Friday, September 30, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - 1 Peter 2:21-25

1 Peter 2:21-25 Holman Christian Standard Bible

For you were called to this,

because Christ also suffered for you,

leaving you an example,

so that you should follow in His steps.

He did not commit sin,

and no deceit was found in His mouth;

when He was reviled,

He did not revile in return;

when He was suffering,

He did not threaten

but entrusted Himself to the One who judges justly.

He Himself bore our sins

in His body on the tree,

so that, having died to sins,

we might live for righteousness;

you have been healed by His wounds.

For you were like sheep going astray,

but you have now returned

to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 38:3-8

Psalm 38:3-8 Holman Christian Standard Bible

There is no health in my body

because of Your indignation;

there is no strength in my bones

because of my sin.

For my sins have flooded over my head;

they are a burden too heavy for me to bear.

My wounds are foul and festering

because of my foolishness.

I am bent over and brought low;

all day long I go around in mourning.

For my loins are full of burning pain,

and there is no health in my body.

I am faint and severely crushed;

I groan because of the anguish of my heart.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 24:10-12

Proverbs 24:10-12 Holman Christian Standard Bible

If you do nothing in a difficult time,

your strength is limited.

Rescue those being taken off to death,

and save those stumbling toward slaughter.

If you say, “But we didn’t know about this,”

won’t He who weighs hearts consider it?

Won’t He who protects your life know?

Won’t He repay a person according to his work?

Morning Scripture Reading - John 14:15-21

John 14:15-21 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.

“In a little while the world will see Me no longer, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live too. In that day you will know that I am in My Father, you are in Me, and I am in you. The one who has My commands and keeps them is the one who loves Me. And the one who loves Me will be loved by My Father. I also will love him and will reveal Myself to him.”

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - Zechariah 14:8-9

Zechariah 14:8-9 Holman Christian Standard Bible

On that day living water will flow out from Jerusalem, half of it toward the eastern sea and the other half toward the western sea, in summer and winter alike. On that day Yahweh will become King over all the earth—Yahweh alone, and His name alone.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 38:1-2

Psalm 38:1-2 Holman Christian Standard Bible

A Davidic psalm for remembrance.

Lord, do not punish me in Your anger

or discipline me in Your wrath.

For Your arrows have sunk into me,

and Your hand has pressed down on me.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 24:8-9

Proverbs 24:8-9 Holman Christian Standard Bible

The one who plots evil

will be called a schemer.

A foolish scheme is sin,

and a mocker is detestable to people.

Morning Scripture Reading - Matthew 5:43-48

Matthew 5:43-48 Holman Christian Standard Bible

“You have heard that it was said, Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. For He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward will you have? Don’t even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing out of the ordinary? Don’t even the Gentiles do the same? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - 1 Peter 3:13-17

1 Peter 3:13-17 Holman Christian Standard Bible

And who will harm you if you are deeply committed to what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear or be disturbed, but honor the Messiah as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you. However, do this with gentleness and respect, keeping your conscience clear, so that when you are accused, those who denounce your Christian life will be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 37:39-40

Psalm 37:39-40 Holman Christian Standard Bible

The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord,

their refuge in a time of distress.

The Lord helps and delivers them;

He will deliver them from the wicked and will save them

because they take refuge in Him.

Mid-Week Message - Share So They Can See

 "If the Good News we preach is hidden behind a veil, it is hidden only from people who are perishing. Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God."  2 Corinthians 4:3-4 (NLT)

When I was in the first grade, my family lived in a small two bedroom house.  I shared a room with my older brother and my baby sister had a small bed in my parents' room.  I still have fond memories of that little house, except for one occurrence.  One day my brother and I, whose beds were in opposite corners of the room, were tossing one of my dolls back and forth.  This doll was made of hard plastic and dressed like a bride.  Being somewhat competitive, we were both trying to throw her harder each time.  On his last throw, my brother sent her sailing through the air feet first.  I wasn't quite quick enough and those feet hit me hard in the eyes.  I saw nothing for awhile after that except for whirling colors.  I started screaming that I couldn't see and my poor brother ran and told my parents that he had blinded me.  After a few frightening moments and some cold cloths, my vision returned but I can still remember the horrible feeling of being without sight.  

We live in a nation that has been blessed with religious freedom and founded on Christian principles.  Our right to worship is protected my law.  Churches of all denominations are spread throughout the country.  The Word of God is available for all who are interested in obtaining it.  Believers are tasked by God to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with the world.  I know many Christians who take that task to heart and speak openly with all they come in contact with.  Then I know many others who assume everyone already knows the truth, therefore there is no reason to offend anyone by forcing their beliefs upon them.  

The sad truth is that, even in this nation where Bibles and churches abound, countless precious souls have been spiritually blinded by the enemy.  Opposing beliefs, or the belief in no Creator at all, have become pervasive and are growing each and every day.  As followers of Christ, we must stop worrying about how we are going to be received and understand that we just might be the one and only person that will approach any specific person with the love and saving knowledge of Jesus.  I know it's hard.  But how will they hear unless someone tells them?  Satan uses lies to blind and deafen.  But we have the power of Almighty God and do not have to let him steal our voices. 

I will be forever grateful for the person that cared enough about me to introduce me to my Savior. Because of her, and wonderful teachers and preachers throughout my life, I have the assurance of eternal life in the presence of the Lord.  That is a treasure that I want to share which is why I write these messages each week.  If even just one person finds something meaningful in the words strung together then there is cause for rejoicing.  Each week I pray that it will be used to encourage believers and touch the hearts of those who are searching for the truth.  Oh, Lord, please embolden our hearts and give us the words to share with those around us and give sight to the spiritually blind so that they may see You clearly and be set free by the truth of Jesus.  God bless.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 24:7

Proverbs 24:7 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Wisdom is inaccessible to a fool;

he does not open his mouth at the gate.

Morning Scripture Reading - John 14:1-6

John 14:1-6 Holman Christian Standard Bible

“Your heart must not be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if not, I would have told you. I am going away to prepare a place for you. If I go away and prepare a place for you, I will come back and receive you to Myself, so that where I am you may be also. You know the way to where I am going.”

“Lord,” Thomas said, “we don’t know where You’re going. How can we know the way?”

Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - Haggai 1:7-11

Haggai 1:7-11 Holman Christian Standard Bible

The Lord of Hosts says this: “Think carefully about your ways. Go up into the hills, bring down lumber, and build the house. Then I will be pleased with it and be glorified,” says the Lord. “You expected much, but then it amounted to little. When you brought the harvest to your house, I ruined it. Why?” This is the declaration of the Lord of Hosts. “Because My house still lies in ruins, while each of you is busy with his own house.

So on your account,

the skies have withheld the dew

and the land its crops.

I have summoned a drought

on the fields and the hills,

on the grain, new wine, olive oil,

and whatever the ground yields,

on man and beast,

and on all that your hands produce.”

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 37:37-38

Psalm 37:37-38 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Watch the blameless and observe the upright,

for the man of peace will have a future.

But transgressors will all be eliminated;

the future of the wicked will be destroyed.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 24:5-6

Proverbs 24:5-6 Holman Christian Standard Bible

A wise warrior is better than a strong one,

and a man of knowledge than one of strength;

for you should wage war with sound guidance—

victory comes with many counselors.

Morning Scripture Reading - John 3:18-21

John 3:18-21 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Anyone who believes in Him is not condemned, but anyone who does not believe is already condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the One and Only Son of God.

“This, then, is the judgment: The light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil. For everyone who practices wicked things hates the light and avoids it, so that his deeds may not be exposed. But anyone who lives by the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be shown to be accomplished by God.”

Monday, September 26, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - Isaiah 37:14-20

Isaiah 37:14-20 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Hezekiah took the letter from the messengers, read it, then went up to the Lord’s temple and spread it out before the Lord. Then Hezekiah prayed to the Lord:

Lord of Hosts, God of Israel, who is enthroned above the cherubim, You are God—You alone—of all the kingdoms of the earth. You made the heavens and the earth. Listen closely, Lord, and hear; open Your eyes, Lord, and see. Hear all the words that Sennacherib has sent to mock the living God. Lord, it is true that the kings of Assyria have devastated all these countries and their lands. They have thrown their gods into the fire, for they were not gods but made by human hands—wood and stone. So they have destroyed them. Now, Lord our God, save us from his power so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You are the Lord—You alone.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 37:35-36

Psalm 37:35-36 Holman Christian Standard Bible

I have seen a wicked, violent man

well-rooted like a flourishing native tree.

Then I passed by and noticed he was gone;

I searched for him, but he could not be found.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 24:3-4

Proverbs 24:3-4 Holman Christian Standard Bible

A house is built by wisdom,

and it is established by understanding;

by knowledge the rooms are filled

with every precious and beautiful treasure.

Morning Scripture Reading - Matthew 7:1-6

Matthew 7:1-6 Holman Christian Standard Bible

“Do not judge, so that you won’t be judged. For with the judgment you use, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye but don’t notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and look, there’s a log in your eye? Hypocrite! First take the log out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. Don’t give what is holy to dogs or toss your pearls before pigs, or they will trample them with their feet, turn, and tear you to pieces.

Sunday, September 25, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - Luke 11:28

Luke 11:28 Holman Christian Standard Bible

He said, “Even more, those who hear the word of God and keep it are blessed!”

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 37:34

Psalm 37:34 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Wait for the Lord and keep His way,

and He will exalt you to inherit the land.

You will watch when the wicked are destroyed.

Sunday Praise & Worship Message - No Obligation to Sin

Over the past couple of decades, I have seen the Word of God watered down and many passages explained away and perverted into the teachings of false prophets and those who call themselves followers of Jesus. These charlatans have twisted the words inspired by God to fit their own desires. Instead of preaching the Word as given by God, many have given their own interpretation of scripture so that others would follow them and not Jesus. In short, they have created something akin to a cult rather than followers of Christ Jesus.

Sin is being redefined daily by these “preachers” and more and more of what used to be considered as sin is slowly turning into acceptable acts for all. Sin, in their opinion, should no longer be looked upon as disobedience. It has become acceptable and they have become “little white lies” that can be swept under the rug as “victimless”. If no one gets hurt, then it isn’t a sin.

Society has certainly fallen and become disobedient. People no longer fear God and believe that He will just accept them as they are. But, that isn’t what the disciples and true followers of Jesus believe. Obedience to God’s will is the foundation of our salvation and our life. It is more than just saying you are a Christian. Our obedience tells the world that we are no longer a part of it. We are born again to live and walk in faith.

If, however, you choose to live as a part of this world rather than apart from it, then you have chosen the path that will only lead you to destruction, death and damnation. God sent His son to die for our sins and provide us with salvation and everlasting life with the Father. This is an undeserved gift that has been freely given to us. 

In chapter eight of this epistle to the Romans, Paul writes, “Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.

If we live as the world would have us live, then our journey ends in death. If we, however, chose to live as God deserves us to live, then our journey ends a lot differently. Once the world passes away, we, as God’s children, will live life everlasting with the Father and the saints who have gone on before us. 

It is our choice to put to death the deeds of a sinful nature. If we chose not to, then we must bear the consequences and spend eternity weeping and wailing. God doesn’t force us into salvation. When we were created by God’s masterful hands, we were given free will. We have the right to choose things for ourselves. 

Society, unfortunately, wants us to believe that anything we do can be justified in the end. We can make decisions without consequence. That isn’t true at all. Our actions, good or bad, can either lead us to God or lead back to sin. It is entirely up to us. Don’t think for a moment that you are exempt in some way from this. Some will tell you that you don’t need to concern yourself with salvation. That is a lie.

Living as God wants us to live is important and cannot be diminished by the words of charlatans. But, we must realize that we cannot have things both ways. We are either followers of Jesus or followers of the world. We cannot keep one foot in one world while the other rests in the other. Straddling the fence does not lead to eternal life. You must commit yourself to one or the other. 

Paul, in chapter nine of his epistle to the Romans, writes, “So it is God who decides to show mercy. We can neither choose it nor work for it.

The mercy that God has shown us is something that we cannot create for ourselves. It is a gift given by Him through His son, Christ Jesus. We cannot earn through virtuous deeds or purchase it. We must accept this gift given to us graciously by God. Once we accept it, we have no obligation to sin and turn away from the evil of this world. 

When we do this, then we have made a choice that gives us life everlasting with the Father and the ability to stand firm in His grace.

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

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 24:1-2

Proverbs 24:1-2 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Don’t envy evil men

or desire to be with them,

for their hearts plan violence,

and their words stir up trouble.

Morning Scripture Reading - John 9:1-5

John 9:1-5 Holman Christian Standard Bible

As He was passing by, He saw a man blind from birth. His disciples questioned Him: “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” Jesus answered. “This came about so that God’s works might be displayed in him. We must do the works of Him who sent Me while it is day. Night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

Saturday, September 24, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - Ecclesiastes 4:6

Ecclesiastes 4:6 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Better one handful with rest

than two handfuls with effort and a pursuit of the wind.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 37:32-33

Psalm 37:32-33 Holman Christian Standard Bible

The wicked one lies in wait for the righteous

and seeks to kill him;

the Lord will not leave him

in the power of the wicked one

or allow him to be condemned when he is judged.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 23:25

Proverbs 23:25 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Let your father and mother have joy,

and let her who gave birth to you rejoice.

Morning Scripture Reading - Matthew 5:3-10

Matthew 5:3-10 Holman Christian Standard Bible

“The poor in spirit are blessed,

for the kingdom of heaven is theirs.

Those who mourn are blessed,

for they will be comforted.

The gentle are blessed,

for they will inherit the earth.

Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness are blessed,

for they will be filled.

The merciful are blessed,

for they will be shown mercy.

The pure in heart are blessed,

for they will see God.

The peacemakers are blessed,

for they will be called sons of God.

Those who are persecuted for righteousness are blessed,

for the kingdom of heaven is theirs.

Friday, September 23, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Love is patient, love is kind.

Love does not envy,

is not boastful, is not conceited,

does not act improperly,

is not selfish, is not provoked,

and does not keep a record of wrongs.

Love finds no joy in unrighteousness

but rejoices in the truth.

It bears all things, believes all things,

hopes all things, endures all things.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 37:30-31

Psalm 37:30-31 Holman Christian Standard Bible

The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom;

his tongue speaks what is just.

The instruction of his God is in his heart;

his steps do not falter.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 23:24

Proverbs 23:24 Holman Christian Standard Bible

The father of a righteous son will rejoice greatly,

and one who fathers a wise son will delight in him.

Morning Scripture Reading - John 5:41-44

John 5:41-44 Holman Christian Standard Bible

“I do not accept glory from men, but I know you—that you have no love for God within you. I have come in My Father’s name, yet you don’t accept Me. If someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him. How can you believe? While accepting glory from one another, you don’t seek the glory that comes from the only God.

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - 1 Corinthians 7:17-19

1 Corinthians 7:17-19 Holman Christian Standard Bible

However, each one must live his life in the situation the Lord assigned when God called him. This is what I command in all the churches. Was anyone already circumcised when he was called? He should not undo his circumcision. Was anyone called while uncircumcised? He should not get circumcised. Circumcision does not matter and uncircumcision does not matter, but keeping God’s commands does.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 37:27-29

Psalm 37:27-29 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Turn away from evil and do what is good,

and dwell there forever.

For the Lord loves justice

and will not abandon His faithful ones.

They are kept safe forever,

but the children of the wicked will be destroyed.

The righteous will inherit the land

and dwell in it permanently.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 23:23

Proverbs 23:23 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Buy—and do not sell—truth,

wisdom, instruction, and understanding.

Morning Scripture Reading - Matthew 13:18-23

Matthew 13:18-23 Holman Christian Standard Bible

“You, then, listen to the parable of the sower: When anyone hears the word about the kingdom and doesn’t understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the one sown along the path. And the one sown on rocky ground—this is one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy. Yet he has no root in himself, but is short-lived. When pressure or persecution comes because of the word, immediately he stumbles. Now the one sown among the thorns—this is one who hears the word, but the worries of this age and the seduction of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. But the one sown on the good ground—this is one who hears and understands the word, who does bear fruit and yields: some 100, some 60, some 30 times what was sown.”

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - Ephesians 6:14-20

Ephesians 6:14-20 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Stand, therefore,

with truth like a belt around your waist,

righteousness like armor on your chest,

and your feet sandaled with readiness

for the gospel of peace.

In every situation take the shield of faith,

and with it you will be able to extinguish

all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

Take the helmet of salvation,

and the sword of the Spirit,

which is God’s word.

Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert in this with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints. Pray also for me, that the message may be given to me when I open my mouth to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel. For this I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I might be bold enough in Him to speak as I should.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 37:25-26

Psalm 37:25-26 Holman Christian Standard Bible

I have been young and now I am old,

yet I have not seen the righteous abandoned

or his children begging for bread.

He is always generous, always lending,

and his children are a blessing.

Mid-Week Message - No Shame

 "I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me.  He freed me from all my fears.  Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces."  Psalm 34:4-5  (NLT)

Read that verse again.  Now, read it as it is written in The Message Bible.  "God met me more than halfway, he freed me from my anxious fears.  Look at him; give him your warmest smile.  Never hide your feelings from him."  

One of the things I do each week, as I am choosing the verse for the weekly message, is to read it in several different versions, or translations, of God's Word.  Doing so helps me to understand more clearly what I need to share.  This week, this precious verse from Psalm 34 grabbed my heart because I have dealt with shame most of my life.  

It is no secret that I have struggled with obesity throughout my lifetime.  Aside from the physical aspects of carrying extra weight, there are also many emotional, mental and spiritual issues that arise that are, at times, heartbreaking and shame inducing.  I have spent more time than can be imagined before my Heavenly Father begging for His forgiveness for my lack of success over what I consider my "thorn in the flesh."  And I have carried shame over the sin of overeating and sometimes found myself trying to hide from the One who loves me completely.  Now you can see why the verse means so much to me and why I cherish the idea of not having to be ashamed in His presence.  

Shame is one of the worst burdens that we can carry.  It screams at us that we are not worthy of acceptance, friendship or love from anyone, anywhere at any time.  Though those around us cannot hear the cacophony, we often hear nothing else.  It is constantly reminding us that we are less than anyone else and will never be able to escape its clutches.  Moreover, it leaves us with the gnawing assumption that sooner or later everyone will know who and what we truly are.  

This is a lie!  Shame is a weapon used by the enemy who wants to keep us from experiencing the freedom that Jesus bought for us with His blood.  Romans 3:23 tells us that, "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."  Shame is based on what we have done wrong, which is sin.  So, if all have sinned then none of us is better than anyone else.  Comparing ourselves to others is assuming that somehow their sins are not as bad as ours.  

The word "sin" is an archery term which means, "missing the mark."  Whether your arrow falls inches or yards short of the target doesn't matter.  Both have missed the mark. So it is with sin.  It doesn't matter what our sin has been, we have all missed the mark with God.  That is why He sent His son!  He came to make atonement for our sin and to reconcile us with the Father.  Now Jesus Himself intercedes for us.  When we accept Him as our Savior and Lord, our sins are forgiven so there is no need to stand in shame before our Creator.  

I am grateful for those that the Lord has used in my life to shepherd and teach me.  They showed me that my acceptance and love from Him depended on Jesus, not on myself.  Being obese has made my life more difficult but God does not turn away from me because of it.  Instead, He has walked this road beside me, encouraging and guiding me and reminding me that His love is bigger than I could ever be.  I am His child whom He adores.  

I have no way of knowing why this message was placed on my heart this week.  I never do.  I only hope that He will use it for His glory.  If you are struggling with guilt or shame today, I urge you to go to Him and allow Him to love you through it.  If He did it for me, He can, and will, surely do it for you as well.  God bless. 

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 23:22

Proverbs 23:22 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Listen to your father who gave you life,

and don’t despise your mother when she is old.

Morning Scripture Reading - John 12:23-26

John 12:23-26 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Jesus replied to them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.

“I assure you: Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains by itself. But if it dies, it produces a large crop. The one who loves his life will lose it, and the one who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me. Where I am, there My servant also will be. If anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - 1 Corinthians 4:5

1 Corinthians 4:5 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Therefore don’t judge anything prematurely, before the Lord comes, who will both bring to light what is hidden in darkness and reveal the intentions of the hearts. And then praise will come to each one from God.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 37:23-24

Psalm 37:23-24 Holman Christian Standard Bible

A man’s steps are established by the Lord,

and He takes pleasure in his way.

Though he falls, he will not be overwhelmed,

because the Lord holds his hand.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 23:21

Proverbs 23:21 Holman Christian Standard Bible

For the drunkard and the glutton will become poor,

and grogginess will clothe them in rags.

Morning Scripture Reading - Matthew 7:13-14

Matthew 7:13-14 Holman Christian Standard Bible

“Enter through the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the road is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who go through it. How narrow is the gate and difficult the road that leads to life, and few find it.

Monday, September 19, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - Isaiah 40:26-31

Isaiah 40:26-31 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Look up and see:

who created these?

He brings out the starry host by number;

He calls all of them by name.

Because of His great power and strength,

not one of them is missing.

Jacob, why do you say,

and Israel, why do you assert:

“My way is hidden from the Lord,

and my claim is ignored by my God”?

Do you not know?

Have you not heard?

Yahweh is the everlasting God,

the Creator of the whole earth.

He never grows faint or weary;

there is no limit to His understanding.

He gives strength to the weary

and strengthens the powerless.

Youths may faint and grow weary,

and young men stumble and fall,

but those who trust in the Lord

will renew their strength;

they will soar on wings like eagles;

they will run and not grow weary;

they will walk and not faint.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 37:21-22

Psalm 37:21-22 Holman Christian Standard Bible

The wicked man borrows and does not repay,

but the righteous one is gracious and giving.

Those who are blessed by Him will inherit the land,

but those cursed by Him will be destroyed.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 23:20

Proverbs 23:20 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Don’t associate with those who drink too much wine

or with those who gorge themselves on meat.

Morning Scripture Reading - John 3:5-8

John 3:5-8 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Jesus answered, “I assure you: Unless someone is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. Whatever is born of the flesh is flesh, and whatever is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I told you that you must be born again. The wind blows where it pleases, and you hear its sound, but you don’t know where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - 2 Corinthians 12:14

2 Corinthians 12:14 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Now I am ready to come to you this third time. I will not burden you, for I am not seeking what is yours, but you. For children are not obligated to save up for their parents, but parents for their children.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 37:20

Psalm 37:20 Holman Christian Standard Bible

But the wicked will perish;

the Lord’s enemies, like the glory of the pastures,

will fade away—

they will fade away like smoke.

Sunday Praise & Worship Message - Working Overtime

Although I try to be optimistic and look for the good in the world, it is getting increasingly harder to find those “bright spots” in life. With the crime rate going up across the United States and also across the world, you have to ask yourself, “What is happening to our society?”

It seems that the value of human life is zero for most of society. I see demonstrations reducing the precious virtues of human life to that of nothing more than something that can be easily discarded or destroyed. I see and read about murders and violence committed against others. In the news segments I watch, I see people going out of their way to hurt or murder others with little regard for them or society as a whole.

Nothing in our world seems to have value other than money or power. We have sold our souls for a few dollars and cheap pleasures that ultimately leave us wanting more. We crave the rush that money and power gives us and we will do literally anything for it. Many will turn to violence to achieve what they want and will do even more for that next “hit” of dopamine. Does it have to be this way?

It doesn’t have to be this way. We should not be slaves to our own desires. We are more than just another species of animal. We are above being an animal acting on its appetites. It has often been said that “manners maketh man”. I would go a step further. Our faith gives us more than just a warm feeling on the inside.

Our faith gives a relationship not only with God the Father but also each other. Jesus calls us not only to love and obey God but to also love one another. Instead we do the exact opposite of what we should be doing. Instead of taking responsibility, those individuals who choose violence and follow their desires blame society or others. Some have gone as far as to say that Satan made them do those things and that society should blame him for the violence committed.

Satan can tempt you, but he can’t make you do anything unless you give into him. He is not the one to blame for your weakness to act upon his lies and deceptions. Each of us has something that is hidden from others. Those things are the sins and vices we keep to ourselves. We feel that it is absolutely fine to do these things, because they don’t hurt others. Drugs, alcohol, pornography and other “harmless” vices lead to other things. 

Satan has convinced people that it’s fine to have something we enjoy. It all starts with it being a victimless vice. It won’t hurt others and brings pleasure. Because Satan has slipped these evil words into your head and your heart, you begin to slip away from what you should be doing to what you enjoy. You keep uttering the same words over and over, “It’s not hurting anyone and it brings me pleasure.”

But, in time, you crave more and more. You need to go further and further into depravity and continue to be disobedient not only to God but also to others. You are addicted to your vice and it doesn’t take a lot of time before you are hurting others to get that rush. 

Did Satan make you do this? No. You can’t blame him. He just spoke to you and you took the first steps. Satan even tempted Jesus. While he was in the desert fasting for forty days and forty nights, Satan came to him and tried to get Jesus to satisfy his hunger by turning stones into loaves of bread. Jesus was hungry and he certainly had the power to do that, but he, instead, reminded Satan that his spiritual food comes from God.

In chapter four of the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus tells Satan, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’

Jesus uses his faith and God’s holy word to rebuff Satan. Satan tempts Jesus two more times and fails each time. Jesus didn’t give in and neither should you. Satan is working overtime to lie and deceive everyone. All he desires is for you to give into your victimless vice and become disobedient to God. 

In his first epistle, Peter writes, “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are.

Don’t fall prey to Satan by being weak. Don’t listen to his lies and give into his deceptions. Remember the only things he can offer you will ultimately lead to destruction, death and damnation. Satan, like any predator, goes after you when you are at your weakest. During those times, you need to stand firm with other believers. There is power in numbers. 

If you feel Satan really working hard to get you to leave the path of righteousness, reach out to others and ask for prayers and words of encouragement and faith to bolster your faith and strength. God has provided you with everything you need. He has given you the Gospel Armor and it will not fail you. With that armor, you can stand firm in His grace and defeat Satan. 

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

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 23:19

Proverbs 23:19 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Listen, my son, and be wise;

keep your mind on the right course.

Morning Scripture Reading - John 15:26-27

John 15:26-27 Holman Christian Standard Bible

“When the Counselor comes, the One I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father—He will testify about Me. You also will testify, because you have been with Me from the beginning.

Saturday, September 17, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - 1 Peter 3:8-12

1 Peter 3:8-12 Holman Christian Standard Bible

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

For the one who wants to love life

and to see good days

must keep his tongue from evil

and his lips from speaking deceit,

and he must turn away from evil

and do what is good.

He must seek peace and pursue it,

because the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous

and His ears are open to their request.

But the face of the Lord is against

those who do what is evil.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 37:18-19

Psalm 37:18-19 Holman Christian Standard Bible

The Lord watches over the blameless all their days,

and their inheritance will last forever.

They will not be disgraced in times of adversity;

they will be satisfied in days of hunger.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 23:29-35

Proverbs 23:29-35 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Who has woe? Who has sorrow?

Who has conflicts? Who has complaints?

Who has wounds for no reason?

Who has red eyes?

Those who linger over wine,

those who go looking for mixed wine.

Don’t gaze at wine because it is red,

when it gleams in the cup

and goes down smoothly.

In the end it bites like a snake

and stings like a viper.

Your eyes will see strange things,

and you will say absurd things.

You’ll be like someone sleeping out at sea

or lying down on the top of a ship’s mast.

“They struck me, but I feel no pain!

They beat me, but I didn’t know it!

When will I wake up?

I’ll look for another drink.”

Morning Scripture Reading - Matthew 24:42-44

Matthew 24:42-44 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Therefore be alert, since you don’t know what day your Lord is coming. But know this: If the homeowner had known what time the thief was coming, he would have stayed alert and not let his house be broken into. This is why you also must be ready, because the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

Friday, September 16, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - Romans 15:5-6

Romans 15:5-6 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Now may the God who gives endurance and encouragement allow you to live in harmony with one another, according to the command of Christ Jesus, so that you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ with a united mind and voice.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 37:16-17

Psalm 37:16-17 Holman Christian Standard Bible

The little that the righteous man has is better

than the abundance of many wicked people.

For the arms of the wicked will be broken,

but the Lord supports the righteous.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 23:26-28

Proverbs 23:26-28 Holman Christian Standard Bible

My son, give me your heart,

and let your eyes observe my ways.

For a prostitute is a deep pit,

and a stranger is a narrow well;

indeed, she sets an ambush like a robber

and increases those among men who are unfaithful.

Morning Scripture Reading - Mark 9:38-41

Mark 9:38-41 Holman Christian Standard Bible

John said to Him, “Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in Your name, and we tried to stop him because he wasn’t following us.”

“Don’t stop him,” said Jesus, “because there is no one who will perform a miracle in My name who can soon afterward speak evil of Me. For whoever is not against us is for us. And whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because of My name, since you belong to the Messiah—I assure you: He will never lose his reward.

Thursday, September 15, 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 37:14-15

Psalm 37:14-15 Holman Christian Standard Bible

The wicked have drawn the sword and strung the bow

to bring down the afflicted and needy

and to slaughter those whose way is upright.

Their swords will enter their own hearts,

and their bows will be broken.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 23:22-25

Proverbs 23:22-25 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Listen to your father who gave you life,

and don’t despise your mother when she is old.

Buy—and do not sell—truth,

wisdom, instruction, and understanding.

The father of a righteous son will rejoice greatly,

and one who fathers a wise son will delight in him.

Let your father and mother have joy,

and let her who gave birth to you rejoice.

Morning Scripture Reading - Luke 11:37-41

Luke 11:37-41 Holman Christian Standard Bible

As He was speaking, a Pharisee asked Him to dine with him. So He went in and reclined at the table. When the Pharisee saw this, he was amazed that He did not first perform the ritual washing before dinner. But the Lord said to him: “Now you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and evil. Fools! Didn’t He who made the outside make the inside too? But give from what is within to the poor, and then everything is clean for you.

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - Deuteronomy 6:13-15

Deuteronomy 6:13-15 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Fear Yahweh your God, worship Him, and take your oaths in His name. Do not follow other gods, the gods of the peoples around you, for the Lord your God, who is among you, is a jealous God. Otherwise, the Lord your God will become angry with you and wipe you off the face of the earth.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 37:10-13

Psalm 37:10-13 Holman Christian Standard Bible

A little while, and the wicked person will be no more;

though you look for him, he will not be there.

But the humble will inherit the land

and will enjoy abundant prosperity.

The wicked person schemes against the righteous

and gnashes his teeth at him.

The Lord laughs at him

because He sees that his day is coming.

Mid-Week Message - Focus on Him

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things."  Philippians 4:8  (ESV)   

There is war between Ukraine and Russia.

The Queen of England has died and a new King named.

Violence is becoming more rampant as the criminals find that they won't be punished.

Inflation continues to rise and the national deficit continues to increase.  

As companies worry about recessions, some are beginning to lay off employees and halt hiring.  

All this and more.  Such is the state of the world and nation.  We find that it is difficult to concentrate on the good things in life when we are constantly bombarded with news that things seem to be getting worse.  Five minutes of the local news can make your head swim as you work to take in the evil that seems to be prevailing.  Worry filled, sleepless nights occur more often as we wonder how to make ends meet and how to keep our children safe.  

Is peace to be found anywhere at all?  

God, through His Word, has told us that the condition of the world we live in will grow worse as the time of the second coming of Jesus draws nearer.  John 16:33 tells us, "...In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world."  

Notice that He doesn't say he WILL overcome the world, but that he HAS overcome the world.  The book of Revelation tells us how the battle between good and evil will end.  This is a war where there is no doubt of the outcome.  Jesus wins!  

We have to keep in mind that where we are now is not where we will be eternally.  If we have repented of our sins and received Jesus into our lives as our Savior and Lord, then we have the promise of eternity with Him, where there is no war, inflation, death, sadness or difficulties of any kind.  

I think that is why today's verse tells us where our focus should be. "Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things."  

Jesus is all these things.  Our focus should remain on Him and our trust be placed in Him because He has already overcome all the troubles we face.  With earthly eyes it is impossible to see how He will get us through it all but He has promised to do so and because He is Truth, we can have faith that He will do as He has said.  

Fear not.  Concentrate on Him and peace will follow.  God bless.  

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 23:19-21

Proverbs 23:19-21 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Listen, my son, and be wise;

keep your mind on the right course.

Don’t associate with those who drink too much wine

or with those who gorge themselves on meat.

For the drunkard and the glutton will become poor,

and grogginess will clothe them in rags.

Morning Scripture Reading - John 6:53-58

John 6:53-58 Holman Christian Standard Bible

So Jesus said to them, “I assure you: Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you do not have life in yourselves. Anyone who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day, because My flesh is real food and My blood is real drink. The one who eats My flesh and drinks My blood lives in Me, and I in him. Just as the living Father sent Me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on Me will live because of Me. This is the bread that came down from heaven; it is not like the manna your fathers ate—and they died. The one who eats this bread will live forever.”

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - Colossians 4:2-6

Colossians 4:2-6 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Devote yourselves to prayer; stay alert in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us that God may open a door to us for the message, to speak the mystery of the Messiah, for which I am in prison, so that I may reveal it as I am required to speak. Act wisely toward outsiders, making the most of the time. Your speech should always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you should answer each person.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 37:8-9

Psalm 37:8-9 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Refrain from anger and give up your rage;

do not be agitated—it can only bring harm.

For evildoers will be destroyed,

but those who put their hope in the Lord

will inherit the land.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 23:17-18

Proverbs 23:17-18 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Don’t let your heart envy sinners;

instead, always fear the Lord.

For then you will have a future,

and your hope will never fade.

Morning Scripture Reading - John 4:21-24

John 4:21-24 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Jesus told her, “Believe Me, woman, an hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know. We worship what we do know, because salvation is from the Jews. But an hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth. Yes, the Father wants such people to worship Him. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

Monday, September 12, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - Deuteronomy 28:9-14

Deuteronomy 28:9-14 Holman Christian Standard Bible

The Lord will establish you as His holy people, as He swore to you, if you obey the commands of the Lord your God and walk in His ways. Then all the peoples of the earth will see that you are called by Yahweh’s name, and they will stand in awe of you. The Lord will make you prosper abundantly with children, the offspring of your livestock, and your land’s produce in the land the Lord swore to your fathers to give you. The Lord will open for you His abundant storehouse, the sky, to give your land rain in its season and to bless all the work of your hands. You will lend to many nations, but you will not borrow. The Lord will make you the head and not the tail; you will only move upward and never downward if you listen to the Lord your God’s commands I am giving you today and are careful to follow them. Do not turn aside to the right or the left from all the things I am commanding you today, and do not go after other gods to worship them.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 37:7

Psalm 37:7 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Be silent before the Lord and wait expectantly for Him;

do not be agitated by one who prospers in his way,

by the man who carries out evil plans.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 23:15-16

Proverbs 23:15-16 Holman Christian Standard Bible

My son, if your heart is wise,

my heart will indeed rejoice.

My innermost being will cheer

when your lips say what is right.

Morning Scripture Reading - John 15:5-8

John 15:26-27 Holman Christian Standard Bible

“When the Counselor comes, the One I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father—He will testify about Me. You also will testify, because you have been with Me from the beginning.

Sunday, September 11, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - Judges 6:7-10

Judges 6:7-10 Holman Christian Standard Bible

When the Israelites cried out to Him because of Midian, the Lord sent a prophet to them. He said to them, “This is what the Lord God of Israel says: ‘I brought you out of Egypt and out of the place of slavery. I delivered you from the power of Egypt and the power of all who oppressed you. I drove them out before you and gave you their land. I said to you: I am Yahweh your God. Do not fear the gods of the Amorites whose land you live in. But you did not obey Me.’”

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 37:5-6

Psalm 37:5-6 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Commit your way to the Lord;

trust in Him, and He will act,

making your righteousness shine like the dawn,

your justice like the noonday.

Sunday Praise & Worship Message - Sin - Giving into Our Own Desires

Each one of us has found ourselves stumbling and no longer on the straight and narrow path of righteousness. For whatever reason, we have given into our sinful desires and taken the detour that leads to misery and destruction. 

As human beings, we tend to assign blame to someone or something. We blame Satan or someone who seduced us into taking the steps that led us away from God. But, Satan nor others are to blame. We made the choice and took the steps. Each step was ours to make and we must bear that responsibility. It is so easy to quickly blame someone or something else for our actions. By blaming someone else, we try to shift the guilt away from ourselves and try to avoid the consequences of our actions. In the end, we are to blame and we must accept the consequences of our sinful behavior.

When God created man, He gave us free will to make choices for ourselves. When Adam and Eve sinned by disobeying God, they tried to pin the blame on others. Adam blamed Eve and she, in turn, blamed the serpent. No one likes to be found guilty of doing something wrong. It is a natural instinct to shift blame to someone or something else. I see it all the time. If someone makes a mistake at work, blame is quickly assigned to another person or to a process in hopes of shifting the blame and ultimate consequences away from him or her.

James, in chapter one of his epistle, writes, “And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, ‘God is tempting me.’ God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else. Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.

God does not tempt us to sin. He does test our ability to persevere and to deal with hardship. Since God himself cannot be tempted, it is not a part of His nature to cause us to be tempted. Temptation finds its roots within us and our sinful desires. We are the ones who give into our desires and allow them to lead us away from God. Satan can tempt us. He can suggest things to us and lie to us, but ultimately the choice to sin leads back to us. 

We are the ones who must make the choice and take the steps to become disobedient. Sin, when it is allowed to grow, will lead us only to despair, destruction and death. There is no way to avoid that path to purgatory by our own actions save one. It is through the act of asking for God’s help to return to the path of righteousness. It is only through that one act where we can be lifted out of the pit of darkness and find restoration and love in the arms of the Lord. 

When we find ourselves starting to stray, we must ask God for wisdom and have the faith to act. He will provide us with all that we need to flee from temptation and return to the safety of His love. 

Again in chapter one, James writes, “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone.

If you ask God for wisdom, He will give it to you abundantly. Think about King Solomon. When God gave him the chance to ask for and receive anything he wanted, he chose wisdom above all the world’s riches. God granted his wish and still blessed him with riches. 

By looking to God and remaining faithful, we have anything we need in life. We do not need or want for anything. All that we have comes from His bountiful hand. It is when we desire more and look to other ways to achieve those desires where we find ourselves stumbling and falling off the straight and narrow. The choice always belongs to us. Do we fight off temptation and remain faithful to God or do we take a shortcut to our own desires only to find ourselves in despair?

I can tell you this. If you keep God in focus and the center of your life, you will not stray. If, however, you find yourself straying a bit, stop and ask God to deliver you out of temptation. As a good and loving Father, He will provide a way out of temptation and guide you back to the path of righteousness where you can stand firm in His grace.

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

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 23:13-14

Proverbs 23:13-14 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Don’t withhold discipline from a youth;

if you beat him with a rod, he will not die.

Strike him with a rod,

and you will rescue his life from Sheol.

Morning Scripture Reading - Luke 8:16-18

Luke 8:16-18 Holman Christian Standard Bible

“No one, after lighting a lamp, covers it with a basket or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a lampstand so that those who come in may see its light. For nothing is concealed that won’t be revealed, and nothing hidden that won’t be made known and come to light. Therefore take care how you listen. For whoever has, more will be given to him; and whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has will be taken away from him.”

Saturday, September 10, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - Colossians 3:12-15

Colossians 3:12-15 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Therefore, God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, accepting one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a complaint against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive. Above all, put on love—the perfect bond of unity. And let the peace of the Messiah, to which you were also called in one body, control your hearts. Be thankful.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 37:3-4

Psalm 37:3-4 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Trust in the Lord and do what is good;

dwell in the land and live securely.

Take delight in the Lord,

and He will give you your heart’s desires.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 23:12

Proverbs 23:12 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Apply yourself to discipline

and listen to words of knowledge.