Monday, June 17, 2019

Afternoon Scripture Reading - Luke 10:17-20

Luke 10:17-20 New International Version (NIV)

17 The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”
18 He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19 I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. 20 However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

Morning Scripture Reading - 1 Corinthians 14:29-33

1 Corinthians 14:29-33 New International Version (NIV)

29 Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said. 30 And if a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop. 31 For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged. 32 The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets. 33 For God is not a God of disorder but of peace—as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Happy Father's Day


May the Lord richly bless all Fathers!

2 Samuel 7:14-15 New Living Translation (NLT)

14 I will be his father, and he will be my son. If he sins, I will correct and discipline him with the rod, like any father would do. 15 But my favor will not be taken from him as I took it from Saul, whom I removed from your sight.

Happy Father's Day


Wishing all Fathers a joyous and blessed day!

Proverbs 23:24 New Living Translation (NLT)

24 The father of godly children has cause for joy.
    What a pleasure to have children who are wise.[a]

Footnotes:

  1. 23:24 Hebrew to have a wise son.

Afternoon Scripture Reading - Deuteronomy 34:10-12

Deuteronomy 34:10-12 New International Version (NIV)

10 Since then, no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the Lordknew face to face, 11 who did all those signs and wonders the Lord sent him to do in Egypt—to Pharaoh and to all his officials and to his whole land. 12 For no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did in the sight of all Israel.

Sunday Praise & Worship Message - The Love of a Father

Today we celebrate Father’s Day. It is a day we set aside to thank our fathers for being there for us. No matter what the problem or obstacle or time in your life, dads, old and young, are always there with words of wisdom and guidance to help. Dads go through their daily tasks and toils without regard to pain or pride. They do their work with very little fanfare or desire for praise. Their one desire and love is to see that their family is happy and taken care of. They want to make sure that all basic needs for food, clothing and shelter are fulfilled. Dads never say that they won’t or can’t provide for their families. They provide even when it means going without things in their own lives. That is true sacrifice and love for family.

When I was growing up, I watched my dad toil daily to provide for his family. It was more than a job or task for him. It was done out of love. Dad was the one who would slip my brother and me a few extra dollars to play video games at the mall. He was the one who made sure that we had drinks and popcorn when we went to the movies. I never realized until I became a father what sacrifice and love really were. 

When God blessed me with the woman who would become my wife, I realized what love really meant. Each day we looked after one another, loved one another in good times and in bad and never strayed from one another. I fell in love with her and thank God daily for her. I sometimes do not tell her that I love her, but I try in my own way.

I remember when I held my beautiful daughter for the first time. It was a very special moment that I will never forget. She remains the apple of my eye and will never be a stranger to me. I thank God for the blessing of my daughter each day. I know that I have not been the best father to her, but I think that every father says the same thing. As I think about her daily, I realize that she has become a very beautiful, young godly woman.

As I think about my father and the other special men who imparted their wisdom, I realize that God’s love for us is demonstrated through the acts of our own fathers and those special men who guide and shape our view of the world.

I have often said, “Whatever my father, John Wayne, Gil Favor, Big John Cannon or Lucas McCain does, I will do.”

In time that list has grown a lot longer. It includes men from the retirement community where I served as pastor. Horace Edwards, Nick Carter, Joe Singletary, Ken Modlin, Elwood McDowell, Jack Graham, Dulas Massey, Dave Frazier and a whole host of others too numerous to name here, but are written on my heart in indelible ink never to be forgotten or taken for granted. Each showed me what the love of a father really meant and what fathers do for their children.

As I reflect on their deeds and daily actions, it is very easy to see the parallels between the love of God and the love of our earthly fathers. Each loves their children dearly and would do anything for them. Each disciplines their children to make them better and prepare them for the trials and troubles ahead in life that they will face.

I think of the story of King David and the words of Nathan, the prophet. As David was settling into the palace, Nathan came to him to tell him the words of the Lord. In 2 Samuel, Nathan tells David, “11b ‘Furthermore, the Lord declares that he will make a house for you—a dynasty of kings! 12 For when you die and are buried with your ancestors, I will raise up one of your descendants, your own offspring, and I will make his kingdom strong. 13 He is the one who will build a house—a temple—for my name. And I will secure his royal throne forever. 14 I will be his father, and he will be my son. If he sins, I will correct and discipline him with the rod, like any father would do. 15 But my favor will not be taken from him as I took it from Saul, whom I removed from your sight. 16 Your house and your kingdom will continue before me for all time, and your throne will be secure forever.’”

Even when David strayed away from the Lord, he knew that all he had to do was return to him and God would continue to bless him. Like the Lord, a father disciplines a child not to hurt but to help guide him or her along the journey called life. It is the hope of every father that his child will grow up and continue to be a blessing to not only God but also to the family.

Jesus tells the story of the prodigal son. I will not go through the specifics of the story, but it starts with a son who wants what is due him now. He does not want to wait for his inheritance and wants to spend that money when he is young. The father agrees and gives him his share of the inheritance. He takes it and runs. He has a good time, but quickly the money runs out. He is left eating the slop he fed the pigs. He begins to think back to his life with his father. At least, he had something good to eat and a roof over his head.

In Luke 15, Jesus says, “20 So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. 21 His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.’”

Instead of casting out or castigating him, his father throws a feast and dresses him in the best clothing and puts sandals on him and a ring. When errant son’s brother sees all of this, he is incensed by all of the lavishness that his father has given. 

He expresses his feelings by saying, “29 All these years I’ve slaved for you and never once refused to do a single thing you told me to. And in all that time you never gave me even one young goat for a feast with my friends. 30 Yet when this son of yours comes back after squandering your money on prostitutes, you celebrate by killing the fattened calf!

The father replies to him, “31 Look, dear son, you have always stayed by me, and everything I have is yours. 32 We had to celebrate this happy day. For your brother was dead and has come back to life! He was lost, but now he is found!

Jesus puts into other words that emphasize that a father’s love, especially the love of our Heavenly Father, is sincere when he says in the same chapter of Luke where the “Story of the Lost Son” is, “7 I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

A father’s love for his family is deep and will always be there. His love for his wife knows no bounds. When it comes to his children, he will go the extra mile and will always welcome home the errant child that goes astray. He will lavish that child with love and let him or her know that he continued to love even when he or she had gone astray.

As we continue to celebrate our fathers and tell them how special they are, always remember the story of the lost son and sheep. A father rejoices and a father loves no matter what and will forgive all just like our Heavenly Father. When we realize the love He has for us, we know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that we can stand firm in His grace.

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

Morning Scripture Reading - Isaiah 60:1-3

Isaiah 60:1-3 New International Version (NIV)

The Glory of Zion

 “Arise, shine, for your light has come,
    and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.
See, darkness covers the earth
    and thick darkness is over the peoples,
but the Lord rises upon you
    and his glory appears over you.
Nations will come to your light,
    and kings to the brightness of your dawn.

Happy Father's Day


Wishing all Fathers a happy and blessed day!

1 John 3:1 New Living Translation (NLT)

See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize that we are God’s children because they don’t know him.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Afternoon Scripture Reading - Matthew 26:36-39

Matthew 26:36-39 New International Version (NIV)

Gethsemane

36 Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

Morning Scripture Reading - James 4:1-3

James 4:1-3 New International Version (NIV)

Submit Yourselves to God

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Afternoon Scripture Reading - 1 Corinthians 1:4-9

1 Corinthians 1:4-9 New International Version (NIV)

Thanksgiving

I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in him you have been enriched in every way—with all kinds of speech and with all knowledge God thus confirming our testimonyabout Christ among you. Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Morning Scripture Reading - Hebrews 10:23-25

Hebrews 10:23-25 New International Version (NIV)

23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Afternoon Scripture Reading - Matthew 5:11-12

Matthew 5:11-12 New International Version (NIV)

11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad,because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Morning Scripture Reading - Jeremiah 29:10-14

Jeremiah 29:10-14 New International Version (NIV)

10 This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.[a] I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”

Footnotes:

  1. Jeremiah 29:14 Or will restore your fortunes

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Remember - Father's Day


As a reminder, Father's Day is Sunday, June 16th. Please thank all men for being Dads.

Psalm 103:13-18 New Living Translation (NLT)

13 The Lord is like a father to his children,
    tender and compassionate to those who fear him.
14 For he knows how weak we are;
    he remembers we are only dust.
15 Our days on earth are like grass;
    like wildflowers, we bloom and die.
16 The wind blows, and we are gone—
    as though we had never been here.
17 But the love of the Lord remains forever
    with those who fear him.
His salvation extends to the children’s children
18     of those who are faithful to his covenant,
    of those who obey his commandments!

Afternoon Scripture Reading - 1 Peter 5:10-11

1 Peter 5:10-11 New International Version (NIV)

10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 11 To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.

Mid-Week Message - Oh, How He Loves You and Me

"See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize that we are God’s children because they don’t know him."  1 John 3:1 (NLT)

Last week I was reminded of how intimately involved in my life my heavenly Father is.  On Friday, I rose and prepared to meet a friend for coffee.  As I was making the drive into town, a deer crossed my path.  There are two creatures that I always look forward to seeing.  One is deer and the other is cardinals.  When I see them, I thank the Lord because I know that He knows they bless me and I assume they are little "I love you's" from Him.  When I arrived at our meeting place, I had a small mishap.  I walk with a cane and must have come across a slightly damp place on the floor.  The cane slipped and I fell.  I wasn't injured but I was instantly surrounded by people showering me with the love of God.  One lady in particular spoke blessings over me and stayed with me until the incident was over.  As we were leaving, an older gentleman opened the door for us and once again I found myself hearing of the depth of God's love.  As he spoke, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that he was there at that time because the Lord wished him to be.  I hugged him and thanked him and have been praying for him ever since.  Then, as I drove home, a cardinal crossed in front of my car.  I felt so overwhelmed because I knew that all that I had experienced that morning came directly from His throne room.  

I have learned so much about parenting through my relationship with the Lord.  It thrills me to see my daughter smile and to know that her heart is happy.  So it is in our relationship with our Father above.  I believe that as He was creating the world, He chose to create things that would bring his children pleasure.  There is so much beauty in nature.  Each season brings new reasons to marvel.  From individual snowflakes in the icy cold of winter, to the budding summer fruits, we are reminded of His artisanship.  Can you picture Him smiling as he formed each plant and animal as He thought of the joy they would bring to us?  That thought changes how I view what I see when I look out my window.  Trees, flowers, birds, clouds, lightning and the rest of His creations remind me of His nearness, His gentleness and His power.  

In 1975, a man named Kurt Kaiser took a phrase that he had heard someone say and wrote a beautiful song titled, "Oh, How He Loves You and Me."  I'm sure you have heard it.  If not, I encourage you to look it up and listen.  The words are simple, yet so profound.  It speaks of how much Holy God loves us.  He loves us as individuals, not just as a collective group.  He knows everything about us.  Psalm 139 speaks of how involved He was with us before we were even born.  It says, "You knit me together in my mother's womb."  Think about that.   He had His hand upon us as cell upon cell was formed.  He already knew us by name and loved us before the world even knew we existed.  

As we go through this week, let's spend some time pondering His presence and His desire for us to include Him in each and every moment.  Then, let's keep our eyes and ears open so that we don't miss any of the "I love you's" He sends our way.  Maybe the rose by the walkway just happened to grow there.  Or, maybe He knew it would make you smile when you saw it so He made sure it was where you couldn't miss it.  He loves you far more than enough to do that for you.  Oh, how He loves you and me!  

Morning Scripture Reading - Jude 20-21

Jude 20-21 New International Version (NIV)

20 But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.

Remember - Father's Day


Remember that Father's Day is June 16th. Please take a moment to thank all of our men for being Dads.

Deuteronomy 6:6-9 New Living Translation (NLT)

And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders.Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Afternoon Scripture Reading - Psalm 150

Psalm 150 New International Version (NIV)

Psalm 150

Praise the Lord.[a]
Praise God in his sanctuary;
    praise him in his mighty heavens.
Praise him for his acts of power;
    praise him for his surpassing greatness.
Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
    praise him with the harp and lyre,
praise him with timbrel and dancing,
    praise him with the strings and pipe,
praise him with the clash of cymbals,
    praise him with resounding cymbals.
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord.

Footnotes:

  1. Psalm 150:1 Hebrew Hallelu Yah; also in verse 6