Pathways Devotions

Summer 2024

Week 3

A Sure Thing

It is impossible for God to lie. (Hebrews 6:18)


God has given us a multitude of promises in His Word. Some of them are for the biggest issues of all–eternal life and a relationship with Him. Others are for the prayers we pray or the blessings we seek. But regardless of the scope, the truth is unwavering. Whether we’re talking about a big-ticket promise like eternal life or a smaller promise during this age, the principle is the same. God can’t lie.

Those who have clung to a promise of God know where our minds take us at this point. Sure, God can’t lie, but we can misunderstand Him. We can hear a promise that isn’t there. We can misinterpret what He has said. We can make assumptions about what His will is. We know He is infallible, but we certainly aren’t. So underneath all His promises in Scripture, we mentally fill in the blanks with fine print and legal caveats just so we’ll have a good theological explanation in case we get let down. The result is a God who cannot lie trying to communicate with people who won’t let themselves accept His truth.

It’s true that we can misunderstand God, but the theological gymnastics we go through to explain why His promises mean something other than what He said are completely unnecessary. What He has said is true. The promises He has given us for eternal life are inviolable. The assurances that He will answer our prayers of faith are rock solid. The God who expects us to have unwavering faith would not give us wavering covenants. When He has spoken, we can trust that we have heard and that He will do what He said.


God isn’t like us. He doesn’t say one thing and mean another. He doesn’t waffle on His plans. He doesn’t change His mind with every shifting circumstance. He speaks and then waits for those with real faith to step into the truth He has spoken. The question is whether we will take His words as the reality they are.

“God is the God of promise. He keeps His word, even when that seems impossible; even when the circumstances seem to point to the opposite.” —Colin Urquhart

READ: Hebrews 6:13-20

Week 4

The God of Promise

He has fulfilled for us. . . . As it is written. (Acts 13:33)


Fulfillment. Everyone wants it; no one claims to have obtained it. The desire is written deep within our hearts, and it drives us all our lives. Underlying all the things we do, all the decisions we make, is this craving to be whole—fully satisfied and at peace. We want to be complete.

There’s a significant answer for us in the writings of the early church. Over and over again, the apostles’ letters point to Jesus as the fulfillment of the Scriptures. From Peter’s first sermon on Pentecost to the voices of angels in Revelation, the gospel is described as the completion of all God had ordained. Jesus rose “according to the Scriptures.” The Kingdom is coming because “it is written” that it would. Nearly every aspect of the new creation is identified with some inscription penned centuries before. Why? Because, as Jesus had once said, “The Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35).

What’s the connection between the prophecies of Scripture and our craving for fulfillment? Simply that God has demonstrated Himself trustworthy. If He spoke it, it will happen. That means that when the Bible says that no one can comprehend what God has planned for us, it’s true. When it says that we will be raised into everlasting glory, it’s true. When it says that all things work together for the good of those who love Him, or that we can legitimately rejoice in all things, it’s true. Whatever Scripture has promised you, it cannot be undone. The Word is inviolable.


There’s a close connection between the fulfillment of the prophecies about Jesus and the fulfillment of the promises given to you. If God has been reliable in one—and the witness of the apostles is that He most certainly has—then God will be reliable in the other. It’s inconceivable that God would promise His people, both collectively and individually, His fulfillment and then not deliver it. When His Word speaks, it speaks truth. The God who has relentlessly pursued His plan for Israel and the church will relentlessly pursue His plan for you.

“Every promise God has ever made finds its fulfillment in Jesus.” —Joni Eareckson Tada

READ: Acts 13:13-52

Week 5

The Faithful God

What God promised our fathers he has fulfilled for us. (Acts 13:32-33)


Paul’s sermon in Antioch, recorded in Acts 13, was compelling. Many Jews were intrigued by it, and many Gentiles rejoiced over it. It shows God’s work throughout the ages, unifying a strange, varied history under one over-arching purpose: salvation through Messiah Jesus.

For us, Paul’s sermon is like an aerial photo taken at thirty thousand feet. It shows the whole landscape, including the glorious peaks of salvation. Even more than that, it demonstrates the abiding faithfulness of God—from the choosing of Abraham to the resurrection of the Savior. Every step of the way, this God has watched over His people, cultivated their loyalties, purged their rebellions and sins, and secured their redemption. God has invested centuries in His plan. He never abandoned it or even diverged from it. He had a remedy for the Fall from day one. And when the Holy Spirit had come, believers knew just how perfect the remedy was.


That should be profoundly comforting to those of us who wonder if God is still with us. Not that we doubt His faithfulness in principle, of course. No, our doubts are more subtle. We wonder if He is faithful to us right now, in our current circumstances—in our nation, in our families, in the details of our daily lives. We know He would never abandon His plan for the world, but we suspect He might abandon His plan for us. We appreciate the view from thirty thousand feet, but we really want Him at ground zero in our lives.

God’s story in the Bible is not simply told for the sake of Israel or the church. It is told in order to reveal His character. And one undeniable observation from the story in Scripture is that God is faithful, both in master plans and individual lives. Always has been, always will be. Remember that when you doubt. There has been a remedy from day one, and it is perfect.

“Be still my soul, the Lord is on thy side.” —Katharina von Schlegel

READ: Acts 13:13-52

Week 6

Redemption’s Promise

Our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. (Romans 8:18)


The amazing turn of events in the New Testament—the re-creation with all of its promises—authenticates a prominent biblical theme: The suffering of this age will give way to the glory of the next. That was true for any Israelite held captive in Egypt, for every Jew under judgment in Babylon, for each prophet martyred for God’s word, and for every Christian persecuted for the faith. The human story will not end in its current tragic state. How do we know? Because God became human flesh and willingly suffered, affirming the promise of glory. He validated the pattern: futility now, fullness and joy later.

His incarnation not only affirmed the pattern, it secured the promise. If Jesus endured the cross for the joy set before Him (Hebrews 12:2), we can endure our crosses while maintaining the same hope. We can be content in this painful world because we know the story doesn’t end here. The Redeemer has a plan for our suffering: He will turn it to glory.

That’s the overwhelming message of the Bible from beginning to end. Though we live in a creation that groans for redemption, we know we will not live in futility forever. The God who began it all, knowing ahead of time that sin would come and pain would torment humanity, had a plan before the foundation of the world. For those who trust His rescue plan, He would leverage every trial for good. And in the process, suffering would shape the hearts of those who appreciate His glory and look forward to His Kingdom. None of it is wasted. In other words, redemption is real.


At a practical level, that means the hardships you endure today are pointing toward a purpose. They will give Him occasion to demonstrate Himself, and they will give you occasion to demonstrate your faith. Both occasions lead to a glory that far outweighs the pain. In the end, it will all be worth it. The God who endured the cross gives you His guarantee.

“Anxiety, sickness, suffering, or danger . . . these are nothing when compared with the glory that will be revealed in, and for, us.” —David Livingstone

READ:  Romans 8:18-25

Week 7

The Future Glory

It is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. (2 Corinthians 5:5)


“We do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling” (5:4). Deep down, that’s the desire of every person. Every layer of makeup, every plastic surgery, every new style of clothes—all are expressions of the hunger deep within to be clothed with something other than mortal flesh. It has been written into our being from the sixth day of creation. Humanity wasn’t designed to die.

That’s why many people experience a pang of sadness with every new wrinkle or bifocal prescription. We know what these things signal. No matter how disappointed some of us may have been with our lives, we still don’t want to die, at least not in the ultimate sense. We know life has its pleasures and beautiful moments, and we want them to last. We crave the eternal.

The glorious promise of Scripture is that the craving can be satisfied. We often have a hard time embracing the promise wholeheartedly; it seems too good to be true. Paradise is a figment of desperate imaginations, we think, and we assume God is more realistic than that. But to God, realism is beautiful. He offers the ultimate utopia, the infinite pleasures of His presence to all those who will be cleansed enough to join Him there. And He has already given us a deposit.


Perhaps you don’t think of the Holy Spirit as the down payment on an eternal transaction, but that’s how Scripture describes Him. He guarantees what is to come. If we will let Him do His work in our lives, we will begin to see the evidence of eternal glory. The life that begins to spring up within us and overflow into our surroundings will forever increase. Redemption is not going to end.

Meditate on that thought today. You may have a hard schedule or a difficult problem facing you, but hardship is actually the context of this passage. Even so, it points to glory. Remember today that glory never wrinkles or fades. And trust the Holy “Deposit” to help you.

“All of the Holy Spirit’s influences are heaven begun, glory in the seed and bud.”
—Matthew Henry

READ:  2 Corinthians 4:13 – 5:10

Week 8

The Ultimate Trust

We know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence. (2 Corinthians 4:14)


Would you trust Leonardo da Vinci to paint your portrait? Abraham Lincoln to write a speech for you? Mother Teresa to feed you if you were starving? Most rational people would say yes to all three. We appreciate excellence when we see it. We want the best.

If you wanted to overcome tribulation and death, whom would you trust? You would turn to someone who has proven His healing and resurrection power and goodness to others. You would want the God who has done this before.

Paul tells us how to view our own resurrection. It’s in the hands of the same God who resurrected Jesus. If we ever lose heart about the prospects of eternal life, we need only remember that God has a perfect résumé. The power that raised Jesus from the dead has been birthed within us. When we need an expert to do the job that concerns us most—and every one of us will—then we know where to turn. The artistry of the resurrection masterpiece is available to commoners like us.


This passage of Scripture draws us out of our current difficulties and into the ultimate Kingdom. It doesn’t promise immediate deliverance from everything that concerns us, but it does deliver us from an obsession with temporal trials to a faith in everlasting fulfillment. Whenever we get discouraged about today’s predicaments, we need, like Paul, to lift our eyes to a higher view of them.

That takes practice. It doesn’t come naturally. We have to train ourselves to see things from a heavenly point of view rather than from ground level. But God will help us. It’s His desire to encourage us, and He urges a mental transformation that keeps our thoughts on things above. If you ask, God will give you His perspective on things. And He’ll remind you of His rather impressive résumé.

“It is not our trust that keeps us, but the God in whom we trust who keeps us.”
– Oswald Chambers

READ:  2 Corinthians 4:13 – 5:10

Week 9

The Shared Promise

We make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:14)


Knowing what we know about eternity, we have every reason to live for it today. We aim to please the One who gave us the blessing and promise of our destiny, regardless of our current situation. Our feet are to be rooted not in the reality of the moment but in the reality that never ends.

There’s another aspect to eternity that we need to consider. The fact that we will all appear before the judgment seat of Christ should help shape our decisions today, but it should also shape our relationships. The alarming truth is that many people we know do not desire to please the Lord and are not aware that they will appear before His judgment seat. For those of us for whom there is now no condemnation (Romans 8:1), that day will not be a life-or-death matter. But for those who have not accepted Him, there will be an altogether different kind of judgment. Unlike Paul, they will not “prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord” (5:8). They will wish they had met Him much earlier.

We can help them with that. In fact, if we have an eternal perspective, we will. It simply isn’t possible to know what we know and remain unconcerned about those who don’t. And when Jesus is giving us “what is due . . . for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad” (5:10), He will consider our level of concern. More than that, He will consider whether our concern prompted us to action.


Evaluate your concern for those outside of Christ. Does it reflect the reality of the coming judgment? Or are you more a passive observer of God’s grace than an active distributor of it? If your assessment reveals anything lacking in your attitude toward the lost, deal with it quickly. Ask Jesus to work Himself into your relationships. Let the promise of redemption guide your interactions. The eternity you look forward to should be a shared experience.

“We are the Bibles the world is reading.” —Billy Graham

READ:  2 Corinthians 4:13-5:10


Week 10


Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth. (Isaiah 65:17)


Many religions aim at improving this world. Others aim at escaping it. Christianity does neither. A fallen world enslaved in corruption cannot be “improved”; it needs a re-creation. And a world created “very good” by a God with a strong sense of purpose cannot be abandoned. In between both extremes is the truth: God’s plan is to create new heavens and a new earth. The rebellion’s effects will be burned up, and the original purpose will be fulfilled. God makes all things new.

Isn’t that exciting? Every time you find yourself dreading the to-do list of the day or lamenting the futility of the world around you, think about what it will be like to live in new heavens and earth. In this new creation there will be no frustration, no unsatisfied desires, no aimlessness, no corruption, no personal insults, no tedious tasks, no wondering if it’s worth all the trouble. In The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, C. S. Lewis described the curse as “always winter and never Christmas.” In the new heavens and new earth, it will be always spring and never good Friday. Mourning will be a thing of the past, and celebration will be the cultural norm. Life flourishes unthreatened in the new creation.

Somehow, the fact of that celebration needs to translate into our current lives. Our tendency is to put off our joy until the days of hardship are over, but God doesn’t mean for the redeemed to suffer hardship untempered by joy. The promises of the Kingdom aren’t meant to be a surprise gift we can’t wait to open. They are meant to be an expected inheritance that can be borrowed against today. The new creation is now.


This truth explains how God can tell His disciples to be encouraged and joyful in the face of tribulation. He knows the end of the story, and He wants us to know it too. Not only does He want us to know it, He wants us to live as though it’s real. Because according to His Word, it’s more real than the world we see today.

“The main object of religion is not to get a man into heaven, but to get heaven into him.” —Thomas Hardy

READ:  Isaiah 65:17-25

Week 11


You were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance. (Ephesians 1:13-14)


What comes to mind when we think of the Holy Spirit? Comforter. Counselor. Guide. And so much more. But a security deposit? Tangible evidence of a future promise? That’s a different picture than we’re used to.

Think about what this portrayal of the Spirit means. First, it’s clear that He’s a substantial enough presence to be seen as evidence. A guarantee that can’t be seen, heard, or sensed in any way is not much of a guarantee; that’s not what Scripture offers us. The Spirit should be real enough in our lives to reassure us that something greater is in our future. He’s a taste of what’s to come.

Second, His presence makes it clear that we have an inheritance. The fact that we are portrayed in Scripture as heirs is startling, especially considering the position that makes us so. Paul explains it in Romans 8:17: “Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ.” In other words, whatever inheritance Jesus receives is the inheritance we receive. He and we are in it together. As part of Him—members of His body and adopted sons and daughters into His family—we get what He gets.

That’s incomprehensible. What does Jesus inherit? Everything. The universe. Every spiritual blessing in heavenly places. And that’s exactly what He shares with us. In a creation in which every knee will bow to Him and everything will be brought under His lordship, we get the spoils of His absolute and unwavering victory.


While the guarantee of our inheritance points to the future, the message of the New Testament is that the future begins now. We get plenty of foretastes of future blessings in every area of life. In fact, that’s what faith is all about: brining future promises into present reality. We can experience much of the inheritance now. Be encouraged by that. Ask for it and expect it. The Spirit of Jesus within you guarantees His presence and His Kingdom.

“The future is as bright as the promises of God.” —Adoniram Judson

READ:  Ephesians 1:3-14

Week 12

The Art of Casting

Cast your cares upon the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall. (Psalm 55:22)


What does it mean to cast your cares on the Lord? We really need to know. It’s the difference between being sustained and faltering, between faith and fear. If we’re confused on this point, we will be riddled with anxieties and phobias, afraid to face the future and far from the will of God. If we understand, we can go through anything with peace in our hearts. Our circumstances may not be easy, but we can be brought through in the safety of His hand—if we learn what it means to cast our cares on Him.

Does it mean to offer up a prayer? Not necessarily. Many prayers have been uttered without a sense of purpose. Praying does not guarantee internal rest. Our requests of God can be acts of anxiety rather than acts of faith. When we’re stressed, our prayers often even accuse Him of not keeping His Word. There’s more to casting cares than asking Him to help.

Does it mean to abandon any sense of responsibility because, after all, God will take care of it? Not at all. Casting cares on Him does not imply that we cease to care. It does not involve apathy in the least, and it is not an invitation to be irresponsible. No, casting our cares on God is much more purposeful than that. It is the most proactive thing we can do.


It makes no sense to cast our cares on God and then take them up again. When we trust Him with our concerns, we ask Him to manage them. We acknowledge our own futility, and we rely on His power to resolve them. We actively watch, not ignorantly wait. We expectantly believe, not aggressively intervene. We act when He says to act, and sit still when He says to sit. We obey His instructions because we know He’s in charge—and we’re comfortable with that. We can go to sleep at night knowing we can do nothing more effective than acknowledging His wisdom, power, love, and Lordship. We can wake up without a single burden, because our burdens are on His shoulders. We refuse to micromanage. We will hope only in Him, because He is where our cares have been cast.

“Worry is an intrusion into God’s providence.” —John Haggai

READ:  Psalm 55:16-23

Week 13

The Deeper Pursuit

Keep my commands and you will live; guard my teachings as the apple of your eye. (Proverbs 7:2)


Why would we want to have the mind of Christ? There are many appealing aspects of having the kind of wisdom that comes from above: Our God has knowledge of the future, He knows the foundations on which He laid this universe, and He knows the fabric of our being. Access to this kind of insight is attractive indeed. It would help us make decisions, understand other people, and live in peace and fulfillment. But there is a higher reason we should want God’s wisdom, a more noble appeal to His understanding. We should first and foremost want to have His mind not because it benefits us but because we love who He is.

We often take a utilitarian approach to God. We want to be filled with His Spirit because it will lead to more fruitful ministry, more fulfilling relationships, and more power in our personal growth. In other words, we want God’s Spirit and His mind as a means to self-improvement or better circumstances. But God is not primarily our self-help technique; He is the Lover of our souls. No love relationship fulfills its purpose when one party selfishly uses the other for his or her own benefit. Love relationships are about love.


Is your relationship with God about love? Or is it about getting more of Him for your own personal improvement? His mind and Spirit are available to us, and His presence in our lives will, in fact, change us dramatically. But do you pursue God simply for the change He can bring you? If so, take a step back and try another approach.

Come to God with a confession of your love for Him. If you can say it honestly, tell Him you want a deeper experience of His presence because you love who He is—His purity, His mercy, His love, His holiness, His power, His wisdom. Do not move on to requests; bask in His character. Have fellowship with Him. Your service and your place in His Kingdom will grow out of this foundation of love.

“I would hate my own soul if I did not find it loving God.” —St. Augustine

READ:  Proverbs 7:2

Week 14

When the Battle Rages

He ransoms me unharmed from the battle waged against me, even though many oppose me. (Psalm 55:18)


You have enemies. Perhaps you are aware of them, perhaps not. Either way, they are there, even if they are covertly operating underground without your knowledge. They may manifest themselves in people who have a grudge against you. Or they may simply be hidden in the systems of this corrupt world, with all of its false philosophies, ideologies, and temptations. And then there are the principalities of God’s archenemy who will harass, tempt, and discourage you. Sometimes your opponent is even your own flesh, the desires that compete with your allegiance to God.

If life has been a struggle, there’s a reason. The Kingdom of God that you crave is in conflict with the fallen world that you live in. You have welcomed the new while surrounded by the old. That does not make for a peaceful life.

Were you aware of this battle? If you’ve been a Christian for any length of time, you’ve probably noticed that the Christian life, being supernatural, is not naturally easy. In fact, it’s impossible unless there’s a new birth, a constant faith, a learned dependence, and a holy ambition. Knowing the Holy Spirit is essential. Otherwise we are simply fallen creatures striving and wishing for something better.


Don’t be discouraged by the fact that there is a battle in your life. There always will be until the day you pass from this earthen vessel into an incorruptible, heavenly dwelling place (2 Corinthians 5:1-4). The battle, in fact—if it is between the new and the old, the true and the false, or the gospel and the world—is evidence that you are a citizen of the Kingdom of God.

The battle comes with a promise: We are ransomed unharmed. It may not seem like we’re unharmed, but by God’s definition, we most certainly are. There is no enemy stronger than Him “who is enthroned forever” (Psalm 55:19). Your Savior reigns. Remember that when the battle rages.

“Christianity is a battle, not a dream.” —Wendell Phillips

READ:  Psalm 55:16-23

Week 15

The Means to More Means

Your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine. (Proverbs 3:10)


The purpose of all creation is to honor God. So it only makes sense that when He is honored—in this case, by our first fruits—that He will grant increase and give His blessing. Honor begets more honor. Those who have dealt faithfully in small things will be given greater things. Those who have glorified Him with their wealth will be given more by which to glorify Him even more.

This is no guarantee that those who tithe will become rich. The Bible never says such a thing. It is a promise, however, that God will never be stingy with those who are generous toward Him. It is not in His nature to take and never give. Quite the opposite, in fact. He always gives more than He receives. He who did not withhold His own Son for us will not give grudgingly with any of His unlimited bounty.

This is what Kingdom living is all about: taking the stuff of this world and using it for eternity. The physical becomes spiritual. The corruption of money is redeemed as an investment in lives. We have an opportunity with our income to declare our agreement with our created purpose. Will we honor God, as He intended? Or do we only look for enough means to get by? The means to greater means is to abandon all to Him, for His glory. He will not take it and refuse to support you. He can’t! That’s not who He is.


Have you stated unequivocally that you are in line with God’s purpose for creation—to give Him honor? It’s more than a verbal statement, of course. It reaches into every area of our lives and is demonstrated by our actions more than our words. One way to honor Him is by dedicating all of our resources to His use, giving a generous portion to His work in this world. By this He is glorified. And by this we are proven trustworthy to handle more resources.

God calls us to be like Him. He has proven over and over again that He is by nature an extravagant giver. Are you?

“God is more anxious to bestow His blessings on us than we are to receive them.” —St. Augustine

READ:   Proverbs 3:1-12

Week 16

Why Not?

Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you. (Psalm 9:10)


Something is holding us back. Perhaps it is a fear that maybe we are wrong about God. Maybe we feel presumptuous. It is possible, if we have been disappointed in the past, that our misunderstanding is haunting us. We hear a voice in the back of our minds that says, “What if God doesn’t come through? What if He makes it more difficult than I can handle? What if all my hopes are illusions?” So we hesitate to trust God. We pray and we hope, but faith remains incomplete and doubts linger. We’ll ask Him to help us, but we withhold judgment until we’ve seen His response.

The call of Scripture is contrary to our natural inclination. We are called to believe God with reckless abandon—not just believe that He is there and that He is involved with us somehow, though we’re not sure exactly how; but that He is actively, personally seeking our good and answering our prayers. We are to give up our own strategies and ambitions, to relinquish all “Plan Bs,” to recklessly, irrevocably cast ourselves completely into His arms. But we’re reluctant, and the problem always comes back to us: In spite of His track record, we don’t seem to completely trust Him. Why not?


God called Abraham to leave Haran and go to a place to be revealed later. Jesus invited Peter to step out of the boat and walk on water. That kind of call is scary, though typical in God’s Kingdom. But why is it scary? Where could He lead us that we’d regret? Would He ever lead us into danger but not out of it?

God calls us to “reckless” trust, the kind that prepares no safety net and reserves nothing for a spiritually rainy day. That kind of trust, if broken, leaves no room to save face. But it can’t be broken. Try to find someone God has forsaken, observe His faithfulness, and ask yourself: “Why wouldn’t I trust Him wholeheartedly?” Think about it. Why not?

“Trust involves letting go and knowing God will catch you.” —James Dobson

READ:  Psalm 9:1-10