AUTHOR ARCHIVES: Karah

Purified

Posted on April 16, 2019 by Karah

PAUSE

Take a moment to clear away any distractions so you can fully focus on God as you study His word today.

“Then He began to teach them: ‘Is it not written, My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations? But you have made it a den of thieves!’” —Mark 11:17

Read Mark 11:15-19 in your Bible. Ask yourself:
• How was Jesus portrayed in this story? How does this relate to the character of God in regards to purity?
• Why did Jesus overturn tables and throw out the people who were buying and selling in the temple complex? Explain.
• Compare and contrast “house of prayer” and “den of thieves” in your journal (v. 17). 

Jesus cleared out the money changers and those selling animals for sacrifice. They defiled the temple, which was designed as a place of prayer and worship. These business people set up their tables in the court of the Gentiles—a space intended to allow non-Jews to worship. The people lost sight of the temple’s purpose.
• Can you think of an example of this today? When have you lost sight of your main purpose as you follow Jesus?

RESPOND

The Bible says that our bodies are sanctuaries of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19).
Impurity comes in many different forms and affects different people in different ways.
• Do you struggle to keep your mind pure? Your body? Your heart? Journal your response, confessing your need for Jesus to help you stand strong in the face of temptation.
• List three ways you can guard your heart against impurity.
• For further study on keeping God’s temple pure, read Isaiah 56:7; Jeremiah 7:11; Matthew 21:12-13; and Luke 19:45-46.

BEHIND THE STORY

In Jesus’ day, Jews had to pay a temple tax and often needed to buy sacrifices for the altar. The type of money used varied in each city and region. The money changers set up shop to help people convert their currency in order to pay the temple tax. Some money changers made extra profit by loaning their own money along with investor money and charging interest rates of up to 300 percent each year.(1)

THE POINT

Jesus’ cleansing of the temple pointed the people back to the true purpose of the temple—worshiping and glorifying God.

(1)Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary, eds. Chad Brand, Charles Draper, and Archie England, (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2003),Under “Money Changers.” Accessed via mywsb.com.


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In Remembrance of Me

Posted on April 9, 2019 by Karah

PAUSE

Listen to Matt Maher’s song “Remembrance (Communion Song)” (Alive Again, 2009) to prepare your heart for today’s devotion.

“For this is My blood that establishes the covenant; it is shed for many for the forgiveness of sins.” —Matthew 26:28

Read Matthew 26:17-30 in your Bible and consider the following.

While observing the Passover with His disciples, Jesus explained the significance of the Passover meal, which we know as the Lord’s Supper, often called Communion.
• What was the significance of the first Lord’s Supper?
• What does this symbolic event help Christians to remember?

Verse 28 says that Jesus’ blood was shed for our forgiveness. Our redemption rests in Christ and was made possible through His blood. (See Eph. 1:7).
• Explain in your own words the new covenant that would be established through Jesus’ blood.
• How does the Lord’s Supper help you acknowledge God’s love for you?
• Read Romans 6:22-23. We are all slaves to sin before we trust Jesus as Savior. Describe how the Lord’s Supper demonstrates freedom from slavery to sin.

RESPOND
• Think back to the first time you took part in the Lord’s Supper. Journal about that experience.
• Develop a plan for how you will observe the Lord’s Supper differently next time. How will you prepare your heart? Include prayer points and Scriptures to meditate on.
• For further study on blood and atonement, read Leviticus 16; 17:11; Ephesians 1:7-8; and 1 Peter 2:24.

BEHIND THE STORY

There is no atonement for sins apart from blood. In the Old Testament, animal sacrifices were required to atone for the sins of the people. The Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary points out that “Jesus, the God-man, gave up His life and experienced the reality of death so that those who identify themselves with Jesus might experience His life and never taste death as He did. He died as a sin-bearer that we might live for righteousness and become healed (1 Pet. 2:24).” (1)

THE POINT

Participating in the Lord’s Supper helps us to remember that Jesus’ sacrifice freed us from the bonds of sin.

(1) Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary, eds. Chad Brand, Charles Draper, and Archie England, (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2003),Under “Blood.” Accessed via mywsb.com.


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The Savior We Need

Posted on April 2, 2019 by Karah

PAUSE

Confess any sin you may be currently holding onto. Allow yourself to trust in Jesus’ forgiveness as you spend time with Him today.

“But to all who did receive Him, He gave them the right to be children of God, to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood, or of the will of the flesh, or of the will of man, but of God.” —John 1:12-13

Read John 1:10-13 in your Bible and think through the following.
John painted a picture of Jesus as One who was fully God and yet willingly humbled Himself by taking on flesh as He came to humanity to be the Savior for those who would receive Him.

• Verse 11 says Jesus “came to His own.” The Jews were God’s chosen people. Why do you think the Jews rejected Jesus? Explain.
• Why is it important to note that Jesus created the world, but the world did not recognize Him? What hindered their recognition?
• What do you think it means to receive Jesus? Why is that important? Only God has the power to save. He sent Jesus to provide salvation and offer a way for people to be restored to God. However, people must still respond by trusting Jesus as Savior.

RESPOND

Each car has a blind spot, or place where the driver can’t see by using side or rearview mirrors. We all experience spiritual blindness in our lives. Before we know Christ, we are unable to clearly see Him for who He is. Once we trust Him as Savior, our eyes are opened and we are able to know Him.

• In your journal, list some things in your life that helped you realize your need for a Savior.
• Consider the story of how Jesus opened your eyes to who He is. How did you respond to Him? Whom can you share this story with? Journal your response.
• For further study, read the article Why We Need Jesus by Michael Horton at http:/www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2011/december/why-we-need-jesus.html.

MEMORY VERSE

Write out Matthew 26:28 on an index card, drawing symbols to replace key words. Place it somewhere where you will see it throughout the week.

BEHIND THE STORY

Humanity’s need for a Savior can be traced back to Genesis 3. In the garden, Adam and Eve enjoyed a close, intimate relationship with God. But when they disobeyed God by eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they damaged their intimate relationship with Him. Adam and Eve’s turning away from God is often referred to as the fall, which created a lineage of sin. Jesus’ perfect life, sacrificial death, and resurrection restored to God those who choose to trust in Him as Savior.

THE POINT

Jesus came to show the world their separation from God and their need for a Savior.


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Eternal Jesus

Posted on March 26, 2019 by Karah

PAUSE

Take a minute to focus on who God is—the God of Abraham and God of creation is the same God you worship today.

What does it mean to say that Jesus is eternal? Describe the concept in your own words.
Read John 8:56-59 in your Bible.

“Jesus said to them, ‘I assure you: Before Abraham was, I am’.” —John 8:58

Jesus used the phrase “I am” in John 8:58 to refer to Himself. This phrase was first used in Exodus 3:14 when Moses asked God who he should say sent him to the Israelites.

• Why do you think it bothered the Jews that Jesus claimed to exist before Abraham?

Now, read Colossians 1:15-20 in your Bible.

“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.” —Colossians 1:15

Consider this:
Jesus isn’t only like God; Jesus is God. The death of an ordinary man on a cross would have no ramifications for the rest of us—the One to die had to be perfect, spotless, without blemish. Only Jesus, fully God and fully man could take on the sins of the world and offer us the opportunity to be restored to a right relationship with God.

• Through Jesus, we are able to see the invisible attributes of God and witness His character. In the space below, list some of Jesus’ characteristics that help you understand more about who God is.

RESPOND

The reason Jesus came to earth in human form was to restore our relationship with God and to help us know Him on a deeper level.

• Think of some people who need to experience restoration in their relationship with God. List their names in your journal and commit to pray for them this week.
• In your journal, record some steps you can take to share Jesus with the people you listed above.

BEHIND THE STORY

Jesus is fully God, fully man, in whose Person is effected the reconciliation between God and man. Everything unravels without Christ’s divinity—it is essential to the Christian faith. Jesus’ deity is what allows us to be able to be in relationship with God.(1)

THE POINT

God revealed Himself to us through His Son so that we could know Him and be restored to a right relationship with Him.

(1)“The Baptist Faith and Message,” The Southern Baptist Convention, 2000. Accessed via http://www.sbc.net/bfm2000/bfm2000.asp.


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Ultimate Victory

Posted on March 19, 2019 by Karah

PAUSE

Look over last week’s study. Praise God for all that He’s done for you and thank Him for teaching you about His love for you.

First century believers were often persecuted for their faith in Christ, so there was little earthly gain for their choice to follow Jesus.

“For if the dead are not raised, Christ has not been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. Therefore, those who have fallen asleep in Christ have also perished. If we have put our hope in Christ for this life only, we should be pitied more than anyone.” —1 Corinthians 15:16-19

Read 1 Corinthians 15:12-19. Ask yourself:
• What was being preached that didn’t line up with the gospel? Why didn’t this teaching make sense in light of God’s plan for Jesus and believers?
• If Jesus’ resurrection had never happened, according to Paul, what would that mean for the Christian faith? Explain.
• Focus on verses 16-19 for a moment. Think about why Paul said believers “should be pitied more than anyone” (v. 19). Are believers today “pitied” for belief in Christ? Why or why not? Explain.
• How does your faith hinge on the resurrection? Explain.

RESPOND

• Jesus still has the power to bring the dead to life today. Do you know people who need the power of Jesus to break the chains of sin in their lives Commit to pray for these people, asking God to use you as a light for Him.
• Living life with an eternal perspective means you live life focused on your future with Jesus and helping other people know how to spend eternity with Him, too. In your journal, explain eternal perspective in your own words.
• Because of Jesus’ power over death, you will spend eternity with Him if you trust Him as your Savior. How can you live with an eternal perspective this week? Jot down a few ideas in the margin.
• For further study on Jesus’ victory over death, read Romans 8:38-39; 1 Corinthians 15:55-56; and Hebrews 2:14-15.

BEHIND THE STORY

Over the last month you’ve studied about Jairus’ daughter, Lazarus, and the widow’s son being raised from the dead. Each of these people would physically die again, but Jesus performed these miracles so people would believe in His power that defeated death and made it possible to live with Him eternally.

THE POINT

The crowning moment over death was Jesus’ resurrection—making it possible for people to be in a right relationship with God.


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Death is Defeated

Posted on March 12, 2019 by Karah

PAUSE

Imagine yourself at the scene of Jesus’ resurrection—what you would see, hear, and think. Keep this in mind as you read today’s devotion.

“But the angel told the women, ‘Don’t be afraid, because I know you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here! For He has been resurrected, just as He said. Come and see the place where He lay. Then go quickly and tell His disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead. In fact, He is going ahead of you to Galilee; you will see Him there.’ Listen, I have told you.’” —Matthew 28:5-7

Read Matthew 28:1-7 in your Bible. Consider these questions:
• What did the women find when the reached the tomb? Why is that important?
• Describe the women’s initial reactions to the angel. How would your reaction be similar? How would it differ?
• In verse six, the phrase “just as He said” referred to Jesus’ prophecy of His coming death and resurrection. Why is it important that the angel confirmed Jesus’ words? Explain.
• The angel gave the women three commands in verses 5-7. What were they and why is that significant?
• What did the angel’s final command reveal about Jesus’ love for His disciples? Explain.

RESPOND

Jesus had the power to take on sin and overcome the grave, but His resurrection also showed God’s love and that He keeps His promises. Consider how deeply Jesus loves you—so much that He died for you!

• Have you ever felt overwhelmed by Jesus’ love for you? Journal about that experience. 
• Praise God for sending Jesus to die on the cross for you. Praise God for His love. If you don’t know where to begin, try praying Psalm 103.
• For further study on Jesus’ death and resurrection, read Acts 2:22-28, 32-36 and Revelation 1:18.

BEHIND THE STORY

Matthew included the women as the first eyewitnesses, even though women were not viewed as trustworthy during that time. This shows he was faithful to record actual events as they happened, no matter society’s rules or perceptions.(1)

THE POINT

Jesus defeated sin and death for all eternity—then He appeared to His followers so they could see the truth of His words.

(1)Holman Christian Standard Study Bible (Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers, 2010), 1671.


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Compassion Leads to Action

Posted on March 5, 2019 by Karah

PAUSE

As you read your devotion today, consider this quote from D. L. Moody: “His is a loving, tender hand, full of sympathy and compassion.”

This miracle was the first account of Jesus raising someone from the dead. As you studied last month, He also raised Jairus’ daughter and Lazarus. Glance at the definition of compassion below. Define the term in your own words.

“When the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her and said, ‘Don’t cry.’ Then He came up and touched the open coffin, and the pallbearers stopped. And He said, ‘Young man, I tell you, get up!’” —Luke 7:13-14

Read Luke 7:11-15 in your own Bible. Think about the following:
• This lady had nothing. She was a widow and about to bury her only son -she probably had no other means of financial support. Knowing this, how does Jesus’ reaction to her plight reveal His compassion?
• What was the outcome of this miracle (v. 16)? How would you react?
• List some ways Jesus raising this young man from the dead mirrors the salvation Christ offers to believers.

COMPASSION (n.)= Loving concern for the hurting or unfortunate.

RESPOND

During Jesus’ earthly ministry, He only raised three people from the dead. Why not more? These miracles weren’t about people, they were about Him—to show that He was the Son of God and to offer salvation to the world.
• When have you experienced Jesus’ power in your life? Have you experienced Him work a miracle for you? Is there one you need to ask for now? Journal your response.
• Do you know people who need compassionate love? In your journal, list some places you can go to show compassion to the hurting and needy people around you. Then, record how you will carry out your plan.
• For further study on the miracle of salvation, read Ephesians 2:1-9 and Colossians 2:13-15.

BEHIND THE STORY

Jewish customs included an open coffin during a funeral, but anyone touching the corpse became ceremonially unclean. This was one of the many radical things Jesus did that went against tradition during His earthly ministry, causing much stir among the Jewish leaders. (1)

THE POINT
Jesus’ compassion for the woman showed His love, yet He also showed His power by raising the boy from the dead.

(1)Holman Christian Standard Study Bible (Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers, 2010), 1749.


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Obey to Honor

Posted on February 26, 2019 by Karah

PAUSE

Do you ever have difficulty wrapping your mind around the fact that Jesus and God are one? Pray that God will increase your understanding of this truth today.

When people hear the word honor, they think of battles, soldiers, winning awards, or being in a respected career. What does the word honor mean Consider the definition below and record your own definition in your journal.

HONOR (n.) – Respect and worthiness of rank.

• Do you think you honor Jesus? Why or why not? Journal your response.

“And just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so the
Son also gives life to anyone He wants to.” —John 5:21

Read John 5:21-24 in your Bible. Ask yourself:
• What does this passage reveal about the relationship between Jesus and His Father? Why is that important?
• List specific roles of Jesus named in this passage. Who gave Him permission and authority over all people?
• Jesus honored God by obeying Him and fulfilling His purpose. How can you do the same? How does living for Jesus acknowledge his power and authority in your life?

RESPOND

You can honor Jesus in your relationship with Him by living and speaking in ways that glorify God and show He is Lord of your life.

• Reflect on verse 21 for a moment. How has Jesus brought life to you? Are you quick to share this with people around you? Journal your response.

• Think of people in your circle who need to hear about Jesus and list them in your journal. Ask God to show you how to be more intentional about sharing His truth with them.

• For further study about Jesus and God being one, read John 1:1,14 and John 14:7-11.

BEHIND THE STORY

This imagery of Jesus as the Son sent by the Father is taken from the Jewish concept of the shaliach, or messenger, in which the sent one is like the sender himself and faithfully pursues the sender’s interests.1 Jesus as God’s Son and messenger had a right to honor and worship, as He was one with God in deity.

THE POINT

God has given Jesus authority over all people. If we want to honor God, we must honor and obey Jesus.

1.Holman Christian Standard Study Bible (Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers, 2010), 1808.


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For God’s Glory

Posted on February 19, 2019 by Karah

PAUSE

Before you read today’s devotion, review the last few week’s devotions about Lazarus.

In your journal, write down what stuck out most to you from those passages of Scripture.

“So they removed the stone. Then Jesus raised His eyes and said, ‘Father, I thank You that You heard Me. I know that You always hear Me, but because of the crowd standing here I said this, so they may believe You sent Me.’”
—John 11:41-42

Read John 11:38-44. Think about the following:
• Read verse 39 again. Compare Martha’s reaction here to her reaction in verse 27. Does her response indicate the same kind of faith? Why or why not?
• What did Jesus’ prayer before he performed the miracle indicate about His
mission? What did it reveal about God’s plan? Explain.

Jesus’ prayer showed intimate knowledge of His Father’s plan for Lazarus. Jesus thanked God because God “heard” (v. 41) Him, the past tense pointing to their connection and God’s foreknowing of the event taking place. Jesus prayed aloud as proof to those standing around that God really did send Him and accomplish His will through Him—He wanted them not just to observe the miracle, but to believe in Him.

RESPOND

• Are you quick to give God glory when you see Him work in mighty ways This is how you can let the world know what a great God you serve—by telling others of His works. In your journal, come up with a few ways you could tell someone about Jesus and what He did for you.
• Glance over your journal entry. Do you know people who need to hear your story? List their names.
• Talk to an older Christian mentor, like your Trailstones leader or student pastor at church and ask them to hold you accountable to share your story with one of those people this week.

BEHIND THE STORY

Jesus’ purpose and God’s plan for raising Lazarus from the dead was to reveal God’s glory and help people believe that Jesus was truly the Son of God. John 11:45-53 gave a clear picture of the reaction of some of the religious leaders—this only strengthened their desire to get rid of Jesus. This was the final event to set their resolve to arrest Jesus and put Him on trial for blasphemy.

THE POINT

Jesus did great things and gave God the glory. We should also give God the glory for whatever we do.


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Life Giver

Posted on February 12, 2019 by Karah

PAUSE

Check out Exodus 3:14, where God declared Himself as “I AM” to Moses. Consider this verse as you dig into today’s study.

“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in Me, even if he dies, will live. Everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die— ever. Do you believe this?’” —John 11:25-26

Jesus’ resurrection defeated death. He knew this would happen—through His death, He extended the gift of eternal life to all people. Jesus offered Himself as a sacrifice for the sins of all people for all time, but we still have to choose to accept His gift and enter into a relationship with Him.

Read John 11:17-27 in your Bible.
• How does Martha’s response in verse 24 reveal her misunderstanding of Jesus’ promise that her brother would rise again? Explain.
• What did Jesus declare about Himself in verses 25-26? Explain it in your own words.
• How did Martha respond after His declaration? How should you respond to His declaration?
• Martha assured Jesus she understood Him as the resurrection and the life. How does her response to His request to roll away the stone from Lazarus’ tomb (v. 39) indicate differently?

RESPOND

• Read aloud and meditate on John 11:25-26. Consider the fact that the One who is life is able to restore life.
• Have you accepted that Jesus is the only way to eternal life? If you haven’t, let today be the day you trust in His saving power. Talk to your parents, or a youth pastor, or your Trailstones leader about what it means to trust in Jesus. If you have given your life to Christ, take some time now to thank Him for the incredible gift of salvation.
• For further study on salvation in Christ, read Romans 10:9-10 and Hebrews 7:25.

BEHIND THE STORY

The word “resurrection” in verses 24-25 is anastasis. The noun anastasis comes from the Greek verb anistemi, which means to stand or rise up. These words refer to both the physical resurrection of Jesus after His death on the cross and that of believers upon His return.1

THE POINT

Eternal life comes from Jesus. Without trusting Him as Savior death is the end, but those who receive His gift of salvation will live eternally with Him.

1.Holman Christian Standard Study Bible (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2010). Accessed via mystudybible.com.


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