Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Daily Word of God - Romans 8:26-30

Romans 8:26-30 New Living Translation (NLT)

26 And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. 27 And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers[a] in harmony with God’s own will. 28 And we know that God causes everything to work together[b] for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. 29 For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn[c] among many brothers and sisters. 30 And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory.

8:27 Greek for God’s holy people.
8:28 Some manuscripts read And we know that everything works together.
8:29 Or would be supreme.

Lessons of Faith - Loneliness

While I was in the hospital, my weekdays began around 2:00 AM. A lab technician would come to my room to draw my blood so that the internal medicine and infectious disease teams could monitor my blood chemistry to make sure that the medications were not doing more harm than good. The technician would draw vial after vial after vial of blood in order to run all of the tests that the teams needed to make their decisions for the day.

After the technician left, a nurse technician came in to check my vital signs in order to provide that information to the other teams for their review. By that time, the night nurse assigned to me would come by to start my IV medications. At some point, I had just enough time to start my daily routine of preparing for the day. Food service would drop by with my breakfast at around 6:00 AM and shortly thereafter all of the medical teams assigned to my case began their visits to check on me, review the results of my blood work from earlier that morning, discuss the day's events and ask me about my mental well-being.

These medical visits lasted until around 9:00 AM. During the meetings with the healthcare team, nurse shift change would occur. The night nurse would review my case with the day nurse and pass along any special orders from the medical team. Starting at 10:00 AM, my IV treatments started again and also my oral medications. All day long, I had a procession of nurses, nurse technicians, housekeepers, food service, specialists, doctors and a host of others in and out of my hospital room.

In time, things would begin to slow down. Finally around 11:30 PM, the lights in my room were dimmed and I could have some time to myself. It was during those hours between the last IV medication and the lab technician coming to draw my blood that I felt alone.

Although I tried to remain optimistic during the day, it was during those "empty" hours that I felt the most alone and isolated. I was alone with my thoughts and all of the things that were said to me during the course of the day. My mind would wander and I felt that God had abandoned me. The miracle that I prayed for did not come and so I had to endure all of this. I felt that I endured everything all alone. No one was there to talk to or just listen. No one was there to wipe away the tears. No one was there at all. Just me in a hospital room hoping and praying that I would see the next day.

This profound sense of loneliness would dog me each minute of those empty hours. Sometimes, I just could not sleep. I wondered if God had left me. Instead of continuing down that path, I would stop and begin to pray. My heart felt lighter and I knew that I was not alone. I felt God's presence right there in my room. I felt Jesus right there with me. I began to repeat the words of Deuteronomy 31. "8 Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you."

I drew great comfort in knowing that God Himself would personally go ahead of me and that He would personally ensure my safety and deliverance from this illness and never fail or abandon me. Once I began to say those words out loud, a tremendous weight was lifted from my shoulders and I was able to sleep. God gave me that wonderful peace that can only come from Him. 

Jesus, after giving his disciples the great commission to preach the gospel message to all nations and "baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit", told them in Matthew 28, "And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age." As followers of Christ Jesus, we, too, have that promise. Jesus would always be there with us no matter what happens. We can rest assured of that.

So, when you feel alone, do not give into those feelings and know that God and His son, Christ Jesus, are always there. They will never forsake or abandon you even during the worst of times.

Daily Word of God - Jeremiah 17:9-10

Jeremiah 17:9-10 New Living Translation (NLT)

9 “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things,
    and desperately wicked.
    Who really knows how bad it is?
10 But I, the Lord, search all hearts
    and examine secret motives.
I give all people their due rewards,
    according to what their actions deserve.”

Monday, July 30, 2018

Daily Word of God - 2 Samuel 22:31-37

2 Samuel 22:31-37 New Living Translation (NLT)

31 “God’s way is perfect.
    All the Lord’s promises prove true.
    He is a shield for all who look to him for protection.
32 For who is God except the Lord?
    Who but our God is a solid rock?
33 God is my strong fortress,
    and he makes my way perfect.
34 He makes me as surefooted as a deer,
    enabling me to stand on mountain heights.
35 He trains my hands for battle;
    he strengthens my arm to draw a bronze bow.
36 You have given me your shield of victory;
    your help[a] has made me great.
37 You have made a wide path for my feet
    to keep them from slipping.

22:36 As in Dead Sea Scrolls; Masoretic Text reads your answering.

Lessons of Faith - Dealing with Suffering

At some point in time, we all face a trial that profoundly impacts our lives. It could be medical, financial, spiritual or a combination of all three. We are pushed to our limits and we feel that we are alone. We feel that God has given up on us or that He has turned His back on us. In some cases, we feel that God has singled us out and He is punishing us for something that we have done or failed to do. We plead with God to relieve the suffering or, if it continues day after day, week after week and month after month, we ask Him, "Haven't I suffered enough?"

These are all natural things we do. We feel that God has abandoned us and that we are doomed to suffer for whatever reason. As I continue to deal with my illness, I can tell you that I have found myself wondering if God even cared for me or that He was listening to my prayers. I searched my soul to find where I had sinned and now had to endure punishment for something I had done. I cried out to God for wisdom and felt that all I received in return was silence. I know that there are those of you who have felt the same. 

We, however, should not feel that way. God always listens to His children and responds to their prayers. Peter tells us, in chapter 3 of his First Epistle, "12 The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right, and his ears are open to their prayers. But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil."

God listens to His children and watches over them. During our times of trials and troubles, we often forget His promise to us. We often succumb to the whispers of Satan as he tells us that God does not care about us. It is a lie. Once again, Satan exploits your situation and worms his way into your heart and mind. He tries to turn you away from God. Look at the last part of verse 12. God only turns His face away from those who do evil. As His children, we have been made righteous by God by accepting His son, Christ Jesus, as our personal Savior and Lord. Satan will always attack at the time when we are weakest. It is at that moment that we really are the strongest.

Paul, in his Second Epistle to the Corinthians, tells them about his weaknesses, and the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that he suffered for Christ. But, look at the last part of 2 Corinthians 12:10. "For when I am weak, then I am strong."

How is this even possible? Paul tells us about the Lord's response to his pleading to take away the insults, hardships, persecutions and trouble. "My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness." Since we cannot depend on ourselves, we must learn to depend on Him even during our times of trials and troubles. When we suffer, we are to reach out to Him in prayer not to plead with Him. We are to praise Him and thank Him for all of the blessings He has given us.

Even in the darkest hours, there are moments of light. We should be thanking God for those blessings of light that remind us that He loves us. Paul, in 1 Thessalonians 5, gives us the way we should be acting even in the face of disaster. "16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."

It starts with us changing how we pray. God knows what we are enduring. When we change our prayer by moving away from pleading with Him to praising Him, our attitudes change and we are more optimistic and experience a God-given heavenly peace. We should be giving thanks and praying for His will to be done in our lives no matter what the final outcome is to be. It is a hard thing to accept, but we are assured that God will never forsake us.

Jesus, in John 16, tells us that we will face all sorts of trials and sorrows during the course of our lives. "33 I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world."

Jesus was victorious over death so that we may have eternal life and the promise of salvation. With that firmly planted in our heart, mind and soul, we, too, can overcome our many trials and sorrows and praise our Savior all the day long even during the most difficult of times as long as we remember to rejoice always, pray without ceasing and give thanks in all circumstances. 

Daily Word of God - Proverbs 4:10-13

Proverbs 4:10-13 New Living Translation (NLT)

10 My child,[a] listen to me and do as I say,
    and you will have a long, good life.
11 I will teach you wisdom’s ways
    and lead you in straight paths.
12 When you walk, you won’t be held back;
    when you run, you won’t stumble.
13 Take hold of my instructions; don’t let them go.
    Guard them, for they are the key to life.

4:10 Hebrew My son; also in 4:20

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Lessons of Faith - Grace and Mercy

During my illness, I have learned and continue to learn so many lessons about my faith. One of the biggest is always to praise and love our Heavenly Father daily. When I consider the grave situation my family and I faced and continue to face, I realize that all we have is our faith and the knowledge that God will provide a way when all may seem lost or dark. When there was no path, He cleared a way us. When there was only darkness around, He provide the light that guided our every step. When danger surrounded us, He provided a hedge of protection so that we had nothing to fear.

As one of my specialists told me, "Jesse, you are a walking, talking miracle. We don't even know why you are alive."

I responded, "Only by God's grace and mercy that I am still alive."

My family and I continue to praise, worship and love God and the mercy and grace that He provides us. We do not deserve it, but God, because of His infinite, everlasting and unfailing love for us, blesses us daily.

2 Corinthians 12:9 New Living Translation (NLT)

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.

Daily Word of God - 2 Chronicles 6:40-42

2 Chronicles 6:40-42 New Living Translation (NLT)

40 “O my God, may your eyes be open and your ears attentive to all the prayers made to you in this place.

41 “And now arise, O Lord God, and enter your resting place,
    along with the Ark, the symbol of your power.
May your priests, O Lord God, be clothed with salvation;
    may your loyal servants rejoice in your goodness.
42 O Lord God, do not reject the king you have anointed.
    Remember your unfailing love for your servant David.”

Sunday Morning Praise & Worship Message - Drink Plenty of Living Water

With most of the country experiencing record-breaking heat, all of the news programs and weather channels are saying the same thing, “Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.” When you are sick, your doctor will also remind you to drink plenty of liquids. Mothers tell their sick children the exact same thing, “Drink plenty of liquids.” Personal trainers remind their clients to drink water while exercising. When you consider just how important water is to the human body, you can see why so many people tell you the same thing. 

Much like our physical bodies, our spirits require water as well. We need to have the living water that is only provided by Jesus daily. If we do not partake of the living water, our spirits will wither and die. The water that he provides is a lot different from the water from this sinful world. If you think about the water that comes out of the faucets in your home, you know that it is processed through a water treatment facility. Even in its pure form, water in nature can easily be contaminated with microorganisms and harmful chemicals. Water needs to be boiled and treated before it can consumed. Even the cleanest, clearest water could hide bacteria and other harmful agents that can make you sick. The water we receive from Christ Jesus is always pure and untainted. It quenches our thirst and ensures that our spirits are filled to overflowing so that we, too, can share the news of that living water and its abundance with others. Let us look at John 7. Jesus, at the climax of the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles, declares starting with verse 37, “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! 38 Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’”

Years ago, I was stuck in an airplane on a hot tarmac at an airport. In order to conserve fuel, the captain had turned off the air conditioning system in order to avoid having to delay the flight for refueling. It was a great idea at the time. Unfortunately, the temperature in the cabin became almost unbearable. The flight attendants began to pass out bottles of cold water to all of the passengers. When people are forced to endure a common hardship, they seem to come together. No one began hoarding the water or keeping it for themselves. People went out of their way to make sure that all those around them had a bottle of water and were able to drink it. I saw one man help an elderly woman open her bottle. A woman helped a mother with her small children by opening the bottles for them. When people have a chance to share something wonderful, they do it joyfully and unselfishly. The same holds true with the living water. We desire to tell all those around us about this spring of bubbly clear water that not only quenches thirst but is also refreshing and reinvigorating.

Before we discovered this spring of living water, we had no idea what it really meant to have our thirst quenched. We trudged through life just looking for something to take care of that spiritual thirst. We went from one thing to another. When we drank the other waters, we only found ourselves wanting more or even thirstier for something else. It is easy to be deceived when it comes to water. Water may look clean and pure, but it can also hide some very nasty bacteria and microorganisms. The only way for us to make sure that water is clean to drink is to treat it. That process is long and difficult and only produces warm water. It does not really taste that good on a hot summer day.

When I worked outside in the heat at home, my wife would provide me with a jug of cold water. With ice in it, the water stayed cold. After working for a while, I would stop to rest and have a drink of that water. The cold water refreshed me and I was able to continue my work. If it were really hot outside, I would pour some of it over my head to cool off or onto a bandana and wrap it around my neck. Just doing that kept me going for a while longer. I stayed cool and was able to finish my work.

Think of the woman at the well in John 4. The Samaritan woman would make a trip to a well. In most cases, wells were far from homes and people had to go to them daily to draw water. It was hard work to and it had to be done daily. When she came across Jesus sitting beside the well and he asked her for a drink of water, she was first shocked that Jesus, a Jew, even spoke to her. She was a Samaritan and Jews had nothing to do with them. Jesus explained to her about another kind of water. “10 Jesus replied, ‘If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.’” It is at this point that the woman becomes very interested in this living water and asks about it. Jesus replies in verse 13, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. 14 But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.

After she hears about this living water, she wants it more than ever. To her, the water from that well only represented the toils of a daily routine to draw from the well and carry it back to her home only to repeat that task daily with no hope of ever stopping. Jesus tells her that anyone who drinks of the living water will never be thirsty again and that it provides eternal life. 

Looking at the examples I gave earlier about the airplane on the tarmac and working on a hot summer day, you can see how the water in both situations would not quench anyone’s thirst completely. In both cases, the water was soon gone or had turned warm. The water took care of our immediate needs but we were soon thirsty again.

With the summer heatwave that many are experiencing right now across the United States, many are drinking huge amounts of water. I see lawn maintenance crews going through gallons of water each day. I see workers on road crews drinking more and more. In Georgia, I see prison work crews consuming gallon after gallon of water. As Christians, we, too, go through periods where we find ourselves in scorched places. It seems like our bodies down to our bones are dried out. We have to have that spring of water to refresh and reinvigorate ourselves. God is there to provide that water to us. In Isaiah 58, God tells us, “11 The Lord will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring.

When we receive His water and drink deeply of it, we certainly will be restored to health and strength and able to go on even in the most arid and dry lands. We can lower our buckets into His well of salvation with joy and know that our thirst will be quenched once and for all. 

The best illustration for how we long for His water is given in Psalm 42. The first two verses vividly describe how we long for God. “1 As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God. 2 I thirst for God, the living God. When can I go and stand before him?” We thirst for God. Remember the movies where people are stranded in the desert? They are parched and their tongues are swollen. All they can do is think about water. We are the same way. We should always be longing for God and thinking about Him. We should always thirst for Him and desire Him. When we seek Him out, we know that our thirst will be quenched and that we can enjoy that wonderful living water that comes from the heart of the man from Galilee. Once we lower our buckets into that well of salvation, we know that will never be thirsty again and that we can stand firm in His grace.

May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace.
~ Numbers 6:24-26 New Living Translation (NLT)

Daily Word of God - Nehemiah 1:10-11

Nehemiah 1:10-11 New Living Translation (NLT)

10 “The people you rescued by your great power and strong hand are your servants. 11 O Lord, please hear my prayer! Listen to the prayers of those of us who delight in honoring you. Please grant me success today by making the king favorable to me.[a] Put it into his heart to be kind to me.”

In those days I was the king’s cup-bearer.

1:11 Hebrew today in the sight of this man.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Daily Word of God - Acts 13:17-22

Acts 13:17-22 New Living Translation (NLT)

17 “The God of this nation of Israel chose our ancestors and made them multiply and grow strong during their stay in Egypt. Then with a powerful arm he led them out of their slavery. 18 He put up with them[a] through forty years of wandering in the wilderness. 19 Then he destroyed seven nations in Canaan and gave their land to Israel as an inheritance. 20 All this took about 450 years.

“After that, God gave them judges to rule until the time of Samuel the prophet. 21 Then the people begged for a king, and God gave them Saul son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, who reigned for forty years. 22 But God removed Saul and replaced him with David, a man about whom God said, ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart. He will do everything I want him to do.’[b]

13:18 Some manuscripts read He cared for them; compare Deut 1:31.
13:22 1 Sam 13:14.

Daily Word of God - 1 Samuel 16:1

1 Samuel 16:1 New Living Translation (NLT)

Samuel Anoints David as King
16 Now the Lord said to Samuel, “You have mourned long enough for Saul. I have rejected him as king of Israel, so fill your flask with olive oil and go to Bethlehem. Find a man named Jesse who lives there, for I have selected one of his sons to be my king.”

Friday, July 27, 2018

Daily Word of God - Acts 2:38-40

Acts 2:38-40 New Living Translation (NLT)

38 Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 This promise is to you, to your children, and to those far away[a]—all who have been called by the Lord our God.” 40 Then Peter continued preaching for a long time, strongly urging all his listeners, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation!”

2:39 Or and to people far in the future, or and to the Gentiles.

Daily Word of God - Isaiah 57:14-21

Isaiah 57:14-21 New Living Translation (NLT)

God Forgives the Repentant
14 God says, “Rebuild the road!
    Clear away the rocks and stones
    so my people can return from captivity.”
15 The high and lofty one who lives in eternity,
    the Holy One, says this:
“I live in the high and holy place
    with those whose spirits are contrite and humble.
I restore the crushed spirit of the humble
    and revive the courage of those with repentant hearts.
16 For I will not fight against you forever;
    I will not always be angry.
If I were, all people would pass away—
    all the souls I have made.
17 I was angry,
    so I punished these greedy people.
I withdrew from them,
    but they kept going on their own stubborn way.
18 I have seen what they do,
    but I will heal them anyway!
    I will lead them.
I will comfort those who mourn,
19     bringing words of praise to their lips.
May they have abundant peace, both near and far,”
    says the Lord, who heals them.
20 “But those who still reject me are like the restless sea,
    which is never still
    but continually churns up mud and dirt.
21 There is no peace for the wicked,”
    says my God.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Daily Word of God - Psalm 37:25-26

Psalm 37:25-26 New Living Translation (NLT)

25 Once I was young, and now I am old.
    Yet I have never seen the godly abandoned
    or their children begging for bread.
26 The godly always give generous loans to others,
    and their children are a blessing.
Hebrews 13:5 New Living Translation (NLT)

5 Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said,

“I will never fail you.
    I will never abandon you.”[a]

13:5 Deut 31:6, 8.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Daily Word of God - Psalm 55:22

Psalm 55:22 New Living Translation (NLT)

22 Give your burdens to the Lord,
    and he will take care of you.
    He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.

Mid-Week Message - Just Breathe

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him.  She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”   “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things,  but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”   Luke 10:38-42 (NIV)

This has been a trying year for my family and I know it has for many others as well.  It seems that 2018, at least for us, is a year of great testing.  We have been through situations that we could never have imagined, both personally and as a family, and learned more about how far we can be stretched than is even conceivable.  We have cried rivers of tears as we have worked to attempt to figure out why we are undergoing such hardship.  I promise you that the Lord has heard the word "why" from our lips and hearts more times than can be counted.  
I am sure that each person reading this today has experienced similar times.  Sometimes it seems as if the twister has come and carried us away to Oz where we spend our time just working to get back to some sense of normal life.  As we travel down whatever serves as our own personal yellow-brick road, we find ourselves even more lost that we were when we started out and just hope that the flying monkeys don't appear.  Although this reference may contain a bit of humor, we all know that there is nothing funny about lives being turned upside-down with no hint of an ending.  
There are many positives that have come from this difficult time.  We have grown closer to each other because we are the only ones that truly understand all that has happened.  It isn't the way I would choose to have my marriage strengthened, but I will praise God for it.  We have also spiritually searched ourselves as we have been put in the position of having the Lord and only the Lord to hang onto.  Through the stress and uncertainty of each day we have had the assurance that He is with us and will never abandon us.  That has provided the hope that has helped us to carry on. 
When my husband was in the hospital earlier this year, a very wise woman told him that he needed to learn to sit in a chair, close his eyes and just breathe.  That reminds me of the scripture that I chose for today.  Martha was all in a dither trying to make everything just right while Mary chose to sit at the feet of her Savior.  Jesus said that Mary had chosen correctly.  Which of the sisters was the most peaceful?  Mary was because she was near her Savior, listening to His words.  
What is life like in your house today? Are you stressed with too much to do?  Are you dealing with deadlines, sickness, financial difficulties, or any of a multitude of other problems that have caused you to feel that you are beyond what you can handle?  I know that feeling so well.  What we need to do is to learn how to sit with Jesus, listen for His voice and breathe.  Nothing in this world is more important than our relationship with Him.  It is the only one that is eternal.  These trials will end eventually.  All things do.  We have His promise that He will never leave us and that when we are weak, He is strong.  So, loosen your grip on the here and now, find a quiet place to sit with Him, and just breathe.  God bless you.

Daily Word of God - Proverbs 16:3

Proverbs 16:3 New Living Translation (NLT)

3 Commit your actions to the Lord,
    and your plans will succeed.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Daily Word of God - 1 Kings 3:10-14

 Kings 3:10-14 New Living Translation (NLT)

10 The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for wisdom. 11 So God replied, “Because you have asked for wisdom in governing my people with justice and have not asked for a long life or wealth or the death of your enemies— 12 I will give you what you asked for! I will give you a wise and understanding heart such as no one else has had or ever will have! 13 And I will also give you what you did not ask for—riches and fame! No other king in all the world will be compared to you for the rest of your life! 14 And if you follow me and obey my decrees and my commands as your father, David, did, I will give you a long life.”

Daily Word of God - Ephesians 3:20-21

Ephesians 3:20-21 New Living Translation (NLT)

20 Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. 21 Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Daily Word of God - Acts 18:4-6

Acts 18:4-6 New Living Translation (NLT)

4 Each Sabbath found Paul at the synagogue, trying to convince the Jews and Greeks alike. 5 And after Silas and Timothy came down from Macedonia, Paul spent all his time preaching the word. He testified to the Jews that Jesus was the Messiah. 6 But when they opposed and insulted him, Paul shook the dust from his clothes and said, “Your blood is upon your own heads—I am innocent. From now on I will go preach to the Gentiles.”

Daily Word of God - 2 Corinthians 5:11-15

2 Corinthians 5:11-15 New Living Translation (NLT)

We Are God’s Ambassadors
11 Because we understand our fearful responsibility to the Lord, we work hard to persuade others. God knows we are sincere, and I hope you know this, too. 12 Are we commending ourselves to you again? No, we are giving you a reason to be proud of us,[a] so you can answer those who brag about having a spectacular ministry rather than having a sincere heart. 13 If it seems we are crazy, it is to bring glory to God. And if we are in our right minds, it is for your benefit. 14 Either way, Christ’s love controls us.[b] Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life.[c] 15 He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them.

5:12 Some manuscripts read proud of yourselves.
5:14a Or urges us on.
5:14b Greek Since one died for all, then all died.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Getting Through Trials and Problems

Daily Word of God - Psalms 5:11-12

Psalm 5:11-12 New Living Translation (NLT)

11 But let all who take refuge in you rejoice;
    let them sing joyful praises forever.
Spread your protection over them,
    that all who love your name may be filled with joy.
12 For you bless the godly, O Lord;
    you surround them with your shield of love.

Sunday Praise & Worship Message - Exercising the Spirit

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been discussing the importance of maintaining a healthy spirit and what it takes to do so. By getting rest through prayer and quiet moments with the Lord and by eating the right spiritual food, you will soon see your spirit and faith grow stronger each day in order to fend off the attacks of Satan and his whispers and temptation.

Doctors will always stress the value of exercise in building up a strong, healthy body. The same holds true for our spirit. Through the regular exercise of our faith and dedication to doing the work given to us by God, we strengthen our spirits and grow stronger. It is important to understand that a strong, healthy spirit requires that we follow Jesus’ example of serving those around him. He is not only our savior but he is also our example of how we should act every day of our lives.

Let us look at Paul, as he is saying good-bye to the Ephesian Elders, in Acts 20. Paul tells them  that he faces trials and troubles in each town he visits, but he is prepared to deal with the situations by remaining grounded in his faith. “24 However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.” He uses two very important phrases in discussing what he must do, “finish the race” and “complete the task”. Both of these phrases illustrate action on his part. Activities require us to be at our peak performance if we are to finish a race or complete a task. It is only because of a healthy spirit that Paul is able to do these things. 

We, like Paul, must be at our peak performance and must have a Christ-like attitude to motivate us to continue to grow in strength. Let us look at Philippians 2. Paul here tells us what it means to have a Christ-like attitude. “3 Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. 4 Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.” Once again, we see that it is just not enough to believe. We need to add action to our belief. We need to be motivated to do righteous things not for our benefit but for the glory of God.

Paul continues to use the example of training to illustrate what should be our daily desire to be spiritually fit and ready for all situations. Let us look at 1 Corinthians 9. In Paul’s first letter to the Christians in Corinth, he uses the preparation that athletes use to prepare for competition. “25 All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. 26 So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. 27 I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.” We, like true athletes, must be disciplined in our training and prepared at all times to meet the challenges that we face. Paul continues by reminding us that we, like him, must run with purpose with every step. We cannot just “phone it in” and hope that we trying our best. We must be doing our best every moment of every day. By following Jesus’ unselfish example and following his words, we are able to discipline our spirits to run the race or fight the good fight. 

As part of this discipline, we are to help one another to excel in our faith and to remain strong. Just like having a personal trainer or workout buddy, we are to help one another and build each other up. It is not enough to just build ourselves up. We are to build each other up so that all are ready to handle the onslaught of Satan and his armies of demons. Let us look at Paul’s first letter to Timothy. In chapter 6, Paul challenges Timothy to ready himself for the battles ahead. “12 Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have declared so well before many witnesses.” Like a personal trainer or workout buddy, Paul challenges Timothy to push himself in his faith. Timothy is challenged to seek the true faith and to hold tightly to the eternal life God has given him. As we grow in our faith, we, too, must challenge each other to grow even stronger by exercising our spirit and our desire to serve God and one another. It is only through this that we are truly able to call ourselves Christians. We challenge our brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus to seek the true faith and hold tight to God’s gift of eternal life. Just as we challenge those around us, we, too, are challenged to be even stronger so that we are able to face the trials and troubles ahead of us and continue to build up our healthy spirit.

In each example given by Paul, we see that action is required of us. It is not enough to just believe. We must be active in our faith. Using the example of athletes, they cannot expect to win gold medals at the Olympics by simply reading a book or watching a video about their sport in order to win the gold. They practice. They work. They push themselves. The same holds true for our healthy spirits. We must act daily in our faith. In James 2, we see that the right actions along with a strong faith produces righteousness. “14 What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? 15 Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, 16 and you say, ‘Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well’—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? 17 So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.” Once again, if we do not combine our faith with good deeds, our faith is unhealthy. What happens to unhealthy tissue? It dies and becomes useless. It consumes and wears down the body so that it will, in time, succumb to infection. The same holds true for our spirit. If we do not act to show the love of Jesus and the Father to others, our spirit will become unhealthy and it will wither and ultimately perish. Do you want to watch your spiritual health become unhealthy? I should say not. So, we must exercise our faith by applying good deeds daily to help those around us. By doing so, we add action to our faith and demonstrate to the world that we are strong in our faith.

With a strong and healthy spirit, we are able to do many things to bring glory to God and show the world that we are truly faithful. By spending time with God in prayer and away from the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, we are able to rest our spirits. By eating wholesome spiritual food that we should be craving daily, we are able to energize our spirit. By exercising our spirit daily by acting in faith, we are able not only to prepare ourselves for the good fight or the race ahead but also prepare our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus for their fights and races ahead.

As I reflect on the importance of having a healthy spirit, I cannot help but think of the words of General George S. Patton. He said, “Always advance. Never dig in.” As Christians, we need to heed his words. By having a healthy spirit, we are able to advance to meet the challenges of Satan and hold tightly to God’s gift of salvation. I cannot help but think of young David as he faced an armor-cladded Goliath. A puny boy compared to this giant warrior. While Goliath wore the armor forged by men, David, with a healthy spirit, wore the whole armor of God. He was prepared and spiritually strong to meet Goliath on the field of battle. When David tells King Saul that he will fight Goliath, Saul says, 1 Samuel 17, “Don’t be ridiculous! There’s no way you can fight this Philistine and possibly win! You’re only a boy, and he’s been a man of war since his youth.” But, God had prepared David. While watching his sheep, David had faced down many wild animals only armed with a sling, but the hand of God was upon him. Instead of carrying a sword to fight Goliath, David is armed with nothing more than a boy’s weapon, a sling. But, in the hands of someone strengthened over time and with God’s mighty strength, David’s spirit was ready. Instead of digging in and waiting for Goliath to advance, David runs to meet Goliath. “48 As Goliath moved closer to attack, David quickly ran out to meet him. 49 Reaching into his shepherd’s bag and taking out a stone, he hurled it with his sling and hit the Philistine in the forehead. The stone sank in, and Goliath stumbled and fell face down on the ground.

When we are spiritually healthy, we are able to move with speed against any foe or situation. As you go through this week, make it a point to strengthen your spirit through plenty of spiritual rest, eating spiritually wholesome food and exercising your faith daily. When you do all of these things, your healthy spirit can stand firm in His grace. 

May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace.
~ Numbers 6:24-26 New Living Translation (NLT)

Daily Word of God - Genesis 12:1-3

Genesis 12:1-3 New Living Translation (NLT)

The Call of Abram
12 The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you. 2 I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. 3 I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.”

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Food for Thought - Made into a Great Nation by God

Daily Word of God - Nehemiah 9:7-8

Nehemiah 9:7-8 New Living Translation (NLT)

7 “You are the Lord God, who chose Abram and brought him from Ur of the Chaldeans and renamed him Abraham. 8 When he had proved himself faithful, you made a covenant with him to give him and his descendants the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Jebusites, and Girgashites. And you have done what you promised, for you are always true to your word.

Daily Word of God - Isaiah 46:8-11

Isaiah 46:8-11 New Living Translation (NLT)

8 “Do not forget this! Keep it in mind!
    Remember this, you guilty ones.
9 Remember the things I have done in the past.
    For I alone am God!
    I am God, and there is none like me.
10 Only I can tell you the future
    before it even happens.
Everything I plan will come to pass,
    for I do whatever I wish.
11 I will call a swift bird of prey from the east—
    a leader from a distant land to come and do my bidding.
I have said what I would do,
    and I will do it.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Daily Word of God - Mark 12:32-34

Mark 12:32-34 New Living Translation (NLT)

32 The teacher of religious law replied, “Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth by saying that there is only one God and no other. 33 And I know it is important to love him with all my heart and all my understanding and all my strength, and to love my neighbor as myself. This is more important than to offer all of the burnt offerings and sacrifices required in the law.”

34 Realizing how much the man understood, Jesus said to him, “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.” And after that, no one dared to ask him any more questions.

Daily Word of God - Deuteronomy 4:35-38

Deuteronomy 4:35-38 New Living Translation (NLT)

35 “He showed you these things so you would know that the Lord is God and there is no other. 36 He let you hear his voice from heaven so he could instruct you. He let you see his great fire here on earth so he could speak to you from it. 37 Because he loved your ancestors, he chose to bless their descendants, and he personally brought you out of Egypt with a great display of power. 38 He drove out nations far greater than you, so he could bring you in and give you their land as your special possession, as it is today.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Daily Word of God - 1 Kings 18:20-21

1 Kings 18:20-21 New Living Translation (NLT)

20 So Ahab summoned all the people of Israel and the prophets to Mount Carmel. 21 Then Elijah stood in front of them and said, “How much longer will you waver, hobbling between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him! But if Baal is God, then follow him!” But the people were completely silent.

Daily Word of God - Hosea 10:1-4

Hosea 10:1-4 New Living Translation (NLT)

The Lord’s Judgment against Israel
10 How prosperous Israel is—
    a luxuriant vine loaded with fruit.
But the richer the people get,
    the more pagan altars they build.
The more bountiful their harvests,
    the more beautiful their sacred pillars.
2 The hearts of the people are fickle;
    they are guilty and must be punished.
The Lord will break down their altars
    and smash their sacred pillars.
3 Then they will say, “We have no king
    because we didn’t fear the Lord.
But even if we had a king,
    what could he do for us anyway?”
4 They spout empty words
    and make covenants they don’t intend to keep.
So injustice springs up among them
    like poisonous weeds in a farmer’s field.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Daily Word of God - 2 Kings 12:1-3

2 Kings 12:1-3 New Living Translation (NLT)

Joash Repairs the Temple
12 [a]Joash[b] began to rule over Judah in the seventh year of King Jehu’s reign in Israel. He reigned in Jerusalem forty years. His mother was Zibiah from Beersheba. 2 All his life Joash did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight because Jehoiada the priest instructed him. 3 Yet even so, he did not destroy the pagan shrines, and the people still offered sacrifices and burned incense there.

12:1a Verses 12:1-21 are numbered 12:2-22 in Hebrew text.
12:1b Hebrew Jehoash, a variant spelling of Joash; also in 12:2, 4, 6, 7, 18.

Mid-Week Message - No Greater Story

"This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance!"  Romans 8:15-17a (MSG)

According to a study done in 2010, 85% of Americans suffer from poor self-esteem.  That was eight years ago so I am sure the numbers have changed, however I doubt that they have changed for the better.  That is a shocking figure!  As one person that can be counted in that percentage, it makes me extremely sad.  So many people feeling less than good enough.  So many hearts in pain.  

I have always loved princess stories.  They all seem to have one thing in common. Someone makes them believe that they are not worthy of their place in life.  They get mistreated, shunned, locked away.  Cinderella lived on the ash heap by the fire and wore rags while made to serve her evil step-mother and step-sisters.  Each of them had their own dreams though.  Dreams of being loved, of being chosen and a life they could live happily ever after.  What happens at the end of every princess story?  Prince Charming swoops in, rescues them, falls in love with them and gives them the life they had always dreamed of.  

Do you wish that happened in real life?  What would you say if I told you that it does?  You would probably laugh and call me a romantic, or a loon.  Fairy tales are just make believe.  There is no Prince or Princess Charming that is going to come into any of our lives and change them overnight.  Life just doesn't work that way.  No, we live day to day, eking out existences that in some cases are nothing that anyone would wish for.  We work, we toil, we struggle.  If we are lucky, we find someone that will love us and make the journey with us but in the end comes old age, sickness and death. 

Well, my friend, you would be wrong.  We do have a Prince and His name is Jesus.  He left the glory of Heaven and took on a human body for you.  He worked, He toiled, He struggled.  He felt pain, sickness and rejection just as you do.  He was called a liar, a heretic, a phony.  And at His end, He was beaten, scourged, spat upon and nailed to a cross to die as a common criminal.  That isn't a very pretty picture is it?  But He came to earth fully knowing all that would occur.  He could have chosen to stay in His comfy throne seated beside His Father.  He could have opted out at any time during His years of life on this planet.  He could have called a legion of angels to rescue Him from all He endured.  But He didn't.  He didn't because that was what it took to show you how much you are loved.  How much He wants you to be with Him for eternity and to make sure you know that because of His sacrifice, you are worthy.  

All of our lives count.  If God didn't have a plan for you or me, we wouldn't be here. Whether you know it or not, you touch countless lives for good.  Many love you, even if they don't tell you so.  You do matter!  Your life is precious!  If we can keep our focus on all that was freely given for our sake and where we will be for eternity then we can nip our low self-esteem issues in the bud.  The Prince of all princes has come to our rescue and chosen to take us for His own.  What greater story could there be?  

This world is not my home, I'm just a passin' through
One day I'll wear a crown, a robe and royal shoes.  
And walk beside my Savior through gardens fresh with dew
As He holds me close and whispers, I did it all for you.  
Karla Johns - July 17, 2018

Daily Word of God - Proverbs 14:34

Proverbs 14:34 New Living Translation (NLT)

34 Godliness makes a nation great,
    but sin is a disgrace to any people.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Daily Word of God - James 1:26-27

James 1:26-27 New Living Translation (NLT)

26 If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless. 27 Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.

Daily Word of God - Proverbs 21:13

Proverbs 21:13 New Living Translation (NLT)

13 Those who shut their ears to the cries of the poor
    will be ignored in their own time of need.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Daily Word of God - 1 Thessalonians 2:4-6

1 Thessalonians 2:4-6 New Living Translation (NLT)

4 For we speak as messengers approved by God to be entrusted with the Good News. Our purpose is to please God, not people. He alone examines the motives of our hearts. 5 Never once did we try to win you with flattery, as you well know. And God is our witness that we were not pretending to be your friends just to get your money! 6 As for human praise, we have never sought it from you or anyone else.

Daily Word of God - Psalm 139:23-24

Psalm 139:23-24 New Living Translation (NLT)

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 Point out anything in me that offends you,
    and lead me along the path of everlasting life.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Daily Word of God - Hebrews 4:12-13

Hebrews 4:12-13 New Living Translation (NLT)

12 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. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable.

Sunday Praise and Worship Message - Eating Right Spiritually

Each time you visit your doctor even for a routine check, there is one thing that you can be certain of. The nurse will ask you to step on a weight scale and record your weight. If you are overweight or underweight, your doctor will most assuredly have a conversation with you about your diet. Your spiritual health also depends on what you eat spiritually. If you are not feeding daily on the Word or you are consuming empty spiritual calories, your spirit will suffer and your faith will surely weaken. Once you are spiritually weak, Satan and his minions will chase after you like a “roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” Lions and other predators do not go after the strong and able. They seek out the slow, weak and frail. For them as well as Satan, the weak are easier to catch and devour. Given that, it is important for each of us as Christians to feed on the Word of God and the bread of life.

In John 6, Jesus tells us quite clearly about the bread of life. “35 Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” Jesus is that bread of life. He is not talking about your physical life. He is that spiritual bread that will sustain us so that we will never be hungry again. It is vital to understand the importance of bread during that period in time. Bread was the staple of every diet. It was something that every home had and was part of every meal. Jesus should always be a part of every aspect of our life. He fills us up and, like the food we eat, gives us the energy to work in the kingdom to serve and love the Father as well as love and help one another. 

Jesus, later in John 6, provides us with more information of how we can achieve a healthy spiritual life and life everlasting by eating and drinking what he has to provide. Jesus tells the Jews, “47 I tell you the truth, anyone who believes has eternal life. 48 Yes, I am the bread of life! 49 Your ancestors ate manna in the wilderness, but they all died. 50 Anyone who eats the bread from heaven, however, will never die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever; and this bread, which I will offer so the world may live, is my flesh.

Jesus, in this passage, refers to the bread sent down from heaven when the children of Israel wandered the wilderness. Since they were hungry, they asked God to provide them with food. God sent manna down from heaven to feed them. However, this food was only for feeding their bodies. Because it was only meant for that, they all died. The living bread that God sent is Jesus and it is by eating of this living bread that we have eternal life. The living bread is free to all and will sustain a person forever. 

It is only through Jesus’ sacrifice that we are able to receive this living bread. Anything else is fake and will not sustain us at all spiritually. Let us look at a grocery store. In the grocery store, you will find all sorts of food. You will see fresh meat, vegetables, dairy and seafood. In that same grocery store, you will also find items that are not nutritious and are empty calories. They will try to fill your stomach, but they will only leave you hungry and empty. Cookies, cakes, pies, ice cream and other things look good and taste great, but they will leave you hungry and only wanting more. They provide no nutritional value and, if you eat too much of them, they will lead you to poor health. When your doctor talks with you about your weight, he or she will ask you about what you are eating. This is an opportunity for you to be honest. You need to be honest with the doctor and with yourself.

The same holds true with your spiritual health. Are you eating the right things daily or are you simply consuming empty spiritual calories? Peter, in his first epistle, tells us in chapter 2, “2 Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment, 3 now that you have had a taste of the Lord’s kindness.” God provides us that wholesome spiritual milk that we need to help us grow strong in our faith. We need to cry out for this nourishment just as the children of Israel cried out in the wilderness for food. God will hear our prayers and, through His son, Christ Jesus, will provide us with that living bread. 

Like the Israelites, we need to be fed physically in order to be sustained, but we also must realize that we need more than just manna. That bread from heaven sustained the children of Israel physically, but they needed more. Let us look at Deuteronomy 8. Here we see how we should live and how we should eat of that spiritual food that will sustain us and help us grow stronger spiritually. “3 Yes, he humbled you by letting you go hungry and then feeding you with manna, a food previously unknown to you and your ancestors. He did it to teach you that people do not live by bread alone; rather, we live by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.

How many times have you heard this expression, “We do not live to eat; we eat to live”? Let us look at it from a spiritual perspective. If we just live to eat, we are indulging ourselves by just eating for the sake of eating and enjoyment. We are more interested in the act of consuming whatever is set before us. If we eat to live, we only eat those things that are healthy for us. Using Peter’s example of spiritual milk, we can easily see that something wholesome can be polluted or changed into something unhealthy. In the case of milk, we can add chocolate syrup to milk and turn it into chocolate milk. The wholesome milk is now something that is unhealthy. Oh, it tastes good, but is it spiritually feeding us so that we are stronger in our faith? Or, is it just empty calories that just fills us only to be hungry for more spiritual junk food?

We should be seeking those things that are straight from God and that are good and wholesome for us. We should not be seeking out those spiritual foods created by the words of men that are peddled in slick colorful boxes like some sugary breakfast cereal. In the 1970’s, breakfast cereals were filled with more and more sugar and had very little nutritional value. Children loved to eat these cereals and wanted nothing else but those sugary nuggets of nutritional nothingness. Finally, parents had enough and began to move away from the sugary breakfast cereals. Manufacturers began to see a drop in their sales and they changed their ways. They lowered the sugar in their cereals and began to compete for the title of “most healthy” breakfast cereal. 

As Christians, we must look for the spiritually complete, wholesome food that comes directly from God’s word. When Jesus was in the desert fasting, Satan tempted him and told him that he should turn the stones into bread. Jesus’ response in Matthew 4 is often quoted by many. “4 But Jesus told him, ‘No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Notice the use of a very important phrase, “every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Every word and all that comes from the Lord is good and wholesome. The word builds our spirits. It strengthens us so that we are able to fight off the infection of sin. It sustains us when we are dealing with the trials and tribulations of this life. God’s grocery store is fully stocked with good food that, to paraphrase an old milk commercial, “does a spiritual body good.”

So, dear brothers and sisters in Christ, do not settle for the sugary words and the repackaging of God’s word into convenient, bite-sized snacks. Look only for the true, whole word of God and the living bread that will strengthen, build and sustain you through some very tough times in your life. Once you take a trip down the aisles of God’s grocery store, you can be assured that you will be nourished and be able to stand firm in His grace.

May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace. 
~ Numbers 6:24-26 New Living Translation (NLT)

Daily Word of God - Jeremiah 23:21-24

Jeremiah 23:21-24 New Living Translation (NLT)

21 “I have not sent these prophets,
    yet they run around claiming to speak for me.
I have given them no message,
    yet they go on prophesying.
22 If they had stood before me and listened to me,
    they would have spoken my words,
and they would have turned my people
    from their evil ways and deeds.
23 Am I a God who is only close at hand?” says the Lord.
    “No, I am far away at the same time.
24 Can anyone hide from me in a secret place?
    Am I not everywhere in all the heavens and earth?”
    says the Lord.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Food for Thought - Being in the Right Place

Daily Word of God - Romans 8:5-8

Romans 8:5-8 New Living Translation (NLT)

5 Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. 6 So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. 7 For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. 8 That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God.

Daily Word of God - Galatians 5:16-18

Galatians 5:16-18 New Living Translation (NLT)

Living by the Spirit’s Power
16 So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. 17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. 18 But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Daily Word of God - Isaiah 12:3-6

Isaiah 12:3-6 New Living Translation (NLT)

3 With joy you will drink deeply
    from the fountain of salvation!
4 In that wonderful day you will sing:
    “Thank the Lord! Praise his name!
Tell the nations what he has done.
    Let them know how mighty he is!
5 Sing to the Lord, for he has done wonderful things.
    Make known his praise around the world.
6 Let all the people of Jerusalem[a] shout his praise with joy!
    For great is the Holy One of Israel who lives among you.”

12:6 Hebrew Zion.

Daily Word of God - Psalm 68:1-4

Psalm 68:1-4 New Living Translation (NLT)

Psalm 68
For the choir director: A song. A psalm of David.
1 Rise up, O God, and scatter your enemies.
    Let those who hate God run for their lives.
2 Blow them away like smoke.
    Melt them like wax in a fire.
    Let the wicked perish in the presence of God.
3 But let the godly rejoice.
    Let them be glad in God’s presence.
    Let them be filled with joy.
4 Sing praises to God and to his name!
    Sing loud praises to him who rides the clouds.[a]
His name is the Lord—
    rejoice in his presence!

68:4 Or rides through the deserts.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Daily Word of God - 1 Chronicles 22:17-19

1 Chronicles 22:17-19 New Living Translation (NLT)

17 Then David ordered all the leaders of Israel to assist Solomon in this project. 18 “The Lord your God is with you,” he declared. “He has given you peace with the surrounding nations. He has handed them over to me, and they are now subject to the Lord and his people. 19 Now seek the Lord your God with all your heart and soul. Build the sanctuary of the Lord God so that you can bring the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant and the holy vessels of God into the Temple built to honor the Lord’s name.”

Daily Word of God - Jeremiah 29:10-14

Jeremiah 29:10-14 New Living Translation (NLT)

10 This is what the Lord says: “You will be in Babylon for seventy years. But then I will come and do for you all the good things I have promised, and I will bring you home again. 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. 12 In those days when you pray, I will listen. 13 If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. 14 I will be found by you,” says the Lord. “I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land.”

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Daily Word of God - Isaiah 35:8-10

Isaiah 35:8-10 New Living Translation (NLT)

8 And a great road will go through that once deserted land.
    It will be named the Highway of Holiness.
Evil-minded people will never travel on it.
    It will be only for those who walk in God’s ways;
    fools will never walk there.
9 Lions will not lurk along its course,
    nor any other ferocious beasts.
There will be no other dangers.
    Only the redeemed will walk on it.
10 Those who have been ransomed by the Lord will return.
    They will enter Jerusalem[a] singing,
    crowned with everlasting joy.
Sorrow and mourning will disappear,
    and they will be filled with joy and gladness.

35:10 Hebrew Zion.