Posts with the category “pathway-devotionals”

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
Christmas!
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
Week of August 21
by Larry Ashlock on August 21st, 2022
Life’s little moments often hold large and lasting implications. If ever there was a forever moment, it was found in John’s chapter 21 epilogue. We all know that a great fire often erupts from one tiny spark, but the after-cross-and-burial events had doused thoroughly any last ember of hope in the minds and hearts of Jesus’ disciples. Have I depressed you enough? I’m smiling because hope bursts fo...  Read More
Week of August 14
by Larry Ashlock on August 14th, 2022
The euphemism, “Back from the grave,” takes on a literal meaning in our passage today. However, that miracle is not the only meaning that we should draw from John 11! This narrative helps us to picture the reality of what we hold dear in our hearts; namely, just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, the Son, in the same way, gives life to those He chooses (cf. 5:21). The raising of La...  Read More
Week of August 7
by Larry Ashlock on August 7th, 2022
“I’ve put in all this effort for nothing,” sounds the cry of deep personal regret. Jesus warns His listeners in John 6 not to invest all of their energies in “bread” that will not satisfy for eternity. They had been sated the day before with the loaves and fish, so they quite naturally came back for more. There is a spiritual lesson in this scene that will challenge us to seek the true bread that ...  Read More
Week of July 31
by Larry Ashlock on July 31st, 2022
I ask in this devotional, “Is there ‘Christ wine’ in our gatherings?” The world was out of wine when Jesus arrived on earth. All that was being offered spiritually was cheap and did not satisfy. So, the nature of Jesus’ miracle at Cana is obvious. He had come to bring about conversion: “water to wine, sinners to saints” (cf. 2:10; “You have kept the good wine until now; EBC). The impact of the mir...  Read More
Week of July 24
by Larry Ashlock on July 24th, 2022
At the risk of placing a tune in your mind that you will not be able to erase all day, Steven Curtis Chapman’s song lyric, “Saddle up your horses, we’ve got a trail to blaze,” comes to my mind when I read this passage! Peter calls a hard-pressed group of believers to "saddle up" in faith amid hard times. Charles Spurgeon, the 19th century English preacher, once said, “I have now concentrated all m...  Read More
Week of July 17
by Larry Ashlock on July 17th, 2022
“Listen carefully” is an expression that people use to indicate that what follows carries some significance. When James wrote, “Don’t be deceived,” he employed an expression that was a “pointed” introduction to an important statement (cf. 1 Corinthians 6:9; 15:33; Galatians 6:7; EBC). If you are like me, you are familiar with this entire chapter, indeed the entire book, but you may be just a bit f...  Read More
Week of July 10
by Larry Ashlock on July 10th, 2022
The psalmist writes, “For the Lord takes pleasure in his people; he adorns the humble with salvation” (149:4). Micah has turned his focus in chapter five to the siege of Jerusalem and the humiliation of Judah’s king by the Assyrian king, Sennacherib (2 Kings 18:13-15). We begin to see the first rays of sunlight, however, when he stretches his prophetic vision to the Babylonian exile and the coming...  Read More
Week of July 3
by Larry Ashlock on July 3rd, 2022
Stay inside and hide because there are bad people outside! This rhythmic first sentence may seem to be extreme, but I ask if you have read 2 Timothy 3:1-5. It appears that Paul has compiled such a wide list of people to avoid that we are left with only ourselves—and even we, too, are beginning to look a little suspect! We will soon learn that we, and much of the non-Christian world, are not in Pau...  Read More
Week of June 26
by Larry Ashlock on June 26th, 2022
John Flavel has said, “Christ is not sweet ’til sin be made bitter to us.” The key word in Joel’s short prophecy is judgment—namely, God’s judgment! Joel employs a locust plague that had recently occurred in Judah to warn of God’s coming judgment when He will intervene in history to vindicate His righteousness. Israel would experience the terrible nature of His wrath (2:1-11), as would the entire ...  Read More
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