Day Sixteen - Old Bike New Gift

January 28, 2020 • Pastor Josh Escobar

The doors slammed on the minivan as we were filled with excitement to go get something to eat as a family. Pulling out of the parking lot, as we normally do when desiring to go to a place to eat, I decided to take a right instead of a left, not knowing what we were about to find down one of the side roads in our community. There is a saying that goes, "One man's trash is another man's treasure." I have gone dumpster diving many times throughout my life, even found a trunk full of brand-new clothes from a high end retail store (story best saved for another time). But now we were about to find out how true this quote really is. We turned on the last bend of the street we were driving on to encounter some trash on the side of the road. I pulled off to the side because I noticed something between some of the garbage. My daughter had wanted a bicycle and she was turning five in a couple of days. Out from the trash was this tiny bicycle peering at us as if to say, "I'm no longer wanted; I'm not needed." We brought the bike home and cleaned the bike some more. We noticed that the tires were flat. I figured that the worst-case scenario would be that we would have to purchase brand-new tires or at least some inner tubes. My daughter asked my father-in-law if he would be willing to work on the tires for her birthday. As he went to the store to find new tires, he noticed that there is a program that this particular toy store offers. The store offers to take old bicycles for a discount on a new one. So on my daughter's birthday, she didn't get a fixed bike or a mended bike, she got a brand-new bike. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!" This verse helps me to really realize how important it is to know Christ. That all my work and all my effort to try to fix the issues and problems in my life, by just changing the tires or just trying to clean them up, really doesn't make my heart new. You see, when I try to patch things and I try to fix things in my own strength, I'm still working with the same material, "myself," just like the old bike. But Jesus comes to make all things new. He takes the old bike or all the old things of our life and He gives us a brand-new life if we ask Him to. He just doesn't fix it, but exchanges it for a brand-new life. It is said that the greatest gift is Jesus. I think that to be true. He gives us a brand-new life. He changes our old dirty, sinful way of living for a brand-new life in Him. One that causes us to pursue holiness, righteousness, love and compassion -- a brand-new gift! My hope for you today in reading this is that you've experienced His new life. That you will allow Him to take the things that are old and dirty, heavy and burdensome in your life and let Him give you His new gift of salvation.

Day Twenty: Argentinian Tango

February 1, 2020

In Cheesman Park, in the heart of Denver, there is a beautiful pavilion. On any given Saturday night, you will find couples dancing an old-school style of Argentinian Tango. It's slow, intimate and beautiful. I have stopped during my walks to watch, listen and capture the moment with a picture. I have been reminded of how our relationship with Jesus Christ is very similar to this Argentinian Tango. The first thing I noticed was that the dance is slow. Strong relationships take time and should never be rushed. Take your time, and invest in your relationship with Christ so that you're both dancing to the same song. Secondly, I noticed that the dance is very intimate and personal. Each couple keeps their eyes on each other and holds each other close. Proverbs 4:25 says, “Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you.” What we focus on tends to dictate where we invest our heart. As we participate in this “dance” with Jesus Christ, let's focus on Him. It’s kinda like, dance with the one who "bought" you! Ok, that was cheesy. But seriously, our focus determines our future. What are you choosing to invest in? It’s going to take time, and it’s going to take effort. It’s the tango of you and Jesus dancing out life. Finally, I noticed that the dance is beautiful. Why? Well, in the middle of a busy city, people come together to enjoy this tango together. In this day and age, this act of love and intimacy has caught the eyes and attention of us – the bystanders – which has caused us to evaluate what is going on. When we take time to slow down our life and focus on our relationship with Christ, we naturally draw a crowd. Our tango with our Savior is pure, honest and beautiful. In what ways today can you focus on Jesus instead of what you normally focus on? What things do you need to slow down so that you can take time to really see Him?

Day Nineteen: Generous, Unbridled Trust

January 31, 2020 • Sheri Campbell

Proverbs 3:5-6 (TPT) Trust in the Lord completely, and do not rely on your own opinions. With all your heart rely on him to guide you, and he will lead you in every decision that you make. Become intimate with him in whatever you do, and he will lead wherever you go. Generosity is often thought of in the context of giving, but God is calling us to be generous, even lavish, in our faith and trust in Him. Proverbs 3:5-6 encourages us to trust in the Lord completely and with all of our heart. There are many factors that contribute to every decision that we make, but the most important, life-giving, life-altering, peace-blanketing is direction from our heavenly Father. He sees our beginning from the end with clarity and asks that we acknowledge Him and trust Him to direct our steps. Our part is to “become intimate with him in whatever (we) do.” Other translations use the words “acknowledge Him, seek Him, submit to Him and to His will.” Trust can leave us in what feels like a vulnerable position. Have you ever participated in the team building exercise called the trust fall? Leaning backwards, you close your eyes and trust that the person behind you will catch you… that’s a hard ‘no’ from me! What if it’s the Lord promising to catch us, to lead us, to guide us? Psalm 17:4-5 (TPT) says, “Following your word has kept me from wrong. Your ways have molded my footsteps, keeping me from going down the forbidden paths of the destroyer. My steps follow in the tracks of your chariot wheels, always staying in their path, never straying from your way.” As vulnerable as we may feel, we are protected and safe when we are following in the tracks of His “chariot wheels.” The Lord says, “Trust me, let me guide you.” The more we trust and follow, the more we begin to recognize His peace and presence, and we are more attuned when something feels off and we need to course correct. What does generous faith and trust look like for you? Are you trusting God and seeking Him in your present circumstances or going your own way and relying on self? Commit to following the Lord and trusting Him in whatever you are facing today.

Day Eighteen: Soar While You Wait!

January 30, 2020 • Sharon Wager

Isaiah 40:31. ASV But they that wait for Jehovah shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint. How well do you wait for something to happen? Few of us are naturally patient as is evidenced by the road rage on our highways or the impatience exhibited at a fast food restaurant line! If we manage to resist frustration while waiting, many of us get bored and fill our wait time with social media distractions – again not very productive! Yet many of us are waiting for God to work in some area of our life or family. The prophet Isaiah gives us a powerful analogy. Those who wait (trust, hope) for the Lord will actually end up soaring with new strength above the situation. From that elevated vantage point, everything looks different, perspective is broadened. One can see the end from the beginning of a pathway. Soar while you wait! What an inspiring picture. In practical terms, what helps us soar as we wait? One of the most powerful keys is to WORSHIP while you wait. Acknowledging the big, powerful, omnipotence of God makes my situation seem smaller. Worship puts God in His rightful place as my Creator, my Father, my ever-present help! Worship leads me to an attitude of gratitude which focuses with clarity on what I have, who I am, not what I don’t have and who I wish I was. Lord, this year I want to soar with hope and trust as I wait for you and wait for your answer. I choose today to worship with a heart of gratitude. I acknowledge that you are always working on my behalf and I wait with expectant trust.