Welcome to Daily Steps!
A weekly devotional message with daily scripture readings, questions, and various prompts to help you spend time with Jesus and strengthen your relationship with Him.
"Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on to these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40
What is your first thought when you think of church?
When I was a young girl, I loved going to church. As a matter of fact, I have award pins for perfect attendance from kindergarten through sixth grade. By the time I reached high school, church was not "cool," and by college, I had walked away from my faith. Maybe you can relate? Many years later, in a time of grief after an unexpected miscarriage, I longed to go back to church to have a connection with God. On a sunny Sunday in March, a friend called and invited me to a church where I had a life-changing encounter with Jesus through stories of people who had experienced loss but gained restoration, healing, and renewal. As time went on and as my faith deepened, I came to understand that Church was not designed to be a destination where I sat, listened, and left. Church is when I bring the essence, love, humility, and hope of Jesus to people every day. Church is when WE, collectively as followers of Jesus, come together to bring the essence, love, humility and hope of Jesus to the community around us. Being the Church is asking ourselves every day “What does love require?”
During His time on earth, Jesus saw through his own eyes how each human is made in His image and worthy of dignity and respect. He opposed the religious and political leaders as their laws were exclusive. Instead, he engaged with a woman at the well, with tax collectors, with fishermen, with prostitutes, with the mentally ill, the lepers, and a ragtag group of men and women. Why did he engage? He engaged because Jesus knew that each person has a purpose in the Kingdom; They are worthy of renewal, restoration, and love. The love of Jesus is for all, not a select few. This expression of community was magnetic to those who were unseen, unknown, and unloved, and they gathered in small and larger groups to hear him speak of the Kingdom of God and a new covenant. Love God - Love Others. That is the church in action.
You and I will always be a work in progress leaning into the power of the Holy Spirit for guidance to come alongside the brokenhearted, widows, orphans, outcasts, unchurched, de-churched, and churched. Is it challenging? Yes. Yet in caring, loving, and working together, we are the Church in action that can transform a community by seeing and having faith in the renewal of all people. I am forever grateful for the woman who invited me to church, yet I am more passionate about Jesus working through me to bring a touch of the Church to whoever is placed in my life, whether for a moment or a lifetime. What about you?
Daily Bible Readings
Monday: Read John 4:1- 42 - When Jesus encounters people, he treats them with love and compassion. He can see their future in the Kingdom. In your observation, what is it about Jesus' actions that had such a transforming effect on the woman? Which of these actions can YOU put into action today? Who is a "woman at the well" in your life? How is the Holy Spirit prompting you today to reach out with love and compassion?
Tuesday: Read Matthew 9:9-13 and Mark 2:13-17 - Jesus was not fearful of hanging out with the outcasts and sinners. Take a moment to write down thoughts, ideas, and discoveries about whom Jesus calls to be a disciple. How does that apply to your thinking about discipleship? Who has discipled you? Take time this week to write a note to say thank you.
Wednesday: Read 1 John 4:7-13 - Jesus is the complete expression of God in human form, and He has revealed God to us. When we love one another, the invisible God reveals himself to others through us. What word or thought is the Holy Spirit prompting you to spend time pondering? Write down your thoughts.
Thursday: Read 1 John 4: 7-13 three times slowly - Meditate on these questions: What if we truly believed and lived in a way that brings God's love to others? What impact would that have on us being the church?
Friday: Read John 13:1-17 - Jesus was the ultimate servant. His act of washing feet was far greater than a gesture of friendship; It was to extend his mission into the world. Are you willing to be Christ's example in serving your family, neighbors, and communities? Who can you serve today with compassion and love? What does love require as you look over your devotions this week?
Want to Go Further?
Check out the study guide to use with your community group, neighbors, or family! Each week includes thought-provoking questions for discussion or individual study based on this week's sermon topic.