Posts with the category “pathway-devotionals”

Week of February 28
by Larry Ashlock on February 28th, 2021
“If you do not get anything else right, then make sure you get this right,” are words that seminary professors would utter with urgency when they were trying to teach me and my fellow classmates a central truth. I gave them my full focus because they usually followed that statement with, “This material will be on the final exam!” Mark provides us with thirteen verses to open his gospel, and he is ...  Read More
Week of February 21
by Larry Ashlock on February 21st, 2021
People, power, and principles are interwoven to create a rope that may be used to help or harm people. Hopefully, the previous sentence sounds intriguing and causes you to wonder what it may mean. I wrote it so that we would consider the impact of our everyday life encounters. It should cause us to reflect upon the ways that our beliefs and actions may be used in God’s grander purpose to advance t...  Read More
Week of Feb. 14
by Larry Ashlock on February 14th, 2021
“And the Lord spoke” carried supreme authority when Israel received God’s law. Community was formed by God’s word and his word set the boundaries for inclusion and exclusion in it. Not so any longer in Western culture! As Dallas Willard writes, “What characterizes life in so-called Western societies today, however, is the absence, or presumed absence, of knowledge of good and evil, right and wrong...  Read More
Week of Feb. 7
by Larry Ashlock on February 7th, 2021
Open doors lead both to expected and unexpected results, so make certain to step forward with the Spirit’s guidance and help. Now, that opening sentence holds some significant implications. If you are like me, you will often open a package and lay the instructions aside because you are eager to enjoy the contents. We quite often open the package of new life in Christ but fail to read carefully the...  Read More
Week of Jan. 31
by Larry Ashlock on January 31st, 2021
One of the great expectations of the Christian life rests on the truth that what began at the Ascension of Christ will be completed upon his glorious return. In the meantime, we have an assignment from him (Acts 1:8). Please bear with me because this devotional is desperately needed in our current day. Gratefully, we have been left with a wonderful account of the early church in the Book of Acts t...  Read More
Week of Jan. 24
by Larry Ashlock on January 24th, 2021
The power of all false gods is illusory, while the strength of the Lord our God is real and eternal. Ahh! Of course, knowing this fact with our minds does not integrate immediately into life practice. We will see this truth played out in the exodus of Israel from Egypt where they had spent four centuries exposed to polytheism. It continued to influence their faith practices through the centuries.S...  Read More
Week of Jan. 17
by Larry Ashlock on January 17th, 2021
A popular adage reminds us of the importance of foundational commitments: “If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything.” In other words, core values are the foundation of how you and everyone around you conduct themselves. Christians are to make sure that the worship of the Father is the supreme value in their lives. It will show in how they conduct themselves.The collection of sa...  Read More
Week of Jan. 10
by Larry Ashlock on January 10th, 2021
The heart of Luke 8 may be found in a single question that Luke presents to us on the lips of the disciples. The question is: “Who then is this, that he commands even winds and water, and they obey him?” I believe that this query rests on the foundational principle of Jesus’ Divine sovereignty. Luke writes to show people that Jesus is Lord over nature, the demonic, and over sickness and death; the...  Read More
Week of Jan. 3
by Larry Ashlock on January 3rd, 2021
It seems very likely that Genesis 1-11 represents one of the most familiar portions of the Bible. Nearly all people have heard about Adam and Eve, the temptation and fall into sin, the Flood, and the tower of Babel. Familiarity with this part of the Bible certainly does not equate to unity among people as to how we should approach it and apply it to our lives! Some dismiss these chapters as little...  Read More
Week of Dec. 27
by Larry Ashlock on December 27th, 2020
It has been said, “It is best to be with those in time that we hope to be with in eternity.” Christian friendships are the best, aren’t they? Shawna and I have a close friend who has often invited us into her home for meals and fellowship. It is a lovely place, and we have enjoyed much laughter and a few tears, as well as joys and sorrows in that place. I am certain that you, too, have friends suc...  Read More
Week of Dec. 20
by Larry Ashlock on December 20th, 2020
Some of the most unsettling moments in my ministry occurred throughout a two-year period when I, as a young pastor, served as an “on-call” (PRN) chaplain for the V.A. hospital in Big Spring, Texas. I made dozens of visits each week, but the most difficult encounters to process were the ones on a special unit for ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) patients. What hope is there for such life circumstances? I...  Read More
Week of Dec. 13
by Larry Ashlock on December 13th, 2020
George Muller, the man of great faith, once wrote, “. . .Through prayer to God, the study of the Word, and reflection, I come to a deliberate judgment according to the best of my ability. . .” the will of God. He always began by setting his heart in such a way that he had not a will of his own in regard to a given concern. He had learned that a person must be willing to do the Lord’s will regardle...  Read More
Week of Dec. 6
by Larry Ashlock on December 6th, 2020
Pastor Jack Wellman writes, “The Bible mentions prayer a lot, but prayer is much more than simply repeating words or wishful thinking. Prayer is talking and listening to God. Prayer, like a conversation, can be done at any time, anywhere – because God is always with us and is always listening.” It has been said that the entire letter of Ephesians was written with an attitude of prayer! We have bef...  Read More
Week of Nov. 29
by Larry Ashlock on November 29th, 2020
Christianity’s claim to be the one true path to God hinges upon the miraculous resurrection event that is recorded in Matthew 28 (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:12-19). We know indeed the significance of the resurrection for Christian salvation, but we often overlook the implications that it holds for life in the church. Hang in there with me today because this devotional will provide you with a critical el...  Read More
Week of Nov. 22
by Larry Ashlock on November 22nd, 2020
“We would worry less if we praised more. Thanksgiving is the enemy of discontent and dissatisfaction” (Harry Ironside). We need a praise leader to call our nation to thanksgiving! Regardless of life’s ups and downs, this person directs people to the ways that God has been near to his children despite their troubles. Psalm 124 provides us with an important pre-Thanksgiving reminder of the ways that...  Read More
Week of Nov. 15
by Larry Ashlock on November 15th, 2020
Sometimes things are so broken that they need a miraculous blessing in order to restore them to wholeness. The Holy Spirit takes that which is fractured and renders it whole, whether it is a broken life or a divided church. Consider our biological lives. The health of the human body, as complex as it is, hinges upon having a heart that is able to pump oxygenated blood throughout the body. No heart...  Read More
Week of Nov. 8
by Larry Ashlock on November 8th, 2020
Abraham Lincoln, the newly nominated senatorial candidate, addressed the Illinois Republican Convention on 16 June 1858 in which he warned that the nation faced “a crisis that could destroy the Union” (History). In that speech he paraphrased a New Testament passage of scripture by stating “a house divided against itself cannot stand.” Hold on to this thought because there is a profound moral point...  Read More
Week of Nov. 1
by Larry Ashlock on November 1st, 2020
We hear much about "systemic" injustices in our age and many folks recoil when they hear the term. It means "something that is spread throughout, affecting a group or system, such as a body, economy, market or society as a whole." The moral issue surfaces regularly throughout the world.We see, for example, the Nigerian SARS violence and subsequent protests as people call for better governance. Peo...  Read More
Week of Oct. 25
by Larry Ashlock on October 25th, 2020
Where do you turn when you are an emotional basket case, as we say? You flail about seeking any and everyone to put healing salve on your raw grief, but no one, not even God, appears to be able to comfort you. Job pours out his frustration over the unhelpful counsel and attitudes of his friends and the seemingly unmerciful actions of God. He is in physical and emotional pain, cannot figure out wha...  Read More
Week of Oct. 18
by Larry Ashlock on October 18th, 2020
The life of praise should be reflective. I am not seeking to be philosophical, so please allow me to explain what I mean. Our praise should mirror what God has done for us. It becomes our poetic response to God’s self-revelation in history (WBC). I am indebted to Peter Craigie for reminding us that poetry was a form of language that was native to Israel, and it preceded the psalms (e.g. Exodus 15:...  Read More
Week of Oct. 11
by Larry Ashlock on October 11th, 2020
Susan B. Anthony once said, “I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires (Life and Work of Susan B. Anthony, Vol. 2, 384). I have heard lessons and sermons my entire life about the wicked Jewish religious leaders and Romans who opposed Christ. They both knew, and justified, what they were going to do. It is apparen...  Read More
Week of Oct. 4
by Larry Ashlock on October 4th, 2020
Who do you invite to church table fellowships? I recall an occasion where a church that I served held a semi-formal banquet. The setting was warm, and the church members were in a banquet mood. The room was filled with the scent of lovely food, as well as laughter and conversation among the guests. An unexpected entrance occurred, however, when a homeless man walked in off the street in search of ...  Read More
Week of Sept. 27
by Larry Ashlock on September 27th, 2020
The “Parable of the Good Samaritan,” we must remember, was not first used by Jesus to promote crisis center ministry! I certainly have used it in devotionals for the Baptist Center for Global Concerns’ Mary’s Table ministry, but I am well aware of its deeper significance. If you are like me, then you sense that Luke has a specific purpose in mind when he places this teaching-story in this place. T...  Read More
Week of Sept. 20
by Larry Ashlock on September 20th, 2020
“He will wipe away every tear . . .” is one of the most chosen passages for a funeral service. I understand why this is the case because of the hope that it inspires in people. R.C. Sproul once said, "Hope is called the anchor of the soul (Hebrews 6:19), because it gives stability to the Christian life” (Sproul, 1-2 Peter, p. 43). This chapter provides not only a powerful closing to John’s vision ...  Read More
Week of Sept. 13
by Larry Ashlock on September 13th, 2020
One of our most beloved hymns, “Great is Thy Faithfulness,” incorporates the words of Lamentation 3:22 into the first verse. What we may not know is that the hymn was penned not because of any catastrophic event, but simply as an outgrowth of the songwriter’s life. Thomas Chisolm was born into a log cabin in Franklin, Kentucky, in 1866. He did not attend high school or college but became a schoolt...  Read More
Week of Sept. 6
by Larry Ashlock on September 6th, 2020
I have good and bad news today. The good news is that we have arrived at a central passage in the book of Revelation. Wahoo! The bad news is that it is one of the most difficult passages to interpret in the entire book. Bummer! Nevertheless, if we take the chapter at face value, it will help us to gain a secure footing for a moral application to our lives. We will consider two of the symbols John ...  Read More
Week of Aug. 30
by Larry Ashlock on August 30th, 2020
“We may be true Christians, really born-again Christians, and yet fail in our love toward other Christians” (Francis Schaeffer, The Mark of the Christian, Kindle, loc. 111). The heart of the third letter of John is found in an exhortation to love (vv. 5-8) and a stern warning concerning a glaring lack of the same (vv. 9-10)! John sends the missive to Gaius, confronts Diotrephes, and commends Demet...  Read More
Week of Aug. 23
by Larry Ashlock on August 23rd, 2020
“Believing, then, is directing the hearts’ attention to Jesus. It is lifting the mind to ‘behold the Lamb of God,’ and never ceasing that beholding for the rest of our lives,” says A.W. Tozer. The great preacher nails the truth on the head. This claim is precisely what John wished to communicate in the crucifixion account. In my estimation, our focal verse today provides the heart of John’s theolo...  Read More
Week of Aug. 16
by Larry Ashlock on August 16th, 2020
“As the cross is the sign of submission, so the towel is the sign of service” (Richard Foster). The author of the Celebration of Discipline confronts us with our own human frailty when he challenges the viral attitude of superiority that so often infects our hearts in subtle ways. He states that most of us are comfortable with not being the greatest, but we recoil at the thought that we must be t...  Read More
Week of Aug. 9
by Larry Ashlock on August 9th, 2020
“It takes some of us a lifetime to learn that Christ, our Good Shepherd, knows exactly what He is doing with us. He understands us perfectly” (Phillip Keller). Do we, however, understand him? Thankfully, John provides us with another clear image of Christ’s ministry and purpose in the 10th chapter of his gospel. This section contains the fourth, “I am” statement. Our savior makes the point that he...  Read More
Week of Aug. 2
by Larry Ashlock on August 8th, 2020
“What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul/what wondrous love is this, O my soul!/ What wondrous love is this that caused the Lord of bliss/to bear the dreadful curse for my soul...” These are words to a hymn based upon Isaiah 53:6 (What Wondrous Love is This). Perhaps you have never considered the depth of meaning in that tune, so we will today! Isaiah 53 contains a large portion of what h...  Read More
Week of July 26
by Larry Ashlock on July 26th, 2020
Recall the words of our Lord, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first” (John 15:18). Peter echoes Christ’s claim and states that rejection by the world should not deter us from remaining steadfastly committed to the Lord. Why? God has named Christ the “chief cornerstone” (2:6). While we may not fully comprehend the value of this principle, we will learn its importance for our ...  Read More
Week of July 19
by Larry Ashlock on July 19th, 2020
“What kind of people will you be allowing in the buildings?” This question was raised by a business owner with whom I had a discussion about an outside meeting, and his underlying message was quite clear. I also encountered similar questions, on occasion, when I served as a pastor. I sought to be diplomatic with my response to the businessperson, but James did not hold back in his condemnation of ...  Read More
Week of July 12
by Larry Ashlock on July 12th, 2020
Hills church (later Hillsong Worship) recorded the song, “Shout to the Lord” in February 1994. Some of the most powerful words are: “My Jesus, my Savior/Lord there is none like You/All of my days, I want to praise/The wonders of Your mighty love.” Are you like me? I have already begun to sing the chorus, “Shout to the Lord all the earth let us sing.” It is estimated that the song is sung by 30 mil...  Read More
Week of July 5
by Larry Ashlock on July 5th, 2020
“The strength of a man’s virtue should not be measured by his special exertions, but by his habitual acts” (Blaise Pascal). I believe that these words hold true for an individual and a nation. Governing is extraordinarily difficult in times of calm, but it must be overwhelming in times of great stress. It should not surprise us today to be reminded that the ruin of a great people and nation rarely...  Read More
Week of June 28
by Larry Ashlock on June 28th, 2020
The word “legacy” rises to the surface of discussions in politics, business, and even in families because people are concerned with leaving something beneficial behind when they pass off the scene. Such a heritage is meant to guide future generations in their decisions for the good. Paul makes an interesting “legacy” statement to Timothy in this power-packed section of his letter. Let’s examine it...  Read More
Week of June 21
by Larry Ashlock on June 21st, 2020
Humankind the world over longs for the day when justice will rain down and nourish all of the earth. The psalmist teaches what our Savior instructed his disciples to pray—your kingdom come! I imagine that you are like me and long for the day when God will restore order to the disorder around us. The Reformer, John Calvin once wrote, “It is therefore our bounden duty to beseech him to restore to or...  Read More
Week of June 14
by Larry Ashlock on June 14th, 2020
Christian joy enables us to display buoyancy despite wave after wave of overwhelming tribulation (1:12-26). Our “world” has been inundated with rolling tides of trials in 2020. We have experienced a major pandemic, 40+ million Americans out of work, numerous destructive storms, and massive rioting and property destruction. All of this has occurred in the first five months of the year! I would have...  Read More
Week of June 7
by Larry Ashlock on June 7th, 2020
[Originally published June 1, 2020] A long philosophical history has led our nation to attach theoretical moral rights, grounded in deity and nature’s laws, to actual statutes with the goal of securing life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all. How can it be that this most basic human right, a right to protect one’s own person, was violated before our eyes last week on a street in Minnea...  Read More
Week of May 31
by Larry Ashlock on May 31st, 2020
The Spirit-directed life flows from the choice to embrace it, then apply it. Henry Blackaby has said, “God speaks through a variety of means. In the present God primarily speaks by the Holy Spirit, through the Bible, prayer, circumstances, and the church.” We have all of these means at our disposal, so none of us should believe that living in the Spirit is out of reach. Paul reminds us today that ...  Read More