Antioch Devotionals- Feb. 10-14

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 10TH Hebrews 13:8
By Terri Smith
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, yes and forever.”- Hebrews 13:8

A mirror shows the good and the bad of how we look. Usually when we see something in it we don't like, we fix it.  We are all shapes and sizes, big ones and little ones, but in images in them will all be the same, good and bad alike.  This doesn't make the mirror good or bad, it just shows the reality of what it reflects.  What are we reflecting?
The Bible however, does the same thing and more, It also sets a path for our daily (hourly, minute by minute) walk. We are to remember that scripture tells us to walk in the image of Christ.
The path our Father gives us is different for each one of us, but yet one thing is the same, the walk down that path!  We have to stay clearly focused on God's Word and our Father's direction in order to not lose our balance or stray off course.  And of course as Bro. Jason said, brotherly love along the way is a must....and as he so vividly demonstrated, it so hard to do. But with our Father's help All Things Are Possible.

Father, thank you for your love and sacrifice. Thank you also for being there for us no matter the need, your comfort is beyond any other.

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 11TH Matthew 22:37-39
By Toya Aultman
Jesus said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’” - Matthew 22:37-39

"Love is the bull's eye for the Christian life.”
During this week of Valentine's Day, what a great reminder to us just love. Now I'm talking Biblical love here and not the "allow anything, tolerate everything" love this world shouts daily. I'm talking love God and in loving Him, your heart's deepest desires are to follow His commands, spend time with Him, and to be a reflection of His love to the world. Also love other people. Yep, even them! God didn't tell us to pick and choose who to love, but simply to love others. Some days, let's face it, even those closest to us are hard to love and even harder to like, much less the guy who cut us off in traffic! Our human instinct is to lash out, but if we are building our lives on the building blocks of our faith God will have us full of goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, kindness, and that love is going to be a reflection of Him to those around us.
Today, don't forget who you are, Child of God, and what's been done for you, then go live like it!!

Father, thank You for the reminder of kindness and love. Thank You for loving me through it all. Thank You for Your gentle correction when needed and Your kindness in discipline. I know all I deserve in this life is death and hell, but thank You for loving me so much You sent Your Son to take that upon Himself. Help me to love like You today. Amen

By Nita Kay Freeman

“A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.”- Proverbs 25:28

Self-control.  I feel very weird writing about this subject because it is definitely a tough one for me in so many areas.  The above scripture shows us how important self-control is.  There are 52 verses in the bible about self-control.  I really should take one per week and try to follow God’s word.  We could talk about self-control for hours . . . temptation, desire, wisdom, blame, obedience, righteousness, safety.  As the mother of a 20 year old son, those teenage years were hard.  We had a LOT of conversations about self-control, not only about his PHYSICAL safety, but his SPIRITUAL safety.  Lack of self-control for just a second, can be the mistake of a lifetime.  In 2 John 1:18, it says “Watch out that you do not lose what we have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully.”  We can lose what we have worked for in the flicker of a second.  A lack of self-control leads to the free reign of fleshly, worldly patterns that end up exercising control OVER US!  Here are a few things to remember:  1) We protect our SOULS when we are self-controlled!  2)  We pursue eternal GOOD when we are self-controlled. 3) We display GOD and His GOSPEL when we are self-controlled.  The most important thing is to remember the GOSPEL when we fail, because we will, but our FATHER is there to pick up the pieces.

By Cindy Beckman
“But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.  For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.” - 2 Peter 1:5-9

I’m probably going to step on some toes here but there is a vast difference in being “churched” and being a spirit-filled Christian.  I grew up in an era where being seen at church was very important requirement if you wanted to be considered an upstanding leader in the community.  So people came to church to see and be seen. And I remember being disregarded by people with this mentality because I was not considered important enough to warrant their acknowledgement, much less their kindness.  

And yet there were some, I remember them well, who were kind and interested in my young life, serving as my Sunday School teachers or just greeting me in the halls.  People, even children, can see the difference; they know the genuine article when they see it.  A spirit-filled Christian is God’s ambassador here on earth, representing Him and showing His love to others.  In these verses, Peter gives us a careful step-by-step guide, with benchmarks, for being that fruitful and genuine Christian.

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 14TH Proverbs 4:23 (NLT)
Hearts by Kerry Stitch
“Above all else, guard your heart, for it affects everything you do.”- Proverbs 4:23

Let’s face it, hearts are everywhere these days.  Look around you…heart-shaped chocolate boxes, colorful Valentine’s Day cards and balloons, along with fluffy, stuffed animals can be bought to confirm your love relationship.  If I didn’t know better, I would be tempted to be persuaded that giving your heart to something required a purchase.  Don’t get me wrong… I love yellow roses, written responses, and feeling appreciated, but if it’s the obligatory February 14th kind, it can become more of a calendar- driven act than a love-driven gesture.  What are your plans for your heart, and who will you give it to?
If we follow Jesus’ example, our heart will be totally in the business of serving others and loving God. Love looks different when it comes from a God-honoring child of His.  It looks more like caring for the spouse with dementia, transporting your better half to chemo treatments, working two jobs to pay the bills, coaching your child’s ball team, and doing so in a manner that says, “I would rather me here with you than anywhere else.”
I’m convinced that grace, the kind God pours out over His own, more authentically demonstrates a deeper, eternal love. Pure love, the Jesus kind, is full of responses and they look and feel different than what we can order off Amazon. They touch, change, and point lives to Him. Be reminded this week as you walk through this world of commercialism that God’s best desire for you is to give your heart to Him through salvation and discipleship.  That’s when the real love relationship begins and it never disappoints.