Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - John 14:23-24

John 14:23-24 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Jesus answered, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word. My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. The one who doesn’t love Me will not keep My words. The word that you hear is not Mine but is from the Father who sent Me.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 16:9-11

Psalm 16:9-11 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Therefore my heart is glad

and my spirit rejoices;

my body also rests securely.

For You will not abandon me to Sheol;

You will not allow Your Faithful One to see decay.

You reveal the path of life to me;

in Your presence is abundant joy;

in Your right hand are eternal pleasures.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 19:27

Proverbs 19:27 Holman Christian Standard Bible

If you stop listening to correction, my son,

you will stray from the words of knowledge.

Morning Scripture Reading - Hebrews 7:18-19

Hebrews 7:18-19 Holman Christian Standard Bible

So the previous command is annulled because it was weak and unprofitable (for the law perfected nothing), but a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God.

Monday, May 30, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - Jude 22-23

Jude 22-23 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them from the fire; have mercy on others but with fear, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 16:7-8

Psalm 16:7-8 Holman Christian Standard Bible

I will praise the Lord who counsels me—

even at night my conscience instructs me.

I keep the Lord in mind always.

Because He is at my right hand,

I will not be shaken.

Memorial Day - Remembering Those Who Gave the Last Full Measure of Devotion


"But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate—we cannot consecrate—we cannot hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States
November 19, 1863

On this special day, let us remember those who "laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom" and the Gold Star families who, through their devotion, we pledge never to forget.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 19:26

Proverbs 19:26 Holman Christian Standard Bible

The one who assaults his father and evicts his mother

is a disgraceful and shameful son.

Morning Scripture Reading - Acts 20:32-35

Acts 20:32-35 Holman Christian Standard Bible

“And now I commit you to God and to the message of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you an inheritance among all who are sanctified. I have not coveted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing. You yourselves know that these hands have provided for my needs and for those who were with me. In every way I’ve shown you that by laboring like this, it is necessary to help the weak and to keep in mind the words of the Lord Jesus, for He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

Sunday, May 29, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - Joel 2:28-32

Joel 2:28-32 Holman Christian Standard Bible

After this

I will pour out My Spirit on all humanity;

then your sons and your daughters will prophesy,

your old men will have dreams,

and your young men will see visions.

I will even pour out My Spirit

on the male and female slaves in those days.

I will display wonders

in the heavens and on the earth:

blood, fire, and columns of smoke.

The sun will be turned to darkness

and the moon to blood

before the great and awe-inspiring Day of the Lord comes.

Then everyone who calls

on the name of Yahweh will be saved,

for there will be an escape

for those on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem,

as the Lord promised,

among the survivors the Lord calls.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 15:5-6

Psalm 15:5 Holman Christian Standard Bible

who does not lend his money at interest

or take a bribe against the innocent—

the one who does these things will never be moved.

Sunday Praise & Worship Message - Enslaved by Sin

Over the past couple of months, I have heard individuals advocating for sinful behaviors and telling the world that it is absolutely fine to do things that many find immoral. It seems that society has gone out of its way to push beyond the limits that were once sacred and accepted as immutable. Those who push this new set of standards tell others that it is acceptable to do this or that. They further tell us that there shouldn’t be limits to what people can do and that true freedom comes from going beyond the boundaries of established norms and social convention.

I have seen those arguments used so many times in society and societies of the past. If you are a student of history like myself, then you understand. Societies that desire to go beyond standard practices and moral constructs sooner or later reap what they have sown. There is always a backlash that occurs. I am not just talking about social backlash, but, rather, God’s wrath unleashed upon society as a whole.

In chapter twelve of the Book of Proverbs, King Solomon, considered to be the wisest of all the kings of Israel, wrote, “Those who bring trouble on their families inherit the wind. The fool will be a servant to the wise.”

As people continue to push certain ideas and try to make them the norm for all, trouble and strife soon become the result of their activities. In recent months, we have seen protest marches and mob violence fill our communities. Instead of coming together as a group to debate and discuss these “new norms”, the mobs push their ideas on others with threats of violence. This is not how we should act as a nation. 

A civilized society comes together to debate and discuss the merits of a point of view and determines if that point of view can be held by the majority. But, all too often, the minority seeks to push a point of view that cannot stand on its own merits. Some of those viewpoints go too far. As a nation blessed by God, we cannot and should not stand idly by as we watch our nation turn away from God.

You don’t have to be a biblical scholar to understand what happened to the Israelites when they themselves turned away from God to do their “own thing”. When they lost their way, God removed His hand of protection and His blessings from them. He gave them over to their enemies who enslaved them. God’s wrath didn’t happen overnight and without warning. He sent prophets to warn them to turn away from their sinful ways and repent. When they failed to return to God, they reaped what they had sown. God withheld His blessings and protection and allowed their enemies to exploit and enslave them.

Can you see the parallel between the Israelites of old and our own nation? God has warned us repeatedly through scripture that we need to return to our faith and to the path of righteousness. If we don’t, then we will inherit the wind. Trouble and calamity are ours to experience as our nation is brought to its knees. Our enemies are waiting for the right moment to exploit our sinful behaviors and ensnare us. Our once great nation will become a footnote in the history of the world. Our nation, once great and that espoused the simple principles of being God-fearing and loving our neighbors, will end up on the ash heap of history as a noble ideal that lost its way.

But, it is not too late. We can turn away from our sinful ways and repent. We can return back to the simple principles of loving God with all of our heart, mind and spirit. We can love our neighbors and feed those who are hungry and give drink to those who are thirsty. 

In chapter seven of the second book of Chronicles, the Lord appeared to Solomon and said, “I have heard your prayer and have chosen this Temple as the place for making sacrifices. At times I might shut up the heavens so that no rain falls, or command grasshoppers to devour your crops, or send plagues among you. Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land. My eyes will be open and my ears attentive to every prayer made in this place. For I have chosen this Temple and set it apart to be holy—a place where my name will be honored forever. I will always watch over it, for it is dear to my heart.

God has given us the directions on how to return to greatness. We must turn away from our evil ways, repent and seek God. When we, as a nation, do those things, God will pour out His blessings once again upon our nation and hold us near His heart. He will lift this nation up as an example for all to see. When a nation and its people return to God, He will unleash a downpour of blessings. If we, however, decide to follow our own earthly desires and fail to turn away from our sinfulness, then God will pronounce His judgment.

In chapter one of his epistle to the Romans, Paul writes, “So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies. They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen. That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires.

When we turn away from God, He will simply allow us to do as we want and trade the truth and our relationship with God for the things of this world. He will allow us to go hungry and experience plagues. His hand of protection will be removed from us and we will be humbled by our enemies.

Paul, later writes, “Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done.

When we fail to acknowledge God in our lives, our nation is doomed to a fate that the Israelites have experienced. We are the only ones who can do something about this. We must repent of our sins, seek His face once again and return to the path of righteousness. When we do all those things, God will shower our nation once again with blessings and we, as His children, will stand firm in His grace. 

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

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 19:25

Proverbs 19:25 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Strike a mocker, and the inexperienced learn a lesson;

rebuke the discerning, and he gains knowledge.

Morning Scripture Reading - Romans 10:1-4

Romans 10:1-4 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God concerning them is for their salvation! I can testify about them that they have zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. Because they disregarded the righteousness from God and attempted to establish their own righteousness, they have not submitted themselves to God’s righteousness. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

Saturday, May 28, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - John 16:12-15

John 16:12-15 Holman Christian Standard Bible

“I still have many things to tell you, but you can’t bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth. For He will not speak on His own, but He will speak whatever He hears. He will also declare to you what is to come. He will glorify Me, because He will take from what is Mine and declare it to you. Everything the Father has is Mine. This is why I told you that He takes from what is Mine and will declare it to you.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 16:1-4

Psalm 16:1-4 Holman Christian Standard Bible

A Davidic Miktam.

Protect me, God, for I take refuge in You.

I said to Yahweh, “You are my Lord;

I have nothing good besides You.”

As for the holy people who are in the land,

they are the noble ones.

All my delight is in them.

The sorrows of those who take another god

for themselves will multiply;

I will not pour out their drink offerings of blood,

and I will not speak their names with my lips.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 19:24

Proverbs 19:24 Holman Christian Standard Bible

The slacker buries his hand in the bowl;

he doesn’t even bring it back to his mouth.

Morning Scripture Reading - Ruth 2:11-12

Ruth 2:11-12 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Boaz answered her, “Everything you have done for your mother-in-law since your husband’s death has been fully reported to me: how you left your father and mother and the land of your birth, and how you came to a people you didn’t previously know. May the Lord reward you for what you have done, and may you receive a full reward from the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge.”

Friday, May 27, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - 1 Peter 3:8-12

1 Peter 3:8-12 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Now finally, all of you should be like-minded and sympathetic, should love believers, and be compassionate and humble, not paying back evil for evil or insult for insult but, on the contrary, giving a blessing, since you were called for this, so that you can inherit a blessing.

For the one who wants to love life

and to see good days

must keep his tongue from evil

and his lips from speaking deceit,

and he must turn away from evil

and do what is good.

He must seek peace and pursue it,

because the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous

and His ears are open to their request.

But the face of the Lord is against

those who do what is evil.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 15:2-5

Psalm 15:2-5 Holman Christian Standard Bible

The one who lives honestly, practices righteousness,

and acknowledges the truth in his heart—

who does not slander with his tongue,

who does not harm his friend

or discredit his neighbor,

who despises the one rejected by the Lord

but honors those who fear the Lord,

who keeps his word whatever the cost,

who does not lend his money at interest

or take a bribe against the innocent—

the one who does these things will never be moved.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 19:23

Proverbs 19:23 Holman Christian Standard Bible

The fear of the Lord leads to life;

one will sleep at night without danger.

Morning Scripture Reading - Hebrews 6:10

Hebrews 6:10 Holman Christian Standard Bible

For God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you showed for His name when you served the saints—and you continue to serve them.

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - 1 Samuel 15:20-23

1 Samuel 15:20-23 Holman Christian Standard Bible

“But I did obey the Lord!” Saul answered. “I went on the mission the Lord gave me: I brought back Agag, king of Amalek, and I completely destroyed the Amalekites. The troops took sheep and cattle from the plunder—the best of what was set apart for destruction—to sacrifice to the Lord your God at Gilgal.”

Then Samuel said:

Does the Lord take pleasure in burnt offerings and sacrifices

as much as in obeying the Lord?

Look: to obey is better than sacrifice,

to pay attention is better than the fat of rams.

For rebellion is like the sin of divination,

and defiance is like wickedness and idolatry.

Because you have rejected the word of the Lord,

He has rejected you as king.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 15:1

Psalm 15:1 Holman Christian Standard Bible

A Davidic psalm.

Lord, who can dwell in Your tent?

Who can live on Your holy mountain?

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 19:22

Proverbs 19:22 Holman Christian Standard Bible

What is desirable in a man is his fidelity;

better to be a poor man than a liar.

Morning Scripture Reading - Joel 2:21-24

Joel 2:21-24 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Don’t be afraid, land;

rejoice and be glad,

for the Lord has done great things.

Don’t be afraid, wild animals,

for the wilderness pastures have turned green,

the trees bear their fruit,

and the fig tree and grapevine yield their riches.

Children of Zion, rejoice and be glad

in the Lord your God,

because He gives you the autumn rain

for your vindication.

He sends showers for you,

both autumn and spring rain as before.

The threshing floors will be full of grain,

and the vats will overflow

with new wine and olive oil.

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - Luke 9:57-62

Luke 9:57-62 Holman Christian Standard Bible

As they were traveling on the road someone said to Him, “I will follow You wherever You go!”

Jesus told him, “Foxes have dens, and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head.” Then He said to another, “Follow Me.”

“Lord,” he said, “first let me go bury my father.”

But He told him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and spread the news of the kingdom of God.”

Another also said, “I will follow You, Lord, but first let me go and say good-bye to those at my house.”

But Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 14:7

Psalm 14:7 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Oh, that Israel’s deliverance would come from Zion!

When the Lord restores the fortunes of His people,

Jacob will rejoice; Israel will be glad.

Mid-Week Message - Evil Prowls, Prayer a Must

"Be unceasing and persistent in prayer;"  1 Thessalonians 5:17  (AMP)

Today (Tuesday) an unspeakable tragedy took place in Uvalde, Texas.  A teenage young man walked into an elementary school, took aim, and opened fire.  As I write this, they are reporting 19 second, third and fourth grade children have lost their lives, as have 2 adults.  This does not count the shooter, who was killed by law enforcement.  

As the parents who have not yet located their students await news, we are all horrified, and hopefully, lifting them up in our prayers.  In the coming days these mothers and fathers will be planning for the burial of their slain young ones after which they will struggle in grief to come to terms with the smiles they will never again see, the goodnight hugs and kisses that will never again take place, the Christmas stockings that will never again be filled and the futures that have been taken away forever.  

I wish I could write that this is a one time occurrence, however, sadly, it is not.  Our children have been targets for years.  Whether in schools, on the streets or in their own homes, hearing of young lives lost due to violence has become a regular report on the daily news.  

And we ask God why He didn't prevent this from happening.   

Because we were given free will, there will always be those that will choose evil.  They will fail to see the value of human life and will think nothing of stealing life from those who treasure it.  Just as He will not take away my choices, neither will He take away theirs.  When we do anything against His will, when we sin in any way, our actions will affect others.  Unfortunately. this was a sin that ended the lives of precious children and has forever changed the lives of countless others.  

Ephesians 6:12 tells us, "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."  

So, what can we do?  First and foremost, we have to commit to prayer.  This world, its leaders, each and every child and adult, needs to covered by prayer.  The power of going before the Father on our knees is greater than any other power that exists.  Second, we have to be serious about sharing the Gospel.  We must be vocal about the need for Jesus in this world.  Although we may think everyone knows, they don't.  I'm not talking about church-life, I'm talking about a relationship with the risen King of Kings.  

My heart is aching for parents that will not take their children home this evening.  I am beseeching the Comforter to wrap His arms tightly around them and walk with them through all that is coming.  I can't imagine the devastation they are feeling but I know that their Creator knows and cares deeply.  As I lift them up in my time with Him tonight, I lift each of you as well.  

I pray that His goodness, mercy and grace will surround us all.  

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 19:21

Proverbs 19:21 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Many plans are in a man’s heart,

but the Lord’s decree will prevail.

Morning Scripture Reading - Isaiah 26:3

Isaiah 26:3 Holman Christian Standard Bible

You will keep the mind that is dependent on You

in perfect peace,

for it is trusting in You.

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - John 20:24-29

John 20:24-29 Holman Christian Standard Bible

But one of the Twelve, Thomas (called “Twin”), was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples kept telling him, “We have seen the Lord!”

But he said to them, “If I don’t see the mark of the nails in His hands, put my finger into the mark of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will never believe!”

After eight days His disciples were indoors again, and Thomas was with them. Even though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them. He said, “Peace to you!”

Then He said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and observe My hands. Reach out your hand and put it into My side. Don’t be an unbeliever, but a believer.”

Thomas responded to Him, “My Lord and my God!”

Jesus said, “Because you have seen Me, you have believed. Those who believe without seeing are blessed.”

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 14:5-6

Psalm 14:5-6 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Then they will be filled with terror,

for God is with those who are righteous.

You sinners frustrate the plans of the afflicted,

but the Lord is his refuge.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 19:20

Proverbs 19:20 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Listen to counsel and receive instruction

so that you may be wise later in life.

Morning Scripture Reading - Isaiah 40:9-11

Isaiah 40:9-11 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Zion, herald of good news,

go up on a high mountain.

Jerusalem, herald of good news,

raise your voice loudly.

Raise it, do not be afraid!

Say to the cities of Judah,

“Here is your God!”

See, the Lord God comes with strength,

and His power establishes His rule.

His reward is with Him,

and His gifts accompany Him.

He protects His flock like a shepherd;

He gathers the lambs in His arms

and carries them in the fold of His garment.

He gently leads those that are nursing.

Monday, May 23, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - Matthew 24:4-14

Matthew 24:4-14 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Then Jesus replied to them: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and they will deceive many. You are going to hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, because these things must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these events are the beginning of birth pains.

“Then they will hand you over for persecution, and they will kill you. You will be hated by all nations because of My name. Then many will take offense, betray one another and hate one another. Many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. Because lawlessness will multiply, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be delivered. This good news of the kingdom will be proclaimed in all the world as a testimony to all nations. And then the end will come.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 14:4

Psalm 14:4 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Will evildoers never understand?

They consume My people as they consume bread;

they do not call on the Lord.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 19:19

Proverbs 19:19 Holman Christian Standard Bible

A person with great anger bears the penalty;

if you rescue him, you’ll have to do it again.

Morning Scripture Reading - Jeremiah 29:10-14

Jeremiah 29:10-14 Holman Christian Standard Bible

For this is what the Lord says: “When 70 years for Babylon are complete, I will attend to you and will confirm My promise concerning you to restore you to this place. For I know the plans I have for you”—this is the Lord’s declaration—“plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. You will call to Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you”—this is the Lord’s declaration—“and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and places where I banished you”—this is the Lord’s declaration. “I will restore you to the place I deported you from.”

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - 1 Chronicles 28:20-21

1 Chronicles 28:20-21 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Then David said to his son Solomon, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Don’t be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He won’t leave you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the Lord’s house is finished. Here are the divisions of the priests and the Levites for all the service of God’s house. Every willing man of any skill will be at your disposal for the work, and the leaders and all the people are at your every command.”

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 14:1-3

Psalm 14:1-3 Holman Christian Standard Bible

For the choir director. Davidic.

The fool says in his heart, “God does not exist.”

They are corrupt; they do vile deeds.

There is no one who does good.

The Lord looks down from heaven on the human race

to see if there is one who is wise,

one who seeks God.

All have turned away;

all alike have become corrupt.

There is no one who does good,

not even one.

Sunday Praise & Worship Message - You Have the Victory

Even when we know better as Christians, we often forget that we have already won a major victory in our lives. When we accepted Jesus as our personal Savior and Lord of our lives, we accepted the gift of salvation from the Father and have won the victory over death. The grave and death have no power over us, because we are God’s children and He has given us eternal life. The world has no hold on us anymore and we have been born again to walk in the newness of life. We all know this, because God, through the scriptures, has given us His word. His promises have never been broken to any generation. We can stand firm in His word and rest assured that nothing can change that fact.

From time to time, we don’t act that way. We allow the spirit of this world to grab hold of us and drag us back into blackness and we say that we are powerless. If we relied strictly on our own will and strength, we are powerless, but we, as God’s children, have the upper hand. We are HIS children and we have the ability to go directly to the Lord in prayer and ask for all that we need to overcome the power of the evil one who lives to steal us away from God. 

In chapter four of his first letter, John writes, “But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world. Those people belong to this world, so they speak from the world’s viewpoint, and the world listens to them. But we belong to God, and those who know God listen to us. If they do not belong to God, they do not listen to us. That is how we know if someone has the Spirit of truth or the spirit of deception.

Those who would seek to deceive us and seduce us back into a life of sin have no power over us as long as we continue to walk in light and righteousness. The spirit of righteousness and light lives within each of us and that spirit is greater than the power of Satan and all his demons combined. Satan must bow before the Lord of Hosts. He has no power over God’s children, but you need to realize that it doesn’t stop him from trying to snatch you away from Him. 

Satan can’t force you out of God’s hands. You, as an individual, have been given free will to act. Only you can choose to leave God. He will never leave or forsake you. When you give into temptation, you have made the choice to leave the path of righteousness and stray away from God. Satan can’t make you do that. No one can do that. You have to take the first steps by your own volition. No one can force you to sin or give into peer pressure.

People will often blame Satan by saying that the “devil made them do it”. That is patently false. It is a convenient excuse to blame others for giving into sin. You must bear the consequences of your actions. You cannot just blame the devil for slipping back into a life of darkness and sin. It was entirely your choice to stray away from the light and give yourself over to sin. 

If we look back to the lives of Adam and Eve, we see a similar situation. After eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, God questioned them regarding their disobedience. Instead of admitting to their sin, they began to blame each other. Adam blamed Eve and Eve, in turn, blamed the serpent. In the end, the serpent didn’t force them to eat the fruit of that tree. He planted the idea and they both acted on it. 

There are those who feel that God set up Adam and Eve from the very beginning when that tree was placed in the garden. But, you have to remember that Satan had fallen before Adam and Eve. When he fell, sin came into existence. That sin was disobedience. Satan and his followers became disobedient to God and were cast out. When that happened, sin was born.

With sin in existence and humans with free will, choices existed as well. When we are left alone to our own devices, we have a propensity to do what we want and to seek the fulfillment of our earthly desires. But, if we remain together as a family of faith under the protection of God’s mighty hand, we will not fall prey to sin. Satan has no power to pull us away from God. He has given us His word that He will always be there for us and with us.

Jesus, in chapter fourteen of the Gospel of John, said to his disciples, “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me.

If you remain faithful and seek out help when you feel tempted, then you can overcome the world and remain on the straight and narrow. If, however, you decide you know better or act on your own, then it is so very easy for your foot to slip and go astray. 

Don’t let this happen. When you feel Satan whispering in your ear and calling you to go astray, I ask you to pray for God’s hedge of protection. I guarantee that He will send legions of angels to protect you. Don’t forget that you have a heavenly armory at your disposal. Put on that armor and prepare yourself for battle when tempted.

In chapter six of his letter to the Ephesians, Paul writes, “Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.

The armor of the Lord is impenetrable to the slings and arrows of Satan, but if you fail to put all of it on or allow the armor to go into disrepair, then Satan can easily penetrate it and harm you. To keep the armor strong, we must  pray for one another and help each other by remaining steadfast in our faith together. Every piece of armor will withstand all of the attacks thrown against it if we stand together and stand firm in His grace.

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

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 19:18

Proverbs 19:18 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Discipline your son while there is hope;

don’t be intent on killing him.

Morning Scripture Reading - Romans 1:16

Romans 1:16 Holman Christian Standard Bible

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is God’s power for salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek.

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - 1 Corinthians 15:10-11

1 Corinthians 15:10-11 Holman Christian Standard Bible

But by God’s grace I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not ineffective. However, I worked more than any of them, yet not I, but God’s grace that was with me. Therefore, whether it is I or they, so we proclaim and so you have believed.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 13:5-6

Psalm 13:5-6 Holman Christian Standard Bible

But I have trusted in Your faithful love;

my heart will rejoice in Your deliverance.

I will sing to the Lord

because He has treated me generously.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 19:17

Proverbs 19:17 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Kindness to the poor is a loan to the Lord,

and He will give a reward to the lender.

Morning Scripture Reading - Deuteronomy 30:9-10

Deuteronomy 30:9-10 Holman Christian Standard Bible

The Lord your God will make you prosper abundantly in all the work of your hands with children, the offspring of your livestock, and your land’s produce. Indeed, the Lord will again delight in your prosperity, as He delighted in that of your fathers, when you obey the Lord your God by keeping His commands and statutes that are written in this book of the law and return to Him with all your heart and all your soul.

Friday, May 20, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - Colossians 3:16

Colossians 3:16 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Let the message about the Messiah dwell richly among you, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, and singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, with gratitude in your hearts to God.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 13:3-4

Psalm 13:3-4 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Consider me and answer, Lord my God.

Restore brightness to my eyes;

otherwise, I will sleep in death.

My enemy will say, “I have triumphed over him,”

and my foes will rejoice because I am shaken.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 19:16

Proverbs 19:16 Holman Christian Standard Bible

The one who keeps commands preserves himself;

one who disregards his ways will die.

Morning Scripture Reading - 2 Timothy 1:8-12

2 Timothy 1:8-12 Holman Christian Standard Bible

So don’t be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, or of me His prisoner. Instead, share in suffering for the gospel, relying on the power of God.

He has saved us and called us

with a holy calling,

not according to our works,

but according to His own purpose and grace,

which was given to us in Christ Jesus

before time began.

This has now been made evident

through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus,

who has abolished death

and has brought life and immortality to light

through the gospel.

For this gospel I was appointed a herald, apostle, and teacher, and that is why I suffer these things. But I am not ashamed, because I know the One I have believed in and am persuaded that He is able to guard what has been entrusted to me until that day.

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - Matthew 19:26

Matthew 19:26 Holman Christian Standard Bible

But Jesus looked at them and said, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 13:1-2

Psalm 13:1-2 Holman Christian Standard Bible

For the choir director. A Davidic psalm.

Lord, how long will You forget me?


How long will You hide Your face from me?

How long will I store up anxious concerns within me,

agony in my mind every day?

How long will my enemy dominate me?

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 19:15

Proverbs 19:15 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Laziness induces deep sleep,

and a lazy person will go hungry.

Morning Scripture Reading - 1 Corinthians 15:9-11

1 Corinthians 15:9-11 Holman Christian Standard Bible

For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by God’s grace I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not ineffective. However, I worked more than any of them, yet not I, but God’s grace that was with me. Therefore, whether it is I or they, so we proclaim and so you have believed.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - James 5:13-16

James 5:13-16 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Is anyone among you suffering? He should pray. Is anyone cheerful? He should sing praises. Is anyone among you sick? He should call for the elders of the church, and they should pray over him after anointing him with olive oil in the name of the Lord. The prayer of faith will save the sick person, and the Lord will restore him to health; if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The urgent request of a righteous person is very powerful in its effect.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 12:7-8

Psalm 12:7-8 Holman Christian Standard Bible

You, Lord, will guard us;

You will protect us from this generation forever.

The wicked wander everywhere,

and what is worthless is exalted by the human race.

Mid-Week Message - Alone Time With the Lord

"Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.  Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.  Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me."  Psalm 51:10-12 (NIV)

One of the choruses we sang at Dallas Christian College reflected these verses.  It has been one of my favorites since I learned it.  I find it very touching and a way to express to the Lord my desire to have a heart, and a life, that is acceptable and pleasing to Him.  

The idea of having a clean heart catches my attention because I get so exhausted wading through the muck that I encounter in everyday life.  Everything vies for our attention.  This world is moving at such a fast pace that we spend most of our time just trying to stay caught up.  From the time we open our eyes in the morning until the time we shut them at night, almost every moment is filled with earthly concerns.  Bills need to be paid.  The boss is in a bad mood.  The children have lessons and activities to get to.  The spouse is too busy to help out.  The doctor says it's time for a check-up and the car needs service.  On and on it goes until we drop onto our bed, look at the clock and count the hours we have for sleep then try as hard as we can to fall off to sleep before it gets any later.

Every moment is spoken for.  Our hearts are overwhelmed.  As long as we allow it to go on, it will.  But there is something we can do.  We can carve out some time to be quiet and sit in the presence of the Lord.  Even if it is just five minutes, that is five minutes of our day and a section of our hearts set aside for Him and Him only.  During that time we allow Him to cleanse us from the inside out and to prepare us for the day.  If we are diligent about keeping this daily appointment, then pretty soon we find ourselves spending ten or fifteen minutes at a time.  And we find that the concerns of the world start to pale when compared to our growing relationship with the great I AM.  

Life will continue to include the same elements.  We will still have to contend with responsibilities and the expectations of others.  It is our perspective that will change.  The fruits of the Spirit will be more evident in our lives and how we view each day will change.  Joy will be more abundant.  Patience will steadily grow.  Love will be more readily given and peace, the peace that passes understanding, will be experienced more often.  We cannot change someone else's heart, but Praise God we can allow Him to change ours.  

Another thing that will be new is that we will need to become very protective of our time with the Lord.  As it becomes the foundation of each day, we will find that we will need to guard it because we have an enemy that will stop at nothing to steal it away.  The last thing he wants to see is a flourishing relationship with Jesus. But remember, he is a liar and a deceiver.   We will have to stay alert and realize that it will happen so that we can see it for what it is.

As we go through this week, I want to urge everyone to just set aside five minutes per day for Him.  However you choose to spend it, through prayer, time in the Bible or meditating on the scripture you have saved up in your heart and mind, treasure it.  You are the apple of His eye and if you were the only one on earth that needed the redemption brought by Jesus, He still would have chosen to die on the cross.  Surely we can set aside just a few moments to show Him that He is important to us too.  God bless you. 

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 19:14

Proverbs 19:14 Holman Christian Standard Bible

A house and wealth are inherited from fathers,

but a sensible wife is from the Lord.

Morning Scripture Reading - John 17:1-5

John 17:1-5 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Jesus spoke these things, looked up to heaven, and said:


the hour has come.

Glorify Your Son

so that the Son may glorify You,

for You gave Him authority

over all flesh;

so He may give eternal life

to all You have given Him.

This is eternal life:

that they may know You, the only true God,

and the One You have sent—Jesus Christ.

I have glorified You on the earth

by completing the work You gave Me to do.

Now, Father, glorify Me in Your presence

with that glory I had with You

before the world existed.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - Colossians 3:15-17

Colossians 3:15-17 Holman Christian Standard Bible

And let the peace of the Messiah, to which you were also called in one body, control your hearts. Be thankful. Let the message about the Messiah dwell richly among you, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, and singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 12:6

Psalm 12:6 Holman Christian Standard Bible

The words of the Lord are pure words,

like silver refined in an earthen furnace,

purified seven times.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 19:13

Proverbs 19:13 Holman Christian Standard Bible

A foolish son is his father’s ruin,

and a wife’s nagging is an endless dripping.

Morning Scripture Reading - Deuteronomy 26:16-19

Deuteronomy 26:16-19 Holman Christian Standard Bible

“The Lord your God is commanding you this day to follow these statutes and ordinances. You must be careful to follow them with all your heart and all your soul. Today you have affirmed that the Lord is your God and that you will walk in His ways, keep His statutes, commands, and ordinances, and obey Him. And today the Lord has affirmed that you are His special people as He promised you, that you are to keep all His commands, that He will elevate you to praise, fame, and glory above all the nations He has made, and that you will be a holy people to the Lord your God as He promised.”

Monday, May 16, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - James 1:19-21

James 1:19-21 Holman Christian Standard Bible

My dearly loved brothers, understand this: Everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger, for man’s anger does not accomplish God’s righteousness. Therefore, ridding yourselves of all moral filth and evil, humbly receive the implanted word, which is able to save you.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 12:5

Psalm 12:5 Holman Christian Standard Bible

“Because of the oppression of the afflicted

and the groaning of the poor,

I will now rise up,” says the Lord.

“I will put the one who longs for it in a safe place.”

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 19:12

Proverbs 19:12 Holman Christian Standard Bible

A king’s rage is like the roaring of a lion,

but his favor is like dew on the grass.

Morning Scripture Reading - 1 Corinthians 4:6-7

1 Corinthians 4:6-7 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Now, brothers, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the saying: “Nothing beyond what is written.” The purpose is that none of you will be inflated with pride in favor of one person over another. For who makes you so superior? What do you have that you didn’t receive? If, in fact, you did receive it, why do you boast as if you hadn’t received it?

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - 1 Corinthians 15:20-28

1 Corinthians 15:20-28 Holman Christian Standard Bible

But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead also comes through a man. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ, the firstfruits; afterward, at His coming, those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to God the Father, when He abolishes all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign until He puts all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy to be abolished is death. For God has put everything under His feet. But when it says “everything” is put under Him, it is obvious that He who puts everything under Him is the exception. And when everything is subject to Christ, then the Son Himself will also be subject to the One who subjected everything to Him, so that God may be all in all.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 12:1-4

Psalm 12:1-4 Holman Christian Standard Bible

For the choir director: according to Sheminith. A Davidic psalm.

Help, Lord, for no faithful one remains;

the loyal have disappeared from the human race.

They lie to one another;

they speak with flattering lips and deceptive hearts.

May the Lord cut off all flattering lips

and the tongue that speaks boastfully.

They say, “Through our tongues we have power;

our lips are our own—who can be our master?”

Sunday Praise & Worship Message - Eager to Win You Over

Many years ago, I was on the debate team and enjoyed swaying people to view the world through my eyes. It didn’t matter whether or not I was right or wrong. I was only interested in one thing, winning. Getting people to see things my way gave me a sense of accomplishment. I felt that I had done something wonderful. In one breath I believed in one thing and in the next was arguing against what I just gave as truth. Winning was the only thing that meant anything to me.

As I reflected back upon my years of debating, I began to see that facts and people could be easily manipulated into saying or doing anything you wanted. The key was being confident in what you were saying. As long as you were confident and spoke with authority, people would believe you and ultimately preach your words to others.

I was reading the Book of Galatians the other day and began to think about Paul's words to the churches in Galatia. Paul had founded this church and was concerned because the new Galatian believers were being influenced by the Judaizers, Jews who taught that salvation required keeping the Mosaic Law, specifically circumcision, as well as believing in Jesus.

The believers in this church, made up of both Jew and Gentile converts, were so easily influenced away from the truth given to them by Paul. The Judaizers taught that Gentiles had to be circumcised before then could fellowship with the Jewish believers. These teachings ran contrary to Paul’s message that salvation came by faith alone through the grace extended by God through His son, Christ Jesus, to anyone who believed. In short, it wasn’t by strict adherence to Jewish law and tradition, it was by faith.

I am sure that the Judaizers meant well, but they misrepresented the message of salvation and gave little thought to the teachings of Paul. For whatever reason, they misled the members of the early church and caused confusion. In some cases, you could say that they perverted the gospel of Jesus and replaced it with their own interpretation. 

Paul, in chapter one of his letter to the Galatians, expresses his concern in his greeting by saying, “I am shocked that you are turning away so soon from God, who called you to himself through the loving mercy of Christ. You are following a different way that pretends to be the Good News but is not the Good News at all. You are being fooled by those who deliberately twist the truth concerning Christ.

Notice what Paul says about the individuals. They are deliberately twisting the truth and Good News. For whatever reason they had, several leaders in the church began to substitute their words for “the Word”. Truth became whatever they wanted it to be. Since the people had recently converted to Christianity, they were infants in their daily walk with the Lord and people took advantage of this. Instead of seeking wisdom to discern the truth, many chose to listen to the words of those who pretended to be spiritual leaders of the church. They blindly accepted the words of the leaders as truth and supported them in their twisting of the truth.

The same holds true today. Instead of seeking wisdom, many are content with just accepting the words of individuals or groups that seem to run contrary to certain principles that have been the bedrock of their beliefs. Instead of questioning them, many blindly accept their dogma as truth and support it. 

Later in his letter, Paul asks the believers to think about the truth they had been given, “I ask you again, does God give you the Holy Spirit and work miracles among you because you obey the law? Of course not! It is because you believe the message you heard about Christ.

This is the same question we need to ask ourselves when it comes to our faith. Is the Good News being perverted to the selfish ends of others? Is what they are preaching the truth or some misrepresentation of God’s word? 

If their words are contrary to God's word and are done out of selfish motives, then the message they are providing will lead to damnation and destruction. You must always be on guard when it comes to the words of others. They will manipulate the scriptures to suit their message to all those who listen. Those false teachers are eager to win you over to their way of thinking and take you away from God’s way.

In chapter four, Paul tells the Galatian believers, “Those false teachers are so eager to win your favor, but their intentions are not good. They are trying to shut you off from me so that you will pay attention only to them. If someone is eager to do good things for you, that’s all right; but let them do it all the time, not just when I’m with you.

False teachers will do anything to win you over and have you follow them rather than follow Christ Jesus. Words can easily sway some and have them walking down the wrong path. As believers, we have a couple of responsibilities. The first is to always seek God’s direction through prayer and through the scriptures. The second is to not lead others astray with your own interpretation of God’s plan of salvation.

The message is very clear. God sent His son to live among us to show the world His love for us. His son died for us to repay the debt of sin that we had accumulated. Jesus’ resurrection gives us the gift of eternal life with the Father. By accepting this gift and believing in Jesus, we are renewed and given a new life. This is the message. It is only through faith that we are able to receive this gift. There is nothing we alone can do to receive this salvation. Simply following the law and acting good doesn’t get us into God’s grace.

Paul doesn’t mince his words when it comes to faith. He, in chapter five, tells the members of the church, “Listen! I, Paul, tell you this: If you are counting on circumcision to make you right with God, then Christ will be of no benefit to you. I’ll say it again. If you are trying to find favor with God by being circumcised, you must obey every regulation in the whole law of Moses. For if you are trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the law, you have been cut off from Christ! You have fallen away from God’s grace.

If you believe that you can just follow the words of someone who professes to be a leader and preaches his or her own interpretation of the Good News and is eager to win you over, then I ask you to question the leader and ask God for wisdom to discern His will in all that has been preached in His name. Don’t blindly accept the words of those who bend and twist God's word into their own version of the Gospel. Look to God and seek Him. When you do that, you can definitely stand firm in His grace. 

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

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 19:11

Proverbs 19:11 Holman Christian Standard Bible

A person’s insight gives him patience,

and his virtue is to overlook an offense.

Morning Scripture Reading - Acts 2:14-21

Acts 2:14-21 Holman Christian Standard Bible

But Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice, and proclaimed to them: “Men of Judah and all you residents of Jerusalem, let me explain this to you and pay attention to my words. For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it’s only nine in the morning. On the contrary, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:

And it will be in the last days, says God,

that I will pour out My Spirit on all humanity;

then your sons and your daughters will prophesy,

your young men will see visions,

and your old men will dream dreams.

I will even pour out My Spirit

on My male and female slaves in those days,

and they will prophesy.

I will display wonders in the heaven above

and signs on the earth below:

blood and fire and a cloud of smoke.

The sun will be turned to darkness

and the moon to blood

before the great and remarkable Day of the Lord comes.

Then everyone who calls

on the name of the Lord will be saved.

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - John 11:25-26

John 11:25-26 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in Me, even if he dies, will live. Everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die—ever. Do you believe this?”

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 11:4-7

Psalm 11:4-7 Holman Christian Standard Bible

The Lord is in His holy temple;

the Lord’s throne is in heaven.

His eyes watch; He examines everyone.

The Lord examines the righteous and the wicked.

He hates the lover of violence.

He will rain burning coals and sulfur on the wicked;

a scorching wind will be their portion.

For the Lord is righteous; He loves righteous deeds.

The upright will see His face.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 19:10

Proverbs 19:10 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Luxury is not appropriate for a fool—

how much less for a slave to rule over princes!

Morning Scripture Reading - Ephesians 1:11-14

Ephesians 1:11-14 Holman Christian Standard Bible

We have also received an inheritance in Him, predestined according to the purpose of the One who works out everything in agreement with the decision of His will, so that we who had already put our hope in the Messiah might bring praise to His glory.

When you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and when you believed in Him, you were also sealed with the promised Holy Spirit. He is the down payment of our inheritance, for the redemption of the possession, to the praise of His glory.

Friday, May 13, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - Romans 13:6-7

Romans 13:6-7 Holman Christian Standard Bible

And for this reason you pay taxes, since the authorities are God’s public servants, continually attending to these tasks. Pay your obligations to everyone: taxes to those you owe taxes, tolls to those you owe tolls, respect to those you owe respect, and honor to those you owe honor.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 11:1-3

Psalm 11:1-3 Holman Christian Standard Bible

For the choir director. Davidic.

I have taken refuge in the Lord.

How can you say to me,

“Escape to the mountain like a bird!

For look, the wicked string the bow;

they put the arrow on the bowstring

to shoot from the shadows at the upright in heart.

When the foundations are destroyed,

what can the righteous do?”

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 19:9

Proverbs 19:9 Holman Christian Standard Bible

A false witness will not go unpunished,

and one who utters lies perishes.

Morning Scripture Reading - Jeremiah 17:5-10

Jeremiah 17:5-10 Holman Christian Standard Bible

This is what the Lord says:

The man who trusts in mankind,

who makes human flesh his strength

and turns his heart from the Lord is cursed.

He will be like a juniper in the Arabah;

he cannot see when good comes

but dwells in the parched places in the wilderness,

in a salt land where no one lives.

The man who trusts in the Lord,

whose confidence indeed is the Lord, is blessed.

He will be like a tree planted by water:

it sends its roots out toward a stream,

it doesn’t fear when heat comes,

and its foliage remains green.

It will not worry in a year of drought

or cease producing fruit.

The heart is more deceitful than anything else,

and incurable—who can understand it?

I, Yahweh, examine the mind,

I test the heart

to give to each according to his way,

according to what his actions deserve.