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{December 10, 2017}


December 10 – 16, 2017


How He Loves: Strength

By Joe Davis

I listened to the service about "strength" and ended up getting something totally different than I expected. I think that God loves to change things up on us. Having been in the military for many years, I think I know a thing or two about strength. As I get older, what I learn and know about strength is changing.

It’s easy to allow events or things to overshadow our lives. I know that I probably have many things overshadowing what I actually have going on in my life. Those things are casting shadows, positive and negative. I sat and thought about what shadows are overshadowing me, and what shadows I am casting. This was a scary thought because I’m married and have 4 children. As a husband and dad I’ve been given a tremendous amount of power, and it’s frightening to think that I’m casting negative shadows on my family.

My thoughts and convictions were definitely churning as I thought of what unnamed shadows are hanging over me. And then the responsibility of naming them, and going about making the needed changes. The act of making the needed changes in my life is one of those things that does overshadow me, and I am easily overwhelmed.

One area that I have really struggled with is self worth. For most of my life I failed to see my value and what I could offer God and others. Because of this I would downplay compliments, my gifts and my abilities. As I reflect back on that period of life I now realize that this rubbed off on my family and how I relate to their gifts and talents.

Thankfully, God is good and redeeming and worked on my heart over time. I was working with a good friend on a small remodeling job and we broke for lunch. We both brought leftovers and it was a small feast and we had it spread out before us. I told my friend that if someone were to walk up to us they’d probably say we’re eating like kings. And at that moment the thought occurred to me that I was. I was a king. John Eldredge speaks a lot about this in his book Wild At Heart. I am called to be a king here on earth and I do have a kingdom. I have a small little world where I do rule and have influence at home, with friends and family, at church, etc. In that moment I started to realize my worth.

We all have the ability to call out to Jesus and allow Him to overshadow us, and everything in our lives. It’s easy to know this in my head, but my heart holds onto the old so tightly. It is a battle of the will to allow God to work in my heart, let Him take care of the things that are overshadowing me, and then to pass that on. God is mighty and powerful (2 Chronicles 14:11) and can make changes in me. I know this in my head. I just need my head to lead my heart, because my heart is stupid sometimes.

{sunday 12.10.17}

Read 2 Chronicles 14:11

Observe, Reflect, Apply: What shadows am I casting and can I name them? Where do I need God’s strength to help me tackle the shadows? Will I allow God to overshadow what I named and change in me the things that need to be changed? Share what comes to mind with a trusted friend, or write out a prayer to put your thoughts into words.


{personal reflection and bible reading plan}

As you read the verses each day, make notes of questions you have about what you’re reading as well as answering the reflection questions below. Grab a friend or two to discuss what you are learning and what God is doing in your lives.

CLICK HERE or on image above to check out The Journey Continues: Revelation 8-10 from our own Seth Davidson.

{monday 12.11.17}

Read Revelation 11:1-14

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Like it’s been mentioned by myself here in the Journey and Seth in the Journey videos, the book of Revelation is filled with visions by John from the past, present and future all rolled into one story that spirals deeper into understanding rather than tracking chronologically. It’s a tough and confusing book that requires patient endurance. In this particular scripture we read about the two witnesses who are martyred (someone killed for their beliefs). John’s original readers understood this life of martyrdom. As someone living in JOCO I can’t say I’ve ever seen peresecution for my faith, let alone martyrdom of any kind. However, there are parts of the world where this does happen. What has been your toughest obstacle to overcome with the world and your faith?

{tuesday 12.12.17}

Read Revelation 11:15-12:6

Observe, Reflect, Apply: "To destroy the destroyers of earth"… The creator of all things wants to destroy what destroys his creation. He wants to restore his creation to its original and beautifully intended purpose. Earth is not bad, mankind is not bad…. it is God’s creation. Popular thought is that what we and everything we have here on earth is bad and that someday we will get to escape it in heaven. This is not what the scripture says and is not God’s intention for people and the earth. What are the beautiful things on earth the you have seen? What makes them beautiful in your eyes?

{wednesday 12.13.17}

Read Revelation 12:7-13:10

Observe, Reflect, Apply: This part of scripture works as both an encouragement and warning about the accuser (Satan). He has been defeated but he is angry and roaming free (on a limited timeframe, though). It’s difficult to fully understand how Satan can be defeated yet he is still around. I can only come up with a sports analogy here, so please forgive me for a cliche analogy. Imagine a team so far behind in the game that there is no possible way they can win, except they cannot quit the game because they are so angry all they want to do is harm the other team and take out as many of their players as possible for the sake of causing harm. They no longer play the game to win, but only to cause maximum damage before time runs out. You know you’ve got the game won, but what is your strategy now? How do you play the remaining time knowing that the point of the opposing team is only to cause harm?

{thursday 12.14.17}

Read Revelation 13:11-14:5

Observe, Reflect, Apply: According to NT Wright, 666 translates to Nero (the Roman emperor of the time). This part of the scripture has already taken place in the time of the early church. However, it does raise some questions for us today. Like the early church we are faced with making decisions that impact our daily lives. Do we participate in business with those who openly stand against Jesus? This is very tough and there is no quick, universal answer. I can think of many "what if scenarios" where my answers would change for myself. I’m confident that there are people who would answer differently than me. There is a reality that on a day-to-day level we must make decisions about how we choose to live our lives manage the tension. Good news, this isn’t new to you and me. Bad news, we still have to make a daily effort. In what areas of your life do you have to make these decsisions (work, school, family, friends, etc…)? How do you make these decisions?

{friday 12.15.17}

Read Revelation 14:6-16

Observe, Reflect, Apply: John is wanting to encourage readers to not be pulled down the path that leads to wrath but instead to be patient and to know that death has been defeated. Death is now a blessing instead of a curse. Death, in popular culture, is seen as the end and the final punishment. Yet Jesus has given us hope, and we know that death is not the end. Without the fear of death in your life, would you (or do you) live differently? Explain.

{saturday 12.16.17}

Read Revelation 14:17-15:8

Observe, Reflect, Apply: I spent a good portion of my childhood on my grandparents farm in Iowa. I can tell you that, first, everyone works no matter how old or young you are. Second, you work hard no matter what your skill levels are. Third, when it comes to harvest everyone is on hand and when the work is done you rest and celebrate. It’s a lot different than the typical modern lifestyle where we work daily and get paid periodically. There is a sense of end and accomplishment at harvest. The imagery here may get lost for us a bit in modern culture. We may understand it academically, but we don’t fully grasp it from the 1st century point of view. Our modern culture fixates on the splitting of good and bad. The focus here is the reward and relaxation you get after a season of tiresome work and stress because everything comes down to the harvest. When can you let down your guard and enjoy the fruits of your labor? How does that feel?


{community discussion questions}

We weren’t meant to experience the life of Jesus alone, so we encourage you to rally a few others to discuss what you are hearing, reading, and reflecting on together. Whether you are meeting as a Journey Community group, talking with a few friends throughout the week, or bringing up spiritual conversations around your table at home, feel free to use some of these questions as conversation starters on your journey.

  • Can you name a takeaway or challenge from the Sunday message?
  • How has that been relevant, challenging, or meaningful to your life this week?
  • What have you observed about God, Jesus, yourself, others, or God’s plan for you from these readings?
  • Where do you need a breakthrough from God this week?
  • Who do you need to share what you’re learning about God with?


{extra journey resources}

CLICK HERE for more on how to use the observe-reflect-apply approach to getting the most out of your Bible reading.

The Bible App Get a free Bible for your phone, tablet, and computer. Experience the Bible anywhere, with options to highlight, save notes, and share what you are reading with others.

Bible Gateway Provides advanced Bible searching capabilities, which allow readers to find passages in scripture based on keywords, phrases, or scripture reference.


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© 2017 Heartland Community Church 12175 S. Strang Line Road, Olathe, KS 66062 (913) 341-5820.

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