Friday, March 31, 2017

Answers Inside - Paul

2 Corinthians 5:21 New Living Translation

21 For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Answers Inside - Old Testament

1 Kings 2:3 New Living Translation

Observe the requirements of the Lord your God, and follow all his ways. Keep the decrees, commands, regulations, and laws written in the Law of Moses so that you will be successful in all you do and wherever you go.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Prayers for the Persecuted - Pastor Donald Ossewaarde

A US Baptist pastor found guilty of 'conducting illegal missionary activities' in Russia has taken his case to the European Court of Human Rights.

Donald Ossewaarde held weekly Bible meetings at his home in Oryol, Russia for years before 'anti-terrorism' laws were used to charge him with conducting illegal activity. He was found guilty and given a fine of 40,000 rubles (over $600).

He has made several appeals, including one to the Russian Supreme Court, all of which have been unsuccessful. Today he filed his appeal, citing the violation of religious liberty, to the European Court of Human Rights, with the support of ADF International, a legal organization that advocates for religious freedom.

Please pray for Pastor Ossewaarde as he continues to appeal his case.

Mid-Week Message - Lessons From the Father

Sometimes, when I sit down to write an article, I am overwhelmed by thoughts and have trouble sorting out what I should write.  In my life, I see the Lord in everything.  Maybe it comes from working with children for so many years. or maybe He just speaks to me in a unique way, but reminders of His love and power are absolutely everywhere I turn.  

One of my favorite games with children is to challenge them to bring me any object and I will show them what they can learn about God through it.  For instance, a pencil reminds us that He will write His laws upon our hearts.  The eraser signifies forgiveness because when we confess our sins He remembers them no more.  Thread can teach that we are woven together in our mother's womb.  A needle brings to mind that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into Heaven.  

I have mentioned before that the Father's word for me this year is "trust."  My family, like all others, encounters difficulties and changes that are challenging.  In January, when He first whispered to me to trust Him, I had no idea what He was preparing me for.  Since then, He has repeated it to me regularly in scriptures, in devotionals, in casual conversations with friends and even through what is posted on social media.  And I have had the opportunity to see why that word is so important.  We are going through some major challenges right now and trusting in Him has been crucial for me.  In times of fear I hear that first whisper echoing in my heart and mind and am reminded and encouraged that He is in charge.  

Child development teachers say that the best way to get a child's attention isn't by yelling at them but rather by getting down on their level and speaking very softly to them.  They have to pay closer attention to understand what is being said.  Maybe that is why God whispers to me and uses object lessons.  When He does that, I have to pay closer attention so that I understand clearly the message He has for me.  Then, I am equipped to pass it on to others.  How good and perfect is our God in Heaven who somehow is able to relate to each of us as if we are His only child.  Even when I sit down and find myself in a healthy dose of writer's block, He is able to channel my mind into what He feels is important.  Thank you, Father. 

Mid-Week Music - Word of God Speak

Years and years ago, I was talking with someone about the Bible. He told me that he had read the Bible from cover to cover every year of his life. Although I was impressed by that fact, I noticed that he did not take the lessons and God's word seriously. The Holy Spirit placed a verse on my heart and I shared it with him.

James 1:23-25 New Living Translation (NLT)

23 For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. 24 You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. 25 But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it. 

If we are truly in tune with God and His Word, we need to obey it. 

As you listen to this song, think about God's word and truly listen and act upon it to His glory.

"Word of God Speak"

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Share, Share, Share

Stand Firm In His Grace exists because we were led to encourage others with the Word of God and to share what the Lord lays on our hearts.  We try to pair these messages with artwork and music that will touch hearts even if the message isn't read.  

In Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus tells his disciples to 

19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

As Christians, we are all called to preach the Word of God to all those around us. I know that this is a very difficult thing to do and may seem intimidating to most, but there are ways to make sharing very easy.

By sharing our posts, you are able to reach more and more people with the Word. We encourage you to pass our posts on by either retweeting or liking and sharing them so that they will be seen by many more. When you do this, you not only help grow our ministry, but you also share the Good News with all who see your retweets, shares and likes.

Help minister to others and build God's kingdom by sharing our postings and messages.

Answers Inside - Gospels

John 14:6 New Living Translation

Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Answers Inside - Proverbs

Proverbs 6:16-19 New Living Translation

16 There are six things the Lord hates—
    no, seven things he detests:
17 haughty eyes,
    a lying tongue,
    hands that kill the innocent,
18 a heart that plots evil,
    feet that race to do wrong,
19 a false witness who pours out lies,
    a person who sows discord in a family.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Sunday Message - Closing Prayer

Once again, we conclude our day-long praise and worship messages. We thank each of you for reading and listening to our messages. Your support is appreciated so very much. Each email that we receive from our faith family, grace partners and dear friends keeps us delivering the messages placed on our hearts to share with the world.

Gracious and loving Father, we thank You for the blessings of this day and every day. Each is a gift from Your hand. As we continue to serve You and minister to those in darkness, give us the strength to be bold and to help those in need. You have given us the gifts to help those around us and each act of kindness that we do is done not for our glory, but for Yours. 

We start a new week and we look forward to serving You and Your children. Continue to bless us with Your guidance, direction and protection during the course of this week. Give us the opportunities to minister to those who need Your love and the Good News of Your salvation.

We pray for those who have things on their minds and hearts. There are times when fear grips us firmly. We know that You alone have the strength to break that grip and give us peace. 

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


Sunday Message - Praising Him with Song

I have lived my life in accordance to God's will and will continue to do so. As we had studied early, we need to have a Christ-like attitude in all that we do and we must serve with joy our Heavenly Father and those around us.

As you listen to this beautiful song, "Non Nobis Domine," let the words truly flow into your heart and let it be your guide to serving God and others.

Sunday Message - Using What is Given

In this message, Chaplain Jesse will be discussing the gifts given to us by our Heavenly Father and how they should be used. No matter what the gift or its perceived size, all gifts whether speaking, sharing or giving comes from the Father and has the greatest impact on those around us and gives glory to God.

Sunday Message - Scripture Reading from Psalms

As we praise and worship God, let us always remember His mighty deeds. He has shown his strength and power throughout the scriptures. The only thing that is so real for us is His unfailing love for us. He loves us each day and provided for our salvation through His son, Jesus.

With Easter coming so very quickly, let us never forget His love.

Psalm 29 New Living Translation (NLT)

1 Honor the Lord, you heavenly beings;
    honor the Lord for his glory and strength.
2 Honor the Lord for the glory of his name.
    Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness.
3 The voice of the Lord echoes above the sea.
    The God of glory thunders.
    The Lord thunders over the mighty sea.
4 The voice of the Lord is powerful;
    the voice of the Lord is majestic.
5 The voice of the Lord splits the mighty cedars;
    the Lord shatters the cedars of Lebanon.
6 He makes Lebanon’s mountains skip like a calf;
    he makes Mount Hermon leap like a young wild ox.
7 The voice of the Lord strikes
    with bolts of lightning.
8 The voice of the Lord makes the barren wilderness quake;
    the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
9 The voice of the Lord twists mighty oaks
    and strips the forests bare.
In his Temple everyone shouts, “Glory!”
10 The Lord rules over the floodwaters.
    The Lord reigns as king forever.
11 The Lord gives his people strength.
    The Lord blesses them with peace.

Sunday Message - Opening Prayer

Each Sunday we start our praise and worship day with a prayer. It is a simple prayer, but it means so much more. It captures the feeling in our hearts and we raise it up to the Father so that it is pleasing to His ears. 

When we come into His presence and humble ourselves before Him, we give Him all the glory and, most importantly, ourselves. Our minds, hearts and souls are His completely. We spend time only with Him and know that when we go back into the world, we are prepared to give to the world.

What are we going to give to the world? His Word and His love. 

Dearest, most gracious Heavenly Father, we thank You for this moment of praise and worship. It is You we focus on and it is You who provides for His Children. 

As we enter Your courtyard with praise and thanksgiving, we say, "Thank you, God, for all that You have done and provided."

You are an awesome and living God who loves His children dearly and gave us Your son as our sacrifice upon a cross to pay that debt of sin that we had run up.

As we continue our praise and worship over the following hours, may everything that is felt, shared and given be pleasing to You.

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


Saturday, March 25, 2017

A Redneck's Guide To Being A Christian: Ministry Edition

A very dear friend of mine and brother in Christ shared with me his series of books that talks about faith in a humorous, easy to understand way.

In his series, "A Redneck's Guide", Jeff examines Christianity and what it means in a brief, but thoughtful way. As a friend of his, I highly recommend his book series and have grown in my own faith from knowing him and his dear wife, Frances.

If you would like to read more about them, their ministry or get a copy of his books or books, click on the picture below.

Answers Inside - New Testament

2 John 1-2 New Living Translation

1 This letter is from John, the elder.

I am writing to the chosen lady and to her children, whom I love in the truth—as does everyone else who knows the truth— 2 because the truth lives in us and will be with us forever.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Answers Inside - Paul

1 Corinthians 15:3 New Living Translation

I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Answers Inside - Old Testament

2 Samuel 7:8-9 New Living Translation

8 “Now go and say to my servant David, ‘This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies has declared: I took you from tending sheep in the pasture and selected you to be the leader of my people Israel. 9 I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have destroyed all your enemies before your eyes. Now I will make your name as famous as anyone who has ever lived on the earth!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Mid-Week Message - Letting Go

Winter is officially over and spring has arrived.  Already we have seen wildflowers blooming and are seeing new leaves on the trees.  There are eggs in a bird nest built over my front porch and mommy bird is faithfully sitting on them to keep them warm.  New life is everywhere.  It is exciting and fresh.

What if we refused to acknowledge spring and tried to hold on to the winter?  We could keep wearing our jackets and turning up the heater or starting a fire in the fireplace.  We could drink hot chocolate and use the electric blanket at night.  Sweaters could continue to be our daily wardrobe and fluffy warm socks could continue to snuggle our feet.  Yes, we could keep acting as if winter was still present, but our actions would not, could not, make it so.

Life comes with changes.  I don't know about you but personally change isn't something that I look forward to.  I like the sameness of every day.  I enjoy knowing what happens at what time and how I need to prepare for it daily.  I am one who would try to hold on to winter.  However, we serve a loving Father who seemingly likes to shake things up every once in awhile.  He allows storms to come into our lives that will cause us to move out of our comfort place.

Our family has been going through one of these storms.  It has jolted us severely and is bringing about changes that we could not have anticipated and really do not desire.  One of the ramifications of this storm is that we need to make a physical change to our address.  Yes, move.  So we are packing.  And as we do so, we are deciding which items we can do without.  Each of us is choosing to give up items that we rarely use and items that were cherished gifts, and as we do, we are learning how much of our energy has been spent on material possessions that truly serve no real purpose.

What is most important in life?  Is it the diamond ring or the person who gave it out of love?  Is it the teddy bear from childhood or the memories of happy times with family?  Is it that book that's been reread so many times that it is falling apart or the joy and life lessons it brought?  What do we need to hang on to and what do we need to let go?

Scripture addresses this in a passage we all know well:

 Matthew 6:19-21 (NIV)

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy; and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal; For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control, otherwise known as the fruits of the Spirit, are the treasures that are eternal.  They cannot be lost, stolen or broken.  We can give them away but not without getting even more in return.  They come directly from the Lord's hand and are greater than any gift that can ever be given.

So, how do we let go of those things which hinder us in our daily life?  First, see them as what they are - pieces of wood, metal, plastic or cloth that will eventually fall apart or rot.  Second, consider the time and effort that has been devoted to them.  Third, remember that one day we will leave this temporal world and we will not be able to take those things with us.  Fourth, what do we want to be remembered for?  Do we want everyone to remember us for some item that we bought and displayed in our home, or even the fancy house we live in?  Or do we want to be remembered for what type of person we were? Letting go becomes much easier when we are able to be honest about what we are clinging to and choose to cling to someone rather than something.

Mid-Week Music - Down To The River To Pray

One of the things that I have learned over the past couple of weeks is that my trust and faith are being challenged daily. Some days, I find it easy to trust God and His direction in my life. Other days are more difficult when something disappointing occurs. When I feel that I am tempted to go in a different direction, I bow my head in prayer and look to the Father for strength and wisdom. He never fails.

I know that some may go astray and over time, they return to their faith. Life is hard and staying on the path is very difficult. It is at those moments when you feel that you are going astray that you need to be in prayer and ask for prayers from others.

Today's music is "Down to the River to Pray".

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

A Moment of Prayer and Reflection

When I began our ministry at Lakeline Oaks Retirement Community, we did not end our service with an alter call. We had a moment of "Prayer and Reflection". I would often say that it was the most important part of our praise and worship service. It was a moment when all would bow their heads in silent prayer and have a little talk with the Lord. 

So often in our lives, we forget to have those little moments with Him. Just like the old spiritual, "Just a Little Talk with Jesus", we need to find that time to talk with Our Heavenly Father and lift up our problems to Him. The Father will definitely hear our prayers and He will rescue us from our problems.

Right now, I am going through one of the most difficult times in my life. I have never experienced anything like this before, but I know, in my heart and soul, that the Father has a plan for us and we will continue to serve Him. No matter what happens in life, I will remain faithful to Him and continue to love Him. 

So, each morning, noon and evening I spend that moment of prayer and reflection with our Father. When you face situations that are overwhelming, spend the time in prayer and reflection. Take that moment to "stand firm in His grace".

Answers Inside - Gospels

Luke 16:19-25 (NLT)

Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus

19 Jesus said, “There was a certain rich man who was splendidly clothed in purple and fine linen and who lived each day in luxury. 20 At his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus who was covered with sores. 21 As Lazarus lay there longing for scraps from the rich man’s table, the dogs would come and lick his open sores.

22 “Finally, the poor man died and was carried by the angels to sit beside Abraham at the heavenly banquet. The rich man also died and was buried, 23 and he went to the place of the dead. There, in torment, he saw Abraham in the far distance with Lazarus at his side.

24 “The rich man shouted, ‘Father Abraham, have some pity! Send Lazarus over here to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue. I am in anguish in these flames.’

25 “But Abraham said to him, ‘Son, remember that during your lifetime you had everything you wanted, and Lazarus had nothing. So now he is here being comforted, and you are in anguish.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Answers Inside - Proverbs

Proverbs 17:22 New Living Translation

A cheerful heart is good medicine,
    but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Sunday Message - Closing Prayer

As we conclude our day of praise and worship, let us always remember that the God who we serve will always guide and protect us. Not matter what problems we face, He will be there and instantly provide that peace that we need so desperately in the coming week.

Just as Christ Jesus told the 72 as they prepared to go out into the world, he tells us the same things today. We will be going out like lambs among the wolves. The only thing we need to carry with us is the Word of God.

God tells His children in Deuteronomy 11 to commit themselves wholeheartedly to His words and to tie them to their hands and wear them on their foreheads as reminders. 

We, too, must commit ourselves wholeheartedly and be obedient to God by realizing that the harvest is great, but the workers are few. Stand firm in His grace and work for the Master.

Almighty God, as we come to the conclusion of our day of prayer, praise and worship of You, we thank You for the strength You provide us daily to weather the storms of life. You are Our God and we are Your children.

As we go out into the world, give us the strength to minister to those in need. There are so many who are in pain and we know that You can give them that peace that surpasses all understanding.

I ask that You bless everyone who reads or listens to our message. We do all these things not for our praise, but for Your glory alone. You are the master and we are the humbly servants who lovingly serve in Your kingdom.

We pray for all those who are facing problems. Medical problems. Financial problems. Marital problems. No matter what the source of the problem is, we know that You will provide a way out of all.

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


Sunday Message - Praising Him with Song

It is through that amazing grace of God that saves, sustains and strengthens us daily. When we realize the awesome power of that grace, we are humbled by it. We realize that our chains are gone and that our freedom from sin and death was purchased by a man who humbled himself in obedience to God and suffered a criminal's death on a cross.

8 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.
Ephesians 2:8-9 (NLT)

As you listen to this wonderful version of "Amazing Grace" by Chris Tomlin from his album, "How Great Is Our God: The Essential Collection", mediate on the words and realize just how wonderful that grace really is.

Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone)
Chris Tomlin

Sunday Message - Travel Light

Chaplain Jesse will be looking at the 72 disciples that Jesus sent out into the world and how we should have faith even when we face trials in our lives that could sometimes cause us to question our faith or even God's plan for our lives. We all have those moments and we feel that things are just being ripped out of our lives. Do not be fearful. Have faith and know that God cares for us very much.

Sunday Message - Scripture Reading from Psalms

We sometimes feel that God is not listening and He has turned His back on us. He has not. We need to know that the Lord God who created the universe is there for us and loves His precious children.

When you feel that He is not there for you, I encourage you to read Psalm 77. There is a series of verses that I mediate on when I am troubled and feel that all has closed in on me.

Psalm 77:10-15 New Living Translation

10 And I said, “This is my fate;
    the Most High has turned his hand against me.”
11 But then I recall all you have done, O Lord;
    I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago.
12 They are constantly in my thoughts.
    I cannot stop thinking about your mighty works.
13 O God, your ways are holy.
    Is there any god as mighty as you?
14 You are the God of great wonders!
    You demonstrate your awesome power among the nations.
15 By your strong arm, you redeemed your people,
    the descendants of Jacob and Joseph. Interlude

Sunday Message - Opening Prayer

Over the past couple of weeks, my wife, Karla, and I have had to make a lot of difficult decisions in our lives. As we considered each one of them, we were always in prayer and asked God for wisdom and the grace to help us through these troubling times.

I know that each of you reading this maybe facing similar difficult situations and decisions that may cause you to question your faith and wonder if God is even listening. I can assure you that He is always there for the righteous and is listening. God loves and cares for His children and will not allow harm to come to them. We can rest upon that promise.

As we begin today's worship and praise for our Heavenly Father, let us remember those words that Jesus taught us to pray.

Our Father, which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come. 
Thy will be done in earth, 
As it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive them that trespass against us. 
And lead us not into temptation, 
But deliver us from evil. 
For thine is the kingdom, 
The power, and the glory, 
For ever and ever. 

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Answers Inside - New Testament

1 John 1:9 New Living Translation

But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Answers Inside - Paul

Romans 3:23 New Living Translation

For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Answers Inside - Old Testament

1 Samuel 16:7 New Living Translation

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Mid-Week Message - One Perfect Arrow

Sin.  That ugly three letter word that never leaves us alone.  We all know it quite well because we all have sinned.  Scripture teaches us that the only sinless person that every lived was Jesus.  Let's examine this concept and see where it leads us.

The word "sin" is actually an archery term that means "missing the mark".  It references shooting an arrow and missing its intended target.  When you understand that then it is easier to understand why it is such a part of each of our lives.  If I told you to stand in the center of the Sistine Chapel and jump up and touch the ceiling, would you be able to do it?  Of course not.  Now that is a rather elementary example, but it works because no one would be able to do it.  Some may jump higher than others, but no one would be able to touch the ceiling, therefore, everyone would miss the mark.

God created us with free will.  Because He did, we have the freedom of choice and we sometimes make the wrong choices.  Notice that Adam and Eve didn't last very long in the Garden of Eden before they made the wrong choice.  When they chose to listen to the serpent and eat the apple they missed the mark which was to not eat of that tree.  They thought that what the serpent said made more sense than what God said and opted to disobey the Lord.  They sinned.

How many times have you chosen to listen to a voice other than that of our Heavenly Father?  If you are like me, then there are far, far too many to count.  Now let me ask you a different question. Whose responsibility is it when we listen to the wrong voice?  Does it belong to who or what enticed us or to us personally?  Now think about that carefully.  I ask because we have developed the habit of removing blame from ourselves.  I'm not asking if the enticer did wrong.  Clearly that is another matter altogether.  If we are the ones who listen, believe and follow through with what we have been tempted with, then we miss the mark, which is to seek out what God would say and follow His instruction.

Someone I love dearly came to me this week and took responsibility for my sin.  That person's argument was that if they had done something different then I would not have sinned. I have to tell you that it sure was tempting to say, "Yes!  You're right!  I am the way I am because of you."  But that would have been another sin, lying.  The truth is, what I did I chose to do on my own.  It is something I have wrestled with my entire life.  We are old buddies, this behavior and I.  It isn't anyone else's fault if I choose to indulge, because I know better.  I know what the Lord teaches.  The responsibility to make the correct choice was mine and mine alone.  It doesn't belong to this loved one, my parents, teachers, circumstances, environment, "disease" (which is the most acceptable way we excuse ourselves), or anyone or anything else.  Me.  I did it.

How wonderful that our Creator knew ahead of time that we would need forgiveness and that He made such a sacrificial provision for it.  Our hope, our promise, our redemption, our lives, lie in the scars of Jesus.  On the cross He took the punishment for our wrong choices.  The One who had no sin, bled and died for those of us who do.  The blessing of this is that when God looks upon His children, He sees the blood of His Son and sees us without all the messes we have made.

He desired us, He created us, He knew us.  Then he pulled back His arrow and shot it straight to the intended target and hit His mark. Because of that one act, the imperfect are made perfect. Hallelujah!

Mid-Week Music - Be Unto Your Name

When we consider what we are and what we have, we begin to release that nothing matters. We are a vapor. We are broken. We are nothing. The only thing that matters is our salvation that was purchased by the Lamp of God. 

As this song washes over your soul, think about the words. Holy, holy, God Almighty!

"Be Unto Your Name"
Robin Mark

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Answers Inside - Gospels

Mark 16:16 New Living Translation

Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Answers Inside - Proverbs

Proverbs 9:10 New Living Translation

Fear of the Lord is the foundation of wisdom.
    Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Sunday Message - Closing Prayer

As we conclude our day of worship and praise of our Heavenly Father, let us focus on those things that are true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Let us focus on Him and always know that He is there with us. Our Father listens to our prayers and cries for help. He will rescue us from the snares and traps that Satan has set for us.

Father, we thank you for the allowing us to share and listen to Your words. We know that life is full of headaches, troubles and problems, but we also know that You will never leave us nor forsake us. We are Your children and You called us by name. We are truly Yours.

As we go through the rest of this, we ask that You watch over us and guide us. Give us those words that we need in our time of pain, loneliness and heartache.

Lord, I thank You for all of our friends, family, faith family and grace partners. I know that each face their own trials and sorrows. I pray for each and ask for that hand of comfort and reassurance. I ask for that mighty right hand to lift them out of their situations and those mighty arms to embrace them and let them know they are loved.

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


Sunday Message - Praising Him with Song

As we think about what matters in our lives, we should remember the words of Paul.

Philippians 3:7-8 New Living Translation

7 I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. 8 Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ

All I Once Held Dear - Robin Mark

Sunday Message - Having a Christ-Like Attitude - Part 5

In this final part of his sermon series on "Having a Christ-like Attitude", Chaplain Jesse will be looking at several examples of those who demonstrated that attitude. It is not enough to say that we have that attitude. We must demonstrate it daily not just in word but also in deed.

Sunday Message - Scripture Reading from Psalms

Today's reading comes from Psalm 34. It reminds us that God hears his people and will deliver them from their troubles. He will rescue His children when their spirits are crushed.

Psalm 34:17-20 New Living Translation

17 The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help.
    He rescues them from all their troubles.
18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted;
    he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.
19 The righteous person faces many troubles,
    but the Lord comes to the rescue each time.
20 For the Lord protects the bones of the righteous;
    not one of them is broken!

Sunday Message - Opening Prayer

As we begin our day of worship and praise, Karla and I are so very thankful for all of our friends, family, faith family and grace partners for praying for us. This past week was tremendously hard for us, but we know that all things will work out in accordance to His will. Because of God's love and grace and the prayers and love of our friends and family, we will weather the storm and get through this valley of darkness.

Almighty God, we come into Your presence with praise in our hearts and with words of worship on our lips. You have demonstrated Your love and merciful grace to us daily. As we begin this day of worship and praise, helps us to remember that there is no obstacle that You cannot overcome. There is no constraint mighty enough to contain You. There is no love stronger or as tender as Yours.
It is in Your son's precious and holy name, we pray.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Answers Inside - New Testament

2 Peter 3:9 New Living Translation

The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Answers Inside - Paul

Philemon 21 New Living Translation

I am confident as I write this letter that you will do what I ask and even more!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

I Saw the Light

Yesterday, I experienced a major setback in my life that shook me to the core. I will not go into the details of it, but it really had me questioning my faith and God's will in my life. 

Setbacks like these happen when you are truly at the edge of victory. Just as there is a break in the clouds, another storm front comes. You pray harder, but the storm does not let up. Sometimes it is not enough just to pray for yourself. You need the combined strength of other Christians to lift you up in prayer.

I put out a tweet and a Facebook message for prayers and my friends came running to my aid and began to pray for my family and me. There are not enough words of gratitude that I can share with each to thank them for their prayers, words of encouragement, positive thoughts and, most importantly, their love.

Just as the old spiritual, "I Saw the Light, tells us, "Worries and fears I claimed for my own / Then like the blind man that God gave back his sight." 

Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 4:8-9, "8 We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. 9 We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed." (NLT)

Yes, in times of trouble, we are truly pressed from all sides, but we will never be crushed. Because of God's love, we can face those challenges and with the prayers and love of others, we can make it.

Answers Inside - Old Testament

Ruth 1:16 New Living Translation

But Ruth replied, “Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Changing our Sunday Format

As we are guided by the Holy Spirit, we continue to improve our ministry and how we minister to those in spiritual need. Through the teachings of Jesus and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we find the strength and passion to lift up our prayers to the Father and to seek His will in all that we do. 

The ministry that God has given us and the support of our faith family and grace partners have sustained us. We continue to ask for your prayers and donations to continue this ministry and to reach more and more of those who hunger for the word and need God's grace in their lives.

Our new Sunday format allows us to spend the entire day in worship and praise of our Heavenly Father. 

Mid-Week Message - Make It Right

One of the programs we watched as a family was My Name Is Earl.  The main character, Earl, had quite a seedy past.  He was a trouble-making child who grew up to be a thief and had no concern for anyone that got hurt in the process of doing whatever made himself happy in the moment.  After scratching a lottery ticket worth a sizable amount he was running around celebrating, ran into the street and was struck by a car. While hospitalized, he heard about karma while watching a certain program on TV.  He decided then that he had to make amends to the people he had hurt so he made a list of all he had done wrong.  Each episode focused on him choosing an item on his list and making it up to whoever was involved.  When asked what karma was, he said, "Do good things and good things happen to you."

Twelve step groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous teach much the same thing.  If you make amends to the people in your life that you have wronged or hurt, then it becomes easier to handle your addiction.  The reason for this is that it improves how you see yourself.  Carrying guilt is extremely detrimental and often causes us to harm ourselves in some way.  Addiction is often a form of self punishment.  Seeking forgiveness lessens the guilt we carry thereby lessening the need to self-punish.

I don't believe in karma.  I do, however, believe in mercy, grace, forgiveness and the love of the Lord.

What does He say about this?  When questioned about the greatest commandment, Jesus told us that the greatest was to love the Lord our God with all we have and following that was to love our neighbor as ourselves.  As far as making amends, we are instructed in Matthew 5:23 and 24,

“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift."  

Part of loving our neighbor as ourselves is having a right relationship with them.  If we become aware of some way that we have offended or harmed someone, we need to seek their forgiveness and "make it right", as our mothers would say.  In so doing, we can approach the Lord with clean and open hearts and are free to love Him with all our heart, soul, strength and mind.  It all ties together.  

So, was Earl onto something big?  If we do good things will good things happen?  Not necessarily.  However, if we do what our Father in Heaven commands out of love, we will have a right relationship with Him and be open to learn what He needs to teach us no matter what is going on around us.  Plus, we will be able to find the blessing in each moment and know that His plans for us are perfect.  In His presence we will find peace.

Mid-Week Music - Faithful One

When I have times of trouble and strife, I listen to this beautiful song to remind me that I can reach out to my Heavenly Father to give me peace, strength and grace. He is my rock in times of trouble.

I think about the words of Paul.

8 Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. 9 Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. ~ 2 Corinthians 12:8-9 (NLT)

As you listen to this song, let the words help you focus on the Lord of All and know that He is there and that His grace alone is sufficient.

"Faithful One"
Robin Mark

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Answers Inside - Gospels

Matthew 11:28 (NLT)

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.

Answers Inside - Gospels

Matthew 11:28 New Living Translation

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Answers Inside - Proverbs

Proverbs 1:3 (NLT)

Their purpose is to teach people to live disciplined and successful lives,
    to help them do what is right, just, and fair.