06/25 - Ask, Seek, Knock

“A keen sense of humor helps us to overlook the unbecoming, understand the unconventional, tolerate the unpleasant, overcome the unexpected, and outlast the unbearable.”  - Reverend Billy Graham

Overview: After overhearing Jesus praying, the disciples ask Him to teach them how to pray. Luke 11 records Jesus’ response to them. He says, “When you pray, say…” and He gives them not a prayer to be repeated, but rather a guide to be used as they pray. In verses 5 – 10, Jesus teaches persistence in prayer. We are not persistent because we are trying to convince God to answer us, but that we pray wholeheartedly and earnestly. The persistence is for our benefit, not for God’s. The rest of the chapter is divided into other teachings – a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand (v.14-23) and the casting out of an unclean spirit (v.24-26). The chapter finishes with Jesus challenging the Pharisees and the Pharisees violently interrogating Him.

Memory Verse: Luke 11:9-10 - So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.

Luke 11

1 Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.”
2 So He said to them, “When you pray, say: 
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come. 
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
3 Give us day by day our daily bread.
4 And forgive us our sins,
For we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. 
And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.”
5 And He said to them, “Which of you shall have a friend, and go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; 6 for a friend of mine has come to me on his journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; 7 and he will answer from within and say, ‘Do not trouble me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give to you’? 8 I say to you, though he will not rise and give to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs.
9 “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 11 If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? 13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”
14 And He was casting out a demon, and it was mute. So it was, when the demon had gone out, that the mute spoke; and the multitudes marveled. 15 But some of them said, “He casts out demons by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons.”
16 Others, testing Him, sought from Him a sign from heaven. 17 But He, knowing their thoughts, said to them: “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and a house divided against a house falls. 18 If Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? Because you say I cast out demons by Beelzebub. 19 And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. 20 But if I cast out demons with the finger of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you. 21 When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are in peace. 22 But when a stronger than he comes upon him and overcomes him, he takes from him all his armor in which he trusted, and divides his spoils. 23 He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters.
24 “When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ 25 And when he comes, he finds it swept and put in order. 26 Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first.”
27 And it happened, as He spoke these things, that a certain woman from the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, “Blessed is the womb that bore You, and the breasts which nursed You!”
28 But He said, “More than that, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”
29 And while the crowds were thickly gathered together, He began to say, “This is an evil generation. It seeks a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah the prophet. 30 For as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so also the Son of Man will be to this generation. 31 The queen of the South will rise up in the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and indeed a greater than Solomon is here. 32 The men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed a greater than Jonah is here.
 33 “No one, when he has lit a lamp, puts it in a secret place or under a basket, but on a lampstand, that those who come in may see the light. 34 The lamp of the body is the eye. Therefore, when your eye is good, your whole body also is full of light. But when your eye is bad, your body also is full of darkness. 35 Therefore take heed that the light which is in you is not darkness. 36 If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, the whole body will be full of light, as when the bright shining of a lamp gives you light.”
37 And as He spoke, a certain Pharisee asked Him to dine with him. So He went in and sat down to eat. 38 When the Pharisee saw it, he marveled that He had not first washed before dinner.
39 Then the Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees make the outside of the cup and dish clean, but your inward part is full of greed and wickedness. 40 Foolish ones! Did not He who made the outside make the inside also? 41 But rather give alms of such things as you have; then indeed all things are clean to you.
42 “But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass by justice and the love of God. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. 43 Woe to you Pharisees! For you love the best seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces. 44 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like graves which are not seen, and the men who walk over them are not aware of them.”
45 Then one of the lawyers answered and said to Him, “Teacher, by saying these things You reproach us also.”
46 And He said, “Woe to you also, lawyers! For you load men with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers. 47 Woe to you! For you build the tombs of the prophets, and your fathers killed them. 48 In fact, you bear witness that you approve the deeds of your fathers; for they indeed killed them, and you build their tombs. 49 Therefore the wisdom of God also said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they will kill and persecute,’ 50 that the blood of all the prophets which was shed from the foundation of the world may be required of this generation, 51 from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah who perished between the altar and the temple. Yes, I say to you, it shall be required of this generation.
52 “Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge. You did not enter in yourselves, and those who were entering in you hindered.”
53 And as He said these things to them, the scribes and the Pharisees began to assail Him vehemently, and to cross-examine Him about many things, 54 lying in wait for Him, and seeking to catch Him in something He might say, that they might accuse Him.

Confession: I will come to the Lord with an attitude of worship. I will continue to ask, seek, and knock. I know the Lord desires to answer my prayers. It is never inconvenient for the Lord to hear and answer when I pray.

THOUGHTS...INSIGHT...What is the Lord saying to me? Leave a comment below.

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Posted on June 24, 2017 .

06/18 - God’s Weak Spot

“Belief in Jesus Christ is total identity in Him. There is no such thing as partial belief or partial salvation. A person who does not totally commit himself to Christ disbelieves in Him, no matter how many positive things he may have to say about Him.”  John Macarthur

Overview: The prophet Nathan confronted King David when he committed adultery with Bathsheba.  Nathan rebuked David in 2 Samuel 12 and pronounced the judgment of God on his life. King David would live, but the child conceived in his sin with Bathsheba would die. David pours out his heart in Psalm 51 in deep repentance to God for the sin he’d committed.  He acknowledges his transgressions and asks the Lord to cleanse him. He desires a clean heart be formed in him and a steadfast spirit within.  He longs for the joy of his salvation.  David realizes and confesses what God really wants from him – a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart.

Memory Verse: Psalm 51:10 - Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Psalm 51

1 Have mercy upon me, O God, According to Your lovingkindness;
According to the multitude of Your tender mercies, 
Blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, 
And cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I acknowledge my transgressions, 
And my sin is always before me.
4 Against You, You only, have I sinned, 
And done this evil in Your sight—
That You may be found just when You speak,
And blameless when You judge.
5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, 
And in sin my mother conceived me.
6 Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts,
And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom.
7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; 
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8 Make me hear joy and gladness,
That the bones You have broken may rejoice.
9 Hide Your face from my sins, And blot out all my iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, 
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me away from Your presence, 
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, 
And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.
13 Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, 
And sinners shall be converted to You.
14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, 
O God, The God of my salvation,
And my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness.
15 O Lord, open my lips,
And my mouth shall show forth Your praise.
16 For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it;
You do not delight in burnt offering.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, 
A broken and a contrite heart
These, O God, You will not despise.
18 Do good in Your good pleasure to Zion; 
Build the walls of Jerusalem.
19 Then You shall be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, 
With burnt offering and whole burnt offering;
Then they shall offer bulls on Your altar.

Confession: I will confess my sins and You will be faithful to forgive me. I will praise You and sing of Your righteousness as you restore to me the joy of my salvation!

THOUGHTS...INSIGHT...What is the Lord saying to me? Leave a comment below.

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Posted on June 17, 2017 .

06-11 – He Gave it All

“We can stand affliction better than we can prosperity, for in prosperity we forget God.”  D.L. Moody

Overview: Matthew 27 records the heart wrenching journey of Jesus Christ to the Cross. From His appearance before Pilate, to the trade off with Barabbas, to the crown of thorns, to the brutal beating and mocking He endured, Jesus is finally nailed to a wooden cross to die for the sins of the world. Every believer should move slowly through each verse and absorb the intensity of what Jesus did for mankind. This chapter should cause you to be grateful for the unending love He displayed by giving His life for you. He took every step for you. He did it because He loves you. Only pure love could have compelled Him to embrace such treatment and suffer the Cross.

Memory Verse: Matthew 27:31 - And when they had mocked Him, they took the robe off Him, put His own clothes on Him, and led Him away to be crucified.

Matthew 27

1 When morning came, all the chief priests and elders of the people plotted against Jesus to put Him to death. 2 And when they had bound Him, they led Him away and delivered Him to Pontius Pilate the governor.
3 Then Judas, His betrayer, seeing that He had been condemned, was remorseful and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, 4 saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.”
And they said, “What is that to us? You see to it!”
5 Then he threw down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed, and went and hanged himself.
6 But the chief priests took the silver pieces and said, “It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, because they are the price of blood.” 7 And they consulted together and bought with them the potter’s field, to bury strangers in. 8 Therefore that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day.
9 Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying, “And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the value of Him who was priced, whom they of the children of Israel priced, 10 and gave them for the potter’s field, as the LORD directed me.”
11 Now Jesus stood before the governor. And the governor asked Him, saying, “Are You the King of the Jews?”
Jesus said to him, “It is as you say.” 12 And while He was being accused by the chief priests and elders, He answered nothing.
13 Then Pilate said to Him, “Do You not hear how many things they testify against You?” 14 But He answered him not one word, so that the governor marveled greatly.
15 Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to releasing to the multitude one prisoner whom they wished. 16 And at that time they had a notorious prisoner called Barabbas. 17 Therefore, when they had gathered together, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release to you? Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?” 18 For he knew that they had handed Him over because of envy.
19 While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent to him, saying, “Have nothing to do with that just Man, for I have suffered many things today in a dream because of Him.”
20 But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitudes that they should ask for Barabbas and destroy Jesus. 21 The governor answered and said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release to you?”
They said, “Barabbas!”
22 Pilate said to them, “What then shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?”
They all said to him, “Let Him be crucified!”
23 Then the governor said, “Why, what evil has He done?”
But they cried out all the more, saying, “Let Him be crucified!”
24 When Pilate saw that he could not prevail at all, but rather that a tumult was rising, he took water and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, “I am innocent of the blood of this just Person. You see to it.”
25 And all the people answered and said, “His blood be on us and on our children.”
26 Then he released Barabbas to them; and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered Him to be crucified.
27 Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole garrison around Him. 28 And they stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him. 29 When they had twisted a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand. And they bowed the knee before Him and mocked Him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 30 Then they spat on Him, and took the reed and struck Him on the head. 31 And when they had mocked Him, they took the robe off Him, put His own clothes on Him, and led Him away to be crucified.
32 Now as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name. Him they compelled to bear His cross. 33 And when they had come to a place called Golgotha, that is to say, Place of a Skull, 34 they gave Him sour wine mingled with gall to drink. But when He had tasted it, He would not drink.
35 Then they crucified Him, and divided His garments, casting lots, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet:
“They divided My garments among them, And for My clothing they cast lots.”
36 Sitting down, they kept watch over Him there. 37 And they put up over His head the accusation written against Him:
THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.
38 Then two robbers were crucified with Him, one on the right and another on the left.
39 And those who passed by blasphemed Him, wagging their heads 40 and saying, “You who destroy the temple and build it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross.”
41 Likewise the chief priests also, mocking with the scribes and elders, said, 42 “He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He is the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him. 43 He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now if He will have Him; for He said, ‘I am the Son of God.’”
44 Even the robbers who were crucified with Him reviled Him with the same thing.
45 Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land. 46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”
47 Some of those who stood there, when they heard that, said, “This Man is calling for Elijah!” 48 Immediately one of them ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine and put it on a reed, and offered it to Him to drink.
49 The rest said, “Let Him alone; let us see if Elijah will come to save Him.”
50 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit.
51 Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, 52 and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; 53 and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many.
54 So when the centurion and those with him, who were guarding Jesus, saw the earthquake and the things that had happened, they feared greatly, saying, “Truly this was the Son of God!”
55 And many women who followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to Him, were there looking on from afar, 56 among whom were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons.
57 Now when evening had come, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who himself had also become a disciple of Jesus. 58 This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be given to him. 59 When Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, 60 and laid it in his new tomb which he had hewn out of the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the door of the tomb, and departed. 61 And Mary Magdalene was there, and the other Mary, sitting opposite the tomb.
62 On the next day, which followed the Day of Preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees gathered together to Pilate, 63 saying, “Sir, we remember, while He was still alive, how that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise.’ 64 Therefore command that the tomb be made secure until the third day, lest His disciples come by night and steal Him away, and say to the people, ‘He has risen from the dead.’ So the last deception will be worse than the first.”
65 Pilate said to them, “You have a guard; go your way, make it as secure as you know how.” 66 So they went and made the tomb secure, sealing the stone and setting the guard.

Confession: I am grateful for the sacrifice Jesus made for me on the Cross. I understand that He loved me enough to die for me and I will not take His death for granted. I am thankful He was obedient to the plan of salvation for me. I would be lost without Him.

THOUGHTS...INSIGHT...What is the Lord saying to me? Leave a comment below.

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Posted on June 10, 2017 .

06-04 – Delivered From the Power of Darkness

“Be sure to put your feet in the right place, then stand firm.” President Abraham Lincoln

Overview: While ministering in Ephesus, Paul’s apostolic leadership had influence on another nearby city called Colosse.  Colosse was about 100 miles east of Ephesus. The church of Colosse was an outgrowth of Paul’s three-year ministry in Ephesus. The Colossians were being threatened with false teaching that claimed Jesus was not fully God and fully man. Paul wrote his letter to the Colossians to (1) expose the lies, (2) encourage the Colossians to stand in truth, (3) to express his personal interest in them, and (4) to endorse unity.  Specifically in chapter 1, Paul reminds the believers at Colosse of their knowledge of truth, to walk worthy of their calling, and to be strengthened according to God’s power. Paul did not want the Colossians to fall prey to erroneous teaching so he recounts what Jesus did through His death and resurrection.

Memory Verse: Colossians 1:13-14 - He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in Whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.

Colossians 1

1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,
2 To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are in Colosse:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, 4 since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all the
saints; 5 because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel, 6 which has come to you, as it has also in all the world, and is bringing forth fruit, as it is also among you since the day you heard and knew the grace of God in truth; 7 as you also learned from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf, 8 who also declared to us your love in the Spirit.
9 For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 10 that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; 12 giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. 13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, 14 in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things
consist. 18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.
19 For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, 20 and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.
21 And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled 22 in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight—23 if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister.
24 I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church, 25 of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God, 26 the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. 27 To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28 Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. 29 To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily.

Confession: I will remain in the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I will not be persuaded by false teachings or false doctrines. I have been forgiven, delivered, and redeemed by Jesus and Him alone.

THOUGHTS...INSIGHT...What is the Lord saying to me? Leave a comment below.

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Posted on June 3, 2017 .

05-28 – Now I Know

“It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible.” President George Washington

Overview: The greatest desire of the heart of God is to have a personal relationship with mankind. He sent His only begotten Son (John 3:16) to die on the Cross, paving the way for such a relationship to be possible. The Lord has chosen you and He wants you to choose Him with all your heart. In Genesis 22, the Lord God tests Abraham to see if he is wholly and truly devoted to Him. God wants to locate Abraham – to determine if he is fully committed to Him or not. God asks Abraham to give his son, Isaac, as an offering to Him. Abraham prepares for the journey to the mountains of Moriah to prove his full dedication to the Lord. Abraham trusted His God and he knew God would provide the sacrifice (v. 8).

Memory Verse: Genesis 22:12 - And He said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.”

Genesis 22

1 Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!”
And he said, “Here I am.”
2 Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”
3 So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. 4 Then on the third day Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place afar off. 5 And Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you.”
6 So Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife, and the two of them went together. 7 But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My father!”
And he said, “Here I am, my son.”
Then he said, “Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?”
8 And Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” So the two of them went together.
9 Then they came to the place of which God had told him. And Abraham built an altar there and placed the wood in order; and he bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, upon the wood. 10 And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.
11 But the Angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!”
So he said, “Here I am.”
12 And He said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.”
13 Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 And Abraham called the name of the place, The- LORD-Will-Provide; as it is said to this day, “In the Mount of the LORD it shall be provided.”
15 Then the Angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time out of heaven, 16 and said: “By Myself I have sworn, says the LORD, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son—17 blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. 18 In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.” 19 So Abraham returned to his young men, and they rose and went together to Beersheba; and Abraham dwelt at Beersheba.
20 Now it came to pass after these things that it was told Abraham, saying, “Indeed Milcah also has borne children to your brother Nahor: 21 Huz his firstborn, Buz his brother, Kemuel the father of Aram, 22Chesed, Hazo, Pildash, Jidlaph, and Bethuel.” 23 And Bethuel begot Rebekah. These eight Milcah bore to Nahor, Abraham’s brother. 24 His concubine, whose name was Reumah, also bore Tebah, Gaham, Thahash, and Maachah.

Confession: I will not withhold anything from the Lord. I will surrender all that I am and all that I have that I may show my full devotion to Him and my complete trust in Him. Today will be a great day!

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Posted on May 27, 2017 .

05-21 – David, the Giant, a Few Rocks

“The Christian is not obedient unless he is doing all in his power to send the Gospel to the heathen world.” - A.B. Simpson

Overview: We can all recall various Old Testament stories we heard as children.  We are familiar with Noah and the ark, Moses and the Red Sea, Jonah and the whale, and Daniel in the lions’ den. But perhaps it is the story found in I Samuel 17 that is the most intriguing and suspenseful of all the stories in the Old Testament – the standoff between David and Goliath.  Goliath was a champion of the Philistines who opposed the nation of Israel.  Israel’s entire army feared Goliath because of his size and the fact that he was a man of war.  Israel refused to go against Goliath even though he taunted them and defiled the army of God. David, being only a lad, drew from the courage and confidence he had in God and challenged Goliath. David’s heart did not fail because he knew his God would deliver him. This story gives us great assurance that we too can stand victorious against the enemy and know that our God will deliver us!

Memory Verse: 1 Samuel 17:45 - Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defiled.”

1 Samuel 17

1 Now the Philistines gathered their armies together to battle, and were gathered at Sochoh, which belongs to Judah; they encamped between Sochoh and Azekah, in Ephes Dammim. 2 And Saul and the men of Israel were gathered together, and they encamped in the Valley of Elah, and drew up in battle array against the Philistines. 3 The Philistines stood on a mountain on one side, and Israel stood on a mountain on the other side, with a valley between them.
4 And a champion went out from the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, from Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span. 5 He had a bronze helmet on his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail, and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of bronze. 6 And he had bronze armor on his legs and a bronze javelin between his shoulders. 7 Now the staff of his spear was like a weaver’s beam, and his iron spearhead weighed six hundred shekels; and a shield-bearer went before him. 8 Then he stood and cried out to the armies of Israel, and said to them, “Why have you come out to line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and you the servants of Saul? Choose a man for yourselves, and let him come down to me. 9 If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will be your servants. But if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall be our servants and serve us.” 10 And the Philistine said, “I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together.” 11 When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid.
12 Now David was the son of that Ephrathite of Bethlehem Judah, whose name was Jesse, and who had eight sons. And the man was old, advanced in years, in the days of Saul. 13 The three oldest sons of Jesse had gone to follow Saul to the battle. The names of his three sons who went to the battle were Eliab the firstborn, next to him Abinadab, and the third Shammah. 14 David was the youngest. And the three oldest followed Saul. 15 But David occasionally went and returned from Saul to feed his father’s sheep at Bethlehem.
16 And the Philistine drew near and presented himself forty days, morning and evening.
17 Then Jesse said to his son David, “Take now for your brothers an ephah of this dried grain and these ten loaves, and run to your brothers at the camp. 18 And carry these ten cheeses to the captain of their thousand, and see how your brothers fare, and bring back news of them.” 19 Now Saul and they and all the men of Israel were in the Valley of Elah, fighting with the Philistines.
20 So David rose early in the morning, left the sheep with a keeper, and took the things and went as Jesse had commanded him. And he came to the camp as the army was going out to the fight and shouting for the battle. 21 For Israel and the Philistines had drawn up in battle array, army against army. 22 And David left his supplies in the hand of the supply keeper, ran to the army, and came and greeted his brothers. 23 Then as he talked with them, there was the champion, the Philistine of Gath, Goliath by name, coming up from the armies of the Philistines; and he spoke according to the same words. So David heard them. 24 And all the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him and were dreadfully afraid. 25 So the men of Israel said, “Have you seen this man who has come up? Surely he has come up to defy Israel; and it shall be that the man who kills him the king will enrich with great riches, will give him his daughter, and give his father’s house exemption from taxes in Israel.”
26 Then David spoke to the men who stood by him, saying, “What shall be done for the man who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?”
27 And the people answered him in this manner, saying, “So shall it be done for the man who kills him.”
28 Now Eliab his oldest brother heard when he spoke to the men; and Eliab’s anger was aroused against David, and he said, “Why did you come down here? And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your pride and the insolence of your heart, for you have come down to see the battle.”
29 And David said, “What have I done now? Is there not a cause?” 30 Then he turned from him toward another and said the same thing; and these people answered him as the first ones did.
31 Now when the words which David spoke were heard, they reported them to Saul; and he sent for him. 32 Then David said to Saul, “Let no man’s heart fail because of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.”
33 And Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are a youth, and he a man of war from his youth.”
34 But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep his father’s sheep, and when a lion or a bear came and took a lamb out of the flock, 35 I went out after it and struck it, and delivered the lamb from its mouth; and when it arose against me, I caught it by its beard, and struck and killed it. 36 Your servant has killed both lion and bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, seeing he has defied the armies of the living God.” 37 Moreover David said, “The LORD, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “Go, and the LORD be with you!”
38 So Saul clothed David with his armor, and he put a bronze helmet on his head; he also clothed him with a coat of mail. 39 David fastened his sword to his armor and tried to walk, for he had not tested them. And David said to Saul, “I cannot walk with these, for I have not tested them.” So David took them off.
40 Then he took his staff in his hand; and he chose for himself five smooth stones from the brook, and put them in a shepherd’s bag, in a pouch which he had, and his sling was in his hand. And he drew near to the Philistine. 41 So the Philistine came, and began drawing near to David, and the man who bore the shield went before him. 42 And when the Philistine looked about and saw David, he disdained him; for he was only a youth, ruddy and good-looking. 43 So the Philistine said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. 44 And the Philistine said to David, “Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field!”
45 Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. 47 Then all this assembly shall know that the LORD does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the LORD’S, and He will give you into our hands.”
48 So it was, when the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, that David hurried and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine. 49 Then David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone; and he slung it and struck the Philistine in his forehead, so that the stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the earth. 50 So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him. But there was no sword in the hand of David. 51 Therefore David ran and stood over the Philistine, took his sword and drew it out of its sheath and killed him, and cut off his head with it.
And when the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled. 52 Now the men of Israel and Judah arose and shouted, and pursued the Philistines as far as the entrance of the valley and to the gates of Ekron. And the wounded of the Philistines fell along the road to Shaaraim, even as far as Gath and Ekron. 53 Then the children of Israel returned from chasing the Philistines, and they plundered their tents. 54 And David took the head of the Philistine and brought it to Jerusalem, but he put his armor in his tent.
55 When Saul saw David going out against the Philistine, he said to Abner, the commander of the army, “Abner, whose son is this youth?” And Abner said, “As your soul lives, O king, I do not know.”
56 So the king said, “Inquire whose son this young man is.”
57 Then, as David returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, Abner took him and brought him before Saul with the head of the Philistine in his hand. 58 And Saul said to him, “Whose son are you, young man?” So David answered, “I am the son of your servant Jesse the Bethlehemite.”

Confession: My heart will not fail (v. 32) when I stand before the enemy. The Lord has delivered me at other times and He will deliver me now. I will not fear, no matter the size, strength, or stature of my enemy. I will not allow the enemy to defile me or my God.

THOUGHTS...INSIGHT...What is the Lord saying to me? Leave a comment below.

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Posted on May 20, 2017 .

05-14 – The Witch Believes

“We talk of the Second Coming; half the world has never heard of the first.”  - Oswald J. Smith

Overview: Stephen was a man “full of faith and power” who “did great wonders and signs among the people” (Acts 6:8). He died a martyr’s death as documented in Acts 7. Acts 8 tells us after of the stoning of Stephen, a great persecution arose against the church.  Because of the persecution the church was experiencing, the believers began to scatter abroad, carrying with them the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Even though the early Christians were dispersed into other areas of the world because of persecution, it turned out to be positive because the Gospel went forth and the church grew all over the world. Acts 8 gives account of the evangelism that took place in various regions, the impartation of the Holy Spirit to believers, and the salvation of an Ethiopian eunuch because of the preaching of Philip.

Memory Verse: Acts 8:12 - But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized.

Acts 8


1 Now Saul was consenting to his death.
At that time a great persecution arose against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. 2 And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him.
3 As for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering every house, and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison.
4 Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word. 5 Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them. 6 And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. 7 For unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed; and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed. 8 And there was great joy in that city.
9 But there was a certain man called Simon, who previously practiced sorcery in the city and astonished the people of Samaria, claiming that he was someone great, 10 to whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, “This man is the great power of God.” 11 And they heeded him because he had astonished them with his sorceries for a long time. 12 But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized. 13 Then Simon himself also believed; and when he was baptized he continued with Philip, and was amazed, seeing the miracles and signs which were done.
14 Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, 15 who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. 16 For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.
18 And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money, 19 saying, “Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”
20 But Peter said to him, “Your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money! 21 You have neither part nor portion in this matter, for your heart is not right in the sight of God. 22 Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven
you. 23 For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity.”
24 Then Simon answered and said, “Pray to the Lord for me, that none of the things which you have spoken may come upon me.”
25 So when they had testified and preached the word of the Lord, they returned to Jerusalem, preaching the gospel in many villages of the Samaritans.
26 Now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, “Arise and go toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” This is desert. 27 So he arose and went. And behold, a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace the queen of the Ethiopians, who had charge of all her treasury, and had come to Jerusalem to worship, 28 was returning. And sitting in his chariot, he was reading Isaiah the prophet. 29 Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go near and overtake this chariot.”
30 So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?”
31 And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he asked Philip to come up and sit with him. 32 The place in the Scripture which he read was this:

“He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; 
And as a lamb before its shearer is silent, 
So He opened not His mouth.
33 In His humiliation His justice was taken away, 
And who will declare His generation?
For His life is taken from the earth.”

34 So the eunuch answered Philip and said, “I ask you, of whom does the prophet say this, of himself or of some other man?” 35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him. 36 Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, “See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?”
37 Then Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.”
And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”
38 So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him. 39 Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more; and he went on his way rejoicing. 40 But Philip was found at Azotus. And passing through, he preached in all the cities till he came to Caesarea.

Confession: Even when I am persecuted, I will continue to speak the truth of the Gospel. I will look for opportunities to share my faith with others regardless of what those around me may say.  I will trust God for the results.

THOUGHTS...INSIGHT...What is the Lord saying to me? Leave a comment below.

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Posted on May 13, 2017 .

05-07 - For God…

“Sympathy is no substitute for action.”
- David Livingstone, Missionary to Africa

Overview: The third chapter of the book of John records the remarkable story of a Pharisee by the name of Nicodemus who approached Jesus about being “born again.” Nicodemus was a ruler of the Jews and an educated, religious man who was a member of the Sanhedrin. But he was unlearned in the truths concerning salvation. He came to Jesus during the night to inquire of the requirements for salvation or being “born again.” Jesus explained to Nicodemus that the new birth is a spiritual birth, not a second physical birth. The remainder of the chapter records some of the activity and proclamations of John the Baptist as he gives honor and validation to the Person of Jesus.

Memory Verse: John 3:3 - Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

John 3

1 There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.”
3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
4 Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”
5 Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
9 Nicodemus answered and said to Him, “How can these things be?”
10 Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things? 11 Most assuredly, I say to you, We speak what We know and testify what We have seen, and you do not receive Our witness. 12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven. 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. 16For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”
22 After these things Jesus and His disciples came into the land of Judea, and there He remained with them and baptized. 23 Now John also was baptizing in Aenon near Salim, because there was much water there. And they came and were baptized. 24 For John had not yet been thrown into prison.
25 Then there arose a dispute between some of John’s disciples and the Jews about purification. 26 And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, He who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you have testified—behold, He is baptizing, and all are coming to Him!”
27 John answered and said, “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven. 28 You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent before Him.’ 29 He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled. 30 He must increase, but I must decrease. 31 He who comes from above is above all; he who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all. 32 And what He has seen and heard, that He testifies; and no one receives His testimony. 33 He who has received His testimony has certified that God is true. 34 For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God does not give the Spirit by measure. 35 The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand. 36 He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

Confession: I believe that God sent His only Son to die on the Cross that I may have eternal life through Him. I trust in His plan of salvation for me. I cannot do anything to earn salvation.  Salvation is a gift.  I confess Jesus as my Lord and Savior.

THOUGHTS...INSIGHT...What is the Lord saying to me? Leave a comment below.

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Posted on May 6, 2017 .

04-30 – I Want a Merry Heart

If you are not as close to God as you use to be, who moved?” - Unknown

Overview: Proverbs 15 is a chapter marked full of antitheses (direct opposites) between the wise and the foolish. The subject of speech such as a soft answer, the lips of the wise, a word spoken in due season, and the answers from the heart of the righteous are mentioned throughout the passage. The writer also speaks of useful correction and the wisdom in receiving instructions. Other subjects of concentration are the stability of the righteous, the contented mind, the slothful man, the covetous, the impious, the diligent, and the man who fears the Lord. This chapter gives sound, godly guidelines and the results that come if the guidelines are followed. There are warnings as well and consequences listed for those who choose not to observe the counsel of the Lord.

Memory Verse: Proverbs 15:1 - A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

Proverbs 15

1 A soft answer turns away wrath, 
But a harsh word stirs up anger.
2 The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly, 
But the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness.
3 The eyes of the LORD are in every place, 
Keeping watch on the evil and the good.
4 A wholesome tongue is a tree of life, 
But perverseness in it breaks the spirit.
5 A fool despises his father’s instruction, 
But he who receives correction is prudent.
6 In the house of the righteous there is much treasure, 
But in the revenue of the wicked is trouble.
7 The lips of the wise disperse knowledge, 
But the heart of the fool does not do so.
8 The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD, 
But the prayer of the upright is His delight.
9 The way of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD, 
But He loves him who follows righteousness.
10 Harsh discipline is for him who forsakes the way,
And he who hates correction will die.
11 Hell and Destruction are before the LORD;
So how much more the hearts of the sons of men.
12 A scoffer does not love one who corrects him, 
Nor will he go to the wise.
13 A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance, 
But by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.
14 The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge, 
But the mouth of fools feeds on foolishness.
15 All the days of the afflicted are evil,
But he who is of a merry heart has a continual feast.
16 Better is a little with the fear of the LORD, 
Than great treasure with trouble.
17 Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, 
Than a fatted calf with hatred.
18 A wrathful man stirs up strife,
But he who is slow to anger allays contention.
19 The way of the lazy man is like a hedge of thorns, 
But the way of the upright is a highway.
20 A wise son makes a father glad,
But a foolish man despises his mother.
21 Folly is joy to him who is destitute of discernment, 
But a man of understanding walks uprightly.
22 Without counsel, plans go awry,
But in the multitude of counselors they are established.
23 A man has joy by the answer of his mouth,
And a word spoken in due season, how good it is!
24 The way of life winds upward for the wise, 
That he may turn away from hell below.
25 The LORD will destroy the house of the proud, 
But He will establish the boundary of the widow.
26 The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the LORD, 
But the words of the pure are pleasant.
27 He who is greedy for gain troubles his own house, 
But he who hates bribes will live.
28 The heart of the righteous studies how to answer, 
But the mouth of the wicked pours forth evil.
29 The LORD is far from the wicked,
But He hears the prayer of the righteous.
30 The light of the eyes rejoices the heart,
And a good report makes the bones healthy.
31 The ear that hears the rebukes of life
Will abide among the wise.
32 He who disdains instruction despises his own soul, 
But he who heeds rebuke gets understanding.
33 The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom, 
And before honor is humility.

Confession: I will speak with words of encouragement and life. My speech will glorify the Lord I will receive correction and instruction. I will follow the ways of the Lord with reverential fear.

THOUGHTS...INSIGHT...What is the Lord saying to me? Leave a comment below.

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Posted on April 29, 2017 .

04-23 – Relax! It’s All Under His Feet

“I believe in the sun even if it is not shining. I believe in love even when I am alone. I believe in God even when He is silent.” Unknown

Overview: The book of Ephesians was written to the believers in the city of Ephesus, a principle port on the west coast of Asia Minor, near what is known today as present-day Izmir. Paul had developed a deep relationship with the Ephesians earlier in his ministry and now writes a farewell letter to them from a prison cell in Rome. The letter to the Ephesians discloses the plan of God, His “secret” intention for the church: (1) to form a body of people who would express God’s fullness on the earth, (2) to do this by bringing all people together, Jew and Gentile, in whom God resides, and (3) to equip the saints to do the work of the ministry so that the body of Christ may grow. In Ephesians 1, Paul reminds the Ephesians that they are a blessed people, chosen by God, adopted, and accepted in the Beloved. The Holy Spirit is evident in this passage - given as the Guarantee of our inheritance! Paul finalizes the chapter in a prayer for wisdom for the saints, that God may be revealed to us and that we may realize the greatness of His power, love, and provision.

Memory Verse: Ephesians 1:4,5 - … just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.

Ephesians 1

1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God,
To the saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus:
2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.
7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace 8 which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, 9 having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, 10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him. 11 In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, 12 that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.
13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.
15 Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16 do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, 18 the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. 22 And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.

Confession: I have been chosen by God and He accepts me unto Himself. I have been adopted by the Father and I am part of a royal family. His great power works in me. I am secure in Him because the Holy Spirit acts as the Seal, the Guarantee, of my inheritance.

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Posted on April 22, 2017 .

04-16 - A Seed Must Die to Live

“God is not a cosmic bellboy for whom we can press a button and get things done.”   - Harry Emerson Fosdick

Overview: John 12 takes place six days before Passover. Jesus is in Bethany at the home of Lazarus. Martha anoints Jesus with a very costly oil while Judas Iscariot questions the wisdom of her service. Jesus sees Martha’s heart and commends her act of kindness and worship.  Jesus is welcomed into the city by those who had heard of His great act of raising Lazarus from the dead.  Jesus’ very words grace the remainder of the chapter as he teaches His disciples about His coming death on the Cross and His relationship with His Father.

Memory Verse: John 12:26 - If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also.  If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor.

John 12

1 Then, six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was who had been dead, whom He had raised from the dead. 2 There they made Him a supper; and Martha served, but Lazarus was one of those who sat at the table with Him. 3 Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.
4 But one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, who would betray Him, said, 5 “Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” 6 This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it.
7 But Jesus said, “Let her alone; she has kept this for the day of My burial. 8 For the poor you have with you always, but Me you do not have always.”
9 Now a great many of the Jews knew that He was there; and they came, not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might also see Lazarus, whom He had raised from the dead. 10 But the chief priests plotted to put Lazarus to death also, 11 because on account of him many of the Jews went away and believed in Jesus.
12 The next day a great multitude that had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, 13 took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him, and cried out:
“Hosanna!
‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!’
The King of Israel!”
 
14 Then Jesus, when He had found a young donkey, sat on it; as it is written:

15 “Fear not, daughter of Zion; Behold, your King is coming, Sitting on a donkey’s colt.”

16 His disciples did not understand these things at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things were written about Him and that they had done these things to Him.
17 Therefore the people, who were with Him when He called Lazarus out of his tomb and raised him from the dead, bore witness. 18 For this reason the people also met Him, because they heard that He had done this sign. 19 The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, “You see that you are accomplishing nothing. Look, the world has gone after Him!”
20 Now there were certain Greeks among those who came up to worship at the feast. 21 Then they came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida of Galilee, and asked him, saying, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.”
22 Philip came and told Andrew, and in turn Andrew and Philip told Jesus.
23 But Jesus answered them, saying, “The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified. 24 Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. 25 He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor. 27 “Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’?
But for this purpose I came to this hour. 28 Father, glorify Your name.”
Then a voice came from heaven, saying, “I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.”
29 Therefore the people who stood by and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to Him.”
30 Jesus answered and said, “This voice did not come because of Me, but for your sake. 31 Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. 32 And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.” 33 This He said, signifying by what death He would die.
34 The people answered Him, “We have heard from the law that the Christ remains forever; and how can You say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up’? Who is this Son of Man?”
35 Then Jesus said to them, “A little while longer the light is with you. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you; he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going. 36 While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.” These things Jesus spoke, and departed, and was hidden from them.
37 But although He had done so many signs before them, they did not believe in Him, 38 that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spoke:
 
“Lord, who has believed our report?
And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?”
39 Therefore they could not believe, because Isaiah said again:

40 “He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, Lest they should see with their eyes,
Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them.”

41 These things Isaiah said when he saw His glory and spoke of Him.

42 Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; 43 for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.
44 Then Jesus cried out and said, “He who believes in Me, believes not in Me but in Him who sent Me. 45 And he who sees Me sees Him who sent Me. 46 I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness. 47 And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. 48 He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him—the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day. 49 For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. 50 And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak.”

Confession: I will be willing to die to myself for Him. I will be willing to follow Him. I will be willing to serve Him.  I will be His servant.  I want to glorify Him with my life.

THOUGHTS...INSIGHT...What is the Lord saying to me? Leave a comment below.

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Posted on April 15, 2017 .

04-09 – I am Wonderfully Made – WooHoo!

“Ultimately you are doing what you do for one of two reasons: to serve oneself or to serve God.”  
- Unknown

Overview: Psalm 139 is perhaps the most intimate of psalms.  It speaks clearly of God’s interest in individuals. King David meditates on the omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence of God. He acknowledges that God is with him no matter where he may go. God is with him in darkness. God is with him in light. God is with him at sea. God was with him as He formed him in his mother’s womb. God holds David in His right hand (the hand of authority). David acknowledges that God knows him, thinks of him, and has fashioned his days!  We too can claim Psalm 139 as our own.

Memory Verse: Psalm 139:17-18 - How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; when I awake, I am still with You.

Psalm 139
 
Psalm 1391 O LORD, You have searched me and known me.
2 You know my sitting down and my rising up; 
You understand my thought afar off.
3 You comprehend my path and my lying down, 
And are acquainted with all my ways.
4 For there is not a word on my tongue,
But behold, O LORD, You know it altogether.
5 You have hedged me behind and before, 
And laid Your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; 
It is high, I cannot attain it.
7 Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
8 If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
9 If I take the wings of the morning,
And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 Even there Your hand shall lead me, 
And Your right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,” 
Even the night shall be light about me;
12 Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You, 
But the night shines as the day;
The darkness and the light are both alike to You.
13 For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; 
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from You, 
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. 
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them.
17 How precious also are Your thoughts to me, 
O God! How great is the sum of them!
18 If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; 
When I awake, I am still with You.
19 Oh, that You would slay the wicked, O God! 
Depart from me, therefore, you bloodthirsty men.
20 For they speak against You wickedly; 
Your enemies take Your name in vain.
21 Do I not hate them, O LORD, who hate You? 
And do I not loathe those who rise up against You?
22 I hate them with perfect hatred; 
I count them my enemies.
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; 
Try me, and know my anxieties;
24 And see if there is any wicked way in me, 
And lead me in the way everlasting.

Confession: I will diligently obey the voice of the Lord. I believe His favor and blessings rest on me. I am blessed in the city and in the country. I will walk in His blessings. It is the desire of my heart to please Him in all that I do.

THOUGHTS...INSIGHT...What is the Lord saying to me? Leave a comment below.

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Posted on April 8, 2017 .

04-02 – Swimming in His Blessings

“What we are is God’s gift to us. What we become is our gift to God.” - Louis Nizer

Overview: The book of Deuteronomy given by Moses has been aptly described as the heartbeat of the Old Testament. Consider the influence of the book on Jesus, Paul, and the early New Testament church and one will realize that it is a profoundly significant book in the whole Christian canon of scripture. The book covers about a two-month period of time, just before Moses’ death and Joshua’s leading Israel into Canaan.  As the Israelites prepared to enter the Promise Land, Moses called the people together to remind them of the Lord’s faithfulness and to persuade them to be faithful and obedient to God.  In Deuteronomy 28, Moses compiled a listing of blessings and cursings during a covenant ceremony on the plains of Moab. The assurance of these curses would be applicable for believers today were it not removed by Jesus Who has “redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us” (Galatians 3:13).

Memory Verse: Deuteronomy 28:7 - The Lord will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before your face; they shall come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways.

Deuteronomy 28:7

1 “Now it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of the LORD your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today, that the LORD your God will set you high above all nations of the earth. 2 And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the LORD your God:
3 “Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the country.
4 “Blessed shall be the fruit of your body, the produce of your ground and the increase of your herds, the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flocks.
5 “Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl.
6 “Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out.
7 “The LORD will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before your face; they shall come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways.
8 “The LORD will command the blessing on you in your storehouses and in all to which you set your hand, and He will bless you in the land which the LORD your God is giving you.
9 “The LORD will establish you as a holy people to Himself, just as He has sworn to you, if you keep the commandments of the LORD your God and walk in His ways. 10 Then all peoples of the earth shall see that you are called by the name of the LORD, and they shall be afraid of you. 11 And the LORD will grant you plenty of goods, in the fruit of your body, in the increase of your livestock, and in the produce of your ground, in the land of which the LORD swore to your fathers to give you. 12 The LORD will open to you His good treasure, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season, and to bless all the work of your hand. You shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow. 13 And the LORD will make you the head and not the tail; you shall be above only, and not be beneath, if you heed the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you today, and are careful to observe them. 14 So you shall not turn aside from any of the words which I command you this day, to the right or the left, to go after other gods to serve them.
15 “But it shall come to pass, if you do not obey the voice of the LORD your God, to observe carefully all His commandments and His statutes which I command you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you:
16 “Cursed shall you be in the city, and cursed shall you be in the country.
17 “Cursed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl.
18 “Cursed shall be the fruit of your body and the produce of your land, the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flocks.
19 “Cursed shall you be when you come in, and cursed shall you be when you go out.
20 “The LORD will send on you cursing, confusion, and rebuke in all that you set your hand to do, until you are destroyed and until you perish quickly, because of the wickedness of your doings in which you have forsaken Me. 21 The LORD will make the plague cling to you until He has consumed you from the land which you are going to possess. 22 The LORD will strike you with consumption, with fever, with inflammation, with severe burning fever, with the sword, with scorching, and with mildew; they shall pursue you until you perish. 23 And your heavens which are over your head shall be bronze, and the earth which is under you shall be iron. 24 The LORD will change the rain of your land to powder and dust; from the heaven it shall come down on you until you are destroyed.
25 “The LORD will cause you to be defeated before your enemies; you shall go out one way against them and flee seven ways before them; and you shall become troublesome to all the kingdoms of the earth. 26 Your carcasses shall be food for all the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and no one shall frighten them away. 27 The LORD will strike you with the boils of Egypt, with tumors, with the scab, and with the itch, from which you cannot be healed. 28 The LORD will strike you with madness and blindness and confusion of heart. 29 And you shall grope at noonday, as a blind man gropes in darkness; you shall not prosper in your ways; you shall be only oppressed and plundered continually, and no one shall save you.
30 “You shall betroth a wife, but another man shall lie with her; you shall build a house, but you shall not dwell in it; you shall plant a vineyard, but shall not gather its grapes. 31 Your ox shall be slaughtered before your eyes, but you shall not eat of it; your donkey shall be violently taken away from before you, and shall not be restored to you; your sheep shall be given to your enemies, and you shall have no one to rescue them. 32 Your sons and your daughters shall be given to another people, and your eyes shall look and fail with longing for them all day long; and there shall be no strength in your hand. 33 A nation whom you have not known shall eat the fruit of your land and the produce of your labor, and you shall be only oppressed and crushed continually. 34 So you shall be driven mad because of the sight which your eyes see. 35 The LORD will strike you in the knees and on the legs with severe boils which cannot be healed, and from the sole of your foot to the top of your head.
36 “The LORD will bring you and the king whom you set over you to a nation which neither you nor your fathers have known, and there you shall serve other gods—wood and stone. 37 And you shall become an astonishment, a proverb, and a byword among all nations where the LORD will drive you.
38 “You shall carry much seed out to the field but gather little in, for the locust shall consume it. 39 You shall plant vineyards and tend them, but you shall neither drink of the wine nor gather the grapes; for the worms shall eat them. 40 You shall have olive trees throughout all your territory, but you shall not anoint yourself with the oil; for your olives shall drop off. 41 You shall beget sons and daughters, but they shall not be yours; for they shall go into captivity. 42 Locusts shall consume all your trees and the produce of your land.
43 “The alien who is among you shall rise higher and higher above you, and you shall come down lower and lower. 44 He shall lend to you, but you shall not lend to him; he shall be the head, and you shall be the tail.
45 “Moreover all these curses shall come upon you and pursue and overtake you, until you are destroyed, because you did not obey the voice of the LORD your God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which He commanded you. 46 And they shall be upon you for a sign and a wonder, and on your descendants forever.
47 “Because you did not serve the LORD your God with joy and gladness of heart, for the abundance of everything, 48 therefore you shall serve your enemies, whom the LORD will send against you, in hunger, in thirst, in nakedness, and in need of everything; and He will put a yoke of iron on your neck until He has destroyed you. 49 The LORD will bring a nation against you from afar, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flies, a nation whose language you will not understand, 50 a nation of fierce countenance, which does not respect the elderly nor show favor to the young. 51 And they shall eat the increase of your livestock and the produce of your land, until you are destroyed; they shall not leave you grain or new wine or oil, or the increase of your cattle or the offspring of your flocks, until they have destroyed you.
52 “They shall besiege you at all your gates until your high and fortified walls, in which you trust, come down throughout all your land; and they shall besiege you at all your gates throughout all your land which the LORD your God has given you. 53 You shall eat the fruit of your own body, the flesh of your sons and your daughters whom the LORD your God has given you, in the siege and desperate straits in which your enemy shall distress you. 54 The sensitive and very refined man among you will be hostile toward his brother, toward the wife of his bosom, and toward the rest of his children whom he leaves behind, 55 so that he will not give any of them the flesh of his children whom he will eat, because he has nothing left in the siege and desperate straits in which your enemy shall distress you at all your gates. 56 The tender and delicate woman among you, who would not venture to set the sole of her foot on the ground because of her delicateness and sensitivity, will refuse to the husband of her bosom, and to her son and her daughter, 57 her placenta which comes out from between her feet and her children whom she bears; for she will eat them secretly for lack of everything in the siege and desperate straits in which your enemy shall distress you at all your gates.
58 “If you do not carefully observe all the words of this law that are written in this book, that you may fear this glorious and awesome name, THE LORD YOUR GOD, 59 then the LORD will bring upon you and your descendants extraordinary plagues — great and prolonged plagues—and serious and prolonged sicknesses. 60 Moreover He will bring back on you all the diseases of Egypt, of which you were afraid, and they shall cling to you. 61 Also every sickness and every plague, which is not written in this Book of the Law, will the LORD bring upon you until you are destroyed. 62 You shall be left few in number, whereas you were as the stars of heaven in multitude, because you would not obey the voice of the LORD your God. 63 And it shall be, that just as the LORD rejoiced over you to do you good and multiply you, so the LORD will rejoice over you to destroy you and bring you to nothing; and you shall be plucked from off the land which you go to possess.
64 “Then the LORD will scatter you among all peoples, from one end of the earth to the other, and there you shall serve other gods, which neither you nor your fathers have known—wood and stone. 65 And among those nations you shall find no rest, nor shall the sole of your foot have a resting place; but there the LORD will give you a trembling heart, failing eyes, and anguish of soul. 66 Your life shall hang in doubt before you; you shall fear day and night, and have no assurance of life. 67 In the morning you shall say, ‘Oh, that it were evening!’ And at evening you shall say, ‘Oh, that it were morning!’ because of the fear which terrifies your heart, and because of the sight which your eyes see.
68 “And the LORD will take you back to Egypt in ships, by the way of which I said to you, ‘You shall never see it again.’ And there you shall be offered for sale to your enemies as male and female slaves, but no one will buy you.

Confession: I will diligently obey the voice of the Lord. I believe His favor and blessings rest on me. I am blessed in the city and in the country. I will walk in His blessings. It is the desire of my heart to please Him in all that I do.

THOUGHTS...INSIGHT...What is the Lord saying to me? Leave a comment below.

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Posted on April 1, 2017 .

03-16 – The Old Me Died

“Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.” - Paul Boese

Overview: Paul charges the believer that we are dead to sin and alive to God! This declaration is found in Romans 6. According to this passage, the power of sin in a believer’s life is broken!  It is up to us as Christians to realize this truth and walk in it. We do not have to sin.  The grip and control of sin has been destroyed in our lives. What a mighty work of God!  We no longer have to fall prey to the call of the enemy.  It is within our power to turn and walk away from temptation and walk in the newness of life. Sin and death do not have dominion over Jesus, thus they do not have dominion over us! A careful look at Romans 6 will solidify the fact that we are free from the power of sin.

Memory Verse: Romans 6:11 - Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 6

1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? 2  Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? 3Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. 7 For he who has died has been freed from sin. 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. 13 And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
 
15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! 16 Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of
obedience leading to righteousness? 17 But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were
delivered. 18 And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. 19 I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness.

20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. 22 But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Confession: I know the power of sin has been broken over me.  Therefore, I will choose to walk in the newness of life in Christ. I do not have to sin. I will choose to turn from sin and honor God with my life.  I am no longer in bondage to sin.  I am free!

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Posted on March 25, 2017 .

03-19 – God, Please Take the Wheel

“Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off the goal.” - Henry Ford

Overview: Proverbs 3 is often referred to as “a proverb to the young.” Certainly it is not exclusively for the young as the principles do apply to people of all ages. The young, however, would benefit greatly in taking these words to heart and allowing them to root deep in the spirit. Throughout the entire passage, we see a command followed by a motivation to obey the command and/or a promise if the command is honored. The writer teaches that wise living and obeying God avoids many consequences that will often shorten our lives. The reader is encouraged to seek, honor, trust, and fear (reverence) the Lord.  All these behaviors will have positive and promising outcomes. The proverb concludes by advising the reader in godly conduct toward mankind.

Memory Verse: Proverbs 3:7-8 – Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and depart from evil.  It will be health to your flesh, and strength to your bones.

James 5

1 My son, do not forget my law,
But let your heart keep my commands;
2 For length of days and long life
And peace they will add to you.
3 Let not mercy and truth forsake you; 
Bind them around your neck,
Write them on the tablet of your heart,
4 And so find favor and high esteem
In the sight of God and man.
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, 
And lean not on your own understanding;
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, 
And He shall direct your paths.
7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; 
Fear the LORD and depart from evil.
8 It will be health to your flesh, 
And strength to your bones.
9 Honor the LORD with your possessions, 
And with the firstfruits of all your increase;
10 So your barns will be filled with plenty, 
And your vats will overflow with new wine.
11 My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD,
Nor detest His correction;
12 For whom the LORD loves He corrects, 
Just as a father the son in whom he delights.
13 Happy is the man who finds wisdom, 
And the man who gains understanding;
14 For her proceeds are better than the profits of silver, 
And her gain than fine gold.
15 She is more precious than rubies,
And all the things you may desire cannot compare with her.
16 Length of days is in her right hand, 
In her left hand riches and honor.
17 Her ways are ways of pleasantness, 
And all her paths are peace.
18 She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, 
And happy are all who retain her.
19 The LORD by wisdom founded the earth;
By understanding He established the heavens;
20 By His knowledge the depths were broken up, 
And clouds drop down the dew.
21 My son, let them not depart from your eyes — 
Keep sound wisdom and discretion;
22 So they will be life to your soul And grace to your neck.
23 Then you will walk safely in your way, 
And your foot will not stumble.
24 When you lie down, you will not be afraid;
Yes, you will lie down and your sleep will be sweet.
25 Do not be afraid of sudden terror,
Nor of trouble from the wicked when it comes;
26 For the LORD will be your confidence, 
And will keep your foot from being caught.
27 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, 
When it is in the power of your hand to do so.
28 Do not say to your neighbor, “Go, and come back,
And tomorrow I will give it,” When you have it with you.
29 Do not devise evil against your neighbor, 
For he dwells by you for safety’s sake.
30 Do not strive with a man without cause, 
If he has done you no harm.
31 Do not envy the oppressor, 
And choose none of his ways;
32 For the perverse person is an abomination to the LORD,
But His secret counsel is with the upright.
33 The curse of the LORD is on the house of the wicked, 
But He blesses the home of the just.
34 Surely He scorns the scornful, 
But gives grace to the humble.
35 The wise shall inherit glory,
But shame shall be the legacy of fools.

Confession: I will trust in the Lord and not in my own understanding. I know He will direct my steps. I will seek His wisdom above all others. Plus, I will be a giver today. I will honor Him with all my possessions. Everything I own is His! I will pay attention when He corrects me. I know He loves me.

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Posted on March 18, 2017 .

03-12 - My Prayers Do Matter

“Good timber does not grow with ease. The stronger the wind, the stronger the trees.”  Willard Marriott

Overview: In James 5, the author gives warning to a group of people he calls rich and classes them with the non-Christians he sites in James 2:6. Basically, these individuals were enjoying a prosperous and comfortable lifestyle with no regard to the things of God. He warns that their day of judgment is coming when their dishonest gain will not protect them, but rather attack them. By verse seven, James turns his attention to the believer (brethren). He encourages patience and promotes godly Christian conduct toward others. He closes the chapter by giving instructions to those who may become sick. The initiative lies with the sick person in sending for the elders (officers of the church) to come and pray. The effective, fervent prayer of the righteous (a believer) will make much power available in the face of sickness!

Memory Verse: James 5:16 – Confess your trespasses one to another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed.  The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

James 5

1 Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming
upon you! 2 Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten. 3 Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have heaped up treasure in the last days. 4 Indeed the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. 5 You have lived on the earth in pleasure and luxury; you have fattened your hearts as in a day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned, you have murdered the just; he does not resist you.
7 Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. 8 You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.
9 Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door! 10 My brethren, take the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord, as an example of suffering and patience. 11 Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord—that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.
12 But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath. But let your “Yes” be “Yes,” and your “No,” “No,” lest you fall into judgment.
13 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. 17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. 18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.
19 Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, 20let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.

Confession: I will wait patiently for you, my Lord. I will persevere and You will be merciful and compassionate. Today, I will pray for my family and friends. If I am attacked with sickness in my body, I will take authority over the sickness, call for the elders of the church to pray for me, and believe God for my complete healing.

THOUGHTS...INSIGHT...What is the Lord saying to me? Leave a comment below.

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Posted on March 11, 2017 .

03-05 - Place Me on the Altar

“Life is like riding a bicycle. You won’t fall off unless you stop peddling.” Claude D. Pepper

Overview: Romans 12 is basically divided into three parts. Paul admonishes, begs, believers to address the issues of worship, not conforming to the world, and the renewing of the mind. Secondly, he speaks of the functions or gifts found within the body of Christ. Lastly, Paul concludes with the command to behave like a Christian is expected to behave. We are instructed to overcome evil with good and to live at peace with all men.

Memory Verse: Romans 12:2 – And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Romans 12

1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. 4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. 6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; 7 or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; 8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. 10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; 11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; 13 distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.
17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”
21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Confession: I will present myself to the Lord as an act of worship. I will renew my mind daily by the Word of God. Nothing shall derail me from His purpose for my life. I will discover my spiritual gift and serve the Lord through my gift. I will seek to serve others and treat others according to the Word of God.

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Posted on March 4, 2017 .

02-26 – I’m Thirsty

“It is a wealthy person, indeed, who calculates riches not in gold, but in friends.” - Jim Stovall

Overview: Psalm 42 and 43 were probably originally one psalm. This is evident by the repeated refrain (42:6, 11; 43:5; also 42:3b, 10b; and 42:9; 43:2), by the structure of the psalm which is incomplete without Psalm 43, and because of the fact that Psalm 43 has no title.  In Psalm 42, the writer expresses his desire to enter into worship to God, but he is apparently inhibited in some manner. There seems to be a struggle within himself and he engages his soul in a dialogue.  The writer seems alone and alienated from God. The writer eventually exercises his memory of the works of God and is able to encourage himself to, “hope in God” and to praise Him knowing that future events are based on the character of God Himself.

Memory Verse: Psalm 42:8 – The Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night His song shall be with me – a prayer to the God of my life.

Psalm 42

1 As the deer pants for the water brooks,
So pants my soul for You, O God.
2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. 
When shall I come and appear before God?
3 My tears have been my food day and night, 
While they continually say to me,
“Where is your God?”
4 When I remember these things,
I pour out my soul within me.
For I used to go with the multitude;
I went with them to the house of God, 
With the voice of joy and praise,
With a multitude that kept a pilgrim feast.
5 Why are you cast down, O my soul? 
And why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him For the help of His countenance.
6 O my God, my soul is cast down within me;
Therefore I will remember You from the land of the Jordan, 
And from the heights of Hermon, From the Hill Mizar.
7 Deep calls unto deep at the noise of Your waterfalls; 
All Your waves and billows have gone over me.
8 The LORD will command His lovingkindness in the daytime, And in the night His song shall be with me — A prayer to the God of my life.
9 I will say to God my Rock, “Why have You forgotten me?
Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?”
10 As with a breaking of my bones, My enemies reproach me,
While they say to me all day long, “Where is your God?”
11 Why are you cast down, O my soul? 
And why are you disquieted within me? 
Hope in God; For I shall yet praise Him,
The help of my countenance and my God.

Confession: Even when I am down in spirit, I will worship the Lord. I will remember all the times He has been faithful and I will know that He will continue to be faithful. I am hungry to worship Him. I am thirsty to know Him.  I know those who hunger and thirst for Him shall be filled.

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Posted on February 25, 2017 .

02-19 – Jesus Makes Them All Mad

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in the moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”  
- Martin Luther King, Jr.

Overview: If asked who the major theologians of the New Testament are, one would probably answer Jesus, John, and Paul. Few would think to mention Luke; and yet his two-volume work, Luke-Acts, amounts to approximately one fourth of the entire New Testament! Luke was a physician and an evangelist and his writings are considered historical in nature. Luke’s intention in his writing of the two books stems from his concern to show how Gentiles figure in God’s plan of salvation, as revealed in the Scriptures and as seen in the missionary outreach of the apostles. In the seventh chapter of Luke, we see Jesus healing a Centurion’s servant, raising the son of a widow from the dead, assuring John the Baptist that He is, in fact, the promised Messiah and finally, forgiving a sinful woman. This chapter is power-packed with the miraculous activity of Jesus and the confirmation of His ministry in progress.

Memory Verse: Luke 7:47 – Therefore I say unto you, her sins which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much.  But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.

Luke 7

1 Now when He concluded all His sayings in the hearing of the people, He entered Capernaum. 2 And a certain centurion’s servant, who was dear to him, was sick and ready to die. 3 So when he heard about Jesus, he sent elders of the Jews to Him, pleading with Him to come and heal his servant. 4 And when they came to Jesus, they begged Him earnestly, saying that the one for whom He should do this was deserving, 5 “for he loves our nation, and has built us a synagogue.”
6 Then Jesus went with them. And when He was already not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to Him, saying to Him, “Lord, do not trouble Yourself, for I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof. 7 Therefore I did not even think myself worthy to come to You. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. 8 For I also am a man placed under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
9 When Jesus heard these things, He marveled at him, and turned around and said to the crowd that followed Him, “I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!” 10 And those who were sent, returning to the house, found the servant
well who had been sick.
11 Now it happened, the day after, that He went into a city called Nain; and many of His disciples went with Him, and a large crowd. 12 And when He came near the gate of the city, behold, a dead man was being carried out, the only son of his mother; and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the city was with her. 13 When the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.” 14 Then He came and touched the open coffin, and those who carried him stood still. And He said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” 15 So he who was dead sat up and began to speak. And He presented him to his mother.
16 Then fear came upon all, and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has risen up among us”; and, “God has visited His people.” 17 And this report about Him went throughout all Judea and all the surrounding region.
18 Then the disciples of John reported to him concerning all these things. 19 And John, calling two of his disciples to him, sent them to Jesus, saying, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?”
20 When the men had come to Him, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to You, saying, ‘Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?’” 21 And that very hour He cured many of infirmities, afflictions, and evil spirits; and to many blind He gave sight.
22 Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and tell John the things you have seen and heard: that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the gospel preached to them. 23 And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.”
24 When the messengers of John had departed, He began to speak to the multitudes concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? 25 But what did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft garments? Indeed those who are gorgeously appareled and live in luxury are in kings’ courts. 26 But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I say to you, and more than a prophet. 27 This is he of whom it is written:

‘Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, 
Who will prepare Your way before You.’

28 For I say to you, among those born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.”
29 And when all the people heard Him, even the tax collectors justified God, having been baptized with the baptism of John. 30 But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the will of God for themselves, not having been baptized by him.
31 And the Lord said, “To what then shall I liken the men of this generation, and what are they like? 32 They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling to one another, saying:

‘We played the flute for you, 
And you did not dance;
We mourned to you, 
And you did not weep.’
 
33 For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ 34 The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look, a glutton and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ 35 But wisdom is justified by all her children.”

36 Then one of the Pharisees asked Him to eat with him. And He went to the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to eat. 37 And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil, 38 and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil. 39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he spoke to himself, saying, “This Man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner.”
40 And Jesus answered and said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” So he said, “Teacher, say it.”
41 “There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave them both. Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more?”
43 Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.”
And He said to him, “You have rightly judged.” 44 Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head. 45 You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in. 46 You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil. 47 Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.”
48 Then He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
49 And those who sat at the table with Him began to say to themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”
50 Then He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”

Confession: I know that Jesus can overcome anything, even death. I know there is no one or nothing greater than Him. My faith in Him will increase as I hear and mediate on His Word. Today, I will experience His life - I will have great faith.

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Posted on February 18, 2017 .

02/12 – The Power of Sin

Gerald Sittser wrote that loss was “like a closed road that forces us to turn around and find another way to our destination. Who knows what we will discover along the way.”

Overview: The first verse of the book of Isaiah gives proof of the author of this book, Isaiah, the son of Amoz.  Isaiah was a prophet who prophesied at the most crucial period in the history of Judah and Israel which made up the northern and the southern kingdoms.  Israel had fallen to pagan worship.  Judah plummeted into moral and spiritual decay. Isaiah writes to pronounce God’s displeasure with the sin of Judah, Israel, and the other surrounding areas.  Isaiah tries to turn the people from disobedience to obedience so that disaster may be avoided. He also describes a foundation of hope and promise to those who remain faithful to God and His commands. Chapter 59 illustrates how sin separates us from fellowship with God and how repentance from sin can bring us back into a full, healthy relationship with God. Isaiah also shows how God will defend and deliver His people from the enemy’s attack.

Memory verse: Isaiah 59:19 – So shall they fear the name of the Lord from the west, and His glory from the rising of the sun; when the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him.

Isaiah 59

1 Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, That it cannot save;
Nor His ear heavy, That it cannot hear.
2 But your iniquities have separated you from your God; 
And your sins have hidden His face from you,
So that He will not hear.
3 For your hands are defiled with blood, 
And your fingers with iniquity;
Your lips have spoken lies,
Your tongue has muttered perversity.
4 No one calls for justice,
Nor does any plead for truth.
They trust in empty words and speak lies; 
They conceive evil and bring forth iniquity.
5 They hatch vipers’ eggs and weave the spider’s web;
He who eats of their eggs dies,
And from that which is crushed a viper breaks out.
6 Their webs will not become garments,
Nor will they cover themselves with their works; 
Their works are works of iniquity,
And the act of violence is in their hands.
7 Their feet run to evil,
And they make haste to shed innocent blood; 
Their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; 
Wasting and destruction are in their paths.
8 The way of peace they have not known, 
And there is no justice in their ways;
They have made themselves crooked paths; 
Whoever takes that way shall not know peace.
9 Therefore justice is far from us,
Nor does righteousness overtake us; 
We look for light, but there is darkness!
For brightness, but we walk in blackness!
10 We grope for the wall like the blind, 
And we grope as if we had no eyes; 
We stumble at noonday as at twilight;
We are as dead men in desolate places.
11 We all growl like bears, And moan sadly like doves;
We look for justice, but there is none; 
For salvation, but it is far from us.
12 For our transgressions are multiplied before You, 
And our sins testify against us;
For our transgressions are with us,
And as for our iniquities, we know them:
13 In transgressing and lying against the LORD, 
And departing from our God,
Speaking oppression and revolt,
Conceiving and uttering from the heart words of falsehood.
14 Justice is turned back,
And righteousness stands afar off; 
For truth is fallen in the street, And equity cannot enter.
15 So truth fails, And he who departs from evil makes himself a prey. 
Then the LORD saw it, and it displeased Him
That there was no justice.
16 He saw that there was no man,
And wondered that there was no intercessor; 
Therefore His own arm brought salvation for Him;
And His own righteousness, it sustained Him.
17 For He put on righteousness as a breastplate, 
And a helmet of salvation on His head;
He put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, 
And was clad with zeal as a cloak.
18 According to their deeds, accordingly He will repay, 
Fury to His adversaries,
Recompense to His enemies; 
The coastlands He will fully repay.
19 So shall they fear
The name of the LORD from the west, 
And His glory from the rising of the sun; 
When the enemy comes in like a flood,
The Spirit of the LORD will lift up a standard against him.
20 “The Redeemer will come to Zion,
And to those who turn from transgression in Jacob,” Says the LORD.

21 “As for Me,” says the LORD, “this is My covenant with them: My Spirit who is upon you, and My words which I have put in your mouth, shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouth of your descendants, nor from the mouth of your descendants’ descendants,” says the LORD, “from this time and forevermore.”

Confession: I will keep my heart clean before the Lord so that my fellowship with Him is not interrupted. His Spirit is upon me and His Words are in my mouth. I will walk in the covenant we share and I will trust the Lord to deal with my enemies.

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Posted on February 11, 2017 .