Friday, April 30, 2021

Evening Scripture Reading - Isaiah 44:21-22

Isaiah 44:21-22 English Standard Version

The Lord Redeems Israel

21 Remember these things, O Jacob,

    and Israel, for you are my servant;

I formed you; you are my servant;

    O Israel, you will not be forgotten by me.

22 I have blotted out your transgressions like a cloud

    and your sins like mist;

return to me, for I have redeemed you.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 84:8-9

Psalm 84:8-9 English Standard Version

8 O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer;

    give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah

9 Behold our shield, O God;

    look on the face of your anointed!

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 29:2

Proverbs 29:2 English Standard Version

2 When the righteous increase, the people rejoice,

    but when the wicked rule, the people groan.

Morning Scripture Reading - Romans 5:6-8

Romans 5:6-8 English Standard Version

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

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Evening Scripture Reading - Hebrews 2:14-18

Hebrews 2:14-18 English Standard Version

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

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 84:5-7

Psalm 84:5-7 English Standard Version

5 Blessed are those whose strength is in you,

    in whose heart are the highways to Zion.

6 As they go through the Valley of Baca

    they make it a place of springs;

    the early rain also covers it with pools.

7 They go from strength to strength;

    each one appears before God in Zion.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 29:1

Proverbs 29:1 English Standard Version

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

    will suddenly be broken beyond healing.

Morning Scripture Reading - Romans 11:1-6

Romans 11:1-6 English Standard Version

The Remnant of Israel

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

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Evening Scripture Reading - Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Deuteronomy 6:4-9 English Standard Version

4 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 84:3-4

Psalm 84:3-4 English Standard Version

3 Even the sparrow finds a home,

    and the swallow a nest for herself,

    where she may lay her young,

at your altars, O Lord of hosts,

    my King and my God.

4 Blessed are those who dwell in your house,

    ever singing your praise! Selah

Mid-Week Message - Return to the Truth

 "Jesus told him, 'I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one can come to the Father except through me.'"  John 14:6  (NLT) 

When my daughter was still in high school, one of her classmates invited her to an outreach that his church was having.  Directed toward young people, the hope was that those who were unchurched would be attracted enough to begin attending regularly.  After the event, I picked them up and as I was taking the classmate home, I began asking how everything went.  As it turns out, the night was comprised of performances by "Christian" rock bands, most of which were playing heavy metal music.  Apparently, the music, coupled with the mosh pit, afforded an evening full of fun. 

I would have been interested to know how many of those who attended this event actually came back for a church service.  I still fail to understand how people can be drawn to Christ by being enticed through imitations of what the world offers.  I have no problem with different genres of Christian music, but I do believe it is necessary to at least hear and understand the words that are being sung.   And a mosh pit and body surfing?  How is Jesus presented through that? 

Across this nation, churches are being abandoned and boarded up.  Many of those that remain open claim that attendance has been dropping.  Fewer Americans believe that this country is a "Christian" nation.  Jesus has become the punchline of jokes and those who choose to worship Him are touted as believing in fairy tales.  By giving in to the demands for coffee bars and tickling the ears of attendees with "feel good" messages, we have lost our focus on our mission.  

In Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus gives this charge to His disciples, "Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.  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."  

When we receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we are to share Him with others.  The Lord has gifted each of us with abilities and talents that will assist us in doing so.  If you sing, worship Him in song.  If you are an artist, then honor Him with your art.  If you have the gift of hospitality, then open your home and share the Gospel with your visitors.  If you can do public speaking, then openly declare Him.  Maybe you have a deep love for children.  Children are ready learners.  Their hearts are open to the stories of the Bible.  

We need to return to solid Bible teaching.  I love listening to men of God speak the truth.  It is rare these days to hear the honest rebuking of sin from the pulpit.  Too many church leaders are afraid that people will be offended and leave the congregation.  But if the true need for Jesus is exchanged for warm and fuzzy messages, then we fail to offer the need for forgiveness.  

We are watching frightening changes in this country and around the world.  The enemy must sit back and laugh as evil increases and fear grips the followers of Jesus.  This must not continue.  Christians need to be in earnest prayer and we need to stand up for what is right and true.  The Gospel is desperately needed and we are the ones that hold it.  But we need to be ready to speak it in truth which means that the world will likely not appreciate what we have to say.  No more compromising.  We have Jesus to show the way.  God bless.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 28:28

Proverbs 28:28 English Standard Version

28 When the wicked rise, people hide themselves,

    but when they perish, the righteous increase.

Morning Scripture Reading - Titus 2:11-14

Titus 2:11-14 English Standard Version

11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Evening Scripture Reading - Ephesians 1:11-14

Ephesians 1:11-14 English Standard Version

11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 84:1-2

Psalm 84:1-2 English Standard Version

My Soul Longs for the Courts of the Lord

To the choirmaster: according to The Gittith. A Psalm of the Sons of Korah.

84 How lovely is your dwelling place,

    O Lord of hosts!

2 My soul longs, yes, faints

    for the courts of the Lord;

my heart and flesh sing for joy

    to the living God.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 28:27

Proverbs 28:27 English Standard Version

27 Whoever gives to the poor will not want,

    but he who hides his eyes will get many a curse.

Morning Scripture Reading - Matthew 28:16-20

Matthew 28:16-20 English Standard Version

The Great Commission

16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Monday, April 26, 2021

Evening Scripture Reading - Romans 10:5-13

Romans 10:5-13 English Standard Version

The Message of Salvation to All

5 For Moses writes about the righteousness that is based on the law, that the person who does the commandments shall live by them. 6 But the righteousness based on faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down) 7 “or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). 8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); 9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. 11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. 13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 83:13-18

Psalm 83:13-18 English Standard Version

13 O my God, make them like whirling dust,

    like chaff before the wind.

14 As fire consumes the forest,

    as the flame sets the mountains ablaze,

15 so may you pursue them with your tempest

    and terrify them with your hurricane!

16 Fill their faces with shame,

    that they may seek your name, O Lord.

17 Let them be put to shame and dismayed forever;

    let them perish in disgrace,

18 that they may know that you alone,

    whose name is the Lord,

    are the Most High over all the earth.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 28:26

Proverbs 28:26 English Standard Version

26 Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool,

    but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered.

Morning Scripture Reading - 2 Timothy 1:8-14

2 Timothy 1:8-14 English Standard Version

8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, 9 who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, 10 and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, 11 for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher, 12 which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me. 13 Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 14 By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Evening Scripture Reading - 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14

2 Thessalonians 2:13-14 English Standard Version

Stand Firm

13 But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. 14 To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 83:9-12

Psalm 83:9-12 English Standard Version

9 Do to them as you did to Midian,

    as to Sisera and Jabin at the river Kishon,

10 who were destroyed at En-dor,

    who became dung for the ground.

11 Make their nobles like Oreb and Zeeb,

    all their princes like Zebah and Zalmunna,

12 who said, “Let us take possession for ourselves

    of the pastures of God.”

Sunday Praise & Worship Message - Share with Everyone

When I was growing up, my parents taught me to share with those less fortunate and to never be selfish. Dad would tell me that the poor will always be with us and it’s our responsibility to share with them whatever we have. We didn’t have much when I was growing up. But, we did learn the value of sharing and giving to those who were in need. 

As I reflect upon it, we didn’t need much to get by. All we needed was a roof over our heads, clothes, something to eat and something to drink. As long as our daily needs were met, we were good for another day. We didn’t need much more in life, but God always blessed us in the best ways possible. We were able to give our excess that He blessed us with to those who needed it more. God saw fit to give us those opportunities to bless others. We didn’t have to ask God for anything. But, we were always thankful to Him for the bounty He provided us.

When I went to college, my attitude changed. I became more materialistic. I always wanted more and had to have more. I wanted the fancy cars rather than a beat up car that was reliable. I saw others around me with fancy cars and envied them. They ate in fancy restaurants and could order whatever they wanted. I had to settle for day-old bread and Hamburger Helper without the hamburger. It was at those moments when I swore that I would have a fancy car, a big house and all of the toys that a successful man could have. I wanted everything so that I could show everyone that I was successful and could have anything I wanted.

However, in time, I quickly realized that my desires and my heart weren’t focused on God. Things in my life changed and I faced problems that could have driven someone to suicide. When you lose everything, you have a choice. You can either lament over your loss or begin to reflect on your life and determine a new course. I chose the latter.

As I reflected, I realized a couple of things. I didn’t own anything. Things owned me. I had a car payment, mortgage payment, credit card bills and the list goes on. Instead of living for God, I lived and struggled for my bills. Instead of being thankful for the blessing I had received, I begged God for more of everything. When I didn’t get it, I just did what most Americans do and charged it. I always thought I would be able to stay one step ahead of the creditors. But, that is a fantasy. All it takes is one financial catastrophe and your dreams will come down crashing around you.

Instead of returning to the life of excess, I returned to my faith and the lessons that my parents had taught me. I am no longer owned by things and look for those wonderful opportunities to share my blessings with those who need help. After returning to my faith, I devoted my life totally and completely to the Lord and began to preach the Word of God. The words that I had heard as a child and I understood as a man and follower of Christ Jesus. I continue to study God’s Word and have worked to build a ministry that is dedicated to putting His Word into the hands and hearts of those who desperately need more than things in their lives.

In my study, I ran across a verse that I believe sums up exactly what we are to do as neighbors. We aren’t to turn away from those in need, but to help and give them what they need.

In chapter thirteen of the Book of Hebrews, the author writes, “And don’t forget to do good and to share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God.

By giving to those in need, we are truly showing the world that we are children of the Most High God. He provides for us and we, in turn, can pass that blessing along to others. As we share, we please God. He isn’t looking for us to just stand around and say that we are Christians. He wants us to be active by helping and sharing with all those around us.

Last week in my message. I touched upon how we dictate our worship and faith. We allow the tenets of men to influence our decisions when it comes to our worship of God. When you look at the works of the early church, they devoted themselves completely to not only serving God but also serving those in need. Remember what the author wrote in chapter two of the Book of Acts.

He wrote, “They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need.

The members of that early church knew exactly what they were to do. It wasn’t to sit around and sing hymns and then go home. Their faith was grounded in a few basic principles. The first is to worship God totally and completely and to do His will. The second was to show love for not only their neighbors but also their enemies. They put their faith and love into action and worked to build God’s kingdom.

In chapter two of the book that bears his name, James writes, “If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

When you put all of this together, you will easily see that you are to live your life like those of the early church. All of us need to realize that life is more than just the sum of the stuff we own. Life is loving one another and sharing with all who are in need. When we do those things, we are truly living our faith daily. Our faith isn’t dead. We have combined believing with action and have turned those things into that faith that is our sacrifice that we give God daily.

Don’t let the things of this world own and control you. If you do, I can guarantee that you will be unhappy and only wanting more. It will become an endless cycle of earthly desires that will only lead to destruction. If, however, you change and realize that God provides for you daily and will always do that, then you can easily live a life devoted to serving Him and loving and sharing with those around you. Put your faith to work and dedicate yourself to doing good daily for those who need that blessing. When you do that, you can definitely stand firm in His grace.

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

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 28:25

Proverbs 28:25 English Standard Version

25 A greedy man stirs up strife,

    but the one who trusts in the Lord will be enriched.

Morning Scripture Reading - Leviticus 20:7-8

Leviticus 20:7-8 English Standard Version

7 Consecrate yourselves, therefore, and be holy, for I am the Lord your God. 8 Keep my statutes and do them; I am the Lord who sanctifies you.

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Evening Scripture Reading - Jeremiah 17:7-8

Jeremiah 17:7-8 English Standard Version

7 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,

    whose trust is the Lord.

8 He is like a tree planted by water,

    that sends out its roots by the stream,

and does not fear when heat comes,

    for its leaves remain green,

and is not anxious in the year of drought,

    for it does not cease to bear fruit.”

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 83:1-8

Psalm 83:1-8 English Standard Version

O God, Do Not Keep Silence

A Song. A Psalm of Asaph.

1 O God, do not keep silence;

    do not hold your peace or be still, O God!

2 For behold, your enemies make an uproar;

    those who hate you have raised their heads.

3 They lay crafty plans against your people;

    they consult together against your treasured ones.

4 They say, “Come, let us wipe them out as a nation;

    let the name of Israel be remembered no more!”

5 For they conspire with one accord;

    against you they make a covenant—

6 the tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites,

    Moab and the Hagrites,

7 Gebal and Ammon and Amalek,

    Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre;

8 Asshur also has joined them;

    they are the strong arm of the children of Lot. Selah

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 28:24

Proverbs 28:24 English Standard Version

24 Whoever robs his father or his mother

    and says, “That is no transgression,”

    is a companion to a man who destroys.

Morning Scripture Reading - 3 John 1:4

3 John 4 English Standard Version

4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

Friday, April 23, 2021

Evening Scripture Reading - Romans 15:13

Romans 15:13 English Standard Version

13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 82:8

Psalm 82:8 English Standard Version

8 Arise, O God, judge the earth;

    for you shall inherit all the nations!

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 28:23

Proverbs 28:23 English Standard Version

23 Whoever rebukes a man will afterward find more favor
    than he who flatters with his tongue.

Morning Scripture Reading - James 1:12

James 1:12 English Standard Version

12 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Evening Scripture Reading - Nehemiah 1:8-9

Nehemiah 1:8-9 English Standard Version

8 Remember the word that you commanded your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the peoples, 9 but if you return to me and keep my commandments and do them, though your outcasts are in the uttermost parts of heaven, from there I will gather them and bring them to the place that I have chosen, to make my name dwell there.’

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 82:6-7

Psalm 82:6-7 English Standard Version

6 I said, “You are gods,

    sons of the Most High, all of you;

7 nevertheless, like men you shall die,

    and fall like any prince.”

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 28:22

Proverbs 28:22 English Standard Version

22 A stingy man hastens after wealth

    and does not know that poverty will come upon him.

Morning Scripture Reading - Matthew 11:28-30

Matthew 11:28-30 English Standard Version

28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Evening Scripture Reading - Philemon 1:4-7

Philemon 4-7 English Standard Version

Philemon's Love and Faith

4 I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers, 5 because I hear of your love and of the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and for all the saints, 6 and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ. 7 For I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 82:5

Psalm 82:5 English Standard Version

5 They have neither knowledge nor understanding,

    they walk about in darkness;

    all the foundations of the earth are shaken.

Mid-Week Message - Poem

 A Kiss and a Tear (all copyrights reserved by Karla Johns)

Born in a stable humble and low, wrapped in torn cloth from his head to his toes
The angels sadly carried to this site down below, the kiss and the tear that His father bestowed.
His home in the village was of rather poor means, He wore simple clothing not the garments of kings
His mother would sit at the doorway and sing, songs of love to this Son that the heavens did bring
At twelve He taught and the elders amazed, His wisdom far beyond His years and His days
That this Child knew what questions to raise, brought musing and concern from the religious ways
As He wandered the hillsides His followers came, He chose of these twelve whom He called by name
A rumbling arose that He was playing a game, although He raised dead and healed blind, deaf and lame
The powerful felt threatened by the one the meek sought, they put out an edict, they wanted Him caught
A bag of silver was prepared and a brief scuffle fought, the Man held at sword-point calmed the rest of the lot
He suffered the cruelty, He gave no defense, this angered His attackers, they thought it made no sense
For this Man to accept every listed offense, while those who knew Him best pleaded His innocence
The nails in His hands the cross raised high, the guards gambled at His feet as His mother watched and cried
Forgiveness He asked for all as He prepared to die, "It is finished" were His words as He released His last sigh
He was buried in a tomb humble and low, wrapped in torn cloth from His head to His toes
The angels gladly carried to this site down below, the kiss and the tear that His Father bestowed.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 28:21

Proverbs 28:21 English Standard Version

21 To show partiality is not good,

    but for a piece of bread a man will do wrong.

Morning Scripture Reading - 1 Timothy 6:12

1 Timothy 6:12 English Standard Version

12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Evening Scripture Reading - Philippians 2:1-11

Philippians 2:1-11 English Standard Version

Christ's Example of Humility

2 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 82:1-4

Psalm 82:1-4 English Standard Version

Rescue the Weak and Needy

A Psalm of Asaph.

1 God has taken his place in the divine council;

    in the midst of the gods he holds judgment:

2 “How long will you judge unjustly

    and show partiality to the wicked? Selah

3 Give justice to the weak and the fatherless;

    maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute.

4 Rescue the weak and the needy;

    deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 28:20

Proverbs 28:20 English Standard Version

20 A faithful man will abound with blessings,

    but whoever hastens to be rich will not go unpunished.

Morning Scripture Reading - John 19:38-42

John 19:38-42 English Standard Version

Jesus Is Buried

38 After these things Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus, and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took away his body. 39 Nicodemus also, who earlier had come to Jesus by night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds in weight. 40 So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews. 41 Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. 42 So because of the Jewish day of Preparation, since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there.

Monday, April 19, 2021

Evening Scripture Reading - John 19:28-30

John 19:28-30 English Standard Version

The Death of Jesus

28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” 29 A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. 30 When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 81:11-16

Psalm 81:11-16 English Standard Version

11 “But my people did not listen to my voice;

    Israel would not submit to me.

12 So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts,

    to follow their own counsels.

13 Oh, that my people would listen to me,

    that Israel would walk in my ways!

14 I would soon subdue their enemies

    and turn my hand against their foes.

15 Those who hate the Lord would cringe toward him,

    and their fate would last forever.

16 But he would feed you with the finest of the wheat,

    and with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.”

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 28:19

Proverbs 28:19 English Standard Version

19 Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread,

    but he who follows worthless pursuits will have plenty of poverty.

Morning Scripture Reading - John 17:20-26

John 17:20-26 English Standard Version

20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. 24 Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. 26 I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Evening Scripture Reading - John 14:1-4

John 14:1-4 English Standard Version

I Am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life

14 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 2 In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. 4 And you know the way to where I am going.”

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 81:4-10

Psalm 81:4-10 English Standard Version

4 For it is a statute for Israel,

    a rule of the God of Jacob.

5 He made it a decree in Joseph

    when he went out over the land of Egypt.

I hear a language I had not known:

6 “I relieved your shoulder of the burden;

    your hands were freed from the basket.

7 In distress you called, and I delivered you;

    I answered you in the secret place of thunder;

    I tested you at the waters of Meribah. Selah

8 Hear, O my people, while I admonish you!

    O Israel, if you would but listen to me!

9 There shall be no strange god among you;

    you shall not bow down to a foreign god.

10 I am the Lord your God,

    who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.

    Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.

Sunday Praise & Worship Message - Dictating Worship

According to a recent article published on the LiveScience website, there are approximately 200 Christian denominations in the United States and a staggering 45,000 globally. The early Christian church began to segment itself due to geography and then later by various interpretations of Jesus’ teachings and worship styles. Over time, Christians have continued to segment themselves and, in some cases, segment themselves even further within segments. Some have adopted restrictive rules regarding who can partake in the Lord’s Supper and attend certain services. Many denominations have adopted more ritualized services. It almost seems like Christianity has become very tribal in nature.

When my wife and I started our first ministry years and years ago, a person came up to me after the service and told me that she loved our service and my preaching. However, she could not join our congregation. I explained to her that what we had was a ministry and not a church. Although I referred to the flock entrusted to me as a congregation, I viewed the members as members of the flock or family. She explained that she was Methodist and that it wasn’t possible for her to worship with us and that she visited our service because she wasn’t able to attend her regular church. I thanked her for joining and reassured her that our ministry was here for those who didn’t have a regular church or could not go to church due to illness or distance. 

For me, it was a very interesting conversation and I often reflect on it regularly and wonder why we have segmented ourselves into so many denominations and how some of them have become so restrictive regarding membership and participation in the most basic of all observances, the Lord’s Supper or Communion. As I continue to reflect on this, I sometimes wonder why Christians have become so tied to our denominations rather than tied to our faith. For some, I have noticed even changes in their words. When referring to other denominations or faiths, you can detect a certain arrogance when they refer to their own denomination and a certain level of distaste for others.

In the book, “Life with Father”, and the movie adaption, there is a conversation between a young lady, Mary, and Clarence Day, Jr. While they are playing a hymn, Mary admits that the words are exactly the same, but the melody is completely different. She tells young Clarence that she and her family are Methodist. Clarence is slightly shocked and announces that he and his family are Episcopalians. After saying that it is too bad, he tries desperately to reverse himself a bit. Later in the conversation as a way of settling their differences, Mary announces that one of her relatives was an Episcopalian before becoming Methodist as a result of marriage.

As a student of the Bible and Biblical History, I haven’t found a scripture or remnant of a hidden book that talks about separate lines for each denomination to enter heaven. Heaven is not some sort of grocery store with separate checkout lines for each denomination. We are of one family of faith and we shouldn’t be preoccupied with the tenets written by men who interpret the scriptures in different ways. Let’s examine the early church and what they concerned themselves with when it came to worship.

In chapter two of the Book of Acts, the author writes, “All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer. A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity—all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.

The one thing that becomes readily apparent is the first three words, “all the believers”, of the passage and how often that phrase is used in some form. Other references to the believers include the word, they. The point that the author is making is that they, as one body, came together to worship and praise God and enjoy “the goodwill of all the people”. They sold their possessions and shared the proceeds with those in need. They all came to the table to share in the Lord’s Supper and to pray together. The believers in the early church devoted themselves to God and to helping those in need. There were no rituals to observe or get in the way of their worship.

When we begin to concern ourselves with the things that really don’t matter, it is so easy for us to get sidetracked. Our focus begins to shift from God to the tenets of our religion. We no longer think of ourselves primarily as Christians. We begin to see ourselves as members of a certain denomination first and then as a Christian. Instead of declaring ourselves first and foremost as Christians, we often will tell others that we belong to a certain denomination. 

Later in the Book of Acts, we see a discussion between the apostles regarding circumcision. Some argued that new believers should be circumcised while others argued that it was not necessary. In the end, the decision was made that the Jewish practice was not necessary for the new believers. 

After much debate, James, in chapter fifteen of the Book of Acts, said, “And so my judgment is that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. Instead, we should write and tell them to abstain from eating food offered to idols, from sexual immorality, from eating the meat of strangled animals, and from consuming blood. For these laws of Moses have been preached in Jewish synagogues in every city on every Sabbath for many generations.

If we follow James’ logic, we see that Christianity should not heap on a lot of rituals just for the sake of rituals. Things should be kept very simple and stay true to the Scriptures. There is no reason to add or subtract from the basic immutable tenets of Christian faith. 

Think of the words of Jesus when he was asked by the Pharisees what the most important law was. 

In chapter twenty-two of the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus responds to the question put to him by the Pharisees and tells them, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.

Religion should not be complicated and subject to the interpretation of scholars. When we read the Scriptures, we can easily see for ourselves that faith doesn’t have to be hard to understand. We should love God totally and completely and love those around us. If we follow these two commandments, everything else regarding our faith simply falls into place.

So, brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus, I urge you not to concern yourselves with the demands of your denomination or allow it to dictate your worship. Stay true to the teachings of the Scriptures and devote yourselves to sincere worship and praise of God and doing His work daily. When you follow those basic tenets of faith, you can easily stand firm in His grace.

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

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 28:18

Proverbs 28:18 English Standard Version

18 Whoever walks in integrity will be delivered,

    but he who is crooked in his ways will suddenly fall.

Morning Scripture Reading - John 13:1-17

John 13:1-17 English Standard Version

Jesus Washes the Disciples' Feet

13 Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. 2 During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him, 3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, 4 rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. 5 Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. 6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” 7 Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” 8 Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” 9 Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” 10 Jesus said to him, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, “Not all of you are clean.”

12 When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? 13 You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. 16 Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Evening Scripture Reading - 1 Corinthians 13:13

1 Corinthians 13:13 English Standard Version

13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 81:1-3

Psalm 81:1-3 English Standard Version

Oh, That My People Would Listen to Me

To the choirmaster: according to The Gittith. Of Asaph.

81 Sing aloud to God our strength;

    shout for joy to the God of Jacob!

2 Raise a song; sound the tambourine,

    the sweet lyre with the harp.

3 Blow the trumpet at the new moon,

    at the full moon, on our feast day.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 28:17

Proverbs 28:17 English Standard Version

17 If one is burdened with the blood of another,

    he will be a fugitive until death;

    let no one help him.

Morning Scripture Reading - Matthew 23:25-26

Matthew 23:25-26 English Standard Version

25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26 You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean.

Friday, April 16, 2021

Evening Scripture Reading - Exodus 14:13-14

Exodus 14:13-14 English Standard Version

13 And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. 14 The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 80:19

Psalm 80:19 English Standard Version

19 Restore us, O Lord God of hosts!

    Let your face shine, that we may be saved!

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 28:16

Proverbs 28:16 English Standard Version

16 A ruler who lacks understanding is a cruel oppressor,

    but he who hates unjust gain will prolong his days.

Morning Scripture Reading - Mark 11:22-26

Mark 11:22-25 English Standard Version

22 And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. 23 Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. 24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. 25 And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Evening Scripture Reading - 2 Timothy 3:16-17

2 Timothy 3:16-17 English Standard Version

16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 80:14-18

Psalm 80:14-18 English Standard Version

14 Turn again, O God of hosts!

    Look down from heaven, and see;

have regard for this vine,

15     the stock that your right hand planted,

    and for the son whom you made strong for yourself.

16 They have burned it with fire; they have cut it down;

    may they perish at the rebuke of your face!

17 But let your hand be on the man of your right hand,

    the son of man whom you have made strong for yourself!

18 Then we shall not turn back from you;

    give us life, and we will call upon your name!

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 28:15

Proverbs 28:15 English Standard Version

15 Like a roaring lion or a charging bear

    is a wicked ruler over a poor people.

Morning Scripture Reading - Luke 6:39-40

Luke 6:39-40 English Standard Version

39 He also told them a parable: “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? 40 A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Evening Scripture Reading - 1 Corinthians 10:11-13

1 Corinthians 10:11-13 English Standard Version

11 Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come. 12 Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 80:8-13

Psalm 80:8-13 English Standard Version

8 You brought a vine out of Egypt;

    you drove out the nations and planted it.

9 You cleared the ground for it;

    it took deep root and filled the land.

10 The mountains were covered with its shade,

    the mighty cedars with its branches.

11 It sent out its branches to the sea

    and its shoots to the River.

12 Why then have you broken down its walls,

    so that all who pass along the way pluck its fruit?

13 The boar from the forest ravages it,

    and all that move in the field feed on it.

Mid-Week Message - Perfect Love

 "A new command I give you: Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."  John 13:34-35  (NIV)

I will always be thankful that as my daughter grew up, she was around people of different races, nationalities, physical differences and capabilities.  As a result, she loves everyone.  It doesn't matter what color their skin is or where they are from.  Whether they are tall or short, suffer from physical or mental challenges, male or female, black, white or brown, she learned that God created and loves everyone, not just the people who look most like her. 

Jesus came for everyone.  The Gospel is not exclusively for one set of people over another.  His love is perfect and for all creation.  John 3:16 is one of the verses most people learn first  It says, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." 

I wish that I could shout that from the rooftops.  I hear such divisive language when I am out and about.  There is so much anger and the things that come out of people's mouths can be shocking.  When I hear one person criticize or berate another I want to remind them that they are speaking to or about someone who is a "whoever", created and loved by the Great I Am.  

The man on the street that is begging for money, whether you believe he is really homeless or not, is a "whoever".  The person who just cut you off in traffic is too.  Every single human being on the face of the planet is to be loved because they have been created by God.  His Son hung on a cross for them just as He did you and I.  

I have been asked, "Would you have loved Hitler?"  My answer is simply, "Jesus did."  If we are truly His followers then we are to love as He loves.  If we were to truly strive to do so, if we would focus on hearts rather than outward differences, how different would this world be?  

This nation and world are going through a lot of turmoil.  During the past year we have seen changes that we never thought we would see in our lifetimes.  The Gospel is needed so urgently as we see people struggling with so many issues.  Rather than allowing ourselves to be divided, we need to come together, join hands and find ways to help.  

I have no idea what you are experiencing this day.  But, I can assure you that you are loved with an indescribable, unconditional, perfect love.  Let's encourage each other and find oneness rather than division.  It is a choice we get to make.  Choose God.  Choose His love.  God bless.  



Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 28:14

Proverbs 28:14 English Standard Version

14 Blessed is the one who fears the Lord always,

    but whoever hardens his heart will fall into calamity.

Morning Scripture Reading - John 15:5-8

John 15:5-8 English Standard Version

5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Evening Scripture Reading - John 9:35-41

John 9:35-41 English Standard Version

35 Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and having found him he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” 36 He answered, “And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?” 37 Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and it is he who is speaking to you.” 38 He said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him. 39 Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.” 40 Some of the Pharisees near him heard these things, and said to him, “Are we also blind?” 41 Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, ‘We see,’ your guilt remains.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 80:7

Psalm 80:7 English Standard Version

7 Restore us, O God of hosts;

    let your face shine, that we may be saved!

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 28:13

Proverbs 28:13 English Standard Version

13 Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper,

    but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.

Morning Scripture Reading - Jeremiah 17:7

Jeremiah 17:7 English Standard Version

7 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,

    whose trust is the Lord.

Monday, April 12, 2021

Evening Scripture Reading - Colossians 1:15-20

Colossians 1:15-20 English Standard Version

The Preeminence of Christ

15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 80:3-6

Psalm 80:3-6 English Standard Version

3 Restore us, O God;

    let your face shine, that we may be saved!

4 O Lord God of hosts,

    how long will you be angry with your people's prayers?

5 You have fed them with the bread of tears

    and given them tears to drink in full measure.

6 You make us an object of contention for our neighbors,

    and our enemies laugh among themselves.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 28:12

Proverbs 28:12 English Standard Version

12 When the righteous triumph, there is great glory,

    but when the wicked rise, people hide themselves.

Morning Scripture Reading - John 8:34-38

John 8:34-38 English Standard Version

34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. 35 The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. 37 I know that you are offspring of Abraham; yet you seek to kill me because my word finds no place in you. 38 I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father.”

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Evening Scripture Reading - Genesis 28:16-17

Genesis 28:16-17 English Standard Version

16 Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.” 17 And he was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.”

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 80:1-2

Psalm 80:1-2 English Standard Version

Restore Us, O God

To the choirmaster: according to Lilies. A Testimony. Of Asaph, a Psalm.

80 Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel,

    you who lead Joseph like a flock.

You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth.

2     Before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh,

stir up your might

    and come to save us!

Sunday Praise & Worship Message - Living for God and Not for Others

The other morning while having breakfast at my favorite place, I had two very interesting conversations with two different individuals. The interesting part was that the two conversations that were completely unrelated had a common theme. So, I, while doing my morning chores, began to think about the conversations and the common thread that they shared. You are wondering what was that common theme in two unrelated conversations.

I have met and talked with people who literally get upset when they are “unfriended” by someone on social media. Those same individuals are also preoccupied with how others perceive them. They always want to know what people think about them and worry incessantly when someone “unfriends” them or replies to a post with a critical response. Instead of living their lives according to their perception or moral teachings, they prefer to live their lives according to the “likes” on their social media pages. To them, seeing that “like” is comparable to a drug high and so many have to have their daily or even their hourly fix. If they see a critical response to a post, a picture or share, they are “freaked out” by it and spend hours wondering why a certain person responded the way he or she did and what others think about the response.

The interesting part of this is that this obsession with being “liked” and “friended” carries over into other areas of their lives. They worry about how people will perceive them at work, home and also at church.

As a pastor, I have seen so many times when people “play” to those around them in order to curry favor or a favorable response. They make sure that everyone notices that they are at church and are seen by whom they perceive as being the “important people”. These individuals make certain that they sit in the right place of the sanctuary so that they are noticed. For them, church is no more than another social media platform to get “likes” and add friends to their social groups.

I am not here to judge individuals or try to understand their motives. But, when their lives are dedicated to being liked and loved by others, it isn’t very hard for anyone to observe their behavior and see what they do.

In chapter seven of the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus said, “Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves. You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.

In short, our actions speak for themselves. If we, as Christians, dedicate our lives to chasing after things of this world, everyone, and I do mean everyone, will see the fruit we bear. The world will see us as superficial and part of this world. It will point its finger at us and call us hypocrites and say that we are acting “holier than thou”. 

When we live our lives according to what others say, we find ourselves in a dangerous area. Just as things change over time, what was once viewed as desirable may, one day, become loathsome. When that happens, people will criticize and possibly condemn us.

Look at chapter twenty-nine of the Book of Proverbs. The author writes, “Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the Lord means safety.

If people become fearful of what people think about them, then it is so very easy to fall into this snare of opinion. These people will live in accordance with the thoughts and opinions of others. They no longer live in accordance with their own morals or even what they believe is their way of life. For Christians that fall into this dangerous trap, we begin to fear those around us and concern ourselves with how we are perceived.

Paul, in chapter six of his second epistle to the Corinthians, writes, “Therefore, come out from among unbelievers, and separate yourselves from them, says the Lord. Don’t touch their filthy things, and I will welcome you. And I will be your Father, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.

By living for God and accepting him as our Father, we become His sons and daughters. As part of His family, He becomes our refuge and a place of safety. We have nothing to fear or worry about. We know that He loves us. When He provided His son, Christ Jesus, as our once and for all atonement sacrifice, Father God demonstrated His love for us through that one action.

So, I ask that you don’t live your lives in accordance with the wishes, likes and favor of others. Live your life each day in accordance with the will of the Father. He is your refuge and your safety. You have nothing to fear from Him. He doesn’t change His opinion of you at all. You are His and His alone. You are a child of the most high God. When you live your life as His child and not for others, you can and will stand firm in His grace.

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

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 28:11

Proverbs 28:11 English Standard Version

11 A rich man is wise in his own eyes,

    but a poor man who has understanding will find him out.

Morning Scripture Reading - Genesis 9:12-16

Genesis 9:12-16 English Standard Version

12 And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: 13 I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh. And the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. 16 When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.”

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Evening Scripture Reading - Ephesians 1:15-23

Ephesians 1:15-23 English Standard Version (ESV)

Thanksgiving and Prayer

15 For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love[a] toward all the saints, 16 do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, 18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might 20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22 And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.


  1. Ephesians 1:15 Some manuscripts omit your love