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March 16 Devotional

Opening Prayer: Thank you, Lord Jesus, for paying the price for my sin, canceling my debt, and raising me to new life again. I was dead in my sin and totally helpless to do anything about it. But thank you that you rescued me and made me alive again. Help me, this day and every day, to live my life in, and for, you. Amen.

Scripture Reading for the Day: Colossians 2:13-15

Journal: What does it mean that we were dead in our sin? What does it mean that God made us alive in Christ? When and how did God come to rescue you? Write him a letter thanking him for that rescue.

Reflection: It was late afternoon on Christmas Eve and Mike was in Washington D.C. making his final delivery of the day for his small air transport business. He knew that if he hurried he could make his D.C. delivery and be back in the air in time to get home to Johnson City before his kids went to bed. He knew it would be pushing it, but after all, it was Christmas Eve. It was snowing like crazy and the forecast was for more snow overnight, and there was no way he was going to take a chance at being stuck in a strange city on Christmas while his family celebrated without him. So as soon as his delivery was made, he jumped back in to his airplane and prepared for a quick take off. 

He was nearing the end of the runway and had just gotten airborne when he realized that something was not right. The plane was having a problem gaining altitude and was heading straight for a bridge over the Potomac River; one that was filled with rush hour traffic. Somehow, miraculously, Mike was able to maneuver the small plane in such a way to miss the bridge, but he couldn’t keep it from a nosedive afterwards, straight into the icy river below. On impact the plane disintegrated into hundreds of pieces as it made a gaping hole in the icy surface of the Potomac. Mike was helpless; fighting for his life in the icy water as the debris from the plane quickly sank below the surface and out of sight. He knew with the temperature of the water that he didn’t have long before the river would claim his life as well.

Bystanders quickly responded and attempted to come to his rescue, but the ice, now shattered by the impact of the plane, was so fragile that no one could get close enough to help. They were helpless to do anything but watch and pray. Rescue workers arrived quickly on the scene as Mike was still battling for his life in the icy waters. Who knew how much longer he could stay afloat? A rescue helicopter arrived for the airport in a matter of minutes and tried to drop a basket down to him to pull him to safety. But by now Mike’s hands and arms were too frozen to be able to grasp it. There was absolutely nothing he could do to save himself. Time was running out quickly as Mike began to go under the water time after time before he would eventually pop back up to the surface again. Finally, he had given all he had to give and he went under for the last time. A collective gasp went up from the bystanders as they figured all hope was lost.

Suddenly, before anyone really knew what was happening, a figure jumped out of the helicopter and into the icy water…it was one of the rescue crew. At the risk of his own life he plunged down into the icy depths over and over again as he tried to locate Mike’s body. He dove down time after time until, at last, he appeared with a lifeless Mike in his arms. The rescuer, now on the verge of death himself somehow was able, in a valiant act of strength and courage, to miraculously drag Mike’s limp body into the rescue basket. Then he repeatedly performed CPR, trying to breathe life back into Mike’s lifeless body. Finally, with his very last breath, the rescuer was able to breathe life back into Mike’s dead body, bringing him to life once again, but at the cost of his own. The Rescuer had given his dying breath to Mike in order that he might live. 

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions - it is by grace you have been saved. (Ephesians 2:4-5)

Hymn for the Day

Prayer: for the church, for others, for myself 

Michael and Kim Essenburg have been serving at Christian Academy in Japan (CAJ), a school for missionary children (40% of student body) and children of business and professional people (60% of student body) that is located in Tokyo. They ask that you pray for effective closure to their 27.5 years of service at CAJ. They began their 6-month home assignment in January and were guests at this month’s Global Mission Conference. In July, they will start serving at Okinawa Christian School.

Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF) is committed to the evangelism of boys and girls through Good News Clubs, the Tennessee Valley Fair and any other means to reach the children of the Knoxville community. Good News Club is a ministry in which trained teachers meet with groups of children in schools, homes, community centers, churches, apartment complexes and just about anywhere the children can easily and safely meet with their parent’s permission. Pray today for the families of the children that attend the Good News Clubs each week that they may understand the love of Jesus.

Closing Prayer: Lord Jesus, our Savior, thank you for giving your life that we might live. Thank you that you would rather die for us than live without us. Help every day be our chance to express our gratitude for what you have done. We pray in your precious name. Amen.