“No Matter What”: March 10

Thank you so much for reading the Divine Platforms devotionals. We hope you have enjoyed these past seven weeks as we discover our Divine Platform (where God has us + who we are). A special thank you to our devotional writers: Ellen Parr, Katherine Hill, Rachel Windley, Mike Wadsworth, Sher LaDieu, Janie Hoy, and Christian Williams. They gave of their time, their talent, and their heart. Thank you all.

I also wanted to let you know that we will be taking a break from these emails during our Mark sermon series, which we’re calling: “No Matter What: We Want What Jesus Wants.” It begins March 10, and we will be handing out the Mark Journals so everyone can read along and take notes. If you are interested in having an electronic version of the reading plan, here it is:

Week 1                 1:1-20
Week 2                 1:21-45
Week 3                 2:1-3:6
Week 4                 3:7-35
Week 5                 4:1-34
Week 6                 4:35-5:20
Week 7                 5:21-6:6
Week 8                 6:7-32
Week 9                 6:32-56
Week 10               7:1-30
Week 11               7:31-8:26
Week 12               8:27-9:1
Week 13               9:2-9:13
Week 14               9:14-50
Week 15               10:1-12
Week 16               10:13-31
Week 17               10:32-52
Week 18               11:1-25
Week 19               11:27-12:12
Week 20               12:13-44
Week 21               13:1-37
Week 22               14:1-11
Week 23               14:12-52
Week 24               14:53-72
Week 25               15:1-39
Week 26               15:40-16:8

Again, thank you for reading along with us and believing that “Where God Has You is Where Jesus Is.” If there is anything we can do for you, please reach out to David Fuquay at dfuquay@northwestbible.org.

Coming Soon!

Thank you so much for reading the Divine Platforms devotionals. We hope you have enjoyed these past seven weeks as we discover our Divine Platform (where God has us + who we are). A special thank you to our devotional writers: Ellen Parr, Katherine Hill, Rachel Windley, Mike Wadsworth, Sher LaDieu, Janie Hoy, and Christian Williams. They gave of their time, their talent, and their heart. Thank you all.

I also wanted to let you know that we will be taking a break from these emails during our Mark sermon series, which we’re calling: “No Matter What: We Want What Jesus Wants.” It begins March 10, and we will be handing out the Mark Journals so everyone can read along and take notes. If you are interested in having an electronic version of the reading plan, here it is:

Week 1                 1:1-20
Week 2                 1:21-45
Week 3                 2:1-3:6
Week 4                 3:7-35
Week 5                 4:1-34
Week 6                 4:35-5:20
Week 7                 5:21-6:6
Week 8                 6:7-32
Week 9                 6:32-56
Week 10               7:1-30
Week 11               7:31-8:26
Week 12               8:27-9:1
Week 13               9:2-9:13
Week 14               9:14-50
Week 15               10:1-12
Week 16               10:13-31
Week 17               10:32-52
Week 18               11:1-25
Week 19               11:27-12:12
Week 20               12:13-44
Week 21               13:1-37
Week 22               14:1-11
Week 23               14:12-52
Week 24               14:53-72
Week 25               15:1-39
Week 26               15:40-16:8

Again, thank you for reading along with us and believing that “Where God Has You is Where Jesus Is.” If there is anything we can do for you, please reach out to David Fuquay at dfuquay@northwestbible.org.

Divine Platforms – Thank you

Thank you so much for reading the Divine Platforms devotionals. We hope you have enjoyed these past seven weeks as we discover our Divine Platform (where God has us + who we are). A special thank you to our devotional writers: Ellen Parr, Katherine Hill, Rachel Windley, Mike Wadsworth, Sher LaDieu, Janie Hoy, and Christian Williams. They gave of their time, their talent, and their heart. Thank you all.

I also wanted to let you know that we will be taking a break from these emails during our Mark sermon series, which we’re calling: “No Matter What: We Want What Jesus Wants.” It begins March 10, and we will be handing out the Mark Journals so everyone can read along and take notes. If you are interested in having an electronic version of the reading plan, here it is:

Week 1                 1:1-20
Week 2                 1:21-45
Week 3                 2:1-3:6
Week 4                 3:7-35
Week 5                 4:1-34
Week 6                 4:35-5:20
Week 7                 5:21-6:6
Week 8                 6:7-32
Week 9                 6:32-56
Week 10               7:1-30
Week 11               7:31-8:26
Week 12               8:27-9:1
Week 13               9:2-9:13
Week 14               9:14-50
Week 15               10:1-12
Week 16               10:13-31
Week 17               10:32-52
Week 18               11:1-25
Week 19               11:27-12:12
Week 20               12:13-44
Week 21               13:1-37
Week 22               14:1-11
Week 23               14:12-52
Week 24               14:53-72
Week 25               15:1-39
Week 26               15:40-16:8

Again, thank you for reading along with us and believing that “Where God Has You is Where Jesus Is.” If there is anything we can do for you, please reach out to David Fuquay at dfuquay@northwestbible.org.

Divine Platforms: “Faith in the Faithful God” by Christian Williams

All devotionals have been edited by Sarah Stiles.

Read Mark 16:5-7, 15-20; 1 Corinthians 15:1-8

He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Look, this is where they laid his body.
Now go and tell . . .
(Mark 16:6-7).

The young man (an angel) at Jesus’ empty tomb tells Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome, “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you’” (Mark 16:6-7). This is a proclamation of God’s faithfulness. God keeps His word, and that fact is never more evident than at the resurrection of Jesus.

It was promised that Christ was to come. And He came.

It was promised that Christ would die. And He died.

It was promised that Christ would rise. And He is risen.

Like these three women, God calls us, as those who have received the gift of abundant and eternal life, to enter dead spaces. He has given us gifts to use to roll stones away. He empowers us through Scripture, the Holy Spirit, and the prayerful covenant community of faith, to overcome obstacles of fear and self-doubt that keep us from both living the Gospel and sharing the Gospel.

And on top of all that, not only does God call us into this, but He provides, sustains, and finishes this great task. Wherever God has you, whether you are a stay-at-home mom or a woman who has never married with no kids, whether you are rich or poor, whether you change tires or drive Porsches, that is where God wants to use you. And that is where God wants you to live and share the Gospel.

Do not be afraid. Like Mary Magdalene told people that God delivered her from seven demons, tell your Gospel-centered story, devils and all. That is the story of God’s work of healing and deliverance in your life. Like Mary and Salome, tell people that the pride of your life has been discipling your children. That is the beauty of God working in motherhood. Or tell people that God has the power to restore the broken relationships between children and their parents. The heart of God is in restoration. It is in these places, in these stories you tell, which so clearly illustrate the Gospel, that you will see Him, just as He told you.

Divine Platforms: “The Fearful and The Fearless” by Christian Williams

All devotionals have been edited by Sarah Stiles.

Read Mark 16:1-8

The women were shocked, but the angel said, “Don’t be alarmed”
(Mark 16:5-6).

“Dad!” I screamed at the top of my lungs from my bed. The blankets were pulled over my head and I was curled up tightly, like a kitten, clutching my doll so hard that the crook of my elbow hurt. I could hear him coming down the hall, every footstep releasing the hold on my doll as I waited for my father to step into my room. And as soon as he stood in the doorway, I begin to crawl out from underneath the covers. “Short,” (that’s my nickname he still calls me even though I’m in my late twenties), “you don’t need to be afraid,” he would say before scooping me up, blankets and all, into a deep bear hug into his chest. With the rumble of his sleepy baritone, he would remind me that there were no monsters in my bedroom.

Whenever I had a nightmare, I called for my father. I am grateful to have a good father, who loves me and has always made me feel safe. And in the safety of my father’s arms I would still tremble, whimpering as if I really were a kitten, because I was still terrified. It is ironic, being safe and being scared at the same time.

A young man, identified as an angel in Mark 16:6, appeared to Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome at Jesus’ empty tomb. And the angel said not to be afraid. But the three women were still afraid. Who wouldn’t be? I might not see angels, but sometimes I find myself alarmed, unnerved, and scared when I see God in action. God in action is often strange, uncertain, and unimaginable to me. The angel’s message of Jesus’ resurrection probably seemed the same to these three women. But the message was the truth.

My father told me the truth. There were no monsters in my bedroom. I would beg for him to let me sleep in bed with him and my mother. And he would say no every time: “Short, this is your bedroom. This is your bed. And you must stay here. You must be brave enough to go to sleep.”

Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, “Courage is not the absence of fear but the knowledge that there is something more important than fear.” It was not as if my father was unconcerned that I was scared. And it is not as if God does not care that the women at the tomb were scared. It was because my father and our Father know that the truth is always more important than fear. The truth of the Gospel that Jesus is the Christ, that Christ lived, Christ died, and Christ rose is more important than our fear. Believers should be fearless not because they are unafraid. Believers should be fearless because we know that the Gospel casts out fear.

Divine Platforms: “Caretakers” by Christian Williams

All devotionals have been edited by Sarah Stiles. 

Read Mark 16:1-11

“When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons” (Mark 16:9). 

I took a pottery class when I was in junior high. I loved that class. And I happen to have been particularly good at pottery. However, after the eighth grade I stopped. I wrote my first novel in the sixth grade. It was not particularly good. But I kept writing. I always wanted to be a writer. In fact, it was my dream to win two Oscars—one for best original screenplay and another for best adapted screenplay. I stopped writing my first semester of seminary. I also love to sing. I have been singing since before I could talk. But I hate singing in front of people and I do not often do it. I possess a strong streak of creativity, and an imagination to match that manifests itself in many ways, but I have never considered myself a creative or an artist.

It does not matter how good I was at pottery, how much I love to write, or how I always find myself singing. I loathe sharing these parts of myself with the rest of the world. And it is not because of a deep sense of humility. It is because I do not think I am good enough. I’m constantly asking myself, “What do I have to offer to the rest of the world? To the body of Christ?”

In Mark 16:1, Mary Magdalene finds herself in the company of Salome and Mary, who was the mother of James, one of the disciples. Salome was the mother of the Sons of Zebedee, James and John, who are also two of Jesus’ twelve disciples. Mary Magdalene, a woman who was once possessed by seven demons, finds herself in the company of two women, who between themselves are the mothers of three apostles. I can imagine she found herself asking, “What do I have to offer?”

The beauty of Mary Magdalene at the tomb on Resurrection Sunday is that she was exactly where she was supposed to be. It is not necessarily about what you by yourself have to offer but what God is doing. Mary Magdalene went with the women to the tomb to fulfill a task that was reserved for women—anointing the bodies of loved ones. But she ended up being one of the first people to hear the good news, the news that Jesus Christ, who suffered and was crucified, had risen from the dead and is very much alive. Never mind her being overshadowed by her companions.

God sent a woman, who seemingly had nothing to offer, into a dead space to do an ordinary thing. He used her to share the extraordinary beautiful truth that Jesus is the Christ and that the Christ is risen. It is not about pottery, storytelling, or singing. It is about God using an ordinary girl like me to create things which share an extraordinary beautiful truth.

 

 

 

Divine Platforms: “Alive in Dead Places” by Christian Williams

Read John 20; Mark 16

“Who will roll the stone away?” (Mark 16:3)

In the beginning there is nothing but beauty, harmony, and deep intimacy between humankind and God. It is fitting that it all begins in a garden. Life, the story of humankind, begins in a garden. Gardens are where things grow, where things flourish, for beauty and for glory. And then the story takes a turn for the worst. And consequently, the garden has become elusive. I think all of humankind is trying to get back to the garden. I know I am. But I often find myself in cemeteries.

When I did not know Christ, I had no idea that I was void and without form. Empty. And dead. Being made alive in Christ means being shaped in the image of Christ and filled with the Holy Spirit for the glory of the Father who is in heaven. But being made alive in Christ has not exempted me from dead places. I still find myself in cemeteries.

In the opening scene of Mark 16:1, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome choose to enter a cemetery to anoint Jesus’ dead body. They are entering a dead space intending to serve the Lord. And they ask the question, “Who will roll the stone away?” I so desire to be like those women, who not forsaking their grief, entered dead space with the intent to bring glory to God. Many of us are so intent to get back to the garden that we fail to realize we have graciously been given new life. And it is because of this new life that we serve the Lord and bring glory to God when we enter spaces filled with dead people, by living a life that smells of the Gospel.

I have a younger brother. He is not a believer. And it grieves my soul because he does not know that he is void and without form. He is dead, and the life he lives is a tomb. I know that God has the power to roll the stone away, to open his tomb, and to make dry bones live. I live in the tension of longing for the garden and realizing that God has not placed me there. I exist in a time and space where I am not trying to get back to the garden; I am trying to meet God at the entrance of the tomb that is my brother’s soul. If God has you in dead spaces, it is because there are dead people who need to hear, see, feel, touch, and taste the goodness that is the Gospel of Christ.