Thursday, September 30, 2021

Evening Scripture Reading - 1 Peter 2:21-25

1 Peter 2:21-25 English Standard Version

21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. 22 He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. 23 When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. 24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. 25 For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 116:15-19

Psalm 116:15-19 English Standard Version

15 Precious in the sight of the Lord

    is the death of his saints.

16 O Lord, I am your servant;

    I am your servant, the son of your maidservant.

    You have loosed my bonds.

17 I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving

    and call on the name of the Lord.

18 I will pay my vows to the Lord

    in the presence of all his people,

19 in the courts of the house of the Lord,

    in your midst, O Jerusalem.

Praise the Lord!

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 12:11

Proverbs 12:11 English Standard Version 

11 Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread,

    but he who follows worthless pursuits lacks sense.

Morning Scripture Reading - John 14:15-21

John 14:15-21

English Standard Version

Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit

15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.

18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 21 Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Evening Scripture Reading - Zechariah 14:8-9

Zechariah 14:8-9 English Standard Version

8 On that day living waters shall flow out from Jerusalem, half of them to the eastern sea and half of them to the western sea. It shall continue in summer as in winter.

9 And the Lord will be king over all the earth. On that day the Lord will be one and his name one.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 116:10-11

Psalm 116:10-11 English Standard Version

10 I believed, even when I spoke:

    “I am greatly afflicted”;

11 I said in my alarm,

    “All mankind are liars.”

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 12:10

Proverbs 12:10 English Standard Version

10 Whoever is righteous has regard for the life of his beast,

    but the mercy of the wicked is cruel.

Morning Scripture Reading - Matthew 5:43-48

Matthew 5:43-48 English Standard Version

Love Your Enemies

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Evening Scripture Reading - 1 Peter 3:13-17

1 Peter 3:13-17 English Standard Version

13 Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, 15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 16 having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. 17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God's will, than for doing evil.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 116:8-9

Psalm 116:8-9 English Standard Version

8 For you have delivered my soul from death,

    my eyes from tears,

    my feet from stumbling;

9 I will walk before the Lord

    in the land of the living.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 12:9

Proverbs 12:9 English Standard Version

9 Better to be lowly and have a servant

    than to play the great man and lack bread.

Morning Scripture Reading - John 14:1-6

John 14:1-6 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.” 5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Monday, September 27, 2021

Evening Scripture Reading - Haggai 1:7-11

Haggai 1:7-11 English Standard Version

7 “Thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider your ways. 8 Go up to the hills and bring wood and build the house, that I may take pleasure in it and that I may be glorified, says the Lord. 9 You looked for much, and behold, it came to little. And when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why? declares the Lord of hosts. Because of my house that lies in ruins, while each of you busies himself with his own house. 10 Therefore the heavens above you have withheld the dew, and the earth has withheld its produce. 11 And I have called for a drought on the land and the hills, on the grain, the new wine, the oil, on what the ground brings forth, on man and beast, and on all their labors.”

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 116:5-7

Psalm 116:5-7 English Standard Version

5 Gracious is the Lord, and righteous;

    our God is merciful.

6 The Lord preserves the simple;

    when I was brought low, he saved me.

7 Return, O my soul, to your rest;

    for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 12:8

Proverbs 12:8 English Standard Version

8 A man is commended according to his good sense,

    but one of twisted mind is despised.

Morning Scripture Reading - John 3:18-21

John 3:18-21 English Standard Version

18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. 21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Evening Scripture Reading - Isaiah 37:14-20

Isaiah 37:14-20 English Standard Version

Hezekiah's Prayer for Deliverance

14 Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers, and read it; and Hezekiah went up to the house of the Lord, and spread it before the Lord. 15 And Hezekiah prayed to the Lord: 16 “O Lord of hosts, God of Israel, enthroned above the cherubim, you are the God, you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; you have made heaven and earth. 17 Incline your ear, O Lord, and hear; open your eyes, O Lord, and see; and hear all the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to mock the living God. 18 Truly, O Lord, the kings of Assyria have laid waste all the nations and their lands, 19 and have cast their gods into the fire. For they were no gods, but the work of men's hands, wood and stone. Therefore they were destroyed. 20 So now, O Lord our God, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you alone are the Lord.”

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 116:1-4

Psalm 116:1-4 English Standard Version

I Love the Lord

1 I love the Lord, because he has heard

    my voice and my pleas for mercy.

2 Because he inclined his ear to me,

    therefore I will call on him as long as I live.

3 The snares of death encompassed me;

    the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me;

    I suffered distress and anguish.

4 Then I called on the name of the Lord:

    “O Lord, I pray, deliver my soul!”

Sunday Praise & Worship Message - Sometimes It’s Not Showers of Blessings

Having lived in Texas for most of my life, you learn to get used to a lot of things. It doesn’t snow much in the central part of Texas. Up near the panhandle, it tends to do it very frequently. My wife and I have relatives who tell us about the snow storms and the amount of snow they received. Other times we see a lot of rain. Sometimes those showers are floods. While other times, we experience drought conditions. In the case of the extreme dry weather, water conservation has to occur and watering our lawns becomes something that is regulated. You can easily see that in Texas, like most every place on the planet, we experience good weather as well as bad. It is just part of life.

Our lives are the same way. We have moments where we are either showered with blessings while other times those showers are more like storms. It is easy to live through and enjoy the good weather and it is something entirely different when you have to endure storms. Good or bad. Fair or foul. This is life for each of us.

This past week has been very difficult for us as a family. It has been a time of a lot of changes. Some of them, like the weather, were good while others not so good. When the winds of change blow from the wrong direction, it is easy to get discouraged and it feels that the weight of the world is now on your shoulders. Add a few daily annoyances on top of all that and a small shower and become a flood.

In life and in weather, floods happen. They are part of the life of the planet as well as our own. We have days when all is sunny and beautiful. It’s easy to live life when everything seems to be going your way. It is quite entirely different when things turn and become difficult.

The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King once said, “We must accept finite disappointment, but we must never lose infinite hope.”

No truer words could have been spoken.

The noted American poet and educator, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote, in his poem, “The Rainy Day, “Into each life some rain must fall, some days must be dark and dreary.”

When you look at both quotes, you can easily see that our lives are the way they are. We must endure hardship and enjoy happiness as just a part of our daily walks. We are going to have good and bad days. I know that sounds so cliché. 

In my own life, I have experienced those peaks and valleys. Sometimes, the valleys seem to be long and so dark. There were times when I honestly thought I would never see the light of day or a single peak. But, I always remember that things often seem their darkest before dawn.

Paul, in chapter eight of his epistle to the church in Rome, wrote, “Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later.

I can easily tell you that others are going through worse situations than you and call you selfish or self-absorbed for thinking of only yourself. But, that wouldn’t be right of me to say that. Your bad patch of road is unique and it does cause pain and issues in your life. To discount it in any way is not fair at all. You have problems and I have problems. Those problems cause issues in our lives and a lot of sleepiness, anxiety-filled nights and days.

In chapter four of his second letter to the Corinthians, Paul writes, “For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!

When you think about your problems in the context of Paul’s words, you can easily see that no matter what we go through, the prize at the end is the glory and the promise of eternal life with the Father in heaven. All problems pale in comparison to the gift of salvation and the hope that we receive when we accept Jesus Christ as our personal savior and Lord of our life.

As I write this message and share it with you, I find comfort in my own words. As I had mentioned, my family and I are going through some of the roughest times any family could go through, but we are making it and living each day in accordance with His will and know that He loves us dearly. His love is boundless.

I know there are many of you experiencing storms in your lives right now. You feel like you are just trying to keep your head above water and that every hour seems to take you closer and closer to the brink of hopelessness.

It doesn’t have to be that way for you at all. You don’t have to feel helpless at all. There is a hand that is there for you to hold on to. That hand belongs to Jesus Christ. He is there to help you out of the flood and give you a peace that surpasses all understanding.

In chapter five of his first epistle, Peter writes, “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

When you put your hand in Jesus’ hand, he will be there for you each and every day. He will show you the way to the Father. When you have that wonderful relationship with Him, you can go to Him at any time day or night and give Him your worries and cares. God loves and cares for you so very much. Isn’t it time that you talk with Him? Isn’t it time that you accept His son as your friend and personal savior?

All you have to do is confess your sins, acknowledge that you have fallen short and ask Jesus to come into your heart and life. When you do that, you have become a member of the family of God. Find a local church to share your testimony and grow in faith with others. Some, like you, may have started their daily walks with the Lord while others have walked with Him daily for many years. No matter where people are in their faith, it is a blessing to share and help each other grow spiritually stronger.  

In time, your story will help someone who is floundering in a tempest of trouble and, like you, will reach up and take the hand of the man from Galilee. When they do that, they, like you, can stand firm in His grace.  

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

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 12:7

Proverbs 12:7 English Standard Version

7 The wicked are overthrown and are no more,

    but the house of the righteous will stand.

Morning Scripture Reading - Matthew 7:1-6

Matthew 7:1-6 English Standard Version

Judging Others

7 “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. 3 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.

6 “Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Evening Scripture Reading - Luke 11:28

Luke 11:28 English Standard Version

28 But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 115:16-18

Psalm 115:16-18 English Standard Version

16 The heavens are the Lord's heavens,

    but the earth he has given to the children of man.

17 The dead do not praise the Lord,

    nor do any who go down into silence.

18 But we will bless the Lord

    from this time forth and forevermore.

Praise the Lord!

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 12:6

Proverbs 12:6 English Standard Version

6 The words of the wicked lie in wait for blood,

    but the mouth of the upright delivers them.

Morning Scripture Reading - John 9:1-5

John 9:1-5 English Standard Version

Jesus Heals a Man Born Blind

1 As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3 Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. 4 We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

Friday, September 24, 2021

Evening Scripture Reading - Ecclesiastes 4:6

Ecclesiastes 4:6 English Standard Version

6 Better is a handful of quietness than two hands full of toil and a striving after wind.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 115:14-15

Psalm 115:14-15 English Standard Version

14 May the Lord give you increase,

    you and your children!

15 May you be blessed by the Lord,

    who made heaven and earth!

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 12:5

Proverbs 12:5 English Standard Version

5 The thoughts of the righteous are just;

    the counsels of the wicked are deceitful.

Morning Scripture Reading - Matthew 5:3-10

Matthew 5:3-10 English Standard Version

3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

5 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Evening Scripture Reading - 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 English Standard Version

4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 115:12-13

Psalm 115:12-13 English Standard Version

12 The Lord has remembered us; he will bless us;

    he will bless the house of Israel;

    he will bless the house of Aaron;

13 he will bless those who fear the Lord,

    both the small and the great.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 12:4

Proverbs 12:4 English Standard Version

4 An excellent wife is the crown of her husband,

    but she who brings shame is like rottenness in his bones.

Morning Scripture Reading - John 5:41-44

John 5:41-44 English Standard Version

41 I do not receive glory from people. 42 But I know that you do not have the love of God within you. 43 I have come in my Father's name, and you do not receive me. If another comes in his own name, you will receive him. 44 How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Evening Scripture Reading - 1 Corinthians 7:17-19

1 Corinthians 7:17-19 English Standard Version

Live as You Are Called

17 Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches. 18 Was anyone at the time of his call already circumcised? Let him not seek to remove the marks of circumcision. Was anyone at the time of his call uncircumcised? Let him not seek circumcision. 19 For neither circumcision counts for anything nor uncircumcision, but keeping the commandments of God.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 115:9-11

Psalm 115:9-11 English Standard Version

9 O Israel, trust in the Lord!

    He is their help and their shield.

10 O house of Aaron, trust in the Lord!

    He is their help and their shield.

11 You who fear the Lord, trust in the Lord!

    He is their help and their shield.

Mid-Week Message - I'm Tired, Lord (Reprint)

  "Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint.  Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, for you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy.  Let me dwell in your tent forever!  Let me take refuge under the shelter of your wings!  Selah"  Psalm 61:1-4 (ESV)

I'm tired, Lord.  How many of us have begun a prayer with those words?  My guess would be that, at some point in time, most of us have.  It is simple and it is honest.  Let's face it, life isn't so much fun some days.  Just standing up from the bed or couch can feel like a marathon for those with physical maladies.  For those in the workplace, we all know that the stress can be grueling.  The day in and day out of going through the same motions can be exhausting.  No wonder we come home and flop down in front of the television.  It gives us a chance to get our minds on something else, if only temporarily.  At bedtime, we count the hours we can sleep before repeating the same routine again.  

I chose today's verse because it expresses our need for a place to run to and find shelter when life gets hard.  Of course, we know Jesus is always with us but it can be hard to remember that when we are struggling and feel alone.  We all need a secure place to feel protected and loved and there is no place better than in the arms of our Father.  

There is a song that I love to listen to when I feel that I just can't go on.  Sung by Josh Groban, "You Raise Me Up" helps me to picture Jesus' hands coming down from Heaven to scoop me up and hold me close.  His strength is all that gets me through each day of my life.  He is our source for strength, for hope, for safety and for rest.  In Him we find understanding and direction.  

Do you sing to the Lord?  There are so many wonderful hymns that many of us know by heart.  "Take My Hand, Precious Lord", "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God" and "Leaning On the Everlasting Arms" are just a few but there are many others, including multiple contemporary songs that we can sing to Him while He is carrying us through difficulties.  Music is a gift that we can use to praise our Lord that will also buoy our hearts and remind us that there is Someone who knows everything we go through and loves us far beyond our physical, mental or emotional capabilities.  

When we feel so tired that we seriously wonder how much longer we can continue, when our souls are downcast and feeling abandoned, when we feel as though there is no help available, He is there.  His arms are always open and His shoulder is ready if you need to shed a few tears.  He has enough strength to help each and every one of us and have plenty left over.  There is never a time when He cannot see or hear what we are going through and His presence is always accessible.  

We do not have to carry life's burdens alone.  Lay them at the foot of the cross and ask our risen Savior to assist you through your day.  May you find rest and peace in whatever struggle you have before you.  God bless! 

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 12:3

Proverbs 12:3 English Standard Version

3 No one is established by wickedness,

    but the root of the righteous will never be moved.

Morning Scripture Reading - Matthew 13:18-23

Matthew 13:18-23 English Standard Version

The Parable of the Sower Explained

18 “Hear then the parable of the sower: 19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path. 20 As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, 21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. 22 As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. 23 As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Evening Scripture Reading - Ephesians 6:14-20

Ephesians 6:14-20 English Standard Version

14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 115:4-8

Psalm 115:4-8 English Standard Version

4 Their idols are silver and gold,

    the work of human hands.

5 They have mouths, but do not speak;

    eyes, but do not see.

6 They have ears, but do not hear;

    noses, but do not smell.

7 They have hands, but do not feel;

    feet, but do not walk;

    and they do not make a sound in their throat.

8 Those who make them become like them;

    so do all who trust in them.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 12:3

Proverbs 12:2 English Standard Version

2 A good man obtains favor from the Lord,

    but a man of evil devices he condemns.

Morning Scripture Reading - John 12:23-26

John 12:23-26 English Standard Version

23 And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25 Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.

Monday, September 20, 2021

Evening Scripture Reading - 1 Corinthians 4:5

1 Corinthians 4:5 English Standard Version

5 Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 115:2-3

Psalm 115:2-3 English Standard Version

2 Why should the nations say,

    “Where is their God?”

3 Our God is in the heavens;

    he does all that he pleases.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 12:1

Proverbs 12:1 English Standard Version

12 Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge,

    but he who hates reproof is stupid.

Morning Scripture Reading - Matthew 7:13-14

Matthew 7:13-14 English Standard Version

13 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Evening Scripture Reading - Isaiah 40:26-31

Isaiah 40:26-31 English Standard Version

26 Lift up your eyes on high and see:

    who created these?

He who brings out their host by number,

    calling them all by name;

by the greatness of his might

    and because he is strong in power,

    not one is missing.

27 Why do you say, O Jacob,

    and speak, O Israel,

“My way is hidden from the Lord,

    and my right is disregarded by my God”?

28 Have you not known? Have you not heard?

The Lord is the everlasting God,

    the Creator of the ends of the earth.

He does not faint or grow weary;

    his understanding is unsearchable.

29 He gives power to the faint,

    and to him who has no might he increases strength.

30 Even youths shall faint and be weary,

    and young men shall fall exhausted;

31 but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;

    they shall mount up with wings like eagles;

they shall run and not be weary;

    they shall walk and not faint.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 115:1

Psalm 115:1 English Standard Version

To Your Name Give Glory

1 Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory,

    for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!

Sunday Praise & Worship Message - Growing Cold in Our Love

Throughout history, there have been those who have had to make a choice. They could choose to continue to preach the Word of God and they would be imprisoned. In some cases, they faced death for their faith. Some were tortured while others were rounded up and placed in camps for reeducation. 

Jesus told his disciples and us as well that the world will hate us. We could either knuckle under from the threats or we could endure dungeon, fire, and sword from those in authority. It is a hard decision indeed. No one likes to be threatened or endure ridicule for being a Christian. But, it does happen. 

What we face today is nowhere close to what those of the early church faced or what others face in countries around the world where religious tolerance is only a phrase used to keep foreign financial aid flowing into their coffers.

In our own country, our right to worship is challenged every single day. This didn’t happen overnight. It was a slow change that began when parents began to slowly move away from their faith. They exchanged their love for God for the love of worldly things and only worshiped when it was convenient. That change in mindset slowly, but eventually, began to infect the children.

Children were no longer taught about the love of our Heavenly Father. They were no longer “taught by the Bible and led by the Spirit”. In time, they viewed the world as their home. Instead of remaining tolerant, some have lashed out against others who continue in their faith. They call them “crazy” or “religious zealots”. The words used nowadays are even worse. Over the past couple of years, more and more churches have been burned or vandalized. Bibles are being desecrated and often burned. With all that is going on, it is difficult to stand firm in your faith.

We, however, must remain steadfast in our faith and continue to preach the word of God to all those who desperately need that message of salvation. It would be so easy to just give up like others. No one enjoys being ridiculed daily or having people threaten them. 

In chapter twenty-four of the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus tells his disciples, “Then you will be arrested, persecuted, and killed. You will be hated all over the world because you are my followers. And many will turn away from me and betray and hate each other. And many false prophets will appear and will deceive many people. Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.

We have seen so many horrible things occur in this sinful world. In some cities and communities, people take their lives into their own hands when they just go out for a walk or to the grocery store. We pray daily for peace, but it seems like our prayers have fallen on deaf ears. Some believe that God has forsaken us. But, is that really the case?

Look closely at the world. The world has moved away from God. It is us who have forsaken Him. We have chosen the things of this world to be our new gods. Some fall to false prophets who promise us everything and anything we want. All we have to do is show our love for God by donating more and more money to their ministries. Sin is truly rampant in the world and, as Jesus pointed out, “the love of many will grow cold”.

The real problem is that we have allowed the world to dictate to us how we should be. The world and those in authority have asked us a simple question, “Who is your god now?” Think about it. Governments and those in positions of power are asking us that question daily. We are told that we will receive everything we need from the world through governments. In time, many will give up on their faith or begin to worship the powers of this world. Those in authority will continue to challenge our faith and, over time, will try to wipe it completely away. God cannot be “canceled” or wiped away with a single stroke of a pen. As long as we continue to have faith in Him and continue to follow the teachings of His son, Christ Jesus, we are doing what is righteous in the eyes of the Father.

In chapter five of the Book of Acts, the apostles were arrested for preaching the Good News. The powers of that time, the high priest and his officials, who were Sadducees, felt that their authority and position in the community was in danger and being challenged. They didn’t want these men preaching God’s message. They wanted to control everything including the thoughts of all. They were filled with jealousy and anger. The officials had the disciples arrested and put into jail, but God provided a way out for those who remained faithful. An angel of the Lord released them from prison and led them out.

Later, the apostles were rounded up yet again. They were given strict orders not to teach in the name of Jesus. The officials feared that they would be blamed for the death of Jesus and this would cause people to question their authority.

Instead of accepting the orders and demands, Peter and the other apostles said, “We must obey God rather than any human authority. The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from the dead after you killed him by hanging him on a cross. Then God put him in the place of honor at his right hand as Prince and Savior. He did this so the people of Israel would repent of their sins and be forgiven. We are witnesses of these things and so is the Holy Spirit, who is given by God to those who obey him.

Needless to say, the officials were not very happy with their words. In fact, they wanted to kill them. After discussions, they were persuaded not to kill them. They believed that the Good News may be just another passing thing and, over time, would just simply go away. If it, however, was truly from God, they might find themselves fighting against God. That is not a good place at all to be.

We, as Christians, face similar situations each day. Some may find themselves facing death while others face ridicule. In either case, how will we answer when we are questioned and told never again to teach in the name of Jesus?

Will we decide to cower, accept the edicts of the world and give up on our faith? Will our love for God grow cold? It would be a lot easier to give up on our faith. When we look at history, we see so many examples of believers who have been imprisoned, beaten, tortured and murdered for their faith. History isn’t exactly on the side of Christians.

Or, will you, like Peter and the other apostles, stand tall and declare, in a strong voice, your love for God and continue to preach and teach those who desire to know God and understand His plan of salvation for their lives?

The choice is yours. You can allow your love to grow cold or you can remain on fire with the message in your heart. You can remain silent or you can cry out from the wilderness the Good News. If you decide that you will remain faithful and a follower of Christ Jesus, I can assure you that you will stand firm in His grace.   

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

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 11:31

Proverbs 11:31 English Standard Version

31 If the righteous is repaid on earth,

    how much more the wicked and the sinner!

Morning Scripture Reading - John 3:5-8

John 3:5-8 English Standard Version

5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Evening Scripture Reading - 2 Corinthians 12:14

2 Corinthians 12:14 English Standard Version

14 Here for the third time I am ready to come to you. And I will not be a burden, for I seek not what is yours but you. For children are not obligated to save up for their parents, but parents for their children.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 114:7-8

Psalm 114:7-8 English Standard Version

7 Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord,

    at the presence of the God of Jacob,

8 who turns the rock into a pool of water,

    the flint into a spring of water.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 11:30

Proverbs 11:30 English Standard Version

30 The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life,

    and whoever captures souls is wise.

Morning Scripture Reading - John 15:26-27

John 15:26-27 English Standard Version

26 “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. 27 And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning.

Friday, September 17, 2021

Evening Scripture Reading - 1 Peter 3:8-12

1 Peter 3:8-12 English Standard Version

Suffering for Righteousness' Sake

8 Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. 9 Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. 10 For

“Whoever desires to love life

    and see good days,

let him keep his tongue from evil

    and his lips from speaking deceit;

11 let him turn away from evil and do good;

    let him seek peace and pursue it.

12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,

    and his ears are open to their prayer.

But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 114:5-6

Psalm 114:5-6 English Standard Version

5 What ails you, O sea, that you flee?

    O Jordan, that you turn back?

6 O mountains, that you skip like rams?

    O hills, like lambs?

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 11:29

Proverbs 11:29 English Standard Version

29 Whoever troubles his own household will inherit the wind,

    and the fool will be servant to the wise of heart.

Morning Scripture Reading - Matthew 24:42-44

Matthew 24:42-44 English Standard Version

42 Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. 43 But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Evening Scripture Reading - Romans 15:5-6

Romans 15:5-6 English Standard Version

5 May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, 6 that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 114:3-4

Psalm 114:3-4 English Standard Version

3 The sea looked and fled;

    Jordan turned back.

4 The mountains skipped like rams,

    the hills like lambs.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 11:28

Proverbs 11:28 English Standard Version

28 Whoever trusts in his riches will fall,

    but the righteous will flourish like a green leaf.

Morning Scripture Reading - Mark 9:38-41

Mark 9:38-41 English Standard Version

Anyone Not Against Us Is for Us

38 John said to him, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.” 39 But Jesus said, “Do not stop him, for no one who does a mighty work in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me. 40 For the one who is not against us is for us. 41 For truly, I say to you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ will by no means lose his reward.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Evening Scripture Reading - Romans 8:5-8

Romans 8:5-8 English Standard Version

5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 114:1-2

Psalm 114:1-2 English Standard Version

Tremble at the Presence of the Lord

1 When Israel went out from Egypt,

    the house of Jacob from a people of strange language,

2 Judah became his sanctuary,

    Israel his dominion.

Mid-Week Message - Simple Blessings

 "The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed."  Proverbs 11:25 (NLT) 

I have written before about the ministry my husband and I had in Cedar Park, TX several years ago.  We had the honor of providing the Sunday worship service and the Wednesday evening Bible study for an independent living retirement facility.  We served there for a full five years and we will both tell you that it was a great privilege to get to know so many delightful people.  We learned about their younger lives, their careers, their children, and their life experiences.  We also walked with many of them through illnesses.  We literally held their hands as we sat by hospital beds, or as we listened as they told us of a diagnosis of Alzheimer's or cancer.  And, we provided several memorial and graveside services.  

We loved those folks, most of whom are gone now.  But what we learned from them and the memories we made will stay with us forever.  

I was reminiscing today about greeting each of them as they came into the theater room that we used for services.  Each Sunday morning I would stand at the back and hand out the bulletin for the week and hug them.  At some point, I kissed one of the men on the cheek and then went to wipe off the lipstick that I had left there, but he stopped me.  "No, no," he said.  "I want that to stay there."  Once one of them had a kiss mark, the others wanted one so I always made sure I wore a lipstick shade that was bright enough to be seen.  

As I was reliving those precious moments, I realized that walking around the building with that lipstick on their cheeks was a blessing for them.  It was an attention getter, a conversation starter and it made them feel special for a little while.  As I pondered that, I wondered about the little things that we can do that may not be anything much to us, but just might bring a smile or a bit of joy into someone else's life.  

The Lord has gifted each of us with various abilities.  Maybe you are one who likes to bake.  Perhaps, you are a good listener.  Some of us love to read and could possibly spend some time reading out loud to a dear one that has trouble seeing the words.  Are you an artist?  Could you do little drawing and include an encouraging scripture to cheer someone up?  

The older I get, the more I understand how much we need each other.  We weren't created to be isolated and alone.  And we weren't put on this earth to think only of ourselves.  When we use our talents and abilities to bless others, their lives are brightened but so are ours.  It is incredibly fulfilling to give the gifts of love and encouragement to another.  As today's verse tells us, "those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed."  

My heart warms when I think about those lipstick marks.  Such a little thing but it meant so much to those men, most of whom were widowers.  It cost me nothing but a dab of red from a tube.  And now that they are gone, I am the one carrying the joy of those smiles and I thank the Lord that He gave me such a joyous opportunity.  God bless.  

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 11:27

Proverbs 11:27 English Standard Version

27 Whoever diligently seeks good seeks favor,

    but evil comes to him who searches for it.

Morning Scripture Reading - Luke 11:37-41

Luke 11:37-41 English Standard Version

Woes to the Pharisees and Lawyers

37 While Jesus was speaking, a Pharisee asked him to dine with him, so he went in and reclined at table. 38 The Pharisee was astonished to see that he did not first wash before dinner. 39 And the Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees cleanse the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. 40 You fools! Did not he who made the outside make the inside also? 41 But give as alms those things that are within, and behold, everything is clean for you.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Evening Scripture Reading - Deuteronomy 6:13-15

Deuteronomy 6:13-15 English Standard Version

13 It is the Lord your God you shall fear. Him you shall serve and by his name you shall swear. 14 You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples who are around you— 15 for the Lord your God in your midst is a jealous God—lest the anger of the Lord your God be kindled against you, and he destroy you from off the face of the earth.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 113:4-9

Psalm 113:4-9 English Standard Version

4 The Lord is high above all nations,

    and his glory above the heavens!

5 Who is like the Lord our God,

    who is seated on high,

6 who looks far down

    on the heavens and the earth?

7 He raises the poor from the dust

    and lifts the needy from the ash heap,

8 to make them sit with princes,

    with the princes of his people.

9 He gives the barren woman a home,

    making her the joyous mother of children.

Praise the Lord!

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 11:26

Proverbs 11:26 English Standard Version

26 The people curse him who holds back grain,

    but a blessing is on the head of him who sells it.

Morning Scripture Reading - John 6:53-58

John 6:53-58 English Standard Version

53 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. 55 For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. 56 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread the fathers ate, and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.”

Monday, September 13, 2021

Evening Scripture Reading - Colossians 4:2-6

Colossians 4:2-6 English Standard Version

Further Instructions

2 Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. 3 At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison— 4 that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.

5 Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. 6 Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 113:2-3

Psalm 113:2-3 English Standard Version

2 Blessed be the name of the Lord

    from this time forth and forevermore!

3 From the rising of the sun to its setting,

    the name of the Lord is to be praised!

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 11:25

Proverbs 11:25 English Standard Version

25 Whoever brings blessing will be enriched,

    and one who waters will himself be watered.

Morning Scripture Reading - John 4:21-24

John 4:21-24 English Standard Version

21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Evening Scripture Reading - Deuteronomy 28:9-14

Deuteronomy 28:9-14 English Standard Version

9 The Lord will establish you as a people holy to himself, as he has sworn to you, if you keep the commandments of the Lord your God and walk in his ways. 10 And all the peoples of the earth shall see that you are called by the name of the Lord, and they shall be afraid of you. 11 And the Lord will make you abound in prosperity, in the fruit of your womb and in the fruit of your livestock and in the fruit of your ground, within the land that the Lord swore to your fathers to give you. 12 The Lord will open to you his good treasury, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season and to bless all the work of your hands. And you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow. 13 And the Lord will make you the head and not the tail, and you shall only go up and not down, if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you today, being careful to do them, 14 and if you do not turn aside from any of the words that I command you today, to the right hand or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 113:1

Psalm 113:1 English Standard Version

Who Is like the Lord Our God?

1 Praise the Lord!

Praise, O servants of the Lord,

    praise the name of the Lord!

Sunday Praise & Worship Message - Are You Telling the Story

In this day and age of bullet points and PowerPoint presentations, the art of storytelling has almost gone the way of the dodo bird. We rely too much on reading points on a slide rather than engaging with the audience to tell a story. Being able to tell a coherent and engaging story is an art and skill that comes by practice. 

Remember going on camping trips or having a sleepover in the backyard? Someone would start a campfire or add logs to a firepit. All would sit around the fire and talk while making s’mores. Then, someone would ask another to tell a story. The person being asked to tell the story would straighten up a bit and clear his or her throat. That was the signal to all to stop their conversations and listen intently to the storyteller.

That person would hold everyone’s attention and add sound effects and commentary to the story to add to the color and excitement of the story. The others around the storyteller would lean in and listen to every word. It was more entertaining than watching a television program and definitely more personal. 

At the end of the story, everyone would clap and thank the individual for telling such a great story. If it is early in the evening, others would share their exciting and fun stories. Everyone around the fire will remember the stories and, over time, will tell others around another fire to another generation of listeners. 

This used to be the way we passed our heritage to other generations. Stories of bravery and sacrifice were happily told to those who would listen. I remember my own father doing that very thing. He would tell about his time in the military or growing up. It was wonderful listening to his memories of the Great Depression and how he and his family made it through some very tough times.

Those stories and memories that my dad shared provided me with the strength to get through the tough times I faced. Without his words, I probably wouldn’t have gotten far and would have just given up like so many have. But, those stories kept my spirits up and gave me the strength to take the next step.

There were times when I just felt that I couldn’t take the next step. We’ve all experienced those moments. The key to surviving is to remember the stories and use them as a source of inspiration. 

When I was the chaplain at the retirement community in Cedar Park, I drew on the stories and memories of all those around me. Some lived through the Great Depression and the Oklahoma Dust Bowl. Some served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam. All had a story to tell and advice to give. Their stories will always be a part of me and the wisdom that they imparted to me will also guide my footsteps.

Of all of the stories, the stories of faith were and are the most important to me. They give me the strength to move forward when I find my faith and energy waning. Their stories of victory through their faith continue to inspire me daily as I face my challenges. 

I have shared my stories and my family’s stories with others in order to provide wisdom in their journey with the Lord. It is through the sharing of our stories that we are able to give each other that precious gift of wisdom and inspiration.

In Psalm 145, the psalmist writes, “Let each generation tell its children of your mighty acts; let them proclaim your power. I will meditate on your majestic, glorious splendor and your wonderful miracles. Your awe-inspiring deeds will be on every tongue; I will proclaim your greatness. Everyone will share the story of your wonderful goodness; they will sing with joy about your righteousness.

As I watch more and more of our younger generation give up on their faith, it is more important than ever to share your faith with the younger generation. It is time for us to praise the name of the Lord and proclaim His power to all those who will listen. His story must be told to all or they will forget about God and put Him quietly on a shelf like an old book gathering dust.

Even as I write this message, I am sure that there are people who scoff at those who believe in some spirit in the sky that has power over the universe. In my opinion, they have lost their way and need to be reminded of the love of the Lord and how He sent His son, Jesus, to die a criminal’s death on a cross to pay our debt of sin once and for all. On the third day, Jesus rose from the dead to give us the gift of eternal life and salvation. 

We need to be sharing our testimonies with all and giving them the opportunity to experience the love of the Father. We should be singing His praises daily so that others can hear of His great and mighty deeds.

Isaiah, in chapter thirty-eight of his book, writes, “Only the living can praise you as I do today. Each generation tells of your faithfulness to the next.

Are you sharing His story today with others? If you aren’t, you should be. Do you want the next generation to walk in darkness and wallow in sin? You have such a great story to share with others. Your testimony may lead to a life-changing moment for someone. 

We all have a story to tell and need to share it. When you look around and see all of the things that are going on in our world, those who walk in darkness need your testimony more than ever. All you have to do is stand up and share your story with those who desperately need a change in their lives. 

In this world of instant gratification and fulfillment, people become easily disappointed and seek something that will fill the void in their lives. Do something great for those who need words of encouragement and need to hear the words of praise from your mouth and soul.

Moses, in chapter eleven of the Book of Deuteronomy, records these words of God, “So commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these words of mine. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Teach them to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, so that as long as the sky remains above the earth, you and your children may flourish in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors.

In 1866, Kate Hankey penned the words to a very inspiring hymn. That hymn, “I Love to Tell the Story”, perfectly captures the essence of this message and should be the source of your daily inspiration.

Tell your story to those around you and share “the old, old story of Jesus and his love”. When you do, you will not only be blessed but you will also stand firm in His grace.

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

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 11:24

Proverbs 11:24 English Standard Version

24 One gives freely, yet grows all the richer;

    another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want.

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.

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Evening Scripture Reading - Judges 6:7-10

Judges 6:7-10 English Standard Version

7 When the people of Israel cried out to the Lord on account of the Midianites, 8 the Lord sent a prophet to the people of Israel. And he said to them, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: I led you up from Egypt and brought you out of the house of slavery. 9 And I delivered you from the hand of the Egyptians and from the hand of all who oppressed you, and drove them out before you and gave you their land. 10 And I said to you, ‘I am the Lord your God; you shall not fear the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell.’ But you have not obeyed my voice.”

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 112

Psalm 112 English Standard Version

The Righteous Will Never Be Moved

1 Praise the Lord!

Blessed is the man who fears the Lord,

    who greatly delights in his commandments!

2 His offspring will be mighty in the land;

    the generation of the upright will be blessed.

3 Wealth and riches are in his house,

    and his righteousness endures forever.

4 Light dawns in the darkness for the upright;

    he is gracious, merciful, and righteous.

5 It is well with the man who deals generously and lends;

    who conducts his affairs with justice.

6 For the righteous will never be moved;

    he will be remembered forever.

7 He is not afraid of bad news;

    his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord.

8 His heart is steady; he will not be afraid,

    until he looks in triumph on his adversaries.

9 He has distributed freely; he has given to the poor;

    his righteousness endures forever;

    his horn is exalted in honor.

10 The wicked man sees it and is angry;

    he gnashes his teeth and melts away;

    the desire of the wicked will perish!

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 11:23

Proverbs 11:23 English Standard Version

23 The desire of the righteous ends only in good,

    the expectation of the wicked in wrath.

Morning Scripture Reading - Luke 8:16-18

Luke 8:16-18 English Standard Version

A Lamp Under a Jar

16 “No one after lighting a lamp covers it with a jar or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light. 17 For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light. 18 Take care then how you hear, for to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he thinks that he has will be taken away.”

Friday, September 10, 2021

Evening Scripture Reading - Colossians 3:12-15

Colossians 3:12-15 English Standard Version

12 Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 111

Psalm 111 English Standard Version

Great Are the Lord's Works

1 Praise the Lord!

I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart,

    in the company of the upright, in the congregation.

2 Great are the works of the Lord,

    studied by all who delight in them.

3 Full of splendor and majesty is his work,

    and his righteousness endures forever.

4 He has caused his wondrous works to be remembered;

    the Lord is gracious and merciful.

5 He provides food for those who fear him;

    he remembers his covenant forever.

6 He has shown his people the power of his works,

    in giving them the inheritance of the nations.

7 The works of his hands are faithful and just;

    all his precepts are trustworthy;

8 they are established forever and ever,

    to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness.

9 He sent redemption to his people;

    he has commanded his covenant forever.

    Holy and awesome is his name!

10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;

    all those who practice it have a good understanding.

    His praise endures forever!

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 11:22

Proverbs 11:22 English Standard Version

22 Like a gold ring in a pig's snout

    is a beautiful woman without discretion.

Morning Scripture Reading - John 7:37-39

John 7:37-39 English Standard Version

Rivers of Living Water

37 On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” 39 Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Evening Scripture Reading - Romans 12:14-16

Romans 12:14-16 English Standard Version

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 110:5-7

Psalm 110:5-7 English Standard Version

5 The Lord is at your right hand;

    he will shatter kings on the day of his wrath.

6 He will execute judgment among the nations,

    filling them with corpses;

he will shatter chiefs

    over the wide earth.

7 He will drink from the brook by the way;

    therefore he will lift up his head.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 11:21

Proverbs 11:21 English Standard Version

21 Be assured, an evil person will not go unpunished,

    but the offspring of the righteous will be delivered.

Morning Scripture Reading - Matthew 22:37-40

Matthew 22:37-40 English Standard Version

37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Evening Scripture Reading - Isaiah 26:1-6

Isaiah 26:1-6 English Standard Version

You Keep Him in Perfect Peace

1 In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah:

“We have a strong city;

    he sets up salvation

    as walls and bulwarks.

2 Open the gates,

    that the righteous nation that keeps faith may enter in.

3 You keep him in perfect peace

    whose mind is stayed on you,

    because he trusts in you.

4 Trust in the Lord forever,

    for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.

5 For he has humbled

    the inhabitants of the height,

    the lofty city.

He lays it low, lays it low to the ground,

    casts it to the dust.

6 The foot tramples it,

    the feet of the poor,

    the steps of the needy.”

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 110:2-4

Psalm 110:2-4 English Standard Version

2 The Lord sends forth from Zion

    your mighty scepter.

    Rule in the midst of your enemies!

3 Your people will offer themselves freely

    on the day of your power,

    in holy garments;

from the womb of the morning,

    the dew of your youth will be yours.

4 The Lord has sworn

    and will not change his mind,

“You are a priest forever

    after the order of Melchizedek.”

Mid-Week Message - The Most Important Thing

 "Look!  He comes with the clouds of heaven.  And everyone will see him - even those who pierced him.  And all the nations of the world will mourn for him.  Yes!  Amen!"  Revelation 1:7  (NLT)

If the Lord sent a message from Heaven that clued us in on when Jesus would return, how would we handle that news?  As Christians, we believe He is returning, but somehow that day always seems far off.  

So, I ask you, if that date were one hundred years from today, would anything change?  Almost all of us will have passed away from this earthly life by that time, and we know we will not live that long, so would we do anything different?  Would we seek out anyone to share the Good News?  Or would we think that the time is so far in the future that we have plenty of time?  No, we won't be alive by then but what about our grandchildren or great-grandchildren?  Is there anything that we would want to leave behind for them to find that would give testimony to our belief in Christ?  

One hundred years does seem far away, so suppose the time of His returning was fifty years from today?  Still, many of us will no longer be present here, but our children may.  Do we assume that we have set a good enough example for them to follow?  What do they see as they watch us navigating these days?  Are we truly living the faith we profess?  Would we make needed alterations in our lifestyles today or would we count on having plenty more years to do so?  Are we confident that there will be time before our deaths to seek forgiveness from those we have wronged and to reach out to those we know have not accepted Jesus as their Savior?  

If we knew that in twenty years we would see Him return in the clouds, would we be willing to "go and make disciples of all nations?"  Could we find it within ourselves to leave comfort behind so that others might believe in Him and repent of their sins?  If we were not able to go to other lands, would we be willing to walk across the street?  Could we take a Bible and proclaim the Truth on the street corners?  Would twenty years investing in the lives around us feel like too much, or not enough?  

Ten years is a much shorter time than the hundred years we began with.  Even ten years can feel like a lengthy time when we have so many responsibilities and goals to accomplish.  How many of those ten years would we be willing to invest in sharing the Gospel?  How much more time would we spend with our families and friends to be sure they had a personal relationship with the Savior?  

If five years from today was the day that we would see Him face to face, how would we prepare?  Would we examine our lives and begin to remove from our surroundings those things that we would not want to be found with?  Would we stop listening to questionable music and watching movies that contained material that we would be embarrassed for Him to see us watching?  Would we begin to spend more time with our Bibles and less time discussing sports scores?  What would become most important?  

I'm sure we would all be making some big changes if we knew the date was only one year away.  We would definitely see the days counting down and begin to feel the urgency.  At least I hope we would.  

And what if that day was tomorrow?  Would you be ready?  Would you be trying to witness to everyone you could or would you hole up in your home with your family and just wait?  

I know that this message is different from what I usually write.  But, as Matthew 24:36 tells us, "However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself.  Only the Father knows."  So, in reality, He could return at any of these times or in ten minutes from now.  

What we do at this very moment needs to matter for eternity's sake.  While we may think we have plenty of time, we cannot know that for sure.  Not only might He return at any time, but our own lives might end at any time.  You cannot take for granted that everyone you know will lay their head upon a pillow tonight.  They need to hear about Jesus.  As do our neighbors, those who work for us, people we meet in public and even the poor homeless folks that we turn our heads away from when we see them on the street.  We are all made in the image of God and He loves us all.  The task He left us with was to tell everyone about Him.  No matter how much time we have left, that is the most important thing.  

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 11:20

Proverbs 11:20 English Standard Version

20 Those of crooked heart are an abomination to the Lord,

    but those of blameless ways are his delight.

Morning Scripture Reading - Exodus 23:1-3

Exodus 23:1-3 English Standard Version

23 “You shall not spread a false report. You shall not join hands with a wicked man to be a malicious witness. 2 You shall not fall in with the many to do evil, nor shall you bear witness in a lawsuit, siding with the many, so as to pervert justice, 3 nor shall you be partial to a poor man in his lawsuit.

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Evening Scripture Reading - Deuteronomy 8:6-10

Deuteronomy 8:6-10 English Standard Version

6 So you shall keep the commandments of the Lord your God by walking in his ways and by fearing him. 7 For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing out in the valleys and hills, 8 a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey, 9 a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing, a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills you can dig copper. 10 And you shall eat and be full, and you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land he has given you.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 110:1

Psalm 110:1 English Standard Version

Sit at My Right Hand

A Psalm of David.

1 The Lord says to my Lord:

    “Sit at my right hand,

until I make your enemies your footstool.”

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 11:19

Proverbs 11:19 English Standard Version

19 Whoever is steadfast in righteousness will live,

    but he who pursues evil will die.

Morning Scripture Reading - Isaiah 61:10-11

Isaiah 61:10-11 English Standard Version

10 I will greatly rejoice in the Lord;

    my soul shall exult in my God,

for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation;

    he has covered me with the robe of righteousness,

as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress,

    and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

11 For as the earth brings forth its sprouts,

    and as a garden causes what is sown in it to sprout up,

so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise

    to sprout up before all the nations.

Monday, September 6, 2021

Evening Scripture Reading - Lamentations 3:59

Lamentations 3:59 English Standard Version

59 You have seen the wrong done to me, O Lord;

    judge my cause.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 109:30-31

Psalm 109:30-31 English Standard Version

30 With my mouth I will give great thanks to the Lord;

    I will praise him in the midst of the throng.

31 For he stands at the right hand of the needy one,

    to save him from those who condemn his soul to death.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 11:18

Proverbs 11:18 English Standard Version

18 The wicked earns deceptive wages,

    but one who sows righteousness gets a sure reward.

Morning Scripture Reading - 1 John 5:11-12

1 John 5:11-12 English Standard Version

11 And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.

Sunday, September 5, 2021

Evening Scripture Reading - Philippians 4:8-9

Philippians 4:8-9 English Standard Version

8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.