CATEGORY ARCHIVES: Devotions

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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Spell It Out

Posted on February 5, 2019 by Karah

PAUSE

Think of a time in your life when you knew God was at work, but you didn’t grasp what He was doing at the time. Thank Him for taking care of you.

Review last week’s devotion titled, “Message of Hope.” Examine Jesus’ use of the word sleep over the next few weeks.

“So Jesus then told them plainly, ‘Lazarus has died. I’m glad for you that I wasn’t there so that you may believe. But let’s go to him.’” —John 11:14

Read John 11:11-16 in your Bible. Answer the following:
• Highlight each occurrence of the word “asleep” or “sleep” by Jesus and the disciples. Then write down in your journal what Jesus meant, and compare it to what the disciples thought when he said these words. 
• Circle the phrase “so then Jesus told them plainly” (v. 14). What does that mean? Write the statement in your own words.
• Check out Jesus’ words in verse 15. Why would Jesus be glad he wasn’t there when Lazarus died? How would Jesus’ absence at the time of Lazarus death later help the disciples to believe in Him? Explain.

RESPOND

It’s difficult to understand how God works, but you can know His ways are perfect. Jesus had to spell this out for His disciples when they didn’t understand, and He will do the same for you as you walk with Him.
• Has God ever used a difficult situation in your life to help you believe in Him, trust Him, or understand more about Him? Journal about that experience.
• Thank God for revealing to you what you need to know to trust and believe in Him. Ask Him to continue to strengthen your faith.
• For further study on trusting Jesus even when you don’t understand, read John 14:1 and Isaiah 55:8-9.

MEMORY VERSE

Memorize John 11:25-26 this week. Write or recite it from memory three times in a row.

BEHIND THE STORY

In John 11:7-9 Jesus mentioned returning to Judea and His disciples balked at the idea. John 10:22-30 gives an account of Jesus at the Festival of Dedication, where He claimed to be one with God (v. 30). The religious leaders attempted to stone or arrest Jesus for blasphemy because of His claim (v. 33). Certainly, the disciples were relieved to be away from Judea and the threat of stoning, but Jesus wanted to go back to demonstrate God’s power through raising Lazarus from the dead. He had to tell His disciples plainly in order for them to understand the decision and its significance (John 11:14).

THE POINT

Jesus’ power is displayed for the benefit of all who see.


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Message of Hope

Posted on January 29, 2019 by Karah

PAUSE

Grab a your Bible, journal, and a pen. Find a quiet, comfy place where you won’t be disturbed. Pray, asking God to help you understand what you study in His Word today.

Over the next few weeks, you will read about Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. Quickly read through the complete story in John 11:1-44.

“When Jesus heard it, He said, ‘This sickness will not end in death but is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.’” —John 11:4

Now, read John 11:1-6 in your Bible. Ask yourself:
• Jesus had a strong bond with Lazarus. As you focus your attention on verses 1-6, underline any words or phrases that help you better understand their relationship.

Despite Jesus’ relationship with Lazarus and his sisters, He waited to go to them. Jesus knew that God would demonstrate His power and authority by raising Lazarus from the dead. He even told His disciples that the outcome of Lazarus sickness would not be death, yet Lazarus was in the tomb when Jesus arrived.
• In your own words, explain Jesus’ statement in verse 4.
• Jesus timing assured that there would be no mistaking that Lazarus was dead when He arrived. How did Jesus’ timing bring glory to God? Explain.
• List a few ways Jesus showed His authority and power by waiting until Lazarus was dead to perform a miracle.

RESPOND

Before the story completely unfolded, Jesus told His disciples the outcome-Lazarus wouldn’t stay in the tomb. While we have access to the end of this story, Jesus’ disciples questioned His choice to remain where He was because they knew He could heal Lazarus. Jesus doesn’t always work in ways that we understand or provide healing when we think He should, but He has the power to do more than we can imagine.

• When have you questioned something God allowed in your life? Maybe a loved one died, but you prayed for healing. Talk honestly with God about any doubts or fears you had. Ask Him to help you see how He worked things for good in that situation.
• For further study on Jesus’ power and authority, read Colossians 1:17.

BEHIND THE STORY

The first two verses of John 11 indicate that Jesus knew Mary, Martha, and Lazarus well. Verse five also shows a strong bond between them saying, “Now Jesus loved Martha, her sister, and Lazarus.” Despite Jesus’ bond with this family, He stayed for two more days across the Jordan where John was baptizing. By the time Jesus reached Lazarus, he had been in the grave four days (v. 17).

THE POINT

Jesus displayed His authority and power by raising Lazarus from the dead.


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Obstacles to Opportunities

Posted on January 22, 2019 by Karah

PAUSE

Find a quiet place to be alone with no distractions. Take some time to pray, asking God to reveal Himself to you.

Review last week’s devotion before you read today’s Scripture. As you continue reading about Jairus’ encounter with Jesus, consider how Jesus used a seemingly hopeless situation to show more of His power. Think of a time when Jesus gave you hope in a situation that seemed impossibly grim. Journal about that experience.

Now, read Matthew 9:23-26.

“When Jesus came to the leader’s house, He saw the flute players and a crowd lamenting loudly. ‘Leave,’ He said, ‘because the girl isn’t dead, but sleeping.’ And they started laughing at Him. But when the crowd had been put outside, He went in and took her by the hand, and the girl got up. And this news spread throughout that whole area.” —Matthew 9:23-26

Read Mark 5:35-43 in your Bible. Answer these questions:
• In verses 35-36, Jairus received news that His daughter had died. How did Jesus respond? Why is this important?
• Jesus’ words “only believe” (v. 36) were meant to encourage Jairus’ to keep believing that Jesus could still save his daughter. What does this teach you about your own belief when circumstances seem beyond hope? Explain.
• Jesus used the word “sleeping” to describe the girl’s condition and the people in Jairus’ house laughed at Him. Why do you think they responded this way? How would you respond?

RESPOND

We don’t have the benefit of seeing the bigger picture, but God does. We sometimes find ourselves feeling completely hopeless, filled with anxiety and sadness, and wanting to give up the belief that God can change our situation. Today’s passage teaches us nothing and no one is beyond God’s power.
• What circumstances in your life seem hopeless right now? Journal a prayer to God, placing your fears and hope in His hands. Confess your need for His help and thank Him for using difficult circumstances to draw you into a deeper relationship with Him.
• Jesus brings hope even when life is tough. Think of a few people who need encouragement and hope in the midst of a difficult time. List their names in the margin.
• Ask God to show you how you help those people find hope in Jesus this week.

BEHIND THE STORY

The people in Jairus’ house laughed at Jesus when He said the girl was only sleeping. In 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14, Paul explained this concept further. Paul used the word “asleep” (v. 13) to describe the state of believers when they die. Just as people typically wake up from sleep in the morning, believers who have died will one day rise up to eternal life with Christ. When Jesus used the words “sleep” and “sleeping” in this passage, He was talking about a temporary condition.

THE POINT

Jesus brings hope and life, even when we believe our circumstances are beyond help.


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Faith That Gives Life

Posted on January 15, 2019 by Karah

PAUSE

List all the ways God has shown His power in your life, then praise Him for being a mighty and powerful God.

Read Matthew 9:18-19 in your Bible. Many Jewish leaders didn’t follow Jesus because His teachings were radically different. Today’s reading focuses on one Jewish leader, Jairus, who came to Jesus for help when his daughter was sick.
• Read Jairus’ statement at the end of verse 18. What does this tell you about his faith?

“One of the synagogue leaders, named Jairus, came, and when he saw Jesus he fell at His feet and kept begging Him, ‘My little daughter is at death’s door. Come and lay Your hands on her so she can get well and live.’”—Mark 5:22-23

Read Mark 5:22-24 in your Bible. Consider the following:
• As you read, underline any words that indicate Jairus’ feelings about his
daughter’s illness. What does his persistence reveal about the urgency of
his situation?
• Review both accounts of Jairus’ encounter with Jesus. List some things that revealed his faith in Jesus.
• Why is it important to believe that Jesus can overcome anything? Explain.

RESPOND

• Terminal illness and death are often difficult to address, so prayerfully think about a time in your life when you lost a loved one or knew someone with a terminal illness. How did you respond? Journal your about your experience.
• Jairus showed faith by going to Jesus with his dying daughter, believing His touch alone would heal. On a scale of 1-10, how strong is your faith during times of crisis?
• Do you believe that Jesus is strong enough today to work miracles like He did with Jairus’ daughter? Confess any doubts to God and ask Him to help you trust Him with the tough situations in your life.

BEHIND THE STORY

In each account of this healing, Jairus asked Jesus to lay His hands on his daughter. Jairus, as a synagogue leader, would have been familiar with the common practice of laying hands on someone to bestow blessing or for healing.

THE POINT

We don’t have to fear anything. Belief in Jesus overcomes all situations.


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