Posts with the category “pathway-devotionals”

Week of June 19
by Larry Ashlock on June 19th, 2022
“Miscellaneous exhortations” is how one Bible commentator entitles the latter part of Philippians. Of a truth, this is an accurate exegetical rubric to place over 4:1-9, but the wealth of content in our focal verse begs for you and me to reclassify it as “Specific Needs for Christian Living Today!” In fact, I believe that Paul would say, “I want you to internalize and apply these variegated truths...  Read More
Week of June 12
by Larry Ashlock on June 12th, 2022
The oft-heard sage counsel whenever one signs a contract is to read the small print. This wisdom is not meant to harm us; instead, it is given to help us to flourish. There is some “fine print” in Ephesians 4 that we often skim over as we race toward the more recognizable parts of the chapter that often surface in sermons and Bible studies. We all enjoy hearing about spiritual gifts and equipping ...  Read More
Week of June 5
by Larry Ashlock on June 5th, 2022
Christ did not come into the world to please Himself but to serve humanity. This passage presents modern Christians with a strong call to a form of sacrificial service that they find to be distasteful, serving a weaker Christian brother or sister. Very often this attitude of surrender is lacking in church communities and the fellowship is weakened significantly as a result. This passage provides u...  Read More
Week of May 29
by Larry Ashlock on May 29th, 2022
Treasures often are found buried and are discovered through much sacrifice. The treasure of wisdom, however, is abundantly available and easily discernible if one follows the one True Guide. God gives wisdom, and this is good because it is a vital attribute of His world and holds the key to a successful life. Let’s learn about godly wisdom today. A distinct pattern with a definite purpose Duane Ga...  Read More
Week of May 22
by Larry Ashlock on May 22nd, 2022
Henry Ward Beecher once said, “Compassion will cure more sins than condemnation.” Compassion certainly seems to be in short supply if one reads social media these days. How are we to live good and right lives and judge bad and wrong, yet remain free from becoming judgmental? Paul helps to position us rightly so that we may live genuinely as salt and light in a sinful age. Let’s look carefully at o...  Read More
Week of May 15
by Larry Ashlock on May 15th, 2022
Some of the most underused time in the life of a church inevitably involves prayer. There, I have exposed the elephant in the church chapel! We all know that prayer is important, but we often do not know how to revitalize the life of our churches through our prayer meetings.Well, I have heard of “whisper prayers” in my prayer experience, the meaning of which is obvious, but Paul teaches us what I ...  Read More
Week of May 8
by Larry Ashlock on May 8th, 2022
It has been said, “What separates privilege from entitlement is gratitude.” There came a point in time when many in ancient Israel forgot that they were chosen by God not because of some special quality, like their numerical size, but simply by His sovereign choice (Deuteronomy 7:6-7). With such a great blessing came great responsibility. Yet, Israel acted like an ungrateful child and abused its r...  Read More
Week of May 1
by Larry Ashlock on May 1st, 2022
“A tree is known by its fruit” has become proverbial and means that a person will be identified as good or bad based upon their character. This statement by Christ offers us a timeless core principle for guiding us to live good lives and to make right choices regardless of the change around us. Jesus did not pluck this idea out of thin air. These core convictions stem from the nature and character...  Read More
Week of April 24
by Larry Ashlock on April 24th, 2022
What sin cannot be forgiven? The answer when viewed through the lens of Matthew 8 is “None!” These words are true, but many people are reluctant to come to Christ for forgiveness. Francis Chan has said, “The irony is that while God doesn’t need us but still wants us, we desperately need God but don’t really want Him most of the time” (italics mine). All of life’s brokenness may be restored by Chri...  Read More
Week of April 17
by Larry Ashlock on April 17th, 2022
Grief was at its highest in the immediate aftermath of Christ’s crucifixion. The inner circle and wider band of disciples were numbed by the brutality and suddenness of the crucifixion, then perplexed and overjoyed by the early reports of the resurrection. I have no way of describing the turmoil that characterized that scene except to say that I have felt it on numerous occasions as a pastor whene...  Read More
Week of April 10
by Larry Ashlock on April 10th, 2022
Easter demands that we must complete the progression from David, warrior king, to Jesus, Savior King, or we will be ineffective as Christ’s peacemakers in our homes, churches, and communities (Matthew 5:9, 13-48). Our songs of praise often glorify the Savior of peace, but our words and actions belie that worship. I have an humble claim to make: We have become increasingly militaristic and national...  Read More
Week of April 3
by Larry Ashlock on April 3rd, 2022
The importance of Christian forgiveness cannot be overstated, but it certainly can be underserved by churches. I suppose some things should change, but they are slow in coming—centuries slow! We find ourselves too often unwilling to practice forgiveness and our divided churches give witness to this reality. Paul calls for forgiveness in an extremely difficult church setting and provides us with a ...  Read More
Week of March 27
by Larry Ashlock on March 27th, 2022
“The servant-leader is servant first . . . It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead.” Robert Greenleaf’s approach and influence on leadership has become an international phenomenon both in culture and in the church (Servant Leadership). Ironically, his inspiration for the term and the method, by his own explanati...  Read More
Week of March 20
by Larry Ashlock on March 20th, 2022
The prophet Micah asks, “What does the Lord require of you?” He replies, in part, with the key phrase, “to act justly” (Micah 6:8). The principle of justice figures prominently throughout the beautiful Psalm 37. I believe that our psalmist shows us how to live by the principles of God’s justice while we await the fulfillment of His promises. Such faithfulness to God bears present and eternal divid...  Read More
Week of March 13
by Larry Ashlock on March 13th, 2022
“The hub that holds Galatians together is its treatment of the gospel” (HCBC). I will also claim the same thing for the Church, today. The Apostle Paul risked his life for the gospel, which we all know, but more importantly, he staked his eternity on it! He was the right person for that hour of great need. Let me explain why I have selected this passage today. Paul, according to tradition, was “a ...  Read More
Week of March 6
by Larry Ashlock on March 6th, 2022
Fyodor Dostoevsky once said, “The soul is healed by being with children.” The disciples ironically sought to prevent Jesus from walking the road of suffering and death and now they want to keep Him from trouble and fatigue. They were insensitive to many things that the Spirit would later correct (cf. Acts 2). Jesus wanted children to come to Him because “children in their receptivity and dependenc...  Read More
Week of February 27
by Larry Ashlock on February 27th, 2022
Dallas Willard once said, “There is no avoiding the fact that we live at the mercy of our ideas. This is never truer than with our ideas about God” (Hearing God). The Jews held some curious notions about God that both prevented them from experiencing true union with Him and kept them from being a true light to the world. They managed the things of God, but they didn’t really know a thing about Him...  Read More
Week of February 20
by Larry Ashlock on February 20th, 2022
Voltaire once said, “Our wretched species is so made that those who walk on the well-trodden path always throw stones at those who are showing a new road.” The French philosopher and atheist was not a believer, but his words apply figuratively and literally to Paul’s life. This missionary of the gospel was literally blazing a new trail of hope for the world, and he was being persecuted for it by J...  Read More
Week of February 13
by Larry Ashlock on February 13th, 2022
Spinoza once said, “He alone is free who lives with free consent under the entire guidance of reason.” Well, maybe so, or, in a Christian sense, not exactly. We do know that God gave us minds with which to reason and make choices; however, I also know that Christians will yield to the guidance of the Spirit. Today is “Theology Wednesday!” Our devotional will develop a key understanding of Pneumato...  Read More
Week of February 6
by Larry Ashlock on February 6th, 2022
Opening sentence alert! A long quote follows, but it is precisely what we need to read to capture the essence of today’s devotional. “We must devote, not only times and places to prayer, but be everywhere in the spirit of devotion; with hearts always set toward heaven, looking up to God in all our actions, and doing everything as His servants; living in the world as in a holy temple of God, and al...  Read More
Week of January 30
by Larry Ashlock on January 30th, 2022
Jesus taught His disciples that our Heavenly Father, who loves us much more than any earthly parent does, will not toy with us but give us what we need (Matthew 7:9). Our focal passage today seems to contradict those words and may leave some people scratching their heads wondering what God was doing to Israel.The people were parched, and God gives them a principle for living under His leadership. ...  Read More
Week of January 23
by Larry Ashlock on January 23rd, 2022
The reply is, “Aren’t you getting ahead of yourself?” There! I have written the answer to the big question for today prior to stating the question, so please bear with me. We have just stepped into masonry class and today’s lesson covers the how and why of brick-making, so get your shop aprons on! Instruction in such a class typically begins with a teaching segment followed by practical skill trai...  Read More
Week of January 16
by Larry Ashlock on January 16th, 2022
“There is an intimate connection between the life of the Christian here and the enjoyment and the glory in the day of Christ’s appearing” (George Müller of Bristol, 430). That man of faith, George Müller, certainly summed up a biblical worldview. This series of devotionals and this writer hold to the same way of seeing the world. We must not doubt that there is a coming day of reward for the faith...  Read More
Week of January 9
by Larry Ashlock on January 9th, 2022
How effectively do we engage in “kingdom peacemaking?” Jesus displayed His authority by His teaching and by His power over disease, nature, death, and sin. He was showing people that He was God’s Messiah over and over through each display of power. Sadly, His followers did not avail themselves of that same power in ministry. We too often limit Christ’s impact by quantifying ministry (e.g., benevol...  Read More
Week of January 2
by Larry Ashlock on January 2nd, 2022
Let’s begin the new year with an assignment! Take a moment to write your life statement in seven words. That task would be quite challenging. Interestingly, the Hebrew text of Genesis 1:1 contains seven very important words. That single verse in the Hebrew text provides readers with the foundation for everything that will follow in the rest of the Bible.We should read them as the first faith stat...  Read More
Week of December 26
by Larry Ashlock on December 26th, 2021
Did you see the galactic phenomenon that occurred in June of 2020? It was a violent explosion in a distant galaxy that broke the record for the “brightest source of high-energy light in the universe.” Astronomers reported that the light was emitted from a gamma ray burst—in a galaxy seven billion light-years away. This brief but powerful cosmic explosion was “clocked in at a trillion times more en...  Read More
Week of December 19
by Larry Ashlock on December 19th, 2021
“If you want peace, work for justice.”[1] The pope 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 action in behalf of humankind that would bring the Prince of Peace into the world. Today marks the fin...  Read More
Week of December 12
by Larry Ashlock on December 12th, 2021
“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). I used these words in a Pathway Devotional one year ago, but I need them more than ever this year! How about you? Death, s...  Read More
Week of December 5
by Larry Ashlock on December 5th, 2021
“There is nothing more practical for sufferers than to have hope. The erosion or loss of hope is what makes suffering unbearable” (Timothy Keller, Walking with God Through Pain and Suffering, 313). Thankfully, Psalm 90 blesses us with guidance that leads sufferers to cling to God in hope! While we do not know the specific circumstances that led to the writing of the psalm, we may discover what led...  Read More
Week of November 28
by Larry Ashlock on November 28th, 2021
He is foolish indeed who harps about justice when he truly deserves condemnation. This opening sentence sure seems to set a harsh tone! I hope not. Most of my readers will know that this devotional series grew out of a request from my family for something deeper in a daily devotional. They committed to read whatever I pen, and I have been writing for nearly five years. The opening sentence to this...  Read More
Week of November 21
by Larry Ashlock on November 21st, 2021
Suffering makes God “appear to be absent.” So what are we to do when we suffer and when God does not answer the question, “Why am I suffering?” Job teaches us that we should use our God-given minds and hearts to respond to Him in faith. God has demonstrated the vastness of His person and the scope of His reach into areas well beyond anything that Job can comprehend. The contrite, suffering man cle...  Read More
Week of November 14
by Larry Ashlock on November 14th, 2021
“Come let us reason!” I cannot help but think of Paul whenever I consider the use of solid reasoning to convince people of Christian truth. One of Paul’s wonderful attributes, and there were many, was his use of argument. By this term, I mean rhetoric. For example, there is a key thread of reasoning that he weaves throughout 1 Corinthians 8-10. In our focal verses, he reaches back to 1 Corinthians...  Read More
Week of November 7
by Larry Ashlock on November 7th, 2021
What comes to mind when I say, “War?” You may think of any number of global and regional conflicts like World War II and the war in Iraq. We have another possibility to consider. The comic strip Pogo once stated famously, when referring to ecology, “We have met the enemy and it is us.” The psalmist reminds us today that we are often our own worst enemies! War does not take place solely on battlefi...  Read More
Week of October 31
by Larry Ashlock on October 31st, 2021
It has been said, “The bird that would soar above the level plain of tradition and prejudice must have strong wings” (Kate Chopin, The Awakening). Jewish tradition had become an oppressive burden for Jews to carry. Our Lord challenged it and called for it to be stripped away for people to take flight in a direct encounter with God. Jesus was gathering a new community, and it would be necessary to ...  Read More
Week of October 24
by Larry Ashlock on October 24th, 2021
“The Way” creates disruption because it causes a radical transformation of life, not simply because of its doctrinal truths (19:23, 35-37; see also 18:15). The form that Gospel resistance takes often changes shape, but the underlying reality is still the same. People resist God’s moral challenge to their lives. So, we need to be aware of the nature of the Good News and the responsibility that it p...  Read More
Week of October 17
by Larry Ashlock on October 17th, 2021
Jesus taught His disciples “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account,” then He sent them into the world to be His witnesses (Matthew 5:11; Acts 1:8). I can imagine the lesson being delivered on a bright, warm windswept hillside, but the cold-hard reality occurs in Acts (4:1-2). Serious disciples will at times be seriousl...  Read More
Week of October 10
by Larry Ashlock on October 10th, 2021
How long are you prepared to actively wait when tasked to lead? Preparation to be God’s effective leader will require us to learn to wait upon Him. This “prepare-wait” approach to leadership may seem to be counterintuitive, but Ezra demonstrates why this is so important. Max Dupree once said, “The first responsibility of a leader is to define responsibility. The last is to say thank you. In betwee...  Read More
Week of October 3
by Larry Ashlock on October 3rd, 2021
Does our focal verse seem familiar? I hope so, because it is quoted by gospel writers upon Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem at the dawn of Holy Week. Those authors cite our focal verse in Zechariah 9:9. That Old Testament chapter declares God’s holiness which demands that He judge sin and expel it from His kingdom. Only after God deals with sin may He offer salvation to His people! Do you see...  Read More
Week of September 26
by Larry Ashlock on September 26th, 2021
How wonderful to know that God is a God of history—salvation history! He gets involved in the lives of people because He truly cares. You may feel as though your life counts for nothing. If so, then God has something to say to your heart today! Nain was a village a few miles southeast of Jesus’ hometown of Nazareth. It was on the opposite side of the hill of Moreh from Shunem, the place where Elis...  Read More
Week of September 19
by Larry Ashlock on September 19th, 2021
“Praise God from whom all blessings flow; Praise Him all creatures here below” is the opening line to the Doxology. The church of my childhood had a wonderful pipe organ the sound of which filled the sanctuary. The congregation sang the words to this liturgical expression of praise, and I recall the glorious harmony I heard from those worshipers. However, I do not recall—I very likely was not payi...  Read More