Posts with the category “pathway-devotionals”

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
Week of May 24
by Larry Ashlock on May 24th, 2020
More than a few rags-to-riches graduation videos have made social media news this year. I enjoy viewing the stories of young men and women who have overcome great hardship to accomplish academic milestones. I guess we can say that Bathsheba’s boy was featured in the Israelite Gazette! His success is well-chronicled in Kings. His predecessor Saul had overseen a loose confederacy of tribes, and his ...  Read More
Week of May 17
by Larry Ashlock on May 17th, 2020
What if Paul were to hold a conference at your church and ask you about its “organic growth?” Let me explain. There has been a proliferation of “how to” sources throughout my four decades of ministry commenting on everything from growing in numbers in one location to transitioning a church from one size and place to mega-status across multiple sites. The Ashlock question is blunt: Are we expecting...  Read More
Week of May 10
by Larry Ashlock on May 10th, 2020
The court of public opinion is quite fickle! We will take a bird’s eye view today of one particular segment of Jesus’ trial and crucifixion where moral flip-flopping is evident (See 27:24-25). We will see how swiftly down a slippery slope a people may slide when the moral hillside is blanketed with injustice (26:4, 59, 65; 27:12-14, & 18, “out of envy that they had delivered him up”). All involved...  Read More
Week of May 3
by Larry Ashlock on May 3rd, 2020
We all could use a miracle about now! People have begun counting the number of days that they have been under stay-at-home orders, recounting former care-free days by posting numerous pictures on social media from high school graduations to family vacations, and wondering openly whether this current plague will ever end! Have you ever wished for some bright ray of sunlight in an otherwise cloudy p...  Read More
Week of April 26
by Larry Ashlock on April 26th, 2020
Mother Teresa once said, “. . .The sufferers from leprosy, the rejected, the alcoholic, who we serve, are beautiful people. Many of them have wonderful personalities. The experience which we have by serving them, we must pass on to people who have not had that wonderful experience.” “Phase II” in the fight against the novel coronavirus has been entered by many nations. This move beyond the terrify...  Read More
Week of April 19
by Larry Ashlock on April 19th, 2020
Mature Christians will know that temptations provide them with crucial preparation for service to the Lord. Have you ever viewed temptations in this way? Jesus encountered temptation right on the heels of his mountain-top experience of God’s affirmation at His baptism and sets a wonderful example for us to follow (3:16-17). We will often reach crossroads where we must decide whether to pursue God’...  Read More
Week of April 12
by Larry Ashlock on April 12th, 2020
“All hail King Jesus. All Hail Emmanuel. King of Kings, Lord of Lords. . .” are lyrics to a powerful chorus that celebrate the universal and eternal reign of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. It seems like we are ever in search of just the right leader, but we too often fail to seek God’s light and direction in that search. Our focal passage today begs the supreme life question, “Who will lead us...  Read More
Week of April 5
by Larry Ashlock on April 5th, 2020
“When you suffer and lose, that does not mean you are being disobedient to God. . .The path of obedience is often marked by times of suffering and loss” (Charles Swindoll). Paul was a poster child for suffering, having experienced it in so many forms—physical, emotional, and spiritual. Nevertheless, he praised God who is the source of all comfort (1:3). My belief is that suffering may be beneficia...  Read More
Week of March 29
by Larry Ashlock on March 29th, 2020
“God cannot fix who is first not broken” (Jack Wellman). Perhaps it is my recent accident or the global crisis, or both, but the word “broken” touches me to the depths of my soul today. Many of us have been racing to accomplish our self-made agendas, and we realize now that God has said, “Enough.” Friends, if He is talking to you in this way, as painful as it may be, please listen and respond. The...  Read More
Week of March 22
by Larry Ashlock on March 22nd, 2020
There always seems to be a human tendency, when bad things occur, to draw a moral straight line from a national catastrophe to God’s judgment. What is the relationship between national and/or individual sin and some calamity? I’ll address this tendency to leap too soon to moral conclusions in a bit, but we first need to examine God’s mercies in this story of Achan’s sin and how it related to the n...  Read More
Week of March 15
by Larry Ashlock on March 15th, 2020
“The only way you can serve God is by serving other people,” says Pastor Rick Warren. We are likely to say, “Amen,” then go about serving our own interests. Not so with the Savior. Jesus has a way of getting the attention of his disciples by communicating the message on several different levels. I write what you may already know, but I do so because we often fail to see it in our own contexts. Mar...  Read More
Week of March 8
by Larry Ashlock on March 8th, 2020
Brother Lawrence once said, “You need not cry very loud; he is nearer to us than we think.” This man of God has reminded me of the power of Christ’s silence when He suffered for our sins (1 Peter 2:23-25). These were the darkest hours of the Savior’s walk on earth, and we often claim that it was during this time that God was far removed from him. I feel confident however that the word of God was w...  Read More
Week of March 1
by Larry Ashlock on March 1st, 2020
Jesus spells himself out, as the saying goes, in language that people understand. Sadly, people often do not “read” him correctly. However, there is life eternal for those that do. We will see the clear message that Jesus proclaimed and the various reactions to it in Mark 3. The message that the Gospel writer wants us to receive is contained in three words about Jesus—"Son of God.” Let’s examine a...  Read More
Week of Feb. 23
by Larry Ashlock on February 23rd, 2020
“Discipleship is the process of becoming who Jesus would be if he were you,” writes Dallas Willard. We may not grasp fully the significance of the former professor and renowned author’s words, but we do sense the invitation to be like the Savior! “Make disciples” was a central mandate that Christ gave to his disciples just prior to his ascension, so we know that it is important. Our discipleship n...  Read More
Week of Feb. 16
by Larry Ashlock on February 16th, 2020
“The buck stops here” means that the “responsibility for something cannot or should not be passed to someone else” (Oxford Dictionaries). Many believe that the “buck stopped” with the first eyewitnesses of Christ’s earthly ministry, crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension. Therefore, the Acts 1:8 mantle to be witnesses fell upon their shoulders, so when they passed off the scene, the mandate ceas...  Read More
Week of Feb. 9
by Larry Ashlock on February 8th, 2020
Conflict may be for the good of the whole and bring glory to God. There! I have stated it. Acts 15 provides us with a critical watershed moment in a missional current that has been building for several chapters in Acts. Luke has a clear message that he wants to communicate, and he does not sweep the theological challenge beneath the carpet, so to speak. Let’s examine the point in the passage and l...  Read More
Week of Feb. 2
by Larry Ashlock on February 2nd, 2020
Jesus’ final words to his disciples on the Mount of Olives were, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses . . .” (Acts 1:8-12). The “Power” came! Sadly, the Mount of Olives would quickly change from a place of dispersion to a center of devotion by AD 330. Twenty-four churches had been built there, including Constantine’s Church of the Ascension a...  Read More
Week of Jan. 26
by Larry Ashlock on January 26th, 2020
“Let my people go,” rings in my ears to this day as I recall Charlton Heston portraying Moses in the 1956 film epic, “The Ten Commandments.” Most of us will be familiar with the Bible book of Exodus and the miraculous stories of God’s deliverance of Israel from Egyptian slavery. We enjoy reading the narrative accounts of the birth of Moses, the travails of Israel under Egyptian bondage, the plague...  Read More
Week of Jan. 19
by Larry Ashlock on January 19th, 2020
The meek “do not accommodate to the powerful and influential, but ‘surrender their will to God so completely that God’s will becomes their will’ . . . They become God’s workhorses on earth” (Clarence Jordan, Sermon on the Mount, 24-25). Christian culture, when confronted with a call to become God’s workhorses, quite often responds with “Neigh!” (Sorry, I could not resist the pun). Jesus, however, ...  Read More
Week of Jan. 12
by Larry Ashlock on January 13th, 2020
The evangelist Billy Sunday once said, “If you have no joy, there is a leak in your Christianity somewhere.” If you are like me, you have lost an important item on occasion and searched frantically to find it. Many believers are in a frantic search for an emotion that they do not need, happiness, when all along God has equipped them with the vehicle and virtue that is essential to a flourishing li...  Read More
Week of Jan. 5
by Larry Ashlock on January 6th, 2020
“Now the Lord said” holds profound implications for the life of a man named Abram, and it bears that same significance for you and me (12:1). Genesis 12 represents a critical shift in focus from the human family to the family story of Israel’s patriarchs. The account begins with Abram (later called Abraham) and covers three more generations that followed after him. Faith required action, so Abram ...  Read More
Happy New Year!
by Larry Ashlock on January 1st, 2020
“In the stars his handiwork I see . . .” were words from the 70s-era youth chorus, “Pass It On.” One wonders how many young people knew that they were heralding a specific worldview. Consider also the worldview declaration found in Genesis 1:1. Now, that small verse is laden with huge meaning. Indeed, the opening words of scripture are quite familiar to us, but we may not realize how they were mea...  Read More
Week of Dec. 22
by Larry Ashlock on December 24th, 2019
‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house. . .” And, so begins the familiar Christmas poem. All inside were waiting anxiously for the next morning where they would receive gifts. We live in an age of unadulterated me-ism and consumerism, so calling attention to two powerful words, “Follow me,” may seem strangely out of place today (21:19b). The Apostle John’s parenthetical stateme...  Read More
Week of Dec. 15
by Larry Ashlock on December 16th, 2019
It has been said, “In the old covenant the blessing was initiated by you; in the new covenant, the blessing is initiated by God” (Paul A. Adefarasin). Covenant! Yes, it represents the eternal bond between our God and our lives. It would be impossible in a few short paragraphs to encapsulate the aim of the new covenant in Christ but that should not prevent us from making an attempt (I’m laughing). ...  Read More