The Daily

Daily devotions and thoughts from Cypress Meadows


To Unsubscribe from The Daily texts, click here

Week 1 - Grace

April 26 - May 2

Day 6

Contributed by:

Melisssa Schultz

Cypress Elder

Opening Prayer:

Lord, teach me to dwell in your presence for it is there I will experience the joy of life.


Scripture: 

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you.  Abide in my love.  If you keep my commandments, you will abide in His love.  These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.  John 15:9-11 


Reading: 

“Twinkle lights are the perfect metaphor for joy.  Joy is not a constant.  It comes to us in moments-often ordinary moments.  Sometimes we miss out on the bursts of joy because we’re too busy chasing down the extraordinary moments.  Other times we’re so afraid of the dark we don’t dare let ourselves enjoy the light.  A joyful life is not a floodlight of joy.  That would eventually become unbearable.  I believe a joyful life is made up of joyful moments gracefully strung together by trust, gratitude, and inspiration.” Brene’ Brown 


Reflection: 

In what moments have you found the most joy over the last year?  Did you recognize the joy of the moment within the moment, or is it most clearly seen in retrospect?  Can you pinpoint ordinary moments that almost always bring flickers of joy into your soul?  What does joy feel like to you both physically and emotionally?  How might you infuse some moments of joy into your week? 


Blessing:

Be people of joy. Let joy live in your heart and share the joy of Christ with all you meet.

Week 2 - Peace

May 3 - May 9

Day 1

Contributed by:

Marq Caughell

Cypress Tribe Member

Opening Prayer:

Thank You, God for giving me your peace, not as the world gives it. May you keep my mind and my heart in perfect peace.

 

Scripture: 

When people’s lives please the Lord, even their enemies are at peace with them. - Proverbs 16:7

 

Reading: 

What seemed, when they entered it, to be a vale of misery turns out, when they look back, to have been a well; and where present experience saw only salt deserts, memory truthfully records that the pools were full of water. - The Great Divorce, C.S. Lewis

 

Reflection: 

Some of the most difficult times in my life, when viewed with the benefit of hindsight, have changed from lifeless wastelands into essential experiences that needed to happen in order for me to grow stronger and continue on. I have also found that it is easier to be at peace when my actions towards others are peaceful - even when the circumstances suggest that it is ok to be filled with anger and frustration.

 

Blessing:

May your relationship with God provide you with a peace the world cannot take away. And may that peace allow you to show another way for a world that is far from peace.

Day 2

Contributed by:

Taylor Fletcher

Worship Leader

Opening Prayer:

Thank You, God for giving me your peace, not as the world gives it. May you keep my mind and my heart in perfect peace.

 

Scripture:

And through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross. - Colossians 1:20

 

Unfailing love and truth have met together. Righteousness and peace have kissed! - Psalm 85:10

 

Reading:

I had a long talk with a man the other day about this bus situation. He discussed the peace being destroyed in the community, the destroying of good race relations. I agree that it is more tension now. But peace is not merely the absence of this tension, but the presence of justice. And even if we didn’t have this tension, we still wouldn’t have positive peace. Yes, it is true that if the Negro accepts his place, accepts exploitation and injustice, there will be peace. But it would be a peace boiled down to stagnant complacency, deadening passivity, and if peace means this, I don’t want peace. - Dr. Martin Luther King’s “When Peace Becomes Obnoxious,”

 

Reflection:

Peace is not complacency. Peace is unfailing love and truth meeting, righteousness and peace kissing, blood being spilt and new life being birthed from it. What does peace look like in your life and relationships?

 

Blessing:

May your relationship with God provide you with a peace the world cannot take away. And may that peace allow you to show another way for a world that is far from peace.

Day 3

Contributed by:

Jacque Poole

Cypress Tribe Member

Opening Prayer:

Thank You, God for giving me your peace, not as the world gives it. May you keep my mind and my heart in perfect peace.

 

Scripture:

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” - Phil. 4:6

 

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.

I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. - Isaiah 41:10

 

Reading:

Please underline this sentence: What you have in Christ is greater than anything you don’t have in life. You have a God who is crazy about you, the forces of heaven to monitor and protect you. You have the living presence of Jesus within you. In Christ, you have everything. He can give you a happiness that can never be taken, a grace that will never expire, and a wisdom that will never be equaled. He is a fountain of living hope that will never be exhausted. -Max Lucado

 

Reflection:

Peace is the opposite of anxiety and worry. Paul tells us that we can have peace because of the God who loves us! Just like I don’t worry about noises in the night when Douglas is with me. Paul and Isaiah tell us God is with us and will guard us and protect us, day and night, with His righteous right hand. I can be at peace day and night because God is with me. 

 

Be at peace, God is with you.

 

Blessing:

May your relationship with God provide you with a peace the world cannot take away. And may that peace allow you to show another way for a world that is far from peace.

Day 4

Contributed by:

Melissa Schultz

Cypress Elder

Opening Prayer:

Thank You, God for giving me your peace, not as the world gives it. May you keep my mind and my heart in perfect peace.

 

Scripture: 

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world” John 16:33 

 

Reading: 

“The warrior knows that peace does not come from control but from relinquishing control.  Everything in life that you try to control that is outside your control will steal from you your peace. You must choose to take hold of what you can control and let go of what you cannot.  You cannot control your circumstances, but you can control your character.  You cannot control the actions of others, but you can control the choices you make.  You cannot control the outcome, but you can control the process.”  - Erwin McManus 

 

Reflection:  

My personality is one that has always thrived on certainty and knowing.  My mind longs to know a problem, analyze possible outcomes, problem-solve solutions for every possible outcome, and then respond in a way that brings about the best hypothetical outcome.  Yet in the wisdom and life experience gained through my relationship with our Creator, I’ve learned that this is just a fancy way to say that I have a tendency to want to control.  I want to feel that I have a part in the outcome, and by doing the right things I can move toward a desired result.  And while it’s all well and good to take responsibility and hold ourselves accountable, there can also be a slippery slope into an unhealthy need to control (people, situations, outcomes, relationships) if not kept in check.  And isn’t that the beauty of this scripture and reading?  As Christians, we know the outcome.  And even more beautiful, God has told us the outcome so that we may live in peace.  His desire for us isn’t to live in frantic chaos and frustration, trying to control the outside world, our situations, or our circumstances.  Instead, we are responsible for how we handle ourselves and treat others; we can control our character, our choices, how we interact with others, how we show love; the processes by which we live.  

 

Blessing:

May your relationship with God provide you with a peace the world cannot take away. And may that peace allow you to show another way for a world that is far from peace.

Day 5

Contributed by:

Douglas Poole

Pastor

Opening Prayer:

Thank You, God for giving me your peace, not as the world gives it. May you keep my mind and my heart in perfect peace.

 

Scripture:

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.  - John 14:27

 

Reading:

The Hebrew word for peace is shalom. The word shalom is layered, complex and elegant in its nuances. At its most superficial level it is a form of greeting. As you layer down the peace of shalom it means “harmony, wholeness, completeness, and tranquility”. To experience true shalom is to find wholeness. When we find peace, we are made whole…within are selves and with God, and others and even the whole of creation.  -The Way of the Warrior by Erwin McManus

 

Reflection:

Peace is an inside out journey. When I am mindfully aware of the presence of God in the moment…I step into shalom regardless of my external circumstances. Pause now and mindfully reflect on the Lord’s presence.

 

Blessing:

May your relationship with God provide you with a peace the world cannot take away. And may that peace allow you to show another way for a world that is far from peace.

 

Day 6

Contributed by:

Keith Killen

Cypress Tribe Member

Opening Prayer:

Thank You, God for giving me your peace, not as the world gives it. May you keep my mind and my heart in perfect peace.


Scripture:

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” John 14:27


Reading:

Peace with God does not mean peace with the world.  In fact, peace with God means enmity with the world.  Peace with God is the status of our spiritual relationship.  It is not a description of the condition of our lives. Dr Skip Moen


Reflection:

Only in maintaining a close relationship with God can we find any peace in this world. It is an inner peace that the world cannot take away.


Blessing:

May your relationship with God provide you with a peace the world cannot take away. And may that peace allow you to show another way for a world that is far from peace.

Week 3 - Patience

May 10 - 16

Day 1

Contributed by:

Keith Killen

Cypress Tribe Leader

Opening Prayer:

Lord, help me to be patient and kind to those I meet today. May this spirit be a blessing to others and help them through the burdens they may be carrying.

 

Scripture:

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Colossians 3:12

And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: Romans 5:3-4

 

Reading:

Patience is not the ability to wait, but the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting. -Joyce Meyer

 

Reflection:

My wife once expressed that she prayed for patience and got me; seems I was the tribulation she needed to learn patience. God allows difficult times to come into our lives so that we can learn to patiently wait upon Him. It is this ability to keep calm and trust through the storms that people notice and provides the greatest testimony. Patience also allows for me to respond to those who might have wronged me or been difficult with compassion rather than with anger or contempt as they might expect from the world. As our second scripture shows, learning patience is what leads to hope.

 

Blessing:

May you go about your day with patience and perseverance being gracious and present to all and through all things.

Day 2

Contributed by:

Jacque Poole

Cypress Tribe Member

Opening Prayer:

Lord, help me to be patient and kind to those I meet today. May this spirit be a blessing to others and help them through the burdens they may be carrying.

 

Scripture:

Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly. -Proverbs 14:29 

 

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. -Ephesians 4:2

 

Reading:

Without patience, we will learn less in life. We will see less. We will feel less. We will hear less. Ironically, “rush” and “more” usually mean less. -Mother Teresa

 

Reflection:

I have learned that my impatience does not serve me well in any aspect of my life. Especially as I strive to be the person God intends. Impatience reflects my selfishness, thoughtlessness and unkindness. It pretty much is all about me. I am a much better person when I invite God into each moment and focus on others. Patience comes to me when I practice gratitude and joy and let go of scarcity and fear. I see more, feel more and hear more. Go back and read The Daily on Joy (May 3-8) as a reminder to assist you in growing patience. Focus on love and God says you will be humble, gentle and patient. Ironically, you will get more out of life with patience.

 

Blessing:

May you go about your day with patience and perseverance being gracious and present to all and through all things.

Day 3

Contributed by:

Marq Caughell

Cypress Tribe Member

Opening Prayer:

Lord, help me to be patient and kind to those I meet today. May this spirit be a blessing to others and help them through the burdens they may be carrying.

 

Scripture: 

Better is the end of a thing than its beginning, and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit. - Ecclesiastes 7:8

 

Reading: 

They say of temporal suffering, “No future bliss can make up for it,” not knowing that Heaven, once attained, will work backwards and turn even that agony into a glory. - The Great Divorce, C.S. Lewis

 

Reflection: 

A difficult task is always daunting before I have begun the hard work, and it is often extremely painful in the middle of it all. In all honesty though, I have never looked back and been proud of doing nothing when I should have done something. 

 

Blessing:

May you go about your day with patience and perseverance being gracious and present to all and through all things.

Day 4

Contributed by:

Melissa Schultz

Cypress Elder

Opening Prayer:

Lord, help me to be patient and kind to those I meet today. May this spirit be a blessing to others and help them through the burdens they may be carrying.

 

Scripture: 

That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day.  For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long.  Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever.  So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on the things that cannot be seen.  For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 

 

Reading: 

“Patience is the calm acceptance that things can happen in a different order than the one you have in mind.” -David G. Allen 

 

Reflection: 

In reflection and retrospect, it can be so much easier to understand the “bigger picture”…to see why God took you down the specific path in your journey, especially if that path was riddled with challenges.  But in the moment…in the thick of it…it can feel so difficult to understand and accept the barriers.  Especially when you feel that the end goal is for the good of His kingdom.  In those moments, when every step forward feels like you’re lifting your legs out of quicksand, when you start questioning the goal and if all the effort is worth it, think of an image of one moment where you thanked God for unanswered prayers. One moment where the journey He led you on was more magnificent and beautiful than any you could have imagined.  And rest patiently knowing that in this current situation, He is also doing good works within you.   

 

Blessing:

May you go about your day with patience and perseverance being gracious and present to all and through all things.

Day 5

Contributed by:

Taylor Fletcher

Worship Leader

Opening Prayer:

Lord, help me to be patient and kind to those I meet today. May this spirit be a blessing to others and help them through the burdens they may be carrying.

 

Scripture:

the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. - Galatians 5:22-23

 

Reading:

“All we need is just a little patience” - Guns N’ Roses

 

Reflection:

Notice in the passage from Galatians, it is not fruits but fruit. It may be bad grammar but Paul’s point is that all of these elements of christianity go together. If you don’t have all these graces you don’t have any of them at least not they way God designed them. They are connected and interdependent. You can have the patience of the world but it’s built on cynicism, lack of care, or pride. Christian patience is built upon self control and self control comes from joy…Where does your patience arise from?

 

Blessing:

May you go about your day with patience and perseverance being gracious and present to all and through all things.

 

Day 6

Contributed by:

Douglas Poole

Pastor

Opening Prayer:

Lord, help me to be patient and kind to those I meet today. May this spirit be a blessing to others and help them through the burdens they may be carrying.

 

Scripture:

Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.        -Psalm 27:14

 

Reading:

Without patience, we will learn less in life. We will see less. We will feel less. We will hear less. Ironically, rush and more usually mean less. -A Simple Path by Mother Teresa

 

Reflection:

The desire for “more” and the quest for “faster” lead to a life at 10,000 RPM’s all day, every day. Hurried and exhausted. Both being brutal enemies of a healthy soul.  What will you intentionally eliminate from your schedule of to-do’s so you have more time to-be fully present?

 

Blessing:

May you go about your day with patience and perseverance being gracious and present to all and through all things.

Week 4 -

May 17 - May 23

Day 1

Contributed by:

Jacque Poole

Cypress Tribe Member

Opening Prayer:

Since, you, Jesus went through everything I'm going through and more, teach me to think like You. To think of my sufferings as a weaning from that old sinful habit of always expecting to get my own way. Then I'll be able to live out my days free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what I want. - 1 Peter 4:1-2

 

Scripture:

At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani? (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” ). - Mark15:33-34

 

and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. - 1 Peter 2:24 

 

Reading:

Our tendency in the midst of suffering is to turn on God. To get angry and bitter and shake our fist at the sky and say, "God, you don't know what it's like! You don't understand! You have no idea what I'm going through. You don't have a clue how much this hurts.” The cross is God's way of taking away all of our accusations, excuses, and arguments. The cross is God taking on flesh and blood and saying, "Me too. - Rob Bell

 

Reflection:

When I consider the cross I see an ugly, cruel device used by men and women to inflict pain, punishment and ultimately an excruciating death on those they condemned. However, I have learned that the cross has another side...God took the ugly cruelty of men and flipped it to bring the incredible gift of loving grace, mercy, and forgiveness. Whatever is happening in your life, God is with you..He says, “Me too.” By His wounds...we are healed.

 

Blessing:

May you show love and appreciation to God and His Son Jesus for the great sacrifice made in your behalf. May your life before others be an expression of that love.

Day 2

Contributed by:

Marq Caughell

Cypress Tribe Member

Opening Prayer:

Since, you, Jesus went through everything I'm going through and more, teach me to think like You. To think of my sufferings as a weaning from that old sinful habit of always expecting to get my own way. Then I'll be able to live out my days free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what I want. - 1 Peter 4:1-2

 

Scripture: 

If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine. - Matthew 10:38

 

Reading: 

We had to learn ourselves, and furthermore, we had to teach despairing men that it did not matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us. - From Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning

 

Reflection: 

In life, we need to take the responsibility to find the right answer to each problem that comes before us. It does not matter what we expect from God, but what God expects from us. Sometimes a situation requires action, sometimes contemplation. Sometimes, we may be asked to simply accept our fate in a situation and bear our cross, knowing that God’s grace will see us through.

 

Blessing:

May you show love and appreciation to God and His Son Jesus for the great sacrifice made in your behalf. May your life before others be an expression of that love.

Day 3

Contributed by:

Keith Killen

Cypress Tribe Member

Opening Prayer:

Since, you, Jesus went through everything I'm going through and more, teach me to think like You. To think of my sufferings as a weaning from that old sinful habit of always expecting to get my own way. Then I'll be able to live out my days free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what I want. - 1 Peter 4:1-2

 

Scripture:

For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.  - 1 Corinthians 1:18

 

Reading:

To some, the image of a pale body glimmering on a dark night whispers of defeat. What good is a God who does not control his Son's suffering? But another sound can be heard: the shout of a God crying out to human beings, "I LOVE YOU." Love was compressed for all history in that lonely figure on the cross, who said that he could call down angels at any moment on a rescue mission, but chose not to - because of us. At Calvary, God accepted his own unbreakable terms of justice. Any discussion of how pain and suffering fit into God's scheme ultimately leads back to the cross. ― Philip Yancey

 

Reflection:

My mind is incapable of fully understanding or comprehending the pain, suffering, and humiliation or the significance, purpose, and consequences of Jesus’ death on the cross. But I pray that does not keep me from expressing my love and appreciation for His great sacrifice. God, help me to love and praise you for the plan of salvation and to thank your Son for His great sacrifice as a substitute for me on the cross.  

 

Blessing:

May you show love and appreciation to God and His Son Jesus for the great sacrifice made in your behalf. May your life before others be an expression of that love.

Day 4

Contributed by:

Douglas Poole

Pastor

Opening Prayer:

Since, you, Jesus went through everything I'm going through and more, teach me to think like You. To think of my sufferings as a weaning from that old sinful habit of always expecting to get my own way. Then I'll be able to live out my days free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what I want. - 1 Peter 4:1-2

 

Scripture:

Trust Him at all times, O people: Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Selah       -Psalm 62:8

 

Reading:

There are moments where the hurt we feel in our souls or the confused thoughts in our head defy language and feel unjust. In these moments we reason if I can’t understand how can anyone else? These moments are lonely dark nights of the soul. And what about God? Does He know…does He care? In these moments I reflect on the garden and I look to the cross…and I find the answer. And thereby I find the grace and hope I need to begin my journey toward peace. -from: A Peak Into My Journal by Douglas Poole

 

Reflection:

What is the state of my soul?

What does it look like for me to pour it out before God in this moment?

 

Blessing:

May you show love and appreciation to God and His Son Jesus for the great sacrifice made in your behalf. May your life before others be an expression of that love.

Day 5

Contributed by:

Melissa Schultz

Cypress Elder

Opening Prayer:

Since, you, Jesus went through everything I'm going through and more, teach me to think like You. To think of my sufferings as a weaning from that old sinful habit of always expecting to get my own way. Then I'll be able to live out my days free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what I want. - 1 Peter 4:1-2

 

Scripture: 

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.  And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.” 1 John 3:16 

 

Reading: 

“In the Cross is salvation; in the Cross is life; in the Cross is protection against our enemies; in the Cross is infusion of heavenly sweetness; in the Cross is strength of mind; in the Cross is joy of spirit; in the Cross is excellence of virtue; in the Cross is perfection of holiness.  There is no salvation of soul, nor hope of eternal life, save in the Cross.” Thomas à Kempis 

 

Reflection: 

We know love, because first, He loved us.  We know forgiveness, because He forgave all of our transgressions.  We know grace, because His grace is overflowing in our lives.  We know mercy and compassion and empathy and hope because of the ways He has poured these things into our very souls.  And now that we know, we can be.  We know love and forgiveness and grace and mercy and hope, so now we can be these things in the world.  We know better, so now, we’re called to do better, infusing these gifts into our actions and interactions and reactions.  Let’s collectively spread the gifts of the Cross within this world. 

 

Blessing:

May you show love and appreciation to God and His Son Jesus for the great sacrifice made in your behalf. May your life before others be an expression of that love.

 

Day 6

Contributed by:

Taylor Fletcher

Worship Leader

Opening Prayer:

Since, you, Jesus went through everything I'm going through and more, teach me to think like You. To think of my sufferings as a weaning from that old sinful habit of always expecting to get my own way. Then I'll be able to live out my days free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what I want. - 1 Peter 4:1-2

 

Scripture:

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? I am a worm and not a man, scorned by everyone, despised by the people. All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads. A pack of villains encircles me; they pierce my hands and my feet. All my bones are on display; people stare and gloat over me. They divide my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment. - Psalm 22:1,6,16-18

 

Reading:

The only time in all the gospels that Jesus Christ prays to God and doesn’t call him Father is on the cross, when he says, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Jesus lost his relationship with the Father so that we could have a relationship with God as father. - Tim Keller “Prayer”

 

Reflection:

Psalm 22 was written some 600 years before Jesus crucifixion yet it clearly describes it. Jesus quotes its first line on the cross to draw attention to what  he was experiencing. Read all of Psalm 22 and ask God to grow your understanding of His love for you and others. 

 

Blessing:

May you show love and appreciation to God and His Son Jesus for the great sacrifice made in your behalf. May your life before others be an expression of that love.

Week 5 -

May 24 - May 30

Day 1

Contributed by:

Jacque Poole

Cypress Tribe Member

Opening Prayer:

Since, you, Jesus went through everything I'm going through and more, teach me to think like You. To think of my sufferings as a weaning from that old sinful habit of always expecting to get my own way. Then I'll be able to live out my days free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what I want. - 1 Peter 4:1-2

 

Scripture:

At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani? (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” ). - Mark15:33-34

 

and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. - 1 Peter 2:24 

 

Reading:

Our tendency in the midst of suffering is to turn on God. To get angry and bitter and shake our fist at the sky and say, "God, you don't know what it's like! You don't understand! You have no idea what I'm going through. You don't have a clue how much this hurts.” The cross is God's way of taking away all of our accusations, excuses, and arguments. The cross is God taking on flesh and blood and saying, "Me too. - Rob Bell

 

Reflection:

When I consider the cross I see an ugly, cruel device used by men and women to inflict pain, punishment and ultimately an excruciating death on those they condemned. However, I have learned that the cross has another side...God took the ugly cruelty of men and flipped it to bring the incredible gift of loving grace, mercy, and forgiveness. Whatever is happening in your life, God is with you..He says, “Me too.” By His wounds...we are healed.

 

Blessing:

May you show love and appreciation to God and His Son Jesus for the great sacrifice made in your behalf. May your life before others be an expression of that love.

Day 2

Contributed by:

Marq Caughell

Cypress Tribe Member

Opening Prayer:

Since, you, Jesus went through everything I'm going through and more, teach me to think like You. To think of my sufferings as a weaning from that old sinful habit of always expecting to get my own way. Then I'll be able to live out my days free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what I want. - 1 Peter 4:1-2

 

Scripture: 

If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine. - Matthew 10:38

 

Reading: 

We had to learn ourselves, and furthermore, we had to teach despairing men that it did not matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us. - From Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning

 

Reflection: 

In life, we need to take the responsibility to find the right answer to each problem that comes before us. It does not matter what we expect from God, but what God expects from us. Sometimes a situation requires action, sometimes contemplation. Sometimes, we may be asked to simply accept our fate in a situation and bear our cross, knowing that God’s grace will see us through.

 

Blessing:

May you show love and appreciation to God and His Son Jesus for the great sacrifice made in your behalf. May your life before others be an expression of that love.

Day 3

Contributed by:

Keith Killen

Cypress Tribe Member

Opening Prayer:

Since, you, Jesus went through everything I'm going through and more, teach me to think like You. To think of my sufferings as a weaning from that old sinful habit of always expecting to get my own way. Then I'll be able to live out my days free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what I want. - 1 Peter 4:1-2

 

Scripture:

For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.  - 1 Corinthians 1:18

 

Reading:

To some, the image of a pale body glimmering on a dark night whispers of defeat. What good is a God who does not control his Son's suffering? But another sound can be heard: the shout of a God crying out to human beings, "I LOVE YOU." Love was compressed for all history in that lonely figure on the cross, who said that he could call down angels at any moment on a rescue mission, but chose not to - because of us. At Calvary, God accepted his own unbreakable terms of justice. Any discussion of how pain and suffering fit into God's scheme ultimately leads back to the cross. ― Philip Yancey

 

Reflection:

My mind is incapable of fully understanding or comprehending the pain, suffering, and humiliation or the significance, purpose, and consequences of Jesus’ death on the cross. But I pray that does not keep me from expressing my love and appreciation for His great sacrifice. God, help me to love and praise you for the plan of salvation and to thank your Son for His great sacrifice as a substitute for me on the cross.  

 

Blessing:

May you show love and appreciation to God and His Son Jesus for the great sacrifice made in your behalf. May your life before others be an expression of that love.

Day 4

Contributed by:

Douglas Poole

Pastor

Opening Prayer:

Since, you, Jesus went through everything I'm going through and more, teach me to think like You. To think of my sufferings as a weaning from that old sinful habit of always expecting to get my own way. Then I'll be able to live out my days free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what I want. - 1 Peter 4:1-2

 

Scripture:

Trust Him at all times, O people: Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Selah       -Psalm 62:8

 

Reading:

There are moments where the hurt we feel in our souls or the confused thoughts in our head defy language and feel unjust. In these moments we reason if I can’t understand how can anyone else? These moments are lonely dark nights of the soul. And what about God? Does He know…does He care? In these moments I reflect on the garden and I look to the cross…and I find the answer. And thereby I find the grace and hope I need to begin my journey toward peace. -from: A Peak Into My Journal by Douglas Poole

 

Reflection:

What is the state of my soul?

What does it look like for me to pour it out before God in this moment?

 

Blessing:

May you show love and appreciation to God and His Son Jesus for the great sacrifice made in your behalf. May your life before others be an expression of that love.

Day 5

Contributed by:

Melissa Schultz

Cypress Elder

Opening Prayer:

Since, you, Jesus went through everything I'm going through and more, teach me to think like You. To think of my sufferings as a weaning from that old sinful habit of always expecting to get my own way. Then I'll be able to live out my days free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what I want. - 1 Peter 4:1-2

 

Scripture: 

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.  And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.” 1 John 3:16 

 

Reading: 

“In the Cross is salvation; in the Cross is life; in the Cross is protection against our enemies; in the Cross is infusion of heavenly sweetness; in the Cross is strength of mind; in the Cross is joy of spirit; in the Cross is excellence of virtue; in the Cross is perfection of holiness.  There is no salvation of soul, nor hope of eternal life, save in the Cross.” Thomas à Kempis 

 

Reflection: 

We know love, because first, He loved us.  We know forgiveness, because He forgave all of our transgressions.  We know grace, because His grace is overflowing in our lives.  We know mercy and compassion and empathy and hope because of the ways He has poured these things into our very souls.  And now that we know, we can be.  We know love and forgiveness and grace and mercy and hope, so now we can be these things in the world.  We know better, so now, we’re called to do better, infusing these gifts into our actions and interactions and reactions.  Let’s collectively spread the gifts of the Cross within this world. 

 

Blessing:

May you show love and appreciation to God and His Son Jesus for the great sacrifice made in your behalf. May your life before others be an expression of that love.

 

Day 6

Contributed by:

Taylor Fletcher

Worship Leader

Opening Prayer:

Since, you, Jesus went through everything I'm going through and more, teach me to think like You. To think of my sufferings as a weaning from that old sinful habit of always expecting to get my own way. Then I'll be able to live out my days free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what I want. - 1 Peter 4:1-2

 

Scripture:

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? I am a worm and not a man, scorned by everyone, despised by the people. All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads. A pack of villains encircles me; they pierce my hands and my feet. All my bones are on display; people stare and gloat over me. They divide my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment. - Psalm 22:1,6,16-18

 

Reading:

The only time in all the gospels that Jesus Christ prays to God and doesn’t call him Father is on the cross, when he says, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Jesus lost his relationship with the Father so that we could have a relationship with God as father. - Tim Keller “Prayer”

 

Reflection:

Psalm 22 was written some 600 years before Jesus crucifixion yet it clearly describes it. Jesus quotes its first line on the cross to draw attention to what  he was experiencing. Read all of Psalm 22 and ask God to grow your understanding of His love for you and others. 

 

Blessing:

May you show love and appreciation to God and His Son Jesus for the great sacrifice made in your behalf. May your life before others be an expression of that love.

Week 1 -

May 31 - June 6

Day 1

Contributed by:

Jacque Poole

Cypress Tribe Member

Opening Prayer:

Since, you, Jesus went through everything I'm going through and more, teach me to think like You. To think of my sufferings as a weaning from that old sinful habit of always expecting to get my own way. Then I'll be able to live out my days free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what I want. - 1 Peter 4:1-2

 

Scripture:

At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani? (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” ). - Mark15:33-34

 

and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. - 1 Peter 2:24 

 

Reading:

Our tendency in the midst of suffering is to turn on God. To get angry and bitter and shake our fist at the sky and say, "God, you don't know what it's like! You don't understand! You have no idea what I'm going through. You don't have a clue how much this hurts.” The cross is God's way of taking away all of our accusations, excuses, and arguments. The cross is God taking on flesh and blood and saying, "Me too. - Rob Bell

 

Reflection:

When I consider the cross I see an ugly, cruel device used by men and women to inflict pain, punishment and ultimately an excruciating death on those they condemned. However, I have learned that the cross has another side...God took the ugly cruelty of men and flipped it to bring the incredible gift of loving grace, mercy, and forgiveness. Whatever is happening in your life, God is with you..He says, “Me too.” By His wounds...we are healed.

 

Blessing:

May you show love and appreciation to God and His Son Jesus for the great sacrifice made in your behalf. May your life before others be an expression of that love.

Day 2

Contributed by:

Marq Caughell

Cypress Tribe Member

Opening Prayer:

Since, you, Jesus went through everything I'm going through and more, teach me to think like You. To think of my sufferings as a weaning from that old sinful habit of always expecting to get my own way. Then I'll be able to live out my days free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what I want. - 1 Peter 4:1-2

 

Scripture: 

If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine. - Matthew 10:38

 

Reading: 

We had to learn ourselves, and furthermore, we had to teach despairing men that it did not matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us. - From Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning

 

Reflection: 

In life, we need to take the responsibility to find the right answer to each problem that comes before us. It does not matter what we expect from God, but what God expects from us. Sometimes a situation requires action, sometimes contemplation. Sometimes, we may be asked to simply accept our fate in a situation and bear our cross, knowing that God’s grace will see us through.

 

Blessing:

May you show love and appreciation to God and His Son Jesus for the great sacrifice made in your behalf. May your life before others be an expression of that love.

Day 3

Contributed by:

Keith Killen

Cypress Tribe Member

Opening Prayer:

Since, you, Jesus went through everything I'm going through and more, teach me to think like You. To think of my sufferings as a weaning from that old sinful habit of always expecting to get my own way. Then I'll be able to live out my days free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what I want. - 1 Peter 4:1-2

 

Scripture:

For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.  - 1 Corinthians 1:18

 

Reading:

To some, the image of a pale body glimmering on a dark night whispers of defeat. What good is a God who does not control his Son's suffering? But another sound can be heard: the shout of a God crying out to human beings, "I LOVE YOU." Love was compressed for all history in that lonely figure on the cross, who said that he could call down angels at any moment on a rescue mission, but chose not to - because of us. At Calvary, God accepted his own unbreakable terms of justice. Any discussion of how pain and suffering fit into God's scheme ultimately leads back to the cross. ― Philip Yancey

 

Reflection:

My mind is incapable of fully understanding or comprehending the pain, suffering, and humiliation or the significance, purpose, and consequences of Jesus’ death on the cross. But I pray that does not keep me from expressing my love and appreciation for His great sacrifice. God, help me to love and praise you for the plan of salvation and to thank your Son for His great sacrifice as a substitute for me on the cross.  

 

Blessing:

May you show love and appreciation to God and His Son Jesus for the great sacrifice made in your behalf. May your life before others be an expression of that love.

Day 4

Contributed by:

Douglas Poole

Pastor

Opening Prayer:

Since, you, Jesus went through everything I'm going through and more, teach me to think like You. To think of my sufferings as a weaning from that old sinful habit of always expecting to get my own way. Then I'll be able to live out my days free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what I want. - 1 Peter 4:1-2

 

Scripture:

Trust Him at all times, O people: Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Selah       -Psalm 62:8

 

Reading:

There are moments where the hurt we feel in our souls or the confused thoughts in our head defy language and feel unjust. In these moments we reason if I can’t understand how can anyone else? These moments are lonely dark nights of the soul. And what about God? Does He know…does He care? In these moments I reflect on the garden and I look to the cross…and I find the answer. And thereby I find the grace and hope I need to begin my journey toward peace. -from: A Peak Into My Journal by Douglas Poole

 

Reflection:

What is the state of my soul?

What does it look like for me to pour it out before God in this moment?

 

Blessing:

May you show love and appreciation to God and His Son Jesus for the great sacrifice made in your behalf. May your life before others be an expression of that love.

Day 5

Contributed by:

Melissa Schultz

Cypress Elder

Opening Prayer:

Since, you, Jesus went through everything I'm going through and more, teach me to think like You. To think of my sufferings as a weaning from that old sinful habit of always expecting to get my own way. Then I'll be able to live out my days free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what I want. - 1 Peter 4:1-2

 

Scripture: 

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.  And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.” 1 John 3:16 

 

Reading: 

“In the Cross is salvation; in the Cross is life; in the Cross is protection against our enemies; in the Cross is infusion of heavenly sweetness; in the Cross is strength of mind; in the Cross is joy of spirit; in the Cross is excellence of virtue; in the Cross is perfection of holiness.  There is no salvation of soul, nor hope of eternal life, save in the Cross.” Thomas à Kempis 

 

Reflection: 

We know love, because first, He loved us.  We know forgiveness, because He forgave all of our transgressions.  We know grace, because His grace is overflowing in our lives.  We know mercy and compassion and empathy and hope because of the ways He has poured these things into our very souls.  And now that we know, we can be.  We know love and forgiveness and grace and mercy and hope, so now we can be these things in the world.  We know better, so now, we’re called to do better, infusing these gifts into our actions and interactions and reactions.  Let’s collectively spread the gifts of the Cross within this world. 

 

Blessing:

May you show love and appreciation to God and His Son Jesus for the great sacrifice made in your behalf. May your life before others be an expression of that love.

 

Day 6

Contributed by:

Taylor Fletcher

Worship Leader

Opening Prayer:

Since, you, Jesus went through everything I'm going through and more, teach me to think like You. To think of my sufferings as a weaning from that old sinful habit of always expecting to get my own way. Then I'll be able to live out my days free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what I want. - 1 Peter 4:1-2

 

Scripture:

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? I am a worm and not a man, scorned by everyone, despised by the people. All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads. A pack of villains encircles me; they pierce my hands and my feet. All my bones are on display; people stare and gloat over me. They divide my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment. - Psalm 22:1,6,16-18

 

Reading:

The only time in all the gospels that Jesus Christ prays to God and doesn’t call him Father is on the cross, when he says, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Jesus lost his relationship with the Father so that we could have a relationship with God as father. - Tim Keller “Prayer”

 

Reflection:

Psalm 22 was written some 600 years before Jesus crucifixion yet it clearly describes it. Jesus quotes its first line on the cross to draw attention to what  he was experiencing. Read all of Psalm 22 and ask God to grow your understanding of His love for you and others. 

 

Blessing:

May you show love and appreciation to God and His Son Jesus for the great sacrifice made in your behalf. May your life before others be an expression of that love.