Church Blog

DAY 15

Posted by Geoff Lee on Wednesday, 4 March, 2015 @ 6:06 AM

Jesus teaches about taking up your cross (Mark 8:34-38)


There are three words that keep coming to my mind as I read today’s reading, watch the video devotional, think back to the weekend teaching and the small group material, and pretty much everything that we have been considering this far. Those three words are:

Application, application, application!

I have been impressed afresh by the pointlessness, the deceitfulness, the futility, the instability of just hearing the word of God, listening to the word of God, reading the word of God, and not putting it into practice! I am thinking back to Dave’s teaching two Sunday’s ago about the two builders. The man who hears the word of God, but fails to put it into practice, is like the man who builds a house without foundations, on sand. I am reflecting on Rick Warren’s small group lesson, where he reminds us that knowledge of the Bible alone will produce pride, it will puff me up, and it will lead to arrogance and legalism. Knowledge requires action. Knowledge increases responsibility. I have to look in the mirror, see what is being reflected back at me about my life and my heart and my attitudes and my actions – and I have to do something about it!

Application, application, application!

I have been around church long enough to know professional bible students who have a terrible attitude, an ugly personality, and a mean-spirited approach to everyone around them. They are full of knowledge and very short on love.

And I know enough about myself, as someone who appreciates and seeks to grow in knowledge and understanding, who likes to read and think and analyse, that I am in great need of these three words in increasing measure in my own life.

Application, application, application!

Anything less and I am deceiving myself. As Rick Warren reminds us, applying the Bible is difficult because it requires serious thinking, Satan will resist us, and we naturally resist change ourselves.

The Micah 6:8 challenge for our groups will give us the opportunity to put what we are learning into practice. To act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with our God. Please let us know what your group is doing, share it in the comments thread or via email. We can encourage and inspire one another, and maybe even join forces in our efforts to live the word, and not just to learn it.

The acrostic SPACEPETS provides us with a starting point to really probe the text and see how we can apply it in our own life.

And our memory verse for this week is:

“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”  (James 1:22 (NIV)).

Mary said...

Posted on Thursday, 5 March, 2015 @ 3:39 PM -
Spacepets will definitely help me to dig for the hidden treasures of God's word and to correctly analyse it so that it will reveal and expose what is really in my heart and ask God to transform me and mold me to be more like JESUS so that I can be a blessing to Him and others, so that The Father will be glorified.

Paul Wright said...

Posted on Wednesday, 4 March, 2015 @ 1:01 PM -
What a great analogy in the on-line devotional today. I used to enjoy looking in the mirror but now I don't think I'll be able to do it without thinking about how my life looks and not just my hair!

We should be able to see the reflection of the word in our lives and yet I still see too many dirty smudges in mine, and this has really given me the incentive to check my attitude and actions as often as my hair!

I am just grateful that God has given me all I need to make the necessary changes in my life and the grace to still love me while I'm working on it.

Confidence said...

Posted on Wednesday, 4 March, 2015 @ 10:51 AM -
I see SPACEPETS causing an overhaul of my entire spiritual life, probing really deeply, exposing everything I may have swept under the carpet, discerning the thoughts and the intents of my heart. And I am beginning to get scared!

Lydia said...

Posted on Wednesday, 4 March, 2015 @ 7:59 AM -
i look forward to using the SPACPETS method to probe the word.

Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me."
My prayer to pray is that i will be able to let God lead me and put him in the driving seat of my life.

Liz Crudgington said...

Posted on Wednesday, 4 March, 2015 @ 7:49 AM -
Throughout 40 days so far I have enjoyed the expectation that in all that we read in our quiet time we can find an application. I have enjoyed sitting with a pen in expectation that there will be something to record, something in the word that I need to act on.

But that has also been a challenge too! That I'm actually going to need to DO something. And today challenges me. It reminds me that though I gave my life to Jesus more than twenty years ago, the act of denying self is a daily one. Will I today hand over the reigns of my life, my decision making, my conversations, thoughts and attitudes to Jesus and his gospel? Or will I still want a level of control? I want to be a wholehearted follower of Christ, not a half hearted one. That is my prayer, to be wholehearted and to remember God and fully obey his commands in all that I do, all day, every day.

And I thank God for the promise in this passage. That God will save me for a life spent in eternity with him when I give my life to him and his gospel. What a great promise!

Jenny said...

Posted on Wednesday, 4 March, 2015 @ 6:49 AM -
I am hoping SPACEPETS will help me to not just skim over my reading, but to read more deeply and intensively.

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DAY 14

Posted by Geoff Lee on Tuesday, 3 March, 2015 @ 6:25 AM

Jesus heals a deaf and mute man (Mark 7:31-37)


Jesus takes me aside. Away from the seething crowds. Away from the chaos. I can’t hear any difference, but I can feel it. The peace. The calm. The absence of the crushing crowds. The settling of the dust. I can breathe a little easier; my heart rate starts to slow. I am perspiring. With the effort and the fear of trying to get near to Jesus in the middle of this madding crowd.

Jesus reaches out and he touches me.

He touches my ears. My deaf ears. The place of my infirmity. My years of frustration and isolation and loneliness. The place where no one else can reach me. The years of not being able to hear, to join in conversations, to share in the laughter, in lamp-lit conversations over communal meals. Jesus reaches out and he touches me in this place. He is not just touching my ears, he is touching my heart. He is touching my pain and my sorrow and my frustration and my longings. Of all the years. My yearning to be understood, to hear and to be heard. My deep desire for connectedness and relationship and love.

But he is not finished yet.

He spits on his fingers and he places them on my tongue. My twisted, stumbling, mute tongue. My inability to speak, to communicate, to express my feelings and emotions. I have been locked in silence and isolation and loneliness for so long, not hearing, not speaking; living on the edge, living in the shadows, trying to speak with my eyes, but this has only ever been the tip of the iceberg. As he touches my tongue, Jesus looks up to heaven. There is something fierce in his eyes, frustration, anger, intense love and longing. I feel his sigh as he communicates with his Father. I see his lips moving….. but then something else.

Something I can hardly grasp or understand.

I am hearing sound. Noise. For the first time. And my tongue. My tongue feels like it is on fire. It is moving and free and it is forming sounds that are intelligible. I cannot only feel myself speaking, I can hear the guttural, joy-filled cries that start to form from deep within and rise up over my revitalised vocal chords and tongue.

I am speaking and I am hearing and I am laughing and I am crying. I see deep joy in Jesus’ eyes and he laughs with me. Jesus has opened my ears and he has loosed my tongue, but more than that, he has restored my life.

I have never felt such joy and amazement. In fact I am overwhelmed with amazement and joy. My senses are overloaded with the pure and beautiful goodness of God. I still can’t believe it.

Mary said...

Posted on Thursday, 5 March, 2015 @ 4:19 PM -
I have read this scripture over the years, but this is the first time that I have ever had a graphic imagination of the whole scene, it's like watching a movie of this deaf/ mute man whose life has unfolded before me like never before and it makes me feel sad to think of the few deaf/ mute people that Ive seen and came across in my path that needs JESUS and His touch in their lives and I can't communicate with them. I heard the JW'S get enrolled in Braille/ sign language classes to reach these poor people with the Watch Tower. Lord I feel Helpless that I haven't done anything to reach them with the Good News. I have more compassion for them. Help Me! Thank you Geoff for this blog!

Jen said...

Posted on Thursday, 5 March, 2015 @ 7:48 AM -
Geoff the description you blogged about is so beautiful.
I am thinking a lot like Natalie, how much I intervene for my friends and do I do enough to bring them to Jesus? All we need to do is bring them to Him, near Him, and Jesus does the rest. So beautiful how He loves us.
Did they even have a type of sign language back then? Was he oblivious to who Jesus was? He was open. I guess change only happens when you are open to receiving the lord.

Natalie said...

Posted on Wednesday, 4 March, 2015 @ 9:15 AM -
The deaf and mute man was 'brought' to Jesus. He didn't come on his own. Did he even know what was happening? Who Jesus was? People (presumably his friends or family) brought him along because they knew he needed Jesus; that Jesus could help him. Or they at least hoped he could.

Sometimes we are fearful of introducing our friends to Jesus because of what they might think, or how they might react. Will they think it is all just a bit too weird? Jesus healed this man by poking him in the ear and spitting in his mouth...that is weird. But it was life changing! I'm sure the deaf and mute man didn't care - Jesus had healed him.

It says that the people who brought this man to Jesus 'begged' Jesus to place his hand on him. Are we 'begging' Jesus to touch the lives our friends and family who don't know him? I have friends who I know really need Jesus at the moment and this morning I was challenged to not only pray that Jesus will touch them, but to have the courage to bring my friends to him.

Londoner said...

Posted on Tuesday, 3 March, 2015 @ 12:35 AM -
We all enjoyed the 40 Days at small group tonight.
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
James 1:22 (NIV)
This verse requires us to get in on the action. As the Londoners say, "Don't be all mouth and no trousers"

Kerry said...

Posted on Tuesday, 3 March, 2015 @ 12:35 AM -
1 - God claims you and I - Isaiah 43 verse 1, Isaiah 49 verse 15 - 16, Psalm 139
2 - Hebrew word for king is Melek, God wants you to know Him as your Yahweh - Melek - God my King, the one who saved you and continues to save you, even from your enemies.
3 - Yahweh - Rophe means the Lord who heals - He is your source of restoration to wholeness - Exodus 15 verse 26
4 - Machseh means God my refuge - He wants us to run to Him for safety and strength in every circumstance and terror of our lives, including self inflicted pain. He is our shield, our strong tower, our dwelling place and our fortress during all the earthquakes we face in whatever form they may take. God is the one who loves to awaken us from our state of unconsciousness and keep us safe and strong in His restorative plans - Psalm 46 verse 1 - 2
5 - I love this one! - In 1 Chronicles 14 verse 11 David asked God 'What should I do'? God tells him to go into battle and David wins, they call the place - Baal-perazim meaning the Lord who burst through! God can burst through your situations just as He did for David. God can burst through your dysfunction, shame, hurt, regrets etc, This should give us confidence that the Lord is on your side and ready to declare you victorious!. And maybe we should start asking God 'What should I do'? and wait for His response and see what happens in our lives

Sam Davies said...

Posted on Tuesday, 3 March, 2015 @ 8:08 PM -
You were right Sis,I'm wrecked here too in Scotland! These beautiful words have taken me to a deeper level of love and reverence for our Awesome Saviour.

Isabel H said...

Posted on Tuesday, 3 March, 2015 @ 5:41 PM -
As part of my job I do come across a lot of people who have a speech and/or hearing impairment. This is, still, today, very challenging for these individuals. Yet, there are a number of resources and tools, that can be used to make their lives easier, and enabling them to communicate with the world around them. I cannot begin to imagine how this condition must have felt like it to the man in todays reading. Complete isolation, no ability to communicate or hear the voices of family and friends.
A touch from the Lord and his ears were opened, and his tongue loosened. How wonderfully amazing this must have felt to this man. The complete overwhelming feeling of hearing the sounds around him, and being able to express his thoughts. A touch of our Lord and King can change everything and transform our lives forever.
My prayer is that the Lord opens my ears that I may hear his word. That he loosens my tongue that I may speak boldly to witness his kingdom to others.

Confidence said...

Posted on Tuesday, 3 March, 2015 @ 5:41 PM -
Oh Jesus, declare an Ephphatha over every deaf and mute area in your church. Let us begin to hear the cries of a world needy of You. Let our tongues be loosed to preach the gospel of salvation. Pour out your spirit on this land and let it rain. Amen.

Jenny said...

Posted on Tuesday, 3 March, 2015 @ 9:06 AM -
I love it that - in that huge crowd - Jesus takes him aside and spends time on his own with him.

Maxine said...

Posted on Tuesday, 3 March, 2015 @ 8:36 AM -
The '40 Days in the Word' is an engaging and enriching experience of which I am thoroughly enjoying. My breakfast is coffee, bible reading, journal, then read Geoff's blog. Thank you for the blogs, today's has completely wrecked me, it is so moving and as Marc has said just one touch from King Jesus DOES change everything.

Marc Nash said...

Posted on Tuesday, 3 March, 2015 @ 6:51 AM -
Geoff really evoked the setting and experience of this desperate man this morning in his blog. As the song says 'just one touch from the Lord changes everything'. Just one touch changes everything. Everything changes when we are touched by an encounter with the love of God. I pray that our ears be opened and our tongues be loosed and our hearts be softened as we continue to seek his presence and his transforming power. "Ephphatha"!! "BE opened". Open me up Lord. Another song says 'open the eyes of my heart Lord, open the eyes of my heart, I want to see you' Let us pray for a deeper opening up of all our faculties so that we can be more like Jesus in our daily lives.

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DAY 13

Posted by Geoff Lee on Monday, 2 March, 2015 @ 7:44 AM

Jesus walks on water (Mark 6:45-51)

Trying to imagine how the disciples felt in this story does not feel that easy. The Sea of Galilee, though I have been there, is a long way from Plymouth. And the concept of Jesus walking on the water is so far from my experience, it is not even on the radar.

But if you look at some of the verbs, and the emotions experienced by the disciples, their experience is not that far from ours….

“[Jesus] saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them.”

There are certainly some areas in my life where I seem to be straining against an oncoming wind. Circumstances that are not easy, that require extra effort, sustained effort, tiring effort in the face of opposing forces. Progress is slow and is not easy. And this in the darkness with Jesus apparently nowhere to be seen. The passage says that Jesus saw them straining. They couldn’t see him, but he could see them; he knew the effort they were putting in, he was aware of their circumstances. And then he comes to them, walking on the water….

“He was about to pass by them, but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out, because they all saw him and were terrified.”

The disciples seem to spend a lot of time being afraid, or terrified! In this instance, as they saw Jesus walking on the water, they cried out. All of these burly fishermen, tanned faces, strong hands, toughened skin from holding the oars and handling the nets, were so frightened that they literally cried out. Screamed? Shouted? Whatever noise they made, they were terrified.

We can identify with fear, with feeling terrified, with crying out to God. Have you been there recently?

“Immediately he spoke to them and said, "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid.”

Again, this is something that Jesus seems to say a lot. “Take courage….don’t be afraid….fear not.” He said this immediately. He was concerned for them. He acknowledged their fear. And he comforted them. It’s dark, the waves are smacking against the boat, the wind is howling – and Jesus speaks peace and comfort to them.

He does the same for us. It’s not wrong for you to feel afraid, to feel anxious.

"Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed.”

From anxiety to amazement. Jesus gets in the boat, and the wind dies down. Jesus had never taken his eyes off them. He knew they were straining, he understood their fear. But now he is present, and the sea is calmed. Amazement washes over the disciples. What an emotional roller coaster.

These followers of Jesus are not that far from my experience after all. The setting may be different, the scenario changes, but it is still the same Jesus, speaking the same words to us his fearful followers….. “Take courage……don’t be afraid….”

It was a great day in church yesterday, looking at the illumination of the Word of God and the different ways that we need God to open our eyes as we read and meditate on the scriptures. The children (morning) and youth (evening) did a great job, and listening to the congregation belting out "Thy Word is a Lamp Unto My Feet" moved me and Jenny to tears.

Linda said...

Posted on Wednesday, 4 March, 2015 @ 5:34 PM -
I am so much like the disciples at times. Work, straining at the oars, taking my focus and energy. Trying to fight against the wind and storms, while Christ is with me and I am so absorbed in my 'doing' that I miss His 'being'........I miss His presence. He was there and they didn't recognise him. The ones who instantly recognised Him were those who knew their measure of need of Him, those on the shore needing His healing power. God, I pray You will help me always to know how much I need You and to see You, and not to lose focus on You.

Lydia said...

Posted on Monday, 2 March, 2015 @ 11:28 PM -
Verse 51
Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down.

When we welcome Jesus into our lives, our personal situations and storms we find things calm.
When I was in Sunday School we used to sing
"With Christ in the vessel you can smile at the storm." Actions included! Although smiling may be too enthusiastic, we can rest assured that Jesus never leaves us and Jesus never lets us down. He is with us through whatever storm we pass through. PTL!

Confidence said...

Posted on Monday, 2 March, 2015 @ 3:37 PM -
I really do not see myself doing what Peter did: Stepping out into the water to meet Jesus! Chukwuneke (my husband) and I spent some time this morning arguing if this was faith or audacity. I ended up making a prayer: "Lord, increase my faith."

Jenny said...

Posted on Monday, 2 March, 2015 @ 9:45 AM -
I love the thought that the disciples "spent a lot of time being afraid, or terrified". Jesus knew that, and loved them. He walked on stormy waters and through locked doors (John 20:26-29) to get to them. And then look at how God used them! :)

Martin said...

Posted on Monday, 2 March, 2015 @ 9:18 AM -
This morning as I was reading through Mark 6, I saw new things in yesterday's meditation of the feeding of the 5,000 account. It concerned the disciples desire to send the crowd away to find food. The disciples themselves were tired and had pushed themselves re their measure of faith in serving already. But Jesus pushed them beyond their faith comfort zone both in the feeding and in the boat. Galatians 6:9 came to mind.
It also reminded me that meditation or rumination stays with us and has a lasting effect. Having pictured the feeding of the 5,000 yesterday, I saw new and wonderful things in this passage today.
Thank you Lord.

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DAY 12

Posted by Geoff Lee on Sunday, 1 March, 2015 @ 7:55 AM

Jesus feeds the 5000 (Mark 6:35-44)


Often, we mystify God speaking to us. We think that God only speaks to other people – holy people, super Christians, people who have got their stuff together! Sometimes we dramatize God speaking to us, and imagine prophetic words and dreams and spectacular encounters.

These may well come at times in our life, but the primary way that God speaks to us is through his word – the Bible. If you don’t read the Bible, in all likelihood you are not going to hear God speaking to you very much!

What strikes me as we progress through this 40 day journey is how much God is speaking to me as I take time to meditate on his word, place myself in the story, and immerse myself in the landscape and the narrative. Sentences stand out, words come alive, emotions rise, the scene becomes more vivid and colourful, and I feel a sense of God speaking to me through his word, through these ancient events.

It’s not that hard to hear God speaking, if we clear out the ear wax (confess our sins) and take time to listen and humbly accept the word that is planted in us! God’s word is alive and full of power. I don’t hear God speaking as much as I could because I don’t listen well, I hurry, I get distracted, I skim read, I multitask, I leave my Bible on the shelf.

I want to become a better listener. I want to eliminate hurry from my times with God. I want to link reading the Bible to prayer as I meditate on what I am reading and let the words dwell in me richly.

The video devotional from Pastor Miles McPherson ( – week 2/day 12) was great today. It focused on Psalm 119:165 – “Great peace have they who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.” Like stepping stones across a river, the word of God is solid rock beneath our feet, and as we face all kinds of challenges in our life, we will not stumble, and we will be guarded ultimately by God’s peace.

May you be filled with God’s peace today. May his word be solid beneath your feet, even as the waters rush by. May you increasingly hear God’s voice speaking to you. May God open your eyes so that you can see wonderful things in his law!

Mark said...

Posted on Monday, 2 March, 2015 @ 7:23 PM -
I definitely relate the disciples in this story. I am being reminded over the last few days that my faith can be so limited to 'this worlds lens' and I so easily forget that God sees situations through his eyes and can do the impossible. For Him, the word impossible does not exist ! I also saw the story today from the childs point of view. I can just picture this young boys smile as he stands next to Jesus and gives him the bread and fish. I wonder if his mum or dad was nearby and if they saw all of this unfold. They must have been so proud of their son.

Tina said...

Posted on Monday, 2 March, 2015 @ 7:29 AM -
I related most to the disciples today, the story spoke to me about my own limited faith and thinking, and reminded me of a couple of things in my life recently where I've thought I'd had it worked out what was possible for the future and then God has provided me with something far greater than I could have planned!
It made me think of the verse from Philippians 4:19 we studied last week: And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

Lydia said...

Posted on Sunday, 1 March, 2015 @ 10:03 AM -
They all ate and were satisfied,
This story is not just about a little boy's child-like faith but about God's generosity. They ate and were satisfied. Its a lovely feeling when we eat a good meal and then feel satisfied. Christ provided exactly what the people needed.

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DAY 11

Posted by Geoff Lee on Saturday, 28 February, 2015 @ 9:14 AM

Jesus raises a dead girl and heals a sick woman – Mark 5:21-43

Thanks to everyone who has posted their comments on the blog thread so far. It is really encouraging to read them and to hear how the word of God is speaking to different people in different ways. Don’t feel you have to write something profound or clever, just share a little bit about your own experience, good or bad. Join the conversation!

Today’s video devotional is by Nicky Gumbell of Alpha and HTB fame! It is nice to hear a fellow Brit speaking, and Nicki is as good and as clear and straight as ever.

For the reading today, I found it too busy and involved to imagine myself as all the different characters, so I chose the one I resonated with the most, Jairus the ruler of the synagogue, and focused on him and his role in the story.

I am finding this method of Bible reading really helpful. It engages the imagination, it involves you in the story, and it helps you relate at a deeper and more emotional level. Focusing on application and following with prayer, really helps to cement what you have been reading and to try to live it out. This avoids skim reading and surface level information gathering, but it takes a little more time and unhurried attention – which is what I need to be giving to my times with God and his word. Intentionality, time and space remain essential. We all have the same amount of time, we each have to decide how we are going to “spend” this commodity.

The story of Jairus, for me, shows the unimportance of position and human power (synagogue ruler) in the face of major life issues and crises. Suffering and circumstances strip us back to nothing and dispense with the illusion that we are masters of our own fate and in control of everything.

What we ultimately need is Jesus in our house and in our life. We all, like Jairus, need to end up on our knees before Jesus, recognising the limits of our own abilities and power. We see in Jairus a desperation and desire that drives him to prayer and to calling out on God for help.

Also, Jesus encourages Jairus to ignore the reports of no hope, and to place his faith in God. I am encouraged to do the same, to spend more time listening to Jesus and what he has to say about things, rather than the naysayers and the doubters (including the voices in my own head!); not being afraid, but believing in Jesus.

My prayer, for me and you, is to experience interventions of Jesus that leave us, like Jairus and his wife, “completely astonished!” Why not!?

jen said...

Posted on Monday, 2 March, 2015 @ 11:28 PM -
I've been thinking about Jarius. He had to wait. He came to Jesus for help, he hoped, whilst waiting, other things cropped up like the woman, Jesus had a journey to get to the house, lots of people around...Jarius is desperate for help and feels in the physical there is a time frame for Jesus to help before his daughter dies. Her health deteriorated and the worst happened - she died. But even then, Jesus isn't bound by time and answers Jarius' prayer. So, I say to myself, my prayers may seem unanswered, but its just a case of waiting. Even if my time / schedule in which I want it answered has passed, it will get a result. In that I have faith.

Lydia said...

Posted on Sunday, 1 March, 2015 @ 3:22 PM -
It is so lovely to see the children contribute. The 40 days has been great to do with our children. Matt and Liz you have done an amazing job to include and challenge the children.

Lydia said...

Posted on Saturday, 28 February, 2015 @ 11:58 PM -
When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed."
She must have seen the miracles that we have heard about this week and knew that all she needed was his touch. She needed a piece of the action.

val nicholls said...

Posted on Saturday, 28 February, 2015 @ 3:31 PM -
I like the way the devotions link together todays spoke to me of the woman who because of her illness should not have been in a public place but she was desperate and she went all out to reach jesus i pray that this 40 days will bring the same hunger the response seems to suggest it will ..praise god for this new season.

Julie Nash said...

Posted on Saturday, 28 February, 2015 @ 2:41 PM -
I’m thinking about the woman as I read this. She has been bleeding for 12 years and that has made her unclean - she must have carried a lot of shame with that. She wanted Jesus to heal her but didn’t want to draw attention to her condition and was probably hoping she could get healed without a fuss and without anyone else knowing what was going on. Sometimes at the end of a meeting in church there is a call to come forward for ministry and it requires us to put aside shame and be prepared to reach out to Jesus in a public way. What encourages me here is that Jesus' motive for demanding to know 'who touched him' was not to bring further ’shame’ on this woman but to commend her for her faith in front of the crowd and affirm her as his daughter! These words must have been music to her ears…if only we could really believe that God’s intentions toward us are always for our good, even when reaching out to Jesus in a public setting leaves us feeling a little exposed.

Beth Lee said...

Posted on Saturday, 28 February, 2015 @ 1:06 PM -
This morning, I opened my bible to Psalm 23. This week, I have been learning more about the- "Picture It" method, so I tried that. It was really calming to imagine. I saw myself being led along green pastures and rivers, with Jesus holding my hand; it showed me that whatever I do, and wherever I go, I do not need to worry, because God will always be by my side, guiding me. It was also very peaceful to be in the picture. It was refreshing to have a break from the usual format of reading the bible, because that can get a bit repetitive after a while. I think that this method has really helped me to rest and recharge.

William Hargrave said...

Posted on Saturday, 28 February, 2015 @ 10:45 AM -
I am answering to Mat and Liz's blog.
I'm William and I go to the redzone (kidzone). The story I picked on my colouring sheet is Matthew 14 verse 13-21 (Jesus feeds the five thousand). I can picture myself in the crowd and I feel so lucky and grateful that I met Jesus. When I read the story I learnt that if your faith is strong in Jesus Christ you have an unlimited supply of trust and strength and it will never run out like the five loaves of bread and the 2 fish.

Amanda Moore said...

Posted on Saturday, 28 February, 2015 @ 10:25 AM -
When I first did the picture it method I didn't enjoy it as much as the pronounce it method but this time round I am finding it much better.

This morning as I pictured myself as Jarius I felt God really spoke to me through one verse,verse 36.. Don't be afraid just believe...It sounds so simple was my first thought !
When everyone gathered around Darius they all had little or no hope I can picture Jesus almost taking Jarius by the hand and looking straight into his eyes and saying these words..Everyday things bombard me and make me feel anxious or afraid most of the times they do not even warrant that fear they are trivial but it still tries to rob me of my peace and I speak out God's word that we have already meditated on like -letting the Peace of God RULE in our hearts ! I was also reminded of yesterday's video devotional and that I need to combine the word of God with FAITH and that if we act on the word of God the word of God will act on us !
I need to live like I believe it ! The picture I had of Jesus looking at Jarius and saying those words"Don't be afraid-just believe' has left me with such a feeling of a Saviour with such love,compassion and care for all of us,I feel safe in the arms of my Saviour.
I am reminded of Proverbs 18:10 The name of The Lord is a strong tower the righteous run into it and are safe.

Isabel H said...

Posted on Saturday, 28 February, 2015 @ 10:19 AM -
Yesterdays story came to be of a great help to me. I wasn't able to write anything yesterday, because I was still in the middle of the storm; but now the waters have calm down. My daughter is away at University in Scotland. I received a phone call - she had passed out, twice, in the library. Ambulance was called, she was taken to hospital. She is possibly very anaemic. I have to thank God for his Word, and the fact that I am going through the 40 days. I think if it wasn't for the fact that, at the moment, I am immersed in the Word, and I am able to lift my worries to God, I would have driven to Bristol, got myself on a plane and flew to Scotland. Wouldn't have solved anything. It was just an over reaction. Instead I prayed. I went over and over the verse, studied a few days back" Do not be worried about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving present your requests to God". Isn't it "interesting" that as I am reading "Jesus calms the storm" I have this phone call? Thank you Jesus that you are in my boat. Thank you Jesus that I can touch your garments and you heal me.

Matt and Liz Crudgington said...

Posted on Saturday, 28 February, 2015 @ 10:02 AM -
We are looking forward to Kidzone tomorrow to see how the children have got on with this picture it method and learning their second bible verse. Don't forget to bring your activity sheet to collect your points!

Are there any children who want to share on the blog what stories they have been picturing this week?

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DAY 10

Posted by Geoff Lee on Thursday, 26 February, 2015 @ 10:37 PM

Jesus calms the storm – Mark 4:35-41


The question of faith comes up today, both in the scripture reading, where Jesus asks his disciples, who are fearful in the middle of the storm, “do you still have no faith?”, as well as in the video devotional, where Pastor Buddy Owens challenges us to combine the word of God with faith. He points us towards the book of Hebrews, where we read:

“The message they heard was of no value to them because they did not combine it with faith.” (Hebrews 4:2)

The word of God is at work in those of us who believe. (1 Thess. 2:13) We have to live like we really believe the scriptures and the promises contained in them. As Jesus stated: “According to your faith will it be done to you” (Matthew 9:29).

The picture of the disciples struggling in the storm, a furious squall, where they were nearly swamped, with the waves breaking over their boat, is a powerful one. Jesus is asleep and, to the disciples in their current dilemma, does not seem to care about their plight, their struggles, the fact that they feel like they are going under.

When you are in the middle of the storm, it is hard to “have faith”, sense Jesus, feel like anyone cares. You are too busy bailing out water, and waiting for the next wave to break. You can hardly see past your noise, never mind summon faith.

Whether you are in the middle of a storm at the moment, or are watching on from one of the other boats, as a friend or family member struggles through theirs, try to remind yourself that Jesus is still in the boat, he still commands the waves, he is still present and still powerful. Place your faith in him at this time, take him at his word, for, as we hear in the devotional today:

“When you act on the word of God, the word of God acts on you.”

I hope, as you are progressing through 40 days of the Word, that you will find duty turning to desire turning to delight, as you accustom yourself afresh to eating daily from God’s word.

I pray that you will mix your reading with faith and expectation. Don’t just skim read, “complete your homework”, do your duty;  but mix your reading, your listening, with faith, with belief that God is speaking, that you are engaging with the living, life-changing word of God!

Lydia said...

Posted on Friday, 27 February, 2015 @ 12:03 AM -
Psalms 107v28
They cried out to the Lord in their trouble,
and he brought them out of their distress.
He stilled the storm to a whisper;
the waves of the sea were hushed.
They were glad when it grew calm (of course they were)
and he guided them to their desired haven.

Jesus doen't just calm our storms he sticks with us through them.

I love this picture it method. It's a great one to do with your children, retelling the story in their own words.

Nicki Kitto said...

Posted on Friday, 27 February, 2015 @ 7:03 PM -
I love the picture of Jesus sleeping peacefully in the boat when a crazy storm is swirling all about him.
Often I try and calm my own storm and solve my own problem.
Recently a series of storms assaulted me and threatened to submerge and drown me. I could not navigate through the storm on my own and felt that no matter how loud I called out to God my voice was lost in the rain and the howling wind of the storm.
I was literally clinging onto God for dear life and no calmer waters looked to be in sight.
It was only in the moment when I came to the end of everything I knew to do and finally surrendered my terrified fears and anxious thoughts to God that he began to speak clearly to me and soothe my soul and pour peace into my heart and mind; it was only when I handed over the rudder of the boat and trusted him to steer me through the storm (whatever the outcome) that he began to give me much needed peace and rest.
God does speak to our storms, not always in the way that we ask. When we reach calmer waters, we are often different people to when we entered the storm, and for me, that's ok!

I love the Message version of Psalm 46:1-3
"God is a safe place to hide, ready to help when we need him. We stand fearless at the cliff-edge of doom, courageous in sea storm and earthquake. Before the rush and roar of the oceans, the terrors and tremors that shift mountains, Jacob-wrestling God fights for us. God of angel armies protects us!"

Kathy jarrett said...

Posted on Friday, 27 February, 2015 @ 1:36 PM -
When thinking of being in that boat it felt overwhelming - waves, wind, rain, sea sickness (a big feature for someone who has even felt sick on the Torpoint ferry). Life is like that. I think I need to lean on Him much more rather than me. I also think the storms of life come to develop us and our trust and sometimes there isn't an instant calming of the sea. It isn't calmed just the way we want either. But God wants what's best for us and I need to remember that.

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19)

Marc Nash said...

Posted on Friday, 27 February, 2015 @ 7:30 AM -
It often seems that God is asleep during the storms of life. In fact most people would say that he remains silent in all kinds of tragic events that unfold as people do evil things to others and as undesired events invade the borders of our existence. Our experience and the bible tells us that God will help when we cry out to him for assistance. As we sail through life mostly we are content to be the captain and to decide the direction with our hand firmly on the tiller. However when trouble arrives we can suddenly realise the foolishness of this decision as we find that are resources are inadequate. I for one am grateful that Jesus is in my boat and I can ask him to help me set the course, trim the sail and guide me to a safe harbour.

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Posted by Geoff Lee on Thursday, 26 February, 2015 @ 7:45 AM

Jesus heals a man with a shrivelled hand – Mark 3:1-6

We are continuing with our “picture it” method, placing ourselves in the story, imagining the scene, the smells, the sights, the feelings and emotions, and sensing what God might be saying to us in this story.

I pictured in my mind’s eye the synagogue that I visited in Capernaum, when I went to Israel. It wasn’t very large, it had seats of rock hewn into the sides, it was uncomplicated in its decoration.

The response of the Pharisees in this situation amazes me. They wanted to see if Jesus would heal on the Sabbath so they could accuse him of breaking the law. They were so legalistic that they were completely unmoved by the fact that Jesus was actually healing people in front of their very eyes. They were so focused on the minutiae, that they missed the miracle. They were so blinded by their wrong thinking that they missed God acting in their midst.

If I’m honest, and I suppose I should be, the person I identified with most as I read this story, was Jesus. It says that “he looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts”…. he reached out and healed the man with the withered hand.

Sometimes I do feel angry and sometimes distressed at the petty-mindedness and the focus on irrelevant things and distractions that stop people seeing and experiencing God in our midst. It comforts me that Jesus felt this way, angry and deeply distressed at stubborn hearts, even as he carried on and did the work of his Father.

However, I am not Jesus. I feel that this is probably not a great revelation to anyone reading these words! There is also the Pharisee in me. There are times when I am stubborn in my heart, there are times when I “sweat the small stuff” and miss the miracle happening in front of me. There are times when I don’t like the way that Jesus is choosing to act or move. 

May we all have eyes to see what Jesus is really doing in and around us. May we not focus on the rules so much and become so restricted in our thinking that we miss the healing, we miss the kingdom of God at work among us. May we welcome with open eyes and hearts whatever it is that Jesus chooses to do among us.

Rob said...

Posted on Friday, 13 March, 2015 @ 8:38 AM -
This is point well made, I pray Lord open our eyes that we might see wonderful things.

Lydia said...

Posted on Thursday, 26 February, 2015 @ 6:16 PM -
I enjoy the talks on the 40DITW website. Today's verse, Joshua 1v8 "Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it."
This 40 days is great. It gives a focus for us on God's word. However, we can read it, admire it and memorise it but the biggest challenge is to go and do everything written in it.

MK said...

Posted on Thursday, 26 February, 2015 @ 10:58 AM -
As I read this bible story and used the 'picture it' method, I felt strongly that I related more to Jesus than the Pharisees. However, I soon remembered how 'hard' I am on myself and how stubborn my heart is at forgiving myself - much like the Pharisees.
This passage has really made me question my negative thought processes and how these are preventing me from fully receiving God's word and healing in my life. Because, I like the Pharisees, am always looking for ways in which I will fail and this paralyses me.
There is no reason for me, or anyone else, not to be healed and that it is always the right time for healing.

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Posted by Geoff Lee on Wednesday, 25 February, 2015 @ 8:09 AM

Jesus heals a leper – Mark 1:40-45

We are now shifting focus to another type of Bible meditation – actually this is an old method used by Ignatius – picturing a story and placing yourself in it. This can be very powerful and really connect you with what is happening and an aspect of God’s character and love.

I’m loving 40 days and the simple practicality of it! I’ve never been very good at DIY or practical things. Sometimes I simply don’t have the skills, sometimes I don’t have the tools!

And yet I did Woodwork O’level at school and managed to get a B grade at least! What helped me a lot back then was access to a wide range of tools, and the skilful and patient guidance of a good teacher, who showed me how to use them. That really made all the difference.

As Rick Warren points out, he often heard and understood the message growing up in church that he needed to engage with the word of God. What he struggled with was the “how to”? The skills…and the tools that he needed. The purpose of 40 days is to expose us to those tools and to show us how to use them.

As I pictured the story of the leper in today’s reading, the story really came alive to me in many different ways. A man kneeling in desperation before Jesus. Jesus reaching out and touching him – the first human touch he had had probably in many years. The song wafted into my head that we used to sing in church….”He touched me, he touched me, and Oh the joy that filled my soul. Something happened and now I know…he touched me and made me whole.”

It strikes me that I need to spend more time on my knees, seeking the touch of Jesus. He is always willing, and full of compassion.

I pray that he will really touch you as you dedicate this time to seeking him in a new way. May he reach out to you in your desperation and make you whole.  

Lydia said...

Posted on Wednesday, 25 February, 2015 @ 11:09 PM -
I have a question.
Why did Jesus want the man to go to the priest? Is it that Jesus wanted him to be socially accepted amoungst his family and friends or is it more?
Thankfully this man's healing wasn't dependent on him following instruction to be quiet. I wouldn't of been able to keep it quiet!!

Julie Nash said...

Posted on Wednesday, 25 February, 2015 @ 9:15 AM -
I really like this 'picture it' method.
The Leper -
My first thoughts about this leper were to do with the Old Testament process of diagnosing leprosy. If he had followed the law this leper would have first visited the priest for confirmation about his disease, but if the priest was unsure he may have sent him away (up to three times), each time to spend a week in isolation. I try to imagine how this man felt after the first and the subsequent visits, hoping against all hope that the problem with his skin was not leprosy…but it was not to be. He had been sentenced to a life of exile, and surely now all hope was gone - or was it? What was it that made him throw himself at the feet of Jesus and 'hope' that he could be healed?
It strikes me there was something about the presence of Jesus that uncovered an ember of hope in this man that he may not have known still existed. Like Geoff’s picture on Sunday morning, the presence of Jesus carried the wind of the Spirit of the Living God which fanned that ember of hope back into flame. The result being that this leper flung himself, unguarded, at the feet of Jesus asking for the impossible. And Jesus did the impossible.
I need more of this in my life.
'Hope deferred make the heart sick but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.' Proverbs 13:12
Praying for many, many longings fulfilled for us all!

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Posted by Geoff Lee on Tuesday, 24 February, 2015 @ 8:44 AM

“My God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:19)

This verse is a great promise and encouragement to us as believers. It is written by Paul as he thanks the Christians that have met his needs in very practical ways.

He says, in essence, that he will not be able to return the favour. He doesn’t have many material things to give them. He travels light as he ministers the gospel and makes tents.

But, he says, “MY GOD” - HE will meet all your needs, and he’ll meet them not from some meagre supply; he will meet them from his heavenly supply of glorious riches.

If we had a tour of God’s supply warehouse, it would make Amazon’s giant warehouses seem like a tiny garden shed. God’s warehouse contains a supply of everything that you need – emotionally, physically, spiritually, materially. These are glorious riches, and they are all to be found IN CHRIST JESUS.

It may be that today you need enough grace, sufficient grace, to face incredibly trying circumstances, you need strength, you need encouragement, you need a job, you need emotional healing.

To “supply” means to fill up, make up, make good, complete, supplement, repair. That reminds me of one of our earlier verses this week, that he who began a good work in you will be faithful to COMPLETE it.

God is not finished yet.

The other thing to consider is that many of Paul’s needs were met by God’s people, by other believers. They were the answer to Paul’s prayers. In addition to focusing on and thinking about our own needs, there will definitely be areas, where we will be the answer to someone else’s prayer, where God will supply their need through us. We are, after all, the body of Christ. Be open to the Holy Spirit and to God’s promptings as you think of and pray for and encounter others. You might be the means by which they experience the truth of this verse in their life!

(Don’t forget to check out the video devotionals online at Craig Groeschel’s talk today on living according to God’s word is really good and enlightening!)

Lydia said...

Posted on Tuesday, 24 February, 2015 @ 8:02 PM -
All we need is Jesus.

Kathy Jarrett said...

Posted on Tuesday, 24 February, 2015 @ 5:42 PM -
The needs / wants issue struck me too. I've been thinking about Paul's contentment and thought that perhaps when I get needs mixed up with wants, my contentment is damaged. But what a promise that my God will meet all my needs.

Gill Williams said...

Posted on Tuesday, 24 February, 2015 @ 12:15 PM -
This is amazing! God's timing is perfect! I struggled for hours on this verse.(I like to see what the verses say to me before I look at the blog) but I had to give in this time and read your blog! At the same time the phone rang. I listened carefully, as my caller was having to deal with very trying circumstances, and I wanted to respond in a way that would give comfort and encouragement. This verse and the description you gave on God's warehouse were so meant to be for that moment in time! Through tears my caller said "the words are so beautiful" and wrote them down. I am so thankful.

Kathy Jarrett said...

Posted on Tuesday, 24 February, 2015 @ 12:12 PM -
The needs / wants issue struck me too. I've been thinking about Paul's contentment and thought that perhaps when I get needs mixed up with wants, my contentment is damaged. But what a promise that my God will meet all my needs.

Debbie T said...

Posted on Tuesday, 24 February, 2015 @ 11:01 AM -
This scripture brings a new meaning to the worldly saying the bank of Dad :)
Our Heavenly Father has all we need all, we have to do it go to Him and either ask for it or allow Him to give us what we need. Sometimes just being in His presence is enough to meet our needs. Its not a free pass to anything and everything though as its our NEEDS He meets not necessarily our wants. Praise Father for his Wisdom in what He gives us as its a protection from foolish requests that may get us into trouble. Like many children we want the cookies and not the cabbage sometimes.
I more recently see God's hand in the no's as well as the yes's these days as just as much a blessing.

Martin said...

Posted on Tuesday, 24 February, 2015 @ 10:30 AM -
On Sunday night the lamp in our lounge stopped working and despite my best efforts was only good for the tip. It was an expensive mother and child lamp. Yesterday we went to the new Range (forgive the advertising, I am not on commission) to find a suitable replacement. They had nothing on the shelves. Then I spotted a box leaning against the shelves. It was a mother and child lamp, but had no price on it. I asked a guy working in the lighting area and he said he had just brought the box from the warehouse and didn't know the price. We took it to the till and were pleased to pay 1/4 of the price we had previously paid for the same lamp. It is virtually identical and so we are ready for group tonight. God does meet our needs in all kinds of ways. But Geoff is so right - we should try to bless others too. And by the way, my friend Joe gave me a winter coat last night too. Thank you Lord.

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Posted by Geoff Lee on Monday, 23 February, 2015 @ 8:27 AM

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13 (NKJV))

We are approaching the end of the first week and I hope you are encouraged. If you have been engaging with the daily readings, you have been meditating on God’s word, applying it to your life, journaling, praying – and it’s not as hard as you thought!

For me, 40 Days in the Word is the difference between us coming to have a meal served to us, and learning how to cook it ourselves. We are gathering the key ingredients, and we are learning how to rustle up some tasty dishes! We are learning how to cook! We are learning how to read the word and apply it to our lives.

We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us!

That verse reminds me of the US presidential campaign by Obama, and his famous slogan: “Yes we can!”, which filled so many people with enthusiasm and hope.

While politicians certainly have some ability to change and influence things for the better, we inevitably find that the promises that are made and the hope for renewal and change soon run out of steam.

“Yes we can!” is a lesson in humanism, in man-made strength and aspiration without God.  The Apostle Paul does not stop at “yes we can”…. He continues “yes we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.” The Bible says that Christ’s strength is made perfect in our weakness. We can do all things THROUGH CHRIST – he is the one that gives us the strength. As the prophet Isaiah reminds us, “those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength.”

This verse is a great combination of optimism and realism – we can do all things!!!....through Christ who strengthens us, not in our own strength.

This works against a defeatist, negative attitude to life… “it’s all too much, I can’t cope, I’ll never make it, I’m no good, things will never get better, why bother trying.”

At the same time it isn’t some triumphalist political statement with little substance to it – hope over experience and reality. It is firmly founded in Christ and his strength – and he is very strong!

Yes we can….do all things through Christ who strengthens us.

Jen said...

Posted on Wednesday, 25 February, 2015 @ 9:13 PM -
ALL THINGS (through Christ). How amazing is that? My small human mind can't comprehend what can be achieved. We naturally put things into a box to have them make sense. My brain tries to imagine what awesome 'stuff' can be done if we simply ask Jesus, are we brave enough to ask and hope for things which, are to our human physical understanding, seem to be impossible? It's incredible.

Totally loving 40 DITW (even if we did start 3 days behind everyone else!)! xx

Lydia said...

Posted on Monday, 23 February, 2015 @ 8:47 PM -
I can do all things because of who Jesus is. Christ is sufficient even when I am in a bad place, filling me with his joy and peace.

Isabel H said...

Posted on Monday, 23 February, 2015 @ 5:10 PM -
I felt Pastor's Vance Pitman's in todays daily devotions very uplifting. Since I started doing the 40 days I am having breakfast with God, so I listened to his contribution this morning. Pastor Vance spoke about how we misunderstand the Word. We tend to think of the Word of God as rules, but God as given us the Word for us to enjoy life; not to restrict us, but to gives us the wisdom to live life in full intimacy with God. This has brought tears to my eyes. My God wants to have a relationship with me, He wants to be intimate with me because he loves me. How wonderfully beautiful is this. How wonderful is my God. I have heard this time and again, and this morning I got it - finally!

Julie Nash said...

Posted on Monday, 23 February, 2015 @ 2:10 PM -
This is really about yesterday's verse which has just come to life for me today-
Marc and have just visited our dear friend who is battling pancreatic cancer. We joined others from her local church, who come weekly to pray for her healing, her needs and her family.
My friend always comments on how peaceful she feels after this prayer time, and as we drove home I too reflected on the peace I had experienced. I said to Marc “I actually have a physical sensation of peace over my heart like a reassuring but not unpleasant weight.”
Marc reminded me of the scripture we studied in our small group last Tuesday “Let the Peace of Christ rule in your hearts”
It then dawned on me that we have also just lived out yesterday’s verse from Philippians 4:
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
We had gathered with brothers and sisters in Christ to give thanks, and to present our requests and petitions to our Father God, and entrust our dear sister once again into His capable loving hands.
Driving home I realised I am experiencing the fruit of living out the Word. I have no tangible evidence of change in my friend’s condition but I can now ‘feel' the peace of God like palpable guard around my heart…. amazing

Peter Boyer said...

Posted on Monday, 23 February, 2015 @ 12:52 PM -
I do Struggle at times with the bible but doing this forty days in the word is really helping me to get on with it, I do slack at times with it but if you don't get with it you will have a big catch up to do.
I have things that I thought I wouldn't do in the years that I have been going to church. I have had a lot of encouragement from lots of people in church and outside has well.

Geoff said...

Posted on Monday, 23 February, 2015 @ 12:43 PM -
In response to Dasha below...
If you've missed a day, don't worry! Just carry on the next day!

Diane F said...

Posted on Monday, 23 February, 2015 @ 12:26 PM -
This verse has always been a help to me over the past 20 odd years. When first thing in the mornings I would get up and contemplate the day ahead on my own with 3 small children and a husband away for days on end. Thank God for answered prays and good friends who would come along side just when the needs were at there greatest. I see how God has worked then and am anticipating greater things for the future.

anita laidlaw said...

Posted on Monday, 23 February, 2015 @ 11:10 AM -
I have just caught up with the blogs and comments and felt led to share a few thoughts and thank Geoff for sharing his thoughts / life so honestly. I was meditating on the words "do all things" and felt that at times in my life when perhaps things were impossible to do, in hind sight it was because i was not in Gods Will. Doing all things through Christs strength is I think about working with God towards and in His plan for our individual lives. We will muck up as I have and do many times but God is faithful in showing me a way out to repair the damage I do in going my own way. His strength is there for me to get back on track.,,,its a constant process. Thank God for his patience and Grace.

Dasha Aksjonova said...

Posted on Monday, 23 February, 2015 @ 8:56 AM -
Thank you, Geoff! The memory verses and daily reading are helping me to get through bad moments and just encourage me to be a good person in general. What do I do if I've missed a day?

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