Antioch Devotionals- May 4-8

MONDAY, MAY 4TH Philippians 4:13 & John 15:5 (CSB)
By Pete Southall
“I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5

This week, I sat in a meeting, where, in the midst of all the training was the obligatory hour-and-a-half "back to the basics" talk. You know, it's the one that is embedded in every training session in every organization in every corporation, church, team, group worldwide. If the basics are so fundamentally important in everything we do, WHY ARE WE ALWAYS HAVING TO "GET BACK" TO THEM?!!! I think the answer lies in the two verses above. Many of us are all too eager to adopt the Phil. 4:13 mindset without remembering it's converse, John 15:5. We, sometimes, work so hard at pursuing "all things" for and through Him that we forget that NOTHING of value takes place apart from Him. In Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus gives the most basic outline of the Christian's purpose and responsibility when He says "GO." It is not a suggestion. It is a directive...and it is basic. In fact, it is the most basic command given by THE BASIS. If we are truly operating as branches attached to the vine, how can we not GO?!!!!
TUESDAY, MAY 5TH Romans 8:5 (NIV)
By Terri Smith
“Those who live according to their sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.” Romans 8:5

Because we are human, we are a selfish, self-centered people.  Often times, thinking of what we want instead of what would be best. What is your mind "set" on, or what does your mind dwell on?  Until the Lord convicts us, we see nothing wrong with this way of thinking.  There is no "feel good" feeling in this either! Why? Because it is always about me, my and mine.
Once we come to know Christ, we really do become a new person. Praise the Lord!  We begin to notice others and their need, develop a love for people in general, as well as, looking for ways to help them.
Little do we realize that once we begin doing for others, what it does for us. (a benefit of not being self-centered). Having lived this, I can honestly say, there is nothing like it.
We must remember, we can NEVER lose our salvation, but the joy of it, can fade, unless we set our minds on doing the will of the Father.
Let us all seek to follow him daily, one step at a time.

Prayer: Father, thank you for reminding us to watch how we live and to always be open to your prompting in case our mindset turns from you. In your precious name AMEN.

WEDNESDAY, MAY 6TH Romans 8:15 (NIV)
Fear by Kerry Stitch
“The Spirit that you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit that you received brought about your adoption to sonship.  And by Him we cry, Abba, Father.” Romans 8::15

We all hate liars and it’s always open season on exposing them!   Talented Zach Williams reminds us through the lyrics of his Contemporary Christian hit song that, “Fear is a Liar.”  Sadly, we tend to download and stream fear’s imposing worries and faulty perspectives of our own. It has been said that fears are one of our biggest illusions as humans.  Why?  We misread them!  Like most things in our day-to-day hurried schedules, we mistake the perceived challenge as a “giant.”  Don’t get me wrong.  Especially during a pandemic, we can choose to see many obstacles as threatening.  Losing a job, contracting a potentially deadly virus, hanging on to a dwindling savings account, teaching multiple children at home, quarantining with a difficult personality, and feeling isolated can all contribute to our default setting where there’s only one response to the layers that keep accumulating faster than a Tetris puzzle on the fastest speed. Panic.  
May I remind you that panic is a chosen response…a popular one I might testify (I default to this more than I care to admit.).  It simply isn’t the completing piece in the puzzle box provided by God.  Perhaps if we allowed God to determine what our “finished” puzzle image will be, it might include potentially fearful obstacles that He used to bring His greatness and beauty into focus. Don’t volunteer to lead the Fear Parade…because you will be spotted about a block away.  Instead, be mindful of the promises of Romans 8. (Spoiler Alert…God wins!) Listen closely for fear’s lies this week.  Allow the Holy Spirit to replace them with the Spirit-controlled life as your default setting and watch those “giants” become part of the tapestry that God weaves into your story for His glory.

THURSDAY, MAY 7TH John 16:33 (Amplified Bible)
By Toya Aultman
"I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have perfect peace. In the world you have tribulation and distress and suffering, but be courageous, be confident, be undaunted, be filled with joy; I have overcome the world. My conquest is accomplished, My victory abiding." John 16:33

Struggles are a reality in this world. Ever since Genesis 3, when sin entered, this world has been full of sickness, pain, struggles, and so much brokenness. There are days now that feel like weeks (especially if you have a child/children doing school work!). I feel like March lasted for about 300 days and April about three years, but praise God, we have made it to May!!

What does May and the summer hold? Only God knows. But this we can be assured of, as a child of God the struggle does not win! COVID-19 does not win! The fears, the politics, the economy, none of it wins. Hope wins! And that hope is found in Jesus Christ. Oh child of God, hang on! Keep praying, keep studying God's Word, keep singing His praises. Our tomorrows are history to Him and we can rest in knowing that the end is more sure than yesterday's news...GOD GETS THE VICTORY!! Now, face this day with His joy and spread some of His love in your corner of the world.

Prayer: Father, thank You! Thank You! Thank You!! For the sweet assurance given in your word that as a child of Yours, victory is ours. Amen.

FRIDAY, MAY 8TH Romans 8:10
By Nita Kay Freeman
 “But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the spirit gives life because of righteousness” Romans 8:10

Is Christ IN you?  Do you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that if your body died today that you would run into the arms of Jesus?  This next Sunday is Mother’s Day. I’m so blessed to have 4 amazing children (3 I gave birth to and 1 that my daughter married just 4 months ago). I have a mother-in-law that is my best friend and that I love like a mother. Sunday, we will celebrate. We will laugh, eat, open gifts and we will all be together. But, Mother’s Day is a tough one for me every year. I lost my mom 14 years ago. We’ve had some really hard times in our family since she passed, and I know God spared her of these things that would have broken her heart, but my selfish self really misses her and wants her here with us to celebrate graduations and weddings, birthdays and anniversaries AND, yes, I wish she was here to give advice in the hard times. Praise the Lord that I have the assurance that she is with Jesus, rejoicing every day, singing praises to Christ and walking the streets of gold with no more pain or sickness!  More than anything, I REJOICE in the fact that I will have the ULTIMATE Mother’s Day one day when I, too, will run into Jesus’ arms. Standing right behind Him, I feel certain, will be my Mother!  What a glorious day that will be!