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Daily Devotion March 2020

3/31/20

Good morning, Room Travelers.

Song for the Day: Agnus De

Complete the Verse & Name the Book: He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not . . . (completion at the end)

On Thursday, Pastor Michael gave his second fireside chat based on Philippians 1:3-8. When Paul wrote Philippians, he was in prison in Rome. He was socially distanced from his friends and not able to interact except with Epaphroditus who had gone to Rome to be with Paul. Philippians 2:25 says, “Meanwhile, I thought I should send Epaphroditus back to you. He is a true believer, co-worker, and fellow soldier. And he was your messenger to help me in my need.” The church at Philippi partnered in the gospel with Paul. Now that he is in prison he misses the church at Philippi. Philippians 1:3-8 says:

Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy, for you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ from the time you first heard it until now. And I am certain that God, who began a good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.

So it is right that I should feel as I do about all of you, for you have a special place in my heart. You share with me the special favor of God, both in my imprisonment and in defending and confirming the truth of the Good News. God knows how much I love you and long for you with the tender compassion of Christ Jesus.

The church at Philippi became interested in how they could be a part of spreading the gospel to others. Partners walk along side of you; they are going the same direction you are going. A partner is supportive in time and resources. Paul is thankful for the partnership he has with the church.

Joy is a key word in the letter. Paul is joyful he has this partnership. He prays for the church. We can pray for those we typically sit close to in church during this period of time when the church doors are closed.

Lydia was a participant and a partner in the gospel. Acts 16:13-15 says,

On the Sabbath we went a little way outside the city to a riverbank, where we thought people would be meeting for prayer, and we sat down to speak with some women who had gathered there. One of them was Lydia from Thyatira, a merchant of expensive purple cloth, who worshiped God. As she listened to us, the Lord opened her heart, and she accepted what Paul was saying. She and household were baptized, and she asked us to be her guests. “If you agree that I am a true believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my home.” And she urged us until we agreed.

Lydia gave what she had because she wanted to partner with Paul in the gospel.

Acts 16:16-34 recounts the story of Paul and Silas casting out the demon inside the slave girl who told the future and made a lot of money for her owners. When their chances of making money were destroyed, they dragged Paul and Silas before the authorities at the marketplace. Paul and Silas were severely beaten and thrown into prison. They prayed and sang hymns, and at midnight an earthquake opened the prison doors and the chains of the prisoners fell off. The jailer was going to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. Paul and Silas told him all the prisoners were still there. The jailer said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” He was told, “Believe in the Lord Jesus.” The jailer and his household got baptized, and he began to wash the wounds of Paul and Silas. He brought them into his house just like Lydia. The jailer’s life was transformed. The jailer not only became a participant with Jesus that night, but he also became a partner with Jesus.

1 Corinthians 1:4-9 says:

I always thank my God for you and for the gracious gifts he has given you, now that you belong to Christ Jesus. Through him, God has enriched your church in every way—with all of your eloquent words and all of your knowledge. This confirms that what I told you about Christ is true. Now you have every spiritual gift you need as you eagerly wait for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will keep you strong to the end so that you will be free from all the blame on the day when our Lord Jesus Christ returns. God will do this, for he is faithful to do what he says, and he has invited you into partnership with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Sometimes we wonder and fret, but God says He will keep us firm to the end. You are a participant and a partner with the gospel. He is faithful to keep us in fellowship with Him. 1 Timothy 1:12a says, “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength to do his work.” God is strengthening us in this time of uncertainty. 2 Timothy 1:12 says, “That is why I am suffering here in prison. But I am not ashamed of it, for I know the one in whom I trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until the day of his return.”

Paul loves the people in the church at Philippi. He longs for them. He wants to see them again. We are the family of God. It’s difficult when we can’t be with those we love. We are made for community, so it’s difficult for us to keep our prescribed six foot distance away from each other.

Galatians 6:9-10 says, “So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith.” We are a family of believers. We are partners in the gospel of Jesus Christ. We have the same Holy Spirit living in us. We need to be good to each other. Let’s be unified.

Social distancing is teaching us how much we need each other. Pray for each other. Send a note. Make a phone call.

What Scripture verse does Dr. Josh Moody say is worth every parent memorizing? Serve God


Verse Completion: . . . gather with Me, scatters. Luke 11:23 (NASB)

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3/30/20

Good morning, In & Out (in the house and out to check the mail).

Song for the Day: I'd Never Known

Complete the Verse & Name the Book: For everyone who exalts himself shall be . . . (completion at the end)

Yesterday, Pastor Michael gave the sermon “The Parable of the Mustard Seeds and Yeast” to an empty church . . . building. However, many were in attendance over Facebook. His text was Matthew 13:31-35:

Here is another illustration Jesus used: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed planted in a field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but it becomes the largest of garden plants; it grows into a tree, and birds come and make nests in its branches.”

Jesus also used this illustration: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like the yeast a woman used in making bread. Even though she put only a little yeast in three measures of flour, it permeated every part of the dough.”

Jesus always used stories and illustrations like these when speaking to the crowds. In fact, he never spoke to them without using such parables. This fulfilled what God had spoken through the prophet: “I will speak to you in parables. I will explain things hidden since the creation of the world.”

The Kingdom of Heaven is the opposite of all the other kingdoms. Satan is out to destroy the Kingdom of Heaven, but it will never happen.

Matthew wants us to know that Jesus is the Messiah—God with skin on. Jesus is the Savior of the world, and He came to Earth to save people from their sins.

The average height of a mustard tree in Palestine is about 12 feet—a significant size. It’s the largest of all plants in a garden, and yet it started from the smallest of seeds. Matthew 17:20-21 says:

“You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.”

The start of the Kingdom of God was insignificant—a baby in a manger. It grew to the point where Jesus had 12 followers and from there grew to become the most dominant kingdom in the world. It’s growing, and it’s unstoppable.

The principle of the mustard seed is revealed in what Paul said in 2 Corinthians 12:8-10:

Three times I begged the Lord to take [the thorn in my flesh] away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

The mustard seed starts out weak but ends up strong. We don’t build the Kingdom of God through our wisdom, knowledge, finances, or power. Jesus builds the Kingdom of God by His strength. The weaker we are the stronger Jesus can show Himself to be. Don’t be discouraged by smallness or by weakness. Jesus is stronger than the forces that go against Him. 1 Corinthians 1:25-31 says:

This foolish plan of God is wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God’s weakness is stronger than the greatest of human strength.

Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you. Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important. As a result, no one can ever boast in the presence of God.

God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made him to be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God; he made us pure and holy, and he freed us from sin. Therefore, as the Scriptures say, “If you want to boast, boast only about the LORD.”

The Kingdom of Heaven didn’t start because of our strength, wisdom, or intelligence. The Kingdom of Heaven is all about Jesus, and it’s only when we humble ourselves that Jesus enters our lives. The Kingdom of Heaven grows because of Jesus in us.

The Kingdom of Heaven is like yeast. Yeast changes things. Yeast makes things grow in size. The Kingdom of Heaven is like that; it’s transformational. It changes lives. It makes a difference.

In Matthew 16:6, we see a negative use of the word yeast: “Watch out!” Jesus warned them. “Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” Yeast transforms—for good or bad.

Yeast transforms lives. One person gets saved and has his/her life transformed. Another watches that transformed life, and wants his/her life transformed, too. The transformation continues and spreads throughout the community.

Acts 17:5-6 says: But some of the Jews were jealous, so they gathered some troublemakers from the marketplace to form a mob and start a riot. They attacked the home of Jason, searching for Paul and Silas so they could drag them out to the crowd. Not finding them there, they dragged out Jason and some of the other believers instead and took them before the city council. “Paul and Silas have caused trouble all over the world,” they shouted, “and now they are here disturbing our city, too.” The silversmiths in Thessalonica would make idols, but when people started following Jesus, the Christians got rid of their idols. This was damaging to the business of the silversmiths, and they wanted the gospel spreaders stopped in their tracks. There can only be two responses to the gospel: accept or reject. You can’t serve God and money.

It only takes a spark to get a fire going. It only takes one person radically changed by God to start changing the world. The gospel changes churches, communities, cultures, decisions, habits, families, friends, and how we live. The gospel changes you, and it changes me.

Everywhere Paul went people opposed him. They tried to punch him down, but he always sprang back just like dough with yeast in it always rises back up when it is punched down. Whenever the church is persecuted, it grows. The coronavirus will not destroy the church; it will expand the church. Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords.

We are faced with a decision: Will I walk with Jesus or go against Him? Will I join Jesus or try to destroy Him? Are you part of the Kingdom of Heaven?

In Numbers 13 and 14, the Israelites were faced with a decision: Go into the land of milk and honey with giants and fortified walls and conquer it or not.

We may be small, insignificant, and weak, but it is in our weakness that God can use us. Jesus is refining our church and refining the nations. The Kingdom of Heaven is built in weakness and persecution. It’s built in humble hearts submitted to God. The Kingdom of Heaven is unstoppable, and we are part of that kingdom if we have received Jesus as our Lord and Savior and asked Him to forgive our sins.

Dr. Moody give five principles to guide leaders at this time of crisis with the coronavirus:  Biblical Principles to Guide Leaders in this Time of Crisis


Verse Completion: . . . humbled, and he who humbles himself shall be exalted. Luke 14:11 (NASB)

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3/28/20

Good morning to everyone held captive by COVID-19 but not by the devil.

Song for the Day: First

Complete the Verse & Name the Book: The thief comes only to steal, and kill, and destroy; I came that they might . . . (completion at the end)

On Thursday we were taking a look at the lyrics to the “Song for the Day” by Lauren Daigle. We expounded on the first two lines. Today we will take a look at the remainder of the song. To review, here are part of the lyrics to First:

Before I bring my need

I will bring my heart

Before I lift my cares

I will lift my arms

I wanna know You

I wanna find You

In every season

In every moment

Before I bring my need

I will bring my heart

And seek You

First

I wanna seek You

I wanna seek You

First

I wanna keep You

I wanna keep You

First

More than anything I want, I want You

First

Before I speak a word

Let me hear Your voice

And in the midst of pain

Let me feel Your joy

Ooh, I wanna know You

I wanna find You

In every season

In every moment

Before I speak a word

I will bring my heart

And seek You

You are my treasure and my reward

Let nothing ever come before

You are my treasure and my reward

Let nothing ever come before

I seek You

Before we talk to God about our needs, we should get our hearts right with God. Before we tell Him about our cares, we should lift our arms in praise. Acknowledge who you are talking to—the creator of the universe, the King of kings, and Lord of lords. Jesus is the only one qualified to forgive sins and give everlasting life. We give Him praise for what He’s done in the past for others—mighty acts from the Bible, mighty acts done for our family and friends, and mighty acts done for us personally. We can join Isaiah in saying, “O LORD, I will honor and praise your name, for you are my God. You do such wonderful things! You planned them long ago, and now you have accomplished them.” (Isaiah 25:1) We can join David in saying, “Your unfailing love is better than life itself; how I praise you! I will praise you as long as I live, lifting up my hands to you in prayer. You satisfy me more than the richest feast. I will praise you with songs of joy.

“I will exalt you, my God and King, and praise your name forever and ever. I will praise you every day; yes, I will praise you forever. Great is the LORD! He is most worthy of praise! No one can measure his greatness.

“Praise the LORD! Let all that I am praise the LORD. I will praise the LORD as long as I live. I will sing praises to my God with my dying breath.

“Praise the LORD! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heaven! Praise him for his mighty works; praise his unequaled greatness! Let everything that breathes sing praises to the LORD! Praise the LORD!” (Psalm 63:3-5; 145:1-3; 146:1-2; 150:1-2, 6)

Lauren continues with,

I wanna know You

I wanna find You

In every season

In every moment

Before I bring my need

I will bring my heart

And seek You

First

In the prayer of Jesus, He said, “And this is the way to have eternal life—to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth.” How do you get to know people? You get to know them by spending time with them and by becoming a student of them—learning what they like and don’t like. You get to know them through building a relationship with them. That’s how it is with God, too.

Paul understood that knowing a person in a close relationship has positive and negative aspects. He said, “I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead!” (Philippians 3:10-11) A close relationship with Jesus means everlasting life, but it also means persecution and suffering even to the point of death. Knowing Jesus has a high cost, but Lauren wants to know Jesus, and so do I!

God isn’t difficult to find, but it does take some effort on our part. Proverbs 8:17 says, “I love all who love me. Those who search will surely find me.” Acts 17:27-28a says, “His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him—though he is not far from any one of us. For in him we live and move and exist.” Deuteronomy 4:29 says, “But from there you will search again for the LORD your God. And if you search for him with all your heart and soul, you will find him.” Jeremiah 29:13 says something similar: “If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.”

Lauren then sings of seeking God first. We have to get the priorities in our life in their proper order. Jesus said, “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” (Matthew 6:33) Jesus cares about our needs, but He wants us to focus on Him and not our needs.

Prayer is more than us talking; it’s also us listening. A great way to start a prayer is by listening—asking God what He wants to say to you and giving Him time to respond. It may take a while. We have expectations of instant gratification, but that’s not how God typically operates. We want Him confined to our time of prayer, and since we don’t have much time for that, we need to hear from Him now. Jesus doesn’t want to spend five minutes with us or 15 minutes with us; He wants to spend time with us all day. We are to never stop praying (see 1 Thessalonians 5:17). God doesn’t want us to compartmentalize Him. He desires to be part of every aspect of our lives. If we don’t want Him in some of our compartments, then we shouldn’t have those compartments.

Jesus is our treasure. We need to be like the man in the parable He told about: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that a man discovered hidden in a field. In his excitement, he hid it again and sold everything he owned to get enough money to buy the field.” (Matthew 13:44)

Jesus is our reward. Hebrews 10:19-22 says, “And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water.” Romans 8:38-39 says, “And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Listen to the song once more, and allow the words be your words to Jesus as you worship Him.

Many people today think that Christianity only has superficial answers to today's problems. If we as Christians are not persuaded that the greatest answer to our most difficult problems are found in Jesus, then we'll go elsewhere to find the solutions. We must be convinced that in Him is all beauty, love, and knowledge, and then we'll find our resting place in Him. Listen to Dr. Moody preach on “The Depths of Truth.” Here is Part 1: 1 Corinthians: To the Church of God #4 -- The Depths of Truth, Part 1

 

Verse Completion: . . . have life, and might have it abundantly. John 10:10 (NASB)

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3/27/20

Good morning, Warriors.

Song for the Day: My Life is in Your Hands

Complete the Verse & Name the Book: And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of the testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark upon their forehead and . . . (completion at the end)

Yesterday, my wife and I ventured out to the grocery store. We got there before it opened and people were standing outside waiting to get in, but they weren’t congregated around the door in a normal fashion; they were standing with at least six feet between them. I was sitting in my car watching everything and thinking about how the coronavirus has changed life for everyone in the whole world. Here is something that is so small it can’t even be seen, and yet it is holding people everywhere hostage. It’s really difficult to take it all in.

I started thinking about the similarities between the coronavirus and the devil. Both are invisible. You are not sure if they are present or not, because you can’t see any evidence of them around you. They both have the power to take you down and destroy your life if you don’t have anything to combat them. You know you are vulnerable to an attack, but you’re never quite sure where the attack will come from. The attack could come from the handle on the grocery cart. The attack could come from something somebody said. The attack could come from someone coughing. The attack could come in the form of a lie that is wrapped in attractive packaging. It’s tough when you can’t see your enemy!

There are things we can do to reduce the chance of being taken down by the virus or by Satan. We can practice social distancing—standing at least six feet away from another person. We can pray. We can wash our hands regularly. We can read and meditate on God’s word. We can isolate ourselves in our houses. We can be fed by our pastor. We can sanitize our surroundings. We can share Jesus with others (right now that might mean with a phone call, email, or over social media). We can wear face masks. We can put on the full armor of God. Ephesians 6:10-17 says,

A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all the strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Currently, there is no antidote for COVID-19. Scientists are working on it, and they will likely come up with a vaccination that will protect oneself from the deadly virus. On the other hand, we have had an antidote for the devil since the beginning of time—the trinity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Call on God, and the devil will flee. James 4:7-10 tells us how the antidote works:

So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.

The devil is a much greater threat to our lives than the coronavirus, and yet people ignore the threat. They do nothing to protect themselves. They don’t even want to hear about the Antidote that has been proven 100% effective against the devil. Isn’t it interesting how people are willing to live on the edge spiritually, but physically they don’t want to take any chances? Jesus exposed the devil when He said, “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” (John 10:10)

The more scientists can learn about COVID-19, the better advice they are able to give people so they can avoid getting sick. Peter learned about the devil and offers us some good advice:

Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are. (1 Peter 5:8-9)

We are waiting for the coronavirus to get crushed under our feet. The devil’s days are numbered. He may be the ruler of the world now (see John 14:30), but God will destroy him. Revelation 20:10 says,

Then the devil, who had deceived them, was thrown into the fiery lake of burning sulfur, joining the beast and the false prophet. There they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

Jesus said, “Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matthew 10:28)

What we can’t see is to be feared much more than what we can see. Let’s join David in saying, “I prayed to the LORD, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears.” (Psalm 34:4)

Which sermon from Dr. Josh Moody will you be challenged by today? Broadcasts

 

Verse Completion: . . . upon their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. Revelation 20:4 (NASB)

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3/26/20

Good morning to everyone held in captivity by microscopic matter that’s not even alive. Let’s try that greeting again: Good morning, Humble People.

Song for the Day: First

Complete the Verse & Name the Book: But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day . . . (completion at the end)

I was listening to the “Song for the Day” by Lauren Daigle. Here are part of the lyrics to First:

Before I bring my need

I will bring my heart

Before I lift my cares

I will lift my arms

I wanna know You

I wanna find You

In every season

In every moment

Before I bring my need

I will bring my heart

And seek You

First

I wanna seek You

I wanna seek You

First

I wanna keep You

I wanna keep You

First

More than anything I want, I want You

First

Before I speak a word

Let me hear Your voice

And in the midst of pain

Let me feel Your joy

Ooh, I wanna know You

I wanna find You

In every season

In every moment

Before I speak a word

I will bring my heart

And seek You

You are my treasure and my reward

Let nothing ever come before

You are my treasure and my reward

Let nothing ever come before

I seek You

Lauren Daigle packs a lot into a few words. She starts off with, “Before I bring my need, I will bring my heart.” When we go to prayer, it’s so easy to begin with our needs. We have important things going on in our lives, and we need God to step in and help. Sometimes those needs are finances: we don’t know where the money is going to come from to pay for bills—rent, house payment, electric, water, car payment, etc. We wonder how we will pay for gas, food for us, food for our pets, clothes, shoes. These things are staring us right in the face, and we don’t see how our few meager dollars are going to stretch to cover everything that needs covering. Then there’s relationship issues that are going on. We know there’s a problem, but we don’t know how to fix the problem. We need God’s help. Lauren doesn’t say these things aren’t important; she tells us to not make them our top priority—what we talk to God about first. Jesus said, “When you pray, don’t babble on and on as the Gentiles do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again. Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!” (Matthew 6:7-8) There’s nothing on the list God doesn’t already know about.

Before we bring God our list of needs, we should bring Him a heart of surrender. Job 11:13-18 says:

“If only you would prepare your heart and lift up your hands to him in prayer! Get rid of your sins, and leave all iniquity behind you. Then your face will brighten with innocence. You will be strong and free of fear. You will forget your misery; it will be like water flowing away. Your life will be brighter than the noonday. Even darkness will be as bright as morning. Having hope will give you courage. You will be protected and will rest in safety.”

Jesus said,

“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” (Matthew 6:31-34)

Proverbs 23:26 says,

O my son, give me your heart. May your eyes take delight in following my ways.

Proverbs 3:5-6 says,

Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.

Galatians 2:20 says,

My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

1 Peter 1:18-19 says,

For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And it was not paid with mere gold or silver, which lose their value. It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God.

1 Corinthians 6:19b-20a says,

You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price.

When we go to God in prayer, we should come with a heart that is humble, thankful, and pure. If there’s anything in our heart that needs to be taken care of, this is the time to do it. Before we proceed, we want our hearts to be pure.

Tomorrow we will continue to look at how God’s word is reflected in Lauren’s song, First. If you have time, listen to it once again.

Dr. Moody continues to look at true power and wisdom with an illustration from pop culture–the Jonas Brothers: We are continuing to looking at true power and wisdom with an illustration from pop culture–the Jonas Brothers. Power Part 2


Verse Completion: . . . is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 2 Peter 3:8 (NASB)


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3/25/20

Good morning In & About.

Song for the Day: Alpha and Omega (notice the social distancing demonstrated . . . well, at least part of the time)

Complete the Verse & Name the Book: In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife . . . (completion at the end)

Yesterday, President Pastor Wedman began his fireside chats using Philippians. Here is Episode 1: Let’s begin with a verse from 3 John 2:

Dear friend, I hope all is well with you and that you are healthy in body as you are strong in spirit.

Philippians begins with the words:

Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus,

To all the saints in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons:

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Let’s take a look at five words:

· Servants. This is not a word that is used much these days. We look at a servant as one who is low, someone who serves, someone who hasn’t measured up to those who are not servants. Yet Paul and Timothy classify themselves as servants or slaves to Jesus. They do what their master asks of them. Their will is put aside so they can do Christ’s will. A bond servant is a servant for life, and Paul refers to himself as such in other places. Does my life reflect servanthood to Jesus, or do I have the attitude, “I’m still in charge of my life and I’ll embrace the will of Jesus when it fits with mine?” We wonder how we can do the will of Jesus our way. Paul is interested in doing God’s will His way.

· Saints. Paul and Timothy are saying, “We are servants of Jesus, and we are here to serve you saints in Philippi.” Saints here means that they are perfect before God. They are without blemish, because they are in Christ Jesus. A person can’t be a saint without Jesus. The reason a person is a saint is because that person has received Jesus as his Lord and Savior and has been forgiven of all unrighteousness. Before God, we are saints. When God sees us, He doesn’t see us as sinners; He sees us as His children whom He has perfected, called, and set apart for His good purposes.

· Together. This is a theme of the book: togetherness, unity, community. This is countercultural. In our society, we tend to separate common people with uncommon people (blue collar and white collar; first class and coach). We make those distinctions, but God does not. We need to relearn what it means to be together. This starts with the understanding that there’s no separation of one person being better than another. We’re all servants of Christ.

· Grace. This is a word we probably don’t understand. It means undeservedfavor. It is a gift not based on works. The favor we receive from God can’t be gained, worked for, or manipulated. There’s nothing we can do to impress God so we can receive more grace. Grace comes from the heart of God who loves us. God favors you. You’re one of His favorites! We are justified freely by grace. Grace can’t be worked for; it can’t be earned. Grace is completely free. Grace is based on the gracious and loving character of God. Romans 6:14 says, “For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.” Ephesians 1:7-8 says, “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.” When something is lavished, it is way over the top. God gives us grace that is way over the top. 2 Corinthians 12:9 says, But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” God is gracious to us even through our times of suffering. Hebrews 4:14-16 says, Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. We are in times of need, and God’s grace is ready to be lavished on you. Call on God.

· Peace. This is a sense of calmness and security; being able to rest. It’s the calmness of soul, mind, heart, and body. It’s an absence of fear in times of uncertainty. Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27) Jesus is the one who can give us peace and leave us with peace in our hearts. We live in troubling times. We don’t know what the future holds. A few verses later in 33 Jesus said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” God is in control. Philippians 4:7 says, “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Prayer is connecting with God, and anytime we connect with God, we are secure. We are safe. We don’t have to be afraid. We sit in His presence, and we enjoy His company. God is our strong tower. Proverbs 18:10 says, “The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.” Colossians 3:15 says, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” When we allow Jesus to be the master of our lives, he gives us His peace, and that peace is allowed to rule in our hearts. You can be safe and secure in Christ.

Meditate on these five words today. Let them resonate in your mind and heart. Remember God reigns. Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

The great questions that many people in Christian circles are asking are, "Where is the Christian influence that we once had in society? What are we to do with this secular agenda?" Paul encourages us that the Church has faced opposition before, and we have the power of God to help us. Listen to the first half of Dr. Moody’s sermon Power 


Verse Completion: . . . loves himself. Ephesians 5:28 (NIV)

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3/24/20

Good morning to everyone confined to an area but free in spirit.

Song for the Day: I'm Free

Complete the Verse & Name the Book: If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and . . . (completion at the end)

Do you know where in the Bible God told someone to be strong and courageous three times in just four verses? Here is the passage:

“Be strong and courageous, for you are the one who will lead these people to possess all the land I swore to their ancestors I would give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:6-9)

This is what God told Joshua as Joshua replaced Moses as the leader of the Israelites. It was a command to him. Joshua had a task that was far larger than him. There was no way he was going to be able to do it in his own power. However, because God was with him, he would be able to accomplish all God had for him. A big part of Joshua’s job was to be strong and courageous.

The dictionary defines courage as the ability to do something that frightens one. Courage is strength in the face of pain or grief. Do you think David was frightened as he contemplated a fight with Goliath? Do you think policemen are frightened as they approach a dark house where there has been a report of someone with a gun? Do you think soldiers on the battlefield are frightened? Do you think I was frightened when I jumped from a bridge in South Africa with a bungee cord attached to my ankles and the river water over 700 feet below me?

When we are frightened, it gives us the opportunity to exercise courage. We have to conquer our fears. Fear is there because the danger is real. We’re not sure how everything is going to turn out. If we knew we’d be fine on the other end, it wouldn’t be so frightening. When we don’t know the outcome of what we are facing, it is frightening.

For every task God gives us to do, we know He will be with us, and we know what the ultimate outcome will be. Deuteronomy 31:6 says, “So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before [the people living in the land you are going to enter]. For the LORD your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.” God equips us to do the job He has for us. He’s not going to be with us part way through the task and then bail on us. He will never abandon us, and we should never abandon Him. Soldiers on the battlefield depend on each other. Abandoning a fellow soldier is unthinkable. Abandoning God and the task He has given us to do is unthinkable. He if faithful; we need to be faithful.

In light of the coronavirus, what is this telling us? Where it says, “Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go . . . to the living room, to the kitchen, to the bathroom, back to the kitchen, off the living room again . . . oh, wait. I don’t think we’re supposed to add or subtract from the Bible, so scratch that last part. Seriously, with the coronavirus we are to be strong and courageous. We may be frightened but we can face that fear with courage. We may need to be strong and courageous for someone else. Where does our strength come from? It comes from the LORD. Psalm 121 is a comforting psalm:

I look up to the mountains—does my help come from there? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth! He will not let you stumble; the one who watches over you will not slumber. Indeed, he who watches over Israel never slumbers or sleeps. The LORD himself watches over you! The LORD stands beside you as your protective shade. The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon at night. The LORD keeps you from all harm and watches over your life. The LORD keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever.

God hasn’t abandoned us; the thought hasn’t even entered His mind. He’s with us now in this life, and He will be with in the afterlife. We have nothing to fear. What can separate us from the love of God? Romans 8:35-39 says,

Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Dr. Moody shares the second half of his sermon on unity: Unity Part 2


Verse Completion: . . . heirs according to the promise. Galatians 3:29 (NIV) 

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3/23/20

Good morning, Isolated Yet Free.

Song for the Day: While I Wait

Complete the Verse and Name the Book: for bodily discipline is only of little profit, . . . (completion at the end)

Yesterday Pastor Michael gave the sermon “The Parable of the Weeds” based on Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43. The sermon was delivered to an empty church, but the congregation watched online from home in their comfortable attire.

We are moving into a series of parables that show what the kingdom of heaven is like. Jesus wants us to know something about this kingdom. John the Baptist preached, “The kingdom of heaven has come. Repent for the kingdom of heaven is near.”

Matthew 13:24-30 says,

Here is another story Jesus told: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a farmer who planted good seed in his field. But that night as the workers slept, his enemy came and planted weeds among the wheat, then slipped away. When the crop began to grow and produce grain, the weeds also grew.

“The farmer’s workers went to him and said, ‘Sir, the field where you planted that good seed is full of weeds! Where did they come from?’

“ ‘An enemy has done this!’ the farmer exclaimed.

“ ‘Should we pull out the weeds?’ they asked.

“ ‘No,’ he replied, ‘you’ll uproot the wheat if you do. Let both grow together until the harvest. Then I will tell the harvesters to sort out the weeds, tie them into bundles, and burn them, and to put the wheat in the barn.’ “

Parables are extended word pictures, metaphors, to help us find one main point. In this parable there is an enemy who plants weeds right next to the grain. The intent is to diminish and destroy the good crop by choking it out. The workers are willing to pull the weeds, but the farmer tells them not to because some of the wheat will be pulled up as well. At harvest the weeds and the wheat will be separated.

Verses 37-40:

Jesus replied, “The Son of Man is the farmer who plants the good seed. The field is the world, and the good seed represents the people of the Kingdom. The weeds are the people who belong to the evil one. The enemy who planted the weeds among the wheat is the devil. The harvest is the end of the world, and the harvesters are the angels.

“Just as the weeds are sorted out and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the world.

People who are following Jesus as their Lord and Savior are the good seed. They are the ones who were planted to bear fruit. These people have an enemy—Satan. Satan is an enemy of God and all God stands for. Christians are the ones who are to grow up and bear fruit by promoting the Kingdom of God. Satan comes along and plants seeds (people) who will destroy the fruit in our lives. This means there are people who will do all they can to keep you from following God. Matthew 7:15-16 says,

“Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves. You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit.

Sometimes the enemy shows up in the church. They are wolves pretending to be sheep. Wolves are not playmates of sheep. Wolves kill sheep. 2 Timothy 2:25-26 says,

Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth. Then they will come to their senses and escape from the devil’s trap. For they have been held captive by him to do whatever he wants.

Satan takes people captive to do his will. He is out to diminish and destroy the fruit of Christ followers.

Verses 41-43:

The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will remove from his Kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. And the angels will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in their Father’s Kingdom. Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand!

The world is trying to get rid of words like sin, Satan, evil, and hell, but they are a reality. Something else that is a reality is the return of Jesus. There is going to be a harvest where some people will go to everlasting life and others will go to everlasting death. God doesn’t want anyone to perish.

Revelation 20:11-15:

And I saw a great white throne and the one sitting on it. The earth and sky fled from his presence, but they found no place to hide. I saw the dead, both great and small, standing before God’s throne. And the books were opened, including the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to what they had done, as recorded in the books. The sea gave up its dead, and death and the grave gave up their dead. And all were judged according to their deeds. Then death and the grave were thrown into the lake of fire. This lake of fire is the second death. And anyone whose name was not found recorded in the Book of Life was thrown into the lake of fire.

This is what Jesus was talking about. The lake of fire is hell which is eternal separation from God.

But there is also everlasting life. Revelation 21:1-7:

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.

I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”

And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.” And he also said, “It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life. All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children.

This is the promise of good seed bearing good fruit. This is the promise of Jesus to those having a personal relationship with Him. It’s only a matter of time until Jesus comes.

We are in a pandemic that started in the Garden of Eden. Without the cure, there is no hope. It affects every single person who has ever lived on Earth. You don’t have to wonder if you’ve been infected with the disease; you have the disease. The disease is called sin. What are we doing about it?

With the threat of the coronavirus, we isolate ourselves. We want to protect ourselves and others from the virus. We don’t want to die or cause anyone else to die. But all of us are going to die in our sins unless we do something about it. We have the cure for sin—Jesus! Have we rushed out to give people the cure? What are we doing to tell others about Jesus? There’s something far more dangerous than COVID-19; it’s ROM-323 and ROM-623A: “For everyone has sinned; we all far short of God’s glorious standard. For the wages of sin is death.” There is no recovering from the pandemic of sin, unless you have the cure—Jesus. ROM-323 is far more dangerous than COVID-19.

The cure for ROM-323 is found in Romans 5:8 and Romans 10:9-10: “But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved.” We need to be handing out the cure to ROM-323. Who are you going to share the cure with? When are you going to share the cure?

If you have never received the cure for sin, pray this prayer:

Jesus, I recognize the sin in my life. I recognize that it’s a virus that’s going to kill me, and I don’t want eternal death. I ask you for everlasting life. Jesus, come into my life. I believe you died on the cross for me. I believe you were raised from the dead on the third day. Jesus, I invite you into my life. I receive you as my Lord and my Savior. Give me everlasting life, and help me to follow you. In your name I ask this, Jesus. Amen.

There were celebrity preachers who had developed a following in the Corinthian church. We are susceptible to this today, too. We have a tendency to follow someone we admire, and sometimes this creates division within the church. Learn what Paul has to say about this by listening to Dr. Moody’s sermon 

Unity Part 1 


Verse Completion: . . . but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. 1 Timothy 4:8 (NASB)

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3/21/20

Good morning to everyone who belongs to Jesus or wants to belong to Him.

Song for the Day: I Belong to Jesus (Oh Hallelujah)

Complete the Verse & Name the Book: Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said . . . (completion at the end)

After Mary was given the news by the angel, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God,” she went to visit Elizabeth who was six months pregnant with a baby who would turn out to be John the Baptist. When Mary greeted Elizabeth, the baby leaped within Elizabeth. Elizabeth told Mary, “God has blessed you above all women, and your child is blessed.” Mary responded with a song of praise. Here is part of that song:

For the Mighty One is holy, and he has done great things for me. He shows mercy from generation to generation to all who fear him. His mighty arm has done tremendous things! He has scattered the proud and haughty ones. He has brought down princes from their thrones and exalted the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away with empty hands. He has helped his servant Israel and remembered to be merciful. (Luke 1:49-54)

Mary states that God is mighty, He’s done great and tremendous things. Let’s review some of the mighty and tremendous things God has done in the past:

· He created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1)

· God created animals. (Gen. 1:24)

· God created human beings in his own image. (Gen. 1:27)

· Abraham (at the age of 100) and Sarah had a baby—Isaac. (Gen. 21:5)

· After Joseph was sold into slavery by His brothers, God raised him to be the ruler in charge of the entire land of Egypt. (Gen. 41:41)

· God sent plagues. (Exodus 7-11)

· God opened up a path through the Red Sea for the Israelites to cross on dry ground. (Ex. 14:21-22)

· God closed the path through the Red Sea destroying the entire army of Pharaoh who were pursuing the Israelites. (Ex. 14:26-31)

· God provided manna and quail for the Israelites. (Ex. 16)

· God turned bitter water into drinkable water. (Ex. 15:22-25)

· God provided water from a rock when the Israelites were in the wilderness. (Ex. 17:1-6)

· God put a stop to Korah’s rebellion by having the ground open up and swallow Korah and all his followers, and then God closed the ground. (Numbers 16:31-34)

· God sent a fire that destroyed 250 men who were offering incense. (Numbers 16:35)

· God sent a plague that killed 14,700 people. (Numbers 16:49)

· God opened a path making it possible for the Israelites to cross the overflowing Jordan River near Jericho. (Joshua 3:14-16)

· God brought down the walls of Jericho so the Israelites could charge straight into the town and capture it. (Joshua 6)

· God caused the sun and moon to stay in place until the Israelites had defeated their enemies. (Joshua 10:13)

· God struck King Uzziah with leprosy. (2 Chronicles 26:16-21)

· God made enough flour and olive oil to be in their containers so the widow at Zarephath could feed Elijah, her son, and herself. (1 Kings 17:8-16)

· God raised the poor widow’s son back to life. (1 Kings 17:17-24)

· God kept Jonah alive inside a great fish for three days. (Jonah 1:17)

· God provided horses and chariots of fire for Elisha. They were invisible to Elisha’s servant until God opened his eyes and made it possible for him to see them. (2 Kings 6:15-17)

· God struck the Aramean army with blindness. (2 Kings 6:18)

· God fed 100 people with a sack of grain and 20 loaves of barley bread. There was plenty for all and some food was even left over. (2 Kings 4:42-44)

· God raised a dead man to life when he came in contact with Elisha’s bones. (2 Kings 13:20-21)

· God delivered Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego from a fiery furnace. (Daniel 3:19-30)

· God delivered Daniel from the lion’s den. (Daniel 6)

· God sent fire from heaven to destroy fifty army soldiers who had come to arrest Elijah. (2 Kings 1:9-10)

· God sent fire from heaven that burned up the bull, the wood, the stones, the dust, and even the water in the trench. (1 Kings 18:1-40)

These are some of the amazing things God did prior to Mary’s pregnancy. Notice that Mary didn’t specifically identify any of these. However, she listed some accomplishments that are amazing in their own right:

· God showed mercy to those who fear Him.

· God scattered the proud and haughty people.

· God brought down princes from their thrones.

· God exalted the humble.

· God filled the hungry with good things.

· God sent the rich away empty handed.

· God helps His people.

· God is merciful.

We serve an awesome God. Nothing is too difficult for Him. He is sovereign over everything. He is the God of gods, Lord of lords, and King of kings. Let’s worship the LORD—the only one worthy of our worship and praise.

I would encourage you to listen to Part 2 of Dr. Josh Moody’s sermon “How Faith Can Free Us from Fear.” 


Verse Completion: . . . “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5 (see Deuteronomy

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3/20/20

Good morning, People of Faith.

Song for the Day: O' Lord

Complete the Verse & Name the Book: Let your speech always be . . .(completion at the end)