Monday, October 31, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - Romans 12:1-2

Romans 12:1-2 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 45:6-9

Psalm 45:6-9 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Your throne, God, is forever and ever;

the scepter of Your kingdom is a scepter of justice.

You love righteousness and hate wickedness;

therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of joy

more than your companions.

Myrrh, aloes, and cassia perfume all your garments;

from ivory palaces harps bring you joy.

Kings’ daughters are among your honored women;

the queen, adorned with gold from Ophir,

stands at your right hand.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 27:5

Proverbs 27:5 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Better an open reprimand

than concealed love.

Morning Scripture Reading - Colossians 4:5-6

Colossians 4:5-6 Holman Christian Standard Bible

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.

Sunday, October 30, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - 2 John 1:7-9

2 John 7-9 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Many deceivers have gone out into the world; they do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist. Watch yourselves so you don’t lose what we have worked for, but that you may receive a full reward. Anyone who does not remain in Christ’s teaching but goes beyond it, does not have God. The one who remains in that teaching, this one has both the Father and the Son.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 45:3-5

Psalm 45:3-5 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Mighty warrior, strap your sword at your side.

In your majesty and splendor—

in your splendor ride triumphantly

in the cause of truth, humility, and justice.

May your right hand show your awe-inspiring acts.

Your arrows pierce the hearts of the king’s enemies;

the peoples fall under you.

Sunday Praise & Worship Message - God Loves You

Today I am starting the first of several messages in the series I refer to as the “Five Kernels of Corn”. The title of this series comes from a Thanksgiving tradition that is based on, some say, a legend. When a horrible famine faced the early settlers of what would become the United States of America, they had to ration their food. According to this tradition, each person was given only five kernels of corn per day to live on. Since we live in the time of grocery stores and fast food places, try to imagine living on meager rations just to get through a harsh winter. You cannot. Most of us have never known a time when food was rationed. 

Going back to the story. The Pilgrims, after making it through the famine, found bounty in the next harvest. As a way to remind them of their trials, they would celebrate by having a great feast. But, before anything was served, they looked down at their plates to see five kernels of corn on their plates. These five small kernels were their reminder of what they had faced and how their faith in God got them through the worst of times. 

Over time, each kernel was assigned a specific meaning and that is why I continue to preach the lessons of the five kernels of corn. I have taken the opportunity to devote these messages to covering the meaning of each kernel. 

The first kernel reminds us that God loves each of us. It is a simple message to preach; however, none of us can understand God’s love. His love is infinite and undeserved. When you look at today’s society, some would pray that God wipes out mankind and the planet and starts over. It would be so easy to do. In one word or wave of His mighty hand, God would wipe the entire planet from existence. Nothing would be left. Our little blue-green world would simply vanish without a trace or tear.

But, God will not do that. He wants each of us to have a relationship with Him and place our trust in Him. He wants our love and for us to worship Him as the center of our existence. Without Him, we would be nothing, literally. He spoke the universe and our world into existence. Stars, planets and life all came from Him. Everything we have comes directly from Him. Because He loves us, God has given us salvation. We are saved, not by our own actions, but by His grace.

John, in the chapter three of the gospel that bears his name, summarized God’s love for us when he recorded Jesus’ words, “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.

Jesus was given to us out of love and he laid down his life out of love. If you were to sum up his life, Jesus, like God, is love. That love is so very alien to us. We cannot completely understand it. In fact, the Greek language has, depending on the source, six to eight words for love that are completely different from each other. The highest and most noble form in the Christian Bible is “agape love”.

Agape love, in the Christian sense, is an undeserved love. That means that the love that is given is done more so out of charity to the other. Agape love requires faithfulness, commitment, and sacrifice without expecting anything in return.

It is our choice to return that love back to God. He showed His love by giving us His son to die for our sins. Jesus became our atonement sacrifice. He was without sin or blemish. Jesus was the perfect sacrifice for once and for all.

Paul, in chapter five of his second epistle to the Corinthians writes, “And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.

Through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, God has given us the path back to Him. All we have to do is accept Jesus as the son of God and follow him. Once we accept him, we are to walk in the newness of life and tell the world about the “old, old story of Jesus and His love.”

We, as people created in the image of God, should always remember the lesson of the first kernel of corn. God truly loves us and Jesus came to live among us and to die for our sins. It is through Jesus’ life that we can see the love of God manifested in human flesh. 

Jesus gave up his exalted place in Heaven to humbly come to us and teach us God’s love for us and to show us the way back to the Father. Although it is a simple message to preach and teach, it is the hardest for the world to understand. We are suspicious in nature and believe that if something is too good to be true, it often is. In this case, God’s love comes without strings or fine print. His love came into the world in the body of a small child born in humble circumstances.

As you give thanks daily, I ask you to take time this week to thank God for His agape love. With His love in our hearts and souls, we can live in righteousness “in spite of dungeon, fire and sword” and stand firm in His grace.

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

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 27:4

Proverbs 27:4 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Fury is cruel, and anger a flood,

but who can withstand jealousy?

Morning Scripture Reading - Luke 10:22

Luke 10:22 Holman Christian Standard Bible

All things have been entrusted to Me by My Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son desires to reveal Him.”

Saturday, October 29, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - Isaiah 12:1-2

Isaiah 12:1-2 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.”

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 45:1-2

Psalm 45:1-2 Holman Christian Standard Bible

For the choir director: according to “The Lilies.” A Maskil of the sons of Korah. A love song.

My heart is moved by a noble theme

as I recite my verses to the king;

my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer.

You are the most handsome of men;

grace flows from your lips.

Therefore God has blessed you forever.

Sermon Series - 5 Kernels of Corn

It is our tradition to share with you the story of the five kernels of corn. According to the legend, the Pilgrims faced a horrible famine which left them little to eat. William Bradford began to ration their food. Their meager rations were five kernels of corn per day.

Instead of despair, the Pilgrims remained faithful and looked to God for their daily bread. With their souls nourished, they were able to survive the famine. In time, God blessed them with abundance and the Pilgrims never forgot what God had given them.

Before each Thanksgiving meal, five kernels of corn were placed on each plate in remembrance of what they went through and to truly be thankful for God's blessings.

As we approach Thanksgiving, each message leading up to Thanksgiving will be devoted to giving thanks to God and remembering the lesson of each kernel of corn.

  • The first kernel reminds us that God loves us.
  • The second kernel reminds us that God provides for our needs.
  • The third kernel reminds us of our families and friends given to us by God.
  • The fourth kernel reminds us to love and help others in their time of need.
  • The fifth kernel reminds us that God hears and answers our prayers.  

Let us never forgot God's blessings and His love for us.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 New Living Translation

Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 27:3

Proverbs 27:3 Holman Christian Standard Bible

A stone is heavy and sand, a burden,

but aggravation from a fool outweighs them both.

Morning Scripture Reading - Colossians 4:2-4

Colossians 4:2-4 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.

Friday, October 28, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - Colossians 3:12-13

Colossians 3:12-13 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.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 44:23-26

Psalm 44:23-26 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Wake up, Lord! Why are You sleeping?

Get up! Don’t reject us forever!

Why do You hide Yourself

and forget our affliction and oppression?

For we have sunk down to the dust;

our bodies cling to the ground.

Rise up! Help us!

Redeem us because of Your faithful love.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 27:2

Proverbs 27:2 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Let another praise you, and not your own mouth—

a stranger, and not your own lips.

Morning Scripture Reading - Micah 4:1-5

Micah 4:1-5 Holman Christian Standard Bible

In the last days

the mountain of the Lord’s house

will be established

at the top of the mountains

and will be raised above the hills.

Peoples will stream to it,

and many nations will come and say,

“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,

to the house of the God of Jacob.

He will teach us about His ways

so we may walk in His paths.”

For instruction will go out of Zion

and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

He will settle disputes among many peoples

and provide arbitration for strong nations

that are far away.

They will beat their swords into plows,

and their spears into pruning knives.

Nation will not take up the sword against nation,

and they will never again train for war.

But each man will sit under his grapevine

and under his fig tree

with no one to frighten him.

For the mouth of the Lord of Hosts

has promised this.

Though all the peoples each walk

in the name of their gods,

we will walk in the name of Yahweh our God

forever and ever.

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - Joshua 24:16-18

Joshua 24:16-18 Holman Christian Standard Bible

The people replied, “We will certainly not abandon the Lord to worship other gods! For the Lord our God brought us and our fathers out of the land of Egypt, out of the place of slavery, and performed these great signs before our eyes. He also protected us all along the way we went and among all the peoples whose lands we traveled through. The Lord drove out before us all the peoples, including the Amorites who lived in the land. We too will worship the Lord, because He is our God.”

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 44:17-22

Psalm 44:17-22 Holman Christian Standard Bible

All this has happened to us,

but we have not forgotten You

or betrayed Your covenant.

Our hearts have not turned back;

our steps have not strayed from Your path.

But You have crushed us in a haunt of jackals

and have covered us with deepest darkness.

If we had forgotten the name of our God

and spread out our hands to a foreign god,

wouldn’t God have found this out,

since He knows the secrets of the heart?

Because of You we are slain all day long;

we are counted as sheep to be slaughtered.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 27:1

Proverbs 27:1 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Don’t boast about tomorrow,

for you don’t know what a day might bring.

Morning Scripture Reading - Deuteronomy 33:26-29

Deuteronomy 33:26-29 Holman Christian Standard Bible

There is none like the God of Jeshurun,

who rides the heavens to your aid,

the clouds in His majesty.

The God of old is your dwelling place,

and underneath are the everlasting arms.

He drives out the enemy before you

and commands, “Destroy!”

So Israel dwells securely;

Jacob lives untroubled

in a land of grain and new wine;

even his skies drip with dew.

How happy you are, Israel!

Who is like you,

a people saved by the Lord?

He is the shield that protects you,

the sword you boast in.

Your enemies will cringe before you,

and you will tread on their backs.

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - Genesis 21:1-6

Genesis 21:1-6 Holman Christian Standard Bible

The Lord came to Sarah as He had said, and the Lord did for Sarah what He had promised. Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the appointed time God had told him. Abraham named his son who was born to him—the one Sarah bore to him—Isaac. When his son Isaac was eight days old, Abraham circumcised him, as God had commanded him. Abraham was 100 years old when his son Isaac was born to him.

Sarah said, “God has made me laugh, and everyone who hears will laugh with me.”

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 44:9-16

Psalm 44:9-16 Holman Christian Standard Bible

But You have rejected and humiliated us;

You do not march out with our armies.

You make us retreat from the foe,

and those who hate us

have taken plunder for themselves.

You hand us over to be eaten like sheep

and scatter us among the nations.

You sell Your people for nothing;

You make no profit from selling them.

You make us an object of reproach to our neighbors,

a source of mockery and ridicule to those around us.

You make us a joke among the nations,

a laughingstock among the peoples.

My disgrace is before me all day long,

and shame has covered my face,

because of the voice of the scorner and reviler,

because of the enemy and avenger.

Mid-Week Message - Tending to Relationships

"Come close to God, and God will come close to you.  Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world."   James 4:8 (NLT)  

I am one of those people who loves to have a ceiling fan running all the time.  The only time it gets turned off is when the temperature outside is dropping therefore dropping the temperature inside enough that leaving it on makes my family members uncomfortable.  

Tonight, as I was asking the Lord what to write about, I looked up at the unmoving fan.  The blades are coated with the dust that they have collected from the air since the last time they were cleaned.  As I was thinking about how desperately the fan needed tending to, the thought crossed my mind that relationships are that way too.  When we don't spend time with our loved ones and friends, then a separation can begin.  Kind of like the dust that collects on the blades, the happenings of life that occur to each of us build up and steal our attention from where it should be.

Whenever I am asked if I am religious, my answer is always the same.  No.  I don't have a "religion", I have a relationship.  Our Lord is alive, active and personal.  He communicates with us through His written Word, Jesus intercedes for us, and the Holy Spirit is dwelling within us.  There is nothing that we do, think or say that He is unaware of.  

Before our daughter was born, my husband and I worked different shifts.  I went to work in the mornings and came home around six o'clock.  He left for work in the afternoon and came in late at night when I was often already sleeping.  We found that difficult because we didn't have time together to discuss our days or just to enjoy watching a movie together.  By the weekend we sometimes had forgotten things that we had wanted to talk about earlier in the week.  Because we weren't sharing with each other as often, we didn't feel as close to each other as we had.  

That's the way it is with the Lord.  We need to spend time with Him, to share our hearts and to seek His forgiveness and direction.  We need to hear what He has to say to us by spending time reading our Bibles.  When we get so caught up in life that we fail to take the time to be alone with Him, that relationship suffers.  Time passes quickly and the enemy is only too happy to continue to provide obstacles that absorb our time and attention. 

Today, we have the perfect chance to begin scheduling time to be alone with our Creator.  As we look forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas, there is much to remind us of His great love and there will be plenty of opportunities to worship Him and say, "Thank you."  The activities of our lives will always be there.  Taking a few minutes out of our day for Him will only change things for the better.  As we do so, our faith will grow, our joy will increase and our relationship with Him will become something we cherish. 

May the Lord bless your week and may you spend precious time with Him.  God bless.   

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 26:23-28

Proverbs 26:23-28 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Smooth lips with an evil heart

are like glaze on an earthen vessel.

A hateful person disguises himself with his speech

and harbors deceit within.

When he speaks graciously, don’t believe him,

for there are seven abominations in his heart.

Though his hatred is concealed by deception,

his evil will be revealed in the assembly.

The one who digs a pit will fall into it,

and whoever rolls a stone—

it will come back on him.

A lying tongue hates those it crushes,

and a flattering mouth causes ruin.

Morning 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.

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - James 3:17-18

James 3:17-18 Holman Christian Standard Bible

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peace-loving, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without favoritism and hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who cultivate peace.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 44:4-8

Psalm 44:4-8 Holman Christian Standard Bible

You are my King, my God,

who ordains victories for Jacob.

Through You we drive back our foes;

through Your name we trample our enemies.

For I do not trust in my bow,

and my sword does not bring me victory.

But You give us victory over our foes

and let those who hate us be disgraced.

We boast in God all day long;

we will praise Your name forever. Selah

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 26:20-22

Proverbs 26:20-22 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Without wood, fire goes out;

without a gossip, conflict dies down.

As charcoal for embers and wood for fire,

so is a quarrelsome man for kindling strife.

A gossip’s words are like choice food

that goes down to one’s innermost being.

Morning Scripture Reading - John 14:23-26

John 14:23-26 Holman Christian Standard Bible

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

“I have spoken these things to you while I remain with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit—the Father will send Him in My name—will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have told you.

Monday, October 24, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - 1 Corinthians 16:13-14

1 Corinthians 16:13-14 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Be alert, stand firm in the faith, act like a man, be strong. Your every action must be done with love.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 44:1-3

Psalm 44:1-3 Holman Christian Standard Bible

For the choir director. A Maskil of the sons of Korah.

God, we have heard with our ears—

our ancestors have told us—

the work You accomplished in their days,

in days long ago:

to plant them,

You drove out the nations with Your hand;

to settle them,

You crushed the peoples.

For they did not take the land by their sword—

their arm did not bring them victory—

but by Your right hand, Your arm,

and the light of Your face,

for You were pleased with them.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 26:17-19

Proverbs 26:17-19 Holman Christian Standard Bible

A person who is passing by and meddles in a quarrel that’s not his

is like one who grabs a dog by the ears.

Like a madman who throws flaming darts and deadly arrows,

so is the man who deceives his neighbor

and says, “I was only joking!”

Morning Scripture Reading - Isaiah 46:3-4

Isaiah 46:3-4 Holman Christian Standard Bible

“Listen to Me, house of Jacob,

all the remnant of the house of Israel,

who have been sustained from the womb,

carried along since birth.

I will be the same until your old age,

and I will bear you up when you turn gray.

I have made you, and I will carry you;

I will bear and save you.

Sunday, October 23, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - Romans 12:14-16

Romans 12:14-16 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep. Be in agreement with one another. Do not be proud; instead, associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own estimation.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 43:5

Psalm 43:5 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Why am I so depressed?

Why this turmoil within me?

Put your hope in God, for I will still praise Him,

my Savior and my God.

Sunday Praise & Worship Message - Loving One Another

Over the past couple of decades, it seems that love for one another has fallen to the wayside. Greed and violence has seemingly taken over and all we see daily in the news are crimes against others. Robbery, assault and even murder has become a daily occurrence. Over time, we have become desensitized to all those crimes and accepted them as the new reality for the world. Humans have devalued life of all creatures and seem to be more inclined to destroy rather and cherish life. It seems that violence and greed have easily replaced the word and concept of love in our minds and especially in our hearts.

We have often been told that violence only begets violence and that greed is good. I am not saying that you cannot defend yourself or that you should not achieve and desire to improve your condition. However, when it becomes an obsession and the only thing you seek, then those ideas get perverted and they become a means to an end.

When I was growing up, people truly cared for one another and loved one another. If something happened to someone, the entire community would come together to help or lend its support to the person or family that needed it. For example, if there was a death in a family, neighbors would come together to help by cooking meals for the family.

When I was extremely ill and didn’t have the strength to do anything, our neighbors provided meals to us. When I found some work that needed to be done on our home, friends came to the rescue and fixed them without the thought of being repaid. There are pockets in communities that still, to this day, believe in “loving one another”.

Throughout the Holy Bible, we see the word, “love”. Depending on the translation, it appears as little as 310 times to the highest of 686. It isn’t just the number of times, but it is also how it is expressed.

John, in chapter four of his first epistle bearing his name, writes, “Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love. God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.

As Christians, we have only an idea of the depth of God’s love for us. He gave His son, Jesus, out of His love for us. Jesus became our sacrifice for our sins. It is through him and only him that we can have a relationship with the Father.

God truly is love. If we love one another, we show the world that God lives inside each of us. But, it is not enough to say that we love each other. Love is not just a word. It is a call to action. We must actively show that we love others, including our enemies. Love knows no boundaries or borders. It is our place to help, encourage and lift up those who need it most by acting out of love rather than violence or greed.

Jesus, in the fifteenth chapter of the Gospel of John, says, “This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

Our love for one another may require the ultimate sacrifice. If that is what is needed, then that is what we are called upon to do for one another. If we are willing to lay down our lives for others, then we have truly shown the world God’s love. 

God loved us before we loved Him. We walked in darkness, but He still wanted to give us the gift of eternal life and salvation. We spurned Him at every turn, but He patiently waited for us to respond to His love. In time, we came to our senses and realized God’s plan for our lives which started with a simple profession of faith.

Like Jesus, I ask that you show someone in your life that special love that knows no bounds and fills the heart and soul to overflowing. With the Christmas season coming up, it would be a perfect opportunity to express love for others. There are a lot of people who are in need. Food banks have been pushed to their limits. The economy is bad and there are families in need of food and comfort. Fall will soon become winter and many will not be able to afford heat for their homes.

Don’t wait any longer. Show your love for others and do something. Do what you can. Donate to your favorite charities and volunteer to help by feeding the hungry in community kitchens and food banks. Donate warm clothing to those who cannot afford it.

When you do these things and so much more, you are telling the world that God lives inside of you and that you want to share Him with others. As you act in Christian love, you will most definitely stand firm in His grace.

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

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 26:13-16

Proverbs 26:13-16 Holman Christian Standard Bible

The slacker says, “There’s a lion in the road—

a lion in the public square!”

A door turns on its hinges,

and a slacker, on his bed.

The slacker buries his hand in the bowl;

he is too weary to bring it to his mouth.

In his own eyes, a slacker is wiser

than seven men who can answer sensibly.

Morning Scripture Reading - Titus 2:11-14

Titus 2:11-14 Holman Christian Standard Bible

For the grace of God has appeared with salvation for all people, instructing us to deny godlessness and worldly lusts and to live in a sensible, righteous, and godly way in the present age, while we wait for the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. He gave Himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to cleanse for Himself a people for His own possession, eager to do good works.

Saturday, October 22, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - Ephesians 5:15-21

Ephesians 5:15-21 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk—not as unwise people but as wise— making the most of the time, because the days are evil. So don’t be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. And don’t get drunk with wine, which leads to reckless actions, but be filled by the Spirit:

speaking to one another

in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs,

singing and making music

from your heart to the Lord,

giving thanks always for everything

to God the Father

in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,

submitting to one another

in the fear of Christ.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 43:3-4

Psalm 43:3-4 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Send Your light and Your truth; let them lead me.

Let them bring me to Your holy mountain,

to Your dwelling place.

Then I will come to the altar of God,

to God, my greatest joy.

I will praise You with the lyre,

God, my God.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 26:1-12

Proverbs 26:1-12 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Like snow in summer and rain at harvest,

honor is inappropriate for a fool.

Like a flitting sparrow or a fluttering swallow,

an undeserved curse goes nowhere.

A whip for the horse, a bridle for the donkey,

and a rod for the backs of fools.

Don’t answer a fool according to his foolishness

or you’ll be like him yourself.

Answer a fool according to his foolishness

or he’ll become wise in his own eyes.

The one who sends a message by a fool’s hand

cuts off his own feet and drinks violence.

A proverb in the mouth of a fool

is like lame legs that hang limp.

Giving honor to a fool

is like binding a stone in a sling.

A proverb in the mouth of a fool

is like a stick with thorns,

brandished by the hand of a drunkard.

The one who hires a fool or who hires those passing by

is like an archer who wounds everyone.

As a dog returns to its vomit,

so a fool repeats his foolishness.

Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes?

There is more hope for a fool than for him.

Morning 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.

Friday, October 21, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - Jeremiah 31:23-25

Jeremiah 31:23-25 Holman Christian Standard Bible

This is what the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel, says: “When I restore their fortunes, they will once again speak this word in the land of Judah and in its cities, ‘May the Lord bless you, righteous settlement, holy mountain.’ Judah and all its cities will live in it together—also farmers and those who move with the flocks— for I satisfy the thirsty person and feed all those who are weak.”

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 43:1-2

Psalm 43:1-2 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Vindicate me, God, and defend my cause

against an ungodly nation;

rescue me from the deceitful and unjust man.

For You are the God of my refuge.

Why have You rejected me?

Why must I go about in sorrow

because of the enemy’s oppression?

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 25:23-28

Proverbs 25:23-28 Holman Christian Standard Bible

The north wind produces rain,

and a backbiting tongue, angry looks.

Better to live on the corner of a roof

than to share a house with a nagging wife.

Good news from a distant land

is like cold water to a parched throat.

A righteous person who yields to the wicked

is like a muddied spring or a polluted well.

It is not good to eat too much honey

or to seek glory after glory.

A man who does not control his temper

is like a city whose wall is broken down.

Morning Scripture Reading - Romans 8:28

Romans 8:28 Holman Christian Standard Bible

We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose.

Thursday, October 20, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - Acts 20:33-35

Acts 20:33-35 Holman Christian Standard Bible

I have not coveted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing. You yourselves know that these hands have provided for my needs and for those who were with me. In every way I’ve shown you that by laboring like this, it is necessary to help the weak and to keep in mind the words of the Lord Jesus, for He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 42:9-11

Psalm 42:9-11 Holman Christian Standard Bible

I will say to God, my rock,

“Why have You forgotten me?

Why must I go about in sorrow

because of the enemy’s oppression?”

My adversaries taunt me,

as if crushing my bones,

while all day long they say to me,

“Where is your God?”

Why am I so depressed?

Why this turmoil within me?

Put your hope in God, for I will still praise Him,

my Savior and my God.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 25:21-22

Proverbs 25:21-22 Holman Christian Standard Bible

If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat,

and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink;

for you will heap burning coals on his head,

and the Lord will reward you.

Morning Scripture Reading - Romans 8:1-4

Romans 8:1-4 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Therefore, no condemnation now exists for those in Christ Jesus, because the Spirit’s law of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. What the law could not do since it was limited by the flesh, God did. He condemned sin in the flesh by sending His own Son in flesh like ours under sin’s domain, and as a sin offering, in order that the law’s requirement would be accomplished in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - Isaiah 29:22-24

Isaiah 29:22-24 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Therefore, the Lord who redeemed Abraham says this about the house of Jacob:

Jacob will no longer be ashamed

and his face will no longer be pale.

For when he sees his children,

the work of My hands within his nation,

they will honor My name,

they will honor the Holy One of Jacob

and stand in awe of the God of Israel.

Those who are confused will gain understanding,

and those who grumble will accept instruction.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 42:5-8

Psalm 42:5-8 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Why am I so depressed?

Why this turmoil within me?

Put your hope in God, for I will still praise Him,

my Savior and my God.

I am deeply depressed;

therefore I remember You from the land of Jordan

and the peaks of Hermon, from Mount Mizar.

Deep calls to deep in the roar of Your waterfalls;

all Your breakers and Your billows have swept over me.

The Lord will send His faithful love by day;

His song will be with me in the night—

a prayer to the God of my life.

Mid-Week Message - Choose Kindness

 "God showed how much he loved us by sending his only Son into this wicked world to bring us to eternal life through his death.  In this act we see what real love is: it is not our love for God but his love for us when he sent his Son to satisfy God's anger against our sins.  Dear friends, since God loved us as much as that, we surely ought to love each other too.  For though we have never yet seen God, when we love each other God lives in us, and his love within us grows ever stronger."  1 John 4:9-12  (TLB)

We have a nine year old Bichon Frise named Jack.  We adopted him from a rescue group several years ago.  We don't know what all he went through before he came to us.  He was excessively thin and his fur was covered in sticker burrs.  He also did not like men.  Not at all.  When he had only been with me for a few hours, he defended me from my husband when he came home from work.  Jesse had to work a bit to show Jack that he wasn't a threat but now he is the one man that he loves and trusts.  

Because we don't know his history before us, we tend to be a bit gentle with Jack.  He is frightened by loud or unexpected noises and he cringes if someone raises their voice.  We try to pay close attention to our actions and reactions, knowing that he has experienced enough scary things in his little life.  We want him to feel secure and to know that we love him and always will take care of him.  

During our busy lives we encounter numerous people.  We usually have no idea what any of them have been through.  They could have come from the best family on earth or they may have grown up in abusive situations that defy description.  No matter what their background though, one thing is for certain and that is that they need love and acceptance.  It is how we are made.  We also don't know what they will encounter in the future.  However, we have the option of making specific moments, those that we spend with them, times when they feel special.  

One thing that I always told students is that people will always remember how you made them feel.  I know from personal experience that is true and I'm sure you do as well.  We need to be mindful of that and strive to make all of our encounters pleasant ones.  We don't have control over how anyone else speaks or acts but we do have control over our responses.  Kindness can diffuse tense situations so even if we find ourselves in one where we are not being treated kindly, we can still respond in kindness.  

One other point, we need to be teaching our children the same thing.  The best way to do that is by modelling the behavior we want them to develop.  It is a harsh world they have to grow up in.  But they can be the ones to make a difference if we encourage it and if they see by our own behavior that we truly believe it.  Jesus took a lot of abuse but He didn't return that abuse with more abuse.  He exhibited the love of the Father and taught us to love one another.  He set the perfect example.  All we need to do is follow it.  God bless.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 25:20

Proverbs 25:20 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Singing songs to a troubled heart

is like taking off clothing on a cold day

or like pouring vinegar on soda.

Morning Scripture Reading - Matthew 6:3-4

Matthew 6:3-4 Holman Christian Standard Bible

But when you give to the poor, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - Hebrews 10:23-25

Hebrews 10:23-25 Holman Christian Standard Bible

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

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 42:1-4

Psalm 42:1-4 Holman Christian Standard Bible

For the choir director. A Maskil of the sons of Korah.

As a deer longs for streams of water,

so I long for You, God.

I thirst for God, the living God.

When can I come and appear before God?

My tears have been my food day and night,

while all day long people say to me,

“Where is your God?”

I remember this as I pour out my heart:

how I walked with many,

leading the festive procession to the house of God,

with joyful and thankful shouts.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 25:18-19

Proverbs 25:18-19 Holman Christian Standard Bible

A man giving false testimony against his neighbor

is like a club, a sword, or a sharp arrow.

Trusting an unreliable person in a difficult time

is like a rotten tooth or a faltering foot.

Morning Scripture Reading - 1 Corinthians 12:25-27

1 Corinthians 12:25-27 Holman Christian Standard Bible

so that there would be no division in the body, but that the members would have the same concern for each other. So if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.

Now you are the body of Christ, and individual members of it.

Monday, October 17, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - Matthew 23:11

Matthew 23:11 Holman Christian Standard Bible

The greatest among you will be your servant.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 41:13

Psalm 41:13 Holman Christian Standard Bible

May Yahweh, the God of Israel, be praised

from everlasting to everlasting.

Amen and amen.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 25:14-17

Proverbs 25:14-17 Holman Christian Standard Bible

The man who boasts about a gift that does not exist

is like clouds and wind without rain.

A ruler can be persuaded through patience,

and a gentle tongue can break a bone.

 If you find honey, eat only what you need;

otherwise, you’ll get sick from it and vomit.

Seldom set foot in your neighbor’s house;

otherwise, he’ll get sick of you and hate you.

Morning Scripture Reading - Job 2:3-4

Job 2:3-4 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job? No one else on earth is like him, a man of perfect integrity, who fears God and turns away from evil. He still retains his integrity, even though you incited Me against him, to destroy him without just cause.”

“Skin for skin!” Satan answered the Lord. “A man will give up everything he owns in exchange for his life.

Sunday, October 16, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - Titus 1:7-9

Titus 1:7-9 Holman Christian Standard Bible

For an overseer, as God’s administrator, must be blameless, not arrogant, not hot-tempered, not addicted to wine, not a bully, not greedy for money, but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, righteous, holy, self-controlled, holding to the faithful message as taught, so that he will be able both to encourage with sound teaching and to refute those who contradict it.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 41:10-12

Psalm 41:10-12 Holman Christian Standard Bible

But You, Lord, be gracious to me and raise me up;

then I will repay them.

By this I know that You delight in me:

my enemy does not shout in triumph over me.

You supported me because of my integrity

and set me in Your presence forever.

Sunday Praise & Worship Message - Rescue the Righteous

In all my years of study of the Holy Bible, there is one immutable fact that cannot be brushed aside. That fact is that God will go to great lengths to rescue the righteous and provide a path for them to escape.

In today’s world, we are beset on all sides by those who persecute and seek to destroy us. While liquor stores, tattoo parlors and marijuana stores remained open during the pandemic, churches and synagogues were closed to the public. When Christians needed to be close to the Lord, people decided that places of worship needed to remain closed. Some jurisdictions took things further by forbidding singing in churches when they were reopened. It seemed that the world wanted to dispose of not only the virus but also our faith.

But, the one thing that we can rest assured of is that God is not subject to the will of kings, presidents, governors or potentates. He reigns supreme over all. His power is infinite and His love knows no bounds. People will, however, try to get rid of God and establish themselves as ruler of all. Let them have their delusion of power. We, as Christians, know better.

Peter, in chapter two of his second epistle, writes, “For God did not spare even the angels who sinned. He threw them into hell, in gloomy pits of darkness, where they are being held until the day of judgment. And God did not spare the ancient world—except for Noah and the seven others in his family. Noah warned the world of God’s righteous judgment. So God protected Noah when he destroyed the world of ungodly people with a vast flood. Later, God condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah and turned them into heaps of ashes. He made them an example of what will happen to ungodly people. But God also rescued Lot out of Sodom because he was a righteous man who was sick of the shameful immorality of the wicked people around him. Yes, Lot was a righteous man who was tormented in his soul by the wickedness he saw and heard day after day. So you see, the Lord knows how to rescue godly people from their trials, even while keeping the wicked under punishment until the day of final judgment. He is especially hard on those who follow their own twisted sexual desire, and who despise authority.

No matter what happens in this world, we can count on the fact that God will rescue the godly and punish the wicked. We have seen it time and time again. Peter brilliantly sums up God’s wrath directed to the wicked and His love for the righteous. God will always rescue the righteous from their trials and tribulations. It is that fact we can count on. The wicked, in God’s own time, will face His wrath and receive their punishment.

In chapter one of his letter to the Romans, Paul writes, “But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness. They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.

Deep down inside of every man, woman and child, there is a feeling or little voice that tells us that God exists. Since before the beginning of time, God has existed and continues to exist. He truly is the great Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh (I AM WHO I AM). He is the creator of all that we see. 

As we grow older, our view of the world changes. We become corrupted by the things of this world and slowly become part of it. That voice and feeling deep inside of us becomes softer and softer and less pronounced. Soon, we believe in the things of this world and live in sin. 

God has given us all a chance to have a relationship with Him. He gave us His son as our atonement sacrifice and provided a plan of salvation for each of us. That is our way out of sin. We can choose to take the undeserved gift or continue to live our lives in sin. But, remember that there is a consequence to that lifestyle.

In chapter six of Romans, Paul clearly writes, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.”

It is a choice that we all have to make. We can either accept God’s grace and plan of salvation and return to Him or we can face death, destruction and damnation for our wickedness. God will rescue you from the trials that you face, but you have to accept His gift of salvation. If you don’t and prefer to walk in darkness and live a sinful lifestyle, then you accept the consequences of your choice.

You can follow the path that leads to paradise or stay on the road that leads to ruin. If you choose the latter, then you are doomed to darkness. If, however, you choose the former, then you will be rescued and spend eternity with God the Father. You must make a decision to follow Jesus and accept him as your personal Savior and Master of your life. When you do that, you can stand firm in His grace.

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

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 25:13

Proverbs 25:13 Holman Christian Standard Bible

To those who send him, a trustworthy messenger

is like the coolness of snow on a harvest day;

he refreshes the life of his masters.

Morning Scripture Reading - Romans 6:15-18

Romans 6:15-18 Holman Christian Standard Bible

What then? Should we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Absolutely not! Don’t you know that if you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of that one you obey—either of sin leading to death or of obedience leading to righteousness? But thank God that, although you used to be slaves of sin, you obeyed from the heart that pattern of teaching you were transferred to, and having been liberated from sin, you became enslaved to righteousness.

Saturday, October 15, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - 2 Timothy 1:13-14

2 Timothy 1:13-14 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Hold on to the pattern of sound teaching that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Guard, through the Holy Spirit who lives in us, that good thing entrusted to you.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 41:4-9

Psalm 41:4-9 Holman Christian Standard Bible

I said, “Lord, be gracious to me;

heal me, for I have sinned against You.”

My enemies speak maliciously about me:

“When will he die and be forgotten?”

When one of them comes to visit, he speaks deceitfully;

he stores up evil in his heart;

he goes out and talks.

All who hate me whisper together about me;

they plan to harm me.

“Lethal poison has been poured into him,

and he won’t rise again from where he lies!”

Even my friend in whom I trusted,

one who ate my bread,

has raised his heel against me.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 25:11-12

Proverbs 25:11-12 Holman Christian Standard Bible

A word spoken at the right time

is like gold apples on a silver tray.

A wise correction to a receptive ear

is like a gold ring or an ornament of gold.

Morning Scripture Reading - Lamentations 3:22-23

Lamentations 3:22-23 Holman Christian Standard Bible

ח Khet

Because of the Lord’s faithful love

we do not perish,

for His mercies never end.

They are new every morning;

great is Your faithfulness!

Friday, October 14, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - Isaiah 49:5-6

Isaiah 49:5-6 Holman Christian Standard Bible

And now, says the Lord,

who formed me from the womb to be His Servant,

to bring Jacob back to Him

so that Israel might be gathered to Him;

for I am honored in the sight of the Lord,

and my God is my strength—

He says,

“It is not enough for you to be My Servant

raising up the tribes of Jacob

and restoring the protected ones of Israel.

I will also make you a light for the nations,

to be My salvation to the ends of the earth.”

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 41:1-3

Psalm 41:1-3 Holman Christian Standard Bible

For the choir director. A Davidic psalm.

Happy is one who cares for the poor;

the Lord will save him in a day of adversity.

The Lord will keep him and preserve him;

he will be blessed in the land.

You will not give him over to the desire of his enemies.

The Lord will sustain him on his sickbed;

You will heal him on the bed where he lies.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 25:8-10

Proverbs 25:8-10 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Don’t take a matter to court hastily.

Otherwise, what will you do afterward

if your opponent humiliates you?

Make your case with your opponent

without revealing another’s secret;

otherwise, the one who hears will disgrace you,

and you’ll never live it down.

Morning Scripture Reading - Ephesians 6:10-12

Ephesians 6:10-12 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by His vast strength. Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics of the Devil. For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Evening Scripture Reading - 1 John 4:4-6

1 John 4:4-6 Holman Christian Standard Bible

You are from God, little children, and you have conquered them, because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world. Therefore what they say is from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God. Anyone who knows God listens to us; anyone who is not from God does not listen to us. From this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of deception.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 40:16-17

Psalm 40:16-17 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Let all who seek You rejoice and be glad in You;

let those who love Your salvation continually say,

“The Lord is great!”

I am afflicted and needy;

the Lord thinks of me.

You are my helper and my deliverer;

my God, do not delay.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 25:6-7

Proverbs 25:6-7 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Don’t brag about yourself before the king,

and don’t stand in the place of the great;

for it is better for him to say to you, “Come up here!”

than to demote you in plain view of a noble.

Morning Scripture Reading - John 14:27

John 14:27 Holman Christian Standard Bible

“Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Your heart must not be troubled or fearful.