Thursday, August 31, 2023

Evening Scripture Reading - 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 American Standard Version

Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong. Let all that ye do be done in love.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 111:4 American Standard Version

He hath made his wonderful works to be remembered:
Jehovah is gracious and merciful.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 20:3 American Standard Version

It is an honor for a man to keep aloof from strife;
But every fool will be quarrelling.

Morning Scripture Reading - Matthew 19:16-22 American Standard Version

And behold, one came to him and said, Teacher, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he said unto him, Why askest thou me concerning that which is good? One there is who is good: but if thou wouldest enter into life, keep the commandments. He saith unto him, Which? And Jesus said, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honor thy father and thy mother; and, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. The young man saith unto him, All these things have I observed: what lack I yet? Jesus said unto him, If thou wouldest be perfect, go, sell that which thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. But when the young man heard the saying, he went away sorrowful; for he was one that had great possessions.

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Evening Scripture Reading - Hosea 3:4-5 American Standard Version

For the children of Israel shall abide many days without king, and without prince, and without sacrifice, and without pillar, and without ephod or teraphim: afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek Jehovah their God, and David their king, and shall come with fear unto Jehovah and to his goodness in the latter days.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 111:3 American Standard Version

His work is honor and majesty;
And his righteousness endureth for ever.

Mid-Week Message - Filling Our Minds

"Do not love the world or the things in the world.  If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world--the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life--is not from the Father but is from the world."  1 John 2:15-16  (ESV)

During the time of quarantine, I really started thinking about the "stuff" of life.  When all I could do was sit in my home, I had plenty of chances to look around at all the belongings that it is filled with.  I am a very sentimental type of person so there are things that mean a lot to me, such as the cedar chest and a few other items that my father made by hand long before I was born.  I also have a set of three little angels that were given to me by a lady that I loved dearly.  "Billye's Angels", as I refer to them, are in a place in my living room where I can see them all the time.  Because they were a gift from her and she has now gone on to Heaven, they are important to me.  

During this time as well, I had plenty of time to watch television and I began to pay attention to the programs and advertisements that I was viewing regularly.  I realized that most of what is shown are things that, years ago, would never have been deemed appropriate or acceptable.  Sex, alcohol, drugs, violence, and children disrespecting parents are only a few of the topics.  But, by beginning to include these things little by little, programmers slowly got us used to seeing them and now they are rampant.  Game shows appeal to our greed.  "Win money!"  "Win a new car!"  So called "reality programs" pit people against each other and we find ourselves caught up in unlikely scenarios and rooting for one person over another.  

Have you noticed how many movies are being released that center around pure evil?  These films, most with an "R" rating, glorify the enemy with storylines dealing with the occult, witchcraft and spiritual darkness.  There was a time when there would have been a public outcry over this subject matter.  We would have forbidden our children from seeing them, but now, there are even parents who take their children with them when they to go to view.  Then we wonder why these young souls are skeptical of a real place called "Hell".  

This world is not our home.  We were created to love God and to worship Him.  How it must grieve Him to see us spending our time concentrating on how to collect and protect material items that will pass away or filling our minds with ungodly ideas created to drive our desires or to numb our awareness of evil.  What we think is harmless is actually deadly because it removes our focus from the Lord.

There is a song entitled "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus"  that says, "Turn your eyes upon Jesus.  Look full in His wonderful face.  And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace."  Brothers and sisters, we need to return to Jesus.  Rather than sitting in front of the television all time, we need to have our Bibles open and be sharing the love of the Father with those around us.  These are the things that make an eternal difference and lay up treasures in Heaven.  

I know it is difficult to stay completely away from the trappings this world.  But we have to keep a clear perspective on what we are exposing ourselves to.  If we do not guard our hearts and minds from the enemy, no one else will either.  May you have a safe and joyful week.  God bless! 

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 20:2 American Standard Version

The terror of a king is as the roaring of a lion:
He that provoketh him to anger sinneth against his own life.

Morning Scripture Reading - John 2:13-22 American Standard Version

And the passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. And he found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: and he made a scourge of cords, and cast all out of the temple, both the sheep and the oxen; and he poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew their tables; and to them that sold the doves he said, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house a house of merchandise. His disciples remembered that it was written, Zeal for thy house shall eat me up. The Jews therefore answered and said unto him, What sign showest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things? Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. The Jews therefore said, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou raise it up in three days? But he spake of the temple of his body. When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he spake this; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said.

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Evening Scripture Reading - 2 Samuel 22:3 American Standard Version

God, my rock, in him will I take refuge;
My shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge;
My saviour, thou savest me from violence.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 111:2 American Standard Version

The works of Jehovah are great,
Sought out of all them that have pleasure therein.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 20:1 American Standard Version

Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler;
And whosoever erreth thereby is not wise.

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.

Monday, August 28, 2023

Evening Scripture Reading - John 17:1-5 American Standard Version

These things spake Jesus; and lifting up his eyes to heaven, he said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that the Son may glorify thee: even as thou gavest him authority over all flesh, that to all whom thou hast given him, he should give eternal life. And this is life eternal, that they should know thee the only true God, and him whom thou didst send, even Jesus Christ. I glorified thee on the earth, having accomplished the work which thou hast given me to do. And now, Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 111:1 American Standard Version

Praise ye Jehovah.
I will give thanks unto Jehovah with my whole heart,
In the council of the upright, and in the congregation.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 19:29 American Standard Version

Judgments are prepared for scoffers,
And stripes for the back of fools.

Morning Scripture Reading - John 20:26-29 American Standard Version

And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them. Jesus cometh, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and see my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and put it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. Jesus saith unto him, Because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

Sunday, August 27, 2023

The Prayer for the Week of August 27th

Dear Heavenly Father,

In the midst of a world fraught with challenges and uncertainties, we humbly come before You, acknowledging our own weaknesses and shortcomings. Your word reminds us of the path we ought to tread, the path of righteousness and unwavering devotion to Your will. We confess that at times, we have strayed from this path, enticed by our own desires and misled by worldly distractions. Forgive us, Lord, for our disobedience, and grant us the grace to turn our hearts back to You.

As we gather in unity, transcending borders and boundaries, we implore Your mercy and guidance. Just as the Israelites of old faced the consequences of their wayward choices, so too have we encountered the repercussions of our actions. Yet, Your love remains steadfast, and Your call to return to You resounds with unwavering compassion. Help us, Father, to heed the words of Isaiah 55:7, to banish the very thought of doing wrong and to turn to You for mercy.

We stand united in our desire for a global revival, a resurgence of hearts committed to Your divine purpose. Grant us the strength to cast aside the allure of worldly desires and to embrace Your path of righteousness. Let the stories of old, the stories of redemption and restoration, be a beacon of hope guiding us forward.

In the name of Jesus, who embodies Your grace and mercy, we lift our voices in this prayer. May Your forgiveness wash over us, and Your Holy Spirit empower us to walk steadfastly in Your ways. May our lives be a testimony to the transformative power of returning to You. 

We pray for a revival that transcends boundaries, languages, and cultures, igniting a fire in the hearts of all who hear Your call.

With hearts open wide and a fervent hope, we pray,

Evening Scripture Reading - John 10:25-30 American Standard Version

Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believe not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, these bear witness of me. But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who hath given them unto me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 110:7 American Standard Version

He will drink of the brook in the way:
Therefore will he lift up the head.

Global Call for Revival: Return to God's Path

In these unprecedented times, as we witness the world facing trials and challenges on every front, let us turn our hearts towards the words of 2 Chronicles 7:14, which reminds us, "Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land." The call for a global revival resonates loudly – a call for people from all corners of the Earth to return to the loving embrace of our Heavenly Father, to rediscover His purpose for our lives, and to commit ourselves anew to following His divine will

Throughout history, we find the Israelites, God's chosen people, grappling with the consequences of straying from His path. Their story serves as both a cautionary tale and an inspiring example. When they turned their backs on the Lord and chose to follow their own desires, they faced a multitude of challenges. The consequences of their disobedience were evident in the form of societal discord, moral decay, and even exile from their homeland. Yet, time and again, the Lord's compassion prevailed. He sent prophets to guide them back – from the steadfast courage of Elijah, who challenged the people's wavering faith on Mount Carmel, to the repentance-inspiring words of Jeremiah, who passionately called for a return to God's righteous ways. These prophets stood as beacons of hope, urging the people to realign with God's ways, emphasizing the transformative power of true repentance.

The Scriptures resound with this vital truth. Proverbs 14:12 warns, "There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death." The story of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32 illustrates the Father's unwavering love and readiness to welcome us back, no matter how far we may have strayed. Isaiah 55:7 echoes the invitation to return: "Let the wicked change their ways and banish the very thought of doing wrong. Let them turn to the Lord that he may have mercy on them."

Today, as we witness moral decline, unrest, and spiritual drought across nations, let us unite in prayer and humble ourselves before God. Let us acknowledge our own shortcomings and seek His face earnestly. Let us, like the people of Nineveh in Jonah 3:10, turn from our wicked ways, knowing that God's mercy triumphs over judgment. A global revival begins with each individual heart rekindling its relationship with the Almighty. As we do so, let us draw inspiration from the stories of old, as we remember that God's redemptive power is boundless.

May this call for revival resonate beyond borders, languages, and cultures, igniting a fire that spreads across the globe. Let our commitment to God's will be unwavering, as we choose His path over the fleeting allure of worldly desires. Just as the Israelites found restoration and renewal, so too can we, as we return to our Heavenly Father's open arms. Let us heed the words of Psalm 85:6, "Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?"

In the name of Jesus, who embodies God's grace and redemption, let this resounding call for global revival echo with fervor. As the echoes traverse nations and hearts, may we stand firm in His grace, united in the pursuit of God's will. Just as the Israelites found restoration and renewal through their return to our Heavenly Father's open arms, so too can we. With a shared commitment to turning back to God, let this revival transcend borders, languages, and cultures. And as we embrace His path over the fleeting allure of worldly desires, may our lives become a testament to the transformative power of true repentance and wholehearted devotion.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 19:28 American Standard Version

A worthless witness mocketh at justice;
And the mouth of the wicked swalloweth iniquity.

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, August 26, 2023

Evening Scripture Reading - Deuteronomy 15:7-11 American Standard Version

If there be with thee a poor man, one of thy brethren, within any of thy gates in thy land which Jehovah thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not harden thy heart, nor shut thy hand from thy poor brother; but thou shalt surely open thy hand unto him, and shalt surely lend him sufficient for his need in that which he wanteth. Beware that there be not a base thought in thy heart, saying, The seventh year, the year of release, is at hand; and thine eye be evil against thy poor brother, and thou give him nought; and he cry unto Jehovah against thee, and it be sin unto thee. Thou shalt surely give him, and thy heart shall not be grieved when thou givest unto him; because that for this thing Jehovah thy God will bless thee in all thy work, and in all that thou puttest thy hand unto. For the poor will never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt surely open thy hand unto thy brother, to thy needy, and to thy poor, in thy land.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 110:6 American Standard Version

He will judge among the nations,
He will fill the places with dead bodies;
He will strike through the head in many countries.

Bible Study - Psalm 23 New Living Translation

Psalm 23, found in the New Living Translation (NLT), is a beloved passage that provides comfort and reassurance, often referred to as the "Shepherd's Psalm." This chapter portrays God as a loving and caring shepherd who guides, protects, and provides for His people. The Psalm can be divided into several key points for study:

In Psalm 23, the Lord is depicted as a shepherd, and the reader as His sheep. This imagery is rich with meaning, emphasizing the deep and intimate relationship between God and His people. The Psalm opens with a proclamation of trust, as the psalmist declares that because the Lord is their shepherd, they lack nothing. This establishes the theme of God's abundant provision.

The psalmist describes God leading them to green pastures and peaceful waters, symbols of spiritual nourishment and refreshment. This speaks to God's guidance and care, ensuring that His people find rest and restoration amidst life's challenges.

Even when facing the darkest valleys, the psalmist finds comfort in the Lord's presence. The assurance that God is with them and will protect them brings solace and courage. This portion underscores the truth that God's protection and companionship are unwavering, even in times of difficulty.

The psalmist's confidence in the Lord's provision extends to a lavish feast prepared in the presence of enemies. This symbolizes God's ability to bless and uplift His people, even when circumstances are unfavorable. It also highlights the notion that God's favor transcends any challenges or opposition.

The Psalm concludes with a declaration of God's goodness and mercy following the psalmist all the days of their life. This speaks to the enduring nature of God's care and grace. The psalmist then expresses the desire to dwell in the Lord's house forever, signifying the hope of eternal fellowship with God.

In studying Psalm 23, it's valuable to reflect on the roles of both the shepherd and the sheep, and how they parallel the relationship between believers and God. The passage encourages trust, surrender, and a recognition of our dependence on God's guidance and provision. It also reminds us of God's constancy and unfailing love, even in the midst of challenges. Ultimately, Psalm 23 invites us to experience the deep and abiding peace that comes from a close relationship with the loving Shepherd who cares for our every need.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 19:27 American Standard Version

Cease, my son, to hear instruction
Only to err from the words of knowledge.

Morning Scripture Reading - James 4:11-12 American Standard Version

Speak not one against another, brethren. He that speaketh against a brother, or judgeth his brother, speaketh against the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judgest the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge. One only is the lawgiver and judge, even he who is able to save and to destroy: but who art thou that judgest thy neighbor?

Friday, August 25, 2023

Evening Scripture Reading - Hebrews 6:9-12 American Standard Version

But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak: for God is not unrighteous to forget your work and the love which ye showed toward his name, in that ye ministered unto the saints, and still do minister. And we desire that each one of you may show the same diligence unto the fulness of hope even to the end: that ye be not sluggish, but imitators of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 110:5 American Standard Version

The Lord at thy right hand
Will strike through kings in the day of his wrath.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 19:26 American Standard Version

He that doeth violence to his father, and chaseth away his mother,
Is a son that causeth shame and bringeth reproach.

Morning Scripture Reading - 2 Peter 1:1-4 American Standard Version

Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained a like precious faith with us in the righteousness of our God and the Saviour Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace be multiplied in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that his divine power hath granted unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that called us by his own glory and virtue; whereby he hath granted unto us his precious and exceeding great promises; that through these ye may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world by lust.

Thursday, August 24, 2023

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

And Hannah prayed, and said:

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

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

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 110:4 American Standard Version

Jehovah hath sworn, and will not repent:
Thou art a priest for ever
After the order of Melchizedek.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 19:25 American Standard Version

Smite a scoffer, and the simple will learn prudence;
And reprove one that hath understanding, and he will understand knowledge.

Morning Scripture Reading - Hebrews 13:8 American Standard Version

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and to-day, yea and for ever.

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Evening Scripture Reading - John 4:39-42 American Standard Version

And from that city many of the Samaritans believed on him because of the word of the woman, who testified, He told me all things that ever I did. So when the Samaritans came unto him, they besought him to abide with them: and he abode there two days. And many more believed because of his word; and they said to the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy speaking: for we have heard for ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Saviour of the world.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 110:3 American Standard Version

Thy people offer themselves willingly
In the day of thy power, in holy array:
Out of the womb of the morning
Thou hast the dew of thy youth.

Mid-Week Message - Valued by God

"For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life."  John 3:16  (NLT)

In the yearly television special, A Charlie Brown Christmas, Charlie Brown is sent to choose a Christmas tree for the play that the children are to perform in school.  He and Linus go to a tree lot that is filled with all types of large, beautiful trees.  When Charlie Brown sees a small, scraggly twig of a tree that has obviously been passed over by other customers, he decides that it needs a home.  Although warned by his companion that the other children will not be happy, Charlie Brown sees in this little tree something of value and happily presents it to a group of children who immediately express their displeasure.  Not only do they find fault with the tree, but also with Charlie Brown.  Sadly, he carries it away.  When he arrives home, he hangs an ornament on it and the tree promptly falls to the side.  Assuming he has killed it, Charlie hangs his head and leaves.  Led by Linus who wraps his beloved blanket around its base, the other children decorate the little tree and it becomes beautiful.  Linus declares that it wasn't a bad little tree, it just needed a little love.  

Many people go through times in their life when they feel that they are of no value.  This can lead to isolation from others, depression and even suicide.  God created us to be social creatures.  We all want to fit in, to be accepted and to feel that our presence is desired.  A good example of this is when as children we are told to choose teams for a sport.  Two people are chosen as team "captains" and the other children wait to hear which team they are chosen to be on.  As the names are called, inevitably someone is chosen last.  Were you ever that person?  How did it feel?  

When I was a student in college, one of my professors did an experiment using this same scenario.  He chose two people to choose teams.  He did not indicate what activity the teams were for.  As they went through the process of selection, eventually there were two people left unchosen.  I was one of them.  Having experienced this throughout my school years, all the emotions came flooding back and it was all I could do not to run from the room.  In that moment I began questioning why I was not good enough to be chosen and to wonder why I was of no value.  I don't remember what the experiment was for but, even after all these years, I still remember how I felt in that moment.  

Scripture is full of reassurance that we are loved by our heavenly Father beyond measure but, in my opinion, John 3:16 is the best.  Almighty God, who is lacking in nothing, has no need of anything or anyone, chose to create us, then, out of His amazing love, He chose to redeem us by sending His one and only Son to die for our sins to make it possible for us to share eternity in His presence.  These beautiful words include us all.  No one is singled out or excluded.  He does not love some of us more than others or find more value in one than someone else.  

I don't know what you are experiencing today.  I hope that you are doing well and feeling loved and valued by those around you.  If not, I urge to you pick up your Bible and start reading. Start with the book of John where you will encounter today's verse and you will begin to feel like that little tree.  As you read you will feel like a warm blanket is being wrapped around you and you will see the value the Lord finds in you.  People are imperfect in perception, however your Creator knows all the qualities He placed in you for His purposes and knows your thoughts and emotions intimately.  Allow His Word to bathe you in the knowledge that His love for you is complete.  If you are like me, you will be overwhelmed by what you find.  God bless. 

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 19:24 American Standard Version

The sluggard burieth his hand in the dish,
And will not so much as bring it to his mouth again.

Morning Scripture Reading - Romans 4:13-17 American Standard Version

For not through the law was the promise to Abraham or to his seed that he should be heir of the world, but through the righteousness of faith. For if they that are of the law are heirs, faith is made void, and the promise is made of none effect: for the law worketh wrath; but where there is no law, neither is there transgression. For this cause it is of faith, that it may be according to grace; to the end that the promise may be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all (as it is written, A father of many nations have I made thee) before him whom he believed, even God, who giveth life to the dead, and calleth the things that are not, as though they were.

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Evening Scripture Reading - Acts 15:22-29 American Standard Version

Then it seemed good to the apostles and the elders, with the whole church, to choose men out of their company, and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; namely, Judas called Barsabbas, and Silas, chief men among the brethren: and they wrote thus by them, The apostles and the elders, brethren, unto the brethren who are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia, greeting: Forasmuch as we have heard that certain who went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls; to whom we gave no commandment; it seemed good unto us, having come to one accord, to choose out men and send them unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have sent therefore Judas and Silas, who themselves also shall tell you the same things by word of mouth. For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: that ye abstain from things sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication; from which if ye keep yourselves, it shall be well with you. Fare ye well.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 110:2 American Standard Version

Jehovah will send forth the rod of thy strength out of Zion:
Rule thou in the midst of thine enemies.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 19:23 American Standard Version

The fear of Jehovah tendeth to life;
And he that hath it shall abide satisfied;
He shall not be visited with evil.

Morning Scripture Reading - Ephesians 4:11-16 American Standard Version

And he gave some to be apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, unto the work of ministering, unto the building up of the body of Christ: till we all attain unto the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a fullgrown man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: that we may be no longer children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, in craftiness, after the wiles of error; but speaking truth in love, may grow up in all things into him, who is the head, even Christ; from whom all the body fitly framed and knit together through that which every joint supplieth, according to the working in due measure of each several part, maketh the increase of the body unto the building up of itself in love.

Monday, August 21, 2023

Evening Scripture Reading - 1 Timothy 2:1-7 American Standard Version

I exhort therefore, first of all, that supplications, prayers, intercessions, thanksgivings, be made for all men; for kings and all that are in high place; that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and gravity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; who would have all men to be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, one mediator also between God and men, himself man, Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom for all; the testimony to be borne in its own times; whereunto I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I speak the truth, I lie not), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 110:1 American Standard Version

Jehovah saith unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand,
Until I make thine enemies thy footstool.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 19:22 American Standard Version

That which maketh a man to be desired is his kindness;
And a poor man is better than a liar.

Morning Scripture Reading - John 1:29-34 American Standard Version

On the morrow he seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold, the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man who is become before me: for he was before me. And I knew him not; but that he should be made manifest to Israel, for this cause came I baptizing in water. And John bare witness, saying, I have beheld the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven; and it abode upon him. And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize in water, he said unto me, Upon whomsoever thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and abiding upon him, the same is he that baptizeth in the Holy Spirit. And I have seen, and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.

Sunday, August 20, 2023

The Prayer for the Week of August 20th

Great and Awesome God,
As we gather in this digital space, our hearts resonate with the echoes of profound truths. We thank You for unveiling the sanctity within our bodies, reminding us that we are temples of Your presence. In a world that often blurs the lines between honor and temptation, we find strength in Your wisdom.

Grant us the courage to cultivate a culture of honor, just as Emily did. May our lives be a testament to the transformative power of authentic conversations and supportive relationships. Help us stand strong against the pressures of society that seek to normalize what You deem as impurity.

Like Alex, guide us with practical steps to navigate the complexities of our modern age. Let our boundaries be a shield against the currents that pull us away from You. May our mindfulness guide our thoughts, aligning them with Your purposes.

We acknowledge the battle that lies ahead, as Paul advised Timothy. It's a fight that requires endurance and resilience. But we find solace in the heavenly prize that remains ever before us. Help us keep our eyes fixed on that eternal reward, unwavering in our pursuit of honor and purity.

In the symphony of life, let our choices compose melodies that glorify You. With hearts humbled by Your grace, we offer this prayer, asking for the strength to honor You with our bodies, both now and always.

In Your name we pray,

Evening Scripture Reading - Daniel 3:28-29 American Standard Version

Nebuchadnezzar spake and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king’s word, and have yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God. Therefore I make a decree, that every people, nation, and language, which speak anything amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill; because there is no other god that is able to deliver after this sort.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 109:30-31 American Standard Version

I will give great thanks unto Jehovah with my mouth;
Yea, I will praise him among the multitude.
For he will stand at the right hand of the needy,
To save him from them that judge his soul.

Honoring God with Our Bodies

Amidst the bustling rhythms of life, there exists a symphony of choices that shape the narrative of our existence. Choices that echo through time, resonating with consequences beyond what our eyes can perceive. It's within the intricacies of these choices that we find the threads of our identity, woven delicately by the hands of purpose. As we gather here today, drawn by the currents of our digital age, let us embark on a journey that uncovers the hidden harmonies of our decisions. A journey that delves into the profound message held within the verses of a timeless script, reminding us that our bodies are more than mere vessels. They are temples, sacred and adorned with divine purpose. This purpose, veiled within the lines of 1 Corinthians 6:18-20, carries a melody that resonates across cultures and generations, inviting us to explore the synergy between our choices and the sacred sanctity of our earthly dwellings. So, let us navigate the uncharted waters of this revelation, embracing the subtle cadences that call us to honor – honor not just ourselves, but the very essence of the divine that resides within.

We often overlook the profound truth that our bodies are more than vessels – they are temples, vessels sanctified by the presence of the divine. The words of 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 echo through the corridors of time, reminding us that within our very being, an indwelling of the sacred occurs. Imagine, for a moment, the sanctity that envelops ancient temples, where the divine was encountered and revered. In much the same way, our bodies become conduits for a transcendent encounter, a space where the Creator's breath intertwines with our existence. This metaphor, often concealed beneath the fabric of our consciousness, unfurls itself to reveal an awe-inspiring reality: each heartbeat, each breath, resonates with the rhythm of the divine. As stewards of these temples, we embark on a journey of understanding, seeking to align our choices and actions with the reverence such a sacred dwelling demands. The recognition of our bodies as sanctuaries invites us to contemplate the ways in which our thoughts, actions, and interactions reflect the sanctity bestowed upon us. It challenges us to redefine the contours of our decisions, conscious that the sacredness within us extends to the world around us.

As we delve deeper into the symphony of honoring our bodies as temples, a contrasting note emerges – a note that urges us to safeguard the sanctity within. In the same breath that we're called to recognize the divine dwelling within us, we're warned against defiling this sanctity through sexual immorality, as stated in 1 Corinthians 6:18. The transition from viewing our bodies as sacred temples to confronting the reality of sexual temptation might seem abrupt, yet it underscores the delicate tension that exists between the ethereal and the tangible. Just as a revered sanctuary would be preserved from desecration, so too are we urged to protect the sacredness of our bodies from the corrosion of impurity. This transition invites us to confront the multifaceted nature of human experience – the interplay of desires, emotions, and choices that define our journey. It's an acknowledgment that while our bodies are vessels of the divine, they are also entwined with our humanity, susceptible to the currents of temptation. This paradox calls us to gaze inward, to discern the desires that entice us away from the sacred path, and to fortify our resolve to flee from the allure of immorality. As we navigate this intricate dance between the sacred and the earthly, let us delve into the wisdom held within this warning, allowing it to resonate with the very essence of our existence.

Having explored the harmonious balance between the sanctity of our bodies and the caution against sexual immorality, we arrive at a crescendo that beckons us to consider the profound purpose woven into our existence. 1 Corinthians 6:20 resonates as a clarion call, reminding us that our bodies are not just vessels to be guarded; they are instruments of glorification. The intricate interplay between our decisions and the divine narrative is illuminated in this verse, inviting us to reflect on the significance of every choice we make. Our daily interactions, the way we engage with the world, and the manner in which we treat ourselves – all of these aspects are threads that compose the grand tapestry of our lives, a tapestry that, when woven with honor and reverence, reflects the very image of the Creator. This verse bridges the gap between the warnings against defilement and the exhortation to purposefully glorify. It impels us to transform our choices from mundane to meaningful, recognizing that each decision has the potential to either tarnish or amplify the divine symphony residing within us. As we stand at this juncture, poised between the earthly and the eternal, let us seize the power of agency bestowed upon us. Let our actions resound with a resolute commitment to honor the sacredness within, elevating our existence to a higher purpose – one that resonates with the harmonies of heaven itself.

As we navigate the intricacies of honoring God with our bodies, we find ourselves not only on a personal journey but also as catalysts for change within our communities. Just as a ripple expands from a single stone cast into a pond, our commitment to honor radiates outward, shaping the culture we inhabit. Consider the story of Emily, a fictional character whose actions exemplify the power of cultivating a culture of honor. Emily recognized that her choices were not confined to her alone; they held the potential to influence her friends, family, and colleagues. With a heart ablaze with purpose, she engaged in open conversations about the sanctity of the body, encouraging those around her to view their bodies as temples of the divine. Through her vulnerability and authenticity, Emily created a safe space for dialogue, allowing others to share their struggles and victories. This web of connection and accountability fostered an environment where individuals felt supported and empowered to make honorable choices. Emily's story reminds us that honoring God with our bodies isn't just a personal pursuit; it's a communal endeavor that can ignite a transformative movement of reverence and authenticity.

Let's draw inspiration from the journey of Alex, who faced a barrage of cultural pressures but remained steadfast in his commitment to sexual purity. Alex recognized that an essential step was to be proactive in setting healthy boundaries. He diligently curated his media intake, avoiding content that could trigger impure thoughts. He also surrounded himself with a circle of friends who shared his values, fostering an atmosphere of mutual encouragement and accountability. Moreover, Alex harnessed the power of mindfulness, training his mind to redirect thoughts away from temptation and toward honorable pursuits. His journey illustrates that while the currents of society may be strong, the navigation lies within our grasp. With intentional steps and a resolute mindset, we can traverse the landscape of modernity while preserving the sanctity of our bodies.

We've journeyed through the corridors of 1 Corinthians 6:18-20, uncovering the hidden harmonies that guide our path. The sanctity of our bodies, echoing the sacredness of ancient temples, stands in stark contrast to the relentless pressures of society, which often push sexual immorality as the norm. Yet, like Emily, who forged a culture of honor through vulnerability and connection, and Alex, who navigated the labyrinth of modernity with intentional steps, we too can counteract these currents. Society's grip might be strong, but the strength of our conviction and the grace of our Creator are stronger. Stand firm in His grace, as Paul advised Timothy (2 Timothy 4:7-8 New Living Translation), for this journey might be a hard fight, but it's a fight well worth it. As we uphold the sanctity of our bodies, remember that the heavenly prize remains in sight, a beacon that illuminates the path of honor amidst the darkness. Our lives, woven with purpose, compose a melody that resonates through eternity, an anthem of reverence to the One who entrusted us with these sacred vessels. Let us depart from this moment, resolute in our commitment to honor, knowing that the symphony we conduct here echoes in the grand tapestry of the divine narrative.

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

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

Whoso curseth his father or his mother,
His lamp shall be put out in blackness of darkness.
An inheritance may be gotten hastily at the beginning;
But the end thereof shall not be blessed.

Morning Scripture Reading - Romans 3:21-30 American Standard Version

But now apart from the law a righteousness of God hath been manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ unto all them that believe; for there is no distinction; for all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: whom God set forth to be a propitiation, through faith, in his blood, to show his righteousness because of the passing over of the sins done aforetime, in the forbearance of God; for the showing, I say, of his righteousness at this present season: that he might himself be just, and the justifier of him that hath faith in Jesus. Where then is the glorying? It is excluded. By what manner of law? of works? Nay: but by a law of faith. We reckon therefore that a man is justified by faith apart from the works of the law. Or is God the God of Jews only? is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yea, of Gentiles also: if so be that God is one, and he shall justify the circumcision by faith, and the uncircumcision through faith.

Saturday, August 19, 2023

Evening Scripture Reading - Romans 8:14-17 American Standard Version

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For ye received not the spirit of bondage again unto fear; but ye received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit himself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified with him.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 109:26-29 American Standard Version

Help me, O Jehovah my God;
Oh save me according to thy lovingkindness:
That they may know that this is thy hand;
That thou, Jehovah, hast done it.
Let them curse, but bless thou:
When they arise, they shall be put to shame,
But thy servant shall rejoice.
Let mine adversaries be clothed with dishonor,
And let them cover themselves with their own shame as with a robe.

Epistle to the Colossians - Chapter 4

In Colossians chapter 4, the apostle Paul encourages the Colossian believers to continue in prayer and to be watchful and thankful (Colossians 4:2, NLT). He also asks for prayer support in his ministry, that God may open doors for the proclamation of the gospel (Colossians 4:3, NLT). Paul urges the believers to conduct themselves wisely toward outsiders, making the most of every opportunity to share the message of Christ (Colossians 4:5, NLT). He sends greetings from his fellow workers and encourages the Colossians to receive the letter from Laodicea and to exchange greetings with the believers in Laodicea (Colossians 4:7-16, NLT). In this closing chapter, Paul emphasizes the importance of prayer, evangelism, and unity among believers. As we study Colossians chapter 4, may we be diligent in prayer, bold in sharing the gospel, and supportive of fellow believers, standing firm in Christ's love and grace.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 19:18-20 American Standard Version

Chasten thy son, seeing there is hope;
And set not thy heart on his destruction.
A man of great wrath shall bear the penalty;
For if thou deliver him, thou must do it yet again.
Hear counsel, and receive instruction,
That thou mayest be wise in thy latter end.

Morning Scripture Reading - 2 Corinthians 13:1-4 American Standard Version

This is the third time I am coming to you. At the mouth of two witnesses or three shall every word be established. I have said beforehand, and I do say beforehand, as when I was present the second time, so now, being absent, to them that have sinned heretofore, and to all the rest, that, if I come again, I will not spare; seeing that ye seek a proof of Christ that speaketh in me; who to you-ward is not weak, but is powerful in you: for he was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth through the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but we shall live with him through the power of God toward you.

Friday, August 18, 2023

Evening Scripture Reading - Philippians 1:3-8 American Standard Version

I thank my God upon all my remembrance of you, always in every supplication of mine on behalf of you all making my supplication with joy, for your fellowship in furtherance of the gospel from the first day until now; being confident of this very thing, that he who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ: even as it is right for me to be thus minded on behalf of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as, both in my bonds and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers with me of grace. For God is my witness, how I long after you all in the tender mercies of Christ Jesus.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 109:21-25 American Standard Version

But deal thou with me, O Jehovah the Lord, for thy name’s sake:
Because thy lovingkindness is good, deliver thou me;
For I am poor and needy,
And my heart is wounded within me.
I am gone like the shadow when it declineth:
I am tossed up and down as the locust.
My knees are weak through fasting;
And my flesh faileth of fatness.
I am become also a reproach unto them:
When they see me, they shake their head.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 18:15-16 American Standard Version

The heart of the prudent getteth knowledge;
And the ear of the wise seeketh knowledge.
A man’s gift maketh room for him,
And bringeth him before great men.

Morning Scripture Reading - Acts 2:43-47 American Standard Version

And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. And all that believed were together, and had all things common; and they sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all, according as any man had need. And day by day, continuing stedfastly with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread at home, they took their food with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to them day by day those that were saved.

Thursday, August 17, 2023

Evening Scripture Reading - Ruth 2:8-12 American Standard Version

Then said Boaz unto Ruth, Hearest thou not, my daughter? Go not to glean in another field, neither pass from hence, but abide here fast by my maidens. Let thine eyes be on the field that they do reap, and go thou after them: have I not charged the young men that they shall not touch thee? and when thou art athirst, go unto the vessels, and drink of that which the young men have drawn. Then she fell on her face, and bowed herself to the ground, and said unto him, Why have I found favor in thy sight, that thou shouldest take knowledge of me, seeing I am a foreigner? And Boaz answered and said unto her, It hath fully been showed me, all that thou hast done unto thy mother-in-law since the death of thy husband; and how thou hast left thy father and thy mother, and the land of thy nativity, and art come unto a people that thou knewest not heretofore. Jehovah recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of Jehovah, the God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to take refuge.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 109:14-20 American Standard Version

Let the iniquity of his fathers be remembered with Jehovah;
And let not the sin of his mother be blotted out.
Let them be before Jehovah continually,
That he may cut off the memory of them from the earth;
Because he remembered not to show kindness,
But persecuted the poor and needy man,
And the broken in heart, to slay them.
Yea, he loved cursing, and it came unto him;
And he delighted not in blessing, and it was far from him.
He clothed himself also with cursing as with his garment,
And it came into his inward parts like water,
And like oil into his bones.
Let it be unto him as the raiment wherewith he covereth himself,
And for the girdle wherewith he is girded continually.
This is the reward of mine adversaries from Jehovah,
And of them that speak evil against my soul.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 17:16-17 American Standard Version

Wherefore is there a price in the hand of a fool to buy wisdom,
Seeing he hath no understanding?
A friend loveth at all times;
And a brother is born for adversity.

Morning Scripture Reading - John 10:7-10 American Standard Version

Jesus therefore said unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. All that came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door; by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and go out, and shall find pasture. The thief cometh not, but that he may steal, and kill, and destroy: I came that they may have life, and may have it abundantly.

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Evening Scripture Reading - Genesis 3:22-24 American Standard Version

And Jehovah God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil; and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever— therefore Jehovah God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden the Cherubim, and the flame of a sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 109:6-13 American Standard Version

Set thou a wicked man over him;
And let an adversary stand at his right hand.
When he is judged, let him come forth guilty;
And let his prayer be turned into sin.
Let his days be few;
And let another take his office.
Let his children be fatherless,
And his wife a widow.
Let his children be vagabonds, and beg;
And let them seek their bread out of their desolate places.
Let the extortioner catch all that he hath;
And let strangers make spoil of his labor.
Let there be none to extend kindness unto him;
Neither let there be any to have pity on his fatherless children.
Let his posterity be cut off;
In the generation following let their name be blotted out.

Mid-Week Message - For His Glory

"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God."  1 Corinthians 10:31  (NIV) 

There is a lovely song that I have heard children's choirs sing.  It is called "Rise and Shine" and the last verse says, "Rise and shine and give God the glory, glory Children of the Lord."  What a delightful thing to hear coming from the mouths of young ones.  I hope they allow it to dwell in their hearts all the days of their lives.  Its a simple song, but, oh, what an incredible lesson!  

Each week, when I write this message, I hope it is clear, I hope people read it and understand it, I hope there is nothing that can be misconstrued and I hope it touches the heart of anyone who needs for it to.  Mostly, though, my prayer is that the Lord would be glorified.  

I have loved my Savior since the first time I was taken to church by Betty Allen in Amarillo, Texas, sometime in the early 1960's.  Mrs. Allen, a neighbor, had brought a film about the Gospel from her church for our family to view in our home.  It wasn't like today where you can just pop a DVD in a player, or tune to a YouTube channel.  No, she had to bring the reels and a movie projector.  It was cumbersome and took some time, but she believed my family was worth it.  Sometime after that night, she asked if she could take me to church with her and that began my journey with Jesus. 

As I have grown in my relationship with Him over the years, I have become more and more aware of the fact that, indeed, I am a sinner and I need a Savior.  The fact that when He was nailed to that cross it was because of MY sins breaks my heart.  The thought of Him crucified and shedding His precious blood is almost more than I can take.  How could I ever turn away from that kind of love?  

Folks, I am not a preacher.  I have never had the aim of delivering a sermon.  When I write, I write from the heart and I share what I believe I am being led to share, including this time.  I try very hard to make sure that what I write is in line with the Scriptures as I never want to misrepresent God's Word.  I believe that the Bible is God inspired and is true from the beginning to the end.  Basically, as I heard a preacher say once long ago, "If God said it, I believe it, and that settles it."  

The Good News is for everyone.  It doesn't matter what race, nationality, educational level, gender or any other difference between persons.  We are all created in the image of the Almighty and He loved us enough to allow His only Son to die a cruel death upon that cross in punishment for the sins mankind has committed or will commit.  Jesus Christ was laid in a tomb and rose again on the third day, conquering death once and for all for those who repent and believe, and was raised to Heaven where He intercedes for us today.  One day, we do not know when, He will return again and every knee shall bow before Him.  

If I were to die tonight, my hope is that I would be found obedient in sharing His story and that someone, somewhere heard or read what I had to say and turned their face toward Him.   And, I pray, that whenever that moment comes for me, as it will for each of us, that my very last breath would be used to glorify my Father in Heaven.  

May you be overcome by His grace and mercy as you go through this week.  

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 16:22-24 American Standard Version

Understanding is a well-spring of life unto him that hath it;
But the correction of fools is their folly.
The heart of the wise instructeth his mouth,
And addeth learning to his lips.
Pleasant words are as a honeycomb,
Sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.

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

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

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Evening Scripture Reading - Job 42:1-6 American Standard Version

Then Job answered Jehovah, and said,

I know that thou canst do all things,
And that no purpose of thine can be restrained.
Who is this that hideth counsel without knowledge?
Therefore have I uttered that which I understood not,
Things too wonderful for me, which I knew not.
Hear, I beseech thee, and I will speak;
I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me.
I had heard of thee by the hearing of the ear;
But now mine eye seeth thee:
Wherefore I abhor myself,
And repent in dust and ashes.

Psalms Scripture Reading - Psalm 109:1-5 American Standard Version

Hold not thy peace, O God of my praise;
For the mouth of the wicked and the mouth of deceit have they opened against me:
They have spoken unto me with a lying tongue.
They have compassed me about also with words of hatred,
And fought against me without a cause.
For my love they are my adversaries:
But I give myself unto prayer.
And they have rewarded me evil for good,
And hatred for my love.

Proverbs Scripture Reading - Proverbs 14:22-24 American Standard Version

Do they not err that devise evil?
But mercy and truth shall be to them that devise good.
In all labor there is profit;
But the talk of the lips tendeth only to penury.
The crown of the wise is their riches;
But the folly of fools is only folly.

Morning 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.