Sunday, March 7, 2021

Evening Scripture Reading - Amos 8:11

Amos 8:11 English Standard Version (ESV)

11 “Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord God,
    “when I will send a famine on the land—
not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water,
    but of hearing the words of the Lord.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 74:4-8

Psalm 74:4-8 English Standard Version (ESV)

Your foes have roared in the midst of your meeting place;
    they set up their own signs for signs.
They were like those who swing axes
    in a forest of trees.[a]
And all its carved wood
    they broke down with hatchets and hammers.
They set your sanctuary on fire;
    they profaned the dwelling place of your name,
    bringing it down to the ground.
They said to themselves, “We will utterly subdue them”;
    they burned all the meeting places of God in the land.

Footnotes:

  1. Psalm 74:5 The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain

Sunday Praise & Worship Message - Give Jesus a Seat in Your Boat

When I was going to college, my friends and I would go out on the weekends to a nearby lake to do some canoeing. We would rent our canoes and go out for the afternoon. It was fun and we would spend hours out on the lake while enjoying a nice warm spring or summer day.

On one exceptionally hot day, one of my friends decided to take a dip in the lake. I didn’t think much of it until it came time for him to get back in our canoe. Although I was fairly experienced in canoeing, I wasn’t really sure that he could get back into the canoe in deep water. But, you won’t know until you try.

Well, I leaned to the opposite side and held steady as he threw his leg over the side. As more and more weight was added to one side, I leaned more and more to the opposite side to offset the weight. With one leg inside the canoe, he pulled himself inside or, at least, tried. Before we knew it the canoe capsized and we both ended up in the lake. The last thing I saw while I was underwater was my glasses drifting to the bottom of the lake. After about a few feet, I could no longer see them. They were gone.

We managed to get the canoe back to shore and emptied of water. We were fortunate. Everything else stayed in the boat. The only casualty of the day was my glasses. When I got back to my dorm room, I had to call my Mom and ask for my old glasses. She drove them over and we all laughed at the experience.

Capsizing a boat during calm weather is one thing, but losing your boat during a storm is quite another. Although I have never experienced that, I can tell you that it is an experience that isn’t on my bucket list. As I prepared for this message, I read accounts about storms and boats being lost at sea. Those who survive those experiences never quite get over them. They are always a little anxious when they get on a boat. There is just a little fear in their voices when they relate their harrowing experiences.

Our lives are like little boats on a big, big sea. It doesn’t take much for the waves to cause our boats to rock. Fear easily sets in as we wonder what will happen next. Will we survive the moment or will we soon find our boats swamped as we struggle to get to the surface? It doesn’t take much for our boats to get swamped.

Think about your “boat”. Many of us are just one disaster away from our boats being capsized. A diagnosis of cancer or some other malady could easily sweep us overboard. An accident could leave us financially underwater. It wouldn’t take much to swamp our “boats”.

As Christians, we live with the problems of this world daily. But, there is one who helps us get through the troubles we experience. That one is Jesus Christ. He is our anchor, lifejacket and that hand that reaches out for us. 

In chapter six of the Gospel of John, the namesake for this book writes, “That evening Jesus’ disciples went down to the shore to wait for him. But as darkness fell and Jesus still hadn’t come back, they got into the boat and headed across the lake toward Capernaum. Soon a gale swept down upon them, and the sea grew very rough. They had rowed three or four miles when suddenly they saw Jesus walking on the water toward the boat. They were terrified, but he called out to them, ‘Don’t be afraid. I am here!’ Then they were eager to let him in the boat, and immediately they arrived at their destination!”

After the disciples went out on the lake, a storm soon came up. I am sure that when they embarked on their voyage, they didn’t anticipate a storm. They probably thought to themselves that it would be a short little trip and nothing would happen. But, soon the sky turned dark and a storm came up. In time their boat was rocking violently and their fear increased exponentially. As they struggled to row their boat against the tempest, they saw Jesus walking on the water towards them. Needless to say, they didn’t know what was more terrifying, Jesus walking on the water or the gales tossing their boat. Jesus reassured them by telling them not to be afraid. After they let him in the boat, they arrived at their destination without mishap.

As we struggle in our lives to navigate a rough sea, we need to look for Jesus and know that he is there to rescue us and provide us with peace. We don’t have anything to fear. He is right there with us. All we have to do is give him a seat in our boat. Once we do that, he will see to it that we reach our destination. We just need to put our faith completely in him.

Matthew, in chapter fourteen of his gospel, tells us of the story of Jesus walking on the water and how Peter tried to do the same. Jesus tells Peter to come to him. Peter slips over the edge of the boat and walks on water towards Jesus. As the wind came up, Peter lost his focus and sank into the water. Peter calls out to Jesus to save him. Jesus immediately reaches out to Peter and pulls him up out of the water. 

Jesus tells Peter, “You have so little faith. Why did you doubt me?”

When we focus on the water, wind and everything else, it is so easy for us to sink beneath the waves and struggle to resurface. We allow fear, uncertainty and doubt to fill our hearts and minds. In time, we may succumb to the waves of our storms. But, we don’t have to do that. If our lives capsize and we are tossed into the water, we just need to call out to our Savior and Lord, Christ Jesus. He will give us his hand and lift us up. We just need to have faith in that and never doubt that he is there.

So, when you face a storm in your life, don’t give up or rely on the things of this world. You need to put your faith in Jesus and know that he is always there with you every step of the way to your destination. Just don’t get distracted and become afraid. You have nothing to fear when you have Jesus sitting in your boat. There is no storm that he can’t calm. There is no gale that he can’t overcome. By remaining focused on him and unshakeable in your faith, you can easily stand firm in His grace. 

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

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 26:22

Proverbs 26:22 English Standard Version (ESV)

22 The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels;
    they go down into the inner parts of the body.

Morning Scripture Reading - James 3:9-12

James 3:9-12 English Standard Version (ESV)

With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers,[a] these things ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? 12 Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.

Footnotes:

  1. James 3:10 Or brothers and sisters; also verse 12

Saturday, March 6, 2021

Evening Scripture Reading - Romans 8:37-39

Romans 8:37-39 English Standard Version (ESV)

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 74:1-3

Psalm 74:1-3 English Standard Version (ESV)

Arise, O God, Defend Your Cause

A Maskil[a] of Asaph.

774 O God, why do you cast us off forever?
    Why does your anger smoke against the sheep of your pasture?
Remember your congregation, which you have purchased of old,
    which you have redeemed to be the tribe of your heritage!
    Remember Mount Zion, where you have dwelt.
Direct your steps to the perpetual ruins;
    the enemy has destroyed everything in the sanctuary!

Footnotes:

  1. Psalm 74:1 Probably a musical or liturgical term

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 26:21

Proverbs 26:21 English Standard Version (ESV)

21 As charcoal to hot embers and wood to fire,
    so is a quarrelsome man for kindling strife.

Morning Scripture Reading - Leviticus 19:16

Leviticus 19:16 English Standard Version (ESV)

16 You shall not go around as a slanderer among your people, and you shall not stand up against the life[a] of your neighbor: I am the Lord.

Footnotes:

  1. Leviticus 19:16 Hebrew blood

Friday, March 5, 2021

Evening Scripture Reading - Romans 8:28-30

Romans 8:28-30 English Standard Version (ESV)

28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,[a] for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

Footnotes:

  1. Romans 8:28 Some manuscripts God works all things together for good, or God works in all things for the good

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 73:27-28

Psalm 73:27-28 English Standard Version (ESV)

27 For behold, those who are far from you shall perish;
    you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you.
28 But for me it is good to be near God;
    I have made the Lord God my refuge,
    that I may tell of all your works.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 26:20

Proverbs 26:20 English Standard Version (ESV)

20 For lack of wood the fire goes out,
    and where there is no whisperer, quarreling ceases.

Morning Scripture Reading - Hebrews 7:23-25

Hebrews 7:23-25 English Standard Version (ESV)

23 The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office, 24 but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. 25 Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost[a] those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.

Footnotes:

  1. Hebrews 7:25 That is, completely; or at all times

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Evening Scripture Reading - Ephesians 1:3-10

Ephesians 1:3-10 English Standard Version (ESV)

Spiritual Blessings in Christ

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us[a] for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known[b] to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

Footnotes:

  1. Ephesians 1:5 Or before him in love, 5having predestined us
  2. Ephesians 1:9 Or he lavished upon us in all wisdom and insight, making known…

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 73:23-26

Psalm 73:23-26 English Standard Version (ESV)

23 Nevertheless, I am continually with you;
    you hold my right hand.
24 You guide me with your counsel,
    and afterward you will receive me to glory.
25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
    And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
    but God is the strength[a] of my heart and my portion forever.

Footnotes:

  1. Psalm 73:26 Hebrew rock

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 26:18-19

Proverbs 26:18-19 English Standard Version (ESV)

18 Like a madman who throws firebrands, arrows, and death
19 is the man who deceives his neighbor
    and says, “I am only joking!”

Morning Scripture Reading - 1 Peter 4:12-19

1 Peter 4:12-19 English Standard Version (ESV)

Suffering as a Christian

12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory[a] and of God rests upon you. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. 16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And

“If the righteous is scarcely saved,
    what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”[b]

19 Therefore let those who suffer according to God's will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.

Footnotes:

  1. 1 Peter 4:14 Some manuscripts insert and of power
  2. 1 Peter 4:18 Greek where will the ungodly and sinner appear?