Daily Devotion August 2021

8/31/21


Good morning. This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. 


Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/L4R3H92nF94



Complete the Verse & Name the BookSince then no prophet has risen in Israel like . . . (completion at the end)



Yesterday we started a recap of Pastor Michael’s sermon “God’s Accepted Accounting Principles” that was based on Philippians 4:10-20. Pastor Michael said that giving promotes God’s kingdom. We have a choice. We can use our money to build God’s kingdom, or we can use our money to build our own kingdom. Paul found the secret to contentment was Jesus. Today we will complete the recap of Pastor Michael’s sermon.


Giving pleases the kingdom of God. Paul mentions giving and receiving. These are accounting terms. In verses 17-18 he said: Not that I am looking for a gift, but I am looking for what may be credited to your account. I have received full payment and even more; I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. Giving pleases God.


In our day and age we have GAAP—Generally Accepted Accounting Principles. GAAP involves standard ways of doing accounting. God has accounting principles that are different from our own. In our accounting principles we have a debit line and a credit line. The two should balance out. If you have more in your credit line than your debit line, you are doing well. 


With God’s accounting principles, it’s different. God is the accountant. When we transfer money from our account into God’s account, God always gives back to us spiritually. When Paul said, “Not that I am looking for a gift, but I am looking for what may be credited to your account,” what is credited to the account is righteousness. When we give of our physical resources to build God’s kingdom, God always gives back to us spiritual resources. Giving to build God’s kingdom is a spiritual act.  


When we give to build man’s kingdom (cancer fund, parks, save the whales, etc.), the accounting principles are different. We do not receive spiritual resources. 


When we give to build God’s kingdom, God credits our account with righteousness, faith, God’s presence. We can’t put anything in our spiritual account. Only God can make deposits into our spiritual account.


There’s a difference between donating and giving. Giving to build God’s kingdom is pleasing to God. Giving provides for God’s kingdom. He credits our account; he builds us spiritually; he grows us spiritually; he matures us spiritually. When we give to God, there are no strings attached to what we give. When we donate to the church, sometimes we do so with strings attached. We donate so we can have power, control, influence, or position in the church. We want our donations to make us look good. Donations express our goodness. Giving, as Paul describes it, expresses God’s goodness. 


Our giving to God’s kingdom is a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. This language comes from Leviticus 1:9b: It is a burnt offering, an offering made by fire, an aroma pleasing to the LORD. God is pleased when we recognize God’s grace and goodness in our lives. 


And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus (verse 19). Because you have given to build God’s kingdom, God will provide for all of your needs. There are no limitations with God. Everything belongs to him. 


You cannot outgive God. Spiritual maturity involves giving to God even when we’re not sure how we are going to pay all of our bills. God can make a way when there seems to be no way. Giving brings provision for God’s kingdom to be built and provision for our needs. You will never regret giving to the building of God’s kingdom. 


To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen (verse 20). Paul ends with a doxology. Giving to build God’s kingdom always results in praise to God. The heart of God is to give. He gave us his Son to die on a cross for our sins. God gives us grace. He gives us faith. He gives us good gifts. Jesus is the ultimate giver. That’s his heart. He gives us everlasting life. He gives us forgiveness. He gives us justification. He gives us redemption. He gives us comfort. He gives us wisdom. He gives us direction. He gives us counsel. He gives us everything we need. 


Jesus said, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21). Treasures in heaven are the people who come to Christ because of your giving, because of your promotion of the gospel of Christ, because you pleased God through your giving, because you promoted the kingdom of God, because you provided for the kingdom, because you have lived a life that brings glory to God. Treasures in heaven are worth far more than any treasures we have here on earth. 


How are you using what God has given to you? What are you investing in? Are you promoting the kingdom of God with your money? Is your giving pleasing to God? Is your giving providing for the kingdom of God? Is your giving resulting in praise to God? Let’s be givers that reflect the heart of God.



Verse Completion. . . Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face. Deuteronomy 34:10 (NASB)


8/30/21


Good morning. This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. 


Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/AI3VcChbPBY



Complete the Verse & Name the BookWhoever welcomes one of these little children in my name . . . (completion at the end)



Yesterday Pastor Michael’s sermon “God’s Accepted Accounting Principles” was based on Philippians 4:10-20. Today we will start a recap of that message.


Giving can be a difficult topic to preach on, but it’s hugely important. There is so much in Scripture about giving. God desires us to give. God places value on giving. It’s important for our spiritual well-being. Giving physically of our finances is directly tied to our spiritual well-being. In short, God does want your money to build his kingdom.


We are starting this four-part series in the book of Philippians. For a little background on Philippians, Paul originally had not planned to go to Philippi. Acts 16:6-12 tells us: Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas. During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them. 


From Troas we put out to sea and sailed straight for Samothrace, and the next day on to Neapolis. From there we traveled to Philippi, a Roman colony and the leading city of that district of Macedonia. And we stayed there several days.


The first major city in Macedonia is Philippi. Paul didn’t call it “The City of Brotherly Love”. Silas and him were thrown in jail there after being flogged. Their crime? Preaching the gospel. They were told, “We don’t want you here. We don’t want your gospel. We don’t want your God. We don’t want you here. Get out of our city.” Verses 25-31 tell what happened in prison: About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody’s chains came loose. The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!”


The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”


They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.”


After Paul and Silas were released from prison, they left Philippi. The next time the church at Philippi hears from Paul is when he wrote to them from the prison in Rome. Here’s is part of what he wrote: I rejoice greatly in the Lord. What is there to rejoice about when one is in a Roman prison? The expectation is that the prisoner will die either from execution or from the conditions and length of stay. Let’s read on to find out what Paul is rejoicing about:


. . . that at last you have renewed your concern for me. Indeed you have been concerned, but you had no opportunity to show itI am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.


Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles. Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only; for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid again and again when I was in need. (Philippians 4:10-16).


Paul is rejoicing because the Philippians were partnering with the gospel. They gave to meet Paul’s needs. They wanted to help build God’s kingdom. Giving promotes God’s kingdom. This group of believers in Philippi are participants in the gospel, partners in the gospel, and promoters of the gospel. They knew their giving to Paul helped promote God’s kingdom. 


Paul said in 2 Corinthians 11:9: And when I was with you and needed something, I was not a burden to anyone, for the brothers who came from Macedonia supplied what I needed. I have kept myself from being a burden to you in any way, and will continue to do so. He was telling the Corinthians that the Philippians have supplied all his needs. 


It’s difficult to begin giving. We can find many reasons not to give. However, giving is a sign of spiritual growth. Ongoing giving is a sign of spiritual maturity. Paul is rejoicing in the Philippians because they are growing and maturing in Christ. 


We have a choice. We can use our money to build God’s kingdom, or we can use it to build our own kingdom. Paul said that he learned the secret to contentment—knowing Jesus. Paul is satisfied in Jesus. As long as he has Jesus, he’s good. Paul was sufficient in Christ. Gaining more possessions, retiring well, getting a house on the hill or on the water, was not on Paul’s radar. What Paul was interested in was building God’s kingdom, and his life was fully given over to doing that. Paul was praising the Philippians for partnering with him in building God’s kingdom. He saw them as Yes, God, Build your Kingdom people. It wasn’t about the money; it was about the spiritual maturity the Philippians were gaining. 


Tomorrow we will continue the recap of Pastor Michael’s sermon with the second half.



Verse Completion. . . welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me. Mark 9:37 (NIV)


8/28/21


Good morning. This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. 


Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/oRd7JuH5mdI



Complete the Verse & Name the Book:

’See now that I, I am He,


And there is no god besides Me;


It is I who put to death and give life.


I have wounded, and it is I who heal;


And there is no one who can . . . (completion at the end)



Yesterday we did a recap of Josh Maurer’s sermon titled “Impact: Each One Serve the One”. It is based on Hebrews 10:19-25 with a focus on verses 24 and 25. We left off with his definition of impact based on different Scripture verses in Hebrews: In view of God's abundant mercy toward us in Christ, in our promised future inheritance, by faith in the power of God, for the love and glory of his name, we aim in all things, often at great personal cost, to joyfully strive for the good of all people, especially their eternal good. 


The basic part of that definition is we aim in all things to strive for the good of all people, but there’s nothing distinctly Christian about that, hence all the qualifiers that turn it into gospel impact. 


Our efforts are not in vain. In the reality of the resurrection of Jesus, we are to be steadfast, immovable, and always abounding in the work of the Lord knowing that our labor is not in vain. The Lord sees everything that is being done to bring him glory.


When it comes to gospel impact, there are two main categories involved: serve and send. There are countless ways of serving in the church: giving of your resources, giving of your time to the ministries in the church. You can also serve your neighbor. You can serve through being involved with missions: going on short-term trips, connecting with refugees and immigrants, or becoming a full-time missionary. 


Sending involves the church sending out people to start churches or sending them to foreign lands. Whether it’s serving or sending, the gospel remains central. It is our motivation and hope. 


What kind of impact is God stirring in your heart to pursue this year? Pray and ask God what he has in mind for you. You might feel like there isn’t a place for you because you lack gifts or are homebound. Some might say, “I’m too young,” or “I’m too old.” According to Paul, God uses the weak. Some of the disciples were common, uneducated men, but think about the impact they had on the world. The issue isn’t how old you are, how educated you are, how talented you are, how gifted you are; remember God uses the weak. What matters is: Do you have the desire to make an impact? If you do, God will use you. 


There are endless opportunities for gospel impact in the home with your children. There are endless opportunities for gospel impact in your neighborhood. There are endless opportunities for gospel impact in schools. There are endless opportunities for gospel impact in your place of employment. There are endless opportunities for gospel impact in assisted living facilities. All of us have opportunities for love and good works—to strive for the good of all people, especially their eternal good. 


One of the most powerful ways to have an impact on the world is to pray! It’s something all of us can do. Never underestimate the power of prayer in the pursuit of a Christ-exalting impact in the world.


At our church we have a task force that is involved with the sanctity of human life. They regularly meet just outside of Planned Parenthood to pray. A father recently returned to this prayer site and shared that his daughter had scheduled an abortion, but when she saw all the Christians praying, she decided to keep her baby. Prayer has life-changing impact!


Through a mother’s persevering prayers for her son, her son became a Christian. Reflecting back on his mother, the son said, “I can find no words to express how intensely she loved me. With far more anxious solicitude, did she give birth to me in the Spirit than ever she had in the flesh.” Her name was Monica. Her son’s name was Augustine or as the church would later call him, Saint Augustine—one of the greatest theologians in the history of the church. Oh! The power of prayer!


In view of God's abundant mercy toward us in Christ, in our promised future inheritance, by faith in the power of God, for the love and glory of his name, we aim in all things, often at great personal cost, to joyfully strive for the good of all people, especially their eternal good. 


May we pursue gospel impact.



Verse Completion: . . . deliver from My hand. Deuteronomy 32:39 (NASB)


8/27/21


Good morning. This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. 


Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/3t2Tf1Dqf7w



Complete the Verses & Name the Book

·      Do not judge lest you . . . 


·      For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it . . . 


·      And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not . . . (completions at the end)



Dr. Josh Moody is the pastor of College Church in Wheaton, Illinois. He has been doing a series titled “Better Together—How Jesus Calls us into Community”. The tenth and last sermon in this series was given by Josh Maurer and is titled “Impact: Each One Serve the One”. It is based on Hebrews 10:19-25 with a focus on verses 24 and 25. Today we will begin a recap of that message.


Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near(ESV)


We are called to biblically exhort one another together—to come alongside one another and call each other forward to love and good works. We are called to impact the world through love and good works. We see the word impact everywhere these days but its definition is not agreed upon. A few years ago the Center for High-Impact Philanthropy at the University of Pennsylvania published an article with the following title: “What Are we Talking about when we Talk about Impact?”


It reminds me of the classic discussion of glory between Humpty Dumpty and Alice in Lewis Carroll’s novel Through the Looking Glass. During the conversation Humpty Dumpty said, ‘There's glory for you!'


I don't know what you mean by "glory",' Alice said.


Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. 'Of course you don't — till I tell you. I meant "there's a nice knock-down argument for you!"'


But "glory" doesn't mean "a nice knock-down argument",' Alice objected.


When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.'


The question is,' said Alice, 'whether you can make words mean so many different things.'


The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, 'which is to be master — that's all.'




Language is a profound thing. Different people can use the same word and mean, or intend, very different things. 


A well respected business leader put on his blog that is regularly featured in Forbes and the New York Times, “We get to choose what having an impact means to us.” Being a church that is rooted in the Bible and committed to the great commission and the great commandment (making disciples and loving God and neighbor), we don’t believe that we get that choice. We believe God has defined impact and given us what constitutes impact. Let’s take a look at what we mean by “impacting the world”.


When we say impact the world, we are talking about gospel impact. Using Hebrews to help us, we can define impact as: In view of God's abundant mercy toward us in Christ, in our promised future inheritance, by faith in the power of God, for the love and glory of his name, we aim in all things, often at great personal cost, to joyfully strive for the good of all people, especially their eternal good. 


Tomorrow we will complete the recap of this sermon with the second half.



Verse Completions:


·      . . . be judged yourselves.


·      . . . shall be measured to you.


·      . . . notice the log that is in your own eye? Matthew 7:1-3 (NASB)


8/26/21


Good morning. This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. 


Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/W-glwD-J-ig



Complete the Verse & Name the Book

Vengeance is Mine, and retribution, 


In due time their foot will slip;


For the day of their calamity is near,


And the . . . (completion at the end)



Yesterday we started a recap of Michael Walker’s sermon titled “Grow: Each One Engage as One”. It is based on Hebrews 10:19-25 with a focus on the last part of verse 25: but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.


Every single person we meet will stand before Christ at the end of time. Hebrews 10:26-27 says: For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. As we look at this passage along with the rest of what Scripture says, we see what this means: If I say I am a follower of Jesus, but because of temptations and persecution I leave the path of Jesus and follow another path, by the end of my life I will have proved that I was not a follower of Jesus.


One of the ways we stay on the path of Jesus is by encouraging one another to keep following Jesus until he returns. 


There’s a future judgment, and there’s a present weakness. When it says, “but encouraging one another,” there’s an assumption that there is no one who is sufficient in and of themselves and doesn’t need encouragement from other people. “Encouraging one another” is a corporate command: we give encouragement, and we receive encouragement. It’s not a one-way street. God tells us to encourage one another, but it’s our own pride that tells us we don’t need to receive encouragement. 


We are told to encourage one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Earlier in Hebrews 3:12-13 we are told: Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. Sin is constantly attacking us and lying to us. The sin in us potentially would cause us to believe those lies. Therefore we need to be encouraging one another every day


So often we use encouragement in a time of crisis: loss of a job, divorce, illness, and so on. However, encouragement is much broader than this. Encouragement is something that should be happening every day. It should mark our church culture. 


What we can do in our church is look for the context where encouragement can take place—in a ministry of the church. As you do so, there is context for relationships where encouraging one another can take place. Joining a small group is one of the best ways to grow in Christ. As you get to know others, you see the zeal of Christ, the joy of Christ, the mercy of Christ, and the faithfulness of Christ in the little things in their lives. As you witness that, you are encouraged. 


Being part of a ministry is not sufficient. Every church must have an informal culture of encouraging one another in the normal rhythms of everyday life: inviting someone over for a meal, integrating others into daily routines. If you normally go to the park, you could invite someone to go to the park with you. You can intentionally reach out to people at church that you don’t know. This can happen before and after services. Work at turning acquaintances into friends. Connect others with ministries in the church. Get together with others and discuss what’s going on in each of your lives. Be transparent with others. Participate in mutual, biblical exhortation. 


We are to act like fellow travelers within these contexts. The Bible is a word of exhortation, a word of encouragement. The author of Hebrews does several things to exhort others:


·      He points people away from paths of sin and unbelief. We have to be proactive in encouraging others to follow Jesus. Hebrews 12:1-2 tells us: Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith.


·      He points people away from false guides that would lead people on false paths. In order for us to do that, we must know the truth ourselves, and truth is found in the Bible. We need to be reading our Bibles so we know truth and can identify lies when we are fed them.


·      He points them to God who is our guide and help along the way. Hebrews 2:4 says: God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will. Hebrews 4:14-16 says: Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. 


·      He points them to the past. We are not the first band of travelers. Cain left the path he was supposed to follow, and the results were not good. 


·      He points people ahead to eternity with Jesus where we will gather to worship, sing, and rejoice. There will be perfect rest. In that day there will no longer be any need to encourage. Meanwhile, we must encourage one another to follow Jesus.



Verse Completion. . . impending things are hastening upon them. Deuteronomy 32:35 (NASB)


8/25/21


Good morning. This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. 


Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/ir-XbtrgcRk



Complete the Verses & Name the Book

·      For by grace you have been saved through faith; and . . . 


·      not as a result of . . . (completions at the end)



Dr. Josh Moody is the pastor of College Church in Wheaton, Illinois. He has been doing a series titled “Better Together—How Jesus Calls us into Community”. The ninth sermon in this series was given by Michael Walker and is titled “Grow: Each One Engage as One”. It is based on Hebrews 10:19-25 with a focus on the last part of verse 25. Today we will begin a recap of that message.


Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near(ESV)


Our vision is that our church will be a place where people will discover Jesus, grow in their faith, and impact the world. Last week the emphasis was on discovering Jesus. Today the emphasis will be on growing in our faith. Next week the emphasis will be on impacting the world. 


In the Himalayan Mountains there is a very challenging mountain to climb called Mount Meru. Many climbers won’t even attempt it because it’s one of the most difficult mountains in the world to climb. Others have attempted the climb and failed. In 2008 there was a group of three climbers (Conrad Anker, Jimmy Chin, and Renan Ozturk) who attempted to climb the 21,000-foot mountain. When they were approaching the summit, they could see the line they would take to reach the top on a sheer granite wall known as the Shark’s Fin. They began to encourage one another at this point. Oddly enough, they were encouraging one another to turn around and save their lives because of the danger of hypothermia. 


In 2011 they attempted it again. When they reached the Shark’s Fin, they began to encourage one another, but this time the encouragement was to press on to the summit. They saw the path to the top as a path of victory. The author of Hebrews portrays Christians as fellow travelers. We aren’t on a path to the top of a mountain, we are on a path to our better home, our lasting possession. Like Abraham, we are foreigners, strangers, and sojourners on this earth looking for our eternal home. 


Last week we defined encouragement as mutual, biblical exhortation. We come alongside each other and point them in a forward direction. The author of Hebrews is calling us as a band of travelers to come alongside each other and call each other to follow Jesus until we meet him face to face. We are called to encourage one another. We are to look for context where this can happen. 


Who should we be shaped into so we can be encouraging to one another? We have to remember this sobering fact: a future day of judgment is coming. In our verse for today that says, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near,” the reason the word Day is capitalized is because it refers back to a phrase used throughout the Old Testament: the day of the Lord—the time when God who is King and ruling at all times, comes back and enacts judgment on the entire world. Isaiah uses it this way: For the LORD of hosts has a day against all that is proud and lofty, against all that is lifted up—and it shall be brought low (Isaiah 2:12). Obadiah 1:15 says: For the day of the LORD is near upon all the nations. As you have done, it shall be done to you; your deeds shall return on your own head. In the New Testament, Jesus associates this phrase with himself: “The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day” (Matthew 12:48). Paul said: This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering—since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed. (2 Thessalonians 1:5-9) 


Part of the gospel message is that there is a day when Christ is coming back to judge. The good news of the gospel is that Jesus, the Judge of this earth, first came as a human who lived a perfect life. On the cross, Judgement Day came early for all who have their faith in him. The judgment we were supposed to receive was poured out on Jesus. He willingly gave his life so we could have everlasting life. As Christians we don’t see the Day as a day of judgment, we see it as the call home to be with Jesus forever. The opportunity to be part of this is open to every single person, every single day, until Jesus returns. We need to live in awareness of this. 


Tomorrow we will continue the recap of this sermon with the second half.


Verse Completions:


·      . . . that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.


·      . . . works, that no one should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9 (NASB)


8/24/21


Good morning. This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. 


Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/GgBB863p2vw



Complete the Verse & Name the Book“For when I bring them into the land flowing with milk and honey, which I swore to their fathers, and they have eaten and are satisfied and become prosperous, then . . . (completion at the end)



Yesterday we started a recap of Pastor Bryce McFadden’s sermon “Living in the Last Days” that was based on 1 Peter 4:7-11. Today we will recap the second half of that message. In this passage of Scripture, Peter gives the church four practical survival strategies that will greatly benefit them (and us) as they/we live in the last days.


1.   Pray seriously. (See yesterday)


2.   Love deeply. Verse 8 of our text says: Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Jesus said, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34-35). 


1 Corinthians 13:1,3 says: If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. 


We are to love deeply, earnestly, sincerely, intensely. Our love is to keep pressing forward. We are to stay fervent in our love. We are to love even when we don’t feel like it. Jesus said, “Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved” (Matthew 24:12-13). We are called to persevere in our love


Proverbs 10:12 says: Hatred stirs up dissension, but love covers over all wrongs. This is saying that grace is part of love so small offenses don’t have to become large offenses. We need to forgive quickly. We shouldn’t become easily offended. Don’t allow Satan to get the upper hand in an attempt to divide and destroy the unity in the body. Hebrews 12:14-15 says: Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. 


In our day, if you get upset because of something in the church that happens, you can just go down the way to a different church. That wasn’t the case in Peter’s day. 


3.   Share joyfullyOffer hospitality to one another without grumbling (verse 9). It’s easy to be hospitable with our close friends. However, hospitality is not limited to our close friends; it includes strangers. Hospitality is not always convenient. It can disrupt our privacy and be costly. Some cultures are more hospitable than others. In my experience, Russians are incredible hosts. They sacrifice and serve with great joy; they don’t sacrifice and serve out of a sense of duty or feeling pressured to do so.


COVID-19 has not helped with hospitality. Hospitality takes work and grace. Hospitality stems from love. Do you see your home as a gift from God that can be used to serve others? When was the last time you had someone over to your house that wasn’t in your inner circle of friends? Would a stranger feel comfortable in your home and sense your love and care for them? 


As we near the end of time, it will be even more important to be together in community, in fellowship, practicing hospitality and fighting loneliness, discouragement, and disconnection. Hebrews 10:25 says: Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.


4.   Serve faithfullyEach one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen. (verses 10-11)


Every Christian believer has been given at least one spiritual gift by the Holy Spirit. These gifts are to be used in the context of the body of Christ. They are given so something can be accomplished. God is the one who gives out the gifts as he discerns the needs. There are a wide variety of gifts but all of them are to be used to build up the church: gifts of serving, mercy, teaching, leadership, and so on. It’s God’s desire that we would use the gift we have been given for his purposes. 


Another word we could use for this is stewardship. In Peter’s day, a steward was a slave that was responsible for managing his master’s business and property. The slave didn’t own it, but he managed it. Similarly, we are stewards who have been entrusted with a gift from God. The gift belongs to God, but we are allowed to use it for his glory and to strengthen the church. 


How has God gifted you? Are you using your gift in service to one another in order to build up the body? Ephesians 4:15-16 says: Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. 


Ligaments hold your joints together. Those who are using their gifts in the church are supporting the very structure of a church. They are holding the church together. 


We don’t want to be a church that is coasting along or just getting by. We want to be a church that prays more seriously, loves deeply, shares in hospitality joyfully, and serves faithfully by using the gifts God has given us to build up the body. We want to be the church that brings glory to God. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.


Is there someone you should invite over to your place? Is there someone you need to offer grace to and forgive? Is this a call to you to take prayer more seriously? Are you serving and using the gifts God has given you? 



Verse Completion. . . they will turn to other gods and serve them, and spurn Me and break My covenant. Deuteronomy 31:20 (NASB)


8/23/21


Good morning. This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. 


Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/w0Y0UXpxtGQ



Complete the Verse & Name the BookPeace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not . . . (completion at the end)



Yesterday Pastor Bryce McFadden’s sermon “Living in the Last Days” was based on 1 Peter 4:7-11. Today we will start a recap of that message.


In the Netflix series “Alone,” participants are given ten items and placed in an isolated region of northern Canada. The challenge is to endure the hardships for a hundred days all alone. It’s a harsh environment and their skills are tested to the limit. 


The audience Peter is writing to is not alone and isolated in Canada. They are in Asia Minor and are facing difficult hardships while in a harsh environment. By identifying oneself as a Christian, he/she became an outsider from the rest of society and became the enemy of the State. Emperor Nero found joy in persecuting Christians. Christians lost family members and friends, occupations, homes, and even their own lives. Peter is writing to encourage the Christians in Asia Minor. He reminds them that even though they are slandered and rejected by the world, they are dearly loved by God. They are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God who have been called out of darkness into light. Peter reminds them that they have a wonderful future ahead. They are part of an inheritance that will never fade or perish. Eternal life in heaven with Jesus is what awaits them.


Peter shares a game plan for how to live in a hostile territory. He gives a survival strategy for the church. He desires the church to be productive, be a positive witness in the world, proactive in their faith, protected in their community, and persevere to the completion of their salvation. 


Peter gives the church four practical survival strategies that will greatly benefit them as they live in the last days. We will also find them beneficial as we also live in the last days:


1.   Pray seriously. Verse 7 says: The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. The end of my remodeling project is near. That doesn’t mean it will be done next week or next month, but the end is closer today than it was yesterday. 


Everything is moving toward the completion of salvation. The end is near. Titus 2:11-14 says: For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.


James 5:7-8 says: Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.


Romans 13:11 says: And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.


In the 1840s there was a pastor by the name of William Miller who was convinced he knew the day for the return of Christ because he had carefully studied the prophetic Scripture verses that pertained to the second coming. He said the day would be October 22, 1844. He gathered quite a following after writing a book and going on a speaking tour. Some of the people quit their jobs. Others sold their homes. Ascension robes were prepared for the big event. We know Miller had it wrong. Jesus said, “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father” (Matthew 24:36).


The other extreme from choosing dates for the return of Christ is to avoid the topic altogether. Peter isn’t concerned that we have everything figured out; he’s concerned that we have survival strategies in the last days.


We are to pray instead of quitting our jobs, selling our stock, maxing out our credit cards, selling our houses or farms, or climbing a mountain or apple tree while wearing ascension robes. Instead of being careless, we need to be clear minded and self-controlled. We are to be spiritually alert. Do you remember the time when the disciples fell asleep in the Garden of Gethsemane right before Jesus was arrested and crucified? Jesus said to them, “Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak” (Matthew 26: 40b-41). We need to be alert and pray. 


Tomorrow we will continue the recap of Pastor Bryce’s sermon with the second half. 



Verse Completion. . . your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. John 14:27 (NASB)


8/21/21


Good morning. This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.


Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/Optrm7lF16s


Complete the Verse & Name the Book: ”And the LORD is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or . . . (completion at the end)


Yesterday we started a recap of Dr. Josh Moody’s sermon titled “Encourage One Another” that is based on Hebrews 10:19-25 with the focus being on second part of verse 25. We left off with Pastor Moody saying our goal should be to be encouragers to one another. Encouraging one another in the Greek is actually one word that has the sense of coming alongside to call forward.


We need to come alongside, and we need to call forward. Both are important. It’s not enough to simply exalt someone from a distance. We don’t need to hear: “You should do better at this.” “You got it wrong there.” Those who haven’t walked in our shoes haven’t earned the right to have that conversation. We’re not to seek each other out so we can lecture them about how they can improve. We can all improve, but you need to come alongside the person and walk with them. Get to know them.


In addition to coming alongside the person, we need to call forward. When we come alongside a person we might say: “I see you’re having a tough time. I’m sorry. I feel for you. I hear what’s going on.” But we’re not done when we come alongside a person. We are to point them forward. We’re to say, “Let’s go in this direction. Let’s move forward.” Mutual, biblical exaltation is doing both of these things.


In the Olympics of 2012, Abel Mutai from Kenya was running the steeplechase event. He was clearly going to win the race, but he became confused by the signage and stopped short of the finish line thinking he had completed the race. Behind him was Iván Fernández of Spain. Instead of passing Mutai for the win, Fernández came behind him and pointed Mutai to the actual finish line. That’s an example of mutual, biblical exaltation. It’s saying, “This is the way, my friend.”


There’s so much toxicity out there but that Day is approaching; Jesus is coming again! The old order will pass away and all things will be new. There will be no more weeping or crying. There will be feasting in the house of the Lord. Let’s move forward together. Let’s not neglect meeting together. Let’s encourage one another mutually. Let’s come alongside and call forward our brothers and sisters in Christ because Jesus is coming back. We need to call people to know Jesus before it’s too late.


We need to encourage one another to forsake sin because the consequences are serious: For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries (verses 26-27). The return of Christ is the most amazing, beautiful, and wonderful thing if you are in Christ. Let’s repent of our sins and put our trust in him. Let’s come alongside others in mutual, biblical exaltation.


How do we do that? Here are two practical ways:

1.    Read the Bible alongside a non-Christian. You don’t have to be an expert on the Bible; you just have to have a Bible. In 2021 the American Bible Society published the results of a new survey. They found 71% of Americans use the Bible. That’s the highest percentage over the past five years. People are hungry. We need to lead them to the source text.

2.    Invite a de-churched person to church. A lot of people have become cynical about church for a number of different reasons. Invite them to a church that has solidity and a foundation to it. Right now church attendance is about 50% of what it was before COVID struck.


Online church is not really church because church involves meeting together. When we’re together, we can encourage one another. There’s fellowship, there’s community when we’re together. We can mutually, biblically exalt one another. We need to physically be together. If you’re part of online church, we want you to physically be in church. Online church is a mission. We want to draw people to our church through our online church.


Mutual, biblical exaltation is fulfilled ultimately in Jesus. It’s through his blood that we are reconciled to God. When Jesus left, he sent his Spirit, another Counselor—an encourager. He sent his Spirit to be alongside us and to call us forward.



Verse Completion: . . . forsake you. Do not fear, or be dismayed.” Deuteronomy 31:8 (NASB)


8/20/21


Good morning. This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. 


Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/kDYjn-YdnD4



Complete the Verse & Name the BookAs Paul discoursed on righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and said, . . . (completion at the end)



Dr. Josh Moody is the pastor of College Church in Wheaton, Illinois. He recently started a series of sermons titled “Better Together—How Jesus Calls us into Community”. The eighth sermon in this series is titled “Encourage One Another” and is based on Hebrews 10:19-25. Today we will begin a recap of that message with the focus being on second part of verse 25.


Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near(ESV)


The reason for this series is we as a church, the church in general, Americans in general, and the western world in general, need encouragement. A lot of us sense that things are going wrong, and it’s discouraging. Will people come back to church after COVID has passed? What’s going to happen to our economy? What’s going to happen as a result of our national debt? We’re concerned about our schools, taxes, and much more. There’s a lot of discouragement. 


The second reason for this series is practical application. We’ve spent time on the theology of this passage: It’s better together because Jesus is better. Jesus is better than anyone else because of his sacrifice on the cross and being the great high priest that is constantly interceding for us. Why would we go anywhere else? Jesus is better, and because he’s better, it’s better together. Therefore, we need to draw near, hold fast, and consider how to stir up one another to love and good works. 


Now we come to encouraging one another. We are going to look at how we can apply these deep theological truths to this congregation. Our church leadership has been prayerfully seeking direction for our church and has come up with three key phrases:


·      Discover Jesus

·      Grow in your faith

·      Impact the world


We will be looking at these three phrases over the next three weeks, starting with the first one today. 


At our church you have the opportunity to discover Jesus because we make every attempt possible to stick to Scripture. In Scripture you meet the real Jesus. We don’t want to be the kind of church that is always chasing fashion and going after what’s most popular. We want to be the church that introduces people to the real Jesus found in his word. We want to know what the Scriptures say about Jesus: about his blood, about him being the great high priest, about our access to the Holy of holies, about our meeting together around that message in fellowship and in communion with each other. It’s better together. 


When you give to our church, you’re not really giving to our church; you are giving through our church to many people. We have impact through Christ when we are united around a common vision. 


Encouragement is mutual, biblical exaltation. Encouragement is not simply saying, “Well done. You are doing a good job.” Mutual, biblical exaltation is the secret source of healthy church life for all. The Apostle Paul was a very gifted man, much used by God. In God’s sovereignty, what was the key for him to be used that way? The answer is a man called Barnabas, whose name means “son of encouragement”, came alongside the Apostle Paul and pointed him in the right direction and believed in him. You need that kind of encouragement. Right now there is so much toxicity in our world; it’s everywhere: social media, CNN, Fox News, and so on. There is so much negativity and nastiness. We swim in that. 


When an aquarium is purchased, the first fish that go in the water are called scout fish. They are placed there to die—to see if the water is healthy. When it is determined that the water is healthy for fish to live in, other fish are placed in the aquarium. Many of us feel like we are scout fish. We are swimming in all this toxicity around us. One of the reasons it’s better together is because we hear from God’s word, participate in praise to our Lord and Savior, and have mutual, biblical exaltation. 


Our goal should be to be encouragers to one another. That’s a real challenge because there’s so much toxicity. But encouraging one another in the Greek is actually one word that has the sense of coming alongside to call forward. It’s more than saying, “Good job.” And all the more as you see the Day drawing near. You don’t give up when things are hard because you see the return of Christ approaching. 


Tomorrow we will complete the recap of this sermon with the second half.



Verse Completion. . . “That’s enough for now. You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you.” Acts 24:25 (NIV)


8/19/21


Good morning. This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. 


Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/GFT9KwrfZVY



Complete the Verse & Name the Book”Moreover the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to . . . (completion at the end)



Yesterday we started a recap of Baxter Helm’s sermon titled “Meet Together”. It is based on Hebrews 10:19-25 with a focus on the first part of verse 25. We saw that this part of the verse, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, has two parts to it. The first part is a responsibility, and the second part is a tendency. We have a responsibility towards fellowship and a tendency away from fellowship. It is our responsibility to not forsake fellowship.


Unfortunately, sometimes our responsibilities can be at war with our tendencies. We must guard against spiritual apathy. There was a temptation for these people to return to the practices of Judaism and turn away from serving Christ due to the suffering and persecution they experienced. Hebrews 10:32-33 says: But recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, sometimes being publicly exposed to reproach and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated.


We don’t know for sure why some were neglecting their responsibility, but we do know their neglect is considered serious by the author of Hebrews. He addresses it head-on. In verses 26 and 27 we see a series of warnings for those who neglect the exhortations that come before it: For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. 


Why is the author saying to not forsake this fellowship? It's because there was some repeatable behavior that was observed that illustrated a habit or a custom or a tendency to do so. The reasons may be different for us today, but I believe the tendency or the temptation is not. It's still there. For us it may be convenience, lack of time, or lack of energy. We aren't tempted to go back to Judaism, but forward to new fellowship—looking for fellowship on our terms, not on Scripture’s terms. 


Being part of Christian fellowship is not like a business. It's not looking to minimize the cost or the inputs in order to receive Christian fellowship. Christian fellowship is a family. For family, the question is not how little can I give, but what else can I do? What else can I do to stir up my brother or my sister to love and good works? Family is not a job; it's a privilege. This text should encourage us to commit to a church family—to give your time, give your presence, to serve and love others in the fellowship of Christ. 


The tension between responsibility and tendency is nothing new. God’s design for this fellowship and our tendency towards self-interests have been seen since the beginning. From the beginning man was made to be with another. But we know our sinful tendency is to consider ourselves first—to abdicate our responsibility from one another. This simple pattern is seen with Cain and Abel. Cain kills his brother Abel and upon being confronted by God he responds, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” 


Our tendency in this sinful, broken world, is to abdicate responsibility. Our tendency is to forsake fellowship with one another. That's why the reminder here is so needed. Don't forsake this fellowship. 


Why should I prioritize Christian fellowship? Why is it that I can't forsake this fellowship? The answer is you can. But you need to know that there was a Man who was forsaken for you. He saw your separation from God and came down from heaven to do something about it. There was a Man who was mocked, who was beaten, who was scorned, who was spit on, and was nailed to the cross. This man cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” His death paid the penalty you and me deserve so that we might no longer be separated in our fellowship with God. 


Moses said to Israel: Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6). That promise is for us as Christians. The beauty of the gospel is that we are called into a community with others who live in the abundance of God's affection. And now by his Spirit, our tendencies are empowered to carry out our responsibilities to love and serve one another. His love empowers our love. His work empowers our good works. His commitment to us empowers our commitment to one another. He will not forsake you if you put your trust in him. 


The hymn writer put it well: 



Blest be the tie that binds 

our hearts in Christian love;

the fellowship of kindred minds

is like to that above. 


We share each other’s woes,

each other’s burdens bear,

and often for each other flows

the sympathizing tear.



Although it started with a man and a woman in a garden, we know that one day it will end with every tribe, tongue, and nation living in peace with one another and in peace with God. This fellowship, this assembly, will last forever. It will never end. It is eternal. 


Brothers and sisters, be encouraged today. We are better together. Why? Because we are together in Christ. The God of all creation has promised he will never leave you nor forsake you, and so because of that, because of the good news of the gospel, may you live empowered towards one another. May we heed the word from this text: Don't forsake this fellowship.



Verse Completion. . . love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, in order that you may live. Deuteronomy 30:6 (NASB)


8/18/21


Good morning. This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. 


Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/xMcG0JclK-A



Complete the Verses & Name the Book

·      And the one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the word, and immediately . . . 


·      Yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately . . . (completions at the end)



Dr. Josh Moody is the pastor of College Church in Wheaton, Illinois. He has been doing a series titled “Better Together—How Jesus Calls us into Community”. The seventh sermon in this series was given by Baxter Helm and is titled “Meet Together”. It is based on Hebrews 10:19-25 with a focus on the first part of verse 25. Today we will begin a recap of that message.


     Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (ESV)



There’s an African proverb that says: If you want to go fast, go alone. But if you want to go far, go together. We are better when we are together. Some recent health studies found that social isolation was connected with a 29% increased risk of heart disease and a 32% increased risk of stroke. Our physical bodies are healthier when we are together. Better together is not controversial. We are designed for fellowship.


How should fellowship be prioritized? Where does church fellowship fall? If this sermon could be summed up in a four-word sentence, it would be this: Don’t forsake this fellowship. 


Our Scripture focus for today, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, has two parts to it. The first part is a responsibility, and the second part is a tendency. We have a responsibility towards fellowship and a tendency away from fellowship. Don’t forsake this fellowship. 


Let’s look at what comes before and after this part of Scripture: And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. 


As we look at verses 19-25, we see that verse 24 is the third exhortation in response to two truths about the work and the position of Jesus. In response to Jesus, the author calls for the reader to draw near, hold fast, and consider. Why does this matter? It informs us that this fellowship, this meeting together, is built on the foundation of two things: the blood of Jesus providing access to God and his priestly ministry on behalf of the readers. In other words, this fellowship the author is talking about is not about something that the people have done or who they are. At its core, it's about what Christ has done and who he is on their behalf. That's how this context informs this fellowship we're talking about.


Meeting together would include Sunday morning church but it wouldn’t be limited to that. Participating in fellowship has a purpose: to stir up one another to love and good works. Meeting together is more than just showing up for church. You can’t cook unless you’re in the kitchen and likewise you can’t stir up unless you’re in fellowship. Just because you’re in the kitchen doesn’t mean you are cooking. Likewise, attending church doesn’t mean we are participating in the fellowship that is being talked about in verses 24 and 25. This gathering has a momentum to it. It has an inertia that is pushing us to love and good works. This type of fellowship should not be neglected. As Christians we have a duty or responsibility towards one another. 


You may have heard people say they can live the Christian life apart from the church. This text says otherwise. We have a responsibility towards one another. 1 Corinthians 12:20-27 says:


As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.


The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.


Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.


It is together in Christian fellowship that we witness to the gospel in a way that we can’t when we are alone. 


During a halftime show at a football game, I saw the band members march in such a way that they formed the identifiable image of Bugs Bunny. Each person had to do his/her part to make it happen. What would have happened if the band members decided to do their own thing? Our God-given responsibility of fellowship towards one another, seen in meeting together, displays the gospel in a remarkable and detailed way that we can’t do when we are alone. 


Are you prioritizing your part, your individual responsibility, at church? When we are all prioritizing our responsibility towards one another, we’ll display a beautiful, detailed picture. Don’t forsake this fellowship; it’s a responsibility. 


Tomorrow we will continue the recap of this sermon with the second half.



Completions to Verses:


·      . . . receives it with joy. 


·      . . . he falls away. Matthew 13:20-21 (NASB) See also Mark 4:16-17 and Luke 8:13


8/17/21


Good morning. This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. 


Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/Vuocb_ulr94



Complete the Verse & Name the BookThe secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may . . . (completion at the end)



Yesterday we recapped the first half of Pastor Michael’s sermon “Elisha’s Last Work” was based on 2 Kings 13:10-25. We saw that Jehoash is concerned about what will happen to Israel once Elisha is gone. Jehoash knows Elisha is responsible for the well-being of Israel. Jehoash has a very small army. With God it is adequate, but without God his army could easily be overthrown. 


Jehoash is going to see Elisha for another reason also. He knows Elisha is on his deathbed. He wants to be with him and in being with him receive something from him: a squeeze of the hand, a last word of encouragement, one last look, one last embrace, a memory of him he can take away with him, a blessing. In ancient Near East culture, the giving of a blessing on one’s deathbed was hugely important. Jehoash was looking for encouragement. He wanted to receive a blessing from Elisha. 


A blessing was given by Elisha. Elisha said, “Get a bow and some arrows,” and he did so. “Take the bow in your hands,” he said to the king of Israel. When he had taken it, Elisha put his hands on the king’s hands.


“Open the east window,” he said, and he opened it. “Shoot!” Elisha said, and he shot. “The LORD’S arrow of victory, the arrow of victory over Aram!” Elisha declared. “You will completely destroy the Arameans at Aphek” (2 Kings 13:15-17).


Shooting an arrow in an easterly direction was shooting it toward Aram. There would be victory over Aram. Elisha was telling Jehoash that after Elisha was gone, God would still be with Israel. 


Elisha then tried to develop within Jehoash his own faith.


Then he said, “Take the arrows,” and the king took them. Elisha told him, “Strike the ground.” He struck it three times and stopped (verse 18). Elisha wanted Jehoash to exercise his own faith in God. It’s easy to depend on other people’s faith. It’s easy to say to other people, “Trust God.” However, when it comes to our own lives, it’s sometimes difficult to trust God. 


Jehoash doesn’t have his own faith so he is relying on the faith of Elisha, but Elisha wants Jehoash to develop his own faith and develop a relationship with God. Jehoash doesn’t really know God. God is not a high priority in his life. To Jehoash, Jehovah is just one of many gods. 


The man of God was angry with him and said, “You should have struck the ground five or six times; then you would have defeated Aram and completely destroyed it. But now you will defeat it only three times” (verse 19). 


The directions Elisha had given Jehoash were to strike the ground and keep striking the ground (the meaning of the word strike in Hebrew), but Jehoash quit after three strikes. Elisha knows that each strike of the arrow is symbolically a battle won. Therefore, only three battles would be won. Jehoash doesn’t exercise his faith. He thinks God is limited. 


We do the same. We act as though God is limited. We put God in a box that limits his power. We need to release God from the box we are holding him in and let God show us his unlimited power. God is not a limited God. Our faith should not be limited. Jesus said, “With God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26b). 


Jehoash stopped short with God. He did not give himself completely over to God. He wanted God to be his copilot but not his pilot. Is God really God of your life or is he something you attempt to control?


Elisha died and was buried.


Now Moabite raiders used to enter the country every spring. Once while some Israelites were burying a man, suddenly they saw a band of raiders; so they threw the man’s body into Elisha’s tomb. When the body touched Elisha’s bones, the man came to life and stood up on his feet.


Hazael king of Aram oppressed Israel throughout the reign of Jehoahaz. But the LORD was gracious to them and had compassion and showed concern for them because of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. To this day he has been unwilling to destroy them or banish them from his presence.


Hazael king of Aram died, and Ben-Hadad his son succeeded him as king. Then Jehoash son of Jehoahaz recaptured from Ben-Hadad son of Hazael the towns he had taken in battle from his father Jehoahaz. Three times Jehoash defeated him, and so he recovered the Israelite towns (verses 20-25).


Jehoash had limited faith. His faith was sufficient for three battles. He could have won more. He could have won them all and saved his country.


Elisha wanted Jehoash to exercise his faith in God and trust God who is not limited in power, but Jehoash did not do either.


The reason for the story of the dead man coming to life when his body touched the bones of Elisha is to show the power of God. God’s power was not limited to Elisha’s life. God’s power is unlimited. He can do whatever he pleases to do, and that includes raising a dead man back to life. 


This story is a partial victory. It shows what happens when we have faith in a limited God: God limits his power in our lives. Who is your God? Are you limiting him? Nothing is impossible with God. God wants us to exercise our faith in an unlimited God. 


Jesus is extending his hand to you today and asking, “Do you trust me? I know you can’t see the end, but do you trust me?” Put your hand in his and trust him. He is God, and he is not limited in power. Trust him. Obey him. Follow him. Watch him pour out his power in your life. 



Verse Completion. . . observe all the words of this law. Deuteronomy 29:29 (NASB)


8/16/21


Good morning. This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. 


Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/j9USi_Imo5E



Complete the Verse & Name the BookBeloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: . . . (completion at the end)



Yesterday Pastor Michael’s sermon “Elisha’s Last Work” was based on 2 Kings 13:10-25. Today we will start a recap of that message.


In the Disney movie, “Aladdin”, there’s a line that’s repeated twice: Do you trust me? When I hear that line, I can’t help but picture God saying to me: Do you trust me? At times it’s easy for us to say that we do. At other times we hesitate but go ahead and trust him in the end. And then there are times when we say: “I’d like to. I’d really like to get to that point, but this is a big deal. My whole life is at stake. I’m not sure I’m with you on this one.” So we end up not trusting God with our life. It’s not because we don’t have faith; it’s because we don’t have enough faith. We have limited faith. Another way of saying it is we have faith, but our faith is in a limited God. We view God as being limited. We don’t trust his power. 


What happens when we have faith in a limited God? Our passage of Scripture for today answers that question. Jehoash, the grandson of Jehu, is now king of Israel. Elisha is around 100 years old at this point. He’s probably been a prophet for around 80 years. 


Now Elisha was suffering from the illness from which he died. Jehoash king of Israel went down to see him and wept over him. “My father! My father!” he cried. “The chariots and horsemen of Israel!” (2 Kings 13:14)


Jehoash was not a good king. Verse 11 tells us: [Jehoash] did evil in the eyes of the LORD and did not turn away from any of the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit; he continued in them. 


It’s interesting that such a king would travel to see Elisha and weep over him. Jehoash was not committed to the ways of God, and yet he wanted to go see Elisha who was completely committed to the ways of God. Elisha’s name means “God saves” and that’s what he has been doing with his life—demonstrating that God saves. Jehoash lives for himself and follows other gods while Elisha lives his life for Jehovah and Jehovah only—the one, true God. 


Jehoash wept over Elisha and said, “My father! My father! The chariots and horsemen of Israel!” We saw this earlier when Elisha was walking with Elijah and Elijah went up to heaven. Elisha saw this and cried out, “My father! My father! The chariots and horsemen of Israel!” (2 Kings 2:12a). My father indicates authority. When Jehoash said that to Elisha, he was acknowledging that Elisha had authority over the king. The chariots and horsemen of Israel was a phrase that meant the protector of Israel. Elisha had been the one who had been carrying Israel. 


Nothing had been left of the army of Jehoahaz except fifty horsemen, ten chariots and ten thousand foot soldiers, for the king of Aram had destroyed the rest and made them like the dust at threshing time (2 Kings 13:7). Jehoahaz realizes Elisha is the one who gives strength, power, and protection to Israel; it’s not his chariots and horsemen. 


Elisha saved Joram from being wiped out when he fought Moab. Elisha saved Jehoash from being ambushed by the Assyrians. Elisha is the one who brought the Assyrian army into the center of Israel to be attacked by Israel. Elisha was the protector of Israel. Of course we know it was really God who was the protector of Israel, and God used Elisha to carry out his will. Jehoash realizes he never would have been king if it hadn’t been for Elisha. He owes his kingship to Elisha. 


It’s interesting that a pagan king, Jehoash, recognizes the influence that godly people have in a kingdom. Nations are protected by God through his godly people. America is protected because of the godly people living here. A country rises and falls based on the righteousness of the people. Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed because not even five righteous people could be found in the cities. 


Followers of God are responsible for the well-being of a nation. That’s why Satan works so hard at turning the church into the world. He wants Christians to compromise with the world and have God be one compartment of our lives rather than being given over to God completely. Satan doesn’t want us being salt and light to the world. He wants us to blend in with the world. He wants us doing the same things the world does. 


Jehoash knows Elisha is responsible for the well-being of his country. He is afraid of what is going to happen to Israel once Elisha is gone. Jehoash hardly has an army. With God working through Elisha, the army is sufficient. Without God working through Elisha, the army is very inadequate. 


Tomorrow we will complete this recap of Pastor Michael’s sermon with the second half.



Verse Completion. . . every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God. 1 John 4:1-2 (NASB)


8/14/21


Good morning. This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.


Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/6UKbyjY1vqk


Complete the Verse & Name the Book: ”The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to . . . (completion at the end)


It’s vacation time, so for the next week or so we will be going back into the archives and looking at some devotionals from more than two years back.


Something that's been on my mind recently is Matthew 18:1-7:


About that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, "Who is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?"


Jesus called a little child to him and put the child among them. Then he said,"I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.

"And anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf is welcoming me. But if you cause one of these little ones who trusts in me to fall into sin, it would be better for you to have a large millstone tied around your neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea.

"What sorrow awaits theworld, because it tempts people to sin. Temptations are inevitable, but what sorrow awaits the person who does the tempting."


I don't know about you, but I don't want a large millstone tied around my neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea (or even a swimming pool for that matter). Jesus does not take sin lightly, and He has seriousconsequences for those who cause others to sin. How might we cause others to sin? I'm sure the list is long, but here are some to consider:

·  Teaching someone false doctrine. Saying something is okay when the Bible says it's not okay.

·  Offering a beer to someone known to be an alcoholic

·  Flirting with someone else's wife

·  Sharing pornographic material

·  Sexual immorality, theft, lying, slander (see Matthew 15:19)

·  Encouraging a person to spend money you know they don't have

·  Antagonizing a person known to have a short fuse

·  Introducing a child to anything bad

·  Inviting a friend with a gambling problem to the casino

·  Showing someone how to hustle a less savvy person out of their money


Here's my prayer for today: "Lord, guard my actions carefully. Don't let me lead anyone astray. Stop me in my tracks when I start to lead another person into a temptation. May my actions draw people closer to you rather than weakening their relationship with You. Keep my heart pure so my actions are pure. Fill me with your Spirit, so the fruits of Your Spirit flow out through me. In Jesus' name, Amen."



Verse Completion: . . . us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law. Deuteronomy 29:29 (NASB)


8/13/21


Good morning. This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.


Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/r5L6QlAH3L4


Complete the Verse & Name the Book: ”But it shall come about, if you will not obey the LORD your God, to observe to do all His commandments and His statutes with which I charge you today, that all these curses shall do not turn aside from any of the words which I command you today, to the right or to the left, to go after. . . (completion at the end)


It’s vacation time, so for the next week or so we will be going back into the archives and looking at some devotionals from more than two years back.


Yesterday I wrote about being open to God stretching you to do something you don't feel capable of doing. If it's something you can accomplish with your own skills and abilities, you're not being stretched far enough. Try accomplishing something you could only do if God equipped you and gave you the strength to see it through. Maybe it's being a worker in Sunday School. Perhaps it's being an usher. Maybe God has given you a vision for landscaping a section of our church property. There's the possibility God is telling you to volunteer your cooking skills for church events (such as the MOI monthly meeting). Maybe the Lord has placed an organization such as Love INC on your heart. Perhaps there's a job you feel you should apply for but haven't done it yet.


The possibilities are endless and the excuses to not be able to  follow through with something God has asked you to do are endless as well: I don't know who to talk to about it; I've never done this before; I didn't do well in school; my body isn't able to do much these days; others could do much better than me; that would make me feel very uncomfortable; I'm too old for something this adventurous.


I was surprised to read in Exodus 7:6-7,"So Moses and Aaron did just as the LORD had commanded them. Moses was eighty years old, and Aaron was eighty-three when they made their demands on Pharaoh."You might think, "Yeah, but that was when people were living to be 700-900 years old." No, Moses died at 120 and Aaron at 123. So you're not too old! All God needs from you is a willing heart. Pray and ask God what He wants you to do. Ask God to not let the idea leave you if it's really from Him. Let the adventure begin!



Verse Completion: . . . come upon you and overtake you. Deuteronomy 28:15 (NASB)


8/12/21


Good morning. This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.


Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/nWmjpF613y4


Complete the Verse & Name the Book: and do not turn aside from any of the words which I command you today, to the right or to the left, to go after. . . (completion at the end)


It’s vacation time, so for the next week or so we will be going back into the archives and looking at some devotionals from more than two years back.


Have you ever feltinadequate to do a task given to you? I remember when I got my first teaching job. I had to attendorientation for a few days, fly home, pack up, and move across the state. On the plane ride home, I seriously prayed the plane would crash (the ultimate in selfishness). I felt totally inadequate to face 30 fifth graders when most of what I'd been given in college was theory. I was overwhelmed before I'd even got started!

Moses had similar feelings (although he had considerably more responsibility than a class of 30 kids). In Exodus 3:10 God says to Moses,"Now go for I am sending you to Pharaoh. You must lead my people Israel out of Egypt."

But Moses protested to God, "Who am I to appear before Pharaoh? Who am I to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt?"

God answered, "I will be with you."

Exodus 4:1 says,But Moses protested again, "What if they won't believe me or listen to me? What if they say, 'The LORD never appeared to you'?"

Picking up the story in verse 10:But Moses pleaded with the LORD, "O Lord, I'm not very good with words. I never have been, and I'm not now, even though you have spoken to me. I get tongue-tied, and my words get tangled."

Then the LORD asked Moses, "Who makes a person's mouth? Who decides whether people speak or do not speak, hear or do not hear, see or do not see? Is it not I, the LORD? Now go! I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you in what to say."

But Moses again pleaded, "Lord, please! Send someone else."

Sometimes God wants to stretch us. I wanted the easy way out and not have to face 30 kids, but God had plans to stretch me. It wasn't easy. I didn't like it. I felt unfit for the job, but I called upon the Lord to help me, and He answered my desperate plea.

In what way does the Lord want to stretch you? Has He been talking to you about something He wants you to do? Maybe you feel like Moses or I felt, and you don't want to be stretched quite that far. Step out in faith! You won't regret it in the long run!



Verse Completion: . . . other gods to serve them. Deuteronomy 28:14 (NASB)


8/11/21


Good morning. This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.


Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/TLU9gERpnJY


Complete the Verse & Name the Book: “Now it shall be, if you will diligently obey the LORD your God, being careful to do all His commandments which I command you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if . . . (completion at the end)


It’s vacation time, so for the next week or so we will be going back into the archives and looking at some devotionals from more than two years back.


Matthew 15:1-9 says:

Some Pharisees and teachers of religious law now arrived from Jerusalem to see Jesus. They asked him, "Why do your disciples disobey our age-old tradition? For they ignore our tradition of ceremonial hand washing before they eat."

Jesus replied,"And why do you, by your traditions, violate the direct commandments of God? For instance, God says, 'Honor your father and mother,' and 'Anyone who speaks disrespectfully of father or mother must be put to death.' But you say it is all right for people to say to their parents, 'Sorry, I can't help you. For I have vowed to give to God what I would have given to you.' In this way, you say they don't need to honor their parents. And so you cancel the word of God for the sake of your own tradition. You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote,

'These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.'"

What do we do today that cancels the word of God for the sake of our own tradition? The list is probably endless, but here are a few to ponder:

·  Repeating what was going on back then—giving to charity when our own family needs help.

·  Going to church on Sunday and feeling like that gets us good with God for the week.

·  Misusing the name of the LORD.

·  Hating our brother.

·  Letting greed consume us.

·  Spreading lies.

What's most important is our heart. We have to insure it's close to God. We need to be most concerned with what pleases Him. We want to do those things that honor Him and bring glory to His name. Let's make sure we don't error by saying God has said things when He hasn't. We know what God says when we read His word and see it firsthand for ourselves.



Verse Completion: . . . you will obey the LORD your God. Deuteronomy 28:1-2 (NASB)


8/10/21


Good morning. This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.


Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/9PugD11k3JU


Complete the Verse & Name the Book: “You shall not muzzle the ox while . . . (completion at the end)


It’s vacation time, so for the next week or so we will be going back into the archives and looking at some devotionals from more than two years back.

Genesis 37-50 tells most of the story of Joseph. When Joseph was sold to slave traders by his brothers, the future didn't look very promising. When he was sitting in jail for doing what was right (fleeing from Potiphar's wife who tried to seduce him), the future looked rather bleak. But God had a plan, and He wanted Joseph to trust Him with it. In Chapter 45 Joseph, as a ruler, reveals himself to his brothers. Verses 4-8 tell what happened:


"Please, come closer," [Joseph] said to [his brothers]. So they came closer. And he said again, "I am Joseph, your brother, whom you sold into slavery in Egypt. But don't be upset, and don't be angry with yourselves for selling me to this place. It was God who sent me here ahead of you to preserve your lives. This famine that has ravaged the land for two years will last five more years, and there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. God has sent me ahead of you to keep you and your families alive and to preserve many survivors. So it was God who sent me here, not you! And he is the one who made me an adviser to Pharaoh—the manager of his entire palace and the governor of all Egypt.


Can you look back at times in your life when it seemed like God didn't know what He was doing, but then you realized you were wrong? I remember one time when I was living in Forks, and I was trying to get a job in Beaverton, Oregon. I finally got an interview (after quite a process) with a great principal. During the interview, I knew I would like working for this lady. I was the last person interviewed for the position, and after the interview, the principal said, "Normally, I would be able to tell you right now you have the job. However, this time I have had numerous amazing candidates, so I'm going to have to go back over every candidate very carefully and pick the one that I think best suits this specific assignment. If for some reason you are not selected, don't be disheartened. It wouldn't be because I thought you wouldn't be able to do a fine job. It would be because it wasn't the perfect fit for my particular needs."


The job I had interviewed for was at an open-concept school (the latest and greatest in education that meant there were no walls between classrooms). Even though I didn't have any experience in this type of setting, I was open to it and felt I could adapt quite easily. Well, I didn't get the job. I was very disappointed. I really felt like I was going to get the job because I felt an instant connection with the principal. I was very optimistic that this was going to work out. I had prayed about it previously and was quite confident this was the job God had for me. I didn't see how anything better could ever come up.


Sometime later I had an interview at a different school in the same Beaverton district. This time it was the perfect match. This time it was what God had picked out for me. I LOVED the school! The principal was incredible. The staff had a lot of Christians my age that were a lot of fun. I clicked with the kids, and the parents were so supportive . . . it was more than I'd ever dreamed of. I ended up staying at that school for 21 years. God had a plan all along, and it was the best plan.


Do you have a story of a situation where it seemed like God had forsaken you, but later on you ended up seeing the big picture and eventually understood what God was up to? If so, I'd love to hear it. Send it to me.


There are times when God doesn't let us see the good outcome in the end like he did with Joseph and me. There are stories of missionaries who planted seeds for many years, and didn't get to see the harvest of all their difficult and unappreciated labor. Abraham was told his family would be like the sands on the seashore, and he certainly never saw that. Moses didn't enter the Promised Land. Sometimes God allows us to see His big picture for us, and sometimes He doesn't. Our job is to trust Him, regardless, because He can be trusted. He is 100% faithful! If we don't get to see the big picture in this life, we will in the next. We'll have plenty of time to sit down with Jesus about everything. Are you making your list of things you want to talk to Him about?



Verse Completion: . . . he is threshing. Deuteronomy 25:4 (NASB)


8/9/21


Good morning. This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.


Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/0ZkmDqk2ivs


Complete the Verse & Name the Book: “When you reap your harvest in your field and have forgotten a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it; it shall be for the alien, for the orphan, and for the widow, in order that . . . (completion at the end)


It’s vacation time, so for the next week or so we will be going back into the archives and looking at some devotionals from more than two years back.

In Matthew 13, Jesus gives the parable of the farmer scattering seed. In verse 12 Jesus said, "To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them." Considering what comes next, I believe this means listening with a soft heart—a heart that is pliable; a heart that has surrendered to God and is willing to formed into anything God desires.

Verses 14 and 15 continue with the words of Jesus,


This fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah that says, 'When you hear what I say, you will not understand. When you see what I do, you will not comprehend. For the hearts of these people are hardened, and their ears cannot hear, and they have closed their eyes—so their eyes cannot see, and their ears cannot hear, and their hearts cannot understand, and they cannot turn to me and let me heal them.'


Those are some serious consequences when we harden our hearts:

·       When we hear the pastor speak, the words don't penetrate any longer.

·       When we read God's word, the Holy Spirit no longer speaks through the words to our heart.

·       We no longer hear God telling us to turn to Him and let Him heal us.

Brothers and sisters, let's all keep our hearts soft toward God, listening for His voice as we read His word and pray, and obeying when He speaks.



Verse Completion: . . . the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. Deuteronomy 24:16 (NASB)


8/7/21


Good morning. This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. 


Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/r8Td9cZajyE



Complete the Verse & Name the Book“Fathers shall not be put to death for their sons, nor shall sons be put to death for their fathers; everyone shall be put to death for . . . (completion at the end)



It’s vacation time, so for the next week or so we will be going back into the archives and looking at some devotionals from more than two years back.


I was reading today in Genesis 39 about Joseph in Potiphar's house and then being put in prison. Several things struck me. First of all, in verse 2 it says, "The LORD waswithJoseph, so he succeeded in everything did as he served in the home of his Egyptian master." We need the LORD with us, don't we? The book we've been reading in Home Teams is called With, and that's the premise of the whole book—that we need to spend time with God (praying, reading His word, building relationship). When God is with us, we will succeed in all we do as we serve Him.


When Potiphar's wife tried to seduce Joseph, he replied in verse nine with,"How could I do such a wicked thing? It would be a great sin against God."I think we often feel like our sins against other people are simply that—sins against another person. But when we sin, it's always a sin against God. David realized that. When David was tempted with lust for Bathsheba, he should have done what Joseph did and literally RUN AWAY from the temptation. Instead he moved toward the temptation instead of away from it, and ended up committing adultery with Bathsheba. Psalm 51:1-4 contains David's prayer of repentance:


Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love. Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins. Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my  sin. For I recognize my rebellion; it haunts me day and night. Against you, and you alone, have I sinned; I have done what is evil in your sight. You will be proved right in what you say, and your judgment against me is just.


Joseph ends up getting thrown in prison by Potiphar for doing what was right. Potiphar believed his wife's lies. When we do what is right, the result can be negative. That doesn't mean we stop doing what is right. God calls us to do what is right, and leave the consequences up to Him to sort out. Verse 21 tells us what happened in prison:But the LORD was with Joseph in the prison and showed him his faithful love. And the LORD made Joseph a favorite with the prison warden . . . The LORD was with him and caused everything he did to succeed.


What happens in the end is what really matters—temporary setbacks aren't that big of a deal in the big picture. What happens to our souls in the end is what really matters.



Verse Completion. . . his own sin. Deuteronomy 24:16 (NASB)


8/6/21


Good morning. This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. 


Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/lK80AdFdmCM



Complete the Verses & Name the Book:

·      But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by . . . 


·      Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to . . . (completions at the end)



It’s vacation time, so for the next couple of weeks or so we will be going back into the archives and looking at some devotionals from more than two years back.



My mom used to tell me, "One lie leads to another." This was certainly the case with Jacob and his mother, Rebekah. When Isaac was ready to give the firstborn son his blessing, Rebekah told Jacob to deceive his father and step in to receive the blessing instead of his brother Esau. Genesis 27:18-20 says, 


So Jacob took the food to his father. "My father?" he said.


"Yes, my son," Isaac answered. "Who are you—Esau or Jacob?"


Jacob replied, "It's Esau, your firstborn son. I've done as you told me. Here is the wild game. Now sit up and eat it so you can give me your blessing."


Here are the lies contained above in just these few words:


· Jacob is not Esau.


· Jacob is not the firstborn.


· Jacob did not do as his father told him.


· Jacob did not have wild game.


· Jacob is the one who deserves the blessing.


Isaac asked, "How did you find it so quickly, my son?"


"The LORD your God put it in my path!" Jacob replied.


I seriously doubt Jacob went into this conspiracy planning on lying about God, but Jacob needed his father to believe his lies, so he took his lies to the next level to bring validity to his story. As an onlooker, it's easy for me to say to Jacob, "How foolish! How could you fall that badly so quickly?"


Then in verse 24, the lies continue:


"But are you really my son Esau?" [Isaac] asked.


"Yes, I am," Jacob replied.


My mom was right, one lie does lead to another. My mom used to remind me, "Honesty is the best policy." My former pastor used to say, "Sin will take you farther than you want to go. Sin will keep you longer than you want to stay. Sin will cost you more than you want to pay." So true!


Let's be people of integrity speaking the truth at all times. We are a witness to others when we speak the truth. We are pointing others to Jesus when we are truthful. In John 14:6a, Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life." In John 8:44b, Jesus said, "[The devil] has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies."


Verse Completions:


·      . . . his own lust.


·      . . . sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. James 1:14-15 (NASB)


8/5/21


Good morning. This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. 


Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/zundjUFazfg



Complete the Verses & Name the Book:

·      And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and . . . 


·      Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, . . .


·      teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, . . .  (completions at the end)



It’s vacation time, so for the next couple of weeks or so we will be going back into the archives and looking at some devotionals from more than two years back.


Genesis 13:6-11a says, 


But the land could not support both Abram and Lot with all their flocks and herds living so close together. So disputes broke out between the herdsmen of Abram and Lot. (At that time Canaanites and Perizzites were also living in the land.)


Finally Abram said to Lot, "Let's not allow this conflict to come between us or our herdsmen. After all, we are close relatives! The whole countryside is open to you. Take your choice of any section of the land you want, and we will separate. If you want the land to the left, then I'll take the land on the right. If you prefer the land on the right, then I'll go to the left."


Lot took a long look at the fertile plains of the Jordan Valley in the direction of Zoar. The whole area was well watered everywhere, like the garden of the LORD or the beautiful land of Egypt. (This was before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.) Lot chose for himself the whole Jordan Valley to the east of them.



Do you identify more with Abram or Lot? Unfortunately, I have to say I identify more with Lot (and my wife would identify more with Abram). I tend to look for what would be in my best interests, and Laurie tends to look out for the interests of others. That's one of the qualities of Laurie that attracted me to her. They say opposites attract you know. Hopefully, I'm becoming more like her each day rather than the other way around.


So Lot chose the "best" land. He was looking out for #1. Why not? After all, he was given the choice; Lot didn't do anything underhanded to get the best land. 


Have you ever noticed in life that those who live selfishly don't come out ahead in the end? They may prosper at first (and maybe for a long time), but their selfish lifestyle catches up with them eventually. That was the case with Lot. The dreamland he chose wasn't all he thought it was. Verse 13 tells us the people of the area Lot chose "were extremely wicked and constantly sinned against the LORD." It sort of reminds me of Proverbs 21:19, "It's better to live alone in the desert than with a quarrelsome, complaining wife." It would have been much better for Lot if he had chosen mediocre land with peaceful neighbors.


What this says to me is we need to trust God with everything just like Abram did. No matter what is happening in your life right now, trust God. God sees what's happening. Everything is under control. It might not end up the way it would if you were in control, but God's ways are always the best ways in the end. We don't have the big picture. I Corinthians 13:12 says, "Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely." God can be trusted!



Verse Completions:


·      . . . on earth.


·      . . .  baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,


·      . . .  I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Matthew 28:18-20 (NASB)


8/4/21


Good morning. This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. 


Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/_eJUqY_6tqo



Complete the Verse & Name the Book“Since the LORD your God walks in the midst of your camp to deliver you and to defeat your enemies before you, therefore . . . (completion at the end)



It’s vacation time, so for the next couple of weeks or so we will be going back into the archives and looking at some devotionals from more than two years back.



I was reading Matthew 4:18-22 today. It talks about when Jesus called Peter, Andrew, James and John. What stood out to me was verse 20, "And they left their nets at once and followed him." Verse 22 starts out, "They immediately followed him." Why don't I respond like these four men when God asks me to do something? My first reaction tends to be, "I'm not against that idea, but here's why I can't do that right now . . ." and then it never gets done. I want to grow into an obedient man so that when God speaks, I at once or immediately spring into action. 


Another response I use is, "Lord, is that really You that's telling me to ____________? If it's not You, I don't want to do it." The result is the same; it doesn't get done. I have a good friend who is not like me. I've seen where God told him to do something, and at once or immediately he did it. Even though what God asked him to do was "extreme" and would cost him a lot, my good friend did not hesitate to do what God asked him to do. That's how I want to be. 


My prayer for today is, "Lord, may I be so close to You that when You speak I immediately recognize Your voice. When You ask me to do something, I pray I won't hesitate and make up excuses as to why I can't right now. May I be Your hands and feet to do Your work. In the name of Jesus, Amen."



Verse Completion. . . your camp must be holy; and He must not see anything indecent among you lest He turn away from you. Deuteronomy 23:14 (NASB)


8/3/21


Good morning. This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. 


Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/_UglO7SGUWk



Complete the Verses & Name the Book

·      If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become . . .


·      And if I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, . . . (completions at the end)



It’s vacation time, so for the next couple of weeks or so we will be going back into the archives and looking at some devotionals from more than two years back.



Genesis 6:9 says, This is the account of Noah and his family. Noah was a righteous man, the only blameless person living on earth at the time, and he walked in close fellowship with God.


Would the same be said of you—a righteous man . . . blameless  . . . walking in close fellowship with God? Why not? Do you think Noah was any different than you or me? I don't think so. I think he had the same temptations faced by us. I think he faced the same ridicule from the world we face before he started building the ark. 


Noah made a choice to do what was right. Numerous times a day we have that same choice to choose to do what is right (often the more difficult choice) or wrong (often the easier path). Doing what's right doesn't lead to instant gratification; it's not until later that we see the benefits of making the right choice. Doing what's wrong often does lead to instant gratification but down the road we have to face the consequences of our choice to do wrong. Our culture thrives on instant gratification so we have to learn to be counterculture. It's not easy, and that's why most of the people were not like Noah.


So how do we walk in close fellowship with God? Think of your closest friends. Do you spend time with them? Do you talk often with them? Do you know what they like and don't like? You walk in close fellowship with God when you spend time with Him in prayer and meditation. You learn what He likes and doesn't like when you read His word. 


You and I CAN be like Noah and be righteous (doing the right things), blameless, and walk in close fellowship with God. Enjoy your day with Him today.



Verse Completions:


·      . . . a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.


·      . . . I am nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:1-2 (NASB)


8/2/21


Good morning. This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. 


Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/fyYn21RdBBQ



Complete the Verse & Name the BookThe LORD your God turned the curse into a blessing for you because the LORD your God . . . (completion at the end)



It’s vacation time, so for the next couple of weeks or so we will be going back into the archives and looking at some devotionals from more than two years back.



I Corinthians 9:24-27 says, Don't you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away; but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.


We're in a spiritual race. Have you ever felt like quitting? Have you ever felt like you're in the wrong race (you signed up for the 50-yard dash and you're somehow in the Union Marathon—far more demanding than the Boston Marathon because of all the hills)? Hang in there. Do you remember what awaits us at the finish line? Eternal life with Jesus who died for our sins! 


If you fall down, there are brothers and sisters-in-Christ who will lift you back up and help you get back in the race! Feel out of shape? Start training. Walking is training! Start walking. If you haven't been reading the Bible, now's a good time to start. If you haven't been praying, now's a good time to start. Just stay in the race! Never give up! 


Remember, it's not how you start the race that counts, it's how you finish it. Let's finish strong and help those around us to finish strong, too. None of us know how close we are to the finish line!



Verse Completion. . . loves you. Deuteronomy 23:5 (NASB)


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