Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Evening Scripture Reading - 1 Corinthians 16:13-14

1 Corinthians 16:13-14 English Standard Version

13 Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. 14 Let all that you do be done in love.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 108:10-13

Psalm 108:10-13 English Standard Version

10 Who will bring me to the fortified city?

    Who will lead me to Edom?

11 Have you not rejected us, O God?

    You do not go out, O God, with our armies.

12 Oh grant us help against the foe,

    for vain is the salvation of man!

13 With God we shall do valiantly;

    it is he who will tread down our foes.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 11:12

Proverbs 11:12 English Standard Version

12 Whoever belittles his neighbor lacks sense,

    but a man of understanding remains silent.

Morning Scripture Reading - Matthew 19:16-22

Matthew 19:16-22 English Standard Version

The Rich Young Man

16 And behold, a man came up to him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” 17 And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” 18 He said to him, “Which ones?” And 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 mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 20 The young man said to him, “All these I have kept. What do I still lack?” 21 Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 22 When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

Monday, August 30, 2021

Evening Scripture Reading - Hosea 3:4-5

Hosea 3:4-5 English Standard Version

4 For the children of Israel shall dwell many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or pillar, without ephod or household gods. 5 Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek the Lord their God, and David their king, and they shall come in fear to the Lord and to his goodness in the latter days.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 108:7-9

Psalm 108:7-9 English Standard Version

7 God has promised in his holiness:

    “With exultation I will divide up Shechem

    and portion out the Valley of Succoth.

8 Gilead is mine; Manasseh is mine;

    Ephraim is my helmet,

    Judah my scepter.

9 Moab is my washbasin;

    upon Edom I cast my shoe;

    over Philistia I shout in triumph.”

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 11:11

Proverbs 11:11 English Standard Version

11 By the blessing of the upright a city is exalted,

    but by the mouth of the wicked it is overthrown.

Morning Scripture Reading - John 2:13-22

John 2:13-22 English Standard Version

Jesus Cleanses the Temple

13 The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there. 15 And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. 16 And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father's house a house of trade.” 17 His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.”

18 So the Jews said to him, “What sign do you show us for doing these things?” 19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” 20 The Jews then 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 about the temple of his body. 22 When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Evening Scripture Reading - 2 Samuel 22:3

2 Samuel 22:3 English Standard Version

3     my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,

my shield, and the horn of my salvation,

    my stronghold and my refuge,

    my savior; you save me from violence.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 108:5-6

Psalm 108:5-6 English Standard Version

5 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens!

    Let your glory be over all the earth!

6 That your beloved ones may be delivered,

    give salvation by your right hand and answer me!

Sunday Praise & Worship Message - Stand Firm

With the constant assault on not only our traditional institutions but also our faith, it is so easy to just give in and give up. Just within a few decades things have changed. We used to just take things for granted when it came to respecting our freedoms and faith. But, over time, things have changed. Those things we considered sacred and immutable have now come under fire. Things that have stood the test of time and have guided our judgement have been pushed to the side and are now viewed as “old fashioned” and “out of date”. 

We are living in uncertain times. Each day we see the very fabric of our society frayed just a little more. Each day we see more and more images of violence and inhumanity in high-definition and color-corrected. We used to wince in horror when we saw those images. Now, we are so desensitized to it all. 

What has happened to the world? Instead of finding common ground, people prefer to concentrate on differences and use them to their advantage. We no longer see ourselves as one nation anymore. We have become tribal and content with the way things have changed. It seems like the days when we came together as one people united in love and compassion for one another has been tossed to the wayside. We seem to prefer hating one another and look for ways to hurt each other.

With all that is going on in the world, it is very easy to just give up and accept things. We tell ourselves that it is just the way things are. We allow that mindset to become the norm for us. Instead of coming together to work on changing things, we accept the change and just shrug our shoulders and hope that things return back to the “good ol’ days”.

James writes, in chapter two of his epistle, “Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, 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? So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.

The same holds true with the changes in society. We can all hope that things change, but if we don’t work together to make them better, then we aren’t really doing anything. Hoping without action is also useless. We can all hope that things get better and mouth the words, “maybe one day”. Until we are willing to stand up and work to make a change, we are stuck with what we have and no amount of hoping or wishing will change things.

Taking action starts by standing firm together and working together to make a positive change. Will we get it right every time? No. But, at least, we are trying.

The noted American author and humorist, Mark Twain, once wrote, “Continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection.”

If we continue to just accept things the way they are and wait until we find that “perfect union”, then we will never do anything. We will sit idly by and watch our society descend into further chaos and calamity.

Is this something you really want? Are we to become Nero and fiddle while Rome burns to the ground and just hope that things will come out better the next time? Or, will we come together and create a better world for ourselves and for our posterity. 

When you read the words of the Constitution of the United States, you realize that the thoughts of these mortal men were ideals to aspire to. Were those men flawed in some way? I would be lying if I were to say, “No.” They all had flaws and were sinners just like each of us, but they came together peacefully and created a document that gave us hope.

Instead of remaining hopeful and working towards that “perfect union”, we stopped concentrating on the words and ideals and began to look closer and closer at the men who wrote that great document. We used their flaws to rip apart not only those lofty ideals but also rip apart our society. We look at each other with fear and trepidation. We used to respect one another and work for the common welfare of all. But, something changed. We began to fear the words and thoughts of others. It became easier to scream at one another or silence the voices of others. Respectful dialogue has been replaced with censorship and threats. We cower and allow this to occur.

But, it has to stop. All of us have to stop and work to continuously improve not only our society but also ourselves. If we don’t change ourselves and how we look at one another, then we are doomed again. We cannot simply say to each other that change starts with the other person. Change must happen to all or it is “dead and useless”.

How does change occur? It starts by not accepting what is happening as status quo. We must all rise up and stand firm together. By doing that, we are united as one nation and one spirit.

In his first epistle to the Corinthians, Paul, in chapter  sixteen, writes, “Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong.

It is not enough just to stand firm and be courageous and strong. We must also be vigilant. It is so easy for some individuals with their own agendas to sow the seeds of hatred. If those seeds find fertile ground, they will germinate and grow. The vines will run everywhere and begin to choke out all other thoughts. Instead of love, those seeds will create a crop of anger. When we see those seeds being sown, we must stand firm in our faith and remove the vines and the seeds. They must be consigned to the flames and completely eradicated. If we don’t do that, then the seeds of anger will once again find a place to grow.

I say to each of you, “Do the right thing. Stand firm in your faith. Be vigilant and be courageous and strong.”

If we all do this in Christian love and respect for one another, then we overcome the hatred and can most assuredly stand firm in His grace. 

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

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 11:10

Proverbs 11:10 English Standard Version

10 When it goes well with the righteous, the city rejoices,

    and when the wicked perish there are shouts of gladness.

Morning Scripture Reading - 1 Samuel 17:45-47

1 Samuel 17:45-47 English Standard Version

45 Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword and 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 down and cut off your head. And I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, 47 and that all this assembly may know that the Lord saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the Lord's, and he will give you into our hand.”

Saturday, August 28, 2021

Evening Scripture Reading - John 17:1-5

John 17:1-5 English Standard Version

The High Priestly Prayer

17 When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, 2 since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. 4 I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 108:1-4

Psalm 108:1-4 English Standard Version

With God We Shall Do Valiantly

A Song. A Psalm of David.

1 My heart is steadfast, O God!

    I will sing and make melody with all my being!

2 Awake, O harp and lyre!

    I will awake the dawn!

3 I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples;

    I will sing praises to you among the nations.

4 For your steadfast love is great above the heavens;

    your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 11:9

Proverbs 11:9 English Standard Version

9 With his mouth the godless man would destroy his neighbor,

    but by knowledge the righteous are delivered.

Morning Scripture Reading - John 20:24-29

John 20:24-29 English Standard Version

Jesus and Thomas

24 Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.”

26 Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Friday, August 27, 2021

Evening Scripture Reading - John 10:25-30

John 10:25-30 English Standard Version

25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father's name bear witness about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 107:43

Psalm 107:43 English Standard Version

43 Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things;

    let them consider the steadfast love of the Lord.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 11:8

Proverbs 11:8 English Standard Version

8 The righteous is delivered from trouble,

    and the wicked walks into it instead.

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, August 26, 2021

Evening Scripture Reading - Deuteronomy 15:7-11

Deuteronomy 15:7-11 English Standard Version

7 “If among you, one of your brothers should become poor, in any of your towns within your land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother, 8 but you shall open your hand to him and lend him sufficient for his need, whatever it may be. 9 Take care lest there be an unworthy thought in your heart and you say, ‘The seventh year, the year of release is near,’ and your eye look grudgingly on your poor brother, and you give him nothing, and he cry to the Lord against you, and you be guilty of sin. 10 You shall give to him freely, and your heart shall not be grudging when you give to him, because for this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in all that you undertake. 11 For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.’

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 107:39-42

Psalm 107:39-42 English Standard Version

39 When they are diminished and brought low

    through oppression, evil, and sorrow,

40 he pours contempt on princes

    and makes them wander in trackless wastes;

41 but he raises up the needy out of affliction

    and makes their families like flocks.

42 The upright see it and are glad,

    and all wickedness shuts its mouth.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 11:7

Proverbs 11:7 English Standard Version

7 When the wicked dies, his hope will perish,

    and the expectation of wealth perishes too.

Morning Scripture Reading - James 4:11-12

James 4:11-12 English Standard Version

11 Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. 12 There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Evening Scripture Reading - Hebrews 6:9-12

Hebrews 6:9-12 English Standard Version

9 Though we speak in this way, yet in your case, beloved, we feel sure of better things—things that belong to salvation. 10 For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do. 11 And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, 12 so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 107:33-38

Psalm 107:33-38 English Standard Version

33 He turns rivers into a desert,

    springs of water into thirsty ground,

34 a fruitful land into a salty waste,

    because of the evil of its inhabitants.

35 He turns a desert into pools of water,

    a parched land into springs of water.

36 And there he lets the hungry dwell,

    and they establish a city to live in;

37 they sow fields and plant vineyards

    and get a fruitful yield.

38 By his blessing they multiply greatly,

    and he does not let their livestock diminish.

Mid- Week Message - The Good News and the Bad News

 "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."  John 3:16  (NIV)

So, do you want the good news or the bad news first?  Have you ever been asked that question?  Most of us have.  I don't know what your answer usually is but mine is always to have the bad news first so that I can end with the good news being uppermost in my mind.  And, my friend, there is some bad news for us all.  

There is a tragic situation in Afghanistan right now.  Thousands of Americans are stranded there, hoping and praying that our government will be able to bring them home before tensions get any worse.  The Christians there have been forced underground as they fear for their lives.  Some of those who have helped the United States during our twenty years there are saying they know they will be put to death if they are unable to escape.  

Here in our own country there are multiple fronts of bad news.  Murder and other violence in the cities is rising as our police departments are fighting just to be allowed to do the jobs they were hired to do.  Criminals have been set free from our jails and those arrested are often returned to the streets after only hours.  

There are mayors and governors being "recalled" as the citizenry of their states rebel against how they have governed.  In some states, homeless encampments line the streets accompanied by hygienic nightmares of defecation and needles used for injecting drugs.  

Our national elected officials seem more interested in lining their own pockets than in representing the people who elected them.  The decisions they are making are causing discord and their rhetoric is causing increasing anger and division.  

And, as if you haven't already heard, there is still a virus raging despite the preventative injections that almost half the nation doesn't trust.  As viruses do, it continues to mutate and we are being required to cover our faces when in public.  Even our young children are enduring the onus of wearing masks when they are in school.  

Add to all of this the hurricanes, tornadoes, fires and other natural disasters and we see more and more families struggling.  

And of course, diseases such as cancer and heart disease continue to take their toll.  

But, no matter how foreboding life seems at the moment, there is Good News.  This world, and all the difficulty and tragedy it holds, will not have the ultimate say.  Our Creator, before one of us came to be, had a plan in place to overcome all the hardship and sadness.  He sent His only begotten Son, Jesus, to live among us, take each of our sins upon Him on the cross, die a cruel death in punishment for those sins, then rise again on the third day, shattering the power of death and providing us full access to the Father.  Because of Jesus, we know that death reigns no more for those who repent and believe in Him.  

None of what we are seeing in this world is permanent.  If you have read the Bible then you know who wins the battle of good versus evil.  The enemy and his followers will be cast away, all pain shall cease.  There shall be no more wars, no violence, no addiction, no disease, no death.  We won't be sad ever again.  The tears will cease to fall from our eyes and will be replaced with joy beyond description as we live eternally in the presence of our Savior.  

Don't be fooled by what you see when you turn on the news.  This world will pass away and everything with it.  No matter how bad the news seems to be, the Good News crushes it in the end.  God bless.  



Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 11:6

Proverbs 11:6 English Standard Version

6 The righteousness of the upright delivers them,

    but the treacherous are taken captive by their lust.

Morning Scripture Reading - 2 Peter 1:1-4

2 Peter 1:1-4 English Standard Version


1 Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,

To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:

2 May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

Confirm Your Calling and Election

3 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, 4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Evening Scripture Reading - 1 Samuel 2:1-11

1 Samuel 2:1-11 English Standard Version

Hannah's Prayer

2 And Hannah prayed and said,

“My heart exults in the Lord;

    my horn is exalted in the Lord.

My mouth derides my enemies,

    because I rejoice in your salvation.

2 “There is none holy like the Lord:

    for there is none besides you;

    there is no rock like our God.

3 Talk no more so very proudly,

    let not arrogance come from your mouth;

for the Lord is a God of knowledge,

    and by him actions are weighed.

4 The bows of the mighty are broken,

    but the feeble bind on strength.

5 Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread,

    but those who were hungry have ceased to hunger.

The barren has borne seven,

    but she who has many children is forlorn.

6 The Lord kills and brings to life;

    he brings down to Sheol and raises up.

7 The Lord makes poor and makes rich;

    he brings low and he exalts.

8 He raises up the poor from the dust;

    he lifts the needy from the ash heap

to make them sit with princes

    and inherit a seat of honor.

For the pillars of the earth are the Lord's,

    and on them he has set the world.

9 “He will guard the feet of his faithful ones,

    but the wicked shall be cut off in darkness,

    for not by might shall a man prevail.

10 The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken to pieces;

    against them he will thunder in heaven.

The Lord will judge the ends of the earth;

    he will give strength to his king

    and exalt the horn of his anointed.”

11 Then Elkanah went home to Ramah. And the boy was ministering to the Lord in the presence of Eli the priest.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 107:23-32

Psalm 107:23-32 English Standard Version

23 Some went down to the sea in ships,

    doing business on the great waters;

24 they saw the deeds of the Lord,

    his wondrous works in the deep.

25 For he commanded and raised the stormy wind,

    which lifted up the waves of the sea.

26 They mounted up to heaven; they went down to the depths;

    their courage melted away in their evil plight;

27 they reeled and staggered like drunken men

    and were at their wits' end.

28 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,

    and he delivered them from their distress.

29 He made the storm be still,

    and the waves of the sea were hushed.

30 Then they were glad that the waters were quiet,

    and he brought them to their desired haven.

31 Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,

    for his wondrous works to the children of man!

32 Let them extol him in the congregation of the people,

    and praise him in the assembly of the elders.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 11:5

Proverbs 11:5 English Standard Version

5 The righteousness of the blameless keeps his way straight,

    but the wicked falls by his own wickedness.

Morning Scripture Reading - Hebrews 13:8

Hebrews 13:8 English Standard Version

8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Monday, August 23, 2021

Evening Scripture Reading - John 4:39-42

John 4:39-42 English Standard Version

39 Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman's testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. 41 And many more believed because of his word. 42 They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.”

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 107:17-22

Psalm 107:17-22 English Standard Version

17 Some were fools through their sinful ways,

    and because of their iniquities suffered affliction;

18 they loathed any kind of food,

    and they drew near to the gates of death.

19 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,

    and he delivered them from their distress.

20 He sent out his word and healed them,

    and delivered them from their destruction.

21 Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,

    for his wondrous works to the children of man!

22 And let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving,

    and tell of his deeds in songs of joy!

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 11:4

Proverbs 11:4 English Standard Version

4 Riches do not profit in the day of wrath,

    but righteousness delivers from death.

Morning Scripture Reading - Romans 4:13-17

Romans 4:13-17 English Standard Version

The Promise Realized Through Faith

13 For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith. 14 For if it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. 15 For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression.

16 That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, 17 as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Evening Scripture Reading - Acts 15:22-29

Acts 15:22-29 English Standard Version

The Council's Letter to Gentile Believers

22 Then it seemed good to the apostles and the elders, with the whole church, to choose men from among them and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They sent Judas called Barsabbas, and Silas, leading men among the brothers, 23 with the following letter: “The brothers, both the apostles and the elders, to the brothers who are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia, greetings. 24 Since we have heard that some persons have gone out from us and troubled you with words, unsettling your minds, although we gave them no instructions, 25 it has seemed good to us, having come to one accord, to choose men and send them to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, 26 men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 We have therefore sent Judas and Silas, who themselves will tell you the same things by word of mouth. 28 For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay on you no greater burden than these requirements: 29 that you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from what has been strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell.”

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 107:10-16

Psalm 107:10-16 English Standard Version

10 Some sat in darkness and in the shadow of death,

    prisoners in affliction and in irons,

11 for they had rebelled against the words of God,

    and spurned the counsel of the Most High.

12 So he bowed their hearts down with hard labor;

    they fell down, with none to help.

13 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,

    and he delivered them from their distress.

14 He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death,

    and burst their bonds apart.

15 Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,

    for his wondrous works to the children of man!

16 For he shatters the doors of bronze

    and cuts in two the bars of iron.

Sunday Praise & Worship Message - Don’t Abandon Your Faith

With all of the things going on in the world today, it is very easy for individuals to become disillusioned and give up on their faith. Look at what we are facing, global strife, a pandemic, raging forest fires, and so many more things. If that weren’t enough, we have to deal with rising costs of gasoline, food, shelter and other basic things that we need daily just to survive. Add all of those things up and you have a daily headache. With all those things going on, there are times when it is just better to stay in bed and pull the covers over our heads and hope and pray that it all goes away. 

Since the beginning of recorded time, human beings have faced all sorts of problems. Disease, famine, war, pestilence and a host of other things have plagued us. In chapter six of the Book of Revelation, John tells us about the “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse”. These horsemen unleash untold misery upon the world and its inhabitants. 

With all of that going on, it is very easy for a person to just give up on their faith. With an uncertain future and problems piling up daily, many have just given up on their Christian faith. Some have moved on to other religions in hopes of finding something that will ease their minds while others have given up completely on faith. Those individuals have chosen to become atheists. 

But, we, as Christians, need to understand one thing. Being a Christian does not mean that our lives will be “full of rainbows and unicorns”. We still have to live in this fallen world and deal with all of its issues and the problems we face daily. But, we should draw upon the comfort of our faith and God’s love for us. 

God’s love manifested itself through His son, Christ Jesus. Jesus came to save us from our sin and give us eternal life in accordance with God’s plan of salvation. It is through that free gift, given by God to us, that we have a future of eternal life with the Father.

If we concentrate on the things of this world, our faith begins to wax and wane. We begin to question God and even wonder about His existence. When this happens, it is very easy for Satan to whisper even more things into our ears. He is a deceiver and liar. He will do and say anything to convince you that your faith is worthless.

When Satan gets your attention and you start to listen, you begin to question God even more. Instead of seeking God, you are moving away from Him. You feel that He isn’t listening or even there for you. You may even think that God has forsaken you. It is so very easy to fall into this trap and to stray away from your faith. 

That faith is like a lifeline that has been thrown to you. Jesus has thrown out that lifeline to you and your faith helps you grab onto it and hold fast. However, when you start to listen to Satan and focus on the things of this world, then your grip weakens and you slip back into the tempest. 

Jesus, while speaking with his disciples in chapter sixteen of the Gospel of John about the trials that they will face, says, “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 able to overcome the world through his unwavering faith in his Father. We need to pattern our faith after Jesus’. We must be strong and hold fast to it daily. When we remain steadfast in our faith, we grow stronger and stronger. Our relationship with the Lord also grows strong.

In chapter fourteen of the Book of Acts, we are told that Paul and Barnabas preached the Good News to all and encouraged believers “to continue in the faith, reminding them that we must suffer many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God.

We all go through hardships daily. Some are small while others really put our faith to the test. But, like Jesus, we must learn to overcome and remain strong and courageous. We must be bold and always remember that we have a direct line to God the Father through His son, Christ Jesus. 

By being vigilant and remaining grounded in our faith, we truly can overcome the things of this sinful world. God gives us the strength daily to do so. Use that strength to remain close to Him. Walk the path of righteousness laid out before you and never deviate from it. When you feel the hand of Satan upon your shoulder or hear him whispering in your ear, use your faith to beat him back. By faith, you have power over Satan.

James, in chapter two of his book, writes, “You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror.

Satan and the demons in Hell recognize the power of God and tremble in fear of Him. God gives us this power to overcome not only Satan and his minions but also the troubles of this world. Use that faith daily. Grow stronger in it. When you do that, you can most assuredly stand firm in His grace. 

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

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 11:3

Proverbs 11:3 English Standard Version

3 The integrity of the upright guides them,

    but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them.

Morning Scripture Reading - Ephesians 4:11-16

Ephesians 4:11-16 English Standard Version

11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

Saturday, August 21, 2021

Evening Scripture Reading - 1 Timothy 2:1-7

1 Timothy 2:1-7 English Standard Version

Pray for All People

2 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. 3 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. 7 For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 107:4-9

Psalm 107:4-9 English Standard Version

4 Some wandered in desert wastes,

    finding no way to a city to dwell in;

5 hungry and thirsty,

    their soul fainted within them.

6 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,

    and he delivered them from their distress.

7 He led them by a straight way

    till they reached a city to dwell in.

8 Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,

    for his wondrous works to the children of man!

9 For he satisfies the longing soul,

    and the hungry soul he fills with good things.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 11:2

Proverbs 11:2 English Standard Version

2 When pride comes, then comes disgrace,

    but with the humble is wisdom.

Morning Scripture Reading - John 1:29-34

John 1:29-34 English Standard Version

Behold, the Lamb of God

29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.’ 31 I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.” 32 And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. 33 I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”

Friday, August 20, 2021

Evening Scripture Reading - Daniel 3:28-29

Daniel 3:28-29 English Standard Version

28 Nebuchadnezzar answered and said, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel and delivered his servants, who trusted in him, and set aside the king's command, and yielded up their bodies rather than serve and worship any god except their own God. 29 Therefore I make a decree: Any people, nation, or language that speaks anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego shall be torn limb from limb, and their houses laid in ruins, for there is no other god who is able to rescue in this way.”

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 107:1-3

Psalm 107:1-3 English Standard Version

Book Five

Let the Redeemed of the Lord Say So

1 Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,

    for his steadfast love endures forever!

2 Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,

    whom he has redeemed from trouble

3 and gathered in from the lands,

    from the east and from the west,

    from the north and from the south.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 11:1

Proverbs 11:1 English Standard Version

11 A false balance is an abomination to the Lord,

    but a just weight is his delight.

Morning Scripture Reading - Romans 3:21-31

Romans 3:21-31 English Standard Version

The Righteousness of God Through Faith

21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

27 Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. 28 For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. 29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, 30 since God is one—who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. 31 Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Evening Scripture Reading - Romans 8:14-17

Romans 8:14-17 English Standard Version

14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 106:48

Psalm 106:48 English Standard Version

48 Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,

    from everlasting to everlasting!

And let all the people say, “Amen!”

    Praise the Lord!

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 10:32

Proverbs 10:32 English Standard Version

32 The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable,

    but the mouth of the wicked, what is perverse.

Morning Scripture Reading - 2 Corinthians 13:1-4

2 Corinthians 13:1-4 English Standard Version

Final Warnings

13 This is the third time I am coming to you. Every charge must be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 2 I warned those who sinned before and all the others, and I warn them now while absent, as I did when present on my second visit, that if I come again I will not spare them— 3 since you seek proof that Christ is speaking in me. He is not weak in dealing with you, but is powerful among you. 4 For he was crucified in weakness, but lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but in dealing with you we will live with him by the power of God.

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Evening Scripture Reading - Philippians 1:3-8

Philippians 1:3-8 English Standard Version

Thanksgiving and Prayer

3 I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, 4 always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. 6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. 7 It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. 8 For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 106:47

Psalm 106:47 English Standard Version

47 Save us, O Lord our God,

    and gather us from among the nations,

that we may give thanks to your holy name

    and glory in your praise.

Mid-Week Message - The Dash

 "He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.  And what does the Lord require of you?  To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."  Micah 6:8  (NIV)  

I take part in a number of pages on a particular social media site that are Christmas related.  With Christmas being my favorite holiday, I enjoy seeing the pictures all year round and sharing that enjoyment with others,  On one of those pages, in order to contribute, I have been researching the stories behind Christmas songs, and have found some pretty interesting facts about some of them.  

Just as every song has a story, so does every person.  We may, at times, forget that the person begging on the street, just like us, has a history that includes people that have loved them.  They had a childhood.  They went to school.  They had friendships, hopes and dreams.  There is a story behind how they ended up where they are now.  

When you look at a tombstone, generally you see at least three things.  One is the name that identifies the person buried there.  Accompanying the name are two dates.  One is the date of birth and the other is the date of death.  But in between those two dates there is usually a dash.  That dash signifies the period of time when that person was living and experiencing life.  

Here is the question of the day.  How are you spending your dash?  Hebrews 9:27 tells us that people are destined to die.  Although we are aware of that, it is so easy to assume that the day of our death is far in the future.  In truth, we have no idea how long our dash will be, and, as we grow older, our death grows nearer.  Is that scary?  I doesn't have to be.  

In John 10:9-10 Jesus tells us, "Yes, I am the gate.  Those who come in through me will be saved.  They will come and go freely and find good pastures.  The thief's purpose is to steal and kill and destroy.  My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life."  

And in John 14:2-3 He says, "My Father's house has many rooms; if that we not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am."  

From those two verses we gain assurance that Jesus will be with us during our lives and that we will be where He is after our deaths.  As we live through the dash years, our responsibility is to seek His guidance, through the Word of God, as to how to navigate our days.  Todays verse gives us some direction.  We are to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with God.  

Our days upon this earth will come to an end.  But we have this day, this moment, to make the most of the life the Lord has gifted us with.  That man or woman on the street, or in line at the grocery store, or showing road rage on the highway, may not know that Jesus gave His life to atone for their sins and was resurrected to conquer death and give them eternal life in heaven.  As believers, we have so much to share with them!  If there is an opportunity to share Christ with another person, we need to lay the fear of rejection aside and tell them.  We need to be praying for those around us and asking the Father to guide them through their dashes too.  Friend, stranger or enemy - everyone needs to hear the Gospel.  

This day is part of our dashes.  It is up to us how we spend it.  I hope we all make it count for eternity.  God bless.  

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 10:31

Proverbs 10:31 English Standard Version

31 The mouth of the righteous brings forth wisdom,

    but the perverse tongue will be cut off.

Morning Scripture Reading - Acts 2:42-47

Acts 2:42-47 English Standard Version

The Fellowship of the Believers

42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Evening Scripture Reading - Ruth 2:8-12

Ruth 2:8-12 English Standard Version

8 Then Boaz said to Ruth, “Now, listen, my daughter, do not go to glean in another field or leave this one, but keep close to my young women. 9 Let your eyes be on the field that they are reaping, and go after them. Have I not charged the young men not to touch you? And when you are thirsty, go to the vessels and drink what the young men have drawn.” 10 Then she fell on her face, bowing to the ground, and said to him, “Why have I found favor in your eyes, that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?” 11 But Boaz answered her, “All that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband has been fully told to me, and how you left your father and mother and your native land and came to a people that you did not know before. 12 The Lord repay you for what you have done, and a full reward be given you by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge!”

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 106:44-46

Psalm 106:44-46 English Standard Version

44 Nevertheless, he looked upon their distress,

    when he heard their cry.

45 For their sake he remembered his covenant,

    and relented according to the abundance of his steadfast love.

46 He caused them to be pitied

    by all those who held them captive.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 10:30

Proverbs 10:30 English Standard Version

30 The righteous will never be removed,

    but the wicked will not dwell in the land.

Morning Scripture Reading - John 10:7-10

John 10:7-10 English Standard Version

7 So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9 I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

Monday, August 16, 2021

Evening Scripture Reading - Genesis 3:22-24

Genesis 3:22-24 English Standard Version

22 Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—” 23 therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. 24 He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 106:40-43

Psalm 106:40-43 English Standard Version

40 Then the anger of the Lord was kindled against his people,

    and he abhorred his heritage;

41 he gave them into the hand of the nations,

    so that those who hated them ruled over them.

42 Their enemies oppressed them,

    and they were brought into subjection under their power.

43 Many times he delivered them,

    but they were rebellious in their purposes

    and were brought low through their iniquity.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 10:29

Proverbs 10:29 English Standard Version

29 The way of the Lord is a stronghold to the blameless,

    but destruction to evildoers.

Morning Scripture Reading - 2 Peter 3:8-10

2 Peter 3:8-10 English Standard Version

8 But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Evening Scripture Reading - Job 42:1-6

Job 42:1-6 English Standard Version

Job's Confession and Repentance

1 Then Job answered the Lord and said:

2 “I know that you can do all things,

    and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.

3 ‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’

Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand,

    things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.

4 ‘Hear, and I will speak;

    I will question you, and you make it known to me.’

5 I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear,

    but now my eye sees you;

6 therefore I despise myself,

    and repent in dust and ashes.”

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 106:34-39

Psalm 106:34-39 English Standard Version

34 They did not destroy the peoples,

    as the Lord commanded them,

35 but they mixed with the nations

    and learned to do as they did.

36 They served their idols,

    which became a snare to them.

37 They sacrificed their sons

    and their daughters to the demons;

38 they poured out innocent blood,

    the blood of their sons and daughters,

whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan,

    and the land was polluted with blood.

39 Thus they became unclean by their acts,

    and played the whore in their deeds.

Sunday Praise & Worship Message - Give to Caesar What is Caesar’s

In chapter twenty-two of the Gospel of Matthew, there is a discussion between the Pharisees and Jesus. The Pharisees are not interested in learning anything from Jesus. They want to trip him up and discredit him before the people. 

Matthew writes, “Then the Pharisees met together to plot how to trap Jesus into saying something for which he could be arrested. They sent some of their disciples, along with the supporters of Herod, to meet with him. ‘Teacher,’ they said, ‘we know how honest you are. You teach the way of God truthfully. You are impartial and don’t play favorites. Now tell us what you think about this: Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?’

Jesus already knew that these men were plotting against him and only desired to discredit him to those who followed him. They didn’t want anyone to upset their place in society and change anything in their world. They were quite content with the way things were. They had power and worked a very fine line between their faith and the might of Rome. The last thing that they wanted was Rome sending more and more soldiers to subdue the people and threaten their world. Rome tolerated them and allowed them to keep their place in society. In short, a balance was struck and anything that could upset that balance was something the Pharisees weren’t going to have.

Jesus responds, “You hypocrites! Why are you trying to trap me? Here, show me the coin used for the tax.

The Pharisees showed Jesus a Roman coin.

Jesus next asks them a simple question, “Whose picture and title are stamped on it?

The picture of Caesar was on the coin.

At the time, the denarius was a coin used as tax money and for commerce. It was made of silver and featured an image of the emperor with an inscription calling him “divine.” The Jews considered such images idolatry, forbidden by the second commandment. 

If Jesus answered, “Yes,” he would be in trouble. His acceptance of the tax as “lawful” could have been seen as a rejection of the second commandment, thus casting doubt on His claim to be the Son of God.

On the other hand, if he rejects the paying of taxes, he could be jailed for telling people that they should not pay their taxes.

The Pharisees thought that they had him. In either response, Jesus would have either been discredited for rejecting the second commandment or been jailed for telling people not to pay their taxes.

Jesus blows up their little plot by saying, “Well, then, give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God.

His answer is more than just about giving Caesar his due and paying taxes. He was drawing a sharp distinction between two kingdoms. There is a kingdom of this world, and Caesar holds power over it. But there is another kingdom, not of this world, and Jesus is King of that. Christians are part of both kingdoms, at least temporarily. Under Caesar, we have certain obligations that involve material things. Under Christ, we have other obligations that involve things eternal. If Caesar demands money, give it to him. But, make sure you also give God what He demands.

Caesar had the right to have coins minted for use throughout the world. They were his to give and also his to take. It’s nothing more than metal stamped with his face. But, when you consider that, God has “minted” us. We are given salvation and we have a value far and above a gold or silver coin. No amount of money can purchase salvation. It is a gift that is given to us by God and it is our responsibility to accept or refuse that gift.

When you think about this discussion and its deeper meaning, you see that it is more than just a bunch of words being exchanged. It tells us about our place and value in God’s kingdom. The things of this world are fleeting. Nothing lasts forever. Our homes, cars, boats or whatever we own will one day rust, break or crumble. Our real treasure which cannot be purchased by gold or silver coins comes directly from the heart of the Father through His son, Christ Jesus.

So, in the end, it’s only money. God provides for all that you need and blesses you every single day. You don’t have to worry about things. He is always there for you and you don’t have anything to fear. As long as you keep your heart, mind and soul focused on Him and follow His plan for your life, you will walk in righteousness and be able to stand firm in His grace.

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

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 10:28

Proverbs 10:28 English Standard Version

28 The hope of the righteous brings joy,

    but the expectation of the wicked will perish.

Morning 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.”

Saturday, August 14, 2021

Evening Scripture Reading - 1 Chronicles 12:18

1 Chronicles 12:18 English Standard Version

18 Then the Spirit clothed Amasai, chief of the thirty, and he said,

“We are yours, O David,

    and with you, O son of Jesse!

Peace, peace to you,

    and peace to your helpers!

    For your God helps you.”

Then David received them and made them officers of his troops.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 106:32-33

Psalm 106:32-33 English Standard Version

32 They angered him at the waters of Meribah,

    and it went ill with Moses on their account,

33 for they made his spirit bitter,

    and he spoke rashly with his lips.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 10:27

Proverbs 10:27 English Standard Version

27 The fear of the Lord prolongs life,

    but the years of the wicked will be short.

Morning Scripture Reading - 2 Corinthians 1:3-11

2 Corinthians 1:3-11 English Standard Version

God of All Comfort

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5 For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. 6 If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. 7 Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.

8 For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. 9 Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. 10 He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. 11 You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.

Friday, August 13, 2021

Evening Scripture Reading - Deuteronomy 11:13-15

Deuteronomy 11:13-15 English Standard Version

13 “And if you will indeed obey my commandments that I command you today, to love the Lord your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul, 14 he will give the rain for your land in its season, the early rain and the later rain, that you may gather in your grain and your wine and your oil. 15 And he will give grass in your fields for your livestock, and you shall eat and be full.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 106:28-31

Psalm 106:28-31 English Standard Version

28 Then they yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor,

    and ate sacrifices offered to the dead;

29 they provoked the Lord to anger with their deeds,

    and a plague broke out among them.

30 Then Phinehas stood up and intervened,

    and the plague was stayed.

31 And that was counted to him as righteousness

    from generation to generation forever.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 10:26

Proverbs 10:26 English Standard Version

26 Like vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes,

    so is the sluggard to those who send him.

Morning Scripture Reading - Isaiah 53:4-6

Isaiah 53:4-6 English Standard Version

4 Surely he has borne our griefs

    and carried our sorrows;

yet we esteemed him stricken,

    smitten by God, and afflicted.

5 But he was pierced for our transgressions;

    he was crushed for our iniquities;

upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,

    and with his wounds we are healed.

6 All we like sheep have gone astray;

    we have turned—every one—to his own way;

and the Lord has laid on him

    the iniquity of us all.

Thursday, August 12, 2021

Evening Scripture Reading - Deuteronomy 32:5-6

Deuteronomy 32:5-6 English Standard Version

5 They have dealt corruptly with him;

    they are no longer his children because they are blemished;

    they are a crooked and twisted generation.

6 Do you thus repay the Lord,

    you foolish and senseless people?

Is not he your father, who created you,

    who made you and established you?

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 106:24-27

Psalm 106:24-27 English Standard Version

24 Then they despised the pleasant land,

    having no faith in his promise.

25 They murmured in their tents,

    and did not obey the voice of the Lord.

26 Therefore he raised his hand and swore to them

    that he would make them fall in the wilderness,

27 and would make their offspring fall among the nations,

    scattering them among the lands.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 10:25

Proverbs 10:25 English Standard Version

25 When the tempest passes, the wicked is no more,

    but the righteous is established forever.

Morning Scripture Reading - John 20:19-23

John 20:19-23 English Standard Version

Jesus Appears to the Disciples

19 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Evening Scripture Reading - Isaiah 53:4-6

Isaiah 53:4-6 English Standard Version

4 Surely he has borne our griefs

    and carried our sorrows;

yet we esteemed him stricken,

    smitten by God, and afflicted.

5 But he was pierced for our transgressions;

    he was crushed for our iniquities;

upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,

    and with his wounds we are healed.

6 All we like sheep have gone astray;

    we have turned—every one—to his own way;

and the Lord has laid on him

    the iniquity of us all.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 106:19-23

Psalm 106:19-23 English Standard Version

19 They made a calf in Horeb

    and worshiped a metal image.

20 They exchanged the glory of God

    for the image of an ox that eats grass.

21 They forgot God, their Savior,

    who had done great things in Egypt,

22 wondrous works in the land of Ham,

    and awesome deeds by the Red Sea.

23 Therefore he said he would destroy them—

    had not Moses, his chosen one,

stood in the breach before him,

    to turn away his wrath from destroying them.

Mid-Week Message - Wonderful Grace

"But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.'  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me."  2 Corinthians 12:9  (NIV)

In 2012, when I suffered a broken leg, I had a real life lesson about this verse.  For the first time in my life I was helpless.  After surgery and two weeks of in-patient therapy, I was sent home with a hospital bed and told that I could not stand until the bone was completely healed.  So, for a little over four months, that bed was my dwelling place.  I had to have everything done for me.  And this is how I saw grace in action.

Because my husband worked all day, I had to find someone that would come to my house, mid-day five days a week, to help me.  I put out a request on social media and got a couple of responses, only to be turned down when they found out what would be needed.  Then, an unexpected message came from a dear lady who was the daughter of one of the precious women who was a part of our ministry at an independent living retirement center.  

Although I had met Karen when she attended worship services with her mother, I didn't know her very well.  I asked her if she was sure she wanted to help and she said she was one hundred percent sure.  So began her daily trip to my house.  She fixed me lunch.  She helped me with personal matters.  She helped to bathe me and get my hair clean.  She changed my sheets and opened the blinds so I could see outside.  Most of all, she gave me company.  Those were lonely days and I treasured her visits.  

Through her willingness to serve came the matchless grace of Jesus.  My emotions were raw and I was questioning my worth.  The Lord's love and acceptance came through her hands and words.  I wonder sometimes if she ever realized what a vessel she was of His compassion.  And I don't think she will ever understand how deeply she touched my heart and my life.  

My hope is that my story is a reminder of how real the words of Scripture are.  Paul's experience in asking for his thorn in the flesh to be removed and the answer God gave him is a message for all of us.  

There may be many times and circumstances where we find ourselves helpless in this life.  When those times come, we have the Lord to lean on and we can trust that He will be there and that His grace will be sufficient.  He always knows what we will need before we need it and has already prepared to meet that need.  

His Word is true.  Lean on it.  Trust in it.  No matter how alone you may feel, He is there and He is strong enough to take care of you no matter where you find yourself.  He promised.  

God bless.  

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 10:24

Proverbs 10:24 English Standard Version

24 What the wicked dreads will come upon him,

    but the desire of the righteous will be granted.

Morning Scripture Reading - 1 Peter 3:18-22

1 Peter 3:18-22 English Standard Version

18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, 19 in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, 20 because they formerly did not obey, when God's patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. 21 Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Evening Scripture Reading - John 19:25-27

John 19:25-27 English Standard Version

25 but standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” 27 Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 106:16-18

Psalm 106:16-18 English Standard Version

16 When men in the camp were jealous of Moses

    and Aaron, the holy one of the Lord,

17 the earth opened and swallowed up Dathan,

    and covered the company of Abiram.

18 Fire also broke out in their company;

    the flame burned up the wicked.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 10:23

Proverbs 10:23 English Standard Version

23 Doing wrong is like a joke to a fool,

    but wisdom is pleasure to a man of understanding.

Morning Scripture Reading - Ecclesiastes 2:14

Ecclesiastes 2:14 English Standard Version

14 The wise person has his eyes in his head, but the fool walks in darkness. And yet I perceived that the same event happens to all of them.

Monday, August 9, 2021

Evening Scripture Reading - 2 Peter 1:5-11

2 Peter 1:5-11 English Standard Version

5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. 10 Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. 11 For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 106:13-15

Psalm 106:13-15 English Standard Version

13 But they soon forgot his works;

    they did not wait for his counsel.

14 But they had a wanton craving in the wilderness,

    and put God to the test in the desert;

15 he gave them what they asked,

    but sent a wasting disease among them.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 10:22

Proverbs 10:22 English Standard Version

22 The blessing of the Lord makes rich,

    and he adds no sorrow with it.

Morning 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.

Sunday, August 8, 2021

Evening Scripture Reading - Philippians 4:4-7

Philippians 4:4-7 English Standard Version

4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.