Day 2 // Genesis 1
Pastor Andy Forman
Have you ever felt lost? As a teenager, I loved to go on weekend camping trips with my friends. During one particular trip, I became separated from the group during a hike. I had no phone, no food, and no water. I was hungry, thirsty, and quite terrified.
I was alone in the woods with only a compass and a Swiss Army knife. Using the compass (and whole lot of prayer), I eventually made my way back to our campsite an hour or so later. Needless to say I was quite relieved to be back where there was food, water, and friends!
How many times in our faith journey do we end up in a wilderness? Surrounded by darkness and uncertainty, feeling all alone, we struggle to get our bearings. We need to get back to our source of life and sustenance. We need the Holy Spirit!
In Genesis 1:2, the Bible says “The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” When there was nothingness, the Spirit of God brought life. When there was only emptiness and darkness, the Holy Spirit was “hovering” over the waters.
The Hebrew word translated to “hovering” is the word rachaf. This word is only used one other time in the first five books of the Bible. It is used to describe how God’s presence dwelt with the people of Israel in the wilderness after they left Egypt. Deuteronomy 32:11 says that God’s presence was like an eagle “hovering” over its young. Protection. Sustenance. Life.
In our own situation, these fundamental things only come to us by the power of the Holy Spirit. He is the Giver of Life. He is Protector and Comforter. He is our spiritual compass, helping us find our way through the wildernesses of life.
As you start your day, take a moment and pray this prayer:
“Holy Spirit, you are the Giver of Life. Everything I need is found in you. Will you lead me today? I need your protection and your guidance. I need you to sustain me by your power. Thank you.”
- Where in your current situation do you need the Holy Spirit to give you fresh life?
- What wilderness are you walking through where you need to feel the Lord’s presence?
- Are you fully trusting God to lead you through life’s trials?
Day 3 // Psalm 23:3
Pastor Lis Burns
Psalm 23:2 NIV // “He leads me beside quiet waters, He refreshes my soul.”
Have you ever just been done? I mean, done done. I mean, the kind of done that has you shutting the door to your room, locking it and hiding under the covers of your bed?
I’ve been there more than I care to admit. As a wife, mother and pastor, my life can be pulled in more directions than my hair can be teased (and that’s a lot of directions). Burnout is so hard and so depleting and, if I’m not careful, so easy to fall into.
As a Christian, it’s my joy to have a Father who “leads me beside quiet waters” and “refreshes my soul.” What does that mean exactly? In the Hebrew language, the words used here for still waters mean “restful waters or refreshment.” You have a God who is for you and for your rest! That’s great news!
What’s interesting to me in the choice of words here, is that water isn’t just refreshing, it’s a need. We cannot live long without water, it’s necessary for the body’s every basic function. Before we can even find peace from the water’s stillness, we find that we need to quench our thirsts. It’s only then that we can start to find the refreshing we seek.
What does that look like for our spiritual lives?
Some of us have abandoned our spiritual lives and needs for so long we are baffled when a quick pray for strength doesn’t make right all that is wrong in us. We’ve ignored the cries of our spirit and wonder why we’re feeling so dry and lost. We do small acts of “self care” in an attempt to refresh our souls, but feel no true help when they’re done.
What our spirits crave is soul care, not just self care.
When your heart is “done” and you need more help than a face mask and a Netflix binge can bring, run to the Father who brings you to a place of peace. He will lead you beside the water. First, so you can fulfill your spirit’s utmost needs. But then, so you can lay back and find true rest and refreshment for your soul.
Are you weary? Dried out? In need of rest? Run to the Father. He’s waiting to refresh your soul beside the quiet waters of His perfect love.
- Am I worn down by life? If so, what specifically is troubling me?
- Have I allowed God to be my true sense of peace or am I seeking an alternative comfort in distractions?
- What can I do to find true refreshment in Jesus today?
Day 4 // John 2:1-11
Pastor Isaiah Board
Sometimes, kids just want to be held. Let me explain. Parenthood teaches a person many things and one of those things is that sometimes a child just wants to be held. Recently while at home, everything seemed to be normal. Suddenly, I began to hear my daughter cry.
Naturally, as her dad, I wanted to see how I could help. Because of her age, I quickly grabbed one of her favorite toys to hand to her. I was hoping it would sooth her. It didn’t work. I found a different toy and tried again. It didn’t work. She pushed both toys aside from my hand and held her arms out for me to pick her up. I picked her up and we had a special moment as I calmed her down.
How precious of a moment! She just wanted to be held. She wasn’t interested in what toy I had for her. She simply wanted me.
In John 2, we read of the first of Jesus’ miracles: turning water into wine. This miracle is truly amazing display of Jesus as a miracle worker. Jesus and his disciples are invited to a wedding and there Jesus saves the wedding with his miracle.
It even impresses those that were there because the wine was better than the previous wine. The part that strikes me is in verse 11: “What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.” Catch those last three words “believed in him.”
I love to put myself in the texts of the Bible. I absolutely believe that if I was one of Jesus’ disciples, that I would be so impressed by the miracle I just witnessed. I am not saying they weren’t by any means. The Bible says that they believed in him.
They didn’t believe in the miracle. They didn’t want what He could do for them. They didn’t want Him to make more wine for their enjoyment. They simply believed in Him. It wasn’t about the gift they had just received. It was about the giver of the gift.
So many times, I think we want what God can do for us. We want the benefits. We want what will help us. Fair enough because all things are possible with our great God! However, I think what God wants is for us at times is to simply be with Him. To trust in Him. Not to believe in the stuff He can do, but believe in Him. Not to build our belief in the gifts, but in the gift giver.
Today, as we consider this miracle, let’s take a moment to reflect. My encouragement to you today is to be a person who believes in the person of Jesus Christ. If God has done anything in your life, that is great proof of His good nature, good character and he deserves all the praise for that.
However, underneath your gratitude, there should be belief in Jesus. Not for what He can do, but for the person He is. The things He does should only be icing on the cake, so to speak. Let me encourage you today to put your trust, hope, and belief in Him, regardless of the many things you see Him do.
Follow Up Questions:
- Can you think of three things the Lord has done for you in your life?
- Have your prayers ever solely revealed around what you need God to do for you?
- What is one thing you could do to change your focus from what can He do for you to simply loving Him for who He is?
Day 5 // Psalm 42:1
Pastor Shawn Mahannah
Psalm 42:1 // “As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God.”
A few years ago, I had the insane opportunity to travel to Niger, Africa with a team of missionaries to an unreached people group way out in the bush. And by bush I mean we got in a jeep-ish and drove out a day past the closest thing that you could call civilization… again “ish” straight into the dessert.
Now I am a Texas boy through and through, and I have spent on the upside of ten years in Florida, so I thought I knew hot. But can I just say that out in the middle of creation, with no shelter, a whole lot of anxiety, and not even a whisper of a breeze, there was an entirely new level of heat. I remember thinking, “is there anything I would not do for a glass of ice water?”
This is the picture I see when I read Psalms 42:1 “As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God.”
We get this idea of panting after what our body needs. The deer needs water because without it, it is not going to last very long. Physical needs are easy to identify but the psalmist speaks of a spiritual desire that can only be satisfied from the Lord. I don’t know about you, but the problem I have is that I see my need and I see my thirst but if I am really honest with myself I have to ask where is my satisfaction coming from?
We buy into the lie that if we just meet our physical needs we can be fully satisfied. I just need that new house, new car, new shoes, new job, new spouse, new me. The prophet Isaiah actually calls it out pretty clearly in Isaiah 55:2 when he asks “why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, your labor for that which does not satisfy?” Our humanity is so quick to go after the easy and miss the eternal. He continues to point us toward the only true satisfaction which comes when we “listen diligently” v.2 to truth and encourages us to “incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that that your soul may live” v.3. The invitation is there if we will just take it.
What would it look like if we truly took our needs to the one who really satisfies? How would it change the posture of our heart, how would it change our day? My hope it that we would be a people filled up. Psalms 107:21 says, “for he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things.” Let us be people that “pant” after the things that matter and are not distracted by the physical.
- What is your vice? Where do you turn to in need? (shopping, eating, unhealthy relationships)
- What would it look like for you to have confidence in Jesus and his presence’s ability to satisfy the need inside of you?
- Who can you bring along the journey with you? Community is so important to our healing and our accountability.
Day 6 // 2 Kings 5:10-14
Pastor Ida Mundell
2 Kings 5:10-12 // “And Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored to you, and you shall be clean.” But Naaman became furious, and went away and said, “Indeed, I said to myself, ‘He will surely come out to me, and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over the place, and heal the leprosy.’ Are not the Abanah and the Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?” So he turned and went away in a rage.”
Naaman was a man of wealth, position, and power, but none of those things spared him from a dreadful skin disease. When Elisha offered Naaman a prescription for healing, he refused.
He expected special treatment. The instructions to receive healing were simple, but didn’t make sense for an important man of power. Why should Naaman dunk himself in the dirty water of the Jordan River? Not just once, but seven times!
Naaman had an expectation about how God should work to heal him, and when God didn’t work that way, he became frustrated. Not just frustrated, but Naaman’s pride was offended.
In that moment Naaman could choose his pride and remain unhealed or he could choose to humble himself to receive what God wanted to give him.
All the power, wealth, and position in the world wasn’t enough to heal Naaman. It can feel like rock bottom when everything you’ve got to offer isn’t enough. The good news is, that God doesn’t need our limited resources to work a miracle. He just asks us to humbly come to Him.
Our story continues here:
2 Kings 5:13-14 // “Naaman’s servants went to him and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, ‘Wash and be cleansed’!” So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy.”
Naaman humbled himself and received a miracle. I wonder how many times my own pride is standing between me and a life-changing encounter with God.
More times than not, I stand proud on my independence like it’s a badge of honor to try do things my own, in my own strength, and all the while God is just waiting for me to come to Him with open hands ready to receive the good gifts He longs to give.
- Naaman had expectations for how God should work in his life. Do you have unmet expectations for God that are leading you to frustration, disappointment, or sadness?
- Name those expectations and surrender them to God. If you feel comfortable, open your hands as a physical sign of releasing control and surrendering these things to God. He is a good God who longs to meet you where you are at today and surpass all of your expectations with his care and love.
Day 6 // Matthew 14:22-33
Pastor Ryan Jordan
One of the most famous stories centered around the life of Christ is found in the gospels of the New Testament – This is the Story of Jesus walking on water. Jesus walks on water in Matthew 14:22-33, Mark 6:45-52, and John 6:16-21.
After feeding the 5,000, Jesus sent his disciples ahead of him in a boat to cross the Sea of Galilee, the water body between Israel and the occupied Golan heights. Several hours later in the night, the disciples encountered a storm with strong winds that frightened them.
Shortly after dawn, Jesus walks toward the boat on the water. That’s right, Jesus Christ, the one they were just walking on land just hours before is now walking on the water that seems to threaten their lives. As they witnessed Him walking toward them across the surface of the water, their fear turned to terror in disbelief. It even says in verse 26 of Matthew 14 that the disciples accused the sitting of Jesus walking on water as a ghost.
I have always found that detail of the story funny. After years of seeing Jesus perform so many supernatural things, they still found themselves questioning his movements.
When Jesus saw their disbelief, he spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid” (We will circle back around to this detail).
Peter replied, “Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water,” Jesus invited Peter to do exactly that. Peter jumped out of the boat and began walking on water toward Jesus, but the moment he took his eyes off of Jesus, Peter saw nothing but the wind and waves, and he started to sink.
Peter cried out to the Lord, and Jesus immediately reached out his hand to catch him.
As Jesus and Peter climbed into the boat together, the storm ceased. After witnessing this miracle, the disciples worshiped Jesus, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
“Don’t be afraid,” Jesus wasn’t saying to simply not be afraid. That would be an oversimplification of the moment. Jesus said, trust in me and my word, and you will find yourself above the fear of the moment. We, as Christ followers, are invited into a life that is fueled by the little details of His words.
Jesus is saying to you today, trust my words, I am with you when the seasons of life turn into a storm that looks devastating. One thing that has always helped me draw faith for the future is to look to the past for a moment in my life that He did a miracle or helped bring me through a taught time.
The story ends with one important lesson. As Peter is sinking in the water, Jesus says in verse 31, “Immediately He reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” Let’s be honest, it is a challenge to live a life of faith, without doubt. I don’t think Jesus was sayings don’t have doubt.
I think he was saying why do you doubt when you know Me and know the power available through Me when I am present? Friends, he is always with you during the sudden storms that life throws you. Knowing this promise, what will you do when you find yourself stuck in a storm experiencing doubt in external circumstances?
As you read this, Jesus is saying to you, “I AM WITH YOU!”
- What areas in your life do you doubt God’s involvement?
- What miracle from your life can you draw from the past that can help you frame this promise for your current doubtful situation?