Daily Devotion October 2021

10/18/21


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


Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/5CLafssD6bM



Complete the Verse & Name the BookThe King will reply, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, . . . (completion at the end)



Yesterday Pastor Michael continued the introduction to the book of Judges as he preached the second sermon in this series titled “The Sin and Salvation Cycle” based on Judges 2:1-3:6. Today we will start a recap of that sermon.


Judges 1-3:6 is an introduction to the book. Chapter 1 was about the physical history of Israel—what they did. Judges 2-3:6 transitions into the spiritual history of Israel. The spiritual state of a nation explains the physical history of a nation. The spiritual always underlies the physical. In Chapter 2 we start to get into the redemptive history of Israel which is more than just the physical history. It’s the spiritual reality behind why the physical history took place. 


Judges 2:1-5 explains Chapter 1 and introduces us to Chapter 2:


The angel of the LORD went up from Gilgal to Bokim and said, “I brought you up out of Egypt and led you into the land that I swore to give to your forefathers. I said, ‘I will never break my covenant with you, and you shall not make a covenant with the people of this land, but you shall break down their altars.’ Yet you have disobeyed me. Why have you done this? Now therefore I tell you that I will not drive them out before you; they will be thorns in your sides and their gods will be a snare to you.”


When the angel of the LORD had spoken these things to all the Israelites, the people wept aloud, and they called that place Bokim. There they offered sacrifices to the LORD.


As the Israelites obey God, they start to conquer the Promised Land. However, their conquest is not complete, and people are allowed to live in the Promised Land that did not fear God. That was a serious problem! God had promised to give the land to the Israelites, but they weren’t trusting God to use them to accomplish what God had promised. The angel reminded the Israelites what God had said: I will never break my covenant with you, and you shall not make a covenant with the people of this land, but you shall break down their altars.


God explained to Moses in Exodus 34:10-16 how things were going to work:


Then the LORD said: “I am making a covenant with you. Before all your people I will do wonders never before done in any nation in all the world. The people you live among will see how awesome is the work that I, the LORD, will do for you. Obey what I command you today. I will drive out before you the Amorites, Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. Be careful not to make a treaty with those who live in the land where you are going, or they will be a snare among you. Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones and cut down their Asherah poles. Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.


“Be careful not to make a treaty with those who live in the land; for when they prostitute themselves to their gods and sacrifice to them, they will invite you and you will eat their sacrifices. And when you choose some of their daughters as wives for your sons and those daughters prostitute themselves to their gods, they will lead your sons to do the same. 


There was to be a covenant between God and the Israelites. Yahweh was to be their God, and the Israelites were to be his people. God would bless his people, but there were stipulations to those blessings. If the people failed to follow what God said, there would be curses. The Israelites were not to make treaties with the people who were living in the land they were entering. God knew if they did, the Israelites would end up following other gods, and that’s exactly what happened. The angel said, “Why have you done this? Now therefore I tell you that I will not drive them out before you; they will be thorns in your sides and their gods will be a snare to you.” 


We find something very similar in Numbers 33:55-56: “’But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land, those you allow to remain will become barbs in your eyes and thorns in your sides. They will give you trouble in the land where you will live. And then I will do to you what I plan to do to them.’”


The attitude of the Israelites was: “We really don’t need God as much as Joshua said we do. He was pretty fanatical about God. I don’t want to be like that. And Moses was way over the top. He said to do whatever God says to do and not do whatever God says not to do. He’s far too black and white for me. That’s not the world I live in. That’s not me. His words impact my life in a very negative way. His desires and preferences are not necessarily my desires and preferences. I like doing things my way. Besides, all those things we were told are simply suggestions!” 


It’s interesting that when things went wrong for the Israelites (and go wrong for us), they (and we) right away blame God. They liked the blessings part of the covenant and they kept them in the forefront of their thinking. They didn’t like the curses part of the covenant, so they tended to forget about them sweeping them under the rug—out of sight; out of mind. They weren’t faithful to the covenant, and yet they blamed God for not being faithful when the blessings stopped and the curses began. All along God was faithful. He did exactly what he said he would do. God is always faithful. He always keeps his word. The wrong is in us, not God. 


Fortunately, the Israelites came to their senses and said, “God, you are right; we were wrong.” They repented and renewed the covenant. We see this in Judges 2:4-5. 


In the next part of the introduction, we see a transition from the physical into the spiritual. Here we get some insight into the spiritual condition of the Israelites: After Joshua had dismissed the Israelites, they went to take possession of the land, each to his own inheritance. The people served the LORD throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him and who had seen all the great things the LORD had done for Israel.


Joshua son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died at the age of a hundred and ten. And they buried him in the land of his inheritance, at Timnath Heres in the hill country of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash (Judges 2:6-9). We find almost the same words in Joshua 24:29-31, but the order of events is different. The book of Joshua is saying there’s hope for the people because even though Joshua has died, they are still serving God. Judges says the people are serving God as long as Joshua is alive, but now that he has died the future is in question. There appears to be a foreshadowing that says, “This is not going to go well for the Israelites,” especially after the angel said, “Yet you have disobeyed me. Why have you done this?”


In Judges 2:10-13 we read: After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who knew neither the LORD nor what he had done for Israel. Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD and served the Baals. They forsook the LORD, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of Egypt. They followed and worshiped various gods of the peoples around them. They provoked the LORD to anger because they forsook him and served Baal and the Ashtoreths. 


This does not mean that the next generation had no idea who God was. It does not mean they knew nothing of their history in Egypt. The word “knew” in verse 10 refers to experiential knowledge. They didn’t experience God for themselves. They didn’t take the faith of their fathers and make it their own. They didn’t have a relationship with God. Their attitude was: “That was fine for my parents and grandparents, but my generation is different from theirs. The world is different now. They were simple people and had a simple faith, but the world is more complicated now. There’s so much more going on these days.” The covenant was not seen as something that was important to their lives. They added to the covenant and subtracted from the covenant at will. God’s words were not internalized. 


There’s always the danger that when our children leave home, they will not enter their new world through the narrow gate. There is a real danger that they will enter through the wide gate and get on the broad road that leads to destruction—the road many are on (see Matthew 7:13-14). The faith that we hold closely, our children will hold loosely, and not be held by our grandchildren at all. There must be a purposeful praying for future generations. What Joshua and his generation held dear, the next generation held loosely, and the following generation knew God not at all. Each generation must decide on their own that God is vitally important to their lives. The way the physical world operates is based on spiritual principles that God puts in place. God must be central in our lives. That truth needs to be passed on to the next generation. 


We live in a world that says God is okay but not vitally important. The world says God has his place in the universe, but he doesn’t need to be the central part of our lives. What happens when God is not central to our lives? We see the answer in Judges 2:14-15: In his anger against Israel the LORD handed them over to raiders who plundered them. He sold them to their enemies all around, whom they were no longer able to resist. Whenever Israel went out to fight, the hand of the LORD was against them to defeat them, just as he had sworn to them. They were in great distress. Life got ugly for the Israelites. 


When we step outside of a relationship with Christ, life gets ugly. That’s a spiritual axiom—that’s the way life is. We simply cannot live life outside of the boundaries of a covenant with Jesus and be at peace with God. Peace with God only comes through a right relationship with Jesus where we are following him, obeying him, listening to him, and remaining in him. Jesus said, “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me” (John 15:4) 


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



Verse Completion. . . You did for me. Matthew 25:40 (NIV)


10/16/21


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


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



Complete the Verses & Name the Book

·      “If you will fear the LORD and serve Him, and listen to His voice, and not rebel against the command of the LORD, then . . .


·      “And if you will not listen to the voice of the LORD, but rebel against the command of the LORD, then . . . (completions at the end)



Yesterday we started a recap of Dr. Josh Moody’s sermon titled “The Sword of the Spirit” based on Ephesians 6:10-20 with the emphasis being on verse 17b: and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pastor Moody said there needs to be a balance of feeling and thinking in our churches. We need a balance of Spirit and Word. Pastor Moody pointed out that the sword of the Spirit, the word of God, is the words found in Scripture—they are words God has spoken. They are words fully and divinely inspired even though they are also human-authored words.


The only way for us to understand what the Spirit says is for the Spirit to be at work in us. 1 Corinthians 2:9-11 says: But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”—these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.


When I was studying theology and academic material, I found there were brilliant people who came up with the most bizarre, idiotic ideas about the Bible. How can that be? A person needs the work of the Spirit to actually see what God is saying. Hebrews 12:14 says: Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. We have to have the work of the Spirit in our lives in order to understand Scripture. That doesn’t mean we don’t have to use our brains. 2 Timothy 2:7 says: Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything. As we think, God gives us insight.


The third part of our text is the word. What is meant by the word? They are the actual, written words in the Bible—Scripture. In context, Paul has already talked about the belt of truth. The belt of truth is more general, theological ideas. It involves apologetics and the truth about who God is. We need the belt of truth! But the sword of the Spirit is different from the belt of truth. It’s specific—the word of God. When Jesus is tempted by the devil in Matthew 4, he does not say, in order to defeat the forces of darkness around him, “My theological supposition is the following . . .” What Jesus does say is, “It is written . . . It is written . . . It is written . . .” When the devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread,” Jesus answered, It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (Matthew 4:3-4) When a lawyer asked Jesus, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus answered, What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” (Luke 10:25-26) John 10:33-36 says: The Jews answered him, “It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.” Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your Law, ‘I said, you are gods’? If he called them gods to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be broken—do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?" When Paul said “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,” he was referring to the actual, written words of Scripture. 


As you look through church history, the use of the written words of Scripture has been the definitive answer when the church has come under attack. It’s our only spiritual weapon. Martin Luther did right when he used the sword of the Spirit to say: “The righteous shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17b). He used the actual, written words of Scripture. 


To win our spiritual battles, we need to use our only spiritual weapon which is to say what God says. How do we do that? Here are four ways:


1.   Weaponization. James does not say, “There’s nothing you can do about the devil. Run away from him.” What he does say is, Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded (James 4:7b-8). Too many times, Christians today are defeatists saying, “The world is going to hell in a handbasket. There’s nothing we can do about it.” That’s not the Bible’s approach. We are to take out the sword of the Spirit. The Church needs to change its attitude. We’re not pacifists. Our battle is not against people, it’s against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. We’re talking about using the sword of the Spirit, the word of God, to engage against injustice and evil. The word of God is our only spiritual weapon. Our attitude needs to be, “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” We are not to trivialize the forces of darkness, but we are to draw the sword.


2.   Spiritualization. We tend to approach the Scriptures as something informational, intellectual, or educational but rarely as something spiritual. Sunday mornings are not a time of merely teaching; they’re a spiritual moment. We’re engaged in a spiritual war. It’s a moment of worship. We rebalance the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. When Jesus was talking to the Sadducees about the resurrection, he said, “You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God (Matthew 22:29). We need to know the Scriptures and the power of God because they go together just as the sword of the Spirit and the word of God go together. 


3.   Memorization. If we are to use the sword of the Spirit, we need to know the word of God. It needs to be written in our minds and hearts so we can speak the words of God. I’m often asked what my favorite Scripture verse is. It’s always what I’m studying at the moment. 


Growing up in the Church of England, I was given a confirmation Bible that had the following verse written in it: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9). The verse right before it says: This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. The reason it’s worded “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth” is because silent reading had not been discovered in ancient times. The picture here is someone speaking over the words of God as they read them so the words are absorbed, understood, and internalized, so the words become part of the hearer. The result is the words are memorized. Psalm 119:11 says: I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. The best way to memorize Scripture is to read it a lot. Why are you able to quote some of the lines from your favorite movie? It’s because you’ve seen it numerous times. You’ve memorized the lines. 


When we think about warfare and a time when we are in a battle, we can’t call a timeout and go get our weapon. We need to have our weapon readily available at all times. When we memorize Scripture, our weapon is readily available for use at any given time. 


4.   Utilization. This involves actually using God’s word as an individual, as a family, as a church. I talked to a man who knew Billy Graham well. He said he never entered the room where Billy Graham was without seeing Billy Graham’s Bible open. Do you want an effective ministry? Be grounded in God’s word. Billy Graham’s famous phrase was, “The Bible says . . .” Jonathan Edwards is known to us as an intellect but his contemporaries knew him as the one who studied the Scriptures more than anyone else. 


To win the spiritual battles, we need to use our only spiritual weapon which is to say what God says. 



Verse Completions:


·      . . . both you and also the king who reigns over you will follow the LORD your God. 


·      . . . the hand of the LORD will be against you, as it was against your fathers. 1 Samuel 12:14-15 (NASB)


10/15/21


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


Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/jpoBc-f4RIc



Complete the Verses & Name the Book

·      Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world . . .


·      For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes . . . 


·      The world and its desires pass away, but the man . . . (completions at the end)



Dr. Josh Moody is the pastor of College Church in Wheaton, Illinois. He recently started a series titled “Spiritual Warfare”. The seventh sermon in this series is titled “The Sword of the Spirit”. It is based on Ephesians 6:10-20 with the emphasis being on verse 17b. Today we will begin a recap of that message.


Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak. Ephesians 6:10-20 (ESV)


If you’ve been around Christian circles for any length of time, you know that there is a lack of balance in our churches in this regard. You can go to churches that are Spirit kinds of churches or you can go to churches that are Word kinds of churches. As a Christian movement we are lacking balance. 


The Pentecostal revival movement began in the early twentieth century. The Third Wave Movement began in the 1980s with John Wimber and others. A key teaching was that the preaching of the gospel must be accompanied with signs and wonders. The emphasis was on miracles, speaking in tongues, healing, and prophecy. In reaction to that, among more conservative-minded churches and denominations, came the emphasis on the Bible and truth. Sound doctrine played an important role for determining truth rather than personal experience.


The issues of church history have impacted us, but there's also the history of the world. We are at a point in time where we're inheritors of the Enlightenment rationalization that gave birth to science, reason, and that way of approaching life. And there's been reactive movements to that—the 19th century romantic movement, the 1960s and the 70s sexual revolution. Right now we're going through another reactive movement with the emphasis on authenticity, feelings, experience, life contexts and so on. The emphasis here is on the feeling side of things rather than on the thinking side of things. That, of course, then influences the church to be split along the same point of tension. We can see why there is a very evident lack of balance. 


We only have one spiritual weapon—the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. When there’s a lack of balance, we’re not going to be using our weapon properly. 


Not only are things out of balance, there’s also a lack of credibility. For a century or more, encased within the ivory tower experience of the intellectual elites, there has been a lot of historical criticism of the Bible. In the last twenty to thirty years this criticism has disseminated through popular culture. That means the Bible is not seen as credible for many people today. When a Christian attempts to share their faith and says, “The Bible says . . .,” the person hearing thinks or says, “But the Bible is just a bunch of myths. It’s not historically accurate.” If we allow that kind of thinking to prevail, it becomes much more difficult to use the sword of the Spirit. 


The word of God are the words found in Scripture. If people view the words found in Scripture as not being credible, then those words are not going to be used by Christians until that issue is addressed. 


There’s the belief in some churches that the Bible is not practical. Consequently, you can attend a service and not have the Bible opened. A person who believes there’s nothing in the Bible that can be applied to his life is not going to read the Bible. 


We are in a spiritual battle: For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. In order to win the spiritual battle, we need to use our only spiritual weapon, which is to say what God says. 


Our text for today has three parts: 


1.   the sword 


2.   the Spirit


3.   the word 


What Paul means by sword, according to many people, can be traced back to the book of Isaiah where the Messiah puts on spiritual armor and uses the sword as his words. Isaiah 49:2a says: [The LORD] made my mouth like a sharp sword. The sword slays injustice and evil. One way of looking at this is that because the Ephesians were the messianic community, we also are the messianic community and therefore need to put on God’s spiritual armor and use the spiritual weapon of speaking God’s word. 


The Old Testament uses the sword not only as messianic armor but also as the word of God itself spoken by the prophets. Hosea 6 describes how God through the prophets slays those who are opposed to the truth. God’s word is a cutting force that cuts through evil and injustice and establishes righteousness. God’s word is the prophetic word itself. Similarly, in the New Testament there’s an emphasis on the sword being the cutting power of the actual words of God. 


Paul said in 2 Corinthians 6:2b-7: Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. We put no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love; by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left.


The weapon we have is speaking what God is saying. Hebrews 4:12 says: For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Revelation 19:15a says: From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations.


Why is it the sword of the Spirit? Why not the sword of Jesus or the sword of God? The Holy Spirit is intimately involved in not only revealing the written words of God but also illuminating them for us so we can understand them. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says: All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. The idea behind God-breathed is wind or breath. In other words, God’s words are spirited out—breathed out by the Spirit. 2 Peter 1:19-21 says: And we have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy SpiritRight here we have the Christian doctrine of Scripture. The Bible is a library of different books written by different human authors. It has historical context, and you can see the personality of human authors, but at the same time it is completely inspired—breathed out by God. The term used to describe this is verbal plenary inspiration. The actual words are fully and divinely inspired even though they are also human-authored words. There’s a human author, but there’s also a divine author. 


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



Verse Completions:


·      . . . the love of the Father is not in him.


·      . . . not from the Father but from the world.


·      . . . who does the will of God lives forever. 1 John 2:15-17 (NIV)


10/14/21


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


Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/Wt2vc93Q6Jk



Complete the Verse & Name the BookNow Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, and the Philistines drew near to battle against Israel. But the LORD thundered with a great thunder on that day against the Philistines and confused them, so that . . . (completion at the end)



Yesterday we started a recap of Del McKenzie’s message “Introduction to the Holy Spirit.”  that included two foundational truths about the Holy Spirit:


1.   The Holy Spirit is God.


2.   The Holy Spirit is a person.


Pastor Del also spoke on the companionship of the Holy Spirit. He said the companionship of the Holy Spirit comes out of his personality and deity. Today we will continue the recap of Pastor Del’s message as he begins to talk about a third truth concerning the companionship of the Holy Spirit.


·      His companionship comes out of his power. Power is the ability to do something. The Holy Spirit has the ability to do things for us and in us. He has the ability to meet our needs as only God can do. We may experience times of darkness, heaviness, and blackness that come over us—emotional things. The Holy Spirit is the one who can meet our deep needs. He is the one who brings light to our dark world. There are times when we can experience disappointments in life. How people handle the disappointments of life will determine what kind of quality of life they have. Disappointments can lead to discouragement, despondency, despair, and depression. 


As our companion, the Holy Spirit walks us through those difficult times. He talks us through those times. Sometimes we experience an emptiness or loneliness. With the Holy Spirit in us and beside us, we can be alone and yet not be lonely. When we experience difficult times, may we hear the Holy Spirit saying, “Let’s talk.” God never leaves us alone. We can be surrounded by people and still be lonely. In times of loneliness, people can make poor choices. We need to remember the Holy Spirit is always with us, and he has the power to draw us out of loneliness. 


Sometimes we experience times of helplessness or hopelessness. We need to remember the situation is not helpless because the Holy Spirit is our helper. He’s the one who comes alongside us and walks with us. Hebrews 4:16 says: Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.


 Whatever need we face, the Holy Spirit is there to help us.  We may experience fear, anxiety, worry, doubt, incredulity (unwilling or unable to believe something). The Holy Spirit brings the faith of Jesus. Galatians 2:20 says: I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. The Holy Spirit has the gift of faith that he gives us. He has the fruit of faithfulness that he gives us. Trusting the Holy Spirit is the answer to fear and anxiety. People fail us, but the Holy Spirit never fails us. He is our companion who is always available to walk with us. 


The Holy Spirit takes the life of Jesus and makes it real to us. John 16:12-15 has these words of Jesus: “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all 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. He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.”John 7:37-39 says: On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified. The Holy Spirit walks with us through every aspect of life. 


What is your plan for developing this companionship? We develop companionship with people. It’s something we do. We have to do something to develop companionship with the Holy Spirit. We can start our day by saying, “Good morning, Holy Spirit. Thank you for another day. Thank you for being with me through this day. Thank you for sleep. Thank you for a measure of health today.” Any amount of sleep is a gift of the Holy Spirit. Any amount of health is a gift of the Holy Spirit. Any day is a gift of the Holy Spirit. We can walk through the day responding to the Holy Spirit. When we hear him say, “Come, let’s talk,” then we need to meet with him and talk. 


The Holy Spirit is here to provide us with companionship. Let’s work at developing that companionship. 



Verse Completion: . . . they were routed before Israel. 1 Samuel 7:10 (NASB)



10/13/21


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


Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/my90e3a_nlM



Complete the Verse & Name the BookBut we believe that we are saved through . . . (completion at the end)



On Monday Del McKenzie started a series of messages on the Holy Spirit. Today we will be doing a recap of his first message titled “Introduction to the Holy Spirit.” 


What do you think of when you think of the Holy Spirit? There’s much uncertainty about the Holy Spirit, confusion, and disagreement. Let’s explore what the Bible says about the Holy Spirit. The Bible is the only authoritative source of information on the Holy Spirit.


A good place to start a study on the Holy Spirit is with the words of Jesus found in John 14:15-16: “If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.” John has a lot of information on the Holy Spirit found in chapters 14-16. 


As we go through this series we will be taking a look at the ministries of the Holy Spirit, or as I call them, the ministries of grace. The Holy Spirit is a Spirit of grace. Zechariah 12:10 says: “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.” When we think about the grace of God, we think about the throne of grace. The ministries of grace are free ministries that the Holy Spirit gives to us. 


There are some facts about the Holy Spirit that are foundational and basic:


·      The Holy Spirit is God. John 16:7 has the following words of Jesus: “But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.” Jesus was saying that after he left, he would send another Counselor exactly like himself. Jesus is God, and the Holy Spirit is God. 


·      The Holy Spirit is a person. He has all the characteristics, attributes, personality, intellect, emotions, will, and self-awareness of a person. He knows who he is and what he is about. That is different from the rest of creation. A man by the name of Farr said, “A person is that which when speaking says ‘I’, when spoken to is called ‘you’ and when spoken of is called ‘his’ or ‘him’.” That’s personality. The Holy Spirit is not a force, a power, some kind of an influence, some kind of a concept; he is a person. The Holy Spirit was sent to us by Jesus, and the Holy Spirit is here to have a relationship with us. 


One of the ministries of the Holy Spirit is to provide people with companionship. We need to think of the Holy Spirit as a companion. 


·      His companionship comes out of his personality. The word for the Holy Spirit used in John 14:15-16 is paraclete from the Greek word paraklētos. It means one who comes alongside. The Holy Spirit walks with us. Galatians 5:25 says: Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 13:14 says: May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Fellowship is companionship. It’s been said that fellowship is defined as two people in a boat. They are together. The Holy Spirit is in the same boat with us. Amos asked in 33:3, “Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so?” The Holy Spirit is also within us. 


The word paraclete has a rich and deep meaning, and that’s why translators have translated it differently. Some have said the Holy Spirit is a lawyer who comes alongside of us in our time of need. Some have translated it as counselor. Others have said helper. Hebrews 4:16 says: Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. We need help—divine help that comes from God alone!


The Holy Spirit has all the aspects of personality that Jesus had. Jesus carried on conversations with people; he asked questions of people; he answered questions of people. He had insights into the lives of people. Jesus shared his personality with people. In Acts 4:13 we read: When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.


We can relate to another person; we cannot relate to an object, idea, or force. The Holy Spirit’s companionship comes out of his personality. He is a person, and we can relate to him as a person. 


·      The companionship of the Holy Spirit comes out of his deity. Jesus is God. Titus 2:13 says: while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. Jesus said in John 14:16, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever—the Spirit of truth.” The Holy Spirit is God. He has all the characteristics of God and all the character qualities that God has. He has all the attributes of God. He does the works of God. As we walk with the Holy Spirit, we walk with God. Our personality is united with his personality. 


A. W. Tozer wrote, “How can one personality enter another? The candid reply would be simply that we do not know, but a near approach to an understanding may be made by a simple analogy borrowed from the old devotional writers of several hundred years ago. We place a piece of iron in a fire and blow up the coals. At first we have two distinct substances, iron and fire. When we insert the iron in the fire we achieve the penetration of the fire by the iron. Soon the fire begins to penetrate the iron and we have not only the iron in the fire but the fire in the iron as well. They are two distinct substances, but they have comingled and interpenetrated to a point where the two have become one.


“In some such manner does the Holy Spirit penetrate our spirits. In the whole experience we remain our very selves. There is no destruction of substance. Each remains a separate being as before; the difference is that now the Spirit penetrates and fills our personalities and we are experientially one with God.”


We don’t refer to the Holy Spirit as “Buddy” or some other light name. He is God. He is to be responded to with reverence and godly fear. We don’t contribute to him. He is absolutely perfect and self-contained. Our response to the Holy Spirit needs to be one of deep reverence, deep respect, honor, and giving glory. 


Jesus had a relationship with people. He was a companion to the disciples and others. The Holy Spirit is also God and a great companion. One of his ministries is to provide us with companionship. Because he is divine, he can relate to us in ways another human being can’t relate to us. 


Tomorrow we will continue this recap of Del McKenzie’s message with the second half. 



Verse Completion: . . . the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they also are. Acts 15:11 (NASB)


10/12/21


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


Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/sL1DNipyurM



Complete the Verse & Name the BookThey sent therefore and gathered all the lords of the Philistines and said, “Send away the ark of the God of Israel, and let it return to its own place, that it may not kill us and our people.” For there was a deadly confusion throughout the city; the hand of God was. . . (completion at the end)



Yesterday we started a recap of Pastor Michael’s sermon on the background and history of the book of Judges that included the covenant, failure on the part of the Israelites to keep the covenant, and God’s faithfulness in keeping the covenant. We left off saying that in reading Judges we see how not to live before God. We see what humans are capable of when they are outside the covenant. We see what happens to individuals and nations when they fail to live in a right relationship with God. As we go through Judges you will see similarities with what was going on in Israel and what is going on in our country today. Sinful nature comes out in sinful ways. 


As we read through the stories in the Bible, we need to discern between descriptive stories and prescriptive stories. Descriptive stories tell how life was. Prescriptive stories tell how life should be. A lot of what we read in the Old Testament are descriptive stories. They show what life is like when a person isn’t in a right relationship with God. Prescriptive is God telling us how we should be living. We often see in prescriptive writing the words, “Thus says the LORD . . .” The Sermon on the Mount is an example of prescriptive writing. 


We need to be discerning as we read so we don’t read a descriptive writing and think that is what God is telling us to do. For example, the story of David and Bathsheba is descriptive. God is not telling us to do what they did. There is a prescriptive part of this story that comes at the end when Nathan tells David that what he did was wrong and David said, “I have sinned against the LORD.” (see 2 Samuel 12:1-14) The prescriptive part of this story is to not have sex outside of marriage. The descriptive part is David and Bathsheba did have sex outside of marriage. In the book of Judges we find a lot of descriptive writing. Judges describes the downward spiral involving decay, sin, and ugliness that happens when people step outside of a relationship with God. 


You and I are in a covenant relationship with God. We’re not in the old covenant we read about in the Old Testament, we’re in a new covenant. When Jesus was having the Last Supper with his disciples, he said, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you” (Luke 22:20b). We are in a new covenant with God through Jesus. The way we get to be in a right relationship with God is through Jesus. In the old covenant it was through the laws. When we step outside of the covenant of Jesus, life gets ugly and we look like the book of Judges. Judges is a book of the horror of life without God. As we go through the book we will see our world, our nation, and ourselves in a lot of these stories. 


Israel was divided into twelve tribes. Each tribe had a leader. Each tribe was divided into clans, and each clan had a leader. Each clan was divided into families, and each family had a leader. During the time of Judges, each clan is going to claim its land. 


Today, when we think of judges, we think of the courtroom and we picture a person with a black robe and gavel who makes important decisions. Another meaning for judge in Hebrew is one who leads and delivers his people. This latter definition is what describes a judge in the book of Judges. The book could have been given the title “Deliverers.” In this book we have the cycle of covenant, failure, and deliverer. 


Read Judges, Chapter One.


Recall that Joshua and Caleb were the only two spies who came back with a good report when the twelve spies were sent into the land of Canaan, and they were the only two of the twelve who were allowed to enter the Promised Land. 


For the most part we read of blessings but when we get to verse 19 we read: The LORD was with the men of Judah. They took possession of the hill country, but they were unable to drive the people from the plains, because they had iron chariots. Then we read in verse 21: The Benjamites, however, failed to dislodge the Jebusites, who were living in Jerusalem; to this day the Jebusites live there with the Benjamites. Also in verse 27 we read: But Manasseh did not drive out the people of Beth Shan . . . The Israelites were starting to walk away from God. We see many more examples of the tribes not doing what God told them to do. 


God had told the Israelites to move into the land of the Canaanites and take over the land. The Israelites were told not to live among the Canaanites because if they did they would start to think the way the Canaanites thought, do what the Canaanites did, and take on the morals of the Canaanites. God told the Israelites they would not be able to take the land of the Canaanites if they didn’t follow his directions. They would not be able to enjoy the blessings God had in store for them if they didn’t follow his commands. What’s happening here is the Israelites are falling short of God’s glory. They are not listening to God. 


In Judges 2:1-3 we read: The angel of the LORD went up from Gilgal to Bokim and said, “I brought you up out of Egypt and led you into the land that I swore to give to your forefathers. I said, ‘I will never break my covenant with you, and you shall not make a covenant with the people of this land, but you shall break down their altars.’ Yet you have disobeyed me. Why have you done this? Now therefore I tell you that I will not drive them out before you; they will be thorns in your sides and their gods will be a snare to you.”


Because the Israelites are not faithful to the covenant, God begins to enact the curses of the covenant. God is faithful to the covenant; the Israelites are not. The nation of Israel was completely dependent upon God for their physical and spiritual success. When they stepped outside the covenant, God began to enact the curses of the covenant. God was showing Israel they were in a wrong relationship with him, and he was calling them to come back. 


We are in a new covenant, and our covenant is with Jesus. God is with us when we follow Jesus. When we step outside of following Jesus, Jesus begins to enact the promises of the new covenant: If you step outside of faith with me, I will be faithful to you to do what it takes to bring you back to me. We are faced with chaos and confusion until we say, “Jesus, forgive me. You are my only God. I’m back to have a relationship with you and follow your will for my life.”


The story of Judges is our story. We get out of covenant and experience failure, but Jesus stands with open arms inviting us back into relationship with him. When we live life outside of Jesus, sin catches up with us and we spiral down. 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. A life out of covenant with Jesus is a life of chaos, confusion, undiscipline, stress, lack of God’s presence, lack of God’s protection, and a lack of God’s provisions. 


Israel became like the Canaanites instead of the other way around. 2 Corinthians 6:14 says: Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). 1 John 1:9 says: If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.



Verse Completion. . . very heavy there. 1 Samuel 5:11 (NASB)


10/11/21


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


Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/AS6tQYJVO80



Complete the Verse & Name the BookEveryone has heard about your obedience, so I am full of joy over you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and . . . (completion at the end)



Yesterday Pastor Michael gave the background and history of the book of Judges as he began a new series on the book.  His text was the first chapter. Let’s begin a recap of that message.


Judges spans a timeframe from after the death of Joshua up to the first king of Israel, Saul. Israel was delivered from slavery under the leadership of Moses. Joshua took over the leadership after Moses died, and led the Israelites into the Promised Land. He remained a leader until the age of 110. After he died there wasn’t anyone in place to take over as leader. The Israelites didn’t have any clear direction. It was as time of confusion and disarray. 


They still had the covenant given by God through Moses, but they were unsure of how to operate with the covenant. It’s important for us to understand the importance of the covenant because from Moses on, all that happens is based on the covenant. Covenant means how two parties are going to be in relationship with each other. Ancient Near East covenants were usually made between two warring nations. The stronger nation would subdue the weaker nation and tell them what they would have to do in order to keep their nation. As long as both parties abided by the terms of the covenant, there was peace between the two nations. 


When God made a covenant with Israel, that covenant was different from the typical covenant made between two nations during ancient Near East times. God told Israel, “I will be your God and you will be my people.” The covenant was God saying, “Here is how we are going to live in a relationship with each other.” Under the covenant, God’s people would not be his subdued people; they would be his blessed people. The covenant was not a reminder that they were beaten in war; it was a reminder that they were loved by God. The covenant people were to live in such a way that the whole world would understand who God is. The covenant wasn’t about conquest; it was about grace. Both the Old Testament and the New Testament are about God’s grace. 


The covenant can be found in numerous places in the Bible including Deuteronomy 28. Covenants were made up of two parts. One part said, “If you listen to me, this is what I will do for you.” The other part said, “If you don’t listen to me, this is what will happen to you.” In the first fourteen verses of Chapter 28 we read about the blessings associated with obedience to the covenant. Here are the first six verses:


If you fully obey the LORD your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. All these blessings will come upon you and accompany you if you obey the LORD your God:


You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country.


The fruit of your womb will be blessed, and the crops of your land and the young of your livestock—the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks.


Your basket and your kneading trough will be blessed.


You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out.


We also find in this chapter the curses for disobedience found in verses 15-68. Here are verses 15-19:


However, if you do not obey the LORD your God and do not carefully follow all his commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come upon you and overtake you:


You will be cursed in the city and cursed in the country.


Your basket and your kneading trough will be cursed.


The fruit of your womb will be cursed, and the crops of your land, and the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks.


You will be cursed when you come in and cursed when you go out.


The Israelites had their part in the covenant—follow God, listen to God, obey God, keep God as the only God in their lives. God had his part in the covenant—he would be their God, he would bless them with an abundance of good things, he would prosper them.


The Israelites are trying to live in this covenant. By the time we get to Judges, the Israelites have started walking away from the promises of God and are no longer living in a covenant with God. The book of Judges is a book about failures. It’s a story about missing the mark and living outside the covenant. It’s a tragedy. It’s a story of the rejection of God. Judges is a book of how not to live before God; how not to have a relationship with God. Fortunately, it’s not a story only about failure; it’s also a story of God’s faithfulness. God remained faithful to the covenant even though the Israelites did not.


Judges is a book about chaos, confusion, and moral decay. It shows what happens to those who fail to be the people of God, but it also shows God’s faithfulness. In the covenant agreement God said, “If you serve me, I’ll do all these great things for you. If you don’t serve me, all these bad things are going to happen to you. But if you call out to me, I will begin again to enact the blessings of the covenant.” When the Israelites called out to God, he was faithful to his word. 


We see the cycle of falling away from God followed by repentance in a number of places in Judges:


·      Once again, the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD, and because they did this evil the LORD gave Eglon king of Moab power over Israel (3:12). Again the Israelites cried out to the LORD, and he gave them a deliverer—Ehud(3:15a). 


·      After Ehud died, the Israelites once again did evil in the eyes of the LORD. So the LORD sold them into the hands of Jabin, a king of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor (4:1-2a). They cried to the LORD for help (4:3b).


·      Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD. They served the Baals and the Ashtoreths, and the gods of Aram, the gods of Sidon, the gods of Moab, the gods of the Ammonites and the gods of the Philistines (10:6a). Then the Israelites cried out to the LORD, “We have sinned against you, forsaking our God and serving the Baals” (10:10).


·      Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD, so the LORD delivered them into the hands of the Philistines for forty years (13:1). 


In Judges we see how not to live before God. There were some ugly things that took place. There was a lot of bloodshed. There are examples of coarseness and baseness in the sins that were committed. We see what humans are capable of when they are outside the covenant. We see what happens to individuals and nations when they fail to live in a right relationship with God. As we go through Judges you will see similarities with what was going on in Israel and what is going on in our country today. Sinful nature comes out in sinful ways. 


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



Verse Completion. . . innocent about what is evil. Romans 16:19 (NIV)


10/9/21


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


Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/oqLa4EWyuhA



Complete the Verses & Name the Book

·      Then the Philistines took the ark of God and brought it to the house of Dagon, and set it by Dagon. When the Ashdodites arose early the next morning, behold, Dagon . . .


·      But when they arose early the next morning, behold, Dagon . . . (completions at the end)



Yesterday we started a recap of Pastor Channing’s sermon based on Exodus 7-13. We left off with him asking, “What can we learn from these plagues?” First of all, we learn that nothing can thwart the Lord’s plans whether it be the most powerful nation, the most powerful person on the earth, the media, the culture, the devil, or anything else. Nothing will stop the Lord from accomplishing his purpose. The Lord’s name will be exalted on the earth. That is what will be accomplished. Secondly, we learn that there is no one like our God. He will magnify himself through his judgments and his mercy. Thirdly, we learn that judgment is coming. As bad as the plagues were, they were a precursor to what was coming. This is a foreshadowing of God’s ultimate judgment that will come upon the whole earth. In Revelation 15:1,3-4 we read: 


Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and amazing, seven angels with seven plagues, which are the last, for with them the wrath of God is finished. And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb saying, “Great and amazing are your deeds, O Lord God the Almighty! Just and true are your ways, O King of the nations! Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.”


In Revelation 16 we find the seven bowls of God’s wrath. The first bowl is harmful and painful sores that come upon the people who bore the mark of the beast and worshiped its image. This is similar to the plague of boils. However, unlike the boils that were experienced only by the Egyptians, the harmful and painful sores in Revelation are experienced by everyone on earth who bore the mark of the beast and worshiped its image. 


The second bowl results in the sea becoming like the blood of a corpse. The third bowl results in rivers and springs becoming like blood. These two plagues are far more extensive than turning the Nile River into blood.


The fifth bowl was darkness. Revelation 16:10-11 says: The fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and its kingdom was plunged into darkness. People gnawed their tongues in anguish and cursed the God of heaven for their pain and sores. They did not repent of their deeds. This reminds us of the ninth plague of darkness experienced by the Egyptians and the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart.


 The sixth bowl is described in Revelation 16:13-14: And I saw, coming out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs. For they are demonic spirits, performing signs, who go abroad to the kings of the whole world, to assemble them for battle on the great day of God the Almighty. This reminds us of the second plague when the frogs were spread throughout Egypt. 


The seventh and final bowl is described in Revelation 16:21: And great hailstones, about one hundred pounds each, fell from heaven on people; and they cursed God for the plague of the hail, because the plague was so severe. This reminds us of the plague of hail experienced by the Egyptians.


God has one unfolding plan throughout history. His judgment is from the beginning to the end. His final judgment is coming. Revelation 20:12b-15 describes in part this judgment: Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.


Israel’s story is our story, and that should make us tremble. We never want to be in a place where we experience the wrath of God. 


As we look at Exodus 12 we see that in the midst of the judgment there is mercy. A deliverance for God’s people is planned by God. The deliverance comes through the blood of a lamb. The Passover was an epic event in Israel’s history. It even changed the way they calculated dates and counted time. This month shall be for you the beginning of months. It shall be the first month of the year for you (12:2). 


The lamb was to be without blemish, a male a year old. The blood of the lamb was to be put on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which the lamb was eaten. The blood shall be a sign for you, on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you, when I strike the land of Egypt (12:13). The Israelites needed to be delivered from the wrath of God just as the Egyptians needed to be delivered from the wrath of God. They were guilty before a holy God and deserved just wrath. God in his mercy provides a way of redemption. The lamb is sacrificed in their place shedding its blood to rescue the people from God’s wrath so that when he sees the blood, he passes over. 


God’s plan of salvation has never changed. We are in bondage, not as slaves in Egypt, but we’re in bondage to sin. The bondage of sin leads to judgment and destruction. Just as God provided a way of escape for the Egyptians and Israelites, he provides a way of escape for us in our bondage to sin—the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 5:7b: For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Jesus is the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world. 


Just as the Israelites were saved by the blood of the lamb, we need to be saved by the blood of the Lamb—Jesus. Hebrews 9:26b says: But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. We’ve seen the judgment of God in Exodus, and now we see the mercy of God in Exodus. Nothing has changed. The judgment of God and the mercy of God surrounds us today. 


As we consider the mercy of God, what should our response be? First of all we should worship God. Exodus 12:27b tells us: And the people bowed their heads and worshiped. We are to do the same thing. We are to marvel at God’s mercy and grace. Secondly, we need to respond to God’s mercy. If you do not know the Lord Jesus, you are under God’s wrath. There is salvation in no one else but Jesus alone. By confessing your sin and turning to Jesus for salvation, you can have life. If you have received Jesus as your Lord and Savior, let this passage of Scripture give you a renewed focus to share the gospel. Your neighbor may be a “good person” but apart from the blood of the Lamb, your neighbor is going to face eternal judgment. Let’s share the good news of the gospel with others. 


2 Peter 3:9-13 says: The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.


Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. 


Let us remember in these last days that every day the Lord gives us is a day of mercy to bring many into his kingdom. 


Exodus 12:43-13:16 is about remembrance. God wants his people to remember his acts of judgment and mercy. God knows we are a people prone to forget. We need to be reminded. We come to church on Sundays because we are leaky vessels. We’re no different from the Israelites. Every week we need to hear: Jesus is Lord. Repent and turn to him. He is your Savior, your Rock, your Redeemer. We need to hear that every week because we forget. 


The Passover meal is a time of remembrance. It’s a time of passing the baton on to the next generation. We remember that God’s people have been bought with a price—the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. These days we don’t celebrate the Passover or the Feast of Unleavened Bread, but we do participate in the Lord’s supper—communion. 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 says: For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.


Before the Passover took place, God gave instructions for what his people were to do. On the night when Jesus was betrayed, he gave his disciples instructions on what they were to do. 


We are called to tremble because of the judgment of God. We are called to rejoice because of the mercy of God. We are called to remember the judgment and mercy of God. 


God is in control. We stand in awe as we remember his judgments and his mercy. Our hope is in Jesus alone—the Lamb of God. Charles Spurgeon said, “My hope lives not because I am not a sinner, but because I am a sinner for whom Christ died. My trust is not that I am holy, but that being unholy, he is my righteousness. My faith rests not upon what I am or shall be or feel or know, but in what Christ is and what he has done and what he is now doing for me.”


May this message from the Exodus remind us that our hope is in the Lord. He is in control. He will be exalted through his judgments and through his mercy. Let us remember this as we share the gospel with those who are perishing. His plan for this world is really mind blowing. He's given us a part in his story, so let's do our part. 



Verse Completions:


·      . . . had fallen on his face to the ground before the ark of the LORD. So they took Dagon and set him in his place again.


·      . . . had fallen on his face to the ground before the ark of the LORD. And the head of Dagon and both the palms of his hands were cut off on the threshold; only the trunk of Dagon was left to him. 1 Samuel 5:2-4 (NASB)


10/8/21


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


Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/tstEas8yiUk



Complete the Verse & Name the BookThat if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you . . . (completion at the end)



Eric Channing is an associate pastor at College Church in Wheaton, Illinois. He recently gave the fourth sermon in a series called “A Rescued People” during the evening service. His sermon is based on Exodus 7-13. Today we will begin a recap of that message.


And the LORD said to Moses, “See, I have made you like God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron shall be your prophet. You shall speak all that I command you, and your brother Aaron shall tell Pharaoh to let the people of Israel go out of his land. But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and though I multiply my signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, Pharaoh will not listen to you. Then I will lay my hand on Egypt and bring my hosts, my people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great acts of judgment. The Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring out the people of Israel from among them. Moses and Aaron did so; they did just as the LORD commanded them. Now Moses was eighty years old, and Aaron eighty-three years old, when they spoke to Pharaoh (Exodus 7:1-7).


Do you ever wonder if God is in control? Sometimes doubt sneaks into our lives especially when we suffer hardships. After eighty years of slavery, the Israelites wondered if God was in control. Things went from bad to worse. Now they experienced impossible expectations of their workload, and Pharaoh was killing their baby boys. However, God’s plan of redemption to rescue his people has never changed. As we read Exodus 7-13, we are called to stand in awe of God as we remember his judgments and his mercy. 


In 7:8-13 we see God at work. When Aaron cast down his staff, it turned into a serpent. Surprisingly, Pharaoh’s magicians did the same thing. But Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs. The belief at the time was that an animal that swallowed other animals took on the powers of everything it swallowed. God showed he had power over all other gods. Still Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he would not listen to them, as the LORD had said (verse 13). We will see that this is a constant pattern with Pharaoh.


What was the purpose of the plagues? The answer is found in 9:16: But for this purpose I have raised you up, to show you my power so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth. In 12:12b we read: and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the LORD. God is demonstrating his power that will be seen by the Egyptians and the Israelites. The plagues and the deliverance from slavery is something that is to be remembered by God’s people. 


The first plague, the turning of the Nile River into blood, has a purpose that is found in 7:17a: Thus says the LORD, “By this you shall know that I am the LORD.”Egypt had three gods associated with the Nile: Osiris—the god of the cycle of Nile floods that Egypt relied on for agricultural fertility, Nu—the god of life, Hapi—the god of the flood. The Egyptians worshiped the Nile. It brought life and prosperity. With the turning of the Nile into blood, God is executing judgments on their gods.


In 7:22 we read that the magicians of Egypt did the same by their secret arts. You may wonder how that is possible. The magicians were under the power of the devil. The enemy does have power, but it’s limited power. After just two plagues, the magicians were no longer able to replicate the plagues. When the magicians tried to produce gnats, they could not. Then the magicians said to Pharaoh, “This is the finger of God.” But Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he would not listen to them, as the LORD had said (8:19). 


The fourth plague is flies and there is a division between the Egyptians and the Israelites. The swarms of flies only affect the Egyptians. Again we see the purpose of the plague of flies: that you may know that I am the LORD in the midst of the earth (8:22b). 


The fifth plague of the livestock dying only affects the Egyptians. Pharaoh hardens his heart. The sixth plague is boils, but the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh. The seventh plague is hail. The hail struck down everything that was in the field in all the land of Egypt, both man and beast. And the hail struck down every plant of the field and broke every tree in the field. Only in the land of Goshen, where the people of Israel were, was there no hail (9:25-26). At this point Pharaoh said, “This time I have sinned; the LORD is in the right, and I and my people are in the wrong” (9:27b). But again he hardened his heart once the hail was gone. The eighth plague is locusts, but again the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart. The ninth plague is darkness for the Egyptians, but Pharaoh’s heart is hardened. 


The final plague is threatened—the death of the firstborn child in each family and the death of the firstborn beast owned by each family. Let’s go back to the time before any of the plagues happened when God was giving Moses instructions:


And the LORD said to Moses, “When you go back to Egypt, see that you do before Pharaoh all the miracles that I have put in your power. But I will harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go. Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the LORD, Israel is my firstborn son, and I say to you, “Let my son go that he may serve me.” If you refuse to let him go, behold, I will kill your firstborn son.’” (4:21-23)


What can we learn from these plagues? First of all, we learn that nothing can thwart the Lord’s plans whether it be the most powerful nation, the most powerful person on the earth, the media, the culture, the devil, or anything else. Nothing will stop the Lord from accomplishing his purpose. The Lord’s name will be exalted on the earth. That is what will be accomplished. Secondly, we learn that there is no one like our God. He will magnify himself through his judgments and his mercy. Thirdly, we learn that judgment is coming. As bad as the plagues were, they were a precursor to what was coming. This is a foreshadowing of God’s ultimate judgment that will come upon the whole earth. In Revelation 15:1,3-4 we read: 


Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and amazing, seven angels with seven plagues, which are the last, for with them the wrath of God is finished. And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb saying, “Great and amazing are your deeds, O Lord God the Almighty! Just and true are your ways, O King of the nations! Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.”


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



Verse Completion. . . will be saved. Romans 10:9 (NIV) 


10/7/21


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


Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/nH8ZWF1Ag5k



Complete the Verse & Name the BookAnd Eli said to Samuel, “Go lie down, and it shall be if He calls you, that you shall say, . . . (completion at the end)



Yesterday we started a recap of Josh Maurer’s message called “A Rescued People” based on Exodus 5-7:7. We left off with: Then Moses turned to the LORD and said, “O Lord, why have you done evil to this people? Why did you ever send me? For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has done evil to this people, and you have not delivered your people at all” (Exodus 5:22-23). Pastor Maurer was looking at others who experienced suffering in their lives such as Job. We will now continue the recap we started yesterday.


Jesus suffered on the cross and cried out to God, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46b) The cross was God’s idea before it was the Pharisees’ idea, Pilate’s idea, or anyone else’s idea. Even though the cross was God’s idea, those that participated in his crucifixion were guilty of sin. They had a choice to make, and they chose the wrong path. In order to get right with God after what they did, they had to repent of their sins. We’re in the same boat. We are morally responsible for our actions, and we have active participation in our choices. At Pentecost, when Peter was talking to those who were responsible for the death of Jesus, he said, “Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”


Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do? And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:36-38).


In order to be forgiven for their sins, they had to repent even though the cross was God’s idea planned before the foundation of the world—God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility. How these two fit together is a mystery. God did not give us this story in Exodus to confuse us. He wants us to find it assuring and a confident-building truth in him who is sovereign over all. God is the only one who has ultimate authority to change anything of ultimate significance in your life. 


The question Moses is asking God is, “Why? Why are you not acting in accordance with your word?” God answers in Exodus 6:1-8:


But the LORD said to Moses, “Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh; for with a strong hand he will send them out, and with a strong hand he will drive them out of his land.”


God spoke to Moses and said to him, “I am the LORD. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty, but by my name the LORD I did not make myself known to them. I also established my covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan, the land in which they lived as sojourners. Moreover, I have heard the groaning of the people of Israel whom the Egyptians hold as slaves, and I have remembered my covenant. Say therefore to the people of Israel, ‘I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from slavery to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great acts of judgment. I will take you to be my people, and I will be your God, and you shall know that I am the LORD your God, who has brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. I will bring you into the land that I swore to give to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. I will give it to you for a possession. I am the LORD.’” There is something about God’s being, essence, and nature that is crucial for Moses, the Israelites, and the Egyptians to know that would not be known any other way apart from things happening the way they did. There’s a message in the name of the LORD—Yahweh, I AM. His name points to his being. 


Let’s take a look at the significance of the name Yahweh (what it means for God to be God):


·      His absolute being means he never had a beginning.


·      He will never come to an end.


·      He is in himself absolute reality.


·      He is utterly independent.


·      Everything else that exists is dependent on him.


·      Everything is as nothing when it is compared to him.


·      He is constant: the same yesterday, today, and forever.


·      He is the ultimate standard of truth, goodness, and beauty.


·      He does whatever he pleases. 


·      He is the most important and most valuable reality.


Whenever we see LORD in Scripture, it is referring to Yahweh, God’s personal name, and we are meant to understand by it, all these implications. It's precisely this name that God wills and desires to communicate through the providential design of the events leading up to and including the Exodus. God is using these providential events to fully make known his name. In fact, every time we see the word LORD we should also think of Jesus for he himself said, “I and the father are one” (John 10:30). Jesus also said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:58). In one of the most stunning texts of the identification of the Son with the Father in the New Testament, Jude 5 says: Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. Jesus saved the people out of Egypt! When we think of the LORD, we should also think of Jesus. 


The answer to Moses’ question, “O Lord, why have you done evil to this people,” comes in two interwoven parts: God is saving his people from slavery in this way so the Israelites might know the fullness of his name in his great acts of salvation and judgment, and so the Egyptians might know the same. The acts of judgment that come in the form of plagues are the result of Pharaoh’s hard heart. But God caused Pharaoh’s heart to be hard, and that is what caused the imposing of the heavier burden which made the lives of the Israelites worse than they were before. Nevertheless, apart from all these providential events, including the misery of the Israelites, God would not be known the way he intends to be known to the Israelites and the Egyptians. 


In Exodus 7:3-7 we see the LORD’s response to Moses continuing:


But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and though I multiply my signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, Pharaoh will not listen to you. Then I will lay my hand on Egypt and bring my hosts, my people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great acts of judgment. The Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring out the people of Israel from among them. Moses and Aaron did so; they did just as the LORD commanded them. Now Moses was eighty years old, and Aaron eighty-three years old, when they spoke to Pharaoh.


If you are approaching 80 years of age or you are in your 80s, the Lord is not done with you. There is still much you can do for his kingdom. God used Moses and Aaron in their old age, and he can use you, too.


God’s answer to Moses’ question about why God chose to use the methods he did to bring about the redemption of the Israelites is: God’s purpose is to display his true nature as utterly sovereign and free to judge and to save. In that display, God is to be known for who he really is. He wants to be known by his people in glad-hearted worship, thanksgiving, and praise, and God wants to be known by the Egyptians in awestruck wonder of his power and might.


God intends through the twists and turns in the story of the Exodus and through the twists and turns of your own stories, to make known the full panorama of his perfections in salvation and judgment. He wants to reveal himself—I AM the LORD. The acts of redemption and judgment reveal something about who God is. All of this climaxes in the death and resurrection of Christ many years later. Jesus is the pinnacle of God’s revelation of judgment and salvation. 


The lyrics to the hymn, God Moves in a Mysterious Way, include in part the following words:



    Judge not the Lord by feeble sense

    But trust Him for His grace

    Behind a frowning providence

    He hides a smiling face



    His purposes will ripen fast

    Upholding every hour

    The bud may have a bitter taste

    But sweet will be the flower



The Israelites experienced the frowning providence and the bitter taste of the bud, but God’ smiling face behind it all was intent on the sweetness of the flower. Remember this when you are experiencing affliction as a child of God. He is working out all the details in your life for your ultimate good.


Why the delay in the rescue of the Israelites? We find the answer in the story of Lazarus and the delay of Jesus going to see him:


So the sisters sent to him, saying, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” But when Jesus heard it he said, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”


Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was (John 11:3-6).


The demonstration of the love that Jesus had for Lazarus was to let him die before going to where he was. This only makes sense in the light of the gospel. Your darkest days as a Christian and God’s abiding goodness to you in those very days only make sense in the light of the gospel. Jesus is the resurrection and the life. Even the worst enemy, death, is turned into the servant of Jesus. 


Jesus said to [Martha], “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die” (John 11:25-26).


In your darkest days, cling to Jesus who is life. Pour your soul out to him in complete honesty. Remember the day is coming when you will feast in the new creation, and you will weep no more. 



Verse Completion. . . ‘Speak, LORD, for Thy servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place. 1 Samuel 3:9 (NIV)


10/6/21


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


Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/2wIGduU0ces



Complete the Verse & Name the BookBut in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to . . . (completion at the end)



Josh Maurer is an associate pastor at College Church in Wheaton, Illinois. He recently gave the third sermon in a series called “A Rescued People” during the evening service. His sermon is based on Exodus 5-7:7. Today we will begin a recap of that message.


God saw the affliction of his people in Egypt, he heard their cry, he knew their suffering, and he decided to come down and deliver them from their slavery and bring them to the promised land. God was moved by the groaning of his people. He remembered his covenant with Abraham and appeared to Moses, revealing the fulness of his name—Yahweh, “I AM WHO I AM.” God called Moses and Aaron to be his spokesmen. Moses was called to be the deliverer. And the people believed; and when they heard that the LORD had visited the people of Israel and that he had seen their affliction, they bowed their heads and worshiped (Exodus 4:31).


The idea of knowing the LORD is seen in 5:2 (Pharaoh), 7:5 (Egyptians), and 6:7 (Israelites):


·      But Pharaoh said, “Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice an let Israel go? I do not know the LORD, and moreover, I will not let Israel go.”


·      The Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring out the people of Israel from among them. 


·      I will take you to be my people, and I will be your God, and you shall know that I am the LORD your God, who has brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.


Clearly, the idea of knowing the LORD is prominent. It’s like a thread running through this passage of Scripture. 


The reason for the genealogy of Moses and Aaron found in 6:14-25 is to make evident the credentials of Moses and Aaron as bona fide Levites. 


In 5:1-21 we see the intensified plight of the Israelites. They should have seen it coming because God said to Moses: I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, so that he will not let the people go (4:21b).


When Pharaoh said, “Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice and let Israel go? I do not know the LORD, and moreover, I will not let Israel go,” he was being arrogant. His “lack of knowledge” is not an intellectual problem but a moral problem. Pharaoh does not recognize God’s authority over him. 


Pharaoh sees the Israelites as lazy. In 5:8 he says they are idle. In 5:17 Pharaoh says to the foremen of the Israelites, “You are idle, you are idle.” Consequently, he placed on the Israelites a heavier workload and attempts to turn the Israelites against Moses by calling Moses a liar (see 5:9). Pharaoh wants the Israelites to turn on one another because a house divided against itself cannot stand. 


The reason Pharaoh put unrealistic demands on the brick making was to remind the Israelites who they were—slaves of Pharaoh. Imagine the state of exhaustion experienced by the Israelites. The Israelite foremen were beaten when the quota of bricks was not made. We know why the Israelites weren’t able to produce the quota of bricks—it was an impossible order. When they plead their case before Pharaoh, it gets them no relief. They then go to Moses and blame Aaron and him for their predicament. You can see Pharaoh’s tactic of turning the Israelites against each other is working. 


Instead of being rescued from their plight, the situation for the Israelites goes from bad to worse. Their general disposition is that of a broken spirit (see 6:9). The Israelites are discouraged, despondent, depressed, weary, exhausted—hope is gone. Have you ever been there? In seeking to obey the Lord and be faithful to him, your life goes from bad to worse. It makes one wonder what God is doing providentially in and through what is happening. 


Sometimes we need help getting through the rough times in our lives, and the Psalms can be a great teacher for us (see Psalm 13). We need to remember Paul’s words from Philippians 1:6: And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. 


The Israelites didn’t have Psalm 13 while they were in slavery, but if they had, I’m sure they would have been praying it:


How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me? (Psalm 13:1-2) 


As bad as the situation was for the Israelites, it’s not the biggest problem in our text: Then Moses turned to the LORD and said, “O Lord, why have you done evil to this people? Why did you ever send me? For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has done evil to this people, and you have not delivered your people at all” (Exodus 5:22-23). Moses is accusing God of doing evil and not delivering his people! He is blaming God for the affliction the Israelites are experiencing. There is a great mystery here. What we do know is God is sovereign over every situation including suffering, pain, and sin. Joseph said to his brothers, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today” (Genesis 50:20). In Job 1:21-22 we read: And [Job] said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.”


In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.


Tomorrow we will continue this recap of Pastor Maurer’s message with the second half.



Verse Completion. . . a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness. 2 Peter 3:13 (NIV)


10/5/21


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


Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/936BapRFHaQ



Complete the Verse & Name the Book

”He keeps the feet of His godly ones,


But the wicked ones are silenced in darkness;


For not by might shall a man prevail.


Those who contend with the LORD will . . . (completion at the end)



Yesterday we started a recap of Pastor Michael’s sermon ”Planted by God” based on Psalm 1:1-6. Pastor Michael said that we have two choices before us: the way of the righteous or the way of the wicked. We are told blessed is the one who doesn’t follow the wicked, and blessed is the one who does follow the righteous. Now we will recap the second half of his sermon.


Let’s look at what God does for the righteous:


The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guidesme in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.


You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever (Psalm 23). There’s joy, abundance, prosperity, nourishment, acceptance, love, assurance, and everlasting life for the righteous. Prospering before God means we are right before God, and therefore God is on our side. We are children of God. Romans 8:28 says: And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Prospering means God is working in our lives for the good even when evil and harmful things come our way. God brings good out of the bad. 


It’s a different story with the wicked. They don’t receive God’s prospering, nourishment, and peace. Verse 4 says: Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away. Chaff is the useless stuff that surrounds the good part of grain. It dries up at harvest time and gets blown away by the wind. This is in contrast to the tree of the righteous that flourishes, yielding an abundance of fruit. The fruit is helpful to others and brings joy to others. There’s no nourishment, goodness, or helpfulness in chaff. Chaff has no future. 


When I was transplanting the tree in my yard, I inadvertently broke one of the limbs. I had planned to trim that branch off the tree, but I forgot about it until the next spring when I surprisingly noticed leaves appearing on the broken branch. I thought the branch was dead, but it was clearly alive. However, when we had our heat spell in June, the branch withered and died. The branch wasn’t able to receive the nourishment it needed in order to survive. That’s the picture of the wicked. The wicked may look like they are flourishing for a time, but there’s no nourishment, protection, or peace from God. When the storms of life hit the wicked, their lives wither because they aren’t walking with God. The wicked have chosen a different path that leads away from God. 


Verse 5 says: Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. On Judgment Day, the wicked will not stand and be counted with the righteous. They don’t belong with the righteous. Righteous and wicked don’t belong together. They are opposite of each other, and they don’t receive the same from God. The righteous receive eternal life which means they live with Jesus for eternity, but not so the wicked. 


Verse 6 says: For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish. God’s presence is with the righteous now here on earth and will be with the righteous in heaven. The presence of God never leaves the righteous. The righteous never leave the presence of God. They experience the peace that only God can give. We are able to sit with God and eat with God as we form a relationship with God. The wicked don’t have the same life as the righteous here on earth, and they won’t have the same life as the righteous in heaven. The righteous have eternal life. The wicked have eternal death. 


Jesus said: “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matthew 7:13-14). It’s easy to find yourself on the broad road and remain there. It’s difficult to find the narrow road and remain on it. If you make no choice for God, you have made a choice against him, and you are on the broad road. Millions of people are on the broad road. Which road are you on? You have a choice to make: narrow or broad. Who do you walk with? Who do you stand with? Who do you sit with? 


Talking about Jesus, Peter said, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John14:6). Romans 5:8 says: But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Salvation is a free gift. Ephesians 2:8-9 says: For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. Jesus said, “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 him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:20).


What path are you on today? It’s a choice you have to make. It’s the most important choice you will ever make. It’s a choice you can’t put off. It’s a choice that leads to everlasting life or everlasting death. Choose Jesus who died on the cross for the forgiveness of sins. It is through Jesus that we have everlasting life. 


If you choose to be counted with the righteous, pray this prayer with me: Dear Jesus, I want to follow you. I want to be counted with the righteous. I want to know your nourishment in my life. I want to know your presence in my life. I want to know your presence for eternal life. Jesus, forgive me of my sins. Forgive me of my wickedness. I believe you died on the cross for me. I believe you rose again on the third day. Jesus, I ask you into my life to be my Lord and Savior so I can walk with you, and stand with you, and sit with you. In your name I pray, Jesus. Amen.



Verse Completion. . . be shattered; 1 Samuel 2:9-10a (NASB)


10/4/21


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


Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/936BapRFHaQ



Complete the Verse & Name the Book: (said to Ruth by Boaz): ”And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you whatever you ask, for all my people in the city know that you are . . . (completion at the end)



Yesterday Pastor Michael gave the sermon ”Planted by God” based on Psalm 1:1-6. Today we will recap the first half of that gripping sermon.


We’ve all had choices. We’ve all made choices. We all make choices. In fact we are told that on the average, we daily make around 35,000 choices. However, only a handful of the choices we make are life-changing, but those choices are very important: go to college or not go to college, what vocation, marry or not marry, have kids or not have kids, who my friends will be, etc. When it comes to spiritual choices, the choices we make have eternal consequences, and yet we sometimes don’t take time to ponder those choices very carefully. 


When we are faced with big decisions, we are told to list the pros and cons and weigh each one carefully. When it comes to spiritual things, we have a lot of help in arriving at the proper choice—God’s word, the Bible. 


As we read through Psalm 1, we are faced with two choices.


Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.


Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.


For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.


We see in this passage of Scripture that we are presented with two choices: righteousness or wickedness. We have a choice of walking with God or walking away from God.


Let’s take a look at three verbs we find in the first verse: Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. When you walk with someone, you are taking the same path they are on. Your steps are measured with their steps. You walk side-by-side with them. 


When you stand with another person, you are counted with them. You stand up with them. What they stand for, you stand for. What they stand against, you stand against. 


When you sit with someone you are enjoying their company. Leisure and rest are involved. Sitting could involve sharing a meal together. The sharing of free time or down time is involved.  


The person who walks, stands, or sits with others is identifying themselves with that group. Verse 1 also labels the people it’s referring to: wicked, sinners, and mockers. A wicked person has no desire to do what is right. They have no interest in the will of God, the ways of God, or the word of God. A wicked person cares only about himself, and he does that which pleases himself. 


sinner is a person with a lifestyle that is walking away from God. A sinner is unrepentant of the sin in his life. A sinner does whatever he wants with no regard for God and his will. 


mocker has no regard for truth. He doesn’t respect God or his followers. He doesn’t care that God’s word says: Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life (Galatians 6:7-8). 


The words wicked, sinner, and mocker are used to describe those who have no relationship with God. These words describe those who don’t care about the spiritual realities in life. They turn their faces away God, walk away from God, deny there is a God, and don’t think there’s right and wrong. The wicked, sinners, and mockers are those who want nothing to do with God. They turn away from God and do their own thing. They are people who are proud, arrogant, self-centered, gossipers, slanderers, divisive, angry, quick-tempered, deceptive, uncaring, unkind, mean-spirited. They are those Paul describes in Galatians 5:19-21: The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of  God. 


The psalmist goes on to describe another group of people in verse 2: But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. This group of people have made a different choice from that of the wicked, sinners, and mockers. They delight in the law of the LORD—the words of God. They take joy in God’s words. They enjoy reading or hearing the words of God. They want to know God more. They want a relationship with God. They don’t want to walk with the wicked, stand with the sinners, or sit with mockers. They want to know what is right, just, fair, true, and good. 


They meditate on God’s law day and night. Meditation is not “emptying your mind”; meditation is filling your mind with God’s words. The righteous want to know how to live rightly before God. Meditation involves mulling over God’s words—chewing on them, digesting them. God’s words are constantly in their minds, thoughts, and conversations. 


We have two choices before us: the way of the righteous or the way of the wicked. We are told blessed is the one who doesn’t follow the wicked, and blessed is the one who does follow the righteous. How are we blessed? The remainder of the psalm shows us. 


He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers. I had a flowering tree in my yard that was not doing well. I decided to help it out by transplanting it in a place where it would receive more sunlight and a place that would be more conducive to flourishing. God does something similar with us. He takes the righteous and puts us in a place where our roots can grow. Nourishment for our roots is available. No matter how stressful life can get, there’s always life-giving nourishment from God. God nourishes the righteous. 


The “fruit” of the tree I transplanted were beautiful, pink flowers. The tree wasn’t able to produce many flowers before I transplanted it, but after being transplanted, the tree had the opportunity to produce an abundance of flowers year after year. I wanted the tree to be something that was useful, helpful, and something that would bring others and me great joy. The righteous are people who help others. They are joyful and flourishing. Their lives overflow into others’ lives and bring joy, blessing, and encouragement. God nourishes the righteous, and therefore they are helpful to the kingdom of God. God places the righteous in places where they can have the most impact for him. 


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



Verse Completion. . . a woman of excellence. Ruth 3:11 (NASB)


10/2/21


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


Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/OUCBb3YHFPc



Complete the Verse & Name the BookFor what will a man be profited, if he gains the whole world, . . . (completion at the end)



Yesterday we recapped the first half of Dr. Josh Moody’s sermon based on Exodus 3-4. We left off with Pastor Moody referring to Exodus 4:13: But [Moses] said, “Oh, my Lord, please send someone else.” In 3:4 we see God calling Moses out of the burning bush, and Moses responding with, “Here I am.” Now in 4:13 we see him saying, “Here I am . . . send him.” We’ve all thought that at times, haven’t we? Moses is very human, and that encourages us, but at the same time it keeps us from idolizing our human leaders. 


The divine Rescuer is very prominent in this passage of Scripture. We see a contrast with the final fulfillment pointing to Christ. In 3:2 we start to read: And the angel of the LORD appeared to him. In the Old Testament, the angel of the LORD is often a description for the preincarnate Christ. It’s a theophany—an appearance of the visible manifestation of God to humankind. This stupendous Being is beyond Moses’ ability to understand or grasp. In 3:4 God calls out to Moses from the burning bush. In Deuteronomy 33:16b, when Moses was at the end of his life and reflecting back on it, he said, “. . . and the favor of him who dwells in the bush.” For Moses, God is the One who dwells in the bush. 


In 3:5 we read: Then [God] said, “Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” The point is not that the physical ground is holy; the point is God is there and anywhere around where God is it’s holy. It’s the Person who makes it holy, not the place. 


In 3:14, God said to Moses, I AM WHO I AM.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” The very nature of God is eternally existent, and that is revealed to Moses. 


God is in the burning bush saying that he’s heard the suffering of his people. Where’s God? In the burning bush. This is the God we worship—the God who is incarnate, suffered, and died on a cross. He’s the God of the burning bush. And there’s more. In Numbers 21:9 we read: So Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on a pole. And if a serpent bit anyone, he would look at the bronze serpent and live.In Exodus 4:6-7 we read: Again, the LORD said to him, “Put your hand inside your cloak.” And he put his hand inside his cloak, and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous like snow. Then God said, “Put your hand back inside your cloak.” So he put his hand back inside his cloak, and when he took it out, behold, it was restored like the rest of his flesh.


The God of the Bible, Yahweh, is the God of the burning bush—the God who knows our pain, feels our pain. He’s the God of blood and sacrifice, in our place, that we might be rescued. 


In the New Testament we have circumcision explained in Colossians 2:11-12: In [Jesus] also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. Circumcision is done by the hand of Christ through trust in the blood of Christ resulting in regeneration and new life. 


At the end of this passage we find the response of the people: And the people believed; and when they heard that the LORD had visited the people of Israel and that he had seen their affliction, they bowed their heads and worshiped (4:31). Moses was not a perfect leader, but he spoke God’s words and the people believed and worshiped. This text contrasts the incompleteness of the human rescuer with the perfectness of the divine Rescuer. Therefore, when God’s imperfect but faithful leaders point us to the perfect Rescuer, we are to bow and worship Him.



Verse Completion. . . and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?  Matthew 16:26 (NASB) See also Mark 8:36


10/1/21


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


Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/Dl5iPXltMH4



Complete the Verse & Name the BookNow Naomi had a kinsman of her husband, a man of great wealth, of the family of Elimelech, whose name was. . .(completion at the end)



Dr. Josh Moody is the pastor of College Church in Wheaton, Illinois. He recently started a series in Exodus titled “A Rescued People” during the evening service. The second sermon is based on Exodus 3-4 which Pastor Moody read aloud to the congregation. Today we will begin a recap of that message.


We have divided the book of Exodus into three parts: rescue, revelation, and religion. Exodus is the story of how God rescues his people, speaks to his people, and meets with his people. Repeatedly we are shown how these three parts are incomplete—there’s more to come. The final horizon that will come is Christ. 


As we read about the rescue we see that it is being set up with the call of the rescuer. The rescuer, Moses, is quite incomplete, and yet God uses him. There’s a contrast with the Rescuer who in the salvation history story found in the Bible is finally revealed in the New Testament, but he’s actually right here, too. This is a story about the incompleteness of human rescuers leading us to worship the divine Rescuer. 


One of the great questions facing us today is: Who do we listen to? When we go to social media, we see so many messages from so many people about so many different things. How do we know who to listen to? Here we have a story about God’s imperfect but faithful rescuer pointing us to the perfect gospel. God’s people do listen and bow and worship the one, true God. The key is the word of God was faithfully communicated by Moses in spite of his failures. As we try to decipher who in the religious community we should listen to, we should determine if the individual is pointing us to Christ and to the gospel. When God’s imperfect but faithful leaders point us to the Perfect gospel, we are to bow and worship our perfect Lord. 


The incompleteness of Moses is found in multiple places in the story. In 3:1 we see him keeping the flock of his father-in-law at the age of 80. Earlier, he had been putting himself forward as the rescuer until he ended up killing someone and having to flee. At the age of 80 he is physically shepherding sheep, and he’s not a particularly heroic figure at this point. 


In 3:13 we read: Then Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” Why did Moses ask God this question? One possibility is that in the Egyptian religion of the time, Egyptians were fascinated by the name of their gods, and they gave particular significance to the names. The Israelites had been in Egypt for a long time and were also interested in the connection between a name and the essence and authority of that name. That may be why Moses is asking the question, but the point is Moses doesn’t immediately go to the Israelites when he is called by God to do so. 


In 4:1 we read: Then Moses answered, “But behold, they will not believe me or listen to my voice, for they will say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you.’” Not a particularly heroic response. It may remind us of ourselves in our own prayer lives: God says, “Go, and tell your neighbor about Jesus,” and we respond with, “But, Lord, they won’t listen to me.” Moses is very human just like us. 


In 4:10 we read: But Moses said to the LORD, “Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.” Again Moses objects to the Lord’s direction for his life. 


In 4:13 we read: But he said, “Oh, my Lord, please send someone else.” In 3:4 we see God calling Moses out of the burning bush, and Moses responding with, “Here I am.” Now in 4:13 we see him saying, “Here I am . . . send him.” We’ve all thought that at times, haven’t we? Moses is very human, and that encourages us, but at the same time it keeps us from idolizing our human leaders. 


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


Verse Completion. . . Boaz.  Ruth 2:1 (NASB)


0