Antioch Devotionals- April 13-18

Contend For The Faith by Chris Blacksmith
“Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people.” Jude 1:3
In 2016 the American Cancer Society reported an estimated 15.5 million cancer survivors in the U.S. Undoubtedly every one of them has a unique story to tell of how they fought and overcame such a deadly illness.
Sophia, a young cancer survivor, contracted Leukemia when she was in the 6th grade. Her amazing will to live was evident as she endured spinal taps, surgeries, blood and platelet transfusions, and life threatening injections. Amazingly enough she continued in the fight in spite of her endless adversities.
 Sophia’s strong will and determination ultimately led to her success as she contended for her precious life. God tells us in Jude 1:3 we have a much greater fight on our hands. There are people even now who would love nothing more than to discredit God’s word and ruin the credibility of every Christian in the process.
With that said, God commands us to earnestly contend for the faith. The fight we are engaged in is against a more deadly type of cancer commonly referred to as sin and death. The only remedy for this condition lies not in a blood transfusion from one person to another, rather from the precious blood of our Lord & savior, Jesus Christ. We’ve therefore been commissioned to fight a battle which has eternal attributes both for our loved ones of today and for generations of tomorrow. You and I can no longer afford to remain silent in this battle. In fact to remain silent is to declare loyalty to our adversary. I urge you today dear brothers and sisters to rise up and earnestly contend (literally fight) for the faith.

Because He Lives  by Paulette Herring
Who could have believed that a virus has separated us from each other to the point that we have had to come up with another way to have church.  Some churches have their members come in cars and line up with a speaker put on their car window like the old movie drive-ins.  Others have services online like we do here at Antioch.  My Bible class has a teleconference and we listen and talk to talk to each other by phone.
Just as this virus has separated us from each other, sin separates us from God.  Jesus has paid the price for our sin by dying on the cross.  God has a plan whereby we can trust in Him and be saved.  He died on the cross, was buried, and arose on the third day we now call Easter Sunday.  Easter changes everything.  Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe.  Because He lives I can face tomorrow, all fear is gone, I know He holds the future, life is worth the living because HE LIVES.
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 15TH Psalm 107:28-31
After the Storm by Paula McKee
“Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress. He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. They were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven. Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind.”
When I was a kid, my room was an old sun porch with eight tall, rattling windows. During storms, an awesome light and sound show filled the room. Mom said the angels were bowling and that if you counted between lightning strike and thunder roll, you knew how many miles away they were playing.  I never feared storms, but I did respect their power. I was playing softball one night when I was sixteen when a dangerous storm blew up. Straight line winds and pelting rain and tornado sirens sent everyone running. I ended up unwisely sitting with a teammate, my coach, and a homeless guy under an overpass. I was completely unafraid…almost. God’s plan is perfect, and I believed it.
God put on a show during the night before Easter morning this year with wind, lightning, rain, and thunder. When the sun rose, everything was fresh, green, and us when we believe Jesus. Without Him, the storms are terrifying. With him, we have peace. We are not always completely fearless, but we have a calm assurance that the stone was rolled away from the tomb, and a greater home awaits us where there IS no more fear. Praise God!
Dear God, thank you for the storms and the calm in my life, and thank you for the example and sacrifice of your son. The way he responded to the storms and his sacrifice for my salvation enable me to live my life for you. Keep me strong today, and use me to encourage others.  In Jesus’ holy name I pray. Amen
By Jeff Rice

The Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.  It is what Easter is all about.  But what is the Gospel.  The word Gospel is an old English word that combines “god” which means good and “spel” which means news. As they translated the Bible into English they created this word which means the Good News of the Lord Jesus Christ.  So what is that news?  
In First Corinthians chapter 15 vs. 1-4, Paul clearly tells us what the Gospel is: “Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures”. If this is true and it is! If this really happened and it did.  The most important question we can ask is not what but how?  How should this news impact me?  
First if you have never believed and trusted in what Jesus did for you then you need to pray and ask Jesus Christ to come into your life and believe that He can save you.  Second, if you have been saved then what should our response be to this Gospel.  There should be an inward response.  The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the Truth.  John Ch. 17 records one of Jesus’ last prayers before his crucifixion.  He is praying for His disciples but He is also praying for disciples that will follow and He says in vs. 17, “Sanctify them by the truth…”. The word, sanctify means to set them apart or dedicate them for service.  The truth of the Gospel should change the way we live.  Paul said “I no longer live but Christ in me”.  The Gospel should impact our daily lives inwardly, but it also should impact our lives outwardly.  
Paul said in Romans 1:17 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes…”. Good news is meant to be shared. The Gospel is the best news there was, is, and ever will be.  We need to actively share it with those around us.  Have you experienced the Gospel in an intimate personal way? Have you invited God into your life to forgive you of your sins?  Are you allowing the Gospel to change you daily from the inside out?  My prayer is that today you surrender to the power of the Gospel in your life.

FRIDAY, APRIL 17TH 2 Corinthians 5:15 & 1 Corinthians 15:58
By Cindy Beckman

“And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.” (2 Corinthians 5:15 NIV); “Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:58 

The resurrection of Jesus was a game changer for the entire world. He conquered death and rose victorious over it! And those who accept this precious gift of redemption and salvation are also forever changed (Gal. 2:20) as the Holy Spirit lives and works in them. Paul tells the Corinthians (and us) that we now have a greater purpose. We are to strive to live for Him and be about the business of sharing this wonderful gift with others. Go ye therefore…(Matt. 28:19).

When Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery, it was a bad day that turned into an extended bad period in his life. But as he pointed out to his brothers in Genesis 50:20: what you intended against me for evil, God intended for good, in order to accomplish a day like this—to preserve the lives of many people.

This coronavirus has rocked our world but it has also gotten us out of our usual places. Just a few weeks ago, someone remarked how hard it was to get people to church to hear about God’s salvation. Now with the churches closed, the Word is being taken outside to the parking lots and Live on Facebook! The commission was to “Go!” and God’s people are going!
Prayer: Thank you Lord for getting us out of our usual places. Help us to use this unique time to be about Your business, sharing the great news of Christ’s death and resurrection and the new life we can now have in Him.