Saturday, March 31, 2018

EASTER - April 1 - 1 Corinthians 15:13-20

1 Corinthians 15:13-20

If there is no resurrection

of the dead, then Christ

has not been raised; and

if Christ has not been raised,

then our proclamation

has been in vain and

your faith has been in vain.

… But in fact Christ has been

raised from the dead, the first

fruits of those who have died.

 

The Apostle Paul (who wrote this verse) staked his life -- not on a wish or a possiblity -- but on an absolute fact that he’d witnessed. “But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead”!

 

Peter, James, Philip, Nathanael, Matthew, Thomas, and the rest went to their death as martyrs -- not because of a wish or a possiblity -- but because of an absolute fact that they’d seen with their eyes and touched with their hands. “In fact Christ has been raised from the dead”!

 

When we believe their testimony, our “faith [is] not in vain.” Rather, we’re staking our lives -- not on a wish or a possiblity -- but on the absolute fact that these tax collectors and fisherman spent their lives proclaim. “Christ has been raised from the dead”!

 

Christ is Risen!

Alleluia!

 

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Easter Prayer List - How can we pray?!

The Easter/April Prayer list

is being put together …

How can we pray for

You, your family?!

Lent - Mar 28 - James 4:7

C o n d a   L a s h l e y

James 4:7

Submit yourselves

therefore to God.

Resist the devil, and

he will flee from you.

 

James, the brother of Jesus, became the leader of the Jerusalem church after Peter.  Many of the Christians were scattered throughout the Roman Empire because of the persecution in Jerusalem.  They tried to grow in their faith and become mature Christians even though they were separated from the central church and were living in various foreign cities.  James wrote this letter to encourage them to persevere against both the pressures from the non-Christians and from the conflicts and disputes they were having among themselves.

 

James explains that they (and we) must fight three enemies: the flesh, the world, and the devil.  He describes the flesh as those desires that are causing the believer’s sinful actions including murder, theft, and covetousness (vv. 1-3).  He says that being married to Christ yet loving the world is Spiritual adultery (vv. 4-5).  He warns that Christians who live for the flesh and for the world become proud (v. 6) and that the devil takes advantage of the situation because pride is one of the devil’s chief tools.  James says the key is to submit to God.  If we use God’s Word to resist the devil, he will flee (v. 7).

 

Two thousand years later and we find ourselves still fighting the flesh, the world, and the devil.  Just like the early church, we live in a divided nation with conflicts and disputes that separate us.  And it seems the devil has our pride at an all-time high such that we don’t even try to listen and understand what others are saying.  Amos 3:3 asks if two can walk together unless they agree, and Psalm 133 says it is tragic when brethren dwell together in discord rather than unity.  It is time for us to grow up in the Word of God and become mature Christians.  More than ever, we need to humble ourselves, to resist the devil, and to submit ourselves to God.

 

Conda Lashley

Monday, March 26, 2018

Good Friday - Mar 30 - Colossians 2:14

V i c t o r i a   L a d d

Colossians 2:14

By canceling

the record of debt

that stood against us

with its legal demands.

This he set aside,

nailing it to the cross.

 

In the letter of Colossians, Paul emphasizes the importance of God in our everyday lives.  Specifically, in chapter 2, we are to be true to our faith in God and that by putting our trust in him; we will be forgiven of our debts or sins against us now and forever.

 

Upon my first read of the verse, I immediately thought of when I spent part of a summer at Lutheridge, which was a part of the Journey to Adulthood (J2A) class to become confirmed into the congregation.  One day, we were all given slips of paper where everyone wrote down a debt or sin that was burdening us (a weight on our chest).  At this time in my life, it could be anything from failing a test in school to having gotten into an argument with a friend or family member.  Later on, we folded our slips and they were put onto a line of wooden crosses on the table.  One of the pastors then lit the crosses and we all saw the slips burn and the crosses spelled out the word “forgiven”. 

 

I still look back on that moment to this day.  I know in my life, I’ve veered off course in my faith and have fallen to the burdens of everyday things.  But in being true to my faith and turning my heart to God, I’ve seen the power of God’s everlasting love and forgiveness in cleansing me of my debts and I truly am thankful for God’s mercy and grace on me.

 

In Christ’s Love,

A Thankful Servant

To God’s Amazing Grace

Victoria Ladd

Good Friday - Mar 30 - Colossians 2:14

V i c t o r i a   L a d d

Colossians 2:14

By canceling

the record of debt

that stood against us

with its legal demands.

This he set aside,

nailing it to the cross.

 

In the letter of Colossians, Paul emphasizes the importance of God in our everyday lives.  Specifically, in chapter 2, we are to be true to our faith in God and that by putting our trust in him; we will be forgiven of our debts or sins against us now and forever.

 

Upon my first read of the verse, I immediately thought of when I spent part of a summer at Lutheridge, which was a part of the Journey to Adulthood (J2A) class to become confirmed into the congregation.  One day, we were all given slips of paper where everyone wrote down a debt or sin that was burdening us (a weight on our chest).  At this time in my life, it could be anything from failing a test in school to having gotten into an argument with a friend or family member.  Later on, we folded our slips and they were put onto a line of wooden crosses on the table.  One of the pastors then lit the crosses and we all saw the slips burn and the crosses spelled out the word “forgiven”. 

 

I still look back on that moment to this day.  I know in my life, I’ve veered off course in my faith and have fallen to the burdens of everyday things.  But in being true to my faith and turning my heart to God, I’ve seen the power of God’s everlasting love and forgiveness in cleansing me of my debts and I truly am thankful for God’s mercy and grace on me.

 

In Christ’s Love,

A Thankful Servant

To God’s Amazing Grace

Victoria Ladd

Lent Mar 27 - Matthew 6:21

K e l l y   B o v i

Tuesday, March 27

Matthew 6:21

“For where your treasure is,

there also will be your heart.”

 

In this verse, in context, Jesus is telling us not to focus on things of the earth but to focus on Heaven and God, He is asking us where our heart is, is it seeking earthly riches or the riches that come from a real relationship with God, the Father?

 

This passage means to me that those things we hold dear, those things we strive for are where our sole focus is going to be. We will focus all our attention on those things we consider a “treasure” to us. Whether it be money, your children, your work or anything else. By allowing our hearts to be solely focused on treasures that are earthly we miss out on the greatest treasure of all, God’s infinite love for us and all the benefits of a real relationship with God. It is easy to act the part of the “Good Christian” seeming spiritual or godly, when in fact in private, in our hearts we still seek the things of the world and the praise of other people instead of doing what we a charged to do, which is to glorify God.

 

Later in this chapter he states, “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money” This can apply to any other thing that will take our focus off of God. There are so many things vying for our hearts and control of our lives. It is important to remember that God only asks one thing of us, that we glorify Him in all we do. I’ll end with 4 questions that we must ask ourselves:

 

  1.         Where is our treasure?

  2.         Where is our heart?

  3.         What are we focused on?

  4.         Who are we serving?

 

Kelly Bovi

 

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Lent - Mar 26 - John 3:16-17

M i k e   W h i t e

John 3:16-17

For God so loved the world,

that he gave his only Son,

that whoever believes in him

should not perish but have

eternal life. For God did not

send his Son into the world

to condemn the world, but in

order that the world might be

saved through him.

 

Perspective: This quote is from a time early in Jesus’ ministry.  He is explaining to Nicodemus why he is here, what he is doing and what is required to see the “Kingdom of God”.  He chides Nicodemus, who is a Pharisee, that he does not understand the true meaning of the scriptures.  He explains that salvation does not come from the physical ceremonies and practices, but from acceptance of the heart.

 

My experience: Growing up Catholic and spending my first four years in a Catholic school.  I learned much about rituals and practices.  I was not aware that I was being taught from the Bible.  What’s a Bible?  It was probably good thing since my reading ability at the time was not up to handling the King James English.  However, as I grew up I was exposed to those “Protestant heathens” who challenged me with quotes from the bible that I had heard but did not fully understand.  This was one of them.  So I sat down a few times and read these passages for myself and got some coaching from some very sweet and knowledgeable Protestant friends and we hashed out the meaning of these passages and the lightbulb slowly came on and has been glowing brighter ever since.

 

Your Brother in Crist,

Mike White

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Lent - Mar 23 - Colossians 1:20

K u r t   B e a m e s d e r f e r

Colossians 1:20     

And through him to reconcile

to himself all things, whether

on earth or in heaven, making

peace by the blood of his cross.

 

I look at this verse as a love story. In the beginning all things were good, GOD created the heavens and earth just as He wanted them. Through sin and the breaking of GODS laws we became disconnected from him and him from us. We by ourselves could not right the wrongs we committed and we were going to commit. So GOD sent us a savior, his own Son to pay off our debt. This was done to make things right both here on earth and in heaven for the ones who came before Christ. This was done with the ultimate sacrifice, Jesus dying on a cross for our sins.

 

Forgiveness for me is very hard to do yet I am called upon to do so, so I have to work really hard at it. I remember a few years back my wife and I were going away for the weekend and gave our son some rules to abide by while we were away. One of these rules was to not drive the ranger (ATV). A few days after our return home I had to go out to the garage to get a tool and noticed that the front end and windshield of the ranger were heavily damaged. As you can guess my son had disobeyed me and took it out for a spin in the pouring rain, with visibility at a minimum he ran into a sewer culvert. To say I was disappointed and hurt that he didn’t listen to us and then wouldn’t tell us would be an understatement. It took a few weeks but I did get over the incident and had the ranger repaired. If GOD could love me so much that Jesus had to die on a cross for my sins a broken ATV is no big deal. What a love he must have for me.

 

Footnote, my son did listen to the rules a lot better after this. Not because of a punishment but because he could see how disappointed we were. I guess GOD felt a similar disappointment with us. So he fixed it.

 

A guy who loves his son and is loved by his father

Kurt Beamesderfer

 

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Lent - Mar 19 - Philippians 2:8

R e b e k a h   K e l l e h e r

Philippians 2:8

And [Jesus] being

found in human form,

he humbled himself by

becoming obedient to

the point of death,

even death on a cross.

 

In this passage, Paul graphically portrays Christ’s incarnation and crucifixion in order to model  for believers the divine mindset which should guide our earthly relationships. Out of selfless love for us, Jesus took up the likeness of a man, in the form of a servant. One would think that the Lord Jesus should rightly have appeared as a prince in all his splendor. Quite the contrary, his whole life was one of poverty, obscurity, and humble servitude, and his ultimate humiliation was his selfless, obedient death on the cross.

 

To think that the Almighty Creator would so humbly and willingly give up his rights to serve us is almost unthinkable. But, Jesus did exactly that. We can never repay the debt we rightfully owe, but we can honor Christ’s sacrifice by committing ourselves to following his example in our lives and relationships by humbling ourselves in service to others

 

This Lenten season, I accept the challenge to be more intentional in my service to others. I ask for your prayers that my actions, big and small, will make it clear to each person in my sphere of influence that I desire to serve their needs above my own. I also urge you to take up this same challenge in your own lives and relationships. Together, let us pray that we may humbly seek to follow Christ’s example.

 

Jesus loves you and so do I,

Rebekah Kelleher

 

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Lent - Mar 16 - Hebrews 12:1-3

R e b e c c a   N a v r a t i l

Hebrews 11 tells us:

· By faith, Noah….

· By faith, Abraham….

· By faith, Sarah ….

· By faith, Joseph ….

· By faith, Moses…

· By faith, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, the prophets. . . .

Hebrews 12:1-3

Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls! Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

 

By faith, Rebecca….

 

Standing in the reception area of our mission’s administration building, I had met a colleague who asked what our plans were.  When I responded that we were praying about returning to Brazil to continue in the work we’d been a part of for 20 years, the response was, “You don’t need to do that!  You’ve paid your dues! You need to stay here while your kids are in college.”

 

Mike and I were finishing up a 2 year stint of “home assignment”, living and working at the JAARS Center.  It was a wonderful 2 years.  We loved having our kids with us again – we’d been apart the last 3 years in Brazil as our kids had had to go off to boarding school for their education.  Although I had firmly known that this was the Lord’s will for us, the separation just about broke my mother heart in two. Being together again was absolutely wonderful.  But we did not want to be “flagging in our faith”!  We wanted to “fix our eyes on Jesus” and follow Him. What were we looking at?

 

There was an opening at an American Christian University that Mike could fill.  If he did, that would pay for all three of our kids’ college education. We didn’t have any kind of funds to help them!

 

If we returned to Brazil, we would leave two of our kids back in the US – in two separate universities.  Neither of them picked a university that was anywhere near family or friends.  Who would help them? And our youngest was looking forward to finishing the American high school he was now attending – he did NOT want to leave!

 

Our youngest son and I would lose our permanent (almost irreplaceable) visas if we did not visit Brazil before the spring semester ended.  We did not have the funds to make a trip like this.

 

So we prayed, daily, fervently. We truly wanted to fix our eyes on Him.  We wanted to know what His will was.

 

One day we got an anonymous gift for our son and me to make that trip to Brazil!  That was absolutely amazing! The Lord used this gift to say, “I hear you, and I want you to return to Brazil!” Steve and I flew to Brazil for a week during his spring break.  We were able to visit the high school he would attend, and the trip renewed our permanent visas.

 

Fixing our eyes on Him, we made our plans.  Our oldest son would return to his university for his junior year.  I would stay and take our daughter to her university to begin her freshman year and then fly to Brazil.  Mike would leave with our youngest son to begin his junior year in the new high school in Brazil. 

 

It was very hard to leave!  When I left our daughter at her brand new university, where she knew no one, I had no idea if I would see her in two years!  My heart just about broke. I felt like I was stepping out of the boat and, like Peter, was walking on the water,.  The waves were about to overwhelm me.  But I kept my eyes on Jesus.  I knew that my obedience to Him has to come first – He will only bless His will in my life – and that spills over into the lives of my kids. I remembered the words of dear friends and colleagues in Brazil.  They were Bible translators whose firstborn was graduating from high school and returning to the USA for college.  He was going to make his name in sports and no one was going to know where he came from!  My friends watched this rebellious son leaving. They knew they could not return to the US until their kids graduated from college – they had 5 kids!  I saw them bow their heads to the Lord and pray, “Lord, please take care of our kids, and we’ll do what You called us to do.” Our kids were not rebellious, but I still prayed that prayer deeply from my heart.

 

Mike drove to Miami with our youngest son to catch the international flight there.  Mike felt like he was sitting next to a thunder storm as they drive along.  Our son was really upset with our decision to make him start yet another new school.

 

What did God do?

 

He gave us His great grace.  He took care of our kids –all three have graduated from university and all their debts are paid.  Our youngest son had a terrific time in his new school, with opportunities he would not have had back in the US. God brought both our college kids home (to Brazil) for Christmas!  We could not have dreamed of that when we were still in the US.  Mike was very much needed as Aviation Administrator.  Brazil had three aviation programs, and there were times, due to furloughs and visa and licensing problems, that Mike was the only flying pilot for the three programs.  We didn’t see much of him, but he was keeping the Bible translators in their villages so they could continue their work.

 

We continued the very fulfilling work the Lord had called us to for another 8 years. At that point, when the retirement age for missionary pilots was on the horizon, the Lord clearly led us to return to the USA – not to retire, but to cross train into media.

 

And my colleagues?  The Lord turned that rebellious son around and he became a Bible translator like his parents. 

 

Fixing our eyes on Jesus is the only way to know His blessing and His power.

 

Rebecca Navritil

 

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Lent - Mar 15 - John 3:30

C a r o l e   K i n g

John 3:30

“He must increase;

I must decrease.”

 

This verse is a response John the Baptist gives to one of his followers about, as it says in my Bible, a certain Jew and the matter of ceremonial washing. John’s followers were telling him that the man he testified about was now baptizing other people across the river. John told his followers that they can testify that he said he is not the Messiah but was sent ahead of him. 

 

With this John goes on and tells them that He, as in Jesus, must become greater, and I must become less. In our lives, we should be like John in this instance; this verse is how we should really live our lives. Sadly, in this day and age, we are told different by the world. Being a young adult at this point in time is quite confusing, at least internally. I let myself get too clustered in my life and I forget to go to God for my needs and prayers. I have struggled with mild depression since 7th/8th grade, and it’s been a battle mentally. A lot of the time I wrestle with self-doubt and whether or not I’m good enough. With the constant jumble of my thoughts of doubt and distractions, with the constant struggle of trying to ‘fit in’ or stand out, the focus is no longer on God, as it should be. 

 

This verse is a breath of fresh air. It is not saying to decrease your self-worth, but to increase, or make the focus on God greater and what your life should be about. When you become less, you give those distractions, business, and doubt to God to worry about. If we give the focus back to God, you will have peace. This life isn’t about trying to be better, it’s about letting go and letting God. 

 

Carole King 

 

Lent - Mar 14 - John 9:1-3

T o m   C o r b e l l

John 9:1-3

As he passed by, [Jesus]

saw a man blind from birth.

And his disciples asked him,

“Rabbi, who sinned,

this man or his parents,

that he was born blind?”

Jesus answered, “It was not

that this man sinned,

or his parents,

but that the works of God

might be displayed in him.

 

The Christian physician and writer Paul Brand was once asked, “Where is God when it hurts?” Dr. Brand responded, “God is in you, the one hurting, not in it, the thing that hurts.”

 

In the text from John 9, we meet the man who was blind from birth. Jesus hears of his plight and using mud, He anointed the man’s eyes. One moment he was blind. The next he could see. Jesus was deeply involved with the man who was hurting.

 

You would think that everyone would be elated. Not so with the religious leaders. They accuse Jesus of breaking the Sabbath and, by in large, hold contempt for Him.

 

Observation: There are two kinds of people in the world - ducks and eagles: The ducks are always quacking, always quarreling, always complaining, always blaming others for their plight, finding every reason in the book why things can’t and won’t work.

 

Then there are the eagles. The eagles soar above the crowd and go for it. Thank our Father God whose Son always took the eagle’s path!

 

Lord, help me to not complain or find fault. Help me to fly for Your glory. Amen.

 

Pastor Tom Corbell

Monday, March 12, 2018

Lent - Mar 13 - Joel 2:12

S p e n c e r   B e n s c h

Joel 2:12

“Even now,” declares the LORD,

“return to me with all your heart,

with fasting and weeping

and mourning.”

 

In the face of an army of locusts with total annihilation and calamity abound, it is as if God said “all this I have therefore spoken, in order to terrify you by my threats. Wherefore, turn unto Me with all your hearts” and show penitence of your minds.  Joel, the Prophet is telling people “even now” they might still find hope and salvation if you go to God with all your heart, with all humility, to grieve inwardly and mourn outwardly for sin. That we should engage in humiliation acceptably that the humiliation was to be that of the heart – sorrow of the heart for the sins by which we have offended God. That we should show our penitence of our minds, “by fasting and weeping and mourning” that fasting now, we may “be filled” hereafter, “weeping now” that we may laugh hereafter and “mourning now” that we may hereafter “be comforted”. That your sorrow should be genuine and shame for sin.

 

Our Almighty God is a loving, gracious and forgiving Father but we foolishly and grossly deceive ourselves in believing our God is ignorant when our heart is divided. God is aware of our insincerity, ceremony, hypocrisy, disguise and deceit. We must turn to Him with our whole heart for it is a hypocrisy abominable to God, when men keep the greater part of their heart, closed up. When we feel his wrath, we then think there is no grace remaining. Yet, we all feel God leaves behind him a blessing so that when he passes by us with his rod, he will restrain his severity so that some blessings will remain. Humble yourself, call upon the name of the Lord and seek his face. Repent of your sins and consecrate your life to God. Resolve and determine to obey God with gladness. Ask the Holy Spirit to enable you to walk in that narrow and straight path of righteousness. Where there is repentance, God is there. Where there is humility, God is there. God’s presence is shown through our humility, repentance, and turning to him. And in god’s presence there is fullness of joy and on his right hand, pleasures forevermore.

 

I think Calvin’s Commentary sums up this passage by his prayer. “Grant Almighty God, that as thou seest us so foolish in nourishing our vices, and also so ensnared by the gratifications of the flesh, that without being constrained we hardly return to thee, O grant that we may feel the weight of thy wrath, and be so touched with the dread of it, as to return gladly to thee, laying aside every dissimulation, and devote ourselves so entirely to thy service, that it may appear that we have from the heart repented, and that we have not trifled with thee by an empty pretense, but have offered to thee our hearts as a sacrifice so that we and all our works might be sacred offerings to thee through our whole life, that thy name may be glorified in us through Christ our Lord, Amen”.

 

Spencer Bensch

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Lent - Mar 12 - Matthew 16:24

J e n n i f e r   N i c k s

Matthew 16:24

Then Jesus told his disciples,

“If anyone would come after me,

let him deny himself and

take up his cross and follow me.

 

I am nearsighted, so I need to wear glasses. Today at the hair salon, I walked into a room and sat down under a hair dryer. A woman - who I thought was a stranger - joyfully said, “Hello Jennifer!” I didn’t realize who she was because I had removed my glasses. What a wonderful surprise to find a friend, instead of a stranger!

 

Our loving Father knows us, knows that we have nearsighted vision. He ministers to us with this verse by showing us a way to have enhanced vision for our intended direction. He says if we want to be His follower, we must turn from our selfish ways. What that means is fully surrendering our will to Him. Trusting as Jesus did when He prayed “I want Your will to be done, not mine.” (Luke 22:42)

 

Knowing that what He says is true: if I give up my life for His sake, I will find TRUE life (v.25)! So, it’s really okay to let go, and let Him take over.

 

In verse 22, when Peter heard that Jesus would suffer and die on a cross, He reprimanded Jesus. “Heaven forbid, Lord. This will never happen to you!” Jesus immediately set him straight saying, “You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, and not from God’s.” The very thing that Peter was reprimanding is a symbol of what our lives will look towards. We will take up our crosses DAILY and follow Him (Luke 9:23-24).

 

Life will often look bad from a human point of view. Oh, we long for a better view! Yes, Jesus would suffer and die on a cross, BUT He would be resurrected from an abused, injured, lifeless body to a bursting, bright, new life! What a wonderful surprise! In 2 Corinthians 4:18 it says, “So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen.”

 

What do we fix our eyes on? What wonderful surprises are we missing? What things are we actually intended to see in life?

 

By someone who needs to wear her pair of God-point-of-view glasses so she can see wonderful surprises,

 

Jennifer Gayle Nicks

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Lent - Mar 9 - 1 Corinthians 10:13

B r a d   A l e x a n d e r

1 Corinthians 10:13

No temptation has overtaken

you that is not common to man.

God is faithful, and he will not let

you be tempted beyond your ability,

but with the temptation he will

also provide the way of escape,

that you may be able to endure it.

 

No temptation [regardless of its source] has overtaken or enticed you that is not common to human experience [nor is any temptation unusual or beyond human resistance]; but God is faithful [to His word—He is compassionate and trustworthy], and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability [to resist], but along with the temptation He [has in the past and is now and] will [always] provide the way out as well, so that you will be able to endure it [without yielding, and will overcome temptation with joy]. (AMP)

 

This chapter’s title in the Amplified Bible is “Avoid Israel’s Mistakes”, so how does the rest of this chapter help me to find the true message that our Father has for me in this verse.  

 

In verse 13, I see that I am not unique, what happens to me, is “common” to others.  Paul had recapped this for me in the first part of Chapter 13.  Israel, God’s chosen people, struggled with idolatry and sexual immorality, after He had brought them out of Egypt and slavery.  Paul continues in verse 12 to tell us that “let the one who thinks he stands firm [immune to temptation, being overconfident and self-righteous], take care that he does not fall [into sin and condemnation].  So I am not unique nor immune to struggles. 

 

Also, God is faithful to His Word, meaning that I have to know what His Word says.  And that the “way out” will still be something that I will need to “endure”, that is, I may have created the situation I find myself in by my own actions.  And since I have some knowledge of His Word, I know that the “way out” might be a Brother or Sister in Christ coming along side of me to help me, if I will let them. 

 

Father, help me to remember, I am not unique in my temp-tations and You will help me to resist and endure. Amen.

 

Brad Alexander

 

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Lent - Mar 8 - 1 Peter 2:24

M a r i l y n   P e t e r s o n

1 Peter 2:24

He himself bore our sins

in his body on the tree,

that we might die to sin

and live to righteousness.

By his wounds you have

been healed.

 

I can’t help but think how much pain Christ endured on the cross.  I have often wondered if he was afraid; however I think probably not because Jesus he knew his father was going to scoop him up in his loving arms cleanse his wounds and things would be OK.  Jesus didn’t answer back to those that were jeering at him despite the obvious pain he felt. He endured the pain so that we would be forgiven and free from our sin.

 

I wouldn’t have been that brave, even though I love my Lord and Savior. I know when I was a little girl, if I fell and hurt myself, my father would run to pick me up in his arms and cleanse my wounds, take away the pain and everything would be OK. Jesus knew his father was waiting for him and there was trust and love beyond measure.  Likewise, my brothers and sisters, if we put our trust in our Heavenly Father, even if we fall, he will scoop us up in his arms, he will cleanse our wounds, and forgive our sins. Remember, He bore the pain on the cross because he loves us. Even though we sin. he will pick us up in his arms and cleanse our sins, because he has already paid the price.

 

Marilyn Peterson

*Max Lucado The Devotional Bible

 

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Lent Mar 7 - Isaiah 43:25

J o h n   D e e r

Wednesday, March 7

Isaiah 43:25

“I, I am he who blots out

your transgressions for

my own sake, and I

will not remember your sins.

 

In the verses before this one the Lord speaks of some of the things he has done for Israel in the past. Bringing her through the waters, extinguishing the Warriors and the chariots, and things that He has done to bring His people to glory. 

 

Then He tells us to forget all that... “I’m doing something new now.” Making a way through the wilderness and bringing rivers to the desert.

 

Such an amazing thing that even the beasts of the forest give Him praise!!

 

But his people do not.

 

The Lord goes on to talk about all the things that Jacob and Israel have STOPPED doing.

 

   Giving God the glory! 

   Praising Him!

   Thanking Him for all He has done!

 

They forgot how they got to where they are.

 

He’s the guy that “ blots out our transgressions “ and “will not remember our sins”

 

And all He asks in return is to praise Him and remember Him and honor Him.

 

Seems like a small price to pay.

 

I think about all the times in my life that God has carried me and brought me through the fire (many times self-induced). I pray that I never lose my gratitude. And I pray that I never forget what carried me to where I am today!

 

God’s grace!

 

For the people of Israel, and even for a lil old me.

  

John Deer

a guy that has learned

if I put God first 

I won’t get lost....

not only does He

know his way around...

He knows where

I’m supposed to be!!!

 

Monday, March 5, 2018

Lent - Mar 6 - Acts 3:19

S c o t t   F a r b

Acts 3:19

Repent therefore,

and turn again, that

your sins may be blotted out

 

In this passage, we are reminded again that it is never too late to turn your back on sin, and turn back to The Lord. 

 

When I was 21 years old, I felt lost. I had turned my back on God, and was living without a moral compass. My friend Joe and I were sitting in the back room of a bar owned by my father’s friend, Skip. Three young men walked from the bar to our backroom table. They were wearing football jackets from the town next to where Joe and I grew up. The boldest one sad hello, then asked if we wanted to go outside. I replied, no, we would like to sit right here, thanks. He said to me, no, we’re going outside. I knew he wanted to fight, but that was not going to happen. I yelled to my father’s friend, “Hey Skip, these guys want to go outside”. Skip leaped over the bar with a baseball bat and screamed, “OK, boys. you’re going outside!” We had a great laugh, watching them being chased out the door. 

 

At that time, I was working in my father’s motorcycle shop as a mechanic. I was very unhappy with my life, and each day, I would wonder what I needed to do to improve my unhappy situation. About three weeks after the barroom incident, a young man came into the shop with a motorcycle wheel. The tire was flat and he needed it repaired. I slowly realized this was the same young man who had challenged Joe and I to fight weeks earlier. I told him I recognized him, and asked if he recognized me, to which he replied, no. I tell him where we met, and his face flushed with embarrasment. He apologized profusely, and told me that was out of character for him. I shook his hand and asked his name, and when said it’s Chris, I realized that, years before, we had been in Sunday school together! In the following weeks, we renewed our friendship, and one day, he called me and told me his employer, Lipton Tea, was looking for a clerk in the mailroom, where Chris worked. He said he could arrange an interview if I wanted, and I replied, Yes, absolutely!I was hired, and later on, was able to get other friends hired, which I thought was fantastic. Little did I know the true purpose I had ended up working there. 

 

About two years after I was hired, I met a girl at Lipton who told me she was going back to God, and that she was being confirmed. She asked if I would attend her confirmation, which I did, and then I asked her if I could start attending church with her. I did so, and eventually, I was confirmed as well. I then felt ashamed that I had ever turned my back on God, even declaring myself an atheist from the age of 19-21. 

 

It only took me three weeks to realize that I was deeply in love with this girl, and I told her I was going to marry her someday. When I had that epiphany, I understood the majesty of our God: at a time when I had turned my back on God, HE had brought a young man into my life, in a bar, who challenged me to a fight. HE granted me the grace to not engage in that fight. HE brought that young man back into my life weeks later, only for me to learn that we had been friends - at church - many years earlier. HE allowed me the chance to be hired by a great company, and to turn my life around. All of this HE did for me at a time when I still shunned him. Then, HE allowed me to meet the young girl whom I would love like no other, and eventually marry - my wife, Monique. 

 

You see, HE brought all these things together, long before I realized it, just so I could give up a life of wandering, lost. All I needed to do was “turn again”, so my sins could be blotted out. 

 

That is the grace and majesty of our God. 

 

Scott T. Farb

Historian

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Lent - Mar 5 - 2 Peter 3:9

S u s a n   W e i l

2 Peter 3:9

The Lord is not slow

to fulfill his promise as

some count slowness,

but is patient toward you,

not wishing that any

should perish, but that all

should reach repentance.

 

The first thing I see in this verse is that the Lord God does not want anyone to perish. It gives me hope for my family - that God desires their salvation and He is working that they might give Him their lives.

 

What is interesting is that salvation is not the promise spoken of in today’s verse.  Peter writes about 30 years after Jesus’ resurrection and this verse is about the promise of Jesus’ second coming.   The people thought Jesus would have come back by then and were beginning to turn away from the faith.  What would they be thinking today, when almost 2000 years have passed?

 

God’s Promises are peppered throughout Scripture.  From as early as Genesis 3 the Messiah is promised.    Abraham and Sarah waited 25-30 years for Isaac. Egyptian captivity: 400 years.   40 years in the wilderness. 70 years in Babylon.   Each time The Lord God made good on His Word!!

 

What promise of His are you waiting for?

 

In 1996 God gave me a vision to move to NC.  So we bought property and put our house up for sale.  In June of ’97 nothing had happened.  So, I asked the Lord if I had misunderstood His call.  That very night I read Habakkuk 2.   Verse 3 says, “For still the vision awaits its time; it hastens to the end - it will not lie.  If it seem slow, wait for it;  it will surely come, it will not delay.”    That verse made the waiting much easier; and, it’s incredible what the Lord accomplished in the one more year before we’d be in NC.  

 

While we wait, God is doing more than we could ever ask or think.  Trust Him, He is faithful.

 

Susan Weil