Jesus Came to Rid us of the Famine of our Souls
Text: Genesis 41:15 (KJV)
“And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, `I have dreamed a dream, and there is none that can interpret it: and I have heard say of thee, that thou canst understand a dream to interpret it.’ ”
In today’s text, we see Pharaoh had a disturbing dream and brought Joseph to him to interpret it. The interpretation showed that he dreamed of seven years of famine. God is here to tell us that, yes, there will be poverty and famine in the world. We need to help in any way we can in those areas, but even more importantly people are dying of hunger/famine in their souls. All humans need the strength and eternal life that only comes from Jesus, the Bread of heaven. If you have never asked Him into your heart and life, go to Him now and He will satisfy your soul.
Hymn (“My Soul once had its Plenteous Years”): “My soul once had its plenteous years, And throve, with peace and comfort filled, Like the fat cows and ripened ears, Which Pharaoh in his dream beheld. To Joseph the Egyptians went, To Jesus I made known my case; He, when my little stock was spent, Opened His magazine of grace. O sinners, hear His gracious call! His mercy’s door stands open wide, He has enough to feed you all, And none who come shall be denied.”
I Have a Dream Today
Text: Genesis 37:6 (KJV)
“And he said unto them, Hear, I pray you, this dream which I have dreamed:”
In today’s text, we see where Joseph (nice name!), told his family that he dreamed a dream. I want to say three things about dreams today:
1. Let us keep the dreams of godly men and woman alive, like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I also am tired of all the prejudice in this world. No one race is better than another.
2. Let us keep our dreams alive. If we delight ourselves in the Lord, He will give us the desires of our heart (not a new Lexus, or millions of dollars). He will grant us godly desires which bring us closer to Him and allow our lives to glorify Him.
3. Finally, and most importantly, let us keep Jesus’ dream alive as it is stated so lovingly in 2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to usward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
Today’s Quote (“I have a dream today,” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.): “I have a dream that one day the state of [people’s hearts] …will be transformed [so that] little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers.”
Godly Mothers: A Tribute to Three Godly Women
Text: Proverbs 6:20b (KJV)
“And forsake not the law of thy mother:”
The writer of today’s Proverb tells how his godly mother told him about the Lord. I ‘m not blessed to have been born to a Christian woman. I do however want you all today, if you have had a Christian mother and if she is still alive, to call her and thank her for raising you in the law of God. If she has passed on to heaven, then offer a prayer to God and thank Him for her. I, myself, want to say thank you to three godly women who “mothered me in the law of God and showed me God’s love.”
1. Anne, who I affectionately call “Mum.” She is a strong Christian woman and nurse and teacher in the true compassion of Florence Nightengale. She always took me to church with her, engaged me in intelligent and spiritual conversation, and is a Proverbs 31 woman. Though I do not get to see her anymore, she is thought of, loved, and prayed for daily.
- Betty, who I affectionately call “Momma.” She is also a strong Christian woman who, with her husband, who I affectionately call “Pop,” adopted me into their family way back in my military time in the United Kingdom. She loves people, teaches me in spiritual matters, and is an excellent world-class baker. If you ever eat her coconut cake, you are in for a real blessing. Though I also do not get to see her anymore, she is thought of, loved, and prayed for daily.
3. Delores (a.k.a. Kitty)-She was my wife Serene’s mum. She was a classy and elegant lady who many times prayed with and for me. She always helped those in need and is sorely missed. She and her husband, who are both with the Lord, did an excellent job raising Sabrina (Serene’s sister) and Serene in a Christian home.Hymn (“Memories of Mother”): “My mother’s hand is on my brow, Her gentle voice is pleading now; Across the years so marred by sin What memories of love steal in!” Refrain: “O mother, when I think of thee, ‘Tis but a step to Calvary; Thy gentle hand upon my brow Is leading me to Jesus now. While others scorned me in their pride She gently drew me to her side; When all the world has turned away, My mother stood by me that day. The memories of bygone years, My mother’s love, my mother’s tears, The tho’t of all her constant care Doth bring the answer to her prayer.”
Persistence in Prayer
Text: Genesis 32:26 (KJV)
“And he said, `Let me go, for the day breaketh.’ And he said, `I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.’ ”
Jacob wrestled with God and said he would not let go till God blessed him. It is sad that so many preachers today use the false doctrine of simply “naming it and claiming it” when we as Christians should be praying according to God’s will for our lives. We are instructed also to be persistent in our prayers. Do not just pray one time, saying, “O Lord, heal such and such,” or, “O Lord, help me pay this bill,” etc. and then stop and do things your own way (“claiming it”). You will most likely give up or be discouraged. Prayer sometimes is hard, but God always answers, and in three ways, “Yes,” “No,” or “Not at this time.” He will bless those who do not faint and do not give up, but listen for his voice and follow his will. Be persistent in your prayers.
Hymn (“Lord, I Cannot Let Thee Go”): “Lord, I cannot let Thee go,” [originally, “Nay, I cannot let Thee go”] “Till a blessing Thou bestow: Do not turn away Thy face, Mine’s an urgent, pressing case. Once a sinner, near despair, Sought Thy mercy seat by prayer; Mercy heard, and set him free: Lord, that mercy came to me. Thou hast helped in every need; This emboldens me to plead: After so much mercy past, Canst Thou let me sink at last?
A Wife is a Good Thing and a Blessing from the LORD
Text: Proverbs 18:22 (KJV)
“Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing,and obtaineth favour of the LORD.”
In today’s text, we see that the writer of the Proverb said if a man finds a wife, he finds a good thing and gets favour (delight, acceptance, pleasure, blessing) from the LORD. God created Eve to be a help meet (helper) and blessing to Adam. I want to acknowledge before God and before all my readers that I am truly blessed by God to have Serene Simplicity as my wife and best friend. I praise God for her! To me, she is an example of how a Christian woman should be: S-Sincere; E-Excels in all that she does; R-Ready to serve those in need; E-Energized by the joy of the Lord (always smiling inside and out); N-Near to the heart of God (always praying for others); E-Everything that I could ask in a spouse and more. Serene, how you bless me and are like a calm, fresh breeze and filling of God’s Holy Spirit to the Body of Christ, the lost, and to myself as your spouse. This hymn summarizes your attributes.
Hymn (“The Woman’s Hymn,” http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/c/w/cwomenwp.htm): “Come, women, wide proclaim Life through your Savior slain; Sing evermore. Christ, God’s effulgence bright, Christ, who arose in might, Christ, who crowns you with light, Praise and adore. Work with your courage high, Sing of the daybreak nigh, Your love outpour. Stars shall your brow adorn, Your heart leap with the morn, And, by His Love upborne, Hope and adore. Then when the garnered field Shall to our Master yield A bounteous store, Christ, hope of all the meek, Christ, whom all the earth shall seek, Christ your reward shall speak, Joy evermore.”
A Good Night’s Rest
Text: Psalms 4:8 (KJV)
“I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety.”
In today’s text, as we continue in the book of Psalms, we come to the place where King David ended his Psalm (song) to God and praised God that he could have a good night’s sleep. Why could King David have a good night’s sleep? He could do so because he knew that God alone allowed him to dwell in safety. Some of my readers (myself included) suffer from sleep apnea, restless sleep, etc. God wants to tell all of us to do the following before we go to sleep each night:
1. Confess and ask God for forgiveness for any sins against Him, your spouse, and your fellow man.
2. Thank God for his forgiveness, salvation, safety, and protection this day.
- Ask Him to keep his thoughts in your mind as you sleep.
As they say in Italy, “Sono doro” (sweet dreams) tonight my friends.
Hymn (“While Sinks our Land to Realms of Night”): “While sinks our land to realms of night, And twilight skies grow dim, We raise again our joyful hearts Our parting evening hymn. We bless Thee for the warm, rich glow Of this our hallowed day, And for the love that year by year Shines o’er our onward way. And now, O Father, from on high List to our evening prayer, Shed o’er our hearts a blissful calm, And keep us in Thy care.”
Build Your Life on Jesus, the Solid Rock
Text: Matthew 7:24-27 (KJV)
“Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of Mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his
house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of Mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.”
In today’s text, we come to where Jesus finished his world-changing Sermon on the Mount and told his disciples, and us today, to not build our house on sand (the things of this world, i.e. religion, pleasure, hobbies, self-help books, the stock market, our bank accounts, even placing our faith in others–namely spouses, friends, family, etc.). Rather, we are to put our faith and trust in Jesus alone as He is the Solid Rock. When trials, tribulations, and temptations come into our lives, and they will, if we have put our faith and trust in Jesus and believe His promises in the Bible, we will stand and not give in to despair, sadness, misery, and woe.
Hymn (“The Solid Rock”) “My hope is built on nothing less Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name.” Refrain: “On Christ the solid Rock I stand, All other ground is sinking sand; All other ground is sinking sand. When darkness seems to hide His face, I rest on His unchanging grace. In every high and stormy gale, My anchor holds within the veil. His oath, His covenant, His blood, Support me in the whelming flood. When all around my soul gives way, He then is all my Hope and Stay.”
Guard Your Heart
Text: Proverbs 4:23-27 (KJV)
“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Put away from thee a forward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee. Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil. ”
In today’s text, Solomon wrote that we must keep or guard our heart. He then tells how we do this in some very bold but truthful ways:
1. We must put away a forward (deceitful) mouth from us. It is so easy today to fall for the trap of the world and tell lies. Unbelievably, God even hates so-called “white lies.” Lying is lying and we ought not to do it.
2. We must not have “perverse lips.” God hates cursing, angry outbursts, and filthy or dirty jokes. And, this one is blunt, but for all of us gents in particular: God does not want us to “talk sexually” like the world does to our wives, or if we are single, to another woman.
3. We must be wary of what we watch on the internet, telly (television), read, and places we go to be so-called “entertained.” Why do even Christians complain about, “I have nothing good to watch on telly,” etc. I recently had a great time watching two chapters of an old movie serial with a new friend, and just “fellowshipping” like in the “olden days.”
Friends, let us guard our hearts before we need to have spiritual heart surgery from God and maybe even be removed from this world. I repent, do you?
Hymn (“No Compromise”): “No compromise with evil shall be our battle cry, For God and right must conquer, and sin and wrong must die; Unflinching we are standing, uncompromisingly, Beneath the flag of holiness forever we will be.”
Refrain: “No compromise, no compromise, This shall be our battle cry, For God and right we will boldly fight, We will keep the standard high. No compromise with worldliness, no yielding to the wrong, No lowering the standard that’s stood thro’ ages long; With Jesus as our Leader, His Spirit as our Guide, We will firmly stand for righteousness whatever may betide.”
God Will Provide
Text: Genesis 22:8 (KJV)
“And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.”
In today’s text, we see that, when Abraham was told to sacrifice his only son Isaac (this was a type of what Jesus did for us) as a test of his faith in God, Abraham told Isaac that God would provide a sacrifice. Though troubles assail us, do not be dismayed, God will provide (Jehovah Jireh). God has provided us salvation, daily bread, clothing, shelter, peace, and answers to our prayers. Go to Him alone today.
Hymn (“Though Troubles Assail Us”): “Though troubles assail us and dangers affright, Though friends should all fail us and foes all unite, Yet one thing secures us, whatever betide, The promise assures us, `The Lord will provide.’ The birds, without garner or storehouse, are fed; From them let us learn to trust God for our bread. His saints what is fitting shall ne’er be denied So long as ’tis written, `The Lord will provide.’ When life sinks apace, and death is in view, The word of His grace shall comfort us through, Not fearing or doubting, with Christ on our side, We hope to die shouting, `The Lord will provide.’
We Need to Haste out of This World
Text: Genesis 19:17 (KJV)
“And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed.”
Lot was told by the Lord, when he and his family had fled from the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, (which is a spiritual type for all the wickedness in this world, not just homosexuality, though that is a big part of it), to not look behind him. Alas, Lot’s wife looked behind her and was turned to a pillar of salt. She died a decaying death. What is the application you ask? Well, today God wants us to be in the world but not of it. God wants us to have compassion on the lost and share the good news of the Gospel with others. God does not want us though to partake in the sins of the world, homosexuality, greed, lust, hatred, anger, and atheism, to name a few. We need to haste out of this world’s desires lest we spiritually decay and die.
Hymn (“Haste Traveler Haste”): “Haste, traveler, haste! The night comes on, And many a shining hour is gone; The storm is gathering in the west, And thou art far from home and rest. O far from home thy footsteps stray; Christ is the life, and Christ the way, And Christ the light; thy setting sun Sinks ere thy morning is begun. Poor, lost, benighted soul! art thou Wiling to find salvation now? There yet is hope; hear mercy’s call: Truth! Life! Light! Way! In Christ is all!
Pass Me Not, O Gentle Savior
Text: Genesis 18:3 (KJV)
“And said, `My Lord, if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant.’ “
Abraham invited three angels (one of which could have been the preincarnate Christ) to rest with him and refresh themselves. Today, Jesus wants us to stop worrying every day about our health, our finances, the stock market, the economy, our job stress, etc., and come to Him each morning in a quiet time of daily Bible study, prayer, and listening to Him. He wants us to rest in Him and give our burdens away. Won’t you join me now and say, “Pass Me Not, O Gentle Savior”?
Hymn (“Pass Me Not, O Gentle Savior”): “Pass me not, O gentle Savior, Hear my humble cry; While on others Thou art calling, Do not pass me by.” Refrain: “Savior, Savior, Hear my humble cry; While on others Thou art calling, Do not pass me by. Trusting only in Thy merit, Would I seek Thy face; Heal my wounded, broken spirit, Save me by Thy grace.”
Please Count Me Lord
Text: Genesis 15:6 (KJV)
“And he believed in the LORD; and He counted it to him for righteousness.”
In today’s text, we see where Abram believed in the Lord and the Lord counted (esteemed, credited, gave) to Abram God’s righteousness. God also gave Abram salvation and a new name, Abraham, and promised he would be the father of many nations, especially Israel. Nothing matters what happens to us if we do not have Jesus. I encourage both you and me to stop and spend time daily and thank God for counting us as children into his family because we have put our faith and trust in Jesus, his Son.
Hymn (“Count Me”): “When you count the ones who love the Lord, Count me, count me; When you count up those who trust His Word, Count me, count me.” Refrain: “Count me with the children of the heav’nly King; Count me with the servants who would service bring; Count me with the ransomed who His praises sing; Count me, count me. When you count up those who’re saved by grace, Count me, count me; Who have found in Christ a hiding place, Count me, count me.”
The Birthday Present I Want: To be Blessed by God
Text: Psalm 1:1-3 (KJV)
“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”
In today’s text, as I celebrate my birthday, I want to be blessed by God. “Blessed” here in our text means “to be happy.” Our text shows us some ways to be happy:
1. Steer clear from fellowshipping or having close relationships with “ungodly people.” We should do all we can as Christians to witness to others and even “break bread” with the lost, but when others want us to “modify our faith,” or “accept an alternative lifestyle” (what is that anyway??), we need to boldly, but lovingly, say, “No way.”
2. Have an insatiable appetite for the Word of God, the Bible. Meditate on it day and night. I just ate a cupcake for my birthday, but it cannot satisfy my soul; only God’s Word can.
When we follow these two things we are like a tree that is bringing forth “good fruit” and whatever we do shall prosper because we are in the business of being God-pleasers and not men-pleasers. I want God’s blessing
on my life forever and I pray the same for you all.
Worship Song (“Psalm 1,” Lyrics and Music by Kim Hill): Chorus: “Blessed is he who will follow the Lord, He will not stand in the path of the sinner, He will not sit in the seat of the scoffer, For the law of the Lord is his delight. In His law he meditates day and night, He will be like a tree planted by water, He will yield his fruit in its season, His leaves won’t die, In whatever he does, he will prosper. For the lost, they are like chaff that the wind drives away, They are not safe; at any time their life could perish. The Lord holds the plans, and the paths of all who follow Him, The righteous will stand secure and last forever.”
Text: Matthew 5:7 (KJV)
“Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.”
In today’s text, from the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gives you and me a challenge. God wants us to be merciful to others. The Greek word for merciful is the word, eleemon, which can be translated, “to be actively compassionate.” Today, and the rest of our lives, let us remember that God showed mercy in sparing us from the judgment that our sins deserved, and gave us salvation when we put our faith and trust in Jesus. Let us show mercy and compassion on those who slander, gossip, back-bite, or incite us to anger, and remember that God grants us daily mercy to live lives that please him. A wise man named “anonymous” once said, “There go I but by the grace of God.”
Hymn (“The Mercy of God is an Ocean Divine”): “The mercy of God is an ocean divine, A boundless and fathomless flood. Launch out in the deep, cut away the shore line, And be lost in the fullness of God.” Refrain: “Launch out, into the deep. Oh, let the shore line go. Launch out, launch out in the ocean divine, Out where the full tides flow. Oh, let us launch out on this ocean so broad, Where floods of salvation o’erflow. Oh, let us be lost in the mercy of God, Till the depths of His fullness we know.”
Don’t be A Nimrod
Text: Genesis 10:8-10 (KJV)
“And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the LORD: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD. And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar.”
Today, we come to the story of Nimrod whose name mean’s “rebel.” Growing up, I always heard my gran say if someone said something proud or arrogant, “Don’t be a silly old Nimrod.” Nimrod is said to have been the founder of the great, yet godless, nation of Babylon. Babylon is a “type” of sin, pride, and rebellion against God in the Bible. God wants us to have clean hearts and not be prideful before Him. We can only do this when we stay close to Him.
We also need, whenever someone gives us a compliment or thanks for doing something well, to be humble and reply, “All Glory To God, who helps me in all 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. Purer in heart, O God, help me to be; Teach me to do Thy will most lovingly; Be Thou my Friend and Guide, Let me with Thee abide; Purer in heart, help me to be. Purer in heart, O God, help me to be; Until Thy holy face one day I see: Keep me from secret sin, Reign Thou my soul within; Purer in heart, help me to be.”
There’s Refuge Alone in The Ark (Jesus)
Text: Genesis 7:1(KJV)
“And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before Me in this generation.”
Today, we come to the story of Noah. Noah was a righteous man because he placed his faith and trust in God. God destroyed the world with a flood because it was so wicked, but Noah “found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” Noah
and his family were shut into the Ark and kept safe by God. The Ark is a “type” of Christ. Jesus came to this world to live a sinless life and then He died for all our sins, was buried, and rose again on the third day. When we put our faith and trust in Him, and not Mohammed, not Confucius, not Wicca, not Satan, not the New Age, not even a religion, but in Jesus alone, we are kept safe from eternal damnation and spiritual death and given eternal life with Him in heaven for all eternity. Come to Jesus today, there’s refuge alone in Him!
Hymn (“Out of the Ark”): “They dreamed not of danger, those sinners of old, Whom Noah was chosen to warn; By frequent transgressions their hearts had grown cold, They laughed his entreaties to scorn; Yet daily he called them, `Oh come, sinners, come, Believe and prepare to embark! Receive ye the message, and know there is room For all who will come to the Ark.’ ” Refrain: “Then come, come, oh, come; There’s refuge alone in the Ark; Receive ye the message, and know there is room For all who will come to the Ark. He could not arouse them, unheeding they stood, Unmoved by his warning and prayer; The prophet passed in from the oncoming flood, And left them to hopeless despair; The heavens as midnight grew dark; Too late, then they turned, every foothold was gone, They perished in sight of the Ark. O sinners, the heralds of mercy implore, They cry like the patriarch, `Come’; The Ark of salvation is moored to your shore, Oh, enter while yet there is room! The storm cloud of justice rolls dark overhead, And when by its fury you’re tossed, Alas, of your perishing souls ’twill be said, `They heard—they refused—and were lost!’ ”
O Let Me Walk with Thee
Text: Genesis 5:22-24 (KJV)
“And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years: And Enoch walked with God: and he [was] not; for God took him.”
Today, God wants to remind us about the story of Enoch whose name may mean “gracious.” Enoch walked (which is interpreted “behaved himself with,” “traveled,” or “walked” with God). We are challenged to spend the rest of our lives “walking with God.” “How do we do this?” you ask. We do this by living holy and righteous (not self-righteous, but his righteousness) lives, and we can only do this by spending time in prayer and also in reading, studying, and applying the Bible on a daily basis!
Hymn (“O Let Me Walk with Thee”): “O let me walk with Thee, my God, As Enoch walked in days of old; Place Thou my trembling hand in Thine, And sweet communion with me hold; E’en though the path I may not see, Yet, Jesus, let me walk with Thee. I cannot, dare not, walk alone; The tempest rages in the sky, A thousand snares beset my feet, A thousand foes are lurking nigh. Still Thou the raging of the sea, O Master! let me walk with Thee. If I may rest my hand in Thine, I’ll count the joys of earth but loss, And firmly, bravely journey on; I’ll bear the banner of the cross, Till Zion’s glorious gates I see; Yet, Savior, let me walk with Thee.”
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, let us spend time before God and ask Him eight things and then listen for his answers.
- How can I love You more?
- How can I love my neighbors, bosses, co-workers, relatives, spouse, children, pets, and friends more?
- What type of Bible plan and Bible reading can I start?
- Who and what do You want me to pray for?
- Who can I serve and minister to?
- How can I get out of debt (if applicable), spend less, and give more to Your purposes?
- Who can I share the Gospel with? If you do not know Jesus yet, why not start by asking Him into your heart and life right now?
- 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 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!”
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.”
In today’s text, 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.
- 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.”
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.”
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.”
In today’s text, we see that 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, an 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.”
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.”
In today’s text, we see how 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!”
A Present for Jesus
Text: Acts 17:28a (1599 Geneva Bible)
“For in Him we live, and move, and have our being.”
In today’s text, we see how 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.”
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.”
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 refuse to fall for people telling me, “You need my approval to do this or that.” I will submit to God’s leading and if I want more clarification I will consult my few close friends who I know are walking and talking with Jesus. I am about fed up with churches “shooting their wounded” soldiers of the Cross. 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.”
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.”
In today’s text, we see how 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!”
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.”
In today’s text, 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 top ten special people in my life, who mentored, loved, encouraged, and prayed for me as I went through my various trials. They never gave up on this saint who occasionally sins (I was corrected this year that my tongue needs to stop saying, “I’m only a sinner who is saved by grace” and instead claim, “I am a saint who occasionally sins, but is seeking his Word and his will for my life.”). 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.”
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.
- 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.”
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 minister (serve) 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.”