Antioch Devotionals-Feb. 3-7

Antioch Daily Devotionals- Feb. 3-7

By Shawn Hammontree
“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” - John 8:36

I wonder how many people stay away from church and the message of Christ because they have tried it all before.  They came, they heard a bunch of “Do this” and “Don’t do that”, and walked away burdened thinking they could never live up to this list of rules.  So they have washed their hands of this whole Jesus and church thing because life is simply easier not having live up to these expectations they can never attain.  Life for them is simply easier on the outside.

If that is you, can I encourage you by letting you know THAT IS NOT THE MESSAGE OF JESUS, nor His true church?  Following Jesus is not about living up to a bunch of rules.  Following Jesus is about realizing He paid for your sins, and He invites you to follow Him in a whole new life that is marked by true freedom.  And hear this, THIS FREEDOM CAUSES YOU TO OBEY HIM SIMPLY OUT OF GRATITUDE FOR WHAT HE HAS DONE FOR YOU!  Oh friend, being a follower of Christ is sooooooooo much more than following a list!  It is about living free at last under the blood of the resurrected Christ!  Man, it is AWESOME!

Religion says, “Do”.  Jesus says, “Done”.  Now THAT is freedom!

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 4TH 2 Peter 1:2-3, 8
By Jeff Rice
“Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.  His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.  For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” - 2 Peter 1:2-3, 8

Our scripture reference Sunday was 2 Peter 2 Chapter 1 vs. 1-10.  As I read and reread I was struck by how many times Peter referred to “the Knowledge of God or Jesus Christ”.  It is one of the fruits of the Spirit that Peter talks about that God wants to produce in us and through us in increasing measure.  This word “know” has a much deeper meaning than how we use it today.  Bro. Jason talked about how it is a reference to an intimate relationship that Jesus wants to have with each and every believer.  Matter fact it is the same term used many times in the O.T. referring to the intimacy between a Husband and Wife that results in the conceiving of a child.  It's not just an intellectual understanding but knowing God at a much deeper, personal, and intimate level. What really impressed me was how important this relationship is and how it will benefit the believer.  Vs. 2 tells us that a maturing, deep, intimate relationship with God the Father and Jesus the Son lead to abundant Grace and Peace in our lives.  Don’t we all desire and need more grace and peace in our lives?  Vs. 3 tells us that this “knowledge” or intimate relationship will produce a Godly life.  Not a life of perfection but a life like David’s that was characterized as “a man after God’s own heart”.  A life that full of Grace and Peace make people see God in us.  Finally, the “knowledge” of our Lord Jesus Christ will keep us from being ineffective and unproductive.  Nobody wants to be ineffective and unproductive!  God through Peter tells us the secret.  The closer we draw in intimate relationship with Him the more available we are and surrendered to let God do in us and through us that we could never even think to ask or imagine He would do.

By Paulette Herring

Do you know the Lord or just know about Him?  Can you remember the age you were when you were saved?  I was 9 when l accepted the Lord as my Savior.  l don't consider myself a drug baby because l wasn't drug to church every time the doors were open, l loved to go; especially getting to play "chase" around the church house after the service while my parents visited for a long time.  They needed to talk about this year's strawberry crop and figure out whose house we were going too for dinner (lunch today).
I still remember the one page color sheets we were given in Sunday School Class.
When you are saved, the next step is baptism.  We used a creek for that.  Now we have a baptistry in our church.  February 2, Bro. Jason baptized three people in Antioch's baptistry.  It was very moving to watch as an older husband and wife, as well as a young man, were baptized.  Then Bro. Jason preached a wonderful sermon that to me was old fashioned (like l used to hear in my church as a youngster).
If you can't remember when you were saved, please talk to the Lord about it.

Faith + Knowledge + Goodness by Paula McKee

“On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”  “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”  He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.”  “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”- Luke 10:25-28

In Luke 10, a young “law”yer tries to test Jesus. He doesn’t know that he can’t “do” anything to receive an “inheritance.” An inheritance is freely given by the father to his children. They are “born” to receive the inheritance. Without the faith component, nothing else matters in the “family” of Christ. Second Peter 1:5 directs us to add goodness to our faith and to the goodness knowledge. Am I, like the young “law”yer, well equipped in some areas but lacking in others? Luke 10:25-28 leads into the familiar story of the good Samaritan. Am I passing up opportunities to add goodness to my faith as were the priest and the Levite when they passed by a person in need? Am I missing daily opportunities to study God’s Word so that I am equipped to gently answer those like the young “law”yer” who try to challenge my faith or who need a healing message that only God can provide?
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, the wisdom and direction that I find in your word blesses my life and the lives of others when knowledge of your word and goodness that comes only through you flows from me. Thank you for the opportunities you give me. Strengthen me to remain in your word and to pray newly each day for guidance so that I can add knowledge and goodness to my faith. In Jesus’ holy name I pray. Amen.
Take away: Look for opportunities to add goodness and knowledge to your faith. Technology makes this so easy, and God provides abundant opportunities to demonstrate His goodness.  It’s all about faith in Christ, loving God and loving others.

Goodness and Mercy by Chris Blacksmith
“Surely your goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”- Psalm 23:6

Little A, asked his mother if he could start walking to school without her?   She thought about it for a little while and said I’ll consider it if you will read Psalm 23 every day for a week.  Lil A followed his mother’s request and started reading Psalm 23 every day.  In fact he wanted this request so bad that he read it in the morning and quoted it in the evening.   Throughout the week Lil A’s mother discussed this with a trustworthy neighbor who had a young toddler.  The mother wrestled with this to the point that she asked the neighbor if she would be willing to walk behind Lil A far enough behind that he wouldn’t be suspicious but close enough that she would be able to ensure his safety.  The neighbor agreed to this saying that she could use some exercise and some extra time with her daughter.
Lil A got permission to walk to school every day with one of his friends.  After about a week the friend asked if he noticed a lady and her daughter walking behind them.  Lil A replied, “Yes, it’s Shirley Goodness and her daughter Mercy”.  His friend was perplexed at Lil A’s knowledge and asked how he knew their name. Lil A smiled and said, “I’ve been reading Psalm 23 for a week and verse 6 says, ‘Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life.’”    
God has promised in His word that His goodness and mercy will follow us throughout our life.  Like the mother in this story God has given us freedom.  We have the freedom to choose Christ and in the same manner we have the freedom to reject Him.  We have the freedom to obey Him and we have the same freedom to disobey Him.  We have the freedom to grow our faith, and we have the same freedom to allow our faith to remain stagnant.  God’s promise of His goodness and mercy following us daily brings with it our responsibility to Grow our faith.  One way to grow our faith is to practice goodness, which is best accomplished by sharing His goodness.  As you think of the goodness and mercy of God think of those around you who need love.  Think of those around you who need encouragement. Think of those around you who need assistance.  Think of those around you who need Christ.  Now go and share God’s goodness and mercy with those on your list.