Thursday, June 30, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - Jeremiah 20:13

Jeremiah 20:13 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Sing to the Lord!

Praise the Lord,

for He rescues the life of the needy

from the hand of evil people.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 22:12-18

Psalm 22:12-18 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Many bulls surround me;

strong ones of Bashan encircle me.

They open their mouths against me—

lions, mauling and roaring.

I am poured out like water,

and all my bones are disjointed;

my heart is like wax,

melting within me.

My strength is dried up like baked clay;

my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth.

You put me into the dust of death.

For dogs have surrounded me;

a gang of evildoers has closed in on me;

they pierced my hands and my feet.

I can count all my bones;

people look and stare at me.

They divided my garments among themselves,

and they cast lots for my clothing.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 20:28

Proverbs 20:28 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Loyalty and faithfulness deliver a king;

through loyalty he maintains his throne.

Morning Scripture Reading - Romans 6:20-23

Romans 6:20-23 Holman Christian Standard Bible

For when you were slaves of sin, you were free from allegiance to righteousness. So what fruit was produced then from the things you are now ashamed of? For the end of those things is death. But now, since you have been liberated from sin and have become enslaved to God, you have your fruit, which results in sanctification—and the end is eternal life! For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - Luke 1:46-56

Luke 1:46-56 Holman Christian Standard Bible

And Mary said:

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,

and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior,

because He has looked with favor

on the humble condition of His slave.

Surely, from now on all generations

will call me blessed,

because the Mighty One

has done great things for me,

and His name is holy.

His mercy is from generation to generation

on those who fear Him.

He has done a mighty deed with His arm;

He has scattered the proud

because of the thoughts of their hearts;

He has toppled the mighty from their thrones

and exalted the lowly.

He has satisfied the hungry with good things

and sent the rich away empty.

He has helped His servant Israel,

mindful of His mercy,

just as He spoke to our ancestors,

to Abraham and his descendants forever.

And Mary stayed with her about three months; then she returned to her home.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 22:11

Psalm 22:11 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Do not be far from me, because distress is near

and there is no one to help.

Mid-Week Message - Regarding Our Divisions

"So in Christ you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourself with Christ.  There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus."  Galatians 3:26-28  (NIV)  

Siblings can be brutal with each other.  If you have brothers or sisters then you know what I mean.  They fight like cats and dogs, say horrible things to each other, call each other names and occasionally pull a few punches.  But, let someone outside of the family try to same thing and those same siblings stick up for each other.  There is a oneness shared by family that isn't easily intruded upon.  

I bring up this topic because of something I saw on social media a couple of days ago.  We know of the Supreme Court decisions that have created a stir in this country and the division in opinions that is raging.  I saw a meme that asked this, "Do you really love Jesus or just the republican Jesus?"  

I haven't been able to get that off my mind.  The reason it has stuck with me is that Jesus cannot be identified by earthly designations.  He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  He is far beyond any labels that we use with each other. 

So how do we fit our relationship with Him into our mindsets and opinions?  Simply put, we don't.  We cannot measure Him by what is happening on earth.  Rather, we must weigh what is happening here on earth by what is taught in the Word of God.  Any opinion or viewpoint that we have that has not been bathed in the truth and teachings of our Savior should never leave our mouths.  Only insomuch as the Holy Spirit leads can we dare offer our thoughts as aligned with Him.  

We have become a nation divided, segmented into so many little groups that it is hard to know where we stand anymore.  The two greatest commandments, as taught by Jesus in Luke 10:27 were to, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your strength and with all your mind; and love your neighbor as yourself." 

Because of my relationship with the Lord and because of what I read in His Word, I have very firm beliefs regarding some of the discussions and uproar in this land of ours and I will be vocal and active when I feel led by the Spirit to do so.  But it must be done through His love so as to not alienate anyone from Him.  The goal must always be to share the Gospel.  Only in doing so will others realize their need for Jesus.  

Those who have been adopted into the family of God misrepresent Him when we battle with each other.  Rather than allowing ourselves to be divided by the world, we need to come together as one in Christ Jesus so that He will be honored and the world might seek His will.  

May your week be showered in His grace and mercy.  God bless.  


Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 20:27

Proverbs 20:27 Holman Christian Standard Bible

The Lord’s lamp sheds light on a person’s life,

searching the innermost parts.

Morning Scripture Reading - 1 John 2:15-17

1 John 2:15-17 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Do not love the world or the things that belong to the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. For everything that belongs to the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride in one’s lifestyle—is not from the Father, but is from the world. And the world with its lust is passing away, but the one who does God’s will remains forever.

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - Isaiah 8:17

Isaiah 8:17 Holman Christian Standard Bible

I will wait for the Lord,

who is hiding His face from the house of Jacob.

I will wait for Him.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 22:9-10

Psalm 22:9-10 Holman Christian Standard Bible

You took me from the womb,

making me secure while at my mother’s breast.

I was given over to You at birth;

You have been my God from my mother’s womb.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 20:26

Proverbs 20:26 Holman Christian Standard Bible

A wise king separates out the wicked

and drives the threshing wheel over them.

Morning Scripture Reading - 2 Corinthians 13:11

2 Corinthians 13:11 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Finally, brothers, rejoice. Become mature, be encouraged, be of the same mind, be at peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you.

Monday, June 27, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - Romans 3:27-31

Romans 3:27-31 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By one of works? No, on the contrary, by a law of faith. For we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the works of the law. Or is God for Jews only? Is He not also for Gentiles? Yes, for Gentiles too, since there is one God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. Do we then cancel the law through faith? Absolutely not! On the contrary, we uphold the law.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 22:6-8

Psalm 22:6-8 Holman Christian Standard Bible

But I am a worm and not a man,

scorned by men and despised by people.

Everyone who sees me mocks me;

they sneer and shake their heads:

“He relies on the Lord;

let Him rescue him;

let the Lord deliver him,

since He takes pleasure in him.”

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 20:25

Proverbs 20:25 Holman Christian Standard Bible

It is a trap for anyone to dedicate something rashly

and later to reconsider his vows.

Morning Scripture Reading - Exodus 9:16

Exodus 9:16 Holman Christian Standard Bible

However, I have let you live for this purpose: to show you My power and to make My name known in all the earth.

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - Philippians 4:4-7

Philippians 4:4-7 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your graciousness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 22:1-5

Psalm 22:1-5 Holman Christian Standard Bible

For the choir director: according to “The Deer of the Dawn.” A Davidic psalm.

My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?

Why are You so far from my deliverance

and from my words of groaning?

My God, I cry by day, but You do not answer,

by night, yet I have no rest.

But You are holy,

enthroned on the praises of Israel.

Our fathers trusted in You;

they trusted, and You rescued them.

They cried to You and were set free;

they trusted in You and were not disgraced.

Sunday Praise & Worship Message - Nail Your Sins to the Cross

As a chaplain and co-founder of a ministry, I meet with a large number of people each year. Many come to ask questions about their faith. Many have been disappointed in their journey with the Lord. Many are confused by church leaders who don’t preach about sin and the changes that need to take place to transform into a righteous person. They will tell me that the churches that they have been in are full of hypocrites. Many profess their faith on Sunday and then turn right around and become sinful during the rest of the week.

I remind those individuals that what they are feeling is not anger or anything like that when they witness individuals doing those things. What they are feeling is the Holy Spirit bringing conviction to their lives. As we all continue our daily walk with the Lord along the path of righteousness, we grow stronger and stronger in our faith and deeper in our trust. Think of it as daily exercise. As you continue your routine without fail, you get stronger each time. You build muscle mass, your stamina improves and your abilities increase. Our faith and its development occurs in much the same way. We improve spiritually and we become stronger in our faith. By studying the Word and walking with the Lord daily, I begin to see things as God intended. It is this spiritual sight that helps us spot temptation and steer clear of it. 

When we see others saying one thing and doing another, we see that those individuals have not given up their earthly lives. They continue to walk in darkness. I am not here to judge anyone nor do I encourage it. However, these individuals, who may even have leadership roles in the church, are not bearing spiritual fruit.

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

As people mature in their faith, they begin to see things differently. They can spot those individuals who are false prophets and teachers who water down the lessons of the scripture or pervert and twist them to suit their own needs and desires. But, even new Christians who are truly born again can spot the charlatans even from a distance. It doesn’t take a biblical scholar or a gifted pastor to spot them. You can easily identify them by their fruit. A bad tree produces only bad fruit. Any farmer will tell you that you can’t get a blue-ribbon crop from a grove of bad trees. It is impossible.

It is because of these bad trees that many new Christians are confused. They are told one thing and they see something totally different. When you accept Jesus as your personal Savior and Lord and follow him in baptism, your worldly self dies and a new self comes from that death. You are reborn spiritually to walk in the newness of life. You walk in light rather than darkness. You are given spiritual eyes so that you can see temptation and watch out for those who are false prophets and teachers. Like Jesus pointed out, there are those who act like sheep, but are really vicious wolves.

Part of your transformation is that you confess your sins and ask for forgiveness. You go to the cross and nail your sins to it. You crucify them and walk away as a child of God. You have been washed in the blood and your garments are spotless. 

Paul writes, in chapter five of his letter to the Galatians, “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.

When we listen to that small voice that brings conviction to the heart and soul, we seek Jesus and confess our sins and disobedience. It is through Jesus that we are given the gift of salvation, provided by God, that gives us eternal life. We must give up our sinful lives so that every part of our lives is filled with the Spirit.

Some will take on this new life and remain full of the Spirit. Some, however, will soon return to their old sinful ways. As Christians, we can only pray for those who have remained tied to their old lives. By example, we can lead them back to the Father. Don’t judge them, but always look at the fruit they produce.

Do not allow their example to lead you astray. Remain faithful and righteous. Be an example to them. I assure you the Holy Spirit will bring conviction. The more they see you walking in righteousness; the more conviction they will feel in their hearts.

Your powerful testament of faith can move mountains. So, don’t let anyone change that or try to diminish it in any way. Surround yourself with other good trees and produce good fruit for others to see. When you do that, you will most definitely stand firm in His grace.

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

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 20:24

Proverbs 20:24 Holman Christian Standard Bible

A man’s steps are determined by the Lord,

so how can anyone understand his own way?

Morning Scripture Reading - 1 Chronicles 29:10-12

1 Chronicles 29:10-12 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Then David praised the Lord in the sight of all the assembly. David said,

May You be praised, Lord God of our father Israel, from eternity to eternity. Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the splendor and the majesty, for everything in the heavens and on earth belongs to You. Yours, Lord, is the kingdom, and You are exalted as head over all. Riches and honor come from You, and You are the ruler of everything. Power and might are in Your hand, and it is in Your hand to make great and to give strength to all.

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - Hebrews 4:13

Hebrews 4:13 Holman Christian Standard Bible

No creature is hidden from Him, but all things are naked and exposed to the eyes of Him to whom we must give an account.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 21:13

Psalm 21:13 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Be exalted, Lord, in Your strength;

we will sing and praise Your might.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 20:23

Proverbs 20:23 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Differing weights are detestable to the Lord,

and dishonest scales are unfair.

Morning Scripture Reading - 1 John 3:4-6

1 John 3:4-6 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Everyone who commits sin also breaks the law; sin is the breaking of law. You know that He was revealed so that He might take away sins, and there is no sin in Him. Everyone who remains in Him does not sin; everyone who sins has not seen Him or known Him.

Friday, June 24, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - Romans 2:1-4

Romans 2:1-4 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Therefore, any one of you who judges is without excuse. For when you judge another, you condemn yourself, since you, the judge, do the same things. We know that God’s judgment on those who do such things is based on the truth. Do you really think—anyone of you who judges those who do such things yet do the same—that you will escape God’s judgment? Or do you despise the riches of His kindness, restraint, and patience, not recognizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 21:8-12

Psalm 21:8-12 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Your hand will capture all your enemies;

your right hand will seize those who hate you.

You will make them burn

like a fiery furnace when you appear;

the Lord will engulf them in His wrath,

and fire will devour them.

You will wipe their descendants from the earth

and their offspring from the human race.

Though they intend to harm you

and devise a wicked plan, they will not prevail.

Instead, you will put them to flight

when you aim your bow at their faces.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 20:22

Proverbs 20:22 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Don’t say, “I will avenge this evil!”

Wait on the Lord, and He will rescue you.

Morning Scripture Reading - Jeremiah 10:23-24

Jeremiah 10:23-24 Holman Christian Standard Bible

I know, Lord,

that a man’s way of life is not his own;

no one who walks determines his own steps.

Discipline me, Lord, but with justice—

not in Your anger,

or You will reduce me to nothing.

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - Hebrews 11:3

Hebrews 11:3 Holman Christian Standard Bible

By faith we understand that the universe was created by God’s command, so that what is seen has been made from things that are not visible.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 21:1-7

Psalm 21:1-7 Holman Christian Standard Bible

For the choir director. A Davidic psalm.

Lord, the king finds joy in Your strength.

How greatly he rejoices in Your victory!

You have given him his heart’s desire

and have not denied the request of his lips.Selah

For You meet him with rich blessings;

You place a crown of pure gold on his head.

He asked You for life, and You gave it to him—

length of days forever and ever.

His glory is great through Your victory;

You confer majesty and splendor on him.

You give him blessings forever;

You cheer him with joy in Your presence.

For the king relies on the Lord;

through the faithful love of the Most High

he is not shaken.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 20:21

Proverbs 20:21 Holman Christian Standard Bible

An inheritance gained prematurely

will not be blessed ultimately.

Morning Scripture Reading - Ecclesiastes 7:8

Ecclesiastes 7:8 Holman Christian Standard Bible

8 The end of a matter is better than its beginning;

a patient spirit is better than a proud spirit.

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - 1 Thessalonians 2:8

1 Thessalonians 2:8 Holman Christian Standard Bible

8 We cared so much for you that we were pleased to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 20:6-9

Psalm 20:6-9 Holman Christian Standard Bible

6 Now I know that the Lord gives victory to His anointed;

He will answer him from His holy heaven

with mighty victories from His right hand.

7 Some take pride in chariots, and others in horses,

but we take pride in the name of Yahweh our God.

8 They collapse and fall,

but we rise and stand firm.

9 Lord, give victory to the king!

May He answer us on the day that we call.

Mid-Week Message - This Moment Matters

 "And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."  Colossians 3:17  (NIV)

This could be the last message I ever write.  That is a thought-provoking statement.  The truth is that I have no idea whether next Wednesday will ever arrive for me.  Or even the next hour.  God might call me home or Jesus may return.  Therefore, it is incumbent upon me to make the most of this very moment.  

Christians have read in the Bible, and been taught by our spiritual teachers, that our lives, and even this world, will eventually come to an end.  We witness death each day.  All we have to do is turn on the evening news or open the newspaper to see reports of people dying.  I venture to say that almost all of us have stood at the grave of a loved one.  Today, many woke up with plans on their minds that will never come to fruition.  

My point is that the only time we can count on in life is the moment we are in right now.  Because of that, everything we say and do needs to matter.  This may be the only minute in time that we get to encourage someone.  It may be the only time someone will be able to hear the Gospel.  It may be the last chance we have to soothe an aching heart, show kindness or even to lift our Savior's name in praise while we are on this earth.  

I have been becoming more aware of how often the Lord's name is used in less than appropriate ways.  The predominance of cuss words in our society has grown exponentially.   They even come from the mouths of the very young.  Unfortunately, this type of language has become accepted worldwide and even some who avow to be Christians use them without thinking.  

I wonder.....if the epitaphs on our tombstones were the last words we uttered, what kind of an impact would they leave?   If we wish to leave a legacy of hope that points to an Almighty God who provided a way for all of our sins to be forgiven then we need to choose our words carefully.  

Today's verse tells us that whatever we say or do we should do in the name of Jesus.  This may be our last chance to do that.  So, I encourage each of us to examine our words and deeds to ensure that they are pointing others toward Him.  

May He guide and teach us through His mercy and grace.  God bless.  

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 20:20

Proverbs 20:20 Holman Christian Standard Bible

20 Whoever curses his father or mother—

his lamp will go out in deep darkness.

Morning Scripture Reading - 1 John 3:16-17

1 John 3:16-17 Holman Christian Standard Bible

This is how we have come to know love: He laid down His life for us. We should also lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has this world’s goods and sees his brother in need but closes his eyes to his need—how can God’s love reside in him?

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - James 1:16-18

James 1:16-18 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Don’t be deceived, my dearly loved brothers. Every generous act and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights; with Him there is no variation or shadow cast by turning. By His own choice, He gave us a new birth by the message of truth so that we would be the firstfruits of His creatures.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 20:4-5

Psalm 20:4-5 Holman Christian Standard Bible

May He give you what your heart desires

and fulfill your whole purpose.

Let us shout for joy at your victory

and lift the banner in the name of our God.

May Yahweh fulfill all your requests.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 20:19

Proverbs 20:19 Holman Christian Standard Bible

The one who reveals secrets is a constant gossip;

avoid someone with a big mouth.

Morning Scripture Reading - Micah 5:2-5

Micah 5:2-5 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Bethlehem Ephrathah,

you are small among the clans of Judah;

One will come from you

to be ruler over Israel for Me.

His origin is from antiquity,

from eternity.

Therefore, He will abandon them until the time

when she who is in labor has given birth;

then the rest of His brothers will return

to the people of Israel.

He will stand and shepherd them

in the strength of Yahweh,

in the majestic name of Yahweh His God.

They will live securely,

for then His greatness will extend

to the ends of the earth.

He will be their peace.

When Assyria invades our land,

when it marches against our fortresses,

we will raise against it seven shepherds,

even eight leaders of men.

Monday, June 20, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - 1 Thessalonians 5:12-22

1 Thessalonians 5:12-22 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Now we ask you, brothers, to give recognition to those who labor among you and lead you in the Lord and admonish you, and to regard them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. And we exhort you, brothers: warn those who are irresponsible, comfort the discouraged, help the weak, be patient with everyone. See to it that no one repays evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good for one another and for all.

Rejoice always!

Pray constantly.

Give thanks in everything,

for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Don’t stifle the Spirit.

Don’t despise prophecies,

but test all things.

Hold on to what is good.

Stay away from every kind of evil.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 20:1-3

Psalm 20:1-3 Holman Christian Standard Bible

For the choir director. A Davidic psalm.

May Yahweh answer you in a day of trouble;

may the name of Jacob’s God protect you.

May He send you help from the sanctuary

and sustain you from Zion.

May He remember all your offerings

and accept your burnt offering. Selah

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 20:18

Proverbs 20:18 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Finalize plans with counsel,

and wage war with sound guidance.

Morning Scripture Reading - Philippians 3:17-21

Philippians 3:17-21 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Join in imitating me, brothers, and observe those who live according to the example you have in us. For I have often told you, and now say again with tears, that many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction; their god is their stomach; their glory is in their shame. They are focused on earthly things, but our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. He will transform the body of our humble condition into the likeness of His glorious body, by the power that enables Him to subject everything to Himself.

Sunday, June 19, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - Isaiah 30:18-22

Isaiah 30:18-22 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Therefore the Lord is waiting to show you mercy,

and is rising up to show you compassion,

for the Lord is a just God.

All who wait patiently for Him are happy.

For you people will live on Zion in Jerusalem and will never cry again. He will show favor to you at the sound of your cry; when He hears, He will answer you. The Lord will give you meager bread and water during oppression, but your Teacher will not hide Himself any longer. Your eyes will see your Teacher, and whenever you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear this command behind you: “This is the way. Walk in it.” Then you will defile your silver-plated idols and your gold-plated images. You will throw them away like menstrual cloths, and call them filth.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 19:12-14

Psalm 19:12-14 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Who perceives his unintentional sins?

Cleanse me from my hidden faults.

Moreover, keep Your servant from willful sins;

do not let them rule over me.

Then I will be innocent

and cleansed from blatant rebellion.

May the words of my mouth

and the meditation of my heart

be acceptable to You,

Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.

Happy Father's Day!

 Happy Father's Day!

Psalm 127:3 New Living Translation

Children are a gift from the Lord;
    they are a reward from him.

Sunday Praise & Worship Message - Many Will Come

During the past couple of decades televangelism has exploded. There are so many “preaching” the Word of God. Some are closer to self-help gurus who espouse a life filled with positive attitudes and bookshelves full of books to buy and read. They will tell you that you have a great life and that all you need to do is buy the next book. After buying book after book, people become disillusioned and will sell those books to a used bookstore. They no longer see the great life to come and things didn’t change for them. They bought all the books, “attended” every Sunday televised service and donated all the money they could spare. When things didn’t change, that’s when they began to question not the preachers, but God. They fell into the trap of listening to individuals who were clearly not preaching the Word of God. 

I am not going to tell you that your life will be “roses and rainbows” when you accept Jesus as your personal Savior and the Lord of your life. The difficulties of this fallen world don’t melt away for God’s children. What will change is how you handle adversity and the difficulties of life. You will realize that you are nothing without God in your life and that you must depend on Him daily. It is your faith in Him that will keep you from falling. 

When my mother had cancer back in the late 1990s, it was a very difficult time for our family. Mom was getting almost ready to retire and life seemed good for her. She had seen her two sons graduate from college and have lives of their own. Life was sweet for her. Then, one day she developed a persistent cough that just wouldn’t go away. After a couple of weeks of treatment, the doctor sent her for a chest x-ray and then a CAT scan. There, in the images, was a mass about, at the time, the size of a baseball. It was a tumor. After a few more tests, we found out what it was. Mom was diagnosed with small-cell lung cancer. When trouble does come, it sometimes sneaks in quietly and then quickly makes itself known to all.

Mom struggled for almost three years with chemotherapy, radiation and surgery. At one point, she went into remission and we all thought she had turned the corner. Then, one day, things went from bad to worse. In just a couple of hours, our whole world crashed. Mom had succumbed to her cancer.

In all of the time we spent together, I saw my mother’s faith challenged daily. Cancer was very difficult on her and I feel for all who are or have gone through it. Their families fight daily for just one more day. They struggle together and, at times, cry together. There are good moments, but there is always a shadow that is right around the next corner.

The one thing that helped her the most was her faith. There were times when her faith was challenged and shaken to the core. But, she managed to get through those times by returning to God’s Word for comfort, strength and encouragement. It was that faith that carried her through some of the most difficult times. She truly was an example of faith under fire.

There are those who are reading this message who are going through some tough times. I, too, have been in your place a couple of times. Your faith will be challenged and there will be times when someone tells you that life will be easier for you only if you read his or her book. Those preachers are the ones that are there only to pick your pockets and leave you more empty than you were before.

John, in chapter four of his first epistle, writes, “Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God. For there are many false prophets in the world. This is how we know if they have the Spirit of God: If a person claiming to be a prophet acknowledges that Jesus Christ came in a real body, that person has the Spirit of God. But if someone claims to be a prophet and does not acknowledge the truth about Jesus, that person is not from God. Such a person has the spirit of the Antichrist, which you heard is coming into the world and indeed is already here.”

If people start to tell you something that just doesn’t seem right to you, there is a reason. The Holy Spirit is speaking to you at that moment. He is warning you about the words being spoken. If they don’t acknowledge the truth of Jesus and tell you something else, then you need to question their knowledge and claims of being a preacher or prophet of God. They will preach a gospel that is false and that will lead only to disappointment and, ultimately, destruction. Their worldly words will be soothing at first and lull you into a false sense of peace and comfort. They will make you feel good and then they will set the trap. All they are interested in is money and filling their coffers with wealth and power.

What they provide is a peace that this world has to offer, but it is not the peace offered by God. The peace that God offers is free and is beyond all human understanding. It is a peace that only the heart and soul can truly understand. Many will tell you that they can give you peace of mind for a small donation or if you buy their book. The Good News comes freely. Don’t be deceived by what they are peddling to the world. 

Jesus, in chapter twenty-four of the Gospel of Matthew, said, “Don’t let anyone mislead you, for many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah.’ They will deceive many.”

The false prophets will seem, at first, a breath of fresh air and tell you exactly what you want to hear. Their words will seep into your mind and begin to make you feel better about yourself. They will work to convince you that you are really a god and in control of your own destiny. You won’t need anything else to improve your life. It is within your power to do more. 

Like the old adage goes, “if it’s too good to be true, it often is.”

At first, what they say may give you some comfort and make you feel a lot better, but that’s all that they offer. It only feels better for a short period of time. Like a narcotic, you want more and they know that you will come back for more. This is the time when they ask you for a small donation or to buy their book. They will claim to be able to perform a miracle in your life. Don’t be deceived.

Jesus, later in chapter twenty-four of the Gospel of Matthew, says, “Then if anyone tells you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah,’ or ‘There he is,’ don’t believe it. For false messiahs and false prophets will rise up and perform great signs and wonders so as to deceive, if possible, even God’s chosen ones. See, I have warned you about this ahead of time.”

There will always be those who preach a false gospel or tell you something just to make you feel good when you face adversity. It is at those times when you must remain firm in your faith and seek God’s will in your life. Jesus never preached that life will be easier for those who believed in him. What he taught is that God is always there to provide for your needs and give you the strength to take that next step. Each day and each moment of each day can be filled with joy or sorrow. But, it’s all up to you as to how you will live. 

Will you live in true faith and continue to follow God’s will or will you simply give into the words of those who are only interested in fleecing the flock for their own gain? The choice is yours to make. 

If you seek God and ask Him for wisdom, He will give it to you in great abundance. He will never leave nor forsake you. When you live that type of faith and walk daily with the Lord, you will, most assuredly, stand firm in His grace.

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

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 20:17

Proverbs 20:17 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Food gained by fraud is sweet to a man,

but afterward his mouth is full of gravel.

Morning Scripture Reading - Matthew 19:13-15

Matthew 19:13-15 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Then children were brought to Him so He might put His hands on them and pray. But the disciples rebuked them. Then Jesus said, “Leave the children alone, and don’t try to keep them from coming to Me, because the kingdom of heaven is made up of people like this.” After putting His hands on them, He went on from there.

Saturday, June 18, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - Luke 19:9-10

Luke 19:9-10 Holman Christian Standard Bible

“Today salvation has come to this house,” Jesus told him, “because he too is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost.”

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 19:7-11

Psalm 19:7-11 Holman Christian Standard Bible

The instruction of the Lord is perfect,

renewing one’s life;

the testimony of the Lord is trustworthy,

making the inexperienced wise.

The precepts of the Lord are right,

making the heart glad;

the command of the Lord is radiant,

making the eyes light up.

The fear of the Lord is pure,

enduring forever;

the ordinances of the Lord are reliable

and altogether righteous.

They are more desirable than gold—

than an abundance of pure gold;

and sweeter than honey,

which comes from the honeycomb.

In addition, Your servant is warned by them;

there is great reward in keeping them.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 20:16

Proverbs 20:16 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Take his garment,

for he has put up security for a stranger;

get collateral if it is for foreigners.

Morning Scripture Reading - Mark 5:35-43

Mark 5:35-43 Holman Christian Standard Bible

While He was still speaking, people came from the synagogue leader’s house and said, “Your daughter is dead. Why bother the Teacher anymore?”

But when Jesus overheard what was said, He told the synagogue leader, “Don’t be afraid. Only believe.” He did not let anyone accompany Him except Peter, James, and John, James’s brother. They came to the leader’s house, and He saw a commotion—people weeping and wailing loudly. He went in and said to them, “Why are you making a commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but asleep.”

They started laughing at Him, but He put them all outside. He took the child’s father, mother, and those who were with Him, and entered the place where the child was. Then He took the child by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which is translated, “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”). Immediately the girl got up and began to walk. (She was 12 years old.) At this they were utterly astounded. Then He gave them strict orders that no one should know about this and said that she should be given something to eat.

Friday, June 17, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - Luke 10:17-20

Luke 10:17-20 Holman Christian Standard Bible

The Seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in Your name.”

He said to them, “I watched Satan fall from heaven like a lightning flash. Look, I have given you the authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy; nothing will ever harm you. However, don’t rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 19:5-6

Psalm 19:5-6 Holman Christian Standard Bible

It is like a groom coming from the bridal chamber;

it rejoices like an athlete running a course.

It rises from one end of the heavens

and circles to their other end;

nothing is hidden from its heat.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 20:15

Proverbs 20:15 Holman Christian Standard Bible

There is gold and a multitude of jewels,

but knowledgeable lips are a rare treasure.

Morning Scripture Reading - 1 Corinthians 14:1-5

1 Corinthians 14:1-5 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Pursue love and desire spiritual gifts, and above all that you may prophesy. For the person who speaks in another language is not speaking to men but to God, since no one understands him; however, he speaks mysteries in the Spirit. But the person who prophesies speaks to people for edification, encouragement, and consolation. The person who speaks in another language builds himself up, but he who prophesies builds up the church. I wish all of you spoke in other languages, but even more that you prophesied. The person who prophesies is greater than the person who speaks in languages, unless he interprets so that the church may be built up.

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - Deuteronomy 34:10-12

Deuteronomy 34:10-12 Holman Christian Standard Bible

No prophet has arisen again in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face. He was unparalleled for all the signs and wonders the Lord sent him to do against the land of Egypt—to Pharaoh, to all his officials, and to all his land, and for all the mighty acts of power and terrifying deeds that Moses performed in the sight of all Israel.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 19:1-4

Psalm 19:1-4 Holman Christian Standard Bible

For the choir director. A Davidic psalm.

The heavens declare the glory of God,

and the sky proclaims the work of His hands.

Day after day they pour out speech;

night after night they communicate knowledge.

There is no speech; there are no words;

their voice is not heard.

Their message has gone out to all the earth,

and their words to the ends of the world.

In the heavens He has pitched a tent for the sun.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 20:14

Proverbs 20:14 Holman Christian Standard Bible

“It’s worthless, it’s worthless!” the buyer says,

but after he is on his way, he gloats.

Morning Scripture Reading - Isaiah 60:1-3

Isaiah 60:1-3 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Arise, shine, for your light has come,

and the glory of the Lord shines over you.

For look, darkness covers the earth,

and total darkness the peoples;

but the Lord will shine over you,

and His glory will appear over you.

Nations will come to your light,

and kings to the brightness of your radiance.

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - Matthew 26:36-39

Matthew 26:36-39 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and He told the disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” Taking along Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. Then He said to them, “My soul is swallowed up in sorrow —to the point of death. Remain here and stay awake with Me.” Going a little farther, He fell facedown and prayed, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup pass from Me. Yet not as I will, but as You will.”

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 18:46-50

Psalm 18:46-50 Holman Christian Standard Bible

The Lord lives—may my rock be praised!

The God of my salvation is exalted.

God—He gives me vengeance

and subdues peoples under me.

He frees me from my enemies.

You exalt me above my adversaries;

You rescue me from violent men.

Therefore I will praise You, Yahweh, among the nations;

I will sing about Your name.

He gives great victories to His king;

He shows loyalty to His anointed,

to David and his descendants forever.

Mid-Week Message - Send Me

 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I. Send me!"   Isaiah 6:8

Each time I read this verse I am more in awe.  The willingness that it reveals is astounding to me.  But it teaches me something very important.  We need to be available to the Lord to do what He needs done.  What should matter the most is His kingdom and His will. 

Years ago, I prayed a prayer, after which I began to place a lot of stipulations.  The prayer was simply, "Lord, do with me what you will.  Whatever it takes, Lord, do."  As I thought about the words that had come out of my mouth, fear set in.  What if that meant that something or someone I loved would be taken from me?  What if that meant serious illness?  What if that meant going somewhere difficult?  What ifs poured forth like a fountain.  But the prayer had already been uttered.  Could I stand before my heavenly Father and say, "I changed my mind?"  

It took me awhile to think things through. In the end, I poured out my heart and shared my fears with Him.  I figured that since He made me, He would understand.  And in the end, I said the words again, "Whatever it takes, Lord, do."  Because I want to be used of Him.  I want to bring glory to His name and honor Him in His kingdom.  I want to be who He created me to be.  

My challenge this week is for you to think about those words, and if you have never prayed them, that you do so.  It sounds much easier than it truly is.  But I promise you that it will deepen your relationship with the Lord and you will learn some new things about yourself.  God bless you.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 20:13

Proverbs 20:13 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Don’t love sleep, or you will become poor;

open your eyes, and you’ll have enough to eat.

Morning Scripture Reading - James 4:1-3

James 4:1-3 Holman Christian Standard Bible

What is the source of wars and fights among you? Don’t they come from the cravings that are at war within you? You desire and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and don’t receive because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your evil desires.

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - 1 Corinthians 1:4-9

1 Corinthians 1:4-9 Holman Christian Standard Bible

I always thank my God for you because of God’s grace given to you in Christ Jesus, that by Him you were enriched in everything—in all speech and all knowledge. In this way, the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you, so that you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you will be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful; you were called by Him into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 18:43-45

Psalm 18:43-45 Holman Christian Standard Bible

You have freed me from the feuds among the people;

You have appointed me the head of nations;

a people I had not known serve me.

Foreigners submit to me grudgingly;

as soon as they hear, they obey me.

Foreigners lose heart

and come trembling from their fortifications.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 20:12

Proverbs 20:12 Holman Christian Standard Bible

The hearing ear and the seeing eye—

the Lord made them both.

Morning Scripture Reading - Hebrews 10:23-25

Hebrews 10:23-25 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Let us hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us be concerned about one another in order to promote love and good works, not staying away from our worship meetings, as some habitually do, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

Monday, June 13, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - Matthew 5:11-12

Matthew 5:11-12 Holman Christian Standard Bible

“You are blessed when they insult and persecute you and falsely say every kind of evil against you because of Me. Be glad and rejoice, because your reward is great in heaven. For that is how they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 18:37-42

Psalm 18:37-42 Holman Christian Standard Bible

I pursue my enemies and overtake them;

I do not turn back until they are wiped out.

I crush them, and they cannot get up;

they fall beneath my feet.

You have clothed me with strength for battle;

You subdue my adversaries beneath me.

You have made my enemies retreat before me;

I annihilate those who hate me.

They cry for help, but there is no one to save them—

they cry to the Lord, but He does not answer them.

I pulverize them like dust before the wind;

I trample them like mud in the streets.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 20:11

Proverbs 20:11 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Even a young man is known by his actions—

if his behavior is pure and upright.

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, June 12, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - 1 Peter 5:10-11

1 Peter 5:10-11 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Now the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ Jesus, will personally restore, establish, strengthen, and support you after you have suffered a little. The dominion belongs to Him forever. Amen.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 18:30-36

Psalm 18:30-36 Holman Christian Standard Bible

God—His way is perfect;

the word of the Lord is pure.

He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him.

For who is God besides Yahweh?

And who is a rock? Only our God.

God—He clothes me with strength

and makes my way perfect.

He makes my feet like the feet of a deer

and sets me securely on the heights.

He trains my hands for war;

my arms can bend a bow of bronze.

You have given me the shield of Your salvation;

Your right hand upholds me,

and Your humility exalts me.

You widen a place beneath me for my steps,

and my ankles do not give way.

Sunday Praise & Worship Message - Don’t Throw It All Away

Over the past couple of decades, religion across the world has been mocked and, in some cases, individuals have been persecuted for their faith. In some countries, people must worship in secret to keep from being beaten or going to jail. All of these things were done while governments told their citizens that they would be tolerant of religion and make concessions for different beliefs. Those promises were merely words to placate the masses. All the while, thousands of people were quietly threatened to give up their faith or face the consequences. Most, if not all, in those countries, refused to give up on their faith and endured the consequences.

In the United States, Christians face ridicule daily and are often seen as people who are stupid or gullible for believing in some unseen spirit in the sky. Americans live in a country that was originally founded on the freedom of religion. The Founding Fathers thought that there were three things that were so very important to a nation. One of those fundamental rights is free speech and a free press. The authors of the United States Constitution believed that in order for a democracy to flourish, it must allow individuals to share their thoughts without fear of a government bent on silencing individuals and ideas. The second was the ability for citizens to peaceably protest and to “petition the Government for a redress of grievances”. Citizens have the right to stand up and let their voices be heard when they believe that the government has overstepped its authority.

The third, which is actually the first and most important of the three rights mentioned in the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, is religion. The government cannot create a national religion or prevent the free exercise of this right. This right, to all, is a sacred right that did not derive itself from the words of men. This right was a God-given right and the Government was given the authority to protect that right.

In time, the right of worship has come under fire. Prayer was taken out of schools and even some municipalities removed their opening prayer to start their meetings. Churches are no longer seen as places of worship, but, rather, as targets for thieves and vandals. My father recalled growing up when churches remained open all day and all night long. People who wanted to pray could go to a church day or night and just pray. Those days have changed. Churches must lock their doors and many have installed security cameras and alarm systems.

What we once took for granted has now changed for the worse. Many have walked away from their faith for various reasons. Some were promised great riches if they would just give to a particular church. When the believers failed to get what they wanted, they were told to give even more to show their faith. After a period of time, they just gave up and felt that all churches were money-making endeavors to line the pockets of a few. Others just gave up on their faith when things got too tough for them. They thought that Christainity protected them from horrible situations and that they wouldn’t have to go through bad experiences. 

For whatever reason, many have given up on their faith and their salvation. They listened to those in the world who have mockingly asked Christians about the existence of God. The world planted seeds in the minds of people who may not have sought God’s gift of wisdom, but relied upon their own understanding. In short, they threw their faith and salvation away. They gave back the gift given by God through His son, Christ Jesus.

This sinful world doesn’t make it easy on Christians. We suffer daily from ridicule and laughter. You can’t turn on the television without hearing someone poke fun at believers and call them “stupid”. Some will preach their own religion and tell all who listen that all paths lead to salvation. No matter what is said or done, we all face some sort of suffering for our faith. For some, that suffering comes in the form of words while for others it may be imprisonment or death.

In either extreme and in all cases in between, we must be prepared to suffer for our faith and not throw it away. We must learn to take the bitter with the better and rise up as Christians to support one another. We must act as a family that stays and prays together. 

The author of the Book of Hebrews, in chapter 10, writes, “Think back on those early days when you first learned about Christ. Remember how you remained faithful even though it meant terrible suffering. Sometimes you were exposed to public ridicule and were beaten, and sometimes you helped others who were suffering the same things. You suffered along with those who were thrown into jail, and when all you owned was taken from you, you accepted it with joy. You knew there were better things waiting for you that will last forever.

There are better things for you. God has made that promise to you when you accepted His son as your personal Savior and Lord. The things that God has given you will last forever. When one Christian suffers, we all suffer. We suffer together for our faith and for the promise of everlasting life with the Father. 

I know that the suffering that is often heaped upon us is difficult and it would be so easy just to give up. It is during those times when you should seek God and ask for wisdom. Ask other Christians to pray for you in your time of suffering. Our ministry has a prayer request form prominently displayed on the first page of our website. We and so many others are here to pray and help you when you are suffering and feeling like you just want to give up and throw it all away.

The author later writes, “So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised.

Patient endurance is the key to living daily in a sinful world. Satan will always whisper in your ear and try to convince you to give up on your faith. He will use people to call you stupid and, worse, to ridicule you. But, you cannot give up on your faith and the gift of salvation. Don’t let anyone or anything cause you to throw it all away. 

Before you get to that point, I ask you to remember the last sentence of chapter ten of the Book of Hebrews. The author writes, “But we are not like those who turn away from God to their own destruction. We are the faithful ones, whose souls will be saved.

You were never forced to accept God’s undeserved gift of salvation. You accepted it freely. It is up to you whether or not you will keep it or throw it all away. It is your decision to make. But, before you make that decision, I implore you to reach out to other Christians for prayer. Seek God’s will and His gift of wisdom. If you do those things, God will place a hedge of protection all around you and give you whatever you need to strengthen your faith. You have an entire heavenly armory at your disposal to fight against the darkness. Don’t throw it away. Stand firm in His grace.

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

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 20:10

Proverbs 20:10 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Differing weights and varying measures—

both are detestable to the Lord.

Morning Scripture Reading - Jude 20-21

Jude 20-21 Holman Christian Standard Bible

But you, dear friends, as you build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, expecting the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ for eternal life.

Saturday, June 11, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - 2 Peter 3:8-9

2 Peter 3:8-9 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Dear friends, don’t let this one thing escape you: With the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord does not delay His promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 18:25-29

Psalm 18:25-29 Holman Christian Standard Bible

With the faithful

You prove Yourself faithful;

with the blameless man

You prove Yourself blameless;

with the pure

You prove Yourself pure,

but with the crooked

You prove Yourself shrewd.

For You rescue an afflicted people,

but You humble those with haughty eyes.

Lord, You light my lamp;

my God illuminates my darkness.

With You I can attack a barrier,

and with my God I can leap over a wall.