Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Evening Scripture Reading - Revelation 7:9-10

Revelation 7:9-10 English Standard Version

A Great Multitude from Every Nation

9 After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 85:10-13

Psalm 85:10-13 English Standard Version

10 Steadfast love and faithfulness meet;

    righteousness and peace kiss each other.

11 Faithfulness springs up from the ground,

    and righteousness looks down from the sky.

12 Yes, the Lord will give what is good,

    and our land will yield its increase.

13 Righteousness will go before him

    and make his footsteps a way.

Mid-Week Message - When the World Crashes Down

 "Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior."  Habakkuk 3:17-18 (NIV)

What do you do when your world falls apart?  When friends turn their backs and family no longer wish to be your allies?  When the money in the bank dries up and your health takes a turn for the worse?  When your possessions cease to bring pleasure and you find yourself alone with nothing but the clothes on your back and the thoughts in your head?  

Nothing is for certain in this world.  Sometimes, crops just don't produce and you are left with bills to pay and needs to fulfill.  So you scrounge for other sources of provision, hoping that you run across a solution.  Maybe you have friends or family to reach out to.  Or maybe, when you ask for help, you find they are in the same situation or they just don't want to be bothered.  Great pain comes from the feeling of abandonment and in those times that is what we feel.  

In my years of walking with the Lord, I have come to understand one important thing.  No matter what I am going through, no matter what I am feeling, no matter how difficult life is or how weary I get, He is the One that will always be there.  Nothing on this earth will last forever.  We do not have the assurance of a paycheck at the end of the week, or the promise that there will always be another person to stand with us when problems arise.  But, we have the solemn promise of our Savior that He will never leave us or forsake us.  

Romans 8:38-39 tells us, "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."  

No matter what happens or how difficult the days become, there will always be one place to turn.  We can take His hand and let Him lead us through.  God bless. 

Precious Lord, take my hand
Lead me on, let me stand
I am tired, I am weak, I am worn
Through the storm, through the night
Lead me on to the light
Take my hand, Precious Lord
Lead me home  

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 29:7

Proverbs 29:7 English Standard Version

7 A righteous man knows the rights of the poor;

    a wicked man does not understand such knowledge.

Morning Scripture Reading - Isaiah 41:10

Isaiah 41:8-10 English Standard Version

8 But you, Israel, my servant,

    Jacob, whom I have chosen,

    the offspring of Abraham, my friend;

9 you whom I took from the ends of the earth,

    and called from its farthest corners,

saying to you, “You are my servant,

    I have chosen you and not cast you off”;

10 fear not, for I am with you;

    be not dismayed, for I am your God;

I will strengthen you, I will help you,

    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Evening Scripture Reading - Galatians 2:19-21

Galatians 2:19-21 English Standard Version

19 For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 85:8-9

Psalm 85:8-9 English Standard Version

8 Let me hear what God the Lord will speak,

    for he will speak peace to his people, to his saints;

    but let them not turn back to folly.

9 Surely his salvation is near to those who fear him,

    that glory may dwell in our land.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 29:6

Proverbs 29:6 English Standard Version

6 An evil man is ensnared in his transgression,

    but a righteous man sings and rejoices.

Morning Scripture Reading - Joel 2:12

Joel 2:12-14 English Standard Version

Return to the Lord

12 “Yet even now,” declares the Lord,

    “return to me with all your heart,

with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;

13     and rend your hearts and not your garments.”

Return to the Lord your God,

    for he is gracious and merciful,

slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love;

    and he relents over disaster.

14 Who knows whether he will not turn and relent,

    and leave a blessing behind him,

a grain offering and a drink offering

    for the Lord your God?

Monday, May 3, 2021

Evening Scripture Reading - John 1:32-34

John 1:32-34 English Standard Version

32 And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. 33 I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 85:4-7

Psalm 85:4-7 English Standard Version

4 Restore us again, O God of our salvation,

    and put away your indignation toward us!

5 Will you be angry with us forever?

    Will you prolong your anger to all generations?

6 Will you not revive us again,

    that your people may rejoice in you?

7 Show us your steadfast love, O Lord,

    and grant us your salvation.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 29:5

Proverbs 29:5 English Standard Version

5 A man who flatters his neighbor

    spreads a net for his feet.

Morning Scripture Reading - 2 Samuel 7:27-29

2 Samuel 7:27-29 English Standard Version

27 For you, O Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, have made this revelation to your servant, saying, ‘I will build you a house.’ Therefore your servant has found courage to pray this prayer to you. 28 And now, O Lord God, you are God, and your words are true, and you have promised this good thing to your servant. 29 Now therefore may it please you to bless the house of your servant, so that it may continue forever before you. For you, O Lord God, have spoken, and with your blessing shall the house of your servant be blessed forever.”

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Evening Scripture Reading - 2 Corinthians 5:16-21

2 Corinthians 5:16-21 English Standard Version

16 From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 85:1-3

Psalm 85:1-3 English Standard Version

Revive Us Again

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of the Sons of Korah.

85 Lord, you were favorable to your land;

    you restored the fortunes of Jacob.

2 You forgave the iniquity of your people;

    you covered all their sin. Selah

3 You withdrew all your wrath;

    you turned from your hot anger.

Sunday Praise & Worship Message - The Fate of Arrogance

One of my favorite pastimes is to read about technology and see how it benefits the human race as a whole. What I often find is that we, as a species, tend to develop things that can be used for good or for evil. If you take a look at most of our inventions, the use for good or evil is strictly determined by the desires of individuals. Nuclear power is an excellent example of this. Harnessing the power of the atom has given advances in power generation, transportation to the stars, a mode of power for submarines and warships, as well as medicine. On the other hand, the discovery of atomic power has also given us weapons and the capability of wiping out all life on the planet.

For all of these advances, the human race praises itself for being so clever for creating this new technology, but we fail to humble ourselves and accept the fact that we need to be good stewards of its use. Instead of working hard to prevent the misuse of technology for evil purposes, we continue to pat ourselves on the collective back and believe that no one would misuse the technology or that we have the power to stop its misuse. How often we are so wrong.

If you study the history of the items created for good, they have often been perverted into weapons of war. Another good example is insecticides that have been turned into nerve agents. Think about some of the early nerve agents that started out as insecticides that later became weapons used on the battlefield to kill other individuals. Other weapons, like the Gatling gun, were created so that wars wouldn’t be waged due to the horrific capabilities of the weapons.

Once again, an advance in technology with good intentions gets perverted and used as a weapon. Instead of stopping wars, the rapid-fire capability opened the door to more advances and increased the lethality of weapons. Once again, we, as a species, praise ourselves for being so clever in creating something that may one day be used to kill even more people.

Today, we are faced with something similar in the area of artificial intelligence. Nations are spending huge sums of money and dedicating reasons to create artificial intelligence with the goal of having those computers solve our most difficult problems that we face like faminine, disease or weather catastrophes. Couple those advances with similar advances in robotics and we have all the makings of a science fiction movie of robots coming to life to wreak havoc on the world.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not against advances in technology. The best and brightest minds came together and put humans on the moon. Advances in vaccines to prevent the spread of polio, smallpox and even COVID-19 have helped us enjoy a world that is one step closer to being disease-free. But, as we make these advances, the same technology could be used for evil purposes. We need to take a lesson from the Scriptures and understand that arrogance and being haughty leads only to downfall and destruction. If we fail to be humble and seek God’s guidance and His wisdom, we will soon find ourselves on the path to hell. Remember the old adage, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

In the first two chapters of the Book of First Samuel, a young woman, Hannah, goes to the Tabernacle and prays for a son. In her prayer, Hannah dedicates her son to God and to His service. Eli, the priest at the Tabernacle, observes her and thinks she is drunk. She is moving her lips in prayer and no sound is coming out. When Eli goes to check things out, Hannah tells him that she isn’t drunk and is praying out of anguish and sorrow and is pouring her heart out to the Lord. 

After hearing this, Eli tells her, “In that case, go in peace! May the God of Israel grant the request you have asked of him.

Hannah is delighted and goes her way. God grants her prayer and she is given a son, Samuel. True to her word, she goes back and dedicates her son to serve there at the Tabernacle.

In her prayer, Hannah says, “Stop acting so proud and haughty! Don’t speak with such arrogance! For the Lord is a God who knows what you have done; he will judge your actions. The bow of the mighty is now broken, and those who stumbled are now strong.

Later, Eli is visited by a man who gives him a message from the Lord. The Lord is displeased by the action of Eli’s sons who are also priests. They have abused their positions and have taken the best of the sacrifice made to the Lord for themselves. The stranger tells Eli that all the members of his family will die before their time and none will reach old age. The few that survive will be cursed with blindness, their hearts broken and their children will die violent deaths. The stranger goes on to tell him that the Lord will lift up one faithful priest to serve Him and establish that man’s family to be priests.

True to the words given by the stranger, Eli hears of the death of his sons and the loss of the Ark of the Covenant to the Philistines. After hearing all of this news, Eli falls backward in his chair, breaks his neck and dies.

The reason I tell this story is that Eli’s sons felt that they were entitled to certain things and acted arrogantly. As priests, they held a respected position in society and could do whatever they wanted. They used their power to get whatever they wanted and thought that there would be no consequences to their actions. They felt that they had the world right where they wanted and that there would be no retribution to their actions. How they were wrong. Their pride and arrogance led them down a path of downfall and ultimate destruction.

When we, as a species, believe that we are so clever and that there will be no repercussions to our actions, pride and arrogance begin to guide our steps. We believe that we can get away with anything and everything. We can take what we want with impunity and not worry about the wrath of God. When we get to that point, we had better stop and think about the story of Samuel and Hannah’s prayer. We can return to God and humble ourselves and look to Him for guidance and wisdom. If we fail and continue down that road we have mapped out for ourselves, we will soon find ourselves being humbled by God. The glory that we once had will be stripped away and we will soon find ourselves wondering where the glory of our great civilization has gone.

It is my daily prayer that we realize that we cannot keep acting with impunity and remain arrogant and haughty before the Lord. Yes. We are very clever and have been given so much by the Lord. We are truly blessed as a nation and as a civilization. But, we are acting like spoiled children who believe that we are entitled to what we received and even more.

I ask you to pray with me each day that we will stop acting so proud and haughty. We need to humble ourselves before the Lord and ask for forgiveness. Once we have done that, we can ask Him for guidance and wisdom in all that we do. When we do those things, God will be pleased and we can stand firm in His grace.  

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

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 29:4

Proverbs 29:4 English Standard Version

4 By justice a king builds up the land,

    but he who exacts gifts tears it down.

Morning Scripture Reading - Isaiah 26:7-11

Isaiah 26:7-11 English Standard Version

7 The path of the righteous is level;

    you make level the way of the righteous.

8 In the path of your judgments,

    O Lord, we wait for you;

your name and remembrance

    are the desire of our soul.

9 My soul yearns for you in the night;

    my spirit within me earnestly seeks you.

For when your judgments are in the earth,

    the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.

10 If favor is shown to the wicked,

    he does not learn righteousness;

in the land of uprightness he deals corruptly

    and does not see the majesty of the Lord.

11 O Lord, your hand is lifted up,

    but they do not see it.

Let them see your zeal for your people, and be ashamed.

    Let the fire for your adversaries consume them.

Saturday, May 1, 2021

Evening Scripture Reading - Hebrews 13:15-16

Hebrews 13:15-16 English Standard Version

15 Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. 16 Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 84:10-12

Psalm 84:10-12 English Standard Version

10 For a day in your courts is better

    than a thousand elsewhere.

I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God

    than dwell in the tents of wickedness.

11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield;

    the Lord bestows favor and honor.

No good thing does he withhold

    from those who walk uprightly.

12 O Lord of hosts,

    blessed is the one who trusts in you!

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 29:3

Proverbs 29:3 English Standard Version

3 He who loves wisdom makes his father glad,

    but a companion of prostitutes squanders his wealth.

Morning Scripture Reading - John 16:33

John 16:33 English Standard Version

33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

Friday, April 30, 2021

Evening Scripture Reading - Isaiah 44:21-22

Isaiah 44:21-22 English Standard Version

The Lord Redeems Israel

21 Remember these things, O Jacob,

    and Israel, for you are my servant;

I formed you; you are my servant;

    O Israel, you will not be forgotten by me.

22 I have blotted out your transgressions like a cloud

    and your sins like mist;

return to me, for I have redeemed you.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 84:8-9

Psalm 84:8-9 English Standard Version

8 O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer;

    give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah

9 Behold our shield, O God;

    look on the face of your anointed!

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 29:2

Proverbs 29:2 English Standard Version

2 When the righteous increase, the people rejoice,

    but when the wicked rule, the people groan.

Morning Scripture Reading - Romans 5:6-8

Romans 5:6-8 English Standard Version

6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Evening Scripture Reading - Hebrews 2:14-18

Hebrews 2:14-18 English Standard Version

14 Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. 16 For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. 17 Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 84:5-7

Psalm 84:5-7 English Standard Version

5 Blessed are those whose strength is in you,

    in whose heart are the highways to Zion.

6 As they go through the Valley of Baca

    they make it a place of springs;

    the early rain also covers it with pools.

7 They go from strength to strength;

    each one appears before God in Zion.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 29:1

Proverbs 29:1 English Standard Version

 1 He who is often reproved, yet stiffens his neck,

    will suddenly be broken beyond healing.

Morning Scripture Reading - Romans 11:1-6

Romans 11:1-6 English Standard Version

The Remnant of Israel

11 I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means! For I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew. Do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he appeals to God against Israel? 3 “Lord, they have killed your prophets, they have demolished your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life.” 4 But what is God's reply to him? “I have kept for myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” 5 So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. 6 But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.