Monday, July 31, 2023

Evening Scripture Reading - Romans 8:37-39 American Standard Version

Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 107:1 American Standard Version

Oh give thanks unto Jehovah; for he is good;
For his lovingkindness endureth for ever.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 31:16 American Standard Version

She considereth a field, and buyeth it;
With the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.

Morning 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.

Sunday, July 30, 2023

Evening Scripture Reading - 2 Samuel 22:31-37 American Standard Version

As for God, his way is perfect:
The word of Jehovah is tried;
He is a shield unto all them that take refuge in him.
For who is God, save Jehovah?
And who is a rock, save our God?
God is my strong fortress;
And he guideth the perfect in his way.
He maketh his feet like hinds’ feet,
And setteth me upon my high places.
He teacheth my hands to war,
So that mine arms do bend a bow of brass.
Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation;
And thy gentleness hath made me great.
Thou hast enlarged my steps under me;
And my feet have not slipped.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 106:48 American Standard Version

Blessed be Jehovah, the God of Israel,
From everlasting even to everlasting.
And let all the people say, Amen.
Praise ye Jehovah.

Embracing the Way of Love - A Message from 1 Thessalonians 5:14

Greetings, beloved brothers and sisters! Let us embark on a journey through the timeless wisdom found in the letter of 1 Thessalonians. Before delving into the passage that will serve as the heart of our message, let us take a moment to understand the historical context and significance of this profound letter.

The author of 1 Thessalonians is none other than the renowned Apostle Paul, whose life underwent a remarkable transformation. Once a zealous persecutor of Christians, Paul encountered the risen Christ on the road to Damascus. This encounter turned his life around, leading him to become a devoted follower and a key figure in the early Christian church. Paul's writings and missionary journeys played a vital role in spreading the Gospel to diverse regions.

Around AD 50, during one of his missionary journeys, Paul visited the city of Thessalonica (modern-day Thessaloniki in Greece). There, he preached the message of Jesus Christ to both Jews and Gentiles. The response was a vibrant and growing community of believers. However, Paul's time with them was cut short, and he had to depart sooner than he desired due to opposition.

In the wake of his departure, Paul's concern for the Thessalonian believers prompted him to write this heartfelt letter. The primary purpose of 1 Thessalonians was to encourage, exhort, and strengthen the faith of the Thessalonian Christians. The letter addresses various aspects of Christian living, offering guidance on how to grow in love, holiness, and the hope of Christ's return.

As we explore the wisdom of 1 Thessalonians, let us open our hearts to its timeless teachings. Let the words of this ancient letter resonate within us and lead us to a deeper understanding of Christian love and community. May the principles we encounter today find practical application in our lives, fostering a spirit of unity and compassion among us, just as it did for the believers in Thessalonica centuries ago.

In our exploration of 1 Thessalonians, we center our attention on a verse that encapsulates the essence of Christian love and care within the community of believers. Paul's heartfelt words in 1 Thessalonians 5:14 NLT urge us to embrace a way of love that encompasses warning the lazy, encouraging the timid, and tenderly caring for the weak. 

Firstly, let us consider the call to warn the lazy. Proverbs 6:6-11 reminds us of the ant, which, though small and seemingly insignificant, stores up food in the summer, teaching us the value of diligence and preparedness. Just as friends, we should gently caution those who may be slacking in their responsibilities or losing sight of their purpose. Our admonitions are not fueled by judgment, but by a desire to see them grow and flourish in all aspects of life.

Secondly, we are encouraged to be mindful of the timid among us. Joshua 1:9 imparts the courage needed to face challenges, knowing that God is with us wherever we go. As a community of believers, we have the power to uplift and embolden those who may be struggling with fear or doubt. Like John, who grew in courage through the support of his friends, we can be the catalysts that enable others to rise above their fears and fulfill their God-given potential.

Lastly, Paul emphasizes the importance of taking tender care of the weak. In Psalm 82:3-4, we are reminded of our responsibility to defend the cause of the weak and the oppressed, just as God does. When we encounter those who are facing trials, physical or emotional hardships, we are called to extend our compassion, providing comfort and support in their times of need, much like James did for his hurting companions.

Let us remember that Paul's exhortation to the Thessalonians transcends time and remains relevant to us today. Embracing the way of love calls us to be patient with everyone, displaying the enduring love that 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 describes. By embodying the selflessness of Jesus' command to love one another (John 13:34-35) and practicing love through empathy and compassion (Colossians 3:12-14), we can truly become a beacon of hope and a source of strength for each other in this journey of faith.

Let us now immerse ourselves in a fictional tale that brings to life the principles of 1 Thessalonians 5:14 NLT through the experiences of three old friends - Peter, John, and James. These lifelong companions have journeyed through life together, each facing unique struggles and challenges.

Peter, once full of zeal and enthusiasm, finds himself battling with procrastination, often putting off important tasks and opportunities. His friends lovingly step in, warning him of the dangers of complacency, reminding him of the wisdom found in Proverbs 6:6-11. As they gently encourage Peter to embrace diligence and seize the moment, he begins to rediscover the joy of productivity and the fulfillment that comes from fulfilling his responsibilities.

On the other hand, John, a naturally shy and timid soul, yearns to break free from the chains of fear that hold him back. His friends, recalling the assurance given in Joshua 1:9, become his unwavering support. They stand beside him, encouraging him to step outside his comfort zone and embrace courage. Through their unwavering encouragement, John's confidence blossoms, and he learns to embrace new challenges, trusting that God's presence and strength are with him every step of the way.

Lastly, we encounter James, whose heart overflows with compassion. He has an innate ability to discern the pain and struggles of others, always ready to lend a listening ear and offer comfort. Drawing inspiration from Psalm 82:3-4, James and his friends rally together to care tenderly for those in their community who are weak and hurting. They provide a safe space for healing, demonstrating the power of love and empathy in helping others find strength in their vulnerability.

Through the intertwined stories of Peter, John, and James, we witness the power of friendship rooted in love and mutual support. Just as Proverbs 17:17 affirms, these friends stick closer than brothers, embodying the principles of 1 Thessalonians 5:14 NLT. Their lives become a living testament to the transformative impact of Christian love and compassion.

In our own lives, we can learn from these old friends and apply the teachings of 1 Thessalonians 5:14 NLT. Let us be vigilant in offering gentle warnings to those who may lose their way, diligently encouraging those grappling with fear, and showing unwavering compassion to those in need. As we journey together in this faith-filled adventure, may we find strength and unity in the power of love, mirroring the selfless love of Christ that lives within us (John 13:34-35) and manifests through empathy and compassion (Colossians 3:12-14).

As we delve deeper into the teachings of 1 Thessalonians 5:14 NLT and the fictional tale of Peter, John, and James, we are reminded of the utmost significance of embracing the way of love in our lives. The Bible, throughout its sacred pages, continually emphasizes the centrality of love as the foundational virtue of the Christian faith.

The Apostle Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, lays out a beautiful portrait of love in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. Love is patient and kind, not envious or boastful, and it does not seek its own interests but rejoices in truth. Paul's words echo the essence of 1 Thessalonians 5:14, urging us to embody such love in our relationships with one another. When we warn, encourage, and tenderly care for our friends and fellow believers, it should be driven by the selfless love that mirrors the love of Christ Himself.

Jesus' commandment in John 13:34-35 reinforces the paramount importance of love. He instructs His disciples to love one another, not with a superficial love, but with a love that distinguishes them as His followers. This Christlike love serves as a testimony to the world, demonstrating the transformative power of God's love in our lives.

Colossians 3:12-14 further illuminates the call to embrace the way of love. As God's chosen people, we are called to clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Above all, love binds all these virtues together in perfect harmony. It is through love that we become instruments of God's grace, fostering unity and understanding among believers.

In a world often fraught with division and strife, embracing the way of love is not merely a suggestion but a divine imperative. It is the love of Christ within us that compels us to extend grace and understanding, to show empathy and compassion, and to walk alongside one another through life's trials and triumphs. When we prioritize love in our thoughts, words, and actions, we become a living testimony of God's love to the world, drawing others into the transformative embrace of Christ's unconditional love.

As we reflect on the teachings of 1 Thessalonians 5:14 NLT and the profound impact of love in the lives of Peter, John, and James, let us be fervently committed to embracing the way of love. May it be the guiding force that shapes our interactions and relationships, bringing healing to the broken, courage to the timid, and hope to the weary. With love as our compass, we can cultivate a community of unity, compassion, and resilience, shining brightly as a beacon of Christ's love in a world hungry for genuine love and acceptance.

The teachings of 1 Thessalonians 5:14 NLT and the captivating tale of Peter, John, and James compel us to recognize the undeniable importance of embracing the way of love in our lives. Love, as described in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, binds us together as a community of believers, fostering unity and understanding amidst our diversity. Just as Jesus commanded in John 13:34-35, our love for one another testifies to the world that we are followers of Christ, drawing others into the transformative embrace of God's unconditional love.

Let us heed the exhortation of Colossians 3:12-14 and clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, allowing love to permeate every aspect of our being. As we extend a helping hand to the lazy, encourage the timid, and care for the weak, we embody the selfless love that mirrors the heart of our Savior.

As we journey onward, let us stand firm in His grace, ever mindful of the example set before us. May we not only be hearers of the Word but doers also, putting into practice the principles Paul has provided. By doing so, we become living testimonies of God's love to a world that so desperately needs it.

In our pursuit of love, may we remember that we are not alone. Just as Peter, John, and James found strength in their friendship, we too find companionship and support in one another as brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus. Let us rally together, lifting each other up, and spurring one another on in our faith journey.

As we depart from this message, may it not fade from our hearts. Instead, may it ignite a fire within us to love more deeply, care more tenderly, and serve more selflessly. Let us be the embodiment of 1 Thessalonians 5:14 NLT in a world longing for love and compassion. And in all things, may the love of Christ guide us, unite us, and transform us, for His glory and the advancement of His Kingdom. 

Abba Father, we come before you with hearts filled with gratitude for the timeless wisdom of your Word and the transformative power of love it reveals. Thank you for the letter of 1 Thessalonians, which encourages us to walk in love and unity as a community of believers.

As we reflect on the words of 1 Thessalonians 5:14 NLT, we are reminded of the significance of warning the lazy, encouraging the timid, and caring for the weak. Just as Proverbs 6:6-11 urges us to be diligent like the ant, may we be proactive in fulfilling our responsibilities and seizing opportunities for growth.

Help us to be vessels of courage, inspired by Joshua 1:9, as we uplift and encourage those who grapple with fear and doubt. May we be a source of strength to our timid brothers and sisters, reminding them that you are always with them.

Moreover, we pray that we may embody the compassionate love described in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. Let our love be patient, kind, and selfless, not seeking our own interests but rejoicing in truth. May our relationships be characterized by love, a love that draws others to your light and reflects your unconditional love.

As we strive to embrace the way of love, just as Colossians 3:12-14 guides us, may we clothe ourselves with compassion, humility, and gentleness. Empower us to be instruments of your grace, extending care and empathy to those in need, just as James exemplified in his tender care for the weak.

Abba Father, help us to stand firm in your grace, ever mindful of the example set before us by Jesus Christ, who commanded us to love one another as He loved us (John 13:34-35). May our lives be living testimonies of your love, drawing others into the transformative embrace of your grace and mercy.

In the fellowship of brothers and sisters in Christ, may we find strength, support, and encouragement, just as Peter, John, and James did in their friendship. Let us rally together, spurring one another on in love and good deeds, as we journey in faith.

Thank you for this message that reminds us of the vital importance of love in our lives. As we strive to practice what Paul has provided, may our hearts be aligned with your will, and may our lives be living reflections of your love.

In the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer, we pray. Amen.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 31:15 American Standard Version

She riseth also while it is yet night,
And giveth food to her household,
And their task to her maidens.

Morning Scripture Reading - 1 Samuel 19:4-5 American Standard Version

And Jonathan spake good of David unto Saul his father, and said unto him, Let not the king sin against his servant, against David; because he hath not sinned against thee, and because his works have been to thee-ward very good: for he put his life in his hand, and smote the Philistine, and Jehovah wrought a great victory for all Israel: thou sawest it, and didst rejoice; wherefore then wilt thou sin against innocent blood, to slay David without a cause?

Saturday, July 29, 2023

Evening Scripture Reading - 2 Chronicles 6:4-11 American Standard Version

And he said, Blessed be Jehovah, the God of Israel, who spake with his mouth unto David my father, and hath with his hands fulfilled it, saying, Since the day that I brought forth my people out of the land of Egypt, I chose no city out of all the tribes of Israel to build a house in, that my name might be there; neither chose I any man to be prince over my people Israel: but I have chosen Jerusalem, that my name might be there, and have chosen David to be over my people Israel. Now it was in the heart of David my father to build a house for the name of Jehovah, the God of Israel. But Jehovah said unto David my father, Whereas it was in thy heart to build a house for my name, thou didst well that it was in thy heart: nevertheless thou shalt not build the house; but thy son that shall come forth out of thy loins, he shall build the house for my name. And Jehovah hath performed his word that he spake; for I am risen up in the room of David my father, and sit on the throne of Israel, as Jehovah promised, and have built the house for the name of Jehovah, the God of Israel. And there have I set the ark, wherein is the covenant of Jehovah, which he made with the children of Israel.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 106:47 American Standard Version

Save us, O Jehovah our God,
And gather us from among the nations,
To give thanks unto thy holy name,
And to triumph in thy praise.

Epistle to the Colossians - Chapter 1

In Colossians chapter 1, the apostle Paul, writing to the believers in Colossae, begins with a warm greeting and expressions of thanksgiving for their faith and love (Colossians 1:3-4, NLT). He commends their spiritual growth, which is the result of the gospel's transforming power (Colossians 1:6, NLT). Moving on, Paul passionately prays for the Colossian believers, asking God to grant them knowledge and understanding of His will (Colossians 1:9, NLT). He exalts Jesus Christ as the image of the invisible God, the Creator of all things, and the head of the Church (Colossians 1:15-18, NLT). Paul emphasizes Christ's redemptive work on the cross, through which He reconciled all things to Himself, both in heaven and on earth (Colossians 1:20, NLT). In Christ, believers find true wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 1:28, NLT). Paul shares insights into his ministry, explaining his willingness to suffer for the sake of the Church, striving to make the mystery of Christ known to the Gentiles (Colossians 1:24-27, NLT). In this chapter, Paul lays the foundation for the rest of the letter, highlighting the significance of Christ's preeminence and the transformative power of the gospel. As we study Colossians chapter 1, may we deepen our understanding of Christ's supremacy and the profound impact of His redemptive work in our lives, growing in faith and love through His grace (Colossians 1:22-23, NLT).

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 31:14 American Standard Version

She is like the merchant-ships;
She bringeth her bread from afar.

Morning Scripture Reading - Job 19:23-27 American Standard Version

Oh that my words were now written!
Oh that they were inscribed in a book!
That with an iron pen and lead
They were graven in the rock for ever!
But as for me I know that my Redeemer liveth,
And at last he will stand up upon the earth:
And after my skin, even this body, is destroyed,
Then without my flesh shall I see God;
Whom I, even I, shall see, on my side,
And mine eyes shall behold, and not as a stranger.
My heart is consumed within me.

Friday, July 28, 2023

Evening Scripture Reading - Acts 16:25-34 American Standard Version

But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns unto God, and the prisoners were listening to them; and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison-house were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened; and every one’s bands were loosed. And the jailor, being roused out of sleep and seeing the prison doors open, drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here. And he called for lights and sprang in, and, trembling for fear, fell down before Paul and Silas, and brought them out and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus, and thou shalt be saved, thou and thy house. And they spake the word of the Lord unto him, with all that were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, immediately. And he brought them up into his house, and set food before them, and rejoiced greatly, with all his house, having believed in God.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 106:46 American Standard Version

He made them also to be pitied
Of all those that carried them captive.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 31:13 American Standard Version

She seeketh wool and flax,
And worketh willingly with her hands.

Morning Scripture Reading - 1 Samuel 17:45-47 American Standard Version

Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a javelin: but I come to thee in the name of Jehovah of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. This day will Jehovah deliver thee into my hand; and I will smite thee, and take thy head from off thee; and I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day unto the birds of the heavens, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that Jehovah saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is Jehovah’s, and he will give you into our hand.

Thursday, July 27, 2023

Evening Scripture Reading - Acts 2:38-39 American Standard Version

And Peter said unto them, Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For to you is the promise, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call unto him.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 106:44-45 American Standard Version

Nevertheless he regarded their distress,
When he heard their cry:
And he remembered for them his covenant,
And repented according to the multitude of his lovingkindnesses.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 31:12 American Standard Version

She doeth him good and not evil
All the days of her life.

Morning Scripture Reading - Isaiah 59:21 American Standard Version

And as for me, this is my covenant with them, saith Jehovah: my Spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed’s seed, saith Jehovah, from henceforth and for ever.

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Evening Scripture Reading - Jeremiah 35:12-17 American Standard Version

Then came the word of Jehovah unto Jeremiah, saying, Thus saith Jehovah of hosts, the God of Israel: Go, and say to the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, Will ye not receive instruction to hearken to my words? saith Jehovah. The words of Jonadab the son of Rechab, that he commanded his sons, not to drink wine, are performed; and unto this day they drink none, for they obey their father’s commandment. But I have spoken unto you, rising up early and speaking; and ye have not hearkened unto me. I have sent also unto you all my servants the prophets, rising up early and sending them, saying, Return ye now every man from his evil way, and amend your doings, and go not after other gods to serve them, and ye shall dwell in the land which I have given to you and to your fathers: but ye have not inclined your ear, nor hearkened unto me. Forasmuch as the sons of Jonadab the son of Rechab have performed the commandment of their father which he commanded them, but this people hath not hearkened unto me; therefore thus saith Jehovah, the God of hosts, the God of Israel: Behold, I will bring upon Judah and upon all the inhabitants of Jerusalem all the evil that I have pronounced against them; because I have spoken unto them, but they have not heard; and I have called unto them, but they have not answered.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 106:43 American Standard Version

Many times did he deliver them;
But they were rebellious in their counsel,
And were brought low in their iniquity.

Mid-Week Message - Pain

"But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.'  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong."  2 Corinthians 12:9-10  (NIV)

One day in 2012, as I was stepping out of the car, I noticed my left leg was shaking as I straightened it.  There was no pain so I continued doing everything I needed to do. I didn't experience the same thing again so I forgot about it.  Then, a couple of days later, my lower leg began hurting when I was on it.  The pain came and went so, again, I really didn't worry about it.  As the days went by, the pain worsened until finally it was taking me over an hour to make it from my sofa to my bathroom and I was having to lean on a bar stool most of the way.  Finally, I called my doctor who recommended that I go to an urgent care clinic and have it x-rayed.  The x-ray was aimed at my knee and the physician concluded that my pain was from complications of my arthritis.  He gave me a prescription for pain medication and told me to go home and use a walker.  

Two days later, when I attempted to stand, the pain was so severe that I couldn't bear to put my foot on the floor.  Because there was no way for me to get in my car, we called an ambulance.  That day I spent twelve hours in the emergency room.  My husband had brought with us the copies of the x-rays from two days before so the presiding doctor did not do any tests of his own and after twelve hours sent me home with another prescription for pain medication and told me to use a walker.  

It was a struggle to get into the house but my husband finally got me situated for the night.  The next morning, he left to conduct worship services for the retirement community where we were ministering.  When I stood, the pain was indescribable and I couldn't take a step at all.  I called for my daughter for quite some time but she couldn't hear me.  Eventually, I passed out and woke up on my bathroom floor.  After some time, my daughter came to check on me and my husband came home, at which time I called for an ambulance again.  This time, a different physician ordered x-rays of my entire leg and found that my tibia was completely severed.  They figured that it had been broken for one and a half to two weeks.

I apologize for the long story, but we all have them, don't we?  We all have times in our lives where the pain we experience is beyond what we think we can bear.  Whether it be physical, emotional, mental or spiritual, pain is a warning signal that something is wrong and needs to be tended to.  It serves another purpose as well, it drives us to the Great Physician and we cry out to Him for help.  

I chose today's verse because Paul went through more in his lifetime that I can even imagine withstanding.  He was ship-wrecked, beaten and imprisoned.  His very life hung in the balance as there were many who wanted to see him dead.  Yet, in all of his suffering, he continued to serve the Lord.  He never let his pain get in the way of his purpose, rather, he used his pain to teach those around him, and ultimately everyone who would ever pick up a Bible, that the grace of God is greater than anything this world might dish out and that when we rely on Christ during our times of weakness, His strength will carry us through.  

I have no way of knowing what you are going through at this moment.  Perhaps this is a painful time and you are wondering how you are going to make it through.  I know two things.  One is that everything passes in time.  But the other is that your Father in Heaven loves you beyond measure. He will supply you with the strength you need and by relying on Him and continuing to praise Him no matter what, He will be glorified and your joy will increase.  We were never meant to carry our burdens alone.  Look up and reach out.  He has a plan and you will be able to look back on this time and see how He was with you.  In all things, His grace is sufficient.  God bless.  

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 31:11 American Standard Version

The heart of her husband trusteth in her,
And he shall have no lack of gain.

Morning Scripture Reading - Hebrews 13:15-16 American Standard Version

Through him then let us offer up a sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of lips which make confession to his name. But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Evening Scripture Reading - Matthew 8:5-13 American Standard Version

And when he was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him, and saying, Lord, my servant lieth in the house sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. And he saith unto him, I will come and heal him. And the centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof; but only say the word, and my servant shall be healed. For I also am a man under authority, having under myself soldiers: and I say to this one, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. And when Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. And I say unto you, that many shall come from the east and the west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven: but the sons of the kingdom shall be cast forth into the outer darkness: there shall be the weeping and the gnashing of teeth. And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And the servant was healed in that hour.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 106:42 American Standard Version

Their enemies also oppressed them,
And they were brought into subjection under their hand.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 31:10 American Standard Version

A worthy woman who can find?
For her price is far above rubies.

Morning Scripture Reading - Ecclesiastes 7:7 American Standard Version

Surely extortion maketh the wise man foolish; and a bribe destroyeth the understanding.

Monday, July 24, 2023

Evening Scripture Reading - 1 Kings 4:29-34 American Standard Version

And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the sea-shore. And Solomon’s wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the east, and all the wisdom of Egypt. For he was wiser than all men; than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, and Calcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol: and his fame was in all the nations round about. And he spake three thousand proverbs; and his songs were a thousand and five. And he spake of trees, from the cedar that is in Lebanon even unto the hyssop that springeth out of the wall; he spake also of beasts, and of birds, and of creeping things, and of fishes. And there came of all peoples to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all kings of the earth, who had heard of his wisdom.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 106:41 American Standard Version

And he gave them into the hand of the nations;
And they that hated them ruled over them.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 31:9 American Standard Version

Open thy mouth, judge righteously,
And minister justice to the poor and needy.

Morning Scripture Reading - Ephesians 3:14-19 American Standard Version

For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, that ye may be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inward man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; to the end that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be strong to apprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge, that ye may be filled unto all the fulness of God.

Sunday, July 23, 2023

Evening Scripture Reading - Acts 18:9-11 American Standard Version

And the Lord said unto Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak and hold not thy peace: for I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to harm thee: for I have much people in this city. And he dwelt there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 106:40 American Standard Version

Therefore was the wrath of Jehovah kindled against his people,
And he abhorred his inheritance.

Finding Peace Through Humility and Trust

In our fast-paced and often unpredictable world, it's easy to become overwhelmed by the pressures and anxieties that surround us. Today, let us turn our attention to the encouraging words found in 1 Peter 5:6-7 (NLT). It says, "So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you."

Imagine a bustling city where two close friends, Michael and Ethan, resided. They were known for their ambitious spirits and their relentless pursuit of success. However, as they climbed the ladder of achievement, they found themselves burdened by worries and anxieties that seemed to grow heavier each day.

One evening, after a particularly stressful day at work, Michael reached out to Ethan, seeking solace and a listening ear. Recognizing his friend's distress, Ethan invited Michael to a peaceful café nestled in the heart of the city.

As they sat across from each other, Michael opened up about his worries, sharing his fears of failure and the mounting pressures he faced. With genuine empathy, Ethan began to share words of wisdom and comfort, drawing from the wellspring of 1 Peter 5:6-7. He spoke of the importance of humility before God, recognizing their limitations, and surrendering their burdens to Him.

To illustrate his point, Ethan recounted a personal story of his own journey. He spoke of a time when he too was overwhelmed by the demands of work and the weight of expectations. One day, he stumbled upon Matthew 11:28-30 (NLT), where Jesus invites all who are weary and burdened to come to Him for rest. Inspired by these words, Ethan made a conscious decision to humble himself before God and cast his worries upon Him.

In his humility, Ethan discovered a newfound peace. As he placed his trust in God's mighty power, he witnessed His faithfulness and provision in his life. Ethan's story reminded Michael of the power of surrender and the invitation to find rest in God's loving embrace.

As their conversation unfolded, Ethan shared additional verses to support their discussion. He quoted Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT), which advises not to worry about anything but instead to pray and present their requests to God with thanksgiving, knowing that His peace, which surpasses all understanding, will guard their hearts and minds.

Through their conversation, Michael began to grasp the significance of 1 Peter 5:6-7. He realized that their pursuit of success and control only added to their burdens, while humility and trust in God's care would lead to true peace and freedom.

In the midst of their own anxieties and worries, may we heed the lessons from Michael and Ethan's story. Let us humble ourselves before God, acknowledging our need for His guidance and strength. As we cast our worries and cares upon Him, we can rest assured that His love and provision will sustain us through every trial and challenge.

As we navigate the uncertainties of life, may the words of Psalm 55:22 (NLT) resonate in our hearts: "Give your burdens to the LORD, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall."

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus, let us take to heart the powerful message of 1 Peter 5:6-7. As we journey through life, may we always remember the importance of humbling ourselves under the mighty power of God and casting all our worries and cares upon Him. Let us embrace the truth that true strength lies in surrender, and true peace is found in trust.

In our pursuit of success, amidst the pressures and anxieties that surround us, may we stand firm in His grace. Even when the world tempts us to rely solely on our own abilities, let us choose humility, recognizing our limitations and acknowledging our need for God's guidance and provision. May we be anchored in the understanding that God cares deeply for us, and He longs for us to release our burdens to Him.

Today, and every day, let us walk in the wisdom of 1 Peter 5:6-7, surrendering our worries and cares to God, knowing that He is attentive to our needs. May our hearts find peace in His loving embrace, and may our lives reflect the humble trust that brings honor in due time. May we embrace humility as a constant attitude, recognizing that in our weakness, God's strength is made perfect.

May we, as a community of believers, encourage one another in the journey of humility and trust, supporting each other as we navigate the challenges of life. And as we face uncertainties and trials, may we continually stand firm in His grace, rooted in the assurance that our Heavenly Father cares for us deeply and intimately.

May our lives be a testament to the transformative power of humbling ourselves before God, finding peace in His loving care, and trusting in His unfailing faithfulness. May we always remember that true strength is found in surrender, and true peace is found in Him.

With hearts filled with humility and trust, let us go forth, casting our worries and cares upon the Lord, knowing that He will sustain us and lift us up in due time.

In Him, let us stand firm in His grace.

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

Today’s prayer from this message.
Dear Heavenly Father,

We come before You with humble hearts, seeking Your guidance and peace in the midst of our worries and anxieties. Thank You for the message of 1 Peter 5:6-7, reminding us to humble ourselves under Your mighty power and cast all our cares upon You.

Lord, we acknowledge that we are limited and that true strength comes from surrendering to Your will. Help us to release our burdens and trust in Your provision. Teach us to walk in humility, recognizing that You are the source of all wisdom and strength.

As we navigate the challenges of life, may we stand firm in Your grace. Remind us to rely on You, rather than our own abilities, knowing that You care deeply for us. Strengthen our faith as we cast our worries and cares upon You, knowing that You are attentive to our needs.

Grant us the courage to encourage one another in the journey of humility and trust. May our lives reflect the transformative power of surrender, as we find peace in Your loving embrace.

In the moments of uncertainty and trial, Lord, help us to continually stand firm in Your grace. May Your presence be our anchor, and may Your peace guard our hearts and minds.

We thank You, Heavenly Father, for the gift of humility and trust. May we live out these virtues, knowing that in our weakness, Your strength is made perfect.

In the name of Jesus Christ, who humbly surrendered Himself for us, we pray.


Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 31:8 American Standard Version

Open thy mouth for the dumb,
In the cause of all such as are left desolate.

Morning Scripture Reading - 2 Corinthians 5:20-21 American Standard Version

We are ambassadors therefore on behalf of Christ, as though God were entreating by us: we beseech you on behalf of Christ, be ye reconciled to God. Him who knew no sin he made to be sin on our behalf; that we might become the righteousness of God in him.

Saturday, July 22, 2023

Evening Scripture Reading - 1 Peter 5:6-7 American Standard Version

Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time; casting all your anxiety upon him, because he careth for you.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 106:39 American Standard Version

Thus were they defiled with their works,
And played the harlot in their doings.

Epistle to the Colossians - Background

The book of Colossians holds a special place in the New Testament, being one of the Pauline epistles. Written by the apostle Paul, it was directed to the believers residing in the city of Colossae, situated in Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey). The historical context of Colossae reveals a diverse population, influenced by various cultural and philosophical ideas. Within this setting, the church in Colossae faced challenges posed by false teachings, encompassing a mixture of Jewish legalism, Greek philosophy, and mystical beliefs. Recognizing the confusion and deviation from the true gospel, Paul, during his imprisonment in Rome around AD 60-62, wrote this letter to exhort the believers to stand firm in their faith in Christ and combat the allure of deceptive doctrines. Throughout Colossians, Paul passionately emphasizes the supremacy of Christ, warning against the dangers of legalism and asceticism, and providing practical guidance on living a Christ-centered life. As we delve into this epistle, let us grasp the timeless truths it holds and learn how to apply its teachings in our lives today.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 31:6-7 American Standard Version

Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish,
And wine unto the bitter in soul:
Let him drink, and forget his poverty,
And remember his misery no more.

Morning Scripture Reading - Genesis 12:1-3 American Standard Version

Now Jehovah said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto the land that I will show thee: and I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and be thou a blessing: and I will bless them that bless thee, and him that curseth thee will I curse: and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed.

Friday, July 21, 2023

Evening Scripture Reading - Nehemiah 9:7-8 American Standard Version

Thou art Jehovah the God, who didst choose Abram, and broughtest him forth out of Ur of the Chaldees, and gavest him the name of Abraham, and foundest his heart faithful before thee, and madest a covenant with him to give the land of the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, and the Perizzite, and the Jebusite, and the Girgashite, to give it unto his seed, and hast performed thy words; for thou art righteous.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 106:37-38 American Standard Version

Yea, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto demons,
And shed innocent blood,
Even the blood of their sons and of their daughters,
Whom they sacrificed unto the idols of Canaan;
And the land was polluted with blood.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 31:5 American Standard Version

Lest they drink, and forget the law,
And pervert the justice due to any that is afflicted.

Morning Scripture Reading - Isaiah 46:8-11 American Standard Version

Remember this, and show yourselves men; bring it again to mind, O ye transgressors. Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me; declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done; saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure; calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man of my counsel from a far country; yea, I have spoken, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed, I will also do it.

Thursday, July 20, 2023

Evening Scripture Reading - Mark 12:32-34 American Standard Version

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.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 106:34-36 American Standard Version

They did not destroy the peoples,
As Jehovah commanded them,
But mingled themselves with the nations,
And learned their works,
And served their idols,
Which became a snare unto them.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 31:4 American Standard Version

It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine;
Nor for princes to say, Where is strong drink?

Morning Scripture Reading - Deuteronomy 4:35-38 American Standard Version

Unto thee it was showed, that thou mightest know that Jehovah he is God; there is none else besides him. Out of heaven he made thee to hear his voice, that he might instruct thee: and upon earth he made thee to see his great fire; and thou heardest his words out of the midst of the fire. And because he loved thy fathers, therefore he chose their seed after them, and brought thee out with his presence, with his great power, out of Egypt; to drive out nations from before thee greater and mightier than thou, to bring thee in, to give thee their land for an inheritance, as at this day.

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

Evening Scripture Reading - 1 Kings 18:20-21 American Standard Version

So Ahab sent unto all the children of Israel, and gathered the prophets together unto mount Carmel. And Elijah came near unto all the people, and said, How long go ye limping between the two sides? if Jehovah be God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 106:32-33 American Standard Version

They angered him also at the waters of Meribah,
So that it went ill with Moses for their sakes;
Because they were rebellious against his spirit,
And he spake unadvisedly with his lips.

Mid-Week Message - A Sweet Aroma

"Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing. To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume. And who is adequate for such a task as this?"  2 Corinthians 2:15-16 (NLT)

Our sense of smell creates and recalls to mind memories that can both touch our hearts or turn our stomachs.  For instance, I will forever remember the way my mother smelled after she took a bath.  Her blend of bubble bath and bath powder coupled with a hint of perfume would permeate the house.  It was a sweet aroma that made the house feel even more like home.  One evening recently that fragrance came to me.  It was just an ordinary evening but suddenly those memories were triggered by that familiar smell.  I still have no idea from whence it came but it made me feel close to her even though she passed away nine years ago.  Not all smells are pleasant however.  I have heard medical professionals speak of the stench of burnt flesh and how it is something they will never be able to forget even though it causes them to feel ill at the very thought of it.  

I love the smell of coffee.  I have been known to stand in the coffee aisle in the grocery store just to take in the wonderful earthy scent as long as I could.  Not everyone likes that smell though.  To me it is a pleasure, to others it is something to be avoided.  This week's verse discusses the dichotomy of our lives being a Christ-like fragrance.  To some it symbolizes life but to others, death.  

This has caused me to do some introspection.  What does it mean?  If we are to live lives that are "a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God", what are we to do?  I see in this verse what is ideal. Ideally we are to reflect our Lord as He is.  Ideally, we are to live our lives in such a manner that others will be drawn to us, not because of us, but because of Him in us.  However, most of us do not present ourselves in such a manner at all times, or even most of the time.  We get caught up in whatever is happening in the moment and forget that He is living in us.  We fail to project His love, His hope, His power.  

When we accept Jesus as our personal Savior, we are born anew.  The Holy Spirit comes to dwell within us and we begin to grow closer to Him and become more like Him.  There are times though that we revert back to our old ways.  Our old speech patterns come back.  Old habits such as worry and defeatism return.  We forget that those around us who do not know Him are watching us to see how we rely on Him to help us through troubled times.  In so doing, we lose the sweet aroma and emit a sour smell of hopelessness.  An unsaved person that witnesses this may conclude that since we say we are Christians yet do not have confidence in Jesus, that there is no reason for them to either.  If we turn to Him, praise Him and openly trust Him, then we present the opposite.  The fragrance will be one that draws others in and creates a desire to know more about our Lord.  It is one that will speak life and joy.

We have an enemy whose main purpose is to snatch us away from Jesus.  He doesn't want us to reach others with the Truth.  He hates anything that points the way to the Almighty.  So he is quite pleased when we fall back into our old ways.  He revels at the stench of death.  Let's not give him that satisfaction.  We belong to Christ.  That needs to be our identity, our purpose and our very breath.  

As we go through this next week, let's be on guard so that the fragrance we project is Christ-like.  It will mean being alert and conscious of our words and actions at all times.  That's okay though.  The Holy Spirit will help us.  Love and blessings to all.  

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 31:3 American Standard Version

Give not thy strength unto women,
Nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings.

Morning Scripture Reading - Hosea 10:4-9 American Standard Version

They speak vain words, swearing falsely in making covenants: therefore judgment springeth up as hemlock in the furrows of the field. The inhabitants of Samaria shall be in terror for the calves of Beth-aven; for the people thereof shall mourn over it, and the priests thereof that rejoiced over it, for the glory thereof, because it is departed from it. It also shall be carried unto Assyria for a present to king Jareb: Ephraim shall receive shame, and Israel shall be ashamed of his own counsel. As for Samaria, her king is cut off, as foam upon the water. The high places also of Aven, the sin of Israel, shall be destroyed: the thorn and the thistle shall come up on their altars; and they shall say to the mountains, Cover us; and to the hills, Fall on us. O Israel, thou hast sinned from the days of Gibeah: there they stood; the battle against the children of iniquity doth not overtake them in Gibeah.

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Evening Scripture Reading - 2 Kings 12:13-16 American Standard Version

But there were not made for the house of Jehovah cups of silver, snuffers, basins, trumpets, any vessels of gold, or vessels of silver, of the money that was brought into the house of Jehovah; for they gave that to them that did the work, and repaired therewith the house of Jehovah. Moreover they reckoned not with the men, into whose hand they delivered the money to give to them that did the work; for they dealt faithfully. The money for the trespass-offerings, and the money for the sin-offerings, was not brought into the house of Jehovah: it was the priests’.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 106:31 American Standard Version

And that was reckoned unto him for righteousness,
Unto all generations for evermore.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 31:1-2 American Standard Version

The words of king Lemuel; the oracle which his mother taught him.
What, my son? and what, O son of my womb?
And what, O son of my vows?

Morning Scripture Reading - John 14:15-18 American Standard Version

If ye love me, ye will keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may be with you for ever, even the Spirit of truth: whom the world cannot receive; for it beholdeth him not, neither knoweth him: ye know him; for he abideth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you desolate: I come unto you.

Monday, July 17, 2023

Evening Scripture Reading - James 1:26-27 American Standard Version

If any man thinketh himself to be religious, while he bridleth not his tongue but deceiveth his heart, this man’s religion is vain. Pure religion and undefiled before our God and Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 106:30 American Standard Version

Then stood up Phinehas, and executed judgment;
And so the plague was stayed.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 30:29-33 American Standard Version

There are three things which are stately in their march,
Yea, four which are stately in going:
The lion, which is mightiest among beasts,
And turneth not away for any;
The greyhound; the he-goat also;
And the king against whom there is no rising up.
If thou hast done foolishly in lifting up thyself,
Or if thou hast thought evil,
Lay thy hand upon thy mouth.
For the churning of milk bringeth forth butter,
And the wringing of the nose bringeth forth blood;
So the forcing of wrath bringeth forth strife.

Morning Scripture Reading - Mark 6:53-56 American Standard Version

And when they had crossed over, they came to the land unto Gennesaret, and moored to the shore. And when they were come out of the boat, straightway the people knew him, and ran round about that whole region, and began to carry about on their beds those that were sick, where they heard he was. And wheresoever he entered, into villages, or into cities, or into the country, they laid the sick in the marketplaces, and besought him that they might touch if it were but the border of his garment: and as many as touched him were made whole.

Sunday, July 16, 2023

Evening Scripture Reading - 1 Thessalonians 2:13-16 American Standard Version

And for this cause we also thank God without ceasing, that, when ye received from us the word of the message, even the word of God, ye accepted it not as the word of men, but, as it is in truth, the word of God, which also worketh in you that believe. For ye, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God which are in Judaea in Christ Jesus: for ye also suffered the same things of your own countrymen, even as they did of the Jews; who both killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove out us, and please not God, and are contrary to all men; forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they may be saved; to fill up their sins always: but the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 106:29 American Standard Version

Thus they provoked him to anger with their doings;
And the plague brake in upon them.

Embracing Love and Overcoming Divisions

In these contemporary times where differences often fuel division and misunderstanding, it is crucial for us to reflect on the powerful message found in 1 John 4:20-21 (NLT). The verse states, "If someone says, 'I love God,' but hates a fellow believer, that person is a liar; for if we don't love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see? And He has given us this command: Those who love God must also love their fellow believers."

Allow me to share a heartwarming story that speaks to the essence of this message. Imagine a small town named Harmonyville, nestled in the heart of a diverse and bustling city. In this town, people of different backgrounds, cultures, and beliefs lived side by side, forming a vibrant tapestry of humanity. 

One day, a young woman named Sarah moved to Harmonyville seeking refuge from the chaos and division of the city. Sarah had grown disillusioned by the hostility she witnessed daily and hoped to find solace in this tight-knit community.

Upon her arrival, Sarah encountered a group of locals engaged in a heated argument about their differing beliefs. Their words were filled with bitterness and judgment, making her question whether she had made the right choice in coming to Harmonyville. Saddened, she sought guidance from an elderly woman named Mrs. Johnson, known for her wisdom and compassionate spirit.

Mrs. Johnson warmly invited Sarah into her home, offering her a cup of tea and a listening ear. As Sarah poured out her heart, Mrs. Johnson listened attentively, understanding the struggles she faced. 

With gentle wisdom, she shared the message from 1 John 4:20-21, reminding Sarah of the importance of loving others, even in the face of differences.

To further reinforce this message, Mrs. Johnson opened her well-worn Bible and shared other verses that echoed the call to love and unity. She spoke of Romans 12:10, which urges us to "love each other with genuine affection and take delight in honoring one another." She also cited Galatians 5:13, reminding Sarah that "through love, serve one another."

The elderly woman then recounted a personal story of her own experience. She once held deep animosity toward a neighbor who belonged to a different faith. Their interactions were marked by suspicion and disdain until a tragedy struck their community. During a devastating storm, Mrs. Johnson's home was destroyed, leaving her vulnerable and in need of help.

To her surprise, it was the neighbor she had resented who extended a helping hand, providing shelter, food, and comfort during those difficult times. This act of kindness shattered the walls of prejudice and transformed their relationship. They discovered the beauty of love transcending differences and realized that God's love flowed through every person, regardless of their beliefs.

Inspired by Mrs. Johnson's story, Sarah began to see the people of Harmonyville in a new light. She recognized that beneath their varied appearances, traditions, and beliefs, there was a shared humanity longing for connection. Sarah decided to actively engage with her fellow residents, seeking to understand their stories and offering her friendship without judgment.

As the fictional story of Sarah unfolds, let us consider its guiding principles for our own lives in these contemporary times. We are surrounded by diversity, whether it be in culture, religion, politics, or ideologies. However, we must remember that our love for God should manifest in our love for one another, transcending our differences. Let us recall the words of Ephesians 4:2, which encourages us to "be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love."

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus, let us heed the wisdom of 1 John 4:20-21. As we navigate the complexities of our modern world, may we remember that love is the bridge that unites us, compassion is the salve that heals our wounds, and understanding is the key that unlocks harmony. And in all our endeavors, let us stand firm in His grace, for it is through His grace that we find the strength and wisdom to embrace one another.

May we, as a community, embody the spirit of love, overcoming divisions with understanding and acceptance. Together, let's create a world where love triumphs over hatred, understanding over judgment, and unity over division.

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

Dear Heavenly Father,
We come before You with humble hearts, grateful for Your unending love and grace. Today, we lift up our voices in prayer, seeking guidance as we navigate the challenges of our contemporary times.
Lord, help us to embody the message of 1 John 4:20-21 in our daily lives. Remind us that our love for You must overflow into our love for our fellow believers. Grant us the wisdom to see beyond our differences and embrace one another with compassion and understanding.

We pray for unity amidst diversity, for patience in the face of disagreements, and for hearts that are quick to forgive. May Your love be the guiding force that binds us together and overcomes the divisions that plague our world.

Teach us, O Lord, to be agents of change and instruments of reconciliation. Inspire us to listen attentively, to seek understanding before passing judgment, and to extend a helping hand to those in need. May our actions reflect Your love, shining a light in the darkness and drawing others closer to You.

Lord, we ask for the strength to stand firm in Your grace. As we encounter challenges and face the temptation to judge or harbor bitterness, remind us of Your boundless love and the example set by Your Son, Jesus Christ. May His selfless sacrifice inspire us to love sacrificially and unconditionally.

In closing, we lift up our hearts in gratitude for the lessons shared through the story of Sarah and Mrs. Johnson. May their experiences remind us that love can transcend barriers and transform relationships. Help us, Lord, to be vessels of Your love, bringing healing and unity to our communities and the world at large.

We offer this prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior, who taught us to love one another as He loved us.


Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 30:24-28 American Standard Version

There are four things which are little upon the earth,
But they are exceeding wise:
The ants are a people not strong,
Yet they provide their food in the summer;
The conies are but a feeble folk,
Yet make they their houses in the rocks;
The locusts have no king,
Yet go they forth all of them by bands;
The lizard taketh hold with her hands,
Yet is she in kings’ palaces.

Morning Scripture Reading - James 1:19-20 American Standard Version

Ye know this, my beloved brethren. But let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: for the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.

Saturday, July 15, 2023

Evening Scripture Reading - Hebrews 4:12-13 American Standard Version

For the word of God is living, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and quick to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and laid open before the eyes of him with whom we have to do.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 106:28 American Standard Version

They joined themselves also unto Baal-peor,
And ate the sacrifices of the dead.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 30:21-23 American Standard Version

For three things the earth doth tremble,
And for four, which it cannot bear:
For a servant when he is king;
And a fool when he is filled with food;
For an odious woman when she is married;
And a handmaid that is heir to her mistress.

Morning Scripture Reading - Jeremiah 23:23-32 American Standard Version

Am I a God at hand, saith Jehovah, and not a God afar off? Can any hide himself in secret places so that I shall not see him? saith Jehovah. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith Jehovah. I have heard what the prophets have said, that prophesy lies in my name, saying, I have dreamed, I have dreamed. How long shall this be in the heart of the prophets that prophesy lies, even the prophets of the deceit of their own heart? that think to cause my people to forget my name by their dreams which they tell every man to his neighbor, as their fathers forgat my name for Baal. The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream; and he that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully. What is the straw to the wheat? saith Jehovah. Is not my word like fire? saith Jehovah; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces? Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, saith Jehovah, that steal my words every one from his neighbor. Behold, I am against the prophets, saith Jehovah, that use their tongues, and say, He saith. Behold, I am against them that prophesy lying dreams, saith Jehovah, and do tell them, and cause my people to err by their lies, and by their vain boasting: yet I sent them not, nor commanded them; neither do they profit this people at all, saith Jehovah.