Posts with the category “pathway-devotionals”

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
Week of October 1
by Larry Ashlock on October 1st, 2023
Sadly, unlike the Tin Man, who only wanted a heart in the classic movie the Wizard of Oz, many worshipers are quite fond of the metal box inside where their hearts should be. This had been the case in ancient Judah, where the people prior to and following the exile simply went through the motions of their faith. God challenged them from His jealous love and called them to true holiness! He does th...  Read More
Week of September 24
by Larry Ashlock on September 24th, 2023
The meaning of “Hate the sin, but love the sinner” is easily understood, but we all know that loving the sinner is a messy and challenging business. Two men in yellow jumpsuits come to my mind, but I will take this story up later in the devotional! In the meantime, we often make an internal judgment about sin and sinners and draw an imaginary line which we will not cross when the sin becomes too d...  Read More
Week of September 17
by Larry Ashlock on September 17th, 2023
“The childish idea that prayer is a handle by which we can take hold of God and obtain whatever we desire leads to easy disillusionment with both what we had thought to be God and what we thought to be prayer,” says Robert L. Short. Two failings on our part are evident in these words. A failure to understand God’s nature as Provider and a failure to pray for and pursue the right things.I will begi...  Read More
Week of September 10
by Larry Ashlock on September 10th, 2023
“That has love written all over it!” “I couldn’t have said it any better than that!” These are common responses that we make when our minds touch our hearts and we open our senses to express our deepest feelings about a person or an event. I read Psalm 111, and I believe that the hymn writer does this very thing. A Bible commentator expresses similar sentiment when he writes about this psalm: “Her...  Read More
Week of September 3
by Larry Ashlock on September 3rd, 2023
The psalmist writes, “This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him and saved him out of all his troubles” (Psalm 34:7). The wonder of this offer is that we too often see it only as a last resort. I had a dear friend who offered me a place of retreat, time and time again, which I continued politely to decline to accept. It is not that I did not want to go. I simply “could not find the time.” I will ...  Read More
Week of August 27
by Larry Ashlock on August 27th, 2023
“Welcome-ish. Depends On Who You Are and How Long You Stay,” is an example of a humorous front door sign on a home. I’m certain that you also have a read a few funny ones. Many folks post or place some type of family greeting or warning at the front door to all who approach their homes. It may be as simple as the word “Welcome,” a warning to potential intruders, or even some type of blessing. John...  Read More
Week of August 20
by Larry Ashlock on August 20th, 2023
“They caught nothing” are the universal words of disappointment and, at times, embarrassment to fisher men and women! I’ve been in this uneasy position on several occasions. Thankfully, I did not have someone recording the spiritual lessons to be learned and the theological implications for all who read the events that surrounded my failure! Hallelujah, we may thank God that John, the Gospel write...  Read More
Week of August 13
by Larry Ashlock on August 13th, 2023
What would you do if your prayers seemed unanswered and your circumstances remained unchanged? Many of us would long to have a meeting with God where we could air out our differences with Him, but we would likely never follow through. Well, Habakkuk did! The tiny nation of Judah was surrounded by evil wickedness and war, and the people found themselves in a constant state of lamentation. God would...  Read More
Week of August 6
by Larry Ashlock on August 6th, 2023
The Universalists’ claim, that “all paths lead up the same mountain,” meaning that all religious trails arrive at the same destination of eternal salvation, has been around for centuries. This fact concerns me. However, that a growing number of popular, professed Christian heralds have emerged with similar types of messages sounds a major alarm in my mind. It seems to me that the answer to the que...  Read More
Week of July 30
by Larry Ashlock on July 30th, 2023
“I am persuaded that love and humility are the highest attainments in the school of Christ and the brightest evidences that He is indeed our Master” (John Newton). Peter carries forward the theme of patient suffering for Christ by exhorting his readers to practice humility. To patiently endure God-ordained suffering seems extreme for many contemporary Christians. We have extreme sports, but to be ...  Read More
Week of July 23
by Larry Ashlock on July 23rd, 2023
“Christ is the Good Physician. There is no disease He cannot heal; no sin He cannot remove; no trouble He cannot help” (James Aughey). Amen! I’m telling you today that these words hit their mark when I read them. I know the truth of them through personal experience, and I will share one such testimony a bit later in this devotional. James writes similar words in our focal chapter today and demonst...  Read More
Week of July 16
by Larry Ashlock on July 16th, 2023
Human deliverance in my mind most often causes me to think of events surrounding some catastrophe. For example, it is not at all uncommon in the age of social media to view daring rescues of people from catastrophic accidents or fiery buildings. My son-in-law occasionally does this very thing as a firefighter. Eventually the cameras are turned off and the “deliverer” returns to their daily busines...  Read More