Devotional

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01-18-2022

According to Pew Research, close to ten percent of the US population identifies as atheist. This means that most of us know at least one person who is an atheist. As a follower of Jesus Christ, have you ever paused and tried to imagine what living life must be like for an atheist? Of course, without God, this life is all there is. After we die, we simply cease to exist. Atheist Bertrand Russell once said, “I believe that when I die, I shall rot.” Another famous atheist, Ernest Hemingway, said, “Life is just a dirty trick, a short journey from nothingness to nothingness.” As you can see from these quotes, atheism is a belief that is devoid of hope. 


In contrast to atheism is the bright, vibrant hope given to Christians who have put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul said in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14 “13 Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. 14 For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him” (NIV).

For the Christian, Jesus’ resurrection changes everything! Death is not our end, but merely a temporary separation of our bodies from our soul. Our soul and body will be reunited when Jesus returns and sets up His eternal kingdom. There, our bodies will be glorified, unaffected by the curse of sin. We’ll spend eternity in God’s presence. As it says in Revelation 21:4 “He (God) will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever” (NLT). Amen to that!


Followers of Jesus have been given a living hope! Yes, life is full of challenges, suffering, and discouragement, but our living hope can power us through anything. Our living hope rests in Jesus’ resurrection from the dead and His assurance that we will do the same. This life is not all there is. In fact, the best is yet to come! May this truth fill you with living hope today.


Pastor Dan


Questions for Reflection:

  1. Is there an atheist in your life you could pray for?
  2. When do you personally have the hardest time holding on to hope?
  3. What is one thing you can do today to keep God’s hope living vibrantly within you?

01-11-2022

Peaceful Sleep


We’ve all heard the playing of “Taps” at military funerals to honor soldiers who have passed away. Taps is a hauntingly sad melody that evokes our emotions, but few of us know the words to the song. 


"Day is done, gone the sun

From the lake, from the hill, from the sky

All is well, safely rest, God is nigh.

Go to sleep, peaceful sleep,

May the soldier or sailor, God keep.

On the land or the deep, safe in sleep."


What is this “peaceful sleep” sung about in Taps? It’s of course, referring to death. We often talk of death as “sleep” or being “laid to rest”. Are these just euphemisms for the harshness of death or are they actually appropriate descriptions? In 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14, the Apostle Paul says, “Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so you do not grieve like the rest of humanity, who have no hope. 14 For we believe


Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him” (NIV). 

Why do Taps and scripture refer to death as sleep? Maybe it’s the rest from the busyness, trials and tribulations of life? Maybe it’s the peaceful appearance of a body at a funeral visitation? I’d like to think it’s the fact that separation of our soul and body at death is temporary. Just like we wake up from our nightly sleep, we will all wake up from our “sleep” of death when Jesus returns. We’ll reunite with our bodies in a glorified state, unaffected by the curse of sin. That is awesome news and should affect the purpose we live our lives for. When we go to bed tonight, may the knowledge of this truth give us all a peaceful sleep!


Pastor Dan Schauer


Questions for Reflection:

  1. What images come to mind when you think about your death?
  2. Does the description of “peaceful sleep” bring you comfort when thinking about your death? Why or why not?
  3. How can the hope we have of being reunited with our bodies in a glorified state affect how we live out our purpose for God today?

01-04-2021 - Living with Purpose

Fasting & Prayer

 

“After Jesus had gone indoors, His disciples asked him privately, ‘Why couldn’t we drive the demon out?’ He replied, ‘This kind can come out only by prayer and fasting’.” ‭‭Mark‬ ‭9:28‬ 


Today in our weekly devotional, I’m going to talk with our CROSSROADS family about a subject few churches or Christians talk about... fasting! They did not discuss it in my church growing up. I learned about it in college. When I learned about fasting, I believed it was surely good for others, but not for me. I had a medical excuse not to fast since I was hypoglycemic. Besides, I didn’t understand what difference it would make in my faith walk with God.


When I studied fasting further, I realized that many heroes of the faith fasted. All the great leaders fasted in different ways to connect with God (Esther’s three-day fast, Daniel’s vegetable eating, Elijah’s fast, Jonah, etc.) But for me, Jesus is the example of fasting. Jesus had a habit of praying and fasting. The Greek word for “habit” is “ethos,” which can translate, “rite, ritual, custom.” It is also where we get the word ethic. Jesus had put good habits into place in His spiritual life through prayer, fasting and quiet time with God.


Our body, soul, and spirit are intimately connected and when we learn to discipline our bodies through fasting and prayer, it influences our spirit and souls. When we fast to seek the Lord, God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness. When we fast, we may feel physically weaker, but we’re allowing God’s grace to be revealed. It strengthens our souls, and the Lord helps us to enter a higher dimension of revelation and discernment. 


CROSSROADS will join together in a 21 day prayer and fasting challenge so we may grow together in the new year. From January 10th through January 31st, we encourage people to choose a fasting plan. We will discuss it at length on January 9th in worship and also encouraging people to follow the prayer and fasting journal being provided. People may access the daily readings and guide on our website or pick up a paper copy at either of the CROSSROADS Campuses. People may also go to the You-Version Bible app and follow along accordingly. We are also inviting people who experience a spiritual breakthrough during this time to share a testimony either live or digitally on January 30th in worship.


Questions To Consider:

  1. Is God calling you to prayer and fasting during January? What would be some benefits to a season of prayer and fasting?
  2. As you begin your fast, what steps can you take to intentionally set your mind on the Lord and His purposes over the next 21 days?
  3. How is this fast helping you seek the will of God for your life? What specific area are you seeking His will, and who do you have in your life to help keep you accountable?