Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Prayers for the Persecuted

According to Open Doors USA, a non-profit organization focused on serving persecuted Christians in more than 60 countries, each month:

  • 322 Christians are KILLED for their faith
  • 214 churches and Christian properties are DESTROYED
  • 772 forms of violence (beatings, abductions, rapes, arrests and forced marriages) are COMMITTED against Christians
Please continue to pray for all who are persecuted because of their faith.

Answers Inside - Gospels

John 1:1(NLT)

In the beginning the Word already existed.
    The Word was with God,
    and the Word was God.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Answers Inside - Proverbs

Proverbs 23:7 (NLT)

They are always thinking about how much it costs.
    “Eat and drink,” they say, but they don’t mean it.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Sunday Message - Closing Prayer

Dearest and most gracious Heavenly Father, we thank you for allowing us to come together to share Your words and wisdom with so many around the world. It is because of You and Your power that we are able to reach those in need of comfort, strength and courage. We pray for those who are in need of healing or facing a medical procedure. We pray for those persecuted for preaching Your word and following that wonderful commission given by Your son, Jesus.

As we prepare to start another week, we ask for that strength, courage and perseverance to get through the valley of the shadow of death. We know that You are there with us every step and moment of the perilous journey.

We thank You so very much for all those who continue to support this ministry through prayer, words and donation. They truly are blessings to us and this ministry. It is because their efforts that we are able to reach so many around the world. Thank you for each of them.

It is in Your son's most precious and holy name, I pray.


Sunday Message - Having a Christ-Like Attitude - Part 3

Sr. Chaplain Jesse Johns will be examining and discussing the meaning of a Christ-like attitude and how we should develop our attitude in accordance with the teachings of Jesus. This is part 3 of his sermon series.

Sunday Message - Scripture Reading from Psalms

No matter what happens in your life, you can always count on the Lord to be your refuge and strength. Even if nature or man hurls their worst at you, you will know the Lord's power and see for yourself that He is among us.

Psalm 46 (NLT)

1 God is our refuge and strength,
    always ready to help in times of trouble.
2 So we will not fear when earthquakes come
    and the mountains crumble into the sea.
3 Let the oceans roar and foam.
    Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge!

4 A river brings joy to the city of our God,
    the sacred home of the Most High.
5 God dwells in that city; it cannot be destroyed.
    From the very break of day, God will protect it.
6 The nations are in chaos,
    and their kingdoms crumble!
God’s voice thunders,
    and the earth melts!
7 The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is here among us;
    the God of Israel is our fortress. 

Sunday Message - Praising Him with Song

In Philippians 2, Paul tells of a man and name that "God elevated ... to the place of highest honor and gave ... the name above all other names". That name is Jesus. A Savior who died to give us the gift of eternal life.

As you listen to the words of this song, think about the love that it took to give you that wonderful gift of eternal life.

There is a Name I Love to Hear

There is a name I love to hear,
  I love to sing its worth;
It sounds like music in mine ear,
  The sweetest name on earth.

Oh, how I love Jesus,
Oh, how I love Jesus,
Oh, how I love Jesus,
  Because He first loved me!

It tells me of a Savior’s love,
  Who died to set me free;
It tells me of His precious blood,
  The sinner’s perfect plea.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Answers Inside - New Testament

James 5:16 (NLT)

Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Answers Inside - Paul

2 Timothy 3:16 (NLT)

All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Mid-Week Message - Who Are We?

At times, I wonder about God's love for us.  This almighty being who has all power and can create anything at all with just a thought, chose us.  And He continues to choose us.  That is awe inspiring to say the least.  When you think of the works of His hands, the universe and beyond, everything that exists now, has existed in the past and will exist in the future, then Psalm 8:4 comes to mind.  "What is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?"

Muse with me.  Picture the earth as a marble in the vastness of forever.  On that marble live over seven billion people at any given time.  So, seven billion tiny points on the marble represent the men, women and children of the world.  Think also about the rest that makes up our dwelling place. The animals, vegetation, seas, deserts, man-made structures, etc.  Feeling small now?

Now, think of the enormity of God.  His presence encompasses all that is.  And as He looked around at all that He had, somehow, someway, He came up with the idea of mankind.  He made the marble and each little point on it.  He designed a world that would sustain life then created each and every person in His image.  Not only did He mold us and fill us with His own breath, He desired a personal relationship with us.  Each of us.  Individually.  He declared His deep love for us and even sent His own Son out of the majesty of Heaven to become one of us and live and sacrifice His life on this tiny orb.  Love doesn't get any more passionate than that.  

So, who are we that He should be mindful of us?  We are dust with divine breath.  Imperfect with the promise of perfection.  Mortal with an immortal future.  Sinners covered with the blood of forgiveness.  Tiny little specks on a minute rock in the immenseness of space.  Yet, chosen and adored by the Creator of all.  

Yes.  Sometimes I wonder.  

Psalm 8:4-6 (NIV)

"what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?  You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor.  You made them rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their feet"

Mid-Week Music - How Great Thou Art

As many of you know, I am a big NASA fan and enjoy being an amateur astronomer. When I look up and see the night sky and behold the stars, I realize that all of this could not have happened by chance. God, in His infinite love for us, created an universe of beauty and magnificent complexity. God, You truly are great! Thank You!

How Great Thou Art
Sung by Chris Rice

Oh Lord my God
When I in awesome wonder
Consider all the worlds
Thy hands have made
I see the stars
I hear the rolling thunder
Thy power throughout
The universe displayed

And when I think of God,
His son not sparing,
Sent Him to die,
I scarce can take it in;
That on the cross, my burden
gladly bearing He bled and died
to take away my sin

When Christ shall come
With shout of acclamation
And take me home
What joy shall fill my heart
Then I shall bow
With humble adoration
And then proclaim My God
How great Thou art

Then sings my soul
My Savior, God, to Thee
How great thou art
How great thou art
Then sings my soul
My Savior, God, to Thee
How great Thou art
How great Thou art

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Prayers for the Persecuted - Pastor Hassan Abduraheem

Christian Pastor Hassan Abduraheem has been imprisoned in Sudan for more than a year already, separated from his church and family.

He showed the love of Christ to someone in need and now he is being persecuted for it. Pastor Hassan has been convicted for his faith and faces 12 years longer in prison - all because he is a Christian.

Please continue to pray for him and so many others facing persecution for their faith.

Answers Inside - Gospels

Luke 4:18 (NLT)

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
    for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released,
    that the blind will see,
that the oppressed will be set free,

Monday, February 20, 2017

President's Day, 2017

President's Day started as George Washington's Birthday which was observed on the third Monday of February. His actual birthday was February 22, 1732. Over time, it has become President's Day or Presidents' Day. In whatever case you prefer to observe, we should celebrate the chief executive of the United States and pray for him as he deals with issues facing our great nation.

I know that there are those who disagree with the President and even question his ability to govern. In the past, I have disagreed with the actions of a past President; however, I never denied him as the duly-elected President of the United States of America. I feel great pride knowing that I live in a free nation where I can worship God freely. A nation where I can express my thoughts without fear of arrest or persecution. A nation where the press has the responsibility to act as watchdogs over the government and truly act as the fourth estate. 

Years ago, I was flying from Austin, Texas to San Jose, California, on business. On that particular day, President Bill Clinton was flying into Austin for a fund-raiser. I had the opportunity to see Air Force One land in Austin. I felt a great pride seeing Air Force One land. The scale and beauty of that airplane brought a lump to my throat and a tear to my eye. 

We truly live in a very blessed nation. As a blessed nation, we should love our neighbors and stand ready to protect and defend the rights of others to enjoy the blessings of liberty. We, as a nation, are truly one and as such, we need to support our leaders and pray for them daily. 

On this day, I ask each of you to pray for President Donald Trump and those who work with him to lead this nation. Put aside your differences for at least one day and pray for him. 

Answers Inside - Proverbs

Proverbs 29:18 (NLT)

When people do not accept divine guidance, they run wild.
    But whoever obeys the law is joyful.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Sunday Message - Closing Prayer

As we once again prepare for the week ahead, let us pray for strength to demonstrate to those around us a Christ-like attitude. It is through that attitude that we are testaments of God's love in us and His power in our daily lives.

Father God, we, as Your children, see Your awesome power and love daily in our lives. The gift of life and so much more all show how much You love us. As we go through this week, give us the strength to stand firm in our faith and to be a beacon to the world through our actions and words. Give us the opportunities to show our tender and compassionate hearts. Bring us together with those seeking Christian fellowship. Give us the wisdom to encourage those around us and build them up for service in Your kingdom.

It is in Jesus' precious and holy name, I pray.


Sunday Message - Having a Christ-Like Attitude - Part 2

In this Sunday's message, Sr. Chaplain Jesse Johns will be examining Jesus' attitude and what attributes we should model our lives after in Christ Jesus. Encouraging one another, sharing through fellowship and having a tender, compassionate heart are a few of those attributes that we should have as part of Christ-like attitude.

Sunday Message - Scripture Reading from Psalms

Sometimes, God ministers to our heart in very special ways. The other day when I was driving to town, I saw little baby goats in a field grazing and chasing after their mothers. It was at that very moment that God spoke to my heart and reminded me of His love for me.

Psalm 23 New Living Translation 

1 The Lord is my shepherd;
    I have all that I need.
2 He lets me rest in green meadows;
    he leads me beside peaceful streams.
3     He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
    bringing honor to his name.
4 Even when I walk
    through the darkest valley,
I will not be afraid,
    for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
    protect and comfort me.
5 You prepare a feast for me
    in the presence of my enemies.
You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
    My cup overflows with blessings.
6 Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
    all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the Lord

Sunday Message - Praising Him with Song

Jesus is indeed the sweetest name I have ever heard. It is through the power of his love and the grace of the Father that I have been saved.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Answers Inside - New Testament

Hebrews 4:12 (NLT)

For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Answers Inside - Paul

1 Timothy 2:5 (NLT)


There is one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Answers Inside - Old Testament

Numbers 6:24-26 (NLT)

24 ‘May the Lord bless you
    and protect you.
25 May the Lord smile on you
    and be gracious to you.
26 May the Lord show you his favor
    and give you his peace.’

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Mid-Week Message - Share Love

There are a number of thoughts going around in my head right now.  One is of Valentines Day.  I have fond memories of Valentines parties in elementary school.  Each year we had the assignment of creating a "mailbox" for the cards that would be handed out by the students during the party.  It was fun trying to come up with ideas that would be different from what everyone else did.  Sometimes I did well, sometimes I didn't.  Either way I carried home a box full of silly little cards that I cherished.

Another thought swirling in my mind at this late hour is of homeless people who may be cold on the street tonight.  Have they eaten?  Do they have warm blankets?  Where will they rest their heads until the morning?  I wonder if they have families who have homes, and if so, why are they not with them. When is the last time they had a hug from someone for no reason except to express God's love?

As a Bible college student I took a Missions class.  The main thing I remember from the class is that if you are going to reach out to someone to teach them of Jesus, the first thing you must do is meet their physical needs.  Telling them that Jesus loves them but failing to make sure they have food to eat, clothing to wear and shelter to feel safe in, is pointless.  Why?  Because Jesus' love is all encompassing.  A hungry person isn't likely to hear of spiritual things over the growling of an empty belly.  The Lord would see that the physical needs are met.  It is one thing to tell of love, but quite another to exemplify it.

The day after Christmas, Valentines items began showing up in stores and catalogs and in commercials on television.  Candy, flowers, cards, stuffed animals, diamonds, and even new cars are advertised as ways to show love on that one day a year that has been set aside for that purpose.  Frankly, I find this a bit offensive.  It isn't that I don't enjoy receiving those tokens, because I do.  I look forward to them.  What offends me is that we have a day on the calendar designated as the day to show our love for others.  Isn't that what we need to be doing every day?

If we truly spent our time sharing Christ's love with others, this would be an entirely different world. Rather than being reluctant to share for fear of rejection, we should run to people to exclaim how important they are to Him, and they should be just as important to us.  If there is a need, we should seek to fill it in whatever way we are able.  In giving of ourselves and our own resources, we share the touch of Heaven.  All we have comes from God above anyway.  And maybe, just maybe, He gave it knowing that we would need to pass it on to someone else.

Challenge for the week:  Share love with someone you normally wouldn't share it with.  See a stranger as a child with an empty Valentines mailbox and fill it with something they can cherish for awhile.  A smile.  A hug.  A word of encouragement. It might not be easy, but I promise you'll be glad you did.

Matthew 25:35-40New International Version (NIV)

35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Happy Valentine's Day!

As we celebrate and tell those around us that we love and cherish them, let us do so with truth in our words and more. By showing those around us that we love them through action, we demonstrate God's love to all. Let us remember the words from 1 John 3:18.

Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.

Why is it so important that we show our love through action? God showed His love for us in a plan of salvation which provided His son as our atonement for our sins. Not merely words, but action, my dear friends. God loves us so very much that He provided His son as our sacrifice for our sins and transgressions. When we receive that love by accepting Jesus as our personal savior and Lord, we begin to understand what true love means and where it comes from.

In 1 John 4:7, we are told the source of that unconditional and undeserved love.

Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God.

As you tell those around you that you love them, show them that you love them. Love all and provide to those in need.

If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person? 1 John 3:17 New Living Translation

Answers Inside - Gospels

Mark 16:15 (NLT)

And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Sunday Message - Closing Prayer

Dearest, most gracious Heavenly Father, pick me up and hold me in Your loving arms. Protect me from the pressures of the week, and remove the heaviness from my heart. Inspire me with the knowledge that You and I together can handle anything. Amen

Sunday Message - Having a Christ-Like Attitude - Part 1

Sr Chaplain Jesse Johns discusses what it means to have a Christ-like attitude and how we should work to live as Christ Jesus.

Sunday Message - Scripture Reading from Psalms

As we continue to live our lives in accordance with God's will, we know that He examines our hearts. As we were knitted in the wombs of our mothers, He watched over us. He continues to watch over us each day as we live to serve Him. 

Psalm 139

1 O Lord, you have examined my heart
    and know everything about me.
2 You know when I sit down or stand up.
    You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.
3 You see me when I travel
    and when I rest at home.
    You know everything I do.
4 You know what I am going to say
    even before I say it, Lord.
5 You go before me and follow me.
    You place your hand of blessing on my head.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too great for me to understand!
7 I can never escape from your Spirit!
    I can never get away from your presence!

Sunday Message - Praising Him with Song

There are times in our lives when we face problems that seem to consume us. We feel that there is no way to overcome them. When we feel that way, we need to remember the words of that wonderful hymn, "Amazing Grace" written by John Newton. 

It is through God's grace that our fears are relieved. When we receive that wonderful, undeserved grace, we know that our Heavenly Father loved us so very much that He gave His precious son, Jesus, for our sins.

My favorite version of this wonderful, immortal hymn is this one sung by George Beverly Shea. 

Amazing Grace

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now I'm found,
Was blind, but now I see.

'twas Grace that taught,
my heart to fear.
And grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that grace appear,
the hour I first believed.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Publicly Professing Our Faith

This morning I was reading some scripture and ran across one particular verse that started me thinking about my faith and trust in the Lord.
I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:13 NLT

I think that each of us need to publicly profess our faith and trust of the Lord for all to see. With today's technology of Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and so many others, we can easily post to one site or all and declare to the world our trust in the Lord.

You can either choose to share this message or post your own statement of your faith and trust in God.

Answers Inside - New Testament

Acts 1:8 (NLT)

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Friday, February 10, 2017

Answers Inside - Paul

2 Thessalonians 2:3 (NLT)

Don’t be fooled by what they say. For that day will not come until there is a great rebellion against God and the man of lawlessness is revealed—the one who brings destruction.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Answers Inside - Old Testament

Leviticus 19:18 (NLT)

“Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against a fellow Israelite, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

New Message Series Starting Next Sunday

Starting next Sunday, Sr. Chaplain Jesse Johns will be examining what it means to have a Christ-like attitude and how we should live as God intends.

Please join him next Sunday via his podcast which is posted at noon every Sunday.

Because of your prayers and donations, this ministry continues to reach the world with the Word of God. Please continue to pray and donate to Stand Firm in His Grace. You can donate to our ministry via PayPal using the "DONATE" button located on the right side of this page.

May God bless and keep you always.

Mid-Week Music - El-Shaddai

While Karla and I were ministering to our family of faith at Lake Line Oaks Retirement Community in Cedar Park, Texas, years ago, one of the songs we shared with our family was Amy Grant's "El-Shaddai" from her album, Age to Age. It became a beautiful song that we often used to remind us all of God's love and all that He does for us.

El-Shaddai translated means "God Almighty". The song praises God and celebrates all that He has done and continues to do. Age to age He is still the same. Steadfast in His love for us. Our shield, protector and Heavenly Father who provides for us daily.

If you would like to purchase the CD, please click here.

Mid-Week Message: Faith In a Quick Serve World

"I want that large sized and I need it right away.  Oh, and I need extra sauce.  Excuse me, but I forgot to say that I didn't want any tomatoes.  Could you remake this?"  Such is the norm in our fast paced, service oriented world.

Our daughter is a coffee barista for a well-known chain.  Each day she has new stories to tell of impatient people who want their coffee yesterday but fail to be complete in their orders.  For instance, they will place their order but forget to mention what size they want.  Or, they will order a drink but fail to mention that they want it iced and then get perturbed when it comes out hot.  We are so used to being waited on now that we sometimes assume others just can read our minds and automatically know what we desire.

I wonder what the Lord thinks about our lifestyle?  And I wonder what we are missing out on by having such an "instant" society.

I remember when my parents would actually cook breakfast.  After we had eaten, my mom would begin planning lunch and then dinner.  Food took a while to prepare.  Cakes were mixed with multiple ingredients then cooked in the oven and we were warned not to make a lot of noise so it wouldn't fall.  A roast chicken actually took hours to cook.  Potatoes were peeled, cut and boiled before being mashed by hand.  Nothing came from the store already prepared.

As we have gotten used to short waits for what we want, our prayer lives and our faith may have suffered. Scripture teaches to be persistent in prayer.  In 1 Samuel we are told of Hannah's desire for a child of her own and how she prayed for years for that to happen.  She didn't give up when it didn't happen but continued to pray.  God did hear her prayer and He did grant the desire of her heart, but He did not answer quickly.

God is not a vending machine where we put in a few coins (prayers) and pull our wish out of the slot at the bottom.  He has His own timing,  Because He is eternal, and can see the past, future and present, He knows what is right for our lives.  He will answer.  However, His answer very well may be, "No, that is not what you need", or "Wait a little longer."  This can be very frustrating for those of us who are used to this microwave fast world.

In regards to our spiritual lives, we need to return to the habits of yesterday.  Prayer needs to be constant, consistent and persistent.  Our Father loves us and wants us to bring our needs and requests and lay them at His feet.  He wants to guide us through life and help us in our battles.  Will it always be quick?  Most of the time no.  However, when His answer comes, it will be the right one.  It may not come in the form we were expecting and may not even be the answer we wanted.  He doesn't exist to serve us.  He, as our Creator, always listens and always cares.  Whatever His response is and whenever it comes, it will be worth waiting for.  So, be still.  Trust.  Believe.  And wait.  However long it's necessary.

Matthew 7:7-11

"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?  If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!"

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Answers Inside - Gospels

Matthew 28:18 (NLT)

Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Prayers for the Persecuted - Adnan Prince

After spending more than three years in jail, a Christian accused of blasphemy, and facing the death penalty, was granted bail by the Supreme Court in Lahore on 1 Feb.

Adnan Prince has been imprisoned in Lahore’s district jail since November 2013 after he was accused by a work colleague of insulting Islam, the Qur’an and Islam’s prophet.

The three-man bench, headed by Justice Dost Muhammad Khan, ordered the release of Prince, a resident of Lahore, against a bail bond worth Rs300,000 (around $3,000).

Similar cases have been known to take as long as seven years to reach trial. Perhaps the most famous on-going “blasphemy” case is that of Aasiya Noreen (also known as Asia Bibi), who was sentenced to death for insulting Islam in 2009 and still remains in jail, awaiting a delayed final appeal hearing by the Supreme Court.

As Christians, we must continue praying for our brothers and sisters who are being persecuted for their faith. Continue praying!

Prayers for the Persecuted - Pastor Andrew Brunson

American Pastor Andrew Brunson still languishes in a Turkish prison.

He is one of 19 prisoners in a 10-person cell and the only Christian.

Pastor Andrew has been falsely charged with “membership in an armed terrorist organization.” He has served and loved the people of Turkey for more than two decades. Now this U.S. citizen is in extreme danger – falsely charged for his Christian faith.

Please keep Pastor Andrew in your prayers as well as all those around the world who are being persecuted for their faith.

Lesson from Super Bowl LI

Last night, like millions of Americans around the world, I watched the Super Bowl. Many watched it for the commercials while others used it as a time to celebrate with friends. 

The game between the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons was a game that will go down in the annals of the National Football League as "epic". The Patriots staged a comeback that will be talked about for weeks. Instead of salvaging the game and trying to put some points on the board, the Patriots were resolute in their goal. They were going to win and they did. They tied the game and then won in overtime. What a comeback!

As Christians, we can easily see the parallel in our lives. As we strive to perfect our faith and remain a servant of God, we must keep our eyes focused on the prize and dedicate our lives to being a "good and faithful servant" of God. The lessons of Christ teach us that we must avoid temptation and live a righteous life. Like the football players, we must constantly practice by exercising our faith, doing what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Thinking about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

Paul reminds us of this so many times in his letter to the Philippians. In Chapter 3, Paul says that we must forget the past and look forward to what lies ahead, and to press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, calls us (v. 13-14). 

The Patriots did not concentrate on the point deficit, but rather the task ahead of them, winning. We need to do the same in our lives. Forget the past, concentrate on the future and task ahead and press on to reach the end of the race.

Answers Inside - Proverbs

Proverbs 30:5 (NLT)

Every word of God proves true.
    He is a shield to all who come to him for protection.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Sunday Message - Closing Prayer

As we prepare for the week ahead, let us remember the elements of a true prayer and use Daniel's example as a guide to help us focus on God and what He has and continues to do in our life.

Lord, as I go through the rest of the week, help me to stay focused on You and You alone. The stress of life and random thoughts not only has my mind wandering but also my heart. I pray for peace in my life and to stay focused on You as the center of my life. Let Your words flow through me and over me. Let me share with those who need Your words. Amen.

Sunday Message - Elements of a True Prayer Part 3

Sr. Chaplain Jesse Johns will be concluding his message series on the elements of a true prayer.

In today's message, he will be examining the last element, God's response, and how we should be prepared for it.

Sunday Message - Scripture Reading from Psalms

Although I typically do not use the Good News Translation for most scripture reading, I read Psalm 25 and was moved by it. It spoke to my heart and filled me with great joy.

This is a prayer asking for guidance and protection. As you read the Psalm, you will notice the elements of a true prayer.

I encourage you to read the entire Psalm and study it as a model prayer and let the words flow into your heart. Let it guide you through the rest of the week.

Psalm 25:1-7 Good News Translation (GNT)

To you, O Lord, I offer my prayer;
2     in you, my God, I trust.
Save me from the shame of defeat;
    don't let my enemies gloat over me!
3 Defeat does not come to those who trust in you,
    but to those who are quick to rebel against you.
4 Teach me your ways, O Lord;
    make them known to me.
5 Teach me to live according to your truth,
    for you are my God, who saves me.
    I always trust in you.
6 Remember, O Lord, your kindness and constant love
    which you have shown from long ago.
7 Forgive the sins and errors of my youth.
In your constant love and goodness,
    remember me, Lord!

Sunday Message - Praising Him with Song

When we feel the spirit moving in our hearts, we should lift up our voices in prayer and let our Heavenly Father know that we are receiving His message. 

Every time I feel the spirit moving in my heart, I will pray 
Every time I feel the spirit moving in my heart, I will pray.

Upon the mountain my Lord spoke 
Out of His mouth came fire and smoke 
Looked all around me, it looked so fine 
Till I asked my Lord if all was mine.

Every time I feel the spirit moving in my heart, I will pray 
Every time I feel the spirit moving in my heart, I will pray.

Jordan river, is chilly an' cold 
It chills the body but not the soul 
There ain't but one train, upon this track 
It runs to heaven, an' right back.

Every time I feel the spirit moving in my heart, I will pray 
Every time I feel the spirit moving in my heart, I will pray.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Prayers for the Persecuted - Pastors Hassan Abduraheem & Andrew Brunson

In December of last year, I asked our faith family and grace partners to pray for Pastors Hassan Abduraheem and Andrew Brunson. Both are facing trumped up charges and are be persecuted for their Christian faith.

The Sudanese judge on Sunday has handed down a 12-year sentence to Pastor Hassan on the grounds of espionage, inciting strife between communities and spreading rumors that undermine the respect for the state. 

This sentence is particularly disturbing for the future of religious freedom and the rule of law in Sudan, as Pastor Hassan and others were originally arrested on false charges in late 2015.   The men attended a Christian conference in Addis Ababa, Ethopia in November 2015 and the charges against them stem from financial aid given to an injured young man who was also attending the conference.  The men were simply living out their Christian faith by helping a young man in need of medical attention, but the Sudanese security forces falsely claimed that their charity masked a sinister agenda to support rebel forces.

American Pastor Andrew Brunson sits in an overcrowded prison in Turkey, persecuted for his Christian faith.

Please pray for both men of faith. As believers, we need to keep all those who are being persecuted for their faith in our prayers.

Answers Inside - New Testament

James 1:2 (NLT)

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Answers Inside - Paul

1 Thessalonians 4:13 (NLT)

And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope.