Sunday, April 30, 2023

Evening Scripture Reading - Isaiah 44:21-22 American Standard Version

Remember these things, O Jacob, and Israel; for thou art my servant: I have formed thee; thou art my servant: O Israel, thou shalt not be forgotten of me. I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 103:10 American Standard Version

He hath not dealt with us after our sins,
Nor rewarded us after our iniquities.

Sunday Praise & Worship Message - Salvation Comes by Faith

Relationships can be very interesting at times. If you don’t work at having a good relationship, things can go wrong and change sometimes for the worse. Take, for instance, the churches in Galatia. Paul, after establishing churches in Galatia, kept close tabs on their Christian journey. However, things began to change.

The Apostle Paul had a complex relationship with the churches of Galatia. In the early stages of his ministry, he traveled to Galatia and preached the gospel, establishing several churches. However, after he left, some false teachers came to the region and began teaching that Gentile converts to Christianity needed to follow Jewish laws and customs, including circumcision. This prompted Paul to write a letter to the Galatians, urging them to reject these teachings and hold fast to the gospel he had preached to them.

In his letter, Paul emphasized that salvation comes through faith in Jesus Christ alone, not through adherence to the Jewish law. He also defended his apostolic authority and recounted his own conversion story as evidence of his message's authenticity. Despite his strong words, Paul expressed love and concern for the Galatian believers and expressed a desire for their spiritual growth and well-being.
Part of the problem that confronted the Galatians came in one of the arguments made by the Judaizers. These false teachers suggested that to live by grace and in freedom meant to live a lawless and therefore degenerate life.

Instead of understanding the true nature of Christ Jesus’ death and resurrection to atone for our sins and provide us with a way back to the Father, the Judiaizers preached that the only way to the Father was to follow the Mosaic law. This meant that anyone could get in God’s “good graces” by following the law handed down by Moses.
Paul writes, “Oh, foolish Galatians! Who has cast an evil spell on you? For the meaning of Jesus Christ’s death was made as clear to you as if you had seen a picture of his death on the cross. Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the Holy Spirit by obeying the law of Moses? Of course not! You received the Spirit because you believed the message you heard about Christ. How foolish can you be? After starting your new lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort? Have you experienced so much for nothing? Surely it was not in vain, was it?” (Galatians 3:1-4 NLT)

Paul is expressing his frustration with the Galatians for turning away from the true gospel and embracing false teachings that emphasize the importance of following Jewish laws and customs. He uses strong language, calling them "foolish" and suggesting that they have been influenced by an "evil spell."

Paul reminds the Galatians that they received the Holy Spirit not by obeying the law of Moses, but by believing the message they heard about Christ. He challenges them to think critically about their current behavior and asks them why they are trying to become perfect through their own human effort, rather than relying on the power of the Holy Spirit.

Faith is the only way to salvation. Good works cannot provide redemption. Good works are an outcome of good work. Think about it this way. If we don’t accept the Good News and rely on our good deeds to provide salvation to us, there is no need for God and His plan. Jesus’ birth, life, death and resurrection are meaningless if we can “win'' our salvation through good works. If we follow the Mosaic law and do not believe, we are in control of our salvation. 

Paul, in his letter to the Romans, writes, “For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are.”

Laws prevent us from doing what we shouldn’t do. Think about all the laws and compare them to the Mosaic law. Half of the laws are written to tell us what not to do while the other half tells us what to do. Laws were written to overcome our desires to do things we shouldn’t. Paul is absolutely correct in saying that the Mosaic law just shows us how sinful we really are.

The centrality of faith in Christ Jesus is the most important part of our daily walk with the Lord. If we begin to believe that relying on our own efforts or false teachings to earn salvation, then we are in danger of falling away from our faith and end up on the road away from the Father. 

Paul's relationship with the churches of Galatia was characterized by both joy and frustration, as he rejoiced in their initial acceptance of the gospel but was grieved by their susceptibility to false teachings of the Judaizers. Through his letter, Paul sought to correct their errors and restore them to a firm foundation in the truth of the gospel by reminding them that faith is the only way to salvation. No matter what we do or how many good things we do in life, we cannot “win” our way into God’s good graces. It all starts with believing in Christ Jesus and developing our faith so that we don’t listen to charlatans who preach only to hear themselves speak and line their pockets with money.

When we remain true to our faith and follow the teachings of Christ Jesus, our faith will make sure we are doing the right things and can stand firm in His grace.

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

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 27:10 American Standard Version

Thine own friend, and thy father’s friend, forsake not;
And go not to thy brother’s house in the day of thy calamity:
Better is a neighbor that is near than a brother far off.

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.

Saturday, April 29, 2023

Evening Scripture Reading - Hebrews 2:14-18 American Standard Version

Since then the children are sharers in flesh and blood, he also himself in like manner partook of the same; that through death he might bring to nought him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and might deliver all them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For verily not to angels doth he give help, but he giveth help to the seed of Abraham. Wherefore it behooved him in all things to be made like unto his brethren, that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succor them that are tempted.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 103:9 American Standard Version

He will not always chide;
Neither will he keep his anger for ever.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 27:9 American Standard Version

Oil and perfume rejoice the heart;
So doth the sweetness of a man’s friend that cometh of hearty counsel.

Morning Scripture Reading - Romans 11:1-6 American Standard Version

I say then, Did God cast off his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God did not cast off his people which he foreknew. Or know ye not what the scripture saith of Elijah? how he pleadeth with God against Israel: Lord, they have killed thy prophets, they have digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life. But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have left for myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to Baal. Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. But if it is by grace, it is no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace.

Friday, April 28, 2023

Evening Scripture Reading - Deuteronomy 6:4-9 American Standard Version

Hear, O Israel: Jehovah our God is one Jehovah: and thou shalt love Jehovah thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be upon thy heart; and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thy house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thy hand, and they shall be for frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the door-posts of thy house, and upon thy gates.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 103:8 American Standard Version

Jehovah is merciful and gracious,
Slow to anger, and abundant in lovingkindness.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 27:8 American Standard Version

As a bird that wandereth from her nest,
So is a man that wandereth from his place.

Morning Scripture Reading - Titus 2:11-14 American Standard Version

For the grace of God hath appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us, to the intent that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly and righteously and godly in this present world; looking for the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a people for his own possession, zealous of good works.

Thursday, April 27, 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 103:7 American Standard Version

He made known his ways unto Moses,
His doings unto the children of Israel.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 27:7 American Standard Version

The full soul loatheth a honeycomb;
But to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.

Morning Scripture Reading - Matthew 28:16-20 American Standard Version

But the eleven disciples went into Galilee, unto the mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came to them and spake unto them, saying, All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth. Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Evening Scripture Reading - Romans 10:5-13 American Standard Version

For Moses writeth that the man that doeth the righteousness which is of the law shall live thereby. But the righteousness which is of faith saith thus, Say not in thy heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down:) or, Who shall descend into the abyss? (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead.) But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach: because if thou shalt confess with thy mouth Jesus as Lord, and shalt believe in thy heart that God raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved: for with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be put to shame. For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek: for the same Lord is Lord of all, and is rich unto all that call upon him: for, Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 103:6 American Standard Version

Jehovah executeth righteous acts,
And judgments for all that are oppressed.

MId-Week Message - Built By the Master Artist

 "But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.  Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now  you have received mercy."  1 Peter 2:9-10  (NIV)  

As the school secretary for a new Christian school, it was important to me that the students there had their memories to look back upon just as they would in a public school via a school yearbook.  I enlisted the help of parents and teachers to take pictures throughout the school year, then, in the spring, I took those pictures in all the formats that I received them, and compiled them into a yearbook.  It was a lot of work as I had never handled such a large scale production before and I did it all alone.  It was also fun doing it alone because everyone, students and staff alike, were able to have fun discovering what was in them when we had our signing party.  The theme and title of the book for the first year was "Brick Upon Brick."  

Just as with building blocks or Legos, our lives come together one step, or brick, at a time.  I am not an artist, but those who are have told me that they follow the ideas that are in their heads.  If something doesn't work, they make changes, but before any work of art takes shape, the initial mark or stroke or lump of clay has to come first.  

If you are familiar with 1 Peter 2, then you know the verses that precede the ones I have chosen today speak of the cornerstone.  I did some reading about why a cornerstone is important in a masonry building.  That stone orients the entire creation.  It is the first stone laid and sets the direction.  Before it is laid, a lot of very careful planning is done so that there is no mistake made.  After that, one brick is laid upon another until the fa├žade is complete.  

Just like in a building, our lives need a cornerstone.  We need a strong foundation that supports and directs us.  In scripture, Jesus is that Cornerstone.  When we receive Him as our Savior and Lord, align ourselves with Him and follow His teachings, then the spiritual "bricks" come together.  Our Father knows which "bricks" to allow into our lives to form us into the people that He has created us to be.  Just as an exquisite work of art begins with one stroke of a paintbrush, so He begins with one cell and continues building physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually until we become His masterpiece.  We may not be able to see what is happening, but the Master Artist is sure and confident in what He is creating.

I have been following several things that are happening in the lives of friends and family that would at first cause me to question why.  Sometimes it seems that some of those who live their lives most sincerely for the Lord experience hardships that are dumbfounding.  Perhaps you or your family are encountering times of difficulty or suffering as well.  My encouragement to you would be the assurance that there is One in charge who is fully aware of the burden you have been given to carry.  He doesn't ask you to carry it alone rather He desires that you turn to Him and ask for His help.  I cannot tell you why you are encountering this trying time, but I do believe that He will use it for His glory and to strengthen you.  Stay close to the Creator.  He knows what He is doing.  God bless. 

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 27:6 American Standard Version

Faithful are the wounds of a friend;
But the kisses of an enemy are profuse.

Morning Scripture Reading - 2 Timothy 1:8-14 American Standard Version

Be not ashamed therefore of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but suffer hardship with the gospel according to the power of God; who saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before times eternal, but hath now been manifested by the appearing of our Saviour Christ Jesus, who abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, whereunto I was appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher. For which cause I suffer also these things: yet I am not ashamed; for I know him whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that he is able to guard that which I have committed unto him against that day. Hold the pattern of sound words which thou hast heard from me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. That good thing which was committed unto thee guard through the Holy Spirit which dwelleth in us.

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Evening Scripture Reading - 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14 American Standard Version

But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, for that God chose you from the beginning unto salvation in sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: whereunto he called you through our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 103:2-5 American Standard Version

Bless Jehovah, O my soul,
And forget not all his benefits:
Who forgiveth all thine iniquities;
Who healeth all thy diseases;
Who redeemeth thy life from destruction;
Who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;
Who satisfieth thy desire with good things,
So that thy youth is renewed like the eagle.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 27:5 American Standard Version

Better is open rebuke
Than love that is hidden.

Morning Scripture Reading - Leviticus 20:7-8 American Standard Version

Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy; for I am Jehovah your God. And ye shall keep my statutes, and do them: I am Jehovah who sanctifieth you.

Monday, April 24, 2023

Evening Scripture Reading - Jeremiah 17:7-8 American Standard Version

Blessed is the man that trusteth in Jehovah, and whose trust Jehovah is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, that spreadeth out its roots by the river, and shall not fear when heat cometh, but its leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 103:1 American Standard Version

Bless Jehovah, O my soul;
And all that is within me, bless his holy name.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 27:4 American Standard Version

Wrath is cruel, and anger is overwhelming;
But who is able to stand before jealousy?

Morning Scripture Reading - 3 John 4 American Standard Version

Greater joy have I none than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth.

Sunday, April 23, 2023

Evening Scripture Reading - Romans 15:13 American Standard Version

Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 102:26-28 American Standard Version

They shall perish, but thou shalt endure;
Yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment;
As a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed:
But thou art the same,
And thy years shall have no end.
The children of thy servants shall continue,
And their seed shall be established before thee.

Sunday Praise & Worship Message - Spiritual Warfare

Each and every day, we all face a war. Each battle of this war is fierce and the outcome of each battle means spiritual life or death for each of us. I’m not talking about the war in Ukraine or possible war over Taiwan. I am talking about a spiritual war a lot closer to home. This war’s casualties can be our immortal souls. We need to be prepared to fight for our souls on a daily basis and be victorious in each battle. If we are not, our souls will be given over as a prize to Satan.

Over the last couple of decades, our society has changed. There are days when I barely recognize it. Growing up in a small agriculture and ranching community deep in the heart of Texas, I learned very early that communities were made of good, upstanding Christians who would give you the shirt off their back or the last morsel of food they could spare. If there was a tragedy in the community, everyone rallied and provided not only physical support but also spiritual support. Prayer groups would spread the word like wildfire and people would come to the rescue. We didn’t have to worry about things. The times, however, have changed.

Now, we see all sorts of things that a few years ago would be unthinkable. Violent crime is on the rapid climb as well as all sorts of other things that I will not go into. Communities have to worry about individuals going to their schools and killing their children. Drug use is up. Violent crime is up. Sexual crimes are up. About the only thing that is going down is church attendance and the belief in God. I see the legacy of Sodom and Gomorrah is alive and well. 

Instead of banding together and speaking out, we are terrified by the mob who threaten our lives or of being doxxed. We are not safe at work or at play for fear of someone pointing us out. The freedom of religion is considered some weird thing of the past. Those in the media call Christians “idiots and morons” for believing in some spirit in the sky. Television, radio and film are filled with filth and disgusting things. All of those things are the barrage before the battle.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, I’m here to tell you that Satan is waging an all-out assault for our souls and the souls of everyone in the world. He and his demons will stop at nothing to win this war and declare victory over all that is good. He wants nothing more than to reign supreme over all of us, but that is where he is wrong. As long as we have a breath in our body and the ability to rally to the aid of each other, we can defeat him with God’s strength. Satan, for all of his bustling and bristling, is powerless. As Christians, all we have to do is believe and invoke the name of Jesus. Satan and his demons cannot overcome God and His son, Jesus.

Peter, in his first letter, wrote, "Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are.” (1 Peter 5:8-9 NLT)

For all their power, lions are lazy hunters. They don’t go after the strongest in the herd and risk coming up short and facing a night of hunger. They go after the weaker in the herd. They seek out the ones that follow behind and are slow. However, the lion still may come up short on getting something to eat. Herds work together to protect the young and the infirm. They will circle around the young and frail ones and use their bodies as shields.

God has given us the power through His very name to send Satan and his stooges running for cover. All we have to do is to stand firm and resist temptation and know that God is with us. His son, Jesus, showed us how we can have victory over Satan. Faith keeps us strong and safe. Through faith, we can achieve many things.

The Bible is filled with stories of people who faced spiritual battles and emerged victorious. One such story is that of David and Goliath. In 1 Samuel 17, we read about how the Philistines were at war with Israel. Goliath, a giant of a man, taunted the Israelites, challenging them to send out a champion to fight him. None of the Israelites were brave enough to face him, until David stepped forward.

David was just a young shepherd boy, but he had faith in God. He knew that with God on his side, he could defeat Goliath. David refused to be intimidated by the giant's size and strength. He stood firm in his faith and trusted in God to give him victory. And God did. David defeated Goliath with a single stone from his sling.

We may feel small and weak, like David did when facing Goliath, but with God on our side, we can overcome any obstacle. Faith is the one thing that those in the world cannot take from us as long as we are true believers and followers of Christ Jesus.

Another important aspect of spiritual warfare is the importance of community. In 1 Corinthians 12:12-27, we are reminded that we are all part of one body in Christ. We need each other to function properly. Just as each part of the body has a unique function, so too do each of us have a unique role to play in the body of Christ. We need to support one another, encourage one another, and bear one another's burdens.

Like the small community I grew up in, we have the ability to come to the aid of one another and support each other in time of need. We do this, because we love one another as brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus. Jesus showed his love for us by dying on a cross and being our atonement sacrifice.
Brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus, let us heed the words of Peter and stay alert. Let us be on guard against the attacks of the enemy and stand firm in our faith. Let us remember that we are not alone in our struggles, and that we have a community of believers all over the world who are going through the same kind of suffering that we are. And let us trust in God's power to give us victory in our spiritual battles.

When we do those things in love and in faith, we can overcome our arch foe and stand firm in His grace.

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

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 27:3 American Standard Version

A stone is heavy, and the sand weighty;
But a fool’s vexation is heavier than they both.

Morning Scripture Reading - James 1:12 American Standard Version

Blessed is the man that endureth temptation; for when he hath been approved, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord promised to them that love him.

Saturday, April 22, 2023

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

Remember, I beseech thee, the word that thou commandedst thy servant Moses, saying, If ye trespass, I will scatter you abroad among the peoples: but if ye return unto me, and keep my commandments and do them, though your outcasts were in the uttermost part of the heavens, yet will I gather them from thence, and will bring them unto the place that I have chosen, to cause my name to dwell there.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 102:25 American Standard Version

Of old didst thou lay the foundation of the earth;
And the heavens are the work of thy hands.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 27:2 American Standard Version

Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth;
A stranger, and not thine own lips.

Morning Scripture Reading - Matthew 11:28-30 American Standard Version

Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Friday, April 21, 2023

Evening Scripture Reading - Philemon 4-7 American Standard Version

I thank my God always, making mention of thee in my prayers, hearing of thy love, and of the faith which thou hast toward the Lord Jesus, and toward all the saints; that the fellowship of thy faith may become effectual, in the knowledge of every good thing which is in you, unto Christ. For I had much joy and comfort in thy love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through thee, brother.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 102:24 American Standard Version

I said, O my God, take me not away in the midst of my days:
Thy years are throughout all generations.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 27:1 American Standard Version

Boast not thyself of tomorrow;
For thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.

Morning Scripture Reading - 1 Timothy 6:12 American Standard Version

Fight the good fight of the faith, lay hold on the life eternal, whereunto thou wast called, and didst confess the good confession in the sight of many witnesses.

Thursday, April 20, 2023

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

If there is therefore any exhortation in Christ, if any consolation of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any tender mercies and compassions, make full my joy, that ye be of the same mind, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind; doing nothing through faction or through vainglory, but in lowliness of mind each counting other better than himself; not looking each of you to his own things, but each of you also to the things of others. Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, existing in the form of God, counted not the being on an equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men; and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, becoming obedient even unto death, yea, the death of the cross. Wherefore also God highly exalted him, and gave unto him the name which is above every name; that in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven and things on earth and things under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 102:23 American Standard Version

He weakened my strength in the way;
He shortened my days.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 26:28 American Standard Version

A lying tongue hateth those whom it hath wounded;
And a flattering mouth worketh ruin.

Morning Scripture Reading - John 19:38-42 American Standard Version

And after these things Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, asked of Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took away his body. And there came also Nicodemus, he who at the first came to him by night, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds. So they took the body of Jesus, and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as the custom of the Jews is to bury. Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new tomb wherein was never man yet laid. There then because of the Jews’ Preparation (for the tomb was nigh at hand) they laid Jesus.

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Evening Scripture Reading - John 19:28-30 American Standard Version

After this Jesus, knowing that all things are now finished, that the scripture might be accomplished, saith, I thirst. There was set there a vessel full of vinegar: so they put a sponge full of the vinegar upon hyssop, and brought it to his mouth. When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up his spirit.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 102:19-22 American Standard Version

For he hath looked down from the height of his sanctuary;
From heaven did Jehovah behold the earth;
To hear the sighing of the prisoner;
To loose those that are appointed to death;
That men may declare the name of Jehovah in Zion,
And his praise in Jerusalem;
When the peoples are gathered together,
And the kingdoms, to serve Jehovah.

Mid-Week Message - Seeing Clearly

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

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

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

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

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

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 26:24-27 American Standard Version

He that hateth dissembleth with his lips;
But he layeth up deceit within him:
When he speaketh fair, believe him not;
For there are seven abominations in his heart:
Though his hatred cover itself with guile,
His wickedness shall be openly showed before the assembly.
Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein;
And he that rolleth a stone, it shall return upon him.

Morning Scripture Reading - John 17:20-26 American Standard Version

Neither for these only do I pray, but for them also that believe on me through their word; that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us: that the world may believe that thou didst send me. And the glory which thou hast given me I have given unto them; that they may be one, even as we are one; I in them, and thou in me, that they may be perfected into one; that the world may know that thou didst send me, and lovedst them, even as thou lovedst me. Father, I desire that they also whom thou hast given me be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, the world knew thee not, but I knew thee; and these knew that thou didst send me; and I made known unto them thy name, and will make it known; that the love wherewith thou lovedst me may be in them, and I in them.

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Evening Scripture Reading - John 14:1-4 American Standard Version

Let not your heart be troubled: believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I come again, and will receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go, ye know the way.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 102:18 American Standard Version

Psalm 102:18
American Standard Version
This shall be written for the generation to come;
And a people which shall be created shall praise Jehovah.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 26:23 American Standard Version

Fervent lips and a wicked heart
Are like an earthen vessel overlaid with silver dross.

Morning Scripture Reading - John 13:12-20 American Standard Version

So when he had washed their feet, and taken his garments, and sat down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you? Ye call me, Teacher, and, Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, have washed your feet, ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that ye also should do as I have done to you. Verily, verily, I say unto you, A servant is not greater than his lord; neither one that is sent greater than he that sent him. If ye know these things, blessed are ye if ye do them. I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen: but that the scripture may be fulfilled, He that eateth my bread lifted up his heel against me. From henceforth I tell you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am he. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me; and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.

Monday, April 17, 2023

Evening Scripture Reading - 1 Corinthians 15:21 American Standard Version

For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 102:17 American Standard Version

He hath regarded the prayer of the destitute,
And hath not despised their prayer.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 26:22 American Standard Version

The words of a whisperer are as dainty morsels,
And they go down into the innermost parts.

Morning Scripture Reading - 1 Peter 1:3-12 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. Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, ye have been put to grief in manifold trials, that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold that perisheth though it is proved by fire, may be found unto praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ: whom not having seen ye love; on whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice greatly with joy unspeakable and full of glory: receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. 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.

Sunday, April 16, 2023

Evening Scripture Reading - Exodus 14:13-14 American Standard Version

And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of Jehovah, which he will work for you to-day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to-day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. Jehovah will fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 102:16 American Standard Version

For Jehovah hath built up Zion;
He hath appeared in his glory.

Sunday Praise & Worship Message - Sustained by Faith

In our lives, we all face trials and troubles that shake us all the way down to the foundations of our faith. These troubles are not minor at all and oftentimes we begin to question our faith and, in the worst of times, we even question God and His plans for our lives.

One such story of faith being challenged and agitated is the story of Lazarus as told in John 11. This story teaches us about the power of faith and the glory of God. We see in this story that even when all seems lost, God has the power to bring new life and hope.

Jesus and his disciples are called to the town of Bethany, where Lazarus has fallen gravely ill. Jesus is deeply moved by the news of his friend's illness and wept at the sight of the grief of Lazarus' sisters, Mary and Martha. However, he reminds them that this illness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.

Even though Jesus knew that Lazarus would die, he waited for two more days before he set out for Bethany. By the time he arrived, Lazarus had already been dead for four days, and the sisters were grieving deeply. But Jesus had a plan, and he was about to reveal his glory to them.

When he arrived at the tomb, he commanded the stone to be removed, and he called out to Lazarus, "Lazarus, come out!" To the amazement of everyone present, Lazarus came out of the tomb, alive and well. This miracle proved that Jesus had power over death itself, and that those who put their faith in him would have eternal life.

The story of Lazarus reminds us that even in the darkest moments of our lives, God is with us. He hears our prayers, and he has the power to bring new life and hope. When we put our faith in him, we can be sure that he will always be there to guide us and to lift us up.

I want to share a story with you that illustrates this point. A few years ago, a young woman named Sarah was diagnosed with cancer. She was terrified and overwhelmed, and she felt like her world was falling apart. But she never lost faith in God, and she continued to pray for healing and strength.

Despite undergoing several rounds of chemotherapy and other treatments, Sarah's condition continued to worsen. Her family and friends prayed for a miracle, but they were starting to lose hope.

Then one day, Sarah received a call from her doctor. He told her that her latest scans had shown that her cancer was completely gone. It was a miracle, and Sarah knew that it was God who had healed her.

Today, Sarah is healthy and strong, and she is a testament to the power of faith and the glory of God. She knows that no matter what challenges she may face in the future, God will always be there to guide her and to lift her up. Like Sarah, we all face situations that will test our faith and make us want to give up. All of us have faced those situations at one time or another.

In 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, Paul writes, "That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won't last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So, we don't look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever."

Paul reminds us that even when we face difficulties and suffering, our faith in Christ can sustain us. Our present troubles are temporary, and they produce a greater glory that lasts forever.

Having faith that gets us through the worst of times and keeps us focused on the Father is the foundation of our hope. I am reminded of the story of a young man who remained faithful and was given a wonderful gift.

Kurt Warner is a former NFL quarterback who is widely regarded as one of the greatest undrafted players in NFL history. He played college football at the University of Northern Iowa and went undrafted in the 1994 NFL Draft. After a few years of playing in the Arena Football League and NFL Europe, he signed with the St. Louis Rams in 1998.

In 1999, Warner became the starting quarterback for the Rams and had a breakout season, leading the team to a Super Bowl victory and earning the Super Bowl MVP award. He went on to have a successful career, playing for the Rams, New York Giants, and Arizona Cardinals. He was a two-time NFL MVP, a four-time Pro Bowler, and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2017.

Throughout his career, Warner was known for his strong Christian faith and his belief in the power of prayer. He has spoken publicly about how his faith helped him to persevere through setbacks and injuries, and how it gave him the strength to overcome adversity both on and off the field. 

One of Warner's most well-known quotes about his faith is: "My faith is the most important thing in my life. It's the thing that gives me hope and guidance for my life, and it's the thing that allows me to be at peace no matter what happens."

He has also talked about how his faith helped him to persevere through the many challenges he faced in his football career. In an interview with The Christian Post, Warner said: "My faith has been the thing that has sustained me throughout all of the ups and downs of my career. When things were going well, it kept me grounded and humble. And when things were tough, it gave me hope and the strength to keep going."

The stories of Lazarus and Kurt Warner teach us that even in the darkest moments of our lives, we can put our faith in God and trust that He will bring new life and hope. Let us remember that God is always with us, and that He has the power to do remarkable things in our lives. When we have a faith that cannot be shaken, we can stand firm in His grace and weather the storms that we face.

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

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 26:20-21 American Standard Version

For lack of wood the fire goeth out;
And where there is no whisperer, contention ceaseth.
As coals are to hot embers, and wood to fire,
So is a contentious man to inflame strife.

Morning Scripture Reading - Mark 11:22-25 American Standard Version

And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou taken up and cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that what he saith cometh to pass; he shall have it. Therefore I say unto you, All things whatsoever ye pray and ask for, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. And whensoever ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have aught against any one; that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.

Saturday, April 15, 2023

Evening Scripture Reading - 2 Timothy 3:16-17 American Standard Version

Every scripture inspired of God is also profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness: that the man of God may be complete, furnished completely unto every good work.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 102:15 American Standard Version

So the nations shall fear the name of Jehovah,
And all the kings of the earth thy glory.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 26:18-19 American Standard Version

As a madman who casteth firebrands,
Arrows, and death,
So is the man that deceiveth his neighbor,
And saith, Am not I in sport?

Morning Scripture Reading - Luke 6:39-40 American Standard Version

And he spake also a parable unto them, Can the blind guide the blind? shall they not both fall into a pit? The disciple is not above his teacher: but every one when he is perfected shall be as his teacher.

Friday, April 14, 2023

Evening Scripture Reading - 1 Corinthians 10:11-13 American Standard Version

Now these things happened unto them by way of example; and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages are come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. There hath no temptation taken you but such as man can bear: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation make also the way of escape, that ye may be able to endure it.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 102:14 American Standard Version

For thy servants take pleasure in her stones,
And have pity upon her dust.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 26:17 American Standard Version

He that passeth by, and vexeth himself with strife belonging not to him,
Is like one that taketh a dog by the ears.

Morning Scripture Reading - John 15:5-8 American Standard Version

I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same beareth much fruit: for apart from me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatsoever ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; and so shall ye be my disciples.

Thursday, April 13, 2023

Evening Scripture Reading - John 9:35-41 American Standard Version

Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and finding him, he said, Dost thou believe on the Son of God? He answered and said, And who is he, Lord, that I may believe on him? Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and he it is that speaketh with thee. And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him. And Jesus said, For judgment came I into this world, that they that see not may see; and that they that see may become blind. Those of the Pharisees who were with him heard these things, and said unto him, Are we also blind? Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye would have no sin: but now ye say, We see: your sin remaineth.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 102:13 American Standard Version

Thou wilt arise, and have mercy upon Zion;
For it is time to have pity upon her,
Yea, the set time is come.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 26:16 American Standard Version

The sluggard is wiser in his own conceit
Than seven men that can render a reason.

Morning Scripture Reading - Jeremiah 17:7 American Standard Version

Blessed is the man that trusteth in Jehovah, and whose trust Jehovah is.

Wednesday, April 12, 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 102:12 American Standard Version

But thou, O Jehovah, wilt abide for ever;
And thy memorial name unto all generations.

Mid-Week Message - He Will Rejoice Over You

"For the Lord your God is living among you.  He is a mighty savior.  He will take delight in you with gladness.  With his love, he will calm all your fears.  He will rejoice over you with joyful songs."  Zephaniah 3:17  (NLT)

They were born in New York City, the sons of Jewish immigrant parents.  In all, there were six of them.  One died when he was only a few months old.  You may have heard of this family.  The Marx Brothers got their start in Vaudeville and four of them went on to make some of the funniest classic movies you will ever see.  Though Chico, Harpo and Groucho were the most famous due to making the most movies, all of the brothers were extremely talented and also played at least one instrument.  

My favorite part of any Marx Brothers movie is the instrumental scene which features Harpo.    Though he was proficient in playing six instruments, he earned his nickname when he chose to specialize in playing the harp.  I am always fascinated by the look on his face as his hands work to form the right notes and the beautiful piece comes together.  I've seen that when I have observed other musicians, and even some artists as they create.  It is a look that I imagine the Lord has as He looks at His creation while He lovingly guides His children.  

We don't often think about God creating music.  I have heard many sermons likening Him to an artist.  Even I have used examples of our lives being tenderly and expertly woven together by His hands. But today's verse, this one verse in Zephaniah, brings us something new to consider.  Can you perceive of Him singing over you?  

When my daughter was born, I made up a lullaby for her.  I wanted her to have a song that was hers and hers alone.  I wanted it to be something that no one else would ever sing over their own little one.  I have no idea how many times that tune lilted through our home.  Sometimes, as she grew, she would ask me to sing it to her and I hope that meant that she considered it special because it was meant to be.  I do know that she remembers it still and she is twenty-nine years old now.  

Possibly, our Heavenly Father has a special song for each of us.  Though created in His image, we are all individuals with our own likes and dislikes, abilities and personalities.  I think each blessing from Him is a type of song written especially for the one receiving the blessing.  

This I know for sure, no greater love exists than His love for us.  No matter where we find ourselves, no matter what we are struggling with, no matter what we are going through at any given moment, that love is real and accessible.  We are seeing things in our country that most of us have never seen before and will hopefully never see again.  We don't know what will happen tomorrow, next month or next year.  But...we do know the One that is never caught by surprise.  He already knows how we make it through and all that He is asking from us is that we love Him and love one another. 

What song is He singing to you today?  Listen, maybe you will hear Him.  God bless.  

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 26:15 American Standard Version

The sluggard burieth his hand in the dish;
It wearieth him to bring it again to his mouth.

Morning Scripture Reading - John 8:34-38 American Standard Version

Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Every one that committeth sin is the bondservant of sin. And the bondservant abideth not in the house for ever: the son abideth for ever. If therefore the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. I know that ye are Abraham’s seed; yet ye seek to kill me, because my word hath not free course in you. I speak the things which I have seen with my Father: and ye also do the things which ye heard from your father.

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Evening Scripture Reading - Genesis 28:16-17 American Standard Version

And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely Jehovah is in this place; and I knew it not. And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place! this is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 102:8-11 American Standard Version

Mine enemies reproach me all the day;
They that are mad against me do curse by me.
For I have eaten ashes like bread,
And mingled my drink with weeping,
Because of thine indignation and thy wrath:
For thou hast taken me up, and cast me away.
My days are like a shadow that declineth;
And I am withered like grass.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 26:14 American Standard Version

As the door turneth upon its hinges,
So doth the sluggard upon his bed.

Morning Scripture Reading - Genesis 9:12-16 American Standard Version

And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth. And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud, and I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh. And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth.

Monday, April 10, 2023

Evening Scripture Reading - Ephesians 1:15-23 American Standard Version

For this cause I also, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which is among you, and the love which ye show toward all the saints, cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him; having the eyes of your heart enlightened, that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, and what the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to that working of the strength of his might which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and made him to sit at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule, and authority, and power, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: and he put all things in subjection under his feet, and gave him to be head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 102:7 American Standard Version

I watch, and am become like a sparrow
That is alone upon the house-top.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 26:13 American Standard Version

The sluggard saith, There is a lion in the way;
A lion is in the streets.

Morning Scripture Reading - Colossians 3:12-17 American Standard Version

Put on therefore, as God’s elect, holy and beloved, a heart of compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, longsuffering; forbearing one another, and forgiving each other, if any man have a complaint against any; even as the Lord forgave you, so also do ye: and above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to the which also ye were called in one body; and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; in all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts unto God. And whatsoever ye do, in word or in deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Sunday, April 9, 2023

Evening Scripture Reading - 2 Corinthians 4:6 American Standard Version

Seeing it is God, that said, Light shall shine out of darkness, who shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 102:6 American Standard Version

I am like a pelican of the wilderness;
I am become as an owl of the waste places.

Easter Sunday Message - Blessed Assurance of Salvation

Today we celebrate the most joyous occasion in all of Christianity, the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. This is a day that marks the triumph of light over darkness, of hope over despair, and of life over death. As we observe this glorious day, I want to share with you a story that illustrates the power and the beauty of this incredible event.

Once upon a time, there was a man named John who lived in a small village. John was a good man, but he was troubled by many things. He worried about the future, he worried about his health, and he worried about his family. One day, he decided to seek the advice of a wise old man who lived in the nearby mountains. He walked for many hours until he reached the old man's cave and asked him for guidance.

The old man listened patiently to John's worries and then said to him, "My son, do not worry about the things of this world. Instead, place your faith in the Lord and trust in His plan for your life."

These words touched John's heart, and he decided to follow the old man's advice. He began to pray every day, and he read the Bible, seeking guidance and wisdom. Over time, he found that his worries began to fade away, and he felt a deep sense of peace and joy in his heart.

But then, one day, tragedy struck. John's beloved wife became gravely ill, and despite his prayers and his faith, she passed away. John was devastated, and he felt as if his entire world had crumbled around him.

But then, he remembered the words of the old man, and he turned to the Bible for comfort. He read these words from the Gospel of John, "I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die." (John 11:25-26 NLT)

These words filled John's heart with hope, and he realized that his wife was not truly gone, but had been called to a new life with the Lord. He knew that one day, he would be reunited with her, and he felt a sense of peace that surpassed all understanding.

After Jesus was crucified, his disciples were devastated and afraid. They had given up everything to follow him, and now their friend and teacher was gone. The disciples were filled with fear and doubt, and they did not believe that Jesus had risen from the dead. In fact, they met behind locked doors, because they feared the Jewish leaders would soon come for them. 

They had witnessed Jesus being arrested, tried, and sentenced to death on a cross. They were devastated by his death and did not know what to do next. In addition to their grief, the disciples were also afraid of the Jewish authorities who had put Jesus to death. They feared that they would also be arrested, tried, and executed for their association with Jesus.

Their fears were only natural. If we were in their shoes, we would feel the same way. We would barricade ourselves in our homes and hope that the authorities would not come for us. However, we know what happened next. Jesus rose from the dead and sits at the right hand of the Father. Because of his death and resurrection, we should not fear death or worry about what happens to us. We have God's gift of eternal life. Jesus’ death and resurrection is the proof of God’s gift of salvation and we do not need to fear anything or anyone. We have that blessed assurance of everlasting life with our Heavenly Father.

Paul, in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, wrote, "I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said."

This is the power of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is a reminder to us that death is not the end, but merely a transition to a new and glorious life with our Lord. It is a reminder that no matter what challenges we face in this life, we can always turn to God for guidance and comfort.

So let us all rejoice on this Easter morning, and let us remember these words from the apostle Paul, "Christ has been raised from the dead! He is the first of a great harvest of all who have died." (1 Corinthians 15:20 NLT) Let us give thanks to God for His incredible love and grace, and let us live our lives in faith and in hope.

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

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 26:12 American Standard Version

Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit?
There is more hope of a fool than of him.

Morning Scripture Reading - Acts 4:8-12 American Standard Version

Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders, if we this day are examined concerning a good deed done to an impotent man, by what means this man is made whole; be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even in him doth this man stand here before you whole. He is the stone which was set at nought of you the builders, which was made the head of the corner. And in none other is there salvation: for neither is there any other name under heaven, that is given among men, wherein we must be saved.

Saturday, April 8, 2023

Evening 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.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 102:5 American Standard Version

By reason of the voice of my groaning
My bones cleave to my flesh.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 26:11 American Standard Version

As a dog that returneth to his vomit,
So is a fool that repeateth his folly.

Morning 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.

Friday, April 7, 2023

Evening Scripture Reading - 2 Chronicles 7:17-18 American Standard Version

And as for thee, if thou wilt walk before me as David thy father walked, and do according to all that I have commanded thee, and wilt keep my statutes and mine ordinances; then I will establish the throne of thy kingdom, according as I covenanted with David thy father, saying, There shall not fail thee a man to be ruler in Israel.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 102:4 American Standard Version

My heart is smitten like grass, and withered;
For I forget to eat my bread.

Good Friday Message - No Greater Love

Today, we gather to remember the sacrifice that Jesus Christ made on the cross on Good Friday. It is a day of mourning and reflection, but it is also a day of hope and redemption. As Christians, we believe that through Jesus' death and resurrection, we have been granted eternal life and salvation.

The Apostle Paul tells us in Romans 5:8, "But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners." This verse reminds us that God's love for us is immeasurable and unconditional. It was because of his love that he sent his only son to die for us, so that we could be saved.

The Gospel of John recounts the events of Good Friday in chapter 19. It tells us of the trial, the scourging, the mocking, and finally, the crucifixion of Jesus. It is a painful and heart-wrenching account, but it is one that we must remember. We must remember the pain and suffering that Jesus endured, so that we may understand the depth of his sacrifice.

But, as I mentioned earlier, Good Friday is also a day of hope and redemption. The sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross was not in vain. He conquered death and rose from the dead on the third day, as we will celebrate on Easter Sunday. Through his death and resurrection, we have been granted forgiveness of our sins and eternal life with him.

I want to share with you a story that illustrates the meaning of Good Friday. There was once a man who lived a life of sin and was constantly in trouble with the law. One day, he found himself on death row, awaiting his execution. He was resigned to his fate and had no hope for the future.

On the day of his execution, he was surprised to see a man come to his cell. The man introduced himself as a chaplain and asked if the prisoner had any last requests. The prisoner asked if the chaplain could read him the story of Jesus' crucifixion. As the chaplain read the story, tears streamed down the prisoner's face.

When the chaplain finished, the prisoner looked up and said, "I have never known love like that before. I want to believe that Jesus died for me too." The chaplain shared the gospel with the prisoner, and he accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior.

The prisoner was led to the execution chamber, but he faced his death with peace and joy. He knew that he was going to be with Jesus, and he was no longer afraid.

This story illustrates the power of the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross. No matter how far we have fallen or how deep we have sunk into sin, there is always hope for redemption. Through Jesus' death and resurrection, we have been given a second chance at life. 

Let us remember this on Good Friday and every day, and let us give thanks to God for his great love and mercy.

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.