Monday, May 25, 2020

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 14:34

Proverbs 14:34 New King James Version (NKJV)

34 Righteousness exalts a nation,
But sin is a [a]reproach to any people.

Footnotes:

  1. Proverbs 14:34 shame or disgrace

Morning Scripture Reading - Isaiah 26:3

Isaiah 26:3 New King James Version (NKJV)

You will keep him in perfect peace,
Whose mind is stayed on You,
Because he trusts in You.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Evening Scripture Reading - John 20:24-29

John 20:24-29 New King James Version (NKJV)

Seeing and Believing

24 Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 The other disciples therefore said to him, “We have seen the Lord.”
So he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”
26 And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, “Peace to you!” 27 Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.”
28 And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”
29 Jesus said to him, [a]“Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Footnotes:

  1. John 20:29 NU, M omit Thomas

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 28:1-2

Psalm 28:1-2 New King James Version (NKJV)

Rejoicing in Answered Prayer

A Psalm of David.

 To You I will cry, O Lord my Rock:
Do not be silent to me,
Lest, if You are silent to me,
I become like those who go down to the pit.
Hear the voice of my supplications
When I cry to You,
When I lift up my hands toward Your holy sanctuary.

Sunday Praise and Worship Message - All That Matters Most

During this pandemic, we have been given the opportunity to spend some time in reflection and thought. With the death toll and the number of people infected continuing to climb daily, we all have a chance to think about our lives and what are the most important things to us. Some have focused on their families while others are focusing on the end of civilization as we know it. It seems that what we see as important runs across a spectrum from giving and sharing with others to selfishness with varying shades of both in the middle. We all have something that seems to preoccupy our thoughts while we shelter in place and hope and pray that this nightmare will end.

I, like some, have spent my time thinking about my own life and how it is being affected by the pandemic. As I thought about the situation, I realized a couple of things. The first is that there are a lot of things outside of my control. As a person who likes being in control of his world, I often find it frustrating to stand idly by as I watch things happen to me. Because of decisions by other people, I am stuck in my home and have to work from it. Although I don’t miss the rush hour traffic, I do, however, miss that separation of home and work. I get up in the morning and get ready to work. Instead of driving, I walk about twenty feet and sit down at a desk in my home to start work. All of my interactions with my colleagues are through chat applications and phone calls.

The second thing I realized is that there are others who are far worse off than me. It doesn’t take a genius or a rocket scientist to figure out that there are others who are suffering more. Each evening I watch the news and hear the stories of families facing eviction or not being able to feed themselves. I see hundreds of people standing in line waiting to receive food from food banks. For some, it is the very first time that they have had to do that.

The third and probably the most important thing is that each of us must remain grounded in our faith. It is so easy to allow this situation to get the better of us. Each day is a struggle just to keep from thinking about the worst. The stock markets are bouncing up and down. Financial analysts predict that a depression is inevitable. With millions of Americans out of work, many are just barely scraping by to feed their families. Each day is another day of just surviving and making it through the day. As things continue to change, we feel completely and utterly powerless and we don’t know what to do or where to turn. 

But, that is where our faith comes in. We cannot see or even pretend to know what the future has to offer or what we can do to make it from one minute to the next. A cardiologist told me a long time ago that the average human heart has about one billion beats in it. Some last longer while some give out earlier due to disease or injury. But, on average, that muscle in your chest that pumps blood throughout your body every moment of every day has one billion beats in it. We don’t know when the beat we now feel will be the last or beginning of the next. We have no assurances or guarantees of the next beat or breath. 

Man is the only species that has an understanding of his mortality. We know that one day we will stop breathing, turn cold and die. It is just something that happens. Like the things that we make, we, too, have expiration dates. For the most part, we don’t concentrate on that moment. However, when we face something like a natural disaster or a pandemic that threatens to end life for most around the world, that’s when we realize that we don’t have a lot of control and that our lives are as fleeting as the morning fog. 
      
When we start to lose control over our lives and are subject to the situation, we begin to turn to other things. Some use drugs or alcohol to numb their minds to the reality that they face. Others use food to medicate their feelings. Each person turns to something that provides a little peace and eases their minds.

But, those things are only a temporary solution. Drugs, alcohol or whatever we use to numb our feelings only provides a short-lived escape. As their effects wear off, we are once again faced with the stark reality of our problems. 

In his letter to the Colossians, Paul, in chapter three when talking to them about living a new life, writes, “Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.

The things that Paul talks about are the things that should matter the most for each of us. We are God’s children and chosen by Him to be His holy people that He loves. As His children, we know that God watches over us and guides our every step. We have nothing to fear or dread. 

As we do His work, we are to do it in the spirit of love and to always be thankful. By living a life that is filled with joy, mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, our lives are full and we lack nothing.

Each morning as I wake up, I thank God for the gift of life and for the day ahead. When I close my eyes in sleep, I thank Him for the blessings of that day and ask Him to watch over and protect my family as we slumber. In each prayer, I pray that His will be done in my life and that I follow wherever He leads me.

In 1872, Annie Hawks and Robert Lowry wrote a beautiful hymn that should always be in our hearts. That hymn, “I Need Thee Every Hour”, has been on my heart during the last week. There is a particular part of the first verse that gives me comfort. The words, “no tender voice like thine can peace afford”, are very simple, but carry a deep meaning.

It is only His voice that brings me peace and unimaginable joy. He calms me when I am afraid and lends me His strength when mine is failing. In all times, good or bad, our Heavenly Father is there. It is our faith that binds ourselves to Him and keeps us from concentrating on the things of lesser importance.

As you go through this week, concentrate on the most important thing in your life, that faith that binds you closely to the Father. Don’t let the things of his world pull you away from Him. Let the words of that wonderful hymn, “I Need Thee Every Hour”, be your guide to peace, joy, love, service and humility. When you forget about the things of the world and focus on the most important things like your faith, you can definitely stand firm in His grace. 
 
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 14:33

Proverbs 14:33 New King James Version (NKJV)

33 Wisdom rests in the heart of him who has understanding,
But what is in the heart of fools is made known.

Morning Scripture Reading - Isaiah 40:9-11

Isaiah 40:9-11 New King James Version (NKJV)

O Zion,
You who bring good tidings,
Get up into the high mountain;
O Jerusalem,
You who bring good tidings,
Lift up your voice with strength,
Lift it up, be not afraid;
Say to the cities of Judah, “Behold your God!”
10 Behold, the Lord God shall come [a]with a strong hand,
And His arm shall rule for Him;
Behold, His reward is with Him,
And His [b]work before Him.
11 He will feed His flock like a shepherd;
He will gather the lambs with His arm,
And carry them in His bosom,
And gently lead those who are with young.

Footnotes:

  1. Isaiah 40:10 in strength
  2. Isaiah 40:10 recompense

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Evening Scripture Reading - Matthew 24:4-14

Matthew 24:4-14 New King James Version (NKJV)

And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for [a]all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, [b]pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.
“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. 10 And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. 11 Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. 12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.

Footnotes:

  1. Matthew 24:6 NU omits all
  2. Matthew 24:7 NU omits pestilences

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 27:14

Psalm 27:14 New King James Version (NKJV)

14 Wait[a] on the Lord;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord!

Footnotes:

  1. Psalm 27:14 Wait in faith

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 14:32

Proverbs 14:32 New King James Version (NKJV)

32 The wicked is banished in his wickedness,
But the righteous has a refuge in his death.

Morning Scripture Reading - Jeremiah 29:10-14

Jeremiah 29:10-14 New King James Version (NKJV)

10 For thus says the Lord: After seventy years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good word toward you, and cause you to return to this place. 11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive.

Friday, May 22, 2020

Evening Scripture Reading - 1 Chronicles 28:20-21

1 Chronicles 28:20-21 New King James Version (NKJV)

20 And David said to his son Solomon, “Be strong and of good courage, and do it; do not fear nor be dismayed, for the Lord God—my God—will be with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you, until you have finished all the work for the service of the house of the Lord21 Here are the divisions of the priests and the Levites for all the service of the house of God; and every willing craftsman will be with you for all manner of workmanship, for every kind of service; also the leaders and all the people will be completely at your command.”

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 27:11-13

Psalm 27:11-13 New King James Version (NKJV)

11 Teach me Your way, O Lord,
And lead me in a smooth path, because of my enemies.
12 Do not deliver me to the will of my adversaries;
For false witnesses have risen against me,
And such as breathe out violence.
13 I would have lost heart, unless I had believed
That I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 14:31

Proverbs 14:31 New King James Version (NKJV)

31 He who oppresses the poor reproaches his Maker,
But he who honors Him has mercy on the needy.

Morning Scripture Reading - Romans 1:16

Romans 1:16 New King James Version (NKJV)

The Just Live by Faith

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel [a]of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.

Footnotes:

  1. Romans 1:16 NU omits of Christ

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Evening Scripture Reading - 1 Corinthians 15:10-11

1 Corinthians 15:10-11 New King James Version (NKJV)

10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. 11 Therefore, whether it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 27:7-10

Psalm 27:7-10 New King James Version (NKJV)

Hear, O Lordwhen I cry with my voice!
Have mercy also upon me, and answer me.
When You said, “Seek My face,”
My heart said to You, “Your face, Lord, I will seek.”
Do not hide Your face from me;
Do not turn Your servant away in anger;
You have been my help;
Do not leave me nor forsake me,
O God of my salvation.
10 When my father and my mother forsake me,
Then the Lord will take care of me.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 14:30

roverbs 14:30 New King James Version (NKJV)

30 A sound heart is life to the body,
But envy is rottenness to the bones.

Morning Scripture Reading - Deuteronomy 30:9-10

Deuteronomy 30:9-10 New King James Version (NKJV)

The Lord your God will make you abound in all the work of your hand, in the [a]fruit of your body, in the increase of your livestock, and in the produce of your land for good. For the Lord will again rejoice over you for good as He rejoiced over your fathers, 10 if you obey the voice of the Lord your God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this Book of the Law, and if you turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

Footnotes:

  1. Deuteronomy 30:9 offspring

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Evening Scripture Reading - Colossians 3:16

Colossians 3:16 New King James Version (NKJV)

16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.