Posts with the category “pathway-devotionals”

Week of July 7
by Larry Ashlock on July 7th, 2024
Endurance runners are elite athletes who train themselves to overcome severe obstacles and fatigue to reach their goals as the end of races. One of the hindrances is when their minds tell them to quit once the pain in their bodies reaches their brains! Come to think of it, suffering as we follow Christ will occur at times throughout our Christian race (cf. 2 Timothy 4:7b and Paul’s use of “race” a...  Read More
Week of June 30
by Larry Ashlock on June 30th, 2024
“In prayer it is better to have a heart without words, than words without a heart.” The psalmist knew this when he cried out, “You are my God!” This psalm is the only one associated with King David in the third book of Psalms. He pours out an individual lament to God and, while we do not know the specific circumstance, his cry involves need, affliction, and even enemies (86:1, 7, 16 &17). All thre...  Read More
Week of June 23
by Larry Ashlock on June 23rd, 2024
Shockwaves sounded throughout the American church in recent days as two high profile pastors have stepped down from their positions due to moral failures. Sadly, these are the most recent cases of what has become an epidemic of pastoral and leadership failure. I am reminded, yet again, of Paul’s words that qualifications for leadership tie directly to character. A short list of typical outward lea...  Read More
Week of June 16
by Larry Ashlock on June 16th, 2024
The famous “Round Toit” expression has become synonymous with procrastination. I wondered where the term originated, and one source states that it predates ancient Egypt. I even discovered an address in North Carolina on Rountoit Road! I would hesitate to bid on the purchase of that home because, as the name suggests, it likely would be a long and frustrating process to reach the final sale! Paul ...  Read More
Week of June 9
by Larry Ashlock on June 9th, 2024
“All is vanity” represents one of the most recognized claims in the Scriptures and one of the most pervasive worldviews throughout history. Oddly, people know that Solomon pens these words in Ecclesiastes, but do not search further to understand their meaning and find the answer to meaninglessness. “Everything is transitory and therefore of no lasting value. People are caught in the trap of the ab...  Read More
Week of June 2
by Larry Ashlock on June 2nd, 2024
We should live with “thus” in mind. I open this devotional with one single word that Paul writes in Romans 14, verse 18. We all know the importance of serving Christ, but we all too often attempt a vice-like control over those to whom we offer our service. Plainly, we need to consider the hard truth that we may be determining the way we want to live the Cross-life! Paul writes “whoever thus serves...  Read More
Week of May 26
by Larry Ashlock on May 26th, 2024
Does your baptism reflect turning over a new leaf or the effects of receiving a new life? Christ’s baptism symbolizes for us a radical change in our lives, so much so that it has been characterized as “new life.” The implications of this life change are to affect all that we say and do. Pack this thought away in your heart today as we examine more carefully the critical importance of living a “bap...  Read More
Week of May 19
by Larry Ashlock on May 19th, 2024
“It is impossible to be truly converted to God without being thereby converted to our neighbor” (John Stott). There is something akin to this double accountability in what we have before us today. Paul may have been responding to his critics in this extended passage, but notice how he does so (2:1-12). He practices accountability by turning the evaluation of his ministry over to those he had serve...  Read More
Week of May 12
by Larry Ashlock on May 12th, 2024
Piety, not cavalry, saves the king! Two keys to victory in any battle include devotion to God and reliance upon His power, according to the psalmist. I believe we may apply the same principle to the daily challenges we face. Surely, God knows our battles and He is more than able to help. He provides strength for the challenge when we worship Him, despite our trials, and rely upon His power. I know...  Read More
Week of May 5
by Larry Ashlock on May 5th, 2024
Accessing many of the most beautiful and meaningful places on earth requires getting into a boat and riding there. I liken the chapters that include and follow Matthew 16 to a boat ride on increasingly stormy seas. The aim is to reach the place of ultimate meaning, which is eternal life. I view this section as metaphorical “stormy seas,” filled with the choppy waves of increased challenges and que...  Read More
Week of April 28
by Larry Ashlock on April 28th, 2024
Sometimes we miss important messages because we have screened the call! If you are like me, then you will often not take a phone call because it appears to be “spam.” This one statement could begin a paragraph of discussion on a variety of conversations! The consequences of screening such a call depends upon the context. I have missed, on occasion, some important messages about helpful resources b...  Read More
Week of April 21
by Larry Ashlock on April 21st, 2024
It is not always the devil in the bush that should cause us worry, but the evil in our own hearts that is the concern. I have long believed that the tempter is certainly intent on scandalizing our Christian name, but he often begins by tempting us in our own areas of weakness. The good news is that temptations provide us with crucial preparation for service to the Lord. Have you ever viewed tempta...  Read More
Week of April 14
by Larry Ashlock on April 14th, 2024
“The main measure of your devotion to God is not your devotional life. It is simply your life.” (John Ortberg). We no doubt have heard sermons preached and lessons taught on the necessity for undivided devotion to God, but we are oftentimes unsure about how this dedication is demonstrated. Paul does state that devotion and purity are prerequisites for a continuing relationship to Christ, so let’s ...  Read More
Week of April 7
by Larry Ashlock on April 7th, 2024
“I’m going, but I’m going in the name of the Lord,” were some of the last words of a 1920s famous Blues singer. What would you write, if you were called upon to pen a statement that would be your last written words? Hannah was not an author but the last words we ever hear/read from her lips are recorded in 1 Samuel 2, and they speak to this very day! Her thoughts are world-changing in style and co...  Read More
Week of March 31
by Larry Ashlock on March 31st, 2024
One of the most precious lives I have ever known gave me an opportunity to share my heart about faith in Jesus Christ. This person listened carefully to all I said and responded with her belief that Jesus was a good teacher, but not a risen Savior and Lord. I replied tenderly, “He has changed my life.” Facts about Jesus are critical for understanding how God has worked out His salvation for us. Ne...  Read More
Week of March 24
by Larry Ashlock on March 24th, 2024
J. Vernon McGee once said, “There is a brotherhood within the body of believers, and the Lord Jesus Christ is the common denominator. Friendship and fellowship are the legal tender among believers.” Sadly, this type of fellowship is not always the case as our focal passage shows us today. “Deep and wide, deep and wide” are words from an old camp chorus that reminded young people of God’s fountain ...  Read More
Week of March 17
by Larry Ashlock on March 17th, 2024
“There is more safety with Christ in the tempest than without Christ in the calmest waters” (Alexander Grosse). Sadly, we all too often permit deep waters amid life’s deluges and the tall mountains of trials to cause us doubt, rather than trusting God’s providential care. Psalm 40 will change this attitude if we will allow it to minister to our hesitations! It will cause us to praise God for His g...  Read More
Week of March 10
by Larry Ashlock on March 10th, 2024
Christ will have no person or nation supplant His authority. This opening statement to today’s culture seems provocative, but it is filled with urgent purpose. I penned the words because I want us to consider them carefully as we enter this Easter season. Christ presents a parable in Mark 12:1-11 where the chief theme may be summed up in our focal verses. Jesus quotes Psalm 118:22-23 in the passag...  Read More
Week of March 3
by Larry Ashlock on March 3rd, 2024
“God bestows His blessing without discrimination. The followers of Jesus are children of God, and they should manifest the family likeness by doing good to all, even to those who deserve the opposite” (F.F. Bruce, italics mine). Professor Bruce clearly understood a Christian’s call to virtue, which meant to love God and love one’s neighbor. The Corinthians were a bit slow to arrive at this same un...  Read More
Week of February 25
by Larry Ashlock on February 25th, 2024
I hear Christians in recent years express the fear that God has abandoned them in their difficulty. J.I. Packer has said, “God has not abandoned us any more than he abandoned Job. He never abandons anyone on whom he has set his love; nor does Christ, the good shepherd, ever lose track of his sheep.” We may trust the Lord, our Shepherd. Psalm 23, often termed a “song of confidence,” points us to th...  Read More
Week of February 18
by Larry Ashlock on February 18th, 2024
Were Paul to have a life statement, this would be it! In fact, he similarly writes, “To me, to live is Christ and to die is gain,” in Philippians 1:21. My first childhood pastor penned this exact verse in my Bible. I opened my Bible to that page on countless occasions and wondered why he had hung that statement above his life and ministry. I understand better now, at this stage in my life, his rea...  Read More
Week of February 11
by Larry Ashlock on February 11th, 2024
Who will reside in God’s house? I believe that most people decide when to calendar their worship attendance, and it never occurs to them that there might be requirements to enter God’s house. Christians in America have been coddled for decades and led to believe that engagement with God is an entitlement. Notice the irony of finite creatures approaching the Eternal Creator of the universe in this ...  Read More
Week of February 4
by Larry Ashlock on February 4th, 2024
“There was never a night or a problem that could defeat sunrise or hope.” The English moral philosopher, Bernard Williams’s (1929-2003) words captured my imagination this morning. I have often viewed beautiful sunrises at home or here where I work, and my heart warms as my lips whisper a “Thank you, Lord, for another day!” I do not know what time of day that David stared heavenward, but I can say ...  Read More
Week of January 28
by Larry Ashlock on January 28th, 2024
The eyes of the heart are an essential travel tool when walking by faith in the Lord. So many of the great saints listed in the roll call of faith, Hebrews 11, walked by faith and not sight (see Hebrews 11:8-10, 11, 13-16, 26-27, & 39-40). Most will know the oft-quoted scripture verse, “We walk by faith not by sight,” but the Israelites in our passage today are being taught how to embody this prin...  Read More
Week of January 21
by Larry Ashlock on January 21st, 2024
Little things often count in a big way. Bolts on a Boeing 737 Max door that rips off while in flight, thus endangering the lives of all onboard, comes to my mind. What appeared to be inconsequential held deep significance, because human lives were at stake. Two small coins in an offering box hardly mean anything except when they represent the attitude that is a must for all who enter the kingdom o...  Read More
Week of January 14
by Larry Ashlock on January 14th, 2024
Social scientists have been engaged in longitudinal studies across several generations to discover reasons for the apparent decline in religious involvement. Indeed, twenty percent of Americans are now described as being “nones,” meaning they are religiously unaffiliated. This number has doubled in just one decade. Some are anti-religious, others are skeptical about God, or only have “vague” belie...  Read More
Week of January 7
by Larry Ashlock on January 7th, 2024
Here’s my New Year’s counsel: You need to understand your life-map before you begin to goal-set. A life map is a timeline that draws upon key moments in your past, and it enables you to gain a wider perspective on the goals that you set and seek to achieve. Life-mapping means that each of us will answer the all-important questions (cf. The Transforming Life): Who am I? Where am I? What’s wrong? an...  Read More
Week of January 1
by Larry Ashlock on December 31st, 2023
John Newton, the great hymn writer, once said, “If the Lord be with us, we have no cause of fear. His eye is upon us, His arm over us, His ear open to our prayer –His grace sufficient, His promise unchangeable.”The psalmist knew this when he penned the 91st psalm. Let’s look carefully to see the ways that God cares for us in the midst of severe trials. The psalm’s structure The psalm may be divide...  Read More
Week of December 24
by Larry Ashlock on December 24th, 2023
Pope Paul VI once wrote a January 1, 1972, celebratory letter with the title “If you want peace, work for justice.” He stated that a peace that is not the result of true respect for others is not true “Peace.” He equated this sincere feeling for humankind to justice. Luke, in his celebratory Gospel letter, records the words of Mary who praised God for His sincere act on behalf of humankind that wo...  Read More
Week of December 17
by Larry Ashlock on December 17th, 2023
“Begin to rejoice in the Lord, and your bones will flourish like an herb, and your cheeks will glow with the bloom of health and freshness. Worry, fear, distrust, care—all are poisonous! Joy is balm and healing, and if you will but rejoice, God will give power” (A.B. Simpson). A keynote theme in Paul’s letter to the Philippian church is joy. The Apostle in fact uses the word “joy” 18 times in the ...  Read More
Week of December 10
by Larry Ashlock on December 10th, 2023
“Human history is the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy” (C.S. Lewis). The Gospel writer Luke often uses historical “anchors,” as I will term them, to secure an event within a particular time frame (cf. HCBC). This is significant for us today because Luke wrote of an earth-changing event that has implications for all of time. Jesus came in...  Read More
Week of December 3
by Larry Ashlock on December 3rd, 2023
Have you noticed that the greatest rescues often occur in the hour of deepest despair? I recently followed the stress-filled events following an under-construction road tunnel collapse in India where forty-one men were trapped for seventeen days. Hope hung in the balance as rescuers worked frantically around the clock to clear a path through 60 meters of collapsed shaft to rescue the workers.There...  Read More
Week of November 26
by Larry Ashlock on November 26th, 2023
“We must learn to regard people less in light of what they do or omit to do, and more in light of what they suffer” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer). These words reflect true biblical meaning and will often get a person persecuted!For example, I recall a time in ministry when I received a phone call from a religious-party activist who told me that I was being “watched” because I had not responded rightfully ...  Read More
Week of November 19
by Larry Ashlock on November 19th, 2023
Many climb the mountain of suffering and even rise above their circumstances, but they fail to understand how they arrived or how they will survive the descent. Job provides us with a powerful example of how to endure suffering and emerge victorious. The heart of Job’s testimony is grounded in his faith, and his example causes us to ask a question of our own life pilgrimages. What do we do when Go...  Read More
Week of November 12
by Larry Ashlock on November 12th, 2023
An oft-heard maxim is that you cannot legislate morality. Perhaps this is so, but we can bow our hearts to the Lord and live out the mandates of His law He has written on our hearts. This humility before the Lord provides us with standards for right living that will lead to His peace in our hearts, homes, churches, and communities (see Matthew 5:9, 17-48).The violence from Israel to Ukraine to her...  Read More
Week of November 5
by Larry Ashlock on November 5th, 2023
Corrie Ten Boom once said, “The measure of a life, after all, is not its duration, but its donation.” Speaking of contributions, have you ever wondered why Mark would include this story of a poor woman’s offering at this pivotal place in his Gospel account? I have! He makes a powerful point by calling all of us to measure our gifts by their quality, not simply their quantity. But why would he want...  Read More
Week of October 29
by Larry Ashlock on October 29th, 2023
Job fiercely draws the bow of anger across the taught strings of his suffering, but rather than hearing discordance, we are blessed by the melodious strains of hope. What does one do with his or her suffering?Christians know that we do not suffer and grieve without hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14), but how may we embody such a testimony in our own travail? Let’s learn how to use our suffering to giv...  Read More
Week of October 22
by Larry Ashlock on October 22nd, 2023
“Divine power and authority are not given for the purpose of parading flesh or exalting men, but to serve the church and save the lost” (T.L. Lowery). There are any number of ways the early church could have placed a spin on the deliverance of Peter from certain death, but they chose to present the case as total dependence upon God, His will, and the advance of the Gospel.This passage challenges t...  Read More
Week of October 15
by Larry Ashlock on October 15th, 2023
F.B. Meyer once said, “Fall on your knees and grow there. There is no burden of the [human] spirit but is lighter by kneeling under it. Prayer means not always talking to Him, but waiting before Him till the dust settles and the stream runs clear.” The disciples modeled for the contemporary church the oft-overlooked pathway to making clear choices that bring God’s sure results—prayerful, patient d...  Read More
Week of October 8
by Larry Ashlock on October 8th, 2023
“Disciples are to live, looking for the hope of the King’s return” (HCBC). However, we know the agony of waiting until He comes again and the longing for justice in the meantime. So, what are we to do in the in-between? Jesus calls His disciples to take matters into their own hands—praying hands! Let’s learn today about active prayer. Get the point that Jesus makes To begin with, we need to settle...  Read More