Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Daily Word of God - 2 Timothy 1:13-14

2 Timothy 1:13-14 New International Version (NIV)

13 What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. 14 Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.

Daily Word of God - Proverbs 17:22

Proverbs 17:22 New International Version (NIV)

22 A cheerful heart is good medicine,
    but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Daily Word of God - Isaiah 49:5-6

Isaiah 49:5-6 New International Version (NIV)

And now the Lord says—
    he who formed me in the womb to be his servant
to bring Jacob back to him
    and gather Israel to himself,
for I am[a] honored in the eyes of the Lord
    and my God has been my strength
he says:
“It is too small a thing for you to be my servant
    to restore the tribes of Jacob
    and bring back those of Israel I have kept.
I will also make you a light for the Gentiles,
    that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.”

Footnotes:

  1. Isaiah 49:5 Or him, / but Israel would not be gathered; / yet I will be

Daily Word of God - Ephesians 6:10-12

Ephesians 6:10-12 New International Version (NIV)

The Armor of God

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Daily Word of God - 1 John 4:4-6

1 John 4:4-6 New International Version (NIV)

You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit[a] of truth and the spirit of falsehood.

Footnotes:

  1. 1 John 4:6 Or spirit

Sunday Praise & Worship Message - Live Free

The Lord has a very interesting way of communicating with me. While I was driving to work this week, I happened to see a license plate from New Hampshire. With it being the morning rush hour, I was able to read the state motto that was emblazoned on the plate. It read, “Live Free or Die”. As I continued my drive to work, those words began to strike a chord in my heart and started to stir my soul. I began to pray for guidance and discernment. 

When I got to work, I opened my Bible and asked God to lead me to the scripture. He led me to Paul’s letter to the Romans. As I began to read, I came to the verse that brought His message to my heart. 

In chapter six of his epistle to those in Rome, Paul writes, “Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace.

I began to really think long and hard about the verse that He had led me to. When you think about it, we are slaves to our earthly desires. Those earthly desires lead us away from God and cause us to be disobedient. Sin has a power over our lives and leads us to destruction, separation from God and, ultimately, to death. Sin enslaves us and controls not only our thoughts but also our actions.

Because of the insidious nature of sin, it is like an infection. It starts with a small wound or abrasion. If we do not take care of it by washing it clean and applying antibiotic cream, the wound can become infected. The infection begins to start overpowering our immune system and spreads to other parts of the body. The tissue nearest the point of infection is poisoned by the toxins of the infection. It begins to die and cause more problems for us. If we don’t seek immediate medical attention, what started as a small scrape or wound becomes a life-threatening assault on the entire body.

Sin affects our spirits in the same way. If we become complacent and do not seek the Lord for help in defeating this spirit infection, it will slowly, but surely, take its toll. The source of our spiritual infections is the earthly desires that surround and assault us daily. You don’t have to go far. Just turn on your television or radio. Every moment of every day, the sins of this world tempt us. It is only through God’s grace and the strength that He provides that we are able to overcome them, but there are times when it is just so difficult for us to combat them.

When we have an infection, we go to see the doctor for help before things get worse. Some decide that they don’t need to see the doctor and, in time, things will get worse and require more help. The same holds true for our spiritual lives. We need to seek Him and ask for help when we are faced with temptation.

Several weeks ago, I read an article about a fungus that infects carpenter ants in the jungles of South America. This fungus infects an ant through small spores that enter the ant. Over time the fungus takes control of the ant and begins to devour it from the inside. At just the right moment, the fungus takes control of the ant’s brain and directs it to climb up and then causes the ant to lock its jaws around the stalk of a plant at a precise height where it can create more spores and rain down on other ants and start the vicious cycle all over again.

Just like that fungal infection that takes over and enslaves the ant and drives it to do things it would normally not do, sin does the same to us. It enslaves us and separates us from God and drives us to do things we wouldn’t do. In order to break the bonds of sin, we need to remember that we have God’s grace that has freed us once and for all from sin. It is because of His son’s sacrifice that our debt of sin was paid. Sin and its consequence of death no longer has its claws buried deep into us or, like the fungus, slowly devouring us from the inside only to infect others.              

Paul tells us in that same chapter, “Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sinful desires.

This sage advice that he gave to those in Rome not only rang true then but also rings true and louder now. We must never allow sin to enslave and control us. 

Still further in his letter, Paul writes, “Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living. Thank God! Once you were slaves of sin, but now you wholeheartedly obey this teaching we have given you. Now you are free from your slavery to sin, and you have become slaves to righteous living.

Through God’s mercy and the gift of grace, we are slaves to righteous living which leads us to eternal life with the Father and His Son, Christ Jesus. But, we must remain vigilant against those things that will lead us astray and surely lead to death. It is so very easy to slip back into our old, earthly ways and to live a disobedient life. When you feel the world trying to infect or take over, God is just a prayer away. He will place a hedge of protection around you, send legions of angels to stand watch over you and will personally watch over you and hold you close.

As you continue to live in obedience to God’s will, you will become a light to those around you. They will clearly see that God lives in and through you. Paul tells the Romans, “Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God.

As a child of God, your purpose is clear. You are a servant of El Shaddai, God Almighty. Do not allow sin to enslave and infect you. Call upon God when you are tempted and He will lead you out of the valley of darkness. 

Remember, your freedom came through the blood of Jesus. He paid your debt and the demands of the law. Paul closes chapter six with these words, “When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the obligation to do right. And what was the result? You are now ashamed of the things you used to do, things that end in eternal doom. But now you are free from the power of sin and have become slaves of God. Now you do those things that lead to holiness and result in eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.

Don’t let the desires of this world lead you to eternal doom. Let the free gift of God lead you to eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. When you remain obedient and follow the good shepherd, Jesus, you can live free and stand firm in His grace.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

Daily Word of God - Psalm 84:10-12

Psalm 84:10-12 New International Version (NIV)

10 Better is one day in your courts
    than a thousand elsewhere;
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
    than dwell in the tents of the wicked.
11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
    the Lord bestows favor and honor;
no good thing does he withhold
    from those whose walk is blameless.
12 Lord Almighty,
    blessed is the one who trusts in you.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Daily Word of God - Deuteronomy 32:1-4

Deuteronomy 32:1-4 New International Version (NIV)

 Listen, you heavens, and I will speak;
    hear, you earth, the words of my mouth.
Let my teaching fall like rain
    and my words descend like dew,
like showers on new grass,
    like abundant rain on tender plants.
I will proclaim the name of the Lord.
    Oh, praise the greatness of our God!
He is the Rock, his works are perfect,
    and all his ways are just.
A faithful God who does no wrong,
    upright and just is he.

Daily Word of God - 2 Corinthians 1:8-11

2 Corinthians 1:8-11 New International Version (NIV)

We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters,[a] about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. 10 He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, 11 as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.

Footnotes:

  1. 2 Corinthians 1:8 The Greek word for brothers and sisters (adelphoi) refers here to believers, both men and women, as part of God’s family; also in 8:1; 13:11.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Daily Word of God - John 17:9-12

John 17:9-12 New International Version (NIV)

I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. 11 I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of[a] your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by[b] that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.

Footnotes:

  1. John 17:11 Or Father, keep them faithful to
  2. John 17:12 Or kept them faithful to

Daily Word of God - 1 John 3:18-20

1 John 3:18-20 New International Version (NIV)

18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.
19 This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence: 20 If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Daily Word of God - Proverbs 2:9-11

Proverbs 2:9-11 New International Version (NIV)

Then you will understand what is right and just
    and fair—every good path.
10 For wisdom will enter your heart,
    and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.
11 Discretion will protect you,
    and understanding will guard you.

Daily Word of God - Acts 2:38-40

Acts 2:38-40 New International Version (NIV)

38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
40 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.”

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Daily Word of God - Psalm 42:1-3

Psalm 42:1-3 New International Version (NIV)

BOOK II

Psalms 42–72

Psalm 42[a][b]

For the director of music. A maskil[c] of the Sons of Korah.

As the deer pants for streams of water,
    so my soul pants for you, my God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
    When can I go and meet with God?
My tears have been my food
    day and night,
while people say to me all day long,
    “Where is your God?”

Footnotes:

  1. Psalm 42:1 In many Hebrew manuscripts Psalms 42 and 43 constitute one psalm.
  2. Psalm 42:1 In Hebrew texts 42:1-11 is numbered 42:2-12.
  3. Psalm 42:1 Title: Probably a literary or musical term

Mid-Week Message - The Puzzle of Life

"And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them."  Romans 8:28 (NLT)

I like puzzles.  Crosswords, word puzzles, jigsaws and others, I like seeing how all the pieces come together.  My neighbor keeps a jigsaw puzzle on her table all the time.  Each time I see it a few more pieces have been added.  Before long, the picture emerges and she boxes it up and begins another one.  The fun is in finding how the pieces adjoin.  I got curious and researched how many jigsaw puzzles are sold annually.  I was very surprised to find that number to be somewhere between forty million to sixty million. Although I knew they were popular, I had no idea that many were purchased each year.  

One of the best selling genres of books is mysteries.  Readers like to look for the clues and see if they can solve the mystery before the end of the story.  It seems that many of us enjoy the mental challenge the author provides.  Once again, we find ourselves taking the bits and pieces and forming them into a conclusion.  

Real life is a bit more difficult to figure out.  I don't know how many times I have heard someone ask, "What is God doing?"  As we go through the moments of our lives and encounter joys and sorrows, we wonder why we are here and what the purpose for our existence is.  We know our Creator doesn't make mistakes and that surely He has a plan for each of us, but, like looking at the underside of a tapestry, sometimes all we can see are the hardships and toils and we can't quite see any design.  

Just like the author of a good mystery, our Lord already knows the outcome.  Because He is all-knowing, He knew before He created us exactly how the fragments of our lives would come together.  He takes each thread and weaves it into a masterpiece, just as a tapestry is created.  We may not be able to see the full pattern, but He knows what the end result will be.  

There is a story of a little girl who was learning about the United States.  Her father found a picture of the country, cut it into pieces and challenged her to put it back together.  Assuming it would take her quite a while to do so, he leaned back in his easy chair with his newspaper.  Soon, the girl came into the room carrying the picture that he had cut out.  She had taped it together to show him.  The father was shocked and asked her how she had finished the puzzle so quickly.  Her response was that it was very difficult until she looked at the back side where she found a picture of Jesus.  When she put the pieces of Jesus together then the map was perfectly put together as well.  

The lesson we learn from that story is this:  No matter how difficult life gets, no matter how confused we become about our lives and our purpose, if we look for Jesus then He will guide us through.  Life is a puzzle.  But only to us.  The Lord has always known how the pieces fit together.  For that reason, we need to keep our faith focused on Him and believe that He will take all things, good and bad, and work them together for His purposes.  Stand in His love and grace.  God bless.  

Daily Word of God - Ecclesiastes 9:17-18

Ecclesiastes 9:17-18 New International Version (NIV)

17 The quiet words of the wise are more to be heeded
    than the shouts of a ruler of fools.
18 Wisdom is better than weapons of war,
    but one sinner destroys much good.