6 JUN: GET UNDER WAY

Lord, what do You want me to do? — Acts 9:6

READ ACTS 9:1-9

On June 6, 1944, three American officers huddled in a bombshell crater on Utah Beach in Normandy, France. Realizing the tide had carried them to the wrong place on the beach, the trio made an impromptu decision: “We’ll start the battle from right here.” They needed to move forward from a difficult starting point.

Saul found himself in a difficult place, needing to make a decision after meeting Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:1-20). Suddenly, the location and direction of his life was revealed to him as a mistake, his prior life perhaps even feeling like a waste. Moving forward would be difficult and would require hard and uncomfortable work, perhaps even facing the Christian families whose lives he had torn apart. But he responded, “Lord, what do You want me to do?” (verse 6).

We often find ourselves in unexpected places, places we never planned nor wanted to be. We may be drowning in debt, inhibited by physical barriers, or suffering under the weight of sin’s consequences. Whether Christ finds us this day in a prison cell or a palace, whether He finds us broken and broke or absorbed by our own selfish desires, Scripture tells us to heed Paul’s advice to forget what lies behind and to press forward toward Christ (Phil. 3:13-14). The past is no barrier to moving forward with Him. 

REFLECT & PRAY 

Are you paralyzed by your past? Have you drifted away from Christ? Or perhaps never even met Him? Today is the day to begin anew with Christ, even if you’ve tried and failed before.

5 JUN: WHAT WE DO

One thing I do . . . I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. — Philippians 3:13-14

READ PHILIPPIANS 3:7-17

When Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic Roger Ebert died, a fellow journalist wrote of him: “With all his notoriety, honors, and celebrity, all his exclusive interviews and star-dusted encounters with movie greats, Ebert never forgot the essence of what we do—review movies. And he reviewed them with an infectious zeal and probing intellect” (Dennis King, The Oklahoman).

The apostle Paul never forgot the essence of what God wanted him to be and do. Focus and enthusiasm were at the heart of his relationship with Christ. Whether he was reasoning with philosophers in Athens, experiencing shipwreck in the Mediterranean, or being chained to a Roman soldier in prison, he focused on his calling to know “Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings” and to teach about Him (Philippians 3:10).

While he was in prison, Paul wrote, “I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (3:13-14). Whatever his circumstances, Paul continually pressed forward in his calling as a disciple of Christ.

May we always remember the essence, the heart, of who we are called to be and what we are called to do as followers of Jesus. 

REFLECT & PRAY 

Father, may I be willing to do what I can with all that I have, wherever I am.

4 JUN: GOD IS WITH US

You will be scattered, each to his own, and will leave Me alone. And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. — John 16:32

READ MARK 14:32-50

I once interviewed a member of my church group struggling with loneliness. He told me these words: “It’s not that I feel alone because I have no friends. I have lots of friends. I know that I have people who can hold me and reassure me and talk to me and care for me and think of me. But they can’t be with me all the time—for all time.”

Jesus understands that kind of loneliness. I imagine that during His earthly ministry He saw loneliness in the eyes of lepers and heard it in the voices of the blind. But above all, He must have experienced it when His close friends deserted Him (Mark 14:50).

However, as He foretold the disciples’ desertion, He also confessed His unshaken confidence in His Father’s presence. He said to His disciples: “[You] will leave Me alone. And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me” (John 16:32). Shortly after Jesus said these words, He took up the cross for us. He made it possible for you and me to have a restored relationship with God and to be a member of His family.

Being humans, we will all experience times of loneliness. But Jesus helps us understand that we always have the presence of the Father with us. God is omnipresent and eternal. Only He can be with us all the time, for all time. 

REFLECT & PRAY 

Heavenly Father, thank You for Your promise that You will never leave me or forsake me. When I feel lonely, help me to remember You are always with me.

3 JUN: STAMINA TO THE DRAINED

Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. Isaiah 40:31

READ ISAIAH 40:27–31

Someone once told a story of a beautiful, sunny day, he was walking in a park and feeling very weary in spirit. He said that moment it wasn’t just one thing that weighed him down—it seemed to be everything. Then  he stopped to sit on a bench and noticed a small plaque placed there in loving memory of a “devoted husband, father, brother, and friend.” Also on the plaque were these words, “But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31).

Those familiar words came to him as a personal touch from the Lord. Weariness—whether physical, emotional, or spiritual—comes to us all. Isaiah reminds us that although we become tired, the Lord, the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth “will not grow tired or weary” (verse 28). How easily I had forgotten that in every situation “[the Lord] gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak” (verse 29).

What’s it like on your journey today? If fatigue has caused you to forget God’s presence and power, why not pause and recall His promise. “Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength” (verse 31). Here. Now. Right where we are. 

REFLECT & PRAY 

Lord, thank You that You do not grow weary. Give me the strength to face whatever situation I am in today.

2 JUN: RIVER OF LIFE

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. Jeremiah 17:7

READ JEREMIAH 17:7-11

To trust or to have confidence is to have reliance on another and to have assured hope. When we have assured hope and an unshakable hope in our Savior, we become unmovable.

Psalm 125:1 says, “Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever.” When we trust in the Lord, we become like a tree transplanted by streams of water where we will be nourished by the River of Life—Jesus.

When we commit and surrender all to Jesus, He becomes our source of strength, and He becomes our anchor in times of turbulent storms. As we put our trust in Him, He removes us from darkness and uproots us to the kingdom of life where He gives us a life that is deeply rooted in Him. Through the work of the Holy Spirit and as we draw from the River of Life, we fear not, even when the heat comes (troubles). Our leaves will always be green (healthy), and we will be able to stand strong.

If you have not yet surrendered, my friend, please do so today. Come and draw from the River of Life.

REFLECT & PRAY 

My Father in Heaven, help me to trust in You wholeheartedly so that my faith will be unmovable. Holy Spirit, be my source of strength and be my rock in difficult times.

1 JUN: GOD IS OUR STRENGTH

The eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. 2 Chronicles 16:9

READ CHRONICLES 16:7–14

Life seems straightforward in the laws of the Old Testament. Obey God and get blessed. Disobey Him and expect trouble. It’s a satisfying theology. But is it that simple?

King Asa’s story seems to fit the pattern. He led his people away from false gods and his kingdom thrived (2 Chronicles 15:1–19). Then late in his reign, he depended on himself instead of God (16:2–7) and the rest of his life was marked by war and illness (verse 12).

It’s easy to look at that story and draw a simple conclusion. But when the prophet Hanani warned Asa, he said that God will “strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him” (16:9). Why do our hearts need strengthening? Because doing the right thing may require courage and perseverance.

Job got the starring role in a cosmic tragedy. His crime? “He [was] blameless and upright” (Job 1:8). Joseph, falsely accused of attempted rape, languished in prison for years—to serve God’s good purposes (Genesis 39:19–41:1). And Jeremiah was beaten and put in stocks (Jeremiah 20:2). What was the prophet’s offense? Telling the truth to rebellious people (26:15).

Life is not simple, and God’s ways are not our ways. Making the right decision may come at a cost. But in God’s eternal plan, His blessings arrive in due time.

REFLECT & PRAY 

Lord, thank You for the examples of courage and obedience in Your Word. Help us learn from their mistakes and from their wise choices, as we make our choice to serve You.

MAY 31 GRASPING & IMPLEMENTING

With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God. Mark 10:27

READ MARK 10:17-27

A philosopher Han Feizi made this observation about life: “Knowing the facts is easy. Knowing how to act based on the facts is difficult.”

A rich man with that problem once came to Jesus. He knew the law of Moses and believed he had kept the commandments since his youth (Mark 10:20). But he seems to be wondering what additional facts he might hear from Jesus. “ ‘Good teacher,’ he asked, ‘what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ ” (Mark 10:17).

Jesus’ answer disappointed the rich man. He told him to sell his possessions, give the money to the poor, and follow Him (Mark 10:21). With these few words Jesus exposed a fact the man didn’t want to hear. He loved and relied on his wealth more than he trusted Jesus. Abandoning the security of his money to follow Jesus was too great a risk, and he went away sad (Mark 10:22).

What was the Teacher thinking? His own disciples were alarmed and asked, “Who then can be saved?” He replied, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God” (verse 27). It takes courage and faith. “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).

REFLECT & PRAY 

God, thank You for the good news of Jesus. Give us the courage to act on what we know to be true, and to accept the salvation offered through Jesus. Thank You that You will give us the strength to act on the facts.