. Again Jesus said, ‘Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.’”

The first Easter was not filled with joy. There were no lilies. There was no sense of newness. Rather Jesus’s disciples and friends were filled with fear. With sorrow. With anxiety. With questions. Their whole world had just been rocked by Jesus’s death, but not in a good way.

And yet, even in that state of utter despair and fear, Jesus appears and offers not answers but simply His peaceful presence. And in that moment, the disciples’ fear was turned to joy. Were their questions answered? No. Did everything make sense? No, that would take the rest of their lives to unravel it all. 2,000 years later, we are still figuring out the implications of Jesus’s death and resurrection.

And yet, Jesus’s peaceful presence was enough.

But Jesus did not let them simply dote on His presence. His presence offers a commission as well. “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” In the midst of uncertainty. In the midst of questions. In the midst of anxiety. Jesus sends His disciples, send you and me, into the world. We don’t go into the world having it all figured out. We don’t go offering false hope to deep, hard questions. We go as Jesus first came to His disciples.

Offering His peaceful presence.

So this Easter, wherever and how ever you are feeling, know that Jesus meets you and meets me in that state. He meets us with His peaceful presence, so that in turn we may offer that same peaceful presence to our neighbors during this time of uncertainty.

Peace be with you.
Friday, April 10, 2020
Good Friday

The Only Man Born to Die
Mountain Life Devotional Day 18

1 Peter 2:24 "He himself bore our sins" in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by His wounds you have been healed." 

It’s hard to fully comprehend, but Jesus was the only man born to die (see Fulton Sheen’s Life of Christ). Jesus knew that to save us He would have to not only become a man, but also give His life to pay the full penalty our sins deserved. He would have to sacrifice His life so we could have life. There would be no other way. The Holiness of God would require nothing less than a perfect sacrifice. Jesus is the only One who has ever met this qualification (2 Corinthians 5:21). No one else could have saved us and, even if they could, I am not sure they would have been willing to pay this price. John the Baptist understood that Jesus was the One and that’s why he yelled out, when he saw Jesus coming to him to be baptized, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Jesus was our salvation Lamb, sent to us from heaven, without blemish.

There were two types of suffering that Jesus experienced on the Friday of His death, over 2,000 years ago. One type was the horrendous physical agony and horrific torture that His body endured. That the Son of God was willing to suffer this type of death is hard to take in. The other type of suffering was the experience of taking our sin on Himself and in so doing, being forsaken by His Father as He took our judgment on Himself. It is the pain of the sinless Jesus taking on our sin and being estranged from His Father. This pain echoed loudly as He cried out on the cross, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46) As awful as the physical pain was for Him to experience, this spiritual-emotional pain of being forsaken by His Father was even more painful. Up until this point of time, Jesus had unbroken and beautiful fellowship with His Father. Combined, the physical-spiritual price Jesus paid for us is so great that it cannot be measured or fully understood by folks like you and me. The infinite love God has for us was made wonderfully clear in the infinite price Jesus paid to secure our salvation. Yes, Infinite love paid an infinite price to secure our salvation.

So today is a day for undying gratitude in your heart and mine. It’s a day to remember the sacrifice of Jesus and all the love behind it. It’s a day to stop and pray to let Him know how thankful we are. It’s a day to let His great love for us melt our hearts in wonder and awe. It’s a day to realize that Jesus purchased our salvation with His shed blood so He could offer it to us as a gift. It’s a day to own that though our sin put Jesus on the cross, yet His grace is greater. Now by His grace may we die to sin and, by His Spirit in us, live for righteousness.

A classic hymn of the faith captures what happened on this day in a very moving way:
Grace Greater Than Our Sin
by Daniel Brink Towner
VERSE 1: Marvelous grace of our loving Lord, Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt: Yonder on Calvary’s mount outpoured, There where the blood of the Lamb was spilt.
REFRAIN: Grace, grace, God’s grace, Grace that will pardon and cleanse within; Grace, grace, God’s grace, Grace that is greater than all our sin
VERSE 2: Dark is the stain that we cannot hide; What can avail to wash it away? Look! There is flowing a crimson tide; Whiter than snow you may be today.
VERSE 3: Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace, Freely bestowed on all who believe, All who are longing to see His face, Will you this moment His grace receive?

Bible Passage for Meditation: Matthew 27:32-61
Thursday, April 9, 2020
Thursday of Holy Week

The Four-dimensional Love of God
Mountain Life Devotional Day 17

Ephesians 3:14-19  “For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name.  I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”

If you want to experience one of the best things in the whole world, all you need to do is grasp how much God loves all people - starting with you! As great as this sounds, we all need help in grasping it; otherwise it quickly turns into a cliché. One way to get a hold of it, so it gets a hold of us, is for someone to pray that we would be able to soak in the love God has for us. That’s one reason Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3:14-19 is one of the most powerful prayers in all of God’s Word. The essence of this prayer is for you and me to be able to grasp the multi-dimensional love of God in such a way that it thrills us to the core of our being. God created us with the ability to marvel, and one of the greatest joys of life is to marvel at the incredible love God has for all of us!

During this Holy Week, our hearts and minds are drawn to the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. This is the week for all believers in Jesus to grasp how great God’s love for us really is. I don’t know any better way to let His love capture us than to ponder the cross. Jesus’ willingness to suffer and die for our sins is the greatest act of love in all of history (John 15:13). He literally took our place and died the death our sins had earned. Not only did He not deserve to die in this way, but we did not deserve to be on the receiving end of such amazing love. It’s all mercy and grace. As I go through life I realize more and more how much I need God’s mercy and grace every day! How ‘bout you?

God’s love is so wide that it is available to everyone, so long that it can catch us no matter how far we have strayed, so high that it is always shining on us and so deep that we can build our life on it’s rock-solid nature!

As we ponder the cross, let’s pray this prayer today: Father, I bow down before You and pray that You would strengthen me with Your power through the Holy Spirit in my innermost being, so that Your Son, Jesus, would dwell in my heart through faith. Lord, root me, ground me and envelop me in Your love. Give me, and give all of Your children, Your power so we can grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, especially as we ponder the cross. Father, move Your love from my head into my heart so it takes hold of my entire person. I want to be a love-soaked child of God. Fill me so full of Your loving presence that during this Holy Week my heart will overflow with Your love so that I do not keep it to myself, but share it with others. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Bible Passages for Meditation: Matthew 26:17-30; Matthew 27:27-56
Wednesday, April 8, 2020
Wednesday of Holy Week

What's Love About Anyway?
Mountain Life Devotional Day 16

John 13:1 “Having loved His own who were in the world, He showed them the full extent of His love and loved them to the end.” (amplified translation)

A question I think about sometimes is this: If I only had one day left to live on earth, what would I do for my final hoorah? What might you do? My first thought goes to things I enjoy doing, like a round of golf or a hike in the mountains. But my mind quickly moves to who I would want to see once more to say good-bye. In Jesus’ final days, He was actually in that exact situation: He knew His time was at hand. So what did He do? He chose to gather His disciples and serve them in love. He wanted to create an occasion in which He could do something for them and with them that would be a deeply meaningful final memory. He had so much love in His heart for them that He wanted to show them the full extent of His love. In so doing, He really shows us what love is all about!

So what’s love all about? It’s about doing something for someone that meets their need. It’s about Jesus taking out a towel, filling a basin of water, and then getting on his knees to wash His disciples feet (John 13:1-12). Are you kidding me? He knew His death was a day away and He chose to get on His knees and put His hands on their dirt covered feet and refresh them! I can imagine Jesus looking into their eyes as He washed them. He wanted them to know that His love for them knew no bounds. He wanted them to experience His love for them in such a way that they never would have to doubt it for the rest of their lives.

Now, can you picture yourself in the place of one of His followers? Allow yourself to picture Jesus washing your feet on that day. How do you feel? What thoughts are going through your mind? When you see His eyes looking into yours, what do you see in them? Can you hear Him speak your name and whisper these words to you - "I really do love you!”

The beauty of the love of God is that it is deeply personal. It is love from the very heart of God to your heart and mine. I believe that we were in Jesus’ mind when He hung on the cross. And the one thing He wants us all to know is that we never need to doubt His great love for us because it is real. For there is no greater love than the love of God that put Jesus on the cross, and the love of Jesus that willingly took our place so we could spend eternity with Him. May we respond to this love by saying this simple prayer to Jesus - “I really do love you too!” May we also find joy in sharing His love with someone else today now that we know what love is all about!

Bible Passage for Meditation: John 13:1-17
Tuesday, April 7, 2020
Tuesday of Holy Week

Our Need Revealed
Mountain Life Devotional Day 15

Romans 3:23 “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

Many people in our day do not realize just how much they need a Savior. We all do, big-time! Try as we might, we cannot save ourselves. God’s Word makes it perfectly clear that we all sin, we miss the mark, and we all fall short of God’s glorious perfection. We also learn in God’s Word that the consequences of sin are separation from God (Romans 6:23), the disintegration of wholeness in our person (Psalm 40:11-13), and fall-out in our relationships with people (Galatians 5:15). The more we study sin and its effect, the more we realize how devastating it actually is.

So when we say we all need a Savior, we are not saying that we all need someone to help us become a little better. The truth is we need a Savior to cleanse our soul, that has been polluted and darkened by our sin, and make it clean and white again (Isaiah 1:18). We need a Savior who can undo the consequences of our sin so we can experience reconciliation with God, restored wholeness in our person and more loving relationships with others (2 Corinthians 5:17-21; 1 Peter 4:8). The salvation Jesus came to provide for us is not only the forgiveness of sins - it is life with God!

As we think about the last week of Jesus’ life, the reality of our need for a Savior becomes even more pronounced. We come face to face with money changers in the temple, a betrayer in Judas, a liar and outright denier in Peter, a notorious rebel in Barabbas, a fickle politician in Pilate, an angry crowd, mean-spirited Roman soldiers and self-righteous religious leaders, among others. The sins of the people Jesus encountered during His last week of life are representative of sins we all struggle with, even if at first we don’t realize it. Jeremiah gave the most accurate description of the human heart in all of the Bible when he said in Jeremiah 17:9, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” This is why it is wise to ask God to reveal to us what is really going on in our heart so we can ask Him for grace and mercy each day (Psalm 139:23,24).

This week, as we meditate on Jesus’ journey to the cross and encounter these people who clearly needed a Savior, may they remind us of our own need for a Savior. The goal is not to beat ourselves up because of our sin, but to marvel at all that Jesus went through to save us. Yes, this is the week that our Savior, Jesus, did what He needed to do to save us from our sin, and to make us whole again, as we open our heart to Him! The more we realize our need for a Savior, the more this week in history means to us, and the more we will put our faith in the only one who can and does save us. Thank you, Jesus!

Bible Passages for Meditation: Psalm 139:23,24; 2 Corinthians 5:17-21; BETRAYAL - Matthew 26:14-16, 26:36-56; DENIAL - Matthew 26:69-75
Monday, April 6, 2020
Monday of Holy Week

Our Hero Search
Mountain Life Devotional Day 14

John 10:18 “No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again. For this is what my Father has commanded.” 

I believe that woven deep into our souls is the search for a hero. We all know that we are not strong enough to handle everything that comes our way. We all experience times in our life when we are fully aware of our own mortality, vulnerability, shortcomings and sins. Given our human predicament, we are all searching for someone to deliver and protect us - someone to come and do for us what we cannot do for ourselves.

As we look into the final week of Jesus’ life we will find what our hearts are searching for. In the events of this week, a hero emerges unlike any hero who has ever lived. In every step He took, in every word He spoke, Jesus was motivated by a love that transcends earthly love. His was a love from heaven, a love so connected to His Father’s love that He could not stay in heaven, but He willingly came down to earth to do what only He could do.

And what is so absolutely stunning is this: He did it for us! He did it for folks like you and me. He did it without holding anything back. He did it by giving us everything. He did it when we could care less. He did it because it is was what He wanted to do. He didn’t have to sign up for this tour of duty leading to the cross, but when your love is infinite, it’s what you do. This week records what Jesus did.

So this Holy week is a week to let God’s infinite love for us move down from heaven and penetrate into the very core of our person. As you read about some of the happenings of this week, be sure to look beyond the historical facts to the love behind it all. Let your heart be moved by the most heroic sacrifice this world has ever seen.

This is the week in which our search for a hero ends; our Hero can be both named and known. His name is Jesus and He wants us invite Him into our life so we can know Him and take in His eternal love. May this week be a week when our worship of Jesus takes flight to new heights, as our gratitude deepens and our joy overflows.

The exact chronology of Jesus’ last week is not readily figured out as each of the four Gospels emphasizes different features of the week. All that happened is laid out in the following passages: Matthew 21-27, Mark 11-15, Luke 19-23 and John 12-19. I am going to suggest that, for this week, we stay tuned into Matthew’s Gospel as our main source. Those of you who are extra motivated can take them all in by reading about 4 chapters a day. Most importantly, open your Bible and read portions while you let the reality of what you take in warm your heart when you see the love that is behind it all. I will include some suggested daily passages that will insure we see God’s love in all that goes on, as well as sections in Matthew’s Gospel that will help us walk with Jesus through His final week on earth. I pray you have a great journey with Jesus this week my friend!

Bible Passages for Meditation: John 15:13; Romans 5:6-8; Matthew 21
Friday, April 3, 2020

Praying in Earnest
Mountain Life Devotional Day 13

Romans 8:26-27 “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.”

Sometimes, if I am honest, I don’t feel like I know how to pray. This might sound strange coming from a pastor. I say this because at times I put too much pressure on myself to say the right words and craft a prayer that is a “good” prayer. God, however, has shown me that a good prayer is any prayer in which you and I get real with Him. Prayer is simply bringing our praise, our thanksgiving, our concerns, our requests to God in as honest a way as we can. He certainly is not rating our prayers - He simply wants us to come to Him and share our life with Him. So my adequacy is not in how nice a prayer I can pray (focus then is on me), but in His ability to take my prayer and answer it in His time for His greater purposes.

So when it comes to my weakness in prayer, I am asking God to help me in three ways:                                                                                                                  
  1. Help me want to pray.                                                                                        
  2. Help me pray from my heart.
  3. Help me pray with the help of Your Spirit.

Praying is itself an act of faith. In prayer, we are expressing our faith that God is alive, that He is listening and that He will answer according to His Will. As we pray our faith grows and our peace increases. We do not pray to manipulate God to do our will, but to partner with God in doing His will.

Let’s all set aside a period of time to get on our knees and pray today, even now! To help us in this regard, I am including some timely prayer requests from Pastor Walter Kim, a leading American pastor and church leader. As we pray, let us ask God’s Spirit to help us do so in a way that is pleasing to Him!

Let us all pray:
  • for God’s love to be the foundation of our hope;
  • for God's mercy in stopping the spread of this virus;
  • for God’s healing of those who are sick throughout the world;
  • for God’s strength for medical personnel serving tirelessly;
  • for God’s insight to be given to researchers seeking solutions;
  • for God’s wisdom to guide civic leaders and health officials;
  • for God’s peace to guard us from fear or anxiety;
  • for God’s provision for those whose livelihoods and income have been affected by this crisis;
  • for God’s creativity to make us agents of love and compassion; and
  • for God’s Spirit to draw people to the saving power of Jesus.

Bible Passage for Meditation: Matthew 6:9-13
Thursday, April 2, 2020

Living in Harmony - Part 2
Mountain Life Devotional Day 12

Philippians 4:2-3 “Now I appeal to Euodia and Syntyche. Please, because you belong to the Lord, settle your disagreement.  And I ask you, my true partner, to help these two women, for they worked hard with me in telling others the Good News. They worked along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are written in the Book of Life.”

Living in harmony is not as easy as it looks. If we are honest, we like to have things go our own way. Living in harmony does not happen if our real goal is to get people to act the way we want them to act and, at the end of the day, to admit we were right all along (LOL). Our human tendency is to find fault with others, blaming them if harmony is not being achieved. Sadly, the blame game comes naturally to most of us. How much have you been playing the blame game lately? The blame game does not work because, in reality, the only person I can change is myself. I love what Paul says in Romans 12:16, ”If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Some great questions to ponder are:
  • Am I living in such a way that peace and harmony are likely to occur in my relationships?
  • In what ways am I being difficult?

Rather than putting the spotlight on others, let’s start by putting it on ourselves. I want all of us to rate ourselves in the following categories when it comes to our person. A 1 is a low score and a 10 is “we are living it to the max.” Your personal rating should come from how you are doing of late. (Note: if you give yourself all “10’s” then pray for honesty and re-take the test!)
  • Keeping a sense of humor __              
  • Being patient __                                  
  • Being quick to forgive __                      
  • Sharing how you really feel __              
  • Building others up __                            
  • Being considerate__
  • Overlooking minor offenses __
  • Listening to others __
  • Serving others in love __
  • Being positive __

As we consider how we are doing, the goal is not to beat ourselves up in areas where we are struggling. Rather, we can come to God in prayer and ask Him for the grace to grow in these areas. If we slow down and listen, He will help us see specific ways we can change for the benefit of everyone. He may also ask us to ask a loved one for forgiveness if we have hurt them by not living in love in a certain area.

If you are willing to try, it may be helpful to hold a family pow-wow. Here are some steps to a good family pow-wow that you can flexibly tailor to the age levels of those present.

  1. Select a good time and then give everyone under your roof appropriate notice that a pow-wow is coming.
  2. At the pow-wow sit down and share that the reason for this pow-wow is to foster greater harmony in our relationships and interactions with a view to making the most of this time when we are all together in close quarters. Establish ground rules that everyone will be kind and gracious, with no raised voices.
  3. Begin with a prayer and then read Romans 12 or Psalm 133 together. See what stood out in this reading to those in the pow-wow.
  4. Take turns sharing desires and concerns related to making the most of this time we are in closer than usual quarters. Summarize these. (There are no wrong answers).
  5. Take turns building each other up for ways they are fostering harmony and unity.
  6. Take turns inviting everyone to share how he or she would like to adjust some of the ways they are interacting (where can I do better?)  Summarize these.
  7. Now it is time to “clear the air.” Invite anyone who feels led to say “I’m sorry” and to ask forgiveness (for something said or done that worked against harmony). Then, invite anyone who has been hurt or frustrated by another member to share this, being specific. Allow for more forgiveness to be exchanged.  
  8. Brainstorm together to clarify goals and adjustments you can agree upon to bring greater harmony and make the most of this season (knowing that perfection is not the goal). Write these agreements down, read them together and put them in a place for all to see.
  9. Close the pow-wow with a time of prayer. Thank everyone for participating and let them know that, if they are willing, you would like to do this again in a week or so to check on progress and to encourage everyone.

If you hold a pow-wow, send me an email and let me know how it went. (

Bible Passage for Meditation: Colossians 3:12-17
Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Living in Harmony
Mountain Life Devotional Day 11

Romans 12:16 “Live in harmony with one another.” 

How can we best live in harmony with the people in our home during a pandemic? Living in harmony sure sounds good but when we’re confined to close quarters, it’s not as easy as it sounds. Most of us prefer to have a bit more space, so it’s only a matter of time before we get on each other’s nerves. The new and challenging realities we are dealing with add even more to the normal stress of life. It’s good to own up front that some days will be more difficult than others. The call to live in harmony is one of life’s great challenges. God wants us to grow in this area of our life in times like these.

Living in harmony requires us to “tune in” to the “notes” that those we live with are expressing. By “notes” I mean what they are thinking, feeling, and desiring. To harmonize means we find ways to blend in and make good “music” together. When I think about that reality, I have to admit my natural tendency is to want people to blend in with me. I often sound the first “note” and they have to figure out what to do with it. This puts too much pressure on them to find a way to blend, letting me off the hook, which can readily lead to discord. If we are going to live in harmony we all have to be willing to listen well in order to figure out how to create “notes” that bring harmony. How well are you listening and really tuning in to the people you are with in your safe home?

Listening well is one of the greatest possible ways to love other people. Love seeks to grow the best possible relationship through understanding. The better I listen to my wife, the more I realize that she does not always think the way I would have guessed. In particular, her needs are not always the same as my needs. The more I love her, the more I want to understand her needs and find out ways to better meet the ones I can meet. In harmonious living, we are always adjusting to each other’s needs and desires. We put effort in for win-wins.

Here’s how you can tell if you are harmonizing well--- the “music” of the home, the vast majority of interactions, are pleasant. Rather than working against each other, we work for each other and for the greater good of everyone in the family. In many ways this greater good is our honest intention, but a deeper look may reveal that, at times, we are working for our own greater good at the expense of others in our homes.

Living in harmony is not easy, but it is so worth the effort and, at times, the sacrifice. The Psalmist said it so well in Psalm 133:1 “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!” May God help us realize that we need His love in us so we will go the extra mile to harmonize well. In tomorrow’s devotional, I will be continuing on this important topic with some personal and practical things we can all do to live in harmony with those we love.

Bible Passages for Meditation: Romans 12: 14-16, Psalm 133
Tuesday, March 31, 2020

God's Continued Blessings
Mountain Life Devotional Day 10

Guest Contributor: Pastor Ruben Navarrete

Psalm 103:1-5 “Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”

Are there blessings from God, reasons to worship God, in this time of the Coronavirus? Some people think that this time is a time when everything is over.  They believe that God has forgotten us. Evil voices say that it is a way to exterminate a part of mankind, and other things that bring anguish, pain and lack of hope and that God does not care.  The Psalmist experienced many times of trouble and crisis.  He chose to worship God even in times of deepest difficulty, and his example can help us to do the same.

Read Psalm 103:1-5 slowly and learn from David’s trust in God and the focus of his heart on specific and wonderful blessings from God.  David invites us to trust God, even in times of crisis, as we focus on His blessings.  Here are some of the blessings David puts into writing. 
  1. He forgives the sin that we commit, and we do, against Him and against man.
  2. He heals our diseases. Directly or using science, which is one of its benefits for mankind.
  3. He frees us from death. How many times has He delivered us from death and we have not appreciated it? Today, for example, we are alive, and not because of our abilities and intelligence, but because of his mercy.
  4. He covers us with love and compassion.
  5. He gives us goods. Whether we buy them with our salary, or a generous person gives us some of what belongs to them.
  6. He gives us new strength every day.
Here is my short list of God's blessings in the midst of this crisis:
  1. He gives us life, health, family, the opportunity to spend more time with loved ones.
  2. He gives us peace, intelligence, prudence, creativity.
  3. He gives us friends, neighbors, coworkers, doctors, nurses, firefighters, paramedics, police, rulers, everyone who cares about us.
  4. He gives us churches, organizations, entities willing to help.
  5. He gives us the opportunity to bless others with what we are and with what we have.
Not everything is as bad as it seems to be. Don’t believe the lie that there is no blessing from God in this time of the Coronavirus! Don’t believe the lie that God created us and then gave us into the hands of the Coronavirus without giving us a means to overcome it! Surely, you and I can have our own list of God's blessings, if we are sensitive to His action and grace in our lives and in the lives of those we love.  Today, take five minutes, take out a pen and paper and create your own list of blessings.  I think you will find that there is no shortage of things to put down in writing.  Let’s join the Psalmist and bless the Lord today and always!  He is with us and He will see us through.

Bible Passage for Meditation: Psalm 103
Monday, March 30, 2020

The Wonderful Peace of God
Mountain Life Devotional Day 9

Philippians 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Jesus came to bring to us peace with God! He made the way for our personal relationship with God to be restored when He died on the cross as the perfect sacrifice our sins required. He provided the full payment for our sins so He could fully forgive us and cleanse our souls without compromising His holiness in any way (2 Corinthians 5:21). Opening our heart to Jesus, inviting Him into our life as our Lord and Savior, gives us peace with God.

But God offers us even more peace! He wants to add to our peace WITH God, the peace OF God that fills and calms our anxious hearts. The peace OF God is a quality of peace in our hearts that comes to us from heaven and is beyond human comprehension. It can only be found in the context of our relationship with Jesus and it can calm our anxious hearts like nothing else can! When Jesus gives us the peace OF God, He fills our hearts and minds with the realization that He is with us, He is in control and He will take care of us. We no longer have to drown ourselves in worry, as His strong hand delivers us from fear. We are reminded that He is bigger than anything that can come our way.

When my children were small, and there was loud thunder outside, it was not hard to see the fear inscribed on their face as they wondered what such loud, roaring thunder could mean, and if we were going to be hurt by it. They would come to us in their fear, looking for how we were responding to this unsettling noise. How we responded to them would make all the difference in the level of their anxiety. When they saw our calmness and heard our words of reassurance, they were able to stop fixating on the thunder and enjoy their life once again. Sometimes they would want to jump into our lap and feel a gentle touch on their head. This is exactly the reassurance that God will give to us as we bring our concerns to Him in prayer. It makes all the difference to know we can bring our concerns to the One who is on the throne and who is ultimately in control. As we bring our cares to God they are put into the larger perspective of His goodness, love and constant watch over us. When this happens He touches our heart and gives to us the peace of God deep within.

So as we begin a new week, may we take our worries and turn them into prayers to our God who sits on the throne. Let’s acknowledge that He is with us and thank Him for hearing our prayers and answering them according to His will. Let us thank Him for His ongoing presence with us, choosing to trust in His power and His plan, knowing that He will see us through this season of pandemic. Rather than waste our time fearing the virus, let us deepen our trust in the One who is great and greatly to be praised!

Prayer for today: Lord Jesus, grant me Your peace today. There are times when worry comes flooding into my soul and wants to dominate my life. I choose to transform my worries into prayers and release my concerns to You. Like a child who is afraid, I come to You looking for a word of reassurance to start this week. Thank You for Your power, goodness and love. Lord, protect, provide for and heal the people I know and love -- I know You love them far more than I do. May Your peace flush out of my heart the anxiety that wants to dominate my life. Give me a childlike trust in You and a more real sense of Your presence in me, through the power of the Holy Spirit. Thank you, Jesus, for granting me Your peace today, the wonderful peace OF God. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Bible Passages for Meditation: Psalm 29:11; Isaiah 26:3; John 14:27, 16:33
Friday, March 27, 2020

Peace with God
Mountain Life Devotional Day 8

Romans 5:1-2 (NLT) “Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.” 

Pandemics are difficult on many levels and difficult times can reveal things that otherwise may not be fully realized. One thing that is surfacing in this season of pandemic is just how much we need God. Now it's one thing to have a need and another thing to have someone meet that need. The good news of Jesus is that, because He made us and loves us, He knows our deepest need and He came to meet that need. So what is our deepest need? It is to have peace with God; to be restored to right relationship with God Himself, which results in this peace that our hearts long for.

When Jesus’ disciple, John, wrote that Jesus was full of grace and truth (John 1:14), he was pointing us to the truth that unworthy people like you and me, because of Jesus, are invited back into a relationship with God. If Jesus were not full of grace, we would simply not be invited. Without grace the only way you and I could even try to be right with God would be through our own good works. But in reality, compared to a Holy God, our good works are simply not good enough, for no matter how good we are, we all have sinned and fallen short of God’s standard (Romans 3:23). The major consequence of sin is relational separation from God. So for you and I to be made right with God, someone would have to come to bridge the separation gap that our sin caused.

So what makes the good news of Jesus so very good? He came to do for you and me what we could never do for ourselves. When we soak in what He has done for us, our hearts will naturally come alive with joy! Let me explain. Have you ever been given an invitation to an awesome event that you would never have experienced on your own? If you have, then you can understand what grace is. Grace is a gift someone gives to us that we did not earn or deserve. In fact, God’s grace is super-great because He provided a gift for us even when we had turned away from Him. The extra-amazing grace gift Jesus offers is a way for us to be restored to right relationship with God, a gift He paid for with His own life. Here’s how it happened - on the cross Jesus willingly gave His life for us. On the cross, He paid the full penalty our sins deserved (Colossians 3:13-14). On the cross, He literally purchased us for Himself so our sins could fully be forgiven and our souls completely cleansed (1 John 1:7). With our sins forgiven and our souls cleansed we are now able to experience peace with God because the sin that stood between Jesus and us has been removed (Psalm 103:11-12, Romans 5:1,2)!  We have been set free!

May this season of pandemic lead us into a deeper appreciation of Jesus—both who He is and what He has done for us. May our gratitude for this gift fill our hearts with love and cause us to genuinely experience the peace of Jesus deep within in this challenging season of our lives.

Prayer for Today: Jesus I need you! I say yes to your invitation to have peace with God. I am truly amazed that You made a way for me to be restored to right relationship with You. Thank You, Jesus, for taking my place on the cross and securing for me total forgiveness of my sins and a thorough cleansing of my soul. Thank you that there is now nothing between You and me. Thank You for making a way for me to have peace with God. Help me today to experience your peace in the midst of this season of pandemic, knowing that my ultimate security is in my relationship with You, for now and all eternity, Amen! 

Bible Passages for Meditation: Romans 5:1-5; Psalm 29:11
Thursday, March 26, 2020

The Glory of Jesus
Mountain Life Devotional Day 7

2 Corinthians 4:6 
“For God, who said, ‘Light shall shine out of darkness,’ is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” 

As I write this, I am looking out my family room window at five inches of fresh snow that have fallen overnight and into the morning. The snow continues to gently fall, hugging the pine trees in my back yard. Every so often a splash of snow falls gloriously from a deep green tree branch to the ground, leaving the branch to wave up and down for ten seconds as it adjusts to the remaining snow blanketed upon it. It is truly a magical sight; it brings peace and joy to my heart as I take it in! This is yet another example of the how Jesus shares His glory with us. He is the Artist behind that scene, the Architect and Artist of all nature scenes!
One of the greatest experiences of our life is to marvel at the incredible glory of Jesus. When Jesus walked the earth, He displayed a glory that His disciples had never seen before, a glory they could not have even imagined. Packed into the idea of glory is “weightiness” or “being substantive.” Have you ever been in the presence of someone who has a depth and substance to their person that separates them from the pack? Well, Jesus’ glory separated Him from everyone because He carried in His person an eternally magnificent glory.

The disciple John gave us a powerfully compelling description of Jesus when He called Him the “Divine Word” (in Greek “Logos”). He said, in John 1:14, “The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

John is revealing to us that Jesus was God in human form. That is, He was fully God and fully man. Since John had a very close relationship with Jesus, he was in a great position to discover who Jesus truly was and then tell us more about Him. John’s firsthand experience of Jesus gave him the privilege of seeing Jesus’ glory and, having seen it, He could not keep it to himself.

Jesus’ glory is absolutely beyond compare. And it is a glory that emanates from Jesus -  God Himself in the flesh - into the lives of those who open their heart to Him. Jesus delights in sharing His glory with us!

Watching the snow outside my window is for me yet another reminder that God has not left us, that He is good, that He is in control, and His glory is beyond compare. He was with the disciples when He walked the earth, and He is with us now. Therefore, rather than allowing ourselves to become lost in the worry of the unknown, let us this day open our heart to Jesus and His glory! There is nothing else like it in all the universe, and just a glimpse of it will give us joy and anticipation of the eternal glory that awaits all who love Jesus. When we take in Jesus’ glory, we receive a calm assurance by the Holy Spirit that everything is going to be alright!

Bible Passages for Meditation: John 1:1-17
Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Worshipping the God Who Can Be Known
Mountain Life Devotional Day 6

John 17:3
Now this is eternal life: that they know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent.”
One of the best ways to live in and through a pandemic is to spend quality time worshipping God. The privilege of worshipping God becomes increasingly engaging when we worship Jesus as God. Many people do not realize that God can be known. The good news of God’s Word is not only that God can be known, but that He can be known in a most personal way when we place our faith in His Son, Jesus. When Jesus became a man He gave us an up close and personal answer to the question - "what would God look like if He became a man?” The answer is simple - He would look like Jesus!

So what did Jesus look like? From a physical standpoint, though we have all seen images of Jesus, we really don’t know what He looked like. We can surmise that His physical appearance was not all that remarkable. The great attraction that people had to Him came from the totality of His person, revealed each day of His life. This included the way He carried Himself, the way He spoke, the way He became animated as He taught with unmistakable authority, the way He made eye contact, and the way He touched people with love. It was the totality of His person that made Him so compelling both then and now. For the totality of His person was nothing less than the totality of God in human form (Colossians 1:19 “For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Jesus.) It is also the totality of His person that will give us cause to gladly worship Him today and for all eternity.

So here’s what Jesus wants to do in your life and my life today - He wants to give to us the peace, wisdom, joy and strength that we will need. He wants to reveal more of Himself to us as we get to know Him through spending time in His Word and prayer (see passages below). He wants us to give Him our burdens and our concerns, no matter how big or small, and let Him carry them, and carry us, as only He can. He wants to make us overcomers in the strength that He will give us as we live in Him (Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ Who gives me strength.”). All these and more will be ours as we worship Him, our God Who can be known!  

Prayer for today: Take a moment now to ask God to do in your life the very things that are found in this final paragraph.

Bible Passages for Meditation: John 4:4-26; John 4:39-42
Tuesday, March 24, 2020

The Beauty of God
Mountain Life Devotional Day 5

Psalm 27:4
“One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek Him in His temple.”

The privilege of worship includes beholding the beauty of God. Have you ever wondered why there is so much beauty in the world in the first place? There is simply no way that this beauty we enjoy came about by accident. It is also not an accident that we all enjoy beauty so much. We are all drawn to beauty for a reason - God designed us to be drawn to beauty! This is why, when we see something or someone we deem beautiful, it is very hard not to stop and look. One of God’s greatest gifts to us is the ability He gives us to take in the beauty of the world.

During this pandemic, my wife and I have been watching a series on Netflix called, “Our Planet”. This series reveals some very profound nature and animal scenes that have brought great joy to our hearts. Though the narrative does not give God glory for His creation (huge mistake - see Psalm 19:1), we are happy to do so as we watch it! Our love for God has grown in the ongoing realization that He has made all things for us to enjoy.

Now, what many of us fail to realize is that behind the beauty of the world is our beautiful God. He designed creation to be an expression of His artistic character. The beauty of God resides in His splendor, majesty, brightness, holiness, glory, goodness, loving kindness and greatness. These descriptive words help us realize that when the eyes of our hearts begin to look at God our souls will delight in Who He Is, even as we are ever amazed that He welcomes us to come to Him.

So as we worship God what we need to be looking for, with the help of His Spirit, is His beauty. When we even begin to catch a glimpse of it, our hearts will leap for joy, and our desire to spend more time with Him will certainly grow!

Prayer for today:  God, I am so attracted to the beauty of Your person. Even though I am still learning how to worship You so that I behold Your beauty, I can already tell that Your beauty is far more incredible than I can fully realize. Give me the eyes to see You for Who You are. Thank You for sharing Your glory with me! Thank You for creating so many things that give me a better sense of how awesome You are! I want to know You better and allow Your great love for me to thrill my heart. Lord, give me peace in this challenging season of life. I want Your beauty to put a smile on my face, more praise on my lips, and more joy in my heart.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 
Bible Passages for Meditation: Psalm 145
Monday, March 23, 2020

We Get to Worship God
Mountain Life Devotional Day 4

Exodus 15:11 
Who among the gods is like you, LORD? Who is like you-- majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders? 

When we worship we enter into a most wonderful opportunity to focus our hearts and minds exclusively on God. To do this well we have to slow down, for there is simply too much to take in. That’s why the Psalmist said in Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I Am God.” As we worship, our awareness of just how awesome He is deepens. As our awareness deepens, we will adore God and desire to gaze upon Him even more!  As we worship God the beauty of His holiness will captivate us fully. If we get bored worshipping Him, then we can be sure that we are not really worshipping!

What a great experience it is for us to be fully captivated by God! The Psalmist shares with us his profound encounter with God in Psalm 68:35, "Awesome is God from His sanctuary; the God of Israel—He is the One who gives power and strength to His people. Blessed be God!" 
The Psalmist understands that worshipping God is both captivating and interactive. That is, you and I are both captivated by His love and changed by simply being in His presence. We adore God and He shares His strength with us. We are drawn to Him and He shares Himself and His glory (the brilliant substance of His eternal being) with us. As we worship Him, He showers His love on us and we respond with an ever-growing love for Him. The desire to exalt Jesus and make Him the center of our life comes alive. Worshipping God is the ultimate win-win.

So while worshipping God gives Him the praise He is due, it is also the best thing for us. For as we worship, our souls are enriched immeasurably and we gain an eternal perspective. In attributing worth to God (the simple definition of worship), we are lifted up in awe for both Who He is and what He has done. We experience in a new and fresh way His great love for us. We are blown away by His beauty; we marvel at His majesty and stand in amazement of His greatness.

In worshipping God, our fear is erased and our panic subsides as His peace takes hold deep within. We can face this new week with a calm assurance that this season of pandemic will come and go, and in the meantime we can find our refuge underneath the shadow of His protective wings! Today we get to worship God - what a privilege this will be. As we do, we will have the best possible day and He will bring us into the best possible place to address the challenges of this new week in His strength!
Verses for meditation

Bible Passages for Meditation: Psalm 27:4-5, Psalm 63:1-5, Psalm 91 
Saturday, March 21, 2020

Mountain Life Scriptures for Reflection
Here are several Scripture passages for reflection and meditation as you prepare for Sunday's message from Pastor Scott. May they give you strength, wisdom and encouragement today and in the days to come.

Bible Passages for Meditation: Ephesians 5:15-16, Galatians 5:13-14, John 8:31-36, 2 Timothy 2:8-10, 2 Peter 3:18
Friday, March 20, 2020

Needing Each Other
Mountain Life Devotional Day 3

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.”

I am not sure why we often go about our lives not thinking about how much we need each other. I suppose one reason is that, at times, we think it’s just easier to get things done by our lonesome. We also have had some experiences of trying to team with others that did not end up very well. But if we step back, it does not take long to realize that we cannot get very far if we try to venture out and do life on our own. Think about this, the “me against the world” mentality stacks the odds against us to the tune of 7+ billion (the world) against one (little ole me). Not a good bet to make, would you agree?

Well, this pandemic has made it very clear not only that we need each other, but just how much we do! This even includes keeping some distance from each other for a while. The real reason for social distance is not because we don’t need each other, but because we do and we will in the future. In terms of needing each other, a few examples may prove helpful. We particularly need people in the medical profession to be able to treat us if we get really sick. We particularly need people who make medical supplies to work hard to make more, so the supply can keep up with the demand. We really need truck drivers to drive food to our grocery stores so we can eat. We really need people to be willing to self-quarantine if they “get it,” so they do not put others in harm’s way.

If we were totally honest, we are all threatened to a greater or lesser extent in this pandemic, and we need each other to ultimately win over this threat by working together for the common good. This pandemic, strangely enough, has taught us just how much we need each other. And in that understanding, we are all confronted with our need for God to give us more love for and appreciation of each other.

I love the honesty embedded in God’s Word. By the second chapter in the Bible, we hear these words from God: "It is not good for man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18). A good question to ask then is this: why is it not good to be alone? And one main answer is that we are incurably social people. God made us this way. He made us to need Him and each other. He made us to live in family and community. This is a main aspect of what it means to be made “in His image” (Genesis 1:26). That’s why living with social distance (even for a short while), for many of us does not feel right. We want real connection and social distance makes it much harder to get it.

So, though this temporary season of social distance does not feel right, it can help us get in touch with some of our deeper, God-given longings. The good news is that once this season is over, many of us will realize in a new way, just how much we really do need each other. There will be a desire to no longer take each other for granted. We will value each other more. So, with this in mind, let’s start valuing each other highly as God does even now. Let’s spend the extra effort needed to stay in touch. Let’s ask God to grow our love for all people and learn to love each other with His love. For at the end of the day, we really do need each other. Let’s live like we do!

Bible Passages for Meditation: Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, Proverbs 17:17, 27:17, Galatians 6:1-10
Thursday, March 19, 2020

Mountain Life Devotional Day 2

John 16:33
“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace.
In this world you will have trouble. But take heart!
I have overcome the world!”

The challenge before us is to overcome in this difficult circumstance rather than to fall into a state of fear and an “I’m a victim” mentality. Satan wants us to sulk; God wants us to soar! We can try to overcome in our own strength, but we all have our limits, and it will only be a matter of time before we become overwhelmed. Whenever I become overwhelmed, God graciously lets me know that I have stopped trusting Him. The panic we are sensing in our culture is a by-product of trying to overcome without God.
The good news is that we can learn to overcome in HIS strength. The apostle Paul made an amazing statement in Philippians 4:13, when he wrote: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” The key to staying strong in the midst of this uniquely challenging pandemic is to put our trust firmly in our God, Who is way bigger than this virus. Our trust in God fills our hearts with the hope we all need to stay strong and live with the expectation that we will get through this! Why? HE WILL SEE US THROUGH!

Our children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews are looking to us and watching how we are holding up in this challenging time. They will take their cues from us. Are we putting our trust in God or responding as if it is all up to us? As we pray to God, He will give us the peace we need in the realization that He is in control. Jesus promises us a peace that cannot be found anywhere else. Let’s be honest - many of us need His gift of peace today, right now, deep within! I know I do. Let’s take a moment and pray this prayer to Jesus, asking for His peace to come into our hearts.

Lord Jesus, I often become overwhelmed when life comes at me hard. I forget how big You are, and find myself trying to do it all on my own. Help me to live life with the strength You provide. Keep me from playing the victim, and grant me Your peace deep within. Make me an overcomer as I trust in You to see us through. Use me to help others find their strength and peace in You as well!

When Jesus brings us His peace, we will respond differently to all the challenges and threats we face. Our disposition will change. Our load will feel lighter. We will no longer try and carry it alone. We will overcome, not in our own strength, but in His!

Bible passage for meditation: Philippians 4:4-7 
Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Time to Soar
Mountain Life Devotional, Day 1

Isaiah 40: 28-31
Do you not know?  Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

Due to this pandemic we can very much relate with birds whose wings get clipped. There is an invisible battle going on around us and plenty of uncertainty in the air. It has all happened very quickly and has taken on a life of its own. So we have all been-ready or not-ushered into a new chapter of our life. It's a difficult and disruptive chapter, one with which we are neither fully familiar nor comfortable.

So what are we to do? Where will we find the needed strength for this battle? Our best option is to lift up our eyes to heaven and seek God! When we do, we realize that in the midst of this we are not alone. We realize that not only is He with us, but He is our ultimate source of strength. The very strength we need comes from Him!

I believe God wants to speak this Powerful Word into our hearts today:
"I, the God of universe, am your source of strength, ______ [add your name]. As you open your heart to Me and My strength, I will lift you up on eagle's wings and you will soar."

Take a moment and read this Powerful Word again – out loud – so it goes deep into your heart!

It is so great to know that God is with us in this! Jesus came to be with us. He knew just how much we need Him. He will lift us up and strengthen us for what is ahead as we trust in Him! He has seen us through difficult times in the past and He will do it again!  On His powerful wings, we will soar!
Bible passage for meditation:  Isaiah 40