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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 .

02-05 – The Day That Changed Everything

“Have courage for the great sorrows in life, and patience for the small ones. And when you have laboriously accomplished your daily tasks, go to sleep in peace, God is awake.”  - Victor Hugo

Overview: The book of Acts does not specifically mention an author, but many indications point to Luke. It appears to be a continuation of the Gospel of Luke and records the acts of the early believers, the early church, and what Jesus continues to do and teach through the Holy Spirit. We see the great experience of the coming of the Holy Spirit, life under the presence and influence of the Holy Spirit, and the power of the Holy Spirit in the church.  Acts 2 documents the initial coming of the Holy Spirit as promised by Jesus in John 14:16. What a life-changing event this was for the early believers! Christians today can have this same experience as we pray to receive the infilling of the Holy Spirit in our own lives (Matt. 7:11).

Memory verse: Acts 2:17 – And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams.

Acts 2

1 When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
5 And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven. 6 And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language. 7 Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, “Look, are not all these who speak Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born? 9Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretans and Arabs— we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.” 12 So they were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “Whatever could this mean?”
13 Others mocking said, “They are full of new wine.”
14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words. 15 For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. 16 But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:

17 ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; 
Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, 
Your young men shall see visions,
Your old men shall dream dreams.
18 And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; And they shall prophesy.
19 I will show wonders in heaven above And signs in the earth beneath:
Blood and fire and vapor of smoke.
20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood,
Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the LORD.
21 And it shall come to pass
That whoever calls on the name of the LORD Shall be saved.’

22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know—23 Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; 24 whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it. 25 For David says concerning Him:
‘I foresaw the LORD always before my face,
For He is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken.
26 Therefore my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad; 
Moreover my flesh also will rest in hope.
27 For You will not leave my soul in Hades,
Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.
28 You have made known to me the ways of life; 
You will make me full of joy in Your presence.’

29 “Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, 31 he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption. 32 This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. 33 Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear.
34 “For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself:
‘The LORD said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand,
35 Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.”’
36 “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”
37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”
38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”
40 And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation.” 41 Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. 42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43 Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. 44 Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, 45 and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.
46 So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.

Confession: I will be filled with power to be a witness for Jesus Christ when I am filled with the Holy Spirit. I will declare the truths of God as Peter did and I will see the church grow and progress.  His power will be in me.

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Posted on February 4, 2017 .

01/29 – Words to Live By

“Christ is the Bread for men’s souls.  In Him the Church has enough to feed the whole world.”  
- Ian Maclaren

Overview: Solomon, king of Israel, was the son of King David and Bathsheba. He reigned for forty years, taking the throne at about twenty years old.  Solomon wrote more books of the Bible than any other Old Testament writer except Moses.  He authored most of Proverbs which can easily be defined as “wisdom language.” The purpose of the book is to impart wisdom to the reader often by contrasting two very vivid ideas. For example, wisdom versus folly, good versus evil, life versus death, prosperity versus poverty, honor versus dishonor, truth versus falsehood, prudence versus rashness, and industry versus indolence.  In Proverbs 18, the author speaks of the words we say, the power of those words, and how our words affect others.  He also deals with laziness, a man’s gifts, and how to deal with one who is offended.

Memory verse: Proverbs 18:21 – Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

Proverbs 18

1 A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire; 
He rages against all wise judgment.
2 A fool has no delight in understanding, 
But in expressing his own heart.
3 When the wicked comes, contempt comes also; 
And with dishonor comes reproach.
4 The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters; 
The wellspring of wisdom is a flowing brook.
5 It is not good to show partiality to the wicked, 
Or to overthrow the righteous in judgment.
6 A fool’s lips enter into contention, 
And his mouth calls for blows.
7 A fool’s mouth is his destruction, 
And his lips are the snare of his soul.
8 The words of a talebearer are like tasty trifles, 
And they go down into the inmost body.
9 He who is slothful in his work
Is a brother to him who is a great destroyer.
10 The name of the LORD is a strong tower; 
The righteous run to it and are safe.
11 The rich man’s wealth is his strong city, 
And like a high wall in his own esteem.
12 Before destruction the heart of a man is haughty, 
And before honor is humility.
13 He who answers a matter before he hears it,
It is folly and shame to him.
14 The spirit of a man will sustain him in sickness, 
But who can bear a broken spirit?
15 The heart of the prudent acquires knowledge, 
And the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.
16 A man’s gift makes room for him, 
And brings him before great men.
17 The first one to plead his cause seems right, 
Until his neighbor comes and examines him.
18 Casting lots causes contentions to cease, 
And keeps the mighty apart.
19 A brother offended is harder to win than a strong city, 
And contentions are like the bars of a castle.
20 A man’s stomach shall be satisfied from the fruit of his mouth;
From the produce of his lips he shall be filled.
21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, 
those who love it will eat its fruit.
22 He who finds a wife finds a good thing,
And obtains favor from the LORD.
23 The poor man uses entreaties, 
But the rich answers roughly.
24 A man who has friends must himself be friendly, 
But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

Confession: I realize there is power in my words. I choose to speak life rather than death over myself, my family and my friends. My tongue will be a blessing. I yield it to the Lord. I will closely guard my words!

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Posted on January 28, 2017 .

01/22 – The Light of the World

“Of all the systems of morality, ancient and modern, which have come under my observation, none appear so pure to me as that of Jesus.”  - Thomas Jefferson

Overview: The opening chapter of the book of John contains some important foundational truths that must be understood and realized by every believer. This chapter links Jesus as the Word made flesh. The writer introduces John the Baptist as the forerunner of Jesus, the one who declared, “I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness: Make straight the way of the Lord” and the one who baptized many who were waiting on the Messiah to come. John records John’s words that Jesus would forgive sin and would baptize with the Holy Spirit. The chapter concludes with Jesus calling His first disciples from among those who also followed John the Baptist.

Memory verse: John 1:12 – But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name

John 1

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. 8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. 9 That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.
10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 11 He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
15 John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.’”
16 And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.
19 Now this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?”
20 He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.”
21 And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” 
He said, “I am not.”
“Are you the Prophet?”
And he answered, “No.”
22 Then they said to him, “Who are you, that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself?”
23 He said: “I am ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
“Make straight the way of the LORD,”’ as the prophet Isaiah said.”
24 Now those who were sent were from the Pharisees. 25 And they asked him, saying, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?”
26 John answered them, saying, “I baptize with water, but there stands One among you whom you do not know. 27 It is He who, coming after me, is preferred before me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose.”
28 These things were done in Bethabara beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.
29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is He of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who is preferred before me, for He was before me.’ 31 I did not know Him; but that He should be revealed to Israel, therefore I came baptizing with water.”
32 And John bore witness, saying, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him. 33 I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God.”
35 Again, the next day, John stood with two of his disciples. 36 And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, “Behold the Lamb of God!”
37 The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. 38 Then Jesus turned, and seeing them following, said to them, “What do you seek?” They said to Him, “Rabbi” (which is to say, when translated, Teacher), “where are You staying?”
39 He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where He was staying, and remained with Him that day (now it was about the tenth hour).
40 One of the two who heard John speak, and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41 He first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated, the Christ). 42 And he brought him to Jesus. Now when Jesus looked at him, He said, “You are Simon the son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas” (which is translated, A Stone).
43 The following day Jesus wanted to go to Galilee, and He found Philip and said to him, “Follow Me.” 44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”
46 And Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.”
47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him, and said of him, “Behold, an Israeliteindeed, in whom is no deceit!”
48 Nathanael said to Him, “How do You know me?”
Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.”
49 Nathanael answered and said to Him, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!”
50 Jesus answered and said to him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” 51 And He said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”

Confession: Jesus is the Word of God and the Light of the world. He is life and because I am in Him, I can experience His life and light. Because I am born again He gives me the authority and the right to become His child. I love Him and celebrate the fact that I am His child!

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Posted on January 21, 2017 .

01-15 - When He Died, I Died

“Christianity can never come to us as a bargain; it can never be had at a wholesale price.  We must be willing to pay the full price of surrender and trust.”  - William L. Krutza, The Alliance Witness

Overview: In his letter called Galatians, Paul writes to a cluster of churches in a region of Asia Minor called Galatia.  Christians in that area were being held to the Law by legalists in the church called Judaizers. They suggested that, in addition to having a relationship with Jesus Christ based on faith in Him, the Law must be kept as well. They did not deny that faith in Jesus was necessary, but they insisted that it was inadequate. Chapter 2 of Galatians deals specifically with the bondage of the Law over the freedom of the Gospel. The reader can tell that Paul is passionate about the liberty found in Christ and he makes it his mission to make sure this truth is protected and not coupled with any other “gospel.”

Memory verse: Galatians 2:20 – I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me.

Galatians 2

1 Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and also took Titus with me. 2 And I went up by revelation, and communicated to them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to those who were of reputation, lest by any means I might run, or had run, in vain. 3 Yet not even Titus who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised. 4 And this occurred because of false brethren secretly brought in (who came in by stealth to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage), 5 to whom we did not yield submission even for an hour, that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.

6 But from those who seemed to be something—whatever they were, it makes no difference to me; God shows personal favoritism to no man—for those who seemed to be something added nothing to me. 7 But on the contrary, when they saw that the gospel for the uncircumcised had been committed to me, as the gospel for the circumcised was to Peter 8 (for He who worked effectively in Peter for the apostleship to the circumcised also worked effectively in me toward the Gentiles), 9 and when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that had been given to me, they gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. 10 They desired only that we should remember the poor, the very thing which I also was eager to do.

11 Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed; 12 for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision. 13 And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy.

14 But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all, “If you, being a Jew, live in the manner of Gentiles and not as the Jews, why do you compel Gentiles to live as Jews? 15 We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, 16 knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.

17 “But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is Christ therefore a minister of sin? Certainly not! 18 For if I build again those things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. 19 For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. 21 I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.”

Confession: I believe in the complete work of Jesus Christ on the Cross. I believe He died and rose again on the third day. I am thankful for His sacrifice - my sins are forgiven. I believe there is nothing else to be added to this Gospel. Jesus is the only way to heaven - there is no other.

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Posted on January 14, 2017 .

01-08 – How to Prosper

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” - Martin Luther King, Jr.

Overview: In Hebrew, the book of Psalms is called Tehillim, “Songs of Praise,” or in fuller form, Sefer Tehillim, “Book of Psalms.” In these models of prayer and praise, Israel shaped appropriate and effective ways of speaking to God. Through the psalms, Israel expressed painful experiences of loss and turmoil, and exciting experiences of rescue and blessing. Psalm 1 introduces the book of Psalms and encourages meditation in this book as “the Law of the Lord.” The psalm describes who will be blessed and explains that person’s character and fate. It then pronounces the fate of “the wicked,” and closes with a statement that reveals God’s role in determining man’s fate.

Memory verse: Psalm 1:3 – He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.

Psalm 1

1 Blessed is the man
Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, 
Nor stands in the path of sinners,
Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, 
And in His law he meditates day and night.
3 He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water,
That brings forth its fruit in its season, 
Whose leaf also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper.
4 The ungodly are not so,
But are like the chaff which the wind drives away.
5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, 
Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
6 For the LORD knows the way of the righteous, 
But the way of the ungodly shall perish.

Confession: I will not walk, stand, or sit in the ways of the sinful and ungodly. In doing this, I will be blessed (happy)! I will meditate on the Word of God all the time. I am planted in Him and I will bear fruit, and because I am planted in Him, everything I do will prosper.

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Posted on January 7, 2017 .

01-01 – Trust…the Key to God’s Heart

“We do not remember days, we remember moments.”
- Cesare Pavese

Overview: Romans chapters 6, 7, and 8 are some of the most powerful and important chapters in the entire Bible. If every believer could grasp the truths in these chapters, their life would never be the same! This week’s reading focuses specifically on chapter 8, probably the most potent of the three chapters mentioned because it declares the believer as free in Jesus Christ. Paul begins a description of life in the Holy Spirit. He first proclaims that the Spirit assures death to sin and makes holiness possible. Then, he contrasts the law and grace and encourages his readers to refrain from living in the flesh, being controlled by a carnal mind. He finalizes the chapter by explaining the work and cooperation of the Holy Spirit in our prayer lives.

Memory verse: Romans 8:28 – And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

Romans 8

1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, 4 that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. 8 So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
9 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. 10 And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.
12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.
18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 19 For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in
hope; 21 because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. 23 Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. 24 For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.
26 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. 27 Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written:
“For Your sake we are killed all day long;
We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”

37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Confession: I no longer live in condemnation because I am now in Christ Jesus. I will walk according to the Spirit and not according to what my flesh may desire. I have the mind of Christ, not a carnal (fleshly; worldly) mind.  I will be led by the Spirit of God and I will follow Him. I am adopted by God the Father - I believe the Holy Spirit will lead, guide, and help me in all that I do.

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Posted on December 31, 2016 .

12-25 – The Beginning

“Great opportunities to help others seldom come, but small ones surround us every day.”  - Sally Koch

Overview: The word Genesis comes from the Greek genesis, meaning “birth, origin.” The Hebrews called the book by its first word, ber’shith, “in the beginning.” Genesis, of course, is about beginnings – specifically the beginning of the earth and the beginning of the people of God. In the first chapter of Genesis, Moses records the eight acts of creation including the heavens and the earth, vegetation, man, and more! This chapter is as profound as it is simple. It focuses on the way God ordered the earth. The purpose of chapter one is three fold. First, it teaches essential facts about how God ordered the world so that humans might understand their role in creation. Second, it leads us to praise God as the all-powerful Creator. And third, it proves God as superior over any force or created elements, regardless of their splendor.

Memory verse: Genesis 1:26 – Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

Genesis 1

1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
3 Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. 4 And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day.
6 Then God said, “Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.” 7 Thus God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament; and it was so. 8 And God called the firmament Heaven. So the evening and the morning were the second day.
9 Then God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together in to one place, and let the dry land appear”; and it was so. 10 And God called the dry land Earth, and the gathering together of the waters He called Seas. And God saw that it was good.
11 Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth”; and it was so. 12 And the earth brought forth grass, the herb that yields seed according to its kind, and the tree that yields fruit, whose seed is in itself according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 13 So the evening and the morning were the third day.
 14 Then God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years; 15 and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so. 16 Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also. 17 God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth, 18 and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 So the evening and the morning were the fourth day.
20 Then God said, “Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the face of the firmament of the heavens.” 21 So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” 23 So the evening and the morning were the fifth day.
24 Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind: cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth, each according to its kind”; and it was so. 25 And God made the beast of the earth according to its kind, cattle according to its kind, and everything that creeps on the earth according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
29 And God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food. 30 Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food”; and it was so. 31 Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

Confession: I am created in the Image of the Father. I have been given dominion on the earth and I will walk in that dominion. I will take authority over my situations and I will speak the Word of God over my life. I am victorious in Jesus and I will not walk in defeat.  I am more than a conqueror!

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

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Posted on December 24, 2016 .

12-18 – Faith Still Moves God

“You would think that everyone would leap at the chance to get rid of sin.  Not so. They want relief, not a cure.” -  Dr. Henry Brandt

Overview: Hebrews 11 is often referred to as “The Faith Chapter” or “The Hall of  Faith” because it lists many different individuals who expressed and displayed faith in God during trying times in their lives.  The author’s purpose in this section of his letter is to encourage his readers to emulate these heroes and heroines of faith, who on the basis of what they knew about God and His promises had the courage to move out into the unknown, with their hearts set upon, and their lives controlled by, a great unseen reality. This list of heroes is meant to provide the readers with strength and encourage- ment in their own difficult circumstances. According to this chapter, the key to unlocking the gate to effective Christian existence is to move in and be found in the motivating power of faith!

Memory verse: Hebrews 11:6 – But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

Hebrews 11

1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 2 For by it the elders obtained a good testimony.
3 By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.
4 By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks.
5 By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, “and was not found, because God had taken him”; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God. 6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
7 By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.
8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; 10 for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
11 By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised. 12 Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born as many as the stars of the sky in multitude—innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore.
13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. 14 For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. 15 And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.
17 By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, 18 of whom it was said, “In Isaac your seed shall be called,” 19 concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense.
20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come.
21 By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff.
22 By faith Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the departure of the children of Israel, and gave instructions concerning his bones.
23 By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden three months by his parents, because they saw he was a beautiful child; and they were not afraid of the king’s command.
24 By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25 choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, 26 esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward.
27 By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible. 28 By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, lest he who destroyed the firstborn should touch them.
29 By faith they passed through the Red Sea as by dry land, whereas the Egyptians, attempting to do so, were drowned.
30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they were encircled for seven days. 31 By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace.
32 And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets: 33 who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to fight the armies of the aliens. 35 Women received their dead raised to life again. Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. 36 Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented—38 of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth.
39 And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, 40 God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us.

Confession: I know that God can be trusted. I know that God can be believed. I put my faith in Him because He is trustworthy. Because I trust Him, my faith will be active in my obedience. I will obey God because I trust Him. I have faith that He is Who He says He is and He can do what He says He can do. I will please Him because I will walk by faith.

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

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Posted on December 17, 2016 .