Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - James 5:13-16

James 5:13-16 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Is anyone among you suffering? He should pray. Is anyone cheerful? He should sing praises. Is anyone among you sick? He should call for the elders of the church, and they should pray over him after anointing him with olive oil in the name of the Lord. The prayer of faith will save the sick person, and the Lord will restore him to health; if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The urgent request of a righteous person is very powerful in its effect.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 12:7-8

Psalm 12:7-8 Holman Christian Standard Bible

You, Lord, will guard us;

You will protect us from this generation forever.

The wicked wander everywhere,

and what is worthless is exalted by the human race.

Mid-Week Message - Alone Time With the Lord

"Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.  Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.  Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me."  Psalm 51:10-12 (NIV)

One of the choruses we sang at Dallas Christian College reflected these verses.  It has been one of my favorites since I learned it.  I find it very touching and a way to express to the Lord my desire to have a heart, and a life, that is acceptable and pleasing to Him.  

The idea of having a clean heart catches my attention because I get so exhausted wading through the muck that I encounter in everyday life.  Everything vies for our attention.  This world is moving at such a fast pace that we spend most of our time just trying to stay caught up.  From the time we open our eyes in the morning until the time we shut them at night, almost every moment is filled with earthly concerns.  Bills need to be paid.  The boss is in a bad mood.  The children have lessons and activities to get to.  The spouse is too busy to help out.  The doctor says it's time for a check-up and the car needs service.  On and on it goes until we drop onto our bed, look at the clock and count the hours we have for sleep then try as hard as we can to fall off to sleep before it gets any later.

Every moment is spoken for.  Our hearts are overwhelmed.  As long as we allow it to go on, it will.  But there is something we can do.  We can carve out some time to be quiet and sit in the presence of the Lord.  Even if it is just five minutes, that is five minutes of our day and a section of our hearts set aside for Him and Him only.  During that time we allow Him to cleanse us from the inside out and to prepare us for the day.  If we are diligent about keeping this daily appointment, then pretty soon we find ourselves spending ten or fifteen minutes at a time.  And we find that the concerns of the world start to pale when compared to our growing relationship with the great I AM.  

Life will continue to include the same elements.  We will still have to contend with responsibilities and the expectations of others.  It is our perspective that will change.  The fruits of the Spirit will be more evident in our lives and how we view each day will change.  Joy will be more abundant.  Patience will steadily grow.  Love will be more readily given and peace, the peace that passes understanding, will be experienced more often.  We cannot change someone else's heart, but Praise God we can allow Him to change ours.  

Another thing that will be new is that we will need to become very protective of our time with the Lord.  As it becomes the foundation of each day, we will find that we will need to guard it because we have an enemy that will stop at nothing to steal it away.  The last thing he wants to see is a flourishing relationship with Jesus. But remember, he is a liar and a deceiver.   We will have to stay alert and realize that it will happen so that we can see it for what it is.

As we go through this week, I want to urge everyone to just set aside five minutes per day for Him.  However you choose to spend it, through prayer, time in the Bible or meditating on the scripture you have saved up in your heart and mind, treasure it.  You are the apple of His eye and if you were the only one on earth that needed the redemption brought by Jesus, He still would have chosen to die on the cross.  Surely we can set aside just a few moments to show Him that He is important to us too.  God bless you. 

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 19:14

Proverbs 19:14 Holman Christian Standard Bible

A house and wealth are inherited from fathers,

but a sensible wife is from the Lord.

Morning Scripture Reading - John 17:1-5

John 17:1-5 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Jesus spoke these things, looked up to heaven, and said:

Father,

the hour has come.

Glorify Your Son

so that the Son may glorify You,

for You gave Him authority

over all flesh;

so He may give eternal life

to all You have given Him.

This is eternal life:

that they may know You, the only true God,

and the One You have sent—Jesus Christ.

I have glorified You on the earth

by completing the work You gave Me to do.

Now, Father, glorify Me in Your presence

with that glory I had with You

before the world existed.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - Colossians 3:15-17

Colossians 3:15-17 Holman Christian Standard Bible

And let the peace of the Messiah, to which you were also called in one body, control your hearts. Be thankful. Let the message about the Messiah dwell richly among you, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, and singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 12:6

Psalm 12:6 Holman Christian Standard Bible

The words of the Lord are pure words,

like silver refined in an earthen furnace,

purified seven times.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 19:13

Proverbs 19:13 Holman Christian Standard Bible

A foolish son is his father’s ruin,

and a wife’s nagging is an endless dripping.

Morning Scripture Reading - Deuteronomy 26:16-19

Deuteronomy 26:16-19 Holman Christian Standard Bible

“The Lord your God is commanding you this day to follow these statutes and ordinances. You must be careful to follow them with all your heart and all your soul. Today you have affirmed that the Lord is your God and that you will walk in His ways, keep His statutes, commands, and ordinances, and obey Him. And today the Lord has affirmed that you are His special people as He promised you, that you are to keep all His commands, that He will elevate you to praise, fame, and glory above all the nations He has made, and that you will be a holy people to the Lord your God as He promised.”

Monday, May 16, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - James 1:19-21

James 1:19-21 Holman Christian Standard Bible

My dearly loved brothers, understand this: Everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger, for man’s anger does not accomplish God’s righteousness. Therefore, ridding yourselves of all moral filth and evil, humbly receive the implanted word, which is able to save you.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 12:5

Psalm 12:5 Holman Christian Standard Bible

“Because of the oppression of the afflicted

and the groaning of the poor,

I will now rise up,” says the Lord.

“I will put the one who longs for it in a safe place.”

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 19:12

Proverbs 19:12 Holman Christian Standard Bible

A king’s rage is like the roaring of a lion,

but his favor is like dew on the grass.

Morning Scripture Reading - 1 Corinthians 4:6-7

1 Corinthians 4:6-7 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Now, brothers, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the saying: “Nothing beyond what is written.” The purpose is that none of you will be inflated with pride in favor of one person over another. For who makes you so superior? What do you have that you didn’t receive? If, in fact, you did receive it, why do you boast as if you hadn’t received it?

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - 1 Corinthians 15:20-28

1 Corinthians 15:20-28 Holman Christian Standard Bible

But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead also comes through a man. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ, the firstfruits; afterward, at His coming, those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to God the Father, when He abolishes all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign until He puts all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy to be abolished is death. For God has put everything under His feet. But when it says “everything” is put under Him, it is obvious that He who puts everything under Him is the exception. And when everything is subject to Christ, then the Son Himself will also be subject to the One who subjected everything to Him, so that God may be all in all.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 12:1-4

Psalm 12:1-4 Holman Christian Standard Bible

For the choir director: according to Sheminith. A Davidic psalm.

Help, Lord, for no faithful one remains;

the loyal have disappeared from the human race.

They lie to one another;

they speak with flattering lips and deceptive hearts.

May the Lord cut off all flattering lips

and the tongue that speaks boastfully.

They say, “Through our tongues we have power;

our lips are our own—who can be our master?”

Sunday Praise & Worship Message - Eager to Win You Over

Many years ago, I was on the debate team and enjoyed swaying people to view the world through my eyes. It didn’t matter whether or not I was right or wrong. I was only interested in one thing, winning. Getting people to see things my way gave me a sense of accomplishment. I felt that I had done something wonderful. In one breath I believed in one thing and in the next was arguing against what I just gave as truth. Winning was the only thing that meant anything to me.

As I reflected back upon my years of debating, I began to see that facts and people could be easily manipulated into saying or doing anything you wanted. The key was being confident in what you were saying. As long as you were confident and spoke with authority, people would believe you and ultimately preach your words to others.

I was reading the Book of Galatians the other day and began to think about Paul's words to the churches in Galatia. Paul had founded this church and was concerned because the new Galatian believers were being influenced by the Judaizers, Jews who taught that salvation required keeping the Mosaic Law, specifically circumcision, as well as believing in Jesus.

The believers in this church, made up of both Jew and Gentile converts, were so easily influenced away from the truth given to them by Paul. The Judaizers taught that Gentiles had to be circumcised before then could fellowship with the Jewish believers. These teachings ran contrary to Paul’s message that salvation came by faith alone through the grace extended by God through His son, Christ Jesus, to anyone who believed. In short, it wasn’t by strict adherence to Jewish law and tradition, it was by faith.

I am sure that the Judaizers meant well, but they misrepresented the message of salvation and gave little thought to the teachings of Paul. For whatever reason, they misled the members of the early church and caused confusion. In some cases, you could say that they perverted the gospel of Jesus and replaced it with their own interpretation. 

Paul, in chapter one of his letter to the Galatians, expresses his concern in his greeting by saying, “I am shocked that you are turning away so soon from God, who called you to himself through the loving mercy of Christ. You are following a different way that pretends to be the Good News but is not the Good News at all. You are being fooled by those who deliberately twist the truth concerning Christ.

Notice what Paul says about the individuals. They are deliberately twisting the truth and Good News. For whatever reason they had, several leaders in the church began to substitute their words for “the Word”. Truth became whatever they wanted it to be. Since the people had recently converted to Christianity, they were infants in their daily walk with the Lord and people took advantage of this. Instead of seeking wisdom to discern the truth, many chose to listen to the words of those who pretended to be spiritual leaders of the church. They blindly accepted the words of the leaders as truth and supported them in their twisting of the truth.

The same holds true today. Instead of seeking wisdom, many are content with just accepting the words of individuals or groups that seem to run contrary to certain principles that have been the bedrock of their beliefs. Instead of questioning them, many blindly accept their dogma as truth and support it. 

Later in his letter, Paul asks the believers to think about the truth they had been given, “I ask you again, does God give you the Holy Spirit and work miracles among you because you obey the law? Of course not! It is because you believe the message you heard about Christ.

This is the same question we need to ask ourselves when it comes to our faith. Is the Good News being perverted to the selfish ends of others? Is what they are preaching the truth or some misrepresentation of God’s word? 

If their words are contrary to God's word and are done out of selfish motives, then the message they are providing will lead to damnation and destruction. You must always be on guard when it comes to the words of others. They will manipulate the scriptures to suit their message to all those who listen. Those false teachers are eager to win you over to their way of thinking and take you away from God’s way.

In chapter four, Paul tells the Galatian believers, “Those false teachers are so eager to win your favor, but their intentions are not good. They are trying to shut you off from me so that you will pay attention only to them. If someone is eager to do good things for you, that’s all right; but let them do it all the time, not just when I’m with you.

False teachers will do anything to win you over and have you follow them rather than follow Christ Jesus. Words can easily sway some and have them walking down the wrong path. As believers, we have a couple of responsibilities. The first is to always seek God’s direction through prayer and through the scriptures. The second is to not lead others astray with your own interpretation of God’s plan of salvation.

The message is very clear. God sent His son to live among us to show the world His love for us. His son died for us to repay the debt of sin that we had accumulated. Jesus’ resurrection gives us the gift of eternal life with the Father. By accepting this gift and believing in Jesus, we are renewed and given a new life. This is the message. It is only through faith that we are able to receive this gift. There is nothing we alone can do to receive this salvation. Simply following the law and acting good doesn’t get us into God’s grace.

Paul doesn’t mince his words when it comes to faith. He, in chapter five, tells the members of the church, “Listen! I, Paul, tell you this: If you are counting on circumcision to make you right with God, then Christ will be of no benefit to you. I’ll say it again. If you are trying to find favor with God by being circumcised, you must obey every regulation in the whole law of Moses. For if you are trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the law, you have been cut off from Christ! You have fallen away from God’s grace.

If you believe that you can just follow the words of someone who professes to be a leader and preaches his or her own interpretation of the Good News and is eager to win you over, then I ask you to question the leader and ask God for wisdom to discern His will in all that has been preached in His name. Don’t blindly accept the words of those who bend and twist God's word into their own version of the Gospel. Look to God and seek Him. When you do that, you can definitely stand firm in His grace. 

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

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 19:11

Proverbs 19:11 Holman Christian Standard Bible

A person’s insight gives him patience,

and his virtue is to overlook an offense.

Morning Scripture Reading - Acts 2:14-21

Acts 2:14-21 Holman Christian Standard Bible

But Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice, and proclaimed to them: “Men of Judah and all you residents of Jerusalem, let me explain this to you and pay attention to my words. For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it’s only nine in the morning. On the contrary, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:

And it will be in the last days, says God,

that I will pour out My Spirit on all humanity;

then your sons and your daughters will prophesy,

your young men will see visions,

and your old men will dream dreams.

I will even pour out My Spirit

on My male and female slaves in those days,

and they will prophesy.

I will display wonders in the heaven above

and signs on the earth below:

blood and fire and a cloud of smoke.

The sun will be turned to darkness

and the moon to blood

before the great and remarkable Day of the Lord comes.

Then everyone who calls

on the name of the Lord will be saved.

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - John 11:25-26

John 11:25-26 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in Me, even if he dies, will live. Everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die—ever. Do you believe this?”

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 11:4-7

Psalm 11:4-7 Holman Christian Standard Bible

The Lord is in His holy temple;

the Lord’s throne is in heaven.

His eyes watch; He examines everyone.

The Lord examines the righteous and the wicked.

He hates the lover of violence.

He will rain burning coals and sulfur on the wicked;

a scorching wind will be their portion.

For the Lord is righteous; He loves righteous deeds.

The upright will see His face.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 19:10

Proverbs 19:10 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Luxury is not appropriate for a fool—

how much less for a slave to rule over princes!

Morning Scripture Reading - Ephesians 1:11-14

Ephesians 1:11-14 Holman Christian Standard Bible

We have also received an inheritance in Him, predestined according to the purpose of the One who works out everything in agreement with the decision of His will, so that we who had already put our hope in the Messiah might bring praise to His glory.

When you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and when you believed in Him, you were also sealed with the promised Holy Spirit. He is the down payment of our inheritance, for the redemption of the possession, to the praise of His glory.

Friday, May 13, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - Romans 13:6-7

Romans 13:6-7 Holman Christian Standard Bible

And for this reason you pay taxes, since the authorities are God’s public servants, continually attending to these tasks. Pay your obligations to everyone: taxes to those you owe taxes, tolls to those you owe tolls, respect to those you owe respect, and honor to those you owe honor.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 11:1-3

Psalm 11:1-3 Holman Christian Standard Bible

For the choir director. Davidic.

I have taken refuge in the Lord.

How can you say to me,

“Escape to the mountain like a bird!

For look, the wicked string the bow;

they put the arrow on the bowstring

to shoot from the shadows at the upright in heart.

When the foundations are destroyed,

what can the righteous do?”

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 19:9

Proverbs 19:9 Holman Christian Standard Bible

A false witness will not go unpunished,

and one who utters lies perishes.

Morning Scripture Reading - Jeremiah 17:5-10

Jeremiah 17:5-10 Holman Christian Standard Bible

This is what the Lord says:

The man who trusts in mankind,

who makes human flesh his strength

and turns his heart from the Lord is cursed.

He will be like a juniper in the Arabah;

he cannot see when good comes

but dwells in the parched places in the wilderness,

in a salt land where no one lives.

The man who trusts in the Lord,

whose confidence indeed is the Lord, is blessed.

He will be like a tree planted by water:

it sends its roots out toward a stream,

it doesn’t fear when heat comes,

and its foliage remains green.

It will not worry in a year of drought

or cease producing fruit.

The heart is more deceitful than anything else,

and incurable—who can understand it?

I, Yahweh, examine the mind,

I test the heart

to give to each according to his way,

according to what his actions deserve.

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - 2 Samuel 7:18-29

2 Samuel 7:18-29 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Then King David went in, sat in the Lord’s presence, and said,

Who am I, Lord God, and what is my house that You have brought me this far? What You have done so far was a little thing to You, Lord God, for You have also spoken about Your servant’s house in the distant future. And this is a revelation for mankind, Lord God. What more can David say to You? You know Your servant, Lord God. Because of Your word and according to Your will, You have revealed all these great things to Your servant.

This is why You are great, Lord God. There is no one like You, and there is no God besides You, as all we have heard confirms. And who is like Your people Israel? God came to one nation on earth in order to redeem a people for Himself, to make a name for Himself, and to perform for them great and awesome acts, driving out nations and their gods before Your people You redeemed for Yourself from Egypt. You established Your people Israel to be Your own people forever, and You, Lord, have become their God.

Now, Lord God, fulfill the promise forever that You have made to Your servant and his house. Do as You have promised, so that Your name will be exalted forever, when it is said, “The Lord of Hosts is God over Israel.” The house of Your servant David will be established before You since You, Lord of Hosts, God of Israel, have revealed this to Your servant when You said, “I will build a house for you.” Therefore, Your servant has found the courage to pray this prayer to You. Lord God, You are God; Your words are true, and You have promised this grace to Your servant. Now, please bless Your servant’s house so that it will continue before You forever. For You, Lord God, have spoken, and with Your blessing Your servant’s house will be blessed forever.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 10:16-18

Psalm 10:16-18 Holman Christian Standard Bible

The Lord is King forever and ever;

the nations will perish from His land.

Lord, You have heard the desire of the humble;

You will strengthen their hearts.

You will listen carefully,

doing justice for the fatherless and the oppressed

so that men of the earth may terrify them no more.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 19:8

Proverbs 19:8 Holman Christian Standard Bible

The one who acquires good sense loves himself;

one who safeguards understanding finds success.

Morning Scripture Reading - Joshua 3:7-17

Joshua 3:7-17 Holman Christian Standard Bible

The Lord spoke to Joshua: “Today I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, so they will know that I will be with you just as I was with Moses. Command the priests carrying the ark of the covenant: When you reach the edge of the waters, stand in the Jordan.”

Then Joshua told the Israelites, “Come closer and listen to the words of the Lord your God.” He said: “You will know that the living God is among you and that He will certainly dispossess before you the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites, and Jebusites when the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth goes ahead of you into the Jordan. Now choose 12 men from the tribes of Israel, one man for each tribe. When the feet of the priests who carry the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, come to rest in the Jordan’s waters, its waters will be cut off. The water flowing downstream will stand up in a mass.”

When the people broke camp to cross the Jordan, the priests carried the ark of the covenant ahead of the people. Now the Jordan overflows its banks throughout the harvest season. But as soon as the priests carrying the ark reached the Jordan, their feet touched the water at its edge and the water flowing downstream stood still, rising up in a mass that extended as far as Adam, a city next to Zarethan. The water flowing downstream into the Sea of the Arabah (the Dead Sea) was completely cut off, and the people crossed opposite Jericho. The priests carrying the ark of the Lord’s covenant stood firmly on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan, while all Israel crossed on dry ground until the entire nation had finished crossing the Jordan.