December

31

Forgetting Those Things, Which are Past
Text: Philippians 3:13a (The 1599 Geneva Bible) “Brethren, I count not myself, that I have attained to it, but one thing I do: I forget that which is behind.”

Dear Friends, Today, as we end the year, let us do one thing that is difficult for many of us: let us forget those things that are past.  Whatever you promised and did not fulfill, whatever you did to hurt others, whatever others did to hurt you, do these things. Confess your anger, sadness, or sin before God. Ask God to forgive you. If you hurt someone, strive to make amends. And, here is the hardest part for many: forgive yourself. You cannot change the past, but you can have a clean start now with Jesus.

Hymn (“I Have Settled the Question”): “I remember when the Lord spoke to my soul, I could feel the heavy burden from me roll, When He spoke the gracious words, `Wilt thou be whole?’ Then I settled the question forever.” Refrain: “I have settled the question, hallelujah! I will never turn back from the narrow way. I am going through with Jesus, hallelujah! Till I reach the gates of glory some sweet day. I no longer walk the ways of sinfulness, But I daily tread the paths of righteousness, Since the day the Lord has come my life to bless, I have settled the question forever.”

30

Laughter and Rejoicing is Good For You
Text: Psalm 126:1-3 (The 1599 Geneva Bible) “When ye Lord brought again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream. Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with joy: then said they among the heathen, `The Lord hath done great things for them. The Lord hath done great things for us, whereof we rejoice.’ ”

Dear Friends, In today’s text, we come to something that is missing a lot in this world and that is laughter and rejoicing. We tend to be serious, somber, and even saddened too much in our lives.  Why don’t we rejoice when we remember all the good that God has done for us this year.  Let us spend time together with loved ones laughing.  Oh what good laughter and rejoicing does for our hearts, minds, and souls as we spend time together recollecting!

Hymn (“Rejoice Today with One Accord”): “Rejoice today with one accord, Sing out with exultation; Rejoice and praise our mighty Lord, Whose arm hath brought salvation; His works of love proclaim, The greatness of His Name; For He is God alone,
Who hath His mercy shown; Let all His saints adore Him!”

29

Forgiveness, the Way to Heal all Your Past and Present Hurts
Text: Genesis 50:17 (The 1599 Geneva Bible) “Thus shall ye say unto Joseph, `Forgive now, I pray thee, the trespass of thy brethren, and their sin, for they rewarded thee evil. And now, we pray thee, forgive the trespass of the servants of thy father’s God.’ And Joseph wept, when they spake unto him.”

Dear Friends, In today’s text, we come to the first time in the Bible where the word “forgive” is mentioned.  The Hebrew word is
nasa which means “forgive, pardon, take away, or yield.” If we need to forgive, here is the key to healing in our life from today’s text. We need to weep—to work through the sorrow and pain. We need to pray to have a forgiving heart, and for the person who has harmed us. And then we need to forgive, which is a choice of our will. True forgiveness cannot come without God’s help and part of that process is forgetting. We cannot continue to bring up the old hurts and rehash them after we have forgiven.

Hymn (“Forgive Them, O my Father”): ” `Forgive them, O my Father, They know not what they do.’ The Savior spoke in anguish, As sharp iron nails went through. No word of anger spoke He, To them that shed His blood, But prayer and tenderest pity, Large as the love of God.”

28

Thou art Coming, O my Savior
Text: Revelation 22:20 (The 1599 Geneva Bible) “He which testifieth these things, saith, `Surely, I come quickly.’ `Amen. Even so, come Lord Jesus.’ ”

Dear Friends, In today’s text we come to one of the best promises in the Bible.  Jesus told the Apostle John, and He is telling us, that He is coming soon!  Today, you might be frustrated at how the year has turned out. Whatever you are dealing with
stop right now and read our text again and be sure that you know Jesus as your personal Savior and Lord, then smile, look up to heaven, and claim today’s promise as your own.  It is the truth—“even so, come Lord Jesus.”

Hymn (“Thou art Coming, O my Savior,” words by Fran­ces R. Havergal): “Thou art coming, O my Savior, Thou art coming, O my King, In Thy beauty all resplendent, In Thy glory all transcendent; Well may we rejoice and sing: Coming! In the opening east, Herald brightness slowly swells; Coming! O my glorious Priest, Hear we not Thy golden bells? Thou art coming, Thou art coming; We shall meet Thee on Thy way, We shall see Thee, we shall know Thee, We shall bless Thee, we shall show Thee
All our hearts could ever say: What an anthem that will be, Ringing out our love to Thee, Pouring out our rapture sweet, At Thine own all glorious feet.”

27

The only Book that You Need your Name Written in
Text: Revelation 21:27 (The 1599 Geneva Bible) “And there shall enter into it none unclean thing, neither whatsoever worketh abomination or lies, but they which are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.”

Dear Friends, In today’s text, we see that there is only one Book that we need our names written or published in–the Lamb’s (Jesus’) Book of Life. If you do not think your name is written there, pray this simple prayer in earnest faith: “Dear God, I come to you and admit that I am a sinner.  I repent of my sins. I believe that Jesus died for my sins, was buried, and rose again on the third day to rule with You in heaven forever.  I ask that Jesus now come into my heart and be my Savior and Lord.  Thank you for bringing me into Your family. In Jesus Name, Amen!” If you prayed that prayer from your heart, your name is now surely entered into the Lamb’s Book of Life.

Hymn (“Is your Name Written There?”): “Lord, I care not for riches, neither silver nor gold; I would make sure of Heaven, I would enter the fold. In the book of Thy kingdom, with its pages so fair, Tell me, Jesus, my Savior, is my name written there?
Lord, my sins they are many, like the sands of the sea, But Thy blood, O my Savior, is sufficient for me; For Thy promise is written, in bright letters that glow, `Though your sins be as scarlet, I will make them like snow’…yes, my name’s written there.”

26

Our Lord’s Return to Earth Again
Text: Revelation 20:1-3 (The 1599 Geneva Bible) “And I saw an Angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit, and a great chain in his hand. And he took the dragon that old serpent, which is the devil and Satan, and he bound him a thousand years; And cast him into the bottomless pit, and he shut him up, and sealed the door upon him, that he should deceive the people no more, till the thousand years were fulfilled; for after that he must be loosed for a little season.”

Dear Friends, As we get ready to close the year, let us spend the next few days in some exciting yet sobering texts in the last three chapters of the Book of Revelation.  In today’s text, we read about the Millennium. The Millennium will take place after the Rapture and the great Tribulation. After the Millennium, Satan will continue to tempt people to turn away from Jesus. Then, after the final battle of Armageddon and the Judgment, Satan, his demonic followers, and all who reject Jesus as their Savior and Lord will be cast into the Lake of Fire for eternity. All that being said, we should be encouraged that we know Jesus. But, we also should feel an extreme sense of urgency to encourage those who do not know Jesus to invite Him into their lives while they still have time.

Hymn (“Our Lord’s Return to Earth Again”): “I am watching for the coming of the glad millennial day, When our blessed Lord shall come and catch His waiting bride away. Oh! My heart is filled with rapture as I labor, watch, and pray, For our Lord is coming back to earth again.

25

Glorify and Praise God in all You Say and Do
Text: Luke 2:20 (The 1599 Geneva Bible) “And the shepherds returned glorifying and praising God, for all that they had heard and seen, as it was spoken unto them.”

Dear Friends, Today we see how the shepherds returned glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen. On Christmas, and for the rest of our lives, we need to take some time to think on the change that happened in the shepherds. We also can remember the change that occurred in Scrooge’s life in “A Christmas Carol” after the three visits from spirits. Especially, we should always remember to glorify and praise God for the changes He has made in our lives. We glorify and praise God when we love Him with all our hearts, souls, minds, and strength, and when we love others more than ourselves. In closing, hearken to these paraphrased words of Tiny Tim, “God bless us everyone and help us to bless God Himself and our fellow man!”

Hymn (“Our Day of Joy is Here Again”): “Our day of joy is here again, with love and peace and song; Come, let us join the angelic strain, With voices clear and strong.” Refrain: “Glory to our God, we sing, Glory to our Lord and King; Peace, goodwill with all abide, This holy Christmas tide.”

24

Don’t Leave Christ out of C-H-R-I-ST-M-A-S
Text: Luke 2:18-19 (The 1599 Geneva Bible) “And all that heard it, wondered at the things which were told them of the shepherds. But Mary kept all those sayings, and pondered them in her heart.”

Dear Friends, In today’s text, we see where all who heard the things told to them about Jesus by the shepherds, wondered about them, but Mary kept all those sayings and pondered them in her heart.  To ponder means “to weigh in the mind,” “to think about,” “reflect on,” or “to think or consider especially quietly, soberly, and deeply.”  This Christmas Eve, stop and ponder what Christmas is all about and what it especially means to you. And, keep Christ in Christmas all day tomorrow and all the rest of your life. Put Him first in all you say and do.

Poem (Excerpts from “Don’t Leave Christ out of Christmas,” copyrighted by Christian
Rapster, S.M.I.C.): “How can we celebrate Christmas and leave Christ out, Without Jesus Christmas wouldn’t have come about. Cooking and shopping people are so busy, If Christmas is about Christ then where is He? People love gifts except the one God gave; To them Christmas is a time to misbehave. When they go to the parties they love to bump and grind, Jesus is nowhere in their mind. This year everyone should make this decree, Christmas is going to be more than Xmas to me.”

23

Go Tell it on the Mountain and Everywhere
Text: Luke 2:16-17 (The 1599 Geneva Bible) “So they came with haste, and found both Mary and Joseph and the Babe laid in the crèche. And when they had seen it, they published abroad the thing which was told them of that Child.”

Dear Friends, In today’s text, we see where the shepherds did a wonderful thing.  They did not just keep the news of Jesus’ birth to themselves.  When you and I have discovered that Jesus is truly the Reason for the Season; when we know in our hearts that He came to give us complete forgiveness of our sins; when we know that He gives us a new life full of love, joy, and peace; and when we know that He will give us a permanent home in heaven, we will do like the shepherds and “publish aboard” the Good News” of Jesus Christ everywhere.

Hymn (“Go Tell it on the Mountain”): Refrain: “Go, tell it on the mountain, Over the hills and everywhere, Go, tell it on the mountain, That Jesus Christ is born.”

22

Discover the True Meaning of Christmas for Yourself
Text: Luke 2:15 (The 1599 Geneva Bible) “And it came to pass when the Angels were gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said one to another, `Let us go then unto Bethlehem, and see this thing that is come to pass, which the Lord hath shewed unto us.’ ”

Dear Friends, In today’s text, we see where the shepherds did not just merely take the Angel’s word about Jesus being born in Bethlehem, but they went themselves to see. I am here today to tell you that while it is special to go to church on Christmas Eve and sing some carols, you and I need to discover—or rediscover–the true meaning of Christmas ourselves.  We should open our Bibles to Luke 2:1-20 and pray a simple prayer, “Dear God, please show me the true meaning of Christmas this year.” Then when we start reading we will be amazed at how God answers our simple prayer of faith. Christmas is about the Greatest Gift of All, Jesus, and seeing Him for ourselves as our personal Savior and Lord.

Hymn (“O Come all ye Faithful”): “O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant, O come ye, O come ye, to Bethlehem. Come and behold Him, born the King of angels;” Refrain: “O come, let us adore Him, O come, let us adore Him, O come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.”

21

Joy to the World, Jesus has Come”
Text: Luke 2:10-11 (The 1599 Geneva Bible) “Then the Angel said unto them, `Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you glad tidings of great joy, that shall be to all the people, That is, that unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. ` ”

Dear Friends, In today’s text, we see that the Angel of the Lord (possibly Gabriel) told the shepherds to not be afraid because they would have great joy due to the very fact that their Savior was born that Christmas morning.  This Christmas the secret of having joy is coming to Him who alone brings joy, Jesus Christ.  I love an old song we used to sing about JOY, where it
stated…”J-esus, O-thers, Y-ou, what a wonderful way to spell J-O-Y.”  I encourage all of us today and every day  to put Jesus first in our day. Also, as now we get ready for Christmas, we should practice putting the needs of others before our own.  Pray for those who do not know Jesus yet, practice acts of kindness, and say, “Merry Christmas” to all. Spread some JOY, this Christmas!

Hymn (“Joy to the World”): “Joy to the world, the Lord is come! Let earth receive her King; Let every heart prepare Him room,
And Heaven and nature sing, And Heaven and nature sing, And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing.”

20

Don’t Shut Jesus out this Christmas”
Text: Luke 2:6-7 (The 1599 Geneva Bible) “And so it was, that while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered, And she brought forth her first begotten Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a crèche, because there was no room for them
in the Inn.”

Dear Friends, From today through Christmas Day, we shall be in Luke’s account of Jesus’ birth.  Today, we see that Jesus was born in a manger (crèche, Old Scottish word) because there was no room for Him, Mary, and Joseph in the inn.  Jesus
wants to come into our hearts and change our lives this Christmas for the best.  Santa, Frosty, the elves, and even religion cannot change us and give us peace.  Make room for Jesus today and invite Him into your heart. He is The Prince of Peace who alone can bring us peace at Christmas, and always.

Hymn (“Give Heed my Heart”): “Give heed, my heart, lift up thine eyes! What is it in that manger lies? Who is the Child so young and fair? The blessèd Christ Child lieth there.

19

All the Days of Our Lives at Christmas and Always!
Text: Luke 1:75 (The 1599 Geneva Bible) “All the days of our life, in holiness and righteousness before Him.”

Dear Friends, In today’s text, we see where Zacharias, John The Baptist’s father, prophesied that both Israel then, and us now as Christians, should live all the days of our lives in holiness and righteousness before Jesus.  How do we do this?  One way is to start our day in prayer and the reading of the Bible.  Also, we should be still and listen to what God is saying.  In closing, as Christmas nears, we should spend more time until Christmas listening to carols like “Away in a Manger,” “Joy to the World,” and “Hark the Herald Angels Sing.” These bring us closer to Jesus, whose birthday we celebrate.

Hymn (“All the Day”): “All the day my heart is singing, Not a throb of care I know, For the Master’s feet have trodden, Every path He bids me go.” Refrain: “In the Lord is all my joy, Blessed Savior, Friend divine! Glad the songs my heart has known,
Since this Jesus has been mine.”

18

Mary Did Know!
Text: Luke 1:46-47 (The 1599 Geneva Bible) “Then Mary said, `My soul magnifieth the Lord, And my spirit rejoiceth in God my Saviour.’ “

Dear Friends, In today’s text, we see where Mary magnified and praise the Lord that God would allow her to be Jesus’ mother.   We often are so wanting to see what others will give us for Christmas, but instead let us want to give something to Jesus. As Mary did, let us give Him our hearts, minds, and lives.  Mary knew this truth and so can we!

Song (“Mary Did You Know?,” by Mark Lowry and Buddy Greene): Mary did you know that your baby boy would one day walk on water? Mary did you know that your baby boy would save our sons and daughters? Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new? This child that you’ve delivered, will soon deliver you. Mary did you know that your baby boy is Lord of all creation? Mary did you know that your baby boy would one day rule the nations? Did you know that your baby boy is heaven’s perfect Lamb? This sleeping child you’re holding is the great I am.”

17

Nothing is Impossible with God at Christmas and Always
Text: Luke 1:37 (The 1599 Geneva Bible) “For with God shall nothing be impossible.”

Dear Friends, In today’s text, we see where the Angel Gabriel told Mary that she being a virgin but still conceiving the baby Jesus was possible because nothing with God is impossible. God wants to answer our prayers according to his will and plan for our lives. All we have to do is ask Him in faith.  This Christmas do not go to God wishing for material things that you want, but ask God to do the impossible like provide healing to someone you know, or helping you be bold and loving to provide for a family in need. Or, if you don’t know Jesus, ask for the greatest gift that God gave us at Christmas: ask Jesus to come into your life and be your Savior and Lord.

Hymn (“Only Believe“): “Fear not, little flock, from the cross to the throne, From death into life He went for His own; All power in earth, all power above, Is given to Him for the flock of His love.” Refrain: ”Only believe, only believe; All things are possible, only believe, Only believe, only believe; All things are possible, only believe.”

16

He Looked on Me
Text: Luke 1:24-25 (The 1599 Geneva Bible) “And after those days, his wife Elizabeth conceived, and hid herself five months, saying, `Thus hath the Lord dealt with me, in the days wherein he looked on me, to take from me my rebuke among men.’ ”

Dear Friends, In today’s text, we see where Elizabeth went aside and gave God all the praise for answering her prayer of wanting to have a child. She said that God looked on her, “to take from me my rebuke among men.”  It is amazing that even at
Christmas we don’t praise God for all the blessings He has bestowed on us. We also must not forget that God answers prayers in his own time, at just the right time! So, this Christmas, if you feel like giving up, if you are tired of the criticism of men and women, or if you are tired of “just going through the motions” to maintain your so-called “Happy Holidays,” hide yourself away and praise God. If you have never asked Him into your life, then pray, “Dear God, please forgive me and cleanse me from all my sins. I gladly accept Your Son Jesus now into my life as my Savior and Lord. Thank you for Jesus being my greatest Christmas present ever. Amen.”

Hymn (“He Looked Beyond My Faults,” words & music by Dottie Rambo): “Amazing grace will always be my song of praise,
For it was grace that brought me liberty. I can not know just why He came to love me so; He looked beyond my faults and saw my needs. I shall forever lift mine eyes to Calvary, To view the cross where Jesus died for me. How marvelous that grace that caught my falling soul; He looked beyond my faults and saw my needs.”

15

Who is Christmas Really About?
Text: Luke 1:16 (The 1599 Geneva Bible) “And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to their Lord God.”

Dear Friends, Today’s text announced that John the Baptist, who was Jesus’ cousin, would direct people to turn from the false and vain religion of the day, and towards Jesus, The Way, The Truth and The Life. I want to invite each of us as we get ready to celebrate Christmas to turn from all the “surface celebrations” of Christmas (presents and parties, etc.) and turn to our Lord God, namely Jesus. Christmas, is his birthday celebration! The best way we can do this is to be still, come before Jesus in prayer (He’s always listening), and realize that Christmas is not truly about anything but Jesus and his love.

Worship Song (“Not About Us,” by Bishop Noel Jones): “It’s not about us, But it’s about Jesus, It’s not about you, But it’s about Jesus, It’s not about us, But it’s about Jesus, It’s not about you, But it’s about Jesus. I present my body, A living sacrifice, Holy, acceptable, Unto You now, Everything I am, And everything I’ll be, I lay it all at Your feet.”

14

In Thee There is Gladness
Text: Luke 1:12-14 (The 1599 Geneva Bible) “And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. But the Angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias, for thy prayer is heard, and thy wife Elizabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. And thou shalt have joy and gladness, and many shall rejoice at his birth.”

Dear Friends, In today’s text, we see how the Angel told Zacharias not to fear but to have joy and gladness because he and Elizabeth would have a son in their old age. The son was to be John the Baptist, who would tell people that Jesus was coming.  Today, you may be experiencing fear for many reasons, but I am hereby announcing to you that Jesus died on the cross for us, was buried, arose the third day, and is coming back for those who have put their faith and trust in Him.  This is the free gift from God. So, do not be overcome with fear, but turn to Jesus. Yes, we will still have trials and temptations, but we can rejoice that Jesus wants us to have joy and gladness for eternity. He will never leave us nor forsake us

Hymn (“In Thee is Gladness”): “In Thee is gladness, amid all sadness, Jesus, sunshine of my heart. By Thee are given the gifts of Heaven, Thou the true Redeemer art. Our souls Thou makest, our bonds Thou breakest; Who trusts Thee surely hath built securely, And stands forever. Alleluia!”

13

Be a True Believer at Christmas and Always
Text: Luke 1:5-6 (The 1599 Geneva Bible) “In the time of Herod King of Judea, there was a certain Priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia; and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. Both were just before God, and walked in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord, without reproof.”

Dear Friends, In today’s text, as we come now to the Gospel of Luke, we see two people, namely Zacharias and Elizabeth, who were true believers of God.  We hardly ever hear about them in the church, but let me say that God wants us to follow two important things that they demonstrated in their lives. They walked in ALL the commandments and ordinances of the Lord. This Christmas, be bold in your celebration of Christ and say “Merry Christmas” to everyone, everywhere.  They were “without reproof.” They lived a life walking in God’s steps. This year, show others the true the meaning of Christmas by not following the steps of man, but of God by honoring his Son, Jesus.

Hymn (“Be a Ray of Sunshine”): “Be a ray of sunshine everywhere you go, Shining for the Savior with a steady glow; Bringing smiles to sad ones, wiping tears away, Make yourself a blessing every passing day.” Refrain: “Be a ray of sunshine everywhere you go, Shining for the Savior with a steady glow; Be a ray of sunshine filled with Heaven’s light, Sending forth a message beautiful and bright.”

12

What Gifts will You Bring to Jesus?
Text: Matthew 2:11 (The 1599 Geneva Bible) “And went into the house, and found the Babe with Mary His mother, and fell down, and worshipped Him, and opened their treasures, and presented unto Him gifts, even gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.”

Dear Friends, In today’s text, we see how the wise men gave gifts to Jesus.  We sometimes get so selfish at Christmas that the presents we want are more important than what we can give to Jesus. Brothers and sisters, let us pause and give Jesus four gifts this Christmas and every day thereafter. One is our worship. We should spend time daily in the Bible and in prayer, seeking what He wants us to do throughout the new year. We also can give of our time to help those in need. And, we can give our tithes and offerings. Daily, of course, we should give Jesus our hearts!

Hymn (“In the Bleak Midwinter”): “What can I give Him, poor as I am? If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb; If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part; Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.”

11

Christmas, A Time of Great Joy and Gladness
Text: Matthew 2:10 (The 1599 Geneva Bible) “And when they saw the star, they rejoiced with an exceeding great joy.”

Dear Friends, Today, we see that when the wise men saw the star that shone where Jesus was, they rejoiced with great joy because they found Jesus.  This Christmas, let us stop and realize that great joy and gladness is not found in a bottle of
alcohol, a present under the tree, or eating Christmas cookies, but great joy and gladness comes in realizing that Jesus is the Reason for Christmas. Each of us can have a relationship with Him that comes by grace through faith in Him alone.

Hymn (“As with Gladness, Men of Old”): “As with gladness, men of old, Did the guiding star behold, As with joy they hailed its light, Leading onward, beaming bright, So, most glorious Lord, may we, Evermore be led to Thee.”

10

Keep Christ in Christmas
Text: Matthew 2:8 (The 1599 Geneva Bible) “And sent them to Bethlehem, saying, `Go, and search diligently for the Babe; and when ye have found Him, bring me word again, that I may come also, and worship Him.’ ”

Dear Friends, Today, we see how King Herod was deceitful and wanted the wise men to find the baby Jesus so that he could kill Him.  He lied and said that he wanted to “come also, and worship Him.” Like the wise men, we must also always search diligently for Christ to truly worship Him.  Let us not let the “deceits” of the holiday season take Christ out of Christmas for us. Let’s smile and mean it in our hearts when we say, “Merry Christmas” to someone.  Let’s make it a habit to start our days singing a Christmas carol which honors the baby Jesus. On Christmas Day, before we open our presents, let’s sing “Happy Birthday” to Jesus and read the account of Jesus birth in Luke Chapter two. Let’s each do our part to keep Christ in Christmas this year!

Poem (Excerpts from “Keep Christ in Christmas,” by Mallory Horne of Toledo, Ohio): “Christmas comes just once a year,
‘Bombarding’ everyone with Christmas cheer…Presents are passed out, People are all worn out…The gifts that are given to each other…Meaning behind each gift lost…[forgetting] Jesus paid the cost.”

9

Don’t be Troubled at Christmas or Anymore
Text: Matthew 2:3 (The 1599 Geneva Bible) “When King Herod heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.”

Dear Friends, Today, we see how King Herod was troubled and all Jerusalem with him.  King Herod was troubled because he had taken the kingdom by force and he always thought that someone was trying to take his throne from him.  Jerusalem was
troubled because they were afraid of what King Herod, in his madness, would do, but also because the people were afraid of how the cruel Romans treated them. They did not have the peace of God. The peace of God melts away all troublesome thoughts. This Christmas season don’t be overly worried about pleasing someone by absolutely and totally fulfilling their present wish list. Don’t let worries about what to cook or what to wear overwhelm you. Don’t worry that you can’t afford a big lighted front yard like some of the neighbors. Instead, let the peace of Christ, the Prince of Peace, flow freely into your heart and soul.

Hymn (“Why Herod, Unrelenting Foe”): “Why, Herod, unrelenting foe, Doth the Lord’s coming move thee so? He doth no earthly kingdom seek, Who brings His kingdom to the meek. Led by the star, the wise men find, The Light that lightens all mankind; The threefold presents which they bring, Declare Him God, and Man, and King.”

8

Wise Men and Women Still Worship Him
Text: Matthew 2:1-2 (The 1599 Geneva Bible) “When Jesus then was born at Bethlehem in Judea, in the days of Herod the King, behold, there came wise men from the East to Jerusalem, Saying, `Where is the King of the Jews that is born? For we have seen His star in the East, and are come to worship Him.’ “

Dear Friends, Today, we see how wise men came from far away to seek and worship Jesus. Jesus wants us to worship Him
on Christmas Day and everyday.  We first worship Jesus by inviting Him into our heart and life asking Him to be our Lord and Savior, and then living for Him.  This Christmas let us realize that all wise men, women, and children seek out Jesus and worship Him.  Foolish men, women, and children are those who seek the other pleasures of Christmas before honoring Jesus whose birthday we celebrate.

Hymn (“Come with the Wise Men”): “Come with the wise men! led by any sign—This the holy promised One, Babe, yet Lord divine! Wonderful Stranger from the courts above, In the time appointed, God’s gift of love.” Refrain: “Homage we render, Thou King and Defender! Kneeling with wise men great, at love’s holy shrine. All lands shall own Thee! As Lord shall enthrone Thee!
Thine is the kingdom, and the glory Thine!”

7

Joseph, an Example of Obedience
Text: Matthew 1:25 (The 1599 Geneva Bible) “But he knew her not, till she had brought forth her first born son, and he called his name JESUS.”

Dear Friends, Today, we see how Joseph obeyed God by having no intimate relations with Mary until sometime after she
gave birth, and how he named the baby Jesus (meaning, “God is salvation”). Joseph recognized that this child was a special Child, the one to be the Savior of the World. So, in closing, this Christmas season do not get caught up in the stress of the hustle and bustle, but step back and worship the special Child, Jesus, the True Reason for the season of Christmas.

Hymn (“What Child is This?”): “What Child is this who, laid to rest On Mary’s lap is sleeping? Whom angels greet with anthems sweet, While shepherds watch are keeping? This, this is Christ the King, Whom shepherds guard and angels sing; Haste, haste, to bring Him laud, The Babe, the Son of Mary.”

6

Wake Up Dear Friend and Spread Some Christmas Cheer all the Year
Text: Matthew 1:24 (The 1599 Geneva Bible) “Then Joseph being raised from sleep, did as the Angel of the Lord had enjoined him . . .”

Dear Friends, Today, we see how Joseph woke up from his sleep and did as the Angel of the Lord instructed.  As we enter this Christmas season, God wants us to wake up spiritually. We need to see that Christmas is not about us, not about Santa, and not about getting more into debt to please others. It is about Jesus.  Then after we wake up spiritually, we must do as God commands us.  We can help spread “peace on earth and goodwill toward men” at Christmas and every day. Wake up every day and say, “Thank you God for another day of life, and Lord, please help me to do whatever pleases you.” Smile and be a good listener to all. Listening is an art and a gift from God. Finally, when you have sinned or let others down, ask God for forgiveness, ask others for forgiveness, and, please, forgive yourself!

Hymn (“Waken! Christian Children”): “Waken! Christian children, Up and let us sing, With glad voice the praises, Of our newborn King. Up! ’tis meet to welcome, With a joyous lay, Christ, the King of Glory, Born for us today.””

5

Emmanuel, God with Us
Text: Matthew 1:22-23 (The 1599 Geneva Bible) “And all this was done that it might be fulfilled, which is spoken of the Lord by the Prophet, saying, ‘Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel, [which is by interpretation] God with us.’ “

Dear Friends, Today, we see how the Scripture which was originally recorded in Isaiah 7:14, was fulfilled.  One of the Names of Jesus is “Emmanuel,” which means, “God with us.”  Oh, how powerful these words are to us today!  Perhaps at this Christmastime, you feel lonely, sad, depressed, or wonder how you can possibly fulfill the wishes of all those who give you their proverbial “shopping lists.” You do not need to worry, be discouraged, or be lonely: go to Jesus in prayer. He promises to never leave you nor forsake you.  He is God with us and He will make a way.  Finally, do you know of a lonely neighbor, widow, widower, single parent, or single person in your church, workplace, or family?  If so, why not invite him or her over for Christmas and be Christ’s ambassador, sharing God’s love for that person.  I know when I was single and away from home I was blessed by the faithful few who invited me over for Christmas.

Worship Chorus (“Emmanuel”): “Emmanuel, Emmanuel, His Name is called Emmanuel, God with us, revealed in us, His Name is called Emmanuel.”

4

Jesus, What a Beautiful Name
Text: Matthew 1:21 (The 1599 Geneva Bible) “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call His name JESUS, for He shall save His people from their sins.”

Dear Friends, Today, we see why Jesus was named his beautiful name.  He was named Jesus because He would save Israel and all who choose to believe in Him from their sins.  There is no better time to have a very Merry Christmas than today. Why not invite (or re-invite) Jesus into your heart and life now?  I am not sorry at all to tell you the truth and nothing but the truth—only Jesus, the Savior of all who will come to Him, died for our sins and rose again to reign with the Father in heaven!  Have a true Merry Christmas by inviting Mary’s son, Jesus, into your heart and life today.

Hymn (“I Know of a Name”): “I know of a name, a beautiful name, That angels brought down to earth; They whispered it low, one night long ago, To a maiden of lowly birth.” Refrain: ”That beautiful name, that beautiful name, From sin has power to free us! That beautiful name, that wonderful name, That matchless name is Jesus!”

3

Christmas is the Perfect Time to Get Rid of Fear
Text: Matthew 1:20 (The 1599 Geneva Bible) “But whiles he thought these things, behold, the Angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, the son of David, fear not to take Mary thy wife; for that which is conceived in her, is of the Holy Ghost.’ “

Dear Friends, Today, we see that Joseph was told by the Angel not to fear.  This Christmas God wants to
give us his peace that comes through knowing Christ and to take away all our fear.  Are you afraid of something?  Bills piling
up?  Suffering with an illness?  Failing in an endeavor or relationship?  Are you afraid that you might not be ever able to overcome a bad habit or addiction?  Go to Jesus and trust Him as your Lord and Savior and you will find that He alone is the true Prince of Peace, both at Christmas and always. All you need to do is pray something like this and mean it in your heart: “Dear Jesus, I recognize that I have been afraid of (confess whatever it is).  I confess that I have sinned against you and others.  I believe that you came to save me and give me peace.  You are the Prince of Peace.  Come into my heart and be my Lord and Savior both now and forever.  In your Name Jesus I pray. Amen.” If you sincerely prayed that prayer, welcome to the family of God.

Hymn (“Fear Not, O Little Flock “): “Fear not, O little flock, the foe, Who madly seeks your overthrow; Dread not his rage and power; What though your courage sometimes faints? His seeming triumph o’er God’s saints, Lasts but a little hour.”

2

Let us be Just at Christmas and Always
Text: Matthew 1:19 (The 1599 Geneva Bible) “Then Joseph her husband being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly.”

Dear Friends, Today, we see that Joseph was a just (morally upright, righteous) man.  He loved Mary so much that he was not going to make her a public example.  The religious leaders of the day probably would have accused her of committing fornication and would have had her stoned to death. I want to encourage each of us this Christmas to be just and fair to everyone. No matter what you receive for Christmas, or if someone doesn’t give you a card or present in return, do not slight,
gossip, or complain. In an attitude of humbleness, try you best, with God’s help of course, to bring “tidings of comfort and joy” to everyone.

Hymn (“God Rest ye Merry Gentlemen”): “God rest ye merry gentlemen, Let nothing you dismay, Remember Christ our Savior was born on Christmas Day; To save us all from Satan’s power when we were gone astray.” Refrain: “O tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy; O tidings of comfort and joy. Now to the Lord sing praises all you within this place, And with true love and brotherhood each other now embrace; This holy tide of Christmas all others doth deface.”

1

Remember Whose Birthday It Is
Text: Matthew 1:18 (The 1599 Geneva Bible) “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was thus: When as his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with Child of the Holy Ghost.”

In today’s text, we see that Jesus’ birth was a supernatural event.  His father was not Joseph, but God himself.  It
is interesting that in the hustle and bustle of Christmas, so many people, including myself, get caught up in getting more into debt and having to see the “Charlie Brown Christmas Special,” etc. Many take Christ out of his own birthday by saying “Happy holidays” or by having “holiday parties” in their homes or offices.  Let us not forget today’s text, “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was thus.” It is Jesus’ birthday we are getting ready to celebrate!

Hymn (“The Birthday of a King”): “In the little village of Bethlehem, There lay a Child one day; And the sky was bright with a holy light; O’er the place where Jesus lay.” Refrain: “Alleluia! O how the angels sang. Alleluia! How it rang! And the sky was bright with a holy light, ‘Twas the birthday of a King. ‘Twas a humble birthplace, but O how much God gave to us that day, From the manger bed what a path has led, What a perfect, holy way.”

November

30th

Many are Called, Few are Chosen
Text: Matthew 20:16 (1599 Geneva Bible) “So the last shall be first, and the first last; for many are called, but few chosen.”

In today’s text, Jesus wants us to know that many are called, but few are chosen.  Let us ask ourselves today before we go asking others, “Am I really a Christian?”  If you are resting on your salvation by God’s grace through faith (trust) in Jesus alone, and not on any good works that you did or are doing (good works come as a result of salvation), and if you have the holy Spirit living within, then you are saved.  When we know that we saved by God’s grace we can feel free to share the Gospel (good news about Jesus) to a lost and dying world, and we can praise God that He called us and we were chosen and adopted into His family.

Hymn (“Chosen Seed and Zion’s Children”): “Chosen seed and Zion’s children, Ransomed from eternal wrath, Traveling to the heav’nly Canaan On a rough and thorny path; Church of God, in Christ elected, Thou to God art reconciled, But on earth thou art a stranger, Persecuted and reviled. Still rejoice amid thy trials, Nor regard thy lot amiss; For the kind and loving Savior Is the source of all thy bliss; May He ever be thy portion, He Who gave thee life and breath: In His keeping fear no evil Now or in the hour of death.”

29th

Jesus Loves the Little Children, Do You?
Text:  Luke 18:15-16 (1599 Geneva Bible) “They brought unto him also babes that he should touch them. And when his disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them unto him, and said, `Suffer the babes to come unto me, and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of God.’ ”

In today’s text, we see how Jesus loves everyone and wants them to be a part of his Kingdom, even little children.  We can show that we too love little children by doing three things:
1. Pray for abortion to cease here in America.  Pray for those women who had abortions and those men who assisted by either being the doctor or the father of the child. Pray that they would find the peace that is only found in a relationship with Jesus Christ.
2. Here is a big one, and let’s all listen up as I am tired of this happening in the “house of the Lord” (`cause it even happened to my wife and me). Stop condemning and slandering those who cannot have children, or in our case choose not to have them.  Why not make a positive move of “adopting” a childless couple as spiritual parents to your family and spiritual grandparents to your children?  Please, for the sake of unity stop all the slandering–it stinks to highest heaven!
3. Pray for all the daycare workers, children’s church and Sunday school workers, nursery workers, children’s pastors, and school teachers, but most of all for parents to be encouraged. Pray for the little children to come to know Jesus, and help any way you can. Even a smile to a “wee one” or to a saddened teenager helps.  Believe me; children get enough aggravation from others. Even at school they are bullied, so they don’t need another “so-called adult” giving them an ugly mug of a frown.
Jesus loves all the children of the world! Do you and I also? I hope so!

Hymn (“Jesus Loves The Little Children”): “Jesus loves the little children, All the children of the world. Red and yellow, black and white, All are precious in His sight; Jesus loves the little children of the world.”

28th

Overcoming Opposition

Text: Mark 11:5-6 (1599 Geneva Bible) “Then certain of them, that stood there, said unto them, `What do ye loosing the colt?’ 6 And they said unto them, as Jesus had commanded them, So they let them go.”

In today’s text, we read how two of Jesus’ disciples faced opposition from “some ruffians” because they were going to loose the colt (donkey) that Jesus told them to bring for his ride into Jerusalem, which we celebrate as Palm Sunday.

As soon as the disciples, said, “Jesus told us to say and do this,” the opposition ceased and the “ruffians” let the disciples go and take the donkey with them. I want to encourage those of us who are going through opposition in our jobs, neighborhoods, or even in the church, stop, smile, and say only what Jesus has told you to say, and in some cases (mine, this week), say nothing at all (as Jesus was silent before His persecutors). Remember that vengeance is God’s and He will fight your battles and win the war because “the battle belongs to the Lord.”

Hymn (“They That Overcome”): “Overcoming evil day by day, This our warfare on the Christian way; Yet unto those that faithful endure, God has declared that His promise is sure.” Refrain: “They that overcome, thus saith He, They that overcome, blessed shall be; They that overcome the world and sin, Life and a crown in His kingdom shall win. Tho’ we suffer tribulation here, Tho’ our crosses oft may seem severe, Think of the joy when trials are past, Strong in the Lord we shall conquer at last.
Overcoming, O my soul, arise, Overcoming, thou must reach the skies; Still journey on, and still overcome, Rest by and by with the Savior at home.”

27th

The Blessings That Come From Giving the Full Tithe

Text: Matthew 22:19-21 (1599 Geneva Bible) “ `Shew me the tribute money.’ And they brought him a penny. And He said unto them, `Whose is this image and superscription?’ They said unto him, `Caesar’s.’ Then said He unto them, `Give therefore to Caesar, the things which are Caesars, and give unto God, those things which are God’s.’ ”

Alas, many atheists, and even “well-meaning Christians,” use this passage as a basis for the so-called “Separation of Church and State” here in America. This scripture was used by the Lord to open my eyes to come back to giving Jesus the full tithe, namely tithing on gross income before taxes.

God has blessed my wife and me since we gave to Him “before Caesar” (i.e. before taxes, 401k’s, allowances, etc).  Some blessings that He has given us have been healings to our bodies, his car (Ms. Joy 2 still running well with a current mileage on her of over 83,000), food, clothing, shelter, and no bill collectors knocking down our door due to late or missed payments. Most of all, He has blessed us in spiritual things such as joy, love, and peace. He has also kept us safe. Let us give to the government what they tell us in taxes, but let us first give God that first ten percent of our income in love and obedience.

Hymn (“Take My Life and Let It Be”): “Take my silver and my gold; not a mite would I withhold. Not a mite, would I withhold, not a mite would I withhold.”

26th

Pray For the Persecuted Church
Text: Luke 21:12-13 (1599 Geneva Bible) “But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the Synagogues, and into prisons, and bring you before Kings and rulers for my Name’s sake. And this shall turn to you, for a testimonial.”

Jesus tell us that we may one day experience persecution like our brothers and sisters around the world who are being tortured and killed for their faith in Christ.  Jesus said it will be our chance to give our testimony. Today, stop what you are doing and pray three things for our persecuted brethren:
1. That they and their families’ faith would be strong, and for their release, if possible.
2. That their tormentors/persecutors would come to faith in Christ.
3. That if they die as martyrs, God would take care of their families and also encourage our faith should we ever have to face death as Christians here in America. Pray that we be not ashamed daily to “Tell the Blessed Story” of Jesus.

Hymn (“Tell The Blessed Story”): “Church of God, awaken; heed the Lord’s command, Tell the blessed story of the cross. Fields are white for harvesting on every hand, Tell the blessed story of the cross.” Refrain: “Tell the blessed story of the cross of Jesus, Tell the blessed story of the hallowed cross. Until every nation learns of full salvation, Tell the blessed story of the cross. Has not He commissioned you the news to bear? Tell the blessed story of the cross. `Go ye into all the world,’ and everywhere Tell the blessed story of the cross.”

25th

Endure to the End
Text: Mark 13:13 (1599 Geneva Bible) “And ye shall be hated of all men for my Name’s sake, but whosoever shall endure unto the end, he shall be saved.”

Jesus told His disciples, and us as Christian today, that we will be hated of all men for His Name’s sake and that we are to endure unto the end because He is coming back.  Endure is the Greek word hupomeno, which means “to bear trials, fortitude, persevere, abide, suffer patiently.” Our endurance until the Lord’s return for us will show the world that we are genuinely saved by the grace of God.  No matter how much the world, our flesh, and the devil try and oppose and defeat us, let us endure to the end of our lives.

Hymn (“Falter Not”): “Falter not nor look behind thee, Cast thy every weight aside; Haste to win the prize before thee, Trusting Him, thy precious Guide.” Refrain: “Falter not, nor look behind thee, Still thy course with joy pursue; Persevere, for thou must conquer, With the cross of Christ in view. Falter not nor look behind thee, Firm and fearless take thy place; Robe and crown and palm are waiting For the victors in the race. Falter not nor look behind thee, Lest thy labor prove in vain; Run with patience, and remember Thou hast much to lose or gain.”

24th

God’s Word Endures (Lasts) Forever
Text: Matthew 24:35 (1599 Geneva Bible) “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away.”

Jesus said that this earth and these heavens will be destroyed and then He will create a new heaven and new earth, but his Words (Holy Scripture) will not pass away. Do you need encouragement, salvation, healing, strength to deal with the wicked principalities and demons that are controlling the children of men and women, or peace in this troubled world?  If you need any of these, or need an answer, go right now to the Bible. God’s Words are true forever, and they are our true “Daily Bread.”

Hymn (“Lord, Thy Word Abideth”): “Lord, Thy Word abideth, And our footsteps guideth; Who its truth believeth Light and joy receiveth. When our foes are near us, Then Thy Word doth cheer us, Word of consolation, Message of salvation. When the storms are o’er us, And dark clouds before us, Then its light directeth, And our way protecteth.”

23rd

“Wait, Watch and Get Ready, Because Jesus Is Coming”

TEXT: Matthew 25:13 (1599 Geneva Bible) “Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day, nor the hour, when the Son of man will come.”

Jesus said that we are to watch and be ready as He is coming again to take all who believe in Him, as Christians, away from this world, before 7 years of Great Tribulation happen.  This coming for us is called The Rapture.  It is also called “Blessed Hope and Glorious Appearing of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Let us shake off the sins that so
easily beset us today through the awesome power of His Holy Spirit, forgive our enemies and tell others and ourselves, “get ready Jesus is coming.”  Let us rejoice and say with the saints of old time: “O, Son of God, We Wait For Thee”.

Hymn: “O Son of God, We Wait For Thee”

O Son of God, we wait for Thee, In love for Thine appearing; We know Thou sittest on the throne, And we Thy Name are bearing, Who trusts in Thee, may joyful be, And see Thee, Lord, descending, To bring us bliss unending. We wait for Thee ‘mid toil and pain, In weariness and sighing; But glad that Thou our guilt hast borne, And canceled it by dying; Hence cheerfully may we with Thee Take up our cross and bear it, Till we relief inherit. We wait for Thee; here Thou hast won Our hearts to hope and duty; But while our spirits feel Thee near, Our eyes would see Thy beauty; We fain would be at rest with Thee In peace and joy supernal, In glorious life eternal.

22nd

“No More Denying Jesus”

TEXT: Matthew 26:75 (1599 Geneva Bible) “Then Peter remembered the words of Jesus, which had said unto him, Before the cock crow thou shalt deny me thrice. So he went out, and wept bitterly.”

I, who have been a believer in Christ since January 1992, am so amazed as how other Christians are so easily, when they read today’s text, throw their nose in the air about Peter denying Christ three times, but  they so easily forget that He was forgiven by Jesus and died a martyr’s death for His faith in Jesus.  Guess what we deny Jesus also when we give into temptation, go to bed angry with our spouse or here is a big one , when do say or do something unkind and someone who isn’t a Christian yet says, “I thought you were a Christian.” Ouch! Let us today, take time to be holy and trust and obey God and for once and for al stop denying Jesus!

Hymn: “When Peter Boasted, Soon He Fell”

When Peter boasted, soon he fell, Yet was by grace restored; His case should be regarded well By all who fear the Lord. A voice it has, and helping hand, Backsliders to recall; And cautions those who think they stand, Lest suddenly they fall. Lord Jesus, hear a sinner’s cry, My broken peace renew; And grant one pitying look, that I May weep with Peter too.

21st

“The Cure To A Troubled Heart-Keep Jesus On Your Mind”

TEXT: John 14:1 (1599 Geneva Bible) “Let not your heart be troubled; ye believe in God, believe also in Me.”

Jesus told His disciples and He also tells us as believers in Him today, that the key to getting rid of a trouble heart and mind is to believe and trust in Him.  Are your worrying today about how you will pay bills that seem to pile up?  Are you discouraged because of an illness?  Are you lonely?  Are you feeling like no one cares?  Do not give up and give in to a troubled heart and mind.  Instead go to God’s Word and spend some time listening to Him and sharing with Him in prayer.  Keeping Jesus on your mind is the key to heal your troubled heart and mind.

Song: “Jesus On My Mind” as sung by B.J. Thomas

I see dark clouds coming my way I know they’re gonna try to rain on me They’re almost here but I must say I’m just as happy as can be; Just because I’ve got Jesus on my mind Just because I’ve got Jesus on my mind The situation might look so awful grim But that’s when I just stop and get my mind on Him Before you know it Everything’s just fine Just because I’ve got Jesus on my mind I see a giant right in my path I know he’s gonna try to do me in He’s mighty big But I must say I’m not the least bit afraid of him

20th

“True Love”

TEXT: John 14:15(1599 Geneva Bible) “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”

Jesus told His disciples and He also tells us as believers in Him today, that if we love Him, we will keep His commandments.  In the Bible, we are told to show love in at least four ways:

1.  We are to love God and obey His commandments.  Let us put off our selfish desires and obey Him.
2. We are to love our spouse as Christ loves the church.  If you are single, then reserve your body for your future spouse and for God alone. If you are married, please respect and honor your spouse.
3. We are to love the brethren.  As I have mentioned already this year, please stop gossiping, backbiting and slandering others in the church.
4.  We are to love the lost.  If you say or do something unkind in front of someone who has not yet trusted Jesus as their Savior and Lord yet, tell that person, you were wrong and ask for their forgiveness.

Song: “You Gave Me Love” as sung by B.J. Thomas

You gave me time When no one gave me time of day You looked deep inside While the rest of the world looked away; You smiled at me When there were just frowns everywhere You gave me love When nobody gave me a prayer; That’s why I call you Saviour That’s why I call you friend You touched my heart You touched my soul And helped me start all over again That’s why I love you Jesus That’s why I’ll always care You gave me love When nobody gave me a prayer; You gave me laughter After I cried all my tears You heard my dreams While the rest of the world closed it’s ears I looked in your eyes And I found the tenderness there You gave me love When nobody gave me a prayer

19th

“Silence Is Sometimes Best”

TEXT: Matthew 27:12 (1599 Geneva Bible) “And when He was accused of the chief Priests, and Elders, He answered nothing.”

When Jesus was falsely accused before His enemies, He answered nothing.  I myself have three women and one man at work, who vehemently hate Jesus, His Word, The Bible and His people.  I have had to just stop planting the seed of God’s Word and silently in my daily quiet time, pray for their salvation.  Perhaps you too have a boss, a
co-worker, a neighbor, a family member, a spouse or a friend that hates Jesus, God’s Word, and His people, I suggest you too be silent and pray, in your quiet time, that their spiritual blindness will be healed.

Hymn:   “Tread Softly”

Be silent, be silent, A whisper is heard, Be silent, and listen, O treasure each word!

Refrain
Tread softly, tread softly, The Master is here, Tread softly, tread softly, He bids us draw near. Be silent, be silent, For holy this place, This altar that echoes The message of grace. Be silent, be silent, Breathe humbly our prayer, A foretaste of Eden This moment we share. Be silent, be silent, His mercy record, Be silent, be silent And wait on the Lord.

18th

“Forgiveness, There Is Nothing Like It”

TEXT: Luke 23:34a (1599 Geneva Bible) “Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

In today’s text, we see one of the most powerful statements recorded by Jesus in The New Testament.  He forgave His enemies and He also forgives us of all our sins.  Do you not realize, as I soon forgot this year, that we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities and rulers of darkness?  You see, people who treat you unkindly or who rail false things against you, can’t help themselves (they know not what they do) because the god of the world (Satan) and his demons have blinded their eyes.  Instead of feeling like you and I have to “defend ourselves”, let us quietly and calmly continue to pray for those who mistreats us and ask God to forgive them and forgive them also.

Hymn: “Forgive Them, O My Father”

“Forgive them, O my Father, They know not what they do.” The Savior spoke in anguish, As sharp iron nails went through. No word of anger spoke Him To them that shed His blood, But prayer and tenderest pity Large as the love of God. For me was that compassion, For me that tender care; I need His wide forgiveness As much as any there.
It was my pride and hardness That hung Him on the tree; Those cruel nails, O Savior, Were driven in by me. And often I have slighted Thy gentle voice that said: Forgive me too, Lord Jesus, I knew not what I did. O depth of sweet compassion! O love divine and true! Save Thou the souls that slight Thee, And know not what they do.

17th

“I Wanna Be Ready, Jesus is Coming Soon!

TEXT: Matthew 24: 30-31(1599 Geneva Bible) “And, then, shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven; and then shall all the kindred’s of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man come in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his Angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect, from the four winds, and from the one end of the heaven unto the other. ”

Jesus told His disciples that one day He will return and He will take His own with Him.  Jesus is coming back and very soon, though no one but God the Father, knows the day and hour of Jesus’ return.  This glorious event is called the Rapture of The Church.  I am amazed and ashamed by two things:

1.  Why is it so many mainline denominations do not even preach and    teach about Jesus’ return?
2. Why do we worry, stress and fuss over small things in our lives such as, dinner guests coming, our boss’ first day back on the job after his or her vacation, but we do not prepare and get ourselves ready for our Master Jesus’ return.

I repent and promise that I wanna be ready for Jesus, let us get ready together.

Song: “I Wanna Be Ready”-Sung By B.J. Thomas

I Wanna Be Ready I don’t know How long I’ll be here ‘Cause Jesus Said He’d come again And where He leads I will go with Him When I hear Him call my name; I wanna be ready I wanna be ready I wanna be ready I wanna be ready; I cannot be sure of When it will take place But it does not matter If I’m walking in His grace; I feel it won’t be long now Until He comes for me He’s gonna take me with Him And at His feet I’ll bow

16th

“Remember”

TEXT: Luke 24:6-8(1599 Geneva Bible) “He is not here, but is risen; remember how he spake unto you, when he was yet in Galilee, Saying, that the Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again. And they remembered his words.”

The disciples came to the empty tomb, where Jesus had Jesus arisen from the dead, and two angels told them to remember how Jesus said that on the third day, “He would rise again.” I have to repent and maybe you do also, of spiritual memory loss.  How often we forgot Jesus our 1st love, His comfort and words to us and live like people without hope?  Just last night I was “stressing” about “my new job”, etc. and my beloved wife told me to remember the words of our Lord, “Cast all your care upon Him for He careth
for You” (I Peter 5:7) and *”Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding, but in all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your path”*(Proverbs 3:5-6).  Today, I challenge each of us to take a verse in the Bible today that applies to whatever we are going through and need God’s help with and write it on a card or piece of paper, take it with us and remember it through out today.

Hymn: “Wonderful Words of Life”

Sing them over again to me, wonderful words of life, Let me more of their beauty see, wonderful words of life;
Words of life and beauty teach me faith and duty.

Refrain: Beautiful words, wonderful words, wonderful words of life, Beautiful words, wonderful words, wonderful words of life. Christ, the blessed One, gives to all wonderful words of life; Sinner, list to the loving call, wonderful words of life; All so freely given, wooing us to heaven. Sweetly echo the Gospel call, wonderful words of life; Offer pardon and peace to all, wonderful words of life; Jesus, only Savior, sanctify us forever.

15th

“No Other Name Can Save Us”

TEXT: Acts 4:10-12 (1599 Geneva Bible) “Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye have crucified, whom God raised again from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you, whole. This is the stone cast aside of you builders which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other; for among men there is given none other Name under heaven, whereby we must be saved.”

Apostle Peter spoke the bold truth that salvation is found in no other Name and Person but in the Lord Jesus Christ. How sad and shameful that there are churches and seminaries spreading the lies that dead Mohammed, dead Buddha, dead Confucius, dead L. Ron Hubbard or heaven forbid even atheism can save a person.  Wrong! Only Jesus died for our sins, was buried and He alone rose from the dead and guess what, He’s coming back for His true church! Be encouraged today that only the Name and Person of Jesus can save us!

Hymn: “Only One Name”

There is only one Name that the saints adore—Jesus, our Elder Brother; They give Him all the praise, now and ever more;
His Name is over every other.

Refrain: Then lift the happy strain, And sing the glad refrain— The Name, the Name of Jesus; Then lift the happy strain, And sing the glad refrain— The Name, the Name of Jesus. There is only one Name that the soul need know— Jesus, the Lord’s Anointed; He suffered to redeem us from sin and woe, And bear us to the rest appointed.  There is only one Name that the angels sing— Jesus, the Lord of Glory; They gather at His feet while they hail Him King, And listen to redemption’s story.

14th

 “Forgive Our Enemies”

TEXT: Acts 7:59-60 (1599 Geneva Bible) ” And they stoned Stephen, who called on God, and said, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had thus spoken, he slept.”

Stephen, who was the first Christian martyr, before he died a horrible death by stoning, asked God to forgive his enemies, those who stoned him for his faith in Christ.  I was reminded as I close a chapter in my life, here in Nebraska, to stop and forgive all my enemies (people who hurt “my petty feelings”) and press on for the Kingdom of God and do the work that Jesus wants to do in my life.  Maybe today you have someone in your life, at work, at church, in your family, in your neighborhood that has hurt you or slandered you, go to God now and say… “God, by your grace and your help, I choose to forgive such and such for the offense against me.” We have been forgiven much so let us do the same.

Hymn: “Forgive Them, O My Father”

“Forgive them, O my Father, They know not what they do.” The Savior spoke in anguish, As sharp iron nails went through. No word of anger spoke He To them that shed His blood, But prayer and tenderest pity Large as the love of God. For me was that compassion, For me that tender care; I need His wide forgiveness As much as any there. It was my pride and hardness That hung Him on the tree; Those cruel nails, O Savior, Were driven in by me. And often I have slighted Thy gentle voice that said: Forgive me too, Lord Jesus, I knew not what I did. O depth of sweet compassion! O love divine and true! Save Thou the souls that slight Thee, And know not what they do.

13th

“Here, I Am Lord, What Would You Have Me To Do?”

TEXT: Acts 9:10 (1599 Geneva Bible) “And there was a certain disciple at Damascus named Ananias, and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And
he said, Behold, I am here, Lord.”

Ananias even though he was afraid of the report of what Saul had done persecuting the church, said to the Lord, “Here I am, Lord” and was willing to do what God wanted him to do. Because of his obedience, Saul became the Apostle Paul and was given both his physical eyesight and spiritual eyesight and went on to faith in Christ and was
baptized.  Today, the biggest challenge is for you and me to turn from fear, fear of rejection, fear of the unknown, fear of what a person may say or do to us, and just stop and say… “Lord Jesus, please take away my fear and here, I am Lord, use me.

Hymn: “What Wilt Thou Have Me To Do?”

What wilt Thou have me to do, O Lord, What wilt Thou have me to do? Thou hast redeemed me, Thy right I own, Thine are my pow’rs, my Savior, alone; Thou hast for me such great things done.

Refrain: What wilt Thou have me to do? What is the labor appointed me? Where shall I labor for Thee? What wilt Thou have me to do, O Lord, What wilt Thou have me to do? Is it to labor? I’ll gladly go; Is it to wait? then let it be so; Only Thy will I ask to know;

12th

“Tell Me The Story of Jesus”

TEXT: Acts 11:14 (KJV)-“Who shall tell words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved.”

Peter told the people and other apostles, that the angel spoke to Cornelius, of how Peter was going to share the Gospel (good news) of Jesus with him and his family, so that they would be saved.  We need to tell others the story of Jesus and also give our testimony of how Jesus forgave and is still forgiving us, of all our sins, how He changed our lives.  You don’t need an angel or anyone to tell you that the world is lost and going to their spiritual death unless we lovingly yet boldly share the Gospel of our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ with them.

Hymn: “Tell Me The Story of Jesus”

Tell me the story of Jesus, Write on my heart every word. Tell me the story most precious, Sweetest that ever was heard. Tell how the angels in chorus, Sang as they welcomed His birth. “Glory to God in the highest! Peace and good tidings to earth.”

Refrain: Tell me the story of Jesus, Write on my heart every word. Tell me the story most precious, Sweetest that ever was heard. Fasting alone in the desert, Tell of the days that are past. How for our sins He was tempted, Yet was triumphant at last. Tell of the years of His labor, Tell of the sorrow He bore. He was despised and afflicted, Homeless, rejected and poor. Tell of the cross where they nailed Him, Writhing in anguish and pain. Tell of the grave where they laid Him, Tell how He liveth again. Love in that story so tender, Clearer than ever I see. Stay, let me weep while you whisper, Love paid the ransom for me.

11th

“Ministering To The Lord”

TEXT: Acts 13:2a (1599 Geneva Bible) “Now as they ministered to the Lord,”

In today’s text, we see how certain prophets and teachers ministered to the Lord. How can we as Christians (serve) minister to the Lord?

1.  We need to obey His commandment in the Bible.
2. We need to love the Lord our God with our whole heart, mind, soul and strength.
3. We need to love our neighbors more than ourselves and both pray for and help those in need.

Let us get back to basics and minister to the Lord.

Hymn: “Servant Of God, Well Done”

Servant of God, well done! Thy glorious warfare’s past; The battle’s fought, the race is won, And thou art crowned at last. Of all thy heart’s desire Triumphantly possessed; Lodged by the ministerial choir In thy Redeemer’s breast. In condescending love, Thy ceaseless prayer He heard; And bade thee suddenly remove To thy complete reward.

10th

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­ Let Us Break Bread Together, or Where’s the “Holy” in “Holy Communion”?

TEXT: Acts 2:44-47 (1599 Geneva Bible) “And all that believed were in one place, and had all things common. And they sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men as every one had need. And they continued daily with one accord in the Temple, and breaking bread at home did eat their meat together with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God, and had favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the Church from day to day, such as should be saved.”

In today’s text, we come to an important place where it states that the disciples had all things in common, met the needs of those in need, and broke bread and took the Lord’s Supper (Holy Communion) together. Recently, I was quite surprised (shocked actually) when I read that the three biggest times that Christians stay home from church are:

  1. When their main pastor is away on a Sunday and–heaven forbid–that an associate pastor or guest speaker has to preach.
  2. When it is a Sunday that is going to have a sermon on tithing.
  3. And now the biggest shock: some Christians stay home on Communion Sunday.
    Brethren, we need to repent in the house of God and fellowship with God and our brethren, but most of all we need to come to the Lord’s Table and celebrate all that Jesus has done for us (especially forgiven us of our many sins) with joyful hearts on Communion Sunday.Hymn (“Let Us Break Bread Together”):

“Let us break bread together on our knees (on our knees); Let us break bread together on our knees (on our knees); When I fall on my knees with my face to the rising sun, O Lord, have mercy on me. Let us drink wine together on our knees (on our knees); Let us drink wine together on our knees (on our knees); When I fall on my knees with my face to the rising sun, O Lord, have mercy on me. Let us praise God together on our knees (on our knees); Let us praise God together on our knees (on our knees); When I fall on my knees with my face to the rising sun, O Lord, have mercy on me.”

9th

Never Give Up

TEXT: James 1:2-3 (1599 Geneva Bible) “My brethren, count it exceeding joy when ye fall into divers temptations, knowing that the trying of your faith bringeth forth patience.”

The Apostle James tells us to not give up when we experience various temptations and trials because we need to know that the trying (testing) of our faith will bring forth patience. I am currently, as I write this, enroute to a new beginning or new chapter in my life.  In the past nine years, while living in another state, I almost, (except for God’s grace), lost my joy completely and almost gave up forever.  I want to give thanks to the special people God placed in my life, who mentored, loved, encouraged, and prayed for me as I went through my various trials. They never gave up . My most special person is my Savior and Lord Jesus Christ (Oh how I love and worship, Thee)! I close with this: with Jesus, and your friends and family counting on you and supporting you, never, I repeat, never give up!

Hymn (“Never Give Up”):

“Never be sad or desponding; If thou hast faith to believe; Grace, for the duties before thee; Ask of thy God and receive.” Refrain: “Never give up, never give up, Never give up to thy sorrows, Jesus will bid them depart. Trust in the Lord, trust in the Lord, Sing when your trials are greatest, Trust in the Lord and take heart. What if thy burdens oppress thee; What though thy life may be drear; Look on the side that is brightest; Pray, and thy path will be clear. Never be sad or desponding; There is a morrow for thee; Soon thou shalt dwell in its brightness; There with the Lord thou shalt be. Never be sad or desponding; Lean on the arm of thy Lord; Dwell in the depths of His mercy; Thou shalt receive thy reward.”

8th

Encourage Others

TEXT: Acts 15:3 (1599 Geneva Bible) “Thus being brought forth by the Church, they passed through Phenice and Samaria declaring the conversion of the Gentiles, and they brought great joy unto all the brethren.”

Paul and Barnabas brought great joy unto all the brethren. God wants you and me to be encouragers to others and to comfort others with the comfort that we have been given by God. May we help bring peace and joy to others and good will toward all mankind.

Hymn (“Our Message”):

“Joy is in our message! Peal the Christmas bells! Joy, great joy re-echoes From the glory in the story, Which our chimes are telling, As the music swells; Ringing, ringing, new joy bringing, Peal the Christmas bells.” Refrain: “To every land in anthem grand, From the northern icy tow’rs, To the sunset land of flow’rs; O’er every sea, to the bond and free, We repeat the song of angel throng; The Savior now is ours!”

7th

We Don’t Need Man’s Approval

TEXT: Galatians 1:1 (1599 Geneva Bible) “Paul an Apostle (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father which hath raised him from the dead).”

Paul boldly proclaimed that he was an Apostle by Jesus Christ and God the Father.  He said he was not an Apostle of men.  I wonder today why we waste so much energy in the Church of God yearning for men’s approval.  You see, as long as we are living holy and pure lives dedicated to Jesus, other people will get their noses and dispositions out of whack.  They might say, “Why do you read such and such version of the Bible? Why do you watch such and such show, or listen to that type of music, etc.?”  We are not to argue on minor points. There are some absolutes: the Virgin Birth; Jesus was born of the Holy Spirit, fully man and fully God; He died for our sins on the cross, was resurrected on the third day, and now sits at the right hand of the Father; salvation is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone; the Trinity; the Bible is the inerrant Word of God and our source for faith; etc.  As I enter a new chapter in my life, I will submit to God’s leading and if I want more clarification I will consult my close friends who I know are walking and talking with Jesus. Brethren, personal opinions are not the norm in heaven; God’s Word and God’s Will is. I am going to, by God’s grace, live for Jesus only and his approval. Will you also, I plead?

Hymn (“Living for Jesus”):  “Living for Jesus, a life that is true, Striving to please Him in all that I do; Yielding allegiance, glad hearted and free, This is the pathway of blessing for me.”

Refrain: “O Jesus, Lord and Savior, I give myself to Thee, For Thou, in Thy atonement, didst give Thyself for me. I own no other Master, my heart shall be Thy throne. My life I give, henceforth to live, O Christ, for Thee alone. Living for Jesus Who died in my place, Bearing on Calvary my sin and disgrace; Such love constrains me to answer His call, Follow His leading and give Him my all.”

6th

I’m A Child of the King

TEXT: Galatians 4:7 (1599 Geneva Bible) “Wherefore, thou art no more a servant, but a son; now if thou be a son, thou art also the heir of God through Christ.”

Paul boldly proclaimed that when we put our faith and trust in Jesus and accept Him as our Savior and Lord, we are adopted into God’s family and are children of the King.  So, today, if you and I face a trial or temptation, let us not faint and lose heart, let us not put our “heads in the sand like the ostriches do,” but let us hold our heads up high, smile, and call upon Jesus for help. Let us always say, “With Jesus, my Savior, I’m a Child of the King.”

Hymn (“I’m A Child of The King”) “My Father is rich in houses and lands, He holdeth the wealth of the world in His hands! Of rubies and diamonds, of silver and gold, His coffers are full, He has riches untold.” Refrain: “I’m a child of the King, A child of the King: With Jesus my Savior, I’m a child of the King.”

5th

A Present for Jesus

TEXT: Acts 17:28a (1599 Geneva Bible) “For in Him we live, and move, and have our being.”

Paul boldly proclaimed on Mar’s Hill, that when we put our faith and trust in Jesus, we really live, move, and have our being.  I want to challenge each of us to get rid of an old bad habit and replace it (it takes 21days to form a new habit, I was once told by a wise senior saint) with something that we can give to Jesus as a present, and then continue year-round and even for a lifetime gift to Him.  Here are some ideas for a new habit list:
1. Instead of shouting and getting angry with our spouse and children, let us forgive them and love on them with the love of Christ.
2. Instead of hitting the snooze alarm every morning, let us get up and say, “Lord I’m ready for a time of personal devotions and listening to your voice, and I desire your will for my life.”
3. Instead of getting more in debt, let us use the new version of KISS (Keep It Simple Saints) and not try and “keep up with the Joneses,” or feel like we need to buy someone’s affection.
4. Instead of overeating and not exercising, why not try walking and eating less for 21 days. See what happens!
5. Instead of sighing and getting lazy like the world does, keep our minds active by reading the Bible more, and our hearts and bodies active by helping others.
Let us remember to live for Jesus every day of the year.

Hymn (“Living For Jesus”): “Living for Jesus, a life that is true, Striving to please Him in all that I do; Yielding allegiance, glad hearted and free, This is the pathway of blessing for me.” Refrain: “O Jesus, Lord and Savior, I give myself to Thee, For Thou, in Thy atonement, didst give Thyself for me. I own no other Master; my heart shall be Thy throne. My life I give, henceforth to live, O Christ, for Thee alone.”

4th

True Comfort

TEXT:  I Thess. 4:16-18 (1599 Geneva Bible) “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, and with the voice of the Archangel, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ shall rise first; Then shall we which live and remain, be caught up with them also in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air, and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore, comfort yourselves one another with these words.”

Paul boldly gave the believers in the early church, and us as well, words of true comfort.  Are you feeling overwhelmed (I repent that I was yesterday and until now)? Are you feeling discouraged? Are you depressed because of a trial or temptation that you are going through?  Do you feel like no one cares?  Let me comfort all of us with the words above, and a loving reminder, Jesus is coming back for us to take us with Him for all eternity because we have put our faith and trust in Him. That’s the best news I’ve ever heard.

Hymn (“That Glorious Day is Coming”):

“That glorious day is coming, The hour is hastening on; Its radiant light is nearing, Far brighter than the sun; In yonder clouds of heaven, The Savior will appear; And gather all His chosen, To meet Him in the air. The saints, then all victorious, Will go to meet their Lord; An earth both bright and glorious, Will then be their reward; And God Himself there reigning, Will wipe all tears away; Nor clouds nor night remaining, But one eternal day. O Christian, keep from sleeping, And let your love abound; Be watchful, prayerful, faithful, The trumpet soon will sound! O Sinner, hear the warning! To Jesus quickly fly! Then you, in that blest morning, May meet Him in the sky!”

3rd

Get Rid of the Past because Satan Doesn’t Live Here Anymore

TEXT: Acts 19:18-19 (The 1599 Geneva Bible) “And many that believed came and confessed, and shewed their works. Many also of them which used curious arts brought their books and burned them before all men; and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver.”

When the people in Corinth came to faith in Christ they totally got rid of all their magic books and burned them.  They effectively turned from their past and told the other people in the city, “Satan doesn’t live here anymore.”  I am so saddened that even in today’s church Christians play with the devil by playing Magic: The Gathering; Dungeons and Dragons; and, heaven forbid, a Ouija Board.  My brethren, these things ought not to be! We must kick the devil out of our lives and keep Him out.

Hymn (“I Have Decided to Follow Jesus”):

I have decided to follow Jesus; I have decided to follow Jesus; I have decided to follow Jesus; No turning back, no turning back. Though I may wander, I still will follow; Though I may wander, I still will follow; Though I may wander, I still will follow; No turning back, no turning back. The world behind me, the cross before me; The world behind me, the cross before me; The world behind me, the cross before me; No turning back, no turning back.”

2nd

Don’t just “Pity the Fool,” Share with Him or Her the Good News

TEXT: I Corinthians 1:18 (The 1599 Geneva Bible) “For that preaching of the cross is to them that perish, foolishness; but unto us, which are saved, it is the power of God.”

The Apostle Paul said that to those that are without Christ and refuse Him, the preaching of the Gospel is foolishness, but to the believer in Christ it is the power of God.  Here in America, during the 1980’s, many people would mimic the words of the celebrity, Mr. T. (who praise the Lord is a believer in Christ now), who would say, “I pity the fool.” I am here to tell us all to not just “pity the fool,” but lovingly share the gospel by our words and deeds, and hope that we can help “rescue the perishing,” and save the dying on their way to hell without Christ. “Jesus is merciful, Jesus will save,” but He uses us to share!

Hymn (“Rescue The Perishing”): “Rescue the perishing, care for the dying, Snatch them in pity from sin and the grave; Weep o’er the erring one, lift up the fallen, Tell them of Jesus, the mighty to save.” Refrain: “Rescue the perishing, care for the dying, Jesus is merciful, Jesus will save. Though they are slighting Him, still He is waiting, Waiting the penitent child to receive; Plead with them earnestly, plead with them gently; He will forgive if they only believe.”

1st

I Don’t Belong to just Anybody, I Belong to God

TEXT: I Corinthians 6:20 (The 1599 Geneva Bible) “For ye are bought with a price; Therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, for they are God’s.”

The Apostle Paul tells us that since we are Christians we need to live lives pleasing to Jesus because we were bought with a price. Jesus shed His blood for all our sins. Let us really glorify God in our body and spirit by doing three things:

  1. Pray for and help those in need in any way that we can.
  2. Pray for the salvation of those who do not know that Jesus is the true Savior and Lord.
  3. Spend as much time as we can focusing on the Lord.

We belong to God; that’s a wonderful thing to be thankful and joyful for.

Hymn (“Now I Belong to Jesus”):

“Jesus, my Lord will love me forever, From Him no pow’r of evil can sever, He gave His life to ransom my soul; Now I belong to Him.” Chorus: “Now I belong to Jesus, Jesus belongs to me, Not for the years of time alone, But for eternity. Once I was lost in sin’s degradation, Jesus came down to bring me salvation, Lifted me up from sorrow and shame, Now I belong to Him. Joy floods my soul for Jesus has saved me, Freed me from sin that long had enslaved me; His precious blood, He came to redeem, Now I belong to Him.”

October

31st

Happy Reformation Day

Text: Ephesians 2:8-9 (1599 Geneva Bible) “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; Not of works, lest any man should boast himself.”

I wish that all Christians would remember that there is a more important anniversary date–more important than the world’s biggest party thrown for Satan called Halloween (in my opinion it should be called “Hell-o-ween”). On October 31,1517 the beloved Martin Luther, through the prompting of the Holy Spirit, said, “Enough is enough, man is not saved through indulgences, a pope, or even a religion, but man is saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone.” So, on October 31, why not set aside a few minutes and say, “Happy Reformation Day,” and thank God that one man had the courage and faith to help change the world and be a witness of the faith of Jesus Christ, the only person who can save our souls.

Hymn (“Amazing Grace”): “Amazing grace! How sweet the sound, That saved a wretch like me! I once was lost, but now am found; Was blind, but now I see. ‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, And grace my fears relieved; How precious did that grace appear, The hour I first believed! Through many dangers, toils and snares, I have already come; ‘Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far, And grace will lead me home.”

30th

Don’t be Spiritually Dumb-Believe God’s Word, Instead

Text: Luke 1:20 (1599 Geneva Bible) “And behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not be able to speak, until the day that these things be done, because thou believedst not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season.”

In today’s text, as we come to the beginning of the New Testament, we see in the Gospel account of Luke how when Zacharias, the father of John The Baptist, did not believe the Word of God spoken to him by the Angel Gabriel, he was struck dumb (mute) until the birth of John. Today, God is telling us to believe His Word, the Bible. Unbelief is displeasing to Him! Believe in God’s promises, provision, and power because nothing is impossible with God!  So, whatever you need today, encouragement, healing, to become debt free, a job, a friend, etc., believe God for it.

Hymn (“Only Believe”): “Fear not, little flock, from the cross to the throne, From death into life He went for His own; All power in earth, all power above, Is given to Him for the flock of His love.” Refrain: “Only believe, only believe; All things are possible, only believe, Only believe, only believe; All things are possible, only believe. Fear not, little flock, He goeth ahead, Your Shepherd selecteth the path you must tread; The waters of Marah He’ll sweeten for thee, He drank all the bitter in Gethsemane. Fear not, little flock, whatever your lot, He enters all rooms, `the doors being shut,’ He never forsakes; He never is gone, So count on His presence in darkness and dawn.”

29th

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, The Sweetest Name, I Know

Text:  Matthew 1:21 (1599 Geneva Bible) “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call His name JESUS, for He shall save His people from their sins.”

In today’s text, we see how the Angel of The Lord told Joseph (Jesus’ stepfather) that Jesus was to be called by his name because He alone would save His people and all mankind from all of our sins.  Jesus means “Jehovah is Salvation,” or “Jehovah, The Savior.”  Let us praise Him by living for Him and singing out his name in rejoicing because He did what no one else can do-He forgave us of all our sins and saved us! Hallelujah!

Hymn (“He Keeps Me Singing”): “There’s within my heart a melody Jesus whispers sweet and low, Fear not, I am with thee, peace, be still, In all of life’s ebb and flow.” Refrain: “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Sweetest Name I know, Fills my every longing, Keeps me singing as I go. All my life was wrecked by sin and strife, Discord filled my heart with pain, Jesus swept across the broken strings, Stirred the slumbering chords again. Feasting on the riches of His grace, Resting ‘neath His sheltering wing, Always looking on His smiling face, That is why I shout and sing. Though sometimes He leads through waters deep, Trials fall across the way, Though sometimes the path seems rough and steep, See His footprints all the way. Soon He’s coming back to welcome me, Far beyond the starry sky; I shall wing my flight to worlds unknown, I shall reign with Him on high.”

28th

Wise People Seek Jesus and Worship Him Daily

Text:  Matthew 2:1-2 (1599 Geneva Bible) “When Jesus then was born at Bethlehem in Judea, in the days of Herod the King, behold, there came wise men from the East to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is the King of the Jews that that is born? For we have seen his star in the East, and are come to worship him.”

After Jesus was born wise men sought Him out so they could come to where He was and worship Him.  Today, I submit to you and me that if we want to be truly wise we must not seek out all the pleasures of the world, the flesh, and the devil, but get up (first thing in the morning is best) and spend time daily with Jesus and worship Him. Worshipping Jesus is not just a Sunday morning thing.

Hymn (“Wise Men Seeking Jesus”): Wise men seeking Jesus, Traveled from afar, Guided on their journey, By a beauteous star. But if we desire Him, He is close at hand, For our native country, Is our Holy Land. Prayerful souls may find Him, By our quiet lakes, Meet Him on our hillsides, When the morning breaks. In our fertile cornfields, While the sheaves are bound, In our busy markets, Jesus may be found. He is more than near us, If we love Him well, For He seeketh ever, In our hearts to dwell.”

27th

Do Like Jesus Did-Please Our Heavenly Father!

Text: Luke 3:21-22 (1599 Geneva Bible) “Now it came to pass, as all the people were baptized, and that Jesus was baptized and did pray, that the heaven was opened, And the holy Ghost came down in a bodily shape like a dove, upon him, and there was a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in thee I am well pleased.”

When Jesus was baptized by John The Baptist God spoke from heaven and stated that Jesus was God’s Son and that God was well pleased with Him. Today, I submit to you that the only way we can be pleasing to God is for us to repent of our sins and then live in obedience to God and his will for our lives. Let us be God-pleasers and not people-pleasers!

Hymn (“Pleasing in Your Sight”): “May the words of my mouth (may the words of my mouth) be pleasing in Your sight (be pleasing in Your sight), the meditation of my heart (the meditation of my heart) be pleasing in Your sight (be pleasing in Your sight), O Lord (O Lord), my Rock (my Rock) and my Redeemer (and my Redeemer), May all that I do, all that I think, all that I own, all that I dream, bring honor to You and be pleasing in Your sight; bring honor to You and be pleasing in Your sight.”

26th

How to Overcome Temptation!

Text: Matthew 4: 3-4 (1599 Geneva Bible) “Then came to Him the tempter, and said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But He answering, said, `It is written, Man shall not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.’

When Jesus was tempted by Satan in the wilderness He was tempted three times. Each time Jesus was tempted by the devil He quoted the scriptures and He believed the scriptures and thus overcame the devil. I submit to each of us that today whatever temptation we deal with on a daily, or a one-time basis, must be overcome by our memorizing and applying the scriptures to that specific temptation. For example, we cannot overcome and have the devil flee if we are tempted today with lusting or having unrighteous anger toward someone by saying, “Okay, devil, it is written…’In the Beginning, God created the heavens and the earth,’ Genesis 1:1.”  We must memorize and live by the scriptures that deal with our specific temptation. Remember, James says, “Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”  Let us be overcomers in Christ today!

Hymn (“Overcoming Evil, Day By Day”): “Overcoming evil day by day, This our warfare on the Christian way; Yet unto those that faithful endure, God has declared that His promise is sure.” Refrain: “They that overcome, thus saith He, They that overcome, blessed shall be; They that overcome the world and sin, Life and a crown in His kingdom shall win. Tho’ we suffer tribulation here, Tho’ our crosses oft may seem severe, Think of the joy when trials are past, Strong in the Lord we shall conquer at last. Overcoming, O my soul, arise, Overcoming, thou must reach the skies; Still journey on, and still overcome, Rest by and by with the Savior at home.”

25th

The Greatest Promise in the Bible

Text: John 3:16 (1599 Geneva Bible) “For God so loved the world, that he hath given his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

In today’s text, which is the greatest promise in the Bible, the Apostle John records the words of Jesus that God sent Jesus to give us everlasting life and a home in heaven. We who believe are now God’s children and get the privilege and honor to worship Him for all eternity. Today, memorize, live, and share this verse with the lost. I for one have so many co-workers and bosses in my company who think that Mohammed (Islam), Atheism, Wicca, or their own flesh can save them from an eternity in the lake of fire. Some even believe the lie that this life is all there is! They must hear this greatest promise. I close with the words of the beloved “Prince of Preachers,” Charles H. Spurgeon: “I sometimes think that if I never had a gleam of love from God’s face again, I would live on this one text.”

Hymn (“For God So Loved the World”): “A story sweet and wondrous, Like heavenly music swells; In chimings clear to all who will hear, Ring out the Gospel bells.” Refrain: “For God so loved the world That He gave His only begotten Son, That whosoever believeth in Him, Whosoever believeth in Him, Should not perish, Should not perish, But have everlasting life. When, grieving, brokenhearted, Because of sin and shame, We find a joy earth cannot destroy, Believing on His Name. This love beyond all measure Of earth or sea or sky, Could only show its full overflow, When Jesus came to die. Come, brother, come to Jesus; His Word was meant for you; His grace receive, His promise believe, And sing His praise anew.”

24th

The Sabbath-A Day of Rest, Worship and Acts of Love and Mercy

Text: Mark 2:27-28 (1599 Geneva Bible) “And He said to them, The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.  Wherefore the Son of man is
Lord, even of the Sabbath. ”

In today’s text, we see how our Lord (the first of many times recorded) had to rebuke the Pharisees for their misinterpretation of the Sabbath.  I submit to you there are three reasons that God created the Sabbath (which most Christians celebrate on Sunday):
1. The Sabbath is a day of worship.  We need to worship God at our local church unless we are out sick (not with a hangover or a few sniffles), out of town, or our job has called us in for a legitimate emergency.
2. The Sabbath is a day of rest. What is it with so many Christians that they say, `oh I have no other day to vacuum my whole house, cut the grass, wash the car, etc.?  It is all right to cook, change your child’s diaper, vacuum up a spill, or do dishes, but let us cease the nonessentials.
3. The Sabbath is a day to do holy deeds of mercy and love as Charles H. Spurgeon calls them. If you saw someone with a flat tire on a Sunday, I would hope that you would stop to help even if all you can do is pray for the person and call road side assistance.
So let us not be caught up in trivial rules, but loving and worshipping God in Spirit and in Truth on the Sabbath.

Hymn (“O Day of Rest and Gladness”): “O day of rest and gladness, O day of joy and light, O balm of care and sadness, most beautiful, most bright; On Thee, the high and lowly, through ages joined in tune, Sing holy, holy, holy, to the great God Triune.
On Thee, at the creation, the light first had its birth; On Thee, for our salvation, Christ rose from depths of earth; On Thee, our Lord, victorious, the Spirit sent from heaven, And thus on Thee, most glorious, a triple light was given. Thou art a port, protected from storms that round us rise; A garden, intersected with streams of paradise; Thou art a cooling fountain in life’s dry, dreary sand; From thee, like Pisgah’s mountain, we view our promised land. Thou art a holy ladder, where angels go and come; Each Sunday finds us gladder, nearer to heaven, our home; A day of sweet refection, thou art a day of love, A day of resurrection from earth to things above. Today on weary nations the heavenly manna falls; To holy convocations the silver trumpet calls, Where Gospel light is glowing with pure and radiant beams, And living water flowing, with soul refreshing streams. New graces ever gaining from this our day of rest, We reach the rest remaining to spirits of the blessed. To Holy Ghost be praises, to Father, and to Son; The church her voice upraises to Thee, blessed Three in One.”

23rd

A Worse Thing

Text:  John 5:14 (1599 Geneva Bible) “And after that, Jesus found him in the Temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole; sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.”

In today’s text, we see how that after Jesus healed the lame man He warned him to not let a worse thing happen to Him.  It is not enough to be healed physically; we need to be healed spiritually.  If you don’t know Him yet as Savior and Lord, invite Him into your life so that you do not receive “a worse thing,” namely eternal damnation in the lake of fire and eternal separation from God.  If you know Him today, then repent from all your sins by confessing them to Christ and turning from them so that you do not receive “worse things” like loss of fellowship with Jesus, loss of joy in your life, a ruined testimony, loss of rewards in heaven, and the worst thing, knowing that how you lived your life influenced someone to never turn to Jesus for salvation.

Worship Song (“I Repent,” by Steve Green, words by Dave Noel and Music by Steve Green and Phil Naish. Copyright 1998 Birdwing Music, Steve Green Music, Meadowgreen Music, Devaub Music, and Jillybird Music. Admin. by EMI-CMP. Jillybird Music Admin. by Addison Music Co. All rights reserved. Used by permission.): “I regret the hours I have wasted and the pleasures I have tasted that you were never in. And I confess that though your love is in me, it doesn’t always win me when competing with my sin.” Chorus: “And I repent, making no excuses. I repent no one else to blame. And I return to fall in love with Jesus. I bow down on my knees and I repent. I lament the idols I’ve accepted, the commandments I’ve rejected to pursue my selfish end. And I confess I need you to revive me, put selfishness behind me and take up my cross again. And I return to fall in love with Jesus. I bow down on my knees and I repent.”

22nd

Trusting Jesus

Text: Matthew 12:21 (1599 Geneva Bible) “And in His Name shall the Gentiles trust.”

In today’s text, we see how the beloved disciple Matthew (originally called Levi) shared how Jesus fulfilled the xcriptures recorded in the Book of Isaiah. You and I need to do an important thing and that is trust Jesus.  When we trust someone we rely and put our faith in them.  How much more can we trust Jesus who loves us so very much?  So let us trust Jesus for our salvation, our healing, our deliverance, our provision, our safety, our cares, and our sorrows and He will do the best that we couldn’t even imagine.

Hymn (“Trusting Jesus”): “Simply trusting all the way, Taking Jesus at His Word; Simply trusting, when I pray, Every promise of my Lord.” Refrain: “Simply trusting, simply trusting, Trusting Jesus, that is all; To the cross of Christ I cling; Simply trusting, that is all. Trusting when my sky is bright, Trusting when my heart is glad; Trusting in the gloom of night, When my every thought is sad. Trusting when ’tis well with me, Trusting whatsoe’er befall; Trusting Jesus’ love for me, Simply trusting, that is all.”

21st

I Want to See Jesus

Text: Matthew 5:8 (1599 Geneva Bible) “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”

In today’s text, we see that in the Sermon on the Mount Jesus promised that the pure in heart shall see God.  We can only be pure in heart by confessing and repenting of our sins daily, and by trusting Jesus as our Savior and Lord.  We then can see Jesus both now (by fellowship with Him in his Word, in prayer, in family devotions, and in corporate worship) and in eternity when we stand before His throne in Heaven. I want to see my Jesus both now and then, don’t you?

Hymn (“See the Conqueror”): “See the conqueror mounts in triumph, see the King in royal state riding on the clouds his chariot to his heavenly palace gate; hark, the choirs of angel voices joyful alleluias sing, and the portals high are lifted to receive their heavenly King. Who is this that comes in glory, with the trump of jubilee? Lord of battles, God of armies, He has gained the victory; He who on the Cross did suffer, He who from the grave arose, He has vanquished sin and Satan, He by death has spoiled his foes. He has raised our human nature on the clouds to God’s right hand; there we sit in heavenly places, there with Him in glory stand: Jesus reigns, adored by angels; man with God is on the throne; mighty Lord, in thine ascension we by faith behold our own. See Him who is gone before us heavenly mansions to prepare, see Him who is ever pleading for us with prevailing prayer, see Him who with sound of trumpet and with his angelic train, summoning the world to judgment, on the clouds will come again. Glory be to God the Father; glory be to God the Son, dying, ris’n, ascending for us, who the heavenly realm has won; glory to the Holy Spirit: to One God in Persons Three glory both in earth and heaven, glory, endless glory be.”

20th

Compassion-One of the Biggest Missing Things Today

Text: Luke 7:13 (1599 Geneva Bible) “And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, `Weep not.’ “

In today’s text, we see that Jesus had compassion (the Greek word is splagchnizomai, which means “bowels yearn,” “feel sympathy,” “to move with compassion”) on the widow whose only son had died and He raised the son back to life.  Jesus wants us to have compassion on the lost and share the Gospel with them.  He also wants us to help those in need and especially those of the household of faith. I am disgusted at times when I hear so many so-called “Christians” say, “That’s not my problem.”  Oh, have mercy on us Lord Jesus and let us follow your example of compassion and become a channel of blessing to someone today!

Hymn (“Make Me a Channel of Blessing”): “Is your life a channel of blessing? Is the love of God flowing through you? Are you telling the lost of the Savior? Are you ready His service to do?” Refrain: “Make me a channel of blessing today, Make me a channel of blessing, I pray; My life possessing, my service blessing, Make me a channel of blessing today. Is your life a channel of blessing? Are you burdened for those that are lost? Have you urged upon those who are straying, The Savior Who died on the cross? Is your life a channel of blessing? Is it a daily telling for Him? Have you spoken the Word of salvation, To those who are dying in sin? We cannot be channels of blessing If our lives are not free from known sin; We will barriers be and a hindrance, To those we are trying to win.”

19th

Happy People

Text: Matthew 11:6 (1599 Geneva Bible) “And blessed is he that shall not be offended in Me.”

Jesus told John the Baptist’s disciples that He wanted them to encourage John’s faith in Him by telling of how He healed the blind, the lame, the lepers, and the deaf, raised the dead, and preached the Gospel to the lost and poor. All these acts declared that He (Jesus) was the Messiah.  Jesus also said that blessed or happy is the man or woman who is not offended in Him.  We should rejoice today that we are Christians and tell the lost about Him.  I am a “Happy Man” as B.J. Thomas used to sing. Are you a Happy Person in Jesus also?

Song (“Happy Man,” Recorded By B.J. Thomas, copyright by Pat Terry — ): “When I die there won’t be much to salvage from my earnings; I never had a lot of land or houses to my name. I’ve never been a corporate prince on Madison, and New York I never held a diamond in my hand. But I’ve seen children laughing As only children can, And I’ve known my Creator And I’ve been a happy man. I never really loved the way I saw it in the movies, But I had myself a woman of my own. The place we lived was modest, And we kept the yard together. I never traveled far from my hometown, But I’ve heard music playing, That made me understand, And touched the hearts of heaven And I’ve been a happy man. Life has had it’s hard times, When I’ve felt the chill of winter. I can’t forget the night when my sweet Julie slipped away, But growing old is different, Than I always thought it would be. The sweetness of my youth, Just grew with age, ‘Cause I’ve known wealth and beauty, Beneath his guiding hand, And knowing soon I’ll see him, Has made me a happy man; And knowing soon I’ll see him, Has made me a happy man.”

18th

The Family of God

Text: Matthew 12:50 (1599 Geneva Bible) “For whosoever shall do my Father’s will which is in heaven, the same is my brother and sister and mother.”

Jesus says that whosoever does His Father God’s will is his brother and sister.  We become part of the family of God when we accept Christ as our Savior and Lord.  If you have not trusted Him today, why not come to Him and turn from your sins and ask Jesus to save you.  If you feel distanced from Him, repent from your sins and come back to Him. It is never too late! I’m so glad that I’m a part of  the Family of God, aren’t you?

Hymn (“Family Of God”): “I’m so glad I’m a part of the Family of God, I’ve been washed in the fountain, cleansed by His blood! Joint heirs with Jesus as we travel this sod, For I’m part of the family, The Family of God. You will notice we say `brother and sister’ ’round here, It’s because we’re a family and these are so near; When one has a heartache, we all share the tears, And rejoice in each victory in this family so dear. I’m so glad I’m a part of the Family of God, I’ve been washed in the fountain, cleansed by His blood! Joint heirs with Jesus as we travel this sod, For I’m part of the family, The Family of God. From the door of an orphanage to the house of the King, No longer an outcast, a new song I sing; From rags unto riches, from the weak to the strong, I’m not worthy to be here, but praise God I belong! I’m so glad I’m a part of the Family of God, I’ve been washed in the fountain, cleansed by His Blood! Joint heirs with Jesus as we travel this sod, For I’m part of the family, The Family of God.”

17th

Seeing, Hearing and Believing

Text: Matthew 13:16-17 (1599 Geneva Bible) “But blessed are your eyes, for they see; and your ears, for they hear. For verily I say unto you, that many prophets, and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them, and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.”

Jesus told His disciples that they were blessed because they saw, heard, and believed Him.  Today, even though we do not physically have Jesus here, we have been left His Holy Spirit and His Word, The Bible. As we spend time daily in His Word and in prayer (communication with Him), we must tune our spiritual eyes and spiritual ears to see Him and listen to Him. Then when He speaks to us through His Word and in prayer, through the prompting of The Holy Spirit, we must believe, trust and obey Him.

Hymn (“See, Jesus, Thy Disciples See”): “See, Jesus, Thy disciples see, The promised blessing give! Met in Thy Name, we look to Thee, Expecting, to receive. Thee we expect, our faithful Lord, Who in Thy Name are joined; We wait, according to Thy Word, Thee in the midst to find. With us Thou art assembled here, But O Thyself reveal! Son of the living God, appear! Let us Thy presence feel. “Breathe on us, Lord, in this our day, And these dry bones shall live; Speak peace into our hearts, and say, `The Holy Ghost receive!’ Whom now we seek, O may we meet! Jesus, the Crucified, Show us Thy bleeding hands and feet, Thou Who for us hast died. Cause us the record to receive, Speak, and the tokens show; `O be not faithless, but believe In Me, Who died for you!’ “

16th

Service With a Smile

Text:  Matthew 8:14-15 (1599 Geneva Bible) “And when Jesus came to Peter’s house, He saw his wife’s mother laid down, and sick of a fever. And He touched her hand, and the fever left her; so she arose, and ministered unto them.”

After Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law she immediately got up and ministered (served) to Jesus and the disciples.  Have you been healed?  Have you had an answer to prayer? Have you been blessed with a spouse, children, friends, and pets? Has God not provided your daily bread? Do those of us who live in America still have freedom of worship? Therefore, let us not just be thankful to God for all His blessings one day a year, but let us be thankful every day and serve Jesus and those in need with joyful gladness.

Hymn (“I Will Serve Thee”): “I will serve Thee, I will serve Thee because I love Thee. You have given life to me; I was nothing before You found me; You have given life to me; Heartaches, broken pieces, Ruined lives are why You died on Calvary. Your touch was what I longed for; You have given life to me.”

15th

Don’t Laugh at My Jesus

Text:  Matthew 9:23-25 (1599 Geneva Bible) “Now when Jesus came into the Ruler’s house, and saw the minstrels and the multitude making noise, He said unto them, `Get you hence; for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth.’ And they laughed Him to scorn. And when the multitude was put forth, He went in and took her by the hand, and the maid arose.”

When Jesus saw the paid mourners who were in the Ruler’s daughter’s bedroom, He told them all that the maid was merely sleeping so that He could do a miracle and raise her to life.  The rude multitude laughed Jesus to scorn and ridiculed Him.  Today, many Christians make a mockery of how other believers worship Jesus. Don’t laugh at my Jesus and don’t mock other Christians no matter what their denomination be they Catholic, Jewish Messianic, Baptist, Pentecostal, or non-denominational. As long as they profess Jesus as their Lord and Savior by grace through faith in Him, and they are worshipping Him in Spirit and in Truth, then who are we to argue about non-essentials of the faith?  Jesus wants unity in the Body of Christ.

Worship Song (“One Body,” by Charlie Hall): “Father we come to you in Spirit and Truth with our hearts and our minds.” Chorus: “One body, one spirit, one hope for our call; one faith and baptism, one Father of all who is above all and through us all. Father, I want to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Bridge: “Oh Lord, let forgiveness rain down; let your unity resound in our hearts. Oh Lord, let us learn to forgive; let your people learn to live as one body.”

14th

Who Can Satisfy Our Souls? Only Jesus Can!

Text:  Matthew 14:14-21 (1599 Geneva Bible) “And when even was come, His disciples came to Him, saying, `This is a desert place, and the time is already past; let the multitude depart, that they may go into the towns, and buy them vittles.’ But Jesus said to them, `They have no need to go away; give ye them to eat.’ Then said they unto Him, `We have here but five loaves, and two fishes.’ And He said, `Bring them hither to me.’ And He commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looked up to heaven, and blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude. And they did all eat, and were sufficed, and they took up of the fragments that remained, twelve baskets full. And they that had eaten, were about five thousand men, beside women and little children.”

In today’s text, we see the miracle where Jesus fed the 5,000. Jesus is called “The Bread of Heaven” in the Gospels.  Today, I want to remind us all that only Jesus can satisfy our hungry souls and meet any need that we may have.  Don’t run to a false religion, your daily horror-scope (literally, that’s what it is), fortune teller, comic book, hobby, friends, family. Don’t put your faith in another Christian or a pastor (which is a sin). As I have said before and I’ll say again, “Only Jesus can satisfy our souls”!

Worship Song (“Who can Satisfy My Soul like You?,” copyright 1989 by SHEPHERDS HEART MUSIC, INC.): “Who can satisfy my soul like You? Who on earth, could comfort me and love me like You do? Who could ever be more faithful true? I will trust in You; I will trust in You, my God.” Chorus: “There is a fountain who is a King Victorious Warrior and Lord of everything; My Rock, my Shelter, my very own Blessed Redeemer, who reigns upon the throne. Living water, rain down Your life on me, Cleansing me, refreshing me with life abundantly. River, full of life, I’ll go where You lead. I will trust in You, I will trust in You, my God!”

13th

Only Believe in Jesus!

Text:  John 8:29 (1599 Geneva Bible) “Jesus answered, and said unto them, `This is the work of God, that ye believe in Him, Whom He hath sent.’ ”

Jesus told the people that the miracle of feeding the 5,000 was done so that the people would believe in Jesus because Jesus was sent by God, his Heavenly Father.  Today, do not believe and trust in your bank account, the economy, your big mansion, your sporty car, your comic book collection, your friends and family, your employer, a false religion, or even another pastor, teacher, evangelist, etc. for your salvation, but go to Jesus and trust Him for salvation as He is the only one we can believe in!

Hymn (“Only Believe”): “Fear not, little flock, from the cross to the throne, From death into life He went for His own; All power in earth, all power above, Is given to Him for the flock of His love.” Refrain: “Only believe, only believe; All things are possible, only believe, Only believe, only believe; All things are possible, only believe. Fear not, little flock, He goeth ahead, Your Shepherd selecteth the path you must tread; The waters of Marah He’ll sweeten for thee, He drank all the bitter in Gethsemane. Fear not, little flock, whatever your lot, He enters all rooms, `the doors being shut,’ He never forsakes; He never is gone, So count on His presence in darkness and dawn.”

12th

Jesus, the True Heart Surgeon

Text: Matthew 15:18-20 (1599 Geneva Bible) “But those things which proceed out of the mouth, come from the heart, and they defile the man. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false testimonies, slanders. These are the things which defile the man; but to eat with unwashen hands, defileth not the man.”

In today’s text, Jesus told the disciples and us as Christians that if we do not come to Him for spiritual heart surgery we will have unclean hearts and thus unclean mouths.  If you have an unclean heart, Jesus mentions some things that will come forth in your life (the heart is the seat of emotions), namely, evil thoughts, murders (even if you only have hatred toward someone), adulteries and fornications (lusting after anyone other than your spouse), thefts (even stealing the pen at work or the post office), false testimonies (lies), slanders (saying I don’t believe so and so…), etc.  I want a clean heart and mouth today, don’t you?

Hymn (“Give me a new, perfect heart”): “Give me a new, a perfect heart, From doubt, and fear, and sorrow free; The mind which was in Christ impart, And let my spirit cleave to Thee. O take this heart of stone away! Thy sway it doth not, cannot own; In me no longer let it stay; O take away this heart of stone! Cause me to walk in Christ my Way; And I Thy statutes shall fulfill, In every point Thy law obey, And perfectly perform Thy will. Within me Thy good Spirit place, Spirit of health, and love, and power; Plant in me Thy victorious grace, And sin shall never enter more. O that I now, from sin released, Thy Word may to the utmost prove! Enter into the promised rest, The Canaan of Thy perfect love. Now let me gain perfection’s height; Now let me into nothing fall, Be less than nothing in Thy sight, And feel that Christ is all in all.”

11th

Leave Out the Leaven

Text:  Matthew 16:11-12 (1599 Geneva Bible) “Why perceive ye not that I said not unto you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees? Then understood they that he had not said that they should beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees, and Sadducees.”

In today’s text, Jesus told his disciples, and He is telling us today as believers in Christ, to leave out the leaven in their lives.  Leaven in the Bible is a type of sin. We can only have sin removed from our lives by confessing our sins to Jesus and repenting (turning) from them. We must also not allow any leaven or false doctrine of any teachers, preachers, and evangelists in our lives.  All teaching even in our local church must line up with the Word of God.  Let us turn to Jesus our Everlasting Portion today.

Hymn (“Thou My Everlasting Portion”): “Thou my everlasting Portion, More than friend or life to me, All along my pilgrim journey, Savior, let me walk with Thee. Close to Thee, close to Thee, Close to Thee, close to Thee; All along my pilgrim journey, Savior, let me walk with Thee. Not for ease or worldly pleasure, Not for fame my prayer shall be; Gladly will I toil and suffer, Only let me walk with Thee. Close to Thee, close to Thee, Close to Thee, close to Thee; Gladly will I toil and suffer, Only let me walk with Thee. Lead me through the vale of shadows, Bear me o’er life’s fitful sea; Then the gate of life eternal May I enter, Lord, with Thee. Close to Thee, close to Thee, Close to Thee, close to Thee; Then the gate of life eternal May I enter, Lord, with Thee.”

10th

Lord, I Believe

Text:  Mark 9:23-24 (1599 Geneva Bible) “And Jesus said unto him, `If thou canst believe it, all things are possible to him that believeth.’ And straightway the father of the child crying with tears, said, `Lord, I believe; help my unbelief.’ ”

In today’s text, Jesus told the father of the mute boy that all things are possible to him that believeth. The Father responded much like we do today. Isn’t it amazing that even the faith to believe in Jesus and accept Him as our Savior and Lord comes not from within our natural man, but is a free gift from God.  Today, whatever your need may be, healing, salvation for yourself or a loved one, finances, freedom from lust, worry, depression, anger, whatever you need, go to Jesus and say, “Lord, I believe; help get rid of my unbelief.” Trust Him to provide your answers; He will you know!

Hymn (“Lord, I Believe”): “Lord, I believe: help Thou mine unbelief; Let me no other master know but Thee. Thou art the Christian’s God, the only King and Chief, Of all who soldiers of the cross would be. Lord, I believe, in mercy grant me grace, To know Thee, blessed Savior, more and more; I can do naught without Thee; Jesus, show Thy face Unto Thy servant who would Thee adore. Lord, I believe; the hold of sin is strong, And stout its heart to pluck me from Thy love; But stronger is Thy grace; oh, strengthen and prolong, The work of faith in me, my doubts remove. Lord, I believe; help Thou mine unbelief; Be this my prayer through good report and ill; Only to Thee I cling; if long my day or brief, Master and Savior, I will trust Thee still!”

9th

What a Difference Jesus Has Made in My Life

Text:  Matthew 18:11 (1599 Geneva Bible) “For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.”

Jesus told His disciples and us today that He came to save that which was lost, namely us.  What a difference He has made in our lives since we have come to faith in Christ.  Let us take some time today and praise Jesus for saving us from our lost condition, saving us from an eternity in the lake of fire, healing our bodies, providing our daily bread, providing companionship via a spouse, children, friends and family, and giving us His joy, etc.

Song (“What a Difference You’ve Made In My Life,” sung By B.J. Thomas, written by Archie P. Jordan): “What a difference you’ve made in my life, What a difference you’ve made in my life; You’re my sunshine day and night, Oh what a difference you’ve made in my life. What a change you have made in my heart, What a change you have made in my heart; You’ve replaced all the broken parts, Oh what a change you have made in my heart.”

8th

The World, Its Works are Evil

Text:  John 7:7 (1599 Geneva Bible) “The world cannot hate you, but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil.”

Jesus told His disciples, and He tells us today also as His followers, that the world which is blinded by Satan hates Jesus.  One of the ways that the world hates Jesus is how it celebrates certain days and holidays and causes them to be “unholy” days. Let us examine three days that the world has darkened to hate Jesus.
1. October 31st, called Halloween here in America. Alas, I agree with some folks that the name (in recognizing how some folks celebrate it) might be called Hell-o-ween.  Why do some people, even well-meaning Christians, make this day a birthday party for the devil by dressing up as the undead, vampires, witches, ghosts, devils, etc.?  My brethren, these things ought not to be?
2. Thanksgiving Day. Why in America do we only want to give thanks to God for all the blessings that He has given us just one day a year?  Also, why do we just focus in our land on the turkey dinner, the football game, and the Macy’s Day parade?
3. Christmas Day. Why do we focus on giving presents (thus becoming more in debt); Santa; the tree; and decorations? Why do we only have “peace on earth and good will toward all men” just one day a year?  We should love others each day of the year and celebrate Jesus’ birthday and his coming to bring us salvation, not Santa.
So today let us pray to Jesus to “lighten the darkness” in our world and be used of God to help others come to Him and be “examples of believers in Christ.”

Hymn (“Lighten The Darkness”): “Lighten the darkness of our life’s long night, Through which we blindly stumble to the day, Shadows mislead us; Father, send Thy light, To set our footsteps in the homeward way. Lighten the darkness of our self conceit, The subtle darkness that we love so well, Which shrouds the path of wisdom from our feet, And lulls our spirits with its baneful spell. Lighten our darkness when we bow the knee, To all the gods we ignorantly make, And worship, dreaming that we worship Thee, Till clearer light our slumbering souls awake. Lighten our darkness when we fail at last, And in the midnight lay us down to die; We trust to find Thee when the night is past, And daylight breaks across the morning sky.”

7th

Shine Jesus Shine

Text:  John 9:5 (1599 Geneva Bible) “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

In today’s text, Jesus told his followers that He is the “Light of The World.”  He told his disciples, and us also as believers in Christ today, in the Sermon on the Mount, that we are to let our lights (our lives lived through the power of His indwelling Holy Spirit) shine before men because they are in spiritual darkness. One way we can shine for Jesus is to have alternative things to do on October 31st.  I commend churches and Christians for putting on “harvest parties” without all the wicked, satanic, and gruesome costumes, or answering their doors by giving candy and gospel tracts to whoever comes. My bolder friends even answer the door and say after giving candy and a tract, “Hello, I’m (whatever their name is), is there something that I can pray for you about?” Let us shine for Jesus on the holidays and every day!

Hymn (“Shine Jesus Shine,” by Graham Kendrick, copyright 1987 by Make Way Music Admin. in N, S & C America by Integrity Music, Inc. All rights reserved. International copyright secured. Used by permission CCLI #30426.): “Lord the light of Your love is shining In the midst of the darkness; shining Jesus, Light of the World shine upon us. Set us free by the truth you now bring us; Shine on me Shine on me.” Chorus: “Shine Jesus shine, Fill this land with the Father’s glory; Blaze Spirit blaze, Set our hearts on fire; Flow river flow, Flood the nations with grace and mercy; Send forth Your word Lord, And let there be light. Lord, I come to Your awesome presence, From the shadows into your radiance, By the blood I may enter Your brightness, Search me, try me, consume all my darkness; Shine on me shine on me. As we gaze on your kingly brightness, So our faces display your likeness; Ever changing from glory to glory, Mirrored here may our lives tell your story; Shine on me shine on me.”

6th

Devotion to Jesus

Text:  Luke 10:40-42 (1599 Geneva Bible) “But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, `Master, doest thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? Bid her therefore, that she help me.’ And Jesus answered, and said unto her, `Martha, Martha, thou carest, and art troubled about many things; But one thing is needful, Mary hath chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.’ “

In today’s text, Jesus lovingly rebuked Martha; as Spurgeon wrote,”was distracted with care, when she should have been listening to her Lord.”  Let us set time aside daily (the morning works the best) from cleaning our houses, working our daily jobs, and even serving at the church, and be still before the Lord in prayer, meditation, listening to Jesus, and spending time also in reading, heeding, and applying His Holy Word, The Bible.

Hymn (“One Thing’s Needful”): “One thing’s needful; Lord this treasure, Teach me highly to regard; All else, though it first give pleasure, Is a yoke that presses hard. Beneath it the heart is still fretting and striving, No true, lasting happiness ever deriving. The gain of this one thing all loss can requite, And teach me in all things to find true delight. Wilt thou find this one thing needful, Turn from all created things, Unto Jesus and be heedful,l Of the blessed joy He brings. For where God and Man both in one are united, With God’s perfect fullness the heart is delighted; There, there is the worthiest lot and the best, My One and my All and my Joy and my Rest. How were Mary’s thoughts devoted, Her eternal joy to find, As intent each word she noted, At her Savior’s feet reclined! How kindled her heart, how devout was its feeling, While hearing the lessons that Christ was revealing! For Jesus all earthly concerns she forgot, And all was repaid in that one happy lot.”

5th

I’m Not Ashamed to let You Know I’m a Christian

Text:  Luke 12:8-9 (1599 Geneva Bible) “Also I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess Me before men, him shall the Son of man confess also before the Angels of God. But he that shall deny Me before men, shall be denied before the Angels of God.”

In today’s text, Jesus told his disciples and us today that we are not to be ashamed to confess before men that He is our Savior and Lord. I love what the 1599 Geneva Bible note says: “Great is the reward of a constant confession and horrible is the punishment of denying Christ.” Today, do not be ashamed to admit you are a Christian and show God’s love by doing acts of love, grace and mercy so that all men, women, and children may know Him also as their Savior and Lord.

Song (“I’m Not Ashamed,” by The Newsboys): “I’m not ashamed to let you know I want this light in me to show I’m not ashamed to speak the name of Jesus Christ. What are we sneaking around for? Who are we trying to please? Shrugging off sin, apologizing, Like we’re spreading some kind of disease. I’m saying `No way. No Way.’ I’m not ashamed to let you know I want this light in me to show; I’m not ashamed to speak the name of Jesus Christ. This one (says) it’s a lost cause, Save your testimonies for church time. Other ones state you’d better wait, Until you do a little market research. I’m saying `No way. No way.’ I’m not ashamed to let you know I want this light in me to show; I’m not ashamed to speak the name of Jesus Christ.”

4th

Come Home

Text: Luke 15:18-20 (1599 Geneva Bible)

“I will rise and go to my father, and say unto him, `Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee. And am no more worthy to be called thy son; make me as one of thy hired servants.’ So he arose and came to his father, and when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck, and kissed him.”

In today’s text, Jesus told the parable of the Prodigal (lost) Son. Today, I want to encourage those of you who never have had a relationship with Jesus, those of you who feel like God has not answered your prayers, and those who may be suffering with depression, an illness, discouragement, temptation or addictions to please do three things. First, pause and stop what you are doing; second, come to your senses and finally come home to your Heavenly Father; third, accept His free gift of salvation through His Son Jesus. Today can be a fresh start for you.

Hymn (“Softly and Tenderly, Jesus Is Calling”): “Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling, Calling for you and for me; See, on the portals He’s waiting and watching, Watching for you and for me.” Refrain: “Come home, come home, You who are weary, come home; Earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling, Calling, O sinner, come home! Why should we tarry when Jesus is pleading, Pleading for you and for me? Why should we linger and heed not His mercies, Mercies for you and for me? Time is now fleeting, the moments are passing, Passing from you and from me; Shadows are gathering, deathbeds are coming, Coming for you and for me. O for the wonderful love He has promised, Promised for you and for me! Though we have sinned, He has mercy and pardon, Pardon for you and for me.”

3rd

Unprofitable Servants

Text: Luke 17:10 (1599 Geneva Bible) “So likewise ye, when ye have done all those things, which are commanded you, say, `We are unprofitable servants; we have done that which was our duty to do.’ ”

In today’s text, Jesus told his disciples and us today, in a loving rebuke, that we are to serve Him and others as our Christian duty out of love, and not in order to receive rewards both here and in heaven.  I am shocked by so many Christians who think that they should get a “personal thank you” from their church leadership or their congregation, a special award, or even a Lexus (name the car of your choice) from God because they serve in “such and such ministry.”  My brethren, these things ought not to be! Let us serve Jesus and serve those in need because we love Jesus and not to be rewarded or thanked.

Hymn (“The Service of The King”): “I pledge my spirit loyal, To the service of the King; The privilege is royal, In the service of the King; I pledge to Him forever, My loftiest endeavor, And naught my soul shall sever, From the service of the King.” Refrain:
”In the service of the King, My sweetest songs I’ll sing, While I with joy my pow’rs employ, In the service of the King. There is no joy so holy, As the service of the King; There’s room for e’en the lowly, In the service of the King; If all the world but knew Him, How all would hasten to Him, And highest honor do Him, In the service of the King. In yonder realms immortal, There is service for the King; We pass the shining portal, To the service of the King; Amid the glories o’er Him, Where angel hosts adore Him, I, too, shall stand before him, In the service of the King.”

2nd

Show Compassion

Text:  John 11:35 (1599 Geneva Bible) “And Jesus wept.”

In today’s text, which is the shortest, but among the most powerful verses in the Bible, we see how Jesus wept and had compassion about the reaction to the passing away of his friend Lazarus. Among many things, He wept about the unbelief the people had because they would not turn from their sins and did not recognize Him as “The Resurrection and the Life.” Today, Jesus wants both men and women to weep and have compassion to share the Gospel with their unsaved bosses, co-workers, neighbors, and friends. I personally have been convicted today to have compassion on a very bitter and rude co-worker at my job who hates God and all things spiritual. God told me, “Joseph, weep and intercede for her and her domestic partner to come to faith in Christ.”  I said in response, “Yes Lord, I will obey.”

Hymn (“Jesus Wept! Those Tears are Over,” by John Ross MacDuff — one of My Scottish Clansman): “Jesus wept! Those tears are over, But His heart is still the same; Kinsman, Friend, and elder Brother, Is His everlasting Name. Savior, who can love like Thee, Gracious One of Bethany? When the pangs of trial seize us, When the waves of sorrow roll, I will lay my head on Jesus, Refuge of the troubled soul. Surely, none can feel like Thee, Weeping One of Bethany! Jesus wept! And still in glory, He can mark each mourner’s tear; Loving to retrace the story, Of the hearts He solaced here. Lord, when I am called to die, Let me think of Bethany. Jesus wept! That tear of sorrow Is a legacy of love; Yesterday, today, tomorrow, He the same doth ever prove, Thou art all in all to me, Loving One of Bethany!”

1st

Give Thanks with a Grateful Heart

Text: Luke 17:17-18 (1599 Geneva Bible) “And Jesus answered, and said, `Are there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? There is none found that returned to give God praise, save this stranger.’ ”

In today’s text, we see how ten lepers were healed of their deadly disease and yet only one, who was a Samaritan (a race hated by the Jews), came back and thanked Jesus and glorified God.  Today, we should not just set aside in America one day called “Thanksgiving Day,” but every day we should give thanks to Jesus for our many blessings, namely our salvation, our healing/health, our blessings of having a spouse, children, friends, family and pets, our daily bread, our freedom of worship etc.  Give thanks and praise to Jesus right now out of a grateful heart!

Hymn (“Give Thanks”): “Give thanks with a grateful heart, Give thanks unto the Holy One; Give thanks because He’s given Jesus Christ, His Son. And now let the weak say, `I am strong’; Let the poor say, `I am rich, Because of what the Lord has done for us’; Give thanks.”

September

30th

God, Our Deliverer

Text: Psalm 7:1 (KJV) “O, Lord my God. In Thee do I put my trust: save me from all them that persecute me, and deliver me.”

David wrote this Psalm in response to the slanderous accusations of those who claimed that he was trying to kill King Saul and seize the throne (cf. I Samuel 24:9-11).  David did not take revenge or strike back but asked God to deliver him.  When I was a child, I was abused by adults but God delivered me. He physically put me in a foster home and spiritually helped me to forgive my abusers and leave their judgment to Him.  Friend, trust Him today to deliver you. God loves you and He will take your case and bring restoration to your life and reputation.

29th

When I am afraid!

Text: Psalm 56:3 (NIV) “When I am afraid; I will trust in You.”

David wrote this Psalm when he fled from King Saul and was in enemy (Philistine) country. We have an enemy named Satan.  He tries to make and keep us afraid of him.  Jesus says in Matthew 10:28, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body, but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” So dear friend, instead of being afraid of the world or the devil, fear God and trust in Him for your salvation.

28th

All means All

Text: Psalm 54:7a (KJV) “For He hath delivered me out of all trouble.”

Dear friend, sometimes we feel that we will not be able to make it through our trials, whether they be financial problems, sickness, job loss, depression, or loneliness.  David said of God: “He hath delivered me out of all trouble.”  Know today that all means all of our trouble. Remember in closing the great Hymn of the Faith, “All The Way, my Savior leads, what have I to ask besides…”

27th

Who You Gonna Call For Help?
Text:  Psalm 121:1-2 (KJV)”I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.”

Dear friend, today’s text shows us that our ultimate and only help comes from the LORD, the maker of heaven and earth.  If you are suffering from an illness, He is Jehovah Rophi, The Lord your Healer. If you need finances, He is Jehovah Jireh, The Lord your Provider. If you are lonely, He is a Friend that sticketh closer than a brother.  He is our Help in all our needs; come to HIM today.

26th

Who Knows Best?
Text: 2 Samuel 2:1 (KJV) “And it came to pass after this, that David enquired of the LORD, saying, `Shall I go up into any of the cities of Judah?’ And the LORD said unto him, `Go up.’ And David said, ‘Whither shall I go up?’ And he said, ‘Unto Hebron.’ ”

David knew that King Saul was dead and that God promised he would be the new king. David still asked God, “Where should I go?” Dear friend, perhaps today you do not know which way to go or what decision to make! People may rudely say, “Just go in the way that makes sense.” No, dear friend, bring the matter before God first as He knows the best way for your life, and He knows the perfect timing for you.

“Have Thine Own Way Lord, Have Thine Own Way, Thou Art the Potter, I am the clay.”

25th

Do you have a heart for the lost?
Text: Psalm 9:7 (KJV) “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.”

Charles Spurgeon wrote, “The nations fell into neglect because they forgot GOD.  Neglect destroys men.  Only sit still, don’t trust GOD and your damnation is sure.”  Dear Friend, today I encourage you to share the gospel with the lost as they are neglecting coming to God.

“Rescue the perishing, care for the dying, JESUS is merciful, JESUS WILL SAVE.”

24th

How will you live?
Text: I Chronicles 2:3 (KJV) “And Er, the firstborn of Judah, was evil in the sight of the LORD; and He slew him.”

The Bible teaches that the way we live today will determine how we will be remembered by others and how we will be judged by GOD!  What we do now does matter. John Calvin, the great preacher and theologian did not want to go to Geneva, but he submitted and went there anyway.  God turned that city over for him to deliver it from the wickedness of sin. God told me when I was praying what is true for all: “Do not put geographical limitations as to where you will serve me; instead remember you will be happiest when you are in the center of my will where “the joy of the LORD is your strength.”

“I am thine own LORD. I have heard your voice to me.”

23rd

God is my king
Text: Psalms 44:4(KJV) “Thou art my King, O God: command deliverances for Jacob.”

In our battles with the world, the flesh, and the devil, let us remember today’s word from the Psalmist, “Thou Art my King,” and ask the LORD alone to deliver us in our miseries and trials.  Only He can deliver us.

“My deliverer is coming; my deliverer is standing by.”

22nd

Keep me from evil
Text: I CHRONICLES 4:10(KJV)” And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, `Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me!’ And God granted him that which he requested.”

Jabez prayed to be delivered from all evil and disaster.  Dear friend, today please seek God to not only protect you from evil, but also to guard your thoughts and actions from evil. Remember I Thessalonians 5:22: “Abstain from every appearance of evil”.  Abstain means to refrain or keep away.

“Sin is the only thing that can rob a child of his joy in the LORD.” H.A. Ironside

21st

God is The Author and Focus of All Holidays (HOLY DAYS)
Text: Psalm 81:1-3(KJV)”Sing aloud unto God our strength: make a joyful noise unto the God of Jacob. Take a psalm, and bring hither the timbrel, the pleasant harp with the psaltery. Blow up the trumpet in the new moon, in the time appointed, on our solemn feast day.”

Dear Friends, Psalm 81 was called a holiday (HOLY DAY) hymn and was written by Asaph to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles.  Israel’s holidays (HOLY DAYS) reminded the nation of God’s great miracles and were times for praise and worship.  They were also times to sit down and reflect on God’s many blessings and to renew one’s strength in God during the struggles they
faced. I encourage you:

1) On St. Valentine’s Day–Do not focus on candy hearts, chocolate, roses etc. Instead, focus on Jesus, The Rose of Sharon, our Lord who gives us eternal life and loves us so very much that He shed his blood for all our sins!

2) On St. Patrick’s Day–Do not focus on drinking, wearing the green, and reveling. Instead, focus on how Patrick listened to God’s call and shared the Gospel with the lost souls in Ireland. Ask God “Who can I share the Gospel with?”

3) On Easter Sunday–Do not focus on egg hunts, chocolate bunnies, and that so-called Easter Bunny! Instead, focus on Christ’s hope that He gives us in his Resurrection.

4) On the 4th of July –Do not focus on BBQ’s and fireworks. Instead, focus on the freedoms we have in Christ and also how we are free in this country to worship Him without persecution, unlike many of our brethren in other countries.

5) On Labor Day–Do not focus on how hard you work and value just another day off. Instead, focus on being faithful in your work for Jesus and looking forward to HIM saying to you, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant, enter thou the joy of the LORD.” (Which I pray that we all hear on that day).

6) On Thanksgiving Day–Do not focus on a good home-cooked meal, football, and the Macy’s Parade. Instead, focus on being thankful to God for all your blessings (your salvation, health, food, clothing, shelter, spouse-if you are married, children, parents, pets, jobs, home, clothes, spiritual gifts, God’s safety and protection, etc.).

7) On Christmas Day–Do not focus on presents (prezzies as us Scots say), trees, mistletoe, tinsel, etc. Instead, focus on JESUS, the reason for the season, THE GREATEST GIFT IN OUR LIVES.

20th

The Big Two
Text: Psalm 81:1-3(KJV)”Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases.”

David in this Psalm gave praise to God for His glorious acts and many blessings. Dear Friend, today, think about the Big Two that God has blessed us as believers in Christ with.

First, He forgiveth all our iniquities (sins).  I love how the Puritans wrote in the 1699 Geneva Bible notes: “This is the beginning and chiefs of all benefits, remission of sin.” We can also empathize with two men: 1) the Scotsman who put on his tombstone one powerful word- “FORGIVEN”; 2) and, with the Irishman who said “The Lord Jesus Christ has forgiven me of all my sins, and He is never going to hear the end of it.”

Secondly, He heals all our diseases.  Thank God I was sick, but He healed me.  He is Jehovah Rophi, The Lord our Healer.  All true healing comes from Him and there is no such thing as “incurable disease” to Him and His Power.

19th

All For One, And One For All
Text: Psalm 133:1″Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!”

Dear Friend, in today’s text, David writes how harmony/unity is pleasant and good.  We as believers in Christ may not always agree on “petty” things, but we need to agree on major doctrines, especially that salvation is found in God’s grace through faith and trust in Christ alone and not good works, or any other means. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).  Let’s not give the Church of God a bad rap by arguing about minor issues.  Remember today the cool saying of the Three Musketeers, “ALL FOR ONE, AND ONE FOR ALL.”

18th

Be Careful Child of God What You Wish For
Text: Psalm 106:15(KJV) “And He gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.”

Dear Friend, we see in today’s Psalm that Israel was spiritually blinded in the wilderness to what God wanted because all they did was whine that they wanted meat instead of manna, which was a type of spiritual food as well as physical food.  God gave them quail to eat but also sent them a severe plague. “And while the flesh was yet between their teeth, ere it was chewed, the wrath of the LORD was kindled against the people, and the LORD smote the people with a very great plague. And He called the name of that place Kibroth-hattaavah because there they buried the people that lusted” (Numbers 11:33-34).  Sometimes, as believers in Christ, we whine to God, “LORD, give me what I want…”  God knows what is best for us. Trust in his care and provision, dear friend.  I for one do not want any “leanness into my soul” which could also be interpreted as loss of fellowship with God and his Holy Spirit.  Matthew Henry wrote, “What is asked in passion is often given in wrath.” Ouch! Let’s us sing and live the praises of God!

“HOLY SPIRIT, FILL ME UP. I SURRENDER ALL I HAVE TO YOU, HOLY SPIRIT. COME AND FILL ME UP.”

17th

Don’t Let Your Three Enemies (The World, The Flesh, and The Devil) Steal Your Joy
Text: 2 Samuel 6:16 (KJV)
“And as the ark of the LORD came into the city of David, Michal, Saul’s daughter, looked through a window and saw king David leaping and dancing before the LORD; and she despised him in her heart.”

Dear Friend, we see in today’s text that King David joyously danced and praised GOD at the return of the Ark of God to Israel. Michal, his first wife (here called Saul’s daughter, probably due to her having a similar worldly spirit to her father), despised (Hebrew word: bazah—literally, “to have disdain, think to scorn, or act as a vile person”) her husband because he had the Joy of The Lord in celebrating the Ark’s return.  Our three greatest enemies, the world, the flesh and the devil, try to steal our joy.  Remember these words from Nehemiah 8:10, “Then he said unto them, go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”

I love the note in the 1599 Geneva Bible on today’s text: “The worldings are not able to comprehend the emotions that move the children of GOD by all manner of means.”  So be encouraged, dear friend, and keep on praying, keep on worshipping GOD, and keep on dancing and celebrating in the JOY OF THE LORD, OUR STRENGTH.

16th

Kiss The SON
Text: Psalm 2:12(KJV) “Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and ye perish from the way when His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.”

Dear Friend, we see in today’s text that King David said that we are to “Kiss the SON, lest HE be angry.  Kiss means to fasten up and equip with weapons/armor (like the ARMOR OF GOD), and to kiss.  The SON is Jesus Christ, GOD’S ONLY BEGOTTEN SON, and heir of The Throne of God.  How are we to kiss JESUS, you ask? I submit to you three ways:
1.  Fully surrender your life and will to JESUS, as your Savior, Lord and King.
2.  Be ready for his coming.
3.  And here is something that I started while living in Ghedi Air Base, Italy. Before I read God’s Word, I say, “Speak, LORD, Your servant Joseph is listening.” Then I literally kiss the cover of my Bible before opening and reading it.

15th

Purify My Heart
Text: I Chronicles 15:14 (KJV) “So the priests and the Levites sanctified themselves to bring up the Ark of the LORD God of Israel.”

Dear Friend, we see in today’s text that priests sanctified themselves (set themselves apart; purified themselves) so that they could bring the Ark of the Lord to Jerusalem. Today we also need to purify our hearts by reading and meditating on His Word, praying and listening to Him (yes, not just rattling off our wish list, but also listening), and laying aside the sin that so easily besets us. (Cf. Hebrews 12:1)

14th

In The Secret, I Want to Know You More and More and More
Text: Psalm 25:14(KJV)
“The secret of the LORD is with them that fear HIM; and He will shew them His Covenant. ”

We see in today’s text that the “SECRET” (Hebrew: cowd–interpreted as “intimacy, a secret, counsel”) of the LORD is found when we submit to Him in reverence and holy fear, not coming to Him half-heartedly, flippantly, or whining.  If we submit to Him (THE KING OF THE UNIVERSE) reverently, and full of holy fear and awe, He will show his covenant and will reveal to us his wisdom, knowledge, and guidance in the secret things like He did with Moses, Daniel, and The Apostles Paul and John. Proverbs 1:7 says, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction. Let us lift our voices with the modern worship song “I Want to Know You (In The Secret).” The words are, “LORD JESUS, I want to know YOU more; I want to hear you; I want to see YOUR FACE; I WANT TO KNOW YOU MORE AND MORE AND MORE!”

13th

GOD is Our Protector!
Text: 2 Samuel 8:6b/2 Samuel 8:14b (KJV) “And the LORD preserved (“saved” in the 1599 Geneva Bible; “helped” in the NASB version) David whithersoever he went.”

Those who know me, know that I am a fan/collector of comics before 1977.  In the comic books when a person or “a fair damsel” in distress was in need of help, along came “SUPERMAN,” “CAPTAIN AMERICA,” “WONDER WOMAN,” or in the days of the old west, “THE LONE RANGER AND TONTO.” As much as I like superheroes, I am personally glad that JESUS, MY LORD AND SAVIOR, has protected and preserved me from all harm/evil wherever I have gone, am going, and will go.  One example was when Serene, my beautiful wife, and I were stationed for two years at ‘Ghedi Air Base, Italy.  GOD protected and encouraged us with other godly believers in CHRIST to start and maintain a Christian presence via a church where there was no church and where the Base “idol” looked like a demon, or even Dagon, the idol of the Philistines.  Like all followers of the LORD, one day these precious believers and my wife and I will receive crowns of glory in heaven to cast at Jesus’ feet because we relied on JESUS, THE TRUE SUPER-MAN, OUR LORD, SAVIOR AND PROTECTOR.

12th

Love Your Enemies!
Text: Matthew 5:44 (KJV) “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.”

Dear Friend, this text convicted me today because I go to a job daily where all there is, is sarcasm and rudeness since we are all losing our jobs soon. Also, I am the only one in my work area to profess Christ as Lord and Savior.  So today, I encourage both you and me to bless and not curse, and to love our enemies.  How do we do this?  Only through the power of the HOLY SPIRIT. “Kindness gets you ahead in this life and the next, but rudeness is repulsive” (Pastor Gary Hoyt).

“Now as to my persecutors, I forgive all of them. But, I wish that they would seek forgiveness of HIM (JESUS), who hath it to give.” -CAPTAIN JOHN PATTON, A SCOTTISH COVENANTER AND MARTYR

11th

The Victory is the Lord’s
Text: Psalm 20:7 (KJV) “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.”

In today’s text, King David was rejoicing after GOD gave him the victory in battle.  When we have the victory in our lives in our many battles with our three enemies, the world (due to it’s mind games/systems/values, not flesh and blood people), our flesh (which does not like to be aligned with GOD’s perfect will for our lives), and the devil and his imps, we need to pause and give all the GLORY AND HONOR for the victory–right then and there–to our LORD AND SAVIOR, JESUS CHRIST!

“Without GOD’S blessing I look for no success, and for every success my prayer is that all glory maybe given unto HIM, to WHOM it is properly due.” -General Thomas Johnathan “STONEWALL” Jackson, American Civil War hero and (who died in battle)

10th

Can I Get a Witness?
Text: Psalm 66:16 (NIV) “Come and listen, all you who fear GOD: let me tell you what HE has done for me.”

In today’s text, King David was so overwhelmed with praise for all that GOD had done in his life that he could not help but be a witness to tell others about GOD.  We, as believers in Christ, are bound to tell others the GOOD NEWS about JESUS. It also helps us to keep an “answer to prayer” log. Then we can say to others, “LOOK WHAT MY GOD DID FOR ME AND FRIEND HE WANTS TO COME INTO YOUR LIFE AND DO GREAT THINGS FOR YOU!”

I close with the wonderful footnote from the 1599 GENEVA BIBLE about our text today: “It is not enough to have received GOD’S benefits and to be mindful thereof, but also we are bound to make others to profit thereby and praise GOD.”

9th

Flee Temptation
Text: 2 Samuel 11:27c (KJV) “But the thing that David had done displeased the LORD.”

In today’s text, we see that after King David’s sin of committing adultery with Bathsheba and sending her husband to be murdered, GOD was displeased. We need to focus on God’s desires and not ours. We also need to flee temptation.  If you are married, remember not to even look with lust at someone other than your spouse, even the first time. Don’t fall for the lie, “Oh another look won’t hurt anyone.” Or, if you are single, pray and wait on the LORD for a CHRISTIAN spouse.  Also, when a person commits physical adultery, he/she also commits spiritual adultery because we as BELIEVERS IN CHRIST ARE THE BRIDE OF CHRIST. When a person commits adultery, he/she sins against GOD, THEIR SPOUSE, THE OTHER PERSON INVOLVED, AND THEIR OWN BODY, WHICH IS THE TEMPLE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. Let’s stop sin at the thought life.

8th

Are You Happy?
Text: Psalm 32:1 (KJV) “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.”

In today’s text, we see that King David expressed his joy at having sins forgiven and he confessed and repented of his sins with Bathsheba.  The word “blessed” is the Hebrew word esher, which is translated, “HOW HAPPY!”  Are you and I really happy that our sins are forgiven in CHRIST? Do we walk around with smiles on our faces? Do we walk into a room radiating “THE JOY OF THE LORD”? I hope that we do, and not do the opposite by frowning all day long and grumbling about the “toys” that we don’t have. Let’s stop and sing “Blessed assurance, JESUS is mine, I am born of HIS SPIRIT, washed in HIS BLOOD!”

7th

In GOD We Trust
Text: Psalm 4:5 (KJV) “Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the LORD.”

King David wrote Psalm 4, when he was asking his enemies to reconsider their support of his rebellious son Absalom who wanted to take over David’s kingdom. King David said in our trials/testing to trust in the LORD.  Trust is the Hebrew word, BATACH which means to be confident in, secure, sure, hope in, and trust in.  We should not only trust CHRIST for our salvation, but also trust in HIS ability to answer our prayers, whether we need healing, a job, finances, help dealing
with a “difficult” person, release from discouragement, or help overcoming temptation. Don’t let IN GOD WE TRUST just be a slogan on the dollar bill.

“Trusting as the days go by, trusting as the moments fly, trusting HIM whatever befalls, I’m trusting JESUS that is all.” (HYMN)

6th

How to Handle Unjustified Criticism
Text: 2 Samuel 16:12 (KJV) “It may be that the LORD will look on mine affliction, and that the LORD will requite me good for his cursing this day.”

Shimei kept cursing and criticizing King David unjustly. (I have three people at work who daily criticize me for everything).

How can we handle unjust and unmerited criticism?
1. Forgive our enemies.
2. Pray for that critical person to come to salvation in Christ.
3. Maintain our composure.
4. Ignore their criticism.  Don’t take it to heart.
5. Look to JESUS AND KNOW THAT HE WILL VINDICATE US!  THE BATTLE BELONGS TO THE LORD!

5th

Whose Company Do You Want to Keep?
Text: Psalm 26:5(KJV) “I have hated the congregation of evildoers; and will not sit with the wicked.”

King David wanted to show that he was loyal and committed to GOD by not “hanging out” with the people of this worldly system, i.e., the wicked.  We do need to share the Gospel with the lost but we are not to let their character affect our words, thoughts, and actions and try to be just like them.  Choose Christian friends wisely and spend time with those who will encourage you to walk the walk and talk the talk of faith in Christ.  In the words of my Scottish gran, who told me this many times growing up, “IF IT WALKS AND QUACKS LIKE A DUCK, THEN GUESS WHAT, IT IS A DUCK.

“I AM A FRIEND OF GOD, HE CALLS ME FRIEND” -Phillips, Craig and Dean

4th

In The Morning
Text: Psalm 5:3(KJV) “My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.”

David’s secret to having a close relationship with GOD is that he sought and spent time with GOD first thing in the morning.  I am both amazed and humbled when I read of how the great Puritans, Scottish Covenanters, and especially the LORD JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF, rose up early in the morning to be in a solitary place spending time with GOD.  Let us follow in our LORD’s footsteps and in the footsteps of those great believers and seek GOD first thing in the morning.

Hymn: “HOLY, HOLY, HOLY LORD GOD ALMIGHTY,  EARLY IN THE MORNING MY SONG SHALL RISE TO THEE.”

3rd

Who Is God?
Text: 2 Samuel 22:32(KJV) “For who is God, save the LORD and who is a rock, save our God?”

In today’s text, King David says that there is no GOD except the LORD. Don’t make a god in your life of money, power, prestige, fame, material things, a family member or friend, a spouse, or a even blatant idol like one of the false religions out there. Instead, come and fall humbly before our LORD AND SAVIOR, THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, and accept HIM alone today!

“THERE IS NONE LIKE YOU, O LORD.”

2nd

O, Come Let Us Worship
Text: Psalm 95:6(KJV) “O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker.”

King David said that we need to come before GOD and worship HIM wholly. We need to fall down and kneel before the LORD, OUR GOD, OUR MAKER.  In olden days and even today, when a person comes before a king or queen, they bow and when then are knighted they even kneel in the king or queen’s presence.  I exhort us to do so, not before earthly kings, but before the KING AND MAKER OF THE UNIVERSE, GOD HIMSELF.

Charles Spurgeon wrote, “My happiest moments are when I am worshipping GOD, really adoring THE LORD JESUS CHRIST and having fellowship with the ever-blessed SPIRIT.  To me it the nearest approach to what it will be in Heaven.”

1st

Encourage The Youth
Text: 1 Chronicles 22:16c(KJV) “Arise therefore, and be doing, and the LORD be with thee.”

King David, in today’s text, encouraged his son, the young Solomon, to make preparation to build the Temple of GOD and to live for GOD. Today I want to exhort us to encourage the youth that we see in our families, neighborhoods, jobs, and churches to be doing the work of GOD, and tell them that GOD WILL BE WITH THEM. I also commend and thank those of you who are already doing this in using your gifts in ministry, teaching, sharing, arts, etc.! KEEP ON DOING GOOD FOR THE KINGDOM OF GOD!

“DO NOT SAY I’M TOO YOUNG; HERE AM I LORD, SEND ME.”

August

31st

HELP (Hear Everlasting LORD, Please)
Text: Psalm 108:12(KJV) “Give us help from trouble: for vain is the help of man.”

King David asked GOD for help in his troubles! Why? Because vain (empty/worthless) is the help of man.
Are you in need of salvation? Cry out HELP TO GOD! Are you in need of healing? Cry out HELP TO GOD, THE HEALER! Are you a soldier in battle and scared? Cry out HELP TO GOD! Are you traveling somewhere soon and afraid to drive or fly? Cry out HELP TO GOD! Are you like myself facing a job transfer and afraid of the unknown? Then let’s us cry out HELP TO GOD!

“HEAR MY CRY O LORD.”

30th

How to Minister to GOD and Bless His Holy Name
Text: I Chronicles 23:13 (KJV) “The sons of Amram; Aaron and Moses: and Aaron was separated, that he should sanctify the most holy things, he and his sons for ever, to burn incense before the LORD, to minister unto him, and to bless in his name for ever.”

The Levites were set apart by GOD to minister to HIM and bless in HIS NAME forever.  How do we minister to GOD?  Minister in Hebrew is the word, sharath, which means “to attend as a worshipper, to minister to, and to serve or wait on.” I submit to you that just as a skilled waiter or waitress blesses us with great care in a restaurant, or someone cooks and serves us a delicious CHRISTMAS DINNER (like my lovely “chef,” SERENE, always does), how much more should we serve and bless GOD in prayer, obedience to HIS WORD, witnessing to the lost, and with our spiritual gifts. Finally, we praise and bless in HIS NAME when we say no to sin, and yes to JESUS AND HIS WILL FOR OUR LIVES.

”BLESSED BE THE NAME OF THE LORD!”

29th

I’m a Child of the King
Text: I Kings 3:7 (KJV) “And now, O LORD my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in.”

King Solomon went before GOD and confessed that he was “but a little child” in his presence and did not know “how to go out of come in.” I exhort and encourage us today to be the same way in living our lives, coming before GOD in prayer, and giving devotion to HIM! Let us look to, and depend upon, GOD to meet all of our needs as OUR HEAVENLY FATHER, and to give us wisdom in how to live in these last days before JESUS’ return.  In the words of the GENEVA BIBLE COMMENTATORS, “GOD, EXECUTE ALL CHARGE IN MY LIFE.”

SONG: “I’M A CHILD OF THE KING, A CHILD OF THE KING, WITH JESUS, MY SAVIOR, I’M A CHILD OF THE KING!”

28th

Everybody
Text: Psalm 72:11 (KJV) “Yea, all kings shall fall down before Him: all nations shall serve Him.”

In today’s text, we read that all kings (EVERYONE) will bow before JESUS CHRIST OF NAZARET, one day.  This verse humbled me by reminding me of two things:
1.  We need to pray for all world, national, local and spiritual leaders and their families to come to faith in CHRIST and to live lives that are pleasing to GOD and full of HIS wisdom and direction.
2.  We need to speed up our efforts and ask THE HOLY SPIRIT to fill, guide, and direct us to share the GOSPEL with the lost so that they will escape eternal damnation in the lake of fire.

I close today with Philippians 2:9-11 (KJV): “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted HIM, and given HIM a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

27th

I Am My Beloved and He is Mine (a.k.a. The Church, The Bride of Christ)
Text: Song of Solomon 1:2 (KJV) “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth: for thy love is better than wine.”

In today’s text, we are reminded that as believers in CHRIST we are HIS BRIDE. We love HIM because HE first loved us.  We are not to commit spiritual adultery by looking after idols (false gods) of money, fame, power, prestige, hobbies, or placing family or friends before CHRIST.  JESUS SAID (IN REGARD TO THINGS OF THE FLESH)THAT IF WE LOOK TO LUST, WE HAVE ALREADY COMMITTED ADULTERY.  So then, if we should not even look and lust after the things of this world and make them our heart’s desire, how much more true is this about the things of God. I am amazed how some of my ancestors of the Scottish Covenanters, especially the beloved Captain John Patton, when even threatened with imprisonment and death, continued to spend two to four hours at the dawn of each day in daily devotions to his BELOVED Jesus. Alas, I sometimes, regretfully, complain that I have to get up at 4 a.m. daily. Oh, Dear Jesus, have mercy on me. I humbly repent. You are my BRIDEGROOM!

Song: “I AM MY BELOVED AND HE IS MINE, HIS BANNER OVER ME IS LOVE.”

26th

Who Are Your Friends?
Text: Proverbs 4:14-17 (KJV) “Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away. For they sleep not, except they have done mischief; and their sleep is taken away, unless they cause some to fall. For they eat the bread of wickedness, and drink the wine of violence.”

As believers in CHRIST, we are not to have close and intimate friendships with unbelievers.  We need to minister to them, but not become “best-chums” (like we say in Scotland) and partake in their life-style, sinful habits, and hobbies.  Remember, someone wise named Anonymous said, “HATE THE SIN, BUT LOVE THE SINNER.” I confessed and repented to CHRIST, MY SPOUSE SERENE, AND TO MY ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNER, that I, myself, was enticed by a non-believer (from the Mother Land of Scotland, no less), who desired to visit our home this year. He sent me taped British soap operas.  He also spoke to me and desired that I laugh at coarse and filthy jokes, and he wanted me to support his drinking by buying him alcoholic beverages and serving them in our home. I quickly, through the conviction of the DIVINE HOLY SPIRIT, broke off all contact with him. Fellowship with unbelievers may seem interesting, intriguing, and even thrilling, but will destroy our witness for CHRIST and cost us rewards in HEAVEN.  I, for one, want to hear JESUS say, ”WELL DONE, THOU GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANT, JOSEPH. ENTER NOW INTO THE JOY OF THE LORD!”

Remember in closing the words of the beloved hymn, “Take My Life and Let It Be, Consecrated Lord To Thee.”

25th

Bring Them In
Text: Proverbs 11:30b (KJV) “And he that winneth souls is wise.”

In today’s text, the wise King Solomon said, “He (or she) that winneth souls is wise.”  Leading the lost to faith in Christ is wise because it keeps us in touch with the Master’s heart. He is not willing that any should perish but come to salvation through his work on the Cross. I encourage each of us to double our efforts to reach those who are lost “while it is still called today.”  Charles H. Spurgeon , the Prince of Preachers, wrote, “I would freely give my eyes if you might but see Christ, and I would freely give my hands if you would but lay hold on Him, who alone gives eternal life.”

Remember in closing the words of the beloved Hymn, “Bring them in, bring them in, bring them in from the fields of sin, bring the wandering ones to Jesus.”

24th

The Fear of the Lord
Text: Proverbs 16:6 (KJV) “By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil.”

The wise King Solomon said that by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil.  “Fear” is the Hebrew word, yilah, which means “reverence with dreadful and exceeding fearfulness.”  We need to both reverence GOD as the LORD and SAVIOR of our lives, and to fear dreadfully when we come into His presence. Too often we lightly or flippantly come to HIM and quote off to HIM a “shopping list” of our wants.  I love what the Geneva Bible (1599) note says of this verse: “The upright and repenting life shall be a token that our sins are forgiven.”  Today, I challenge each of us to get rid of sin in our lives because we fear the LORD.  Let us not grieve HIS DIVINE HOLY SPIRIT.

Remember in closing the words of the beloved worship song, “Who shall not fear THEE, who shall not glorify THY NAME, O LORD?”

23rd

What is Your Name?
Text: Proverbs 22:1 (KJV) “A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold.”

King Solomon said that a good name is better than riches.  In Hebrew the word for name is shem, which is used as a mark or memorial that is implied by honor, truth, and character.  I submit to each of us today that we should be known as men and women of Christ-like character.  A good reputation will draw others to Christ. The lost will ask us, “What is different about you?”, and we can say in reply, “Come and see and meet my Master, King Jesus.”

Remember in closing the words of the beloved worship hymn, “Jesus, Name above all names.”

22nd

The Glory of The Lord
Text: I Kings 8:10-11 (KJV) “And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the LORD, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of the LORD. ”

The glory of the LORD filled the Temple. God wants us to be filled with his glory since our bodies, as believers in CHRIST, are the Temples of The Holy Spirit.  GOD will then use us to do great deeds for HIS Glory and HIS Name.  Today, I want to encourage and admonish each of us to throw off the sins that so easily beset us. Shake off and loose the devil, and live exclusively for our LORD AND SAVIOR, JESUS CHRIST.

Remember in closing the words of John Winthrop, the great British Puritan lawyer, who wrote at the young age of 24 in his diary, “I do resolve first to give myself-my life, my wits, my health, my wealth-to the service of my GOD and Savior, who by giving Himself, for me and to me, deserves whatsoever I am or can be, to be at His commandment and for His glory!” AMEN!

21st

A Prayer For Our Duties as Servants and Employees
Text: Psalm 134:1-3 (KJV) A Song of degrees–“Behold, bless ye the LORD, all ye servants of the LORD, which by night stand in the house of the LORD. Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, and bless the LORD. The LORD that made heaven and earth bless thee out of Zion.”

Dear Heavenly Father:
Just like the Temple Assistants in today’s Holy Text, from this day forward I resolve to have my job (every day I work) and my service in my spiritual gifts in the Church to both be acts of praise in Your Name.  I do all I do in reverence to You, LORD GOD! Help me please to honor You by the quality of my work and with the attitude of service I bring to it.

In Jesus’ Name, I pray. AMEN.

20th

Do a Good Job on the J-O-B!
Text: Proverbs 25:13 (KJV) “As the cold of snow in the time of harvest, so is a faithful messenger to them that send him: for he refresheth the souls of his masters.”

In today’s text, the writer tells us that we need to be faithful and refresh the souls of our employers. As I studied and meditated today on the text, I said a spiritual “ouch” and repented of my bad labor habits. I believe GOD wants to encourage us to do these seven habits as employees:
1. Pray for our bosses and co-workers to come to faith in CHRIST.
2.  Be punctual.  Even being five minutes late constantly ruins our Christian witness.
3.  Be responsible.
4.  Be honest.
5.  Be hard-working not hardly working!
6.  Smile!
7.  Don’t take criticism (even unjust) personally.

19th

Was Ms. Carly Simon Right??
Text: Ecclesiastes 1:2 (KJV) “Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.”

King Solomon, who is called in verse one of this chapter, “The Preacher” (which means caller, congregator, or one who convenes an assembly), wants to get our attention by teaching us that we need to find satisfaction only in the pursuits of GOD and his plans and not in our accomplishments, pleasure, and even in our “SECRET SINS,” which we need to flee from.  I wonder today, did Ms. Carly Simon get it right in the 1970’s when she sang, “You’re so vain, I bet you think this song is about you, don’t you?”  I, today, repented and realized that this life is not “all about Joseph,” but is all about JESUS.  I close with the Geneva Bible (1599) comment on today’s text, “He (Solomon) condemeth the opinions of all men that set felicity (an old Scottish word which means happiness or bliss) in anything, but in GOD also, seeing that in this world all things are as vanity, worth nothing!”

18th

Who Do You Turn To When You Are In Trouble?

TEXT: 2 Kings 1: 2 (KJV) “And Ahaziah fell down through a lattice in his upper chamber that was in Samaria, and was sick: and he sent messengers, and said unto them, `Go, enquire of Baalzebub the god of Ekron whether I shall recover of this disease.’ “

King Ahaziah fell down and was ill and then he had his messengers ask (inquire) of a heathen/pagan idol if he would recover.  This so-called Baalzebub, literally, the god of the flies, was of no earthly or spiritual use to him.  King Ahaziah showed blatant disrespect to GOD and we do the same when we run to (as my old Scottish gran would say) “every Tom, Dick, and Harry.” These `”gods” may include the Internet, false teachers, psychics, counselors, friends and family, and even pastors and elders before we have prayed for help.  Oh that we would seek His face first! Lord have mercy on us in our times of need.

Hymn: “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness, I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus Name.”

17th

Be Faithful to God, Until the End
TEXT: 2 Chronicles 24:2 (KJV) “And Joash did that which was right in the sight of the LORD all the days of Jehoiada the priest.”

King Joash did right in the sight of the LORD all the days of Jehoiada the priest. When Jehoiada died, however, Joash went and listened and followed the ways of the idolaters in the land.  Oh may we not be hypocrites and live one way Sundays and Wednesdays in church, smile and be deceitful when we see “church folk” at the mall or at a restaurant, and then live “like the devil,” the rest of the time.  Let us always cling to God and the Holy principles in His Word.  Let us be faithful to Him daily and let us, as Charles Spurgeon says, “Possess deep-seated principles of the Word of God.”

Hymn: “Faith of our fathers, living faith, we will be true to Thee till death.”

16th

Salvation is of the LORD
Text: Jonah 2:9c (KJV) “Salvation Is of the LORD.”

When Jonah was in the belly of the great fish, he paused and proclaimed that “Salvation is of the LORD.”  When we are facing trials and temptations in our lives, we need to remind the lost, our family, our friends, our bosses, our co-workers, our neighbors, and ourselves that Salvation is of the LORD.  He alone has the power to hear and deliver us.  Let us remember the words of Charles H. Spurgeon on this verse, “This is a summary of sound theology and if more Christians had felt the depth of soul trouble, there would be more of such solid divinity preached and believed.”

Hymn: “Rescue the perishing, care for the dying, Jesus is merciful, Jesus will save.”

15th

And So It Came to Pass
Text: 2 Kings 15:12 (KJV) “This was the word of the LORD which he spake unto Jehu, saying, `Thy sons shall sit on the throne of Israel unto the fourth generation.’ And so it came to pass.”

God spoke to King Jehu and it came to pass.  GOD is sovereign and all-knowing. Let us today and every day hold on to the promises of GOD, which will come to pass, especially eternal life with HIM. Remember also HIS promise that if we are faithful to HIM, He will say, “Well done thou good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of the LORD.”

Hymn: “Face to face O blissful moment with my Jesus who died and rose for me.”

14th

Little is Much, or “Sign Me Up as a Member of God’s Remnant
Text: Isaiah 1:9 (KJV) “Except the LORD of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah.”

The Prophet Isaiah (whose name means, “Jehovah is Salvation”) spoke and told the people of both Israel and Judah, as Spurgeon writes, “So wicked were they, that but for the faithful few (the remnant), GOD would have cursed the land as He did with Sodom and Gomorrah, the cities of the plain! The LORD save our country from the same backsliding.” I encourage us to pray for a revival in our hearts, in our churches, and in our land.  Yes, there is blatant sin in America like abortion and so-called “gay rights,” but the worst sin is the sin of unbelief in GOD as the only way of salvation!

Hymn: “Little is much when God is in it, labor not for wealth or fame, there’s a soul and you can win it if you go in JESUS’ name.“

13th

Are We Sweet or Sour Grapes in His Vineyard?
Text: Isaiah 5:4 (KJV) “What could have been done more to my vineyard that I have not done in it? Wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes?”

The Prophet Isaiah gave a picture lesson to Israel telling them as God’s chosen people that they were to bring forth good fruit in His vineyard.  Likewise, we as Christians are to bear much spiritual fruit. Jesus says in John 15 that we are to abide in HIM as fruit-bearing branches. Abide means to believe in Him as the Son of God, accept Him by faith as our SAVIOR and LORD, do what He says in his Word, and submit to his Holy Spirit’s leading in our lives.

Song (c.1993 Alan Kisaka @ Hope Chapel): “Hail Lord Jesus, You’re the True Vine, Blessed Savior, giver of new wine, help me to obey Your commandments, Help me to be a branch that bears good fruit.”

12th

Secretary, Please Clear My Calendar for Today and Hold All Calls Because I Have an Appointment with King Jesus
Text: Amos 3:3 (KJV) “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?”

The Prophet Amos (whose name means “burden” or “burden-bearer”) told Israel that they needed to walk in agreement with GOD, set a time to meet with HIM, and have an appointment with HIM.  So do we as Christians. I submit to you that first thing in the morning is the best time to sit down at Jesus’ feet and read, meditate, study his Word, and then say like Lil’ Samuel, “Speak Lord, your servant [fill in your name] is listening.”  Let the Holy Spirit guide you and walk in agreement with his plan for your life.

Hymn (“In the Garden”): “And He walks with me and He talks with me, and He tells me I am His own, and the joy we share as we tarry there none other has ever known. “

11th

Just Chillin’ in My Easy Boy Relaxer Chair
Text: Amos 6:1 (KJV) “Woe to them that are at ease in Zion, and trust in the mountain of Samaria, which are named chief of the nations, to whom the house of Israel came!”

In today’s text, we read how the Prophet Amos spoke to those in Israel and Judah who were “living the high life” and just chillin’ in their easy boy relaxer chair’s with no time for God or ministering to and helping those in need. The Lord Jesus reminded me this morning (thank you, Lord) that we need to serve Him and others and if we do service “unto the least of these,” we do service “unto HIM.”  This life is not about “I” (remember sin is spelled S-“I”-N.

”For it is in giving that we receive.” St. Francis of Assisi

10th

Lord, Prepare Me to be a Sanctuary
Text: 2 Chronicles 27:6 (KJV) “So Jotham became mighty, because he prepared his ways before the LORD.”

We are reminded today that becoming mighty does not come by hanging out with our associates, amassing wealth, having possessions, or relying on our own strength; becoming mighty comes from being obedient to the LORD through his Holy Spirit.  Spurgeon writes regarding today’s text, “King Jotham became mighty because he did not follow men, or seek their approbation but he lived in the immediate presence of the LORD, and desired above all things to please HIM.”

Worship Song: “Lord prepare me to be a Sanctuary, pure and holy, tried and true.”

9th

Day By Day (The New Version): “O Dear Lord, Three Things I Pray.”
Text: Micah 6:8 (KJV) “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? “

The Prophet Micah (whose name means “Who is like Jehovah”), told the people of Israel that God does not want their religious sacrifices and rituals.  Likewise, God does not want us to think that we are “all that” because we go to church on Sunday and to Bible Study on Wednesday.  God wants us to have changed hearts and changed lives that treat people justly, love mercy (when was the last time we forgave someone, no questions asked), and to walk humbly with HIM! Spurgeon, the great prince of the preachers wrote, ”The true proof of godliness is not expensive rite, but hearty obedience; not a loud profession, but holy living.”

So I close with a modern version  of the song from Godspell: ”DAY BY DAY, DAY BY DAY, O DEAR LORD THESE THREE THINGS I PRAY, to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with THEE MY God, day by day by day by day.”

8th

Look in the Mirror
Text: 2 Chronicles 28:10 (The 1599 Geneva Bible, the Bible that the pilgrims brought to America and also used by my kinfolk, The Scottish Covenanters) “And now ye purpose to keep under the children of Judah and Jerusalem, as servants and handmaids unto you: but are not you such, that sins are with you before the Lord your God?”

Dear friends, in today’s text, we read how the Prophet Oded (whose name means “to testify as by reiteration,” defined as to repeat something said or done), told the people of Samaria (Israel) that they need to step back and look at their own sins before they judged the sins of Judah and Jerusalem.  I had to say a spiritual “ouch” or “O-ME” when I read the 1599 Geneva Bible note on today’s text: ”May GOD not as well punish you for your sins as HE hath done these men for theirs, seeing yours are greater?” My Scottish gran use to admonish me as a lad when I would say, “Gran, Johnny stole a sweet or Susan lied in class, etc.”  She would reply, ”Joseph, ye need to look in the mirror, for he that without sin cannae cast the 1st stone.”
Today I encourage each of us before judging other do as Jesus says, ”Remove the beam (log) in our own eye before when are concerned with the mote (speck of dust) that is in our brother or sister’s eye.”

“LORD, we all look up to Thee As one favoured family; May all strife between us cease, A s we love Thee, Prince of Peace.” Charles H. Spurgeon

7th 

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus
Text: Isaiah 17:7 (The 1599 Geneva Bible) “ At that day shall a man look to his maker, and his eyes shall look to the holy one of Israel. “

The Prophet Isaiah gave a prophecy to the nation of Syria.  We also need to heed these words and not trust in our own successes in the church or on our jobs, trust in our possessions (cars, houses, pastimes, clothes, bank accounts), or trust in man.  We need to trust in the living GOD alone. Today I encourage each of to heed this note from the 1599 Geneva Bible, ”We must all turn from our sin and humble ourselves before GOD.”

Hymn: “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in His wonderful face, And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, In the light of His glory and grace.”

6th

Cry Out to Jesus
Text: Isaiah 19:20 (The 1599 Geneva Bible) “And it shall be for a sign and for a witness unto the Lord of hosts in the land of Egypt: for they shall cry unto the Lord, because of the oppressors, and he shall send them a Savior and a great man, and shall deliver them. “

Prophet Isaiah gave a prophecy against the nation of Egypt, which had oppressed Israel for hundreds of years.  We see how in the future during the millennial reign (1,000 years) of Christ on earth at his second coming,  Egypt will be one of all the nations that bow in submission to Christ.  Oh, that we would bow in devotion and submission to Him today and then warn our family, friends, co-workers, bosses, and neighbors to “Cry out to Jesus, the Savior,” to deliver them!

Song (“Cry out to Jesus,” copyright 2005 by Third Day): “There is hope for the helpless, rest for the weary, and love for the broken hearts. There is grace and forgiveness, mercy and healing, He’ll meet you wherever you are. Cry out to Jesus! Cry out to Jesus!”

5th

No Kleenex In Heaven
Text: Isaiah 25:8 (The 1599 Geneva Bible) “He will destroy death forever: and the Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces, and the rebuke of his people will he take away out of all the earth: for the Lord hath spoken it.”

In today’s text, we read how the Prophet Isaiah paused in pronouncing judgment on the nations and gave a wonderful word of the Lord, part of which has been later quoted in I Corinthians 15:54 and part in Revelation 21:4.  Oh what joy we have in today’s text: first, because we who have trusted Christ as Savior and Lord of our lives see that he destroyed the power of death and gave us life eternal in HIM, and we do not have to partake of the second (spiritual) death; second, because GOD, will wipe away the tears from all our faces (not just a select few). I encourage us today to live lives that are pleasing to Christ and share with others our blessed hope in today’s verse with someone who does not know JESUS, so they too will not need any Kleenex in the afterlife.

Hymn (“Some Golden Daybreak”): “Some glorious morning sorrow will cease, some glorious morning all will be peace, heartaches all ended, school days all done, heaven will open–Jesus will come. oh, what a meeting, there in the skies, no tears nor crying shall dim our eyes, loved ones united eternally, oh, what a daybreak that morn will be.” Refrain: “Some golden daybreak Jesus will come, some golden daybreak, battles all won,He’ll shout the victory, break thro’ the blue, Some golden daybreak, for me, for you.”

4th

Don’t Rely on Mr. Clean to get rid of the Dirt in Your Life

Text: 2 Chronicles 29:4-5 (The 1599 Geneva Bible) “And he brought in the Priests and the Levites, and gathered them into the East street, and said unto them, Hear me, ye Levites: sanctify now yourselves, and sanctify the house of the Lord God of your fathers, and carry forth the filthiness out of the Sanctuary. “

King Hezekiah told the priests and Levites, after he repaired the Temple of God, to sanctify (purify) themselves and the house of the LORD.  I wonder if he was alive today, would he say to us as Christians, “Don’t rely on the proverbial Mr.Clean to get rid of the dirt in your life.” If we go to worldly sources for cleansing, they actually cause filthiness (unwholesome speech, too much telly and internet, too many computer games, in my case too much comic book reading, etc). Instead, since our bodies are the Temple of the Living God, we should repent of all known sins, spend time daily in his Word and in prayer, and take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ by memorizing, applying, and living the written Word of God in our lives.

Worship Song (“Refiner’s Fire”): “Purify my heart, let me be as gold and precious silver. Purify my heart, let me be as gold, pure gold.” Chorus: “Refiner’s fire, my heart’s one desire Is to be holy, set apart for You, Lord. I choose to be holy, set apart for You, my Master; Ready to do Your will.”

3rd

Jesus, The Beloved Bridegroom
Text: Hosea 2:19-20 (The 1599 Geneva Bible) “And I will marry thee unto me forever: yea, I will marry thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in mercy and in compassion.  I will even marry thee unto me in faithfulness, and thou shalt know the Lord.”

The prophet Hosea (whose names means “salvation”), spoke to the people of Israel and told them to turn from their unfaithfulness to God. They were to no longer commit spiritual or physical adulteries and turn and come to God and be His bride.  We read in the New Testament how the Church is the bride of Christ.  Oh that we would cling to Christ and not commit spiritual adultery by loving the world, the flesh, and the devil.  Let us consider the words of Charles H. Spurgeon, ”Blessed are those who are married to the LORD; for HIS love admits of no change, His espousals never end in divorce.”

Hymn (“Bride of The Lamb, Awake, Awake”): “Bride of the Lamb, awake, awake! Why sleep for sorrow now? The hope of glory, Christ, is thine, a child of glory thou. Thy spirit, through the lonely night, from earthly joy apart, hath sighed for One that’s far away—The Bridegroom of thy heart. But see! The night is waning fast, the breaking morn is near; and Jesus comes, with voice of love, thy drooping heart to cheer. He comes—for oh, his yearning heart no more can bear delay—to scenes of full unmingled joy to call his bride away.”

2nd

It Really Does Matter WHO You Know
Text: Hosea 8:2 (1599 Geneva Bible) “Israel shall cry unto ME, `My God, we know Thee.’ ”

God spoke and told the Prophet Hosea that Israel and Judah were like hypocrites in that they only had head knowledge and did lip service to Him and did not have a personal relationship with Him.  Jesus said that we are known by our fruits and still today God is “calling us out of darkness, into HIS marvelous light” because he wants us to know Him in a deep and intimate relationship.  Today, I challenge us to make it a daily habit to read, heed, memorize, and apply GOD’s Word, pray and seek his face, and do good deeds unto all men, showing that we are HIS disciples.

Song (“Oh, I Want To Know You More,” as Sung By Steve Green, words and music by Steve Fry, copyright 1994 Bird Wing Music and BMG Songs, Inc. Bird Wing Music Admin. by EMI-CMP, all rights reserved. Used by permission.): “Just the time I feel that I’ve been caught in the mire of self, just the time I feel my mind’s been bought by worldly wealth, that’s when the breeze begins to blow, I know the Spirit’s call, and all my worldly wanderings just melt into His love.” Chorus: “Oh, I want to know you more, deep within my soul I want to know you, oh, I want to know you. To feel your heart and know your mind. Looking in your eyes stirs up within me cries that say I want to know you. Oh, I want to know you more. When my daily deeds ordinarily lose life and song, my heart begins to bleed, sensitivity to Him is gone. I’ve run the race, but set my own pace and face a shattered soul, now the gentle arms of Jesus warm my hunger to be whole.” Chorus: “And oh, I want to know you . And I would give my final breath to know you in your death and resurrection. Oh, I want to know you more. Oh, I want to know you, to know you more. Oh, I want to know you more.”

1st

Crown Him with Many Crowns
 Text: Isaiah 28:5 (The 1599 Geneva Bible) “In that day shall the Lord of hosts be for a crown of glory, and for a diadem of beauty unto the residue of his people.”

The Prophet Isaiah spoke to the people of Samaria (Israel) and told them that God, Himself, would be a crown of glory to the faithful remnant.  The New Testament says we as Christians will receive crowns in heaven to cast at Jesus’ feet because He alone is worthy to be our Savior, Lord, and King. We may receive (1) the crown of righteousness-for those who look forward to Christ’s return by serving Him faithfully and righteously.-let’s watch vigilantly for his return and faithfully serve Him; (2) the crown of life-for those who endure (abide, patiently suffer) and stay close to Christ in their temptations and trials.-let us trust Christ to help us overcome our temptations and trust Him to supply all our needs in our trials, i.e. for healing (I am trusting Him for his full Divine Healing in my three major ailments, bi-polar depression, sleep apnea, and the dreadful type 2 diabetes), loss of job or income, bills, loneliness, loss of a loved one, difficult people in our lives, etc; (3) the crown of glory-for those who are faithful in teaching and shepherding the flock-Let us guide and protect the flock with all love and guidance that comes from Jesus, The Chief Shepherd of our souls.

Hymn (“Crown Him with Many Crowns”): “Crown Him the Lord of life, who triumphed over the grave, And rose victorious in the strife for those He came to save. His glories now we sing, Who died, and rose on high, Who died eternal life to bring, and lives that death may die.”

July

31st

The Secret of Success

Text: 2 Chronicles 11:9 “So David waxed greater and greater: for the LORD of hosts was with him.“

The secret to how David became greater and greater was that God was with him. We need to stay close to God by listening to Him and spending time in his Word and in prayer each day alone. We also need to spend daily time in prayer and devotions with our family if we are married.

Hymn (“God, Himself is with Us”): “God Himself is with us: Let us now adore Him, And with awe appear before Him. God is in His temple, all within keep silence, Prostrate lie with deepest reverence. Him alone God we own, Him our God and Savior; Praise His Name forever.”

30th

Don’t Ever Quit Worshipping God

Text: 1 Chronicles 15:29 (KJV) “And it came to pass, as the ark of the covenant of the LORD came to the city of David, that Michal the daughter of Saul looking out at a window saw king David dancing and playing: and she despised him in her heart.”

David was so excited that the Ark of the Covenant (that contained God’s holy Ten Commandments) had come to Jerusalem, that he danced and played before the Lord.  His wife, Michal, saw David and despised him in her heart.  She was then cursed to be childless.  The moral of this true story is that no matter where we go some people will despise us in their hearts because their hearts are cold toward the things of God. My prayer is that you and I will still worship God, no matter the consequences, and no matter who insults us.

Hymn (“Coming up the Road”): “When David danced before the Lord, The ark was coming up the road; His wife despised him in her heart; The ark was coming up the road.” Refrain: “It’s coming, hallelujah! The ark is coming up the road; It’s coming, hallelujah! The ark is coming up the road.”

29th

God is so Good to Me
Text: 1 Chronicles 16:34 (KJV) “O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.”

King David wrote and sang a Psalm of praise that God had allowed him to bring the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem.  In the midst of his praise, he proclaimed that God is so good, his mercy endureth forever.  Today, let each of us take time to reflect on the goodness of God.  God is so good that He sent his Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for our sins, be buried, and rise from the dead on the third day.  God is so good that He provides food, clothing, shelter, health, and loved ones in our life.  God is so good that He gave us the local church and brothers and sisters in Christ to encourage us.  Finally, God is so good that Jesus is coming back for His bride, the church, namely all men and women who believe in Him and trust Him as their Savior and LORD.

Hymn (“GOD Is so Good”): “God is so good, God is so good, God is so good, He’s so good to me!”

28th

More, More about Jesus
Text: 1 Chronicles 16:10 (KJV) “Glory ye in His holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the LORD.”

In the midst of his praise, David proclaimed that God’s name is holy and that believers should rejoice and seek the LORD.  Today, let each of us take time to seek the LORD and spend more, more, time with Jesus.  I challenge each of us to fast something at least one day in the next thirty. If you cannot fast food, fast television, video games, DVDs, or cell phones, etc., and spend one day without any “entertainment” and read your Bible, pray, and listen to God.

Hymn (“More about Jesus”): “More about Jesus would I know, More of His grace to others show; More of His saving fullness see, More of His love Who died for me.” Refrain: More, more about Jesus, More, more about Jesus; More of His saving fullness see, More of His love, Who died for me.”

27th

A Clean Mouth
Text: Psalm 71:15 (KJV) “My mouth shall show forth Thy righteousness and Thy salvation.”

Psalm 71 was written by an anonymous person.  The writer praises God and says that his mouth will show forth God’s righteousness and salvation.  As Christians, we need this twofold clean mouth.  Let us have clean speech with no filthy talk or jokes, no gossiping, and no backbiting.  Let us also tell of the goodness of God that leads us to repentance and faith in Jesus’ Name.”

Hymn (“Just a Word for Jesus”): “Now just a word for Jesus; Your dearest Friend so true; Come, cheer our hearts and tell us, What He hath done for you.” Refrain: “Now just a word for Jesus, ‘Twill help us on our way! One little word for Jesus, Oh speak, or sing, or pray!”

26th

Know Jesus in Your Heart, Not Just in Your Head
Text: Romans 10:9-10 (KJV) “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

What is the way to be saved from death, the grave, and hell? Believe and confess Jesus as God our Savior!  Many people (I was one of them) have lots of Bible knowledge and believe that Jesus was a real person and they stop at that.  But, to be saved we need spiritual heart surgery. We need to accept Christ into our hearts by repenting of our sins and trusting Jesus to be our Savior and Lord.  Christianity is a relationship, not a religion.

Hymn (“If Thou Shalt Confess”): “O lost one in the wilds of sin, So long from God away; Before thee lies an open path, Where thou canst walk today. For if thou shalt confess the Lord, And in thine heart believe; His Word is sure, it stands secure, `Thou shalt be saved, Thou shalt be saved.’ ”

25th

God Answers All our Prayers
Text: 1 Chronicles 5:20 (KJV) “And they were helped against them, and the Hagarites were delivered into their hand, and all that were with them: for they cried to God in the battle, and He was intreated of them; because they put their trust in Him.”

The men of Israel won in battle because they cried to God and they trusted in Him.  God always answers the prayers of Christians.  He answers in three ways: yes; no; or not yet.  So the next time someone who doesn’t trust Christ as his or her Savior and Lord insults you, saying, “I guess God doesn’t answer your prayers because you are `too poor, too fat, too stupid,’ or whatever, stop and say, `That’s worldly stuff! I trust that God always hears my prayers and I know that He will give me the right answer at the perfect time!’ “

Hymn (“He Will Answer Every Prayer”): “God has given you His promise, That He hears and answers prayer. He will heed your supplication, If you cast on Him your care.” Refrain: “He will answer every prayer, He will answer every prayer, Go to Him in faith believing, He will answer every prayer.”

24th

The Prayer of Jabez-Some Important Lessons
Text: 1 Chronicles 4:10 (KJV) “And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, `Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested.”

Jabez called on God. We need to pray to God and not run for the quickest self-help book, or ease our pain in other more destructive ways. Jabez asked that God would bless him and enlarge his “coast.” We need to ask God to bless and expand our endeavors every day as we reach out to others. Jabez asked to be kept from evil and not to be “grieved.”  We must daily confess our sins, repent of them, and ask God to fill us with his Holy Spirit so that we can do much for his glory.

Hymn (“Jesus Who Bought Us with His Blood”): “Jesus, who bought us with His blood, And makes our souls His care; Was known of old as Israel’s God, And answered Jabez’ prayer. Jabez! a child of grief! the name befits poor sinners well; For Jesus bore the cross and shame, To save our souls from hell.”

23rd

What’s A Genealogy For?”
Text: 1 Chronicles 1:1(KJV) “Adam, Sheth, Enosh…”

The first nine chapters of the book of Chronicles are devoted to the history and genealogy of Israel.  Many Christians say, “Why read these boring names?”  My friends and family of God, this ought not be said.  We can learn at least three things from these genealogies.
1. God works through people of all generations and backgrounds.
2. As believers in Christ, our spiritual heritage is in these names. We are all part of God’s family.
3. The specific names give us encouragement and security in the fact that God knows our names, too. They are lovingly written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

Worship Song (“He Knows My Name,” by Israel Houghton): “I have a Maker, He Formed My Heart, Before even time began, My life was in hands.” Chorus: “He knows my name, He knows my every thought, He sees each tear that falls, And hears me when I call.”

22nd

Jesus Has Set the Captives Free
Text: 2 Kings 25:21c (KJV) “So Judah was carried away out of their land.”

Judah, and Jerusalem its capital, was destroyed by Babylon’s King Nebuchadnezzar and all the people except the poor of the land were taken into captivity.  In the Bible, there are various “types.” Most Bible scholars agree that Babylon is a “type” of our sinful world and how it captures God’s people.  Jesus came to earth to overcome sin. He died on the cross for our sins, was buried, and rose again thus overcoming death. This gives us an opportunity to be set free through repentance and a faith relationship with Him.  For your eternal security, please repent and give your life to Him today if you have not already done so?

Hymn (“He Set Me Free”): “My soul is filled with joy and gladness, Since Jesus came to me. His love has banished all my sadness, From sin I am set free.” Refrain: “He set me free, He set me free, I was blind, but hallelujah, now I see! I shall ne’er forget the day, When He washed my sins away, And He set, He set me free.”

21st

A Tender Heart for God
Text: 2 Kings 22:19 (KJV) “Because thine heart was tender, and thou hast humbled thyself before the LORD, when thou heardest what I spake against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, that they should become a desolation and a curse, and hast rent thy clothes, and wept before me; I also have heard thee, saith the LORD.”

King Josiah, who started his Godly reign of Judah when he was only eight years old, found the Book containing God’s laws. He ripped his clothes and wept before God for his sins and the sins of the nation.  God said He would hear Josiah’s prayer because Josiah had a tender (Hebrew word, rakak) heart toward God.  God wants people who will daily repent of their own sins and intercede and weep for the sins of their nation.  Finally, I wish to commend those young people out there, whether in grade school, high school, college, or just entering the work force who are not afraid to be witnesses for Christ. “Keep on keeping on” doing well for his Kingdom!

Hymn (“O, for That Tenderness of Heart,” verses 1 & 2): “O for that tenderness of heart, Which bows before the Lord, Acknowledging how just Thou art, And trembling at Thy Word! O for those humble, contrite tears, Which from repentance flow; That consciousness of guilt which fears The long-suspended blow!”

20th

Our Testimony-Something to Share with Others
Text: Psalm 66:16 (KJV) “Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my soul.”

Here in the midst of the Psalm, the writer encourages those around him who fear God to listen to his testimony.  We that have come to faith in Christ also have a testimony.  It is not something that we should be ashamed of or keep to ourselves.  We need to share our testimony both with our fellow Christians to encourage them, and also with the lost so that they can be set free from the power of sin, death, and the grave.

Hymn (“I Love to Tell the Story): “I love to tell the story of unseen things above, Of Jesus and His glory, Of Jesus and His love. I love to tell the story, Because I know ’tis true; It satisfies my longings as nothing else can do.” Refrain: “I love to tell the story, ’twill be my theme in glory, To tell the old, old story of Jesus and His love.”

19th

I am Adopted
Text: Romans 8:15 (KJV) “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father”

The Apostle Paul said that when a person accepts Jesus as their Savior and LORD they are adopted into the family of God.  I come from a messed up family where I experienced much abuse and fear.  To this day, even though I have forgiven my tormentors like Jesus asked me to, I can have no earthly relationship with them. All I can do is pray for their salvation, and ask the Lord to send someone to them.  Isn’t it wonderful that God says that when we put our faith and trust in His Son Jesus, He adopts us into his family and we can, like a child, call him “Abba,” which translates as “Daddy.”

Hymn (“Adopted”): “O what a blessing, How can I express it? Out of the fullness of rapture I sing, Now by the Father received and adopted, I am a child and an heir of a King.” Refrain: “I am adopted, O wonderful love, Heir to a heritage purchased above; Tell it, my soul, and joyfully sing, I am a child and an heir of a King.”

18th

Prayer, Your First Line of Defense
Text: 2Kings 19:1 (KJV) “And it came to pass, when king Hezekiah heard it, that he rent his clothes, and covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of the LORD.”

After the invasion and capture of all the fortified cities of Judah by the evil king of Assyria, King Hezekiah did not cry and give up in surrender.  Instead, he tore his clothes, covered himself with sackcloth (signs of repentance, sorrow, and grief), and went into the Temple to pray.  Prayer should be our first line of defense in a crisis, but also in times of peace.  I am amazed and humbled by my Godly ancestors, the Scottish Covenanters, who prayed two to four hours a day, before, during, and after
their persecution by the wicked kings and clergy of both Scotland and England.  Let us pray daily and not just at mealtimes. God is always waiting to hear from his people and to hear the call of “Please save me, LORD” from those who do not yet know Him, but want to know Him as their Savior and LORD.

Hymn (“Sweet Hour of Prayer,” verse 3): “Sweet hour of prayer! Sweet hour of prayer! Thy wings shall my petition bear, To Him whose truth and faithfulness, Engage the waiting soul to bless. In addition, since He bids me seek His face, Believe His Word and trust His grace, I’ll cast on Him my every care, And wait for thee, sweet hour of prayer!”

17th

Worship God, Not Idols
Text: 2Kings 17:16-18 (KJV) “And they left all the commandments of the LORD their God, and made them molten images, even two calves, and made a grove, and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served Baal.  And they caused their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire, and used divination and enchantments, and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger.  Therefore the LORD was very angry with Israel, and removed them out of his sight: there was none left but the tribe of Judah only. ”

After the invasion of Israel by the king of Assyria, the people worshipped idols and made the LORD very angry.  We do the same as Christians when we forsake the worship of our LORD and SAVIOR, JESUS CHRIST and drift away from our daily personal and family devotional time. It is so easy for sloth and the cares of the world to tear us away. Oh, LORD, have mercy on us, and forgive us our trespasses and neglect.

Hymn (“Worship, Thanks, and Blessing”): “Worship, and thanks, and blessing, And strength ascribe to Jesus! Jesus alone defends His own, When earth and hell oppress us! Jesus with joy we witness Almighty to deliver; Our seals set to, that God is true, And reigns a King for ever.”

16th

Follow God, Not Sinful Ancestors
Text: 2Kings 13:1-2 (KJV) “In the twenty-third year of Joash son of Ahaziah king of Judah, Jehoahaz son of Jehu became king of Israel in Samaria, and he reigned seventeen years. He did evil in the eyes of the LORD by following the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit, and he did not turn away from them.”

Jehoahaz became king, but he followed the sins of his ancestors and did evil.  I want to tell you today that there are such real things as “generational curses,” but the power of the Holy Spirit can restore and change our lives and break those generational curses as we heed and obey God’s Word.  If your family has been cursed by sin for decades, you can turn the tide through God’s grace and the faith He places in you. Follow God, pray for your loved ones, and watch the miracles unfold!

Hymn (“Follow Me, A Call so Tender”): “Follow Me! A call so tender, Falls upon my list’ning ear; ‘Tis the voice of Christ, my Savior, ‘Tis the Shepherd’s call I hear.”

Refrain: “O that call! Loving call! ‘Tis the sweetest voice of all. How it draws me nearer to Him, When I hear my Shepherd’s call!”

15th

Come See my Zeal for the LORD
Text: 2 Kings 10:11-16 (KJV) “So Jehu slew all that remained of the house of Ahab in Jezreel, and all his great men, and his kinsfolks, and his priests, until he left him none remaining.  And he arose and departed, and came to Samaria. And as he was at the shearing house in the way, Jehu met with the brethren of Ahaziah king of Judah, and said, `Who are ye?’ And they answered, `We are the brethren of Ahaziah; and we go down to salute the children of the king and the children of the queen.’ And he. . .slew them at the pit of the shearing house. . .And when he was departed thence, he lighted on Jehonadab the son of Rechab coming to meet him: and he saluted him, and said to him, `Is thine heart right, as my heart is with thy heart?’ And Jehonadab answered, `It is. If it be, give me thine hand.’ And he gave him his hand; and he took him up to him into the chariot.  And he said, `Come with me, and see my zeal for the LORD.’ ”

Jehu had “zeal for the LORD.”  Jesus had a passion for the glory of his Father. In John 2, Jesus took action against the money exchangers in the temple because the holiness of God and his “house of prayer” were being violated. Jesus cleared everyone out and threw over their tables because He was zealous for God and his glory. Do you have that zeal for God’s glory? Now I am not asking you to throw over tables and break doors down, but we are to follow the example of Christ and have zeal for the Lord. Love God and be zealous, but use wisdom, grace, and compassion as well.

Hymn (“Be Strong in Him”): “Be strong in God and in His power; Put on His armor every day. Thus you can take your stand each hour; The devil’s schemes won’t lead you astray. The battle’s like a flood, Though not ‘gainst flesh and blood; But ‘gainst the spiritual realm, With Satan at the helm; You face the powers of darkness.”

14th

Leave a Godly Legacy
Text: 2 Kings 9:30-37 (KJV) “And when Jehu was come to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it; and she painted her face, and tired her head, and looked out at a window. And as Jehu entered in at the gate, she said, `Had Zimri peace, who slew his master?’ And he lifted up his face to the window, and said, `Who is on my side? Who?’ And there looked out to him two orthree eunuchs. And he said, `Throw her down.’ So they threw her down: and some of her blood was sprinkled on the wall, and on the horses: and he trode her under foot. And when he was come in, he did eat and drink, and said, `Go, see now this cursed woman, and bury her: for she is a king’s daughter.’ And they went to bury her: but they found no more of her than the skull, and the feet, and the palms of her hands. Wherefore they came again, and told him. And he said, `This is the word of the LORD, which he spake by his servant Elijah the Tishbite, saying, `In the portion of Jezreel shall dogs eat the flesh of Jezebel: And the carcase of Jezebel shall be as dung upon the face of the field in the portion of Jezreel; so that they shall not say, This is Jezebel.’ ”

Wicked Queen Jezebel did not leave her riches to the poor nor did she leave a Godly legacy behind. Instead, she died accursed. Even today our society calls a wicked, sinful, woman “a scheming Jezebel.”  I am here to share with you that God wants those who come behind us (family members, co-workers, bosses, friends, and neighbors) to find us faithfully leaving a Godly spiritual legacy.

Song (“Find us Faithful,” by Steve Green): “After all our hopes and dreams have come and gone, And our children sift through all we’ve left behind, May the clues that they discover and the memories they uncover (find us faithful).”

13th

I Am Not Ashamed of the Gospel of Christ
Text: Psalm 63:7 (KJV) “Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice.”

This Psalm was written when King David was in the wilderness of Judah fleeing for his life from his rebellious son, Absalom. David rejoiced that God was his help and protection.  This verse is not saying that God has wings like a bird, rather it is a metaphor. As a bird protects her young, God protects all of us who trust in Him and run to him when the troubles, cares, and trials of this world try to defeat and harm us. If you are feeling afraid, lonely, or desperate and want comfort, go to God. He will be your help and protector.

Hymn (“In the Shadow of His Wings): “In the shadow of His wings, There is rest, sweet rest; There is rest from care and labor, There is rest for friend and neighbor; In the shadow of His wings, There is rest, sweet rest, In the shadow of His wings, There is rest (sweet rest).”

12th

I Am Not Ashamed of the Gospel of Christ
Text: Romans 1:16 (KJV) “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”

The Apostle Paul wrote that he was not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ.  We should be like Paul and not be ashamed of the Gospel.  Why should we not be ashamed?  Because it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believes by faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ and is trusting Christ alone to save them.  We are not saved by our good works, or joining a church, etc., but we are saved by putting our faith and trust in God’s grace through Jesus.  So, since we have become believers, let us not be ashamed and let us share with those who have not yet believed the Good News.

Hymn (“Take a Stand for Jesus”): “Take a stand for Jesus, let all people know, That you mean to serve Him, Everywhere you go. High or low your station, rich or poor your lot, Take a stand for Jesus, and forsake Him not.

11th

Fill the Empty Vessels
Text: II Kings 4:1-6 (KJV) “Now there cried a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets unto Elisha, saying, `Thy servant my husband is dead; and thou knowest that thy servant did fear the LORD: and the creditor is come to take unto him my two sons to be bondmen.’ And Elisha said unto her, `What shall I do for thee? tell me, what hast thou in the house?’ And she said, `Thine handmaid hath not any thing in the house, save a pot of oil.’ Then he said, `Go, borrow thee vessels abroad of all thy neighbours, even empty vessels; borrow not a few.  And when thou art come in, thou shalt shut the door upon thee and upon thy sons, and shalt pour out into all those vessels, and thou shalt set aside that which is full.’ So she went from him, and shut the door upon her and upon her sons, who brought the vessels to her; and she poured out.  And it came to pass, when the vessels were full, that she said unto her son, `Bring me yet a vessel.’ And he said unto her, `There is not a vessel more.’ And the oil stayed. ”

Elisha the Prophet performed a miracle by God’s power and filled the empty pots with oil for a widow so that her sons would not be sold as slaves.  Jesus saves us from the slavery and punishment of sin, and then He desires that we be filled vessels of the Holy Spirit to share his love and good news with the lost members of our families, lost friends, lost neighbors, and lost bosses and co-workers.

Hymn (“Bring Your Vessels, Not a Few”): “Are you longing for the fullness, Of the blessing of the Lord, In your heart and life today? Claim the promise of your Father; Come according to His Word, In the blessèd, old time way.” Refrain: “He will fill your heart today to overflowing. As the Lord commandeth you, `Bring your vessels, not a few.’ He will fill your heart today to overflowing, With the Holy Ghost and power.”

10th

A Double Portion
Text: II Kings 2:9 (KJV) “And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, `Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee.’ And Elisha said, `I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me.’ ”

Elisha the Prophet asked for “a double portion” of the Holy Spirit to come upon him as he replaced Elijah the Prophet, who was going to go to heaven.  Elisha’s motives were pure because he wanted to accomplish more for God’s glory so God granted him his request.  Today, as we get ready for Jesus’ soon return, let us pray for “a double portion” of the Holy Spirit so we can do much for God’s glory, and plant, water, and reap the harvest of souls that need to come into his Kingdom before Jesus comes back.

Hymn (“God of the Prophets, Bless the Prophets’ Sons”): “God of the prophets, Bless the prophets’ sons! Elijah’s mantle o’er Elisha cast; Each age its solemn task may claim but once; Make each one nobler, stronger, than the last.”

9th

God is Still on the Throne
Text: I Kings 22:19 (KJV) “And he said, `Hear thou therefore the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing by him on his right hand and on his left.’ ”

In today’s text, we come to the place where evil King Ahab was about to hear a prophecy from Micaiah, the Prophet.  Micaiah, said he saw the LORD sitting on his throne.  God is still on his throne.  Today, you and I may be facing an illness, problems at work or in our home, or just feeling lonely.  Do not fret anymore, but look up and rejoice that God is still on his throne and He will hear our prayers and will care for us and lift us up in our time of trials.

Hymn (“God is Still on the Throne”): “Have you started for glory and Heaven? Have you left this old world far behind? In your heart is the Comforter dwelling? Can you say, `Praise the Lord, He is mine’? Have the ones that once walked on the highway, Gone back, and you seem all alone? Keep your eyes on the prize, for the home in the skies; God is still on the throne.”

8th

The Still Small Voice
Text: I Kings 19:11-13 (KJV) “And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, `What doest thou here, Elijah?’ ”

Elijah, The Prophet of God, had just experienced a strong wind, earthquake, and a fire but did not hear the voice of God.  After the fire, he heard a still small voice, the voice of God.  Today, do not look for the voice of God in the dramatic or spectacular, but instead get alone with God in his Word and in prayer, and listen humbly and quietly for his still, small voice to guide and lead you.

Hymn (“Hark! There Comes a Whisper”): “Hark! There comes a whisper, Stealing on thine ear: ‘Tis the Savior calling, Soft, soft and clear.” Refrain: “Give thy heart to Me, Once I died for thee”; Hark! Hark! Thy Savior calls: Come, sinner, come!”

7th

Elijah’s God Still Lives Today
Text: I Kings 18:38-39 (KJV) “Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and they said, `The LORD, he is the God; the LORD, he is the God.’ ”

In today’s text, we come to the place where the Prophet Elijah, on Mount Carmel, silenced the 450 false prophets of Baal. He called down the fire of God which consumed the sacrifice, the wood, the altar, and even the water.  Elijah’s God is still alive today and wants to rule and reign in our hearts and lives.  All we need to do is accept Christ as our Savior and LORD by grace through faith alone.  Then let us pray the words of today’s closing hymn, “Lord send your holy fire (The Holy Spirit) upon my heart today.”

Hymn (“Elijah’s God Still Lives Today”): “Elijah made a sacrifice, To offer to Jehovah; It had been wet with water thrice, Baal’s sacrifice was over. Elijah prayed: the fire came down, And licked the water all around; So doubting ones believed, and found Elijah’s God was living.” Refrain: “Elijah’s God still lives today, To take the guilt of sin away; And when I pray my heart’s desire, Upon my soul He sends the fire.”

6th

God is My Rock and Refuge
Text: Psalm 62:7 (KJV) “In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.”

King David wrote this Psalm during his son Absalom’s rebellion in which he tried to steal the kingdom from his father.  David said God is his salvation, his glory, and the rock of his strength and his refuge.  Today, do you as a parent have a rebellious child who treats you with ill respect?  Do you have an always angry boss or co-worker?  Do you have a wayward and bitter spouse?  Or, do you just feel lonely and overwhelmed?  Do not fret or fear, but go to Jesus and tell Him, “Lord Jesus, I need you, please be my Rock and my Strength.”  He will sustain, hold, and keep you!

Hymn (“Blessed Rock”): “Mid the wild and fearful blast, I have reached the Rock at last; Helpless, weak and sore dismayed, To the cross I’ll cling for aid.” Refrain: ”Blessed Rock, whose love divine, Fills with joy this heart of mine; Cross of Him who died for me, Evermore I’ll cling to Thee.”

5th

Almost Persuaded
Text: Acts 26:28 (KJV) “Then Agrippa said unto Paul, `Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.’ ”

King Agrippa flippantly told the Apostle Paul, who had just shared the Gospel of Jesus Christ with him, “You almost persuaded me to be a Christian.”  We must never stop sharing the Gospel with others. We must always realize that a person’s eternal soul is at stake. Still, it is ultimately up to the person to yield to the Holy Spirit’s call to accept Jesus as their Savior and Lord. “He who is al­most per­suad­ed is al­most saved, and to be al­most saved is to be en­tire­ly lost,” were the words with which the noted Rev. Mr. Brun­dage end­ed one of his ser­mons. P. P. Bliss, who was in the au­di­ence, was much im­pressed with the thought, and im­me­di­ate­ly set about the com­po­si­tion of what proved to be one of his most pop­u­lar songs, today’s hymn, “Almost Persuaded.”

Hymn (“Almost Persuaded”): “Almost persuaded now to believe; Almost persuaded Christ to receive; Seems now some soul to say, `Go, Spirit, go Thy way, Some more convenient day, On Thee I’ll call.’ ”

4th

The Answer to a Sinful Lifestyle
Text: I Kings 15:9-12a (KJV) “And in the twentieth year of Jeroboam king of Israel reigned Asa over Judah. And forty and one years reigned he in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Maachah, the daughter of Abishalom. And Asa did that which was right in the eyes of the LORD, as did David his father. And he took away the sodomites out of the land.”

God used King Asa to rid Judah of the sodomites (homosexual male prostitutes). The Bible says Asa “did that which was right in the eyes of the LORD.”  The Bible also says that only the LORD is to judge, and only the LORD is to bring vengeance on wrongdoers. An active homosexual lifestyle is sin according to the Bible, but before we are too quick to point fingers we must remember that sin also includes pride, arrogance, lust, gluttony, and gossip. These are just a few of the sins we Christians seem to often ignore within ourselves. Only the Gospel, both spoken and lived, can set us free! To paraphrase Jesus, “They will know us by our love!”

Hymn (“Only a Sinner, Saved by Grace”): “Once I was foolish, and sin ruled my heart, Causing my footsteps from God to depart; Jesus hath found me, happy my case; I now am a sinner, saved by grace!” Refrain: “Only a sinner, saved by grace! Only a sinner, saved by grace! This is my story, to God be the glory. I’m only a sinner, saved by grace!”

3rd

Love God’s House
Text: I Kings 9:15a (KJV) “And this is the reason of the levy which King Solomon raised; for to build the house of the LORD.”

In great reverence, Solomon built the Temple, the House of the LORD.  We need to have such reverence about God’s House where we congregate. We, of course, don’t worship the building but we worship in the building as we freely “gather together” with our brothers and sisters in Christ.  As we gather, we need to remember how our persecuted brothers and sisters around the world long to be with each other in the same freedom we have. Please lift them up in prayer.

Hymn (“We Love the Venerable House”): “We love the venerable house, Our fathers built to God; In heaven are kept their grateful vows, Their dust endears the sod.”

2nd

God, Please be with Us and Help Us to be With You
Text: I Kings 8:57 (KJV) “The LORD our God be with us, as he was with our fathers: let him not leave us, nor forsake us.”

King Solomon dedicated the Temple and in the midst of his prayer of dedication he asked for God to always be with the people and him and never forsake them.  Today, I would ask that we take this one step further and pray for God to not only be with us and never leave nor forsake us, but also for us to stay close to God and never forsake Him.  We stay close to God by reading and heeding the Bible, by listening to Him in prayer, and by serving Him and our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ..

Hymn (“God, Be in My Head”): “God be in my head, and in my understanding; God be in mine eyes, and in my looking; God be in my mouth, and in my speaking; God be in my heart, and in my thinking; God be at mine end, and at my departing.”

1st

Blessed be the LORD, This Day
Text: I Kings 5:7 (KJV) “And it came to pass, when Hiram heard the words of Solomon, that he rejoiced greatly, and said, `Blessed be the LORD this day, which hath given unto David a wise son over this great people.’ ”

In today’s text, we come to the place where Hiram gave praise to God for the gift of wisdom God gave to Solomon.  As Christians, we need to make every day “a festival day” of praise to God for the gifts He has given us and those close to us. If we are able, it is well to get on our knees by our beds first thing in the morning and declare, “Blessed be the LORD this day and thank you LORD for another day to glorify You!”

Hymn (“Hail Thee, Festival Day”): “God the Almighty Lord, The Ruler of earth and the heavens, Guard us from harm without; Cleanse us from evil within. Jesus the health of the world, Enlighten our minds, great Redeemer, Son of the Father Supreme, Only begotten of God. Spirit of life and of power, Now flow in us, fount of our being, Light that enlightens us all, Life that in all may abide.”

June

30th

Understanding, Wisdom, and Discernment
Text: I Kings 3:9 (KJV) “Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?*”

King Solomon did not ask God for riches and pleasures, but instead asked God for an understanding heart, discernment between good and bad, and wisdom to rule God’s people.  Christians should not be absorbed with having the biggest house on the block, the latest technology, and latest “toys.” We should follow Solomon’s example and ask for understanding of the scriptures, wisdom to live our lives, and discernment between good and evil.  Having these three things will also give us the correct view of God and will stop all our false views of God, like seeing him as traffic cop ready to give us a citation or illness for doing wrong.  God is our loving Heavenly Father. Let us seek his good gifts of love, grace, and mercy in addition to understanding, wisdom and discernment.

Worship Song (“Give Me, O Lord, Right Views of Thee”): “Give me, O Lord, right views of Thee, Thy glorious nature, love, and might; And draw my spirit’s eyes to see, The things concealed from mortal sight; And in the soul which Thou hast wrought, O breathe the understanding thought.”

29th

Praise God, Even when Your Enemies are Attacking
Text: Psalm 57:5(KJV) “Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens; let thy glory be above all the earth.”

While fleeing from his enemy King David stopped and asked for God to be exalted above the heavens. When we are attacked by enemies like the world, our flesh, the devil, sickness, too many bills, job stress, angry co-workers, or belligerent people, let us stop and praise God and ask for Him to be gloried and exalted throughout our attack. When we cry, “HELP, LORD!” Guess what? He comes to our rescue.

Worship Song (“Above the Heavens Be Exalted, O God,” Words and music by Helen Green(c) 1997): “I will praise You, O Lord, I will praise You among the nations, I will sing of You, I will sing of You among the people; For great is Your love, reaching to the heavens. Your faithfulness, Your faithfulness reaches the skies.” Chorus: “Be exalted, O God, above the heavens, Let your glory be over all the earth, Be exalted, O God, above the heavens, Let your glory be over all the earth.”

28th

Never be Afraid to Speak about Jesus
Text: Acts 18:9-10(KJV) “Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, `Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace: For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city.’ ”

The Lord came to the Apostle Paul in a vision at night and told him not to be afraid to speak about Him and proclaim the good news of the Gospel.  At times we may be afraid of how our neighbors, co-workers, friends, or family members will react if we speak about Jesus, or pray for them. We must stop and remember that Jesus tells us, “Be not afraid and hold not thy peace.” This means we are not to be ashamed of Him ever!

Worship Song (“Never Be Afraid”): “Never be afraid to speak for Jesus, Think how much a word can do; Never be afraid to own your Savior, He Who loves and cares for you.” Refrain: “Never be afraid, never be afraid, Never, never, never; Jesus is your loving Savior, Therefore never be afraid.”

27th

LORD, Lighten the Darkness
Text: 2 Samuel 22:29(KJV) “For thou art my lamp, O LORD: and the LORD will lighten my darkness.”

King David sang praises to God and asked God to be his lamp and lighten the darkness.  The Bible also says that God’s Word is a lamp unto our path and light unto our feet. So today, if all the sin and darkness in this world gets you discouraged or feeling hopeless, stop, don’t give up, and go to the Bible for your Light in the darkness.

Worship Song (“Lighten the Darkness”): “Lighten the darkness of our life’s long night, Through which we blindly stumble to the day, Shadows mislead us; Father, send Thy light, To set our footsteps in the homeward way.”

26th

I Will Call upon the LORD
Text: 2 Samuel 22:4 (KJV) “I will call on the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.”

King David sang praises to God for delivering him from all his enemies.  It was God who fought for David.  Today, do not let your three enemies, the world, your flesh, and the devil defeat you and make you hopeless. Instead, call upon the LORD and be hopeful in Him.

Worship Song (“I Will Call upon the LORD”): “I will call upon the Lord, Who is worthy to be praised, So shall I be saved from my enemies. The Lord liveth and blessed be the Rock, And let the God of my salvation be exalted.”

25th

The Way to Handle Unjust Criticism–Look up to God
Text: 2 Samuel 16:12 (KJV) “It may be that the LORD will look on mine affliction, and that the LORD will requite me good for his cursing this day.”

King David was cursed and criticized by Shimei.  When we experience people gossiping about us, or unjustly criticizing us, we want to “get our “Mr. T. on” and say, “I pity the fool who messes with me.” Brothers and sisters, we must stop trying to defend ourselves and model King David.  Let us look upward to God daily to be our Defender.

Hymn (“Looking Upward Everyday”): “Looking upward every day, Sunshine on our faces; Pressing onward every day, Toward the heavenly places.”

24th

Ready to Serve the LORD and Others
Text: 2 Samuel 15:15 (KJV) “And the king’s servants said unto the king, `Behold, thy servants are ready to do whatsoever my lord the king shall appoint.’ ”

King David’s servants said to him that they were ready to do what their King appointed.  As Christians, we have Jesus as both Savior and King over our lives.  We are honored and blessed to be in the service of this Highest King, so we obey through love and gratitude.  Be ready to do everything God asks of you joyfully, and your rewards will be truly great!

Hymn (“Ready”): “Ready to suffer grief or pain, Ready to stand the test, Ready to stay at home and send others if He sees best.” Refrain: “Ready to go, ready to stay, Ready my place to fill, Ready for service, lowly or great, Ready to do His will.”

23rd

Adultery, Flee from it, Before You Fall in it’s Pit
Text: 2 Samuel 11:2-5 (KJV) “And it came to pass in an evening tide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king’s house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon. And David sent and enquired after the woman. And one said, `Is not this Bath-sheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?’ And David sent messengers, and took her; and she came in unto him, and he lay with her; for she was purified from her uncleanness: and she returned unto her house. And the woman conceived, and sent and told David, and said, `I am with child.’ ”

King David sinned by committing adultery with Bathsheba.  Christian men and women are often quick to throw judgment on King David and Bathsheba.  Before we do that, we need to step back and ask ourselves, “Do we commit adultery in our hearts by lusting after another man or woman who is not our spouse?”  That’s how it started with David. We need to keep away from not only pornography, but also lustful music videos, magazines, soap operas, and even close relationships with someone of the opposite sex, especially at work or in our neighborhood.  Adultery is a sin against God and badly damages many people–your spouse, your children, and even your own body and mind.  Flee today, there’s no other way!

Song (“How David, When by Sin Deceived”): “How David, when by sin deceived, From bad to worse went on! For when the Holy Spirit’s grieved, Our strength and guard are gone.”

22nd

Leave Your Burdens There at Jesus’ Feet
Text: Psalm 55:22 (KJV) “Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and He shall sustain thee: He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.”

King David encourages us to cast our burdens upon the LORD and He will sustain us.  So, my encouragement to us today is that if we are feeling overwhelmed with bills, bills, and bills, high costs of gas and food, pressures at work, loneliness, etc. we need to stop despairing and cast all of our cares upon the LORD. He will strengthen and sustain us. In closing, here is the story behind today’s hymn. A fel­low who was a con­stant wor­ri­er vis­it­ed Mr. Charles A. Tind­ley (writer of today’s hymn). Af­ter list­en­ing to him for a while, Tind­ley said,  “My ad­vice to you is put all your trou­bles in a sack, take ’em to the Lord, and leave ’em there.”

Song (“Leave It There”): “If the world from you withholds of its silver and its gold, And you have to get along with meager fare, Just remember, in His Word, how He feeds the little bird; Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there.” Refrain: “Leave it there, leave it there, Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there. If you trust and never doubt, He will surely bring you out. Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there.”

21st

My Chains Fell Off and I Want to Keep Them Off
Text: Acts 12:7 (KJV) “And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, `Arise up quickly.’ And his chains fell off from his hands.”

The Apostle Peter had his chains loosed by an angel and was freed from the prison.  Jesus has freed us from the chains of sin and the prison that lasts for all eternity for those who reject Him, namely “The Lake of Fire.”   God daily keeps the chains of sin off us as we love and obey Jesus.

Song (“And Can it be That I Should Gain?,” Verse 4): “Long my imprisoned spirit lay, Fast bound in sin and nature’s night; Thine eye diffused a quickening ray— I woke, the dungeon flamed with light; My chains fell off, my heart was free, I rose, went forth, and followed Thee. My chains fell off, my heart was free, I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.” Refrain: “Amazing love! How can it be, That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?”

20th

Blest, Blest Forever
Text: 2 Samuel 7:29 (KJV) “Therefore now let it please thee to bless the house of thy servant, that it may continue for ever before thee: for thou, O Lord God, hast spoken it: and with thy blessing let the house of thy servant be blessed for ever.”

King David asked for God’s blessing in his life and with his progeny.  We are blessed forever not because of who we are but because of Who we know and have a relationship with. That relationship is with Jesus, Our Savior and Lord.  As an aside, do not be led to think that if you follow Jesus you will be blessed to have the newest car and biggest mansion in your neighborhood, and if you do not have these things you are not blessed.  In following Jesus we may have abundant physical blessings, but these are very much secondary to our spiritual blessings and our gift of eternal life. If we are faithful to God in this life, we will receive rewards in heaven that are greater than anything on this earth.  Yes, we are blest, blest forever!

Song (“Blest, Blest Forever”): “Only a little while, sowing and reaping, Only a little while, our vigil keeping; Then we shall gather home, no more to sever, Clasped in eternal love, blest, blest forever.” Refrain: “Blest, blest forever, No more to sever, Clasped in eternal love, Blest, blest forever.”

19th

The Secret of Success
Text: 2 Samuel 5:10 (KJV) “And David went on, and grew great, and the LORD GOD of Hosts was with him.”

What was the source of King David’s greatness and success?  King David went on and grew great because “The LORD GOD of Hosts was with him.”  If you want to be successful and have true joy in your life do not depend on yourself, a denomination, any self-help book, a relative, a spouse, friends, or even your pastor.  Instead go to God. Be near Him at all times, humble yourself before Him, and learn to do and say all things to please Him. Then you will truly be successful.

Song ( “God is Always Near Me”): “God is always near me, Hearing what I say; Knowing all my thoughts and deeds, All my work and play.”

18th

Faithful Friend
Text: 2 Samuel 1:26 (KJV) “I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan: very pleasant hast thou been unto me: thy love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women.”

Here David mourns the death of his close friend, Jonathan.  This verse has been badly misused to imply that David and Jonathan had a homosexual relationship. This is a tawdry distortion of a strong bond of friendship between two men. Jonathan and David each considered the other a true brother. The vast majority of close relationships between persons of the same sex are normal. Do you have a close person (or persons) of the same sex with whom you have a Godly relationship of prayer, comfort, and encouragement? Praise God if you do!

Song (“Faithful Friend,” by Twila Paris and Steven Curtis Chapman): “I will be an open door that you can count on, Anywhere you are, Anywhere you’ve been. I will be an honest heart you can depend on. I will be a faithful friend.”

17th

The True Source of Encouragement
Text: I Samuel 30:6 (KJV) “And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.”

David was greatly distressed because the people wanted to use him as a “scapegoat,” or source of blame, because their sons, daughters, and wives were taken by the enemy.  David did not pick up the latest self-help book or drown his sorrows in a bottle of booze, but he encouraged himself in The Lord, his God! So today, if you need encouragement, go to God, read his Holy Word, pray to Him, and wait for Him to be your Rock!

Song (“I Go to the Rock,” by Dottie Rambo): “Where do I go? When there’s nobody else to turn to; Who do I talk to? When nobody wants to listen; Who do I lean on? Oh, When there is no foundation stable; I go to the rock, I know He is able, I go to the rock.” Chorus: “I go to the Rock of my Salvation I go to the Stone that the builders rejected; I run to the mountain; And the mountain He stands by me; When the Earth all around me is sinking sand; On Christ the solid rock I stand; When I need a shelter, I go to the Rock.”

16th

Grace upon Grace–God’s Grace
Text: John 1:16-17 (KJV) “And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.”

I have spent much time thinking about God’s grace towards me and how I am truly blessed to receive “grace for grace,” which means “grace upon grace,” or “abundant grace” from God.  The word “grace” here is the Greek word, charis, which is interpreted as “the Divine influence upon the heart and its reflection in one’s life.” It means, “being acceptable to God.”  There is an acrostic which conveys the meaning of grace. It is, G-od’s, R-iches, A-t, C-hrist’s, E-xpense. Let me encourage each of us to stop today and thank God for His abundant grace, and share this with others so they, too, can know the grace and peace of God in their turmoil!

Hymn (“Grace, Greater than our Sin”): “Marvelous grace of our loving Lord, Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt! Yonder on Calvary’s mount outpoured, There where the blood of the Lamb was spilled.” Refrain: “Grace, grace, God’s grace, Grace that will pardon and cleanse within; Grace, grace, God’s grace, Grace that is greater than all our sin.”

15th

More like the Master
Text: Psalm 51:10 (KJV) “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.”

This is King David’s prayer seeking God’s forgiveness after he had committed adultery with Bathsheba.  Sometimes even Christians are quick to verbally attack King David for his failings, when Jesus Himself said that if we lust or have anger in our hearts, we have committed adultery and murder. Even when we are at “our best” as we may think, we still need to be more like the Master, Jesus.  Why not take a few minutes today and say, “Lord Jesus, please forgive my sins and make me more like You today!”

Hymn (“More like the Master”): “More like the Master I would ever be, More of His meekness, more humility; More zeal to labor, more courage to be true, More consecration for work He bids me do.” Refrain: “Take Thou my heart, I would be Thine alone; Take Thou my heart, and make it all Thine own. Purge me from sin, O Lord, I now implore, Wash me and keep me Thine forevermore.”

14th

Worship God Only
Text: Acts 10:25-26 (KJV) “And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him. But Peter took him up, saying, `Stand up; I myself also am a man.’ ”

Cornelius tried to fall down and worship the Apostle Peter.  The Ten Commandment, The Old Testament Law, Jesus, and, here, the Apostle Peter, tell us that we are to worship God, and Him alone.  Do not worship a false religion, a person, an object, a sport, or a celebrity, etc.!  Worship only the triune God: God the Father; Jesus the Son; and The Holy Spirit the Helper.

Hymn (“O Worship the King”): “O worship the King, all glorious above, O gratefully sing his power and his love; Our Shield and Defender, the Ancient of Days, Pavilioned in splendor, and girded with praise.”

13th

He has Delivered Me out of all Tribulation
Text: I Samuel 26:24 (KJV) “And, behold, as thy life was much set by this day in mine eyes, so let my life be much set by in the eyes of the LORD, and let Him deliver me out of all tribulation.”

David assured his beloved friend Jonathan that God would deliver him from all his tribulations even though he was on the run for his life from Jonathan’s wicked father, King Saul.  God is our faithful deliverer.  He sent his Son Jesus to deliver us from all sin, the sting of death, and the power of the grave.  He delivers us from all our tribulation if we but call out his Name, Jesus!

Hymn (“Deliver Me from Evil”): “Deliver me from evil, preserve me, Lord, from wrong; Against the foes that gather, be Thou my Helper strong; From those who plot to hurt me and spread the treacherous snare, Preserve me, Lord, and keep me safeguarded in Thy care.”

12th

Strengthen and Encourage the Brethren
Text: I Samuel 23:16 (KJV) “And Jonathan Saul’s son arose, and went to David into the wood, and strengthened his hand in God.”

Jonathan, the son of King Saul, encouraged and strengthened his friend David in the things of God when David was on the run for his life from Jonathan’s own father.  Do you know someone who is feeling down, depressed, discouraged, or ill? Why not take time and e-mail, call, write, or visit that person and “encourage and strengthen” him or her in the things of God. Give comfort in the same way that God and others have provided you in your times of illness or struggle.

Hymn (“Strengthen for Service, Lord”): “Strengthen for service, Lord, the hands, That holy things have taken; Let ears that now have heard thy songs, To clamor never waken.”

11th

God be with You till We Meet Again
Text: I Samuel 20:23 (KJV) “And as touching the matter which thou and I have spoken of, behold, the LORD be between thee and me for ever.”

David told his beloved friend Jonathan that God would watch over them forever, even when they were apart. I have some dear friends that I miss so much.  I woke up this morning with this thought:  “Even though we miss those who are apart from us, as Christians, we will get to see one another forever in heaven. So, do not be sad if the miles distance you from friends and family. God will be with you, my friends, until we meet again!

Hymn (“God Bb with You till We Meet Again”): “God be with you till we meet again; By His counsels guide, uphold you, With His sheep securely fold you; God be with you till we meet again.” Refrain: “Till we meet, till we meet, Till we meet at Jesus’ feet; Till we meet, till we meet, God be with you till we meet again.”

10th

God Can and Will Deliver You from all Your Enemies
Text: I Samuel 17:37 (KJV) “David said moreover, `The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine.’ And Saul said unto David, `Go, and the LORD be with thee.’ ”

David said he was not afraid of Goliath because God would deliver and protect him.  Are you fearful today due to an enemy whether financial, spiritual, or even flesh and blood?  Do not fear my beloved brother or sister as God can and will deliver you from your enemy. All you have to do is call out to Him in prayer.

Hymn (“By Whom was David Taught,” Verse 5): “But unbelief, self will, Self righteousness, and pride, How often do they steal My weapon from my side! Yet David’s Lord, and Gideon’s Friend, Will help His servant to the end.”

9th

A Fool Will Lose it All
Text: I Samuel 13:13 (KJV) “And Samuel said to Saul, `Thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the commandment of the LORD thy God, which he commanded thee: for now would the LORD have established thy kingdom upon Israel for ever.’ ”

Because of Saul’s disobedience and foolish acts, God spoke to Samuel and said that God had taken away the kingdom of Israel from Saul.  We need to turn from our foolish ways.  We may not lose our salvation, but if we persist in loving things of this world, and/or fellowshipping with children of darkness over children of light, God will take away our rewards in heaven. All our works will be burnt up as “wood and hay and stubble.” We may be saved but have no “rewards/crowns” to cast at Jesus’ feet. What a sorrowful feeling that will be!

Hymn (“Turn Back, O Man”): “Turn back, O man, forswear thy foolish ways. Old now is earth, and none may count her days. Yet thou, her child, whose head is crowned with flame, Still wilt not hear thine inner God proclaim, `Turn back, O man, forswear thy foolish ways.’ ”

8th

This is My Father’s World
Text: Psalm 50:12b (KJV) “…for the world is Mine, and the fulness thereof.”

The world belongs to God.  Why does this world belong to God?  Because He is God and He is the Creator of heaven and earth.  Be a good steward of God’s creation and worship God and thank Him daily for creating you, the earth, and the universe!

Hymn (“This is My Father’s World”): “This is my Father’s world, and to my listening ears, All nature sings, and round me rings the music of the spheres. This is my Father’s world: I rest me in the thought, Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas; His hand the wonders wrought.”

7th

A Bold Witness
Text: Acts 4:20 (KJV) “For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.”

The religious leaders threatened and tried to silence the Apostles Peter and John from “preaching and teaching in Jesus’ name.” Peter and John had such zeal for Jesus that they stated, “For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” Jesus said if we confess Him as our Savior and LORD before men and women here on earth, He will confess us as his disciples before the Father in heaven.  Do not let any coworker, neighbor, family member, friend, or foe tell you that you need
to not speak for Jesus. Also, if you get any rewards in this life, remember to give God, “all the praise, honor, and glory.”

Hymn (“Speak for Jesus”): “Speak for Jesus; He hath touched you, Raised you from the death of sin; Use for Him the life He gives you; Rise, and precious jewels win!” Refrain: “Arise and speak! Arise and speak! Christ is listening now above; Arise and speak for Him who saves you, Arise and speak for Him you love!”

6th

We Need another Heart–God’s Heart
Text: I Samuel 10:9 (KJV) “And it was so, that when he had turned his back to go from Samuel, God gave him another heart: and all those signs came to pass that day.”

God gave King Saul another heart to lead Israel: God’s heart.  God calls us to faith in His Son Jesus Christ and then his Holy Spirit dwells in our hearts and gives us Godly emotions, and the right things to say and do.  When we have another heart–God’s heart–we love Him, serve Him, and help those in need.  Let us pray today, “Create in me a clean, clean heart, O God.”

Hymn (“Heart, and Mind, Possessions, Lord”): “Heart and mind, possessions, Lord, I offer unto Thee; Thou art the Way, the Truth; Thou art the Life. Sinful, I commit myself unto Thee. Jesus Christ is filling all the heart of me. He can give me victory o’er all that threatens me. Jesus Christ is filling all my heart.”

5th

I Don’t Want any King but Jesus
Text: I SAMUEL 8:7 (KJV) “And the LORD said unto Samuel,’Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.’ ”

Israel rejected God from being their king and chose a human king named Saul.  When we accept Jesus as our Savior, we also need to take Him as our LORD (King) over our lives. No human can give us the wisdom , guidance, and provision that King Jesus can.  I don’t want any king or queen over my life, but King Jesus!

Hymn (“King of My Life, I Crown Thee Now): “King of my life, I crown Thee now, Thine shall the glory be; Lest I forget thy thorn crowned brow, Lead me to Calvary.” Refrain: “Lest I forget Gethsemane, Lest I forget Thine agony; Lest I forget Thy love for me, Lead me to Calvary.”

4th

Worship God, Not Idols
Text: I Samuel 5:1-7 (KJV) “And the Philistines took the ark of God, and brought it from Eben-ezer unto Ashdod. When the Philistines took the ark of God, they brought it into the house of Dagon, and set it by Dagon. And when they of Ashdod arose early on the morrow, behold, Dagon was fallen upon his face to the earth before the ark of the LORD. And they took Dagon, and set him in his place again. And when they arose early on the morrow morning, behold, Dagon was fallen upon his face to the ground before the ark of the LORD; and the head of Dagon and both the palms of his hands were cut off upon the threshold; only the stump of Dagon was left to him. . . The hand of the LORD was heavy upon them of Ashdod, and he destroyed them, and smote them with emerods, even Ashdod and the coasts thereof. And when the men of Ashdod saw that it was so, they said, `The ark of the God of Israel shall not abide with us: for his hand is sore upon us, and upon Dagon our god.’ ”

The Philistines stole the Ark of God and tried to submit it to their fish god, Dagon.  God cut up the heathen idol so that only a stump was left.  God also struck the Philistines with “emerods,” which may have been bubonic plague.  From this, God wants us to learn never to worship idols. Anything can be an idol, be it your job, your possessions, your family, your hobbies, and even organized religion. Put nothing ahead of almighty God!

Hymn (“God Eternal, Mighty King”): “God eternal, mighty King, Unto Thee our praise we bring; All the earth doth worship Thee; We amid the throng would be. Holy, holy, holy! Cry Angels, round Thy throne on high, Lord of all the heav’nly pow’rs, Be the same loud anthem ours.”

3rd

Speak, LORD for Thy Servant Heareth
Text: I Samuel 3:10 (KJV) “And the LORD came, and stood, and called as at other times, `Samuel, Samuel.’ Then Samuel answered, `Speak; for thy servant heareth.’ ”

Samuel had thought that Eli was calling him out of his sleep, so Samuel went to Eli.  Eli told Samuel that it was God calling Samuel, and he instructed Samuel how to reply.  God is calling you and me today to do his will, to love Him above all others, and to serve Him and our fellow human beings.  So, when you pray each day, spend some time in silent meditation and say, “Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.”

Hymn (“Speak, O LORD, Thy Servant Heareth”): “Speak, O Lord, Thy servant heareth, To Thy Word I now give heed; Life and spirit Thy Word beareth, All Thy Word is true indeed. Death’s dread pow’r in me is rife; Jesus, may Thy Word of Life, Fill my soul with love’s strong fervor, That I cling to Thee forever.”

2nd

Thy God is My God
Text: Ruth 1:16 (KJV) “And Ruth said, `Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God.’ ”

Ruth told Naomi, her mother-in-law, that even though Ruth’s husband was dead, she did not want to leave Naomi. She also wanted Naomi’s people to be her people and more importantly the God of Naomi (The Only True God) to be her God.  I believe that the secret to happy homes and happy friendships are the marriages and friendships where both spouses and all friends are bonded in Christian unity.  Jesus’ brother James went so far as to say, “Friendship with the world is enmity with God.”  Let us have our marriages and friendships centered around our faith in God the Father, His Son Jesus Christ, and The Holy Spirit.

Hymn (“Entreat Me Not to Leave Thee”): “Entreat me not to leave thee, My heart goes with thee now; Why turn my footsteps homeward? No friend so dear as thou! Thy heart has borne my sorrow, And I have wept for thine; And now how can I leave thee? Oh, let thy lot be mine.” Refrain: “Entreat me not to leave thee, Entreat me not to leave thee, Or to return from following after thee; For where thou goest I will go, And where thou lodgest I will lodge; Thy people shall be my people, And thy God my God, Thy people shall be my people, And thy God my God.”

1st

A Mighty Fortress is our God”
Text: Psalm 46:1 (KJV) “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”

This Psalm may have been written when the Assyrian army was getting ready to attack Jerusalem.  The writer said to the people of Israel, “Do not fear, God is our refuge and strength, [our] very present Help in trouble.”  Today, as Christians, we need to run to God, our eternal strength and fortress during the trials and temptations that are thrown our way by our three enemies, the world, our flesh, and the devil.  Only God can protect us and guide us, so run to Him no matter what time of day or night that you are attacked.

Hymn (“A Mighty Fortress is our God”): “A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing; Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing: For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe; His craft and power are great, and, armed with cruel hate, On earth is not his equal.”

May

Come and Dine
Text: John 21:12a (KJV) “Jesus saith unto them, `Come and dine.’ ”

Jesus told his disciples to “come and dine.”  Jesus wants to feed us both here on earth and in heaven with “heavenly manna.”  When we spend time with Him in prayer and in reading, studying, and applying the Bible, we get the best meal we ever ate. This surpasses earthly food even at a five-star restaurant because our souls are refreshed and strengthened.

Hymn (“Come and Dine”): “Jesus has a table spread, Where the saints of God are fed, He invites His chosen people, `Come and dine’; With His manna He doth feed, And supplies our every need: O ’tis sweet to sup with Jesus all the time!” Refrain:
” `Come and dine,’ the Master calleth, `Come and dine’; You may feast at Jesus’ table all the time; He Who fed the multitude, turned the water into wine, To the hungry calleth now, `Come and dine.’ ”

30th

Turn Your Eyes upon Jesus
Text: Judges 21:25 (KJV) “In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.”

Even though Israel had many mighty judges, they did “that which was right in [their] own eyes.”  Scripture says this is because they had no king.  We, as Christians, have a King. His Name Is Jesus! Therefore, even though the world (all those who follow their own hearts and ways due to being spiritually blinded by the devil) does what is right in their own eyes, we have been given a guidebook called the Bible, and God the Holy Spirit to guide us.  Turn your eyes upon Jesus and seek what is right in his eyes!

Hymn (“Turn Your Eyes upon Jesus”): “O soul, are you weary and troubled? No light in the darkness you see? There’s a light for a look at the Savior, And life more abundant and free!” Refrain: “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in His wonderful face, And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, In the light of His glory and grace.”

29th

God Can Still Use You
Text: Judges 16:28-30 (KJV) “And Samson called unto the LORD, and said, `O Lord God, remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, O God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes.’ And Samson took hold of the two middle pillars upon which the house stood, and on which it was borne up, of the one with his right hand, and of the other with his left. And Samson said, `Let me die with the Philistines.’ And he bowed himself with all his might; and the house fell upon the lords, and upon all the people that were therein. So the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life.”

God used Samson one last time even after Samson sinned and had a costly physical and spiritual haircut.  Sometimes when we sin we forget the promise of 1 John 1:9 which states: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  Therefore, when you sin, confess it and repent. Stop believing the lie of Satan, the world, and your flesh that God cannot use you anymore.  He loves you and has a plan for your life.

Hymn (“Take My Life and Let It Be,” Verse 3): “Take my will, and make it Thine; it shall be no longer mine. Take my heart, it is Thine own; it shall be Thy royal throne. Take my love, my Lord, I pour at Thy feet its treasure store. Take myself, and I will be ever, only, all for Thee.”

28th

Which Lion do You Fear?
Text: Judges 14:5-6 (KJV) “Then went Samson down, and his father and his mother, to Timnath, and came to the vineyards of Timnath: and, behold, a young lion roared against him. And the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him, and he rent him as he would have rent a kid, and he had nothing in his hand: but he told not his father or his mother what he had done.”

The Spirit of The LORD came mightily upon Samson and he killed a roaring lion.  In the New Testament, two lions are
described. First, we see Satan, who is described as “a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” We do not need to be afraid of him or his little “toothless whelps (cubs).”  Why do we not need to be afraid of them you ask? The answer is thus: as Christians, we have help from Jesus Christ, Our Savior. In the book of Revelation, He is the other lion, namely,
“The Lion of the Tribe of Judah.”  He alone has victory over Satan, the demons, death, hell, and the grave.  Hallelujah!

Hymn (“The Lion on which Sampson Roared,” Verse 6): “The lions roar but cannot kill, Then fear them not, my friends; They bring us, though against their will, The honey Jesus sends.”

27th

Sanctify Yourselves
Text: Joshua 7:13 (KJV) “Up, sanctify the people, and say, `Sanctify yourselves against tomorrow’: for thus saith the LORD God of Israel, `There is an accursed thing in the midst of thee, O Israel: thou canst not stand before thine enemies, until ye take away the accursed thing from among you.’ ”

God told Joshua that the people needed to cleanse and sanctify themselves from the cursed thing that was in their midst.  The cursed thing was actually a person named Achan who sinned and disobeyed God by keeping some of the spoils of battle. God had ordered the Hebrews to destroy everything. God wants us to be a holy people and to get rid of “unholy alliances.”  Not everyone who wants to be your “friend” wants the best for you. Make sure that you don’t hang out with others who would ruin your testimony of faith in Jesus Christ by causing you to do “accursed things.”

Hymn (“Purer in Heart, O God”): “Purer in heart, O God, help me to be; May I devote my life wholly to Thee: Watch Thou my wayward feet, Guide me with counsel sweet; Purer in heart, help me to be.”

26th

 

Fight the Good Fight
Text: Joshua 10:40 (KJV) “So Joshua smote all the country of the hills, and of the south, and of the vale, and of the springs, and all their kings: he left none remaining, but utterly destroyed all that breathed, as the LORD God of Israel commanded.”

God told Joshua to completely rid the promised land of idolatry so that the unrepentant and heathen nations would not corrupt the people of God, namely the nation of Israel.  While it may make liberal scholars cringe and accuse a Holy God of murder, we know that this is not the case. God hates all sin, especially blatantly choosing Satan, demons, and idols over the true worship of God Himself, the Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer of our lives.  Don’t play around with sin. Fight the good fight and get rid of evil influences and relationships and “just hanging out” with people who have no regard or respect for the things of the LORD!

Hymn (“Fight the Good Fight with All Thy Might”): “Fight the good fight with all thy might; Christ is thy Strength, and Christ thy Right; Lay hold on life, and it shall be Thy joy and crown eternally.”

 

25th

 

I Will Follow Thee
Text: Joshua 14:8 (KJV)

“Nevertheless my brethren that went up with me made the heart of the people melt: but I wholly followed the LORD my God.”

Caleb, the faithful spy, said that when he went to spy out the promised land the others spies (except for Joshua) gave a
bad report and made the heart of the people “melt.”  He and Joshua wholly followed the LORD.  Our application for today is that when others want us to “partake of their sin,” we can instead hasten to Jesus and love and obey Him wholly.

Hymn (“Wholly Thine”}: “I would be, dear Savior, wholly thine; Teach me how, teach me how; I would do Thy will, O Lord, not mine; Help me, help me now.” Refrain: “Wholly thine, wholly thine, Wholly thine, this is my vow; Wholly thine, wholly thine, Wholly thine, O Lord, just now.”

24th

 

The Only One Who Can Rid Us of Our Fears”
Text: John 6:20 (KJV) “But he saith unto them, `It is I; be not afraid.’ ”

The disciples were afraid during the storm and then they saw Jesus walking on the water.  Jesus assured them, “It is I; be not afraid.” In this life, we will be bombarded by many storms; the failing economy, loneliness, depression, illness, whatever. But, Jesus wants us to not be afraid. He will calm the storms and minister to us through them. You and I cannot do it without Christ!

Hymn (“I Could not Do Without Thee,” verse 6): “I could not do without Thee, For years are fleeting fast, And soon in solemn oneness, The river must be passed; But Thou wilt never leave me, And though the waves roll high, I know Thou wilt be near me, And whisper, “It is I.”

 

23rd

 

A New Song
Text: Psalm 40:3 (KJV) “And He hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.”

King David said that God put a new song in his mouth. Through it, many shall see the boldness of God and the love of God, and then fear and trust in the LORD for salvation.  Have you been saved from death, hell, and the grave?  I know that I have! If you have also, let us sing daily the praise of God and keep singing the Name of the Most Wonderful Person who ever walked this earth, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Sweetest Name I Know.”

Hymn (“He Keeps Me Singing”): “There’s within my heart a melody Jesus whispers sweet and low, `Fear not, I am with thee, peace, be still, In all of life’s ebb and flow.’ “ Refrain: “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Sweetest Name I know, Fills my every longing, Keeps me singing as I go.”

 

22nd

 

Work for Us All
Text: Joshua 18:3 (KJV) “And Joshua said unto the children of Israel, How long are ye slack to go to possess the land, which the LORD God of your fathers hath given you?”

Joshua exhorted the children of Israel to get busy and possess the land of Canaan which God had given them as a promised land.  God has work for us to do in his vineyard, namely, reaching the lost, helping the poor, and encouraging those who are downcast to not give up on their faith in Jesus Christ.

Hymn (“Work for Us All”): “Out where the reapers are toiling, Out where they earnestly call, Let us away in the morning, There is a work for us all; Lifting the vines that are drooping, Trying their bloom to renew, Bathing their leaves in a fountain, Purer and sweeter than dew.” Refrain: “Out where the reapers are toiling, Out where they earnestly call, Let us away, away in the morning, There is a work for us all.”

 

21st

 

It Came to Pass
Text: Joshua 21:45 (KJV) “There failed not ought of any good thing which the LORD had spoken unto the house of Israel; all came to pass.”

In today’s text, we see that all good things which the LORD promised to the children of Israel “came to pass.”  We usually think about the promise of this verse when we are going through some fiery trial or temptation. We say, “This too shall pass.” However, today I want us to focus on those dreams, goals, and visions that God has given us. He encourages us to
not give up.  Whether it is losing weight, getting a degree, serving in some ministry, or getting out of debt, etc., God wants to bring us to the best goal: that is hearing Jesus say to us, “Well done thou good and faithful servant, enter thou, the joy of thy LORD.” God is faithful; trust and obey and all will come to pass!

Hymn (“Great Is Thy Faithfulness,” verse 3): “Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth; Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide; Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow, Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!” Refrain:Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness! Morning by morning new mercies I see. All I have needed, Thy hand hath provided; Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!”

 

20th

 

The Secret of a Happy Home
Text: Joshua 24:15b (KJV) “…but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”

In today’s text, we see the secret to a happy home.  A happy home is not in having the newest car/truck/van, sitting round the telly watching your favorite program, or even in “a family vacation.” A happy home comes when all serve and live for God.  There is no sweeter time in my house than when my wife and I are reading God’s word together, or praying together.  In the olden days, this was called “the family altar,” or “family devotions.”  I encourage every family to serve and live for God. And, take time to have family devotions. You’ll be glad that you did!

Hymn (“Happy the Home, When God is There”): “Happy the home when God is there, And love fills every breast; When one their wish, and one their prayer, And one their heav’nly rest.”

19th

 

I’m in the LORD’s Army
Text: Judges 3:15 (KJV) “But when the children of Israel cried unto the LORD, the LORD raised them up a deliverer, Ehud the son of Gera, a Benjamite, a man lefthanded: and by him the children of Israel sent a present unto Eglon the king of Moab.”

God wants to use all Christians for his service.  Ehud was used by God as a judge and deliverer for Israel.  What make him so unique is that he was probably criticized for being “left-handed” of all things. This was considered a handicap, or abnormality.  I myself had a school teacher who tried to proclaim the lies of the devil into my life by saying, “You’ll never be anything special because you are left handed.”  No matter what our “disability,” God is saying the opposite to each of us.  We are special and He wants to use us in his “army” to accomplish much for Him.  So do not say you are too young, too old, too new a Christian, too poor, or too weak. STOP, and say, “Here I am LORD, use me. As I am weak, you are strong!”

Children’s Worship Song (“I’m in the LORD’s Army”): “I may never march in the infantry, Ride in the Calvary, Shoot the artillery. I may never fly o’er the enemy, But I’m in the Lord’s army! Yes Sir! I’m in the Lord’s army! Yes sir! I’m in the Lord’s army! Yes sir!”

 

18th

 

Singing as We Go
Text: Judges 5:1-3 (KJV) “Then sang Deborah and Barak the son of Abinoam on that day, saying, `Praise ye the LORD for the avenging of Israel, when the people willingly offered themselves; Hear, O ye kings; give ear, O ye princes; I, even I, will sing unto the LORD; I will sing praise to the LORD God of Israel.’ ”

Deborah and Barak sang praises to God for avenging and delivering Israel from all their enemies.  Today, as Christians, we have been delivered from three big enemies, sin, death, and hell because we have put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ as our Savior and LORD!  So, the next time the world, the devil, and your flesh try to get you down, stop, hold on, lift up your head and sing praises to the LORD!

Hymn (“Singing, I Go”): “The trusting heart to Jesus clings, Nor any ill forebodes, But at the cross of Calvary, sings, `Praise God for lifted loads!’ “ Refrain: “Singing I go along life’s road, Praising the Lord, praising the Lord, Singing I go along life’s road.”

 

17th

 

Unity in the Church
Text: John 11:52b (KJV) “But that also He should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad.”

Jesus was, and still is, the only one who can bring his church into unity.  I want to remind all of us that unity in the church is first found in agreeing on the true doctrines, beginning with the truth that salvation is found by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone.  Don’t believe the lies of false churches that proclaim that we can compromise the Bible, or add to it, or subtract from it. The Bible is the Word of God and it never changes. True unity is found among those who believe fully in the Bible, Jesus Christ, God the Father, and the power of The Holy Spirit. These are the believers who proclaim the gospel, and minister to the poor, the lonely, and those in prison.

Hymn (“We Gather Together”): “We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing; He chastens and hastens his will to make known. The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing. Sing praises to His Name; He forgets not His own.”

 

16th

 

Panting for, and Desiring the LORD
Text: Psalm 42: 1 (KJV) “As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.”

In today’s text, the writer says that as a deer in the woods pants for water, so his soul pants (Hebrew word, arag, which means “cries after, thirsts, pants”) after God.  This is the cure to depression, anxiety, anger, strife, worry, etc. Whenever you feel these things, stop and meditate and seek after God.  He will nourish your soul.

Hymn (“As the Deer”): “As the deer panteth for the water, So my soul longeth after you. You alone are my heart’s desire, And I long to worship you. You alone are my strength, my shield. To you alone will my spirit yield. You alone are my heart’s desire And I long to worship you.”

 

15th

 

A Worshipful Attitude
Text: Judges 7:15 (KJV) “And it was so, when Gideon heard the telling of the dream, and the interpretation thereof, that he worshipped, and returned into the host of Israel, and said, `Arise; for the LORD hath delivered into your hand the host of Midian.’ ”

When Gideon heard an interpretation of a dream at the enemy’s camp that said he would deliver Israel from the Midianites, he worshipped GOD.  Gideon did not loudly praise God or dance around to make himself noticed.  He instead had a silent and grateful heart .  He did not get vain or conceited and say, “Well look at me!” Today, you may be at work, in line at the grocery store, or pumping gas into your car. You may not be able to loudly praise God.  You can, however, look up to the sky and give a silent praise to God. You also can worship God by what you say and do the rest of the day!

Hymn (“O Worship the King”): O worship the King, all glorious above, O gratefully sing, His power and His love; Our Shield and Defender, the Ancient of Days, Pavilioned in splendor, and girded with praise.”

 

14th

 

The Spirit of the LORD Came upon Him
Text: Judges 11:29 (KJV) “Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jephthah, and he passed over Gilead, and Manasseh, and passed over Mizpeh of Gilead, and from Mizpeh of Gilead he passed over unto the children of Ammon.”

In today’s text, we see one of the most powerful examples of something that happened to an Old Testament believer, “the Spirit of The Came upon him or her.”  Today, as Christians, we all have the Holy Spirit! We need to seek Him for wisdom on how to live, and for power to live this life victoriously.  The Holy Spirit is also called our “comforter.” He helps us when we feel lonely or discouraged, or are grieving.  Please give the Holy Spirit permission to “come upon” you and do all you can to trust and obey and not grieve Him! Spend some time today and pray or sing the words of this hymn.

Hymn (“Spirit of God, Descend upon My Heart”): “Spirit of God, descend upon my heart; Wean it from earth; through all its pulses move; Stoop to my weakness, mighty as Thou art; And make me love Thee as I ought to love.”

 

13th

 

Shout Out His Name to Bring Down the Walls of Sin
Text: Joshua 6:20 (KJV) “So the people shouted when the priests blew with the trumpets: and it came to pass, when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city.”

Joshua and the marching Israelites called upon the name of God and then shouted his Holy Name in victory over the walls of Jericho.  Jericho is a type of sin in the Bible.  God wants us to “shout out” and call to Him for help in bringing down the walls of sin in our lives.

Hymn (“Disposer Supreme, and Judge of the Earth,” verse 4): “Their sound goeth forth, `Christ Jesus the Lord’; Then Satan doth fear, his citadels fall; As when the dread trumpets went forth at thy Word, And one long blast shattered the Canaanite’s wall.”

 

12th

 

Praise God for Godly Women in the Home, in the Church, and in the Workplace
Text: Proverbs 31:30 (KJV) “Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.”

Men, let us stop and give praises to God and thanks to Him for the godly women in our lives. The woman that fears God shall be praised.  She may be single or married; it does not matter.  What matters is that she fears God in her home, her workplace, her church, and her neighborhood, and she has the loving compassionate heart of our Lord Jesus Christ and lives in the power of his divine Holy Spirit.

Hymn (“The Praises of that Saint we Sing”): “The praises of that saint we sing, To whom all lands their tribute bring, Who with indomitable heart, Bore throughout life true woman’s heart.”

11th

Don’t Envy the Wicked; They will Receive Something You don’t Want
Text: Psalm 37:1 (KJV) “Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.”

King David wisely tells us to not fret, worry, and be envious of the wicked, also called here “evildoers.” So many times I have heard people (even Christians) say, “Oh, if I only had so and so’s money,” or “If only I was married to that beautiful or handsome celebrity,” etc.  Christian brothers and sisters–STOP! STOP! AND AGAIN I SAY, STOP! We need to not be envious of those who have an abundance of the pleasures of the world. Unless they have repented of their sins, they will receive something that we don’t want–namely eternal damnation and separation from God and the pleasures of heaven. The “rewards” on earth are less than nothing compared to the rewards in heaven.

Hymn (“Fret Not Thyself”): “Fret not thyself, Nor envious be, When wicked workers thou shalt see, Who prosper in their way; For like the grass they perish soon, And, like the herb cut down at noon, They wither in a day

10th

Jesus Christ is the Source of Eternal Life
Text: John 5:39-40 (KJV) “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.”

Jesus told the Pharisees that the scriptures testified that only in Him could they find eternal life.  Today, many seek eternal life through the occult, the New Age Movement, Mohammed, Buddha, and cryogenics, etc.  None of these will give eternal life. Only Jesus Christ can save you and me and give us this life.  Come to Jesus today!

Hymn (“Good Christian Men Rejoice,” verse 3): Good Christian men rejoice, With heart and soul and voice; Now ye need not fear the grave. Peace! Peace! Jesus Christ was born to save! Calls you one and calls you all, to gain his everlasting hall. Christ was born to save! Christ was born to save!”

9th

Face to Face with Christ my Savior
Text: Deuteronomy 34:10 (KJV) “And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face.”

God spoke to Moses and knew him “face to face.”  God wants us all to know Him this way. First, we must believe the truth of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, and accept Him as our Lord and Savior.  Then, we must spend time with God daily in reading the Bible, in praying to Him, and in obediently listening for his still, small voice to guide us in our daily walk. Only then can we begin to be known by God “face to face.”  I want to be in a “face to face” relationship with Him; don’t you?

Hymn (“Face to Face with Christ my Savior”): “Face to face with Christ, my Savior, Face to face—what will it be, When with rapture I behold Him, Jesus Christ Who died for me?” Refrain: “Face to face, I shall behold Him, Far beyond the starry sky; Face to face in all His glory, I shall see Him by and by!”

8th

Declare how Great and Good God Is
Text: Deuteronomy 32:3 (KJV) “Because I will publish the name of the LORD: ascribe ye greatness unto our God.”

Moses told the people of Israel that they needed to remember how great and good that God is.  Who can heal us completely?  Who alone can provide for us?  Who can cheer the lonely heart?  Who alone can bring us salvation and eternal life?  No one but God!

Hymn (“Sing Praise to God Who Reigns Above”): “Sing praise to God Who reigns above, the God of all creation, The God of power, the God of love, the God of our salvation. With healing balm my soul is filled and every faithless murmur stilled: To God all praise and glory

7th

Glorious and Fearful is God’s Name
Text: Deuteronomy 28:58b (KJV) “That thou mayest fear this glorious and fearful name, The LORD the God. ”

When Moses gave the people of Israel the blessings (for obeying) and cursings (for disobeying) God and his word, he said this was given for them to fear the “glorious and fearful name of the LORD thy God.” God’s name is “glorious” (Hebrew, kaw-bad which is interpreted as “numerous, rich, honorable, very great”). His name is also “fearful” (Hebrew, yare which is interpreted as “reverent or fearful”). Let us honor, fear, and reverence God’s name in all that we do and say!

Hymn (“Glorious is Thy Name, O LORD”): “Glorious is thy name, O Lord! Heav’n and earth with one accord, Tell thy greatness, Part revealed, But the larger part concealed. How shall we poor singers dare, Seek thy face in praise and prayer?
Fearful is thy Name, O Lord! Dread thy voice and sharp thy sword; Thunders roll around thy path; None can stand before thy wrath! How shall trembling sinners dare, Lift their voice in praise and prayer?”

6th

Hearken to the Voice of God
Text: Deuteronomy 26:14 (KJV) “I have not eaten thereof in my mourning, neither have I taken away ought thereof for any unclean use, nor given ought thereof for the dead: but I have hearkened to the voice of the LORD my God, and have done according to all that thou hast commanded me.”

When, for the second time, the people of Israel were given the Law of God from Moses, they promised to hearken (“listen, give heed to, and obey”) the voice of God.  Sometimes we “hear” the still small voice of God, and most (but not all) of the time He uses the Bible to speak to us and teach us the way to live. The books of other religions, most media, and the advice of non-Christians cannot give us the words of wisdom that we need to live this daily journey called life. We must go to the Bible!

Hymn (“Hark! Hark! My Soul!”): “Hark! Hark! My soul! The Savior’s voice is calling. E’en now it breathes o’er life’s dark troubled sea; His gracious truth like heav’nly dew is falling. Hark! Hark! My soul! Thy Father calls for thee! Father of mercy. Father of love. Thee would we follow to our blest home above.”

5th

Help Others in Need; It’s a Biblical Command
Text: Deuteronomy 22:4 (KJV) “Thou shalt not see thy brother’s ass or his ox fall down by the way, and hide thyself from them: thou shalt surely help him to lift them up again.”

Helping others who are in need, especially our Christian brothers and sisters, is a biblical command.  We must remember that Jesus said that if we give a cup of cold water, feed someone, visit the sick or those in prison, etc., we have done these things as unto Him.  Let us spend the rest of our lives helping those in need. The rewards are truly “out of this world.”

Hymn (“Help Somebody Today”): “Look all around you, Find someone in need, Help somebody today! Though it be little—a neighborly deed—Help somebody today!” Refrain: “Help somebody today, Somebody along life’s way; Let sorrow be ended, The friendless befriended, O help somebody today!”

4th

Christ the LORD is Risen! Alleluia!
Text: Matthew 28:5-6 (KJV) “The angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; He has risen, just as He said.”

Dear Friends, In today’s text, we see the joyous reason to celebrate and live victoriously all the days of our lives.  Are you fearful?  Are you lonely?  Are you discouraged?  Do you feel like giving up?  Are you tempted? Don’t despair, don’t give into temptation, and don’t fret any longer!  Why? Because Christ, The LORD is risen! He has conquered sin, death, hell, and the grave. He truly loves you and me! He is all we need!  Alleluia! Celebrate His love today and everyday!

Hymn (“Christ The Lord is Risen”): “Lives again our glorious King; Alleluia! Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia! Once He died our souls to save; Alleluia! Where thy victory, O grave? Alleluia!”

3rd

Seeking the Lost so They can be Found
Text: Luke 19:10 (KJV) “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

In today’s text, we see the true story of why Christ came and died on the cross.  He came to seek and to save that which was lost, namely men and women like you and me.  Let us rejoice that we who were lost were found by Jesus and now have an eternal relationship with Him because we believe by God’s grace through faith.  Let us be telling people who are still lost so they can be found.

Hymn (“Amazing Grace”): “Amazing Grace, How sweet the sound, That saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, But now am found, Was blind, But now I see.

2nd

To Fear God Brings Happiness
Text: Proverbs 28:14(KJV) “Happy is the man that feareth always: but he that hardeneth his heart shall fall into mischief.”

The secret of happiness is to fear God always. Go back to the cross of Jesus Christ. Remember, there were two thieves crucified with Jesus.  One feared God, believed on his Son Jesus Christ, and received eternal life and happiness with Jesus in Heaven.  The other hardened his heart, blasphemed and rejected Jesus, and received eternal damnation and misery.  It is not too late to turn your heart back to Jesus, or come to Him for the first time. Only fearing God, obeying Him, and spending quality time with Him daily can bring you joy, happiness, and peace now and forever.

Hymn (“Thrice Happy Souls”): “Thrice happy souls, who, born from Heav’n, While yet they sojourn here, Humbly begin their days with God, And spend them in His fear, And spend them in His fear.”

1st

Be Bold as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah
Text: Proverbs 28:1(KJV) “The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion.”

The wicked are cowardly, but the righteous are bold (the Hebrew word here means “bold, confident, trusted in”).  We as Christians are “bold,” “confident,” and know the only “trusted one” is God, the Father, and Son, and Holy Spirit. The Son, Jesus Christ, is called “The Lion of the Tribe of Judah.”  So, the next time someone at work, in your neighborhood, or wherever, tries to get you discouraged, stop, smile, and boldly say, “God loves you and so do I.”

Worship Song (“Be Bold”): “Be bold, Be strong, For the Lord thy God is with thee; be bold, Be strong, for the Lord thy God is with thee. Do not be afraid, Do not be dismayed; Walk in faith and victory, For the Lord thy God is with thee. Run through the camp, Tell everybody get ready. Are you ready to take the land? Are you ready to take a stand? Are you ready to take this land for the Lord?”

January

31st

Tell Me the Story of Jesus
Text: Acts 11:14 (KJV)

“Who shall tell words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved.”

In today’s text, we see how Peter told the people and other apostles that the angel spoke to Cornelius of how Peter was going to share the Gospel of Jesus with him and his family so that they would be saved.  We need to tell others the story of Jesus and also give our testimony of how Jesus forgave us of all our sins and how He changed our lives.  You don’t need an angel or anyone else to tell you that those of the world are lost and going to their spiritual deaths unless we lovingly yet boldly share the Gospel of our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ with them.

Hymn (“Tell Me the Story of Jesus”): “Tell me the story of Jesus, Write on my heart every word. Tell me the story most precious, Sweetest that ever was heard. Tell how the angels in chorus, Sang as they welcomed His birth, `Glory to God in the highest! Peace and good tidings to earth.’ ” Refrain: “Tell me the story of Jesus, Write on my heart every word. Tell me the story most precious, Sweetest that ever was heard. Fasting alone in the desert, Tell of the days that are past. How for our sins He was tempted, Yet was triumphant at last. Tell of the years of His labor, Tell of the sorrow He bore. He was despised and afflicted, Homeless, rejected and poor. Tell of the cross where they nailed Him, Writhing in anguish and pain. Tell of the grave where they laid Him, Tell how He liveth again. Love in that story so tender, Clearer than ever I see. Stay, let me weep while you whisper, Love paid the ransom for me.”

 

30th

Here, I am Lord, What Would You Have Me to Do?
Text: Acts 9:10 (1599 Geneva Bible)

“And there was a certain disciple at Damascus named Ananias, and to him said the Lord in a vision, `Ananias.’ And
he said, `Behold, I am here, Lord.’ ”

In today’s text, we see how Ananias even though he was afraid of the report of what Saul had done in persecuting the church, said to the Lord, “Here I am, Lord.” He was willing to do what God wanted him to do. Because of Ananias’ obedience, Saul became the Apostle Paul and was given both his physical eyesight and spiritual eyesight and went on to faith in Christ and was baptized.  Today, the biggest challenge is for you and me to turn from fear, fear of rejection, fear of the unknown, fear of what a person may say or do to us, and just stop and say, “Lord Jesus, please take away my fear and here I am Lord, use me.”

Hymn (“What Wilt Thou Have Me To Do?”): “What wilt Thou have me to do, O Lord, What wilt Thou have me to do? Thou hast redeemed me, Thy right I own, Thine are my pow’rs, my Savior, alone; Thou hast for me such great things done.” Refrain: “What wilt Thou have me to do? What is the labor appointed me? Where shall I labor for Thee? What wilt Thou have me to do, O Lord, What wilt Thou have me to do? Is it to labor? I’ll gladly go; Is it to wait? Then let it be so; Only Thy will I ask to know.”

29th

Forgive our Enemies
Text: Acts 7:59-60 (1599 Geneva Bible)

“And they stoned Stephen, who called on God, and said, `Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’ And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, `Lord, lay not this sin to their charge.’ And when he had thus spoken, he slept.”

In today’s text, we see how Stephen, who was the first Christian martyr, before he died a horrible death by stoning asked God to forgive his enemies, those who stoned him for his faith in Christ.  I was reminded as I close the chapter in my life here in Nebraska to stop and forgive all my enemies (people who hurt “my petty feelings”) and press on for the Kingdom
of God and do the work that Jesus wants for me.  Maybe today you have someone in your life, at work, at church, in your family, or in your neighborhood that has hurt you or slandered you. Go to God now and say, “God, by your grace and your help, I choose to forgive such and such for the offense against me.” We have been forgiven much so let us do the same.

Hymn (“Forgive Them, O My Father”): ” `Forgive them, O my Father, They know not what they do,’ The Savior spoke in anguish, As sharp iron nails went through. No word of anger spoke He To them that shed His blood, But prayer and tenderest pity Large as the love of God. For me was that compassion, For me that tender care; I need His wide forgiveness As much as any there. It was my pride and hardness That hung Him on the tree; Those cruel nails, O Savior, Were driven in by me. And often I have slighted Thy gentle voice that said: `Forgive me too, Lord Jesus, I knew not what I did.’ O depth of sweet compassion! O love divine and true! Save Thou the souls that slight Thee, And know not what they do.”

28th

No Other Name Can Save Us
Text: Acts 4:10-12 (1599 Geneva Bible)

“Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye have crucified, whom God raised again from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you, whole. This is the stone cast aside of you builders which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other; for among men there is given none other Name under heaven, whereby we must be saved.”

In today’s text, we see how the Apostle Peter spoke the bold truth that salvation is found in no other Name and Person but in the Lord Jesus Christ. How sad and shameful that even churches and seminaries are spreading the lies that dead Mohammed, dead Buddha, dead Confucius, dead L. Ron Hubbard, or, heaven forbid, even atheism can save a person.  Wrong! Only Jesus died for our sins, was buried and rose from the dead, and guess what, He’s coming back for his true church! Be encouraged today that only the Name and Person of Jesus can save us!

Hymn (“Only One Name”): “There is only one Name that the saints adore—Jesus, our Elder Brother; They give Him all the praise, now and ever more; His Name is over every other.” Refrain: “Then lift the happy strain, And sing the glad refrain—The Name, the Name of Jesus; Then lift the happy strain, And sing the glad refrain—The Name, the Name of Jesus. There is only one Name that the soul need know—Jesus, the Lord’s Anointed; He suffered to redeem us from sin and woe, And bear us to the rest appointed. There is only one Name that the angels sing—Jesus, the Lord of Glory; They gather at His feet while they hail Him King, And listen to redemption’s story.”

27th

Remember
Text: Luke 24:6-8 (1599 Geneva Bible)

“He is not here, but is risen; remember how he spake unto you, when he was yet in Galilee, Saying, that the Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again. And they remembered his words.”

In today’s text, we come to an important place where the disciples came to the empty tomb where Jesus had risen from the dead. Two angels told them to remember how Jesus said that on the third day, “He would rise again.” I have to repent, and maybe you do also, of spiritual memory loss.  How often we forgot Jesus our first love and his comfort and words to us, and live like people without hope?  Just last night I was “stressing” about “my move,” “how am I going to learn my new job,” etc. and my beloved wife told me to remember the words of our Lord, “Cast all your care upon Him for He careth for You” (I Peter 5:7), and “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding, but in all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your path” (Proverbs 3:5-6).  Today, I challenge each of us to take a verse in the Bible that applies to whatever we are going through and need God’s help with and write it on a card or piece of paper, take it with us, and remember it throughout our day.  No more spiritual Alzheimer’s allowed!

Hymn (“Wonderful Words of Life”): “Sing them over again to me, wonderful words of life, Let me more of their beauty see, wonderful words of life; Words of life and beauty teach me faith and duty.” Refrain: “Beautiful words, wonderful words, wonderful words of life, Beautiful words, wonderful words, wonderful words of life. Christ, the blessed One, gives to all wonderful words of life; Sinner, list to the loving call, wonderful words of life; All so freely given, wooing us to heaven.
Sweetly echo the Gospel call, wonderful words of life; Offer pardon and peace to all, wonderful words of life; Jesus, only Savior, sanctify us forever.”

26th

I Wanna be Ready, Jesus is Coming Soon!
Text: Matthew 24:30-31(1599 Geneva Bible)

“And, then, shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven; and then shall all the kindred’s of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man come in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his Angels with a
great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect, from the four winds, and from the one end of the heavens unto the other. ”

Jesus told His disciples that one day He will return and He will take his own with Him.  Jesus is coming back and very soon, though no one but God the Father knows the day and hour of Jesus’ return.  This glorious event is called the Rapture of The Church.  I am amazed and ashamed by two things:
1. Why is it so many mainline denominations do not even preach and teach about Jesus’ return?
2. Why do we worry, stress, and fuss over movers coming, dinner guests coming, or our boss’ first day back on the job after his or her vacation, when we do not even prepare and get ourselves ready for our Master Jesus’ return?
I repent and promise that I wanna be ready for Jesus; let us get ready together.

Song (“I Wanna be Ready,” Sung By B.J. Thomas and one of my top ten favorite songs of all time!): “I wanna be ready, I don’t know, How long I’ll be here, ‘Cause Jesus Said He’d come again. And where He leads, I will go with Him, When I hear Him call my name. I wanna be ready, I wanna be ready, I wanna be ready, I wanna be ready. I cannot be sure of When it will take place, But it does not matter, If I’m walking in His grace. I feel it won’t be long now, Until He comes for me. He’s gonna take me with Him, And at His feet I’ll bow.”

25th

Forgiveness, There is Nothing Like It
Text: Luke 23:34a (1599 Geneva Bible)

“Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

In today’s text, we see one of the most powerful statements recorded by Jesus in the New Testament.  He forgave his enemies and He also forgives us of all our sins.  Do you not realize, as I soon forgot this year, that we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities and rulers of darkness?  You see, people who treat you unkindly or who rail false things
against you, can’t help themselves. They know not what they do because the god of the world (Satan) and his demons have blinded their eyes.  Instead of feeling like you and I have to “defend ourselves,” let us quietly and calmly continue to pray for those who mistreat us, and ask God to forgive them, and forgive them ourselves.

Hymn (“Forgive Them, O My Father”): ” `Forgive them, O my Father, They know not what they do.’ The Savior spoke in anguish, As sharp iron nails went through. No word of anger spoke Him To them that shed His blood, But prayer and tenderest pity Large as the love of God. For me was that compassion, For me that tender care; I need His wide forgiveness As much as any there. It was my pride and hardness That hung Him on the tree; Those cruel nails, O Savior, Were driven in by me. And often I have slighted Thy gentle voice that said: `Forgive me too, Lord Jesus, I knew not what I did.’ O depth of sweet compassion! O love divine and true! Save Thou the souls that slight Thee, And know not what they do.”

24th

Silence is Sometimes Best
Text: Matthew 27:12 (1599 Geneva Bible)

“And when He was accused of the chief Priests, and Elders, He answered nothing.”

In today’s text, we see how when Jesus was falsely accused before his enemies, He answered nothing.  I myself have three women and one man at work who vehemently hate Jesus, His Word, the Bible, and his people.  I have had to just stop planting the seed of God’s Word and silently in my daily quiet time pray for their salvation.  Perhaps you too have a boss, a
co-worker, a neighbor, a family member, a spouse, or a friend who hates Jesus, God’s Word, and his people. I suggest you too be silent and pray in your quiet time that their spiritual blindness will be healed.

Hymn (“Tread Softly”): “Be silent, be silent, A whisper is heard, Be silent, and listen, O treasure each word!” Refrain: “Tread softly, tread softly, The Master is here, Tread softly, tread softly, He bids us draw near. Be silent, be silent, For holy this place, This altar that echoes The message of grace. Be silent, be silent, Breathe humbly our prayer, A foretaste of Eden This moment we share. Be silent, be silent, His mercy record, Be silent, be silent And wait on the Lord.”

 

23rd

True Love
Text: John 14:15 (1599 Geneva Bible)

“If ye love me, keep my commandments.”

Jesus tells His disciples, and us as believers, that if we love Him we will keep His commandments.  In the Bible, we are told to show love in at least four ways:
1.  We are to love God and obey His commandments.  Let us put off our selfish desires and obey Him.
2. We are to love our spouse as Christ loves the church.  If you are single, then reserve your body for your future spouse and for God alone. If you are married, please stop being angry, and forgive your  spouse of all such petty things. Especially, we as spouses must not look at others lustfully.
3. We are to love the brethren.  Please stop gossiping, backbiting, and slandering others in the church.
4.  We are to love the lost.  If you say or do something unkind in front of someone who has not yet trusted Jesus as their Savior and Lord, tell that person you were wrong and ask for their forgiveness.

Song (“You Gave Me Love,” as sung by B.J. Thomas–One of my top ten favorite songs of all time): “You gave me time, When no one gave me the time of day. You looked deep inside, While the rest of the world looked away. You smiled at me, When there were just frowns everywhere. You gave me love, When nobody gave me a prayer. That’s why I call you Saviour; That’s why I call you friend. You touched my heart, You touched my soul, And helped me start all over again. That’s why I love you Jesus; That’s why I’ll always care. You gave me love, When nobody gave me a prayer. You gave me laughter, After I cried all my tears. You heard my dreams, While the rest of the world closed it’s ears. I looked in your eyes, And I found the tenderness there. You gave me love, When nobody gave me a prayer.”

22nd

The Cure to a Troubled Heart–Keep Jesus on Your Mind
Text: John 14:1 (1599 Geneva Bible)

“Let not your heart be troubled; ye believe in God, believe also in Me.”

In today’s text, Jesus tells his disciples, and also us as believers, that the key to getting rid of a troubled heart and mind is to believe and trust in Him. Are you worrying today about how you will pay bills that seem to pile up?  Are you discouraged because of an illness?  Are you lonely?  Are you feeling like no one cares?  Do not give up and give in
to a troubled heart and mind.  Instead, go to God’s Word and spend some time listening to Him and sharing with Him in prayer.  Keeping Jesus on your mind is the key to healing your troubled heart and mind.

Song (“Jesus On My Mind,” as sung by B.J. Thomas–0ne of my top ten favorites): “I see dark clouds coming my way; I know they’re gonna try to rain on me; They’re almost here, but I must say I’m just as happy as can be. Ohhhh…Just because I’ve got Jesus on my mind, Just because I’ve got Jesus on my mind, The situation might look so awful grim, But that’s when I just stop and get my mind on Him. Before you know it, Everything’s just fine, Just because I’ve got Jesus on my mind. I see a giant right in my path; I know he’s gonna try to do me in; He’s mighty big, But I must say I’m not the least bit afraid of him.”

21st

No More Denying Jesus
Text: Matthew 26:75 (1599 Geneva Bible)

“Then Peter remembered the words of Jesus, which had said unto him, `Before the cock crow thou shalt deny me thrice.’ So he went out, and wept bitterly.”

In today’s text, I, who have been a believer in Christ since January 1992, am so amazed at how other Christians so easily throw their noses in the air about Peter denying Christ three times. Do they so easily forget that He was forgiven by Jesus and died a martyr’s death for His faith?  Guess what, we deny Jesus also when we give in to temptation, go to bed angry with our spouse, or, here is a big one , when we say or do something unkind and someone who isn’t a Christian yet says, “I thought you were a Christian.” Ouch! Let us today take time to be holy and trust and obey God and once and for all stop denying Jesus!

Hymn (“When Peter Boasted, Soon He Fell): “When Peter boasted, soon he fell, Yet was by grace restored; His case should be regarded well By all who fear the Lord. A voice it has, and helping hand, Backsliders to recall; And cautions those who think they stand, Lest suddenly they fall. Lord Jesus, hear a sinner’s cry, My broken peace renew; And grant one pitying look, that I May weep with Peter too.”

20th

Wait, Watch and Get Ready, Because Jesus is Coming
Text: Matthew 25:13 (1599 Geneva Bible)

“Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day, nor the hour, when the Son of man will come.”

In today’s text, Jesus says that we are to watch and be ready because He is coming again to take all who believe in Him away from this world before seven years of Great Tribulation happen.  This coming for us is called The Rapture.”  It is also called “The Blessed Hope and Glorious Appearing of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.”  Today, through the awesome power of His Holy Spirit, let us shake off the sins that so easily beset us, forgive our enemies, and tell others and ourselves, “get ready, Jesus is coming.”  Let us rejoice and say with the saints of old times, “O, Son of God, We Wait for Thee.”

Hymn (“O Son of God, We Wait For Thee”): “O Son of God, we wait for Thee, In love for Thine appearing; We know Thou sittest on the throne, And we Thy Name are bearing, Who trusts in Thee, may joyful be, And see Thee, Lord, descending, To bring us bliss unending. We wait for Thee ‘mid toil and pain, In weariness and sighing; But glad that Thou our guilt hast borne, And canceled it by dying; Hence cheerfully may we with Thee Take up our cross and bear it, Till we relief inherit. We wait for Thee; here Thou hast won Our hearts to hope and duty; But while our spirits feel Thee near, Our eyes would see Thy beauty; We fain would be at rest with Thee In peace and joy supernal, In glorious life eternal.”

19th

God’s Word Endures (Lasts) Forever
Text: Matthew 24:35 (1599 Geneva Bible)

“Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away.”

Jesus said that this earth and these heavens will be destroyed and then He will create a new heaven and new earth, but his Words (Holy Scripture) will not pass away. Do you need encouragement, salvation, healing, strength to deal with the wicked principalities and demons that are controlling the children of men and women, or peace in this troubled world?  If you need any of these, or need an answer, go right now to the Bible. God’s Words are true forever, and they are our true “Daily Bread.”

Hymn (“Lord, Thy Word Abideth”): “Lord, Thy Word abideth, And our footsteps guideth; Who its truth believeth Light and joy receiveth. When our foes are near us, Then Thy Word doth cheer us, Word of consolation, Message of salvation. When the storms are o’er us, And dark clouds before us, Then its light directeth, And our way protecteth.”

18th

Endure to the End
Text: Mark 13:13 (1599 Geneva Bible)

“And ye shall be hated of all men for my Name’s sake, but whosoever shall endure unto the end, he shall be saved.”

Jesus told His disciples, and us as Christian today, that we will be hated of all men for His Name’s sake and that we are to endure unto the end because He is coming back.  Endure is the Greek word hupomeno, which means “to bear trials, fortitude, persevere, abide, suffer patiently.” Our endurance until the Lord’s return for us will show the world that we are genuinely saved by the grace of God.  No matter how much the world, our flesh, and the devil try and oppose and defeat us, let us endure to the end of our lives.

Hymn (“Falter Not”): “Falter not nor look behind thee, Cast thy every weight aside; Haste to win the prize before thee, Trusting Him, thy precious Guide.” Refrain: “Falter not, nor look behind thee, Still thy course with joy pursue; Persevere, for thou must conquer, With the cross of Christ in view. Falter not nor look behind thee, Firm and fearless take thy place; Robe and crown and palm are waiting For the victors in the race. Falter not nor look behind thee, Lest thy labor prove in vain; Run with patience, and remember Thou hast much to lose or gain.”

17th

Pray For the Persecuted Church
Text: Luke 21:12-13 (1599 Geneva Bible)

“But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the Synagogues, and into prisons, and bring you before Kings and rulers for my Name’s sake. And this shall turn to you, for a testimonial.”

Jesus tell us that we may one day experience persecution like our brothers and sisters around the world who are being tortured and killed for their faith in Christ.  Jesus said it will be our chance to give our testimony. Today, stop what you are doing and pray three things for our persecuted brethren:
1. That they and their families’ faith would be strong, and for their release, if possible.
2. That their tormentors/persecutors would come to faith in Christ.
3. That if they die as martyrs, God would take care of their families and also encourage our faith should we ever have to face death as Christians here in America. Pray that we be not ashamed daily to “Tell the Blessed Story” of Jesus.

Hymn (“Tell The Blessed Story”): “Church of God, awaken; heed the Lord’s command, Tell the blessed story of the cross. Fields are white for harvesting on every hand, Tell the blessed story of the cross.” Refrain: “Tell the blessed story of the cross of Jesus, Tell the blessed story of the hallowed cross. Until every nation learns of full salvation, Tell the blessed story of the cross. Has not He commissioned you the news to bear? Tell the blessed story of the cross. `Go ye into all the world,’ and everywhere Tell the blessed story of the cross.”

16th

The Blessings That Come From Giving the Full Tithe

Text: Matthew 22:19-21 (1599 Geneva Bible)

“ `Shew me the tribute money.’ And they brought him a penny. And He said unto them, `Whose is this image and superscription?’ They said unto him, `Caesar’s.’ Then said He unto them, `Give therefore to Caesar, the things which are Caesars, and give unto God, those things which are God’s.’ ”

Alas, many atheists, and even “well-meaning Christians,” use this passage as a basis for the so-called “Separation of Church and State” here in America. This scripture was used by the Lord to open my eyes to come back to giving Jesus the full tithe, namely tithing on gross income before taxes.

God has blessed my wife and me since we gave to Him “before Caesar” (i.e. before taxes, 401k’s, allowances, etc).  Some blessings that He has given us have been healings to our bodies, his car (Ms. Joy 2 still running well with a current mileage on her of over 83,000), food, clothing, shelter, and no bill collectors knocking down our door due to late or missed payments. Most
of all, He has blessed us in spiritual things such as joy, love, and peace. He has also kept us safe. Let us give to the government what they tell us in taxes, but let us first give God that first ten percent of our income in love and obedience.

Hymn (“Take My Life and Let It Be”): “Take my silver and my gold; not a mite would I withhold. Not a mite, would I withhold, not a mite would I withhold.”

15th

Overcoming Opposition

Text: Mark 11:5-6 (1599 Geneva Bible)

“Then certain of them, that stood there, said unto them, `What do ye loosing the colt?’ 6 And they said unto them, as Jesus had commanded them, So they let them go.”

In today’s text, we read how two of Jesus’ disciples faced opposition from “some ruffians” because they were going to loose the colt (donkey) that Jesus told them to bring for his ride into Jerusalem, which we celebrate as Palm Sunday.

As soon as the disciples, said, “Jesus told us to say and do this,” the opposition ceased and the “ruffians” let the disciples go and take the donkey with them. I want to encourage those of us who are going through opposition in our jobs, neighborhoods, or even in the church, stop, smile, and say only what Jesus has told you to say, and in some cases (mine, this week), say nothing at all (as Jesus was silent before His persecutors). Remember that vengeance is God’s and He will fight your battles and win the war because “the battle belongs to the Lord.”

Hymn (“They That Overcome”): “Overcoming evil day by day, This our warfare on the Christian way; Yet unto those that faithful endure, God has declared that His promise is sure.” Refrain: “They that overcome, thus saith He, They that overcome, blessed shall be; They that overcome the world and sin, Life and a crown in His kingdom shall win. Tho’ we suffer tribulation here, Tho’ our crosses oft may seem severe, Think of the joy when trials are past, Strong in the Lord we shall conquer at last.
Overcoming, O my soul, arise, Overcoming, thou must reach the skies; Still journey on, and still overcome, Rest by and by with the Savior at home.”

14th

Jesus Loves the Little Children, Do You?
Text:  Luke 18:15-16 (1599 Geneva Bible)

“They brought unto him also babes that he should touch them. And when his disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them unto him, and said, `Suffer the babes to come unto me, and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of God.’ ”

In today’s text, we see how Jesus loves everyone and wants them to be a part of his Kingdom, even little children.  We can show that we too love little children by doing three things:
1. Pray for abortion to cease here in America.  Pray for those women who had abortions and those men who assisted by either being the doctor or the father of the child. Pray that they would find the peace that is only found in a relationship with Jesus Christ.
2. Here is a big one, and let’s all listen up as I am tired of this happening in the “house of the Lord” (`cause it even happened to my wife and me). Stop condemning and slandering those who cannot have children, or in our case choose not to have them.  Why not make a positive move of “adopting” a childless couple as spiritual parents to your family and spiritual grandparents to your children?  Please, for the sake of unity stop all the slandering–it stinks to highest heaven!
3. Pray for all the daycare workers, children’s church and Sunday school workers, nursery workers, children’s pastors, and school teachers, but most of all for parents to be encouraged. Pray for the little children to come to know Jesus, and help any way you can. Even a smile to a “wee one” or to a saddened teenager helps.  Believe me; children get enough aggravation from others. Even at school they are bullied, so they don’t need another “so-called adult” giving them an ugly mug of a frown.
Jesus loves all the children of the world! Do you and I also? I hope so!

Hymn (“Jesus Loves The Little Children”): “Jesus loves the little children, All the children of the world. Red and yellow, black and white, All are precious in His sight; Jesus loves the little children of the world.”

13th

Many are Called, Few are Chosen
Text: Matthew 20:16 (1599 Geneva Bible)

“So the last shall be first, and the first last; for many are called, but few chosen.”

In today’s text, Jesus wants us to know that many are called, but few are chosen.  Let us ask ourselves today before we go asking others, “Am I really a Christian?”  If you are resting on your salvation by God’s grace through faith (trust) in Jesus alone, and not on any good works that you did or are doing (good works come as a result of salvation), and if you have the holy Spirit living within, then you are saved.  When we know that we saved by God’s grace we can feel free to share the Gospel (good news about Jesus) to a lost and dying world, and we can praise God that He called us and we were chosen and adopted into His family.

Hymn (“Chosen Seed and Zion’s Children”): “Chosen seed and Zion’s children, Ransomed from eternal wrath, Traveling to the heav’nly Canaan On a rough and thorny path; Church of God, in Christ elected, Thou to God art reconciled, But on earth thou art a stranger, Persecuted and reviled. Still rejoice amid thy trials, Nor regard thy lot amiss; For the kind and loving Savior Is the source of all thy bliss; May He ever be thy portion, He Who gave thee life and breath: In His keeping fear no evil Now or in the hour of death.”

12th

Lord, I Believe
Text:  Mark 9:23-24 (1599 Geneva Bible)

“And Jesus said unto him, `If thou canst believe it, all things are possible to him that believeth.’ And straightway the father of the child crying with tears, said, `Lord, I believe; help my unbelief.’ ”

In today’s text, Jesus told the father of the mute boy that all things are possible to him that believeth. The Father responded much like we do today. Isn’t it amazing that even the faith to believe in Jesus and accept Him as our Savior and Lord comes not from within our natural man, but is a free gift from God.  Today, whatever your need may be, healing, salvation for
yourself or a loved one, finances, freedom from lust, worry, depression, anger, whatever you need, go to Jesus and say, “Lord, I believe; help get rid of my unbelief.” Trust Him to provide your answers; He will you know!

Hymn (“Lord, I Believe”): “Lord, I believe: help Thou mine unbelief; Let me no other master know but Thee. Thou art the Christian’s God, the only King and Chief, Of all who soldiers of the cross would be. Lord, I believe, in mercy grant me grace, To know Thee, blessed Savior, more and more; I can do naught without Thee; Jesus, show Thy face Unto Thy servant who would Thee adore. Lord, I believe; the hold of sin is strong, And stout its heart to pluck me from Thy love; But stronger is Thy grace; oh, strengthen and prolong, The work of faith in me, my doubts remove. Lord, I believe; help Thou mine unbelief; Be this my prayer through good report and ill; Only to Thee I cling; if long my day or brief, Master and Savior, I will trust Thee still!”

11th

No Fear Need Apply Here

Text: Jeremiah 46:27 (The 1599 Geneva Bible)

“But fear not thou, O my servant Jacob, and be not thou afraid, O Israel: for behold, I will deliver thee from a far country, and thy seed from the land of their captivity, and Jacob shall return and be in rest, and prosperity, and none shall make him afraid.”

GOD told the Prophet Jeremiah to tell the captives that they need not fear because God would ensure that they return to the land and be in rest and prosperity. And, none could make them afraid.  Today as Christians, we are to not fear anyone or anything but God, and to reverence Him.  I encourage each of us to tell fear of man, fear of the future, fear of the unknown, fear when dealing with an illness, fear when dealing with bills that keep piling up, even (God, I repent and encourage others struggling with this) fear of death and dying.  Why? Because we serve a risen Savior, He lives, He lives, and death is swallowed up in victory because Christ has risen from the grave and He tell us lovingly, “fear not!”  Rejoice!

Hymn (“He Lives”): “In all the world around me I see His loving care, And tho my heart grows weary, I never will despair; I know that He is leading thro all the stormy blast, The day of His appearing will come at last. He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today! He walks with me and talks with me along life’s narrow way. He lives, He lives, salvation to impart! You ask me how I know He lives, He lives within my heart.”

10th

Give Thanks with a Grateful Heart
Text: Luke 17:17-18 (1599 Geneva Bible)

“And Jesus answered, and said, `Are there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? There is none found that
returned to give God praise, save this stranger.’ ”

In today’s text, we see how ten lepers were healed of their deadly disease and yet only one, who was a Samaritan (a race hated by the Jews), came back and thanked Jesus and glorified God.  Today, we should not just set aside in America one day called “Thanksgiving Day,” but every day we should give thanks to Jesus for our many blessings, namely our salvation, our healing/health, our blessings of having a spouse, children, friends, family and pets, our daily bread, our freedom of worship etc.  Give thanks and praise to Jesus right now out of a grateful heart!

Hymn (“Give Thanks”): “Give thanks with a grateful heart, Give thanks unto the Holy One; Give thanks because He’s given Jesus Christ, His Son. And now let the weak say, `I am strong’; Let the poor say, `I am rich, Because of what the Lord has done for us’; Give thanks.”

9th

Show Compassion
Text:  John 11:35 (1599 Geneva Bible)

“And Jesus wept.”

In today’s text, which is the shortest, but among the most powerful verses in the Bible, we see how Jesus wept and had compassion about the reaction to the passing away of his friend Lazarus. Among many things, He wept about the unbelief the people had because they would not turn from their sins and did not recognize Him as “The Resurrection and the Life.” Today, Jesus wants both men and women to weep and have compassion to share the Gospel with their unsaved bosses, co-workers, neighbors, and friends. I personally have been convicted today to have compassion on a very bitter and rude co-worker at my job who hates God and all things spiritual. God told me, “Joseph, weep and intercede for her and her domestic partner to come to faith in Christ.”  I said in response, “Yes Lord, I will obey.”

Hymn (“Jesus Wept! Those Tears are Over,” by John Ross MacDuff — one of My Scottish Clansman): “Jesus wept! Those tears are over, But His heart is still the same; Kinsman, Friend, and elder Brother, Is His everlasting Name. Savior, who can love like Thee, Gracious One of Bethany? When the pangs of trial seize us, When the waves of sorrow roll, I will lay my head on Jesus, Refuge of the troubled soul. Surely, none can feel like Thee, Weeping One of Bethany! Jesus wept! And still in glory, He can mark each mourner’s tear; Loving to retrace the story, Of the hearts He solaced here. Lord, when I am called to die, Let me think of Bethany. Jesus wept! That tear of sorrow Is a legacy of love; Yesterday, today, tomorrow, He the same doth ever prove, Thou art all in all to me, Loving One of Bethany!”

8th

Unprofitable Servants
Text: Luke 17:10 (1599 Geneva Bible)

“So likewise ye, when ye have done all those things, which are commanded you, say, `We are unprofitable servants; we have done that which was our duty to do.’ ”

In today’s text, Jesus told his disciples and us today, in a loving rebuke, that we are to serve Him and others as our Christian duty out of love, and not in order to receive rewards both here and in heaven.  I am shocked by so many Christians who think that they should get a “personal thank you” from their church leadership or their congregation, a special award, or even a
Lexus (name the car of your choice) from God because they serve in “such and such ministry.”  My brethren, these things ought not to be! Let us serve Jesus and serve those in need because we love Jesus and not to be rewarded or thanked.

Hymn (“The Service of The King”): “I pledge my spirit loyal, To the service of the King; The privilege is royal, In the service of the King; I pledge to Him forever, My loftiest endeavor, And naught my soul shall sever, From the service of the King.” Refrain:
”In the service of the King, My sweetest songs I’ll sing, While I with joy my pow’rs employ, In the service of the King. There is no joy so holy, As the service of the King; There’s room for e’en the lowly, In the service of the King; If all the world but knew Him, How all would hasten to Him, And highest honor do Him, In the service of the King. In yonder realms immortal, There is service for the King; We pass the shining portal, To the service of the King; Amid the glories o’er Him, Where angel hosts adore Him, I, too, shall stand before him, In the service of the King.”

7th

Come Home

Text: Luke 15:18-20 (1599 Geneva Bible)

“I will rise and go to my father, and say unto him, `Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee. And am no more worthy to be called thy son; make me as one of thy hired servants.’ So he arose and came to his father, and when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck, and kissed him.”

In today’s text, Jesus told the parable of the Prodigal (lost) Son. Today, I want to encourage those of you who never have had a relationship with Jesus, those of you who feel like God has not answered your prayers, and those who may be suffering with depression, an illness, discouragement, temptation or addictions to please do three things. First, pause and stop what you are doing; second, come to your senses and finally come home to your Heavenly Father; third, accept His free gift of salvation through His Son Jesus. Today can be a fresh start for you.

Hymn (“Softly and Tenderly, Jesus Is Calling”): “Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling, Calling for you and for me; See, on the portals He’s waiting and watching, Watching for you and for me.” Refrain: “Come home, come home, You who are weary, come home; Earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling, Calling, O sinner, come home! Why should we tarry when Jesus is pleading, Pleading for you and for me? Why should we linger and heed not His mercies, Mercies for you and for me? Time is now fleeting, the moments are passing, Passing from you and from me; Shadows are gathering, deathbeds are coming, Coming for you and for me. O for the wonderful love He has promised, Promised for you and for me! Though we have sinned, He has mercy and pardon, Pardon for you and for me.”

6th

I’m Not Ashamed to let You Know I’m a Christian
Text:  Luke 12:8-9 (1599 Geneva Bible)

“Also I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess Me before men, him shall the Son of man confess also before the Angels of God. But he that shall deny Me before men, shall be denied before the Angels of God.”

In today’s text, Jesus told his disciples and us today that we are not to be ashamed to confess before men that He is our Savior and Lord. I love what the 1599 Geneva Bible note says: “Great is the reward of a constant confession and horrible is the punishment of denying Christ.” Today, do not be ashamed to admit you are a Christian and show God’s love by doing acts of love, grace and mercy so that all men, women, and children may know Him also as their Savior and Lord.

Song (“I’m Not Ashamed,” by The Newsboys): “I’m not ashamed to let you know I want this light in me to show I’m not ashamed to speak the name of Jesus Christ. What are we sneaking around for? Who are we trying to please? Shrugging off sin, apologizing, Like we’re spreading some kind of disease. I’m saying `No way. No Way.’ I’m not ashamed to let you know I want this light in me to show; I’m not ashamed to speak the name of Jesus Christ. This one (says) it’s a lost cause, Save your testimonies for church time. Other ones state you’d better wait, Until you do a little market research. I’m saying `No way. No way.’ I’m not ashamed to let you know I want this light in me to show; I’m not ashamed to speak the name of Jesus Christ.

5th

Devotion to Jesus
Text:  Luke 10:40-42 (1599 Geneva Bible)

“But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, `Master, doest thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? Bid her therefore, that she help me.’ And Jesus answered, and said unto her, `Martha, Martha, thou carest, and art troubled about many things; But one thing is needful, Mary hath chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.’ “

In today’s text, Jesus lovingly rebuked Martha; as Spurgeon wrote,”was distracted with care, when she should have been listening to her Lord.”  Let us set time aside daily (the morning works the best) from cleaning our houses, working our daily jobs, and even serving at the church, and be still before the Lord in prayer, meditation, listening to Jesus, and spending time
also in reading, heeding, and applying His Holy Word, The Bible.

Hymn (“One Thing’s Needful”): “One thing’s needful; Lord this treasure, Teach me highly to regard; All else, though it first give pleasure, Is a yoke that presses hard. Beneath it the heart is still fretting and striving, No true, lasting happiness ever deriving. The gain of this one thing all loss can requite, And teach me in all things to find true delight. Wilt thou find this one thing needful, Turn from all created things, Unto Jesus and be heedful,l Of the blessed joy He brings. For where God and Man both in one are united, With God’s perfect fullness the heart is delighted; There, there is the worthiest lot and the best, My One and my All and my Joy and my Rest. How were Mary’s thoughts devoted, Her eternal joy to find, As intent each word she noted, At her Savior’s feet reclined! How kindled her heart, how devout was its feeling, While hearing the lessons that Christ was revealing! For Jesus all earthly concerns she forgot, And all was repaid in that one happy lot.”

4th

Shine Jesus Shine
Text:  John 9:5 (1599 Geneva Bible)

“As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

In today’s text, Jesus told his followers that He is the “Light of The World.”  He told his disciples, and us also as believers in Christ today, in the Sermon on the Mount, that we are to let our lights (our lives lived through the power of His indwelling Holy Spirit) shine before men because they are in spiritual darkness. One way we can shine for Jesus is to have alternative things to do on October 31st.  I commend churches and Christians for putting on “harvest parties” without all the wicked, satanic, and gruesome costumes, or answering their doors by giving candy and gospel tracts to whoever comes. My bolder friends even answer the door and say after giving candy and a tract, “Hello, I’m (whatever their name is), is there something that I can pray for you about?” Let us shine for Jesus on the holidays and every day!

Hymn (“Shine Jesus Shine,” by Graham Kendrick, copyright 1987 by Make Way Music Admin. in N, S & C America by Integrity Music, Inc. All rights reserved. International copyright secured. Used by permission CCLI #30426.): “Lord the light of Your love is shining In the midst of the darkness; shining Jesus, Light of the World shine upon us. Set us free by the truth you now bring us; Shine on me Shine on me.” Chorus: “Shine Jesus shine, Fill this land with the Father’s glory; Blaze Spirit blaze, Set our hearts on fire; Flow river flow, Flood the nations with grace and mercy; Send forth Your word Lord, And let there be light. Lord, I come to Your awesome presence, From the shadows into your radiance, By the blood I may enter Your brightness, Search me, try me, consume all my darkness; Shine on me shine on me. As we gaze on your kingly brightness, So our faces display your likeness; Ever changing from glory to glory, Mirrored here may our lives tell your story; Shine on me shine on me.

3rd

The World, Its Works are Evil
Text:  John 7:7 (1599 Geneva Bible)

“The world cannot hate you, but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil.”In today’s text, Jesus told His disciples, and He tells us today also as His followers, that the world which is blinded by Satan hates Jesus.  One of the ways that the world hates Jesus is how it celebrates certain days and holidays and causes them to be “unholy” days. Let us examine three days that the world has darkened to hate Jesus.
1. October 31st, called Halloween here in America. Alas, I agree with some folks that the name (in recognizing how some folks celebrate it) might be called Hell-o-ween.  Why do some people, even well-meaning Christians, make this day a birthday party for the devil by dressing up as the undead, vampires, witches, ghosts, devils, etc.?  My brethren, these
things ought not to be?
2. Thanksgiving Day. Why in America do we only want to give thanks to God for all the blessings that He has given us just one day a year?  Also, why do we just focus in our land on the turkey dinner, the football game, and the Macy’s Day parade?
3. Christmas Day. Why do we focus on giving presents (thus becoming more in debt); Santa; the tree; and decorations? Why do we only have “peace on earth and good will toward all men” just one day a year?  We should love others each day of the year and celebrate Jesus’ birthday and his coming to bring us salvation, not Santa.
So today let us pray to Jesus to “lighten the darkness” in our world and be used of God to help others come to Him and be “examples of believers in Christ.”

Hymn (“Lighten The Darkness”): “Lighten the darkness of our life’s long night, Through which we blindly stumble to the day, Shadows mislead us; Father, send Thy light, To set our footsteps in the homeward way. Lighten the darkness of our self conceit, The subtle darkness that we love so well, Which shrouds the path of wisdom from our feet, And lulls our spirits with its baneful spell. Lighten our darkness when we bow the knee, To all the gods we ignorantly make, And worship, dreaming that we worship Thee, Till clearer light our slumbering souls awake. Lighten our darkness when we fail at last, And in the midnight lay us down to die; We trust to find Thee when the night is past, And daylight breaks across the morning sky.”

2nd

What a Difference Jesus Has Made in My Life
Text:  Matthew 18:11 (1599 Geneva Bible)

“For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.”

In today’s text, Jesus told His disciples and us today that He came to save that which was lost, namely us.  What a difference He has made in our lives since we have come to faith in Christ.  Let us take some time today and praise Jesus for saving us from our lost condition, saving us from an eternity in the lake of fire, healing our bodies, providing our daily bread, providing companionship via a spouse, children, friends and family, and giving us His joy, etc.

Song (“What a Difference You’ve Made In My Life,” sung By B.J. Thomas, written by Archie P. Jordan — One of My Top five favorite songs): “What a difference you’ve made in my life, What a difference you’ve made in my life; You’re my sunshine day and night, Oh what a difference you’ve made in my life. What a change you have made in my heart, What a change you have made in my heart; You’ve replaced all the broken parts, Oh what a change you have made in my heart.”

1st

Reaching Forth and Finishing Well

Text: Philippians 3:13-14 (The 1599 Geneva Bible)

“Brethren, I count not myself that I have attained to it, but one thing I do: I forget that which is behind, and endeavor myself unto that which is before, and follow hard toward the mark, for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”

Dear Friends, Today, as we start a new year, let us not make any New Year’s resolutions. What did you just say, you ask? Yes, you read right! Instead of making New Year’s resolutions, let us spend time before God and ask Him eight things and then listen for his answers.

  1. How can I love You more this year?
  2. How can I love my neighbors, bosses, co-workers, relatives, spouse, children, pets, and friends more this year?
  3. What type of Bible plan and Bible reading can I start?
  4. Who and what do You want me to pray for?
  5. Who can I serve and minister to this year?
  6. How can I get out of debt (if applicable), spend less, and give more to Your purposes this year?
  7. Who can I share the Gospel with this year? If you do not know Jesus yet, why not start the year by asking Him into your heart and life right now?
  8. What bad habit(s) can I ask You, God, and others for help with? Lose weight, spend less, get less angry, procrastinate less, gossip less, etc.

Today is a new day in a new year with a fresh start. Start small, even with baby steps, but finish well. The best words you can ever hear will be spoken to you by Jesus Himself if you are faithful: “Well done thou good and faithful servant, enter now into the joy of the Lord.”

Hymn (“With Gladsome Feet We Press”): “With gladsome feet we press to Zion’s holy mount, Where gushes from its deep recess the cooling fount; Oh, happy, happy hill, the joy of every saint! With sweet Siloam’s crystal rill, that cheers the faint. Great city, blest of God! Jerusalem the free! With ceaseless step the path be trod that leads to thee! The martyrs’ bleeding feet, the saints with woundless breast, Alike have sought thy golden seat to win their rest. There, calming all alarms, thy cross of love is traced, Outstretching salutary arms, to bless the waste; The sinner there can plead in ever listening ears; On hope and Thee, can sweetly feed, and dry his tears. So this our festal day celestial joy shall raise, While lips and hearts, conjoined, essay to hymn thy praise! The very stones shall ring, resound each holy wall, With Thee, Thyself the Rock, our Heaven, our All!”

April

30th

Help Those in Need
Text: Deuteronomy 15:11 (KJV) “For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land.”

God told the people of Israel to help each other, and to especially help the poor and needy.  We are highly blessed by the Lord here in America. We complain about the rising prices of gas and other items, but how many of us miss meals due to no food in our pantries? How many of us have been naked due to lack of clothing, or have been homeless because we can’t pay our rent or mortgage? Help those in need and remember (as James might say), “Actions speak louder than words.”

Hymn (“O Brother Man,” by John Greenleaf Whittier): “O brother man, fold to thy heart thy brother; Where pity dwells, the peace of God is there; To worship rightly is to love each other, Each smile a hymn, each kindly deed a prayer.”

29th

The Mighty Hand of God
Text: Deuteronomy 11:2(KJV) “And know ye this day: for I speak not with your children which have not known, and which have not seen the chastisement of the LORD your God, his greatness, his mighty hand, and his stretched out arm.”

Moses told Israel to tell of God’s greatness and how He kept them in his mighty hand.  The mighty hand of God protects us from our enemies, shelters us from harm, and lovingly (and sometimes firmly) touches us, and also comforts us.  God is our Heavenly Father and He loves us so!  He will show us the way to go when we need direction.  He will uphold and strengthen us in temptation.

Hymn (“His Mighty Hand”): “I am saved from sin, I have peace within, And I walk with Jesus day by day; O his hand so strong, holds me all day long, And with Him I will not go astray.” Refrain: “He will hold me with his mighty hand! He will hold me with his mighty hand! In temptation He will help me stand! For He will hold me with his mighty hand.”

28th

I Will Bless You LORD
Text: Deuteronomy 8:10 (KJV) “When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the LORD thy God for the good land which he hath given thee.”

The Israelites were told to bless God when they had entered the promised land and had eaten their fill.  Many Bible teachers and scholars use this text as the reason we say grace at mealtime.  I would like to take this one step further and ask that we as Christians also “bless the LORD our God” with all that we think, say, and do as God has been so good to us in all things.”

Hymn (“Swell the Anthem, Raise the Song”): “Swell the anthem, raise the song; Praises to our God belong. Saints and angels join to sing, Praises to the heav’nly King. Blessings from his liberal hand, Flow around this happy land. Kept by Him, no foes annoy; Peace and freedom we enjoy.”

27th

Where do You Hide from Your Enemies?
Text: Psalm 32:7 (KJV) “Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah.”

Dear Friends, in today’s text, King David said that God was his hiding place from his enemies.  As Christians, if we trust in the LORD and not in our military might, our own strength, or a false religion, Jesus alone will keep us safe and hide us from our enemies—namely, the world, our flesh, and the devil.

Hymn (“Thou art my Hiding Place, O LORD”): “Thou art my hiding place, O Lord, In Thee I put my trust; Encouraged by Thy holy Word, A feeble child of dust; I have no argument beside, I urge no other plea; And ’tis enough my Savior died, My Savior died for me.”

26th

What Brings Joy in Heaven

Text: Luke 15:10 (KJV) “Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.”

One of the greatest things that brings joy to God and the angels in heaven is when a sinner receives Jesus as Savior and Lord.  We need to be about the business of God on earth by living holy lives, praying for people to come to faith in Christ, and sharing what God has done for us.  In this way we will bring joy both here on earth and in heaven as sinners repent.

Hymn (“There is Joy”): “When a sinner comes, as a sinner may, There is joy, there is joy; When he turns to God in the Gospel way, There is joy, there is joy.” Refrain: “There is joy among the angels, And their harps with music ring, When a sinner comes repenting, Bending low before the King.”

25th

Fear GOD

Text: Deuteronomy 6:13 (KJV) “Fear the Lord thy God, and serve Him.”

Moses told the people of Israel to fear GOD and serve Him. The Hebrew word for fear is yare which is interpreted to mean “to make afraid or to be in reverence.” I believe GOD wants us to reverence Him, but we also need to think twice and truly “fear Him.” That is, we must be afraid of consequences before we “act out” or say things against others, or in rage take His holy name in vain.  O, GOD, may we honor, reverence, and fear you!

Hymn (“O my God, I Fear Thee”): “O my God, I fear Thee! Holy, just, and true; But, my heavenly Father, I will love Thee, too; Guide me till this life be past, Take me to Thyself at last.”

24th

Look What the LORD has done in Your Life–A Refresher Course

Text: Deuteronomy 1:8 (KJV) “Behold, I have set the land before you: go in and possess the land which the LORD sware unto your fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give unto them and to their seed after them.”

Moses gave the Law of God to the people a second time just before the last of those who had wandered in the wilderness for forty years would die (except for Joshua and Caleb). Moses reminded them of all that the LORD had done for them, both in Egypt and in the wilderness.  GOD touched my heart and said, “Look what I have done for you all the years of your life.”  He says the same to each of us; namely to take a “refresher course” on his goodness.

Worship Chorus (“Look What the LORD has Done”): “Look what the Lord has done, Look what the Lord has done; He healed my body, He touched my mind, He saved me just in time. I’m gonna praise his name, Each day is just the same, Come on and praise Him, Look what the Lord has done.”

23rd

Stop Defiling the Land—Murder Gone Mad
Text: Numbers 35:33-34 (KJV) “So ye shall not pollute the land wherein ye are: for blood it defileth the land: and the land cannot be cleansed of the blood that is shed therein, but by the blood of him that shed it. Defile not therefore the land which ye shall inhabit, wherein I dwell: for I the LORD dwell among the children of Israel.”

God told the nation of Israel not to defile the land by murder because He is a holy GOD and He wanted to dwell among them.
I am amazed and shocked that in the United States we have on our money the phrase, “One Nation Under God,” yet we have three types of murder that defile our land and need to cease.
1. We have the murder of the unborn, namely abortion. This needs to stop, and rather than condemn the women that have already had abortions, we need to pray for them and help them heal.
2. We have the murder of others through the sin of anger.  Jesus said that we murder our brother or sister when we have anger in our hearts against them.  We must learn to forgive others as we have been forgiven by God.
3. We have the murder of the aged and the ill.  So called, “Euthanasia,” or “physician assisted suicide,” is a sin against God because god alone is the giver and taker of life.

Song (“Little Ones,” by Phil Keaggy): “Who will speak up for the little ones? Helpless and half-abandoned. They’ve got the right to choose life. They don’t want to lose; I’ve got to speak up, won’t you?”

22nd

Don’t Let Your Enemies Overcome You; Instead Overcome Your Enemies
Text: Numbers 33:55-56 (KJV) “But if ye will not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you; then it shall come to pass, that those which ye let remain of them shall be pricks in your eyes, and thorns in your sides, and shall vex you in the land wherein ye dwell. Moreover it shall come to pass, that I shall do unto you, as I thought to do unto them.”

In today’s text, we see where not only did God warn the nation of Israel, but He warns us also, to not let our enemies overcome us.  As Christians, we have three enemies; the world (its philosophies, lusts, and those people who reject Christ), our flesh, and the devil and his demons.  We overcome our enemies by the Word of God, the Blood of Jesus, and not loving our lives and our flesh so much as to give in to temptations.

Hymn (“They That Overcome”): “Overcoming evil day by day, This our warfare on the Christian way; Yet unto those that faithful endure, God has declared that His promise is sure.” Refrain: “They that overcome, thus saith He; They that overcome, blessèd shall be; They that overcome the world and sin, Life and a crown in His kingdom shall win.”

21st

Build Your Life on the Wisdom of God!
Text: Proverbs 24:3 (KJV) “Through wisdom is an house builded; and by understanding it is established:”

In today’s Proverb, even though short, it is timely. We need to go to the Bible for wisdom.  We need God’s wisdom found only in the Bible to build a solid relationship with Chris,t and in our homes and marriages.  Go back to the Guidebook, today!

Hymn (“Building, Daily Building”): “Building, daily building, while the moments fly, We are ever building life work for on high! Character we’re building, thoughts and actions free, Make for us a building for eternity.” Refrain: “We are building day by day, while the moments pass away, We are building, ever building; We are building day by day, while the moments pass away, We are building for eternity.”

20th

Give God the Glory Due His Name!
Text: Psalm 29:2 (KJV) “Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.”

King David wrote that we need to give GOD the glory due his name. We can do this in three ways.
1. Thank GOD daily for the salvation that we have by his grace through our faith in his Son, Jesus Christ.
2. Thank Him for his blessings of food, clothing, shelter, safety, warmth, jobs, cars, family, friends, pets etc.
3. Do not blaspheme his name or his Son Jesus’ name by using them as swear words like the heathen do, or by jesting like they do by saying “Oh, my G-d!”

Hymn (“Down at the Cross–Glory to His Name”): “Down at the cross where my Savior died, Down where for cleansing from sin I cried, There to my heart was the blood applied; Glory to His Name!” Refrain: “Glory to his Name, glory to his Name: There to my heart was the blood applied; Glory to His Name!”

19th

Jesus, What a Friend for us Sinners!
Text: Luke 7:34-35 (KJV) “The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners! But wisdom is justified of all her children.”

Jesus basically shut the mouths of the Pharisees because He would not let the slander of those religious leaders bother Him.
Instead, He told them that He came to seek and to save those of us who had been lost.  Come to Jesus today; He is a friend of us sinners, and He longs to save us by his grace!

Hymn (“Jesus! What a Friend for Sinners”): “Jesus! what a Friend for sinners! Jesus! Lover of my soul; Friends may fail me, foes assail me, He, my Savior, makes me whole.” Refrain: “Hallelujah! what a Savior! Hallelujah! what a Friend! Saving, helping, keeping, loving, He is with me to the end.”

18th

Prepare the Way, Your Successor may be Arriving
Text: Numbers 27:22-23 (KJV) “And Moses did as the LORD commanded him: and he took Joshua, and set him before Eleazar the priest, and before all the congregation: And he laid his hands upon him, and gave him a charge, as the LORD commanded by the hand of Moses.”

In today’s text, we see one of the many instances in the Bible where someone was preparing the way for their successor in ministry.  Besides Moses and Joshua, some other examples are Elijah and Elisha, and John The Baptist preparing the way for Jesus’ ministry.  We do not know when the LORD will call us home, but we should be asking GOD to “send [new] workers into his vineyard, because the harvest is plentiful and the laborers are few.”

Hymn (“Harvest Time”): “The harvest fields are bending, With precious ripened grain; More reapers now are needed, Ere Christ comes back again.” Refrain: “Harvest time! Harvest time! Precious Gospel seed is sown. Reapers go! Reapers go! Jesus, King, must have His own, His loved ones; Soon He’ll come! Soon He’ll come! Come and catch away His Bride, His own! His own! His own!

17th

Goodly Homes are Godly Homes
Text: Numbers 24:5 (KJV) “How goodly are thy tents, O Jacob, and thy tabernacles, O Israel!”

Balaam, who was hired by an enemy king to curse Israel, instead blessed Israel here in his third “prophecy.” He
blessed Israel because of their goodly tents and the tabernacle because GOD was with his people. In their homes and in their tabernacle they worshiped and lived for GOD. We should not be concerned if our homes are super clean and ready for the pages of “Better Homes and Gardens,” or whether we have the biggest and best furniture, gadgets, cars, etc. Instead, we should seek to say, “My home is a goodly and godly place.”

Hymn (“Goodly Were Thy tents, O Israel”): “Goodly were thy tents, O Israel, Spread along the river’s side; Bright thy star, which rose prophetic, Herald of dominion wide; Fairer are the homes of freemen, Scattered o’er our broad domain; Brighter is our rising daystar, Ush’ring in a purer reign.”

16th

There is no Rich or Poor Section in Heaven
Text: Proverbs 22:2 (KJV) “The rich and poor meet together: the LORD is the maker of them all.”

In today’s Proverb, we see that what is unjust on earth (namely, separation of people by social classes even in churches) will be abolished in heaven.  If one wants a ticket to heaven, so to speak, there is no first class or coach section.  Admittance to heaven cannot be bought because it was paid for with a great price, the blood of Jesus Christ. So if you want to go to heaven, all you have to do is believe in your heart and confess with your mouth that Jesus is LORD and SAVIOR!  We’ll all be rich when we meet there!

Hymn (“Meet Me There”): “On the happy, golden shore, where the faithful part no more, When the storms of life are over, meet me there; Where the night dissolves away into pure and perfect day, I am going home to stay—meet me there.” Refrain: “Meet me there, meet me there, Where the tree of life is blooming, meet me there; When the storms of life are o’er, on the happy golden shore, Where the faithful part no more, meet me there.”

15th

Give GOD Your Best, Not Leftovers
Text: Numbers 18:29 (KJV) “Out of all your gifts ye shall offer every heave offering of the LORD, of all the best thereof, even the hallowed part thereof out of it.”

In today’s text, we see where GOD told Moses that when the gifts (offerings) had been brought to GOD, the priest was supposed to give GOD the best.  As Christians, we are not to give GOD “leftovers” (i.e., tithing off net income, serving Him when we are finished running around seeking our own pleasure, or saying, “LORD, when I have some time, I can do such and such.”) Give GOD your best; He alone deserves it!

Hymn (“Our Best”): “Hear ye the Master’s call, `Give Me thy best!’ For, be it great or small, that is His test. Do then the best you can, not for reward, Not for the praise of men, but for the Lord.” Refrain: “Every work for Jesus will be blest, But He asks from everyone his best. Our talents may be few, these may be small, But unto Him is due our best, our all.”

14th

Be an Encourager
Text: Numbers 13:30 (KJV) “And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, `Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it.’ ”

In today’s text, we see how Caleb, who was an encourager and a man of faith, tried to still the people and calm them from uprising against Moses because of the false testimony and weak report of the other ten cowardly spies. Only Joshua and Caleb brought back good reports from the promised land.  Today, keep away from the cowards, the slanderers, and the evil reporters, and be an encourager to others.

Hymn (“Far, Far on the Other Side”): “The giants are conquered the spies said were here, Jesus is victor, I need have no fear; Summer in winter and joy all the year, Glory to Jesus forever!” Refrain: “Far, far on the other side, I’m living across the river, Burned are the bridges ‘twixt me and the world, Glory to Jesus forever!”

13th

HELP, I Need Somebody, Not Just Anybody
Text: Psalm 25:1-2 (KJV) “Unto thee, O LORD, do I lift up my soul. O my God, I trust in Thee: let me not be ashamed, let not mine enemies triumph over me.”

In today’s text, we see that King David cried out to GOD alone for help, and he also asked to not be ashamed or have his enemies triumph over him.  If you need release from your enemies (Satan, your flesh, this world, debt, illness, etc.), cry out to GOD. He will come to your aide.

Hymn (“Trusting Jesus,” Crosby version): “Simply trusting all the way, Taking Jesus at His Word; Simply trusting, when I pray, Every promise of my Lord.” Refrain: “Simply trusting, simply trusting, Trusting Jesus, that is all; To the cross of Christ I cling; Simply trusting, that is all.”

12th

When You Give, You Receive
Text: Luke 6:38 (KJV) “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.”

In today’s text, we see the antidote for selfishness.  If you give, you will receive.  You may not become a millionaire, but you receive spiritual blessings, love, joy, peace, patience, etc. You also experience the blessing of seeing lives changed when you serve others and watch GOD work in their lives.  Today, give financially in tithes and offerings and give of your time and talents to serve God and others.  You will be richly blessed.

Hymn (“Awake, Awake to Love and Work,” Verse 3): “To give and give, and give again, What God hath given thee; To spend thyself nor count the cost; To serve right gloriously, The God Who gave all worlds that are, And all that are to be.”

11th

Let Everything Else Go
Text: Matthew 25:21 (KJV) “His lord said unto him,’ Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.’ ”

In today’s text, we see an exciting reminder which is actually a prayer that I pray for my family, friends, you readers, and myself. I pray, “Lord Jesus, guide us to where we can hear these words of yours welcoming us to your Kingdom.”  Let us celebrate the joy of knowing that nothing will compare to seeing Jesus face to face and hearing those words from his lips!

Song (“Let Everything Else Go,” by Phil Keaggy):”Chasing down hot air balloons on Sunday morning, In pace with a familiar tune I reach for nothing less, but something more. All the day, and the wind is at my back most of the way. Holding conversation with a friend I know is near, Great anticipation fills my soul, It fills my heart, it fills the air. All the day, and the wind is at my back. Oh I can’t wait to see you Jesus, face to face, Nothing in this world can take Your place.”

10th

GOD Bless You Today and Always
Text: Numbers 6:24-26 (KJV) “The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.”

In today’s text, we see an excellent blessing that GOD gave Moses to give to the people.  It breaks my heart that people can say God or Jesus accompanied with a curse word and then turn around and say “Bless you” to others. Blessings have spiritual power and should not be tossed around lightly, particularly by those who use the Lord’s name in vain. Today, make it a habit to lovingly correct those who use God’s name in cursing, and then genuinely bless them in his name.

Hymn (“The LORD Bless and Keep You”): “The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord lift His countenance upon you, And give you peace, and give you peace; The Lord make His face to shine upon you, And be gracious, and be gracious; The Lord be gracious, gracious unto you.”

9th

Keep the Fire Burning
Text: Leviticus 6:13 (KJV) “The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar; it shall never go out.”

In today’s text, we see where the priests were commanded to always keep the altar fire burning. The fire is a “type” of the Holy Spirit. We need to always keep our faith in God alive in our hearts and not grieve the Holy Spirit by willful and disobedient sinning.  When we disobey God, we hurt others and ourselves, but more importantly we grieve the Holy Spirit and become “mean spirited and cold hearted.” Keep the fire burning today!

Hymn (“O Thou Who Camest From Above”) “O Thou Who camest from above, The pure celestial fire to impart, Kindle a flame of sacred love, Upon the mean altar of my heart.”

8th

Raising Up a Holy Generation
Text: Proverbs 20:11 (KJV) “Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right.”

In today’s Proverb, the writer tells us that the basic nature of a person reveals itself early in life.  Some children are labeled as “wee brats” and some as “wee angels.”  For those of you who have children, I encourage you to raise them in the things of the LORD.  For those of us who have no children, we can help in many ways: pray for the parents; help in Sunday School; become a Big Brother/Big Sister; and pray for the teachers, Sunday School teachers and daycare workers of the world.  If you have nieces and nephews, pray for them daily and give them “good gifts,” i.e. Christian books, audio cassettes, and CDs.

Hymn (“Jesus Loves the Little Children”): “Jesus calls the children dear, `Come to me and never fear, For I love the little children of the world; I will take you by the hand, Lead you to the better land, For I love the little children of the world.’ ” Refrain: “Jesus loves the little children, All the children of the world. Red and yellow, black and white, All are precious in His sight, Jesus loves the little children of the world.”

7th

Spiritual Growth
Text: Ephesians 4:14-15 (KJV) “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things, which is the Head, even Christ.”

The Apostle Paul tells us that we need to stop acting like spoiled brats who want our own way. We need to mature and grow up in Christ because He is the Head of the Church.  There are several ways that we can get off “babes’ spiritual milk,” grow up, and mature in the LORD. We can spend time daily in Bible Study and prayer; serve in an area of our spiritual gifts in the church; tithe and give offerings; witness; make our homes sacred worship and prayer havens; practice sowing seeds of kindness in our families, neighborhoods, and work places; and get rid of the “unholy” in our lives.

Hymn (“Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah,” 5th verse): “Musing on my habitation, Musing on my heavenly home, Fills my soul with holy longings. Come, my Jesus, quickly come; Vanity is all I see; Lord, I long to be with Thee! Lord, I long to be with Thee!”

6th

`Tis so Sweet to Trust in Jesus
Text: Psalm 22:4-5 (KJV) “Our fathers trusted in Thee: they trusted, and Thou didst deliver them. They cried unto Thee, and were delivered: they trusted in Thee, and were not confounded.”

King David said that his ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and Moses, etc. were delivered because they trusted in God.  Let us rejoice and say thank you to Jesus today because He has delivered us from sin, death, and hell if we have trusted Him as Lord and Savior of our lives. He will bring us through our present trials.

Hymn (“ ‘Tis so Sweet to Trust In Jesus”): “ ‘Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, And to take Him at His Word; Just to rest upon His promise, And to know, `Thus says the Lord!’ ” Refrain: “Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him! How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er. Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus, O for grace to trust Him more!”

5th

Standing on the Word of GOD
Text: Mark 13:31(KJV) “Heaven and earth shall pass away: but My words shall not pass away.”

In today’s text, Jesus tells us a vitally important thing.  The important thing to know is that the heavens and the earth will pass away. False teachers will come and go. Fair weather friends will come and go. But, we need to always remember that GOD’s Word will never pass away. The Bible is the Guidebook that we should rely on to live out this life.

Hymn (“I am Standing on the Word of GOD”): “I am standing on the Word of God, Which came to men of old; The Holy Book our fathers loved, And treasured more than gold.” Refrain: “I am standing, standing on the Word, Though the earth change and decay, It shall never, never pass away, I am standing on the Word of God.”

4th

The Sabbath is a Holy Day
Text: Leviticus 23:3 (KJV) “Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; ye shall do no work therein: it is the sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings.”

In today’s text, we see that the Sabbath was to be a holy convocation (holy day).  It is a shame that here in America we profane (disrespect) God’s Sabbath.  We do that by not “resting” and not worshipping.  This Sunday try to do three things: Get up early and spend some time in Bible study and prayer before you go to church; while you are at the service, do not complain about anything or let your mind wander to the afternoon’s TV sports, or the mall shopping trip; do not delegate such trivial things like moving the grass, vacuuming the house, or “goofing off on the Internet” to a Sunday. Delegate these nonessentials to another day of the week and rest, rest, and rest.

Hymn (“Holy Sabbath”): “Holy Sabbath, day of rest; By our great Redeemer blest; When in majesty He rose, More than conqueror o’er His foes.” Refrain: “Softly now we hear Him say, `Turn from earthly toil away; Let your pray’rs to Heaven ascend; I will keep you to the end.’ ”

3rd

The Occult is the Worst Cult
Text: Leviticus 20:6-8 (KJV) “And the soul that turneth after such as have familiar spirits, and after wizards, to go a whoring after them, I will even set my face against that soul, and will cut him off from among his people. Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the LORD your God. And ye shall keep my statutes, and do them: I am the LORD, which sanctify you. ”

In today’s text, God warns the children of Israel, and us today, to flee from all things that are from the occult: the “hidden things” that oppose God. The occult includes atheism and agnosticism which deny the reality and power of GOD to save; Satanism, witchcraft, Wicca, New Age, Scientology, and any religion that does not rely on Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord; horoscopes; games/devices such as the Ouija board, Magic 8 ball, Dungeon and Dragons, Pokémon, Digimon, and The Gathering; books/comic books that deal with horror, dreams and/or dream interpretations; fantasy; a majority of video games; many current movies and television shows; illegal drugs; much rock music and rap; and pornography. Please beware, and make sure that you and your family fill your eyes, ears, and minds with wholesome things.

2nd

Flee Sexual Sins
Text: Leviticus 18:24-30 (KJV) “Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things: for in all these the nations are defiled which I cast out before you: And the land is defiled: therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants. Ye shall therefore keep my statutes and my judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations; neither any of your own nation, nor any stranger that sojourneth among you: (For all these abominations have the men of the land done, which were before you, and the land is defiled;) That the land spue not you out also, when ye defile it, as it spued out the nations that were before you. For whosoever shall commit any of these abominations, even the souls that commit them shall be cut off from among their people. Therefore shall ye keep mine ordinance, that ye commit not any one of these abominable customs, which were committed before you, and that ye defile not yourselves therein: I am the LORD your God.”

Dear friends, In the verses prior to today’s text, God told the people of Israel, and He tells us as Christians today, that he hates sexual sins, namely, incest, homosexuality (there is no such thing as an alternative lifestyle with the LORD), bestiality, and others.  Let us flee from all this wickedness, stand up, and purify our hearts with the refiner’s fire.

Praise Song (“Refiner’s Fire,” copyright, Brian Doerksen,1990, Mercy/Vineyard Publishing): “Purify my heart, Let me be as gold and precious silver; Purify my heart, Let me be as gold, pure gold. Refiner’s fire, My heart’s one desire, Is to be holy Set apart for You Lord; I choose to be holy Set apart for You my Master, Ready to do Your will.”

1st

Forever Friends
Text: Proverbs 17:17a (KJV) “A friend loveth at all times.”

In today’s proverb, we see a powerful statement that is sorely needed in today’s society.  A “forever friend” is someone who will love us at all times, love us enough to tell us areas where we need to improve, listen to us “vent,” pray, and help us when we are in need. A “forever friend” is often closer than flesh and blood family members.  If you have someone in your life like this, thank the LORD for him or her and also call him or her soon and say, “Thank You for being my forever friend.”  You will be glad that you did.

Song (“Friends,” by Michael W. & Debbie Smith): “Packing up the dreams God planted In the fertile soil of you; Can’t believe the hopes He’s granted; Means a chapter in your life is through. But, we’ll keep you close as always; It won’t even seem you’ve gone. ‘Cause our hearts in big and small ways Will keep the love that keeps us strong.” Chorus: “And friends are friends forever If the Lord’s the Lord of them; And a friend will not say never ‘Cause the welcome will not end. Though it’s hard to let you go, In the Father’s hands we know, That a lifetime’s not too long to live as friends.”