Thursday January 17 "But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear." Matthew 13:16 Some of the advantages to being a "senior saint" is that you have gained Biblical knowledge thru the years by reading the Word, hearing the teaching of Biblically solid men and women, experiencing God's work in our own lives as well as in the lives of others we know, and building a relationship with Jesus which continues to grow. And because of that we have gained an understanding that makes our eyes able to see and our ears able to hear the message. And that is such a blessing!
Wednesday January 16
“When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first." Matthew 12:43-45
Its great to repent, and to get rid of some vice or sin - but (there is that word again!) if you don't fill that space with God or something godly, then odds are that satan will reenter in some way - and it could be worse than before. So when you sweep an area of your life clean, don't leave it unoccupied - refill it with something from God. Spiritual and God hoarding is not a bad thing!
Tuesday January 15
"Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me." Matthew 11:6
There are so many things that can cause us to stumble - in other words, follow a non-Christian path in our lives. The closer we are in our relationship with Jesus, the less likely we will stumble away from God. It is because of Jesus that we can avoid those stumbles. And if we do, we are always blessed. We are blessed when we don't stumble or take a wrong path in our lives because of the influence of Jesus on our lives.
Monday January 14
“Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. " Matthew 10:32
We have so many times in our daily lives to acknowledge Jesus, something that satan definitely does not want us to do. Sometimes it takes a concious effort to do so...but its like anything, the more we do it, the easier it becomes. And its an activity that will be rewarded!
Friday January 11
" Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”" Matthew 9:37-38
Its obvious that there are millions of people who need Jesus - who will not get to Heaven unless someone leads them to Jesus. There are people who choose to do that as their vocation in life, whom we often refer to as full time Christian workers. And there are others who work to provide a living in order that they can work "part-time" in Christian service. And there are others who are Christian workers in their congregation as well in their lives. Even so, there are just not enough. Pray that God will raise up and send out workers to reach this world for Jesus. Pray for those God may be leading in that direction; pray for the loyal to God's Word schools of training, such as MidAtlantic Christian University, which we support. Make this a part ofyour prayer life.
Thursday January 10
"Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” " Matthew 8:3
The leper - which already gives us a visual picture of a man with a disease that was so dreaded that no contact was allowed with any other people who did not have it, who suffered with the pain of the basically flesh eating disease, with a realization that it was a certain death sentence with no cure - asks Jesus to heal him, with a confidence that Jesus could definitely do that. This man had what was undoubtably the worse disease he could have, knowing full well there was no hope - and he with total confidence in Jesus' abilities, asks Jesus to heal him, if He was so willing. That is some real faith. I'm sure there were people around him that laughed, knowing the reality of the disease. Jesus does two things - He reaches out and touches the man - an untouchable. This is a man who has not had physical touch in years - unless it was from a fellow leper. And He says that He is willing to cure Him of this terrible condition. This is the same Jesus who cares for us, who is willing (and anxious) to meet our needs when we ask with such confidence. Pray with faith!
Wednesday January 9
"But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." Matthew 7:14
This chapter is a tear jerker and a rally cry at the same time. Look at all the churches...look at all the people that are in attendance (even with attendance being down)...you would think it would take a wide gate and path ...but Jesus later in this chapter says not all who call Him Lord will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. That is sad. Jesus says only those who do His will are going to be with Him in Heaven. So many hang onto a belief in a god that they do not live for by choice. That is a tear jerker of a thought. But we need to use it as a rally cry to reach out to people. There is such a need for discipleship and growth, and that is something we Christians should be delivering. We have a responsibility to bring as many as possible down the narrow road with us.
Tuesday January 8
“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light." Matthew 6:22
In baseball, having a "good eye" means that the batter doesn't swing at bad pitches, only "hittable" pitches. In life, having a good eye means that we refuse to swing at any of satan's "unhittable" pitches! he will attempt to throw us curve balls, sliders, sinkers - all in hopes we take our eyes off of his foe, Jesus. When we do that (continuing with the baseball analogy), it always leads us to be out before we can reach home. Our eyes are so important - the Jews thought the eyes were the window to our souls - and its true. Its the portal to which so much becomes a part of our lives. Let our eyes be lamps as we view things from a spiritual perspective, so that we will be full of Light, which expells the darkness of satan.
Monday January 7
"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God." Matthew 5:8
The word pure in Matthew 5:8 means "undivided." In other words, blessed, or happy, is the person who has an undivided heart. Happy is the man or woman with a pure heart. Happy is the person who knows where he or she is going in life, who has priorities and lives by them. Happy is the person who isn't trying to live in two worlds.
We live in such a wicked time in which we are exposed to so many things that could be spiritually harmful. It seems that the world is lacking purity today. But according to Romans 16:19, we as believers are "to be wise in what is good, and simple concerning evil." Another translation reads, "I would have you well versed and wise as to what is good and innocent and guileless as to what is evil" .
God is offering you true happiness, which is not contingent on how much you have, but on whom you know. When we get our life properly aligned with God, and are seeking Him, we will find purpose in life, which brings blessings - happiness.
Friday January 4
“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” Matthew 4:19
Fishermen can come up with a lot of excuses when they come back empty handed - the fish were just not biting, I had the wrong bait, the wind was blowing out of the wrong direction, I didn't have my lucky fishing hat on... My excuse would be I've not gone out to a pond fishing in the last 25 or more years! But if we follow Jesus, we need to be fishing - for men and ladies. If we are giving God the excuses that fishermen do, then we need to take action to correct them. We know what the correct bait is - the Bible, Jesus...no one biting is a bad excuse- men are longing (wanting) real meaning in life. And if we haven't gone fishing for the Lord in 25 years, it is high time we go again! It is totally amazing that God has chosen to use us to share Jesus with others, and to lead them to Him. He could do it all Himself- do all the fishing- but He has chosen to let us fish, and He supplies the bait. There is a beach song by General Johnson, with these words as part of the lyrics - "I'm going to lock my doors and close my blinds in my window I'm going to leave a sign- gone fishing." Its time to go fishing!
Thursday January 3
"Produce fruit in keeping with repentance." Matthew 3:8
Too many times people equate repentance with a short act of saying they are sorry for whatever it was that they did wrong. ..they sin, they say "I'm sorry", and life goes on as it has...which means they will repeat the sin again. True repentance is not a "one and done" thing. It means you are really sorry for whatever it is you have done. It means that you will actively attempt to avoid anything that caused that sin...it means you have decided not to repeat that behaviour...it means a complete turnaround. So it is something that you continue to do to not repeat the sin. And the results will be seen...your actions will produce fruit. There will not be a doubt that you were serious and are continuing to take any steps possible to avoid whatever lead you to that sin. Its not a flippant thing we do - its a work that produces positive fruit in our life.
Wednesday January 2
“‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’” Matthew 2:6
God has throughout history used the "nobodies" from the "nowheres" to do great things for His kingdom. Mary and Joseph were not part of a rich family that were high society...they were ordinary people, and "nobodies" to the high society and rulers. And Bethlehem was a "nowhere" small town...relatively unimportant in the world. But God chose this couple and this town for one of the greatest events of history...and one of the most significant events of Christianity. And God still uses us "nobodies" to do great work in the kingdom. All it requires is being open to His leading and desiring to do service...which is a real key...do we seriously want to do great things for God and the kingdom in 2019? Not just be a casual Christian...I am convinced that God wants each of us to step out and do great things for Him and His kingdom in 2019...no little people and no little things! I know - I sound like a coach in the locker room at half time talking to the team...and truly that's part of my role...let's win for Jesus!
Tuesday January 1
"This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham:" Matthew 1:1
Usually at this point we skim from verse 1 to verse 18 . Just a bunch of names. But these names reveal God's faithfulness through many generations, which makes it important reading.
The genealogy of Jesus begins with Abraham – the man to whom God made three big promises- land, people and God’s presence. God kept those promises by giving a son to Abraham (people), bringing the Israelites to Canaan (land) and by establishing first the tabernacle and then the temple (blessing). Jesus fulfilled all three for us - land - the promised land of Heaven, people - being the family of God and the Church, God's presence- that we will enjoy daily with Him thru eternal life that Jesus brought.
Rahab was a prostitute in the city of Jericho. When the Israelites approached Jericho, in the promised land, Joshua sent some spies into the city to scope out the competition. But the Jericho authorities discovered the spies were there, and attempted to capture them. Rahab hid the spies instead. Despite her profession, God used Rahab to bring the Israelites victory over Canaan. And of course, Canaan became the land where Jesus was born and died and rose again. Plus, Rahab ended up being the mother of Boaz, who married Ruth. God can use all of us.
One of Jesus’ most famous ancestors was the second king of Israel, David. In many ways, David was an ideal king: wise, humble and a good leader. But then he messed up in a big way, which showed no human King could be perfect. But, God tells the prophet Samuel to tell David, “When your days are over and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, your own flesh and blood, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.” The perfect King, Jesus, is coming.
Several generations after David, the Israelite people were constantly sinning against God and rejecting his rule. So, God gave them over to the Babylonians, who took them into exile. However, as the genealogy of Jesus demonstrates, the line did not die out during the exile. The people returned to the land of Israel and, about 400 years later the miracle birth of Jesus takes place with Joseph and Mary.
Pretty important stuff in what we may first think is "dry reading"!
Monday December 31 Psalm 90:12
What if we knew this would be our last week of life on earth? How would you then live? That is basically what this verse is saying. Our days are numbered. Knowing this and living that way will make us a lot wiser in our actions, our thoughts, our choices. Live 2019 as if...
Friday December 28 1 Corinthians 16:13
What a great exhortation to end a year and begin a new one - Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. satan will work on you - he wants to influence you in a way that will pull you from your faith. he does it in many small steps...we have to be on guard. Make a decision to stand firm in your faith regardless of anything else and stay strong in that conviction. When satan tries to lead you in a different direction in thought or action, ask for God's help - He will definitely give it to you. Remember - He has already battled satan many times and always has won!
Thursday December 27 Romans 15:13
Two of the words we heard and saw a lot during Christmas was joy and peace. But they are not exclusive to Christmas. These are things that God wants us to have 365 days a year...so much so that He wants the Holy Spirit to fill us with them until we are overflowing with them. The key is trusting in God...not just saying you do, but truly trusting in God.
Wednesday December 26 John 3:16
We just celebrated the birth of Christ...when God sent His only Son to us, because He loved us beyond measure. His love surpasses what we are capable of totally realizing, but the more we think about it, the more we realize just how great that act of love was.
Tuesday December 25 2 Corinthians 9:15
What words could you possibly use to thank God fully for His gift of His Son, whose birth we celebrate today. It is our greatest gift of our life. As you enjoy time with family and friends, don't forget to thank God for giving us Jesus!
Monday December 24 John 14:27
There is a peace that overcomes all situations of life...it goes beyond our understanding...a peace that could only come from God...a peace that God wants to give to each of us. Its a peace that keeps us strong, and enables us to fight the good fight of faith...its a peace in which we feel His Light and guidance...and it is in no way elusive. Seek God's peace which comes when we earnestly seek Him. The old phrase is still true...wise people still seek Him!
Friday December 21 James 1:17
What a great gift from God was Jesus' coming to earth. And not just coming, but coming as a baby, to experience all that we do thru life. This Christmas, remember to thank and praise God for His perfect gift that He gave to you.
Thursday December 20 John 1:14
May we ever not only believe in Jesus, the Word of God, but may we continue to name Him as Lord, and follow Him as such. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, full of grace that He extends to us!
Wednesday December 19 Matthew 1:21
This is a verse that should stir excitement when we are celebrating the birth of Jesus, because it states His purpose in coming. Without Jesus' birth, death, and resurrection, we were doomed. But because of His coming, we look forward to eternal life with Him.
Tuesday December 18 Isaiah 9:6
Jesus is our Prince of Peace, our mighty Healer, our Saviour. This verse speaks volumes about the Christ we have the honor and blessing of serving. knowing, and loving. There is truly no one like Him!
Monday December 17 John 3:16
This is the greatest gift to mankind. This verse shows the goodness and unselfish love God has for us, and just how mighty His love is for us. Though it is probably the most familiar verse of the Bible, don't let the familiarity dull our understanding of the greatness of its statement.
Friday December 14
"To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen." Jude 14
God is able...you could list a lot of things that God is able to do - and wants to do for us. The key is our relationship to Him and letting Him be the God that He is in our lives. God is able to prevent us from stumbling - if we let Him. That's the key. The more we allow the Holy Spirit to take control and lead, the more opportunities God has to keep us from stumbling. I don't like stumbling - the results are never good!
Thursday December 13
"Greet the friends there by name." 3 John 14
John is saying don't just do a "blanket blessing" - tell people individually. Say their name - people like hearing their name for a lot of reasons (which I might use in a future message). God knows us individually, and we should strive to do the same with the people who are a part of our lives.
Wednesday December 12
"To the lady chosen by God and to her children, whom I love in the truth—and not I only, but also all who know the truth— because of the truth, which lives in us and will be with us forever:" 2 John 1
In John's writings, he mentions truth 37 times - must be important! We know that God's Word is truth, and that is what we have in common as Christians. It should be what guides us in all things. We live in a changing world, a changing society - but truth never changes. It always has been the same - and will be forever. Some may label it as old fashion, but its not. Its the most exciting thing in the world - its the one thing you can hold on to without fear - letting it lead us brings a good, secure life. Truth should be a part of us. Its something that causes us to love others who also have the truth in them. Who would you rather be with - a person who says one thing one day and another on a different day, who lets situations rule their behaviour, or someone who is always following the truth? It is an important factor in life, as John tells us.
Tuesday December 11
" In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands." 1 John 5:3
How do you show God that you love Him? Keep His commandments. John goes on to say that His commands are not burdensome. If you love others and have a love relationship with God, you'll keep any commandment from God automatically. Sounds simplistic, but when you think about it, its true. If you love others, you will be looking out for them. If you love God, you will not want to displease Him. Love God, Love others, hate sin.
Monday December 10
"Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. " 1 John 4:7
Some people are hard to love. It takes effort, and sometimes even with effort, it doesn't come to us. Yet God says love one another. But He also says love comes from God. So the next time you are having trouble loving someone, ask God to give you love for that person. You shouldn't love their sins, but you need to love them. Difficult? Yes...but with God's love, it is very possible.
Friday December 7
"And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us." 1 John 3:24
When Jesus left this earth, He promised to send One who would take His place. If He had sent the Holy Spirit to live like a man, that would have been great for those who lived during that time. But the mission of a God in human form had been met and fulfilled. The real need next was to have God to live within us. So as Jesus promised, the Holy Spirit came to live inside believers who also have made the decision to follow Jesus as Lord. By living His life on earth, Jesus knew we would need help for that. So the Comforter, the Guide, the Strengthener was given to us. God within us - what a loving gift! He is there to lead us and help us continue in our walk with Jesus as Lord of our life. Thank you, Jesus!
Thursday December 6 "As for you, see that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father." 1 John 2:24
The basics of Christianity build a foundation for our faith. Never forget or leave out the basics that you were taught from the Bible. The "heavier" stuff is great, but only if it is built on the basics. Larry Byrd, one of the all time greatest basketball players, could do a lot of different shots and moves, but he practiced the basic foul shot every day. Remember the basics and you'll grow.
Wednesday December 5 "We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. " 1 John 1:3 John says this is what the Apostles have done - told others what they have seen and heard, so that that the listeners may share in their fellowship with God. both here and in Heaven. We should do and say the same thing. We should be telling others what we have seen - the mighty things God has done in our lives - and what we have heard - the message of salvation and the stories of God's work in others. Everyone loves to hear a great story - and we have one to tell.
Tuesday December 4 2 Peter 2:9 "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance."
In the midst of talking about the people who are not believing, who are not following Jesus, who are involved in things that God hates, and in talking about the judgement that will come to them, this verse says so much about our God. Why hasn't He came and brought judgement? Because He loves everyone, and wants everyone to repent. Our response should be, He has given us more time to work and spread His Word, so let's take advantage of it!
Monday December 3 2 Peter 2
As I read this chapter, I thought, there are two attitudes you can take, because what God said about the culture of John's time and behaviour of some is still true for our culture. The judgement that is coming for those not following Him as Lord is still the same. One attitude is that they will get what they deserve. The other is that we have a responsibility to reach these people and bring them back - because unfortunately many are people who once were church goers and believers. Most mornings as I am doing the website I listen to music. Today I was listening to one of the early contemporary Christian bands, Love Song, and the song that was playing was "Welcome Back". (listen at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RdIoFThXhr0 ) Ironic...and that is the attitude we should have...we need to reach people so that we can say, Welcome Back! As I mentioned yesterday, the December cards have showed me opportunities to share in a non-treating way , as way as made me see missed opportunities. Share Jesus with others - so that we can all say, "Welcome Back!"
Friday November 30 "To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours:" 2Peter 1:1
A faith as precious as ours...I looked up the dictionary meaning of precious : "of high price or great value; very valuable or costly" . I highly value my faith, which was costly to Jesus - in whom I have absolute faith. Sometimes we don't use the things that are valuable, afraid the value will be damaged. I have a very valuable guitar that I haven't played in public in many, many years. It sits in its case. We need to make sure that if our faith is truly precious, that we put it to work. It won't break - it won't loose value - in fact, it will become even more valuable the more we use it.
Thursday November 29 "Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." 1 Peter 5:8
We have all seen some National Geographic or similar shows which follow some species of animals. I remember one where whales would wait close to shore where penquins were, waiting for one of those penquins to "drop their guard" and not be looking as it walked too close to the waters edge...and then this huge whale would come onto the shore line and take the penquin to its death. Also saw episodes about the lions stalking and killing their unsuspecting prey. James says that if we drop our guard and walk too close to the line, satan, who is just waiting for the opportunity, will grab us. Many don't believe there is a real satan or a hell, and that lack of alertness and sound mind allows satan to grab them. Be alert, be well grounded in your faith, and help others.
Wednesday November 28 "Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms." 1 Peter 4:8
Don't know about you, but this verse scares me. God blessed me with a lot of gifts. For that, I am so thankful. But (that dreaded word that changes everything), here we are at the end of 2018 - time for Spiritual Gift Report card - how well have I done in using them to serve others? God has been so merciful in extending so much grace to me in various forms - how will I do on the report card in that catagory of extending and showing others His grace? I truly want to be a faithful steward - with my Christianity (long word for serving Jesus as Lord of my life) being pro active and not passive. Fortunately I have another month- December - to do just that. And its a special month - a month we call the Christmas season...a time to celebrate Jesus with joy and love. Make December a pro active month of using your gifts to serve others, and extending God's grace. Thank you Lord for another chance!
Tuesday November 27 "Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good?" 1 Peter 3:13 When I was in Bible college, one of the requirements for a counseling class was to go weekly to the prison to offer counsel to the prisoners. I got to counsel with many of them one-on-one. Its been a few years, and I have forgotten much of those sessions, but I still remember one man telling me how he planted flowers and did yard work at the prison voluntarily. The reason he gave me was because it was something good to do for everyone (making the grounds more pleasant) and because of that, no one bothered him - as happens all too often in prison. Harm didn't come to him because he was doing good. He didn't know this verse, but he proved what God said. It is still true - when we eagerly do good, people respect that, and many times want to know what is our motivation. And that opens doors to tell them our motivation - Jesus! Be a do gooder!
Monday November 26 " For “you were like sheep going astray,” but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls." 1 Peter 2:25
We live in an age where a lot of people have been led astray. At some point in their lives they saw a need for Jesus and the church, but now Jesus and the church is no longer a part of their lives. God wants them back. satan has used his many tools to lure them away. Our ministry is to bring them back to the Shepherd and Overseer of their souls. The Christmas season gives us an opening to do just that. We begin the Christmas season at TF Sunday, the first Sunday of December. Invite everyone you know to join us, especially those who have at sometime seen the need for Jesus but are not presently following Him - its our ministry for December.