Friday, March 31, 2023

Evening Scripture Reading - Lamentations 3:55-57 American Standard Version

I called upon thy name, O Jehovah, out of the lowest dungeon.
Thou heardest my voice; hide not thine ear at my breathing, at my cry.
Thou drewest near in the day that I called upon thee; thou sadist, Fear not.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 101:4 American Standard Version

A perverse heart shall depart from me:
I will know no evil thing.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 26:3 American Standard Version

A whip for the horse, a bridle for the ass,
And a rod for the back of fools.

Morning Scripture Reading - Jude 20-21 American Standard Version

But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

Thursday, March 30, 2023

Evening Scripture Reading - Deuteronomy 1:9-18 American Standard Version

And I spake unto you at that time, saying, I am not able to bear you myself alone: Jehovah your God hath multiplied you, and, behold, ye are this day as the stars of heaven for multitude. Jehovah, the God of your fathers, make you a thousand times as many as ye are, and bless you, as he hath promised you! How can I myself alone bear your cumbrance, and your burden, and your strife? Take you wise men, and understanding, and known, according to your tribes, and I will make them heads over you. And ye answered me, and said, The thing which thou hast spoken is good for us to do. So I took the heads of your tribes, wise men, and known, and made them heads over you, captains of thousands, and captains of hundreds, and captains of fifties, and captains of tens, and officers, according to your tribes. And I charged your judges at that time, saying, Hear the causes between your brethren, and judge righteously between a man and his brother, and the sojourner that is with him. Ye shall not respect persons in judgment; ye shall hear the small and the great alike; ye shall not be afraid of the face of man; for the judgment is God’s: and the cause that is too hard for you ye shall bring unto me, and I will hear it. And I commanded you at that time all the things which ye should do.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 101:3 American Standard Version

I will set no base thing before mine eyes:
I hate the work of them that turn aside;
It shall not cleave unto me.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 26:2 American Standard Version

As the sparrow in her wandering, as the swallow in her flying,
So the curse that is causeless alighteth not.

Morning Scripture Reading - Galatians 5:22-23 American Standard Version

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, self-control; against such there is no law.

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Evening Scripture Reading - Matthew 9:1-8 American Standard Version

And he entered into a boat, and crossed over, and came into his own city. And behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, be of good cheer; thy sins are forgiven. And behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth. And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, Thy sins are forgiven; or to say, Arise, and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath authority on earth to forgive sins (then saith he to the sick of the palsy), Arise, and take up thy bed, and go unto thy house. And he arose, and departed to his house. But when the multitudes saw it, they were afraid, and glorified God, who had given such authority unto men.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 101:2 American Standard Version

I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way:
Oh when wilt thou come unto me?
I will walk within my house with a perfect heart.

Mid-Week Message - God Heard

 "Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.  Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart."  Psalm 37:3-4  (NIV)

My family has always had dogs.  My mother told me stories of how her little Rat Terrier, named Tinker, would lay across her stomach while she was pregnant with me.  So, I guess it is natural for me to love them as much as I do.  The only times that I didn't have one near me were during college while I lived in the dorm, and when I was living on my own as a young single adult.  The college years were so full that I didn't really miss having a pet but when I was living alone I yearned for that companionship. 

One day, one my way home from work to my empty house, I saw a man on a motorcycle.  He had his dog riding with him.  The dog was wearing goggles and a bandanna so it definitely caught my attention.  As I looked, the empty feeling rose up and I said out loud, "Oh, Lord!  I want a dog."  Now, I promise you that when I turned into my driveway, there was nothing out of the usual.  However, when I opened my car door, there sat a beautiful golden Cocker Spaniel and he jumped up into my lap.  I was flabbergasted!  I had never seen him before so I didn't think he belonged to any of my adjacent neighbors.  I didn't know where he belonged.  When I went into the house, he followed.  After a little while, he whined at the door so I thought maybe someone was calling him and I let him out.  He walked around outside for awhile then came back and he stayed with me after that. 

Punkin was my gift from God.  He slept with me and went with me everywhere that I could take him.  He met me when I came home from work, took walks with me, and licked my tears when I cried.  I knew that my heavenly Father had heard my cry and answered out of love and the bond I had with that little bundle of fur was incredible. 

When I married my husband, which was another prayer answered, Punkin welcomed Lady, my husband's dachshund, and they got along beautifully.  When our daughter was born, Punkin checked on her continuously.  He would sleep under her crib at night and look in on her if she made any noise.  He was never jealous but loved her as much as he loved me.  The when she was about a year old, he began crying if we touched his mouth.  I took him to the vet and was told he had a massive infection, needed surgery and that he may not live through it. 

Babies are expensive.  They need diapers and formula and baby food.  I was not working outside the home and we simply did not have the money to be able to pay for surgery for him, nor would I have wanted him to pass away without me by his side.  The only option we felt we had at the time was to have him euthanized.  It broke my heart.  Even as I type this, tears are flowing.  I still dream of him and wake up feeling like I got a special present because I got to see him. 

I really don't think I was meant to have Punkin for a long amount of time.  I believe the Lord sent him as a friend and companion for as long as I truly needed him.  By the time I had to say goodbye, my life was full.  I had what I had asked for since I was a little girl.  I was a wife and a mother.  That was the true desire of my heart, and the Lord knew it and granted it. 

Don't ever think that your longings are too trivial for the One who loves you the most.  He sees and hears and loves you enough to know the perfect time to fulfill that desire or to send something better.  He knows everything about you, every thought that enters your mind and every pang of your heart.  I sometimes wonder if Punkin would have arrived that day if I hadn't uttered the words out loud.  I will never know, and that is just fine with me.  That day, today's verse became real in my life and I have watched as our Father has continued to show Himself faithful throughout the years. 

I pray that every one who reads this message this week will recall the times when He has fulfilled your desires and that you would recall the love you felt at that time.  It is always there, that love.  Oh, and if you are wondering if anyone ever looked for that wonderful little fur baby, here is what I later found out.  A woman that I eventually worked with saw his picture on my desk and said, "He looks just like the one that I dumped."  So you see, not only was my desire heard and answered, but so was Punkin's who just needed someone to love him.  God bless.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 26:1 American Standard Version

As snow in summer, and as rain in harvest,
So honor is not seemly for a fool.

Morning Scripture Reading - 1 Peter 2:1-5 American Standard Version

Putting away therefore all wickedness, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, as newborn babes, long for the spiritual milk which is without guile, that ye may grow thereby unto salvation; if ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious: unto whom coming, a living stone, rejected indeed of men, but with God elect, precious, ye also, as living stones, are built up a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Evening Scripture Reading - Revelation 21:3-4 American Standard Version

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.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 101:1 American Standard Version

A Psalm of David.

I will sing of lovingkindness and justice:
Unto thee, O Jehovah, will I sing praises.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 25:28 American Standard Version

He whose spirit is without restraint
Is like a city that is broken down and without walls.

Morning Scripture Reading - Exodus 34:10 American Standard Version

And he said, Behold, I make a covenant: before all thy people I will do marvels, such as have not been wrought in all the earth, nor in any nation; and all the people among which thou art shall see the work of Jehovah; for it is a terrible thing that I do with thee.

Monday, March 27, 2023

Evening Scripture Reading - Amos 8:9-10 American Standard Version

And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord Jehovah, that I will cause the sun to go down at noon, and I will darken the earth in the clear day. And I will turn your feasts into mourning, and all your songs into lamentation; and I will bring sackcloth upon all loins, and baldness upon every head; and I will make it as the mourning for an only son, and the end thereof as a bitter day.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 100:5 American Standard Version

For Jehovah is good; his lovingkindness endureth for ever,
And his faithfulness unto all generations.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 25:27 American Standard Version

It is not good to eat much honey;
So for men to search out their own glory is grievous.

Morning Scripture Reading - Hebrews 12:1-2 American Standard Version

Therefore let us also, seeing we are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising shame, and hath sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Sunday, March 26, 2023

Evening Scripture Reading - Matthew 23:8-12 American Standard Version

But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your teacher, and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father on the earth: for one is your Father, even he who is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters: for one is your master, even the Christ. But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be humbled; and whosoever shall humble himself shall be exalted.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 100:4 American Standard Version

Enter into his gates with thanksgiving,
And into his courts with praise:
Give thanks unto him, and bless his name.

Sunday Praise & Worship Message - Love, Grace and Mercy

I want to share with you a story from the gospel of John that is often referred to as the story of the adulteress brought before Jesus. In this story, we see the love, grace, and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ in action.

The story begins with a group of religious leaders who bring before Jesus a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They claimed that according to the law of Moses, she should be stoned to death. They were testing Jesus, hoping to trap him into saying something that would discredit him.
But instead of answering them, Jesus stooped down and began to write on the ground with his finger. When the religious leaders continued to question him, Jesus stood up and said to them, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” (John 8:7, NLT)

Upon hearing this, one by one, the accusers began to leave until there was no one left but the woman standing before Jesus. Jesus then asked her, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” “No, Lord,” she said. And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.” (John 8:10-11, NLT)

What can we learn from this story? First and foremost, we see the love and compassion of Jesus towards this woman who had sinned. Instead of condemning her, he showed her grace and mercy. Jesus did not come into this world to condemn us, but to save us (John 3:17).

In today's world, we are constantly bombarded with messages of judgment, criticism, and division. Social media and news outlets often focus on highlighting the flaws and shortcomings of others, and it can be easy to fall into the trap of judging and condemning those who we perceive as different from us.

But as Christians, we are called to live differently. We are called to follow the example of Jesus Christ, who came into the world not to condemn it but to save it. This means that we should approach others with a spirit of love and compassion, rather than judgment and condemnation.

We also see that Jesus did not ignore the sin of the woman. He acknowledged it and told her to go and sin no more. In the same way, Jesus does not overlook our sins but calls us to repent and turn away from them.

Finally, we see that the religious leaders who brought the woman before Jesus were more concerned with trapping him than with upholding the law of Moses. They were hypocrites who were quick to judge others but failed to see their own sins. Let us not be like them but instead, let us be quick to show love, mercy, and compassion to others.

Jesus said, “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.” Matthew 7:1-2 (NLT). 
When we judge others, we run the risk of being judged ourselves. The standard we use in judging others is the standard by which we will be judged. This means that if we are harsh, critical, and unforgiving towards others, we may find that others are equally harsh, critical, and unforgiving towards us.

But if we show love, compassion, and understanding to others, we may find that others are more likely to show us the same. Jesus said, "Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy" (Matthew 5:7, NLT).

Jesus taught us to listen to others with an open mind and heart, even if we disagree with them. It means being willing to extend grace and forgiveness to those who have wronged us, just as God has forgiven us. And it means being willing to show love and compassion to those who are struggling, rather than judgment and condemnation.

In a world that often seems divided and hostile, we can be a light of God's love and mercy. By embodying the teachings of Jesus, we can bring hope and healing to those around us. So let us strive to live out these words of Jesus in our daily lives, and may we be a reflection of his love and mercy to all those we encounter.

Let us show love, grace, and mercy to others, just as Jesus showed to the adulteress brought before him. By living the teachings of Jesus and showing others mercy and compassion, we can stand firm in His grace.

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

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 25:26 American Standard Version

As a troubled fountain, and a corrupted spring,
So is a righteous man that giveth way before the wicked.

Morning Scripture Reading - Revelation 3:21-22 American Standard Version

He that overcometh, I will give to him to sit down with me in my throne, as I also overcame, and sat down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches.

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Evening Scripture Reading - Matthew 8:18-22 American Standard Version

Now when Jesus saw great multitudes about him, he gave commandment to depart unto the other side. And there came a scribe, and said unto him, Teacher, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the heaven have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. And another of the disciples said unto him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. But Jesus saith unto him, Follow me; and leave the dead to bury their own dead.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 100:3 American Standard Version

Know ye that Jehovah, he is God:
It is he that hath made us, and we are his;
We are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Thoughts from the Heart - 1 Peter 5:10 NLT

1 Peter 5:10 NLT says, "In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation."

This verse is a reminder that even though we may suffer in this life, God's plan is to ultimately restore us and place us on a firm foundation. This promise is echoed throughout the Bible.

In Romans 8:18, Paul writes, "I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us." This verse reminds us that the glory we will experience in eternity far outweighs any suffering we may endure in this life.

In 2 Corinthians 4:17, Paul writes, "For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all." Here again, Paul reminds us that our troubles in this life are temporary and will be far surpassed by the eternal glory we will experience.

The book of Job is another powerful illustration of suffering and restoration. Job lost everything he had, yet he never lost his faith in God. In the end, God restored everything to Job twofold. Job 42:12 says, "The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part."

Similarly, Joseph in the Old Testament suffered greatly when he was sold into slavery by his brothers. Yet, God used Joseph's suffering to bring about good. Joseph eventually became a powerful leader in Egypt and was able to save his family from famine.

These examples remind us that even in our suffering, God is at work, and His ultimate plan is to restore us and use our suffering for good. We may not understand why we are going through certain trials in life, but we can trust that God is working all things together for our good (Romans 8:28).

1 Peter 5:10 also reminds us that God's restoration includes support and strength. When we feel weak and unable to endure, God promises to strengthen us. In Philippians 4:13, Paul writes, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." This verse reminds us that we don't have to rely on our own strength to get through difficult times. God will give us the strength we need to persevere.

Even in our suffering, God is at work, and His ultimate plan is to restore us and place us on a firm foundation. We can take comfort in the fact that our temporary trials will one day be far outweighed by the eternal glory we will experience. In the meantime, we can rely on God's strength and support to get us through whatever challenges we may face.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 25:25 American Standard Version

As cold waters to a thirsty soul,
So is good news from a far country.

Morning Scripture Reading - Ecclesiastes 9:17 American Standard Version

The words of the wise heard in quiet are better than the cry of him that ruleth among fools.

Friday, March 24, 2023

Evening Scripture Reading - John 4:27-38 American Standard Version

And upon this came his disciples; and they marvelled that he was speaking with a woman; yet no man said, What seekest thou? or, Why speakest thou with her? So the woman left her waterpot, and went away into the city, and saith to the people, Come, see a man, who told me all things that ever I did: can this be the Christ? They went out of the city, and were coming to him. In the mean while the disciples prayed him, saying, Rabbi, eat. But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not. The disciples therefore said one to another, Hath any man brought him aught to eat? Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to accomplish his work. Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh the harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields, that they are white already unto harvest. He that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal; that he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. For herein is the saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth. I sent you to reap that whereon ye have not labored: others have labored, and ye are entered into their labor.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 100:2 American Standard Version

Serve Jehovah with gladness:
Come before his presence with singing.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 25:24 American Standard Version

It is better to dwell in the corner of the housetop,
Than with a contentious woman in a wide house.

Morning Scripture Reading - Isaiah 1:18-20 American Standard Version

Come now, and let us reason together, saith Jehovah: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: but if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword; for the mouth of Jehovah hath spoken it.

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Evening Scripture Reading - Isaiah 40:27-31 American Standard Version

Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel, My way is hid from Jehovah, and the justice due to me is passed away from my God? Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard? The everlasting God, Jehovah, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary; there is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to him that hath no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: but they that wait for Jehovah shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 100:1 American Standard Version

Make a joyful noise unto Jehovah, all ye lands.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 25:23 American Standard Version

The north wind bringeth forth rain;
So doth a backbiting tongue an angry countenance.

Morning Scripture Reading - Romans 8:26-27 American Standard Version

And in like manner the Spirit also helpeth our infirmity: for we know not how to pray as we ought; but the Spirit himself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered; and he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Evening Scripture Reading - 1 John 5:13-15 American Standard Version

These things have I written unto you, that ye may know that ye have eternal life, even unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God. And this is the boldness which we have toward him, that, if we ask anything according to his will, he heareth us: and if we know that he heareth us whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions which we have asked of him.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 99:6-9 American Standard Version

Moses and Aaron among his priests,
And Samuel among them that call upon his name;
They called upon Jehovah, and he answered them.
He spake unto them in the pillar of cloud:
They kept his testimonies,
And the statute that he gave them.
Thou answeredst them, O Jehovah our God:
Thou wast a God that forgavest them,
Though thou tookest vengeance of their doings.
Exalt ye Jehovah our God,
And worship at his holy hill;
For Jehovah our God is holy.

Mid-Week Message - Love Needed

 "This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.  And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.  If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?  Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth."  1 John 3:16-18  (NIV)

Carl was 88 years old and living all alone in a small apartment.  After a long marriage, his wife had passed away several years before, and, because the rest of Carl's family had also passed, and because he had no children, his life was mostly spent alone in his home with the television providing the only voices and faces that he encountered each day.  There were plenty of neighbors sharing the building, but they were mostly younger folks who were busy with their own lives.  

One day, the local ambulance service received a call that said an 88 year old man, at this address, was having chest pains.  Upon arrival, they checked Carl thoroughly, including running an ECG that would detect any heart abnormalities.  Finding no problems with any of his vital signs, they advised him to call his regular doctor the next day if the pain continued.  As they left, one EMT was overheard wondering if his pain was caused from a broken heart.  

I had a very dear friend named Billye.  She was a ray of sunshine and loved everyone.  She kind of adopted me as one of her own children and we became very close.  She was the one who encouraged me to seek ordination and was very excited when I chose to become certified for Hospice chaplaincy.  We had no way of knowing that she would be the first person that would request my services.  

After being diagnosed with a rapidly progressive brain tumor, it became necessary for her daughters to place her in a nursing home.  Wednesdays became my day to visit with her and she always grabbed my hand when I walked through her door.  One day, she asked me what she should expect as she neared death and I told her that some people reported seeing loved ones, angels, or even Jesus before they passed.  When she responded that she hadn't seen anyone, I told her it wasn't time yet.  

During my next to last visit with Billye, she simply asked me to sing "Jesus Loves Me" with her, so we sang it together.  As I sat beside her bed, holding her sweet hand, she closed her eyes.  I truly don't know if she was conscious or not, but she began saying, "Hi!  Oh, hi!" as though she was greeting someone she hadn't seen in awhile.  I was amazed and felt so honored to have been there for that moment.  My husband and I went to see her the following Saturday and my dear friend passed away on Monday.  

The elderly are among those in the greatest need of compassion.  Often they are unable to get out of their homes without assistance.  So many are in nursing homes because of health issues that cannot be dealt with at home, or in assisted living facilities because they simply are unable to live independently any longer.  Physical issues, along with memory diseases, steal familiar lives from these dear souls.  And many never receive visitors.  No one knocks on their door with cookies, asks if there is anything they need, or if they would just like someone to sit with them for awhile and give them some company.  

Brothers and sisters, when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, scripture tells us we are transformed, that we become new creatures.  John 13:35 tells us, "By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."  Once the love of Christ enters our hearts, we need to be using it to bless others.  There are so many with needs.  Some we can meet, others we can't.  But visiting with the lonely is free and blesses them beyond measure.  Just to open their doors to the smiling face of a friend can change their entire outlook on life.

I would like to encourage each of us to take the opportunity to hold an aged hand, visit someone that is lonely, or even just to send a card to a dear one in need of a smile.  All it takes is a little bit of thought and a small amount of time.  May God lead us all.   

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 25:21-22 American Standard Version

If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat;
And if he be thirsty, give him water to drink:
For thou wilt heap coals of fire upon his head,
And Jehovah will reward thee.

Morning Scripture Reading - 1 Peter 1:10-12 American Standard Version

Concerning which salvation the prophets sought and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: searching what time or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did point unto, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glories that should follow them. To whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto you, did they minister these things, which now have been announced unto you through them that preached the gospel unto you by the Holy Spirit sent forth from heaven; which things angels desire to look into.

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Evening Scripture Reading - 1 Samuel 2:1-11 American Standard Version

And Hannah prayed, and said:

My heart exulteth in Jehovah;
My horn is exalted in Jehovah;
My mouth is enlarged over mine enemies;
Because I rejoice in thy salvation.
There is none holy as Jehovah;
For there is none besides thee,
Neither is there any rock like our God.
Talk no more so exceeding proudly;
Let not arrogancy come out of your mouth;
For Jehovah is a God of knowledge,
And by him actions are weighed.
The bows of the mighty men are broken;
And they that stumbled are girded with strength.
They that were full have hired out themselves for bread;
And they that were hungry have ceased to hunger:
Yea, the barren hath borne seven;
And she that hath many children languisheth.
Jehovah killeth, and maketh alive:
He bringeth down to Sheol, and bringeth up.
Jehovah maketh poor, and maketh rich:
He bringeth low, he also lifteth up.
He raiseth up the poor out of the dust,
He lifteth up the needy from the dunghill,
To make them sit with princes,
And inherit the throne of glory:
For the pillars of the earth are Jehovah’s,
And he hath set the world upon them.
He will keep the feet of his holy ones;
But the wicked shall be put to silence in darkness;
For by strength shall no man prevail.
They that strive with Jehovah shall be broken to pieces;
Against them will he thunder in heaven:
Jehovah will judge the ends of the earth;
And he will give strength unto his king,
And exalt the horn of his anointed.

And Elkanah went to Ramah to his house. And the child did minister unto Jehovah before Eli the priest.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 99:4-5 American Standard Version

The king’s strength also loveth justice;
Thou dost establish equity;
Thou executest justice and righteousness in Jacob.
Exalt ye Jehovah our God,
And worship at his footstool:
Holy is he.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 25:20 American Standard Version

As one that taketh off a garment in cold weather, and as vinegar upon soda,
So is he that singeth songs to a heavy heart.

Morning Scripture Reading - 1 John 5:6-12 American Standard Version

This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not with the water only, but with the water and with the blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three who bear witness, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and the three agree in one. If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for the witness of God is this, that he hath borne witness concerning his Son. He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in him: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he hath not believed in the witness that God hath borne concerning his Son. And the witness is this, that God gave unto us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath the life; he that hath not the Son of God hath not the life.

Monday, March 20, 2023

Evening Scripture Reading - Titus 1:15-16 American Standard Version

To the pure all things are pure: but to them that are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but both their mind and their conscience are defiled. They profess that they know God; but by their works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 99:1-3 American Standard Version

Jehovah reigneth; let the peoples tremble:
He sitteth above the cherubim; let the earth be moved.
Jehovah is great in Zion;
And he is high above all the peoples.
Let them praise thy great and terrible name:
Holy is he.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 25:19 American Standard Version

Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble
Is like a broken tooth, and a foot out of joint.

Morning Scripture Reading - Mark 12:28-34 American Standard Version

And one of the scribes came, and heard them questioning together, and knowing that he had answered them well, asked him, What commandment is the first of all? Jesus answered, The first is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God, the Lord is one: and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength. The second is this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. And the scribe said unto him, Of a truth, Teacher, thou hast well said that he is one; and there is none other but he: and to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbor as himself, is much more than all whole burnt-offerings and sacrifices. And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. And no man after that durst ask him any question.

Sunday, March 19, 2023

Evening Scripture Reading - John 13:36-38 American Standard Version

Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, whither goest thou? Jesus answered, Whither I go, thou canst not follow me now; but thou shalt follow afterwards. Peter saith unto him, Lord, why cannot I follow thee even now? I will lay down my life for thee. Jesus answereth, Wilt thou lay down thy life for me? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, The cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied me thrice.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 98:7-9 American Standard Version

Let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof;
The world, and they that dwell therein;
Let the floods clap their hands;
Let the hills sing for joy together
Before Jehovah; for he cometh to judge the earth:
He will judge the world with righteousness,
And the peoples with equity.

Sunday Praise & Worship Message - Avoid Division and Strife

In Romans 16:17-20, the apostle Paul urges the early Christian church in Rome to watch out for those who cause divisions and to keep away from them. He emphasizes that such people are not serving Christ but are serving their own desires, using smooth talk and flattery to deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting.

The message here is clear: as members of a church community, we must be vigilant against those who would cause division and strife. We must work together to build a united, cohesive community that is centered around Christ and his teachings.

Paul goes on to say that God will soon crush Satan under our feet, a powerful image of the ultimate triumph of good over evil. This reminds us that our struggle against division and strife is not just a personal one, but a holy one as well. We are part of a larger spiritual battle that has been raging since the beginning of time, and we must stand firm in our faith and our commitment to building a strong, unified church community.

To achieve this goal, we must be rooted in the Word of God and in prayer. In Colossians 3:16-17, Paul writes, "Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father." This passage reminds us that we must constantly be seeking to grow in our faith, to learn from one another, and to praise God in all that we do.

Furthermore, we must be willing to love and serve one another, even when it is difficult. In Galatians 6:2, Paul writes, "Share each other's burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ." This means that we must be willing to put aside our own desires and preferences in order to help those in need, whether they are members of our own church community or not.

Ultimately, building a strong, unified church community requires us to put Christ at the center of all that we do. As Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 12:12-13, "The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ. Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit." This passage reminds us that, despite our differences, we are all part of the same spiritual family, united in our love for Christ and our desire to serve him.

But, what happens if there is division inside of the church body? What happens to the body as a whole? In my years of service to church communities, I have seen how the church community can wither and die.

Just as a human body can become sick or dysfunctional if one part is not working properly, so too can the body of Christ suffer if we are not all working together in unity. That's why it's so important for us to recognize that we need each other and to work together to build a strong, healthy community that is centered around Christ.

In Ephesians 4:16, Paul writes, "He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love." This passage reminds us that, as we each use our gifts and talents to serve the body of Christ, we not only contribute to its overall health and functioning but we also help each other grow in our faith and love for God.

We must remember that every member of the body of Christ is equally important and valuable. In 1 Corinthians 12:22-23, Paul writes, "In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary. And the parts we regard as less honorable are those we clothe with the greatest care." This passage reminds us that even those who may seem insignificant or overlooked in the eyes of the world are essential to the functioning of the body of Christ.

Romans 16:17-20 reminds us of the importance of building a strong, unified church community that is centered around Christ and his teachings. To achieve this goal, we must be vigilant against those who would cause division and strife, and we must be rooted in the Word of God and in prayer. We must be willing to love and serve one another, even when it is difficult, and we must put Christ at the center of all that we do. Let us strive to build a church community that is strong, loving, and united, a community that reflects the love of Christ to the world around us.

By working together to build a strong and united community, we can all stand firm in His grace.

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

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 25:18 American Standard Version

A man that beareth false witness against his neighbor
Is a maul, and a sword, and a sharp arrow.

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?

Saturday, March 18, 2023

Evening Scripture Reading - Ephesians 4:1-6 American Standard Version

I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beseech you to walk worthily of the calling wherewith ye were called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; giving diligence to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as also ye were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all, and through all, and in all.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 98:4-6 American Standard Version

Make a joyful noise unto Jehovah, all the earth:
Break forth and sing for joy, yea, sing praises.
Sing praises unto Jehovah with the harp;
With the harp and the voice of melody.
With trumpets and sound of cornet
Make a joyful noise before the King, Jehovah.

Thoughts from the Heart - The Blessing and Curse of Modern Technology

In today's digital age, it's becoming increasingly difficult to disconnect from technology and focus on our relationship with God. With the constant distractions of cell phones and other modern technology, it's easy to become consumed by the things of this world and forget about our spiritual well-being. In this article, we'll explore how cell phones and modern technology can distract us from our relationship with God.

The constant notifications, alerts, and messages that come with cell phones and modern technology can easily lead to an addiction to distraction. When we're constantly checking our phones and responding to messages, we can become disconnected from the present moment and the people around us. This can be detrimental to our relationship with God, as it's difficult to hear His voice when we're constantly distracted by technology.

Proverbs 4:25-27 NLT reminds us to stay focused on what's important: "Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you. Mark out a straight path for your feet; stay on the safe path. Don’t get sidetracked; keep your feet from following evil."

Mindfulness is the practice of being fully present in the moment and aware of our thoughts, feelings, and surroundings. Cell phones and modern technology can make it difficult to be mindful, as they often encourage us to multitask and be in several places at once. This lack of mindfulness can prevent us from experiencing the fullness of God's presence in our lives.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NLT encourages us to be mindful and present in every moment: "Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus."

Solitude and silence are essential for deepening our relationship with God. When we're constantly surrounded by noise and stimulation, it can be difficult to find moments of quiet and stillness to connect with God. Cell phones and modern technology can make it difficult to disconnect from the noise of the world and find the solitude and silence we need to hear God's voice.

Psalm 46:10 NLT reminds us to be still and know that God is God: "Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world."

Cell phones and modern technology can be both a blessing and a curse. While they can help us stay connected and productive, they can also distract us from what's truly important in life – our relationship with God. By practicing mindfulness, seeking solitude and silence, and staying focused on what's truly important, we can stay connected to God in a world that's constantly vying for our attention. Let us not forget the words of Romans 12:2 NLT, which reminds us to not conform to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of our minds: "Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect."

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 25:17 American Standard Version

Let thy foot be seldom in thy neighbor’s house,
Lest he be weary of thee, and hate thee.

Friday, March 17, 2023

Evening Scripture Reading - Zephaniah 3:14-17 American Standard Version

Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel; be glad and rejoice with all the heart, O daughter of Jerusalem. Jehovah hath taken away thy judgments, he hath cast out thine enemy: the King of Israel, even Jehovah, is in the midst of thee; thou shalt not fear evil any more. In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, Fear thou not; O Zion, let not thy hands be slack. Jehovah thy God is in the midst of thee, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love; he will joy over thee with singing.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 98:1-3 American Standard Version

A Psalm.

Oh sing unto Jehovah a new song;
For he hath done marvellous things:
His right hand, and his holy arm, hath wrought salvation for him.
Jehovah hath made known his salvation:
His righteousness hath he openly showed in the sight of the nations.
He hath remembered his lovingkindness and his faithfulness toward the house of Israel:
All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.

A Word from the Pastor - The Decline in Church Attendance

The decline of church attendance is a complex issue influenced by a range of factors, including changes in societal values, shifting religious beliefs, and a lack of engagement with younger generations.

According to a recent study by the Pew Research Center, the number of adults in the United States who identify as Christian has been declining steadily over the past decade, with a corresponding drop in church attendance (Pew Research Center, 2019). While the reasons for this decline are multifaceted, there are several major causes that can be identified.

One major cause of the decline in church attendance is the changing values and priorities of society. As people become more focused on individualism and personal fulfillment, traditional religious institutions may be seen as outdated or unnecessary. This shift is reflected in the rise of "spiritual but not religious" individuals who seek alternative forms of worship and community outside of traditional religious institutions (Pew Research Center, 2017).

Another factor contributing to the decline in church attendance is a shift in religious beliefs, particularly among younger generations. Many young people today are more likely to identify as atheist, agnostic, or "nothing in particular" than their older counterparts, and may not see the value in attending church or other religious services (Pew Research Center, 2019).

Additionally, a lack of engagement with younger generations may be contributing to the decline in church attendance. Many churches struggle to connect with younger members and may not offer programming or services that are relevant to their needs and interests. This can lead to a lack of interest in attending church and a feeling of disconnection from the religious community (Jones & Stroope, 2017).

The decline in church attendance is a complex issue influenced by a range of factors. As society continues to evolve and religious beliefs and practices shift, it is important for churches to adapt and engage with younger generations in order to maintain their relevance and presence in the community.

Jones, R. P., & Stroope, S. (2017). Millennials and the decline of religious commitment: A generational comparison. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 56(2), 211-226.
Pew Research Center. (2017). "Religion in America: U.S. religious data, demographics and statistics." Retrieved from
Pew Research Center. (2019). "In U.S., decline of Christianity continues at a rapid pace." Retrieved from

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 25:16 American Standard Version

Hast thou found honey? eat so much as is sufficient for thee,
Lest thou be filled therewith, and vomit it.

Morning Scripture Reading - Jonah 2 American Standard Version

Then Jonah prayed unto Jehovah his God out of the fish’s belly. And he said,

I called by reason of mine affliction unto Jehovah,
And he answered me;
Out of the belly of Sheol cried I,
And thou heardest my voice.
For thou didst cast me into the depth, in the heart of the seas,
And the flood was round about me;
All thy waves and thy billows passed over me.
And I said, I am cast out from before thine eyes;
Yet I will look again toward thy holy temple.
The waters compassed me about, even to the soul;
The deep was round about me;
The weeds were wrapped about my head.
I went down to the bottoms of the mountains;
The earth with its bars closed upon me for ever:
Yet hast thou brought up my life from the pit, O Jehovah my God.
When my soul fainted within me, I remembered Jehovah;
And my prayer came in unto thee, into thy holy temple.
They that regard lying vanities
Forsake their own mercy.
But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving;
I will pay that which I have vowed.
Salvation is of Jehovah.

And Jehovah spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Evening Scripture Reading - Amos 9:5-6 American Standard Version

For the Lord, Jehovah of hosts, is he that toucheth the land and it melteth, and all that dwell therein shall mourn; and it shall rise up wholly like the River, and shall sink again, like the River of Egypt; it is he that buildeth his chambers in the heavens, and hath founded his vault upon the earth; he that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth; Jehovah is his name.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 97:10-12 American Standard Version

O ye that love Jehovah, hate evil:
He preserveth the souls of his saints;
He delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked.
Light is sown for the righteous,
And gladness for the upright in heart.
Be glad in Jehovah, ye righteous;
And give thanks to his holy memorial name.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 25:14-15 American Standard Version

As clouds and wind without rain,
So is he that boasteth himself of his gifts falsely.
By long forbearing is a ruler persuaded,
And a soft tongue breaketh the bone.

Morning Scripture Reading - Malachi 1:10-11 American Standard Version

Oh that there were one among you that would shut the doors, that ye might not kindle fire on mine altar in vain! I have no pleasure in you, saith Jehovah of hosts, neither will I accept an offering at your hand. For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering: for my name shall be great among the Gentiles, saith Jehovah of hosts.

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Evening Scripture Reading - 1 John 4:19-21 American Standard Version

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 97:8-9 American Standard Version

Zion heard and was glad,
And the daughters of Judah rejoiced,
Because of thy judgments, O Jehovah.
For thou, Jehovah, art most high above all the earth:
Thou art exalted far above all gods.

Mid-Week Message - Perfection

 "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well."  Psalm 139:14 (NIV)

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."  John 3:16 (NIV)

As most young people do, I daydreamed about having the perfect life.  Once I became an adult, I would find the perfect job then rent the perfect apartment.  I would find a perfect husband, settle down and have perfect children, live in a perfect neighborhood and spend the rest of my life in the perfect happily ever after.  There was one large detail that I failed to consider though.  I, myself, wasn't perfect.

I went to a wonderful college.  Not perfect, but it certainly met my needs as far as education goes.  I met great friends there.  They weren't perfect either, but I loved them and still keep in touch with many of them today.  When I did live in an apartment, the air conditioner had continual problems and the upstairs bathroom floor sank down in one place.  It wasn't perfect but I have very happy memories of my times with the two women that I shared it with.  My jobs weren't perfect either.  In fact, during a couple of them I threw up every night because of the nerves I had about returning the next day.  They were extremely stressful.  But, they did pay my bills.  I didn't marry until the age of 33.  I believe my husband was handpicked by the Lord just for me, and while he isn't perfect, I couldn't love him more.  We have one child and although as her mother I tend to think she is perfect, I guess she isn't in reality.  

I have come to realize that we weren't created to be perfect.  However, we are created perfectly.  God knew just what He was doing when He gave us our bodies and personalities.  He knew we would have weaknesses and that we would make mistakes but He also used those "imperfections" to teach us about Himself and to show us our need for a Redeemer.  Had He created us as perfect beings, what need would we have for Him?  

None of us are perfect.  Not physically, mentally, emotionally or even spiritually.  However, we are being perfected through our relationship with Jesus and one day, when we live with Him in Heaven, we will be perfect.  And what better way to say "thank you" than to spend eternity praising our Creator and Perfector?

This week will bring many reminders of just how imperfect we are.  I pray that you will be encouraged in the knowledge that being imperfect does not mean that you were not created perfectly.  Praise the Lord!  He knows everything about us and loves us still.  God bless you!

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 25:13 American Standard Version

As the cold of snow in the time of harvest,
So is a faithful messenger to them that send him;
For he refresheth the soul of his masters.

Morning Scripture Reading - 2 Peter 3:8-10 American Standard Version

But forget not this one thing, beloved, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some count slackness; but is longsuffering to you-ward, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall be dissolved with fervent heat, and the earth and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Evening Scripture Reading - 1 Peter 1:3-5 American Standard Version

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his great mercy begat us again unto a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, unto an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who by the power of God are guarded through faith unto a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 97:7 American Standard Version

Let all them be put to shame that serve graven images,
That boast themselves of idols:
Worship him, all ye gods.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 25:12 American Standard Version

As an ear-ring of gold, and an ornament of fine gold,
So is a wise reprover upon an obedient ear.

Morning Scripture Reading - 2 Corinthians 1:3-7 American Standard Version

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort; who comforteth us in all our affliction, that we may be able to comfort them that are in any affliction, through the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound unto us, even so our comfort also aboundeth through Christ. But whether we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; or whether we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which worketh in the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: and our hope for you is stedfast; knowing that, as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so also are ye of the comfort.

Monday, March 13, 2023

Evening Scripture Reading - Galatians 2:20 American Standard Version

I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I that live, but Christ liveth in me: and that life which I now live in the flesh I live in faith, the faith which is in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself up for me.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 97:1-6 American Standard Version

Jehovah reigneth; let the earth rejoice;
Let the multitude of isles be glad.
Clouds and darkness are round about him:
Righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.
A fire goeth before him,
And burneth up his adversaries round about.
His lightnings lightened the world:
The earth saw, and trembled.
The mountains melted like wax at the presence of Jehovah,
At the presence of the Lord of the whole earth.
The heavens declare his righteousness,
And all the peoples have seen his glory.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 25:11 American Standard Version

A word fitly spoken
Is like apples of gold in network of silver.

Morning Scripture Reading - Romans 5:6-8 American Standard Version

For while we were yet weak, in due season Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: for peradventure for the good man some one would even dare to die. But God commendeth his own love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Sunday, March 12, 2023

Evening Scripture Reading - Ezekiel 37:25 American Standard Version

And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, they, and their children, and their children’s children, for ever: and David my servant shall be their prince for ever.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 96 American Standard Version

Oh sing unto Jehovah a new song:
Sing unto Jehovah, all the earth.
Sing unto Jehovah, bless his name;
Show forth his salvation from day to day.
Declare his glory among the nations,
His marvellous works among all the peoples.
For great is Jehovah, and greatly to be praised:
He is to be feared above all gods.
For all the gods of the peoples are idols;
But Jehovah made the heavens.
Honor and majesty are before him:
Strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.
Ascribe unto Jehovah, ye kindreds of the peoples,
Ascribe unto Jehovah glory and strength.
Ascribe unto Jehovah the glory due unto his name:
Bring an offering, and come into his courts.
Oh worship Jehovah in holy array:
Tremble before him, all the earth.
Say among the nations, Jehovah reigneth:
The world also is established that it cannot be moved:
He will judge the peoples with equity.
Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice;
Let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof;
Let the field exult, and all that is therein;
Then shall all the trees of the wood sing for joy
Before Jehovah; for he cometh,
For he cometh to judge the earth:
He will judge the world with righteousness,
And the peoples with his truth.

Sunday Praise & Worship Message - Sin or Salvation

Today I want to talk to you about the seriousness of sin and the consequences it has on our lives. We all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23, NLT). Sin is an offense to God and separates us from Him. The Bible says that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23, NLT), which means that sin brings spiritual and physical death. The sad part of all of this is that we know better or should have been taught the difference between right and wrong and good and evil. However, in the past decades, sin has become rampant and has led our society down the path of destruction.

In recent years, many have expressed concern over the state of our society. From the rise of mass shootings to the breakdown of the family unit, it's easy to see why people are worried. But just how far has our society fallen, and what can we do to turn things around?

First, it's important to recognize that the moral decline of our society didn't happen overnight. It's been a gradual process that's taken place over several decades. In the mid-20th century, there was a shift away from traditional values and an embrace of more liberal attitudes. This led to a breakdown in the family unit, with more people choosing to cohabit or divorce. It also led to an increase in drug use, crime, and other social ills.

Another area where we've seen a decline is in our treatment of others. Bullying and harassment are rampant, both in person and online. The rise of social media has made it easier than ever to spread hate and vitriol, leading to a more polarized and divided society. This has even spilled over into politics, with many people refusing to engage with those who hold different views.

We also need to take a hard look at our own values and beliefs. Are we living up to the standards we claim to believe in? Are we treating others with the respect and dignity they deserve? If not, we need to make changes in our own lives.

So, what can we do to turn things around? First and foremost, we need to recognize that the problem is not just "out there." It's easy to point fingers at others and blame them for the state of our society, but the reality is that we all contribute to it in some way. We need to take personal responsibility for our actions and do our part to make things better. The first step is to return to God and admit that we have sinned.

God is holy and just, and He cannot tolerate sin. He is also merciful and loving, and He wants us to turn away from our sin and come back to Him. The Bible says that God loved the world so much that He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16, NLT). Jesus came to this world to save us from our sins and to give us eternal life.

But we need to acknowledge our sin and confess it to God. The Bible says that if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness (1 John 1:9, NLT). We need to repent and turn away from our sinful ways. The Bible says that God commands all people everywhere to repent of their sins and turn to him (Acts 17:30, NLT).

We also need to believe in Jesus Christ and put our faith in Him. The Bible says that there is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12, NLT). Jesus is the only way to eternal life. He said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me" (John 14:6, NLT).

We need to receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior and follow Him. The Bible says that to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God (John 1:12, NLT). Jesus said, "If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow me" (Luke 9:23, NLT).

We need to live a life that is pleasing to God. The Bible says that we are saved by grace through faith, but we are also created in Christ Jesus to do good works (Ephesians 2:8-10, NLT). We need to obey God's commandments and live according to His will. Jesus said, "If you love me, obey my commandments" (John 14:15, NLT).

There will be those who decide that it’s not hip or cool to be saved and to live a life devoted to serving God and being obedient to His will. There are always going to be those who decide that sin is better and adding to the fires that are destroying our society. There are consequences that people need to be aware of before they decide to continue their life of sin.

First, it's important to understand what sin is. Sin is anything that goes against God's will, whether it's lying, cheating, stealing, or any other form of wrongdoing. When we sin, we create a debt that needs to be paid. And the payment for sin is death.

This doesn't just mean physical death, although that is certainly a part of it. It also means spiritual death, which is a separation from God. This separation is eternal and cannot be undone without accepting God's gift of salvation through Jesus Christ.

Those who don't accept this gift will experience the full wages of sin. They will spend eternity separated from God in a place of torment known as Hell. The Bible describes Hell as a place of "eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons" (Matthew 25:41, NLT). It is a place of weeping, gnashing of teeth, and eternal suffering (Luke 13:28, NLT).

This may sound harsh, but it's important to understand that God's justice is perfect. He cannot tolerate sin in His presence, and sin must be punished. But God is also loving and merciful, which is why He provided a way for us to be saved from the wages of sin.

This way is through faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus lived a sinless life and died on the cross to pay the debt of sin that we owed. By accepting His sacrifice and putting our faith in Him, we can be forgiven of our sins and reconciled to God.

Sin is a serious matter, and we all need to turn away from it and come back to God. We need to confess our sins, repent, believe in Jesus Christ, receive Him as our Lord and Savior, and follow Him. We need to live a life that is pleasing to God, obeying His commandments and doing good works. Let us pray that God will help us to overcome our sin and to live a life that is pleasing to Him so that we can stand firm in His grace.

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