Posts with the category “pathway-devotionals”

Week of May 28
by Larry Ashlock on May 28th, 2023
C. S. Lewis once remarked that he had discovered why the Lord would not utter an answer. It was because, “You are yourself the answer.” Perhaps you wonder, like me, what was it that Abraham knew of God that led him to trust Him to fulfill His promise of an heir in his old age, or that he would become the father of many nations? He possibly knew by experience what the poet Ralph Waldo Emerson would...  Read More
Week of May 21
by Larry Ashlock on May 21st, 2023
David Wilkerson once said, “Love is not only something you feel, it is something you do.” The Apostle James wrote that we are not only to be hearers of the word but doers also (James 1:22). Our life goal should be to live out daily our devotion to God in the world around us. Hmm. Let me illustrate the point by way of introducing today’s Bible passage. I often teach folks about the “big moral sea” ...  Read More
Week of May 14
by Larry Ashlock on May 14th, 2023
Hannah Whitall Smith (1832-1911) once said, “It is wonderful what miracles God works in wills that are utterly surrendered to Him.” The American evangelist, reformer and leader in the Holiness movement perhaps did not conceive of how significant her words were when applied to Christ’s prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane. God would soon work the miracle of salvation through Christ’s surrendered life...  Read More
Week of May 7
by Larry Ashlock on May 7th, 2023
Accessing many of the most beautiful and meaningful places on earth requires getting into a boat and riding there. I liken Matthew 16-19 to a boat ride on increasingly stormy seas. The ultimate goal is to reach the place of ultimate meaning. We see increased challenges and questionings of Jesus like stormy seas (19:1-12). We also see the consistency with which He communicates “who” will be brought...  Read More
Week of April 30
by Larry Ashlock on April 30th, 2023
The Holocaust threw open wide a doorway in theological circles to question everything from the impotence of God to His very existence! Many Christians radically changed their view of God and His power in the horrific face of Nazi genocide. Jesus’ ministry begins with a great demonstration from heaven that this one was the Son of God, the one who was to come, but the reality was that the Romans wer...  Read More
Week of April 23
by Larry Ashlock on April 23rd, 2023
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 16
by Larry Ashlock on April 16th, 2023
General Colin Powell, the former United States Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said prior to the first invasion of Iraq in 1991: “Our strategy in going after this army is very simple. First, we are going to cut it off, and then we are going to kill it.” Retributive justice certainly jolts us to moral attention, but in the case of commitment to God, it should motivate us to humility and obed...  Read More
Week of April 9
by Larry Ashlock on April 9th, 2023
“Faith that does not doubt is dead faith.” Few, if any, believers have never experienced doubts about God’s presence or answers to prayer. Some of my greatest heroes of the faith experienced doubt. Names like Sara, Gideon, Elijah, Jonah, Zacharias, and John the Baptist come to mind as women and men whose faith was shaped, in part, by their doubts! We live in a current age that is shrouded in doubt...  Read More
Week of April 2
by Larry Ashlock on April 2nd, 2023
C. S. Lewis once wrote, “Some people probably think of the Resurrection as a desperate last moment expedient to save the Hero from a situation which had got out of the Author’s control.” Not so! Jesus took careful time between the resurrection and His ascension to clearly show that the resurrection was not a last-minute event; instead, it was about how the scriptures had been fulfilled (Luke 24:25...  Read More
Week of March 26
by Larry Ashlock on March 26th, 2023
Watchman Nee once said, “The Christian journey, from start to finish, is a journey of faith.” Our culture often glorifies human fearlessness, but God’s people know that His faithfulness provides the lasting victory. Children’s Sunday School stories often provide for us the remarkable account of Caleb the octogenarian dynamo (14:6-14). He stood at life’s end reaching ever onward and upward to claim...  Read More
Week of March 19
by Larry Ashlock on March 19th, 2023
“When God forgives, He at once restores,” once said Theodore Epp, founder and broadcaster of the “Back to the Bible” radio program. Too often the church, however, fails to embrace those whom God has forgiven and restored.This third section of Paul’s letter to the Galatians focuses on ethics, but it can also be entitled “Life in the Spirit.” Our focal passage provides an excellent point of instruct...  Read More
Week of March 12
by Larry Ashlock on March 12th, 2023
William Temple once said, “Worship is the submission of all our nature to God. It is the quickening of conscience by His holiness, the nourishment of the mind with His truth, the purifying of the imagination with His beauty, the opening of the heart to His love, the surrender of the will to His purpose.” I believe that Deuteronomy 4 points us specifically to covenantal worship of the sovereign God...  Read More
Week of March 5
by Larry Ashlock on March 5th, 2023
Something big is about to happen! In a highly-charged political atmosphere, Jesus was about to ignite a totally different revolution than the Jews passionately desired. Only He and His Heavenly Father fully understood what He truly was about to do. Even His followers were to be taken by surprise, even though He had spoken plainly about His upcoming Passion! Easter will arrive in the coming weeks, ...  Read More
Week of February 26
by Larry Ashlock on February 26th, 2023
“We have all things and abound; not because I have a good store of money in the bank, not because I have skill and wit with which to win my bread, but because the Lord is my shepherd,” says Charles Spurgeon. Psalm 23, to which the great English 19th-century preacher refers, represents the most widely recognized psalm in the psalter and provides a worshiper with reasons to be confident in God’s lov...  Read More
Week of February 19
by Larry Ashlock on February 19th, 2023
“No child of God sins to that degree as to make himself incapable of forgiveness.” King David knew this to be true. He once again prays for deliverance, but in this case, he confesses his sinfulness and need for God’s forgiveness (cf. Psalm 51). He expresses his confidence in God’s mercy in his worship. We will quickly notice that God’s forgiveness would be recognizable in the rescue from his foes...  Read More
Week of February 12
by Larry Ashlock on February 12th, 2023
Robert Frost once said, “Freedom lies in being bold.” It has always amazed me at the courage Paul demonstrated even as the cauldron of opposition grew increasingly hotter. He arrived in Corinth and began to preach Jesus to the Jews until they rebelled against his words and reviled him (cf. 1 Peter 2:21-25). He shook out his garments and boldly announced that their blood was on their own hands (cf....  Read More
Week of February 5
by Larry Ashlock on February 5th, 2023
The Lord said to Israel, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest,” which was a great comfort to a pilgrim people. Psalm 15 reminds you and me today that we are still pilgrims who are seeking God’s presence and that there are specific worship admission requirements. In fact, one Bible commentator writes, “Only those who are morally qualified may dwell with God” (HCBC). Does the prev...  Read More
Week of January 29
by Larry Ashlock on January 29th, 2023
“Nothing whatever, whether great or small, can happen to a believer, without God’s ordering and permission. There is no such thing as ‘chance,’ ‘luck’ or ‘accident’ in the Christian’s journey through this world. All is arranged and appointed by God. And all things are “working together” for the believer’s good” (J.C. Ryle). God’s purposeful movement of His people is evident in our Bible readings t...  Read More
Week of January 22
by Larry Ashlock on January 22nd, 2023
Be careful what you do with the rock that you must break in the quarry of despair. This beginning sentence sounds ominous, but I intend for it to open avenues of possibility that we may otherwise never consider. My opening words have been a lifetime in the crafting, and the ink has yet to dry fully, but I know that it bears truth. Our passage today does not really teach us to take the long view of...  Read More
Week of January 15
by Larry Ashlock on January 15th, 2023
The King James version of the Bible contains the oft-quoted verse, “Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for such is the kingdom of God” (Luke 18:16, KJV). The opening word means “to permit” or “to allow,” and we may easily capture the sense of Jesus’ words, but what do we do if children themselves are the cause of literal suffering?Late last week the news media broadcast t...  Read More
Week of January 8
by Larry Ashlock on January 8th, 2023
“Nothing bad will happen to me” represents the great lie about rebelling against God’s creation design. To put it bluntly: sin kills (Genesis 2:17). I realize that many contemporary folks, some of whom claim to be Christians, believe that they are only accountable to themselves. And, to raise the topic of moral accountability to God leads them to erect a wall of rejection. They simply do not belie...  Read More
Week of January 1
by Larry Ashlock on January 1st, 2023
New Year’s surprise! God did not create the world on the first day of January! Furthermore, while we may read Genesis 1:1-2:4 chronologically, more accurately it provides us with a theological introduction to all that we experience in God’s redemptive-history that is recorded in the Bible. How’s that for an eye-opening first statement for 2023?! I will follow with another amazing claim. This creat...  Read More
by Larry Ashlock on December 25th, 2022
“Open the letter, it contains your invitation,” or similar words, are often printed on envelopes to excite interest in the contents of a letter. Matthew’s Gospel has printed all over it an invitation to meet and follow the Messiah, Jesus Christ. How wonderful to read through this Gospel at this time of the year where Christians worldwide turn their attention to the coming of the Savior into the wo...  Read More
Week of December 18
by Larry Ashlock on December 18th, 2022
“To learn strong faith is to endure great trials,” says George Mueller. The Apostle Peter knew the meaning of such Christian resolve as he wrote a letter to the churches in Asia Minor. He has been termed the “Apostle of hope” because he directs the focus of persecuted believers away from their severe trials toward a promised future deliverance. 1 Peter, in fact, does not present to us a specific t...  Read More
Week of December 11
by Larry Ashlock on December 11th, 2022
C. S. Lewis once said that “hell begins with a grumbling mood, always complaining.” Paul, in contrast, enjoins us to work out our salvation in a heavenly manner, that is with fear and trembling. He charges the entire church (he uses plurals) to work diligently on our common life together as a community (2:12; 1:28; 2:4). We certainly do not receive much clear direction about this topic in our chur...  Read More
Week of December 4
by Larry Ashlock on December 4th, 2022
Francis Schaeffer once said, “Our relationship with each other is the criterion the world uses to judge whether our message is truthful—Christian community is the final apologetic.” Schaeffer’s words hold deep moral implications for our often-anemic fellowship within the Body of Christ. The Apostle Paul provides the nourishment that will rejuvenate the church and he does so in two simple Greek wor...  Read More
Week of November 27
by Larry Ashlock on November 27th, 2022
Some of the most powerful messages that we may ever receive are delivered in the form of pictures. I have viewed some amazing works of art in museums both here and abroad, but Matthew brushes his portrait across human hearts. He wants us to view the dawning of Christ’s kingdom even as Old Testament Judaism was setting like an evening sun. It is here in Matthew’s Gospel that Jesus presents His disc...  Read More
Week of November 20
by Larry Ashlock on November 20th, 2022
“It’s as plain as the nose on your face” relates to something obvious. However, we sometimes overlook that which is clearly before our eyes—like my mobile phone! I find myself getting in such a hurry that I scurry right past it. We do not want to rush past the concluding remarks that Paul makes in 1 Corinthians, though. He wraps up the letter to that troubled congregation with a powerful benedicti...  Read More
Week of November 13
by Larry Ashlock on November 13th, 2022
“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). Paul refers to the Galatian church members as “sons” of God through faith in Jesus Christ, so he viewed them as family members (Galatians 3:26). They were being disciplined, like children, for wandering off the path of true faith, but they also were being trained in how to practice that fait...  Read More
Week of November 6
by Larry Ashlock on November 6th, 2022
Spiritual health teaches me that serious followers of Christ pay careful attention to their hearts. The Pharisees were “heart sick,” and Christ’s lessons on spiritual wellness only served to anger them. Have you ever been angered by a truth that a pastor preached? Or a Bible teacher taught? If so, then you know how emotion-laden this challenge was for the Pharisees and scribes in Mark 7. Jesus is ...  Read More
Week of October 30
by Larry Ashlock on October 30th, 2022
“If this is so right, then why does it feel so wrong?” is a question that I have asked at times in ministry. I mean by this statement that there are some occasions when folks were feeling justified for giving their spiritual assessment of a situation, but the result was not healing or hope! The words sounded right and helpful, but the results were wrong and hurtful. Job has some well-meaning frien...  Read More
Week of October 23
by Larry Ashlock on October 23rd, 2022
Life’s most significant moments are quite often bracketed by periods of waiting before something happens, but many of us find it our greatest challenge to pause until the Lord reveals His will to us. Andrew Murray once said, “Father, teach us all how to wait” (Waiting on God). One of the hardest things to do is to wait for God’s response to our question “Why?” whenever we suffer. So, what do we do...  Read More
Week of October 16
by Larry Ashlock on October 16th, 2022
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 results—prayerful, patient depend...  Read More
Week of October 9
by Larry Ashlock on October 9th, 2022
The lack of a clear chain of command often frequently emerges in the aftermath of calamitous events. This scenario leads to the question, “Who’s in charge here?” This question is often spoken in real-time situations as well. It is spoken on the lips of characters in countless television shows and movies. It may be a policeman, lawyer, military officer, parent, or even an educator!We all want to kn...  Read More
Week of October 2
by Larry Ashlock on October 2nd, 2022
“Excuses are merely nails to build a house of failure,” according to an old American proverb. Our passage in Haggai today illustrates the truth of the maxim. The prophet Haggai writes at low tide for the nation of Judah. The people likely had no king and were living under Persian rule at this time. To make matters worse, they had returned from Babylonian captivity with fresh zeal to restore the ho...  Read More
Week of September 25
by Larry Ashlock on September 25th, 2022
Billy Graham once said, “No matter how dark and hopeless a situation might seem, never stop praying.” Dr. Graham hit the nail squarely on the head. Keep praying when all seems hopeless— especially when we have sinned and are experiencing the consequences. If you are like me, then you will feel drawn to this psalm the moment that you begin to read it. It provides us with hope today. Let’s look clos...  Read More
Week of September 18
by Larry Ashlock on September 18th, 2022
We use an expression, “It’s a zoo out there,” to refer to circumstances that are out of control. We seek order amid disorder! Ezekiel decried the “zoo” in his day and comes to the rescue today for our weary hearts. Israel had a Wild West morality, but God knew that the fullness of blessings in the land of such wealth would require adherence to His rule of law. Really? Some may wonder, “Why shouldn...  Read More
Week of September 11
by Larry Ashlock on September 11th, 2022
The Lord takes the darkest moment in your darkest day and causes the sun to rise upon it, so trust Him. The passages that we have before us today cover the climax to a time in Judah’s history where their hopes were dashed and their lives were forever altered. Nevertheless, God mercifully began the building process for Israel’s future from those dismal days, and He used the poorest of the poor to d...  Read More
Week of September 4
by Larry Ashlock on September 4th, 2022
Torrential rains and flash flooding inundated our state in recent days. People were overwhelmed by rising water and emergency responders raced to rescue people and lead them to refuge. You may not be drowning in a literal flood, but you may be terrified by an onslaught of evil people.Picture your most desperate cry for help in a moment of crisis, the words that you used to express your despair, a...  Read More
Week of August 28
by Larry Ashlock on August 28th, 2022
The late Billy Graham, who enjoyed remarkable effectiveness throughout his nearly eight decades of ministry, once said, “The Christian life is not a constant high. I have moments of deep discouragement. I have to go to God in prayer with tears in my eyes, and say, ‘O God forgive me,’ or ‘Help me.’” The beginning to the end of Psalm 143 is a continuous appeal to God. The psalmist’s lament signals h...  Read More