DAY 18 | ON THE OUTSIDE LOOKING IN by Sion Alford “As Jesus was speaking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside asking to speak to him. Someone told Jesus, ‘Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, and they want to speak to you.’ Jesus asked, ‘Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?’ Then he pointed to his disciples and said, ‘Look, these are my mother and brothers. Anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother!’” – Matthew 12:46–50 I must admit that when I read the verses above, I was a bit troubled. How could the Son of God have such harsh words for those closest to Him? His mother, Mary, and His brothers must have been shocked at Jesus’ response to their request to speak with Him. Imagine it—Jesus was rejecting His family while describing His friends as His true family! It all seems extremely contrary to the nature and character of Jesus. How could this be? In this story, Jesus used a teaching tool that He used often throughout Scripture to bring light to an important truth. As Matthew 12:46 tells us, Jesus was in the middle of speaking to the crowd when He was interrupted by their request. He turned their request into a sermon illustration and used the comparison as a way to communicate an important truth! Jesus was not suggesting that we reject our family for the mission of the gospel. He was not commanding us to forget those closest to us so we can pursue our dreams and our calling. He was revealing that our obedience to the will of God is the most important thing we can do as members of God’s family! The extent of His comparison should give us clues to the importance of this truth. First John 2:5 tells us that “those who obey God’s Word truly show how completely they love Him.” In other words, when we love God, we can’t help but obey Him. Obedience is so important that Jesus once told His disciples, “My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent Me, and from finishing His work” (John 4:34). Have you ever felt like you were standing on the outside looking in? Has an intimate relationship with God felt like something that others had special privilege to while you struggle with it? Learn from Jesus’ words to us that His true family are those who obey the will of the Father. Allow your love for God to lead you to the most important thing you can do—obey His will. Prayer Jesus, thank You for making me a part of Your family. Today I will choose to obey the will of the Father as I draw closer to You. In Jesus’ name, Amen. Activation Holy Spirit, what are You saying to me today? For Further Study Genesis 35–36 Psalm 9:7–10 Proverbs 3:27–30 Matthew 12:22–50 Memory Verse “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” – Matthew 11:28–30 To read the complete 21-day devotional, visit gatewaydevotions.com/fresh-start.

DAY 18 | ON THE OUTSIDE LOOKING IN by Sion Alford “As Jesus was speaking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside asking to speak to him. Someone Continue Reading →

DAY 17 | NOURISHED AND RESTORED by Jade Washington “And He answered, ‘If you had a sheep that fell into a well on the Sabbath, wouldn’t you work to pull it out? Of course you would. And how much more valuable is a person than a sheep! Yes, the law permits a person to do good on the Sabbath.’ Then He said to the man, ‘Hold out your hand.’ So the man held out his hand, and it was restored just like the other one! Then the Pharisees called a meeting to plot how to kill Jesus.” – Matthew 12:11–14 As the Pharisees were plotting to kill Jesus, He was leading His disciples through a grain field where they plucked the heads of grain from the stalks because they were hungry. However, it was the Sabbath, and the Pharisees took issue with it. “Look, your disciples are breaking the law by harvesting grain on the Sabbath” (Matthew 12:2). Later in the same chapter, Jesus went into the synagogue and saw a man with a withered hand. The Pharisees asked Him if it was lawful to heal on the Sabbath. Of course, Jesus healed the man saying, “It is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” He had allowed His disciples to be nourished by grain, and He healed the broken. The Pharisees led from a place of jealousy and arrogance, but Jesus led from a place of authority and compassion. He saw people as children—not competition. More importantly though, what we see in Matthew 12 is that the Pharisees valued the law and works, but Jesus valued people. And that’s what He’s teaching us. When we grow closer to Him, we begin to see as He sees. Our compassion for others grows, and we begin to value others even more. As we are nourished in Him, we see the hungry and the weary. As we are restored in Him, we see the broken and ashamed. As we rest in Him, we are strengthened to lift up those who are down. In today’s passage of Scripture, Christ reveals the heart of the Father. His compassion changed those around Him. That same freedom and authority is available to us today as we allow ourselves to be nourished and restored by Him. Prayer God, thank You that a love for You leads to a love and compassion for others. Help me to see those around me who are struggling, and help me to be a vessel of Your restoration in their lives. In Jesus’ name, Amen. Activation Holy Spirit, what are You saying to me today? For Further Study Genesis 33–34 Psalm 9:1–6 Proverbs 3:21–26 Matthew 12:1–21 Memory Verse “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” – Matthew 11:28–30 To read the complete 21-day devotional, visit gatewaydevotions.com/fresh-start.

DAY 17 | NOURISHED AND RESTORED by Jade Washington “And He answered, ‘If you had a sheep that fell into a well on the Sabbath, wouldn’t you work to pull Continue Reading →

You used to have an accuser at the right hand of God. You now have an advocate at the right hand of God! If you missed the message from last weekend, you can watch it here: https://gatewaypeople.com/series/sons-not-servants?sermon=the-robe-of-righteousness

You used to have an accuser at the right hand of God. You now have an advocate at the right hand of God! If you missed the message from last Continue Reading →

DAY 16 | WHAT IS YOUR NAME by Derek Dunn “’What is your name?’ the man asked. He replied, ‘Jacob.’ ‘Your name will no longer be Jacob,’ the man told him. ‘From now on you will be called Israel, because you have fought with God and with men and have won.’” – Genesis 32:27–28 In the ancient Near East, your name was more than just a word your parents called you. Your name was how others viewed you. It was a look into your soul, a reflection of your choices, a snapshot of your character; it was your identity. Today, while your name is special, it most likely doesn’t fully describe who you are. However, what you call yourself is still very important to God. In fact, your name as a follower of Christ is, “Child of God.” This name describes how God sees you—your true identity. God wants you to know who you are, and He wants you to know how He views you. He knows if you will embrace what He thinks about you, then it will shape what you think about you, and what you think about you will shape the way you live. But how many times have your thoughts about you been shaped by your past, mistakes, failures, hurts,words people have spoken about you, or lies you’ve believed? This was Jacob’s reality. If you’re hearing a name spoken over your life that is something other than, “Child of God,” then God wants to change that, but it will come with a wrestle. Only after wrestling did Jacob receive his new name, Israel—his true identity. God invites you to wrestle with all the other names spoken over you. Instead of running from your past, mistakes, failures, hurts, words people have spoken over you, or lies you’ve believed, He brings you face to face with those names. As you present all these to God, He will say, “No longer will that be your name.” He will speak your true name and identity to you. You’re safe with Him. He knows who you really are. He will call you by your true name. Prayer Lord, thank You that my true identity is found in You. You have wiped away every lie that the enemy has spoken to me and made me a child of God. Thank You for Your safety and protection. In Jesus’ name, Amen. Activation Holy Spirit, what are You saying to me today? For Further Study Genesis 31–32 Psalm 8:3–9 Proverbs 3:19–20 Matthew 11 Memory Verse “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” – Matthew 11:28–30 To read the complete 21-day devotional, visit gatewaydevotions.com/fresh-start.

DAY 16 | WHAT IS YOUR NAME by Derek Dunn “’What is your name?’ the man asked. He replied, ‘Jacob.’ ‘Your name will no longer be Jacob,’ the man told Continue Reading →

No matter what you’ve done or where you’ve been, the Father loves you. If you missed the message from last weekend, you can watch it here: https://gatewaypeople.com/series/sons-not-servants?sermon=the-robe-of-righteousness

No matter what you’ve done or where you’ve been, the Father loves you. If you missed the message from last weekend, you can watch it here: https://gatewaypeople.com/series/sons-not-servants?sermon=the-robe-of-righteousness No matter what Continue Reading →

DAY 12 | DIVE IN by Kyle Fox “The servant watched her in silence, wondering whether or not the Lord had given him success in his mission.” – Genesis 24:21 Is this too good to be true?! Is it this easy? Is this the person I am supposed to approach? If I had been in Abraham’s servant’s shoes searching for Isaac’s wife, I would have asked the Lord many of these questions. But he had prayed for God to make his mission successful, and verse 15 tells us that he saw Rebekah approaching the well for water before he’d even finished praying. His assignment and the answer to his prayer was right in front of him, but doubt was almost his deterrent. How much time do I waste wondering, like the servant, whether or not I have heard the Lord? Have you ever asked the Lord for opportunities to reach people, then wondered whether or not you’re supposed to start a conversation with the person directly in front of you? I have. Sometimes ministry is simpler than we make it out to be. What if that nudge you feel to approach someone is the result of someone else praying for that person, paired with you asking the Lord for opportunities? What if the distance between a person and their breakthrough is the distance between you and that person? What if in that moment, God chose you to reach them? Abraham’s servant could have assumed Rebekah was at the well by chance. It’s easy to assume those around us at church, work, or school end up in our proximity by coincidence, but assumption is the enemy of connection. When presented with an opportunity, we have choices: doubt or dive in. Stay silent or speak up. Shrink back or step out. The same God who places the person in front of you is faithful to put the courage to act inside of you. And He will make your mission successful. Prayer Lord, thank You that You’ve put me on a mission to reach people. Give me boldness and confidence to speak to those around me and share Your love with them. In Jesus’ name, Amen. Activation Holy Spirit, what are You saying to me today? For Further Study Genesis 23–24 Psalm 7:1–5 Proverbs 3:7–8 Matthew 9:1–17 Memory Verse “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.” – Matthew 7:7–8 To read the complete 21-day devotional, visit gatewaydevotions.com/fresh-start.

DAY 12 | DIVE IN by Kyle Fox “The servant watched her in silence, wondering whether or not the Lord had given him success in his mission.” – Genesis 24:21 Continue Reading →

DAY 10 | “I AM WILLING” by Chelsea Seaton “Suddenly, a man with leprosy approached him and knelt before him. ‘Lord,’ the man said, ‘if you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean.’ Jesus reached out and touched him. ‘I am willing,’ he said, ‘Be healed!’ And instantly the leprosy disappeared.” – Matthew 8:2–3 Leprosy isn’t a disease we hear about anymore, but in Jesus’ time it was a common and terrible sickness. If you touched someone with leprosy you would contract the disease. Not only did people with the disease have to cover themselves, but they had to yell, “Unclean!” so everyone would know not to come near them. They had to isolate themselves to live with others who had the same disease. It was often thought if you had leprosy it was because of some sin you had committed, and God was punishing you. I cannot imagine the shame these people carried around believing they had to be isolated because of sin they had in their past. Actually— I can imagine it. When I sin, shame is quick to whisper “Unclean” and make me feel like I’m the worst person of all time. It tells me I’m a super sinner. A fraud. There’s no way I should work at a church, and am I even a Christian? Ok the last question may be extreme. But it’s true! Sin and shame go hand in hand and make us feel like modern-day lepers in a hopeless situation. But shame is a liar. Satan uses shame to tell you that you’re too far gone—that like the leper you need to isolate yourself and hide under the cloth of regret so no one sees, and if a healthy person tries to get close, you need to run the other direction back with the other unclean people. But you are never too far gone from Jesus’ reach. This Scripture in Matthew shows us that when we come to Him and ask for His healing touch, He is quick to reach out His hand. Jesus is not afraid of your past, and you are never too far gone from His presence. He is waiting to instantly heal every hopeless situation. Wherever you are today, whatever you’re dealing with, you can ask Jesus to come and heal that situation. He is waiting, He is ready, and He is willing. Prayer Lord, thank You for redeeming every area of my life. Even when I have sinned and feel distant from you, Your presence is near and You are quick to heal. Today, I will bring my struggles to You. In Jesus’ name, Amen. Activation Holy Spirit, what are You saying to me today? For Further Study Genesis 19–20 Psalm 6:1–5 Proverbs 3:1–4 Matthew 8:1–17 Memory Verse “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.” – Matthew 7:7–8 To read the complete 21-day devotional, visit gatewaydevotions.com/fresh-start.

DAY 10 | “I AM WILLING” by Chelsea Seaton “Suddenly, a man with leprosy approached him and knelt before him. ‘Lord,’ the man said, ‘if you are willing, you can Continue Reading →