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 PersecutedChurch
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.”