Posts with the category “pathway-devotionals”

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
Week of September 12
by Larry Ashlock on September 12th, 2021
I watch short videos that people post on social media. They are usually captioned with “Wait for it,” which means that there is a surprise ending. In a sense, this psalm may be captioned with the words, “Wait for Him!” The hymn writer wanted those worshipers to grasp the importance of longing for and waiting until God fills us with the full blessing. How wonderful it is to serve such a God! The ps...  Read More
Week of September 5
by Larry Ashlock on September 5th, 2021
A desperate plea emerged from Afghanistan and made the headlines. A stranded interpreter said, “I know I’m going to get killed.” Few, if any of us, have lived under such duress, so we may find ourselves emotionally detached from the plea of the psalmist today. Here is a thought. Picture your most desperate cry for help in a moment of crisis, the words that you used to express your despair, and you...  Read More
Week of August 29
by Larry Ashlock on August 29th, 2021
Henri Nouwen writes, “Hospitality means primarily the creation of free space where the stranger can enter and become a friend instead of an enemy. Hospitality is not to change people, but to offer them space where change can take place. It is not to bring men and women over to our side, but to offer freedom not disturbed by dividing lines.” John knew the significance of hospitality that was rooted...  Read More
Week of August 22
by Larry Ashlock on August 22nd, 2021
“We are living in a fear epidemic, stoked in part by a 24/7 media that makes tragedies from around the world seem part of our everyday experience, or makes a global pandemic appear to be crouching at our door. We live in a time of great uncertainty, when important things that we once thought we could rely upon, like a job for life, have been taken from us” (David Knott, The Psalm 23 Life). In simi...  Read More
Week of August 15
by Larry Ashlock on August 15th, 2021
Louis Armstrong (1901-1971), the famous black jazz musician and trumpet and cornet player, would croon, “Nobody knows the troubles I’ve seen,” and I somehow felt encouraged. I’ll explain why in a bit, but this lyric could form a banner that hangs over John 14:1-4. Jesus did not sing about troubles, but He sure showed His followers how to overcome them. He provides comfort to His disciples, followi...  Read More
Week of August 8
by Larry Ashlock on August 8th, 2021
“We often learn more of God under the rod that strikes us than under the staff that comforts us.” Now, how is that for a devotional wake-me-up?! I hardly wish to awaken the first thing of a morning and read that God, out of His mercy, must discipline me quite severely! Nevertheless, two of our primary passages record the fact of God’s impending judgment of Judah, and subsequent exile to Babylon. T...  Read More
Week of August 1
by Larry Ashlock on August 1st, 2021
Jesus will not be herded in the direction that we choose, nor will He be corralled by any of our life circumstances. There! I have stated a core truth about the Lord. This means that the Savior, the one who would not utter a word to call down angels to feed him while He was being tempted with hunger, or a legion of the heavenly host to rescue Him from suffering on the cross, will not speak one wor...  Read More
Week of July 25
by Larry Ashlock on July 25th, 2021
A woman once told me that her prayers were bouncing off some heavenly barrier. Her petitions were not getting through. She reached out to me because she could not discern the cause of heaven’s silence. I cannot recall her exact situation, but I do know one reason why people do not have good communication with the Heavenly Father. They are not spiritually attuned to Him. James chapter 4 examines wi...  Read More
Week of July 18
by Larry Ashlock on July 18th, 2021
It has been said, “Trials come to prove and improve us.” They are for our ultimate benefit. God does not permit trials to be like some bottomless ocean into which Christians sink, never to surface again. Our Pathway Devotional for July 15 touched upon the relationship of faith and trials and suffering. May I ask you to consider something? I hope that I have earned your trust! Christ knows what you...  Read More
Week of July 11
by Larry Ashlock on July 11th, 2021
“Worship is an act that develops feelings for God, not a feeling for God that is expressed as an act of worship” (Eugene Peterson, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction). Our corporate acts of worship testify to the glory of God and provide an open invitation to the world to join us. God is worthy of the praise from all creation, and we provide an important catalyst to worship Him.The Psalmist kn...  Read More
Week of July 4
by Larry Ashlock on July 4th, 2021
Talk about an explosion! I am not pointing to a Fourth of July fireworks display, but I am referring to a spiritual eruption. Sometimes, God abruptly stops our current life direction with a bang. Like ancient Israel, we may be spiraling downward in a moral free-fall, so God intervenes in such a way as to call us to reach upward for His rescue! We too often use our freedom in ways that hurt us and ...  Read More
Week of June 27
by Larry Ashlock on June 27th, 2021
Silly me. I once sought to protect money I was saving by hiding it inside of an encyclopedia under the heading “currency.” It was my childhood attempt to make it too difficult for a “thief” (which was very unlikely!) to steal my money. The problem was that in my zeal to guard my wealth against an outside attack, I failed to prepare my memory to recall the term that I had chosen to safeguard it. So...  Read More
Week of June 20
by Larry Ashlock on June 20th, 2021
“Train up a child in the way he should go—but be sure you go that way yourself,” says Charles Spurgeon. May I take some liberty with his profound statement? I hope so! Paul might write, “Train up a church in the way that it should go—but be sure to lead by your example.” If I were to encapsulate the point made in Colossians 4, it would be this one. The Apostle Paul zeroes in on the prayer life and...  Read More
Week of June 13
by Larry Ashlock on June 13th, 2021
The secret to your success lies in the unity of the church. Now, this opening sentence may seem to be outmoded in our contemporary age where individualism is preeminently prized; however, the passage we examine today is anchored by imperative verbs that are all stated in the plural. There was no such thing then as a lone warrior in full armor, nor is there to be something similar today. I find it ...  Read More
Week of June 6
by Larry Ashlock on June 6th, 2021
In the words of multimedia journalist, Brooke Kato, the term “cancel culture” refers to the “phenomenon of promoting the ‘cancelling’ of people, brands and even shows and movies due to what some consider to be offensive, or problematic remarks or ideologies.” One expert believes that the roots of cancel culture have been present throughout human history. Societies punished people for behaving in a...  Read More
Week of May 30
by Larry Ashlock on May 30th, 2021
I took him by the hand, but he had absolutely no idea where I was leading him that day. I knew precisely where we were going. He trusted and followed me into an entirely different life. I will explain in a few moments what I mean by this mysterious opening to today’s devotional, but, for now, I want us to turn our thoughts to where God is surely leading all those who are in Christ Jesus. Do you th...  Read More
Week of May 23
by Larry Ashlock on May 23rd, 2021
John of the Cross once said, “Whenever anything disagreeable or displeasing happens to you remember Christ crucified and be silent.” I know why he recommended this approach to suffering, but embodying it seems extraordinarily difficult (1 Peter 2:23). I also know from personal experience that it certainly helps to have someone walk alongside of us when we endure hardship. The Thessalonians had end...  Read More
Week of May 16
by Larry Ashlock on May 16th, 2021
“Somebody help the boy!” This was the verbal cry of a young child when he had made a climb and then found that his feet were too short to reach the ground. He was in danger of falling! He was expressing his fear at the loss of safety in the form of a lament. Scholars identify Psalm 56 as an individual lament (Tyn; EBC; Handbook). This type of psalm often contains a unique feature defined as “impre...  Read More
Week of May 9
by Larry Ashlock on May 9th, 2021
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. The Savior models for us the type of trust that leads to full surrender to th...  Read More
Week of May 2
by Larry Ashlock on May 2nd, 2021
If you take anything away from the devotional today, then it should be the focal verse. Imagine that you have written on a mirror so that it will be the first thing you see each day. How big are the letters? Perhaps I should state it this way: How big is your Savior? This question figures prominently in the middle sections of Matthew’s gospel. The gospel writer builds a strong case that Jesus is t...  Read More
Week of April 25
by Larry Ashlock on April 25th, 2021
“I do not like the tone in your voice,” has helped generations of children to be molded in appropriate ways to express their upset. I have benefited from similar words at times when I was a youngster. Sadly, as we grow up, we often fail to express our upset to the Lord. We have come to believe that it is inappropriate. Sometimes, the reason for our reluctance is our poor awareness of God’s desire ...  Read More
Week of April 18
by Larry Ashlock on April 18th, 2021
The psalmist declares that the cries of the oppressed grow louder by the day, and the Lord hears them. Our psalm today provides us with an individual lament in which the writer combines prayer with praise to give voice to God’s just rule over the nations (EBC). He cries out to God in his need because he knows that God hears his cry and answers him. How can this be so when there are many calls curr...  Read More
Week of April 11
by Larry Ashlock on April 11th, 2021
The business of doing God’s business carries with it much moral authority. It includes relating properly to him and to the people one is called to lead in his behalf. Our generation gravitates toward leaders who are able to “get things done” or exert a certain type of “influence” over those they lead. I understand the importance of these things; however, there is something much deeper at work when...  Read More
Easter Sunday: He Lives and So Should We
by Larry Ashlock on April 4th, 2021
How does one emerge from horrific grief and loss to embrace victorious new life? This transformation may be summed up in one word, “Resurrection.” Friends, this core Biblical truth is recorded throughout the scriptures but too many today find it impossible to believe. These dear souls find it too difficult to believe in life beyond death, nor do they see how believing may strengthen them in the pr...  Read More
Palm Sunday: Coming Victory over Sin and Death
by Larry Ashlock on March 28th, 2021
What do we see when we see Jesus entering Jerusalem on Palm Sunday of Holy Week? And, what will be our response?! The world sees a Conqueror, but the reality is Jesus enters as the Redeemer. The prophet Isaiah referred to God as the “Holy One of Israel, our Redeemer” which held implications both for Israel and Gentiles. (Isaiah 44:24; 54:5). The Lord comes to dwell in the midst of his people as Sa...  Read More
Week of March 21
by Larry Ashlock on March 21st, 2021
The old saying that we will not know where we are going unless we know where we have been applies to Paul’s work in Corinth. The forward progress of the church in Corinth, as well as churches today, was hindered by a great misunderstanding of the central truth of the gospel. Human wisdom and effort will not enable a church or an individual Christian to apprehend the wisdom of God. The church was f...  Read More
Week of March 14
by Larry Ashlock on March 14th, 2021
“Smooth sailing” is a euphemism that means easy progress without impediment or difficulty. The Galatians were on some windy, choppy waters, so church life was definitely not smooth sailing. Captain Paul’s argument, to carry the analogy forward, takes another tack as he sails toward the final destination of freedom in Christ.Galatians 5:13 serves as a transition verse from his theology of freedom (...  Read More
Week of March 7
by Larry Ashlock on March 7th, 2021
If we are not careful, an unbridled individualism may well be drawn up within a destructive vortex of Christian nationalism. This failure may happen when Christ-followers fail to bend the knee to his universal authority (Colossians 1:15-20). The underlying challenge that is found in Mark 12 relates to Jesus’ authority. Jesus’ right to rule provides a flash point for the tensions that we see in the...  Read More