Monday, August 31, 2020

Evening Scripture Reading - 1 Corinthians 16:13-14

1 Corinthians 16:13-14 New King James Version (NKJV)

Final Exhortations

13 Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. 14 Let all that you do be done with love.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 42:1-3

Psalm 42:1-3 New King James Version (NKJV)


Psalms 42–72

Yearning for God in the Midst of Distresses

To the Chief Musician. A [a]Contemplation of the sons of Korah.

As the deer [b]pants for the water brooks,
So pants my soul for You, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When shall I come and [c]appear before God?
My tears have been my food day and night,
While they continually say to me,
“Where is your God?”


  1. Psalm 42:1 Heb. Maschil
  2. Psalm 42:1 Lit. longs for
  3. Psalm 42:2 So with MT, Vg.; some Heb. mss., LXX, Syr., Tg. I see the face of God

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 18:21

Proverbs 18:21 New King James Version (NKJV)

21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
And those who love it will eat its fruit.

Morning Scripture Reading - Matthew 19:16-22

Matthew 19:16-22 New King James Version (NKJV)

Jesus Counsels the Rich Young Ruler

16 Now behold, one came and said to Him, “Good[a] Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?”

17 So He said to him, [b]“Why do you call Me good? [c]No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.”

18 He said to Him, “Which ones?”

Jesus said, “‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’ 19 ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 

20 The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept [d]from my youth. What do I still lack?”

21 Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”

22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.


  1. Matthew 19:16 NU omits Good
  2. Matthew 19:17 NU Why do you ask Me about what is good?
  3. Matthew 19:17 NU There is One who is good. But
  4. Matthew 19:20 NU omits from my youth

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Evening Scripture Reading - Hosea 3:4-5

Hosea 3:4-5 New King James Version (NKJV)

For the children of Israel shall abide many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred pillar, without ephod or teraphim. Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek the Lord their God and David their king. They shall fear the Lord and His goodness in the latter days.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 41:13

Psalm 41:13 New King James Version (NKJV)

13 Blessed be the Lord God of Israel
From everlasting to everlasting!
Amen and Amen.

Sunday Praise & Worship Message - Nothing in Return

Between the pandemic, hurricanes and social unrest in the world and in our nation, there are some bright spots that occur. We see individuals taking it upon themselves to share whatever they have with those who are in need without expecting anything in return. When I look at those individuals who do great things for others without the expectation of some sort of reward or recognition, one word pops into my head - selflessness.

The news outlets don’t cover those types of stories very often or, if they do, they are relegated to the back page or used to fill the remaining time of a newscast. In short, those stories are just fillers and fluff to be used to fill space or time. News organizations prefer the sensational stories that draw audiences. They believe that people would rather see dead bodies strewn all over the television screen or splashed across the front page of a newspaper. The heart-warming stories, they believe, are those items that just don’t grab audiences and elicit morbid curiosity.

Let’s look at the COVID-19 pandemic. I talked with many individuals about their viewing habits during this event. A vast majority of people confessed that they watched and read almost everything they could to find out about the virus and its spread. When I asked them about the death rate and rate of infection numbers, almost every single one of them could accurately quote the numbers for that particular day. 

In a couple of weeks, I followed up with those same people to find out if they were still following the stories. In many cases, they not only followed the stories but also began to read and watch even more. They added social media and video sites to their constant diet of horror. Each could quote and list programs, stories or snippets that they had read that day with total accuracy.

When asked about other events going on in the world, they had no clue about any of them. They were completely consumed with the desire to follow the pandemic. For them, there is nothing but the pandemic to concentrate on. The interesting thing about these informal interviews was that they couldn’t tell me anything about the selfless acts of nurses, doctors, EMTs, police officers, firefighters and a whole list of others who put their lives at risk daily to do something good for those in need.

I, for one, prefer the heart-warming stories of those that give without the expectation of reward or recognition. They prefer not to be in the limelight and prefer to remain in the shadows quietly doing what they do best: devoting their lives to serving others.

Theirs is a thankless job filled with long hours and very little pay, but they do what they are called to do without even a second thought. They give when others can’t or won’t and do it with a smile. Sometimes, their actions are lauded and they are recognized. 

When asked to speak about that moment of service, they often say the same thing, “I don’t think I’m a hero. I’m just doing what I love to do.”

As Christians, we are called upon each day to do those things which bring honor and glory to our Heavenly Father without the expectation of reward or recognition. We help those who are hurt, hungry or thirsty regardless of their race, color, creed or sexual preference. Each has been created in the image of God and we minister to their physical needs without looking for a reporter to take a picture or tell our story. 

Jesus, in chapter 5 of the Gospel of Luke, tells us, “Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.

What we are called to do each day is to love and help those who are in need even if that person is our enemy. By accepting Christ Jesus as our personal Savior and Lord, we took up our crosses to follow him. By doing so, we acknowledged the fact that we could be persecuted, cursed at and mocked for our faith. None of those things that can be inflicted upon us can excuse us from our daily duty as followers of Jesus to serve. In short, we are to love and provide for each other. Our true reward rests in heaven and, as Jesus put it, it will be great.

To be sure, just as there are those who do good to all for the sake of doing good, there are those who will give to those in end for selfish reasons. They are noisy gongs or clanging cymbals. They do nothing unless it benefits them in some way, form or fashion. They prefer the praise of men and love to hear their names called out. 

Paul, in chapter three of his second epistle to Timothy, writes, “You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!

There will always be people who, as Paul, put it, “will act religious”. They will beat their chests and call themselves followers of Jesus while elevating themselves and telling all those around them what they have done. Their reward is here on earth and here it will remain. Do not fall prey to the limelight and the words of men. They are fleeting and carry no weight. Do good for the sake of doing good without the expectation of reward or recognition. Realize that some will persecute, curse or mock you when you do. Their words and actions may sting for a moment, but, in the end, they have no victory over us. Like Jesus, we must overcome the world through love and our duty to help and love those in need and expect nothing in return.

When we do all those things to the honor and glory of our Heavenly Father, we are truly followers of His son and children of the Most High who can stand firm in His grace.

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

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 18:20

Proverbs 18:20 New King James Version (NKJV)

20 A man’s stomach shall be satisfied from the fruit of his mouth;
From the produce of his lips he shall be filled.

Morning Scripture Reading - John 2:13-22

John 2:13-22 New King James Version (NKJV)

Jesus Cleanses the Temple

13 Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 And He found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers [a]doing business. 15 When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers’ money and overturned the tables. 16 And He said to those who sold doves, “Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!” 17 Then His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for Your house [b]has eaten Me up.”

18 So the Jews answered and said to Him, “What sign do You show to us, since You do these things?”

19 Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”

20 Then the Jews said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?”

21 But He was speaking of the temple of His body. 22 Therefore, when He had risen from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this [c]to them; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had said.


  1. John 2:14 Lit. sitting
  2. John 2:17 NU, M will eat
  3. John 2:22 NU, M omit to them

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Evening Scripture Reading - 2 Samuel 22:3

2 Samuel 22:3 New King James Version (NKJV)

The God of my strength, in whom I will trust;
My shield and the horn[a] of my salvation,
My stronghold and my refuge;
My Savior, You save me from violence.


  1. 2 Samuel 22:3 Strength

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 41:10-12

Psalm 41:10-12 New King James Version (NKJV)

10 But You, O Lord, be merciful to me, and raise me up,
That I may repay them.
11 By this I know that You are well pleased with me,
Because my enemy does not triumph over me.
12 As for me, You uphold me in my integrity,
And set me before Your face forever.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 18:19

Proverbs 18:19 New King James Version (NKJV)

19 A brother offended is harder to win than a strong city,
And contentions are like the bars of a castle.

Morning Scripture Reading - 1 Samuel 17:45-47

1 Samuel 17:45-47 New King James Version (NKJV)

45 Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. 47 Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give you into our hands.”

Friday, August 28, 2020

Evening Scripture Reading - John 17:1-5

John 17:1-5 New King James Version (NKJV)

Jesus Prays for Himself

17 Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He [a]should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. And now, O Father, glorify Me together [b]with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.


  1. John 17:2 shall
  2. John 17:5 Lit. alongside

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 41:7-9

Psalm 41:7-9 New King James Version (NKJV)

All who hate me whisper together against me;
Against me they [a]devise my hurt.
“An[b] evil disease,” they say, “clings to him.
And now that he lies down, he will rise up no more.”
Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted,
Who ate my bread,
Has [c]lifted up his heel against me.


  1. Psalm 41:7 plot
  2. Psalm 41:8 Lit. A thing of Belial
  3. Psalm 41:9 Acted as a traitor

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 18:18

Proverbs 18:18 New King James Version (NKJV)

18 Casting lots causes contentions to cease,
And keeps the mighty apart.

Morning Scripture Reading - John 20:24-29

John 20:24-29 New King James Version (NKJV)

Seeing and Believing

24 Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 The other disciples therefore said to him, “We have seen the Lord.”

So he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”

26 And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, “Peace to you!” 27 Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.”

28 And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”

29 Jesus said to him, [a]“Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”


  1. John 20:29 NU, M omit Thomas