Pathway’s 40 days of prayer campaign runs from Wednesday, February 14 to Saturday, March 31. Join us as we unite as a church in prayer. Our theme verse for the campaign is 2 Chronicles 7:14. Starting on Wednesday, February 14, join your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ as we all pray together at 7:14am and 7:14pm. Devotionals and prayer topics will be posted on FB and on our website on a regular basis. Be sure to let us know what’s on your mind and heart throughout these 40 days by using #PBCPRAY40 wherever you post!
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” — Romans 5:8
It was all for love. Everything about Jesus was about love. It is said that love is not a noun but a verb—love is an action. Jesus’ love for the Father and His love for His creation was enough motivation for Him to humble and empty Himself by becoming one of His very own creations—man. His love was not just words, but actions.
Because of Jesus’ love, we have a new life to live in love. May we love and may our love be our testimony to this world of God’s love and grace.
This evening (March 31), we are having a special Easter Celebration beginning at 5pm. Please consider someone you would like to share God’s love with and bring them to this event. As Jesus Christ sacrificed Himself for mankind’s sake, may you be encouraged to do likewise.
Nobody likes rejection, whether it’s from a job, an idea, proposal or relationship. In the 21st century our social media connections have added an particular public aspect to rejection; connecting to hundreds if not thousands of people, many of whom may not like or even unlike our posts, pics or comments and open for all the world to see. Being rejected by someone is tough, however it’s especially difficult the more intimate you are with a person. For example, if someone rejects you after only one date, then, yes, it stings but it is nowhere near as painful as when someone you have been married to for many years suddenly rejects you. The degree of pain grows as the degree of intimacy grows.
Jesus had always been in an eternal intimate relationship with God, the Father and the Holy Spirit. Jesus’ cry on the cross, “why have you forsaken me?” was that painful moment when on the cross that he was nailed to, taking the sins of the world upon His shoulders, the ontological rejection from God, the Father happened. A relationship that was from all eternity broken for the sake of mankind. I believe there are no words that can fully describe the torment Jesus experienced, but we can begin to understand it if we think back to Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane when His sweat became like blood because He was in agony. How much pain does one have to be for one’s sweat to become like blood?
Today we observe Good Friday, when Jesus was crucified and separated from God. He subjected Himself to the horror of rejection by God and was rejected by mankind for mankind’s sake so mankind may live. May we all live in Christ!
The meanings of words and how they are used can change over time. Language and words are the bedrock of communication and culture so it is useful to look, occasionally, at the etymology of words in order to gain new insights. The word “compassion” is one such word. We use it today to denote sympathy, empathy, kindness, love, care or concern. However, the original meaning of the word is very different from today’s use.
Without going into too much detail in this short piece, ‘compassion’ is the compound of ‘com-,’ (together) and ‘passion’ (from the latin pati, meaning suffering). Thus, the original use of compassion was, ‘to suffer with,’ or ‘to suffer together.’
Today’s passage taken from the book of Isaiah, is an excerpt commonly referred to as The Suffering Servant. This suffering servant was Jesus Christ who suffered just as we suffer. While He was here on earth, He suffered physically; He suffered temptation; He suffered emotionally; and, He suffered Spiritually. But because He experienced these things He is able to have compassion, in the original sense of the word, when we suffer and in fact, He helps us through those times (Hebrews 2:18).
Today is the day Jesus ate the last supper with His disciples. Take a moment to reflect on the importance of that evening and remember it was compassion, in the newest sense of the word, that brought Jesus to this earth and compassion, in the oldest sense of the word, that assures us He is with us while we are on this earth. May you, too, be compassionate to and with one another!
“For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life.” — Leviticus 17:11
You may have heard that dull meaningless or frustrating work is referred to as sisyphean. We sometimes use that term because of its story in Greek mythology. Sisyphus, a king, was condemned by the gods to eternal punishment to atone for the sins of his life. His sentence was to push a huge boulder up a hill only to have it roll down when he reached the summit and then to repeat the meaningless task over and over again for all eternity.
In the book of Leviticus, God explains to the Israelites the need for a blood sacrifice to atone for their sins. In some instances a bull would be slaughtered and in others, another animal, such as a goat or a lamb would do. No matter what animal was used, the sacrificial system functioned to satisfy the offense we made against God for our sin, that those under the blood of the sacrifice would be set free from their sin. God’s intention for this system was that it would be temporary to point us to the reality that we could never sacrifice enough animals to satisfy our sins. It would be a sisyphean task to try and atone for our countless sins. For myself, I wouldn’t be able to come off the altar, as I would have to continually offer blood because if I’m honest with myself and God, I can’t stop sinning. There aren’t enough animals in this world to cover just one person’s sins, let alone for the sins of the whole world.
The sacrificial system served two purposes: first, to show us that we could never save ourselves—it would have to be an act of God, it would have to be grace; second, it was a foreshadow of the coming savior, Jesus Christ—the perfect passover lamb. Because Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice to atone for our sins, we don’t have to sacrifice any more animals nor do we have to perform in any manner to be saved. We are accepted even though we are still broken and weak because God sent His Son, Jesus Christ to be the sacrifice for the world.
God instituted the Passover when He exiled the Jews from their Egyptian taskmasters in Exodus 12. They were to sacrifice an unblemished lamb, then take some of its blood and put it on their doorposts as a sign for God. And when He would see the blood as He passed over their homes, His judgment would not fall on their households like it would against their Egyptian masters. They were to celebrate the Passover feast annually as a memorial of God’s saving grace.
There has only been one unblemished person to ever live on this earth. His name is Jesus Christ. He was born of a virgin who was visited upon by the Holy Spirit—an immaculate conception. He lived the perfect life in perfect obedience to God, the Father, to fulfill His ultimate purpose and become the Passover Lamb for the world. Just as it was an act of God’s grace to the Israelites on the eve of their exodus out of Egypt, so it is for this world, that the true Passover Lamb was sacrificed and now we, too, are freed to truly live as He intended us to be.
Steve Jobs was a visionary that impacted the world with his gadgets and marketing genius. It seems that you either loved him or hated him because of his polarizing personality. One aspect of his personality that stands out for me is his Reality Distortion Field. It is a term used to describe how Jobs could spin his own version of reality and get everyone to buy into it, even himself! Walter Isaacson, his biographer, says this about it, “…eagerness to bend any fact to fit the purpose at hand.”
Jesus’ disciples seemed to have been caught up in their own Reality Distortion Field as Jesus was making His way up to Jerusalem on that first Palm Sunday. Their view of Jesus’ kingship was distorted. They were partially correct that Jesus is the King of Israel, but the inauguration of His kingdom was Spiritual and not yet physical as they assumed. Was this why they acted the way they did when Jesus was arrested—that one would cut off the ear of a servant and then they would all flee? Surely, a mistaken view of the King leads to missteps in life. Whatever their motivations may have been, it wasn’t until after Jesus’ resurrection that they came to see Jesus as the true King. I wonder how it would have played out if the disciples had prayed that night in Gethsemane when Jesus was betrayed. Jesus implored the disciples to pray. He calls us to pray, too so we can view the King rightly.
Watching or reading the news every day can be depressing. You could easily become overwhelmed hearing daily about some natural disaster across the world, or another shooting within the country, or some terrible accident that happened in your city. The temptation is to wonder, “Where is God in all of this? Why isn’t He doing anything? How could a loving God allow this to happen?”
The short answers are: 1) God is where He has always been: On His throne and sovereign over the victories and the tragedies of life. He is also near to the broken hearted and saves those crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18). 2) The Lord is always at work, even when we don’t notice it (John 5:17). 3) God is love (1 John 4:16), but He doesn’t love like the world does, because His love is holy and full of justice, and His ways are higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:9). Our loving God permits sin and free will choices, but even what is intended for evil, God sovereignly can redeem and use for good purposes (Genesis 50:20).
I know these answers can be difficult to accept when someone is in a place of grief and sorrow, so provide time to mourn and vent in a healthy way and be a steady and consistent presence for others, and pray for them and with them, and answer questions when they are ready. Remind them (and ourselves) during disasters of God’s faithfulness and mercy in the past, His nearness in the present, and His promises for the future, and pray that these truths hold us steady until the disaster has passed.