Retreat Devotionals

Join us for a 10-Day Retreat Devotional as we dive into the understanding that God has so much more for our lives. Our prayer is that through this study-devotional, you would draw closer to God than ever before!

10-Day Retreat Devotional

Day #1

Watch Video »

Matthew 6:25-34 (NLT)

25“That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? 26Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?  27Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? 28“And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, 29yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are.  30And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? 31“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’  32These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.  33Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. 34“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”

Reflection

In today’s world, it can be hard to find peace.  With so many things at the touch of our fingertips, it can be pretty hard for us to become focused and pretty easy to become distracted. There are countless things out there that may bring you some stress, too! Whether it’s drama in relationships, problems with your grades at school, or being involved in extracurricular activities, we all have things that might make us a little bit anxious. When it comes to being a child of God, though, we can know that we can have peace in and through Him! After all, Scripture calls Jesus the “Prince of Peace!” We don’t have to stress and worry about our finances, our friendships, or our future. Why? It’s because He knows what we need, and He’s willing and able to come through for us every single time. If the God who makes the sun rise in the morning and set at night died for you and me, how much more does He care about us? Rather than being anxious, we need to follow His Word that tells us to “cast every care on Him because He cares for us.” (1 Peter 5:7) God wants us to live successful lives and to be full of joy and happiness! Through Him, this and all other things are possible. (We just need to start having more faith in Him to follow through with His promises.) He won’t ever let you down, not even for one second. No matter what you’ve done in the past or what you’ll do in the future, He loves you and always will. This is why we must keep our eyes on Him rather than this world! We need to seek His plan for our lives and do whatever we can to accomplish all He has for us. God will bless us with more than we could ever imagine. “There is More” in store because of His love for us!

S.O.A.P.

Soap is an acronym for Scripture, Observation, Application and Prayer. It’s a simple way to study the Bible. We’re going to use it as a part of our Retreat Devotions.

S – Scripture: What is the SCRIPTURE verse that stood out to you most from your reading.

O – Observation: What did you OBSERVE or what stood out from your selected scripture passage?

A – Application: How can you APPLY that Scripture to your life?

P – Prayer: PRAY and ask God to help you live out your application.

Response Questions

1. Why do you think it is so easy to sweat the small things in life rather than instantly turning to God for His divine help?

2. How can you break the habit of stressing about the difficult parts of life?

3. How does it feel knowing that Christ already has our best interest in mind? How can we begin to put our trust in Him through faith more than ever before?

Day #2

Watch Video »

Psalm 119:46-56 (NLT)

46I will speak to kings about your laws, and I will not be ashamed. 47How I delight in your commands! How I love them! 48I honor and love your commands. I meditate on your decrees. 49Remember your promise to me; it is my only hope. 50Your promise revives me; it comforts me in all my troubles. 51The proud hold me in utter contempt, but I do not turn away from your instructions. 52I meditate on your age-old regulations; O Lord, they comfort me. 53I become furious with the wicked, because they reject your instructions. 54Your decrees have been the theme of my songs wherever I have lived. 55I reflect at night on who you are, O Lord; therefore, I obey your instructions. 56This is how I spend my life: obeying your commandments.

Reflection

We prioritize what is important to us. The Bible says to, “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously…” (Matthew 6:33) God says He wants us to seek Him and live for Him. One of the ways we do that is through His Word, the Bible. The Bible is God’s story of His love and redemption of humanity. The more we read the Bible, the more we understand that God’s story is actually our story. God wants you to experience more of Him and His love. He wants you to walk in wisdom and make wise choices in your relationships. God desires that you become more like Jesus and experience life to the fullest. The only way to do this is by having a relationship with Jesus and obediently following His Word, the Bible. God’s Word encourages us. It helps overcome difficulties in life. It gives us hope. God’s Word transforms and changes us. When you look into a mirror you see your reflection. When you read the Bible, it reflects who you really are and your need for Jesus. The Psalmist said, “I meditate on your decrees.” That means He memorized God’s Word and thought about it often. The more we read, listen, and study God’s Word the more we love and appreciate it truth. And the more we love and appreciate the Bible, the more we want to do what is says. Jesus read the Old Testament Scriptures and walked in obedience to the instructions and commands of God. We love Jesus so much that we want to live the life He lived and become like Him. When we obey God’s Word, we experience the life we were created to live. Sometimes it may seem difficult to obey God’s Word because we don’t know what the results will be from our obedience. That is why we have to remember that obedience to God’s Word is our responsibility, but the outcome is God’s responsibility. Today, let’s take a step of faith and obey God’s Word. Allow the Bible to open our eyes to who Jesus is, who we are, and that “There Is More” God wants to do in our lives.

S.O.A.P.

Soap is an acronym for Scripture, Observation, Application and Prayer. It’s a simple way to study the Bible. We’re going to use it as a part of our Retreat Devotions.

S – Scripture: What is the SCRIPTURE verse that stood out to you most from your reading.

O – Observation: What did you OBSERVE or what stood out from your selected scripture passage?

A – Application: How can you APPLY that Scripture to your life?

P – Prayer: PRAY and ask God to help you live out your application.

Response Questions

1. What do you think it means to “meditate” on God’s Word and how do you do that?

2. Why is it important that we look to the Bible to guide our lives? What is one or two areas in your life that you need God’s intervention in? What are some Scriptures you can look to for encouragement, correction, and wisdom?

3. How often do you read, listen, or study God’s Word? What is one step you can take to make the Bible more a part of your life? How does your interaction with God’s Word help you grow and influence the lives of others?

Day #3

Watch Video »

Romans 8:1-11 (NLT)

1So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. 2And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. 3The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. 4He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit. 5Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. 6So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. 7For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. 8That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God. 9But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.) 10And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God. 11The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.

Reflection

When Jesus Christ died for our sins, He also made if possible for us to live without our guilt and shame from our past mistakes! When the passage talks about there being “no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,” that means that we are no longer condemned because we have His Spirit within us leading and guiding us to make the right decisions. Even when we mess up, His mercy and grace allow us to receive His forgiveness again and again! Even when we feel like the weight of the world is on our shoulders, He is right there to help us press on. And why do we press on? Because There is More! There is more mercy, grace, and forgiveness for all who believe. Christ’s death and resurrection allows for us to be justified! Through this, we become purified, so that He may become glorified in and through us forever! He has set us free.

S.O.A.P.

Soap is an acronym for Scripture, Observation, Application and Prayer. It’s a simple way to study the Bible. We’re going to use it as a part of our Retreat Devotions.

S – Scripture: What is the SCRIPTURE verse that stood out to you most from your reading.

O – Observation: What did you OBSERVE or what stood out from your selected scripture passage?

A – Application: How can you APPLY that Scripture to your life?

P – Prayer: PRAY and ask God to help you live out your application.

Response Questions

1. What do you think it means for there to be “no condemnation in Christ Jesus?”

2. What is the difference between guilt and shame from the enemy and conviction through the Holy Spirit?

3. What are some ways you can “live according to the Spirit” and “set your mind on things of the Spirit?”

Day #4

Watch Video »

Colossians 2:6-15 (NLT)

6And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. 7Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. 8Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ. 9For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body. 10So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority. 11When you came to Christ, you were “circumcised,” but not by a physical procedure. Christ performed a spiritual circumcision—the cutting away of your sinful nature. 12For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead. 13You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. 14He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. 15In this way, he disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross.

Reflection

Christ desires to walk in relationship with us, and thanks to His ultimate sacrifice, He can! We receive Him when we ask Him into our hearts. It allows us to talk with Him in a deeper and more intimate way. Why? Because There is More when it comes to our relationship with Jesus! Gone are the days of us walking in fear. Now, we can walk in victory because Jesus already paid the price! The “more” Christ wants us to experience includes us experiencing a new sense of peace. The things of this world no longer hold us captive by making us struggle. In addition to more peace, we know that Christ can and will give us more faith. He has given us all an amount of faith! Some people use that sense of hope and put their faith in the things around them, which will let them down. Some people put their faith in other people, who will also eventually let them down. But when it comes to Jesus, we can have more and more faith! He always keeps His promises and reveals Himself to us. We can hold our heads high and live with more peace and more faith. With this peace you don’t want your life to remain constant or even similar to how it was before. During moments in God’s presence at church or Retreat, it can be easy to feel His peace and to believe in faith. When you haven’t had time in His presence it can be easy to have less faith and to experience less peace. With this in mind, press in, and make sure you find time to spend with Him every day!

S.O.A.P.

Soap is an acronym for Scripture, Observation, Application and Prayer. It’s a simple way to study the Bible. We’re going to use it as a part of our Retreat Devotions.

S – Scripture: What is the SCRIPTURE verse that stood out to you most from your reading.

O – Observation: What did you OBSERVE or what stood out from your selected scripture passage?

A – Application: How can you APPLY that Scripture to your life?

P – Prayer: PRAY and ask God to help you live out your application.

Response Questions

1. What do you personally think it looks like to “walk with Christ?” Can you name anyone in your life who stands out as someone who is clearly and undeniably walking with Christ?

2. If we’re “rooted” in Him and “built up” with Him, how do you think that’ll affect our perspective on the things that happen in our lives and even life itself?

3. What do you think it means when it says that we were “buried with Him” and “raised with Him?” How does this affect the way you look at your past, present, and future self?

Day #5

Watch Video »

Romans 8:12-25 (NLT)

12Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. 13For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live. 14For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. 15So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” 16For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. 17And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering. 18Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. 19For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. 20Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, 21the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. 22For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, the new bodies he has promised us. 24We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope for it. 25But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.)

Reflection

Sometimes, life can seem like a piece of cake. And other times, it can seem like someone already licked all the frosting off the cake. What’s amazing about our walk with Jesus Christ is that even when we suffer, we can rejoice in Him! His Word tells us that we “suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him.” This really puts our time and life on this earth into perspective. It shows that even though we get caught up in life and all that it entails, this is only a tiny little gap of time in comparison to all of eternity. When we have accepted Christ as our Savior, our eternity is spent worshipping Him forever and ever! If we look at the hard times we go through as tests allowed by God to make us better and stronger, we’d probably have an easier time keeping our heads lifted up. When we look to Him, whether in times of triumph or in times of trial, He will lead and guide us towards the path of success and redemption! When we say, “There is More,” we may sometimes think of us putting in more effort to becoming more and more like Him. What we really need to focus on is His presence and character! He is King. He is Lord of all. He deserves all of the glory, honor, and praise! Jesus is the only name who saves. The name that sets the captives free, heals the sick, and lets the blind man. But wait… “There is More.” For you, it may not be that you’re held captive by something that is obviously life-changing. You may not be sick or blind. What you are, though, is a human who still lives on earth! Hard times will come your way, but don’t let that get you down. Let that push you to seek Him more and more! Allow God to change your perspective when hard times come, and enjoy the good times, too!

S.O.A.P.

Soap is an acronym for Scripture, Observation, Application and Prayer. It’s a simple way to study the Bible. We’re going to use it as a part of our Retreat Devotions.

S – Scripture: What is the SCRIPTURE verse that stood out to you most from your reading.

O – Observation: What did you OBSERVE or what stood out from your selected scripture passage?

A – Application: How can you APPLY that Scripture to your life?

P – Prayer: PRAY and ask God to help you live out your application.

Response Questions

1. What do you think it personally looks like to “live according to the flesh?” What are some things you can expect to do when you are “led by the Spirit?”

2. How does it make you feel knowing that you’re a child of God? Did you ever realize that you suffer in order to be glorified with Him?

3. When it comes to hoping for things that we don’t yet see, what are some ways that we can grow when it comes to our patience?

Day #6

Watch Video »

2 Corinthians 5:11-21 (NLT)

11Because we understand our fearful responsibility to the Lord, we work hard to persuade others. God knows we are sincere, and I hope you know this, too. 12Are we commending ourselves to you again? No, we are giving you a reason to be proud of us, so you can answer those who brag about having a spectacular ministry rather than having a sincere heart. 13If it seems we are crazy, it is to bring glory to God. And if we are in our right minds, it is for your benefit. 14Either way, Christ’s love controls us. Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life. 15He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them. 16So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! 17This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 18And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. 19For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. 20So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” 21For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.

Reflection

When it comes to what magnets do, they either repel or attract. Think of Christ’s love for you as a magnet that only attracts. It’s up to us when it comes to what we do on our side of the force, but Christ is always there pulling us in. The Scripture passage we just read talks about how “Christ’s love compels us.” When looking up the standard definition of “compel,” you’ll quickly discover that it basically means forcing or pushing something to happen or someone to do something. Christ’s love compels us to influence and persuade others of Christ’s love for them. At times, our friends don’t understand why we’re so happy or why we want them to come to James River Youth. We know it’s all because of Christ’s love. His love compels to not care about what our friends think of us. His love compels us to not be concerned about what they’ll do to us. Jesus’ love helps us no longer live for ourselves but for Him. His love compels us to push pass our limitations and engage in conversations and begin relationships that will make God famous. So, what does that mean in regards to God’s love for us personally? Christ’s love pushes us to be better, and Christ’s love ultimately does make us better! We would be nowhere without it. Now, the verse then goes on to talk about how since Jesus died, we all died with Him. We all died to ourselves, and now, we are new creations in Him! Since we are dead to our old selves, we are also dead to our old sins! They no longer hold us captive because “There is More” when it comes to His love for us and within us.

S.O.A.P.

Soap is an acronym for Scripture, Observation, Application and Prayer. It’s a simple way to study the Bible. We’re going to use it as a part of our Retreat Devotions.

S – Scripture: What is the SCRIPTURE verse that stood out to you most from your reading.

O – Observation: What did you OBSERVE or what stood out from your selected scripture passage?

A – Application: How can you APPLY that Scripture to your life?

P – Prayer: PRAY and ask God to help you live out your application.

Response Questions

1. What do you personally think it means to “fear the Lord,” and what does it look like?

2. Why do you think God still allows us to make our own decisions, even when His love “compels” us? Doesn’t this ultimately show us that He loves us more than if He didn’t?

3. When it says “the old has passed” and “the new has come,” do you think that refers to sins and ways of life? Why do you think we still mess up? How can we get better at it?

Day #7

Watch Video »

Deuteronomy 28:7-14 (NLT)

7The Lord will conquer your enemies when they attack you. They will attack you from one direction, but they will scatter from you in seven! 8“The Lord will guarantee a blessing on everything you do and will fill your storehouses with grain. The Lord your God will bless you in the land he is giving you. 9“If you obey the commands of the Lord your God and walk in his ways, the Lord will establish you as his holy people as he swore he would do. 10Then all the nations of the world will see that you are a people claimed by the Lord, and they will stand in awe of you. 11“The Lord will give you prosperity in the land he swore to your ancestors to give you, blessing you with many children, numerous livestock, and abundant crops. 12The Lord will send rain at the proper time from his rich treasury in the heavens and will bless all the work you do. You will lend to many nations, but you will never need to borrow from them. 13If you listen to these commands of the Lord your God that I am giving you today, and if you carefully obey them, the Lord will make you the head and not the tail, and you will always be on top and never at the bottom. 14You must not turn away from any of the commands I am giving you today, nor follow after other gods and worship them.

Reflection

Were you ever bullied in school? Or maybe, you’re even in a situation like that right now… Either way, we’ve all had people in our lives who have given us a hard time. In His Word, it tells us that He will “cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before you.” Now, this shouldn’t make us want revenge, but it should let us know 100% that Jesus always has our back, no matter what comes our way. We may face tough seasons with challenging situations and people, but the Lord has promised us blessings! The verses we read talk about the Lord establishing us “as a people holy to Himself.” When the Lord establishes us and makes our paths straight, we can walk in His holiness! We’ve been changed by Jesus, and we can now know without a doubt that “There is More.” This life is meant to be lived abundantly! The Lord wants us to walk in His blessings, and He has already given us anything and everything we need to make that happen. To live life the way God intended, we need to obey His commandments! They were put there for a reason, so use your next season to follow Him and His voice only.

S.O.A.P.

Soap is an acronym for Scripture, Observation, Application and Prayer. It’s a simple way to study the Bible. We’re going to use it as a part of our Retreat Devotions.

S – Scripture: What is the SCRIPTURE verse that stood out to you most from your reading.

O – Observation: What did you OBSERVE or what stood out from your selected scripture passage?

A – Application: How can you APPLY that Scripture to your life?

P – Prayer: PRAY and ask God to help you live out your application.

Response Questions

1. How does it make you feel knowing that the Lord has established us as His people, and what do you think that looks like in your life personally?

2. Do you believe that God has it in His heart to bless you? What benefits are there in believing and knowing that God is your protector and provider? What benefits are there in following God’s commandments?

3. What are some ways in which you can work on listening to the voice of God more than the voices all around you?

Day #8

Watch Video »

Galatians 3:7-14 (NLT)

7The real children of Abraham, then, are those who put their faith in God. 8What’s more, the Scriptures looked forward to this time when God would make the Gentiles right in his sight because of their faith. God proclaimed this good news to Abraham long ago when he said, “All nations will be blessed through you.” 9So all who put their faith in Christ share the same blessing Abraham received because of his faith. 10But those who depend on the law to make them right with God are under his curse, for the Scriptures say, “Cursed is everyone who does not observe and obey all the commands that are written in God’s Book of the Law.” 11So it is clear that no one can be made right with God by trying to keep the law. For the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.” 12This way of faith is very different from the way of law, which says, “It is through obeying the law that a person has life.” 13But Christ has rescued us from the curse pronounced by the law. When he was hung on the cross, he took upon himself the curse for our wrongdoing. For it is written in the Scriptures, “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.” 14Through Christ Jesus, God has blessed the Gentiles with the same blessing he promised to Abraham, so that we who are believers might receive the promised Holy Spirit through faith.

Reflection

Simply put: Faith is the key to freedom. If you want to live a blessed life, have faith! If you want to experience the “more” we’ve been talking about, start with faith. The Lord talks in the Gospels about having faith as small as a mustard seed. The size of a mustard seed is barely even visible, but you know what? Imagine having so much faith that it was visible! Imagine loving Christ so much that people realized you had huge faith without you even saying you did. This is all possible in and through God! We are supposed to be shining His light wherever we go. He loves us so much that He has actually allowed and enabled us to be the light. He is using us as broken vessels that He is making whole for His glory! He is making all things new, and that includes us, too. It isn’t about what we do, though… It’s about what He already did! When Jesus died for us on the Christ he put an end to our hard work of trying to be better. It all starts with faith. We must have faith that Jesus Christ came to earth, live a perfect and blameless life, died for our sins, and rose from the grave. Once we believe all those things, we become a new person in Him! Next time you feel down about yourself or something that’s going on, just remember that He is making all things new.

S.O.A.P.

Soap is an acronym for Scripture, Observation, Application and Prayer. It’s a simple way to study the Bible. We’re going to use it as a part of our Retreat Devotions.

S – Scripture: What is the SCRIPTURE verse that stood out to you most from your reading.

O – Observation: What did you OBSERVE or what stood out from your selected scripture passage?

A – Application: How can you APPLY that Scripture to your life?

P – Prayer: PRAY and ask God to help you live out your application.

Response Questions

1. What do you think it means for us to be the “righteousness of Christ?”

2. What are some ways that you can build your faith and the faith of others around you?

3. In order to receive the Holy Spirit, His direction and guidance, and even His spiritual gifts including a spiritual language, we must have faith… Why do you think that is?

Day #9

Watch Video »

Ephesians 1:1-10 (NLT)

1This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus. I am writing to God’s holy people in Ephesus, who are faithful followers of Christ Jesus. 2May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. 3All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. 4Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. 5God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. 6So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. 7He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. 8He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding. 9God has now revealed to us his mysterious will regarding Christ—which is to fulfill his own good plan. 10And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ—everything in heaven and on earth.

Reflection

Before Jesus died for our past, present, and future sins on the cross in the New Testament, we read about the Old Covenant in the Old Testament. Under this law, there had to be sacrifices made for sins. The people in those days would have to find a spotless lamb and have a sacrificial ceremony in order for them to be forgiven. Since Jesus Christ came and died for us, though, we have instant access to the Father through Him. Our sins can now be washed away permanently by Him and His blood when we ask Him for forgiveness. This is extraordinary grace. When Jesus Christ was on the cross, not too many people had hope that He was going to make it. But even back then, “There is More!” Little did those people know that Jesus would die and come back to life three days later to prove that He is the true Messiah. And the crazy thing is that there are still people today who do not know the story of Jesus and His mercy, grace, and forgiveness… It’s our job to tell the lost people in our lives about Him and His love for us and for them, too! Think about someone in your life who doesn’t know the Lord. Maybe it’s a family member, maybe it’s a friend, or maybe it’s someone at school who you don’t even get along with too well. No matter who it is, Christ died for everyone! And He is willing to wash our hearts and make them as pure as snow. That’s the love of our God! It knows no ends or limits.

S.O.A.P.

Soap is an acronym for Scripture, Observation, Application and Prayer. It’s a simple way to study the Bible. We’re going to use it as a part of our Retreat Devotions.

S – Scripture: What is the SCRIPTURE verse that stood out to you most from your reading.

O – Observation: What did you OBSERVE or what stood out from your selected scripture passage?

A – Application: How can you APPLY that Scripture to your life?

P – Prayer: PRAY and ask God to help you live out your application.

Response Questions

1. Ephesians 1:1-10 says that God has predestined you, given us grace, redeemed you, and forgiven you. Why do you think God has done all that for you? (hint: You are really valuable to God.) What does this few verses teach us about the value God sees in you?

2. We think about seeking God. Have you ever thought about how God is always seeking you? What does this passage teach us about God?

3. How does seeing yourself through God’s eyes change the way you live your life? How does knowing that God has given you the Holy Spirit help you live for Jesus every day?

Day #10

Watch Video »

Ephesians 3:14-21 (NLT)

14When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, 15the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. 16I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. 17Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 19May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. 20Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. 21Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.

Reflection

In some seasons of life it’s easy to love God and live a life that is pleasing to Him. In other seasons it is hard because we are imperfect human beings, we can actually let the things around us distract us from the One who created all things. When you come to Retreat, you begin to see these “things” or distractions fade away. It becomes less about what your friends texting you and more about what God is speaking to you. Have you ever wondered why it is so much easier to be spiritually strong at Retreat? Here is the reason why: You have an expectation to receive and succeed! At Retreat, you are expecting God to give you something. Whether it is a sign of His love, a word from His heart, or even just a fun time with your friends, you come to Retreat with an expectation for God to show up. God wants us to live with this kind of expectation everyday. In Ephesians 3:14-21, we read about how God wants to empower us so we can grow in Him. In order to do this, it mentions us being “grounded in love”. When we come to know how wide, how long, how high, and how deep God’s love is for us we begin to believe that He wants to work in our lives. To continue to experience God’s love we begin habits that foster God’s presence and blessings in our lives. As our “root” grow into Christ we start to believe that there is more He always wants to do. When we spend time with God, anything can happen, and everything can change! Remember, that God is willing and able do “far more abundantly than all that we ask or think”. There is more that God want to do in your life spiritually, emotionally, physically, and relationally. No matter where you come from or what you’ve been through, God wants to do immeasurably more than you can imagine. Your life is not an accident. God created you to believe Him BIG things in your life. Believe that God is leading you. Believe that God wants to use you. Believe that the obstacles in your life don’t limit God. Believe that God is for you, He is with you, and that there is more He has instore for you. Let’s Gooo!

S.O.A.P.

Soap is an acronym for Scripture, Observation, Application and Prayer. It’s a simple way to study the Bible. We’re going to use it as a part of our Retreat Devotions.

S – Scripture: What is the SCRIPTURE verse that stood out to you most from your reading.

O – Observation: What did you OBSERVE or what stood out from your selected scripture passage?

A – Application: How can you APPLY that Scripture to your life?

P – Prayer: PRAY and ask God to help you live out your application.

Response Questions

1. How are you different after Retreat? What habits or disciplines have you started to continue to grow in Christ?

2. What are you believing God wants to do in your life the rest of this semester? What did God speak to you at Retreat? Are you walking in obedience to what He wants for your life?

3. Have your relationships changed since you returned from Retreat? What relationship ties do you need to break off? What relationships do you need to invest in? (JRY, life group, friends, family, etc.)

4. Who is one friend you can share your Retreat experience with? What are you doing to express the love of God to your friends? Family members?