Daily Devotion May 2023


Good morning!

In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity. (Rupertus Meldenius, 1627)

Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/nOTlMzaLp5U

Complete the Verse & Name the BookWe use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to . . .  (completion at the end)

Has anyone ever tried to intimidate you before? It's not a pleasant experience. Kings try to intimidate each other. King Sennacherib of Assyria tried to intimidate King Hezekiah of Judah. 2 Chronicles 32:1-23 tells the story:

After Hezekiah had faithfully carried out this work, King Sennacherib of Assyria invaded Judah. He laid siege to the fortified towns, giving orders for his army to break through their walls. When Hezekiah realized that Sennacherib also intended to attack Jerusalem, he consulted with his officials and military advisers, and they decided to stop the flow of the springs outside the city. They organized a huge work crew to stop the flow of the springs, cutting off the brook that ran through the fields. For they said, "Why should the kings of Assyria come here and find plenty of water?"

Then Hezekiah worked hard at repairing all the broken sections of the wall, erecting towers, and constructing a second wall outside the first. He also reinforced the supporting terraces in the City of David and manufactured large numbers of weapons and shields. He appointed military officers over the people and assembled them before him in the square at the city gate. Then Hezekiah encouraged them by saying: "Be strong and courageous! Don't be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria or his mighty army, for there is a power far greater on our side! He may have a great army, but they are merely men. We have the LORD our God to help us and to fight our battles for us!" Hezekiah's words greatly encouraged the people.

While King Sennacherib of Assyria was still besieging the town of Lachish, he sent his officers to Jerusalem with this message for Hezekiah and all the people in the city:

"This is what King Sennacherib of Assyria says: What are you trusting in that makes you think you can survive my siege of Jerusalem? Hezekiah has said, 'The LORD our God will rescue us from the king of Assyria.' Surely Hezekiah is misleading you, sentencing you to death by famine and thirst! Don't you realize that Hezekiah is the very person who destroyed all the LORD'S shrines and altars? He commanded Judah and Jerusalem to worship only at the altar at the Temple and to offer sacrifices on it alone.

"Surely you must realize what I and the other kings of Assyria before me have done to all the people of the earth! Were any of the gods of those nations able to rescue their people from my power? Which of their gods was able to rescue its people from the destructive power of my predecessors? What makes you think your God can rescue you from me? Don't let Hezekiah deceive you! Don't let him fool you like this! I say it again—no god of any nation or kingdom has ever yet been able to rescue his people from me or my ancestors. How much less will your God rescue you from my power!"

And Sennacherib's officers further mocked the LORD God and his servant Hezekiah, heaping insult upon insult. The king also sent letters scorning the LORD, the God of Israel. He wrote, "Just as the gods of all the other nations failed to rescue their people from my power, so the God of Hezekiah will also fail." The Assyrian officials who brought the letters shouted this in Hebrew to the people gathered on the walls of the city, trying to terrify them so it would be easier to capture the city. These officers talked about the God of Jerusalem as though he were one of the pagan gods, made by human hands.

Then King Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz cried out in prayer to God in heaven. And the LORD sent an angel who destroyed the Assyrian army with all its commanders and officers. So Sennacherib was forced to return home in disgrace to his own land. And when he entered the temple of his god, some of his own sons killed him there with a sword.

That is how the LORD rescued Hezekiah and the people of Jerusalem from King Sennacherib of Assyria and from all the others who threatened them. So there was peace throughout the land. From then on King Hezekiah became highly respected among all the surrounding nations, and many gifts for the LORD arrived at Jerusalem, with valuable presents for King Hezekiah, too.

Did you notice all the lies that were thrown in by King Sennacherib as he tried to intimidate King Hezekiah?

We will conclude this tomorrow.

Verse Completions. . . knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. 2 Corinthians 10:4 (NLT)


Good morning!

In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity. (Rupertus Meldenius, 1627)

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

Complete the Verse & Name the BookThen Jesus told him, “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who . . .  (completion at the end)

As I was reading 2 Chronicles 23, I came across a man who seemed to be following God 100%. His name was Jehoiada, and he was a priest during the reign of Ahaziah, Athaliah, and Joash. Verses 16-19 tell what kind of a man he was:

Then Jehoiada made a covenant between himself and [King Joash] and the people that they would be the LORD'S people. And all the people went over to the temple of Baal and tore it down. They demolished the altars and smashed the idols, and they killed Mattan the priest of Baal in front of the altars.

Jehoiada now put the priests and Levites in charge of the Temple of the LORD, following all the directions given by David. He also commanded them to present burnt offerings to the LORD, as prescribed by the Law of Moses, and to sing and rejoice as David had instructed. He also stationed gatekeepers at the gates of the LORD'S Temple to keep out those who for any reason were ceremonially unclean.

King Joash seemed to start out 100% following God. 2 Chronicles 24:2 says,Joash did what was pleasing in the LORD'S sight throughout the lifetime of Jehoiada the priest.However, he wandered away from God as time went on. Verses 17-22 describe how far away from God he got:

But after Jehoiada's death, the leaders of Judah came and bowed before King Joash and persuaded him to listen to their advice. They decided to abandon the Temple of the LORD, the God of their ancestors, and thy worshiped Asherah poles and idols instead! Because of this sin, divine anger fell on Judah and Jerusalem. Yet the LORD sent prophets to bring them back to him. The prophets warned them, but still the people would not listen.

Then the Spirit of God came upon Zechariah son of Jehoiada the priest. He stood before the people and said, "This is what God says: Why do you disobey the LORD'S commands and keep yourselves from prospering? You have abandoned the LORD, and now he has abandoned you!"

Then the leaders plotted to kill Zechariah, and King Joash ordered that they stone him to death in the courtyard of the LORD'S Temple. That was how King Joash repaid Jehoiada for his loyalty—by killing his son. Zechariah's last words as he died were, "May the LORD see what they are doing and avenge my death!"

I doubt Joash ever intended to drift away from God as far as he did, but sin will take you farther than you want to go; sin will keep you longer than you want to stay; sin will cost you more than you want to pay. 2 Chronicles 24:25 tells what happened to Joash:The Arameans withdrew, leaving Joash severely wounded. But his own officials plotted to kill him for murdering the son of Jehoiada the priest. They assassinated him as he lay in bed.

The next king was Amaziah. The Bible doesn't tell us what his ratio of obeying God and not obeying God was, but it definitely wasn't 100/0%.

2 Chronicles 25:2 says,Amaziah did what was pleasing in the LORD'S sight, but not wholeheartedly. Would that sentence describe you? Would that sentence describe me? I'm afraid it probably does. Our heart might be saying to God, "I'll follow you as long as . . ." or "I'll follow you unless I have to give up . . ." or "I'll follow you until persecution comes my way." Anytime we put a condition on following Christ, we are not 100% in. God wants 100% of us. He gave 100% of himself for us. We're either all in or we're not.

Let's pray: Dear Heavenly Father, you gave your all for us, and we want to give our all for you. We won't settle for a 70/30 relationship with you or an 80/20 or even a 95/5. God, we want a 100/0 relationship with you. Examine our hearts. Change in me what needs to change. Give me a heart that yearns for you and won't be satisfied until it is filled with your Spirit. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

Verse Completions. . . believe without seeing me. John 20:29 (NLT)


Good morning!

In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity. (Rupertus Meldenius, 1627)

Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/wo4ijOIs6as

Complete the Verse & Name the Book: But in fact, it is best for you that I go away, because if I don’t, . . .  (completion at the end)

Alex Honnold climbed the 3600 footEl Capitanin Yosemite National Park with no gear. He did it in three hours and fifty-six minutes. Every step had to be perfect—no room for error. A slip would result in certain death. Alex once said, "Doubt is the precursor to fear."

I started thinking about Alex’s statement and its application to our spiritual journey with Christ. If we have any doubt about God's ability to work in our lives, the result is fear. If we think our financial needs are too much for God, fear sets in, and we start imagining the worst case scenario. We forget (or don't have faith in) the words of Jesus in Matthew 6:19-34:"Don't store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of you heart will also be.

"Your eye is like a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is filled with light. But when your eye is unhealthy, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is!

"That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn't life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don't plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren't you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?

"And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don't work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?

"So don't worry about these things, saying, 'What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?' These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

"So don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today's trouble is enough for today."

If we think our health issues are too much for God, we will start fearing what might happen. Exodus 15:25b-26 says,It was there at Marah that the LORD set before them the following decree as a standard to test their faithfulness to him. He said, "If you will listen carefully to the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in his sight, obeying his commands and keeping all his decrees, then I will not make you suffer any of the diseases I sent on the Egyptians; for I am the LORD who heals you." 

James 5:13-15 says,Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises. Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord. Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven.

When we start to doubt our salvation, we start to fear our final destination. Romans 10:9-10 says,If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved.

John 6:35-40 has the following words of Jesus:"I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. But you haven't believed in me even though you have seen me. However, those the Father has given me will come to me, and I will never reject them. For I have come down from heaven to do the will of God who sent me, not to do my own will. And this is the will of God, that I should not lose even one of all those he has given me, but that I should raise them up at the last day. For it is my Father's will that all who see his Son and believe in him should have eternal life. I will raise them up at the last day."

I doubt my ability to climb a 100 foot rock wall without any gear, so the thought puts fear in me. I do not doubt our Savior's ability to save and to keep me, so I don't fear the future. When doubt starts to creep into our lives, we can say to Jesus, along with the father of the demon-possessed boy,"I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!"(Mark 9:24b)

Verse Completions. . . the Advocate won’t come. If I do go away, then I will send him to you. John 16:7 (NLT)


Good morning!

In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity. (Rupertus Meldenius, 1627)

Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/su1CYwBZAPA

Complete the Verse & Name the BookFaith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the . . .  (completion at the end)

Today we will continue to review some of the truths Pastor Michael has shared with us.

·       Attitudes are the lens through which we see the world; attitudes determine how we act. When we look through the right lens, we see the world as Jesus sees it.

·       We need an appetite for truth—an appetite that says, "I need more of Jesus." If we ignore it, we become spiritually anorexic.

·       When we care for others, the following actions take place: discipline, correction, forgiveness, crying, rejoicing, concern for spiritual well-being.

·       Our hearts reflect Jesus.

·       Only the blood of Jesus can take away sin.

·       Do what is right, true, pure, just, and fair.

·       We desire to be peacemakers; our goal is Christlikeness. 

·       We need to give our desire to hurt others to God. Forgiveness is taking the hurt and giving it to God with no revenge.

·       When your light is shining for Jesus, expect difficulty. Be a bright light. The brighter the light the more darkness that is dispelled. Don't be a three candle light; be a 50 million candle light.

·       Read an entire book of the Bible in one sitting in order to get the big idea.

·       As salt to the world, we bring the flavor of Christ to those around us, we stop the decay of sin, and we lose who we are and become all about Jesus. We are meant to be poured out.

·       Christians are not to blend in with the world.

·       There's only one kind of disciple—a follower of Christ. We are countercultural people. The world is not transformed by us blending in with it.

·       No persecution? How bright is your light shining?

·       By our actions we show his grace and forgiveness.

·       We live in a selfie world—we are in the foreground and everything else is in the background. If we love ourselves more than Jesus, Jesus will always be in the background.

·       7% of communication is our words, and 93% is our tone and body language.

·       The church is God's plan for redeeming the world.

·       Are we maintaining an institution or fueling a mission?

·       People in healthy churches affirm each other.

·       When you are angry, don't respond for 24 hours so there's time to think, relax, and forgive. 

·       Condemnation belongs to God alone.

·       The heart is the center of a person's thought, will, and emotion. It's the center of who we are. The heart gives us our characteristics and our character. Our actions and words reflect what's going on in the heart.

·       When dealing with anger, take immediate steps toward forgiveness and reconciliation.

·       Our heart affects what we do; what we do affects our heart.

·       Sin is serious because it is separation from God. Sin starts in the heart. We can't afford to play around with sin. We aren't trying to see how far away we can get from Jesus and still be good; it's about how close we can get to him.

·       We have a choice; we don't have to listen to our sinful nature.

·       Divorce is not the unforgivable sin.

·       Our words matter to God. Don't say things you don't mean.

·       If our words as Christians don't carry any weight, what we say about Jesus won't be taken seriously.

·       The mouth speaks what the heart is full of.

·       We need to say what we mean, and mean what we say.

This concludes a review of some truths Pastor Michael has shared with us.

Verse Completions. . . evidence of things we cannot see. Hebrews 11:1a (NLT)


Good morning!

In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity. (Rupertus Meldenius, 1627)

Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/SL-GCeEK7sk

Complete the Verse & Name the BookThe reward for trusting him will be . . .  (completion at the end)

Today we will continue to review some of the truths Pastor Michael has shared with us.

·       A pastor is a shepherd who takes care of the flock: leads, feeds, waters, and protects. He is not a chaplain that comforts and has your happiness as a high priority.

·       There's no limit to what God can do through spiritually mature people.

·       When there's a dispute, we have two choices: take the matter to the leadership and follow their decision, or separate. (See Acts 15:36-41)

·        The qualifications for leaders in the church are found in 1 Timothy 3:1-13. When a leader is above reproach, it does not mean perfection. It means his life is without constant charges against him that stick, not living in sin, quick to listen and slow to anger, has restraint on passions and desires, has appropriate behavior, is approachable, accepting, warm, and able to teach because he knows God's word.

·       God is a God of order and design.

·       The church is worth watching over because it was bought with the blood of Christ.

·       Temptation is not a sin; giving in is.

·       Satan knows Scripture. Not everyone who quotes Scripture is trustworthy.

·       God doesn't walk on our path; we walk on his.

·       Temptation gives us an opportunity to grow and mature. It's an opportunity to say, "God is first in my life."

·       Help each other stand against temptation.

·       The essence of the gospel is: 

o   We are sinners (Romans 3:23)

o   Sin has a penalty (Romans 6:23)

o   Jesus paid the penalty for our sin (Romans 5:6-11)

o   We must receive Jesus to have salvation (Romans 10:9-10; Ephesians 2:8-9; Revelation 3:20)

·       We have to know what Jesus said before we can know what Jesus would do in different situations.

·       Some things are easy to give up in order to follow Jesus; some things are difficult to give up.

·       It doesn't work well when we partially follow Jesus.

·       In North America, we tend to be stuck at the message stage, but power comes with being sold out to Jesus.

·       We're all in different stages of discipleship. What stage are you at? How long have you been there?

·       As Christians, we don't have a spiritual trophy case. God opposes the proud.

·       Blessed are those who recognize the depth and gravity of sin. They recognize how sin affects their relationship with God. They mourn their sin and repent, 

·       Meek is not weak. Meekness is power under control. It's gentleness. It's not trusting in our power but trusting in God's power.

Tomorrow we will continue with more truths.

Verse Completions. . . the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 1:9 (NLT)


Good morning!

In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity. (Rupertus Meldenius, 1627)

Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/LNv4MB28ON8

Complete the Verse & Name the BookYou love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you . . .  (completion at the end)

Today we will continue to review some of the truths Pastor Michael has shared with us.

·       Draw lessons from the past, but don't be chained to the past.

·       The person who sees the difficulties so clearly that he doesn't discern the possibilities, cannot inspire a vision in others.

·       Wisdom is the right application of knowledge. 

·       The church is not a democracy.

·       Jesus is fully God and fully human. He's the only one qualified to be the Savior of the world.

·       Herod knew the coming of the Messiah was going to make life messy for him. Jesus makes life messy for us today, too. We have a choice—be a disciple or not; serve our own idols or follow Jesus. If our Lord is a suffering servant, we're going to suffer, too.

·       Where are we in our choice to follow Jesus: 20/80%, 30/70%, 40/60%? Let's let Jesus be our Master Commander. 

·       Jesus is the cornerstone, the foundation, the Alpha and Omega.

·       Are we intentional about following Jesus?

·       Are we willing to pay the price of being a follower of Jesus, or are we simply looking for fire insurance?

·       You can't grow spiritually without reading the word. All Scripture is God-breathed. (see 2 Timothy 3:16)

·       Is our life promoting Jesus or ourselves?

·       A sermon without Scripture is not a sermon.

·       Keep the main thing the main thing.

·       You don't need to pray about things God has already told you. Joseph didn't have to pray about fleeing to Egypt. (See Matthew 2:13-23)

·       When Jesus is Lord and Savior of your life, he's the Master Commander of your life.

·       You'll never go wrong by submitting to Jesus.

·       There's no pretending with God; God is not mocked.

·       Be careful how you live your life. Produce fruit in line with repentance.

·       Obedience to God is not an option. Pride keeps us from being obedient.

·       The church's primary mission is evangelism.

·       You would think if this was from God, things would be better. (See Matthew 1:18-19)

·       We don't have to understand God; we just have to trust him.

·       Just when you think you have life under control, you find out you don't. 

·       We're in a war—a spiritual battle—every single day. Satan wants to destroy us, but Jesus has already won.

·       Spiritual health doesn't just happen (just like physical strength doesn't just happen). We have to be intentional. An active pursuit of God is needed.

Tomorrow we will continue with more truths.

Verse Completions. . . rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. 1 Peter 1:8 (NLT)


Good morning!

In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity. (Rupertus Meldenius, 1627)

Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/aIdZ5KRiakM

Complete the Verse & Name the BookThen Jesus asked them, “When I sent you out to preach the Good News and you did not have money, a traveler’s bag, or an extra pair of sandals, did you . . .  (completion at the end)

Today we will continue to review some of the truths Pastor Michael has shared with us.

·       The purpose and function of the church is to make disciples.

·       View the world through the lens of God.

·       Money talks in the world but not in the church. Giving is about service to others and not about power, influence, or honor.

·       We don't give to get or to gain control. Giving is never for our own benefit.

·       You can't serve God and money.

·       Everything you have comes from God.

·       Giving is a response to worship.

·       There's no such thing as forgive and forget. However, we can forgive and choose not to go back to it again or bring it up again. Forgiveness is a choice, not a feeling. We absorb the hurt without hurting back. Forgiveness is an act of grace—undeserved merit.

·       If the devil can't make you bad, he'll make you busy.

·       Anybody can be complicated; simplicity is a gift.

·       The Bible can become an idol when we put it above a relationship with God.

·       Read the Bible to hear from God.

·       Life doesn't work according to principles; it works according to relationships.

·       When Gideon went up against the Midianites, the odds were 450:1, but Gideon defeated them using torches, jars, and trumpets. It's all about what God can do.

·       The day of the Lord is coming. Pretenders have the opportunity to get right with God.

·       The purpose of the book of Matthew is to transition from Judaism to Christianity; to transition from law to relationship.

·       God isn't interested in tweaking us; he's interested in making a radical change in us. He wants to give us a new heart. He wants to transform us.

·       Love people; hate the sin.

·       Jesus was the only one who kept all the Old Testament rules. He didn't come to abolish the old covenant but to fulfill it.

·       Jesus is the Messiah. He's the fulfillment of all the prophecies concerning the Messiah.

·       When you follow the genealogy of Jesus, you find prostitutes and people who were not Jews. We bring our sanitized Christianity into the church, but the reality is we all have sin in our lives. Jesus died for that sin. We are forgiven of our past. Our names are written in the Book of Life.

·       If you're not teachable, you can't lead. The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty.

Tomorrow we will continue with more truths.

Verse Completions: . . . need anything? Luke 22:35 (NLT)


Good morning!

In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity. (Rupertus Meldenius, 1627)

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

Complete the Verse & Name the Book: But among you it will be different. Those who are the greatest among you should take the . . .  (completion at the end)

Today we will continue to review some of the truths Pastor Michael has shared with us.

·       I'd rather die than hinder the gospel in any way.

·       Feelings are not the authority we listen to; they are the caboose: first comes faith, second comes facts, and third comes feelings. Therefore, we don't listen to our feelings when they say, "I don't feel like praying," or "I don't feel like reading the Bible." They are not the authority in our lives.

·       Am I a person who uplifts or tears down?

·       We cannot know God on our own; he has to reveal himself to us, and he has done that in the Bible. 

·       All Scripture is God-breathed. (See 2 Timothy 3:16-17)

·       There's no contradiction in Scripture.

·       The Bible is inerrant and infallible (without error and without fault). Every word is truth. 

·       Every word of God is flawless. (See Proverbs 30:5-6)

·       God's word is a plumb line. (See Amos 7:8)

·       The Holy Spirit illuminates the Scriptures. (See John 14:26)

·       Salvation is by Christ alone—not baptism. It is by grace through faith that salvation is attained. Baptism is an outward symbol of an inward reality of Christ in our lives. Baptism declares publicly that you are a follower of Christ. Our testimony on earth resonates in heaven. There are two sacraments: baptism and communion.

·       Jesus is coming again. Today is the day of salvation; when Jesus returns, it will be too late. Respond now when you hear his voice. (See 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)

·       There are two judgments of Christ: one for believers and one for non-believers. (See 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10 and Revelation 20:11-15)

·       Christ could return at any time. (See Revelation 22:20)

·       Everyone has a spiritual gift, and there's a place for it to be used. 

·       We don't follow our selfish nature; we follow Christ.

·       Our outward actions might not reveal our heart, but it's all about the heart.

·       Never say, "That person will never change." That's what God does—he transforms people. Pray, "God transform me."

·       Prayer is communication, and it includes listening. We can listen to God as we read his word.

·       The purpose of prayer is to know God more deeply. Know what God wants so you can ask him for it.

·       Every time you hang out with God, you are changed.

·       Forgiveness is not about the other person; it's about us.

·       The church is made up of the called out ones—called out of our old lifestyle into a new lifestyle.

Tomorrow we will continue with more truths.

Verse Completions: . . . lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant. Luke 22:26 (NLT)


Good morning!

In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity. (Rupertus Meldenius, 1627)

Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/lgk-ufm4YlM

Complete the Verse & Name the BookAfter supper he took another cup of wine and said, ”This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with . . .  (completion at the end)

Today we will continue to review some of the truths Pastor Michael has shared with us.

·       Knowledge about God is the danger; we need to know God—have a relationship with him.

·       The foundational attribute of God is holiness (perfection).

·       God calls us to look like him—not the world.

·       Meekness is power under control.

·       Jesus is: fully God, fully man, eternal, sinless, Savior of mankind, and alive. He knows you and me. He has been tempted like us. He has felt like we have felt. He knows your pain and joy.

·       The Holy Spirit is with us and in us. He is not an impersonal force—he is God. He teaches, counsels, convicts, guides, empowers, speaks, intercedes, loves, gives spiritual gifts, regenerates, and gives power for holy living. (See Galatians 5:16-26)

·       Truth is not relative; it's objective.

·       As disciples of Christ, our actions, words, worldview, and thinking are different from the world.

·       The finite can never fully understand the infinite. We can't fully explain the Internet, but we know it works.

·       The Trinity is one God in three persons (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). There's no hierarchy with the Trinity. Water exists in three forms: solid, liquid, gas. The flash point is when all three forms exist simultaneously.

·       Sin is disobedience to God's words, ways, and will. It's anything contrary to the holy character of God. Sin is not an accident.

·       We were born into a sinful state. We have inherited sin. (See Psalm 51:5)

·       We have imputed sin. If you're part of a group that does a crime,  even though you didn't actually do the crime, you are held guilty because you were part of the group. The crime is imputed to you. (See Romans 5:12-21 and Hebrews 7:8-10)

·       We have personal sin. (See Romans 3:12, 23)

·       There's a penalty for sin: death. (See Romans 6:23)

·       Sin has eternal consequences and also a remedy. (See John 3:16)

·       Salvation is not about cleaning up the old person; it's about crucifying the old person we used to be.

·       Transformation means looking more and more like Jesus.

·       We should not be ashamed of our message; it's the only transformational message in the world. We must share it.

·       Our sin nature causes addictions.

·       Sanctification is a life-long process. It's being set apart—holy, right, and perfect. How we live our lives really does matter. We can't combine the old life and the new life. Our heart is changed. Everything that happens to us is an opportunity to become more like Christ. We had a white cat that knew it was deaf so he always stayed close to the dog. We need to know we are deaf so we always stay close to Jesus.

Tomorrow we will continue with more truths.

Verse Completions: . . . my blood which is poured out as a sacrifice for you.” Luke 22:20 (NLT)


Good morning!

In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity. (Rupertus Meldenius, 1627)

Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/dUN7BUJ_xk0

Complete the Verse & Name the BookBut the king replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on buying it, for I will not present burnt offerings to the LORD my God that . . .  (completion at the end)

Today we will continue to review some of the truths Pastor Michael has shared with us.

·       Israel will be punished to get them to the point where they will listen.

·       What keeps us from following God's call?

·       Don't use prayer as a lucky charm. Pray to know Jesus.

·       Put more life into the church than you take out.

·       The purpose of communion is to remember the sacrifice of Jesus and center ourselves again. It's to remind you of who you are in Christ and how you got there. Communion grounds us in the present. We proclaim the death of Jesus and who he is. We proclaim ourselves as followers of Christ. However, we have to be careful what we proclaim if it's not true. We anticipate the coming of Jesus again and celebrate who we are in Christ.

·       God points out sin in us because he loves us and wants us to repent.

·       More time spent with God results in more control by the Holy Spirit.

·       Elisha asked for more of God, more of his Spirit. He realized his own inadequacy.

·       We have a choice to follow hard after God or wander away to the boundary lines. Let's get as close to God as we can. More than ever we need God's presence in our lives.

·       We receive the blessing by persevering.

·       An Indian pastor spent two years praying alone with nobody in his church. Finally, one lady came and inquired. She asked if she could bring a friend. The church has grown for the past 14 years.

·       Our church building is a tool to use for its purpose: to promote and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ for the salvation and sanctification of all people.

·       Jesus transforms people; a building does not transform people.

·       Jesus gave up his rights for our salvation.

·       Are we a dull or bright star in our community?

·       Churches die because the presence of God is not there.

·       We live before an audience of One.

·       God doesn't want anyone to go to hell.

·       Good deeds don't get us into heaven.

·       Sin separates us from God.

·       When you are with God, there should be no agenda. You just want to be in the presence of God.

·       The way we relate to God is how we will relate to others. If you use God, you will use others.

·       When you're in the boat with God and the river narrows, the water speeds up, and you hear the waterfall ahead, listen to God when He says, "Put down the oar." The safest place you can be is with God.

Tomorrow we will continue with more truths.

Verse Completions. . . have cost me nothing.” 2 Samuel 24:24 (NLT)


Good morning!

In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity. (Rupertus Meldenius, 1627)

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

Complete the Verse & Name the Book”The LORD forbid that I should drink this!” he exclaimed. “This water is as precious as the blood of . . .  (completion at the end)

Today we will continue to review some of the truths Pastor Michael has shared with us.

God honors those who honor him.

God puts us in the best place even though we don't think it is; God puts us in his presence.

We dwell on the fear of the world rather than on the grace of God.

Remember who you are in Christ—a child of the King.

Don't look at God's Word as a smorgasbord where you pick and choose what you want.

There's as much grace in the Old Testament as there is in the New Testament.

The promises of God are like checks—not any good unless you cash them. Take God at his word.

God begins to change us as we enter his presence in urgent prayer. We need to wrestle with God in prayer like Elijah.

It's a tragedy when we hang on to the spirit of man (that wants honor) instead of the Spirit of Christ (that means sacrifice).

The problem with wishing for the past is I want everything to benefit me. I want my preference back because it benefits me. When this happens, we miss what God has for us today. We need new mercies for today.

There's the danger of manipulating people to get our preferences. We find like-minded people to get our preferences. The result is division, anger, and we get out of relationship with others.

Preferences can become idols.

Do you seriously want to go back to Egypt? God is the God of the present. Jeremiah 29:11 says, "For I know the plans I have for you," says the LORD. They are plans for good and not for disaster to give you a future and a hope."

Elijah was confused because nothing seemed to work out for him. It seemed like God was against him. Elijah was looking for the power of God instead of his presence. God is more interested in us experiencing his presence rather than his power. Sometimes his presence is found in sickness, pain, suffering, poverty, and even death. Elijah needed a hug, and God gave him one.

God may choose not to fix what's going on in our lives, but his presence is always with us.

Jesus is God with skin on.

When God tells you to do something, you don't need to know all the details. Just be obedient.

Have faith like Joseph and Mary; when God says go, go. 

If you're with God 90% of the time, the 10% negates the 90%. We're either all in or we're not.

Tomorrow we will continue with more truths.

Verse Completions. . . these men who risked their lives to bring it to me.” 2 Samuel 23:17 (NLT)


Good morning! 

In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity. (Rupertus Meldenius, 1627)

Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/iBg_u48_F6w

Complete the Verse & Name the BookThe LORD lives! Praise to my Rock! May God, the Rock of my salvation, be . . .  (completion at the end)

Today we will continue to review some of the truths Pastor Michael has shared with us.

·      In God's kingdom, everyone is essential, and we need each other. Christ is the head of the church.

·      Join with each other constantly in prayer.

·      It's our responsibility to find out what Jesus wants; it's not God's responsibility to bless what we want.

·      It's through the Holy Spirit that his kingdom grows.

·      Salvation comes through Jesus alone.

·      Through the power of the Holy Spirit is how we show the world the power and salvation of Jesus, not by our own power, talents, abilities, or finances.

·      We are called to pray.

·      It's all about Jesus.

·      Don't cause others to sin by our actions. Die to self and live for Jesus.

·      It's on our confession of Jesus that the church is built.

·      The church grew during times of persecution. Casual Christianity started the decline of Christianity. We need to follow hard after God.

·      When seeking favor and blessing replaced seeking God and his salvation, the church started looking more and more like the world rather than looking like Jesus.

·      Jesus only; Jesus ever.

·      Follow God for who he is, not for what you get (gifts).

·      Home court advantage happens because players feel supported. Church is our home court: a place of safety where people are non-judgmental and encourage each other to not give up. When you come to church, you should feel like a first class citizen in Jesus.

·      Israel sinned and there were no consequences, so they sinned more. After a while, the people said, "It doesn't matter if I sin. God must be dead." Today it seems like there are no consequences for sin, but there is a day of judgment coming.

·      Anything you think you can't live without is probably an idol.

·      God is not a vending machine God; there's no magic formula to follow to receive his blessings.

·      Like Elijah, we need to obey when God tells us to do something even when it doesn't make sense. God put Elijah in a place where there was nothing to do but get closer to God. That's the blessing.

·      Let God be God.

·      The desert is a hard place but a place where the presence of God can be experienced. Progress can begin when we say, "I give up!"

·      God's word came to Elijah after the brook dried up. We want to know ahead of time what the plan is.

·      Who is really the God of our life? Is it Jehovah or something else (riches, relationships, health)?

·      When the days get dark, there's a greater opportunity for light to shine.

Tomorrow we will continue with more truths.

NCCU Prayer:

God, we pray that the gospel would spread rapidly and be honored. We pray against all wickedness and evil that would attempt to stand against the gospel. We pray that God would strengthen our faith in Jesus by His Holy Spirit. Amen.

Verse Completions. . . exalted! 2 Samuel 22:47 (NLT)


Good morning! 

In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity. (Rupertus Meldenius, 1627)

Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/n3t6CdeiN1M

Complete the Verse & Name the BookGod is my strong fortress, and he makes my way . . .  (completion at the end)

2 Chronicles 12:1 tells us:But when Rehoboam was firmly established and strong, he abandoned the Law of the LORD, and all Israel followed him in this sin.

Who we have as our leader is very important. So often, the priorities of a pastor become the priorities of the congregation. When the pastor isn't into the Word, the congregation isn't into the Word. When the pastor is lackadaisical about the Word, so is the congregation. When prayer isn't vital to the pastor, it's not vital to the congregation. When the pastor teaches half-truths, the congregation tends to accept half-truths as truth. When the pastor is willing to compromise the Word of God, so is the congregation.

Fortunately, in Pastor Michael, we have a pastor who has his priorities in order. He knows God's Word and loves God's Word. And what he loves even more than God's Word is the author, God Himself. Pastor Michael is passionate about the Word, not lackadaisical. He depends on prayer to build his relationship with God, and he goes to God in prayer to seek direction when making decisions. He also spends considerable time in prayer for others. He is a diligent student of God's Word and regularly shares that Word with the congregation in a way so it can be understood in the context of which it was written. We are fortunate to have a true biblical scholar as our pastor. He shares the whole of God's Word including the difficult passages and those that are countercultural. He is careful to present the Word as God intended it to the best of his ability.

For the next several days, we will be looking at a handful of truths Pastor Michael has shared with us.

·      God is in control. Nothing catches him off guard. He is sovereign.

·      Jesus wants a relationship with us. He wants us to know the giver more than the gifts.

·      God allows suffering to call us into a deeper relationship with him.

·      Work to build God's kingdom; building your own kingdom is pointless.

·      What we do with our time has eternal effects.

·      Contentment comes only through Jesus. Trust in him.

·      Make your life about God’s sufficiency rather than self-sufficiency.

·      Christianity is not a self-help religion. We don't work harder to look better in Jesus' eyes.

·      You can't walk with Jesus and complain. We should be overflowing with thankfulness, remembering Jesus gave his life for us.

·      In all the Old Testament covenants (Adam's, Noah's, Abraham's, Moses', David's), we find God saying, "I am God; you are not." Jesus fulfilled all the Old Testament covenants. We are covenant people.

Verse Completions. . . perfect.  2 Samuel 22:33 (NLT)


Good morning! 

In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity. (Rupertus Meldenius, 1627)

Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/2d9GoZ8IfLI

Complete the Verse & Name the Book“God’s way is perfect. All the LORD’S promises prove true. He is a . . .  (completion at the end)

Yesterday, we were looking at 1 Chronicles 28:9: "And Solomon, my son, learn to know the God of your ancestors intimately. Worship and serve him with your whole heart and a willing mind. For the LORD sees every heart and knows every plan and thought. If you seek him, you will find him. But if you forsake him, he will reject you forever."  We were breaking this verse into parts and examining what is meant. We left off with looking at what it means to know God intimately. Let’s continue with the other parts of the verse:

· WorshipLet the whole earth sing to the LORD! Each day proclaim the good news that he saves. Publish his glorious deeds among the nations. Tell everyone about the amazing things he does. Great is the LORD! He is most worthy of praise! He is to be feared above all gods. The gods of other nations are mere idols, but the LORD made the heavens! Honor and majesty surround him; strength and joy fill his dwelling. O nations of the world, recognize the LORD, recognize that the LORD is glorious and strong. Give to the LORD the glory he deserves! Bring your offering and come into his presence. Worship the LORD in all his holy splendor. Let all the earth tremble before him. The world stands firm and cannot be shaken. Let the heavens be glad, and the earth rejoice! Tell all the nations, "The LORD reigns!" (1 Chronicles 16:23-31, NLT)

· and serve him with your whole heart and a willing mind. Deuteronomy 6:13a says, "You must fear the LORD your God and serve him." Matthew 22:37 says, "'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."

· For the LORD sees every heart and knows every plan and thought. Luke 8:17 says, "For all that is secret will eventually be brought into the open, and everything that is concealed will be brought to light and made known to all."

· If you seek him, you will find him. Matthew 7:7-8 says, "Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened."

· But if you forsake him, he will reject you forever." Matthew 10:28 says, "Don't be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God who can destroy both soul and body in hell." Verses 32 and 33 continue with the following words of Jesus: "Everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But everyone who denies me here on earth, I will also deny before my Father in heaven."

David gave his son some excellent advice. We would do well to heed that same advice and pass it on to our children and grandchildren.

Prayer for today: God, I want to know you intimately. I not only want to knowaboutyou; I want to know you. May I worship and serve only you. May I be faithful in loving you with all my heart, soul, and mind. Search my heart and see if there's any wicked way in me. Give me a pure heart as only you can do. Make I seek you in all I do. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

Verse Completions. . . shield for all who look to him for protection.” 2 Samuel 22:31 (NLT)


Good morning! 

In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity. (Rupertus Meldenius, 1627)

Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/W8cJQMU9Q-U

Complete the Verse & Name the BookIn your strength I can crush an army; with my God I can . . .  (completion at the end)

Have you ever thought about what words of advice you might give your children when the time comes to pass the baton? When looking on the Internet, I came across these ideas:

·      You are not your job. You are not the amount of cash you have in the bank. You are not your possessions.

·      Find your passion. Look for what inspires you. Find what you love to do and pursue it with all your heart. You may well find a way how to make money from doing it.

·      Love hurts. But it is so much better than closing yourself off for fear of being hurt and not experiencing love.

·      Communication and respect are the foundations for a lasting relationship.

·      Never compare yourself to others. It’s a waste of energy. You are unique and have your own gifts to offer the world.

·      Look after your health — physical, mental, and spiritual.

·      Don’t complain. Decide what you will tolerate and get on with life.

·      Set boundaries — work, family, and friendships.

·      Little stuff matters — manners get you a long way.

·      Be grateful. List the things you are grateful for every day.

·      Expect to fail. Failure is not fatal. Learn the lessons, then get back up and try again.

·      Have outrageous dreams. You’ll be amazed at what comes true.

·      Act with integrity at all times.

When David was ready to pass his kingdom over to his son, Solomon, he had some words of wisdom for his son:

"And Solomon, my son, learn to know the God of your ancestors intimately. Worship and serve him with your whole heart and a willing mind. For the LORD sees every heart and knows every plan and thought. If you seek him, you will find him.But if you forsake him, he will reject you forever."(1 Chronicles 28:9, NLT)

That's good advice for anyone at any age. Let's break this verse down a bit:

· Know the God of your ancestors—that would be Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and others. 

· Intimately—follow hard after God, building a relationship with Jesus. It's all about the heart; it’s not about self-affirmation with us in the forefront. It’s all about Jesus being in the front and us following his lead. When we know God intimately, we become salt and light. We are willing to be persecuted for being a follower of Christ. We wouldn’t be willing to be persecuted for Jesus unless we knew him intimately. When we know God intimately, we know what Jesus would do in various situations because we know him well. We get to know him well through his words to us in the Bible, prayer, and listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit.

Tomorrow we will continue looking at 1 Chronicles 28:9.

Verse Completions. . . scale any wall. 2 Samuel 22:30 (NLT)


Good morning!

In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity. (Rupertus Meldenius, 1627)

Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/R_zI1Iy5_EQ

Complete the Verse & Name the Book: “If you cling to your life, you will lose it, and . . .  (completion at the end)

Yesterday we were looking at 2 Kings 18:19-24. Today we will take the passage though the 36thverse.

What's more, do you think we have invaded your land without the LORD'S direction? The LORD himself told us, 'Attack this land and destroy it!'"

How many times have you heard people say, "God told me . . ."? Consider the source carefully when you hear those words. Make sure the words that follow that introduction line up with Scripture perfectly. Clearly, God was not behind these words spoken by King Sennacherib's chief of staff. The devil is the father of lies.

Then Eliakim son of Hilkiah, Shebna, and Joah said to the Assyrian chief of staff, "Please speak to us in Aramaic, for we understand it well. Don't speak in Hebrew, for the people on the wall will hear."

But Sennacherib's chief of staff replied, "Do you think my master sent this message only to you and your master? He wants all the people to hear it, for when we put this city under siege, they will suffer along with you. They will be so hungry and thirsty that they will eat their own dung and drink their own urine."

Then the chief of staff stood and shouted in Hebrew to the people on the wall, "Listen to this message from the great king of Assyria! This is what the king says: Don't let Hezekiah deceive you. He will never be able to rescue you from my power.

Again, it's man's power being talked about. The chief wants all the people to look at man's power, not God's power.

Don't let him fool you into trusting in the LORD by saying, 'The LORD will surely rescue us. This city will never fall into the hands of the Assyrian king!'

"Don't listen to Hezekiah! These are the terms the king of Assyria is offering: Make peace with me—open the gates and come out. Then each of you can continue eating from your own grapevine and fig tree and drinking from your own well. Then I will arrange to take you to another land like this one—a land of grain and new wine, bread and vineyards, olive groves and honey. Choose life instead of death!

Eve also was promised “good things” if she would obey Satan rather than God.

"Don't listen to Hezekiah when he tries to mislead you by saying, 'The LORD will rescue us!' Have the gods of any other nations ever saved their people from the king of Assyria? What happened to the gods of Hamath and Arpad? And what about the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah? Did any god rescue Samaria from my power?

Again, the focus is on man's power, not God's.

So what makes you think that the LORD can rescue Jerusalem from me?"

But the people were silent and did not utter a word because Hezekiah had commanded them, "Do not answer him."

Perhaps we should follow Hezekiah's advice, too. When we are intimidated by the devil, we don't have to answer him. We can go directly to God through his Son, and give the matter over to him, and follow his lead. We know it's not our power that's going to change wickedness; it's God's power working in and through us that will turn the tide. Trust Him today, because He can be trusted.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Verse Completions: . . . if you let your life go, you will save it.” Luke 17:33 (NLT)


Good morning!

In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity. (Rupertus Meldenius, 1627)

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

Complete the Verse & Name the Book: “Yes, it will be ‘business as usual’ right up to . . .  (completion at the end)

In part, King Hezekiah of Judah is described in Chapter 18 of 2 Kings as:

·  one who did what was pleasing in the LORD'S sight

·  the one who broke up the bronze serpent that Moses had made, because the people of Israel had been offering sacrifices to it

·  successful in everything he did, because the LORD was with him

·  revolted against the king of Assyria and refused to pay him tribute

There came a time when the king of Assyria, Sennacherib, tried to intimidate King Hezekiah. 2 Kings 18:19-36 tells what happened:

Then the Assyrian king's chief of staff told [Hezekiah's officials] to give this message to Hezekiah: "This is what the great king of Assyria says: What are you trusting in that makes you so confident? Do you think that mere words can substitute for military skill and strength?

This was discussed yesterday. Nothing comes close to matching the power of God.

Who are you counting on, that you have rebelled against me? On Egypt? If you lean on Egypt, it will be like a reed that splinters beneath your weight and pierces your hand. Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, is completely unreliable!

"But perhaps you will say to me, 'We are trusting in the LORD our God!' But isn't he the one who was insulted by Hezekiah? Didn't Hezekiah tear down his shrines and altars and make everyone in Judah and Jerusalem worship only at the altar here in Jerusalem?

"I'll tell you what! Strike a bargain with my master, the king of Assyria.

Does this sound familiar? The devil tried to strike a bargain with Jesus when he was tempting our Lord. Luke 4:5-7 says,Then the devil took him up and revealed to him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. "I will give you the glory of these kingdoms and authority over them," the devil said, "because they are mine to give to anyone I please. I will give it all to you if you will worship me." Of course, Jesus wouldn't have any part of it, and we shouldn't either when the devil tries to make deals with us.

I will give you 2,000 horses if you can find that many men to ride on them! With your tiny army, how can you think of challenging even the weakest contingent of my master's troops, even with the help of Egypt's chariots and charioteers?

Notice the focus is on man's power, not on God's power. A bit of humiliation is thrown in too.

Tomorrow we will conclude this thought.

Verse Completions: . . . the day when the Son of Man is revealed.” Luke 17:30 (NLT)


Good morning!

In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity. (Rupertus Meldenius, 1627)

Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/qz_oad9XZ0o

Complete the Verse & Name the Book: “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot . . .  (completion at the end)

Sometimes the situations we find ourselves in can seem hopeless—times when the odds are definitely not in our favor. However, we can look to Jesus and trust him for victory over the battle we are fighting.

A great example of how of we should never underestimate our mighty, sovereign God is found in 2 Chronicles 14:9-15:Once an Ethiopian named Zerah attacked Judah with an army of 1,000,000 men and 300 chariots. They advanced to the town of Mareshah, so Asa deployed his armies for battle in the valleynorth of Mareshah. Then Asa cried out to the LORD his God, "O LORD, no one but you can help the powerless against the mighty! Help us, O LORD our God, for we trust in you alone. It is in your name that we have come against this vast horde. O LORD, you are our God; do not let mere men prevail against you!"

So the LORD defeated the Ethiopians in the presence of Asa and the army of Judah, and the enemy fled. Asa and his army pushed them as far as Gerar, and so many Ethiopians fell that they were unable to rally. They were destroyed by the LORD and his army, and the army of Judah carried off a vast amount of plunder.

In our own strength we won't be able to win the mighty battle we are fighting. In God's strength the battle is won. We might look at addiction, financial troubles, health issues, marital difficulties, and say, "There's no way out." But no problem is too big for God. He didn't say it was going to be easy, but he did say:

·   "My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness." (2 Corinthians 12:9) 

·  God told Zerubbabel, "It is not by force nor by strength, but by my Spirit, says the LORD of Heaven's Armies. Nothing, not even a mighty mountain, will stand in Zerubbabel's way; it will become a level plain before him!" (Zechariah 4:6-7) 

·  Psalm 121:1-3 says: I look up to the mountains—does my help come from there? My help comes from the LORD, who made the heaven and earth! He will not let you stumble; the one who watches over you will not slumber.

·  For the Kingdom of God is not just a lot of talk; it is living by God's power. (1 Corinthians 4:20)

·  Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. (Ephesians 3:20)

·  I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)

Trust in God. You've probably seen the sign hanging up in some stores, "In God we trust; all others pay cash." This isn't exactly the kind of trust I'm talking about. Trust in themighty power of God that's bigger than any problem we face.

Let’s pray: "Lord, I see this problem in front of me, and it looks hopeless. But I look to you, and I know there is hope because you are the source of hope. In fact, you can fill me to the point of overflowing with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit—not my own power. I ask you to fill me with that power right now. My trust is in you and you alone. In the name of Jesus, Amen."

Verse Completions: . . . serve God and be enslaved to money.” Luke 16:13 (NLT)


Good morning!

In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity. (Rupertus Meldenius, 1627)

Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/aAGh9MSBjT8

Complete the Verse & Name the Book: And if you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, . . .  (completion at the end)

Today we will conclude an interpretation of Pastor Michael’s sermon titled “The Issue of Biblical Interpretation”.

A person wouldn’t use the narrative genre to write a cookbook. You wouldn’t want to prepare a special stew and read in your cookbook: Once upon a time, there was a little old grandma who wanted to make a warm, soothing stew for it was a particularly cold evening. She lived in a quaint, little cottage deep in the forest close to a bubbling brook. She went to her cellar and took out three carrots, two Idaho potatoes . . . Genre matters!

When we read poetry in Scripture, we find hyperboles, similes, metaphors, and so forth. People use hyperboles today, and we have no trouble understanding what they mean. For example, you might hear a person say, “I’m hungry enough to eat a horse.” You know the person doesn’t literally mean they could eat a horse. You know the person is saying that he is very hungry. He’s using a hyperbole to get his point across. We make interpretations all the time. It’s important that we make the correct interpretation.

2 Timothy 3:16-17tells us: All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

We need to be working at making correct interpretations of all of Scripture. This doesn’t mean we need to go to a reputable Bible college and get a degree in hermeneutics. Jesus tells us in John 14:26 and John 16:13:

But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.

One of the works of the Holy Spirit is to lead us into the truth of God. The Holy Spirit illuminates our minds. Nevertheless, there are some passages in Scripture that are particularly difficult to interpret. Peter said of Paul in2 Peter 3:16He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction. 

To understand Scripture properly, we have to go through the process of proper interpretation. Otherwise, we end up with interpretations that lead us away from God rather than closer to God.

As your pastor, I will do all I can to properly interpret Scripture! I will say, “God, what are you saying here in this passage? I want to hear from you. I don’t want to listen to any voice that speaks differently from yours. Show me why you put this in your word. What does this mean? What should we do about it?” This is my commitment to you, the church, to interpret Scripture the way God intended it to be interpreted.

Verse Completions: . . . who will trust you with the true riches of heaven? Luke 16:11 (NLT)


Good morning!

In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity. (Rupertus Meldenius, 1627)

Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/mgmalrB4lIE

Complete the Verse & Name the BookHere’s the lesson: Use your worldly resources to benefit others and make friends. Then, . . .  (completion at the end)

Today we will continue a recap of Pastor Michael’s sermon titled “The Issue of Biblical Interpretation”.

Now let’s look at the grammatical/language bridge. The language used for the Bible is different from what we speak. The Bible was originally written in Greek, Hebrew, and some Aramaic. Fortunately, all good translations have done the translating work for you, so we don’t have to learn Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic in order to get a good translation of the Bible.

We need to understand the meaning of the words and note the way the words are put together to form sentences and paragraphs. We need to be paying attention to word repetitions, contrasts and comparisons, lists, cause and effect, figures of speech, conjunctions, verbs, pronouns, questions and answers, dialogue, means, purpose/result statements, general to specific/specific to general, conditional clauses, actions/roles of God and people, emotional terms, tone of the passage, connections to other paragraphs/episodes, shifts in the story/pivots, interchanges, chiasm, inclusio. All these things can be found in the language and grammar used in the Bible.

In addition to the language/grammatical bridge, the cultural bridge, and the historical bridge, there’s also the literary bridge we have to cross when translating the Bible. The type of literature makes a difference to proper biblical interpretation. There are different literary genres that are used in the Bible: history, poetry, narrative, prophecy, apocalyptic, gospel, law, epistle, parable. All genres cannot be interpreted in the same way.

Let’s look at the importance of literary genre in interpreting the Bible by looking at some examples. When you are asking your girlfriend to marry you, genre matters. You wouldn’t take out an ad in the obituaries of a newspaper. The style of writing used in obituaries would not fit for a marriage proposal. Genre matters.

If you were putting together a cookbook, you would not use poetry, apocalyptic language, or prophecy to write out the recipe. You would use language that is used in writing cookbooks. The language would be clear and concise. You wouldn’t say:

Air the blessed liquid in the cauldron

Being brought to fruition

     Shall there upon all the fullness

Of the scrumptious ingredients be placed

Nor would you say:

     How do I love thee, my stew? Let me count the ways:

     I love thy succulent carrots where I count three

     I love thy two potatoes I bought on a shopping spree

     I loathe thy bitter Brussels sprouts that leave

     An unsavory taste in my mouth that lasts for days . . .

Poetic language is not used in the writing of cookbooks. People who enjoy poetry read poetry books. Cooks are on a mission to prepare a meal quickly. They would be frustrated with poetic language in a recipe, and the last thing you want to do is make the cook mad!

Apocalyptic genre wouldn’t be used in a cookbook. You wouldn’t expect to open a cookbook and read:

     I saw three men with sunburned faces riding three horses. They went into the lake, and they were no more. Then I saw two men with lumpy faces. I saw that some were pitted. They also went into the lake, and they were no more. Then I saw numerous men marching. They looked like they had just come out of a swamp for they were covered in greens. They, too, walked into the lake, and they were no more. Following them was a small cow. It neither looked to the right or left but walked straight into the lake, and it, too, was no more. Then I saw what looked like hail falling from the sky. The hail only lasted a brief moment, and it stopped. Then I saw more hail, but this hail was different from the first. It looked like fine charcoal falling from the sky. It was there, and then it was gone. Then I saw flames come out of the ground around the edge of the lake . . . 

Tomorrow we will conclude this interpretation of Pastor Michael’s message.

Verse Completions: . . . when your possessions are all gone, they will welcome you to an eternal home. Luke 16:9 (NLT)


Good morning!

In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity. (Rupertus Meldenius, 1627)

Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/YlyoylAsnE0

Complete the Verse & Name the BookIf anyone is ashamed of me and my message, the Son of Man will . . .  (completion at the end)

Today we will continue a recap of Pastor Michael’s sermon titled “The Issue of Biblical Interpretation”.

Let’s take a look at another example of when the cultural bridge needs to be crossed.1 Corinthians 16:20 says: All the brothers and sisters here send you greetings. Greet one another with a holy kiss.

Does this mean we should be kissing each other at church in order to be Christians who follow the teachings of the Bible? Not at all. What it meant to the original audience was: Treat each other as family because believers are children of God. In this culture, people did not kiss strangers; they kissed family. We need to be treating each other as family when we come to church, because we are family. We do what our culture does when they are with family: give a hug, say “I love you”, cry when they cry, rejoice when they rejoice, correct them if you see them going astray, offer words of encouragement.

Let’s look at an example of this found inRevelation 3:14-20:

“To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.

Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.

How does the history of Laodicea help us understand this passage? Laodicea was a city that was situated between two bodies of water. North of Laodicea were hot springs that flowed out of the escarpments. It was a popular place to go to enjoy sitting in the hot pools. The hot water was high in minerals that were beneficial for health.

South of Laodicea was the Lysis River that was known for its clear, cold, refreshing water. People found the water to be very useful. Laodicea did not have any water running through it, so water was precious to the inhabitants. They would have to travel approximately eight miles to get water. Eventually, an aqueduct was built that brought water from the Lysis River into the city.

Those living in Laodicea were between hot water and cold water. Hot water was beneficial. Cold water was beneficial. Lukewarm water had no appeal.

Now that we know the history, we can get to the meaning of the passage: What was being done by those who lived in Laodicea was not beneficial. Their acts weren’t appealing to God at all even though they saw themselves as very appealing. It was time for the Laodiceans to humble themselves, receive the rebuke and discipline of God, and repent.

Tomorrow we will continue this recap of Pastor Michael’s message.

Verse Completions. . . be ashamed of that person when he returns in his glory and in the glory of the Father and the holy angels. Luke 9:26 (NLT)


Good morning! 

In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity. (Rupertus Meldenius, 1627)

Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/7d_oYr-P16M

Complete the Verse & Name the Book: And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but . . .  (completion at the end)

Today we will continue a recap of Pastor Michael’s sermon titled “The Issue of Biblical Interpretation”.

Let’s look at some examples of having to cross the cultural bridge while reading the Bible. The first is found in Proverbs 22:28Do not move an ancient boundary stone set up by your ancestors.

We don’t use boundary stones today. The verse does not mean if you see some stones on another person’s property, you’re not to move them. In ancient culture in the Middle East, farmers would mark their property lines with large stones. If a dishonest person wanted to gain more property, he would move the neighbor’s property marker farther away from his own property so he could enlarge his own property. 

Since we don’t use boundary stones as property markers in modern times, what does this mean for us today? Does it mean don’t move your neighbor’s fence in the middle of the night? No, it means the same thing it meant to the ancient world: Don’t cheat your neighbor. We just crossed a cultural bridge.

Deuteronomy 22:8 tells us: When you build a new house, make a parapet around your roof so that you may not bring the guilt of bloodshed on your house if someone falls from the roof.

Does this mean if I don’t put a fence around my roof that I’m sinning? Let’s go back to the time when this was written and find out what the message was to the original audience. In this part of the world at this period in history, roofs were flat. They were part of the living space of a house. A stairway led up to the roof which made a great place for people to enjoy their mornings and evenings. There was always the danger of someone falling off the roof if they got too close to the edge unless a parapet, or fence, was put up to keep people safe. Today, when we read this verse, we would be misinterpreting it if we said that anyone who didn’t have a fence around the border of their roof was being unbiblical. 

The meaning of this verse back then and now are the same: When you are building a house, keep safety in mind so people won’t get injured while they live in the house or when visitors visit the house. 

Proverbs 31:10-31 says: 

A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family and portions for her female servants. She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers. She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple. Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes. She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

Does this mean my wife has to select wool and flax and work with eager hands in order to have noble character? Does this mean my wife has to get up while it is still dark and prepare food for her family and give some of what she prepares to the servant girls because, otherwise, she is not a wife of noble character? Does this mean if my wife isn’t out looking for land and buying a fertile piece that will produce an abundance of money from the grapes she raised, then she’s not being a good wife? Does this mean she tirelessly works all night long for her family? Does this mean a good wife knows how to make a lot of money? 

We have to ask ourselves what this meant to the audience at this time in history. Once we know that, we know it means the same thing for us today. Back then it would have meant that a godly wife looks to the needs of her husband, her children, and herself. She is a person who makes sure her house is a home. The meaning is the same for us today.

Tomorrow we will continue this recap of Pastor Michael’s message.

Verse Completions: . . . are yourself lost or destroyed? Luke 9:25 (NLT)


Good morning! 

In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity. (Rupertus Meldenius, 1627)

Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/0O7HHH9yziU

Complete the Verse & Name the BookIf you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you . . .  (completion at the end)

Today we will continue a recap of Pastor Michael’s sermon titled “The Issue of Biblical Interpretation”.

As we read the words of Jesus, Paul, Timothy, John, Isaiah, David, Moses and other authors who contributed to the Bible, we have to ask, “What did they mean when they said that? What was their intended meaning? How do I make sure I have it right before I tell others?”

As we make interpretations, we have to ask ourselves what the text meant to the original audience. Once we have answered that, we can ask ourselves what the message means for us today. We always need to determine what the author wants us to know about God. 

What the text meant when it was written should always be what the text means now. The meaning doesn’t change. When an author writes something, his message has one meaning. That meaning does not change. Some things in the Bible are easy to understand; some things are difficult to understand. In order to understand Scripture properly, we may have to do some digging into Scripture. 

We interpret Scripture for several reasons. First, there are the effects of sin on the human heart, mind, and will. Because of sin, we want to make the Bible say what we want it to say instead of hearing what God is saying. People don’t want to be confronted with the words of God that tell them they are not living according to his will. They want to keep on doing what they are doing, so they interpret God’s word differently from what was intended.

Second, we need interpretation because the Bible was written in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. Since we don’t speak those languages, we need someone to interpret for us into English. Any good translation of the Bible does that for you: NIV, NLT, NASB, ESV, and others.

Third, there are factors separating the modern reader from the biblical writer: culture, history, language, and literary differences. We have to cross the bridge to the ancient world, see what the words meant to them, cross back over the bridge to modern times, and see what the words mean to us. The task of the interpreter is to understand and explain the intended meaning of the authors of Scripture as they disclosed it in the original language used, understood it in its natural significance (its culture), and within the historical context in which it was written. 

There’s a lot that goes into properly understanding the Bible. We can’t just open the Bible and ask ourselves, “What does this mean to me?” Instead, we should be reading to find its intended meaning. Once we know the intended meaning to the original audience, then we can ask ourselves, “What does this mean to me?” The meaning will be the same.

As we interpret, we have to cross cultural bridges. The culture of the biblical writer is not the same as the culture we experience today. We have to determine how the culture operated back then. We have to determine how that culture would have understood the words the author wrote. We have to determine how we would translate that message to our culture today. We can’t take our culture and place it in the time when the Bible was written. We can’t say, “This is how we do things in our culture, so that must be the way they did things in their culture.” We have to cross the cultural bridge.

Tomorrow we will look at some examples of this as we continue a recap of Pastor Michael’s message.

Verse Completions. . . give up your life for my sake, you will save it. Luke 9:24 (NLT)


Good morning! 

In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity. (Rupertus Meldenius, 1627)

Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/DqyJeFSBQ88

Complete the Verse & Name the BookThen [Jesus] said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must . . .  (completion at the end)

Today we will continue a recap of Pastor Michael’s sermon titled “The Issue of Biblical Interpretation”.

Our job as interpreters with each other is to determine what the other person meant by what was said in print or orally. One way I could find out for sure what my friend was saying in the text is to talk to him directly. However, what do we do when it’s not possible to talk to the person to find out what he meant?

Let’s take a look at another example. What is about to be shared is not being shared to offend anybody. Don’t jump to any conclusions prematurely. It’s being shared to illustrate what happens when something is misinterpreted. 

Here we go: What is the meaning of the following statement: “It is cold enough outside to freeze the balls off a brass monkey”? Here are a couple interpretations:

1.   This is a naval expression from 16th century England. To make this interpretation, we have to cross the bridge of history and culture. The balls in this expression are cast iron cannonballs that were kept on warships. The brass monkey was a literal brass ring that went around the outside of a stack of cannonballs. The brass ring was designed to keep the bottom layer of cannonballs in place. The other cannonballs were stacked on top of the base layer in order to form a pyramid shape of cannonballs. 

When metal gets cold, it contracts or gets smaller. Brass contracts at a greater rate than cast iron. When it was very cold outside, the brass ring would contract so much that the cannonballs could no longer fit inside the ring, and they would spill off the stack and onto the deck of the warship. 

How cold is it? “It is cold enough outside to freeze the balls off a brass monkey.” Every sailor knew it was extremely cold outside when that was said. This is one interpretation.

2.   Another interpretation is the picture that appeared in your mind when you heard the statement. 

Which is the right interpretation? Of course, it’s the first. This is why I asked you not to jump to any conclusions too quickly. 

I hope these examples drive home the importance of hermeneutics. We must determine the proper interpretation of Scripture, or we can get far off base. With the wrong interpretation of Scripture, we can end up in a cult. With the wrong interpretation of Scripture, we can be led to believe lies. We can think the author meant one thing when he really meant something very different. With the wrong interpretation of Scripture, we can twist and turn Scripture to fit our lifestyle rather than us changing our lifestyle to fit what Scripture is really saying.  

Our interpretations of Scripture directly impact our actions. We have to determine what Scripture is really telling us. We must get the interpretation right! We need to be preaching the truth of God’s words, and not the truth of our own words. We never want to put our own words, our own ideas, and our own interpretations into Scripture. If we misinterpret Scripture, we live lives that don’t bring glory to God. 

In order to get the proper interpretation be have to cross interpretive bridges: historical, cultural, grammatical/language, and literary. Interpretation is the process of understanding a message given to one person and explaining it to another person. There are two messages in the interpretive process: the original message and the message that was interpreted. In a good interpretation, the original message has the same meaning as the message that was interpreted. The content of both messages is the same. Before a person can give a good interpretation, that person has to understand the meaning of the original message. 

Tomorrow we will continue this recap of Pastor Michael’s message.

Verse Completions. . . give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow me.”  Luke 9:23 (NLT)


Good morning! 

In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity. (Rupertus Meldenius, 1627)

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

Complete the Verse & Name the Book: And the seeds that fell on the good soil represent honest, good-hearted people who . . .  (completion at the end)

On Sunday Pastor Michael continued with his series on the issues of life with a sermon titled “The Issue of Biblical Interpretation”. The Bible is often misinterpreted. Sometimes a wrong interpretation of the Bible can ruin a person’s life and have eternal consequences. A misinterpretation can be very dangerous. A proper interpretation of Scripture is of great importance. There’s only one meaning to what the author is saying although there may be many applications to one’s life. There’s a right way to interpret Scripture, and there’s a wrong way to interpret God’s word.

Sometimes people reject the Bible because they have received the wrong interpretation of Scripture. Wrong interpretations should be rejected, but we should never reject Scripture. We never want to interpret God’s word according to what we think it should be saying; we want to interpret God’s word according to what God is actually saying. 

Hermeneutics is the proper interpretation of Scripture. There are accepted guidelines for proper biblical interpretation. Hermeneutics is the science and art of biblical interpretation. When we interpret Scripture, we are trying to determine the intended meaning of the author. We should be asking ourselves certain questions:

·      What did the text mean to the original audience? What was the intended meaning of the author?

·      What are the differences between us now and the original audience? We don’t have the same culture. Our backgrounds are different. Our languages are different. 

·      What is the theological principle? What does the author want us to know? What was the author’s purpose in writing what he wrote?

·      How does this theological principle fit with the rest of the Bible? If it doesn’t agree with the rest of Scripture, then it’s the wrong interpretation. There are no contradictions in Scripture; there are only wrong interpretations of Scripture. 

·      How should individual Christians today live out the theological principles? How then must we live? How should we apply the truth of Scripture to our lives?

Let’s look at a couple of examples of interpretation that aren’t related to Scripture. First, let’s say I receive a text from a friend that says: “Hey, can we get together to meet this week? Wednesday at 3:00 works best for me.” I could interpret this message in at least three ways:

1.   My friend wants to talk to me, and he’s telling me that 3:00 is a good time for him. He’s wondering if it’s a good time for me. If so, let’s meet on Wednesday.A very simple interpretation based on the written words.

2.   My friend is trying to tell me something here. It must be an important message, because it looks like he doesn’t want anyone else around. Meet is a key word here. It sounds to me like this will be a lengthy meeting. What he has to say must be private, otherwise, he could have just called me on my phone. He must not want other people around when we meet. This must be really serious business he wants to discuss. He’s picking the time because he wants to let me know he’s the one in control of this meeting. Likely, a conflict of some form needs to be discussed with me. My friend must be mad at me for something I said or did. All these things could be true, but I have no way of knowing if they are true. It’s one interpretation of the text that involves a lot of reading between the lines.

3.   This is serious. My friend is seeking community with me. He needs a friend. He wants to get to know me in a deeper way. He is choosing 3:00 because he knows the office closes at 3:00. Since my friend’s wife works at the office, he knows his wife will be gone while he meets with me. My friend probably wants to talk to me about his wife, and he doesn’t want his wife to hear what he has to say to me. There are probably some marital issues that are stressing him out. This text that I read is a cry for help. Again, this interpretation could be a possibility. However, I would have to read a lot into this to come up with this interpretation because this interpretation is not laid out in the words that were written. A lot of reading between the lines is required.

Only one of these interpretations is right. My friend wrote me this text because he had an intended purpose. So which interpretation is correct? In normal communication, we would take the words written at face value. We wouldn’t try to read into what was said or attempt to read between the lines. There’s no need to allegorize the message by having what is said represent something else symbolically. There’s nothing in the words of the text that say my friend is in conflict with me or that my friend is having marital problems. In the text I don’t see any similes, metaphors, hyperboles, or symbolic language. Only the first interpretation makes sense with what was written. Why would I want to find hidden meaning in this text when it’s not there? That doesn’t make sense. 

Tomorrow we will continue this recap of Pastor Michael’s message.

Verse Completions: . . . hear God’s word, cling to it, and patiently produce a huge harvest. Luke 8:15 (NLT)


Good morning! 

In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity. (Rupertus Meldenius, 1627)

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

Complete the Verse & Name the BookDavid continued to succeed in everything he did, for . . .  (completion at the end)

Today we will conclude a recap of Pastor Michael’s sermon titled “The Issue of Marriage and Divorce”.

A fourth time when divorce is not a sin is when you are served papers for a divorce and you legally are prevented from staying married. In some cases divorce is involuntary. 

Divorce often causes turmoil, confusion, chaos, uncertainty, and hurt in the lives of those involved. When children are involved, the pain is compounded. God’s plan for marriage is one man, one woman, for a lifetime. Sadly, when one person goes against that plan, divorce is the result. 

A marriage relationship is always God’s best for us if we want to be united with a person of the opposite sex. God hates divorce. Our time should be spent on how to make a marriage flourish rather than how to walk away from a marriage with the least amount of loss. When we follow God’s plan for marriage, God blesses our marriage.

Some people choose to stay single; that’s fine. If that’s what they want, that may be God’s best for them. However, if they can’t be celibate, then they need to enter a marriage relationship. 

For those who have been divorced, remarriage is an option. In the culture of the time, women were not able to initiate divorce, but they could end up being divorced. Remarriage was expected. Women didn’t have any means of supporting themselves. 1 Corinthians 7:39-40 says:

A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but he must belong to the Lord. In my judgment, she is happier if she stays as she is—and I think that I too have the Spirit of God.

Remarriage is an option as long as the prospective mate is a follower of Christ. You need to be married to someone who shares your worldview. You are going to become more and more like the person who is closest to you. An unbeliever will lead you away from growing in your relationship with Christ. Some people are disillusioned when they think they will marry and unbeliever and then lead him to Christ after they are married. 

In recent years there have been questions concerning senior citizens getting married. There are a lot of things to consider such as IRAs, pensions, wills, children on both sides, houses, and so forth. Marriage can complicate things legally. As a result, some senior citizens have decided not to get married; they simply agree to become cohabitants. This is not God’s plan. It’s wrong to live this way. However, do we need the government to be our authority to validate a marriage? Should we be turning to the government to decide for us if a marriage is valid or invalid, or should we be turning to God to validate our marriage? Consider that the government validates same sex marriages and common law marriages. Why should the government decide what a marriage is or isn’t for disciples of Christ? We shouldn’t care what the government says about marriage, but we should care what God says about marriage.

The government records marriages for certain benefits and tax purposes. As senior citizens wanting to get married but not wanting to be bound by government regulations concerning marriage, go ahead and have a customary marriage ceremony in the church. A commitment to forsake all others and be faithful to the person you are marrying is made. The commitment to God’s plan of marriage is still the same: one man, one woman, for a lifetime. If the government doesn’t recognize the marriage, it doesn’t matter. You are making a commitment to God and your spouse-to-be in front of witnesses. You are not making any commitment to the government. Your commitment is to God and each other.

In Revelation 21:1-4 we see a future marriage that is an eternal marriage. It’s a marriage between Jesus, the husband, and the Church, his bride. 

Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

Marriage has a purpose and a place. It’s difficult these days to choose marriage. It’s difficult these days to stay married. Our culture does not value God’s plan for marriage that commits one man and one woman for a lifetime. As a church, we should honor marriage and work to restore it to its original plan made by God. May our marriages bring honor to God. 

Never forget that one day we will be part of the greatest wedding ceremony ever—the uniting of Christ to his church forever. 

Verse Completions. . . the LORD was with him. 1 Samuel 18:14 (NLT)


Good morning! 

In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity. (Rupertus Meldenius, 1627)

Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/X3cLuPrei50

Complete the Verse & Name the BookAnd everyone assembled here will know that the LORD rescues his people, but not with sword and spear. This is the . . . (completion at the end)

Today we will continue a recap of Pastor Michael’s sermon titled “The Issue of Marriage and Divorce””.

There’s a third time when God allows divorce, and that is when there is abuse in the relationship. In Matthew 19:7-9 we read the following:

 “Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?”

Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”

Jesus is quoting from Deuteronomy 24:1-4:

 If a man marries a woman who becomes displeasing to him because he finds something indecent about her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house, and if after she leaves his house she becomes the wife of another man, and her second husband dislikes her and writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house, or if he dies, then her first husband, who divorced her, is not allowed to marry her again after she has been defiled. That would be detestable in the eyes of the LORD. Do not bring sin upon the land the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance.

God is addressing the issue of husbands abusing their wives. What was going on is husbands were divorcing their wives for any reason: a burnt meal, didn’t clean up to the husband’s standards of cleaning, there was too much complaining from the wife. In the culture of that time in the Middle East, men could divorce their wives for any little thing they did that the husband didn’t like. If the husband said, “I divorce you” three times, it was official—the couple was divorced. Consequently, a wife lived in the constant fear that her husband would divorce her. This is clearly an abusive relationship where the wife is kept in fear with the threat of divorce that could have dire financial consequences. The wife might not be able to survive without the support of her husband. 

There is no place for the abuse of a wife in God’s plan for marriage. Therefore, God said there would no longer be any verbal divorces to scare women into submitting to the husband’s unrealistic expectations. God said if a husband decided to divorce his wife, he would have to give her a certificate of divorce. This was something new to this culture. In addition, when a husband gave his wife a certificate of divorce, it was official and permanent. No longer would men be able to continually abuse their wives with oral divorces, divorcing and then reuniting, divorcing and reuniting—a vicious cycle of abuse, control, and manipulation. The new system caused men to think before they acted on a divorce. There would be no returning to their spouse. Women would no longer have to be in constant fear of wrongdoing that would result in them losing a household income, a place to live, and food to eat. Abuse has no place in a marriage relationship. Those who are abused may leave a marriage by getting a divorce. 

Defining abuse is difficult. Some people might say it’s not abuse unless there’s visible signs—bruises, broken bones, visible blood. Others might say abuse is when a spouse offends their mate (saying things like: “Your hair doesn’t look nice.”) or disagrees with them. One camp has a very narrow definition of abuse while the other has a very wide definition where almost anything can be categorized as abuse. 

No one should stay in an abusive relationship. There needs to be intentional separation with a plan of action. Abuse can be physical, sexual, verbal, or emotional. We just have to be careful that we are not accusing our spouse of abuse when the real reason is something different: we found someone we like more, we don’t want to put the time and energy into our marriage that it would take to make it work, we’re tired of all the responsibility that comes with a marriage relationship. We have to seek God’s plan for marriage: one man, one woman, for a lifetime. 

Verse Completions. . . LORD’s battle, and he will give you to us!” 1 Samuel 17:47 (NLT)