Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Evening Scripture Reading - Colossians 1:24-29 American Standard Version

Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and fill up on my part that which is lacking of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church; whereof I was made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which was given me to you-ward, to fulfil the word of God, even the mystery which hath been hid for ages and generations: but now hath it been manifested to his saints, to whom God was pleased to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: whom we proclaim, admonishing every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ; whereunto I labor also, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 88 American Standard Version

A Song, a Psalm of the sons of Korah; for the Chief Musician; set to Mahalath Leannoth. Maschil of Heman the Ezrahite.

O Jehovah, the God of my salvation,
I have cried day and night before thee.
Let my prayer enter into thy presence;
Incline thine ear unto my cry.
For my soul is full of troubles,
And my life draweth nigh unto Sheol.
I am reckoned with them that go down into the pit;
I am as a man that hath no help,
Cast off among the dead,
Like the slain that lie in the grave,
Whom thou rememberest no more,
And they are cut off from thy hand.
Thou hast laid me in the lowest pit,
In dark places, in the deeps.
Thy wrath lieth hard upon me,
And thou hast afflicted me with all thy waves. Selah
Thou hast put mine acquaintance far from me;
Thou hast made me an abomination unto them:
I am shut up, and I cannot come forth.
Mine eye wasteth away by reason of affliction:
I have called daily upon thee, O Jehovah;
I have spread forth my hands unto thee.
Wilt thou show wonders to the dead?
Shall they that are deceased arise and praise thee? Selah
Shall thy lovingkindness be declared in the grave?
Or thy faithfulness in Destruction?
Shall thy wonders be known in the dark?
And thy righteousness in the land of forgetfulness?
But unto thee, O Jehovah, have I cried;
And in the morning shall my prayer come before thee.
Jehovah, why castest thou off my soul?
Why hidest thou thy face from me?
I am afflicted and ready to die from my youth up:
While I suffer thy terrors I am distracted.
Thy fierce wrath is gone over me;
Thy terrors have cut me off.
They came round about me like water all the day long;
They compassed me about together.
Lover and friend hast thou put far from me,
And mine acquaintance into darkness.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 19 American Standard Version

Better is the poor that walketh in his integrity
Than he that is perverse in his lips and is a fool.
Also, that the soul be without knowledge is not good;
And he that hasteth with his feet sinneth.
The foolishness of man subverteth his way;
And his heart fretteth against Jehovah.
Wealth addeth many friends;
But the poor is separated from his friend.
A false witness shall not be unpunished;
And he that uttereth lies shall not escape.
Many will entreat the favor of the liberal man;
And every man is a friend to him that giveth gifts.
All the brethren of the poor do hate him:
How much more do his friends go far from him!
He pursueth them with words, but they are gone.
He that getteth wisdom loveth his own soul:
He that keepeth understanding shall find good.
A false witness shall not be unpunished;
And he that uttereth lies shall perish.
Delicate living is not seemly for a fool;
Much less for a servant to have rule over princes.
The discretion of a man maketh him slow to anger;
And it is his glory to pass over a transgression.
The king’s wrath is as the roaring of a lion;
But his favor is as dew upon the grass.
A foolish son is the calamity of his father;
And the contentions of a wife are a continual dropping.
House and riches are an inheritance from fathers;
But a prudent wife is from Jehovah.
Slothfulness casteth into a deep sleep;
And the idle soul shall suffer hunger.
He that keepeth the commandment keepeth his soul;
But he that is careless of his ways shall die.
He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto Jehovah,
And his good deed will he pay him again.
Chasten thy son, seeing there is hope;
And set not thy heart on his destruction.
A man of great wrath shall bear the penalty;
For if thou deliver him, thou must do it yet again.
Hear counsel, and receive instruction,
That thou mayest be wise in thy latter end.
There are many devices in a man’s heart;
But the counsel of Jehovah, that shall stand.
That which maketh a man to be desired is his kindness;
And a poor man is better than a liar.
The fear of Jehovah tendeth to life;
And he that hath it shall abide satisfied;
He shall not be visited with evil.
The sluggard burieth his hand in the dish,
And will not so much as bring it to his mouth again.
Smite a scoffer, and the simple will learn prudence;
And reprove one that hath understanding, and he will understand knowledge.
He that doeth violence to his father, and chaseth away his mother,
Is a son that causeth shame and bringeth reproach.
Cease, my son, to hear instruction
Only to err from the words of knowledge.
A worthless witness mocketh at justice;
And the mouth of the wicked swalloweth iniquity.
Judgments are prepared for scoffers,
And stripes for the back of fools.

Morning Scripture Reading - Amos 5:24 American Standard Version

But let justice roll down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream.

Monday, February 27, 2023

Evening Scripture Reading - Hebrews 10:8-10 American Standard Version

Saying above, Sacrifices and offerings and whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein (the which are offered according to the law), then hath he said, Lo, I am come to do thy will. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. By which will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 87 American Standard Version

A Psalm of the sons of Korah; a Song.

His foundation is in the holy mountains.
Jehovah loveth the gates of Zion
More than all the dwellings of Jacob.
Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God. Selah
I will make mention of Rahab and Babylon as among them that know me:
Behold, Philistia, and Tyre, with Ethiopia:
This one was born there.
Yea, of Zion it shall be said, This one and that one was born in her;
And the Most High himself will establish her.
Jehovah will count, when he writeth up the peoples,
This one was born there. Selah
They that sing as well as they that dance shall say,
All my fountains are in thee.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 18 American Standard Version

He that separateth himself seeketh his own desire,
And rageth against all sound wisdom.
A fool hath no delight in understanding,
But only that his heart may reveal itself.
When the wicked cometh, there cometh also contempt,
And with ignominy cometh reproach.
The words of a man’s mouth are as deep waters;
The wellspring of wisdom is as a flowing brook.
To respect the person of the wicked is not good,
Nor to turn aside the righteous in judgment.
A fool’s lips enter into contention,
And his mouth calleth for stripes.
A fool’s mouth is his destruction,
And his lips are the snare of his soul.
The words of a whisperer are as dainty morsels,
And they go down into the innermost parts.
He also that is slack in his work
Is brother to him that is a destroyer.
The name of Jehovah is a strong tower;
The righteous runneth into it, and is safe.
The rich man’s wealth is his strong city,
And as a high wall in his own imagination.
Before destruction the heart of man is haughty;
And before honor goeth humility.
He that giveth answer before he heareth,
It is folly and shame unto him.
The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity;
But a broken spirit who can bear?
The heart of the prudent getteth knowledge;
And the ear of the wise seeketh knowledge.
A man’s gift maketh room for him,
And bringeth him before great men.
He that pleadeth his cause first seemeth just;
But his neighbor cometh and searcheth him out.
The lot causeth contentions to cease,
And parteth between the mighty.
A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city;
And such contentions are like the bars of a castle.
A man’s belly shall be filled with the fruit of his mouth;
With the increase of his lips shall he be satisfied.
Death and life are in the power of the tongue;
And they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.
Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing,
And obtaineth favor of Jehovah.
The poor useth entreaties;
But the rich answereth roughly.
He that maketh many friends doeth it to his own destruction;
But there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.

Morning Scripture Reading - Matthew 20:20-28 American Standard Version

Then came to him the mother of the sons of Zebedee with her sons, worshipping him, and asking a certain thing of him. And he said unto her, What wouldest thou? She saith unto him, Command that these my two sons may sit, one on thy right hand, and one on thy left hand, in thy kingdom. But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink the cup that I am about to drink? They say unto him, We are able. He saith unto them, My cup indeed ye shall drink: but to sit on my right hand, and on my left hand, is not mine to give; but it is for them for whom it hath been prepared of my Father. And when the ten heard it, they were moved with indignation concerning the two brethren. But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. Not so shall it be among you: but whosoever would become great among you shall be your minister; and whosoever would be first among you shall be your servant: even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

Sunday, February 26, 2023

Evening Scripture Reading - Revelation 21:9-14 American Standard Version

And there came one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls, who were laden with the seven last plagues; and he spake with me, saying, Come hither, I will show thee the bride, the wife of the Lamb. And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God: her light was like unto a stone most precious, as it were a jasper stone, clear as crystal: having a wall great and high; having twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels; and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: on the east were three gates; and on the north three gates; and on the south three gates; and on the west three gates. And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 86 American Standard Version

A Prayer of David.

Bow down thine ear, O Jehovah, and answer me;
For I am poor and needy.
Preserve my soul; for I am godly:
O thou my God, save thy servant that trusteth in thee.
Be merciful unto me, O Lord;
For unto thee do I cry all the day long.
Rejoice the soul of thy servant;
For unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.
For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive,
And abundant in lovingkindness unto all them that call upon thee.
Give ear, O Jehovah, unto my prayer;
And hearken unto the voice of my supplications.
In the day of my trouble I will call upon thee;
For thou wilt answer me.
There is none like unto thee among the gods, O Lord;
Neither are there any works like unto thy works.
All nations whom thou hast made shall come and worship before thee, O Lord;
And they shall glorify thy name.
For thou art great, and doest wondrous things:
Thou art God alone.
Teach me thy way, O Jehovah; I will walk in thy truth:
Unite my heart to fear thy name.
I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with my whole heart;
And I will glorify thy name for evermore.
For great is thy lovingkindness toward me;
And thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest Sheol.
O God, the proud are risen up against me,
And a company of violent men have sought after my soul,
And have not set thee before them.
But thou, O Lord, art a God merciful and gracious,
Slow to anger, and abundant in lovingkindness and truth.
Oh turn unto me, and have mercy upon me;
Give thy strength unto thy servant,
And save the son of thy handmaid.
Show me a token for good,
That they who hate me may see it, and be put to shame,
Because thou, Jehovah, hast helped me, and comforted me.

Sunday Praise & Worship Message - Work Together and Love One Another

We can learn valuable life lessons from some of the most interesting places. You may not see these places as being able to teach us anything. Some of these may be completely unexpected while other places may have subtle messages disguised in the midst of the entertainment value. Other things can be used to illustrate a point that drives home the point of another lesson.

When I was a youngster, I grew up, like many others, watching television. After school or during the weekends, my brother and I would be glued to the television watching all sorts of things that helped us imagine fantasy worlds of heroes and villains where good always won over evil. Some of the programs allowed us to escape and live in a different world.

Today, I want to talk to you about the importance of loving our neighbors, and how the classic TV show "Gilligan's Island" can help us understand this concept better. 

For those of you who may not be familiar with the show, it tells the story of seven people who become stranded on a deserted island after their boat is shipwrecked. Despite their initial differences and conflicts, they eventually learn to work together and care for each other.

In many ways, their experiences on the island mirror our own lives. We all come from different backgrounds and have different perspectives, but we are all part of the same human family. And just like the castaways of Gilligan's Island, we need to learn to love and care for our neighbors, regardless of our differences.

In the Bible, Jesus teaches us to love our neighbors as ourselves. In Mark 12:31, he says, "‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these." And in Luke 10:27, he tells us to "Love your neighbor as yourself."

So, what does it mean to love our neighbors? It means treating them with kindness and respect, helping them when they are in need, and putting their needs before our own. It means recognizing that we are all equal in the eyes of God, and that every person deserves to be treated with dignity and compassion.

In the story of Gilligan's Island, we see examples of love and kindness in action. For example, the Skipper and Gilligan decide to embark on a dangerous trip using a raft that they constructed. This makeshift raft was not seaworthy at all. However, both of them wanted to risk the journey in order to bring back help for the others. In John 15:13, Jesus tells us that the highest form of love that we can demonstrate is sacrificing ourselves for others, "There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends."

We also see examples of forgiveness and reconciliation on the island. Despite their initial conflicts, the castaways learned to work together and forgive each other's mistakes. In Colossians 3:13, we are told to "Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others."

Let us remember the lessons of Gilligan's Island and strive to love our neighbors as ourselves. Let us put aside our differences and work together to build a better world. And let us always remember the words of Jesus, who tells us that love is the greatest commandment of all.

When we go that extra mile for each other, we are truly living a Christ-like life and demonstrating to the world that love always leads to better lives for all of us. If, however, we choose to hate those around us and go out of our way to hurt others, then our world is doomed to a life of sin and hatred. 

I ask you to make it a point to love your neighbors and pray for your enemies. Show kindness to all and expect nothing in return. When you do all these things, then you can stand firm in His grace.

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

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 17 American Standard Version

Better is a dry morsel, and quietness therewith,
Than a house full of feasting with strife.
A servant that dealeth wisely shall have rule over a son that causeth shame,
And shall have part in the inheritance among the brethren.
The refining pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold;
But Jehovah trieth the hearts.
An evil-doer giveth heed to wicked lips;
And a liar giveth ear to a mischievous tongue.
Whoso mocketh the poor reproacheth his Maker;
And he that is glad at calamity shall not be unpunished.
Children’s children are the crown of old men;
And the glory of children are their fathers.
Excellent speech becometh not a fool;
Much less do lying lips a prince.
A bribe is as a precious stone in the eyes of him that hath it;
Whithersoever it turneth, it prospereth.
He that covereth a transgression seeketh love;
But he that harpeth on a matter separateth chief friends.
A rebuke entereth deeper into one that hath understanding
Than a hundred stripes into a fool.
An evil man seeketh only rebellion;
Therefore a cruel messenger shall be sent against him.
Let a bear robbed of her whelps meet a man,
Rather than a fool in his folly.
Whoso rewardeth evil for good,
Evil shall not depart from his house.
The beginning of strife is as when one letteth out water:
Therefore leave off contention, before there is quarrelling.
He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the righteous,
Both of them alike are an abomination to Jehovah.
Wherefore is there a price in the hand of a fool to buy wisdom,
Seeing he hath no understanding?
A friend loveth at all times;
And a brother is born for adversity.
A man void of understanding striketh hands,
And becometh surety in the presence of his neighbor.
He loveth transgression that loveth strife:
He that raiseth high his gate seeketh destruction.
He that hath a wayward heart findeth no good;
And he that hath a perverse tongue falleth into mischief.
He that begetteth a fool doeth it to his sorrow;
And the father of a fool hath no joy.
A cheerful heart is a good medicine;
But a broken spirit drieth up the bones.
A wicked man receiveth a bribe out of the bosom,
To pervert the ways of justice.
Wisdom is before the face of him that hath understanding;
But the eyes of a fool are in the ends of the earth.
A foolish son is a grief to his father,
And bitterness to her that bare him.
Also to punish the righteous is not good,
Nor to smite the noble for their uprightness.
He that spareth his words hath knowledge;
And he that is of a cool spirit is a man of understanding.
Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise;
When he shutteth his lips, he is esteemed as prudent.

Morning Scripture Reading - James 1:5 American Standard Version

But if any of you lacketh wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to all liberally and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

Saturday, February 25, 2023

Evening Scripture Reading - Matthew 5:17-20 American Standard Version

Think not that I came to destroy the law or the prophets: I came not to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass away from the law, till all things be accomplished. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say unto you, that except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 85 American Standard Version

For the Chief Musician. A Psalm of the sons of Korah.

Jehovah, thou hast been favorable unto thy land;
Thou hast brought back the captivity of Jacob.
Thou hast forgiven the iniquity of thy people;
Thou hast covered all their sin. Selah
Thou hast taken away all thy wrath;
Thou hast turned thyself from the fierceness of thine anger.
Turn us, O God of our salvation,
And cause thine indignation toward us to cease.
Wilt thou be angry with us for ever?
Wilt thou draw out thine anger to all generations?
Wilt thou not quicken us again,
That thy people may rejoice in thee?
Show us thy lovingkindness, O Jehovah,
And grant us thy salvation.
I will hear what God Jehovah will speak;
For he will speak peace unto his people, and to his saints:
But let them not turn again to folly.
Surely his salvation is nigh them that fear him,
That glory may dwell in our land.
Mercy and truth are met together;
Righteousness and peace have kissed each other.
Truth springeth out of the earth;
And righteousness hath looked down from heaven.
Yea, Jehovah will give that which is good;
And our land shall yield its increase.
Righteousness shall go before him,
And shall make his footsteps a way to walk in.

Thoughts from the Heart - Galatians 5:16

Galatians 5:16 NLT says, "So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves."

This verse is a powerful reminder that as Christians, we are not meant to live according to our own desires and impulses. Rather, we are called to surrender our lives to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. When we allow the Spirit to guide us, we are empowered to resist the pull of our sinful nature and live a life that is pleasing to God.

This can be a difficult thing to do, as our sinful nature often leads us down paths of selfishness, greed, and pride. But when we trust in the power of the Holy Spirit, we can overcome these temptations and walk in a manner worthy of our calling as followers of Christ.

So, I encourage you to take this verse to heart and allow the Holy Spirit to guide your life. Trust in Him to lead you down the path of righteousness and resist the pull of your sinful nature. May God bless you as you seek to live a life that is pleasing to Him.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 16 American Standard Version

The plans of the heart belong to man;
But the answer of the tongue is from Jehovah.
All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes;
But Jehovah weigheth the spirits.
Commit thy works unto Jehovah,
And thy purposes shall be established.
Jehovah hath made everything for its own end;
Yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.
Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to Jehovah:
Though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished.
By mercy and truth iniquity is atoned for;
And by the fear of Jehovah men depart from evil.
When a man’s ways please Jehovah,
He maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.
Better is a little, with righteousness,
Than great revenues with injustice.
A man’s heart deviseth his way;
But Jehovah directeth his steps.
A divine sentence is in the lips of the king;
His mouth shall not transgress in judgment.
A just balance and scales are Jehovah’s;
All the weights of the bag are his work.
It is an abomination to kings to commit wickedness;
For the throne is established by righteousness.
Righteous lips are the delight of kings;
And they love him that speaketh right.
The wrath of a king is as messengers of death;
But a wise man will pacify it.
In the light of the king’s countenance is life;
And his favor is as a cloud of the latter rain.
How much better is it to get wisdom than gold!
Yea, to get understanding is rather to be chosen than silver.
The highway of the upright is to depart from evil:
He that keepeth his way preserveth his soul.
Pride goeth before destruction,
And a haughty spirit before a fall.
Better it is to be of a lowly spirit with the poor,
Than to divide the spoil with the proud.
He that giveth heed unto the word shall find good;
And whoso trusteth in Jehovah, happy is he.
The wise in heart shall be called prudent;
And the sweetness of the lips increaseth learning.
Understanding is a well-spring of life unto him that hath it;
But the correction of fools is their folly.
The heart of the wise instructeth his mouth,
And addeth learning to his lips.
Pleasant words are as a honeycomb,
Sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.
There is a way which seemeth right unto a man,
But the end thereof are the ways of death.
The appetite of the laboring man laboreth for him;
For his mouth urgeth him thereto.
A worthless man deviseth mischief;
And in his lips there is as a scorching fire.
A perverse man scattereth abroad strife;
And a whisperer separateth chief friends.
A man of violence enticeth his neighbor,
And leadeth him in a way that is not good.
He that shutteth his eyes, it is to devise perverse things:
He that compresseth his lips bringeth evil to pass.
The hoary head is a crown of glory;
It shall be found in the way of righteousness.
He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty;
And he that ruleth his spirit, than he that taketh a city.
The lot is cast into the lap;
But the whole disposing thereof is of Jehovah.

Morning Scripture Reading - Romans 2:1-16 American Standard Version

Wherefore thou art without excuse, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest dost practise the same things. And we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against them that practise such things. And reckonest thou this, O man, who judgest them that practise such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God? Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? but after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up for thyself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; who will render to every man according to his works: to them that by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and incorruption, eternal life: but unto them that are factious, and obey not the truth, but obey unrighteousness, shall be wrath and indignation, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that worketh evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Greek; but glory and honor and peace to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek: for there is no respect of persons with God. For as many as have sinned without the law shall also perish without the law: and as many as have sinned under the law shall be judged by the law; for not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified; (for when Gentiles that have not the law do by nature the things of the law, these, not having the law, are the law unto themselves; in that they show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness therewith, and their thoughts one with another accusing or else excusing them); in the day when God shall judge the secrets of men, according to my gospel, by Jesus Christ.

Friday, February 24, 2023

Evening Scripture Reading - Matthew 7:7-12 American Standard Version

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: for every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, who, if his son shall ask him for a loaf, will give him a stone; or if he shall ask for a fish, will give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? All things therefore whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, even so do ye also unto them: for this is the law and the prophets.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 84 American Standard Version

For the Chief Musician; set to the Gittith. A Psalm of the sons of Korah.

How amiable are thy tabernacles,
O Jehovah of hosts!
My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of Jehovah;
My heart and my flesh cry out unto the living God.
Yea, the sparrow hath found her a house,
And the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young,
Even thine altars, O Jehovah of hosts,
My King, and my God.
Blessed are they that dwell in thy house:
They will be still praising thee. Selah
Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee;
In whose heart are the highways to Zion.
Passing through the valley of Weeping they make it a place of springs;
Yea, the early rain covereth it with blessings.
They go from strength to strength;
Every one of them appeareth before God in Zion.
O Jehovah God of hosts, hear my prayer;
Give ear, O God of Jacob. Selah
Behold, O God our shield,
And look upon the face of thine anointed.
For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand.
I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God,
Than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.
For Jehovah God is a sun and a shield:
Jehovah will give grace and glory;
No good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.
O Jehovah of hosts,
Blessed is the man that trusteth in thee.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 15 American Standard Version

A soft answer turneth away wrath;
But a grievous word stirreth up anger.
The tongue of the wise uttereth knowledge aright;
But the mouth of fools poureth out folly.
The eyes of Jehovah are in every place,
Keeping watch upon the evil and the good.
A gentle tongue is a tree of life;
But perverseness therein is a breaking of the spirit.
A fool despiseth his father’s correction;
But he that regardeth reproof getteth prudence.
In the house of the righteous is much treasure;
But in the revenues of the wicked is trouble.
The lips of the wise disperse knowledge;
But the heart of the foolish doeth not so.
The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to Jehovah;
But the prayer of the upright is his delight.
The way of the wicked is an abomination to Jehovah;
But he loveth him that followeth after righteousness.
There is grievous correction for him that forsaketh the way;
And he that hateth reproof shall die.
Sheol and Abaddon are before Jehovah;
How much more then the hearts of the children of men!
A scoffer loveth not to be reproved;
He will not go unto the wise.
A glad heart maketh a cheerful countenance;
But by sorrow of heart the spirit is broken.
The heart of him that hath understanding seeketh knowledge;
But the mouth of fools feedeth on folly.
All the days of the afflicted are evil;
But he that is of a cheerful heart hath a continual feast.
Better is little, with the fear of Jehovah,
Than great treasure and trouble therewith.
Better is a dinner of herbs, where love is,
Than a stalled ox and hatred therewith.
A wrathful man stirreth up contention;
But he that is slow to anger appeaseth strife.
The way of the sluggard is as a hedge of thorns;
But the path of the upright is made a highway.
A wise son maketh a glad father;
But a foolish man despiseth his mother.
Folly is joy to him that is void of wisdom;
But a man of understanding maketh straight his going.
Where there is no counsel, purposes are disappointed;
But in the multitude of counsellors they are established.
A man hath joy in the answer of his mouth;
And a word in due season, how good is it!
To the wise the way of life goeth upward,
That he may depart from Sheol beneath.
Jehovah will root up the house of the proud;
But he will establish the border of the widow.
Evil devices are an abomination to Jehovah;
But pleasant words are pure.
He that is greedy of gain troubleth his own house;
But he that hateth bribes shall live.
The heart of the righteous studieth to answer;
But the mouth of the wicked poureth out evil things.
Jehovah is far from the wicked;
But he heareth the prayer of the righteous.
The light of the eyes rejoiceth the heart;
And good tidings make the bones fat.
The ear that hearkeneth to the reproof of life
Shall abide among the wise.
He that refuseth correction despiseth his own soul;
But he that hearkeneth to reproof getteth understanding.
The fear of Jehovah is the instruction of wisdom;
And before honor goeth humility.

Morning Scripture Reading - 1 John 5:1-5 American Standard Version

Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is begotten of God: and whosoever loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. Hereby we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and do his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. For whatsoever is begotten of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that hath overcome the world, even our faith. And who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?

Thursday, February 23, 2023

Evening Scripture Reading - Matthew 20:29-34 American Standard Version

And as they went out from Jericho, a great multitude followed him. And behold, two blind men sitting by the way side, when they heard that Jesus was passing by, cried out, saying, Lord, have mercy on us, thou son of David. And the multitude rebuked them, that they should hold their peace: but they cried out the more, saying, Lord, have mercy on us, thou son of David. And Jesus stood still, and called them, and said, What will ye that I should do unto you? They say unto him, Lord, that our eyes may be opened. And Jesus, being moved with compassion, touched their eyes; and straightway they received their sight, and followed him.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 83 American Standard Version

A Song, a Psalm of Asaph.

O God, keep not thou silence:
Hold not thy peace, and be not still, O God.
For, lo, thine enemies make a tumult;
And they that hate thee have lifted up the head.
They take crafty counsel against thy people,
And consult together against thy hidden ones.
They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation;
That the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance.
For they have consulted together with one consent;
Against thee do they make a covenant:
The tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites;
Moab, and the Hagarenes;
Gebal, and Ammon, and Amalek;
Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre:
Assyria also is joined with them;
They have helped the children of Lot. Selah
Do thou unto them as unto Midian,
As to Sisera, as to Jabin, at the river Kishon;
Who perished at Endor,
Who became as dung for the earth.
Make their nobles like Oreb and Zeeb;
Yea, all their princes like Zebah and Zalmunna;
Who said, Let us take to ourselves in possession
The habitations of God.
O my God, make them like the whirling dust;
As stubble before the wind.
As the fire that burneth the forest,
And as the flame that setteth the mountains on fire,
So pursue them with thy tempest,
And terrify them with thy storm.
Fill their faces with confusion,
That they may seek thy name, O Jehovah.
Let them be put to shame and dismayed for ever;
Yea, let them be confounded and perish;
That they may know that thou alone, whose name is Jehovah,
Art the Most High over all the earth.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 14 American Standard Version

Every wise woman buildeth her house;
But the foolish plucketh it down with her own hands.
He that walketh in his uprightness feareth Jehovah;
But he that is perverse in his ways despiseth him.
In the mouth of the foolish is a rod for his pride;
But the lips of the wise shall preserve them.
Where no oxen are, the crib is clean;
But much increase is by the strength of the ox.
A faithful witness will not lie;
But a false witness uttereth lies.
A scoffer seeketh wisdom, and findeth it not;
But knowledge is easy unto him that hath understanding.
Go into the presence of a foolish man,
And thou shalt not perceive in him the lips of knowledge.
The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way;
But the folly of fools is deceit.
A trespass-offering mocketh fools;
But among the upright there is good will.
The heart knoweth its own bitterness;
And a stranger doth not intermeddle with its joy.
The house of the wicked shall be overthrown;
But the tent of the upright shall flourish.
There is a way which seemeth right unto a man;
But the end thereof are the ways of death.
Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful;
And the end of mirth is heaviness.
The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways;
And a good man shall be satisfied from himself.
The simple believeth every word;
But the prudent man looketh well to his going.
A wise man feareth, and departeth from evil;
But the fool beareth himself insolently, and is confident.
He that is soon angry will deal foolishly;
And a man of wicked devices is hated.
The simple inherit folly;
But the prudent are crowned with knowledge.
The evil bow down before the good;
And the wicked, at the gates of the righteous.
The poor is hated even of his own neighbor;
But the rich hath many friends.
He that despiseth his neighbor sinneth;
But he that hath pity on the poor, happy is he.
Do they not err that devise evil?
But mercy and truth shall be to them that devise good.
In all labor there is profit;
But the talk of the lips tendeth only to penury.
The crown of the wise is their riches;
But the folly of fools is only folly.
A true witness delivereth souls;
But he that uttereth lies causeth deceit.
In the fear of Jehovah is strong confidence;
And his children shall have a place of refuge.
The fear of Jehovah is a fountain of life,
That one may depart from the snares of death.
In the multitude of people is the king’s glory;
But in the want of people is the destruction of the prince.
He that is slow to anger is of great understanding;
But he that is hasty of spirit exalteth folly.
A tranquil heart is the life of the flesh;
But envy is the rottenness of the bones.
He that oppresseth the poor reproacheth his Maker;
But he that hath mercy on the needy honoreth him.
The wicked is thrust down in his evil-doing;
But the righteous hath a refuge in his death.
Wisdom resteth in the heart of him that hath understanding;
But that which is in the inward part of fools is made known.
Righteousness exalteth a nation;
But sin is a reproach to any people.
The king’s favor is toward a servant that dealeth wisely;
But his wrath will be against him that causeth shame.

Morning Scripture Reading - Romans 7:21-25 American Standard Version

I find then the law, that, to me who would do good, evil is present. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: but I see a different law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity under the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me out of the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then I of myself with the mind, indeed, serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Evening Scripture Reading - James 2:12-13 American Standard Version

So speak ye, and so do, as men that are to be judged by a law of liberty. For judgment is without mercy to him that hath showed no mercy: mercy glorieth against judgment.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 82:3-8 American Standard Version

Judge the poor and fatherless:
Do justice to the afflicted and destitute.
Rescue the poor and needy:
Deliver them out of the hand of the wicked.
They know not, neither do they understand;
They walk to and fro in darkness:
All the foundations of the earth are shaken.
I said, Ye are gods,
And all of you sons of the Most High.
Nevertheless ye shall die like men,
And fall like one of the princes.
Arise, O God, judge the earth;
For thou shalt inherit all the nations.

Mid-Week Message - A Lesson From a Ferris Wheel

  "For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their prayer..."   1 Peter 3:12a  (NIV)

I can still see the look in his eyes.  When my daughter was four years old, we went to Texas City, Texas to visit my parents and my aunt and uncle.  One of the things I wanted to do was to take her to Galveston to see the beach and the ocean.  On the evening that we chose to go, my father, who never wanted to miss a moment with his first grandchild, decided to ride along.  

Before we got to the beach, she spotted a roadside carnival and began asking if we could go there after the beach.  She liked the sand and all the water, but she was most excited about stopping to have some fun on the way home.  Being that I also always loved carnivals, we stopped.  

She rode the Merry-Go-Round and a couple of other rides meant for young children.  We played a couple of the games and had some cotton candy.  She was curious about the Ferris Wheel so I asked the man who was running it if it would be safe for me to take her for a ride, as I am always concerned about my weight causing a problem.  After giving me the history of the wheel, he assured me it was more than sturdy enough.  

Now my father had never liked this particular ride.  He didn't trust it and he surely did not want his daughter and granddaughter on it.  He told me he didn't think it was a good idea and he asked me to please reconsider.  However, by this time my daughter was excited and, frankly, so was I.  After taking our seat and as the wheel started moving, I looked at my father and saw distress.  He was so worried.  

When I recalled this incident the other day, I began thinking about our Heavenly Father and how diligent He is to watch His children.  Psalm 139 tells us that He is always aware of what we are doing, so I wonder what the look would be in His eyes when we put ourselves in danger or engage in sinful activities.  

The look in my dad's eyes came from his love for us.  If our parents love us that much, just think how incredible the love of God is!  I didn't honor Daddy's request and it hurt him because he was trying to keep us safe.  When we fail to follow the Lord's leading, we have to be aware that we are choosing our own path rather than staying under the protected cover of His wings.  

Thankfully, nothing happened to us that evening.  Were I to have the chance to relive the moment, I would take my father's advice because now I understand that, in his wisdom, he knew that I was putting both myself and my daughter in avoidable danger.  With age comes a deeper understanding of the frailty of life.  I am so grateful for his deep love and that the Lord chose that precious man to raise me.  And I am astounded by what the Father has taught me about Himself through my time with my dad.  

Lord, thank you that your eyes are always on us.  How I'd love to see the look of love that you have for each of your children.  

"I sing because I'm happy.  I sing because I'm free.  For His eye is on the sparrow and I know He watches me."  💓

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 13 American Standard Version

A wise son heareth his father’s instruction;
But a scoffer heareth not rebuke.
A man shall eat good by the fruit of his mouth;
But the soul of the treacherous shall eat violence.
He that guardeth his mouth keepeth his life;
But he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction.
The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing;
But the soul of the diligent shall be made fat.
A righteous man hateth lying;
But a wicked man is loathsome, and cometh to shame.
Righteousness guardeth him that is upright in the way;
But wickedness overthroweth the sinner.
There is that maketh himself rich, yet hath nothing:
There is that maketh himself poor, yet hath great wealth.
The ransom of a man’s life is his riches;
But the poor heareth no threatening.
The light of the righteous rejoiceth;
But the lamp of the wicked shall be put out.
By pride cometh only contention;
But with the well-advised is wisdom.
Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished;
But he that gathereth by labor shall have increase.
Hope deferred maketh the heart sick;
But when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.
Whoso despiseth the word bringeth destruction on himself;
But he that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded.
The law of the wise is a fountain of life,
That one may depart from the snares of death.
Good understanding giveth favor;
But the way of the transgressor is hard.
Every prudent man worketh with knowledge;
But a fool flaunteth his folly.
A wicked messenger falleth into evil;
But a faithful ambassador is health.
Poverty and shame shall be to him that refuseth correction;
But he that regardeth reproof shall be honored.
The desire accomplished is sweet to the soul;
But it is an abomination to fools to depart from evil.
Walk with wise men, and thou shalt be wise;
But the companion of fools shall smart for it.
Evil pursueth sinners;
But the righteous shall be recompensed with good.
A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children’s children;
And the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the righteous.
Much food is in the tillage of the poor;
But there is that is destroyed by reason of injustice.
He that spareth his rod hateth his son;
But he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.
The righteous eateth to the satisfying of his soul;
But the belly of the wicked shall want.

Morning Scripture Reading - Ephesians 6:11 American Standard Version

Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Evening Scripture Reading - Romans 13:8-10 American Standard Version

Owe no man anything, save to love one another: for he that loveth his neighbor hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not covet, and if there be any other commandment, it is summed up in this word, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: love therefore is the fulfilment of the law.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 82:1-2 American Standard Version

A Psalm of Asaph.

God standeth in the congregation of God;
He judgeth among the gods.
How long will ye judge unjustly,
And respect the persons of the wicked? Selah

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 12 American Standard Version

Whoso loveth correction loveth knowledge;
But he that hateth reproof is brutish.
A good man shall obtain favor of Jehovah;
But a man of wicked devices will he condemn.
A man shall not be established by wickedness;
But the root of the righteous shall not be moved.
A worthy woman is the crown of her husband;
But she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones.
The thoughts of the righteous are just;
But the counsels of the wicked are deceit.
The words of the wicked are of lying in wait for blood;
But the mouth of the upright shall deliver them.
The wicked are overthrown, and are not;
But the house of the righteous shall stand.
A man shall be commended according to his wisdom;
But he that is of a perverse heart shall be despised.
Better is he that is lightly esteemed, and hath a servant,
Than he that honoreth himself, and lacketh bread.
A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast;
But the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.
He that tilleth his land shall have plenty of bread;
But he that followeth after vain persons is void of understanding.
The wicked desireth the net of evil men;
But the root of the righteous yieldeth fruit.
In the transgression of the lips is a snare to the evil man;
But the righteous shall come out of trouble.
A man shall be satisfied with good by the fruit of his mouth;
And the doings of a man’s hands shall be rendered unto him.
The way of a fool is right in his own eyes;
But he that is wise hearkeneth unto counsel.
A fool’s vexation is presently known;
But a prudent man concealeth shame.
He that uttereth truth showeth forth righteousness;
But a false witness, deceit.
There is that speaketh rashly like the piercings of a sword;
But the tongue of the wise is health.
The lip of truth shall be established for ever;
But a lying tongue is but for a moment.
Deceit is in the heart of them that devise evil;
But to the counsellors of peace is joy.
There shall no mischief happen to the righteous;
But the wicked shall be filled with evil.
Lying lips are an abomination to Jehovah;
But they that deal truly are his delight.
A prudent man concealeth knowledge;
But the heart of fools proclaimeth foolishness.
The hand of the diligent shall bear rule;
But the slothful shall be put under taskwork.
Heaviness in the heart of a man maketh it stoop;
But a good word maketh it glad.
The righteous is a guide to his neighbor;
But the way of the wicked causeth them to err.
The slothful man roasteth not that which he took in hunting;
But the precious substance of men is to the diligent.
In the way of righteousness is life;
And in the pathway thereof there is no death.

Morning Scripture Reading - John 1:15-18 American Standard Version

John beareth witness of him, and crieth, saying, This was he of whom I said, He that cometh after me is become before me: for he was before me. For of his fulness we all received, and grace for grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.

Monday, February 20, 2023

Evening Scripture Reading - Ephesians 1:3-14 American Standard Version

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ: even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blemish before him in love: having foreordained us unto adoption as sons through Jesus Christ unto himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace, which he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved: in whom we have our redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, making known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he purposed in him unto a dispensation of the fulness of the times, to sum up all things in Christ, the things in the heavens, and the things upon the earth; in him, I say, in whom also we were made a heritage, having been foreordained according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his will; to the end that we should be unto the praise of his glory, we who had before hoped in Christ: in whom ye also, having heard the word of the truth, the gospel of your salvation,—in whom, having also believed, ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, which is an earnest of our inheritance, unto the redemption of God’s own possession, unto the praise of his glory.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 81:8-16 American Standard Version

Hear, O my people, and I will testify unto thee:
O Israel, if thou wouldest hearken unto me!
There shall no strange god be in thee;
Neither shalt thou worship any foreign god.
I am Jehovah thy God,
Who brought thee up out of the land of Egypt:
Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.
But my people hearkened not to my voice;
And Israel would none of me.
So I let them go after the stubbornness of their heart,
That they might walk in their own counsels.
Oh that my people would hearken unto me,
That Israel would walk in my ways!
I would soon subdue their enemies,
And turn my hand against their adversaries.
The haters of Jehovah should submit themselves unto him:
But their time should endure for ever.
He would feed them also with the finest of the wheat;
And with honey out of the rock would I satisfy thee.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 11 American Standard Version

A false balance is an abomination to Jehovah;
But a just weight is his delight.
When pride cometh, then cometh shame;
But with the lowly is wisdom.
The integrity of the upright shall guide them;
But the perverseness of the treacherous shall destroy them.
Riches profit not in the day of wrath;
But righteousness delivereth from death.
The righteousness of the perfect shall direct his way;
But the wicked shall fall by his own wickedness.
The righteousness of the upright shall deliver them;
But the treacherous shall be taken in their own iniquity.
When a wicked man dieth, his expectation shall perish;
And the hope of iniquity perisheth.
The righteous is delivered out of trouble;
And the wicked cometh in his stead.
With his mouth the godless man destroyeth his neighbor;
But through knowledge shall the righteous be delivered.
When it goeth well with the righteous, the city rejoiceth;
And when the wicked perish, there is shouting.
By the blessing of the upright the city is exalted;
But it is overthrown by the mouth of the wicked.
He that despiseth his neighbor is void of wisdom;
But a man of understanding holdeth his peace.
He that goeth about as a tale-bearer revealeth secrets;
But he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth a matter.
Where no wise guidance is, the people falleth;
But in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.
He that is surety for a stranger shall smart for it;
But he that hateth suretyship is secure.
A gracious woman obtaineth honor;
And violent men obtain riches.
The merciful man doeth good to his own soul;
But he that is cruel troubleth his own flesh.
The wicked earneth deceitful wages;
But he that soweth righteousness hath a sure reward.
He that is stedfast in righteousness shall attain unto life;
And he that pursueth evil doeth it to his own death.
They that are perverse in heart are an abomination to Jehovah;
But such as are perfect in their way are his delight.
Though hand join in hand, the evil man shall not be unpunished;
But the seed of the righteous shall be delivered.
As a ring of gold in a swine’s snout,
So is a fair woman that is without discretion.
The desire of the righteous is only good;
But the expectation of the wicked is wrath.
There is that scattereth, and increaseth yet more;
And there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth only to want.
The liberal soul shall be made fat;
And he that watereth shall be watered also himself.
He that withholdeth grain, the people shall curse him;
But blessing shall be upon the head of him that selleth it.
He that diligently seeketh good seeketh favor;
But he that searcheth after evil, it shall come unto him.
He that trusteth in his riches shall fall;
But the righteous shall flourish as the green leaf.
He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind;
And the foolish shall be servant to the wise of heart.
The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life;
And he that is wise winneth souls.
Behold, the righteous shall be recompensed in the earth;
How much more the wicked and the sinner!

Morning Scripture Reading - Colossians 1:9-23 American Standard Version

For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray and make request for you, that ye may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, to walk worthily of the Lord unto all pleasing, bearing fruit in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to the might of his glory, unto all patience and longsuffering with joy; giving thanks unto the Father, who made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light; who delivered us out of the power of darkness, and translated us into the kingdom of the Son of his love; in whom we have our redemption, the forgiveness of our sins: who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him were all things created, in the heavens and upon the earth, things visible and things invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; all things have been created through him, and unto him; and he is before all things, and in him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. For it was the good pleasure of the Father that in him should all the fulness dwell; and through him to reconcile all things unto himself, having made peace through the blood of his cross; through him, I say, whether things upon the earth, or things in the heavens. And you, being in time past alienated and enemies in your mind in your evil works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and without blemish and unreproveable before him: if so be that ye continue in the faith, grounded and stedfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel which ye heard, which was preached in all creation under heaven; whereof I Paul was made a minister.

Sunday, February 19, 2023

Evening Scripture Reading - John 15:2 American Standard Version

Every branch in me that beareth not fruit, he taketh it away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he cleanseth it, that it may bear more fruit.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 81:1-7 American Standard Version

For the Chief Musician; set to the Gittith. A Psalm of Asaph.

Sing aloud unto God our strength:
Make a joyful noise unto the God of Jacob.
Raise a song, and bring hither the timbrel,
The pleasant harp with the psaltery.
Blow the trumpet at the new moon,
At the full moon, on our feast-day.
For it is a statute for Israel,
An ordinance of the God of Jacob.
He appointed it in Joseph for a testimony,
When he went out over the land of Egypt,
Where I heard a language that I knew not.
I removed his shoulder from the burden:
His hands were freed from the basket.
Thou calledst in trouble, and I delivered thee;
I answered thee in the secret place of thunder;
I proved thee at the waters of Meribah. Selah

Sunday Praise & Worship Message - No Matter What Cling to God

Psalm 42 is a heartfelt prayer of a soul thirsting for God's presence. The psalmist, presumably a Levite, longs to worship the Lord in the sanctuary of the Temple, but he is unable to do so. Instead, he finds himself in a state of despair, feeling isolated and far from God. Despite his circumstances, he clings to his faith in God and seeks to find comfort and hope in Him.

The psalmist begins by expressing his deep longing for God, comparing it to the thirst of a deer for water: "As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God. I thirst for God, the living God. When can I go and stand before him?" (Psalm 42:1-2 NLT). He is consumed by his desire to be in God's presence and to worship Him, but he is prevented from doing so by his enemies. He laments, "Day and night I have only tears for food, while my enemies continually taunt me, saying, ‘Where is this God of yours?’” (Psalm 42:3 NLT).

Although I may thirst for the Lord, I sometimes find myself being my own worst enemy. I allow life to get in my way of worship and just having that special time with the Lord to pray and meditate on His word. Over my lifetime, I have seen that the things of this world have changed our lives and have taken away from our private time. We are constantly bombarded with information from twenty-four hour news programs, our smart phones and all sorts of other things. Even in my own car, it is difficult to spend time with the Lord. 
When I drive during rush hour traffic, my mind is always processing more and more information in order to stay safe. Informational signs are everywhere and flashing road condition updates as I try to watch out for those driving around me. Add bad weather to that equation and you have a crazy situation that leaves me very little time to listen to God talking to me. I used to listen to music and try to decompress from my busy day at the office. I have a couple of playlists that I listen to, but that has turned into a chore. I have to be on the lookout for emergency vehicles and listen for sirens. In short, my attention is focused wholly and completely on the road and just trying to get home in one piece. The only time I have to myself is the few minutes before I fall asleep. I spend that time with the Lord and focus on His message to me. I am so disappointed that I can only give Him a few minutes of my life. It troubles me a lot just like it troubled the psalmist.

Despite his anguish, the psalmist remembers the times when he was able to worship God in the Temple and when he experienced His presence: "My heart is breaking as I remember how it used to be: I walked among the crowds of worshipers, leading a great procession to the house of God, singing for joy and giving thanks amid the sound of a great celebration!" (Psalm 42:4 NLT). He recalls how the people of God would sing and praise Him together, and he longs to be among them again.

When my wife and I had our ministry at Lakeline Oaks Retirement Community, I felt peace in my life and a purpose. Even though we faced technical issues with the sound system or the projection system, we got through it and loved serving our family of faith. It was a special time for both of us and we loved being with our family. They meant so much to us and will continue to be a part of our lives and our souls. Over time, many have gone on to be with the Father, but they will always be a part of our hearts and souls. These moments give me great comfort and joy just knowing that we all came together to worship and sing the praises of our Heavenly Father. Each moment is a source of encouragement that helps me get through a busy day.

The psalmist then begins to encourage himself, reminding himself that he can trust in God even in the midst of his trials: "Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again—my Savior and my God!" (Psalm 42:5-6 NLT). He knows that God is faithful and that He will not abandon him, even when he feels alone and forgotten.

While I was traveling for my own business many years ago, I sometimes found myself dealing with colds and felt that I couldn’t go on any longer. When I was flying during storms, I never felt that I was alone. I knew that God was there with me each mile of my journey. It was that very fact that made me feel glad. I would take time during my travels to thank Him for everything and ask Him to watch over my family. If there was one thing I knew, God never abandoned me and that I never had a cause to feel alone. There were a few times when I allowed the world to bring doubt into my mind, but I could always go to the Lord in prayer and share my feelings and tell Him what is going on in my mind that is causing fear, uncertainty and doubt to creep into my life.

The psalmist then offers a prayer to God, pleading with Him to remember him and to lead him back to the Temple: "Now I am deeply discouraged, but I will remember you—even from distant Mount Hermon, the source of the Jordan, from the land of Mount Mizar. I hear the tumult of the raging seas as your waves and surging tides sweep over me. But each day the Lord pours his unfailing love upon me, and through each night I sing his songs, praying to God who gives me life." (Psalm 42:6-8 NLT).

The psalmist concludes by affirming his trust in God, even though he has not yet seen the answer to his prayer: "Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again—my Savior and my God!" (Psalm 42:11 NLT). He knows that God is his rock and his salvation, and that He will not fail him.
Psalm 42 is a powerful reminder of the importance of seeking God's presence and finding hope in Him, even when we are going through difficult times. It teaches us that we can trust in God's faithfulness and that He will never abandon us. 

When you are discouraged or feel alone, I encourage you to read the words of this psalm and know that you are not alone nor have been abandoned by God. He is with you every moment of every day and will not fail you. God has given you hope and you need to rest assured that hope will carry you through whatever you are facing. Do not be discouraged or listen to the lies spewed by Satan. Lean on the Lord to get you through the dark moments of your life. God is your rock and refuge. With that thought firmly planted in your mind, you can stand firm in His grace.

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

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 10 American Standard Version

The proverbs of Solomon.

A wise son maketh a glad father;
But a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother.
Treasures of wickedness profit nothing;
But righteousness delivereth from death.
Jehovah will not suffer the soul of the righteous to famish;
But he thrusteth away the desire of the wicked.
He becometh poor that worketh with a slack hand;
But the hand of the diligent maketh rich.
He that gathereth in summer is a wise son;
But he that sleepeth in harvest is a son that causeth shame.
Blessings are upon the head of the righteous;
But violence covereth the mouth of the wicked.
The memory of the righteous is blessed;
But the name of the wicked shall rot.
The wise in heart will receive commandments;
But a prating fool shall fall.
He that walketh uprightly walketh surely;
But he that perverteth his ways shall be known.
He that winketh with the eye causeth sorrow;
But a prating fool shall fall.
The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life;
But violence covereth the mouth of the wicked.
Hatred stirreth up strifes;
But love covereth all transgressions.
In the lips of him that hath discernment wisdom is found;
But a rod is for the back of him that is void of understanding.
Wise men lay up knowledge;
But the mouth of the foolish is a present destruction.
The rich man’s wealth is his strong city:
The destruction of the poor is their poverty.
The labor of the righteous tendeth to life;
The increase of the wicked, to sin.
He is in the way of life that heedeth correction;
But he that forsaketh reproof erreth.
He that hideth hatred is of lying lips;
And he that uttereth a slander is a fool.
In the multitude of words there wanteth not transgression;
But he that refraineth his lips doeth wisely.
The tongue of the righteous is as choice silver:
The heart of the wicked is little worth.
The lips of the righteous feed many;
But the foolish die for lack of understanding.
The blessing of Jehovah, it maketh rich;
And he addeth no sorrow therewith.
It is as sport to a fool to do wickedness;
And so is wisdom to a man of understanding.
The fear of the wicked, it shall come upon him;
And the desire of the righteous shall be granted.
When the whirlwind passeth, the wicked is no more;
But the righteous is an everlasting foundation.
As vinegar to the teeth, and as smoke to the eyes,
So is the sluggard to them that send him.
The fear of Jehovah prolongeth days;
But the years of the wicked shall be shortened.
The hope of the righteous shall be gladness;
But the expectation of the wicked shall perish.
The way of Jehovah is a stronghold to the upright;
But it is a destruction to the workers of iniquity.
The righteous shall never be removed;
But the wicked shall not dwell in the land.
The mouth of the righteous bringeth forth wisdom;
But the perverse tongue shall be cut off.
The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable;
But the mouth of the wicked speaketh perverseness.

Morning Scripture Reading - Hebrews 9:15 American Standard Version

And for this cause he is the mediator of a new covenant, that a death having taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first covenant, they that have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.

Saturday, February 18, 2023

Evening Scripture Reading - 1 John 4:7-21 American Standard Version

Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is begotten of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. Herein was the love of God manifested in us, that God hath sent his only begotten Son into the world that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No man hath beheld God at any time: if we love one another, God abideth in us, and his love is perfected in us: hereby we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit. And we have beheld and bear witness that the Father hath sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God abideth in him, and he in God. And we know and have believed the love which God hath in us. God is love; and he that abideth in love abideth in God, and God abideth in him. Herein is love made perfect with us, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as he is, even so are we in this world. There is no fear in love: but perfect love casteth out fear, because fear hath punishment; and he that feareth is not made perfect in love. We love, because he first loved us. If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, cannot love God whom he hath not seen. And this commandment have we from him, that he who loveth God love his brother also.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 80:8-19 American Standard Version

Thou broughtest a vine out of Egypt:
Thou didst drive out the nations, and plantedst it.
Thou preparedst room before it,
And it took deep root, and filled the land.
The mountains were covered with the shadow of it,
And the boughs thereof were like cedars of God.
It sent out its branches unto the sea,
And its shoots unto the River.
Why hast thou broken down its walls,
So that all they that pass by the way do pluck it?
The boar out of the wood doth ravage it,
And the wild beasts of the field feed on it.
Turn again, we beseech thee, O God of hosts:
Look down from heaven, and behold, and visit this vine,
And the stock which thy right hand planted,
And the branch that thou madest strong for thyself.
It is burned with fire, it is cut down:
They perish at the rebuke of thy countenance.
Let thy hand be upon the man of thy right hand,
Upon the son of man whom thou madest strong for thyself.
So shall we not go back from thee:
Quicken thou us, and we will call upon thy name.
Turn us again, O Jehovah God of hosts;
Cause thy face to shine, and we shall be saved.

Thoughts from the Heart - Matthew 5:17 NLT

Matthew 5:17 is a verse from the New Testament of the Bible that is often quoted and discussed. This verse states, "Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose." (Matthew 5:17 NLT)

When considering the intent and action behind Matthew 5:17, it is important to understand the context in which it was written. The verse was spoken by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount, a collection of teachings that he gave to his followers on a mountain in Galilee.

The Law and the Prophets referred to in Matthew 5:17 refer to the Old Testament of the Bible. The Old Testament laws and regulations were seen as the standard for living a righteous and holy life by the Jews of the time. However, the laws were often misunderstood and misapplied, leading to a focus on outward obedience rather than inward righteousness.

Jesus’ message in Matthew 5:17 was that he had come not to abolish the Law and the Prophets, but to fulfill them. This meant that he was not doing away with the old laws, but was instead bringing a deeper understanding of their intent and purpose. He was emphasizing the importance of not just following the laws outwardly, but of having a heart change that leads to a change in behavior.

When considering the intent and action behind Matthew 5:17, it is important to understand that the verse is not just about following the laws of the Old Testament, but about living a life that is aligned with God's will. Jesus’ message was that the laws were not just a set of rules to follow, but that they were meant to bring people closer to God and to guide them in living a life that is pleasing to Him.

In order to fulfill the Law and the Prophets, Jesus taught that it is necessary to go beyond just outward obedience and to have a change in heart. This involves having a love for God and for others that motivates actions, rather than simply following the rules because they are required.

In conclusion, when considering the intent and action behind Matthew 5:17, it is important to understand that the verse is not just about following the laws of the Old Testament, but about living a life that is aligned with God's will. Jesus came to fulfill the Law and the Prophets by bringing a deeper understanding of their intent and purpose, emphasizing the importance of having a heart change that leads to a change in behavior.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 9:13-18 American Standard Version

The foolish woman is clamorous;
She is simple, and knoweth nothing.
And she sitteth at the door of her house,
On a seat in the high places of the city,
To call to them that pass by,
Who go right on their ways:
Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither;
And as for him that is void of understanding, she saith to him,
Stolen waters are sweet,
And bread eaten in secret is pleasant.
But he knoweth not that the dead are there;
That her guests are in the depths of Sheol.

Morning Scripture Reading - Revelation 21:1-4 American Standard Version

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth are passed away; and the sea is no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of the throne saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he shall dwell with them, and they shall be his peoples, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God: and he shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death shall be no more; neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain, any more: the first things are passed away.

Friday, February 17, 2023

Evening Scripture Reading - Nahum 1:7-8 American Standard Version

Jehovah is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that take refuge in him. But with an over-running flood he will make a full end of her place, and will pursue his enemies into darkness.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 80:4-7 American Standard Version

O Jehovah God of hosts,
How long wilt thou be angry against the prayer of thy people?
Thou hast fed them with the bread of tears,
And given them tears to drink in large measure.
Thou makest us a strife unto our neighbors;
And our enemies laugh among themselves.
Turn us again, O God of hosts;
And cause thy face to shine, and we shall be saved.