Devotions

The quiet time text and some companion questions are sent out daily by email. If you would like to receive these emails, please send an email to devotions-sender@bridgewaysv.org.

Our Daily Bread Daily Devotionals

  • Praying Like Jesus
    by Elisa Morgan on April 1, 2020 at 12:00 am

    Every coin has two sides. The front is called “heads” and, from early Roman times, usually depicts a country’s head of state. The back is called “tails,” a term possibly originating from the British ten pence depicting the raised tail of a heraldic lion. Like a coin, Jesus’s prayer in the garden of Gethsemane, possesses two sides. In the deepest hours of His life the night before He went to die on a cross, Jesus prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup, yet not my will but yours be done” (Luke 22:42). When Jesus says, “take this cup,” that’s the raw honesty of prayer. He reveals his own desire, “This is what I want.” Then Jesus turns the coin, praying “not my will.” That’s the side of abandon. Abandoning ourselves to God begins when we simply say, “But what do You want, God?” This two-sided prayer is included in Matthew 26, Mark 14, and Luke 22, and mentioned in John 18. Jesus prayed both sides of prayer: take this cup (what I want, God), yet not my will (what do you want, God?), pivoting between them. Two sides of Jesus. Two sides of prayer. The Prayer Coin. […]

  • Inheritance Isn’t Earned
    by Julie Schwab on March 31, 2020 at 12:00 am

    “Thanks for dinner, Dad,” I said as I set my napkin on the restaurant table. I was home on a break from college and, after being gone for a while, it felt strange to have my parents pay for me. “You’re welcome, Julie,” my dad replied, “but you don’t have to thank me for everything all the time. I know you’ve been off on your own, but you’re still my daughter and a part of the family.” I smiled. “Thanks, Dad.” In my family, I haven’t done anything to earn my parents’ love or what they do for me. But my dad’s comment reminds me that I haven’t done anything to deserve to be a part of God’s family either. In the book of Ephesians, Paul tells his readers that God chose them “to be holy and blameless in his sight” (1:4), or to stand without blemish before God (5:25–27). But this is only possible through Jesus, in whom “we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace” (1:7). We don’t have to earn God’s grace, forgiveness, or entrance into His family. We just have to accept His free gift. When we turn our lives over to Jesus, we become a child of God, which means we receive eternal life and have an inheritance waiting for us in heaven. Praise God for offering such a wonderful gift! […]

  • Blessed Bread
    by Glenn Packiam on March 30, 2020 at 12:00 am

    When our oldest child became a teenager, my wife and I gave her a journal that we’d been writing in since her birth. We’d recorded her likes and dislikes, quirks and memorable one-liners. At some point the entries became more like letters, describing what we see in her and how we see God at work in her. When we gave it to her on her thirteenth birthday, she was mesmerized. She’d been given the gift of knowing a crucial part of the origins of her identity. In blessing something as common as bread, Jesus was revealing its identity. What it—along with all creation—was made to reflect: God’s glory. I believe Jesus was also pointing to the future of the material world. All creation will one day be filled with the glory of God. So in blessing bread (Matthew 26:26), Jesus was pointing to the origin and the destiny of creation (Romans 8:21-22). Maybe the “beginning” of your story feels messed up. Maybe you don’t think there’s much of a future. But there’s a bigger story. It’s a story of a God who made you on purpose and for a purpose, who took pleasure in you. It’s a story of God who came to rescue you (v. 28); a God who put His Spirit in you to renew you and recover your identity. It’s a story of a God who wants to bless you. […]

  • Fruit Juice
    by Patricia Raybon on March 29, 2020 at 12:00 am

    A thrift-store bargain, the lamp seemed perfect for my home office—the right color, size, and price. Back at home, however, when I plugged in the cord, nothing happened. No light. No power. No juice. No problem, my husband assured me. “I can fix that. Easy.” As he took the lamp apart, he saw the trouble immediately. The plug wasn’t connected to anything. Without wiring to a source of power, the “perfect” pretty lamp was useless. The same is true for us. Jesus told His disciples. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit.” But then he added this reminder. “Apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). This illustration was given in a grape-growing region, so His disciples readily understood it. Grapevines are hardy plants and their branches tolerate vigorous pruning. Cut off from their life source, however, the branches are worthless deadwood. So it is with us. As we remain in Jesus and let His words dwell in us, we’re wired to our life source—Christ Himself. “This is to my Father’s glory,” said Jesus, “that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples” (v. 8). Such a fruitful outcome needs daily nourishment, however. Freely, the Lord provides it through His Word and His love. So plug in and let the juice flow! […]

  • The Would-Be Woodcutter
    by David H. Roper on March 28, 2020 at 12:00 am

    One year, when I was in college, I cut, stacked, sold, and delivered firewood. It was one of the hardest jobs I’ve ever done. So I have a good deal of empathy for the hapless logger in the 2 Kings 6 story. Elisha’s school for prophets had prospered, and their meeting place had become too small. Someone suggested they go into the woods, cut logs, and enlarge their facilities. Elisha agreed and accompanied the workers. Things were going remarkably well until someone’s axhead fell into the water. Some have suggested that Elisha simply probed in the water with his stick until he located the axhead and dragged it into sight. That would hardly be worth mentioning, however. No, it was a miracle: It was set in motion by God’s hand and began to float so the man could retrieve it. The simple miracle enshrines a profound truth: God cares about the small stuff of life—lost axheads, lost coins, lost keys, lost files, lost contact lenses, lost phones—the little things that cause us to fret. He doesn’t always restore what was lost, but He understands and comforts us in our distress. Next to the assurance of our salvation, the assurance of God’s care is essential. Without it we would feel alone in the world, exposed to innumerable worries. It’s good to know He cares, that He is moved by our losses—small as they may be. Our concerns are His concerns. […]

  • Precious Departure
    by Remi Oyedele on March 27, 2020 at 12:00 am

    Sculptor Liz Shepherd’s 2018 exhibition The Wait, was described by a Boston Globe correspondent as “evok[ing] the precious, exposed, and transcendent in life.” Inspired by the time Shepherd spent at her dying father’s bedside, the exhibition attempts to convey yearning, the emptiness of loss, and the fragile sense that loved ones are just out of reach. The idea that death is precious might seem counterintuitive; however, the psalmist declares, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his faithful servants” (Psalm 116:15). God treasures the death of his saints, for in their passing he welcomes them home. Who are these faithful servants (“saints” nkjv) of God? According to the psalmist, those who serve the Lord in gratitude for His deliverance, who call on His name and honor the words they speak before Him (Psalm 116:16–18). Such actions represent deliberate choices to walk with God, accept the freedom He offers, and cultivate a relationship with Him. In so doing, we find ourselves in the company of Jesus, who is “chosen by God and precious to him . . . for in Scripture it says: ‘See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame’” (1 Peter 2:4–6). When our trust is in the Lord, our departure from this life is precious in His sight. […]

  • Seeing Salvation
    by Winn Collier on March 26, 2020 at 12:00 am

    At fifty-three, the last thing Sonia expected to do was abandon her business and her country to join a group of asylum seekers journeying to a new land. After gangs murdered her nephew and tried to force her 17-year-old son into their ranks, Sonia felt escape was her only option. “I pray to God. . . . I will do whatever is necessary,” Sonia explained. “I will do anything so [my son and I] don’t die of hunger. . . I prefer to see him suffer here than end up in a bag or canal.” Does the Bible have anything to say to Sonia and her son—or to so many who have suffered injustice and devastation? When John the Baptist proclaimed the arrival of Jesus, he announced good news to Sonia, to us, to the world. “Prepare the way of the Lord,” John proclaimed (Luke 3:4). He insisted that when Jesus arrived, God would enact a powerful, comprehensive rescue. The biblical word for this rescue is salvation. Salvation encompasses both the healing of our sinful hearts and—one day—the healing of all the world’s evils. God transforming work is for every story, every human system, and is available to everyone. “All people will see God’s salvation,” John said (v. 6). Whatever evil we face, Christ’s cross and resurrection assure us we will see God’s salvation. One day we will experience His final liberation. […]

  • It’s Time to Pray . . ....
    by Xochitl Dixon on March 25, 2020 at 12:00 am

    I pulled into my driveway, waving at my neighbor, Myriam, and her little girl, Elizabeth. Over the years, Elizabeth had grown accustomed to our spontaneous chats lasting longer than the promised “few minutes” and morphing into prayer meetings. She climbed the tree planted in the center of their front yard, dangled her thin legs over a branch, and busied herself while her mother and I spoke. After a while, Elizabeth hopped down from her roost and ran to where we stood. Grabbing our hands, she smiled and almost sang, “It’s time to pray . . . again.” Even at an early age, Elizabeth seemed to understand how important prayer was in our friendship. After encouraging believers to “be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power” (Ephesians 6:10), the apostle Paul offered special insight on the crucial role of continual prayer. He described the necessary armor God’s people would need during their spiritual walk with the Lord, who provides protection, discernment, and confidence in His truth (vv. 11-17). However, the apostle emphasized this God-given strength grew from deliberate immersion in the life-giving gift of prayer (vv. 18-20). God hears and cares about our concerns, whether they’re spoken boldly, sobbed silently, or secured deep in a hurting heart. He is always ready to make us strong in His power, as He invites us to pray again and again and again. […]

  • The Bell
    by Evan Morgan on March 24, 2020 at 12:00 am

    Jackson dreamed of becoming a US Navy Seal from early childhood—an ambition that led to years of physical discipline and self-sacrifice. He eventually faced grueling tests of strength and endurance including what’s referred to by trainees as “hell week.” Jackson was physically unable to complete the exhaustive training, and reluctantly rang a bell to inform the commander and other trainees of his choice to leave the program. For most, this would feel like failure. But in spite of the extreme disappointment, Jackson was later able to see his military failure as preparation for his life’s work. The apostle Peter experienced his own form of failure. He boldly proclaimed that he would remain loyal to Jesus even to prison or death (Luke 22:33). Yet later he wept bitterly after he denied that he knew Jesus (Luke 22:61–62). But God had plans beyond his failure. Prior to Peter’s denial, Jesus informed him, “I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it” (Matthew 16:18; see also Luke 22:31–32). Are you struggling with a failure causing you to feel unworthy or unqualified to move on? Don’t let the ringing bell of failure cause you to miss God’s greater purposes for you. […]

  • Reunion
    by Alyson Kieda on March 23, 2020 at 12:00 am

    The little boy excitedly ripped open a big box from his serviceman daddy, whom he believed wouldn’t be home to celebrate his birthday. Inside that box was yet another giftwrapped box, and inside that box was another that simply held a piece of paper saying, “Surprise!” Confused, the boy looked up—just as his dad entered the room. Tearfully the son leapt into his father’s arms, exclaiming, “Daddy, I missed you” and “I love you!” That tearful yet joyful reunion captures for me the heart of Revelation 21’s description of the glorious moment when God’s children see their loving Father face to face—in the fully renewed and restored creation. There, “[God] will wipe every tear from [our] eyes.” No longer will we experience pain or sorrow, because we’ll be with our heavenly Father. As the “loud voice” in Revelation 21 declares, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them” (vv. 3–4). There’s a tender love and joy that followers of Jesus already enjoy with God, as 1 Peter 1:8 describes: “Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.” Yet imagine our incredible, overflowing joy when we see the one we’ve loved and longed for welcoming us into His open arms! […]

image