Daily Devotion September 2022

9/28/2022


Good morning!


Only one life ‘twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.


                                           --Charles Studd



Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/w-m4A9dL6_Q



Complete the Verse & Name the BookDo not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers . . . (completion at the end)



Today our focus is on praying for God's strength as we face all of life's trials and temptations. He is able to give us the strength to stand strong. Matthew 26:36-41 recalls when Jesus prayed in Gethsemane:Then Jesus went with [the disciples] to the olive grove called Gethsemane, and he said, "Sit here while I go over there to pray." He took Peter and Zebedee's two sons, James and John, and he became anguished and distressed. He told them, "My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me."


He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying,"My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine."


Then he returned to the disciples and found them asleep. He said to Peter,"Couldn't you watch with me even one hour? Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!"


We see here two things we can do to resist temptation: watch and pray. We need to be aware of our surroundings. We need to know what's really happening around us. The disciples didn't grasp what was about to take place. Had they understood the significance of the anguish Jesus was experiencing, they wouldn't have left him alone. They would not have been able to sleep no matter how tired they were. If I knew my wife was in anguish because she felt the disease she had was going to take her the next day, there's no way I would leave her to suffer that anxiety by herself. I would not be sleeping!


How do we understand the significance of what is happening around us? It's through prayer. God opens our heart and eyes to see what's taking place and what we need to do about it. Our hearts need to be in tune with Jesus, and that happens through prayer.


I Corinthians 10:12-13 gives us encouragement as we face temptations:If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.


God showed Joseph a way out when he was tempted. Genesis 39:6-12 tells us what that way was:So Potiphar gave Joseph complete administrative responsibility over everything he owned. With Joseph there, he didn't worry about a thing—except what kind of food to eat!


Joseph was a very handsome and well-built young man, and Potiphar's wife soon began to look at him lustfully. "Come and sleep with me," she demanded.


But Joseph refused. "Look," he told her, "my master trusts me with everything in his entire household. No one here has more authority than I do. He has held back nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How could I do such a wicked thing? It would be a great sin against God."


She kept putting pressure on Joseph day after day, but he refused to sleep with her, and he kept out of her way as much as possible. One day, however, no one else was around when he went in to do his work. She came and grabbed him by his cloak, demanding, "Come on, sleep with me!" Joseph tore himself away, but he left his cloak in her hand as he ran from the house.


God provided a way to escape the temptation, and in this case it was an opportunity to RUN. Joseph was smart and seized the small window of opportunity. We will always have an opportunity to escape the temptations that come our way. We need to be smart like Joseph and seize those opportunities immediately rather than dilly-dally around and give the enemy time to get a strong hold on us. We need to be prudent, and think about the consequences of giving into temptations that come our way. We can also pray for wisdom and strengthbeforethe temptations hit us. There's nothing wrong with being proactive rather than reactive.


When Jesus was tempted, he responded with Scripture each time. If we know Scripture, it can be a strong weapon we can use against the enemy. If we don't know Scripture, we are at a huge disadvantage under those that do. Spend time reading the Bible and memorizing key verses. Think of it as arming yourself for the temptation battle that is heading your way.


James 1:12-18 says,God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, "God is tempting me." God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else. Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.


So don't be misled, my dear brothers and sisters.Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Fatherwho created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow. He chose to give birth to us by giving us his true word. And we, out of all creation, became his prized possession.


1 Peter 4:12-13 says,Dear friends, don't be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.


Let's pray for strength to stand strong when the enemy sends temptations our way.



Verse Completion. . . will inherit the kingdom of God. 1 Corinthians 6:9b-10 (NIV)


9/27/2022


Good morning!


Only one life ‘twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.


                                           --Charles Studd



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



Complete the Verse & Name the BookKeep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, . . . (completion at the end)



Our focus today is on giving thanks to Jesus for the sacrifice of his body and blood so our sins can be covered by his blood, and we don't have to die for them. We also look forward to sharing in the wedding supper of the Lamb in heaven.


Luke 22:14-20 says,When the time came, Jesus and the apostles sat down together at the table. Jesus said, "I have been very eager to eat this Passover meal with you before my suffering begins. For I tell you now that I won't eat this meal again until its meaning is fulfilled in the Kingdom of God."


Then he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. Then he said,"Take this and share it among yourselves. For I will not drink wine again until the Kingdom of God has come."


He took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying,"This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me."


After supper he took another cup of wine and said,"This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you."


Life in the flesh is a life of sin that reaps negative consequences in this life and the life to come. Life in the Spirit brings an inner joy nothing can destroy in this life and eternal life with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, in the next life.


Romans 7:21-8:24a says,I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God's law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God's law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.


So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin's control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit.


Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God's laws, and it never will. That's why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God.


But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.) And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God. The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.


Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.


So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God's Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, "Abba, Father." For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God's children. And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God's glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.


Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. Against its will, all creation was subjected to God's curse. But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God's children in glorious freedom from death and decay. For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us. We were given this hope when we were saved.


Let's pray and thank Jesus for all he's done for us in the past, including dying on the cross for our sins, and what he's doing for us now, including transforming us by renewing our minds, and what he's going to do for us in the future, including giving us new bodies to worship him for all eternity.



Verse Completion. . . “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5 (NIV) See also Deuteronomy 31:6


9/26/2022


Good morning!


Only one life ‘twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.


                                           --Charles Studd



Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/v8rOJhVYbOg



Complete the Verse & Name the BookLet your speech always be . . . (completion at the end)



Today our focus is on giving God our best. In Matthew 26:6-13, we find an example of a person who gave her best:Meanwhile, Jesus was in Bethany at the home of Simon, a man who had previously had leprosy. While he was eating, a woman came in with a beautiful alabaster jar of expensive perfume and poured it over his head.


The disciples were indignant when they saw this. "What a waste!" they said. "It could have been sold for a high price and the money given to the poor."


But Jesus, aware of this, replied,"Why criticize this woman for doing such a good thing to me? You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me. She has poured this perfume on me to prepare my body for burial. I tell you the truth, wherever the Good News is preached throughout the world, this woman's deed will be remembered and discussed."This lady had given Jesus perfume worth a year's wages. She gave God her best perfume.


In Mark 12:41-44 we read about another woman who gave herbest:Jesus sat down near the collection box in the Temple and watched as the crowds dropped in their money. Many rich people put in large amounts. Then a poor widow came and dropped in two small coins.


Jesus called his disciples to him and said,"I tell you the truth, this poor widow has given more than all the others who are making contributions. For they gave a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she had to live on."


Whether we give God our money, time, talents, skills, will, or heart, we need to give with a joyful heart. 2 Corinthians 9:6-8 says,Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don't give reluctantly or in response to pressure. "For God loves a person who gives cheerfully." And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.


Have you ever been too busy to give Jesus part of your day? I know I have, and I've regretted it. However, when I have prioritized my time correctly and put him first, God has always blessed the rest of my time and helped me accomplished all I needed to get done and sooner than I ever expected. It's truly amazing how he does it! Give God money off the top, and he stretches the rest out. Give him time off the top, and it seems like he lengthens the day. Give God your heart, and he'll give you a bigger heart. You can't out give the Lord!


As we give God our best, we give our employers our best, too. Colossians 3:23-24 reminds us,"Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord, rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ."1 Corinthians 10:31 says, "So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." Colossians 3:17 says, "And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father." 2 Timothy 2:15 says, "Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth."


As we give God our best, we have to remember our good deeds don't do anything toward our salvation. Isaiah 64:6 says,"We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags."When a job is done well, we don't get big heads over it either. We remember the words of Jesus in John 15:5: "Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing." We realize where our strength to do well comes from: "For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength." (Philippians 4:13)


We need to stay away from the danger of compartmentalizing our lives: God time, my time, work time, family time. We need to look at everything as God's time. We need to have this kind of an attitude:


"I'm at work now, and while I'm here, I'm working for the Lord. I'm really on his clock, so I'll act accordingly." 

"I'm with the family now, but it's God's time. I want to make sure I honor him in all I do with my family."

"I'm having recreation now, but I'm on God's time. As I run, I'm going to listen for God's voice speaking to me."


1 Peter 4:10, 11b says,"God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen."



Verse Completion. . . with grace, seasoned, as it were, with salt, so that you may know how you should respond to each person. Colossians 4:6 (NASB)


9/24/2022


Good morning! 


Only one life ‘twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.


                                        --Charles Studd



Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/FaYpQM0yusE



Complete the Verse & Name the BookIf anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God . . . (completion at the end)



For hundreds of years the Jews had been looking for the Messiah, the ruler who would be sent from God to sit on the throne of David forever. There were many prophesies that foretold his coming including the following: Genesis 3:15; Genesis 12:3; Deuteronomy 18:15; Micah 5:2; Isaiah 7:14; Isaiah 9:6-7; Isaiah 53:5; Isaiah 53:9; 2 Samuel 7:16; Zechariah 9:9-10; Zechariah12:10; Psalm 16:10; Daniel 7:13-14; and Malachi 4:2.


When Jesus was born in Bethlehem and lived out his life, he fulfilled all these prophesies. But what if Jesus hadn't come? We certainly wouldn't know the extent of his love."There is no greater love than to lay down one's life for one's friends."(John 15:13)  "But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in God's sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God's condemnation. For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God" (Romans 5:8-11).


If Jesus hadn't come we wouldn't know the extent of God's humility and compassion.Therefore, it was necessary for him to be made in every respect like us, his brothers and sisters, so that he could be our merciful and faithful High Priest before God. Then he could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people. Since he himself has gone through suffering and testing, he is able to help us when we are being tested (Hebrews 2:17-18).


But Jesus did come. The next day, the news that Jesus was on the way to Jerusalem swept through the city. A large crowd of Passover visitors took palm branches and went down the road to meet him. They shouted, "Praise God! Blessing on the one who comes in the name of the LORD! Hail to the King of Israel!" Jesus found a young donkey and rode on it, fulfilling the prophecy that said, "Don't be afraid, people of Jerusalem. Look, your King is coming, riding on a donkey's colt." 


His disciples didn't understand at the time that this was a fulfillment of prophecy. But after Jesus entered into his glory, they remembered what had happened and realized that these things had been written about him(John 12:12-16; Leviticus 23:40; Zechariah 9:9).


The Messiah didn't come as King of kings and Lord of lords the way the people of Israel expected him to come. They thought that when the Messiah would come, he would rule the whole earth. All nations would be under his rule. Israel would then be the most powerful nation in the world, and its rule would never end. They could not have imagined a Messiah that would be born in a manger, have a servant's heart, and die on a cross. That didn't make sense to them.


The Messiah did come as King of kings and Lord of lords though—not of nations, but of hearts. He came to take over our hearts so we would love him more than anything else in the world. If we will invite him in, Jesus will replace the kings and lords we have ruling in us: pride, sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and the like. He will replace these kings and lords with the true King of kings and Lord of lords—Jesus Himself. That means we will be full of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.


Let's thank Jesus for transforming us. He's the one who gives us the power to change. He's the one who transforms us by the renewing of our minds.



Verse Completion. . . lives in him and he in God. 1 John 4:15 (NIV) 


9/23/2022


Good morning! 


Only one life ‘twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.


                                        --Charles Studd



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



Complete the Verse & Name the BookThrough Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice . . . (completion at the end)



Today we will conclude a recap of Pastor Michael’s first sermon “Background and Greeting” in his new series on Galatians. 


At a staff meeting at a school I attended, the senior pastor went around the room and addressed each person’s hair length—males and females. He determined what was acceptable and what needed to be done for those he deemed unacceptable. This is an example of law or works. 


Salvation is not about hair, hats, beards, blue jeans, the color of the carpet, tables at the front of the church, what goes on the tables, tapestries, or anything other than Jesus. Why do we bring works of the law into the church and then proclaim them as how we are to live? 


At one of the churches I pastored, I had the youth in the church be involved in serving communion. It didn’t take long for me to get bombarded with phone calls and emails from angered people in the church. They were not pleased with the youth taking the place of elders and the spiritually strong and mature Christians in the church even if it was just for one Sunday. I was told the youth were wearing clothes that were disrespectful to the position of those who serve communion. Their clothes disrespected God. Who do you think benefited most from communion that day? Some people were focusing on people during communion rather than focusing on God. They didn’t appear to be examining themselves before God; they appeared to be examining others. They made communion about works of the law rather than about salvation and the grace of Christ. 


Are we really that much different from the churches in Galatia that Paul wrote to? His letter needs to be read by the churches on the Olympic Peninsula, in the Puget Sound area, in the state of Washington, in the Pacific NW, and even in Canada. People around the world are making the same mistakes the Galatians made. It’s so easy for us to make salvation about something other than Jesus. 


Don’t get me wrong; propriety has its place. However, we should never make superficial things tied to salvation. Salvation is never Jesus and . . ., it’s always Jesus only. We’re so inclined to make up rules of righteousness. We bring our own set of rules for righteousness into the church. The message of the gospel is all about Jesus.


Let’s explore the message of the gospel by looking at Scripture:


·      Romans 3:22-24This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.


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


·      Romans 5:8But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.


·      Ephesians 2:8-9For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.


·      Romans 10:9-10If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.


·      Revelation 3:20: “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.”


Are you counting on your works to get you into heaven? If you are, you’re not going to get there. Salvation is by grace through faith in Christ alone. Think of it this way. You receive a coupon in the mail for a free ham. All you have to do is take your coupon to the store where it will be redeemed. If you disregard the coupon, you won’t receive the free gift.


It’s the blood of Christ that redeems us. If we don’t want to have anything to do with Jesus, it’s like throwing away the coupon from the store. It does us no good. We have to look to Jesus. Only his blood can cover our sins. We can’t do anything to earn salvation that is a free gift from God.


Join me in praying this prayer for salvation: Dear Jesus, I recognize that I am a sinner. I have done a lot of sinning. Jesus, forgive me of my sin. Forgive me for thinking that I can do good works to impress you. I now realize I can’t. Jesus, I recognize that my sin separates me from you, and I don’t want to be separated from you any longer. Jesus, I believe you died on the cross for my sins. I believe you were raised again on the third day. I believe you are offering me the free gift of salvation. Jesus, I invite you into my life. Forgive me of my sin. Enter into my life, and help me to live for you. In Jesus’ name, amen. 



Verse Completion. . . of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. Hebrews 13:15 (NASB) 


9/22/2022


Good morning! 


Only one life ‘twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.


                                        --Charles Studd



Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/R9jV-91Z5LY



Complete the Verse & Name the BookWho shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or . . . (completion at the end)



Yesterday, we continued a recap of Pastor Michael’s first sermon “Background and Greeting” in his new series on Galatians. Today we will continue with his introduction to the book. 


The false teachers said Paul had it wrong. They said salvation included circumcision and everything else included in the Law. The Council at Jerusalem was all about clearing up the confusion—determining who was right. Let’s read about it in Acts 15:1-11, 24:


Certain people came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the believers: “Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.” This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them. So Paul and Barnabas were appointed, along with some other believers, to go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question. The church sent them on their way, and as they traveled through Phoenicia and Samaria, they told how the Gentiles had been converted. This news made all the believers very glad.


 When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and elders, to whom they reported everything God had done through them. Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, “The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to keep the law of Moses.”


The apostles and elders met to consider this question. After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: “Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. He did not discriminate between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of Gentiles a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors have been able to bear? No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.”


We have heard that some went out from us without our authorization and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said.


At the Council at Jerusalem, the elders and apostles confirmed that salvation is by grace alone through faith. It’s a gift from God. It’s nothing that can be earned by works (see Ephesians 2:8-9).


It’s the book of Galatians that sparked the Protestant Reformation. It’s the book Martin Luther was studying and was struck by the truth that salvation wasn’t by works—giving to the church, doing penance—but by faith alone in Jesus.


Why should we read and study Galatians today? First of all, God wrote it through Paul. Anything God writes is important for us to know. In addition, we who are alive today are not all that different from the churches in Galatia! We still have the idea that when we sin, we need to make up for the wrong things we have done by doing good things. We feel we need to balance the scale. We feel we displeased God when we sinned, and therefore we need to do good things to please God. We believe God will be impressed with the good things we have done and grant us favor. We believe the good will erase the bad. This belief is false Christianity! We can never earn our salvation. Works never erase our sins. 


This false kind of thinking has kept some people away from Christ. They feel that they have done so many wrong things that they will never be able to do enough good things to offset their wrongs. They feel unworthy of simply being forgiven for all the wrong they’ve done. The truth is they are unworthy; everyone is unworthy. Salvation is a gift. There’s nothing we can do to earn a gift. Salvation is by God’s grace. We accept that grace through faith. The good deeds we do to try to earn our salvation count for nothing. We will never be ushered into heaven because of our own goodness; we will be ushered into heaven because of the work of Christ on the cross. We have to accept his gift to us through faith. 


Let’s review some of the ways churches have put emphasis on works rather than on the work of Christ. There was a time when it was expected that men would wear a suit and tie to church. The way we honored God was by what we wore. Women who were good Christians wore dresses. 


At the Bible college Pastor Michael attended, blue jeans were not allowed to be worn. Professors were not allowed to have beards. How did the gospel change and become about beards and blue jeans? Ladies attending the college had to wear skirts or a dress on Sundays. Men had to wear ties. Doesn’t this sound more like the Law of the Old Testament than the law of grace?


There was a time when women were expected to wear a hat in church. Men would be showing disrespect to God if they wore a baseball cap in church. There’s nothing in Scripture that says a man needs to remove his ballcap from his head when he enters a church. Wearing or not wearing a hat in church does not affect one’s salvation. Is salvation about Jesus and . . . hair, hats, beards, blue jeans? No, salvation is about Jesus and Jesus only!


Tomorrow we will conclude this recap of Pastor Michael’s sermon from Sunday.



Verse Completion. . . persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Romans 8:35 (NASB) 


9/21/2022


Good morning! 


Only one life ‘twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.


                                        --Charles Studd



Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/YkYSP0wuNFQ



Complete the Verse & Name the BookFor everything created by God . . .(completion at the end)



Yesterday, we continued a recap of Pastor Michael’s first sermon “Background and Greeting” in his new series on Galatians. Today we will continue with his introduction to the book. 


The early churches struggled. They were mostly composed of Jewish religious believers and God-fearing Gentile believers. They accepted the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The Jews were deeply entrenched in the Old Covenant—Jewish religious laws, sacrificial laws, food laws, clean and unclean laws, circumcision laws, and so forth. 


Paul is preaching a New Covenant established by Jesus. The Old Testament religious laws no longer had to be followed. People no longer had to sacrifice animals for their sins—Jesus sacrificed his life on a cross for all the sins of all people. Paul wanted the people to change their focus from “How does Jewish law want me to live?” to “How does Jesus want me to live?”


It was very difficult for the early church to let loose of the old and cling to the new. It was difficult for them to grasp the concept that a right relationship with Jesus was all that mattered. 


Peter received clarification in the form of a vision from God described in Acts 11:1-18. Here are the first four verses:


The apostles and the believers throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God. So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him and said, “You went into the house of uncircumcised men and ate with them.”


Starting from the beginning, Peter told them the whole story:


Peter saw there was no difference between Jew and Gentile. There was no longer clean and unclean. The only way for anyone to be right with God is through Jesus and Jesus only.


Let’s pick it up at verses 15-18:


“As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit came on them as he had come on us at the beginning. Then I remembered what the Lord had said: ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ So if God gave them the same gift he gave us who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to think that I could stand in God’s way?”


When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, “So then, even to Gentiles God has granted repentance that leads to life.”


Peter taught that salvation was through Jesus alone. The only way for salvation to take place was by grace through faith. Paul and Peter were preaching the gospel. It’s the same gospel we have today found in the Bible. The early church only knew Judaism up to the time of Jesus, and there would be some growing pains. They had to learn how to be followers of Jesus rather than followers of laws that had been passed down to them and laws that had been added to by religious leaders. 


Hebrews 8:13 tells us: By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear.


The New Covenant has been brought about by the blood of Jesus. In the New Covenant, the only way to be right with God is through Jesus. The way people tried to be right with God under the Old Covenant was through following the Law. Works done by mankind were involved. In the New Covenant, mankind can only be made right with God by the work of Jesus alone. 


Jesus fulfilled the Law. He didn’t come to abolish the Law; he came to fulfill the Law (see Matthew 5:17). When he fulfilled the Law, Jesus made the Law complete. He was the only perfect person who ever lived, and he fulfilled the Law perfectly. Because of the death and resurrection of Christ, the Old Covenant Law is not in operation for the disciples of Christ. Jesus is the only one who is able to forgive our sins. We live by faith in Christ alone. This was the gospel message that Paul was sharing with people. 


The false teachers said Paul had it wrong. They said salvation included circumcision and everything else included in the Law. The Council at Jerusalem was all about clearing up the confusion—determining who was right. 


Tomorrow we will continue with this recap of Pastor Michael’s introduction to the book of Galatians.



Verse Completion. . . is good, and nothing is to be rejected, if it is received with gratitude. 1 Timothy 4:4 (NASB) 


9/20/2022


Good morning! 


Only one life ‘twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.


                                        --Charles Studd



Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/eXX1AiljoIE



Complete the Verse & Name the BookBe completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through . . . (completion at the end)



Yesterday, we started a recap of Pastor Michael’s first sermon “Background and Greeting” in his new series on Galatians. Today we will continue with his introduction to the book. We left off with Pastor Michael quoting Galatians 1:11-20.


This passage coincides with Acts 9:20-30:


At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God.


All those who heard him were astonished and asked, “Isn’t he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn’t he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?”


Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Messiah. After many days had gone by, there was a conspiracy among the Jews to kill him, but Saul learned of their plan. Day and night they kept close watch on the city gates in order to kill him. But his followers took him by night and lowered him in a basket through an opening in the wall.


When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple. But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus.


So Saul stayed with them and moved about freely in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord. He talked and debated with the Hellenistic Jews, but they tried to kill him. When the believers learned of this, they took him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus.


Later we read in Galatians 2:1-10:


Then after fourteen years, I [Paul] went up again to Jerusalem, this time with Barnabas. I took Titus along also. I went in response to a revelation and, meeting privately with those esteemed as leaders, I presented to them the gospel that I preach among the Gentiles. I wanted to be sure I was not running and had not been running my race in vain. Yet not even Titus, who was with me, was compelled to be circumcised, even though he was a Greek. This matter arose because some false believers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves. We did not give in to them for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you.


As for those who were held in high esteem—whatever they were makes no difference to me; God does not show favoritism—they added nothing to my message. On the contrary, they recognized that I had been entrusted with the task of preaching the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been to the circumcised. For God, who was at work in Peter as an apostle to the circumcised, was also at work in me as an apostle to the Gentiles. James, Cephas and John, those esteemed as pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship when they recognized the grace given to me. They agreed that we should go to the Gentiles, and they to the circumcised. All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I had been eager to do all along.


We begin to see that false teaching started to enter the churches, and Paul is coming against it. Paul was teaching that salvation is by God’s grace alone, through faith. False teachers were saying salvation included works and following the traditions of old. 


The book of Galatians was written after Paul’s first missionary journey but before the Council at Jerusalem described in Acts 15. Therefore, Galatians was written around 48 or 49 A.D. It is the first letter to the first churches planted by Paul. The letter is written because Paul hears about some problems in the churches in Galatia brought about by false teachers who didn’t teach Jesus only; they taught Jesus and. . . circumcision, Old Testament sacrifices, clean and unclean laws, traditions, and so forth. We read about some of what bothered Paul in Galatians 1:6-9:


I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!


Tomorrow we will continue this recap of Dr. Wedman’s sermon. 



Verse Completion. . . the bond of peace. Ephesians 4:2-3 (NIV) 


9/19/2022


Good morning! 


Only one life ‘twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.


                                        --Charles Studd



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



Complete the Verse & Name the Book Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds . . . (completion at the end)



Yesterday, Pastor Michael started a new series of messages on the book of Galatians. His first sermon was titled “Background and Greeting” based on Galatians 1:1-2:


Paul, an apostle—sent not from men nor by a man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead—and all the brothers and sisters with me, To the churches in Galatia:


Let’s look at the background and history of what was going on in Paul’s life that would cause him to write this letter. Notice that the letter wasn’t written to one church; it was written to the churches in Galatia: Iconium, Lystra, Derbe, and Antioch. The one letter Paul wrote was read by a church and then passed along to a different church. All four of these churches were planted by Paul. 


In Acts 13:1-3, we read about Paul’s first missionary journey:


Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.


Often you will find maps in the back of your Bible that show the missionary journeys Paul took. 


There’s something going on in the churches Paul had planted that needs to be addressed. We should note that these churches in Galatia are made up of Jews and Gentiles. Paul typically would enter the synagogue in a city or town and preach the gospel. Paul would show the people how Jesus was the Messiah. In the synagogues there would be Jews and “God-fearing Gentiles”. These were Gentiles who didn’t adopt Jewish culture or follow the Old Testament Jewish law, but they believed in God—Jehovah. They were not Jews, but they believed in the same God as the Jews. 


We see this in Acts 13:16, 26, 48; 14:1:


Standing up, Paul motioned with his hand and said: “Fellow Israelites and you Gentiles who worship God, listen to me!


“Fellow children of Abraham and you God-fearing Gentiles, it is to us that this message of salvation has been sent.


When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed.


At Iconium Paul and Barnabas went as usual into the Jewish synagogue. There they spoke so effectively that a great number of Jews and Greeks believed.


The people Paul addressed in the synagogues knew the one, true God—Jehovah, but Paul wanted to help them figure out what it meant to be a follower of Jesus. 


Galatians 1:11-20 tells us:


I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.


For you have heard of my previous way of life in Judaism, how intensely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it. I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers.


But when God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, my immediate response was not to consult any human being. I did not go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was, but I went into Arabia. Later I returned to Damascus.


Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Cephas [Peter] and stayed with him fifteen days. I saw none of the other apostles—only James, the Lord’s brother. I assure you before God that what I am writing you is no lie.


This gives us the timeframe for when the book of Galatians was written. 


Tomorrow we will continue this recap of Dr. Wedman’s sermon.



Verse Completion. . . complete in the sight of my God. Revelation 3:2 (NIV) 


9/17/2022


Good morning! 


Only one life ‘twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.


                                        --Charles Studd



Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/iOhm4Px_xdY



Complete the Verse & Name the Book Marriage should be honored by all; and the marriage bed kept pure, for . . . (completion at the end)



Today we will continue with the topic of being persecuted as followers of Jesus.


Before we are willing to physically die for Jesus, we have to die to self. In Luke 9:23-26 Jesus told the crowd:"If any of you wants to be my follower, you mustgive up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but are yourself lost or destroyed? If anyone is ashamed of me and my message, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in his glory and in the glory of the Father and the holy angels."


Galatians 2:20 records the words of Paul,"My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."


In Philippians 3:8-9a, Paul said, "Everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him." 


In Colossians 3:5a, Paul said, "So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don't be greedy." In verse 10 Paul said, "Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him."


In Romans 6:6-11, Paul said,"We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. And since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with him. We are sure of this because Christ was raised from the dead, and he will never die again. Death no longer has any power over him. When he died, he died once to break the power of sin. But now that he lives, he lives for the glory of God. So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus."


Paul said in Galatians 5:24-25, "Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit's leading in every part of our lives."


In Matthew 19:21, Jesus told the rich man what he needed to do to have eternal life. It included Jesus saying,"If you want to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."


But when the young man heard this,he went away sad, for he had many possessions.


After we have repented of our sins and believed Jesus is LORD, we should mature in Christ. We should get to the point where, in our hearts, we have given God all our possessions, all our sinful desires, all our pride, and everything that's important to us. Our former self has died and we are born again. Our new self doesn't have ties to this earth. Therefore, when persecution comes, even to the point of death, it's no big deal. We're not losing anything, because everything has already beenhanded over to Him. We've already died to self, so killing the body doesn't change much; the physical body was going todie anyway at some point.


Jesus said in John 12:25,"Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity."


Romans 12:1-2 says,And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.


Let's surrender everything to God in prayer including those things we've given to him in the past but taken back.



Verse Completion. . . God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. Hebrews 13:4 (NIV) 


9/16/2022


Good morning! 


Only one life ‘twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.


                                        --Charles Studd



Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/DD78qmSlURI



Complete the Verse & Name the Book Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because . . . (completion at the end)



As Christians, we expect persecution. Jesus said, "Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world" (John 16:33b).


Paul told us what to expect as Christians:"Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution"(2 Timothy 3:12b). He didn't say we might be persecuted, Paul said we will be persecuted for our faith in Jesus. 


It's not fun being mocked or experiencing hostility and ill-treatment because of our faith, but we're called to do it. Sometimes that's the point where people turn away from following Jesus. In Matthew 13, Jesus told the parable of the farmer scattering seeds. In verses 18-23 we find Jesus saying,"Now listen to the explanation of the parable about the farmer planting seeds: The seed that fell on the footpath represents those who hear the message about the Kingdom and don't understand it. Then the evil one comes and snatches away the seed that was planted in their hearts. The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. But since they don't have deep roots, they don't last long.They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God's word. The seed that fell among the thorns represents those who hear God's word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life and the lure of wealth, so no fruit is produced. The seed that fell on good soil represents those who truly hear and understand God's word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!" How tragic to lose one's faith because of problems, persecution, the worries of this life, or the lure of riches!


Some have sold out to Jesus and paid the ultimate for their faith. One such person was Stephen. Acts 7:54-60 starts with Stephen saying to the Jewish leaders,"You stubborn people! You are heathen at heart and deaf to the truth. Must you forever resist the Holy Spirit? That's what your ancestors did, and so do you! Name one prophet your ancestors didn't persecute! They even killed the ones who predicted the coming of the Righteous One—the Messiah whom you betrayed and murdered. You deliberately disobeyed God's law, even though you received it from the hands of angels."


The Jewish leaders were infuriated by Stephen's accusation, and they shook their fists at him in rage. But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed steadily into heaven and saw the glory of God, and he saw Jesus standing in the place of honor at God's right hand. And he told them, "Look, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing in the place of honor at God's right hand."


Then they put their hands over their ears and began shouting. They rushed at him and dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. His accusers took off their coats and laid them at the feet of a young man named Saul.


As they stoned him, Stephen prayed, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." He fell to his knees, shouting, "Lord, don't charge them with this sin!" And with that, he died.


You can read about many more honorable saints who gave their lives for Jesus in books such asFoxe's Book of Martyrsby John Foxe. People in 2022 are refusing to deny Jesus and are being killed for it. Would you be one who would be willing to die for Jesus?



Verse Completion. . . love covers a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:8 (NASB) 


9/15/2022


Good morning! 


Only one life ‘twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.


                                        --Charles Studd



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



Complete the Verse & Name the Book And the disciples were continually filled with . . . (completion at the end)



Today we will conclude this recap Pastor Michael’s sermon titled “The Power of the Church” based on Ephesians 3:14-21.


We don’t want to miss the mark. We don’t want to try to build God’s kingdom in our own power. We want to do everything in the power of the Holy Spirit, so all the glory goes to God. 


Recently, I was driving my old Buick in Olympia. I arrived at a busy intersection, and the car refused to move. The engine would rev when the accelerator was pressed, but the car wouldn’t move. It was around 5:00 p.m., and there was a lot of traffic. I had to get out of the car and direct traffic around me. Eventually, I was able to limp the car to the side of the road. The transmission was gone. There were no gears that would work. The car wasn’t going anywhere.


I called for a tow truck. My car looked good sitting there on the side of the road. I had washed it, waxed it, vacuumed it out, and wiped down the interior. While I was waiting for the tow truck to arrive, someone walked up to be and asked we what I was doing there on the side of the road. I told him the car had a lot of miles and finally quit on me. It was ready for the boneyard. 


The man looked the car over and said, “That’s a really nice car! Would you sell it to me?”


“You can buy it if you want to, but you need to know that the transmission is completely shot. It’s not going anywhere. I’m waiting for a tow truck to haul it to the junkyard,” I replied.


The guy was really torn. The car looked so attractive, but it would cost more to get It running again than the car was worth. He finally decided not to buy it.


When the tow truck arrived, he looked around for the car to be towed. He couldn’t believe it was this beautiful Buick that was going to be towed to the junkyard. He looked it over and said, “This is a great car! The paint is in great shape. The interior is good. The tires have lots of miles left on them. Do you really want this towed to the junkyard? I might just tow this to my house!” 


“You’re welcome to do with it as you please. If you want it, you can have it. Just know that the transmission is not working at all.”


The tow truck driver started it up, and realized the car would not be moving. In spite of its good looks, the car had no life in it with the transmission gone. The engine ran fine, it was so attractive to the eye, but the car lacked power. Without power the car was useless to me.


Churches can be like my old Buick. They look good on the outside. They’re all shiny. Everything is clean. People are friendly. But there’s no power to get where God wants them to go. 


Sometimes churches don’t understand how essential the power of the Holy Spirit is to their church. Without the power of the Holy Spirit, churches cannot accomplish the purpose for which God created us for. We’re here to promote and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ for the salvation and sanctification of all people. 


God’s kingdom is built by the power of the Holy Spirit. Church isn’t about you. Church isn’t about me. Church is about Christ and all the people who need to know Christ. It’s by the power of the Holy Spirit that the church accomplishes the purpose of God. Lives are changed by the power of the Holy Spirit. 


How do we receive the power of the Holy Spirit? We simply ask. Ephesians 5:18 says: Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. It’s a command. We are to be filled with the Spirit. We are not to be controlled by any other influence in this world. We’re to be controlled only by the influence of God—the Holy Spirit. 


How do we do that? We ask. Jesus said, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened” (Matthew 7:7-8). 


We take it by faith when we ask to be filled with the Holy Spirit. There’s no magic wand. There are no fireworks or whistles that have to sound. We just have to ask to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Pray, “Lord, let what you do through me, glorify you. Jesus, let it not be about me but about you, your Spirit, your kingdom, your glory. Jesus, fill me with your Holy Spirit that I might become the fullness of Christ to those around me.”


The power of the Church is God’s Holy Spirit in us. 



Verse Completion. . . joy and with the Holy Spirit. Acts 13:52 (NASB) 


9/14/2022


Good morning! 


Only one life ‘twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.


                                        --Charles Studd



Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/PoYC1jRI1cU



Complete the Verse & Name the Book:  If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, . . . (completion at the end)



Today we will continue to recap Pastor Michael’s sermon titled “The Power of the Church” based on Ephesians 3:14-21.


When we give our lives over to God, we no longer live by our power; we live by God’s power within us—the Holy Spirit. Galatians 2:20 says: I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 


In Ephesians 3:21 we see that it’s God who receives the glory. The power of God that is at work in us is to bring glory to God. The Holy Spirit that is within us is not there to bring glory to us; he’s there to bring glory to God. He’s there to lift up Jesus—to build his kingdom. If something happens in the church that does not glorify God, then it wasn’t done by the power of God. The Holy Spirit always glorifies the Father. Jesus, the Son of God, always glorifies the Father. Everything we do is to be done with the intent of bringing glory to God. 


Ephesians 1:18-21 says:


I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.


The power of God is to bring glory to God. It’s the power of God that raised Jesus from the dead. The power of the Holy Spirit for the church is to bring glory to God. When we bring attention to ourselves, we are not operating by the power of the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit only puts the focus on God. 


At a camp that I repeatedly worked at in Canada, there would always be a talent show towards the end of the week. Typically, those who participate in a talent show do so to show off their talent. The attitude seems to be: “Look at me. Listen to me. See what I can do. You’ll be amazed!” Of course, as one watches a talent show, one can clearly see that there are people who gifted and talented. 


One year at this high school camp, there was a young man who wanted to participate in the talent show. He wanted to sing a song. When he auditioned, it was evident that his talent was not in singing; he could barely carry a tune if at all. He was not up to par with the other participants. However, this young man really wanted to sing a song for the talent show. He was enthusiastic about singing the song he had prepared. 


The adults involved consulted amongst themselves. They wanted to save the young man from embarrassment, but at the same time they didn’t want to crush his dream of singing. He was very insistent that he be given an opportunity to sing the song that reminded him of Jesus’ hand on his life. It was decided that he would be given a chance to sing.


It was more like a popularity contest than a talent show. The popular kids would receive many cheers even before they performed their talent. The kids who weren’t popular received very little applause when they were called up to perform.


Towards the end of the show, it was the young man’s turn to sing. His first note wasn’t even close to the right one. Once in a while he would hit the right note. There were a few snickers at first, but as he sang, the audience began to change, because this young man had the presence of Christ! He wasn’t singing to say, “Look how great I am. Pay close attention to me;” he was singing to say, “Look how great God is! Look what Jesus did in my life.” He was there for one reason—to worship God and bring glory to his name. 


When he finished his song, nobody clapped because they couldn’t. Everyone there was struck by the fact that they were clapping for the greatness of others when it was the greatness of God that was needed. That young man showed all of us the greatness of God. The other participants showed us the greatness of themselves. 


It was the power of the Holy Spirit that was at work in that young man. His song glorified God, not himself. It was very evident. 


As a church we want to be like this young man. We want all that we do to bring glory to God. It’s so easy to operate in our own power. It’s so easy to say, “Look at us. Look at our beautiful building. Look at our great events. Look at the great food we serve. Look at the great ministries we have built from the ground up.”


Tomorrow we will conclude this recap of Pastor Michael’s sermon from Sunday.



Verse Completion. . . the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. Luke 9:26 (NIV) 


9/13/2022


Good morning! 


Only one life ‘twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.


                                        --Charles Studd



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



Complete the Verses & Name the Book:


·      and whoever wishes to be first among you shall . . .


·      just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to . . . (completions at the end)



Today we will continue to recap Pastor Michael’s sermon titled “The Power of the Church” based on Ephesians 3:14-21.


God’s purpose of the Church is to make Jesus known—to promote and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ for the salvation and sanctification of all people. Paul is praying the church will fulfill its purpose through the power it has been given. 


In verse sixteen and the first part of seventeen, Paul said, “I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.” Power comes through the Holy Spirit. It’s not a power to make us faster or stronger physically; it’s a power for inner spiritual strength. If the Church is going to be effective in changing the lives of people around us for daily living here and living in eternity, we need the power of the Holy Spirit. It won’t happen in our power; it will happen by the power of the Spirit. For a church to thrive, it must have the power of the Holy Spirit at work in the church. 


It’s out of God’s glorious riches that we are strengthened with power through the Holy Spirit. James 1:5 says: If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. God is generous with his presence. He’s generous with his gifts. He’s generous with his grace. He’s generous with his power. We have the power of the Holy Spirit in us. 


Titus 3:4-7 tells us: But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. We don’t become Christians without the Holy Spirit. We are born again through the power of the Holy Spirit. Every follower of Christ has the Holy Spirit within them. 


Christ dwells in our hearts through faith, through our trust in him. In every circumstance, every situation, every difficulty, every temptation, God has given us the power of the Holy Spirit so we can be spiritually well, healthy, and growing. It’s easy to trust God in the good times, but it’s not so easy in the bad times. It’s in those bad times that we need to stand on God’s word and trust him fully. We have the power to do that through the Holy Spirit who dwells within us. 


1 Corinthians 10:13 says: No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. This is the power of the Holy Spirit at work within us. God protects us. He allows things to come into our lives that we are able to bear because we have the Holy Spirit living within us. 


In the second part of Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3:17-19, we see Paul praying that the church in Ephesus would have power to be the fullness of Christ to the world. This is only possible through the power of the Holy Spirit in us. When a church is rooted and established in love, they are able to share the love of Christ with others as a community. 


Ephesians 1:22-23 says: And God placed all things under [Christ’s] feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way. You and I are the fullness of Christ. We operate to be the fullness of Christ so others may know the love of Christ. We can only operate in this manner if we do it in the power of the Holy Spirit. If we’re going to be a powerful church, we need the power of the Holy Spirit.


Jesus said, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). We are effective witnesses for Jesus when we have the power of the Holy Spirit at work within us. 


In the third part of Paul’s prayer we read: Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. When we pray to God, it’s by the power of the Holy Spirit that he answers our prayers. The power of God brings design and order to our world. The power of God makes God sovereign. 


Tomorrow we will continue this recap of Pastor Michael’s sermon from Sunday.



Verse Completions:


·      . . . be your servant,


·      . . . be your slave;


·      . . . give His life a ransom for many. Matthew 20:26-28 (NASB) See also Mark 10:43-45.


9/12/2022


Good morning! 


Only one life ‘twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.


                                        --Charles Studd



Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/we-n-Zmglt0



Complete the Verse & Name the Bookand having been freed from sin, you became . . . (completion at the end)



Yesterday, Pastor Michael gave us a message titled “The Power of the Church” based on Ephesians 3:14-21. This sermon concludes the series on the Church which includes our specific church—NCCU. So far we have looked at the purpose of the Church, the values we hold as the Church, the ministries of the Church, the missions of the Church, the design and order of the Church, spiritual warfare in the Church, the spiritual weapons of the Church, and the submits and resists of the Church. 


Where does the Church get its drive and energy to fulfill the purpose of the Church? Where does the power in the Church come from? Does our church have the power to complete the purpose of the Church? Jesus asked his disciples, “Who do you say that I am?”


Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”


Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it (Matthew 16:15b-18). God’s church will prevail. We might look around, and it might not seem like it when twenty churches a week are closing their doors. Nevertheless, there is nothing that will overcome God’s Church. It will live on through eternity. 


Many churches are unhealthy. They are divisive, argumentative, in conflict, and walking in sin. In reading Paul’s letters to the church in Corinth, we discover the church there was spiritually unhealthy. Paul told them they needed to put Christ in the center. The Church exists for Christ’s glory, not the glory of its members. 


In the book of Revelation, Jesus addressed seven churches. Of five of the churches, Jesus said, “I have this against you . . .” When Jesus is against us, we are not doing well spiritually. 


How can Jesus promise that nothing will overcome his church? By what power does his church gain ultimate victory? To answer these questions, let’s look at Ephesians 3:14-21. This is Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians:


For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.


Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.


Paul wants the church at Ephesus to thrive so he prays for them. He said, “For this reason I kneel before the Father.” To discover the reason, we have to back up to verse seven and read through verse eleven:


I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power. Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ, and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.


Tomorrow we will continue with this recap of Pastor Michael’s sermon from Sunday.



Verse Completion. . . slaves of righteousness. Romans 6:18 (NASB) 


9/10/2022


Good morning! 


Only one life ‘twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.


                                        --Charles Studd



Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/un5QQ8QXkd8



Complete the Verse & Name the BookAll Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for, . . . (completion at the end)



Yesterday, we were praying for peace based on Scripture. We will continue that prayer today:


I'm tired of living among people who hate peace. I search for peace; but when I talk about it, they want war. (Psalm 120:6-7) I would rather have a dry crust that I can eat in peace than a house filled with feasting—and conflict. (Proverbs 17:1)


May I keep my trust in you and keep my thoughts fixed on you so I will be kept in perfect peace. You are my eternal Rock. (Isaiah 26:3-4) I know righteousness will bring peace, quietness, and confidence forever, so fill me with your righteousness. (Isaiah 32:17)


You have given me your peace, and I pray I will be a messenger who brings the good news of peace and salvation to others. May I proclaim that you, O God, reign. (Isaiah 52:7)


Salt is no good if it has lost its saltiness. May I not lose my effectiveness to share you with others, and may I live in peace with others. (Mark 9:50)


Jesus, you told us that here on earth we will have many trials and sorrows but to take heart because you have overcome the world. It's in you that we will have peace. (John 16:33)


Thank you that there will be glory and honor and peace from you for everyone who does good. (Romans 2:10)


Jesus, you made us right in God's sight by our faith and gave us peace with God because of what you did at Calvary. (Romans 5:1)


Holy Spirit, control my mind so I can be led to life and peace. (Romans 8:6)Father, may I do all I can to live in peace with everyone.(Romans 12:18) May my life in your Kingdom be a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. (Romans 14:17) 


May I aim for harmony in the church and try to build others up. (Romans 14:19) I pray you would fill me with joy and peace, because I trust in you. (Romans 15:13) Help me to be joyful and grow to maturity. Shape me into an encourager that lives in harmony and peace with others. You are the God of love and peace. (2 Corinthians 13:11) 


Holy Spirit, peace is one of your fruits, and I pray it would take root in my heart. May I spread peace to others so people will say, "There goes a peacemaker." (Galatians 5:22)


May I always be humble and gentle. Make me patient with others, making allowance for their faults. I can't do this on my own, but I can because of your love, so I pray you would fill me with your love. May I make every effort to keep myself united in you, Holy Spirit. Bind us together with peace. (Ephesians 4:2-3)


God, clothe me with love because it's love that binds all of us together in perfect harmony. Jesus, may the peace that comes from you rule in my heart. You have called me to live in peace and always be thankful. (Colossians 3:14-15)


May I pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace. May I enjoy the companionship of those who call on you with pure hearts. (2 Timothy 2:22)


Help me work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life. I know how important this is, because you said if we are not holy, we will not see you. (Hebrews 12:14)


I know the wisdom that comes from you is pure. Your wisdom is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It's full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It doesn't show favoritism, and it's always sincere. I need this kind of wisdom. May I plant seeds of peace so I can reap a harvest of righteousness. (James 3:17-18)


Jesus, you are the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace. Your government and its peace will never end. You will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of your ancestor David for all eternity. (Isaiah 9:6b-7a) I look forward to spending eternity with you. Meanwhile, in the midst of a storm, help me find the peace only you can give. In the powerful name of Jesus, amen.



Verse Completion. . . teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. 2 Timothy 3:16 (NIV)


9/9/2022


Good morning! 


Only one life ‘twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.


                                        --Charles Studd



Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/PLCM58m_w1Y



Complete the Verse & Name the BookAnd by this we know that we have come to know Him, . . . (completion at the end)



Pastor Ron Mehl used to say, "You're either headed into a storm, in a storm, or coming out of a storm." Life is full of storms, and storms are not peaceful! They are unsettling. They can test our faith. They can knock us down and leave us in turmoil. Storms can affect our vision so we can’t see any way out. We can even lose hope. But God can give us peace even in the midst of a terrible storm. I know, because it's happened to me.


First of all, we have to get perspective on the storm. Is this storm going to mean the death of me or someone close to me? Probably not, but if it does, Jesus has some words for us:"Dear friends, don't be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot do any more to you after that. But I'll tell you whom to fear. Fear God, who has the power to kill you and then throw you into hell. Yes, he's the one to fear."(Luke 12:4-5) 


Don't fear that disease that can kill your body; it can't do any more to you after that. The disease can't send you to hell, but God can. He's the one we should fear. However, when we are his child, we don't have to fear God in the sense of being afraid of what he's going to do to us, because Jesus has already died in our place, so we won't be given the death penalty for our sins. 


John 3:16-18a records the words of Jesus: "For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.


"There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him."


Once we understand there's nothing to fear, the words of Jesus in John 14:27-28a are comforting:"I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don't be troubled or afraid. Remember what I told you: I am going away, but I will come back to you again."The world tries to deliver peace, but it's superficial peace at best; it's temporary peace. But God gives a lasting peace; a peace the world cannot take away from us. Even in the midst of a storm, we can experience God's peace.


Let's pray for God's peace to permeate every fiber in us by praying Scripture:


Dear Heavenly Father, I pray I won't worry about anything. Instead, let me pray about everything. Here's what I need . . . and I thank you for all you've done and are going to do. May I experience your peace which exceeds anything I can understand. May your peace guard my heart and mind as I live in you, Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)


Let me rest in green meadows; lead me beside peaceful streams. Renew my strength. Guide me along right paths, bringing honor to your name. Even when I walk through the darkest valley, help me to not be afraid, because you are close beside me. You protect and comfort me. May my cup overflow with blessings. May your goodness and unfailing love pursue me all the days of my life, and may I live in your house with you forever. (Psalm 23)


Bless me and keep me. Smile down on me and be gracious to me. Show me your favor, and give me your peace. (Numbers 6:24-26)


I want to listen carefully to what you say, because you speak peace to your faithful people. Let me not return to my foolish ways. Your salvation is near to those of us who fear you. Fill our land with your glory. (Psalm 85:8-9)


Your instructions give me great peace, and that keeps me from stumbling. (Psalm 119:165)


Tomorrow we will continue this prayer for peace. Let’s end this devotional with Isaiah 26:3-4: You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! Trust in the LORD always, for the LORD GOD is the eternal Rock.



Verse Completion. . . if we keep His commandments. 1 John 2:3 (NASB)


9/8/2022


Good morning! 


Only one life ‘twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.


                                        --Charles Studd



Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/HUBY9TxnAMw



Complete the Verse & Name the Bookif anyone will not work  . . . (completion at the end)



Today we will conclude a recap of Pastor Del McKenzie’s sermon “The Submits and Resists of Life” based on James 4:7. So far Del has answered the questions: 


·      Who is this God that we are to submit to? 


·      Who is this devil that we are to resist?


·      When the Bible says to Submit yourselves, then, to God, why is the word “then” in the sentence?


Our fourth and final question is how is this submitting and resisting done? How do we submit to God, and how do we resist the devilFirst of all, we do it by faith—faith in what God has done; faith in what God is doing. Romans 1:17 tells us:


For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”    


Each day we need to pray: 


“God, I submit myself to you today. I offer my body as a living sacrifice, and the parts of my body as tools of righteousness. I submit to everything that comes from you—your character and nature. I submit to everything of righteousness, holiness, godliness, and purity. I submit myself to everything that comes from your word, your will, your ways, your wisdom, and your works. I do it by faith because I believe your word. I don’t do it by feeling. 


“God, I set my will against everything that comes from the devil: his demons, sin, carnality, sickness, worldliness, death, error, false teachers, and hurtful people. I resist it all. Amen.”


Second, we submit to God, and we resist the devil by our will. We set our will to submit to God, and we set our will to resist the devil. As choices come our way, we exercise our will. 


Third, we submit to God, and we resist the devil by verbalizing it—putting it into words. Speak out loud the following words:


“God, I submit to you. By faith, I yield to you. By faith, I submit my will to your will, no matter how hard it seems, no matter how unreasonable it seems, no matter how unnecessary it seems. 


“Devil, I reject you. I resist you. I resist everything that comes from you, no matter how necessary it may seem, no matter how logical it may seem, or how wonderful it may seem. I refuse it.


“God, you know that I’m not wise enough to always know what comes from you. I’m not wise enough to always know what comes from the devil. I cry out to you to be my wisdom. 


“God, I set my will to be submitted to you. I set my will to resist the devil. God, I’m not strong enough to always take what comes from you. I’m not strong enough to always resist what comes from the devil. I ask you to be my strength.”


Live in submission to God. Live in resistance to the devil. 


Fourth, we submit to God, and we resist the devil by claiming it by faith. We claim by faith that we are submitted to God. We claim by faith that we are resisting the devil. 


Fifth, we submit to God in obedience, and we resist the devil in obedience to God. We obey everything God asks us to do. It’s an ongoing journey. To obey is to submit, to yield to God. To disobey is to resist God. We always need to be open to God’s searchlight, and be willing to correct that which needs correction.


Freedom from the enemy comes from obedience to God. John 8:36 tells us: “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”


Finally, we humble ourselves. God gives grace to the humble. What does it mean to be humble? It means admitting that what God says is true. We ask forgiveness for those times when we have not submitted to God, and we ask forgiveness for those times when we haven’t resisted the devil. Like Paul we need to say: What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin (Romans 7:24-25).


Salvation comes to us by God’s gift of grace. We aren’t saved by our goodness, our righteousness, our abilities, or our achievements. We are saved by God’s free giving. God is a gracious God. The law came by Moses. Grace and truth came by Jesus. Jesus forgives us and cleanses us, and then we walk in the light of his word. Salvation is always in the work of Jesus, not our own works.


The Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of Help. The Holy Spirit pours life into us. 


Is there some submitting you need to do? Is there some resisting you need to do? Resist the devil when thoughts that oppose Jesus enter your mind. 



Verse Completion. . . neither let him eat. 2 Thessalonians 3:10b (NASB)


9/7/2022


Good morning! 


Only one life ‘twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.


                                        --Charles Studd



Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/EWc7VilSOZs



Complete the Verse & Name the BookAnd be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, . . . (completion at the end)



Today we will continue a recap of Pastor Del McKenzie’s sermon “The Submits and Resists of Life” based on James 4:7. Yesterday we answered the question: Who is this God that we are to submit to? Today we will answer two more questions based on this verse.


Who is this devil that we are to resist? First of all we need to recognize that there is a devil. The word “devil” comes from the Greek word Diabolus which means “slanderer” or “accuser”. The devil is also called Satan that comes from the Greek word Satanas which means “adversary” or “enemy”. We are to resist the one who is a slanderer, accuser, our adversary, and our enemy. The devil attacks God’s people by slandering us and accusing us. The devil is an enemy of God, and any enemy of God should be our enemy, too. The devil is an enemy of the Church, churches, and all mankind. He has an evil heart that desires to devour you and me. He will do all he can to make us suffer. We are to submit to God and resist the devil. 


There’s only one devil, but there are many demons. The devil is a deceiver, tempter, liar, murderer, slanderer, and accuser. He has many helpers, demons, who help the devil do his evil deeds. They put wrong thoughts into our minds. They oppress us. They tempt us. They seek to control us. 


When Jesus was on Earth, he cast out demons that were in people. When we resist the devil, we resist his whole army—his entire kingdom of darkness. The devil is called the god of this age. His kingdom is a kingdom of sin, selfishness, worldliness, sickness, error, false teachers, false teaching, pain, and death. All these things are our enemies. If we don’t resist the devil, our lives will be adversely affected. We must stand against his kingdom. We must fight against his kingdom. The kingdom of the evil one is a reality, and it’s constantly grabbing at us, trying to pull us into it. The devil will do all he can to destroy our faith. He wants us to back down, back up, and back off from loving God, from pursuing holiness, dealing with our pride, and walking in grace. He tries to affect our attitudes. The devil is who we resist.


When the Bible says to Submit yourselves, then, to God, why is the word “then” in the sentence? The word connects us with what was written before these words:


You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us? But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble” (James 4:4-6).


Why should we submit to God and resist the devil? God resists the devil so we should, too. God opposes proud people who depend on their own abilities and their own goodness. These are people who don’t humble themselves before God. Pride is the summit of all evils. All evil stems from pride. Pride elevates ourselves while putting others down. Pride shuts us off from God. It’s a tragic thing to have God opposing us. We need to ask ourselves the question, “Is there any way in which God is opposing me?” 


Can we have a good life without God’s help? If we’re honest with ourselves, the answer is no. 


Tomorrow we will conclude this recap of Pastor McKenzie’s message.



Verse Completion. . . just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. Ephesians 4:32  (NASB)


9/6/2022


Good morning! 


Only one life ‘twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.


                                        --Charles Studd



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



Complete the Verse & Name the BookFor the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number . . . (completion at the end)



On Sunday we were blessed to have Pastor Del McKenzie give the sermon “The Submits and Resists of Life” based on James 4:7. His 85 years on this planet have given Pastor Del a lot of wisdom, and we are grateful that he was willing to travel here and share some of that wisdom with us—wisdom that has come from many years of walking with Jesus.


What makes life a good life? We can observe that some people have a good life, and others don’t have a good life. There’s a principle for a good life found in James 4:7:


Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.


Let’s talk about the submits and resists of life. A good life is made up of proper submits and resists. 


Who is this God that we are to submit to? There are many gods in this world. Some are simply the creation of someone using their imagination. Muslims have a god. The Hindus have a god. Other religious groups have gods. Even atheists have gods. In talking to an atheist one day, he said to me, “I’m my own god.” 


Who is this God that we are to submit to? He is the God that is throughout the Bible. He’s the Creator of the heavens and the earth. The Old Testament reveals who God is, what he does, what he wants, what pleases him, and what displeases him. Ultimately, God revealed himself in the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus is God with skin on. The New Testament is all about who Jesus is, why he came, what he did, what can happen when we put our trust in him, and how Jesus determines where we will spent eternity. 


The Holy Spirit was sent to make Jesus real to us. The true Church reveals Jesus. Those who have been born again reveal Jesus. When the Church does what it’s called to do, it reveals Jesus. 


The God of the Bible creates, sustains, and rules over everything. In the Old Testament, God is referred to as Elohim, a Hebrew word meaning “the One with power”. In the New Testament, the Greek word used for God is Theos which has the same meaning as Elohim: the strong One, the mighty One, the powerful One. God is living, and he is great, glorious, and good. 


A.W. Tozer said, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” Who am I? I am what I think about God. When I have my thoughts right about who God is, I’m thinking clearly. When my thoughts of who God is are wrong, my thinking is mixed up; I’m confused. I start listening to the wrong voices. 


A.W. Tozer also said, “The gravest question before the Church is always God himself. The most pretentious fact about a man is not what he’s given at any point in time but what we have in our heart, the deep conviction of who God is.


“Always the most revealing thing about any church is the idea that it has of God.” 


When did you first submit to God? We are born as rebels, and we develop as rebels. This is why James says, “Submit yourselves . . .” Each one of us has to submit personally. Submission is a choice. It’s not a one-time act; it involves continuous action. It’s ongoing. No one is a Christian if they haven’t submitted to God. No one is a Christian unless they have confessed Jesus as Lord. 


Romans 10:9-10 says: If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. We are saved by confessing Jesus is Lord.


We do well in life as we submit to God. Continual resistance of God prevents salvation. Any degree of resistance hinders our Christian walk. Are you walking in submission to the will of God now? When was the last time you said, “Lord, I yield to you my life. I surrender my will to your will”? 


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


Verse Completion. . . of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 2 Timothy 4:3 (NIV) 


9/5/2022


Good morning! 


Only one life ‘twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.


                                        --Charles Studd



Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/ps2L5-m8frE



Complete the Verse & Name the BookAnd the smoke of their torment rises for ever and ever. There is no rest day or night for those who . . . (completion at the end)



Today is a continuation of the last devotional where we took a look at “bad days”. We all have them. We were looking at people in the Bible that experienced difficult times. 


Job had the ultimate in bad days:One day when Job's sons and daughters were feasting at the oldest brother's house, a messenger arrived at Job's home with this news: "Your oxen were plowing, with the donkeys feeding beside them, when the Sabeans raided us. They stole all the animals and killed all the farmhands. I am the only one who escaped to tell you."


While he was still speaking, another messenger arrived with this news: "The fire of God has fallen from heaven and burned up your sheep and all the shepherds. I am the only one who escaped to tell you."


While he was still speaking, a third messenger arrived with this news: "Three bands of Chaldean raiders have stolen your camels and killed your servants. I am the only one who escaped to tell you."


While he was still speaking, another messenger arrived with this news: "Your sons and daughters were feasting in their oldest brother's home. Suddenly, a powerful wind swept in from the wilderness and hit the house on all sides. The house collapsed, and all your children are dead. I am the only one who escaped to tell you."


Job stood up and tore his robe in grief. Then he shaved his head and fell to the ground to worship. He said, "I came naked from my mother's womb, and I will be naked when I leave. The LORD gave me what I had, and the LORD has taken it away. Praise the name of the LORD!" In all of this, Job did not sin by blaming God(Job 1:13-22).


This makes my bad day look like a picnic! Notice how Job handled the crisis:"Praise the name of the LORD!"Is that your reaction when things go south? I wish it was my typical reaction, but I’m afraid it isn’t. Job was a mature follower of God. In verse one it says, "He was blameless—a man of complete integrity. He feared God and stayed away from evil.” He had a very close relationship with God. He was grounded in his faith in God.


John 16:33b records these words of Jesus,"Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world."Jesus tells us what we can focus on when trials and difficulties come our way—the fact that he has overcome the world. Those are some encouraging words to remember.


James 1:2-4 tells us:Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.


Psalm 46:1-3:God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea. Let the oceans roar and foam. Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge!God is still in control. He created the world and everything in it, and he has not abandoned us!


Psalm 91:4, 14-16:He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.


The LORD says,"I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them. I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation."


Psalm 147:3:He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds.


Joshua 1:9:"This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go."


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


Isaiah 40:28-31:Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.


Isaiah 41:10:Don't be afraid, for I am with you. Don't be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.


Matthew 6:33-34 record the following words of Jesus:”Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.


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


2 Corinthians 6:4b-6, 9b-10:We patiently endure troubles and hardships and calamities of every kind. We have been beaten, been put in prison, faced angry mobs, worked to exhaustion, endured sleepless nights, and gone without food. We prove ourselves by our purity, our understanding, our patience, our kindness, by the Holy Spirit within us, and by our sincere love. We live close to death, but we are still alive. We have been beaten, but we have not been killed. Our hearts ache, but we always have joy. We are poor, but we give spiritual riches to others. We own nothing, and yet we have everything.


If we have Jesus, we have everything we need. No matter what comes our way, we can say with Job,"Praise the name of the LORD!"Let's take time to pray that God will transform us into people who are still able to give praise, glory, honor, and worship to God in spite of trials and tribulations that come our way.



Verse Completion. . . worship the beast and his image, or for anyone who receives the mark of his name.” Revelation 14:11 (NIV) 


9/3/2022


Good morning! 


Only one life ‘twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.


                                        --Charles Studd



Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/6Yc3exCsHCw



Complete the Verse & Name the BookAnd Pilate wrote an inscription also, and put it on the cross. And it was written, . . . (completion at the end)



Have you ever had a bad day? Who hasn't! I started college right out of high school, and in the summers I would grab odd jobs. One job involved being a flagman for a crop-duster. All spraying was done at night because that's when the bees would be in their hives. We would be told to show up at 6:00 p.m. for work, and sometimes we would not start out to the job site for a couple of hours. We were not paid for sitting around even though we had to be there. 


Once we arrived at a job site in the company pickup, I would head to a field of crops on foot with my wand flashlights and signal the crop-duster where to start the spraying of chemicals that would kill the insects. I would stand at the edge of the field while the pilot approached me from the opposite side of the field. As the plane came nearer to me, I would walk a certain number of paces and stand there to signal where the next pass should start. Of course, I would get sprayed with the toxic chemicals. 


On one particular night, our first job of the evening was to spray a huge alfalfa field. When the job was completed, I started making my way through the high alfalfa back to the pickup truck. It was rough going but to my delight, in the moonlight, I spotted a dirt road. I could easily walk on the road and find my way back to the pickup. When I took my first step onto the "dirt road," I sank up to my waist in cold water—it was an irrigation canal! The rest of the night I had cold, wet clothes and shoes . . . while I waited for the next pass of toxic chemicals.


I’m not the only one who has experienced a bad day. You can read about Alexander’s experience in a book. When I taught elementary school, we used to read to the kids, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst. The next time you’re having a bad day, you might want to read the book. Misery loves company.


The Bible is full of examples of people who had bad days:


Esau prepared a delicious meal for his father. His father's blessing was then going to be given to him, but then he found out Jacob, his very own brother, had stolen his blessing. (Genesis 27)

Joseph was sold by his brothers into slavery. (Genesis 37)

Joseph was thrown in prison for running away from Potiphar's wife's sexual advances. (Genesis 39)

Jonah spent three days inside a great fish for refusing to go to Nineveh. (Jonah 1)

Daniel spent the night in a den of lions. (Daniel 6)

Jezebel sent this message to Elijah: "May the gods strike me and even kill me if by this time tomorrow I have not killed you just as you killed [the prophets of Baal]." (1 Kings 19:2)

Elijah was instructed to drink from the brook and eat what the ravens brought him. Then the brook dried up because there wasn't any rainfall in the land. (1Kings 17:2-5)

Twice Saul tried to pin David to the wall with his spear. (1 Samuel 18:10-11)

Nebuchadnezzar had Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego thrown into a fiery furnace that had been heated seven times hotter than usual. (Daniel 3:19-23)


In the next devotional, we will look at a few other examples of people in the Bible who experienced a bad day. Trials and difficulties are a part of life for those who follow Christ and those who don’t follow Christ. Fortunately, for those of us who follow Christ, God has given us some instructions to help us through the tough times in life. We’ll look at some of those next time. Stay tuned.



Verse Completion. . . “Jesus the Nazarene, The King of the Jews.” John 19:19 (NASB) 


9/2/2022


Good morning! 


Only one life ‘twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.


                                        --Charles Studd



Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/YqHjjZz1Syg



Complete the Verse & Name the BookSaul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus. At once he began to preach in the synagogues that . . . (completion at the end)



When a Pharisee asked Jesus which was the most important commandment, Jesus replied, " 'You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments"  (Matthew 22:37-40).


In John 13:34-35 Jesus said,"So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples."


Matthew 5:43-48 records the words of Jesus:"You have heard the law that says, 'Love your neighbor' and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect."


We are told to love everyone. There's no room for racism or racial prejudice in the kingdom of God. Romans 9:25 says,Concerning the Gentiles, God says in the prophecy of Hosea, "Those who were not my people, I will now call my people. And I will love those whom I did not love before." And, "Then, at the place where they were told, 'You are not my people,' there they'd will be called 'children of the living God.' "


Romans 12:9-10 says,Don't just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.


1 Thessalonians 4:9-10 says,But we don't need to write to you about the importance of loving each other, for God himself has taught you to love one another. Indeed, you already show your love for all the believers throughout Macedonia. Even so, dear brothers and sisters, we urge you to love them even more.


1 Peter 3:8-12 says,Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. Don't repay evil for evil. Don't retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will grant you his blessing. For the Scriptures say, "If you want to enjoy life and see many happy days, keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies. Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it. The eyes of the LORD watch over those who do right, and his ears are open to their prayers. But the LORD turns his face against those who do evil."


1 John 2:9-11 says,If anyone claims, "I am living in the light," but hates a fellow believer, that person is still living in darkness. Anyone who loves a fellow believer is living in the light and does not cause others to stumble. But anyone who hates a fellow believer is still living and walking in darkness. Such a person does not know the way to go, having been blinded by the darkness.


1 John 4:7-12 says,Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.


God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.


Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.


1 John 4:16b-21 says,God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.


Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. We love each other because he loved us first.


If someone says, "I love God," but hates a fellow believer, that person is a liar; for if we don't love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see? And he has given us this command: Those who love God must also love their fellow believers.


Let's pray that God will give us this kind of love for each other.



Verse Completion. . . Jesus is the Son of God. Acts 9:19b-20 (NIV) 


9/1/2022


Good morning! Welcome to September!


Only one life ‘twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.


                                        --Charles Studd



Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/YqHjjZz1Syg



Complete the Verse & Name the BookDo not merely listen to the word, and so . . . (completion at the end)



Today we will conclude the recap of Pastor Michael’s sermon “The Spiritual Weapons of the Church”.


We need armor and weapons for this spiritual war we are in. Not only do we put on the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of the gospel of peace, and the shield of faith, we also need the helmet of salvation. Helmets provide protection for the head. If your head is injured and you are unable to think clearly, you are out of the battle. 


We need to think rightly. We need to understand who we are in Christ. We are children of God. We belong to the family of God. We have been saved, redeemed, justified, and sanctified by God. Romans 12:1-3 tells us: 


Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s willis—his good, pleasing and perfect will.


For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.


We need to be people of God’s will. We need to have the mind of Christ. We need to protect our thinking. We need to know who we are and whose we are so we’ll know how to live rightly. We don’t live how we used to live because we have been transformed by the renewing of our minds. We think differently now.


Philippians 4:8 tells us: Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.


What we think about matters. If you fill your mind with garbage, garbage will come out. We need to ask ourselves, “What would Jesus do in this situation?” In order to know what Jesus would do, we have to know his word. We have to be in relationship with Jesus, and be listening for the Holy Spirit prompting us. 


In addition to the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, and the helmet of salvation, we also need to be armed with the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Notice how the sword is an offensive weapon. Let’s return to Revelation 19:15 and 21:


Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty.


The rest were killed with the sword coming out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh.


What struck down the nations were the words of God. God has given us his words recorded in the Bible. We can choose to follow them or reject them. If we reject them, we will be struck down. We need to know God’s words and follow God’s words.


When Jesus was tempted by Satan, all three times Jesus responded with Scripture reminding Satan of God’s words. God’s words are all that matter. Jesus responded with the words, “It is written . . .” Jesus used the words of God to defend himself when attacked. Jesus used the words of God to go on the offensive. 


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


In order to stand in this war, we need to be people of the word of God. God’s words are powerful. It was by the word of God that the world was created. It’s by the word of God that Jesus will return to Earth to gather the redeemed. 


God wins; Satan loses; we gain. That’s what the word of God tells us, and God’s word can be trusted. His word never fails. 


A police officer wouldn’t report for duty without his uniform and all that accompanies it. A soldier wouldn’t report for duty without his uniform and all that accompanies it. As followers of Christ, we can’t be caught not wearing our spiritual armor. It’s essential to this spiritual war we are engaged in. 



We are people of the truth of God.


We are people of the ways of God.


We are people of the will of God.


We are people of the peace of God.


We are people of trust in God.


We are people of the word of God.



This is who we are. 


Paul closes this part of Ephesians by saying:


And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.


Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.


Prayer brings it all together. Prayer declares that we are wholly and completely dependent upon God. 


If we are going to remain standing in this war, we need the armor of God so we can stand firm and not let darkness overtake us. 



Verse Completion. . . deceive yourselves. Do what it says. James 1:22 (NIV)