Devotionals for 2017
Letter from our Pastor (Scroll down or click here to read devotionals)
Dear Church Family,
I hope you will journey with me and with other members of our church family as we study “This We Believe.” With a devotional each day that will be followed up with a sermon on that subject the following Sunday, our hope is that we will build some clarity and conviction about our beliefs. So, make the commitment to get up each morning and read that day’s devotion and scripture text with an eager desire to learn. Ponder on that scripture and principle throughout the day. And then come together with your brothers and sisters every Sunday to learn, celebrate, be challenged, and to commit to do what God shows you. What a great year lies ahead!
I deeply love you, Church Family!
Click on the date of the devotional to read.
You can scroll through individual entries or use the quick links above.
January 1st, 2017
Pastor Brian Stowe
The Sufficiency of Scripture
I am always amazed at what I learn when I read Psalm 119! In the longest psalm (and the longest chapter) in scripture, David pens some incredible words about the Word of God. His creativity in using every letter of the Hebrew alphabet to describe the Word of God is amazing!
In the middle of that psalm, David declared, “Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven.” Think about that powerful sentence. What is settled in heaven? The Word of the Lord. How long is God’s Word settled in heaven? Forever! Throughout our history, every generation has sought to bring some sort of challenge to the Word of God. But without fail, every challenger has gone down in defeat. That should not surprise us, because we are repeatedly taught that the Word of God is sufficient for every person in every place in the world in every situation.
Isaiah also said it well when he declared (Isaiah 40:8), “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.” Forever is a long time. What David understood in his day about the Word of God is just as true today. What Isaiah knew about the Word of God in his day is just as true today. Paul knew the Word of God is profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction and Instruction in righteousness; all of those are still true today!
Thank God for His Word! It IS sufficient!
What dilemma are you facing? Go to the Word of God for direction and encouragement. What question do you have? Go to the Word of God for the answer. Do you need hope in your present circumstance? Go to the Word of God and receive that hope from the Hope-giver!
Father, thank you so much for your Word! Thank you that I can find help, hope, strength, encouragement and direction for all I may ever face. Help me be eager to learn as I read Your Word. Help me be eager to share Your Word with those I encounter. I love You!
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January 2nd, 2017
Pastor Bill Bender
1 Peter 1:13-2:12
When I was a young child, my mom took my cousin and me to the house of Ruth Kaline. Ruth was the mother to Hall of Famer Al Kaline of the Detroit Tigers. We went there to have baseballs signed, talk to Al, and see his many trophies. One of his trophies was set apart from the rest. It was his Babe Ruth trophy. That one he cherished most of all.
Today we are focusing on the Holiness of God. Holiness means to be separate from this world. When we are saved, Jesus just doesn’t leave us how He found us. He makes us into a brand new creation and then helps us to grow in Him. Part of that growth is to become holy. This world is filled with sin and wants to drag us down with it. We need to keep our eyes on Jesus, our perfect example. Remember that God has a plan for our lives and wants us to be different from the rest of the world.
Ask the Lord to help you see through the lens of the “spirit” and not of the “flesh.” Pray in the morning for Him to replace your weakness with His all-surpassing strength to live a life of Holiness before a God that is Holy.
Father, I know it can be challenging to live a life of separateness in this world we live in. Much like Al Kaline’s favorite trophy, we know that you view mankind in much of the same way. We are your children and your chosen vessels. Help us to live worthy of your call to Holiness each and every day. In Jesus’ Name – Amen
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January 3rd, 2017
Pastor Tommy Warnock
1 John 4:8
So, what does it mean that God is love? Love is core to God’s character. Everything God does is loving, just as everything He does is just. God, through the Spirit, gives those who know Him the ability to love as He does. Galatians 5:22
Paul wrote in Romans 5, “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:6 & 8
It is important to note:
- God is Holy
- Sin alienates us from God. Romans 3:23
- The consequences of separation from God is death. Romans 6:23
- But because God Loves Us, He provided what nothing else could, love and hope.
"This is how God showed his love: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins." 1 John 4:9-10
“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.” Ephesians 2:4-5
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16
- Is your love reflective of God’s love? (freely given and unconditional)
- Does your life tangibly evidence thankfulness for God’s love?
- “But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” 1 John 4:8
- Is your life evidenced by love?
Dear God, I am because you are. Thank you for your sacrifice for me and for your love. I desire to reflect you to all I encounter. Help me to walk with you daily, become Christ-like, and love as you love me.
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January 4th, 2017
Pastor Steve Morris
Because our God is Holy, He is separated from sin and evil, and cannot be tempted or influenced to sin. Though we were created in His image, we, are not holy and immune to temptation and sin. Adam and Eve, Cain, and even Lucifer were created beings who early-on fell into sin and earned the judgment of God. Like these, we have likewise sinned and incurred the judgment of God.
Even though God may sometimes delay His judgment, He does not fail to notice everything, and He never forgets anything. Because God is just, He cannot fail to punish sin, no matter how much He loves us. If God could somehow relent and not punish sin, He would no longer be a just God. The Apostle Paul warned the believers of Galatia, “Don’t be deceived: God is not mocked. For whatever a man sows he will also reap.” Scripture describes numerous consequences for sin, but the ultimate penalty is death and eternal separation from God. We deserve death and there is nothing that WE can do to change that.
Because God loves us, however, there is hope. He loved us enough to provide a substitute to bear the penalty for our sin. Jesus Christ was God’s one and only plan to reconcile sinful humans to himself. If we trust in Jesus as our Lord and Savior, He is faithful and just to forgive us of all unrighteousness. Without Him, says the Bible, we are already condemned.
We like the parts of the Bible that speak of God’s love, grace, and mercy, but we tend to avoid the more challenging teachings of scripture that cause us discomfort, or threaten our preferred version of “Who God is.” Without any doubt, God is just, and He holds each of us accountable for our own actions.
Lord God of truth and justice, we are guilty in your sight, and rely on your mercy and grace. We understand that mercy and grace come only through Jesus because He gave His life in payment for our sins. Lord, give us courage to share this with our unsaved friends or family members.
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January 5th, 2017
I wonder if we are as sensitive and aware of God’s great grace and mercy as we should be. Other than our great salvation, we experience His grace and mercy on a daily basis, but I believe we don’t readily give credit where credit is due. By the definition of grace, the blessings we receive but don’t deserve, we are more apt to recognize those. Because of mercy, which is not getting what you deserve, we may less likely to notice or be thankful for God’s grace. There may be consequences we don’t experience because of His great loving-kindness, His compassion, and His tenderness. Often, we are unaware of God’s blessings in our lives. Have you ever contemplated what mercy He has shown you at the end of the day? How has He shown His compassion to you today, this week, this month? What about His tenderness? His loving-kindness? Contemplating and being thankful should cause us to be ever so humbly grateful.
Thinking back to the parable of the unmerciful servant who was forgiven a great debt, but was not willing to offer the same to his fellow servant; we need to examine ourselves to see if we are acting the same way toward others around us. The older I become, the more I realize that we all need and want more grace and mercy from others, but what we want so desperately from others we find difficult to give to others.
Lord, God of mercy, I ask you to help me be more aware and grateful of Your great mercy and grace toward me. As I am more aware of Your great gifts, may I be more willing to extend the same towards those around me today.
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January 6th, 2017
Andrew and Lauren McNair
Understanding: The word omnipotent comes from omni- meaning “all” and potent- meaning “powerful.” It is another word believers use to describe the character of God with an attitude of praise and worship. “For the Lord God omnipotent reigneth, hallelujah….” But like many words we use to describe the very essence of who God is, it is not uncommon to avoid seeking the biblical context that gives us evidence of his due titles.
So where exactly do we see God’s omnipotence in His Word? I am convinced it starts at the Creation story where God spoke everything into existence. There really is no one like Him on the power scale. He trumps all, and so does His son. Imagine for a second what God’s net worth is. Could you even quantify? Since the beginning of the time-space continuum we humans, temporary residents of planet earth, have gone to great lengths to quantify things. Perhaps our numerical system simply does not suffice in measuring his omnipotence.
Science attempts to explain things in five domains: time, force, energy, space and matter .Genesis 1:1 did this long before the first scientist was born. In the beginning (time) God (force) created (energy) the Heavens (space) and the Earth (matter).
Lord, You are in fact omnipotent. Would you help me this day to just have a glimpse of your omnipotence and be faithful to submit every part of my life to Your power? I look forward to seeing Your will accomplished.
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January 7th, 2017
When we talk about God being omniscient, what we are really saying is that He knows all things. We rarely realize, however, just how much “all things” encompasses. Psalm 139 describes a God who is intimately aware of our personal lives. He knows each action, each word, each thought, and each desire of our hearts. For most of us, we are content to understand only this aspect of God’s omniscience. We take comfort in the fact that He loves us and knows us more deeply than we could ever know ourselves. While this is certainly an awe-inspiring quality of God, we must not settle for this limited understanding of His omniscience.
As Psalm 139 continues (verses 17-18), David acknowledges the vast number of God’s thoughts. He compares them to the grains of sand; uncountable and incomprehensible. In his book, The Knowledge of the Holy, A.W. Tozer describes the depth of God’s knowledge by saying, “God knows…all thoughts, all mysteries, all enigmas, all feelings, all desires, every unuttered secret, all thrones and dominions, all personalities, all things visible and invisible in heaven and in earth….” What an amazing God we serve! God not only knows about the individual lives of His children, but He also knows all things past, present, and future. His thoughts so far transcend ours that what we see as a slow progression of time, He sees as a small part of His eternal plan. We could never truly grasp the riches of His knowledge!
When we truly understand the omniscience of God our first response should be worship. We serve a God whose knowledge and understanding is perfect, unlimited, and beyond our comprehension. We should also be encouraged by the fact that God knows us in such a way that He sees and understands our struggles, our joys, and our needs long before we ever experience them. Our God knows us in every way and still loves us and chooses to use us to accomplish His purposes!
God, thank you for being a God who is above my understanding. You know all the secrets of the entire world, yet you still know and care about me. You know me better than I can ever know myself. Thank you for the confidence we can have, knowing that you ordain every step of our lives. Help me trust in you for all things.
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January 8th, 2017
Psalm 139: 7-10
In the busyness of your life, have you ever said, “I need to be in two places at one time!” Of course, this is impossible for us, but totally possible for God. Our Holy God is omnipresent, meaning “present everywhere at the same time.” While simple to define, the omnipresence of God is impossible for us to fully comprehend; there is nothing in the human realm which comes close to the complexity of this attribute. A more in-depth look at the definition reveals the enormity of God’s omnipresence means that all of God is in all places at all times with absolutely no limitations of time and space. Too often people think that God is on His throne in Heaven and His power is seen here on earth. This, however, is an incorrect assumption. God is on His throne, but His entire being is also everywhere on earth at the same time! You may ask, “If God is everywhere, why don’t I always feel His presence?” God’s omnipresence is not measured by our sensitivity to Him, nor is it diminished when we feel far away from Him. God chooses how and when to manifest His presence; it is through our relationship with Him that we are made aware of His presence. Another false assumption is that God is simply present in His creation. This reduces His presence to an impersonal one, which is certainly not the case. He desires a personal relationship with us and is deeply involved in our lives. God is omnipresent and is active in our lives and in our world today. Tony Evans explains, “He’s always wherever he needs to be to do whatever needs to be done.”
These verses in Psalms give us both comfort and a warning. The psalmist points out that we cannot hide from God, therefore every action and every word are immediately noticed by Him. We find great comfort in knowing that no catastrophe can separate us from God’s presence.
Lord, we are so thankful for Your constant presence in our lives and in our world. It is such a blessing to know that You are truly right here with us, guiding us and loving us always. Make us more aware of Your presence as we follow You.
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January 9th, 2017
Pastor John Foxx
Son of God
The first evidence not only of the specific existence of God’s Son, but also of our need to put our faith in Him, is found Psalm 2:7-12; verse 12 says: “Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and ye perish from the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in Him.” In Proverbs 30:4 we read, “…Who hath established all the ends of the earth? What is His name, and what is His Son’s name…?” In the New Testament we learn that the Son of God is God (John 1:1); Creator (Col 1:16); omniscient (Rev 2:23); omnipotent (Phil 3:21); omnipresent (Matt 28:20); eternal (Col 1:17); co-equal to the Father (John 10:30); shares the Father’s glory (John 17:5); shares the Father’s praise (Rev 5:13). In Hebrews 1:8, the Father calls Him God and attributes the throne and kingdom to Him: “But unto the Son He saith, ‘Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever: a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Thy kingdom.’ ” The Father’s desire was to save us, and the Son was the willing sacrifice. In Hebrews 10:5-7, before the Son’s incarnation, we read what He said to the Father: “Therefore, when He came into the world, He said: ‘Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, but You have prepared a body for Me…then I said, ‘Behold, I have come – in the volume of the book it is written of Me – to do Your will, O God.’’” God’s will was to save us. Jesus became the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Why? “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
Jesus Christ died for us; may we live for Him. What are some ways we can honor our Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit? Love Him; love others, edify the church; keep His word; evangelize; make disciples; and pray.
O Heavenly Father, the fact that You would send Your Son to die for me helps me understand the magnitude of Your love and the gravity of my sin. Your love has set me free. Let me love You, praise You, obey You, and tell others of Your unfailing love, demonstrated through the sacrifice of Your Son, my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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January 10th, 2017
Pastor John Foxx
Son of Man
The people were confused, because Jesus constantly referred to Himself as the “Son of Man”; so one day, as we read in John 12:34, they asked Him, “Who is this Son of Man?” Jesus had already given them the answer in John 5:26-27, saying, “As the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself, and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man.” The Son of God is the Son of Man! Why? To die. Hebrews 2:14 explains, “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.” God, in His original state of glory, cannot die, but by the will of the Father (John 6:38-39), through the power of the Holy Spirit (Matt 1:18, 20), the Son of God would become the Son of Man! John 1:14 says, “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” In Philippians 2:6-11 we read of the Son of God becoming the Son of Man – His incarnation. He went from the highest high (His Divinity) to the lowest low (His humanity), so that He could die for His creation, redeeming us – paying our ransom – through His blood (Eph 1:7). How do you become one of the many? By faith. Let us always remember the heights of His Holiness, the depths of our depravity, and the goodness of His grace.
Do you understand the sacrifice God made for you? Jesus Christ, God the son, poured Himself out, and became man. Why? To die for you. He died to give you life. How can we honor Him? Live for Him! He sacrificed all; can you sacrifice your life for Him? Can you be a living sacrifice honoring God with your life? Do everything for His glory!
Father God, my faith, my hope, my love, and my gratefulness are in Your Son Jesus Christ – the Son of God who became the Son of Man for me. Thank You, for loving me that much. My life is Yours. Do with me as You please. Let me serve others, just as Jesus served. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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January 11th, 2017
When my first child was born, staying in the hospital seemed like a great idea. I had no clue what I was doing, and I was in a place with experts. They could answer my questions, help me with my newborn, and they even brought me food! The real world scared me. I didn’t know what I was doing.
Two days later, I said goodbye to my fantastic nurses because you can’t stay in the sterile environment of the hospital forever. I didn’t have all the answers, but I had a baby. And we left.
Jesus was never meant to stay in the manger. So often at Christmas, we go to church, hear about baby Jesus, and He stays in the manger.
The real challenge is taking the message outside the walls. Without the birth of Jesus to a virgin, in Bethlehem, with lineage from the tribe of Judah, we don’t get to Easter and salvation.
In Luke 2:17-18, the Shepherds made “widely known” what they had had witnessed. They left the safety of the fields to tell people. They didn’t have all the answers, but they still went and told. May we be so bold.
Lord, help us to leave the safety of the church and tell people. Make us bold witnesses who share about Your birth, life, death, and resurrection. Your story was foretold many years ago, and we are grateful. For without Your birth, we would still be dead in our sins. Thank you for coming in the likeness of man and humbling yourself to the point of death on a cross. Amen
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January 12th, 2017
Pastor Steve Morris
His Sinless Life
2 Corinthians 5:21
All of scripture hinges on the factual nature of the sinless Jesus. Early in Old Testament history, the Jews were required to offer sacrifices of unspotted animals to God because of their disobedience to Him. These sacrifices were only temporary, offered in obedience to God’s commands, but only a foreshadowing of what was to come. Ultimately, in God’s good time, those sacrifices would no longer be required because a permanent solution would be offered.
The only way we could be reconciled to a Holy and perfect God was for a Holy and perfect sacrifice to be made on our behalf. That sacrifice was Jesus, who would not have been perfect if He had sinned. The Apostle Paul told us “But now He has reconciled you by His physical body through His death, to present you holy, faultless, and blameless before Him.” (Colossians 1:22)
Remarkable! Christ made it possible for God to view us as blameless. Elsewhere in scripture we are referred to as a “holy priesthood,” “sons and daughters of God,” “more than conquerors,” “God’s handiwork,” “co-heirs with Christ,” “the light of the world.” Do you feel comfortable thinking of yourself in those terms? Through a personal relationship with Jesus we are empowered to become all of these.
If you were offered a free cancellation of a great debt, your mortgage perhaps, would you be interested? Of course you would, if all you had to do was accept it. There is one debt greater than any other, and that is the debt for our sin. Jesus was the only one qualified to pay our sin debt. He has done all that is required, all that is necessary for us is to accept Him as Lord.
Dear Jesus, you have done for me what I could never do for myself. You have paid the price for my sins once and for all. You love me far more than I can understand, and far more than I deserve. I thankfully accept your sacrifice on my behalf, and I will seek to follow you in obedience from this day forward.
January 13th, 2017
With these simple words, Jesus began his earthly ministry. Yet, while simple, the weight of Jesus’ message is too much for any one person to bear alone (John 16:12). The magnitude of His message is enormous! Jesus proclaimed that the promised Messiah was at hand and he himself was in fact the Messiah (Luke 24:27). He taught about the High Priest who not only would offer a sacrifice to God on behalf of his people to atone for sin, but also that he would be the sacrificial lamb that would take away the sin of the world (Mark 14:22-25; John 1:29; Hebrews 9:26; 1 Timothy 2:5). He explained that he was given and possessed all the authority to be King and rule over God’s Kingdom (Matt. 28:18; John 18:36). With these simple words, Jesus brought an end to the waiting for God’s promises to be fulfilled. God’s rule and reign over His people was near. Jesus’ words brought salvation!
Jesus’ message was that of Good News! For those that repent and believe, they are no longer separated from God the Father due to sin. Rather, through Jesus, they are adopted into God’s family and will enjoy eternity with Him (Romans 8:12-17)! This Good News that Jesus proclaimed is for all people in all nations (Matt. 24:14). As followers of Jesus, we enjoy the privilege of sharing Jesus’ message and making more disciples of Jesus in all nations (Matt. 28:19). Let’s boldly proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ!
Heavenly Father, thank you for King Jesus! Thank you for Jesus’ words, life, death, and resurrection! You are faithful to fulfill Your promises and to make Yourself known. Please provide us the opportunities to share this glorious Good News of salvation with those that desperately need to hear!
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January 14th, 2017
Pastor Daniel Helms
2 Corinthians 5:21
John Stott wisely said, “If the cross is not central to our religion, ours is not the religion of Jesus.” For two thousand years people have wondered why Jesus had to die. It is simple; Jesus died because people need a substitute for their sin. The Scriptures teach that every single person is a sinner (Rom. 3:23). Most everyone would agree that nobody is perfect, we all make mistakes. Additionally, the Bible teaches that every person who sins will surely die (Rom 6:23). This is devastating news.
Fortunately, the Bible not only has bad news but glorious good news. Jesus died as a substitute for sinners across the globe and across time. This means Jesus, who was sinless in every way, died the death that imperfect people deserved. On the cross Jesus endured the full wrath of the Father. He did this so that anyone who would believe in Him could be forgiven of their sins and be reconciled to God. John Stott summarizes this beautiful truth, “As we face the cross, then, we can say to ourselves both, ‘I did it, my sins sent him there,’ and ‘He did it, his love took him there.’”
The death of Jesus is a reminder to the Christian that salvation is always about the purifying blood of Jesus and never about man’s ability to be righteous enough.
1. The substitutionary death of Jesus ought to lead the believer to be humble. Why?
2. Do you display humility when you talk about your good works?
3. In what areas of your life do you struggle with resting in your own ability to do good rather than relying on the blood of Jesus which drives your good works?
Please take a few minutes in personal worship and thank the Lord for the substitutionary death of Jesus.
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January 15th, 2017
1 Corinthians 15:14-20
The resurrection of Christ is not an important component to Christianity. It IS Christianity. Without the resurrection of Christ, all other aspects of our faith are futile. If Jesus lived a sinless life, died, and remained in the grave, we would be hopeless nomads who were wandering around following a dead man - no different than any other religion in the world.
But as Paul shares in 1 Corinthians 15, our faith is not useless because, in fact, Christ DID rise from the dead. Our God, who created the Heavens and the Earth, who knit us together in our mother’s womb and who calls us by name, has the power to literally raise Christ from the dead. And if Christ was raised, then we can know that we do not hope in vain, because we can be raised, as well - through faith in Christ our Savior.
And as if the promise of eternal resurrection wasn’t enough, God promises us that if we are followers of Christ, the exact same power that raised Him from the dead lives in us! We have the power that will not only bring about our eternal resurrection but allows us to face the present life. No matter what we are facing today - test results, screaming children, a silent spouse, job uncertainties, unpaid bills, lost loved ones, physical pain, loneliness and more - we can face them with the same power that raised Jesus from the dead. All we have to do is call upon the holy and resurrected name of Christ Jesus.
Lord Jesus, thank you that we serve a living God. Not only did you live a sinless life, shed your blood on the cross for me, but you rose from the grave and live forevermore. Thank you for the promise of eternal life and until that day, may the power of your Holy Spirit be at work in my life for my good and your glory. In your holy and precious name. Amen.
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January 16th, 2017
Pastor Ricky Lindsey
God The Holy Spirit
Who is the Holy Spirit, and why did God send Him? The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity, making Him co-equal with God. Wow! Be delighted, the Holy Spirit is God. That means the Holy Spirit has a will, intellect, and emotions. If your mind is melting, think about it like this; the Holy Spirit is a guide for Christians during this lifetime. The Holy Spirit enables you to know Jesus Christ, helps you to understand the Scriptures, guides you in decision making, and convicts you of sin. I would venture to say that this sometimes confusing person of the Trinity is quite worthy of studying deeper and trusting in more.
Here is a challenge for you today. Decide that decisions that need to be made today, will only be made through the guidance of the Holy Spirit. This means you need to crack open the Scriptures and read what it says about your particular decision, then seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit before you say yes or no. Hey, while you are at it, since the Holy Spirit already knows every sinful area of your life, why not ask the Holy Spirit to expose those areas of your life so that today you can properly honor the Lord. This is shaping up to be a great God filled – Spirit led day!
Today hundreds of students from all over our community will be participating in a dodgeball tournament. Many will hear the Gospel for the very first time. Pray that some will respond to the Gospel and experience the power of the Holy Spirit within!
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January 17th, 2017
When I was a kid, my dad would take my brother and I coon hunt'n, and I loved to go ! The dogs howling and us hollering things like "tree em... stay with em!" as we walked as fast as we could across a pasture right into a bay head of briers and neck deep black water! Forget that it was 40 degrees and we were wading through a swamp at 1 am. Those dogs were on a coon and we were going to that tree no matter what. But... when the excitement was over and the cold set in, woo wee, fun over! Miserable, freezing, lost dogs, '48 Willy's jeep with no doors and an hour ride home. I'd swear off coon hunt'n - at least til the next weekend when dad asked if I was ready to go again! The best memory of the night though, was coming home. We would open that door and mom would have the heat on and our beds ready for us. We'd strip down at the door, skin cold as ice water, and hit those warm beds and fluffed pillows, and rest - just pure peaceful, satisfying rest! I can still to this day remember how sweet it felt to be so comfortable after so much misery! Have you ever known despair? Misery? No, not the kind where you're cold because you didn't listen to your mom who told you to wear warmer clothes. But you did listen to your dad who told you to wade neck deep through a swamp! I mean, have you ever come to the end of yourself, a realization that you are not in control, that you are not the master of your fate?
Your Heavenly Father is the giver of every good and perfect gift. The conduit by which He imparts these gifts to you is His indwelling Holy Spirit. The "peace that passes all understanding" and the “grace that is sufficient” help you when your wife is diagnosed with cancer, when your dad dies, your spouse has Alzheimers, or your marriage is crumbling - are incredible gifts and blessings of our Comforter. He is with you at all times, and available to you at all times, if you will but rest in Him. The bed is made, the pillow is fluffed, but you must decide to rest in Him.
Dear Father, thank you for your Spirit living within us. Help us rest in you, trust you, and allow You to receive glory through us in whatever way you see fit. I love you, and I ask these things in the name of Jesus. Amen.
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January 18th, 2017
The Holy Spirit, coequal with God the Father and God the Son, was sent by the Father to live with (and in) us forever (John 14:16-17). He is called to be our helper, to lead us to a deeper knowledge of the truth, by teaching and reminding us everything Jesus has said to us. He bears witness of Jesus Christ.. The Holy Spirit teaches everything that is true. He teaches us to abide in Christ so that we may be confident, not ashamed, in His presence (1 John 2:27-28).
“Jesus said, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples” (John 8:31).Paul instructs, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly ...” (Colossians 3:16).We are taught to let God’s Word abide in us. Abiding is remaining, continuing to be present. God’s Word, all that Jesus said, should remain in us, continually! “I have stored up your Word in my heart, that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11).
God’s Word, a vital part of the “Armor of God,” enables us to stand against the schemes of the devil. The sword of the Spirit is the rhema of God: His Word made personal to each one of us (Ephesians 6:17).
If the Holy Spirit is to teach and remind us of everything Jesus said, then we must be diligent to know what that is. How? Get in God’s Word. Read and memorize Scripture. As we do, the Holy Spirit opens our eyes and hearts to truth.
Heavenly Father, thank You for sending the Holy Spirit to live in me continually. Help me to abide in Your Word and “store it up in my heart” so Your Spirit can teach me Your truths and remind me of everything Jesus has said. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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January 19th, 2017
Martha Sue Skinner
Isaiah’s name, Yesha’yahu, means “Jehovah saves” or “Salvation of Jehovah.” In the most turbulent time for Israel, Isaiah speaks God’s covenant promise to His people, which is just as relevant today. No other prophet offers more prophecies regarding the coming Messiah, revealing Christ as the redeemer and comforter of His people.
God’s message brings blessings in the hard, dry times of our life. God’s desire is for His own to turn to Him in a real way. As we open our heart and mind, removing the scales from our eyes, we receive His divine cleansing power. This allows us to enter into His presence. Our resting in Him will bring us blessings and a renewed avenue of service by his leading. As Isaiah prophesied in 58:11, we shall conquer, flourish and produce fruit, through the Holy Spirit. “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.” Ezekiel 36:26-27.
You might question, as I have in the past: “How can this come to be?” God revealed His answer to me during the dawn of mornings, as I sat daily in my listening chair, waiting and believing for His direction and guidance for me in the approaching day. “… The just shall walk by faith.” Romans 1:17. You have all access into His grace and can rejoice in hope of the glory of God. See Romans 5:2. A heart to heart encounter with the Lord of Lords gives a new perspective. He is always with you and me, lovingly keeping us on the path of His light. We are refreshed daily in His divine power and ready to bring glory to Him. We are in His arms. He is Our Guide!
“My Father, May I and my brothers and sisters in the Lord, keep a clean heart and value others above ourselves. May we put your love in action, serving each other, enabling us to be kept strong in our faith, and realizing it is your spirit flowing through us as a channel to others. Thank you, Lord for your love and cleansing power. Use us. In your name, Amen.”
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January 20th, 2017
Pastor Tommy Warnock, Jr.
2 Corinthians 5:5; 1:22
The Holy Spirit is God’s seal, His claim on us as His own. The word “earnest” here means “a pledge” that is a guarantee given in advance as security for the rest that is to come. The gift of the Spirit to believers is a down payment on our heavenly inheritance, which Christ has promised us.
No one can break the seal of God.
The Holy Spirit is a gift, just as grace and salvation are gifts, and His presence assures us that our full inheritance will be delivered. Through the gift of the Spirit, God imparts those things, which are evidence that we are accepted by God, that we are His adopted, that our hope is real, and that our redemption is sure in the same way that a seal guarantees an agreement. The proof of the Spirit’s presence is how we demonstrate repentance, the fruit of the Spirit, obedience, and a love for His Word, prayer, praise, and His people. These things are the evidences that the Holy Spirit is in us, is changing our hearts and that we are sealed. Because we have the seal of the Spirit in our hearts, we can live confidently and joyfully in Christ both now and in our hope of forever.
So ask yourself:
- Does my life in Christ reflect the proof of His Spirit is being in me?
- Am I living with the confidence and joy of knowing God’s seal?
Dear Lord, I trust your word and thank you for your guarantee in the Holy Spirit. Help me to live in your promise, confident and joyful, and to demonstrate this truth in my life. I want to love what you love and become more like Christ every day.
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January 21st, 2017
Cooperation with the Holy Spirit
As believers, we receive the indwelling of the Holy Spirit at the point of salvation. When we place our faith and trust in Jesus Christ, our joy and peace level is at its highest. As life happens day by day, Satan attacks and attempts to steal that joy and peace through people, things and circumstances.
Since I trusted in Jesus as my personal Savior over forty-five years ago, I have experienced various times during which I allowed the enemy to steal from me. One such time was almost twelve years ago when I received the news that I had breast cancer. Following the diagnosis, as I was waiting alone in an exam room, fear and anxiety began to fill my heart. During that time of quietness, I started to pray and the words of a little chorus came to my mind and heart, “I’ve Got Peace Like a River.” As I began to sing and allow the Holy Spirit to fill me, my joy and peace level began to rise and the fear dissipated.
As soon as we sense a void and unrest in our life, we must immediately allow our mind and heart to return to that original trust in the everlasting rock, Jesus Christ. Practicing the discipline of cooperating with the Holy Spirit in every small detail of our daily life will make it easier when the larger, tough things come.
Lord, forgive me for not allowing you complete access into my life each day. Help me to be still and know that you are God, and to stop trying to control my life. Help me to spend time each day in prayer and in Your Word thereby allowing Your Spirit to guide me and fill me with all joy and peace. Amen.
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January 22nd, 2017
Paul points out in verse six that all who know Christ as their Savior have been given spiritual gifts. It ‘s also clear in this passage that the use of these gifts isn’t optional but expected. Paul does not say, “if you feel like using them.” Instead he says, “let us use them.” Christ has given us all different gifts and different functions in the church. However, that does not mean that He expects us to go at it alone. He desires for us to use our spiritual gifts to work alongside others in the church (as one body in Christ) to help build His kingdom. Not only are we acting in obedience when we utilize our gifts from the Lord, we also receive joy from doing so. When we put our gifts to use, whether it be with the local body of believers or with our neighbors, we are giving a visible and tangible display of God's love. Just think of the joy you would receive if the Lord used your gifts to encourage believers in their walk, or to bring an unbeliever to salvation. Ultimately the goal of serving is not about us; it is about bringing honor and glory to God.
If you’re unsure what your gifts are, take a spiritual gifts assessment and pray for discernment. If you’ve never used your gifts, be obedient by finding a way to serve.
Father, help me to recognize and develop my spiritual gifts and to use them for your glory.
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January 23rd, 2017
Why not choose Jesus? Isaiah 53:5, is a great verse that reminds us of the seriousness of sin, the price that was paid, and the restoration of the relationship between God and man.
We know that “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” but sometimes we forget the punishment that comes with sin: death. The words “pierced” and “crushed” vividly show us the severity of the suffering that Jesus took because of our sins. Sin is not something to be taken lightly. It separates us from a holy God and put us on a path of destruction. Nothing we do can make us righteous before God. That’s where our need for Jesus comes in.
Jesus, although he was fully human, was fully God and lived a sinless life. Only by his sacrifice, his blood, could the wrath of God be satisfied, and it was. The second half of the verse says that the “chastisement” (the punishment) that was placed upon him brought us peace – that is a restored relationship between God and man. And it’s because of Jesus’ sacrifice in our place that we are healed.
It was for our sins, and in our place that Jesus suffered, was put to shame, and became spiritually separated. But in that once and for all sacrifice, we now have salvation through Jesus, and Jesus alone! We are redeemed by His blood and have a new life with His Spirit living inside us. What more could we ask for?
- What transgressions (sins) are you not letting go of? Jesus already knows them. He just wants you to lay them at His feet.
- Do you know Jesus on a personal level? If not, what’s stopping you?
- If you do, what is stopping you from sharing His goodness with others?
Dear Lord, thank you for paying the ultimate sacrifice for me, enduring the pain I laid upon you so that I could be reconciled to the Father. Today I lay my transgressions at your feet. Forgive me for my sins and help me to turn from them to you. Amen.
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January 24th, 2017
1 John 1:8-9
Forgiveness is an integral part of salvation. When Jesus forgives us, our sins, trespasses, iniquities, and transgressions are erased, wiped off the record.
Sin alienates us from God. Adam and Eve’s sin separated them from God. Genesis 3:8(NKJV) tells us: “And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.” They could no longer bear to be in His presence, so they sought to avoid Him. Our sins separate us from God so that He will not hear us. Isaiah 59:2 states: “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear.” Because God is holy, he cannot ignore, excuse, or tolerate sin as though it doesn't matter. Sin cuts people off from Him, forming a wall to isolate God from the people He loves. Those who die with their lives of sin unforgiven separate themselves eternally from God. God wants us to live with Him forever, but He cannot take us into His Holy presence unless our sin is removed.
Forgiveness restores our relationship with God. Forgiveness of sin is comparable to financial debt being erased. When Jesus said, “It is finished,”from the cross (John 19:30), He was literally saying, “It is paid in full”. Jesus took the punishment we deserved so, when God forgives us of our sins, we are free. We no longer live under that debt. Our sins are wiped out. God will never hold that sin against us. “As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:12).
Heavenly Father, I come to You pleading for Your forgiveness, and repent of the many sins that I have committed against You. I kneel before You with a broken and contrite heart, and I have come to confess that Jesus Christ is my Lord, my Savior and Redeemer. Father, forgive me and cleanse my heart. Thank you for sending Jesus as payment for my sins. Thank You for Your promise that ALL who believe on Him will receive the free gift of eternal life. Thank You for Your grace and mercy. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen
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January 25th, 2017
Luke, the author of Acts, reminds us that God is the only one who is capable of forgiving our sins and refreshing our soul. In God’s economy, we are severely blemished because of our sin, and therefore unable to be in His presence without a changed life. This change is known as repentance and occurs when a person “…turns from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God” (Acts 26:18). True repentance is not simply regret, or an attitude of feeling sorry for our past, although this is a start. True repentance is turning from an old way of life and habits, to a new life in Christ, with a new desire to please God. Since we were created in God’s image and to have a relationship with Him (Genesis 1:27), it’s only after repentance that our soul will truly know rest and be able to be refreshed by His Holy Spirit.
If you’ve never repented of your sins and your old way of life, Christ is beckoning you. However, repentance is not only for the unbeliever, it’s for the believer too. There will be times when you are not living according to your calling, and a repentant spirit must be present to cause a turn from someone or something to Jesus.
Father, Thank you for giving me an opportunity to repent and forgiving me of my sins. Thank you for offering rest and refreshment to my soul. Help me to recognize when I deviate from your plan for my life, and to turn back to you. Amen.
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January 26, 2017
Not By Works
Over and over, the Bible makes it clear that good works cannot merit us salvation. Ephesians 2:8-9 tells us “for by grace are ye saved through faith; and not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast”. In our human nature, we seek the approval of others by what we do for them. We may therefore try to attain God, His approval, and the way to heaven in the same way. By this way of thinking we would be under the burden of wondering just how much good works we need to do to know for sure if we are saved. Therefore, we would have to keep adding good works hoping we had gained enough to obtain eternal life. Thank God, because of His wonderful grace we do not have to be under the burden of works to attain salvation. In Romans 5:8 it tells us “that God demonstrated His love toward us that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.” Scripture clearly tell us the only way we can be redeemed from our sins and have eternal LIFE is through the blood sacrifice of Jesus, His son, made on the cross to pay for our sins. Yes, Jesus paid it all and nothing we do can be added to it.
A gift is not something you earn, but is given by someone who loves you. God in His love for us has given the gift of salvation through His son, Jesus. Will you receive this gift? If so, believe and accept what Jesus did for you on the cross. Invite Him into your heart and to be the Lord of your life.
Heavenly Father, I praise you for the awesome God you are!! Thank you that you loved me enough to cover my sins through the precious blood of your Son Jesus. May I never take for granted what you have done for me. May my heart’s desire be to daily seek you and follow Jesus’ example of serving others.
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January 27th, 2017
2 Corinthians 12:9
For a follower of Christ, the grace of God is essential; we are nothing without his grace. His grace provided Jesus’s sacrifice, salvation, a relationship between us and Jesus, and a purpose for our life.
For a follower of Christ, God’s grace is inescapable. There is nowhere that we can hide from the grace of God. Even when we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, God is there; therefore we will fear no evil. (Psalm 23:4) His grace pours out on us even in the darkest of times.
Finally, for a follower of Christ, God’s grace is eternal. God has always been the God of grace. Because He is unchanging, his grace has and always will be present. Grace is an attribute of God and because God is unchanging, His grace is unchanging. There is no more grace now than there was in the past, and there will never be any more grace than there is now.
Therefore, His grace is sufficient for us. 2 Corinthians 12:9 says, “But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in your weakness.’ Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” His grace allows our weaknesses to be glorified in His power. So whatever valley you are walking through or weaknesses you are struggling with, know that God’s grace will flow through and in you for the sake of His glory. His grace is evident in your life. It has been evident in the past, it is evident in the present and it will be evident in the future. It is because of His grace that we are who we are and His grace towards us is never in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:10a)
Dear Lord, I pray that we would take refuge in your grace today; that we would take time to recognize your grace in our everyday lives. And because of your grace and power, you would be glorified in our weaknesses and struggles. Amen.
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January 28th, 2017
Kyrie Eleison! Christe Eleison! “Lord, have mercy! Christ, have mercy!” This is all we can ask of our great God. There is nothing that we can ever do to deserve salvation. It is only through the rich mercy of God that we are saved.
Webster’s Dictionary defines mercy as “compassion or forbearance shown especially to an offender or to one subject to one's power”. As a parent, there are numerous opportunities to show mercy to our children. We do this because of our unconditional love for them. Through our love for our children, we will always choose mercy when dealing with their actions.
Now, imagine the depth of love and mercy that God has shown us in that He sent Jesus to die on a cross, be buried for 3 days, then rise again so that we may be saved. Our God is an infinitely holy and righteous God. Therefore, He cannot allow unrighteousness into His presence. Instead of allowing all of us to die in our sin, He chose to show an unbelievable amount of mercy toward us. He sent Jesus Christ to be the ultimate sacrifice and to pay the price for our sins.
Imagine the riches we will have in Heaven in His presence because of this mercy. Paul reminds us: “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” Romans 8:32 (NKJV)
How do we respond to this mercy? First, we must accept the gift He gave us in Christ Jesus (Hebrews 2:3). Next, we must not take advantage of His mercy by continuing in our sins (Romans 6:1-2). Then, we must be ever mindful of the gift of God’s mercy and be unfailing in our thanksgiving for it. We owe our very lives to this mercy!
Father, I thank You for Your steadfast love and unfailing mercy! It is breathtaking to consider how much You care for me. Thank You for allowing me to come to You in both my times of need and my times of joy. It is in the name of Jesus, Your greatest act of mercy, that I pray, Amen.
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January 29th, 2017
Trust & Faith
Knowledge of my salvation gives me reassurance, faith, and hope. We are not saved by our own abilities, but by God’s power. Paul told the Corinthian Christians “Now it is God who makes us stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” (2 Cor. 1:22 NIV) Because of our salvation, God has given us everything required for life – But we still have responsibility to pursue spiritual growth, and stand strong as we face struggles that WILL come.
Faith and trust kept me from desponding when facing surgery with 50% chance of survival, kept me praying and maintaining honorable thoughts of God. I knew that with healing I would continue to enjoy God’s mercy and grace in the land of the living. If my healing was by death, I would see Him face to face in the land of eternal living where there is no more death – our glorious hope.
Precious Father, Lord, I praise your name for You are our Hope for eternity, the Creator of all good, and Savior of the world. Thank you for showering your goodness in the land of the living—here on earth, and for all eternity. Please strengthen our hearts as we wait on You. Amen.
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January 30th, 2017
Created in the Image of God
Think about this for a moment: What is the image of God?
As much as you consider and contemplate your answer, it will be incomplete. Sorry. It is just impossible for any of us to fully know and understand what God’s image is, because … well … He’s God. Whatever you think the image of God is, it is so much more (Is. 55:8-9). But, whatever you think it is right now will affect your interactions with others.
Think about three people: A close friend; A homosexual person; A homeless person. Being honest, your first thought, like mine, is probably based on something other than being created in the image of God. Yet, all of mankind is created in that image of God. Each of them carries a measure of beauty and creativity because of God’s image, regardless of how sin has distorted their lives.
The world sees others from a selfish perspective. Grace alters that perspective. You are different if you have truly received Christ. In 1 Corinthians 4:7 , Paul asks, “For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast (judge) as though you did not?”
As Christians, we have the opportunity to reflect His grace and love to others. How we see others is a reflection of our thoughts about God. Do we see them as God does? Worth sending His son to die for them?
Father God, I thank you that you created man in Your image, as a reflection of You. Help me today to reflect Your love and kindness to others, and help me to look for Your beauty and creativity in those I encounter today.
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January 31st, 2017
Pastor Tommy Warnock, Jr.
Let’s start here. Christ sacrificed, suffered, served and died for the church, and when someone lays it on the line like that for another then commitment, loyalty and partnership are not a problem.
The husband is to assume leadership and responsibility in the home (1 Corinthians 11:3). This leadership is not dictatorial, but should be as with the example of Christ leading the church.
In Genesis 3, the woman should have never spoken to the serpent: half-truths and lies. She was convinced and wanted what his lies promised. She took, ate and gave to her husband, “who was with her” (3:6). Although assigned by God to lead, he just stood there. He was passive, took no responsibility, gave no leadership and so they suffered the consequences. Christ on the other hand rejected passivity, took full responsibility for himself and for us, led courageously, and provided the greatest reward. Husbands that is how Christ loved the church.
- Love and cherish your wife as yourself – Eph 5:28-29
- Provide for your family – 1 Timothy 5:8
- Honor and be understanding of your wives – 1 Peter 3:7
- And forsaking all others become one in spirit, soul and body -Eph 5:31
- Do you spend time together in the word and prayer?
- Are the two of you becoming “more” in Him together?
- Are you becoming one: spiritually, as friends, and intimately?
- Will you take one simple step forward today? What will that step be?
Dear Lord, help our husbands see themselves as you see us. Help us to measure our lives with our wives according to Your word. Help us reject being passive, take our responsibility, give strong leadership and take You at Your word. God help us make our homes and marriages a testimony, a picture of Christ and the church.
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February 1st, 2017
Our Scripture passage opens with a question – “Who can find a virtuous wife?” The Message translation reads, “A good woman is hard to find.” But how do we know what a virtuous wife is? Isn’t a “good woman” just a matter of opinion? Fortunately, the verses that follow provide us with a guideline for finding and being a Godly wife. The woman described in Proverbs 31 is busy about her household. She works diligently to ensure that her husband has everything that he needs and that he never has to worry about his home being in order. This lady is organized! She rises while it is still dark to prepare for the day. She tends to their land and helps provide income for their family. Her love and faithfulness are invaluable to her husband and he can trust her with all he has and all he knows. Wow! That seems like a lot to live up to!
In 2017, life may feel a lot different than what we read about in Scripture, but it really isn’t. God’s Word is pertinent and relevant to our lives as wives today. Even now, we can make a commitment to love our husbands in a new and fresh way each day. We can pray for them and, with the Lord’s help, do our best to provide a safe and loving environment for them at home. Being a wife is one of the greatest callings that the Lord bestows on His daughters. It is a great privilege to serve Him and the one He gave to us!
Lord, thank You for the gift of my wonderful husband. I ask you to help me love Him the way that You love me. I pray that our home is a refuge for him and a place where he finds comfort and rest. Show me daily how to love him more. In Your name I pray, amen.
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February 2nd, 2017
Adults can learn a lot from children. In fact, the Bible tells us that we need to be more like children ourselves.
At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a little child and had him stand among them. And He said, “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:1-4
One day I was visiting one of our preschool classrooms and a child brought me a can of playdough. The playdough inside had turned hard and had become stuck in the little, yellow can. After my attempts to release the playdough failed, I tossed it in the trash. I was heading out the door to get a new, fresh can when I noticed the child out of the corner of my eye. She ran over to the trash and pulled out the can of hard playdough. She quickly caught up with me and said, “Can’t you just fix this?” Her question perplexed me. Could I fix her playdough? I decided to visit the manufacturer’s website, because I figured that the maker would know the best way to keep their product from getting hard and unable to mold and form or shape. Sure enough, there were directions for restoring the softness to the playdough. It suggested adding water to the playdough one drop at a time and working it in until it became moist throughout.
I realized that we are all like playdough. Isaiah 64:8 says, “Lord, we are the clay and you are the potter- we are all the work of your hand.” Children are those fresh cans! They are able to be shaped and formed. They are humble, have faith, and trust in almighty God. As adults, our stress, life’s disappointments, finances and our relationships can cause us to become hard like that crusty playdough that I tossed in the trash. I am so glad that He does not throw the clay away!
Lord, thank You for being our Maker, our Creator, our Designer. Thank You for the Bible (our owner’s manual). Just like the drops of water that softened the playdough, Your Word can soften us so that we may be all that You, our Creator intends for us to be. May we become more like children; humble, moldable and teachable. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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February 3rd, 2017
Parenting is tough! As small babies, your children always need you. Then as they grow to the toddler stage they begin to exert some independence and discipline begins to play a role. When they reach school age you have an opportunity to truly share God’s Word and why you make decisions as a family. You also enter a phase where you can have a conversation and discuss situations. However, just a few years later…...enters the TEEN years. This takes on a new face with new trials and new opportunities to grow your child into a responsible adult. I will never forget April 1, 2016. This was the day my oldest son, Chase, drove on his own for the very first time. I, the mom, did not feel he was ready to tackle the interstate to drive to school. However, my husband felt like it was time to let him fly. We had trained him and rode with him for the last year. He said, “he is going to eventually have his first day so today might as well be it.” He pulled out of the garage and I walked into the living room and begin to sob. I spent a few minutes in prayer asking God to protect him and opened my bible app to do my morning devotion. Isaiah 40:31 was the first verse that came up. You see God was speaking to my heart. I knew at that moment that God had his hands on my children all the time and there was no reason to worry but to only trust Him.
Trusting God can only happen when you lay it all before Him. You can’t keep taking it back either. You must give your fears to God and trust Him to do what He does. He protects us, He watches out for us, and He loves us more than anything else. Just like a momma bird has to shove her baby out of the protection of the nest to make them learn to fly, we must trust in the one who guides our every step.
Dear Jesus, help us as parents to pursue You and only You. Worrying about our children will only bring trouble into our hearts so help us cling to Your promises when we trust in You. Lord, help us to do our part and raise up our children in the way they should go so they will want to love, honor and serve You in their own lives. We serve You alone! Amen
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February 4th, 2017
Peter had asked Jesus about forgiveness and Jesus told a story about a king whose servant owed him ten thousand talents. The man could not pay what he owed and the king commanded that the man and all that he had be sold and payment made. The servant cried out for mercy. The lord of the servant was “moved with compassion and loosed him and forgave him the debt.”
The lord of the servant dealt with two issues in forgiving his servant. First, he “loosed” the servant. The word translated “loosed” is the Greek word apoluo and means “to let go,” “to release,” “to set free,” or “to acquit.” When the Bible says in this passage, “he loosed him,” it means the lord of the servant “forgave” his servant. The word “him” is the direct object of the verb apoluo. The king forgave the servant.
The second issue is “the debt.” The lord not only forgave the servant, he also “forgave the debt.” In the phrase, “forgave him the debt,” the word translated “forgave” is aphiemi and means “to let go,” “to forgive,” “to give up a debt,” or “to keep no longer.” The direct object of aphiemi is “the debt,” not the servant. The word “him” in the phrase, “forgave him the debt” has the idea of reference, i.e. “the debt pertaining to him.”
When someone wrongs us there are two issues. There is the person who commits the wrong and there is “the debt” created by the wrong. Both of these need to be dealt with in forgiveness. When we pray to forgive someone we are praying to forgive the person, but we are also praying about the debt.
The next time you pray to forgive someone, be sure you not only choose to forgive the person, but also ask Jesus to heal your broken heart. Jesus said he heals the broken-hearted (Luke 4:18). David said in Psalms 147:3, “He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.”
Heavenly Father, I choose to forgive (name) for (what they did) and causing me to feel (how it caused you to feel). I ask You to take back any ground given to the enemy through this hurt. I yield this ground to the control of the Lord Jesus Christ in Jesus’ name, Amen.
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February 5th, 2017
When Jesus responded to the Pharisee’s question in Matthew 19:4-6, He referred them back to Scripture (Gen. 2:21-25). Reminding them that marriage from the beginning was designed by God. In marriage there was to be a leaving (of father, mother, all others), a cleaving (a union so firmly adhered together that nothing could separate it), and two lives would become one (like oxen joined together by yoke, a team functioning as one). Then there is the declaration, “What God has joined together, let no one separate”.
We make many commitments in our lifetime. If you commit to a car loan, you will be parting with your hard-earned money every month. If you commit to a job, you will go to work every day regardless of the weather or how you feel. When you commit to marriage, you are willing to put your spouse ahead and above you; your likes, dislikes, your wants and desires. Keeping a commitment sometimes involves death, dying to spending your money the way you want, dying to what time you’d like to get up in the morning, dying to staying home in bad weather or going to the beach in good weather. Likewise, a marriage commitment requires dying to what you want to do, dying to being right, angry, hurt, or unforgiving, dying to your personal rights. When you are finished with your car payments, you own a car - when you go to work every day, you get paid. And because of Christ, death is never the end of our story — new life starts after death! As we continue to seek first God’s design for marriage and commit to work on it, we will have a thriving marriage!
How do we live out that kind of commitment?
1. Commit your life to Jesus and have a personal relationship with Him.
2. Commit to read and learn from God’s Word and talk to Him through prayer - daily.
3. Commit to being obedient to the truth of God’s Word.
4. Commit to God’s plan for marriage and affirm your commitment before God and your spouse.
Dear Lord, thank You for Your love and faithfulness towards us. Thank You for Your Word that instructs us about Your design in marriage. Show us how to continually embrace true and lasting Biblical love towards each other. Teach us about the commitment, understanding, selflessness, and sacrifice that it takes to have a thriving marriage. We want to honor and glorify You with our lives and our marriages. Thank You Lord.
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February 6th, 2017
Pastor Ken Van Cura
God has given us the clearest, and truest understanding of what heaven will be like upon His arrival in the end times as the triumphant King who ushers in a new heaven, and a new earth. Contrary to popular cultural belief, heaven is not a place where everyone lounges around on a cloud with angel’s wings, and a harp, sitting aimlessly by for all eternity. It is a vibrant, beautiful place that is saturated with sights and sounds beyond our imagination. It is a place that is full of the activity of God’s people fully engaged in the most amazing and full-hearted worship of the King of the universe. It is a place that while there is a great deal of sound, and noise… it is lacking one particular sound. Revelation 21:4 tells us the following:
“And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”
What amazing hope we have for the future to come!
We have the incredible opportunity here and now to share with others the truth of what is to come; and the hope and peace that can be found in a relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ today. Take action and just as those who have gone before us to heaven don’t sit idly by, take every opportunity you can to share the truth!
Father, we have great hope in the future to come. Thank You for Your perfect will, and Your perfect plan. Today I pray that You will give all of us the strength to not sit idly by in darkness as we wait for Your arrival, but rather help us be light in this world by sharing Your word of truth. Amen
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February 7th, 2017
Pastor Daniel Helms
Unfortunately, the word Hell has traditionally been misused. Some people will misuse the word Hell by jokingly telling a person to go there. Hopefully, this joke never comes off the lips of a Christ-follower. The Bible helps us have a proper understanding of Hell.
First, Hell is a real place where real people go. The Bible describes it as a place that is filled with darkness, torment, and the gnashing of teeth (Lk 13:28). Most would agree that the worst reality of Hell is eternal separation from the presence of God. This means being separated from God’s glorious attributes. Therefore, Hell is a place where love, justice, and hope do not exist. Ponder this reality for a minute. The most terrifying aspect of Hell is that God has removed his presence and no one will get a second chance.
Secondly, Jesus died on a cross and rose from the dead so sinners don’t have to go to hell. Hell is a place that is reserved for those who have rejected Christ. The good news of the gospel is if anyone will acknowledge their sin and put their faith in Christ, then they will be gloriously saved. In other words, Hell is a terrifying place, but Christ has come to save sinners so they can have eternal life, rather than eternal death.
What is the trajectory of your eternity, Heaven or Hell? What are you basing your eternity on, Christ or your good works?
If Hell is a terrifying place, then believers should be intentionally partaking in God’s mission to keep people out of Hell. When was the last time you joined God in His mission to save sinners? Who was the last person you shared Christ with?
If God came to you and said He would save every single person you have been regularly praying for their salvation this last week, would anyone be saved? Pray for your friends and family who do not know Christ.
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February 8th, 2017
Pastor Ricky Lindsey
1 Thessalonians 4:17
All Christians do not agree on every detail of what will occur in this event of our world’s history. Today, don’t focus so much on the when and how, but the truth of what it means. Christ will ultimately return bodily, visibly, and gloriously to reign and rule with His resurrected and transformed followers (that’s us) forever and ever.
Bible prophecy is not written to scare us, but instead to prepare us. We live this life with hope of what is to come. One day we will celebrate the biggest family reunion you can imagine in the presence of our Savior – what a day! The truth is, not everyone in our church has this hope within. Speaking of this day brings fear instead of hope, and uncertainty instead of motivation. My friend if this is you today, wake up!
The words of the great Charles Spurgeon reminds us all that, "It is a very blessed thing to be on the watch for Christ, it is a blessing to us now. How it detaches you from the world! You can be poor without murmuring. You can be rich without worldliness. You can be sick without sorrowing. You can be healthy without presumption. If you are always waiting for Christ's coming, untold blessings are wrapped up in that glorious hope."
Be confident in the Gospel and tell someone about the greatest story ever today.
Pray that your destination drives your living. Pray specifically that the Lord would stir within you to be a ringing bell as you proclaim the truth of the Gospel. May we never be guilty of uttering the words, “I wish I would have.”
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February 9th, 2017
Pastor Bill Bender
2nd Coming of the King
The year 2000 was a scary year for some experiencing the Y2K crisis, but for those in Baltimore, it was a banner year. The Baltimore Ravens won Super Bowl XXXV. The parade that followed in Baltimore was one for the books. Several lined the streets. Banners streamed overhead. A celebration took place.
In the darkness leading to the Cross, Jesus gives us a vision of what will be in our future. Jesus gives us a wonderful vision for a reason to celebrate. Jesus, in all His wonderful ways, gave us a gift while His earthly life was about to be taken from Him. The vision of Jesus coming back to earth on the clouds of heaven gives all of us hope. Perhaps tomorrow will be the day. Perhaps next week will be the time we see Him. The glorious day of His return is a day when Christ-followers will bend a knee and shout for joy. It will be Super Bowl day for every believer.
Hebrews 10:25 tells us there is indeed a day approaching. Nobody likes to wait. Even those in the Word had difficulty waiting. But Hebrews instructs us to never stop coming together. Let’s come together to worship, grow, serve and reach our world with the good news of Jesus’ eminent return.
Heavenly Father, You are today and each day worthy to be praised. We praise You for what You have accomplished and what You’re going to accomplish. We know the promises of the Word are more than wishful thoughts that pass through our minds. They are assurances of Your plan for tomorrow. We await Your second coming. Come Lord, please come quickly. In Jesus’ Name – Amen
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February 10th, 2017
Pastor Claude Walker
The Bible states that Christ will reign on the earth with His saints for one thousand years. Though the word millennium is not found in scripture the teaching of a thousand years is. That is what the word millennium means – one thousand and in this case one thousand years.
This will be a golden era when Satan will be bound in the bottomless pit and Jesus will rule from his father David’s throne in Jerusalem. Those who have been faithful in their service to Christ while living on earth prior to this time will be given positions to rule with Christ for a thousand years. This will be determined at the Judgement Seat of Christ. I believe this will be a golden time similar to the conditions of the Garden of Eden. This will be the final stage of life on this earth. After the Millennial Reign ends, the New Heaven and Earth will come into being and eternity will begin.
Our lives should be lived each day to the fullest to bring glory to Jesus Christ. In light of what is ahead and the opportunity to serve with Christ should motivate each believer to consecrated commitment to godliness and faithfulness to our great God. May we desire to live today so we may be able to serve with Him tomorrow.
Lord, help each of Your children to live in light of eternity. May our living be such that we would be found faithful to You.
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February 11th, 2017
Great White Throne
2 Corinthians 5:10; Revelation 20:11-15
Have you ever had to appear before a judge or maybe watch an actual case before a judge in a court room? The judge listens and weighs out all the evidence to give a ruling. The Bible tells us that we will all one day appear before the righteous Judge – Jesus. No excuses, no delays. All evidence will be revealed. No clever attorneys trying to sway the evidence. Just you before an all knowing, holy Judge. There are two judgments detailed in scripture – Judgment Seat of Christ and Great White Throne. It is believed that the Judgment seat of Christ is a judgment of the saved where our life and works for Jesus will be judged. The Great White Throne is believed to be for the lost to be judged. Those not found written in the Book of Life are cast into Hell for not trusting Jesus as Savior.
Are you ready for Judgment? In which Judgment will you appear? We will all appear before Jesus to be judged. Are you ready? Are those around you ready? God gave us everything we need to be completely prepared in His Word, the Bible. I pray we will all live today and each day mindful that we will appear before the Great Judge. It could be very soon.
Dear Lord, please help me live mindful that I will soon appear before You in judgment. Help me prepare others around me to not appear before the Great White Throne. Thank you for loving me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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February 12, 2017
Pastor Claude Walker
Our Glorified Body
One day when this life is over, the believer will have a glorified body. In our present world we are all too familiar with pain, suffering, difficulty and death. But one day we will be changed. In our present state we could not experience heaven and eternity in our earthly bodies. But God has promised that the Lord Jesus will transform our mortal, earthly bodies and fashion it like His. We will know each other as we are known here, meaning we will recognize each other there. The difference will be the things that sin has brought upon our earthly bodies will no longer exist. Our new bodies will be eternal according to God’s original design, like Him.
It is very difficult to understand or maybe even comprehend such a magnificent thing. All we know on earth is affected by the pain and misery of aging and decaying bodies. In light of the future and His promise, may we be motivated to live with renewed commitment and vigor to not only take care of the temple of the Holy Spirit, which is our body, but be grateful for the promise yet ahead. It truly will be glorious when we are in His presence and our bodies will be able to handle it.
Dear Lord, thank You for abiding with us on our journey on earth. Thank You for the promise and hope of a glorified body one day when we are in your presence.
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