Daily Devotion July 2022


Good morning! 

Only one life ‘twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.

                                        --Charles Studd

Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/w_gCSJI6DKM

Complete the Verse & Name the BookLet anyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who desires . . . (completion at the end)

There's the oldadage that says "Silence is golden." Was there ever a time in your life when youfound that to be true? When I was in the Air Force and in tech school in Illinois, my class attended school during the swing shift, so we got out at midnight. We would march from the school to the chow hall at midnight in three flights (or large groups). Once positioned in front of the chow hall, announcements would be given and then flights dismissed according to who had done the best job of marching. 

On my last night of class, a small group of us were dismissed early. We were allowed to walk back to the chow hall on our own. After eating, I told my friend we should hang around the chow hall for some fun. We hid in the bushes not far from where everyone stopped in front of the chow hall. At the opportune moment, I yelled out in an official voice, "B FLIGHT, DISMISSED!" Naturally, all the guys in B Flight started walking toward the chow hall. That didn't go over well with the sergeant in charge. They looked for us high and low, but because we didn't make a sound and were perfectly still in our camouflaged fatigues in the darkness, we were never found. Sometimes it's best to remain quiet.

I don't think being quiet was part of "God's plan" that night, but it was part of God's plan in bringing down the walls of Jericho. Joshua 6:8-10 says,After Joshua spoke to the people, the seven priests with the rams' horns started marching in the presence of the LORD, blowing the horns as they marched. And the Ark of the LORD'S Covenant followed behind them. Some of the armed men marched in front of the priests with the horns and some behind the Ark, with the priests continually blowing the horns. "Do not shout; do not even talk," Joshua commanded. "Not a single word from any of youuntil I tell you to shout. Then shout!" 

For six days the people were silent as they marched around Jericho once each day. On the seventh day, they marched around the city in silence seven times. Joshua 6:20 tells what happened next. "When the people heard the sound of the rams' horns, they shouted as loud as they could. Suddenly, the walls of Jericho collapsed, and the Israelites charged straight into the town and captured it."

There's another time when silence is golden—when we are quiet before God and listen to what he has to say to us.

Psalm 46:10a says, "Be still, and know that I am God!" Meditate on his majesty, his greatness, his power. Meditate on him being above all: King of kings and Lord of lords. Meditate on his great love, mercy, and grace. 

Habakkuk 2:20 says, "But the LORD is in his holy Temple. Let all the earth be silent before him." 

I Kings 19:11-12 says, "Go out and stand before me on the mountain," the LORD told him. And as Elijah stood there, the LORD passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper. 

Lamentations 3:28 says, "Let them sit alone in silence beneath the LORD'S demands." 

Zechariah 2:13 says, "Be silent before the LORD, all humanity, for he is springing into action from his holy dwelling."

Kindergarten teachers tell their students, "Zip it; lock it; put it in your pocket."Note: this is most effective when hand motions accompany the directives.

God has his own way of saying there are times when it's best to remain silent:

Even fools are thought wise when they keep silent; with their mouths shut, they seem intelligent (Proverbs 17:28). I have heard this paraphrased: It's better to keep one's mouth shut and be thought a fool rather than open it and remove all doubt.

It is foolish to belittle one's neighbor; a sensible person keeps quiet (Proverbs 11:12).

Too much talk leads to sin. Be sensible and keep your mouth shut (Proverbs 10:19).

Spouting off before listening to the facts is both shameful and foolish (Proverbs 18:13).

Don't sin by letting anger control you. Think about it overnight and remain silent (Psalm 4:4).

Those who control their tongue will have a long life; opening your mouth can ruin everything (Proverbs 13:3).

This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: "Only in returning to me and resting in me will you be saved. In quietness and confidence is your strength. But you would have none of it." (Isaiah 30:15).

So those who are smart keep their mouths shut, for it is an evil time (Amos 5:13).

A time to be quiet and a time to speak (Ecclesiastes 3:7b).

Take control of what I say, O LORD, and guard my lips (Psalm 141:3).

What should be our ratio of listening to talking? What is our ratio currently? Maybe that's something we can work on today—listening to God and listening to others. What would happen if we had a whole day of just listening for God's voice and not petitioning God for anything? What if we had a whole day of just listening to others and their desires, and we didn't share a single one of our desires?

Verse Completion. . . drink freely from the water of life. Revelation 22:17b (NLT)


Good morning! 

Only one life ‘twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.

                                        --Charles Studd

Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/v0tTVzMI6cw

Complete the Verse & Name the BookBring all the tithes into the storehouse . . . I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out . . . (completion at the end)

Have you ever prayed for the Lord to help others, and God answered your prayer byusing you? This happened to Ruth. Her mother-in-law, Naomi, decided to return to her homeland, Bethlehem, when her husband died. Naomi encouraged Ruth to stay in Moab.But Ruth replied, "Don't ask me to leave you and turn back. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. Wherever you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD punish me severely if I allow anything but death to separate us!" (Ruth 1:16-17)

Ruth and Naomi moved to Bethlehem. Now there was a wealthy andinfluential man in Bethlehem named Boaz, who was a relative of Naomi's husband, Elimelech.(Ruth 2:1) Boaz was eligible to redeem Elimelech's family line and preserve Naomi's family according to the marriage laws (see Deuteronomy 25:5-10). Ruth loved Boaz who had been so kind to her when she worked in his fields. She couldn't imagine anything better than being married to Boaz. I'm sure she prayed many prayers for God to make that happen. You can read Naomi's plan to make this happen and Ruth's actions in Ruth 3. 

Another example of looking to God to take care of a concern is found in Mark 6:35-44:Late in the afternoon his disciples came to him and said, "This is a remote place, and it's already getting late. Send the crowds away so they can go to the nearby farms and villages and buy something to eat."

But Jesus said,"You feed them."

"With what?" they asked. "We'd have to work for months to earn enough money to buy food for all these people!"

"How much bread do you have?"he asked."Go and find out."

The disciples found out they needed to do something to make what they desired come about: find out what food was available, organize the people into groups, distribute the food to the people, and clean up after the meal. The disciples were the answer to their prayer with the power of God behind them. Ruth was theanswer to her prayer with the power of God behind her.

When the poor are prayed for, the answer to that prayer most likely lies in our actions:

When you harvest the crops of your land, do not harvest the grain along the edges of your fields, and do not pick up what the harvesters drop. Leave it for the poor and the foreigners living among you. I am the LORD your God. (Leviticus 23:22)

But if there are any poor Israelites in your towns when you arrive in the land the LORD your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward them. Instead, be generous and lend them whatever they need. Give generously to the poor, not grudgingly, for the LORD your God will bless you in everything you do. There will always be some in the land who are poor. That is why I am commanding you to share freely with the poor and with other Israelites in need. (Deuteronomy 15:7-8, 10-11)

If your neighbor is poor and gives you his cloak as security for a loan, do not keep the cloak overnight. Return the cloak to its owner by sunset so he can stay warm through the night and bless you, and the LORD your God will count you as righteous. (Deuteronomy 24:12-13)

Those who lend money without charging interest, and who cannot be bribed to lie about the innocent. Such people will stand firm forever. (Psalm 15:5)

They share freely and give generously to those in need. Their good deeds will be remembered forever. They will have influence and honor. (Psalm 112:9)

Those who oppress the poor insult their Maker, but helping the poor honors him. (Proverbs 14:31)

Whoever gives to the poor will lack nothing, but those who close their eyes to poverty will be cursed. (Proverbs 28:27)

Share your food with the hungry, and give shelter to the homeless. Give clothes to those who need them, and do not hide from relatives who need your help.(Isaiah 58:7)

What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don't show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, "Goodbye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well"—but then you don't give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? (James 2:14-16)

When we pray for the needs of ourselves or others, let's remember God is probably wanting to use us to answer that prayer. Let's be sensitive to the Holy Spirit leading us in the right path to take.

Verse Completion. . . a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Malachi 3:10-11 (NLT)


Good morning! 

Only one life ‘twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.

                                        --Charles Studd

Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/e5MIN8OjO9M

Complete the Verse & Name the BookThen the devil, who had deceived them, was thrown into the fiery lake of burning sulfur, joining the beast and the false prophet. There . . . (completion at the end)

Today we will conclude a recap of the sermon “An Exemplary Ministry” based on 1 Thessalonians 2:1-12. This passage shows us five principles of exemplary ministry. The first is our ministry is not in vain. The second is our ministry needs to be done with boldness. The third is we need to be gentle in our ministry.

The fourth principle of ministry is working night and day. 9 For you remember, brothers, our labor and toil: we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God.

There’s a theme that can be heard around churches, and that is the theme of burnout. There is a real danger of burnout in ministry, but burnout does not come from too much hard work. Paul worked night and day. Jesus did the same. Jesus worked so hard he didn’t have time to eat. Burnout doesn’t come from hard work; burnout comes from stress. Stress is related to the difference between expectations and possibilities. 

Expectations can be external—expectations placed on us by others such as a supervisor at work, a coworker, a spouse, or a friend. Expectations can also be internal—expectations we place on ourselves. When we are perfectionists, those expectations can be very high. We want to do the job right in order to please our boss, and we want to do the job right because we have high expectations of ourselves. Expectations don’t lead to stress when those expectations are reasonable. Stress enters when expectations become unreasonable. For example, I know someone whose boss said to him, “If you haven’t gone through a divorce because of work, you’re not working hard enough.”

Think of stress as a pyramid. At the bottom is the physical—our bodies physically feel the effects of stress. Next is the emotional—we may become angry or fly off the handle easily. We might become depressed or resentful. Next is relational—we may pull away from relationships with others. We may avoid certain people because they add stress to our lives. We may start blaming others. Others might start avoiding us because all we do is unload on them. 

The apex of the pyramid is spiritual. We may feel that God has withdrawn from us. He may seem far away and not concerned with what we are going through. Deep burnout occurs when stress negatively impacts the physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual parts of our lives. We may reach a breaking point where we will do anything to relieve the stress including doing sinful things. 

We don’t experience negative stress when we see that the expectations placed on us are possible to accomplish. We experience stress when we can’t see how the expectations placed on us can possibly be accomplished. 

Ministry for Jesus should not be stressful. Jesus said,  Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).

When you are in a paid ministry position, you have to remember that it is not a 9:00 to 5:00 job. Ministry is a lifestyle. When is the last time your mom took a day off? 

Of course, ministry doesn’t have to happen in a church. You can do ministry as a banker, a lawyer, or a tent maker. When you’re done making your money for the day, you can do ministry in the evenings or during the weekend. Ministry is night and day regardless of who you are. It’s part of the exemplary model. 

We’re going to be in heaven for eternity; that’s a long time. Right now we have an opportunity for evangelism and discipleship. Let’s make the most of it. Jesus said, “We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work” (John 9:4). 

People are always talking about balancing work and life, but I don’t think Paul would have recognized that; he worked night and day. Of course we can push ourselves too far. Benjamin Franklin said, “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” When Josh Moody’s father noticed in Josh a propensity to overwork, he said to Josh, “Early to rise and late to bed makes a man healthy, wealthy, and dead.” There does have to be balance, but ministry is not a job, and it's not a part-time activity. 

The fifth and final principle is found in Verses 11 and 12: 11 For you know how, like a father with his children, 12 we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.

As we look at trends in our society, we’re confused at what it means to be a Christian man. Men have their masculinity questioned. Paul says were to be like Dad. Of course, the challenge with that is many of us had dads that were not ideal. So what do we do about that? We ourselves become a dad to others. 

There are people in prominent positions of Christian ministry who had fathers who were deeply disappointing to them: alcoholics, borderline abusive, and so on. Their response to that is a determination to be a father for others. Men, don’t spend your whole lives looking for a father figure. We have a father figure—Jesus. Be a father figure to others; show Jesus to others.

When Dr. Moody was very young, one of his earliest memories was feeling extremely guilty about something (even though he doesn’t remember what he had done). In response, he hid under the sink. He recalls hearing his parents calling out his name, but he said nothing. When his father finally found Josh curled up under the sink in the bathroom, he had a stern look on his face and said something like, “Josh, what on earth are you doing? Let’s get on with life.” Getting on with life means, as Paul put it, exhorting (“Get on with it!”), encouraging (“You can do it!”), and charging (“Go for it!”). The fifth principle of ministry is be a dad to those you are discipling. 

Let’s review these five principles of exemplary ministry. First, our ministry is not in vain. Second, our ministry needs to be done with boldness. Third, we need to be gentle in our ministry. Fourth, we need to work at our ministry night and day. Fifth, we need to be a dad to those we are discipling.

What do these five principles remind us of? They remind us of Jesus. Paul is presenting his own example as an example of Christ. That example carried over to others. 1 Thessalonians 1:6-7 says: 6 And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit, 7 so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia.

All of us, whether paid or not, are meant to be examples of Christ to others.

Verse Completion. . . they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. Revelation 20:10 (NLT)


Good morning! 

Only one life ‘twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.

                                        --Charles Studd

Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/rOz4trRzxwk

Complete the Verse & Name the Book”When you give blind animals as sacrifices, isn’t that wrong? And isn’t it wrong to offer animals that are crippled and diseased? Try giving gifts like that to your governor, and see how pleased he is!” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. 

Yesterday we continued a recap of the sermon “An Exemplary Ministry” based on 1 Thessalonians 2:1-12. This passage shows us five principles of exemplary ministry. The first is our ministry is not in vain. The second is our ministry needs to be done with boldness.

When doing some missionary work in a Muslim country, Josh Moody and others were teaching English at a private university. The head of the university was a very wealthy man. After the team had been teaching English as a foreign language for a week or so, he took the group of teachers to his house. On the trip to his house, he described how he had spent decades building a huge mansion for himself. He told the group that the mansion was unfinished, but he described his vision for the future that included swimming pools, more rooms, more balconies, and more gardens. 

As they were all in the car together, Josh Moody felt the Holy Spirit prompting him to say something to the head of the private university, so when the car arrived at the mansion and was stopped, Josh Moody looked the head of the university in the eye and said, “When you’re done with all your additions to your mansion, what’s next?” Of course, the answer to the question was the grave. 

In Luke 12:16-21, Jesus told the parable about the rich fool: “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, 17 and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ 18 And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’ 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ 21 So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”

It would have been easy for Josh Moody to have been intimidated by the head of the university he was teaching at, but God prompted him to be bold. Josh wasn’t being rude to the leader of the university, he was just giving him some food for thought. Josh didn’t want the leader to lose perspective on life. 

It’s easy to lose perspective on life, isn’t it? I was recently with an elderly lady who is living alone and is very lonely. Her health is deteriorating, and she is no longer able to drive due to poor eye sight. She could move into a beautiful facility not far from where she lives that would provide meals, lots of fellowship, transportation, entertainment, and permanent health care. There’s one thing holding her back. What would she do with all her stuff? Even though the place she would be moving into has a kitchen, living room, dining room, two bedrooms, and a storage area, but it’s not big enough for all her stuff! 

Holding on to stuff can burden us! It is when we give ourselves and everything we own to Jesus that we are truly set free. 1 Timothy 6:6-7 tells us: But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. Let’s not lose sight of this truth.

After Josh Moody said what he had to say to the leader of the university, they had a lovely time eating supper together, and they are friends to this day. The point is we can be bold without being rude. 

Boldness comes from being a God-pleaser which releases us from being people-pleasers. As we are bold, we aren’t rude; we’re gentle. And this leads us to our third principle: We need to be gentle in our ministry. 5 For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed—God is witness. 6 Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others, though we could have made demands as apostles of Christ. 7 But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. 8 So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.

Those of us who are proponents of helping men to be men and to stand up and be counted as men need to make sure that we do not forget the female models of ministry. Here is one when Paul tells us to be gentle like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. 

Jesus used a different female model in Matthew 23:37 when he said, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!” When Jesus went to Jerusalem, he felt like a mother hen wanting to gather her children together.  

In verse eight we see that they didn’t just talk, they shared their own lives, and this is what a nursing mother or a mother hen does. A mother doesn’t just give her children lectures, she shares her life with her children. 

There are various people in ministry who end up being too bold; they cross the line and end up being bullies. There have been people like that in church history, and there are people like that today—bullies. We are not to be bullies to our disciples; we’re to be mommies who are gentle with their children and share their very lives with their children.

Verse Completion. . . why should he show you any favor at all?” asks the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.  Malachi 1:8-9  (NLT)


Good morning! 

Only one life ‘twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.

                                        --Charles Studd

Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/NT0HcAr9aeI

Complete the Verse & Name the BookPraise the Lord! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns. Let us be glad and rejoice, and . . . (completion at the end)

Yesterday we started a recap of the sermon “An Exemplary Ministry” based on 1 Thessalonians 2:1-12. This passage shows us five principles of exemplary ministry. The first is our ministry is not in vain.

The second principle is found in the next three verses: 2 But though we had already suffered and been shamefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we had boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in the midst of much conflict. 3 For our appeal does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive, 4 but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts. 

The second principle is our ministry needs to be done with boldness. How we need that today! Many Christians are stepping back from speaking clearly about matters of truth, morality, and spiritual things. We should be taking a step forward in boldness. We often feel huge pressure from those around us; people don’t want to hear the truth. They don’t want to hear what the Bible says. They don’t want to hear the gospel. Because of that we step back and don’t have boldness. However, boldness is part of the calling of ministry. 

There are different models of ministry out there that are not exemplary. Let’s look at a few. 

·      Larry the Legalist. This is the guy who is always trying to put more burdens of law upon you. He has a long list of man-made rules and tries to intimidate other Christians when he sees they are not following these man-made rules. Larry can make you feel guilty. He can make you shy when you’re supposed to be bold. Larry the Legalist isn’t spreading the gospel. Jesus spoke about people like Larry the Legalist when he said in Matthew 15:6b-9: So for the sake of your tradition you have made void the word of God.You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said:

“‘This people honors me with their lips,

but their heart is far from me;

in vain do they worship me,

teaching asdoctrines the commandments of men.’”

·      Priscilla the Progressive. This is the person who is always trying to move Christianity forward. She feels that Christianity needs to change. She feels that the Christianity of the Bible is outdated. It needs to be brought up to speed with contemporary opinions. For example, Priscilla sees nothing wrong with sex outside of marriage. She sees nothing wrong with homosexuality in spite of what the Bible says in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10: Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

Priscilla the Progressive doesn’t want to hear that we are to contend for the faith. Contending involves a struggle in order to surmount a difficulty or danger. Priscilla doesn’t feel like Christianity should be a struggle or put people in danger even though Jude 3 says: Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. Priscilla the Progressive doesn’t want to say or do anything that is countercultural. She doesn’t want to offend anyone. 

·      Harry the Heretic. He’s the one who always questions God’s word. He can be heard saying, “Did God really say . . .?” When you’re around him, it seems like he is trying to weaken your confidence in the Scriptures. 

·      Jack the Sheep Stealer. This is the person who is always presenting and positioning his ministry in a way that will attract other Christians from other good Bible-teaching ministries to his ministry. Churches should not be positioning their ministries to steal people away from other churches. Churches need to be winning people for Christ, training them, and sending them out to win others for Christ. There’s absolutely no point, in terms of kingdom progress, to move one set of sheep from one pen to another. 

Verse Completion. . . let us give honor to him. Worship only God. For the essence of prophecy is to give a clear witness for Jesus. Revelation 19:6b-7a, 9b (NLT)


Good morning! 

Only one life ‘twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.

                                        --Charles Studd

Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/4VukxLl6HLE

Complete the Verse & Name the BookJudge fairly, and show mercy and kindness to one another. Do not oppress widows, orphans, foreigners, and the poor. And do not . . . (completion at the end)

Yesterday, Ray Copelin gave a sermon based on one of Pastor Moody’s sermons titled “An Exemplary Ministry” that used 1 Thessalonians 2:1-12 as the text. Over the next four days we will share that sermon with you. Let’s begin with the text using the English Standard Version (ESV):

For you yourselves know, brothers, that our coming to you was not in vain. 2 But though we had already suffered and been shamefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we had boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in the midst of much conflict. 3 For our appeal does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive, 4 but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts. 5 For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed—God is witness. 6 Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others, though we could have made demands as apostles of Christ. 7 But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. 8 So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.

9 For you remember, brothers, our labor and toil: we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God. 10 You are witnesses, and God also, how holy and righteous and blameless was our conduct toward you believers. 11 For you know how, like a father with his children, 12 we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.

“Ministry” used in the title of today’s sermon does not refer to those who are paid to do ministry; it refers to all followers of Jesus since we are all called to ministry. Some who are in the ministry are paid to be good; the rest of us are good for nothing. Smiling face outline with solid fill We need to figure out what our model of ministry is here at NCCU and determine what an exemplary ministry is. This passage of Scripture shows us the way. Let’s look at five principles of exemplary ministry. 

The book of Thessalonians shows us how we can live in the light of what we know. We find the first principle in the first verse: For you yourselves know, brothers, that our coming to you was not in vainWe need to realize that our ministry is not in vain even when it may seem like it is in vain. Sometimes it can seem like you’re making no difference whatsoever. The reason for that is the most important parts of ministry are secret; they are hidden within our hearts and only God knows what’s going on in our hearts. 

My wife has a small ministry. She enjoys writing encouraging notes and giving gifts such as cookies, banana bread, or even meals. She doesn’t have any schedule written out, but when the Lord lays someone on her heart, she tries to do something for that person. It’s not an official ministry of the church. It’s a ministry that’s done in secret—well, not any more. 

Not only is our ministry secret, it’s also eternal. Our ultimate reward is in the next life. Your ministry, no matter how small it may seem, is not in vain! Whenever you have the feeling that your ministry isn’t making a difference, it’s highly likely that right then it is making a difference. Why? Because if it wasn’t making a difference, you wouldn’t have the devil whispering in your ear, “What’s the point? Don’t bother with this! You’re wasting your time. Everything you’re doing here is a big time waster. You could be accomplishing so much more! What you’re doing now makes no difference in anybody’s life.”

The devil could be saying this to you at work as you try to live for Christ, at home as you try to draw your family to Christ, or at church as you try to help others grow in Christ. Just know for certain that your ministry is not in vain! Your ministry has eternal fruit! It is very important and of great significance! The first principle of exemplary ministry is our ministry is not in vain.

Verse Completion. . . scheme against each other. Zechariah 7:9b-10 (NLT)


Good morning! 

Only one life ‘twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.

                                        --Charles Studd

Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/3o8b9LjxF0M

Complete the Verse & Name the BookIn a single moment God’s judgment came on you. In a single moment . . . (completion at the end)

Yesterday, we recalled a marriage counselor saying, "The two most importantingredients in a marriage are trust and respect." We looked at respect, and today we'll explore trust.

According toNational Institutes of Health, 88% of divorces are the result ofadultery. It's difficult to trust a marriage partner who has been unfaithful. How does God feel about unfaithfulness to him? He actually has quite a bit to say about it. In Leviticus 20:5-7, the LORD tells Moses, "I myself will turn against them and their families and will cut them off from the community. This will happen to all who commit spiritual prostitution by worshiping Molech.

"I will also turn against those who commit spiritual prostitution by putting their trust in mediums or in those who consult the spirits of the dead. I will cut them off from the community. So set yourselves apart to be holy, for I am the LORDyour God.

Jeremiah 3:1-5 says,"If a man divorces a woman and she goes and marries someone else, he will not take her back again, for that would surely corrupt the land. But you have prostituted yourself with many lovers, so why are you trying to come back to me?" says the LORD. "Look at the shrines on every hilltop. Is there any place you have not been defiled by your adultery with other gods? You sit like a prostitute beside the road waiting for a customer. You sit alone like a nomad in the desert. You have polluted the land with your prostitution and your wickedness. That's why even the spring rains have failed. For you are a brazen prostitute and completely shameless. You say to me, 'Father, you have been my guide since my youth. Surely you won't be angry forever! Surely you can forget about it!' So youtalk, but you keep on doing all the evil you can."

Ezekiel 16:14-63 addresses this problem as well. Here are just five of those verses,"But you thought your fame and beauty were your own. So you gave yourself as a prostitute to every man who came along. Your beauty was theirs for the asking. You used the lovely things I gave you to make shrines for idols, where you played the prostitute. Unbelievable! How could such a thing ever happen? You took the very jewels and gold and silver ornaments I had given you and made statues of men and worshiped them. This is adultery against me! You used the beautifully embroidered clothes I gave you to dress your idols. Then you used my special oil and my incense to worship them. Imagine it! You set before them as a sacrifice the choice flour, olive oil, and honey I had given you, says the Sovereign LORD."

Hosea 4:12, 5:3b-4 says,They ask a piece of wood for advice! They think a stick can tell them the future! Longing after idols has made them foolish. They have played the prostitute, serving other gods and deserting their God. You have left me as a prostitute leaves her husband; you are utterly defiled. Your deeds won't let you return to your God. You are a prostitute through and through, and you do not knowthe LORD.

Amos 3:2-3 says,"From among all the families on the earth, I have been intimate with you alone. That is why I must punish you for all your sins." Can two people walk together without agreeing on the direction?

Goddespisesadultery with him as a married person despises a spouse having adultery with another person. Trust is a big deal and when it's broken, it greatly affects the relationship. God is never unfaithful to us, but we are unfaithful to him. Fortunately, God is a loving, gracious, patient, and forgiving God. Ezekiel 36:25-27 records the following words from the LORD: "Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. Your filth will be washed away, and you will no longer worship idols. And I will give you a new heart and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations. 

Proverbs 3:5-6 says, Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do to depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.

Let's make sure we are doing that which builds trust with our spouse and trust with God.

Verse Completion. . . all the wealth of the city is gone! Revelation 18:10b, 17a (NLT)


Good morning! 

Only one life ‘twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.

                                        --Charles Studd

Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/rVSYsgGC71s

Complete the Verse & Name the BookCome away from [Babylon] my people. Do not take part in her sins, or . . . (completion at the end)

Before getting married, my wife and I went for marriagecounseling. One day the counselor asked us, "What are the two most importantingredients for a good marriage?" How would you have answered that? We both knew the first was love, but we were stuck on the second. The counselor surprised us when she said, "Trust and respect. Without these you don't have a marriage." We thought about it, and now we agree with her.

What about our "marriage" with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ? Are the same twoingredients necessary for a successful relationship? First, let's explorerespect. Respect is "a feeling of deep admiration for someone elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements." Let's look at Deuteronomy 32:48-52: That same day the LORD said to Moses, "Go to Moab, to the mountains east of the river, and climb Mount Nebo, which is across from Jericho. Look out across the land of Canaan, the land I am giving to the people of Israel as their own special possession. Then you will die there on the mountain. You will join your ancestors, just as Aaron, your brother, died on Mount Hor and joined his ancestors. For both of you betrayed me with the Israelites at the waters of Meribah at Kadesh in the wilderness of Zin. You failed to demonstrate my holiness to the people of Israel there. So you will see the land from a distance, but you may not enter the land I am giving to the people of Israel."

"Failed to demonstrate my holiness" sounds like disrespect toward God. Let's go back to Exodus 17:5-6:The LORD said to Moses, "Walk out in front of the people. Take your staff, the one you used when you struck the water of the Nile, and call some of the elders of Israel to join you. I will stand before you on the rock at Mount Sinai. Strike the rock, and water will come gushing out. Then the people will be able to drink." So Moses struck the rock as he was told, and water gushed out as the elders looked on.

With that background, we move to a different time but a similar situation where the Israelites needed water in the wilderness. Numbers 20:8-12 begins with the LORD saying to Moses,"You and Aaron must take the staff and assemble the entirecommunity. As the people watch, speak to the rock over there, and it will pour out its water. You will provide enough water from the rock to satisfy the whole community and their livestock."

So Moses did as he was told. He took the staff from the place where it was kept before the LORD. Then he and Aaron summoned the people to come and gather at the rock. "Listen, you rebels!" he shouted. "Must we bring you water from this rock?" Then Moses raised his hand andstruck the rock twicewith his staff, and water gushed out. So the entire community and their livestock drank their fill.

But the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, "Becauseyou did not trust meenough to demonstrate my holiness to the people of Israel, you will not lead them into the land I am giving them!"

The first time God told Moses to strike the rock to get water,but the second time He told Moses to speak to the rock. By striking the rock the second time, Moses showeddisrespect toward God and His holiness. God still provided water for the Israelites, but Moses was given severe consequences for his action. Deuteronomy 3:23-25 is Moses's appeal to God to let him enter Canaan: "At that time I pleaded with the LORD and said, 'O Sovereign LORD, you have only begun to show your greatness and the strength of your hand to me, your servant. Is there any god in heaven or on earth who can perform such great and mighty deeds as you do? Please let me cross the Jordan to see the wonderful land on the other side, the beautiful hill country and the Lebanon mountains.'

God did not allow Moses to cross over. Showing disrespect to God is a big deal. Disregard for what God says is not a small offense. Disrespect to a marriage partner is a big deal, too. Showing disrespect to a rival gang member can get a person killed. Let's make sure we have the utmost respect for our Creator.

Tomorrow we will explore the importance of trust and being faithful to God.

Verse Completion. . . you will be punished with her. For her sins are piled as high as heaven, and God remembers her evil deeds. Revelation 18:4b-5 (NLT)


Good morning! 

Only one life ‘twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.

                                        --Charles Studd

Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/12NMGC5YjYY

Complete the Verse & Name the BookIt is not by force nor by strength, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. Nothing, not even a mighty . . . (completion at the end)

When the bookThe Good Life: Seeking Purpose, Meaning, and Truth in Your Lifeby Charles Colson came out, I bought a copy for each of my kids. The book took a look at the lives of numerous people as they pursued the good life and how that worked for them. It also explored the search for truth. The author wrote, "We think in order to know how to live, and we learn what's true through living. The good life demands a union of the two, an integrity of life and thought, the poet's 'deeper communication'."

What does the Bible say is the key to life—the good life? Let's take a look at Deuteronomy 28:1-14. It speaks to blessings:

Set high above the nations of the world

Towns and fields blessed

Children and crops blessed

Offspring of herds and flocks blessed

Fruit baskets and breadboards blessed

Wherever one goes or whatever one does is blessed

Enemies conquered when they attack

Storehouses filled with grain

Established as God's holy people

A people claimed by God and awed by other nations


Many children

Numerous livestock

Abundant crops

Rain sent at the proper time

Work blessed

Lend to others, but never need to borrow from others

Always on top and never at the bottom

This sure sounds like the good life to me! But there are conditions. Those that will be blessed must fully obey the LORD and carefully keep all the commands given by God. There cannot be any following of other gods or worshiping them.

If the conditions are not kept, there are serious consequences (verses 15-68):

Towns and fields cursed

Fruit baskets and breadboards cursed

Children and crops cursed

Offspring of herds and flocks cursed

Wherever one goes and whatever one does is cursed

Confusion and frustration in everything done

Afflicted with disease, fever, inflammation, boils, tumors, scurvy, the itch

Driven from Promised Land

Scorching heat and drought

Blight and mildew

Earth hard as iron

Dust poured down from the sky

Defeated by enemies

Madness, blindness, panic

Oppressed and robbed continually with no one to save you

Object of horror, ridicule, mockery

Locusts eating crops

Worms destroying grape vines

Fruit dropping before it ripens

Swarms of insects destroying trees and crops

The list goes on and on. This sure doesn't sound like the good life! The good news is that there is hope—God forgives. Deuteronomy 30:3-9a says,"If at that time you and your children return to the LORD your God, and if you obey with all your heart and all your soul all the commands I have given you today, then the LORD your God will restore your fortunes. He will have mercy on you and gather you back from all thenations where he has scattered you. Even though you are banished to the ends of the earth, the LORD your God will gather you from there and bring you back again. The LORD your God will return you to the land that belonged to your ancestors, and you will possess that land again. Then he will make you even more prosperous and numerous than your ancestors!

"The LORD your God will change your heart and the hearts of all your descendants, so that you will love him with all your heart and soul and so you may live! The LORD your God will inflict all these curses on your enemies and on those who hate and persecute you. Then you will again obey the LORD and keep all his commands that I am giving you today.

"The LORD your God will then make you successful in everything you do."

Nowwe're back to the good life! Let's stay in the good life. So what is the key to life? It is found inDeuteronomy 30:19b-20a: Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! You can make this choice by loving the LORD your God, obeying him, and committing yourself firmly to him. This is the key to your life.

Verse Completion. . . mountain, will stand in Zerubbabel’s way; it will become a level plain before him! Zechariah 4:6b-7a (NLT)


Good morning! 

Only one life ‘twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.

                                        --Charles Studd

Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/2vA8NxjZ6JI

Complete the Verse & Name the Bookbut the Lamb will defeat them because he is Lord of all lords and King of all kings. And his called and chosen and . . .(completion at the end)

Deuteronomy 8:6-10 says,"So obey the commands of the LORD your God by walking in his ways and fearing him. For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land of flowing streams and pools of water, with fountains and springs that gush out in the valleys and hills. It is a land of wheat and barley; of grapevines, fig trees, and pomegranates; of olive oil and honey. It is a land where food is plentiful and nothing is lacking. It is a land where iron is as common as stone, and copper is abundant in the hills. When you have eaten your fill, be sure to praise the LORD your God for the good land he has given you."

It's almost like Moses is describing the area where we live. You would think he was describing Union . . . well, maybe not the fig trees. Don't you feel like you're living in the Promised Land now? I sure do, and I praise God for the chance to be here. It’s like God is preparing us for heaven by putting us in Union.

Deuteronomy 8 continues,"But that is the time to be careful! Beware that in your plenty you do not forget the LORD your God and disobey his commands, regulations, and decrees that I am giving you today. For when you have become full and prosperous and have built fine homes to live in, and when your flocks and herds have become very large and your silver and gold have multiplied along with everything else, he careful! Do not become proud at that time and forget the LORD your God, who rescued you from slavery in the land of Egypt. Do not forget that he led you through the great and terrifying wilderness with its poisonous snakes and scorpions, where it was so hot and dry. He gave you water from the rock! He fed you with manna in the wilderness, a food unknown to your ancestors. He did this to humble you and test you for your own good. He did all this so you would never say to yourself, 'I have achieved this wealth with my own strength and energy.' Remember the LORD you're God. He is the one who gives you power to be successful, in order to fulfill the covenant he confirmed to your ancestors with an oath."

There's a real danger that we will drift away from God when "all" our needs and wants are met. That's why Jesus said,"How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God! In fact, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!"(Luke 18:24-25)

When I was in high school, two of us missionary kids went to spend the night at our friend's house. His dad was in the Air Force and not a believer. They normally didn't say grace before the meal, but since the "missionary kids" were visiting, they asked one of us to say grace. Afterwards, the dad said something like, "I've never understood why you thank God for the food when someone else planted the seeds, fertilized, watered, harvested, and sold the food while I worked to earn the money to buy the food. Where was God in this process? Did I miss something?" My buddy and I weren't really prepared with an answer. We were wishing our dads would unexpectedly show up and give an answer. My friend's dad was essentially saying, "I have achieved this wealth with my own strength and energy."

Now, I would be prepared to answer his question with Deuteronomy 8:18a:"Remember the LORD your God. He is the one who gives you power to be successful."Or I could use Job 12:10: "For the life of every living thing is in his hand, and the breath of every human being." If a person doesn't have breath, he can't accomplish a whole lot! In addition, I might use James 1:17: "Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens." I count food as being good.

"You are worthy, O Lord our God, to receive glory and honor and power. For you created all things, and they exist because you created what you pleased."(Revelation 4:11)

Verse Completion. . . faithful ones will be with him. Revelation 17:14b (NLT)


Good morning! 

Only one life ‘twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.

                                        --Charles Studd

Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/dlxytJR5tGU

Complete the Verse & Name the BookThe Accuser, Satan, was there at the angel’s right hand, making accusations against Jeshua. And the LORD said to Satan, . . . (completion at the end)

Teaching drivers' education is an interesting job. I lasted fourteen years (and now you know the real reason for my tremors, ha). I've heard pilots describe their job as "hours and hours of boredom punctuated by moments of sheer terror." The same might apply to a driver ed instructor.

The Oregon Vehicle Code book is over 640 pages long. Fortunately, there's the abbreviated version in the form of the Driver Manual that's in a little booklet and is only 69 pages long. It's hard enough to master the little booklet. I don't know how anyone masters the code book, although I'm sure there are some who try.

When I taught in an elementary school, we had to have rules to make the school function properly: no running in the halls, raise your hand to ask a question, keep your area clean and tidy, and so forth. 

Elementary kids don't do well when there are too many rules. Consequently, our school condensed all the rules down to just a few words: "Is it kind? Is it safe? If not, don't do it."

God has given us the long version of his word in the Bible. Fortunately, within those words are condensed versions of what we need to know. One is found in Deuteronomy 10:12: "And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you? He requires only that you fear the LORD your God, and live in a way that pleases him, and love him and serve him with all your heart and soul."

A summary of rules is found in Matthew 22:34-40: But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees with his reply, they met together to question him again. One of them, an expert in religious law, tried to trap him with this question: "Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?"

Jesus replied, " 'You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments."

If we were to take the words of Jesus and put them into the same form used by the elementary school I taught at, we might write: "Does this show I love God with all my heart, soul, and mind? Does this show I love my neighbor as myself? If not, don't do it."

Verse Completion. . . “I, the LORD, reject your accusations, Satan. Yes, the LORD, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebukes you. This man is like a burning stick that has been snatched from the fire.” Zechariah 3:1b-2  (NLT)


Good morning! 

Only one life ‘twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.

                                        --Charles Studd

Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/vuM9Ve0xIzU

Complete the Verse & Name the Book. . . they cursed the God of heaven for their pains and sores. But they did not repent of their evil deeds and turn to God. Look, I will come as . . . (completion at the end)

God told the Israelites some purging was necessary. They needed to eradicate some things in their midst. It was time to oust the bad and replace it with good. Deuteronomy 13:1-5 says,"Suppose there are prophets among you or those who dream dreams about the future, and they promise you signs or miracles, and the predicted signs or miracles occur. If they then say, 'Come, let us worship other gods'—gods you have not known before—do not listen to them. The LORD your God is testing you to see if you truly love him with all your heart and soul. Serve only the LORD your God and fear him alone. Obey his commands, listen to his voice and cling to him. The false prophets or visionaries who try to lead you astray must be put to death, for they encourage rebellion against the LORD your God, who redeemed you from slavery and brought you out of the land of Egypt. Since they try to lead you astray from the way the LORD your God commanded you to live, you must put them to death. In this way you willpurge the evil from among you."

Deuteronomy 12:2-3:"When you drive out the nations that live there, you must destroy all the places where they worship their gods—high on the mountains, up on the hills, and under every green tree. Break down their altars and smash their sacred pillars. Burn their Asherah poles and cut down their carved idols. Completely erase the names of their gods!"

Deuteronomy 16:19:"You must never twist justice or show partiality. Never accept a bribe, for bribes blind the eyes of the wise and corrupt the decisions of the godly.”

I grew up in the Philippines where bribes were an accepted practice. One day my missionary dad got a ticket for "running a red light." The police operated the traffic light with a hand control. They switched the light to yellow at just the right time so if you continued through, it would be red before you got all the way through the intersection, but if you tried to stop, you would be part way into the intersection. The policeman kept hinting for a bribe, but my dad refused. The cop then took my dad's driver's license. My dad went to the mayor of Manila to explain the situation, and I went with him as a young kid. Before long, the cop was standing in front of the mayor with my dad's license and turning it over to my dad.

Deuteronomy 19:18-19:"The judges must investigate the case thoroughly. If the accuser has brought false charges against his fellow Israelite, you must impose on the accuser the sentence he intended for the other person. In this way, you willpurge such evil from among you."

Deuteronomy 17:12-13:"Anyone arrogant enough to reject the verdict of the judge or of the priest who represents the LORD your God must die. In this way you willpurge the evil from Israel. Then everyone else will hear about it and be afraid to act so arrogantly."

Deuteronomy 17:6-7:"But never put a person to death on the testimony of only one witness. There must always be two or three witnesses. The witnesses must throw the first stones, and then all the people may join in. In this way, you willpurge the evil from among you."

Blessing follows obedience."Stay on the path that the LORD your God has commanded you to follow. Then you will live long and prosperous lives in the land you are about to enter and occupy.”(Deuteronomy 5:33) "Do what is right and good in the LORD'S sight, so all will go well with you." (Deuteronomy 6:18)

Do you think there's anything in our country that needs purging? Is there anything in me that needs purging?

Prayer for today: Lord, purge our country of the evil that we have tolerated for far too long. Use us to accomplish your will. Examine me and reveal what needs to be purged from my life. Do some heart surgery on me today, and make me pure. In the name of Jesus, amen.

Verse Completion. . . unexpectedly as a thief! Blessed are all who are watching for me. Revelation 16:11; 15a (NLT)


Good morning! 

Only one life ‘twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.

                                        --Charles Studd

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

Complete the Verse & Name the BookEverything they do and everything they offer is . . . (completion at the end)

The United States Marines have a recruiting slogan of "We're Looking for a Few Good Men." If God had a recruiting slogan, it might be "We're Looking for Many Imperfect and Flawed Individuals." Jacob is one of the founding fathers of the Christian faith, and yet he took advantage of his brother to get his birthright.

One day when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau arrived home from the wilderness exhausted and hungry. Esau said to Jacob, "I'm starved! Give me some of that red stew!"

"All right," Jacob replied, "but trade me your rights as the firstborn son."

"Look, I'm dying of starvation!" said Esau. "What good is my birthright to me now?"

But Jacob said, "First you must swear that your birthright is mine." So Esau swore an oath, thereby selling all his rights as the firstborn to his brother, Jacob.(Genesis 25:29-33)

Later, Jacob stole Esau's blessing by scheming with his mother to prepare a meal for Isaac while Esau was out hunting for wild game to give his father so he could receive his father's blessing.

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."

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

"The LORD your God put it in my path!" Jacob replied.(Genesis 27:18-20)

Then there's King David. Acts 13:22 says,"But God removed Saul and replaced him with David, a man about whom God said, 'I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart. He will do everything I want him to do.'David was humble, reverent, respectful, trusting, loving, devoted, obedient, and repentant. And yet it's David who committed adultery with Bathsheba and then saw to it that her husband was killed. 2 Samuel 12:9 says, "Why, then, have you despised the word of the LORD and done this horrible deed? For you have murdered Uriah the Hittite with the sword of the Ammonites and stolen his wife."

Peter was used by God to accomplish so much for him. But he's the same person who denied even knowing Jesus three times in Luke 22:54-64.

There's seemingly no end to the examples of God using flawed people to accomplish his work. An anonymous author wrote, "We must be grateful that God uses imperfect people, for we are all sinners, but we must never be content to remain in the patterns of sin that we all have. Let us ask the Lord today to help us put our sin to death and to grow in our love for him so that we might remain pure when we face temptation."

Verse Completion. . . defiled by their sin. Haggai 2:14b (NLT)


Good morning! 

Only one life ‘twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.

                                        --Charles Studd

Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/eBvGzrnirT8

Complete the Verse & Name the BookWho will not fear you, Lord, and glorify your name? For . . . (completion at the end)

Deuteronomy 5 records Moses giving theTen Commandmentsto the Israelites. Deuteronomy 6:4-9 deals with Moses calling the people to commitment:

"Listen, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD alone. And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates."

If we don't pass the baton to the next generation, who will? I've lived long enough to see that the generation before me did a better job of passing the baton than my generation. The generation that came after mine, hasn't done as good of a job as my generation. So what can we do in 2022 to make sure the baton gets handed on to the generations that follow us? Here are a few suggestions:

Make sure our kids (our own children, grandchildren, other relatives, children of close friends, etc.) know the truth. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life and the only way to Father God (Yahweh). We have to know the truth before we can pass it on. That's why we have to spend time reading and meditating on the words in the Bible and allowing the Holy Spirit to speak to us through those words. As we discover gems, we need to share those gems with others—particularly our family and extended family. We don't leave that to the "experts" (pastor, Sunday School teachers, selected DVDs, selected Internet sites); we accept the responsibility for our family. We aren't perfect; we're a work in progress, and the family knows that. You and your family can grow together in the Lord as you read from the Bible together and share thoughts. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.

Pray for your family, and let them know you are praying for them. Intercessory prayer is powerful. 1 Timothy 2:1-6 says, I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth. For, there is one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus. He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone. This is the message God gave to the world at just the right time. 

Romans 8:31b-34 says, If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won't he also give us everything else? Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God's right hand, pleading for us. 

Hebrews 7:24-25 says, But because Jesus lives forever, his priesthood lasts forever. Therefore he is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf. 

Numbers 14:13-25 is about Moses interceding for the Israelites. Intercede for your loved ones.

Ask God what you can do to remind your loved ones of God and his ways. He will give you creative ideas that will work for your family.

If you've dropped the baton, pick it up and stay in the race. You haven't been disqualified. Just know that everyone else in the race has dropped the baton as well. What matters is that we cross the finish line with our loved ones. You might be surprised at what God can do for you to help you finish the race strong. All he needs from you is a heart surrendered to God so that whathewants becomes more important than what you want.

Verse Completion. . . you alone are holy. Revelation 15:4a (NLT)


Good morning! 

Only one life ‘twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.

                                        --Charles Studd

Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/eBvGzrnirT8

Complete the Verse & Name the BookYour silver and gold will not save you on that day of the Lord’s anger. Gather . . . (completion at the end)

Yesterday we continued to look at Scripture associated with the Apostles’ Creed.  So far we have looked at: I believe in God the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His Only Son, our Lordwho was conceived by the Holy Spiritborn of the Virgin Marysuffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell; the third day He rose again from the dead. He ascended into heavensitteth at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty. From thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of Saints. Today we will conclude this task.

the forgiveness of sins

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

“Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. Isaiah 55:6-7

Forby grace you have been savedthrough faith. And this isnot your own doing;it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:8-9

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23

the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, Romans 3:22-24

And just asit is appointed for man to die once, andafter that comes judgment,so Christ, having been offered onceto bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him. Hebrews 9:27-28

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.” John 3:16-21

the resurrection of the body

But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:20-23

and life everlasting. Amen

Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:

“Death is swallowed up in victory.”

 “O death, where is your victory?

   O death, where is your sting?”

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:51-57

This is by no means a comprehensive study of Scripture related to the Apostles' Creed, but I hope these verses will strengthen your faith and help you share your faith with others.

Verse Completion. . . before judgment begins, before your time to repent is blown away like chaff. Zephaniah 1:18a; 2:2a (NLT)


Good morning! 

Only one life ‘twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.

                                        --Charles Studd

Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/Kf9ed6qwlaI

Complete the Verse & Name the BookAnd the beast was allowed to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them. And he was given authority to rule over every tribe and people and language and nation. And all the people who belong to this world . . . (completion at the end)

Yesterday we continued to look at Scripture associated with the Apostles’ Creed.  So far we have looked at: I believe in God the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His Only Son, our Lordwho was conceived by the Holy Spiritborn of the Virgin Marysuffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell; the third day He rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven. Continuing on . . .

sitteth at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty

But he,full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and sawthe glory of God, and Jesus standingat the right hand of God.And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” Acts 7:55-56 

Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.Romans 8:34

and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe,according to the working ofhis great mightthat he worked in Christwhen he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, Ephesians 1:19-20 

If then you have been raised with Christ, seekthe things that are above, where Christ is,seated at the right hand of God.Colossians 3:1

From thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 2 Timothy 4:1

I believe in the Holy Spirit,

By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you. 2 Timothy 1:14

the Holy Catholic Church

("catholic" means "relating to the church universal"—the church, the body of Christ. This is not referring to the Roman Catholic Church.) 

Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands—remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. Ephesians 2:11-17

the communion of Saints

(what we have in common with other believers)

and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. Romans 5:5-11

For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:2

By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. 1 John 3:16

But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. John 1:12-13

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:8-10

And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb's book of life. Revelation 21:22-27

Tomorrow we will continue a look at Scripture related to the Apostles’ Creed.

Verse Completion. . . worshiped the beast. Revelation 13:7-8a (NLT)


Good morning! 

Only one life ‘twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.

                                        --Charles Studd

Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/AxHH-IOeiNc

Complete the Verse & Name the BookThe Lord is good, a strong refuge when trouble comes. He is . . . (completion at the end)

Yesterday we started backing up the Apostles’ Creed with Scripture. We looked at: I believe in God the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His Only Son, our Lordwho was conceived by the Holy Spiritborn of the Virgin Marysuffered under Pontius Pilate. Today we will continue.

was crucified, died, and was buried

And as they led him away, they seized one Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, and laid on him the cross, to carry it behind Jesus. And there followed him a great multitude of the people and of women who were mourning and lamenting for him. But turning to them Jesus said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For behold, the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren and the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us,’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’ For if they do these things when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?”

Two others, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him. And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments. And the people stood by, watching, but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!” The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” There was also an inscription over him, “This is the King of the Jews.”

One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, while the sun's light failed. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last. Now when the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God, saying, “Certainly this man was innocent!” And all the crowds that had assembled for this spectacle, when they saw what had taken place, returned home beating their breasts. And all his acquaintances and the women who had followed him from Galilee stood at a distance watching these things.

Now there was a man named Joseph, from the Jewish town of Arimathea. He was a member of the council, a good and righteous man, who had not consented to their decision and action; and he was looking for the kingdom of God. This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then he took it down and wrapped it in a linen shroud and laid him in a tomb cut in stone, where no one had ever yet been laid. It was the day of Preparation, and the Sabbath was beginning. The women who had come with him from Galilee followed and saw the tomb and how his body was laid. Then they returned and prepared spices and ointments.

On the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment. Luke 23:26-56

He descended into hell

This is controversial.

Therefore it says, “When he ascended on highhe led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men.”

(In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth?  He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things. Ephesians 4:8-10

For Christ alsosufferedonce for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous,that he might bring us to God, being put to deathin the flesh but made alive in the spirit, in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, because they formerly did not obey, when God's patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. 1 Peter 3:18-20

Now from the sixth hourthere was darkness over all the landuntil the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesuscried out with a loud voice, saying,“Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Matthew 27:45-46

the third day He rose again from the dead.

But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.” Luke 24:1-7

He ascended into heaven

And he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them. While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven. And they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple blessing God. Luke 24:50-53

Tomorrow we will continue a look at Scripture related to the Apostles’ Creed.

Verse Completion. . . close to those who trust him. Nahum 1:7 (NLT) 


Good morning! 

Only one life ‘twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.

                                        --Charles Studd

Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/Jy6AOGRsR80

Complete the Verse & Name the BookThis great dragon—the ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, the one deceiving the whole world—was . . . (completion at the end)

If someone was to ask you what your religious beliefs were, how would you answer? You might start with the Apostles’ Creed. Let’s go through it for the next few days and back up the Apostles’ Creed with Scripture.

I believe in God the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth

     In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1

and in Jesus Christ, His Only Son, our Lord

And immediately [Saul] proclaimed Jesus in the synagogues, saying,“He is the Son of God.”Acts 9:20

Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit

But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:20-21

born of the Virgin Mary,

In the sixth month the angelGabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee namedNazareth,to a virgin betrothedto a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin's name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” 

And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. Luke 1:26-35

suffered under Pontius Pilate,

Then the whole company of them arose and brought him before Pilate.And they began to accuse him, saying, “We found this manmisleading our nation andforbidding us to give tribute toCaesar, and saying that he himself is Christ, a king.” And Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” And he answered him, “You have said so.” Then Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowds, “I find no guilt in this man.” But they were urgent, saying, “He stirs up the people, teaching throughout all Judea, from Galilee even to this place.”

When Pilate heard this, he asked whether the man was a Galilean. And when he learned that he belonged to Herod's jurisdiction, he sent him over to Herod, who was himself in Jerusalem at that time. When Herod saw Jesus, he was very glad, for he had long desired to see him, because he had heard about him, and he was hoping to see some sign done by him. So he questioned him at some length, but he made no answer. The chief priests and the scribes stood by, vehemently accusing him. And Herod with his soldiers treated him with contempt and mocked him. Then, arraying him in splendid clothing, he sent him back to Pilate. And Herod and Pilate became friends with each other that very day, for before this they had been at enmity with each other.

Pilate then called together the chief priests and the rulers and the people, and said to them, “You brought me this man as one who was misleading the people. And after examining him before you, behold, I did not find this man guilty of any of your charges against him. Neither did Herod, for he sent him back to us. Look, nothing deserving death has been done by him. I will therefore punish and release him.” 

But they all cried out together, “Away with this man, and release to us Barabbas”—a man who had been thrown into prison for an insurrection started in the city and for murder. Pilate addressed them once more, desiring to release Jesus, but they kept shouting, “Crucify, crucify him!” A third time he said to them, “Why? What evil has he done? I have found in him no guilt deserving death. I will therefore punish and release him.” But they were urgent, demanding with loud cries that he should be crucified. And their voices prevailed. So Pilate decided that their demand should be granted. He released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, for whom they asked, but he delivered Jesus over to their will. Luke 23:1-25

Tomorrow we will continue a look at Scripture related to the Apostles’ Creed.

Verse Completion. . . thrown down to the earth with all his angels. Revelation 12:9 (NLT)


Good morning! 

Only one life ‘twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.

                                        --Charles Studd

Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/pkR33OsvJSs

Complete the Verse & Name the Book: . . . this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to . . . (completion at the end)

Deuteronomy 1:29-46 begins with Moses reminding the Israelites about the time when they were told to enter Canaan."But I said to you, 'Don't be shocked or afraid of them! The LORD your God is going ahead of you. He will fight for you, just as you saw him do in Egypt. And you saw how the LORD your God cared for you all along the way as you traveled through the wilderness, just as a father cares for his child. Now he has brought you to this place.'

"But even after all he did, you refused to trust the LORD your God, who goes before you looking for the best places to camp, guiding you with a pillar of fire by night and a pillar of cloud by day.

"When the LORD heard your complaining, he became very angry. So he solemnly swore, 'Not one of you from this wicked generation will live to see the good land I swore to give your ancestors, except Caleb son of Jephunneh. He will see this land because he has followed the LORD completely. I will give to him and his descendants some of the very land he explored during his scouting mission.'

And the LORD was also angry with me because of you. He said to me, 'Moses, not even you will enter the Promised Land! Instead, your assistant, Joshua son of Nun, will lead Israel as they take possession of it. I will give the land to your little ones—your innocent children. You were afraid they would be captured, but they will be the ones who occupy it. As for you, turn around now and go on back through the wilderness toward the Red Sea.'

"Then you confessed, 'We have sinned against the LORD! We will go into the land and fight for it, as the LORD our God has commanded us.' So your men strapped on their weapons, thinking it would be easy to attack the hill country.

"But the LORD told me to tell you, 'Do not attack, for I am not with you. If you go ahead on your own, you will be crushed by your enemies.'

"This is what I told you, but you would not listen. Instead, you again rebelled against the LORD'S command and arrogantly went into the hill country to fight. But the Amorites who lived there came out against you like a swarm of bees. They chased and battered you all the way from Seir to Hormah. Then you returned and wept before the LORD, but he refused to listen. So you stayed there at Kadesh for a long time.

Let's imagine an interview between a reporter and an Israelite after this:

REPORTER: Why didn't you immediately enter Canaan and take it if God told you to?

ISRAELITE: Ten of the twelve spies told us not to. Majority rules.

REPORTER: But I thought you believed God rules.

ISRAELITE: Well, he does, but we were looking at the odds of us taking the land, and the odds were not in our favor.

REPORTER: What made you lose your faith? Didn't your God perform many miracles for you on your journey here? I thought he guided you by a pillar of fire by night and a pillar of cloud by day.

ISRAELITE: We lost our faith because of what we saw. God is abstract but those giants and fortified cities were for real.

REPORTER: I heard God was very angry with you and told you to go back to Egypt.

ISRAELITE: Yes, and that's when our eyes were opened and we saw our sins and confessed them to God.

REPORTER: Did He forgive you?

ISRAELITE: Yes, but there were severe consequences for our disobedience, lack of faith, and complaining. After our confessions, we figured we were good to go. We assumed God would be with us again.

REPORTER: So how did it go?

ISRAELITE: Bad! God told us not to fight the Amorites. He said we would lose if we did, but we fought anyway because we felt good about our confessions and figured God would cover us since earlier he had said he would go before us and give us victory.

REPORTER: Any lessons learned?

ISRAELITE: For sure! When God tells you to do something, DO IT! 

Verse Completion. . . walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8b (NLT) 


Good morning! 

Only one life ‘twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.

                                        --Charles Studd

Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/0MtdyRDy4fU

Complete the Verse & Name the Bookthere were loud voices shouting in heaven: “The world has now become . . . (completion at the end)

Numbers 11:18-23 starts out with God telling Moses,"And say to the people, 'Purify yourselves, for tomorrow you will have meat to eat. You were whining, and the LORD heard you when you cried, "Oh, for some meat! We were better off in Egypt!" Now the LORD will give you meat, and you will have to eat it. And it won't be for just a day or two, or for five or ten or even twenty. You will eat it for a whole month until you gag and are sick of it. For you have rejected the LORD, who is here among you, and you have whined to him, saying, "Why did we ever leave Egypt?"'"

But Moses responded to the LORD, "There are 600,000 foot soldiers here with me, and yet you say, 'I will give them meat for a whole month!' Even if we butchered all our flocks and herds, would that satisfy them? Even if we caught all the fish in the sea, would that be enough?"

Then the LORD said to Moses, "Has my arm lost its power? Now you will see whether or not my word comes true!"

This isn't a devotional about why you should go out for a steak dinner tonight; it's a devotional about what pleases God.

First of all, we see what doesn't please God, and that's whining and complaining. I can't say that I liked hearing my children whine and complain either. I know it didn't motivate me to give them what they wanted; it made me not want to give in to their wishes so in the future they would learn that the whining and complaining got them nowhere with me.

God used a different approach. It reminds me of an approach a parent used when he caught his kid smoking a cigarette. The parent said, "Oh, so you want to smoke . . . here's a whole pack. Get started." The idea was the kid would get sick of cigarettes and never want to smoke again.

The people wanted meat (and I don't blame them, but whining and complaining was not the right approach), so God decided to give them so much meat they would gag on it and get sick of it.

This story tells me to not whine and complain to God, because he doesn't like it at all. He has given us so many blessings and has provided for us in ways too many to remember. When we feel like whining and complaining, we need to start counting our blessings and remember how God has met all our needs in the past. Before long we'll be thanking God from our heart instead of whining and complaining.

Secondly, God reprimands Moses for his lack of faith with,"Has my arm lost its power?"Jesus said in Matthew 17:20b-21, "I tell you the truth. If you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it would move. Nothing would be impossible." God is omnipotent; there's no limit to His power. He created the heavens and the earth. Romans 1:20 says, "For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God."

Nothing is too difficult for God. God is looking at what's concerning you and saying to you,"Has my arm lost its power?"Don't get into an arm wrestling match with God; he has a perfect record!

Verse Completion. . . the Kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign forever and ever. Revelation 11:15b (NLT) 


Good morning! 

Only one life ‘twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.

                                        --Charles Studd

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

Complete the Verse & Name the BookBut you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a small village among all the people of Judah. Yet . . . (completion at the end)

Mark 9:14-29 records the story of Jesus healing the demon-possessed boy. Verses 17b-18, 21-24 say, "Teacher, I brought my son so you could heal him. He is possessed by an evil spirit that won't let him talk. And whenever this spirit seizes him, it throws him violently to the ground. Then he foams at the mouth and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid. So I asked your disciples to cast out the evil spirit, but they couldn't do it."

"How long has this been happening?" Jesus asked the boy's father.

He replied, "Since he was a little boy. The spirit often throws him into the fire or into water, trying to kill him. Have mercy on us and help us, if you can."

"What do you mean, 'If I can'?" Jesus asked. "Anything is possible if a person believes."

The father instantly cried out, "I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!"

On a scale of 0 (no faith) to 10 (max faith), where would you place your faith? Abraham was probably a 10. Hebrews 11:8-10 says, And even when he reached the land God promised him, he lived there by faith—for he was like a foreigner, living in tents. And so did Isaac and Jacob, who inherited the same promise. Abraham was confidently looking forward to a city with eternal foundations, a city designed and built by God.

Verses 17-19 say, It was by faith that Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice when God was testing him. Abraham, who had received God's promises, was ready to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, even though God had told him, "Isaac is the son through whom your descendants will be counted." Abraham reasoned that if Isaac died, God was able to bring him back to life again. And in a sense, Abraham did receive his son back from the dead.

On the opposite end of the scale we might put the Israelites. Exodus 14:11-12 says, and [the Israelites] said to Moses, "Why did you bring us out here to die in the wilderness? Weren't there enough graves for us in Egypt? What have you done to us? Why did you make us leave Egypt? Didn't we tell you this would happen while we were still in Egypt? We said, 'Leave us alone! Let us be slaves to the Egyptians. It's better to be a slave in Egypt than a corpse in the wilderness'!"

Somewhere in the middle of the faith scale is Peter. Matthew 14:28-31 tells part of the story of Jesus walking on the water: Then Peter called to him, "Lord, if it's really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water."

"Yes, come," Jesus said.

So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. "Save me, Lord!" he shouted.

Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. "You have so little faith," Jesus said. "Why did you doubt me?"

Why should we ever doubt Jesus? He loved us so much he died for us on the cross. We can trust the Son of Man who left the glory of heaven to suffer and die in our place. Everything Jesus spoke was truth. We have no reason to not trust him. 

I'm reminded of a quote from the movie God's Not Dead 2:

"Why is God silent when I pray during hard times?"

"The teacher is always silent during the test."

Verse Completion. . . a ruler of Israel, whose origins are in the distant past, will come from you on my behalf. Micah 5:2 (NLT) 


Good morning! 

Only one life ‘twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.

                                        --Charles Studd

Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/2a-wLjBw0vE

Complete the Verse & Name the BookWhen the seventh angel blows his trumpet, God’s mysterious plan will be fulfilled. It will . . . (completion at the end)

Mark 3:1-6 records the story of Jesus healing on the Sabbath:

Jesus went into the synagogue again and noticed a man with a deformed hand. Since it was the Sabbath, Jesus' enemies watched him closely. If he healed the man's hand, they planned to accuse him of working on the Sabbath.

Jesus said to the man with the deformed hand,"Come and stand in front of everyone."Then he turned to his critics and asked, "Does the law permit good deeds on the Sabbath, or is it a day for doing evil? Is this a day to save life or destroy it?" But they wouldn't answer him.

He looked around at them angrily and was deeply saddened by their hard hearts. Then he said to the man,"Hold out your hand."So the man held out his hand, and it was restored! At once the Pharisees went away and met with the supporters of Herod to plot how to kill Jesus.

Why would the enemies of Jesus be watching him so closely? They wanted to find fault in him. Jesus was the only person to ever live who was perfect; he had no sin. His enemies were legalists who cared more about the Law than they cared about people. They had grown insensitive to human suffering. They had hard hearts.

The conflict between Jesus and the scribes and Pharisees continued. Wherever Jesus went there were good fruits as the result of his labor. Could the same be said of the scribes and Pharisees? They knew a lot and dedicated a lot of their time to "spiritual" things, but there were few, if any, good fruits produced.

We're in danger of the same thing. John the Baptist said in Luke 3:7-9, "Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God. Don't just say to each other, 'We're safe, for we are descendants of Abraham.' That means nothing, for I tell you, God can create children of Abraham from these very stones. Even now the ax of God's judgment is poised, ready to sever the roots of the trees. Yes, every tree that does not produce good fruit will be chopped down and thrown into the fire."

This is the only place in the Gospels where it says Jesus was angry. If this made Jesus angry, shouldn't it make us angry as well? When we see people who only want to find fault and don't care about their fellow man, we should get angry. There's no record in Scripture of Jesus getting angry when the camel in front of him cut him off. There's no record of him getting angry when someone didn't empty the dirty wash basin. But there is a record of him getting angry when he saw "church" people upset when their fellow man was restored to health. That kind of hypocrisy should get us angry, too. What pleases God should please us; what displeases God should displease us.

How angry were Pharisees over Jesus healing on the Sabbath? Angry enough to kill him! That Pharisee could be me; it could be you. We can get that far off track if we allow sin to creep into our hearts and change the way we think as born again Christians. I Peter 5:8-9 says,"Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are."

Verse Completion. . . happen just as he announced it to his servants the prophets. Revelation 10:7 (NLT) 


Good morning! 

Only one life ‘twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.

                                        --Charles Studd

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

Complete the Verse & Name the BookYou rulers make decisions based on bribes; you priests teach God’s laws only for  . . . (completion at the end)

Think back to junior high school days. Do you remember the peer pressure you felt back then? My uncle was a minister who had a bus ministry in his church. One day he remembered it was time to pick up his son at the junior high school in San Diego, CA. He didn't have time to return the big yellow church bus to the church, so he decided to pick my cousin up in the bus. When my cousin saw the bus, he started walking a different direction. My uncle thought his son didn't see him, so he called out to him using his ex-Marine voice. It was not one of my cousin's favorite days, but it didn't scar him for life—today he's a pastor in Hawaii.

As adults we feel peer pressure too. When I was in the Air Force, I felt peer pressure to smoke, drink, and cuss with my comrades. It wasn't easy to stand out like a sore thumb, but I did it.

Balaam felt a type of peer pressure. He had Balak,king of Moab, pressuring him to do something he didn't want to do—curse Israel. I would imagine it would be extra difficult to take a stand against a king. Numbers 22-24 tells the story. Numbers 22:7 says,Balak's messengers, who were elders of Moab and Midian, set out with money to pay Balaam to place a curse upon Israel. They went to Balaam and delivered Balak's message to him. "Stay here overnight," Balaam said. "In the morning I will tell you whatever the LORD directs me to say."

Verses 12-13:But God told Balaam, "Do not go with them. You are not to curse these people, for they have been blessed!"

The next morning Balaam got up and told Balak's officials, "Go on home! The LORD will not let me go with you."

Verse 15:Then Balak tried again. This time he sent a larger number of even more distinguished officials than those he had sent the first time.Notice how the pressure increases.

Verse 18:But Balaam responded to Balak's messengers, "Even if Balak were to give me his palace filled with silver and gold, I would be powerless to do anything against the will of the LORD my God."

Verses 37-38:"Didn't I send you an urgent invitation? Why didn't you come right away?" Balak asked Balaam. "Didn't you believe me when I said I would reward you richly?"

Balaam replied, "Look, now I have come, but I have no power to say whatever I want. I will speak only the message that God puts in my mouth."

In 23:8, Balaam tells the king,"But how can I curse those whom God has not cursed? How can I condemn those whom the LORD has not condemned?"

Verses 11-12:Then King Balak demanded of Balaam, "What have you done to me? I brought you to curse my enemies. Instead, you have blessed them!"

But Balaam replied, "I will speak only the message that the LORD puts in my mouth."

In verse 20, Balaam said,"Listen, I received a command to bless; God has blessed, and I cannot reverse it!"

King Balak pressures Balaam a third time, but Balaam stood strong. Numbers 24:10-13 says,"King Balak flew into a rage against Balaam. He angrily clapped his hands and shouted, "I called you to curse my enemies! Instead, you have blessed them three times. Now get out of here! Go back home! I promised to reward you richly, but the LORD has kept you from your reward."

Balaam told Balak, "Don't you remember what I told your messengers? I said, 'Even if Balak were to give me his palace filled with silver and gold, I would be powerless to do anything against the will of the LORD.' I told you that I could say only what the LORD says!"

We need to have the courage of Balaam. When we know what God has spoken (every word in the Bible), we need to stand strong and not give in to those who would pressure us to go against his words. Don't give into pressure no matter how intense and persistent it is, if giving in would violate what God has said.

Verse Completion. . . a price; you prophets won’t prophesy unless you are paid. Yet all of you claim to depend on the Lord. Micah 5:11a (NLT) 


Good morning! Happy Independence Day to everyone!

Only one life ‘twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.

                                        --Charles Studd

Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/of_U3iNWUy8?t=284

Complete the Verse & Name the BookBut the people who did not die in these plagues still refused to  . . . (completion at the end)

Mark 7:18b-23 says,"Can't you see that the food you put into your body cannot defile you? Food doesn't go into your heart, but only passes through the stomach and then goes into the sewer."(By saying this, he declared that every kind of food is acceptable in God's eyes.)

And then he added,"It is what comes from inside that defiles you. For from within, out of a person's heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. All these vile things come from within; they are what defile you."

Defile means desecrate (treat with violent disrespect; violate) or profane (treat with irreverence) something sacred. Jesus listed thirteen things that defile us, and all of them have their origin in our hearts. Before the act of a theft is committed, a person covets what belongs to another. A plan begins to develop as to how that object can be obtained. A person begins to rationalize why a theft in this very special case is justifiable. An opportunity for the theft is sought. Then the actual theft occurs, but a lot went on in the person's heart beforehand.

A similar scenario happens in all thirteen of these behaviors. Let's take one more—adultery. What's happens in the heart before the act is done? Qualities in another person's spouse are admired. A comparison is made with the current spouse, and the current spouse if found lacking. Thoughts of how to flirt with someone else's spouse take place. Pornography might be used. Justification for desiring someone outside of marriage happens. One is convinced that this is a unique case, and adultery is okay due to the extenuating circumstances. All this goes on in the heart before anything outside occurs.

To which of these thirteen behaviors are you most vulnerable? It might be a good use of your time to explore your heart and see if any of the preliminary thoughts are occurring in your heart. If so, ask God to purify your heart. Psalm 51:7-12 says,"Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter then snow. Oh, give me back my joy again; you have broken me—now let me rejoice. Don't keep looking at my sins. Remove the stain of my guilt.Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me. Do not banish me from your presence, and don't take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you."

Verse Completion. . . repent of their evil deeds and turn to God. Revelation 9:20a (NLT)


Good morning!

Only one life ‘twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.

                                        --Charles Studd

Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/0CsiBjc0UIA

Complete the Verse & Name the BookBut Nineveh has more than 120,000 people living in spiritual darkness, not to mention all the animals. Shouldn’t I . . .(completion at the end)

Mark 6:35-44 records the story of Jesus feeding the five thousand:

Late in the afternoon his disciples came to him and said, "This is a remote place, and it's already getting late. Send the crowds away so they can go to the nearby farms and villages and buy something to eat."

But Jesus said, "You feed them."

"With what?" they asked. "We'd have to work for months to earn enough money to buy food for all these people!"

"How much bread do you have?" he asked. "Go and find out."

They came back and reported, "We have five loaves of bread and two fish."

Then Jesus told the disciples to have the people sit down in groups on the green grass. So they sat down in groups of fifty or a hundred.

Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, looked up toward heaven, and blessed them. Then, breaking the loaves into pieces, he kept giving the bread to the disciples so they could distribute it to the people. He also divided the fish for everyone to share. They all ate as much as they wanted, and afterward, the disciples picked up twelve baskets of leftover bread and fish. A total of 5,000 men and their families were fed.

I can only imagine what the media would do with this story if it happened today:

"Mark, would you zoom in a little closer on Jesus' hands. I've seen some good sleight of hand before, and I want to see what trick he's pulling. Science can explain everything. There's a logical explanation for all of this, and it's going to be revealed soon. You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all the people all the time. I just can't believe how many followers this magician has. I guess we tend to underestimate the number of gullible people there still are in this advanced technological world of 2022."

I can't see the media acknowledging a miracle—something only God can do. To acknowledge God means there's must be a God. If there's a God, then he could hold us accountable for our actions. A lot of people don't want to think about the ramifications of that thought. They might think, "God probably doesn't like some of the things I'm doing, and if I buy into a living God who sees and knows everything . . . well, I just don't want to go there. It would mean I couldn't be in charge of my life and do whatever I want. It would mean surrendering my will, and that's crossing the line. It's my life; I can do what I want. My life is nobody's business but my own." 

Proverbs 14:12 says, "There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death." Proverbs 12:15 says, "Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to others." Matthew 7:13-14 says, "You can enter God's Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it."

When I look at this story of Jesus feeding the five thousand, what screams out to me is "Jesus is LORD." Feeding the people was nice; believe me, I would have been very grateful for the feast (especially knowing there were twelve baskets of leftovers), but what's more important than the food is the demonstration that Jesus is the Son of God. This miracle said, "Listen to everything this man says. He is God." We today need to listen to everything this man said and everything he says to us through the Holy Spirit.

Verse Completion. . . feel sorry for such a great city? Jonah 4:11 (NLT) 


Good morning!

Only one life ‘twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.

                                        --Charles Studd

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

Complete the Verse & Name the BookOne-third of the earth was set on fire, one-third of the trees were burned, and . . . (completion at the end)

The Israelites were ready to enter the Promised Land—Canaan. Twelve scouts had been sent to spy out the land. It truly was a bountiful land flowing with milk and honey. It took two men to carry a single cluster of grapes on a pole. There were pomegranates and figs too. Joshua and Caleb were ready,"Let's go at once to take the land. We can certainly conquer it!"But the spies also reported the people living there were powerful and their towns were large and fortified. They reported giants too, "Next to them we felt like grasshoppers and that's what they thought, too!"

When the people heard the report, they said,"If only we had died in Egypt, or even here in the wilderness!" they complained. "Why is the LORD taking us to this country only to have us die in battle? Our wives and our little ones will be carried off as plunder! Wouldn't it be better for us to return to Egypt?" Then they plotted among themselves, "Let's choose a new leader and go back to Egypt!"

Then Moses and Aaron fell face down on the ground before the whole community of Israel. Two of the men who had explored the land, Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, tore their clothing. They said to all the people of Israel, "The land we traveled through and explored is a wonderful land! And if the LORD is pleased with us, he will bring us safely into that land and give it to us. It is a rich land flowing with milk and honey. Do not rebel against the LORD, and don't be afraid of the people of the land. They are only helpless prey to us! They have no protection, but the LORD is with us! Don't be afraid of them!"

But the whole community began to talk about stoning Joshua and Caleb. Then the glorious presence of the LORD appeared to all the Israelites at the Tabernacle. And the LORD said to Moses, "How long will these people treat me with contempt? Will they never believe me, even after all the miraculous signs I have done among them?"Numbers 14: 2b-11

Have you ever been around a group of negative people? When I was in the Air Force, that's one thing I noticed right away. I wasn't used to that way of thinking. I was used to looking at a glass with water and seeing it as half full rather than half empty. All twelve spies saw the same things in Canaan. Ten were negative and two were positive. That's about the same ratio I noticed in the Air Force.

When Jesus is our Savior, there's no reason to be negative. Negativity just makes a bad situation worse. Thinking positively shows we have hope. Because of Jesus, we have hope. Regardless of our circumstances, we have hope. We know we will be resurrected because Jesus was resurrected from the dead. I Thessalonians 4:15-18 says,"We tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who have died. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the believers who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. So encourage each other with these words."

What area of service is God directing you toward? Instead of being negative and saying, "I can't." be positive and say, "I'll try with the help of the Holy Spirit." God has great plans for your life just as he had great plans for the Israelites. What is your response—positive or negative?

Verse Completion. . . all the green grass was burned. Revelation 8:7b (NLT)