Secret Places

Re:Verse passage – Matthew 6:5-13 (day five)

This short passage in Matthew acts as an invitation. An invitation from Jesus to move from the shallows into the great depth of life in the Spirit. As Jesus is describing how His people should pray, he invites them into a secret place. A place that you enter knowing you’re walking on holy ground, where you shut the door, and you commune with the eternal, majestic, loving God of all creation. There’s a sense of wonder in that secret place, where the noise of the rest of the world is silenced and we get to hear from One who loves us. We get to lay out our burdens and watch as He takes each one of them from us. We get to hear the vision of the life that He has for us. Our disillusionment with the world turns into amazement of how the Spirit is bringing the Kingdom of Heaven to earth.

If you want to journey into the depths of the life God has for you, start in that secret place. Start with this prayer that Jesus teaches us to pray. As you continue to pray faithfully in this way, you’ll find splendor in that secret place.


Re:Verse passage – 2 Corinthians 9:6-12 (day five)

Last week, we read about the early church and how they lived in community with one another. That blissful picture of the church devoting themselves to fellowship and meeting each other’s needs almost sounds like a utopian society, out of reach to us. But I think our passage this week sheds light on how they managed to live together in this way. They were generous.

This image Paul paints of sowing and reaping shows us that generosity is meant to be proactive, not reactive. Planting a seed is a proactive act, you sow the seed in faith that it will grow into a harvest. The same is true with generosity, we proactively sow generously into our relationships, and we have faith that God will turn that into abundant, life-giving community.

Paul is talking about finances here, and we certainly must be proactive in giving financially, but the rule also applies to our relationships.
We can sow generously into a relationship by giving that person our time, our attention, our prayers, giving encouraging words, and sharing our lives in a way that might feel vulnerable. If we want the kind of life-giving fellowship, unity, and joy that we see in the early church, we have to be proactive and sow generously into our relationships, knowing that God is faithful to turn that into a plentiful harvest, just like He did in the early church.

All Things Restored

Re:Verse passage – Job 42:5-17 (day three)

The speech God gives over the last few chapters in Job is amazing. It stops us in our tracks. And honestly, if the book were to end there, that would be enough, wouldn’t it? Job is given all he needs by just being in God’s presence. But, the book doesn’t end there. Chapter 42 shows us that God wants to restore every bit of our lives.

God restored all things to Job. Yes, God restored Job’s wealth and possessions, but more importantly, He restores Job’s heart and relationships. He admonishes Job’s friends for how they have dealt with him, and then tells Job to pray for them. I can imagine that it was difficult for Job to obey here – it’s hard to pray for someone who has treated your poorly. But, this act of prayer was just as much for Job’s heart as it was for his friends. This act of prayer restored these men’s relationship with God, but it also restored Job’s relationship with them. What a tender way for God to heal them.

Our troubles won’t always end with us becoming rich, or having our material possessions double. But we can be sure that they will end with restoration, because that is the business of God. Be it on this side of heaven or the next, He restores all things.


Re:Verse passage – Job 40:6-9, 15-19; 41:1-7, 10-11; 42:1-6 (day three)

God showed up in a physical way to meet with Job – He came to him in a thunderstorm. We call this kind of meeting a “theophany,” where God shows up in a tangible way to speak to someone. Can you imagine how terrifying that must have been? Job gives the only appropriate response – he humbly repents. After God shows Job His majesty and power, Job essentially says, “I’m sorry. I went on talking about things that I don’t really know about. It won’t happen again.” The appropriate response to meeting with the One Holy God is humility.

We know that God can still speak through a thunderstorm, but we also know that He constantly speaks to us through His Spirit which dwells in us – if we’d only listen. Often, when the Spirit speaks to us and convicts, our response should mimic Job’s – “I’m sorry, Lord. My pride got the best of me, I didn’t know what I was talking about.” Things will go better for us if we’re more willing to say that to God and to each other. The best part is, we know that God answers that repentance with boundless grace and love. Let’s walk humbly with God.

All in the Same Breath

Re:Verse passage – Job 13:15-16, 14:1-2, 14-17 (day three)

So far in this study, Job has taught us that God can handle every part of our human condition. He can handle our fear, anger, sadness, and confusion, – all with great unending patience. Job lets open the floodgates of his heart towards God, and God patiently hears every word.

Here, Job seems to turn a corner. He recognizes that while God has allowed this suffering in his life, God is also his only hope. The tone of his voice changes a bit – he adopts a tone of determination. “Though He slay me, I will hope in Him.” In the same breath, Job both laments and expresses his hope. His circumstances are bad, and he will cry out to God in his anguish, but he also knows that God is his hope, and he longs to see His goodness again.

In His grace, God allows us to do the same thing. We can come boldly to the throne of God in lament, expressing our fear, anger, sadness and confusion. Yet in the same breath, we can boldly state where our hope comes from. And how much more hope we have than Job! We know how the story ends. We know that our mediator came, died, and rose again! If you’re lamenting this week, remember that in the same breath, there is also hope.

Prayer 101

Re:Verse passage –Luke 11:5-13 (day three)

Just before this parable, the disciples ask Jesus to teach them how to pray. He gives them what we now know as the Lord’s prayer, and in the same breath, he begins this story of a man persistently asking for bread.

We shouldn’t be surprised when persistence is needed in our prayer life – Jesus lays it all out for us. It’s one of the first things he teaches his disciples about prayer. If we’re going to have a healthy, thriving prayer life, then we’re going to have to pray with persistence. Not because God is like the grumpy neighbor, moved to fulfill a request only out of annoyance, but because it creates godliness in us, it helps us overcome our lack of faith.

The Lord doesn’t tarry or lose track of time when answering our prayers – in fact, he’s always operating in perfect time. The more we become persistent in prayer, the more we can understand that. We can do this because whatever the outcome, we know that the One we pray to is faithful.


Re:Verse passage – James 5:1-6 (day three)

James just doesn’t let up, does he? He circles back to the topic of money here, with an admonishment echoing that of chapter 2. When Scripture repeats itself, it should cause us to perk up our ears.

Wealth dazzles. It pulls at the fleshly part of us that covets. It causes us to look at what is sparkling and turn our heads away from the injustice often lurking underneath. But the Lord’s eyes are focused. His ears are tuned to the cries of the exploited. He will not be fooled. We serve a God who is just, and He is willing to show us the way to act more justly.

Let’s face it, friends – many of us live with some amount of wealth, and James is calling us to go against the grain, using our wealth to pursue justice and godliness, not the flashy things of the world. Our awareness of this should cause us to lay it all humbly at the Lord’s feet. With his help, we can act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God.

Joy in Humility

Re:Verse passage – James 4:13-17 (day three)

If we can be sure of anything from James, it’s that his words will humble us. We all have big dreams for ourselves, we make elaborate plans, we imagine how much bigger and better our life will be in the next 5, 10, 15 years. Often, these dreams aren’t bad, they might even be about serving the Lord. But James reminds us here that this is not where we should dwell. We should dream, yes, we should make hopeful plans – but with each thought, with each plan, we should mimic the words of Jesus in Matthew 26, “Yet not as I will, but as You will, Lord.”

James reminds us that our life is but a mist. We live and breathe in this life only by the Spirit. How humbling! Even our most well-laid plans hang on the mercy of God in this quick mist of a life. But this shouldn’t cause us to hang our heads or become stagnant, by no means! We know that this God we rely on is good. The Spirit by which we live and breathe is trustworthy. This humble way of living allows us to be free, it allows us to celebrate! A life relying on our God is full of joy. Humbly go to God with all you’ve got, friends, you’ll come out dancing.

Megan Langan
Associate Minister for Single Adults