Sunday, July 31, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - Romans 8:37-39

Romans 8:37-39 Holman Christian Standard Bible

No, in all these things we are more than victorious

through Him who loved us.

For I am persuaded that not even death or life,

angels or rulers,

things present or things to come, hostile powers,

height or depth, or any other created thing

will have the power to separate us

from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 30:1-3

Psalm 30:1-3 Holman Christian Standard Bible

A psalm; a dedication song for the house. Davidic.

I will exalt You, Lord,

because You have lifted me up

and have not allowed my enemies

to triumph over me.

Lord my God,

I cried to You for help, and You healed me.

Lord, You brought me up from Sheol;

You spared me from among those

going down to the Pit.

Sunday Praise & Worship Message - How to Treat Others Around You

Over the past couple of months, I have been slowly making my way through Paul’s epistle to the Romans and studying its history. The Epistle to the Romans is the sixth book in the New Testament and is the longest of all of the epistles written by Paul. One of the things that struck me about Paul’s letter is what he details regarding the action of individuals. Paul makes it a point to tell those in Rome that salvation comes from faith rather than action. Godly action is a result of faith. Actions alone do not ensure salvation. It is by faith that we are saved. 

After he had evangelized to the territories around the Aegean Sea, Paul wrote the epistle somewhere around fifty-seven to fifty-eight AD, depending on the biblical scholar. In this letter, Paul covers all of the parts of a Christian’s life. He talks about hypocrites as well as the transformation of believers. In short, Paul, you could say, writes, what I would call, “The Simple Guide to Christianity”.

When you read this book, which I highly encourage everyone to do and, if you have, read it again, Paul provides wonderful words of wisdom that sum up the points he is making. 

For example, in chapter twelve, Paul ends the chapter with a simple statement that sums up the entire chapter and wraps it up very neatly into something that all of us can remember.

Paul writes, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

When you look at today’s world, you see nothing but shootings, vandalism and destruction. Our society seems to revel in watching the world tear itself apart. Wars, pestilence, famine and death seem to fill our newsfeeds daily with stories that rival the most macabre stories of fiction. At times, it seems that some enjoy it. They love to watch the world burn down.

In the 2008 movie, “The Dark Knight”, Michael Caine, playing the role of Alfred Pennyworth, said, “Because some men aren't looking for anything logical, like money. They can't be bought, bullied, reasoned, or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn.”

It is a sad state of affairs when individuals just enjoy seeing the world burn. In fact, they don’t see the beauty of the world that was created by God. They only see things to destroy or deface. Nothing matters to them. That mentality is horrible and frightens me. I am not afraid of what they could do to me, but, rather, I am afraid that they will stand before God on that Day of Judgment and be told to part from Him. I fear for their damnation and pray for them daily to come to enjoy the peace that surpasses all understanding.

Going back to chapter twelve, Paul provides us with several life lessons regarding how we should treat one another. Having a strong relationship with God is one thing, but having a loving, caring relationship with those around us is quite another. It is very easy for us to discount others who aren’t in our group of friends. We can easily turn our heads away and look elsewhere when we see those in need. But, Paul tells us that we must care even for those who would persecute or curse us. 

Paul writes, “Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.

The only thing we should hate is evil. We should love with all of our heart the things that are higher and nobler and only cling to good. Our love for one another should bind us together. Hatred only separates us. It is so easy to hate and devote ourselves to destruction and evil. Our lives should be filled with joy, hope and love.

Paul, in chapter thirteen of his first epistle to the Corinthians, reminds us of these wonderful virtues, “Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.

Love for one another allows us to come together regardless of race, ethnicity or ideology. By living a life devoted to loving one another, we live our lives how God intended. Love draws us together like no other emotion. When we face problems in life, love and prayers are there to support us during the darkest of times.   

By keeping hope, patience and faith at the forefront of our minds and hearts, it is easier to keep our spiritual fire burning bright for the Lord. Our lives are filled with purpose and with the desire to share and show hospitality with those in need.

In order for a world full of love to come about, we must learn to live in harmony with one another. This is nothing new, but it does seem very alien to some. 

Paul further writes, “Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!

There will always be those who want discontent and evil to fill the world. But, over time, we can learn to “live in harmony with each other”. We should never be so arrogant as to look down on one another. When we do that, that introduces evil. We should humble ourselves to one another just as Jesus humbled himself to die a criminal’s death on a cross for each of us to give us eternal life by being our atonement sacrifice.

As you start another week, I ask you to take the steps to live in harmony and show love to family, friends and enemies alike. You will be surprised when they see you showing hospitality and humility in the face of ill and evil. Be the example to them and they will soon see God alive and well in your heart. When evil seems to be getting the upper hand, God will give you all that you need to be able to stand firm in His grace.

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

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 21:29

Proverbs 21:29 Holman Christian Standard Bible

A wicked man puts on a bold face,

but the upright man considers his way.

Morning Scripture Reading - Jeremiah 17:7-8

Jeremiah 17:7-8 Holman Christian Standard Bible

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.

Saturday, July 30, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - 2 Samuel 22:31-37

2 Samuel 22:31-37 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 the Lord?

And who is a rock? Only our God.

God is my strong refuge;

He 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 help exalts me.

You widen a place beneath me for my steps,

and my ankles do not give way.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 29:10-11

Psalm 29:10-11 Holman Christian Standard Bible

The Lord sat enthroned at the flood;

the Lord sits enthroned, King forever.

The Lord gives His people strength;

the Lord blesses His people with peace.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 21:28

Proverbs 21:28 Holman Christian Standard Bible

A lying witness will perish,

but the one who listens will speak successfully.

Morning Scripture Reading - 1 Samuel 19:4-5

1 Samuel 19:4-5 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Jonathan spoke well of David to his father Saul. He said to him: “The king should not sin against his servant David. He hasn’t sinned against you; in fact, his actions have been a great advantage to you. He took his life in his hands when he struck down the Philistine, and the Lord brought about a great victory for all Israel. You saw it and rejoiced, so why would you sin against innocent blood by killing David for no reason?”

Friday, July 29, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - 2 Chronicles 6:1-11

2 Chronicles 6:1-11 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Then Solomon said:

The Lord said He would dwell in thick darkness,

but I have built an exalted temple for You,

a place for Your residence forever.

Then the king turned and blessed the entire congregation of Israel while they were standing. He said:

May the Lord God of Israel be praised!

He spoke directly to my father David,

and He has fulfilled the promise

by His power.

He said,

“Since the day I brought My people Israel

out of the land of Egypt,

I have not chosen a city to build a temple in

among any of the tribes of Israel,

so that My name would be there,

and I have not chosen a man

to be ruler over My people Israel.

But I have chosen Jerusalem

so that My name will be there,

and I have chosen David

to be over My people Israel.”

Now it was in the heart of my father David

to build a temple for the name of Yahweh, the God of Israel.

However, Yahweh said to my father David,

“Since it was your desire to build a temple for My name,

you have done well to have this desire.

Yet, you are not the one to build the temple,

but your son, your own offspring,

will build the temple for My name.”

So Yahweh has fulfilled what He promised.

I have taken the place of my father David

and I sit on the throne of Israel, as Yahweh promised.

I have built the temple for the name of Yahweh, the God of Israel.

I have put the ark there,

where Yahweh’s covenant is

that He made with the Israelites.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 29:3-9

Psalm 29:3-9 Holman Christian Standard Bible

The voice of the Lord is above the waters.

The God of glory thunders—

the Lord, above vast waters,

the voice of the Lord in power,

the voice of the Lord in splendor.

The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars;

the Lord shatters the cedars of Lebanon.

He makes Lebanon skip like a calf,

and Sirion, like a young wild ox.

The voice of the Lord flashes flames of fire.

The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness;

the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.

The voice of the Lord makes the deer give birth

and strips the woodlands bare.

In His temple all cry, “Glory!”

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 21:27

Proverbs 21:27 Holman Christian Standard Bible

The sacrifice of a wicked person is detestable—

how much more so

when he brings it with ulterior motives!

Morning Scripture Reading - Job 19:23-27

Job 19:23-27 Holman Christian Standard Bible

I wish that my words were written down,

that they were recorded on a scroll

or were inscribed in stone forever

by an iron stylus and lead!

But I know my living Redeemer,

and He will stand on the dust at last.

Even after my skin has been destroyed,

yet I will see God in my flesh.

I will see Him myself;

my eyes will look at Him, and not as a stranger.

My heart longs within me.

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - Acts 16:25-34

Acts 16:25-34 Holman Christian Standard Bible

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the jail were shaken, and immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s chains came loose. When the jailer woke up and saw the doors of the prison open, he drew his sword and was going to kill himself, since he thought the prisoners had escaped.

But Paul called out in a loud voice, “Don’t harm yourself, because all of us are here!”

Then the jailer called for lights, rushed in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. Then he escorted them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” Then they spoke the message of the Lord to him along with everyone in his house. He took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds. Right away he and all his family were baptized. He brought them into his house, set a meal before them, and rejoiced because he had believed God with his entire household.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 29:1-2

Psalm 29:1-2 Holman Christian Standard Bible

A Davidic psalm.

Ascribe to Yahweh, you heavenly beings,

ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.

Ascribe to Yahweh the glory due His name;

worship Yahweh

in the splendor of His holiness.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 21:26

Proverbs 21:26 Holman Christian Standard Bible

He is filled with craving all day long,

but the righteous give and don’t hold back.

Morning Scripture Reading - 1 Samuel 17:45-47

1 Samuel 17:45-47 Holman Christian Standard Bible

David said to the Philistine: “You come against me with a dagger, spear, and sword, but I come against you in the name of Yahweh of Hosts, the God of Israel’s armies—you have defied Him. Today, the Lord will hand you over to me. Today, I’ll strike you down, cut your head off, and give the corpses of the Philistine camp to the birds of the sky and the creatures of the earth. Then all the world will know that Israel has a God, and this whole assembly will know that it is not by sword or by spear that the Lord saves, for the battle is the Lord’s. He will hand you over to us.”

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - Acts 2:38-39

Acts 2:38-39 Holman Christian Standard Bible

“Repent,” Peter said to them, “and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children, and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 28:8-9

Psalm 28:8-9 Holman Christian Standard Bible

The Lord is the strength of His people;

He is a stronghold of salvation for His anointed.

Save Your people, bless Your possession,

shepherd them, and carry them forever.

Mid-Week Message - God's Word in Today's World

 "I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you."  Psalm 119:11  (NIV)

According to Pew Research in 2019, although Christianity is still considered the world's largest religion, eighty percent of the governments interfered with their citizens worship in some way or another.  In some countries, like North Korea and Afghanistan, religion is proclaimed as "free" but the practicing of Christianity is highly regulated and dangerous.  

Open Doors USA lists the following ten countries as the most dangerous for Christians in 2022:  Afghanistan, North Korea, Somalia, Libya, Yemen, Eritrea, Nigeria, Pakistan, Iran and India.  

Voice of the Martyrs indicates the thirteen countries where the Word of God can only be transferred covertly:  Afghanistan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Maldives, Mauritania, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Yemen.  I would add China to this list as well.

I had a dream last night that I could not find my Bible.  Now, as many people do, I have several but no matter where I looked, there wasn't one to be found.  Not in my home.  Not in the library and not in a store.  There were books that explained what the Bible said, but no Bible to compare the truth of what was being told.  

The world we live in is becoming more and more "liberal".  No longer is God's Word considered the ultimate truth.  Churches are getting emptier and the streets are becoming more crowded.  Crime and violence are on the upswing and Christians are chided for their beliefs in a "fairy tale".  The name of our Lord is heard more in public as a curse word than something to be revered.  

So, I ask you, do you have God's Word hidden in your heart for the days ahead?  

Jesus said that we would face persecution.  I believe it will become more difficult to publicly proclaim our faith as the years go by.  Could the United States ever see the day when it will be illegal to publish and distribute Bibles?  I don't know and I hope not but it is a possibility.  

This is why we have to be involved in politics.  We have to be vocal with our votes.  As lawmakers are being elected we have to remember that laws touch every area of our lives.  If we "sit out" of the process then we are willingly accepting whatever decisions are made.  Whatever we can do to stand up for Christ, we need to do.  

This world was never intended to last forever.  The days are growing more limited with each rising of the sun.  We were tasked with sharing the Gospel that others might be saved.  How much longer do we have to do so?  

Something to think about.  

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 21:25

Proverbs 21:25 Holman Christian Standard Bible

A slacker’s craving will kill him

because his hands refuse to work.

Morning Scripture Reading - Isaiah 59:21

Isaiah 59:21 Holman Christian Standard Bible

“As for Me, this is My covenant with them,” says the Lord: “My Spirit who is on you, and My words that I have put in your mouth, will not depart from your mouth, or from the mouth of your children, or from the mouth of your children’s children, from now on and forever,” says the Lord.

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - Jeremiah 35:17

Jeremiah 35:17 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Therefore, this is what the Lord, the God of Hosts, the God of Israel, says: I will certainly bring to Judah and to all the residents of Jerusalem all the disaster I have pronounced against them because I have spoken to them, but they have not obeyed, and I have called to them, but they would not answer.”

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 28:6-7

Psalm 28:6-7 Holman Christian Standard Bible

May the Lord be praised,

for He has heard the sound of my pleading.

The Lord is my strength and my shield;

my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped.

Therefore my heart rejoices,

and I praise Him with my song.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 21:24

Proverbs 21:24 Holman Christian Standard Bible

The proud and arrogant person, named “Mocker,”

acts with excessive pride.

Morning Scripture Reading - Hebrews 13:15-16

Hebrews 13:15-16 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Therefore, through Him let us continually offer up to God a sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of our lips that confess His name. Don’t neglect to do what is good and to share, for God is pleased with such sacrifices.

Monday, July 25, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - Matthew 8:5-13

Matthew 8:5-13 Holman Christian Standard Bible

When He entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, in terrible agony!”

“I will come and heal him,” He told him.

“Lord,” the centurion replied, “I am not worthy to have You come under my roof. But only say the word, and my servant will be cured. For I too am a man under authority, having soldiers under my command. I say to this one, ‘Go!’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come!’ and he comes; and to my slave, ‘Do this!’ and he does it.”

Hearing this, Jesus was amazed and said to those following Him, “I assure you: I have not found anyone in Israel with so great a faith! I tell you that many will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Then Jesus told the centurion, “Go. As you have believed, let it be done for you.” And his servant was cured that very moment.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 28:3-5

Psalm 28:3-5 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Do not drag me away with the wicked,

with the evildoers,

who speak in friendly ways with their neighbors

while malice is in their hearts.

Repay them according to what they have done—

according to the evil of their deeds.

Repay them according to the work of their hands;

give them back what they deserve.

Because they do not consider

what the Lord has done

or the work of His hands,

He will tear them down and not rebuild them.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 21:23

Proverbs 21:23 Holman Christian Standard Bible

The one who guards his mouth and tongue

keeps himself out of trouble.

Morning Scripture Reading - Ecclesiastes 7:7

Ecclesiastes 7:7 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Surely, the practice of extortion turns a wise person into a fool,

and a bribe destroys the mind.

Sunday, July 24, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - 1 Kings 4:29-34

1 Kings 4:29-34 Holman Christian Standard Bible

God gave Solomon wisdom, very great insight, and understanding as vast as the sand on the seashore. Solomon’s wisdom was greater than the wisdom of all the people of the East, greater than all the wisdom of Egypt. He was wiser than anyone—wiser than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, Calcol, and Darda, sons of Mahol. His reputation extended to all the surrounding nations.

Solomon composed 3,000 proverbs, and his songs numbered 1,005. He described trees, from the cedar in Lebanon to the hyssop growing out of the wall. He also taught about animals, birds, reptiles, and fish. People came from everywhere, sent by every king on earth who had heard of his wisdom, to listen to Solomon’s wisdom.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 28:1-2

Psalm 28:1-2 Holman Christian Standard Bible


Lord, I call to You;

my rock, do not be deaf to me.

If You remain silent to me,

I will be like those going down to the Pit.

Listen to the sound of my pleading

when I cry to You for help,

when I lift up my hands

toward Your holy sanctuary.

Sunday Praise & Worship Message - To the Edge

I had a discussion with a friend who was going through some very tough times. She had been homeless for a period of time, but found a job and a place to stay for a while until she could take her next step. As she related her story to me, I couldn’t help but be amazed by her story and her faith. She admitted to me that there were times when her faith began to waiver and she wanted to give up. But, she would catch herself and return to her steadfast faith and continue her daily walk with the Lord. She never missed a Sunday of going to church although she would either have to walk or ask for a ride. She didn’t make much money as a waitress at a local diner, but she continued to save. She continued to remain faithful.

When it came to work, she would ask for rides back and forth to work and home. When she couldn’t find a way to and from home and work, she would walk a little over two hours to get home, sleep for a while and then walk back another two hours to work. When I could, I would give her a lift home to help out. She was very thankful for the lift.

From what I just described, you would say that her life was difficult to say the least and you would be right. It was. The really interesting part is that she continued in her faith. Some would just give up on God or turn to a life of alcohol or drugs to ease the pain. She didn’t give up nor did she turn to drugs or alcohol. She remained faithful and knew that God would change her life.

Several weeks ago, things began to change for her. She got a used car for a price she could afford. Her car isn’t the greatest to look at, but it runs very well and has been checked out by a mechanic. She moved out of a house she was living in and decided to live in her car in order to build up savings to find a cheap, but clean place to stay. Her living conditions were less than ideal and the environment proved to be a spiritual challenge for her. She was recommended for other jobs. She now works three jobs and is working to pay off her car early and find that little place she could call home. 

Most would say that her life didn’t change that much, but for her, God provided a way out of her old living environment and gave her a chance to, as she put it, live in a less toxic environment. If you asked her about these blessings, she would tell you the same thing she told me. God always provides a way and blessings.

As she related her new blessings to me, I heard a small voice deep inside my heart that told me this is the message and that same voice also provided the title to today’s message as well as the scriptural reference. In short, her story wrote my message by way of the Holy Spirit.

In the twenty-second chapter of Genesis, God tested Abraham's faith by telling him to take his one and only son to a foreign place and offer him as a burnt sacrifice to God. We all know the story, but there is an interesting part that I hadn’t really thought about. Anywhere along the way, God could have stopped Abraham and Isaac’s journey. Making the journey and agreeing to sacrifice his only son should have been proof enough to God. I think we would all agree to that. 

God, however, allowed him to continue the journey with his son, collect wood for the fire, build an altar and tie up his son. Just as he picked up the knife to kill his son as a sacrifice, an angel of the Lord appeared and told him to stop.

The angel said, “Don’t lay a hand on the boy! Do not hurt him in any way, for now I know that you truly fear God. You have not withheld from me even your son, your only son.

Sometimes God will take us to the very edge, just like Abraham, in order to test our resolve and our mettle. It is so easy for us to say we believe and have faith, but when things are at their darkest, we may decide to give up. It would be just so easy to walk away from God and tell ourselves that God doesn’t care and won’t provide for our needs. But, that is where we would be wrong.

Each day God cares for us and provides for our needs. In time, He will give us the desires of our hearts and shower us with blessings. We just have to remain patient and faithful. These two words, “patient” and “faithful”, are very difficult for us to understand and put into practice.

In the third chapter of the Book of Lamentations, the author writes, “The Lord is good to those who depend on him, to those who search for him. So it is good to wait quietly for salvation from the Lord.

The lesson is that God may take us to the very edge in testing our faith, but, in the end, He will provide for our needs and give us the desires of our hearts. We just have to patiently wait on the Lord while remaining faithful. When we do those things, He will bless us beyond imagination. You just have to be patient and always remain dedicated to Him. By doing so, you will always stand firm in His grace.

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

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 21:22

Proverbs 21:22 Holman Christian Standard Bible

A wise person went up against a city of warriors

and brought down its secure fortress.

Morning Scripture Reading - Ephesians 3:14-19

Ephesians 3:14-19 Holman Christian Standard Bible

For this reason I kneel before the Father from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named. I pray that He may grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power in the inner man through His Spirit, and that the Messiah may dwell in your hearts through faith. I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love, and to know the Messiah’s love that surpasses knowledge, so you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Saturday, July 23, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - Acts 18:9-11

Acts 18:9-11 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Then the Lord said to Paul in a night vision, “Don’t be afraid, but keep on speaking and don’t be silent. For I am with you, and no one will lay a hand on you to hurt you, because I have many people in this city.” And he stayed there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 27:13-14

Psalm 27:13-14 Holman Christian Standard Bible

I am certain that I will see the Lord’s goodness

in the land of the living.

Wait for the Lord;

be strong and courageous.

Wait for the Lord.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 21:21

Psalm 27:13-14 Holman Christian Standard Bible

I am certain that I will see the Lord’s goodness

in the land of the living.

Wait for the Lord;

be strong and courageous.

Wait for the Lord.

Morning Scripture Reading - 2 Corinthians 5:16-21

2 Corinthians 5:16-21 Holman Christian Standard Bible

From now on, then, we do not know anyone in a purely human way. Even if we have known Christ in a purely human way, yet now we no longer know Him in this way. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come. Everything is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: That is, in Christ, God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed the message of reconciliation to us. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, certain that God is appealing through us. We plead on Christ’s behalf, “Be reconciled to God.” He made the One who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Friday, July 22, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - 1 Peter 5:6-7

1 Peter 5:6-7 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your care on Him, because He cares about you.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 27:11-12

Psalm 27:11-12 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Because of my adversaries,

show me Your way, Lord,

and lead me on a level path.

Do not give me over to the will of my foes,

for false witnesses rise up against me,

breathing violence.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 21:20

Proverbs 21:20 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Precious treasure and oil are in the dwelling of a wise person,

but a foolish man consumes them.

Morning Scripture Reading - Genesis 12:1-3

Genesis 12:1-3 Holman Christian Standard Bible

The Lord said to Abram:

Go out from your land,

your relatives,

and your father’s house

to the land that I will show you.

I will make you into a great nation,

I will bless you,

I will make your name great,

and you will be a blessing.

I will bless those who bless you,

I will curse those who treat you with contempt,

and all the peoples on earth

will be blessed through you.

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - Nehemiah 9:7-8

Nehemiah 9:7-8 Holman Christian Standard Bible

You are Yahweh,

the God who chose Abram

and brought him out of Ur of the Chaldeans,

and changed his name to Abraham.

You found his heart faithful in Your sight,

and made a covenant with him

to give the land of the Canaanites,

Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites,

Jebusites, and Girgashites—

to give it to his descendants.

You have kept Your promise,

for You are righteous.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 27:7-10

Psalm 27:7-10 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Lord, hear my voice when I call;

be gracious to me and answer me.

My heart says this about You,

“You are to seek My face.”

Lord, I will seek Your face.

Do not hide Your face from me;

do not turn Your servant away in anger.

You have been my helper;

do not leave me or abandon me,

God of my salvation.

Even if my father and mother abandon me,

the Lord cares for me.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 21:19

Proverbs 21:19 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Better to live in a wilderness

than with a nagging and hot-tempered wife.

Morning Scripture Reading - Isaiah 46:8-11

Isaiah 46:8-11 Holman Christian Standard Bible

“Remember this and be brave;

take it to heart, you transgressors!

Remember what happened long ago,

for I am God, and there is no other;

I am God, and no one is like Me.

I declare the end from the beginning,

and from long ago what is not yet done,

saying: My plan will take place,

and I will do all My will.

I call a bird of prey from the east,

a man for My purpose from a far country.

Yes, I have spoken; so I will also bring it about.

I have planned it; I will also do it.

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - Mark 12:32-34

Mark 12:32-34 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Then the scribe said to Him, “You are right, Teacher! You have correctly said that He is One, and there is no one else except Him. And to love Him with all your heart, with all your understanding, and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself, is far more important than all the burnt offerings and sacrifices.”

When Jesus saw that he answered intelligently, He said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And no one dared to question Him any longer.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 27:4-6

Psalm 27:4-6 Holman Christian Standard Bible

I have asked one thing from the Lord;

it is what I desire:

to dwell in the house of the Lord

all the days of my life,

gazing on the beauty of the Lord

and seeking Him in His temple.

For He will conceal me in His shelter

in the day of adversity;

He will hide me under the cover of His tent;

He will set me high on a rock.

Then my head will be high

above my enemies around me;

I will offer sacrifices in His tent with shouts of joy.

I will sing and make music to the Lord.

Mid-Week Message - A Prayer

 "Don't be afraid, for I am with you.  Don't be discouraged, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you.  I will hold you up by my victorious right hand."  Isaiah 41:10  (NLT)

Oh, Lord, may your name be exalted and may all worship and honor be yours.  For you have shown your love to us in such magnificent ways.  We are always in your presence, in good times and in those that are sorrowful or full of fear.  

When we are lonely, you are our companion.  There is never a time that we call out to you that you fail to hear our cries.  Though we may not see you, your Word assures us that you will always be with us. 

When sadness befalls us and tears drip from wet eyes, all comfort comes from you.  The arms that enfold us come with your blessing and remind us that you also know how grief overwhelms the heart.  With compassion comes reassurance that there is no greater love than that which comes from Heaven. 

As we face illness and threats of disease to come, how grateful we are that you created us and know each and every cell in our bodies.  You are the Great Physician, the Healer of mind, body and spirit, the One that was with us as we were knitted together in our mothers' wombs.   

In times of great turmoil, we are able to turn to you, and in your perfect understanding you listen as we lay our troubling thoughts before you.  There is no wisdom that will ever surpass that of the great I Am and we can rest in the knowledge that you will guide us in the way that we should go.

During this time when the world around us is changing rapidly and we find ourselves frightened by the changes that we see, your Word reminds us that you will uphold us by your victorious right hand.  Nothing happens that is out of your sight.  You know history from beginning to end so the best thing for us to do is to carry our concerns to you in prayer and stay close by your side.   

You possess all power.  Nothing that we will ever encounter will be too great for you to handle.  

You are able to be with each of us as if we were your only child.  We can't understand it, but we are humbled by that kind of attention from our Heavenly Father.  

Lord, you, and you alone, are worthy of our worship and praise.  There is no way for us to adequately express how much we adore you except to open our hearts and allow you full access.  Make us into who you wish us to be.  Forgive us of our sins and wash us clean so that when you look at us you see the image of Jesus.  

Help us to be mindful that the days of this earth are growing fewer and that there are many around us that are not aware of the sacrifice made to secure our relationship with you.  Your Word says that you don't wish any to perish so give us the courage to open our hearts and mouths so that others might accept the Savior.  

We love you so.  May we never forget your promises and may we never have a day when we fail to honor you.  

In the name of your precious Son, 


Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 21:18

Proverbs 21:18 Holman Christian Standard Bible

The wicked are a ransom for the righteous,

and the treacherous, for the upright.

Morning Scripture Reading - Deuteronomy 4:35-38

Deuteronomy 4:35-38 Holman Christian Standard Bible

You were shown these things so that you would know that the Lord is God; there is no other besides Him. He let you hear His voice from heaven to instruct you. He showed you His great fire on earth, and you heard His words from the fire. Because He loved your fathers, He chose their descendants after them and brought you out of Egypt by His presence and great power, to drive out before you nations greater and stronger than you and to bring you in and give you their land as an inheritance, as is now taking place.

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - 1 Kings 18:20-21

1 Kings 18:20-21 Holman Christian Standard Bible

So Ahab summoned all the Israelites and gathered the prophets at Mount Carmel. Then Elijah approached all the people and said, “How long will you hesitate between two opinions? If Yahweh is God, follow Him. But if Baal, follow him.” But the people didn’t answer him a word.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 27:1-3

Psalm 27:1-3 Holman Christian Standard Bible


The Lord is my light and my salvation—

whom should I fear?

The Lord is the stronghold of my life—

of whom should I be afraid?

When evildoers came against me to devour my flesh,

my foes and my enemies stumbled and fell.

Though an army deploys against me,

my heart is not afraid;

though a war breaks out against me,

still I am confident.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 21:17

Proverbs 21:17 Holman Christian Standard Bible

The one who loves pleasure will become a poor man;

whoever loves wine and oil will not get rich.

Morning Scripture Reading - Hosea 10:1-4

Hosea 10:1-4 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Israel is a lush vine;

it yields fruit for itself.

The more his fruit increased,

the more he increased the altars.

The better his land produced,

the better they made the sacred pillars.

Their hearts are devious;

now they must bear their guilt.

The Lord will break down their altars

and demolish their sacred pillars.

In fact, they are now saying,

“We have no king!

For we do not fear the Lord.

What can a king do for us?”

They speak mere words,

taking false oaths while making covenants.

So lawsuits break out

like poisonous weeds in the furrows of a field.

Monday, July 18, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - 2 Kings 12:13-16

2 Kings 12:13-16 Holman Christian Standard Bible

However, no silver bowls, wick trimmers, sprinkling basins, trumpets, or any articles of gold or silver were made for the Lord’s temple from the money brought into the temple. Instead, it was given to those doing the work, and they repaired the Lord’s temple with it. No accounting was required from the men who received the money to pay those doing the work, since they worked with integrity. The money from the restitution offering and the sin offering was not brought to the Lord’s temple since it belonged to the priests.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 26:11-12

Psalm 26:11-12 Holman Christian Standard Bible

But I live with integrity;

redeem me and be gracious to me.

My foot stands on level ground;

I will praise the Lord in the assemblies.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 21:16

Proverbs 21:16 Holman Christian Standard Bible

The man who strays from the way of wisdom

will come to rest

in the assembly of the departed spirits.

Morning Scripture Reading - John 14:15-18

John 14:15-18 Holman Christian Standard Bible

“If you love Me, you will keep My commands. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever. He is the Spirit of truth. The world is unable to receive Him because it doesn’t see Him or know Him. But you do know Him, because He remains with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I am coming to you.

Sunday, July 17, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - James 1:26-27

James 1:26-27 Holman Christian Standard Bible

If anyone thinks he is religious without controlling his tongue, then his religion is useless and he deceives himself. Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 26:8-10

Psalm 26:8-10 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Lord, I love the house where You dwell,

the place where Your glory resides.

Do not destroy me along with sinners,

or my life along with men of bloodshed

in whose hands are evil schemes

and whose right hands are filled with bribes.

Sunday Praise & Worship Message - A Simple Message

Over many years of study and through academic pursuit, I have studied the Holy Bible repeatedly. For most, going through the entire book is a feat in and of itself. But, to go through it repeatedly, it is a feat worthy of note. Each time I go through the Holy Bible, reading the different translations and commentaries and taking copious amounts of notes, I discover so many new things. Just by reading a passage in a different translation or going through the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Koine Greek translations and understanding the word choice, I walk away with a deeper understanding of the text and a new message to share with my brothers and sisters.

Between my lay studies and scholarly studies, I feel a new appreciation for the Holy Bible. Sometimes it is as simple as better understanding a simple, small word to reading a passage in a particular language or translation. While sharing my epiphanies  with others, some will ask me about the simplest message from the Bible.

Jesus gives us the easiest answer when it comes to sharing the Good News. There are really only two things that you come away with when you read the Bible. It doesn’t take a biblical scholar or pastor of a church to share the two most important messages given to us. These simple messages are not complicated at all to understand and can be easily shared with believers and non-believers alike.

The first is how we are to have a relationship with God as well as those around us. It is important to understand not only how we are to have a relationship with God but also with everyone. God created us to be social with one another. In the garden, God sensed Adam’s need for a companion and created a woman to be his companion. Relationships are important and help us to have a grounding in our lives.

In chapter twenty-two of the Gospel of Matthew, the Pharisees asked Jesus about the most important commandment.

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

These weren’t new ideas to anyone. The first part of the answer regarding our relationship with the Father comes from the Book of Deuteronomy. The second regarding our relationship with each other comes from the Book of Leviticus. In short, there wasn’t anything earth-shattering about Jesus’ answer. But, the thing that makes the difference is acting on both and showing the world that you are truly a child of God.

It is so easy to say that you believe in God, but do you show it? Do you profess your love and devotion to God to others? In this day and age, it is difficult. Many will call you names and tell you are stupid, but you can’t let them deter you. In one of the lines of one of my favorite hymns, “I am Resolved”, it provides you with the truth that we may face as Christians, “Friends may oppose me, foes may beset me, still I will enter in.”

You cannot be deterred by the opposition of friends or the words of those who don’t believe, you must live the simple truth daily. Don’t let anyone tell you differently.

The other part of this is to love your neighbor. That is equally as important. But, there is a catch to this. “Neighbor” doesn’t just refer to your friends and those who live close by. It is more than just those who like or love you. This includes your enemies as well. The word, neighbor, is given a different meaning. It means everyone, family, friend and foe alike. Jesus reminds us that we are to love everyone as we love ourselves.

Jesus, in chapter five of the Gospel of Matthew, tells those listening to his Sermon on the Mount, “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.

It is so difficult for anyone to do these things, but we must be true to the Father. The message is easy, but it is the acting on it that is tough. I know it. I struggle with loving my enemy daily. It is so easy to love those who love you, but it is quite another story to love someone who is your enemy. However, we must learn that lesson and put those words into action.

The last part of this simple message is more about love, but it is the love of the Father for us. We have been so disobedient and sinful. There was no way that we could atone for our sins. No amount of sacrifices could cover the debt of sin we owed. God gave us salvation through His son, Jesus. He died on a cross to wash away our sins and remove the tally marks from our slates.

While having a discussion with a Jewish religious leader, Nicodemus, Jesus, in the third chapter of the Gospel of John, tells him, “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.

This is God’s plan for our salvation and gift of undeserved grace. This grace was given out of love and not as something that we earned or could even pay. It was freely given to all as a gift. Understanding the love it took to provide for our atonement is something we can never possibly fathom. 

If you look up grace in the Encyclopedia Britannica, it says that grace is “the spontaneous, unmerited gift of the divine favor in the salvation of sinners, and the divine influence operating in individuals for their regeneration and sanctification.”

When you combine Jesus’ words with our pitiful understanding of grace, you can see that this part of the simple message will bring you to your knees. It is at that moment that you begin to understand God’s love for you.

As I end my message to you, I ask that you think about this simple message that God has given you and live it each day. If you haven’t accepted Jesus as your personal Savior and Lord, I ask that you consider these words not only in your mind but also in your heart. These words will lead you to a decision that will change your entire life.

No matter who you are or what station in life you have by living these words and sharing this simple message, you will stand firm in His grace daily.

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

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 21:15

Proverbs 21:15 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Justice executed is a joy to the righteous

but a terror to those who practice iniquity.

Morning Scripture Reading - Mark 6:53-56

Mark 6:53-56 Holman Christian Standard Bible

When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret and beached the boat. As they got out of the boat, people immediately recognized Him. They hurried throughout that vicinity and began to carry the sick on mats to wherever they heard He was. Wherever He would go, into villages, towns, or the country, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and begged Him that they might touch just the tassel of His robe. And everyone who touched it was made well.

Saturday, July 16, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - 1 Thessalonians 2:4-6

1 Thessalonians 2:4-6 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Instead, just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please men, but rather God, who examines our hearts. For we never used flattering speech, as you know, or had greedy motives—God is our witness— and we didn’t seek glory from people, either from you or from others.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 26:4-7

Psalm 26:4-7 Holman Christian Standard Bible

I do not sit with the worthless

or associate with hypocrites.

I hate a crowd of evildoers,

and I do not sit with the wicked.

I wash my hands in innocence

and go around Your altar, Lord,

raising my voice in thanksgiving

and telling about Your wonderful works.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 21:14

Proverbs 21:14 Holman Christian Standard Bible

A secret gift soothes anger,

and a covert bribe, fierce rage.

Morning Scripture Reading - James 1:19-20

James 1:19-20 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.

Friday, July 15, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - Hebrews 4:12-13

Hebrews 4:12-13 Holman Christian Standard Bible

For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the ideas and thoughts of the heart. 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 26:1-3

Psalm 26:1-3 Holman Christian Standard Bible


Vindicate me, Lord,

because I have lived with integrity

and have trusted in the Lord without wavering.

Test me, Lord, and try me;

examine my heart and mind.

For Your faithful love is before my eyes,

and I live by Your truth.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 21:13

Proverbs 21:13 Holman Christian Standard Bible

The one who shuts his ears to the cry of the poor

will himself also call out and not be answered.

Morning Scripture Reading - Jeremiah 23:21-24

Jeremiah 23:21-24 Holman Christian Standard Bible

I did not send these prophets,

yet they ran with a message.

I did not speak to them,

yet they prophesied.

If they had really stood in My council,

they would have enabled My people to hear My words

and would have turned them back from their evil ways

and their evil deeds.

“Am I a God who is only near”—this is the Lord’s declaration—“and not a God who is far away? Can a man hide himself in secret places where I cannot see him?”—the Lord’s declaration. “Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?”—the Lord’s declaration.

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - Romans 8:5-8

Romans 8:5-8 Holman Christian Standard Bible

For those who live according to the flesh think about the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, about the things of the Spirit. For the mind-set of the flesh is death, but the mind-set of the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind-set of the flesh is hostile to God because it does not submit itself to God’s law, for it is unable to do so. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 25:22

Psalm 25:22 Holman Christian Standard Bible

God, redeem Israel, from all its distresses.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 21:12

Proverbs 21:12 Holman Christian Standard Bible

The Righteous One considers the house of the wicked;

He brings the wicked to ruin.

Morning Scripture Reading - Galatians 5:16-18

Galatians 5:16-18 Holman Christian Standard Bible

I say then, walk by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is against the Spirit, and the Spirit desires what is against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, so that you don’t do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - Isaiah 12

Isaiah 12 Holman Christian Standard Bible

On that day you will say:

“I will praise You, Lord,

although You were angry with me.

Your anger has turned away,

and You have had compassion on me.

Indeed, God is my salvation;

I will trust Him and not be afraid,

for Yah, the Lord,

is my strength and my song.

He has become my salvation.”

You will joyfully draw water

from the springs of salvation,

and on that day you will say:

“Give thanks to Yahweh; proclaim His name!

Celebrate His works among the peoples.

Declare that His name is exalted.

Sing to Yahweh, for He has done glorious things.

Let this be known throughout the earth.

Cry out and sing, citizen of Zion,

for the Holy One of Israel is among you

in His greatness.”

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 25:16-21

Psalm 25:16-21 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Turn to me and be gracious to me,

for I am alone and afflicted.

The distresses of my heart increase;

bring me out of my sufferings.

Consider my affliction and trouble,

and take away all my sins.

Consider my enemies; they are numerous,

and they hate me violently.

Guard me and deliver me;

do not let me be put to shame,

for I take refuge in You.

May integrity and what is right

watch over me,

for I wait for You.

Mid-Week Message - Truth

"Sanctify them [purify, consecrate, separate them for Yourself, make them holy] by the Truth; Your Word is Truth."  John 17:17 (AMP) 

There is a thought going around these days that truth varies from person to person.  You hear people talking about living their truth as if they live in a different universe than everyone else.  What is forbidden by most may be found totally acceptable by the few because they have chosen to believe that what the majority might consider morally unacceptable is perfectly fine for some.  

For example, a couple of months ago I heard a woman on the nightly news state that pedophiles should be given more consideration because they can't help themselves.  According to her, their attraction to children was part of their make-up when they were born, therefore, we should allow them to live that life.    

Is this the truth or is this simply a way around the truth?  

Too many times, we pick and choose what we want to believe as truth.  This way we avoid the feelings of guilt and shame that might accompany wrong choices.  And, we live in a world that is allowing, even celebrating, those who write their own rules of what is acceptable.

I guess you have to base your beliefs upon what and who you ultimately have faith in as the accurate and factual source of truth and morals.    

In today's verse we read words that Jesus prayed before His crucifixion.  As He prayed about those who chose to follow Him, He asked His Father to sanctify them, or set them aside for Himself.  He asked God to make them holy by His truth and says that, "Your Word is Truth."  

The ultimate source for moral truth is God Himself.  He has laid out in His Word what is and is not considered right and good.  

You have the option to choose your own set of beliefs.  However, if you say you believe that He is Truth, that the Bible is Truth, then, at least in my understanding, that would mean that you do not get to pick and choose which parts of it you accept.  If His Word is Truth, then what He says is sin, is sin.  What He says is holy, is holy.  

This would also mean that you take His Word as He gave it.  In other words, either it is all true or none of it is.  Why would we pull out parts of it to question and why would we ever think that we, the created, have the right to judge whether the Creator really meant all or part of what He said?  

I have mentioned before that I take the Word of God as it is written, as inspired, God-breathed, and to be believed.  I don't ask if He really created the world in six days because He said He did and that is good enough for me.  He holds all power so it is certainly not anything that He could not do.  I don't question it.  If you do, then that is your choice and between you and Him.  

I will, however, tell you the Good News, the Gospel, about Jesus and if you do not know Him as your Savior and Lord, then I will share what He has done for me and I will pray for you and encourage you to repent and believe so that you will be saved.  Jesus is the Truth. He is the Living Word of God.  Through Him, and the leading of the Holy Spirit, you will find understanding of the written Word that we call the Bible. 

Here is the greatest Truth of all.  Almighty God send His Son, Jesus, to be the sacrifice for our sins (mine and yours) so that we might be forgiven and have eternal life with Him.  I hope you take this into your heart and that, if you are not a believer, you will find Him to be all you need.  

May grace and mercy cover your week.