Antioch Devotionals-June 2-5

MONDAY, JUNE 1ST Acts 1:10-11
By Terri Smith
“And while they were gazing into heaven, as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes. And said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven." - Acts 1:10-11
I think the disciples had gotten comfortable knowing they had Jesus with them, and knowing who he is, they would be safe and protected.
 Isn't this the way we are?  As a child, I remember, now having looked back, never being fearful because my momma and daddy were right there to protect my brother and I. However, as an adult it's a horse of a different color! Sometimes I feel like I'm on my own, especially if things kinda change from the norm.
So goes today, we are uncertain, with the corona virus looming. But, just as the Lord assured, the disciples, Joseph, David Nehemiah and others, we are in good hands. God is still in control, no matter the circumstances.. As Jesus told his followers, I will leave someone with you, he did that for us as well.
  We are no different. Jesus has left the Holy Spirit for us too!  But we must remember God is still in control, so, in this our "intermission," let us live life in the moment and to its fullest all the while seeking the Holy Spirit's guidance.
  Father God, Life is so uncertain, whether it be corona virus, our unusual day to day hiccups, help us to never doubt, despite how or when we pray we may not feel anything, like the song, YOU SAY, sung so beautifully today.  You are there and will never leave us or forsake us.  In your precious name I pray Amen
TUESDAY, JUNE 2ND Psalm 37:7
By Nita Kay Freeman
“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices.”- Psalm 37:7

Covid-19 has been quite an experience.  Weddings have been postponed or altered, Funerals haven’t been able to happen, Church services have been online only.  It’s been just plain weird.  These examples I just mentioned have been the bad effects of the pandemic. But, for my family, there have been a few good things that have come from it.  We have gone from 2 living in our house to 6.  It’s been interesting to say the least, but it has given us time to pause.  We are cooking and eating together more, we have played games, watched movies together.  I think we will all look back at this time as precious.  It has caused us to PAUSE.  I would like to share this quote that I found:  “In the rush and noise of life, as you have intervals, step home within yourselves and be still.  Wait upon God and feel HIS good presence; this will carry you evenly through your day’s business.”  William Penn.  In the uncertainty of today’s world with the pandemic, racism, rioting, violence, it goes on and on, may we be still, may we wait upon GOD and may we feel His good presence, because that is the only thing that is for certain in these uncertain times is that HIS presence is good and if we PAUSE, we will feel it!
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 3RD Joshua 24:15 (AMP)
Who are you following? by Kerry Stitch
”Choose for yourselves today whom you will serve …but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”- Joshua 24:15

Noise, desperation, chaos, and conflict have become the heaping portions of our poisoning diets. Daily desperation from all sides can seemingly shrink our minds of possibilities to problem solve or unify efforts. Whether it’s the virus, our isolation, political agendas, or food shortages; social distancing and masks won’t cover shepherdless sheep. Most media outlets marinate us in our inability to solve confusion, calm fears, or target positive and productive energies. Fear can distort holy confrontations with compromise and tolerance, thus kidnapping truth. Be reminded this isn’t new. Ask Nehemiah. He sheds light on how to faithfully navigate unwarranted criticism, extreme discouragement, difficult agendas, and strong personalities. Simply put…it’s who YOU follow! Charles Swindoll states in Hand Me Another Brick, “What the walls were to Jerusalem, our lives are before God.” Have you evaluated your walls lately? Are your personal walls crumbling due to a neglected and insulated heart? If left unattended, those crumbling walls will expose a life aimlessly running on personal fumes with earthly value. Do you find yourself “reacting” or “responding” lately? “Loud” cannot cover the emptiness and confusion around us, and let’s face it…LOUD is everywhere!
Who or what are you “following” these days on social media, Podcasts, and screen time? Are the ingredients you are choosing to add to your recipe of life a combination that will feed your soul? It’s too easy to default to mindless “viewing” when solitude can provide a refreshing replenishment from the Holy Spirit.
Discouragement is a taker. It robs you of confidence, peace, strength, and next right steps and can trade you uncertainty. God has created you distinctively different. It should show. In these days of LOUDNESS, may we choose the insight that the Holy Spirit places in us. If you dare, ask yourself (honestly), “Can others see my Father’s resemblance in me?” Choose and declare your convictions and follow THE Shepherd. You will be in high demand and your value will exceed the noise that surrounds you.
THURSDAY, JUNE 4TH   It’s our Pastor’s BIRTHDAY!  Colossians 4:2
By Toya Aultman
"Be persistent and devoted to prayer, being alert and focused in your prayer life with an attitude of thanksgiving."-Colossians 4:2

Every week starting March 15, 2020, I've hashtagged my sermon notes. This Sunday was #coronavirussunday12. Twelve weeks. Twelve Sundays we have not met corporately to worship inside our church walls. I remember going the first week and thinking, "Okay, this is weird, but it won't last long". Wrong. The next week, it seemed very weird and I prayed for Jason as he, as well as pastors across the world, had to preach the Word to empty seats. Oh, but not empty hearts!
In this time of waiting, there has been much uncertainty, but so many opportunities! We have seen movie theaters, concert venues, churches, ball fields, department stores and so many other places empty out. We have watched neighborhoods with closed doors and garages open up. We have seen neighbors helping neighbors. We have experienced more family game or movie nights than we have in years and worked more jigsaw puzzles than we thought possible.
Also in this time of waiting, there are people who wouldn't darken the door of a church, but are watching online worship services. In fact, remember Easter 2020? We did that with online services around the world and what did the Online Church Platform report? 70,000 people accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior! They also reported that at least one person from every country on Earth watched/heard the Good News of Jesus that Sunday! Now that is Romans 8:28 in action folks! The church had left the building and what Satan meant for harm, God worked for His good!
Jason said that in the waiting, it’s not meant to be a time of stagnation, but preparation. What is God preparing us for? Another world-wide revival? Perhaps. Maybe to prepare our hearts for His Son's second coming? Oh glorious day!
Whatever God is preparing us for, may we continue to stay alert and work like it all depends on us and focus on prayer, because it truly all depends on God!
Dear Father, we are in crazy days down here. Many are hurting and scared. Help us to remain focused on You keep opening our eyes to ways You can use us to make Your Name famous! Amen
FRIDAY, JUNE 5TH 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (NIV)
Renewed Day By Day by Chris Blacksmith

Pandemic! Riots! Political Unrest! Hatred! Fear! Uncertainty! “Oh soul are you weary and troubled? No light in the darkness you see? There’s light for a look at the Savior And life more abundant and free.  Turn your eyes upon Jesus Look full in His wonderful face and the things of earth with grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.”  I was doing my usual reflections for the day and considered the importance of my devotional time.  Warren Wiersbe said, “Spending time with Christ in word and prayer should be an experience to enjoy not an event to endure.”  Possessing a relationship with Christ is paramount thus I can think of nothing that surpasses its influence. One thing I’ve discovered through the years is that as I foster my relationship with the Lord He alters my character. As that has happened I’ve noticed more and more that the world around me seems to have lost its moral compass. Things which were once deemed taboo are now the norm and things which are right and acceptable to the Lord are viewed as divisive and wrong.  Paul said in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, “Therefore we do not lose heart.  Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”  Put your life on pause for a few seconds, especially if you’re wrestling with everything going on, and focus on the promise found in these verses.  God wants to renew you day by day, but that only happens when you spend time with Him.