Daily Devotion March 2021


Good morning. Give thanks to the LORD; for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.

Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/qCV6kZY4Pv4

Complete the Verse & Name the BookSo it came about when Moses held his hand up, that Israel prevailed, and when he let his hand down, . . . (completion at the end)

On Monday, Pastor Del McKenzie continued his series on “Godly Character Qualities” with the topic of commitment. So far he has taught on gentleness, humility, integrity, endurance, responsibility, thankfulness, forgiveness, acceptance, generosity, loyalty, honesty, flexibility, sincerity, orderliness, thoroughness, discernment, decisiveness, punctuality, respect, graciousness, deference, and truthfulness. 

“In the process of redefining what counts in life, many of us have decided that commitment is not in our best interests. Additional concepts such as loyalty and the importance of membership in various groups are thrown out in favor of personal interests and self-preservation. Commitment is viewed negatively because it limits our abilities to feel independent and free. To experience new things it limits our abilities to change our minds on the spur of the moment, and it focuses our attention on self-gratification rather than helping other people. People willingly make commitments only when the expected outcome sees what they must sacrifice as a result of that commitment.” This was a quote recently seen. In other words if a commitment costs you too much and you don’t get enough in return, then drop the commitment. 

“I see commitment as the most important means we have of shaping our brief mortal lives into something meaningful, and even more important of linking these brief mortal lives that we have to the larger dimension of the eternal.” This quote is a bold statement we should give some thought to. 

Jesus was a person of commitment. Jesus said in John 6:38, “For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.” Jesus was committed to doing the Father’s will. What kind of people should we be? We should be like Jesus—people of commitment. One of the issues of today is there is skin-deep commitment—commitment that doesn’t go very deep. We need to embrace commitment as a godly character quality. I have taken Hebrews 13:5 as a life verse:

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

That’s God’s commitment to those who trust him and walk with him. 

We need to pursue commitment as a godly character quality and be willing to pay whatever price it takes to develop it. 

What is commitment? It’s being committed. Commit means to engage, pledge, or pledge by implication. There’s the idea of binding ourselves to something. When we show up often enough and for a long enough period of time, we are assumed to be committed by implication. A committed person is engaged or pledged to someone or something. It’s a state of emotional or intellectual adherence to some political, social, or religious theory, action, or practice. 

The opposite of commitment is indulgence. To indulge is to satisfy a desire—satisfy our wishes. If we are lenient with ourselves we won’t be committed, adhered, pledged, or bound to something. When we indulge we yield to our own desires. We give in to what we want rather than what’s best. We do what we feel like doing instead of what we said we would do or what we can rightfully be expected to do. 

There are degrees of commitment from no commitment to great commitment. Great commitment involves the commitment of our resources, time, and energy. Our greatest commitment should be to God—doing life his way no matter what the cost. Another high level of commitment is to our spouse—till death do us part. It’s sad that over half of the marriages that take place in America today will end in divorce. Marriage commitments are not being kept, and the price we pay for not keeping that commitment is high. We might as well pay the high  price of commitment in marriage up front rather than pay the high price of divorce later on. Commitment in marriage is scriptural. 

Another high level of commitment is to our children. We need to be committed to doing what’s best for them even at a personal cost to ourselves. We need to consider our level of commitment to our job. Jobs take a high level of commitment even though it’s lower than our commitment to God, our spouse, and our children. We need to consider our commitment to our lifestyle. Are we committed to godliness, righteousness, and peace? 

What are the evidences of commitment? How do I know if I’m committed to something? 

1.   We can be counted on to do what we said we would do. When we’re committed to a job we will show up on time consistently. When we’re committed to our spouse we will be there to care for and walk with our spouse. 

2.   We give it our best effort. It’s possible for us to not give our best effort to God, our spouse, our children, or our job. It’s possible that we are doing the bare minimum—as little as possible or as little as we can get by with. Giving our best effort is evidence of commitment. 

3.   Doing it regardless of other opportunities that come along. There was a time when an opportunity arose to speak at a conference in Thailand. However, a previous commitment had been made to speak at a camp not far away on the same date. The Thailand opportunity was far more enticing, but a commitment had been made to the camp, and that commitment was kept because “a commitment is a commitment.” Psalm 15:4b, 5b says: [He] who keeps his oath even when it hurts will never be shaken. 

4.   We do what we are committed to regardless of the challenges that arise. Sometimes we have to overcome obstacles in order to do what we said we would do. 

What are the enemies of commitment?

1.   Difficulties. Difficulties test our commitment. Difficulties can include sickness or personal disappointments. Difficulties have a way of revealing our character. Do we allow difficulties to rob us of our commitment? 

2.   Discouragements. Life includes times of discouragement. If we don’t handle difficulties well, we can get discouraged, disheartened, and even depressed. 

3.   Distractions. Certain activities can distract us from what we should be doing. 

4.   Unusual events. Events we don’t expect and couldn’t have predicted happen in our lives. Are we going to allow them to rob us of our commitment?

5.   Shooting the breeze. Do we waste time talking about nothing? We shouldn’t allow this to take us away from our commitments.

6.   Opportunities. Something exciting can come along and lead us away from our less exciting commitment. Sometimes things more lustrous and lucrative knock at our door of commitment. Are we going to answer the door or stick to our commitment? 

7.   Self-indulgence. We may have a desire to experience new things. We may want to feel free and independent. We can’t let them enter our lives at the sacrifice of our character. 

8.   Freedom to change our minds at any time we desire.

Tomorrow we will continue Pastor Del’s study with the second half of his lesson on commitment. 

Verse Completion. . . Amalek prevailed. Exodus 17:11 (NASB)


Good morning. This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. 

Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/ogpJBSVyYSg

Complete the Verse & Name the BookFor whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point; . . . (completion at the end)

Yesterday we recapped the first half of Pastor Michael’s sermon “Resurrection and Rejoicing” based on Matthew 28:1-10. Today we will recap the second half of the sermon.

Both Mary and Joseph were visited by an angel before the birth of Jesus. Matthew 1:20 records what happened to Joseph: But after he had considered [a quiet divorce], an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.” Luke 1:30 records what happened to Mary: But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God.”

In all the cases noted, part of the message from the angel is to not be afraid. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Jesus are not to be afraid because Jesus has risen from the grave just as he said. Matthew 16:21 says: From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. The angel verified Jesus as the Messiah. Everything Jesus said was truth. 

The angel invited the two women into the tomb to see that the body of Jesus was not there. John 20:3-7 records what was seen in the tomb: So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus’ head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen. The same strips of cloth and head covering they had seen placed on the dead body of Jesus, they now saw with no body inside them. 

The angel didn’t roll aside the stone to the entrance of the grave in order to let Jesus out of the grave because Jesus was already gone. The stone was rolled away so eyewitnesses could see that Jesus was not there. Jesus didn’t need an opening in order to leave the grave. Jesus had said to the thief on the cross next to him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43). After Jesus died and was placed in the tomb, he did not stay in the tomb. Death could not keep him there. Colossians 2:15 says: And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. The power of Satan was broken by the death of Jesus, not his resurrection. The resurrection of Jesus gives us life so the power of Satan will not have anything over us. Jesus said Matthew 26:31-32, “This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written: ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.” The angel told the two women, “He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.” This would fulfill the prophecy of Jesus. 

The women were to hurry and tell the news. A person with good news doesn’t sit on it; they spread it as quickly as possible. The good news is shared with those closest to you, and the news spreads from there. Had Facebook been in use back then, the news would have been all over social media in a short time.

As an adult, when was the last time you ran? Likely, you ran because you or someone was in danger, or you ran because of something very exciting. As adults we don’t run. It’s kids who run, and they do it constantly. Notice how the women ran to tell the disciples the exciting news. Everything Jesus prophesied about his death and resurrection now made sense. He had spoken the truth. His words have now come true. The news must be spread quickly. The ladies were saying, “Jesus is alive! We’re actually going to get to see him again!” Fear can enter at a time like this when we say, “This is just too good to be true.” 

All at once, without warning, Jesus appeared and greeted them. This is the first appearance of the risen Christ. In his greeting Jesus was saying, “Peace, happiness, and well-being to you.” Peace dispels fear. The two ladies worship Jesus. 

The news of the resurrection of Jesus is life-changing news that should not be hidden. It would be criminal to hide news of this magnitude. 

This is the first time Jesus referred to his disciples asbrothers; prior to this he called them friends. Their relationship has deepened. Jesus has victory over sin, Satan, self, and death. We who have invited Jesus into our lives as Lord and Savior are now brothers and sisters in Christ. We are family. 

This whole resurrection passage is about the truth of Jesus being raised from the dead. Jesus is risen! There’s no need to be afraid. There’s no fear with Jesus. Any fear we have is not coming from Jesus. The angels who appeared to believers always said, “Do not fear.” There’s nothing to fear when we have Jesus. 1 John 4:16b-18 says:

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 

Jesus loves us perfectly. He died on the cross because he loves us. He paid the penalty for sin because we couldn’t. He doesn’t want anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance (see 2 Peter 3:9). There’s no fear in following Jesus. He has removed our sins from us as far as the east is from the west (see Psalm 103:11-12).

It’s a fact that Jesus is risen. It’s a fact that we don’t need to be afraid. We need to go and tell others that Jesus is risen—that he loves us, that he offers everlasting life. Let’s spread the Good News!

If you’ve never prayed this prayer before, please join me:

Jesus, I recognize that you died on a cross for me, that you paid the penalty for my sins, that I am sinful, and I need you. Jesus I believe in you. Come into my life. You have risen. You are the Savior of the world. Would you be my Savior? Come into my life, Jesus. Forgive me of my sins. Help me to live for you. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace(Numbers 6:24-26).

Verse Completion. . . he has become guilty of all. James 2:10 (NASB)


Good morning. This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. 

Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/AQ5ze1SzDYM

Complete the Verse & Name the BookAnd He said, “If you will give earnest heed to the voice of the LORD your God, and do what is right in His sight, and give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will  . . . (completion at the end)

Yesterday Pastor Michael’s sermon “Resurrection and Rejoicing” was based on Matthew 28:1-10:

After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. 

There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”

So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”

In Jewish culture Saturday was the Sabbath. Jesus had been arrested on Thursday, went on trial with the Sanhedrin on Friday, started the process of crucifixion at 9:00 a.m. on Friday, and died at 3:00 p.m. on Friday. The Sabbath started at 6:00 p.m. on Friday and ran to 6:00 p.m. on Saturday. Guards were placed at the tomb Saturday morning. 

Around 6:00 on Sunday morning, Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Jesus went to visit the tomb. Mark 16:1 gives the reason for their visit: When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?”

The ladies were going to the tomb to give Jesus a proper burial, but they were concerned about how they would gain entrance into the tomb since a large stone would be covering the entrance. While they were discussing their concern, there was a violent earthquake. This is the second earthquake to take place within three days. The first earthquake occurred while Jesus was on the cross. Matthew 27:51-52 says: At that moment [of Jesus’ death] the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life.

An angel accompanied the earthquake. The angel represents God. Daniel described the angel he saw in Daniel 10:4-6: On the twenty-fourth day of the first month, as I was standing on the bank of the great river, the Tigris, I looked up and there before me was a man dressed in linen, with a belt of the finest gold around his waist. His body was like chrysolite, his face like lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and his voice like the sound of a multitude. The angel’s face was so bright it was blinding. 

The reaction of the guards watching over Jesus is that of fear. They shook and became like dead men when they saw the angel. The earth shook and the guards shook from within. Daniel’s response to the angel of the Lord is recorded in Daniel 10:8-9: So I was left alone, gazing at this great vision; I had no strength left, my face turned deathly pale and I was helpless. Then I heard him speaking, and as I listened to him, I fell into a deep sleep, my face to the ground.

The reaction of Daniel to the angel is similar to that of the guards at the tomb. However, the women at the tomb do not fall to the ground at the seismic event. The angel told them to not be afraid. 

It’s interesting to note that women were the first to encounter Jesus after he rose. In the Jewish culture women were not lawful witnesses. What they testified to in a court wasn’t legally binding. In spite of that custom, women were the first witnesses to Jesus not being in the tomb. They were instructed by the angel to tell the disciples. 

One of the myths circulating the area was that Jesus didn’t rise from the dead; his disciples stole the body. If one was going to make up a false story like this, in order for it to be believed he would need legal witnesses—men. Because there were women witnesses, it verifies the validity of what took place—the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. A made up story would definitely have had men as witnesses so their testimony would hold up in court. When a story is true it’s told just the way it happened. A true story is true on its own. Facts are not changed to make it more believable. 

Tomorrow we will continue a recap of Pastor Michael’s sermon with a recap of the second half.

Verse Completion: . . . put none of the diseases on you which I have put on the Egyptians; for I, the LORD, am your healer.” Exodus 15:26 (NASB)


Good morning. Give thanks to the LORD; for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.

Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/HgdoG5no6c0

Complete the Verse & Name the BookDo not be deceived: “Bad company . . . (completion at the end)

Yesterday was a recap of the first half of Dr. Wedman’s lesson "Walking in the Truth" based on 2 John 1-4. Today is a recap of the second half of that lesson.

There will be those who attempt to change the truth of Christ to their own truth and promote it as the truth of Christ. We are to have nothing to do with these people. 2 Timothy 4:3-4 says: For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.

John is saying in 2 John, “I know the truth. I touched the truth. I walked with the truth. I spoke with the truth. I was with Jesus when he did his teaching, and I was there when he was raised from the dead. Let me bring you back to the truth.” John wants those who read the letter to put Jesus at the center of their lives. 

Two of the major themes of John’s writings are love and truth. Love and truth can’t be separated; they work together. In these first four verses of 2 John, the word truth is used five times. John is the one who quoted Jesus as saying, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). John goes on to quote Jesus in verses 15-17:If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.” The Holy Spirit leads us to the truth so we know how to love. As we love Jesus we want to be in the truth and obey the truth. Truth and love are reciprocal; they are inseparable. Verses 23-24 continue with the words of Jesus: “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.” 

If we are going to walk with Jesus, we need to know the truth and obey the truth. John 15:9-12 has the following words of Jesus: “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” Truth leads us to love, and love leads us to truth. 

1 John 4:7-12, 16b-17a, 19, and 21 say: Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment.

We love because he first loved us. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother. 

John is talking about a practical love. Love is not just an idea, and it’s not just a feeling. He’s not talking about a worldly kind of love. He’s talking about agape love—love that is unique to disciples of Christ. It’s love that centers on other people rather than oneself. It’s not selfish. It doesn’t seek its own way. It’s love that looks to the interests of others. Agape love is love that stems out of a humble person. It’s love that promotes spiritual growth in others. Agape love gives up its rights in favor of another person. It involves the spiritual well-being of others. A person who has agape love is not easily offended because that person knows who they are in Christ. This kind of love doesn’t keep a record of wrongs done by others. Agape love is about Christ; it’s about truth. Agape love wants what’s best for others. 

God actively loves us; he sent his one and only Son. Jesus actively loves us; he came to Earth, taught, healed, died on a cross, and rose from the dead. He actively gives us the truth. He wants us to know him—truth. He wants us to discern between falsehood and truth. He wants us to follow only the truth. 

We see grace and peace a great deal in Paul’s letters. John adds mercy. Mercy is undeserved favor. It involves that undeserved help we get from God. Peace is the culmination of undeserved favor and help we have from God. Peace is a sense of wholeness and well-being. We are whole because of Christ in us. 

John is overjoyed by those in the church who are remaining in the truth—those who are discerning between falsehood and truth and choosing truth. Unfortunately, not everyone in the church is walking in the truth. There is division in the church. The church has been infiltrated with false doctrine. The church has compromised the truth. 

John isn’t only writing to the churches in the area of Ephesus, he’s writing to modern day churches as well. We have the same issues in our churches. We need to be people of truth and people of love. We need to reject falsehood and reject self-centeredness. We need to be people of agape love. It’s through truth and love that the church is grown, built, and lifted up. It’s through truth and love that people come to know who Jesus is. It’s through truth and love that the gospel is promoted in the lives of those who don’t know him. 

Verse Completion. . . corrupts good morals.” 1 Corinthians 15:33 (NASB)


Good morning. Give thanks to the LORD; for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.

Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/fgXE9Di1CUA

Complete the Verse & Name the Book“Thy right hand, O LORD, is majestic in power, Thy right hand, O LORD, shatters the enemy. And in the greatness of Thine excellence Thou dost overthrow those who  . . . (completion at the end)

Yesterday, Dr. Michael Wedman taught from 2 John 1-4 with a lesson titled "Walking in the Truth" as he continued Fireside Fellowship. The study of First and Second Thessalonians has been completed, and now we are heading into a study of 2 John, 3 John, and Jude—some of the shortest books in the Bible. 

The elder,

To the chosen lady and her children, whom I love in the truth—and not I only, but also all who know the truth—because of the truth, which lives in us and will be with us forever:

Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son, will be with us in truth and love.

It has given me great joy to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as the Father commanded us.

Second John is a personal letter from John the apostle. The word elder refers to someone who carried authority. The Greek word for elder is presbyter—someone having authority by biblical calling and biblical character. The word was used to refer to the apostles, pastors, teachers, prophets, and evangelists. An elder was someone who felt God’s call on his life. 1 Peter 5:1-5 says:

To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder, a witness of Christ’s sufferings and one who also will share in the glory to be revealed: Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.

Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but give grace to the humble.”

2 John starts out with “The elder.” This is someone who is significant—someone who is well known, well respected, and has authority over numerous churches.  

This letter was written around 80-90 A.D. It’s one of the last letters we have in our Bible. It is written by the last living apostle—John. All the other apostles that knew Jesus as one of his twelve disciples have died. This is why John is given the distinct title of the elder. He lived to be around one hundred years old. He wrote this letter from Ephesus. Later on he was imprisoned on the island of Patmos where he wrote the book of Revelation. 

The letters of 2 John and 3 John were the standard length of letters written during this period of time. Everything would be included on one standard size piece of papyrus. 2 John was written to the chosen lady and her children, whom I love in the truth. This was not a particular female John knew but a church. Peter uses a similar phrase in 1 Peter 5:13: She who is in Babylon, chosen together with you, sends you her greetings, and so does my son Mark. The church is known as the bride of Christ so it is given a feminine pronoun. 

John wrote this letter at a time when it was dangerous to be a follower of Christ. Rather than address a particular church and endanger the people in the church, John wrote to the chosen lady and her children. Insiders would know to whom the letter was intended but outsiders would not. 

It’s been around fifty years since Jesus resurrected from the grave, and churches have had some time to develop and mature. Unfortunately, false teaching by false prophets has entered the churches. Some claimed to have “special knowledge” or “new revelation from God”. They brought the falsehood into the churches and tried to make it sound true. The falsehood was starting to erode the truth as falsehood mixed with truth. It was becoming difficult to decipher truth from lies. In addition, there were people who were trying to take over the church (see 3 John 9 and 2 Corinthians 10-13). John is writing 2 John and 3 John to address these two problems. 

Acts 20:29-31 says: I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears. Paul prophesized that fellow disciples of Christ would be savage wolves who would move in and want things done their way. They would seek power and control in the church. They would promote their own doctrine. Paul warns them of what is coming. Paul also warned Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:1-9:

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.

They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so 

also these men oppose he truth—men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected. But they will not get very far because, as in the case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone. 

Tomorrow we will continue the recap of Dr. Wedman’s study of 2 John with the second half of the lesson.

Verse Completion. . . rise up against Thee. Exodus 15:6-7a (NASB)


Good morning. Give thanks to the LORD; for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.

Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/936BapRFHaQ

Complete the Verse & Name the BookFor I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for. . . (completion at the end)

Yesterday we did a recap of the first half of Pastor Del McKenzie’s talk on the godly character quality of truthfulness. Today we will continue with a recap of the second half of his talk.

We need to underscore the importance of truthfulness. We are out of step with God when we aren’t truthful. God walks in truth. If we are going to walk with God, we have to walk in truth. Truth is the foundation of a life that has meaning, purpose, and effectiveness. Truth is foundational to the Christian life. If we are professing to be Christians, we need to be truthful people. 

Truthfulness is the essence of human relationships. We can’t have meaningful relationships with others unless we are truthful. There is a personal inner freedom to the person who is truthful. A deceitful person always has to be watching their back to make sure they are covering themselves so their deception won’t be found out. We earn credibility when people find they can trust us. It’s easier to trust others when we ourselves are trustworthy. Deceivers are suspicious people. 

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth. He works in and through truth in our lives. We quench and grieve the Spirit when we are deceitful. When we are truthful people we are cooperating with the Spirit and walking in the Spirit. Consequently, the power of the Spirit will be in our lives. 

The absence of the Spirit is damaging—we carry guilt. We’re always defensive and suspicious of others. When we lie it hurts other people. It causes barriers to communication. It undermines the Lord’s work in and through and around us. Untruthfulness and deception set a pattern for our lives and the result is they take root and grow.

We need to build truthfulness into our lives. We can do this by:

1.   Accepting and owning its importance. We don’t excuse or try to justify deceitfulness. We need to make a definitive commitment to truthfulness: By God’s grace I will not deceive. With God’s strength I will choose not to deceive. 

2.   Committing to correct times when we have been untruthful. We need to apologize for telling a lie. Confess the deceitfulness to God. 

3.   Asking God for a truthful spirit and trusting him for it. Truthfulness can become part of our nature. Jesus said of Nathanael, “Now here is a genuine son of Israel—a man of complete integrity” (John 1:47). 

4.   Studying what the Bible has to say about it. Do a word study on it. Look up verses that have the word truth or some derivative of the word. You can also look up what the Bible says about the opposite of truth by looking up deceiveor any of its derivatives. Write down how the verses can be applied to your life. Write down where your life needs to be corrected. 

Am I a truthful person? Does truthfulness characterize my life—normally, generally, usually? Are you committed to being truthful? Truthfulness is something we need to work on building into our entire lives because there are challenges that come our way. Satan, the father of all lies, is going to do all he can to move you away from being a truthful person. Let’s be people who speak the truth and live the truth. 

Verse Completion: . . . . . . salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. Romans 1:16 (NASB)


Good morning. Give thanks to the LORD; for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.

Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/-4Nx2hEhVRE

Complete the Verse & Name the BookBut Moses said to the people, “Do not fear! Stand by and see the salvation of the LORD which He will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you have seen today, you will never see them again forever. The LORD will fight for you while . . . (completion at the end)

On Monday, Pastor Del McKenzie continued his series on “Godly Character Qualities” with the topic of truthfulness. So far he has taught on gentleness, humility, integrity, endurance, responsibility, thankfulness, forgiveness, acceptance, generosity, loyalty, honesty, flexibility, sincerity, orderliness, thoroughness, discernment, decisiveness, punctuality, respect, graciousness and deference. 

What kind of a person am I? What kind of a person should I be? Who sets the standard for the kind of person I should be? 2 Peter 3:9-10a says: Since everything around us is going to be destroyed like this, what holy and godly lives you should live, looking forward to the day of God and hurrying it along. What a person really is is their character—the essence of the individual. Character is the sum total of all the qualities we have. Our personalities sometimes overshadow our character. Sometimes our reputation is accurate; sometimes it is inaccurate. We need to be the kind of people God wants us to be. There are godly character traits and ungodly character traits. We should we working to build godly character qualities in ourselves as well as others. Information is good but unless it results in character, it’s not sufficient. Horace Greeley said, “Fame is a vapor; popularity an accident; riches take wings; only one thing endures and that is character.”

What is truthfulness? It’s the habit of telling the truth—telling the truth consistently, constantly, and persistently. Truthfulness is a quality inside of us. The opposite of truthfulness is deceitfulness—exaggeration, embellishment, misleading, withholding information, or giving the wrong impression. We can be deceitful in our words, actions, appearances. 

God is the God of truth. Isaiah 65:16a says: All who invoke a blessing or take an oath will do so by the God of truth. In the prayer of Jesus, he said, “Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth” (John 17:17). Romans 1:25 says: They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen. Numbers 23:19a says: God is not a man, so he does not lie. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6a). Jesus said, “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth” (John 16:13a). 1 John 4:6 says: But we belong to God, and those who know God listen to us. If they do not belong to God, they do not listen to us. That is how we know if someone has the Spirit of truth or the spirit of deception. 

Ephesians 4:25 says: So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body. The devil is a deceiver. 1 Timothy 4:1 says: Now the Holy Spirit tells us clearly that in the last times some will turn away from the true faith; they will follow deceptive spirits and teachings that come from demons. 2 Timothy 4:3-4 says: For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths.

We can even deceive ourselves. James 1:22 says: But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. Jesus said, “For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). 1 Timothy 3:15b says: This is the church of the living God, which is the pillar and foundation of the truth.

Verse Completion. . . you keep silent.” Exodus 14:13-14


Good morning. This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. 

Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/rNXd0KQaYXg

Complete the Verse & Name the BookGod is spirit; and those who worship Him must . . . (completion at the end)

Yesterday we recapped the first half of Pastor Michael’s sermon “Faith and Fear” based on Matthew 27:57-66. Today we will recap the second half of the sermon.

Joseph of Arimathea knew there was a time to be silent about Jesus and a time to stand up for Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. It’s time for Joseph’s faith in Christ to go public, and he doesn’t hesitate. We need the same kind of wisdom Jesus, Daniel, and Joseph demonstrated, so we know the time to be silent and the time to stand up and be a martyr. 

There were two men from the Sanhedrin who were silent followers of Jesus. John 19:38b-40 says: With Pilate’s permission, [Joseph of Arimathea] came and took the body away. He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. Taking Jesus’s body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs. By doing this they were proclaiming, “Jesus is the most important person in our lives. From here on out it doesn’t matter what happens to us. We will follow him to death.” Joseph and Nicodemus would have been kicked out of the Sanhedrin. They would have lost their positions of influence. They would have lost their income. They would have lost their authority. They would be labeled as traitors and the enemy. 

Joseph owned a tomb close to Golgotha. It was new and expensive. Burial places in Jerusalem carried the highest premium. They were hewn out of rock and might have room for three or four people. It would be a family burial place. Only the wealthy could afford such a tomb. This was in fulfillment of the prophecy found in Isaiah 53:9: He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death,though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.

Mary Magdalene and Mary, the mother of Jesus, were sitting in the tomb talking over what had taken place. Faith was growing. Joseph and Nicodemus had taken a costly stand for Jesus. Things would never be the same.

The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. “Sir,” they said, “we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.”

“Take a guard,” Pilate answered. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.” So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard (verses 62-66).

It is now the Passover Sabbath—an extra significant day in the life of a Jew. The chief priests and the Pharisees knowingly break the Sabbath laws by going to Pilate. They have no trouble breaking the very laws they have put in place that are supposed to bring people closer to God. They worked hard to kill Jesus, and now they are working hard to make sure he stays dead. 

The law said that if a Jew went into the house of a Gentile on the Sabbath, it would make the Jew unclean—not right before God. The chief priests and Pharisees are breaking the very laws they are telling others to keep. They are truly hypocrites. They are far away from God. 

It’s interesting that the deceivers call Jesus “that deceiver.” It’s the chief priests and the Pharisees who deceived the people into having Jesus killed. They know the teachings of Jesus that include he would rise again after three days. If Jesus arose from the dead after three days, that would show he really was the Messiah. They wanted to insure he would not rise from the dead in order to save their own skin. 

The Sanhedrin isn’t interested in having mere temple guards watch over the body of Jesus. They are afraid the guards could be overrun. They want the highly-trained Roman soldiers posted at the grave. They told Pilate they feared the disciples of Jesus might steal his body, but where were the disciples when Jesus was arrested? They were running away. Only one disciple was at the crucifixion—John. The rest were in hiding because they were afraid of what might happen to them. The Sanhedrin isn’t afraid the disciples will steal the body; they are afraid Jesus might actually rise from the dead! They were afraid Jesus might actually be the Messiah! If he was the Messiah, that meant the end of them—the end of their power and influence. 

The seal on the tomb might have been a wax seal. It would be around the entire edges of the opening so any tampering would be evident. The Sanhedrin didn’t want anybody going in to steal the body, and above all they didn’t want Jesus leaving the tomb. 

By posting the guard the Sanhedrin actually promoted the resurrection of Christ. Joseph, Nicodemus, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of Jesus all know where the tomb is. The Sanhedrin knows where the tomb is. The guards know where the tomb is. With the Roman soldiers in place, there would be no tampering with the tomb. Only a supernatural event would allow anyone to enter the tomb or allow Jesus to leave the tomb. By trying to stop Jesus, the Sanhedrin actually promoted Jesus by revealing this was a supernatural event.

Faith is growing, and fear is growing. Fear is fighting Jesus. Faith is finding Jesus. Even in the death of Jesus faith is growing. The centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus on the cross said, “Surely he was the Son of God!” Fear is growing because of the possibility of a resurrection. 

There are two ways to respond to Jesus. We can have faith in Jesus and say he is who he said he was, or we can respond in fear knowing that if Jesus is who he said he was, that means something for my life—change, judgment, everlasting separation from God. I either have faith in Jesus or out of fear I fight Jesus. Which is it for you? You might be saying, “I don’t want to believe in Jesus because if he is true, then a lot of what I’m doing is false. I don’t want to be false, so I’m going to fight against Jesus.” Look around. So much of the world is fighting Jesus—trying to make him look false. They live life as though he never existed. 

Even in his death, faith in Jesus grows. People’s faith today is growing. In his resurrection, faith grows even more. Fear does not come from Jesus; fear comes from Satan. 

Verse Completion. . . worship in spirit and truth. John 4:24 (NASB)


Good morning. This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. 

Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/2_eRnF0oXaE

Complete the Verse & Name the BookThen Moses said to the LORD, “Please, Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither recently nor in time past, nor since Thou has spoken to Thy servant; for I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.” And the LORD said to him, . . . (completion at the end)

Yesterday Pastor Michael’s sermon “Faith and Fear” was based on Matthew 27:57-66. For the past two weeks the focus has been on the crucifixion of Jesus. Today we will focus on his burial.

As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus. Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him. Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting there opposite the tomb (verses 57-61).

Jesus died at 3:00 p.m. on Friday. The Sabbath will start at 6:00 p.m., and the Sanhedrin wants Jesus off the cross before the start of the Sabbath. Typically the dead body of someone crucified was removed from the cross and thrown into a pit with other dead bodies. However, the Romans allowed family or friends of the deceased to take possession of the body. Mary, the mother of Jesus, didn’t have the means to properly bury Jesus. It also wasn’t practical since she lived a far distance away in Galilee. The law said: If a man guilty of a capital offense is put to death and his body is hung on a tree, you must not leave his body on the tree overnight. Be sure to bury him that same day, because anyone who is hung on a tree is under God’s curse. You must dot desecrate the land the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance (Deuteronomy 21:22-23). The family wasn’t able to bury Jesus, but a rich man named Joseph took the body of Jesus for burial. 

Joseph had become a disciple of Jesus. Luke 23:50-51 says: Now there was a man named Joseph, a member of the Council, a good and upright man, who had not consented to their decision and action. He came from the Judean town of Arimathea and he was waiting for the kingdom of God. Joseph was a member of the Sanhedrin. He would have been present at the trial of Jesus. Unlike the others, Joseph was a follower of Jesus. John 19:38a says: Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jews.

Joseph didn’t openly declare he was disciple of Jesus; that would only invite persecution and removal from office. He would be declared an enemy of the state and be mocked for his decision to become a follower of Jesus. Some might say, “You should we willing to be a martyr for Christ!” That’s true, but only in God’s timing. Joseph stayed silent because he feared what would happen to him. Sometimes it’s wise to stay silent because it’s not God’s timing; God is saving full disclosure for a different time when his purposes will be accomplished at the proper time. Sometimes being silent about Jesus in one arena allows for a far more effective arena at a later time. There were times in the life of Jesus when he could have been a martyr, but it wasn’t God’s timing. John 8:59 says: At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds. John 10:39 says: Again they tried to seize [Jesus], but he escaped their grasp. It wasn’t in God’s timing for Jesus to be a martyr at those points in time.

Daniel was taken to Babylon to become part of the wise men, the Maji, who would advise King Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel and his three friends could have said to the king, “We are not going to follow what 

you tell us to do. We are believers in Jehovah. He is our king, and we will do only what he tells us to do. Go ahead and kill us. We will not back down from the one true God!” But they didn’t do that. God didn’t tell them to do that. There came a time when an issue with food arose. They were asked to eat the king’s food which included pork and meat that had been offered to idols. God had spoken against that. Instead of making a big deal about it and becoming martyrs over it, Daniel had a plan. Daniel 1:8-16 says: 

But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. Now God had caused the official to show favor and sympathy to Daniel but the official told Daniel, “I am afraid of my lord the king, who has assigned your food and drink. Why should he see you looking worse than the other young men your age? The king would then have my head because of you.”

Daniel then said to the guard whom the chief official had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, “Please test your servants for ten days. Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.” So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days.

At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food. So the guard took away their choice food and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables instead.

Daniel and his friends worked within the boundaries they had been given. They didn’t rebel against the king’s wishes regarding their food. They were wise in what they chose to do and the result was they became some of the most influential people in all of Babylon. 

Only at a later point did their faith in God become public, and they refused to pray to the king. At that point they were willing to be martyrs. 

Tomorrow we will continue the recap of Pastor Michael’s sermon with the second half. 

Verse Completion: . . . “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes him dumb or deaf, or seeing or blind? Is it not I, the LORD?” Exodus 4:10-11 (NASB)


Good morning. Give thanks to the LORD; for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.

Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/oLZdAhvgDmo

Complete the Verse & Name the BookFor this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, . . . (completion at the end)

Yesterday was a recap of the first half of Dr. Wedman’s lesson “The Presence of God” based on 2 Thessalonians 3:16-18. Today is a recap of the second half of that lesson.

We have to insure that we are walking in the right direction and doing what is right. Even if others walk away from Jesus, we must remain steadfast in Christ. We have to guard ourselves from being influenced negatively. It’s more important to have a relationship with Christ than it is to have a relationship with a friend at church even if that person is a best friend. Jesus should always come first in our lives. We have to hang on to the Truth—white-knuckle the Truth. 

Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.

I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand, which is the distinguishing mark in all my letters. This is how I write.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all (2 Thessalonians 3:16-18). 

Paul has just been writing about disruptiveness in the church, chaos, division, gossip, and strife but he wants to close the letter by saying he wants them to experience peace. Jesus is the Prince of Peace; he is the Lord of Peace. If we are following Jesus we will be people of peace—peacemakers. Our churches need to be places of peace. In the Jewish way of thinking, peace is not just the absence of conflict but has the idea of being whole; complete; full; prosperous. The world around us can be at war conspiring against me, but because of Jesus in me, I can be at peace. We are complete in Christ. There’s a peace that only Jesus can give because it’s a peace that only he owns. It’s a peace that passes all understanding. 

Our church needs to be a place of rest, peace, and acceptance. People need to feel safe when they enter our doors. They need to feel they are entering a place free of division, strife, and anger. When we are right in our relationship with Jesus, we can be in a right relationship with others. Our church should have the homecourt advantage where everyone cheers for you when you enter its doors. 

We need to experience the peace of God and the presence of God. He needs to always be Immanuel—God with us. Hebrews 13:5b says: “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” God is always there. His presence goes with us wherever we go. That means we continually look for him, continually seek him, continually talk to him, and continually make him part of our lives. We need to be aware of his presence. When we put God at the center of our lives, his presence is always with us. 

The reason Paul addresses his handwriting is because there were people in the church who said they had letters from Paul, but they weren’t in his handwriting. Paul made sure the benediction to his letters were handwritten by him so people would know it was actually him who wrote the letter. Paul’s eyes were bad, so he wrote with large handwriting. Typically a scribe would write the body of the letter as Paul dictated it, but the end would be by Paul’s own hand. 1 

Corinthians 16: 21 says: I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand. Galatians 6:11 says: See what large letters I use as I write to you with my own hand. Colossians 4:18 says: I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you.

Notice how Paul closes with “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.” He is extending grace even to those who are causing friction in the church. We all need God’s grace. We need to understand his grace more so we live in his grace. Grace is unmerited, unworked for, undeserved favor. It’s favor we receive simply because God loves us. It’s not based in our goodness, works, history, family, talents, our giving, abilities, wisdom, or anything else. God’s favor is based in his love. Paul wants the Thessalonians to know God’s love. Paul wants God’s love to envelop them. 

At the in-laws’ farm there were numerous white cats. One of them was completely deaf, and that’s a problem when living on a farm where there are wild animals in the area. This particular cat must have known it was deaf because it always hung around the dog. When the dog was sleeping and would all of a sudden perk up his ears and lift his head, the cat would go on high alert. When the dog would bark and look in a particular direction, the cat would again go on high alert. The cat fully depended upon the dog for its very life. If the cat had decided it didn’t need the dog, it probably would have ended up as a meal for a wild animal. When it comes to spiritual realities, we are deaf. We’ll never make it on our own. We have to stay close to God for our spiritual survival. If we keep God in the center of our lives, we are safe and secure. We can’t survive without God. We need his grace. 

May you know the peace of Christ; may you know the presence of Christ; may you know the grace of Christ in your life. Amen.

Verse Completion. . . that you abstain from sexual immorality. 1 Thessalonians 4:3 (NASB)


Good morning. Give thanks to the LORD; for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.

Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/tqGtufR-aIA

Complete the Verse & Name the BookThen Moses said to God, “Behold, I am going to the sons of Israel, and I shall say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you.’ Now they may say to me, ‘What is His name?’ What shall I say to them?” And God said to Moses, . . . (completion at the end)

Yesterday, Dr. Michael Wedman taught from 2 Thessalonians 3:16-18 with a lesson titled “The Presence of God” as he continued Fireside Fellowship.

Before we wrap up the book of 2 Thessalonians, let’s review. Paul planted a church in Thessalonica. He sent Timothy there to see how they were doing. After Timothy’s report, Paul wrote this letter to strengthen them and remind them to stand firm and stick with the faith. He encouraged them as they endured persecution. Paul also wrote to clear up some false teaching concerning the second coming of Christ that was circulating. The third reason he wrote was to tell the church how to deal with disruption—nonproductive busybodies who were gossiping, slandering, and agitating the church.  

Suffering does enter the lives of followers of Christ. As disciples of Christ there is a particular kind of suffering that takes place because we are disciples. The ways of Christ are almost always in opposition to the ways of the world. As we look more like Christ in our actions, reactions, and interactions with the world, the world opposes us. Satan opposes anyone who proclaims truth in its entirety and lives out that truth; they become objects of Satan’s anger. 1 Peter 5:8-9 says: Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. Satan uses demons and people to oppose those who are for Christ. 

God sees everything that happens. He is the God of justice, and he’s not going to allow things to spin out of control. It might seem like the unjust have everything work out well for them while the just suffer for doing what’s right. God sees the unjustness that is going on in the world, and he has set a time when he is sending Jesus back, and everything will be made right. His justice will fall upon all those who are unrighteous. A day is coming when Jesus will judge the world. Therefore we need to live worthy of Christ. It may seem like the wicked prosper, but it’s only for a season. If we glorify God he will glorify us. We need to keep our focus on Jesus, not on what is happening around us. 

Christ is coming again, and it’s all in his timing—not ours. There’s going to be a time of great tribulation when the Antichrist is present on the Earth. The whole world will appear to be in rebellion to God. The Antichrist will be the opposite of Christ. Jesus is loving, good, gracious, kind, and giving while the Antichrist is hateful, wicked, evil, self-centered, and selfish. The Antichrist will set himself up to be God. He will be able to do signs and wonders that will fool many into believing he is God. As followers of Christ we need to keep our mental equilibrium—stabilized in the truth of Christ. Jesus will return and destroy Satan and his dominions. 

We need to pray that the gospel with run throughout the world changing and transforming lives. We need to pray against Satan and his kingdom who are trying to destroy the gospel. We need to pray against those who attempt to deceive and prevent people from receiving the gospel. Satan seeks to destroy any seed of the gospel that is planted in someone’s heart. We are called to pray against that happening. Those who receive the gospel receive everlasting life. We’re also called to pray for strength that we will persevere and be true to the gospel. We are to pray that we will we wholly committed to the whole gospel for the whole world. We are to be those who promote and proclaim the gospel so people can receive salvation and grow in the grace of Christ. 

The reality is there will be those who do not embrace the gospel. There will be those who don’t want to use their time, talents, and tongues to glorify God but instead use them to disrupt the church. There will be those who are idle, lazy, busybodies who will give up the truth to walk in their own way. They will proclaim their own truth and attempt to draw others away from Truth with their disruption, gossip, slander, and divisiveness. 

Those who would do these kinds of things have to be called out because disruption, divisiveness, and chaos cause disunity in the church. Disunity destroys the witness of Christ to the people in the church and the community around us. Those who would do this need to be disciplined. They need to be cut off from close fellowship. Their purpose is to influence people and draw them away from Christ. They want people to follow them rather than Jesus. People like this cannot be in positions of leadership and influence. They need to be warned about Christ’s discipline. The discipline of the church is not going to be near as severe as the discipline of Christ. 

Tomorrow we will recap the second half of Dr. Wedman’s lesson as he concludes 2 Thessalonians. 

Verse Completion. . . “I AM WHO I AM”; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ “ Exodus 3:13-14 (NASB)


Good morning. Give thanks to the LORD; for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.

Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/QeFa6iSP_XQ

Complete the Verse & Name the BookI preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by . . . (completion at the end)

Yesterday we did a recap of the first half of Pastor Del McKenzie’s talk on the godly character quality of grace and deference. Today we will continue with a recap of the second half of his talk.

To defer to someone means to yield in opinion; surrender our ideas for the sake of another person. Deference is a form of respect and courtesy offered to other people. To defer is to yield with courtesy. When we defer we limit our freedom in order not to offend the tastes of the people God has called us to serve.

What happens when there isn’t deference?

1.   We end up in more fights. We end up fighting for position. We end up fighting for our reputation. We end up fighting for our territory. We end up fighting for our ideas. We end up in unnecessary conflict because we don’t honor others. 

2.   We hurt people.  Our insistence on our own way and our insistence on being right hurt people. It may be necessary to challenge people at times, but we don’t want to hurt them in the process. 

3.   We alienate people. We put a wall up between us and other people simply because we insist on hanging on to something we don’t need to hand on to. It prevents the Spirit of God from working in the hearts of people. Very often people will respond to the Holy Spirit quickly when someone defers and says, “I’m sorry; I was wrong” or “I don’t need to hang on to that. I’ll give up on that.”

4.   We encourage people to build walls around their life. We should be tearing down walls that separate us from others, not putting up walls that alienate. 

How do we build or develop deference in our lives? 

1.   Recognize our fallibility and weaknesses. We have the tendency to think our ideas are the only right ideas. 1 Corinthians 13:9a says: For we know in part.Perhaps the part we know is much smaller than we think it is. 1 Corinthians 13:12 says: For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I shall know fully just as I also have been fully known.We think we see clearly; we think we have the big picture, but we don’t. 

2.   We remove ourselves from the center of our lives. It’s difficult to do, but we can think of others ahead of ourselves. We can think of the needs of others above our own needs. We can think of their feelings, their situation, and theirconcerns. As long as we have ourselves in the center of our lives, we are not going to be very inclined to defer to someone else. 

3.   We need to confess rudeness and stubbornness. Not very often do we hear the words, “I apologize. What I said was rude. What I did was rude.” We should not be above saying those words. Nor should we be above saying, “I apologize. When we were arguing, I was stubborn and wouldn’t listen to your side with an open heart. I refused to yield to your thinking and reasoning. I just bulldozed my way over yours. Please forgive me.”

4.   Repent of our need to be right. Our need to be right gets us in trouble a lot. We insist on being right, because that means the other person is wrong. This attitude keeps us from positively influencing the lives of other people. 

5.   We need to take security in God’s love and protection. Our security shouldn’t be in being right or looking good. Psalm 56:3-4 says: But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you. I praise God for what he has promised. I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me?

What are the results of deference?

1.   People trust us more. When we are quick to apologize and admit we were wrong, people trust us. 

2.   We build communication. 

3.   We build relationships. If we have strained relationships we need to ask ourselves, “Have I practiced deference in this relationship?”

4.   God’s protection.

5.   Strength in our personality and character that comes from deference. 

6.   It’s good for us to defer. 

7.   It’s good for those around us when we defer.

8.   Deference becomes a character quality in our lives.

Jesus practiced deference in his life. When he was on trial before Pilate, Jesus said, “You would have no power over me at all unless it were given to you from above” (John 19:11a). Jesus deferred to Pilate’s power that was given to him from above. Jesus could have struck Pilate dead in an instant, but he deferred to him as the Roman governor. Jesus did that because he didn’t come to Earth to be ministered to but to minister to others and give his life as a ransom for ours. He came to die for the sins of mankind. 

Am I a person who shows deference? Is it one of my character qualities? How strong is deference in my life? 

Verse Completion. . . their deeds. Acts 26:20b (NIV)


Good morning. Give thanks to the LORD; for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.

Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/Qtg9axTtNLg

Complete the Verse & Name the Book”And as for you, you meant evil against me, but God . . . (completion at the end)

On Monday, Pastor Del McKenzie continued his series on “Godly Character Qualities” with the topic of deference. So far he has taught on gentleness, humility, integrity, endurance, responsibility, thankfulness, forgiveness, acceptance, generosity, loyalty, honesty, flexibility, sincerity, orderliness, thoroughness, discernment, decisiveness, punctuality, respect, and graciousness.

To defer to someone means to yield in opinion; surrender our ideas for the sake of another person. Deference is a form of respect and courtesy offered to other people. To defer is to yield with courtesy. When we defer we limit our freedom in order not to offend the tastes of the people God has called me to serve. God has called us to serve others, and we can limit our freedom in order to serve those in our circle. We are called to serve our spouse, family, church, and neighborhood. We limit our freedom so it can help us serve others. Romans 14:13 says: Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this—not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother’s way (see also verses 14-23). 

The opposite of deference is rudeness. We are rude when we are discourteous, unmannerly, impolite, impertinent, impudent, or insolent. Stubbornness also describes the opposite of deference. When we are stubborn we refuse to yield, refuse to consider another person’s point of view, doggedly hang on to an idea or opinion, won’t give in or consider something else, have to have it our way. A person who lacks deference is hard to handle; difficult to work with. A lack of deference causes lots of pain and heartache. 

What is the evidence of deference? One evidence is submitting to others. Ephesians 5:21 says: And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.We run into problems when one person will submit but the other person won’t. Hebrews 13:17 says: Obey your leaders, and submit to them; for they keep watch over your souls, as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you. We are to honor our leaders. Romans 12:10 says: Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor.

Deference has the idea of being willing to give up something so as not to upset another person. We can give up certain activities. We can give up certain ways of dressing ourselves. We can give up habits. A smoker who lives in a house where someone has respiratory problems needs to give up the habit of smoking in the house. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 8:13: Therefore, if food causes my brother to stumble, I will never eat meat again, that I might not cause my brother to stumble.

Deference is a willingness to listen to others, to hear what their heart is saying. It includes a willingness to change. It includes a quickness to admit wrongs: attitudes, words, actions. That said, we do not defer to an abuser or a controller. When we defer to them, we enable them to continue their abuse or control. There are times to defer and times not to defer. We all need the character quality of deference so we defer when it’s a godly thing to do and a wise thing to do. 

What causes us to be short on deference? Why wouldn’t we give up something when it would benefit another person?

1.   Self-centeredness. Sin turns us into selfish people. If we’re self-centered, we wouldn’t even consider giving up something we want for the benefit of another. 

2.   Insecurity. An insecure person can’t admit that it would be best to give up something to benefit another. They can’t admit that they are wrong. The remedy is to overcome our insecurities. We need to become secure in Jesus, truth, and the gospel. 2 Corinthians 3:4-5 says: And such confidence we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God. 1 John 3:21-22 says: Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep his commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight.

3.   Fear. People who are plagued with fear are afraid they will lose something they will never get back—something crucial to their lives. Fear keeps us from deference. 

4.   Arrogance. If we are looking down on people and building ourselves up, we won’t have the mindset of deference. 

5.   Lack of training. One of the first words out of a toddler’s mouth is “mine” not “ours.” 1 Timothy 5:1-2 says: Do not sharply rebuke an older man, but rather appeal to him as a father, to the younger men as brothers, the older women as mothers, and the younger women as sisters, in all purity. 

6.   Lack of knowledge. We don’t understand or have never been introduced to deference. We see an example of Paul’s lack of knowledge when he didn’t know the person he was speaking with was the high priest in Acts 23:1-5: And Paul, looking intently at the Council, said, “Brethren, I have lived my life with a perfectly good conscience before God up to this day.”

And the high priest Ananias commanded those standing beside him to strike him on the mouth.

Then Paul said to him, “God is going to strike you, you whitewashed wall! And do you sit to try me according to the Law, and in violation of the Law order me to be struck?”

But the bystanders said, “Do you revile God’s high priest?”

And Paul said, “I was not aware, brethren, that he was a high priest; for it is written, ‘YOU SHALL NOT SPEAK EVIL OF A RULER OF YOUR PEOPLE.’ “

It’s likely that the high priest was not acting like a high priest, and that is why Paul lacked knowledge identifying him as the high priest.

Tomorrow we will continue with the second half of what Pastor Del had to say about deference. 

Verse Completion: . . . meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive. Genesis 50:20


Good morning. This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. 

Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/16KYvfIc2bE

Complete the Verse & Name the BookWhat shall we say then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how . . . (completion at the end)

Yesterday we recapped the first half of Pastor Michael’s sermon “Darkness and Death” based on Matthew 27:45-56. Today we will recap the second half of the sermon.

The last plague to hit Egypt was the plague of death. Every firstborn would die by the angel of death unless the blood of a lamb (a substitute for one’s own blood) was spilled and used to cover the sides and tops of the doorframes of their houses. The lamb died so the firstborn didn’t die. The angel of death accepted the blood of lamb as a substitute for the blood of the firstborn. The annual celebration of this momentous occasion became known as Passover.

It was during Passover when Jesus, the Lamb of God, died on the cross. Jesus said, “I will shed my blood for mankind. I will be the substitute for their sins. I will become sin so sinners can be set free and experience eternal life rather than hell—eternal separation from God.” While Jesus was on the cross, he was shedding his blood for those who had wrongfully accused him, beat him, and mocked him. He did it because he loved them. He died on the cross for you and me because he loves us. Jesus paid death’s penalty for us with his life. It was a one-time sacrifice that never has to be paid again. The sacrifice of Jesus was forever because he lives forever. He overcame death. 

Jesus “gave up his spirit.” Nobody took his spirit from him; he did it willingly. It all happened in his timing. John 19:30 says: When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. In Greek, “It is finished,” is a victor’s shout. That’s why he declared it in a loud voice. He was saying, “I’ve won! I’ve done it! It’s over! I’ve run the race! I got the victory!” Colossians 1:13-14, 19-20 says: For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. 

For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

Jesus on the cross gives us victory. He shed his blood. He paid the penalty. God accepted the penalty. Colossians 2:15 says: And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. Satan thought he had defeated Jesus when Jesus died on the cross, but it was because Jesus died on the cross that Jesus won the victory over sin. The death of Jesus is what brought life. Jesus won the victory on the cross and disarmed Satan. 

At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom(verse 51a). This curtain separated the Holy of Holies from the rest of the Temple. Only the high priest was allowed to enter the Holy of Holies room, and that was only once a year. Bells and a rope were tied to him. If the bells stopped sounding, it alerted those who assisted the high priest that something went wrong, and they would pull him out of the room with the rope. This was the place where God dwelt! The ark of the covenant was kept here. 

The curtain was somewhere between two inches to a foot in thickness. When Jesus died on the cross, that curtain was torn in two from top to bottom. It was a sign that now everyone at any time of any day had access to the Father because Jesus had paid the penalty for sin. Now we can enter the Holy of Holies because of Jesus. Hebrews 10:19-22 says: Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.  Hebrews 6:19-20 says: We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek. 

Hebrews 9:1-4, 12 says: Now the first covenant had regulations for worship and also an earthly sanctuary. A tabernacle was set up. In its first room were the lampstand, the table and the consecrated bread; this was called the Holy Place. Behind the second curtain was a room called the Most Holy Place, which had the golden altar of incense and the gold-covered ark of the covenant. This ark contained the gold jar of manna, Aaron’s staff that had budded, and the stone tablets of the covenant. 

He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption. 

The sacrifice of animals is no longer the way to God. Only Jesus is the way to God. Jesus said in John 14:6, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

The earth shook and the rocks split. The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus’ resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people (verses 51b-53). People who had died, been wrapped in their burial clothes, and placed in their tombs were raised from the dead! They were the first witnesses to the resurrection of Jesus. They were the first to benefit from the death of Christ. It demonstrated Jesus does have victory over death. 

When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!” (verse 54) At that point they realized they had had it all wrong. The one on the cross truly was the Messiah! Surely they repented of their sins. 

Many women were there, watching from a distance. They had followed Jesus from Galilee to care for his needs. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons (verses 55-56). The mother of James and Joses (Joseph) was the mother of Jesus. The mother of Zebedee’s sons was the mother of James and John (two of Jesus’ disciples). They were all witnesses to Jesus being the Son of God. 

Do you still doubt that Jesus is the Son of God? Do you still doubt that the death of Jesus on the cross was for you? It doesn’t matter how many sins you have, Jesus died for all of them. Jesus became sin so we could become the righteousness of God. He achieved victory over sin, Satan, and death while he was still on the cross. If you’ve never invited Jesus into your life, join me in this simple prayer:

Jesus, I believe that you are the Son of God. I believe you died on the cross in my place for my sins. Jesus, forgive me of my sins. Forgive me for not believing in you, but I believe in you now. Come into my life. Be my Savior, and be my Lord. Help me to live for you. In your name I pray, Jesus. Amen. 

If you have come to Jesus for the first time or recommitted your life to Jesus, I would love to personally welcome you to the kingdom of God. Please get in contact with me through phone (360-898-7855) or email ([email protected]). 

Hebrews 9:24-28: For Christ did not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence. Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. Then Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.

Verse Completion. . . can we live in it any longer? Romans 6:1-2 (NIV)


Good morning. This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. 

Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/nsO5RZskmCM

Complete the Verse & Name the BookThe chief jailer did not supervise anything under Joseph’s charge because . . . (completion at the end)

Yesterday Pastor Michael’s sermon “Darkness and Death” was based on Matthew 27:45-56. Last week the focus was on those around Jesus—those who beat him, humiliated him, and mocked him as he was placed on a cross to die. Today the focus will be on Jesus himself. 

From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land. About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”—which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.”

Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a stick, and offered it to Jesus to drink. The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.”

And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit (verses 45-50).

We learn from Mark 15:25 that it was the third hour when Jesus was crucified. Jesus likely hung on the cross from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. Most people who hung on a cross took several days to die. Eventually, they died from asphyxiation because they were unable to get enough air into their lungs. Sometimes the soldiers would break the legs of the person being crucified. That would shorten the process since the person wouldn’t be capable of pushing down with their legs in order to lift their body up and get a breath of air. This was the case with the two criminals on both sides of Jesus. When the soldiers went to break the legs of Jesus, they found he was already dead. 

From noon until 3:00 p.m. darkness came over the land. This was not a natural event such as a solar eclipse or dark clouds moving in; it was a supernatural event! At the brightest time of the day, darkness came over the land. This isn’t the first time in history that a supernatural event such as this happened. Exodus 10:22 says: So Moses stretched out his hand toward the sky, and total darkness covered all Egypt for three days. Darkness like this is always associated with judgment. Amos 8:9 says, “In that day,” declares the Sovereign LORD, “I will make the sun go down at noon and darken the earth in broad daylight.” Joel 2:31 says: The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD. The sun going dark in the middle of the day was always a sign of judgment. No doubt some panicked when this occurred knowing it was God showing his displeasure. 

Notice in verse 46 that Jesus cried out in a loud voice. There is passion in his voice. His voice reveals his anguish of separation. Jesus became separated from God. “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani” is a combination of old Hebrew and Aramaic. Aramaic was the typical language spoken by the Jewish people at this time in history. Old Hebrew was dying out. “Eli, Eli” is the old Hebrew for the Aramaic “Eloi, Eloi.” The soldiers thought Jesus must be calling out for Elijah. One of them got him some wine vinegar on a sponge. This was different from the narcotic offered Jesus earlier. The wine vinegar would have been a drink the soldiers used for themselves. John 19:28-29 says: Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. The stalk would have been around 18 to 24 inches in length. Remember that Jesus was only about two feet off the ground, so the stalk would have been long enough to reach Jesus. Jesus was very close. Our image of Jesus being high up on a cross is inaccurate. 

More mocking occurs when the soldiers say, “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.” 

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” is one of the most significant questions ever uttered. Jesus isn’t asking for an explanation. It’s more of a rhetorical question. It would be similar to someone who has just lost a loved one asking, “Why did you leave me? Why did you have to die?” It’s not that an answer is sought, but everything in the person is crying out, “Why? How does this make sense? This was not how it was supposed to go.” 

This is the first time Jesus has ever been separated from God. At this point Jesus takes the sins of the world upon himself. God cannot look upon sin. Sin brings separation from God. Because Jesus took the sins of the world upon himself, he became separated from God. This is the only time Jesus referred to God as God and not the Father. The Father/Son relationship was temporarily broken. 

When I sin I am supposed to die for that sin. Romans 6:23 says: For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. In Old Testament times the way to be in a right relationship with God was to make animal sacrifices to God. People were still saved by faith and not good works or the law, but sacrifices for sin were required. An animal had to be killed, the blood spilled, and the animal burned on an altar. Using hands, the sins of the person would symbolically be placed upon the animal, and then the animal was slain. The shed blood of the animal took the place of the person’s blood who should have been on the altar. By faith the person believed God would accept the sacrifice of the animal as payment for his sins. Sin required a penalty. Hebrews 9:22b says: Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. The animal became a substitute for the person. 

Jesus became a substitute for us. We should have been the one on the altar dying for our own sins, but Jesus willingly died on a cross so we wouldn’t have to die. Jesus took all the sins of the world and took them upon himself. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says: God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. Jesus, who had never sinned, became sin knowing that when he became sin he would be separated from the Father. The anguish of being spiritually separated from the Father was far worse than all the physical, mental, and emotional anguish he experienced through the crucifixion. Jesus said in John 10:30, “I and the Father are one.” When he became sin for us, Jesus was forsaken by God. For that time when Jesus was on the cross, God turned his back on his Son. 

Tomorrow we will recap the second half of Pastor Michael’s sermon. 

Verse Completion. . . the LORD was with him; and whatever he did, the LORDmade to prosper. Genesis 39:23


Good morning. Give thanks to the LORD; for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.

Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/Dr0HGORnPOE

Complete the Verse & Name the BookDo not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is  . . . (completion at the end)

Yesterday was a recap of the first half of Dr. Wedman’s lesson “The Discipline of God” based on 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15. Today is a recap of the second half of that lesson.

We can respond to those who are being disruptive in the church in several different ways:

1.   Single them out and deal with the problem (details were shared yesterday)

2.   Do not associate with them. People who have a habitual lifestyle of disobeying Jesus and draw others to disobey Jesus should not be associated with. In other words disciples of Christ should cut intimate fellowship with people like this even if the person is a best friend. Those who are disruptive in a church should definitely not be in leadership—positions of influence. Disruption, division, disunity, gossip, slander, and complaining need to be taken very seriously because they ruin the spiritual lives of those who listen and get drawn into the bad behavior. We need to take a stand against those who do not promote and proclaim Christ in word and deed, and we do that by not associating with them. 1 Corinthians 15:33-34 says: Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning; for there are some who are ignorant of God—I say this to your shame. Don’t let your good character before Christ be corrupted by those who are walking away from Jesus. We can’t permit that to happen. We can’t just turn a blind eye to it, because it destroys everything we are working for: unity, maturity, health and strength of a church, and the witness of a church.

We don’t disassociate with them because we hate them and look at them as an enemy. We just want to try and understand the disconnect between being a disciple of Christ and causing division in a church. We want our brother in Christ to have his eyes opened so he can see his sin and repent. We want him to do a 180 and begin promoting and proclaiming Christ. Hopefully, our disassociation with the person will make them stop and think. Our goal is restoration. 

3.   Warn them. What we don’t know is whether the person will harden their heart even more against Christ or repent and be restored. We pray that it will be restored. Sometimes the reaction we get is, “Who are you to judge me?” 

The warning we give is if they keep walking away from Jesus, Jesus is going to take some action against them. If they keep walking away from God, God is going to step in and bring discipline. The exhortation given by believers is meant to encourage a brother or sister in Christ to stay on the path Jesus has laid out for us to follow. Anytime we sin on a continual basis we get farther away from Christ, and it becomes more difficult to hear what Jesus is telling us. If we continue on the wrong path, we eventually get to the point where we don’t hear the voice of Jesus at all. We don’t want anyone to get to that point. We want everyone to be as close to Jesus as possible staying on the straight and narrow path. 

4.   Do good ourselves. When someone else is in habitual sin, when someone else is being disruptive in the church, when someone else is taking action against disciples of Christ, we ourselves need to insure we are doing good and following Christ. We need to make sure we are obeying Jesus. We need to be looking closely at our lives because our good character can be corrupted by bad company. We never want to say, “I know they are wrong, but they are my friends so I have to support them.” It makes no sense as a disciple of Christ to have loyalty to a friend take precedence over loyalty to Jesus. We need to never tire of doing good. We need to stay close to Jesus no matter what others do. If those around us sin, we have to stand strong and resist sin. Sometimes that means losing friends, but it’s better to lose a friend than lose Christ. Jesus said, “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me” (Matthew 10:37). 

Galatians 6:1-10 says: Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, for each one should carry his own load.

Anyone who receives instruction in the word must share all good things with his instructor.

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

If we say we are going to build our own kingdom and do things our way, we will reap destruction. It’s our job to try and bring those who are on their way to reaping destruction back to the right path. 

It’s not easy to do the right thing. Jesus doesn’t want us tolerating sin in our church. He spoke against it to the churches in Pergamum and Thyatira, and he is speaking against it to our church. Disruption, disunity, and division are not tolerated in the church because sin is not tolerated in the church. 

Verse Completion. . . helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Ephesians 4:29 (NIV)


Good morning. Give thanks to the LORD; for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.

Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/Ck58d3BMBX0

Complete the Verse & Name the BookAnd they said to one another, “Here comes this dreamer! Now then, come and let us kill him and throw him into one of the pits; and we will say, ‘A wild beast devoured him.’ Then let us see . . . (completion at the end)

Yesterday, Dr. Michael Wedman taught from 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15 with a lesson titled “The Discipline of God” as he continued Fireside Fellowship. Paul had three reasons for writing 2 Thessalonians:

1.   To encourage the Thessalonians to stand firm while they were living in a climate of persecution and suffering

2.   To clear up some false teaching and confusion regarding the second coming of Jesus

3.   To address disciplinary action that is sometimes necessary in the church

What should we do with people who are disruptive in the church? This may be the least known, followed, understood, and practiced teaching in the church. Perhaps the reason for this is it is difficult to do. Those who are willing to disrupt the church and live in a way that is opposite of the way Christ asks us to live will probably not take correction well. 

In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers, to keep away from every brother who is idle and does not live according to the teaching you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to make ourselves a model for you to follow. For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.”

We hear that some among you are idle. They are not busy; they are busybodies. Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the bread they eat. And as for you, brothers, never tire of doing what is right.

If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of him. Do not associate with him, in order that he may feel ashamed. Yet do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother. 

What was going on that Paul felt like he had to address church discipline? False information mixed with truth was circulating in the church. People were confused as misunderstandings took place. Some thought Jesus was going to return soon so they quit their jobs. They became idle and resorted to gossiping. They had their noses in everyone’s business and turned into busybodies. They had far too much time on their hands, and they became disruptive. Rather than being helpful, productive, faithful, and fruitful, they were unproductive, hurtful, and unfruitful. Rather than build the church they were tearing down the church. 

You may remember back to 1999 when there was much talk about what would happen when the clock turned to the year of 2000. There were predictions about computers crashing, the banking system crashing, the economy crashing, healthcare crashing, planes crashing as their computers failed, and the coming of the Antichrist. There were many ideas about what to do to prepare for the coming disaster: stockpile food, stockpile water, build bunkers, buy guns and lots of ammunition, convert gas fireplaces to wood-burning fireplaces, stockpile cords of wood, buy generators, etc. Some people even quit their jobs and sold their houses. What happened in Y2K was similar to what was happening in Thessalonica. 

Paul believes that disruption, disunity, friction, and gossip are dangerous things in a church. In his first letter Paul said: And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone (1 Thessalonians 5:14). Paul said, “In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers, to keep away from every brother who is idle and does not live according to the teaching you received from us” (2 Thessalonians 3:6). Paul didn’t say, “We think it would be a good idea . . . in our opinion . . . if it suits you . . . if you can . . . when you get around to it.” He uses the word command, and he points out that this is coming from Jesus. It’s not Paul’s take on it. If a person does not live as a disciple of Christ, measures have to be taken so the person can come back to living as a disciple of Christ. The issue here is idleness and disruption. 

How should we respond to those who are being disruptive in the church? It can be very difficult! Sometimes it’s a close friend or family member or someone who is highly respected that is being disruptive. That person might be: gossiping, turning truth into falsehood, casting doubt on people’s character, telling tales and making them taller as they are told. Their actions bring agitation into the church. Their actions become hurtful to the cause of Christ. Their actions tear people down instead of lifting them up. 

We can respond in several different ways:

1.   Single them out and deal with the problem. Talk to them about how they are using their time, talents, and tongues to tear down instead of build up. This can often happen in “coffee groups” or “prayer groups” where there is complaining, gossiping, and even mocking. Coffee groups and prayer groups that build up and encourage others are probably the exception rather than the norm. 

Our desire should be to want others to walk toward Jesus rather than away from him. As disciples of Christ it is our responsibility to do all we can to encourage others to draw close to Christ. We exist to promote and proclaim the gospel of Christ, not tear it down and take away from it. Jesus said in Revelation 2:14-16, “Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: You have people there who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin by eating food sacrificed to idols and by committing sexual immorality. Likewise you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans. Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.” There were those in the church in Pergamum who were walking away from Christ and leading others to walk away from Christ, and no one was addressing it. 

Jesus said in Revelation 2:20-21, “Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols. I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling.” We need to deal with sin in the church. We need to deal with those who are walking away from Jesus and encouraging others to walk away from Jesus. The complaint Jesus had against the church in Pergamum and the church in Thyatira was they tolerated sin in the church. Our attitude should not be, “Well, I guess that’s their choice.” We should not be sweeping sin under the rug. 

Tomorrow the second half of Pastor Michael’s lesson will be recapped. 

Verse Completion. . . what will become of his dreams!” Genesis 37:19-20


Good morning. Give thanks to the LORD; for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.

Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/IqoQe5Xg7-0

Complete the Verses & Name the Book

·      For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, . . .

·      and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, . . .

·      and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness . . .(completions at the end)

Yesterday we did a recap of the first half of Pastor Del McKenzie’s talk on the godly character quality of grace and graciousness. Today we will continue with a recap of the second half of his talk.

God is a gracious God. Exodus 34:6-7a says: And [the LORD] passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.”  Psalm 145:8 says: The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. Psalm 116: 5 says: The LORD is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion. We are given the gracious gift of life (see 1 Peter 3:7). 

By nature God is gracious. It’s one of his character qualities. God is constantly, continually, naturally, perfectly free giving. He is gracious, generous, wise, and full of grace and truth. John 1:14 says: The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. God gives freely, and he does it with great delight and joy. He doesn’t give begrudgingly; he’s not stingy in his giving. He doesn’t just give every once in a while. He isn’t pressured into giving. He isn’t bribed into giving. 

There’s a difference between a grace giver and a gracious person. A grace giver gives grace every once in a while, but a gracious person has established grace as a way of life. A gracious person gives consistently, gladly, cheerfully, and does it without having to be begged. Graciousness is found in the person of Jesus. He’s the author and perfector of our faith. Hebrews 12:2 says: Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Jesus is the initiator of all our gifts. We look forward to all we will have in him throughout eternity. 

God doesn’t give us everything we ask for because he is wise in his giving. He knows our nature.

What are the marks of our graciousness? If we develop the character quality of graciousness, what would that look like? How does a gracious person live his/her life?

1.   Live with nothing to prove. I am what I am by the grace of God. Every breath is a gift of God’s grace. We take it for granted, but a person with lung cancer does not. We don’t have to prove we are strong, smart, capable or anything else. We can spend a lot of time trying to prove things. We can waste away our lives trying to prove things. When I realize everything I have comes from God, I don’t have to try and prove anything; I know it’s God, not me. Anything good in me is God at work in my life. Some people spend a lot of time trying to prove they belong in a certain job or belong with a certain group of people, but it’s a big waste of time. 

2.   Live with nothing to promote. We can spend an entire lifetime trying to promote something: food, book, resume, ourselves, our ideas, friends, relatives, etc. Boasting is a form of looking for congratulations which is a denial of God’s grace. Paul said, “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world”(Galatians 6:14) We live in a world where there’s a lot of promotion! We are overwhelmed with advertisements. I have nothing to advertise; I am what I am by the grace of God. I have nothing to brag about; I am what I am by the grace of God. 

3.   Live with nothing to protect. We can live our entire lives trying to protect something: health, money, vehicles, reputation, position, etc. We try to protect that which can’t be protected. If God doesn’t protect us, we won’t be protected. Psalm 20:7 says: Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. God is the one who can protect us. He wants to protect us. He will protect us. If I’m a person of grace I have nothing to protect because it all belongs to God. I have nothing of my own. What I have are gifts, and what I do is manage those gifts. I don’t own them; I’m simply a manager of those things that have been deposited into my life by God. 

4.   Live with no one to impress. We can spend a lifetime trying to impress people but it’s of no eternal benefit. We try to impress people so they will notice us and acclaim us. We want them to say good things about us. The need to be noticed is the great insidious need that permeates the fallen human nature. God calls us to please people, not try and impress them. When we try to impress people, we want the attention on ourselves. 

5.   Live with no one to idolize. We can spend a lifetime trying to cuddle up to someone making them our god. Appreciation and idolatry are two different things. Serving and idolizing are two different things. We can serve people without idolizing them. We can appreciate others without idolizing them. When a person takes the place of God, we have crossed the line and have idolized the person. We have the TV program “American Idol.” We shouldn’t be making idols out of people. Idolizing turns our attention away from God. 

6.   Live with no one to patronize. Patronizing looks down on people. It involves seeing others as servants. It makes light of who people are, what they think, and what they do. When we patronize we forget that everything we are is by the grace of God; everything they are is by the grace of God. Patronizing involves looking at the flaws, faults, and weaknesses in others. We need to be kind with our thoughts. We shouldn’t be nursing thoughts of our superiority and their inferiority. Any position, ability, or education that I have is a gift of God’s grace. It comes out of his graciousness. I don’t lord it over someone else; I thank God for it. 

Be a person of grace and graciousness. Treat people kindly, generously, and thoughtfully. Walk through life with them regardless of whether we hold a higher or lower position in life. Walk with them in equality because they are God’s people. We don’t treat people as objects but as people with personality, thoughts, emotions, desires, goals, and ambitions. 

How gracious are we? How much can we improve? 

Completions to Verses: 

·      . . . knowledge;

·      . . . perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness;

·      . . . love. 2 Peter 1:5-7 (NIV)


Good morning. Give thanks to the LORD; for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.

Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/A5fdv2bMbJk

Complete the Verse & Name the BookAnd [the angel] said, “Do not stretch out your hand against the lad, and do nothing to him; for now I know that you fear God since you . . . (completion at the end)

On Monday, Pastor Del McKenzie continued his series on “Godly Character Qualities” with the topic of graciousness. So far he has taught on gentleness, humility, integrity, endurance, responsibility, thankfulness, forgiveness, acceptance, generosity, loyalty, honesty, flexibility, sincerity, orderliness, thoroughness, discernment, decisiveness, punctuality, and respect.

There are many misunderstandings concerning God’s grace. Ephesians 2:8-9 says: For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. We don’t deserve salvation, we can’t earn salvation, and we don’t attain salvation. Salvation is God’s free gift that provides forgiveness of sins and eternal life with Jesus. Any graciousness you have—freely giving without any thought of return—is a reflection of God’s grace in your life. God gave us his Son freely, and Jesus gave himself freely. The Holy Spirit gives freely from God’s storehouse. 

God rules from a throne of grace. Hebrews 4:16 says: 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. God won’t always rule from a throne of grace. At some point it will become a throne of judgment. We need to live in God’s grace now while we have the opportunity.

God’s grace is rich. Ephesians 1:7-8 says:In [Jesus] 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. Ephesians 2:4 says: But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. There’s an unlimited bank account of God’s free giving. 

It’s a glorious grace that’s beyond our capability to comprehend. Ephesians 1:4-6 says: For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.

God has infinite, eternal grace. 1 Peter 5:10 says: And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.

God’s grace is sufficient. Jesus told Paul, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

God’s grace is abundant. Romans 5:17 says: For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ. Romans 5:20-21 says: The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. There’s more free giving in God than there is sin in the world. God’s grace is like a river overflowing its banks. 

God’s grace is a surpassing grace. Philippians 4:7 says: And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

We are what we are by the grace of God. 1 Corinthians 15:10 says: But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not 

without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. We need to openly receive God’s lavish grace, and we need to lavish that grace on others. Jesus said, “Freely you have received, freely give” (Matthew 10:8b). Be a grace giver to others. God accepted us just as we were when we came to him; we should accept others just as they are when they come to us. God showed us kindness; we should pass that kindness on to others. Think about this as a philosophy of life: “I want to be a grace getter, and I want to be a grace giver.” 

Everything I have is from God’s free giving. There are gifts of common grace (given to everyone): sunrise, sunset, air, plants, water, etc. There are personal gifts: house, vehicle, books, clothes, etc. There are special gifts of grace (given to God’s people): predestination, election, drawn to God, hunger for God, conviction of sin, illumination to help us understand the word of God, conversion, justification, regeneration, sanctification, etc. Everything I have (known and unknown; material and immaterial; internal and external; temporal and eternal) are free gifts from God. Any good that’s in me (love, helpfulness, generosity) is from God’s free giving. Any good that I do is through the grace of God. 

Tomorrow we will take a look at the second half of what Pastor Del had to say about grace and graciousness.

Verse Completion. . . have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.” Genesis 22:12 (NASB)


Good morning. This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. 

Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/qBl2rPMP49Q

Complete the Verses & Name the Book

·      Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may . . . 

·      casting all your anxiety upon . . . (completion at the end)

Yesterday we started a recap of Pastor Michael’s sermon “Mocking and Meanness” based on Matthew 27:27-44. Today we will complete the recap of that sermon.

Simon was likely a Jew in Jerusalem for the Passover. He was forced to carry the cross of Jesus. No Roman soldier would ever touch a cross because it would be degrading to help a criminal in any way. Jewish people would not touch a cross because they considered it to be unclean—an instrument of death. It’s ironic that the instrument of death, the cross, that was considered to be unclean was the instrument used by God to make us clean. 

Mark gives us a little more detail about Simon in Mark 15:21: A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the country, and they forced him to carry the cross. Why would his sons be mentioned? Evidently, they played a role in the early church. Paul said in Romans 16:13: Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord, and his mother, who has been a mother to me, too. Carrying the cross for Jesus had an impact on Simon and his family.

Golgotha was a place of intersecting roads where there was an abundance of activity. Many people would be able to witness the crucifixion and see what happens to people who go against the king. 

The feet of Jesus would probably have been about two feet above ground level as he hung on the cross. This was by design so people would be able to get a good look at the criminal. 

Gall was myrrh which was a type of narcotic. It was added to a drink so the person would not feel so much pain. The soldiers were not giving this to Jesus to help him feel less pain. They were giving this to Jesus because it was given to every person who was being crucified to make them more amiable to deal with. It helped the soldiers keep the person on the cross under their control. It made their job easier for them. However, Jesus did not want the narcotic. He knew why he was on the cross, and he wanted to stay aware of all that was taking place.  

Jesus is two feet above the ground. He can hear everything that is going on including the soldiers arguing over who gets his clothes and playing games of chance to see who would get them. 

There are extra soldiers present at the crucifixion not because they feared Jesus would come down from the cross, but because his followers might overpower a few guards and rescue Jesus from the cross. 

Two robbers were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left (verse 38). It’s ironic—Barabbas probably would have been on one of those crosses had Pilate not freed him. Jesus is in the middle because he is considered the worst of the criminals. 

Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!”

In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him (verses 39-41).

There’s nothing more they can do to hurt Jesus physically so they seek to hurt him intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually. They blaspheme Jesus by mocking God. They are celebrating their victory over Jesus. Shaking their heads was a way of shaming Jesus. 

Those who were saying “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself!” must have heard Jesus say, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up(John 2:19). 

As they taunt Jesus, they say, “Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!” Notice how they use the same words the devil used when he tempted Jesus: “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread” (Matthew 4:3b). They are demonically charged people. They are insinuating that if Jesus doesn’t come down from the cross, that would prove he really isn’t the Son of God. They are saying that anyone on a cross is cursed by God, so Jesus is cursed by God. 

The religious leaders who were supposed to be good, moral, upright people who claimed to know God and lead people to God were acting like Satan! They are doing what Satan wanted to do to Jesus. 

“He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the King of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” In the same way the robbers who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him(verses 42-44).

Mocking, deriding, derision, scorning, making fun of Jesus, all come from Satan. Disciples of Christ don’t do these things. They don’t kick people when they’re down; they don’t try to wound others and make them feel like garbage. However, Satan’s followers do these things. These people are clearly not from God. There’s only one godly person there, and he’s on the cross. The irony is he’s on the cross so others can be saved. He could have come down from the cross. He could have said one word and everyone there would have dropped dead. 

Why did he stay on the cross? Because of his love for you and me. Jesus stayed on the cross for the people who were mocking him. He stayed on the cross for the soldiers that whipped him. He stayed on the cross for those who hurled insults at him. He stayed on the cross because he loves every single human being on Earth.

Jesus is the Messiah. He is God with skin on. He is the King of the Universe. Instead of retaliating Jesus chose to love. He stayed on the cross because he loves us. He stayed on the cross so he could pay the penalty for our sins. He stayed on the cross so he could save us from our sins. He stayed on the cross so we can have everlasting life. 

It’s time to respond to Jesus in belief, humility, and repentance. Don’t put it off. Now is the time of salvation. After you die it’s too late. Receive Jesus. Believe in him. Repent of your sins. Invite him into your life. Don’t wait any longer. Because Jesus loves you, he stayed on the cross. 

Jesus said: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”

Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him” (John 14:1-7).

Completions to Verses:

·      . . . exalt you at the proper time,

·      . . . Him, because He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:6-7 (NASB)


Good morning. This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. 

Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/IdJBYyNsQd0

Complete the Verse & Name the Book: “Is anything too difficult . . . (completion at the end)

Yesterday Pastor Michael’s sermon “Mocking and Meanness” was based on Matthew 27:27-44. Governor Pilate had released a notorious criminal, Barabbas, to be set free. Pilate had Jesus flogged, and he handed Jesus over to the religious leaders to be crucified.

Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand and knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said. They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him (verses 27-31).

A whole group of soldiers mocked Jesus. Mock means to degrade; ridicule; put down; scorn; make fun of. When a person is mocked, what is being communicated is: “You are dirt. You are worthless. I’m so much better than you. You are an idiot.”

Jesus was flogged at the Praetorium which was like a barracks area that housed around 600 soldiers. In the middle of the barracks area was a square courtyard. It’s likely that when Jesus was seen in the courtyard, hundreds of soldiers entered the courtyard where they mocked Jesus. Those soldiers would have been composed of many nationalities except for Jews. Jews refused to be soldiers of Rome, and Rome allowed Jews to be exempt from becoming Roman soldiers. Because Jews were exempt from serving military duty, there was a special contempt the Roman soldiers held for the Jewish nation. The Jews let it be known that they were special; they were chosen by God. Only they could know God. Everyone else was without God, without hope, and didn’t count. 

When the soldiers had the “King of the Jews” in front of them, all their pent-up feelings of hatred and contempt for the Jews was unleashed on Jesus in the form of vile mockery. This is the second time Jesus was mocked because the Sanhedrin (those from his own nation) had mocked him earlier. Now the volume of the mockery intensifies.

When Jesus was whipped, his clothing was removed and he was tied to a secure base where he could not get away. The whips were pieces of leather with pieces of bone or metal tied to the end. When the whips came in contact with skin, they would cut the skin, and pieces of flesh would be removed. Those who were whipping Jesus were not going easy on Jesus. No one said, “I know you’re a good guy, so I’m going to give you a break and not hit you so hard.” The soldiers had been given an order to prepare the “criminal” for crucifixion. Often those who were scourged in the Praetorium died from the beating before they ever made it to the cross. The beatings were so severe that many times bones could be seen through the open wounds. Sometimes the person who received the beating would go unconscious. 

After Jesus was beat, a scarlet robe was placed on him. The soldiers weaved together a crown of thorns and placed it on the head of Jesus. They put a reed in his hand. With the robe, crown, and reed on Jesus, the soldiers mocked him. Instead of saying the customary, “Hail, King Caesar!” they said, “Hail, king of the Jews!” They are mocking a person who is half dead. They know there’s nothing Jesus can do in retaliation to them. All their baseness is poured out on Jesus. Their deprived human nature is clearly shown. The disciplined soldiers become undisciplined. They become a mob full of hatred for Jesus. 

The soldiers spit on Jesus. Spitting is probably the most degrading thing you can do to a person. To spit on someone is to say to them, “You’re garbage. You’re nothing. You’re someone I hate. You’re someone who deserves death. You’re someone I would run over with my car three or four times, and even after you’re dead I’d do it again.” To spit on someone is to hold them in complete and utter contempt. 

It’s ironic that they were hailing Jesus as king of the Jews in mockery while in reality Jesus was King of kings and Lord of lords of the entire universe—all of creation. 

The robe was removed and the clothes of Jesus were put back on him. They didn’t care how rough the clothes were on the wounds they had inflicted on Jesus. There was nothing gentle in the way they dressed him. They had no regard for the excruciating pain Jesus felt. 

Then they led Jesus away to be crucified.

As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross. They came to a place called Golgotha (which means The Place of the Skull). There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall; but after tasting it, he refused to drink it. When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots. And sitting down, they kept watch over him there. Above his head they placed the written charge against him: THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS (verses 32-37).

Normally, there would be four soldiers who would lead the criminal to the place where the crucifixion would take place. However, when political criminals were involved, a detachment of soldiers would be sent. It was customary for the criminal to have to drag the cross he would be crucified on to the place of crucifixion. The rough wood of the cross would dig into the open wounds on the back of the person. Jesus was physically unable to carry the cross so Simon was forced to carry it for him. 

The route taken to the place of crucifixion would be the longest and most populous route so as many people as possible could witness what 

happens to people who choose to go against Rome. People would flock to watch the most heinous criminals go by on the roadway. They wanted to see what they looked like; they wanted to see the severity of the beating of the person who was on his way to execution. 

The second half of Pastor Michael’s sermon will be recapped tomorrow.

Verse Completion. . . for the LORD?” Genesis 18:14a (NASB)


Good morning. Give thanks to the LORD; for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.

Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/6GGFb6LcX3U

Complete the Verses & Name the Book

·      You ask and do not receive, because you . . . 

·      You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world . . . (completion at the end)

Yesterday we looked at a recap of the first half of Dr. Michael Wedman’s teaching on 2 Thessalonians 3:1-5 titled “The Strength of God.” Today we will look at the second half of that teaching.

The third thing we pray for is God’s strength to live out the gospel and overpower unfaithfulness. The key factor in changing people’s lives and the gospel being triumphant and running freely throughout this world and into the lives of those we love is the faithfulness of God—God’s power. Our salvation hinges on God’s power—his faithfulness. To the degree that anybody can be unfaithful, God is infinitely faithful. In his faithfulness he will strengthen us. God gives his strength to those who have received his gift of salvation. We’re to pray for the strength to live out the gospel in God’s faithfulness. 

Strength means to establish; to make firm; to set into place. Strength gives sturdiness and uprightness. It provides the ability to stand when the wind and waves are trying to dislodge you from your place. God is the one who strengthens. 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 says: May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.God is the one who is faithful. God is the one who will strengthen us. God is the one who will establish us. God is the one who will cause us to stand firm. It’s all accomplished through his power. 

Notice how many times Paul emphasizes the Lordship of Christ in this short passage in 2 Thessalonians 3:1-5: . . . of the Lord . . . But the Lord . . . in the Lord . . . May the Lord . . . As the Lordship of Christ is emphasized, his power is emphasized. He is Master and Commander of the Universe. We go to the Master and Commander of the Universe to strengthen us as we proclaim the gospel. 

The evil one mentioned in the third verse is Satan. When we pray we should be praying that the gospel will be triumphant in the lives of people. We should be praying that those who are wicked and evil (including Satan himself) will not overcome people and prevent them from receiving the gospel. This is spiritual warfare that changes people’s eternity. 1 Peter 5:8-9 says: Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. Satan is our enemy. He seeks to ruin us, deceive us, and destroy us. He is the enemy of humanity. He doesn’t care about anyone. He wants to destroy as many people as he can in hell. We need to pray against him, and pray that God would strengthen us and protect us from Satan. 

Ephesians 6:10-18 says: Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. 

The enemy is trying to prevent people from coming to Christ, and Satan is trying to prevent disciples of Christ from following Christ. We are in a war. If we weren’t we wouldn’t need armor. 

Because God is faithful, because he loves you, because you love God, because you are his disciple, because you know we have an enemy, because you are praying, Paul is confident that the Thessalonians will continue to obey God and walk with Jesus. As we know Christ more and develop a relationship with him, we become more committed to following and obeying him. As we submit to Christ, he leads us into victory over sin. Jesus taught us to pray “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one” (Matthew 6:13). We pray we won’t give in to sin. We pray we will be delivered from our enemy—Satan. 

In God’s faithfulness he clears the way for us to follow Jesus in a deeper commitment. We pray for a clear pathway for the gospel to run. We pray that the gospel would run freely through us into the lives of others. We pray for God to clear the way for the gospel to be triumphant. We pray for God to clear out the evil influences that keep people from salvation. We pray for God to clear out the sin and the desire for sin in people’s lives. We pray that when the gospel runs through a person’s life that the gospel will be triumphant over sin, self, and Satan. We praythat God would clear a path to our hearts so we would know his love and promote his love. We pray that we would know God in greater measures and help others to know him in greater measures. We pray that we will persevere in proclaiming, promoting, preaching, partnering with, and giving so the gospel can be advanced. We pray the gospel will triumph over people’s lives and be glorified in people’s lives. We pray that evilness and wickedness would not prevent people from coming to know Christ. We pray against those who would harm others by keeping them from a relationship with Jesus. We pray for God’s strength in one another. We pray that because of God’s faithfulness he will give us the strength to continue on. We praythat the evilness of Satan would be stopped so the gospel can flow freely. We prayfor strength to live out the gospel by God’s faithfulness. 

We all know someone we want to come to salvation or come back to salvation. We need to be praying in earnest these three things because we are engaged in spiritual warfare. In addition, we need to be praying these three things for our church. Unfaithfulness is trying to overrun faithfulness, but God is faithful and his faithfulness overpowers all unfaithfulness. 

Allow the gospel to be triumphant in your life, and follow hard after Jesus. Let us together follow Jesus more closely so that his gospel might continue to run into the lives of those around us. 

Completions to Verses:

·      . . . ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.

·      . . . is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. James 4:3-4 (NASB)


Good morning. Give thanks to the LORD; for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.

Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/AFIAeNKyBoo

Complete the Verse & Name the BookThen Abram said to Lot, “Please let there be no strife between you and me, nor between my herdsmen and your herdsmen, for we are brothers. Is not the whole land before you? Please separate from me: if to the left, then . . . (completion at the end)

Yesterday, Dr. Michael Wedman taught from 2 Thessalonians 3:1-5 with a lesson titled “The Strength of God.” as he continued Fireside Fellowship.

Paul had three purposes when he wrote his second letter to the church at Thessalonica: 

1.   To encourage them to stand firm and hold on to the faith in the midst of suffering and persecution. 

2.   To correct some falsehoods that were being promoted in the church concerning the second coming of Christ. 

3.   To establish some disciplinary procedures for those who were causing strife and division in the church.

The passage we are dealing with today is a transitional piece between #2 and #3 above. It comes in the form of a prayer. Paul often moves in and out of prayer as he writes his letters to the various churches. He practices what he preaches: “Pray continually” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Paul is always praying, and he is encouraging us to pray. Paul knows that the center of life is Jesus, so he continually goes to Jesus, and he takes us with him. 

There are things we can learn about prayer when we look at how Paul prays. We should pray for the things Paul prays for. Let’s see what Paul is teaching us about prayer:

Finally, brothers, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you. And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men, for not everyone has faith. But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one. We have confidence in the Lord that you are doing and will continue to do the things we command. May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.

 Paul uses “brothers and sisters” often because he wants to remind the Thessalonians that they are family; they have been adopted into the family of God. 

In this passage of Scripture, there are three things Paul is asking prayer for. First of all, he’s asking that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored. He wants this message proclaimed, promoted, partnered with, and believed in. Spread rapidly means run. It’s a picture of the Greek Olympic runner who is putting all his effort into running so he can win. He wants to get to the finish line and collect the prize. Paul wants us to pray that the gospel will run freely and not be hindered. He doesn’t want anything to slow down its spread. 

Paul also prays that the gospel will be honored. Honored means to be glorified, lifted up, or triumphant. Paul is asking us to pray that the gospel will run freely throughout the world beginning in our family, workplace, and neighborhood. We’re to pray that the gospel will be exalted and glorified—that it will win and overcome people’s lives as they submit to the gospel and receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior. We’re to be intentional about praying for the running of the gospel and its glorification. Paul wants to see the gospel triumph in people’s lives. He uses verbs that are in continuous and future action. We’re to pray that the gospel of Jesus Christ that is preached will continue to run throughout our community, our county, our nation, and the whole world. 

We live in a day and age when there are many forces against the gospel. We need to be praying that the gospel will be triumphant in people’s lives. We know that in the end of the age the gospel will triumph, but we’re to pray here and now for the gospel to triumph in the lives of the people with whom we come in contact. We don’t want there to be any hinderances to the gospel running freely into their lives. We need to be praying that the gospel will triumph over their lives so they will receive forgiveness for their sins as they invite Jesus to be their Lord and Savior, and they become recipients of everlasting life. 

We need to think back to the time when we received Jesus as our Lord and Savior. We live in a world where it is not cool to follow Christ as his disciple. It’s becoming more difficult to stand up for Christ and live for him. It was just as difficult if not more so for the Thessalonians who had to deal with persecution, suffering, and mobs against them. Paul is reminding us to pray that just as the gospel triumphed over our lives and took us from darkness into light, from sin to salvation, from eternal death to eternal life, so the gospel will do the same for others. 

The second thing we need to pray for is that we will be delivered from wicked and evil people—those who don’t have the faith. The gospel doesn’t triumph over every life. People can choose what they will do with the gospel. Some will deny it and/or oppose it. The choice is theirs. Therefore, we need to pray that we will be delivered. Delivered means to be rescued with power. We live in a world with wicked people—those who would harm others. Wicked people are going to do all they can to prevent others from receiving Jesus as their Lord and Savior. They are going to say that the gospel is foolishness. 

Many of our colleges and universities have professors who are harmful to the gospel. They claim the gospel is no different from any other religion. They say the Bible is inaccurate. They say Jesus is not the Son of God. That is wicked, and we need to be praying against those who would do harm to the gospel. We need to pray for the triumph of the gospel and against the wickedness that opposes the gospel. Evil  people are those who are thoroughly corrupted and seek to corrupt others. Satan is the epitome of evil. We need to pray against Satan and his followers. 

The Thessalonians understand wicked and evil people. Acts 17:5a tells what happened in Thessalonica: But the Jews were jealous; so they rounded up some bad characters from the marketplace, formed a mob and started a riot in the city.This is an example of wicked and evil people who were more intent upon following self and Satan than they were upon following Jesus. Therefore, we need to pray that the gospel will continue to run freely and be triumphant in the lives of people. We need to be intentional as we pray. Ask God, petition God, and be actively involved in spiritual warfare. Prayer is spiritual warfare. Prayer involves changing people’s lives from darkness to light, sin to salvation, wickedness and evil to goodness and grace. Prayer is spiritual warfare against Satan and those he uses. Pray that God’s power would be unleashed and he would deliver the world from wickedness and evil. Pray that God’s power would overpower wicked and evil people who seek to destroy the gospel and lead people away from Christ. 

Are you praying for specific people where you are praying against Satan and his forces and for the triumph of the gospel in their lives? Do you pray for the gospel to run freely in their lives and to triumph over wickedness and evil? 

Tomorrow we will continue this study with the second half.

Verse Completion. . . I will go to the right; or if to the right, then I will go to the left.” Genesis 13:8-9 (NASB)


Good morning. Give thanks to the LORD; for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.

Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/mBcqria2wmg

Complete the Verse & Name the BookThere is nothing outside the man which going into him can defile him; but the things which proceed . . . (completion at the end)

Yesterday we did a recap of the first half of Pastor Del McKenzie’s talk on the godly character quality of respect. Today we will continue with a recap of the second half of his talk.

What does respect look like? Respect can run the full scale from showing no respect to showing much respect. We can evaluate ourselves to see where we fall on the scale by answering a few questions: How good of a listener am I? Do I put value on what others say? Do I have empathetic listening where I listen to people’s hearts so I can determine what’s really going on with them? Do I sacrifice the desire to talk about myself and your interests? Do I attempt to steer the conversation so it centers around me? We show respect to others when we listen to them talk about their interests, ideas, and experiences. We need to draw those things out of others. 

We show respect for others when we refuse to focus on their weaknesses. We all have weaknesses. We devalue others when we focus on their weakness: emotional, mental, physical, vocational, or whatever it might be. We all have failures; we show respect when we don’t focus on the failures of others but overlook them. We’re going to come in contact with EGR people (Extra Grace Required). When we do come in contact with them we show grace, and that in turn shows respect for the person.

Friendliness shows respect. Simply talk to people; initiate conversations. 

We show respect when we avoid classifying people. Our classifications aren’t accurate, because we aren’t qualified to classify other people: good or bad, wise or unwise, smart or dumb. Nevertheless, our culture is filled with classifications: head coaches and assistant coaches, CEOs and other executive officers, senior pastors and assistant pastors. Classifying people is not a respectful thing to do. Classification is based on position and accomplishments. Respect is based on treating people as persons. 

We show respect when we are honest with people—not saying one thing to their face and another thing behind their back. We don’t show respect when we flatter people with lavish, insincere praise and compliments to further our own interests. We don’t show respect when we belittle people. We just need to be honest, sincere people. 

What are the challenges associated with respect? Refuse to abuse people. Many people suffer from abuse. We need to help those people along. When we show respect we reverse the condition of abuse. An example of abuse might be the following conversation between a mother and her seven-year-old daughter at the ice cream shop:

“What flavor of ice cream would you like?” the mother asked.

“Vanilla,” the daughter replied.

“How about chocolate chip?”

“No, I want vanilla.”

“You’d like chocolate walnut better.”

“I want vanilla.”

“You don’t want vanilla. I know you’d prefer some kind of chocolate.”

“But I want vanilla.”

“No, you don’t want vanilla.”

“Yes, I do,” said the daughter.

“Well, aren’t you a strange one,” the mother said.

This is an example of a controlling mother who is abusing her child. Controlling another person is abusing that person. 

Some parents verbally abuse their children by saying “You’re lazy,” or “You’re stupid,” or “You’ll never amount to anything.” We need to reverse abuse by showing respect. There’s parent abuse, sibling abuse, school abuse, neighborhood abuse, marriage abuse, and so on.

Challenge our thinking. Arrogant thinking is thinking someone is less than you. We look down on them because we think they are less than we are. Conceited thinking is thinking we are better or superior to another person. If we think that way, we won’t be able to show others respect. 

Keep God’s view in mind. God has given each of us personality—how we think, feel, and communicate. Every person has thoughts, emotions, and needs—just like me. They need to be treated as God’s creatures. God knows and loves each person we come in contact with. God is interested in each person and cares for each person. We need to treat God’s creations with respect. We need to view people from God’s perspective. 

We need to have respect for ourselves as well. We need to see ourselves the way God sees us. If I respect myself I won’t be careless about myself. I won’t be careless about how I think, relate to people, and I won’t be careless about myself physically. Good grooming is part of self-respect. How can you have respect for others if you don’t even respect yourself? Some people have a lot of difficulty with self-respect. It could be because of abuse, putdowns, or belittling they’ve received. Someone needs to come along side of them and help them change all that. We need to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit guiding us to be that person.

Be sure to not put the dis in front of respect. Stay away from slander. Stay away from gossip. Stay away from giving a bad report about people. 

Maintain a high respect for God. When we respect God it’s easier to respect others. Jesus said: “Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name” (Matthew 6:9) Hallowed involves being holy; different; set apart; perfect; endless. It shows high respect for God. We need to have the highest respect for God: his ways, his words, his purpose, his instruction. 

Verse Completion: . . . out of the man are what defile the man. Mark 7:15 (NASB) Verses 21-23 continue with these words from Jesus: “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man.”


Good morning. Give thanks to the LORD; for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.

Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/pRhjWdr-LAA

Complete the Verse & Name the Book

“While the earth remains,

Seedtime and harvest,

And cold and heat,

And summer and winter,

And day and night . . . (completion at the end)

On Monday, Pastor Del McKenzie continued his series on “Godly Character Qualities” with the topic of respect. So far he has taught on gentleness, humility, integrity, endurance, responsibility, thankfulness, forgiveness, acceptance, generosity, loyalty, honesty, flexibility, sincerity, orderliness, thoroughness, discernment, decisiveness, and punctuality.

There’s a great deal of teaching about respect in the Bible. Here is a small sampling:

·      The LORD of Heaven’s Armies says to the priests: “A son honors his father, and a servant respects his master. If I am your father and master, where are the honor and respect I deserve? You have shown contempt for my name!”(Malachi 1:6a) If we are God’s people, we are naturally going to respect him. 

·      Respect everyone, and love the family of believers. Fear God, and respect the king. (1 Peter 2:17)

·      “Each of you must show great respect for your mother and father.” (Leviticus 19:3a)

·      “Stand up in the presence of the elderly, and show respect for the aged. Fear your God. I am the LORD.” (Leviticus 19:32) How the elderly are treated reveals the character of a culture.

·      So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. (Ephesians 5:33)

·      In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered. (1 Peter 3:7)

Our world is in a mess today because of a lack of respect in marriages, homes, neighborhoods, schools, and churches. Disrespect is at the heart of the chaos that surrounds us. 

We need respect in our personal lives if we are going to be godly, righteous, Christ-like people. Respect can be the answer to racial turmoil, mental illness, squabbles, and fights. Respect is necessary in our world, and it’s possible. We are all capable of developing respect. 

What is respect? It’s having a high value for people or things. Respect is given without judging or criticizing. Respect is holding people in esteem—giving them honor and high regard. Respect as a verb means to view, treat, or think with some degree of reverence. It has the idea of curtesy. It can be shown by opening/holding doors for people or  inviting others to go first. It involves seeing someone as worthy of my time and energy. Respect means you accept people with their imperfections—all their flaws and deformities. Some aspects of respect are due to the position a person holds—government office, boss at work, parent, spouse. Sometimes respect is given because the person earned it by the way they live their life—with honesty, truthfulness, sincerity.

Respect is not contempt. Contempt looks at someone as having low value, worthless, or not worthy of being noticed. Respect is not scorn. Scorn looks at a person with disdain—seeing them as unworthy of one’s consideration. It involves speaking or gesturing to them in a derogatory way. You will notice scorn is common in our culture if you listen to what people are saying and watch their behaviors. Swearing, name-calling, turning our back on someone, walking away from someone, and avoiding someone are all examples of scorn. There’s verbal scorn, physical scorn, and emotional scorn. Respect is not ignoring people—abandonment (walking away), neglect, isolation, depriving people of attention. Scorn involves not sharing knowledge with another person such as a spouse. Respect does not involve putdowns—making fun of another, belittling them, being rude. Respect does not involve controlling another person—telling them what to think or how to think. We need to be careful that we are not disrespectful people who despise others because of their weaknesses, flaws, or handicaps. We can look down on others because of the way they talk or look. We might look down on them because we simply don’t like them. 

The second half of Pastor Del’s talk will be continued tomorrow. 

Verse Completion. . . Shall not cease.” Genesis 8:22 (NASB)


Good morning. This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. 

Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/Z2qUoZKxC9s

Complete the Verses & Name the Book

·      Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered . . .

·      You see that his faith and his actions were working together . . .  (completion at the end)

Yesterday we started a recap of Pastor Michael’s sermon “Silence and Shouting” based on Matthew 27:11-26. Today we will finish the recap.

Pilate saw a way of solving the crisis that was facing him. Since it was customary for the governor to release a prisoner each year at Passover, he decided he would give them a choice between Barabbas and Jesus. Barabbas means “son of the father.” He was likely the son of a popular rabbi that was called “Father” out of respect. Since the father was so popular, his son was well known and had a following of his own until he went rogue and used his power and influence to incite an insurrection against Rome. Barabbas was a thief, robber, insurrectionist, and a murderer. By giving the religious leaders a choice of releasing Barabbas to them or Jesus, Pilate determined they would wisely choose Jesus, the Messiah, to be released. 

At this point Matthew provides a sidenote:

While Pilate was sitting on the judge’s seat, his wife sent him this message: “Don’t have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him” (verse 19). This is the third time Pilate recognizes Jesus is innocent. Jesus is just, righteous, innocent, and holy. Pilate’s wife does not want Pilate to convict him of any crimes. She doesn’t want her husband going down the wrong path and being responsible for the death of an innocent man. 

While Pilate is trying to figure out the best resolution to the problem in front of him, the religious leaders are busy talking to the crowd.

But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus executed (verse 20). This type of strategy would be used again. Acts 17:1-5a says: When they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish synagogue. As his custom was, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that the Christ had to suffer and rise from the dead. “This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Christ,” he said. Some of the Jews were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a large number of God-fearing Greeks and not a few prominent women.

But the Jews were jealous; so they rounded up some bad characters from the marketplace, formed a mob and started a riot in the city. 

The religious leaders were working the crowd that was in front of Pilate to be against Jesus. 

“Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” asked the governor.

“Barabbas,” they answered. 

“What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called Christ?” Pilate asked.

They all answered, “Crucify him!”

“Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate (verses 21-23a).

For the fourth time Pilate recognizes Jesus as being innocent. He can’t believe they are asking for the release of a guilty man and the crucifixion of an innocent man. The mob that was incited by the religious leaders is now being whipped into a frenzy. The very ones who were supposed to be keeping law and order are now creating chaos, confusion, riots, and mobs. Those who were supposed to lead people to God are now taking them far away from God

Crucifixion was something the Jews despised; they were vehemently against it. However, now they are calling for it.

But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!”

When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It is your responsibility!” (verses 23b-24)

Pilate knew it was his job to maintain order, and now things were starting to get out of control. The last thing he wanted was to be called to Rome and have to stand in front of the emperor and explain why he allowed things to get out of control. Perhaps his job would be on the line. Even though he knew Jesus was innocent, Pilate gave in to the crowd. Pilate knew he was doing the wrong thing by sentencing an innocent man to death, but he gave in to the pressure from the crowd. 

When Pilate washed his hands and declared himself innocent of the death of Jesus, he put the responsibility on them. The same thing happened when Judas returned the betrayal money to the religious leaders. They said to Judas, “It is yourresponsibility.” 

Pilate tried to declare himself as having no responsibility for the death of Jesus, but he was guilty along with the religious leaders and the crowd. 

All the people answered, “Let his blood be on us and on our children!” (verse 25) Mobs don’t think before they act. They aren’t logical. They aren’t respectful. They are all about chaos and confusion. They are there to kill and destroy. They are willing to accept responsibility for the murder of Jesus and willing to pass that responsibility on to their children. 

Then he released Barabbas to them. But he had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified (verse 26). The process of crucifixion has begun. The die has been cast. 

Jesus at any time could have walked away from it all. He could have called legions of angels to his assistance. At any point he could have stopped the process, but he didn’t because his purpose for coming to Earth was to die—to take the sins of the world and become sin so we could be made right before God. His purpose was to be a sacrifice for humanity. His purpose was to pay the penalty for sin—death. 

We see here the stark contrast between religion and the love of Christ. We see the hypocrisy of the religious leaders who saw God as a means to an end. God is never a means to an end. He is the End. He is the Alpha and Omega—the Beginning and the End. He is the one we live for; we don’t live for ourselves. Jesus was not judged guilty by the law; he was judged guilty by jealousy and fear.

1 Peter 3:18 says: For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit. The righteous died for the unrighteous. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says: God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. That’s the love of Christ. He intentionally walked the journey to the cross because of his love for you. That love calls out to you today. Today is the day of salvation. Today is the day you can ask for forgiveness of sins and invite Jesus into your life to be your Lord and Savior. Today is the day you can begin to live your life for Jesus. 

May we begin to understand the depth of Christ’s love for us. 

Now to him who is able to establish you by my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all nations might believe and obey him—to the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen (Romans 16:25-27). 

Completions to Verses:

·      . . . his son Isaac on the altar?

·      . . . and his faith was made complete by what he did. James 2:21-22 (NIV)


Good morning. This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. 

Song for the Day: https://youtu.be/tTxOS5vZ-Hc

Complete the Verse & Name the BookNoah was a righteous man, blameless in his time; . . . (completion at the end)

Yesterday Pastor Michael’s sermon “Silence and Shouting” was based on Matthew 27:11-26. The event which started the journey of Jesus to the cross was Mary breaking open the expensive perfume container and anointing the body of Jesus for burial. Judas became angry about the money being “wasted,” and he allowed Satan to enter his heart. This prompts him to betray Jesus to the religious leaders. After the Passover meal, Jesus and the disciples go to the Mount of Olives where Judas betrays Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. Peter became angry and cut the ear off the high priest’s servant. This could easily have erupted into chaos, but Jesus stepped in and brought order because he is the God of order and design. The Roman soldiers brought Jesus to the Sanhedrin where Jesus proclaimed he was the Messiah. At this point the face of Jesus was spit on, he was beaten with fists, and he was mocked. 

The religious leaders wanted Jesus dead, but they didn’t have the authority to pronounce and carry out a death sentence; only the Romans could do that. Therefore, they took him to the governor.

Meanwhile Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”

“Yes, it is as you say,” Jesus replied. (verse 11)

The governor was Pilate. He was a capable leader who had jumped through many hoops to get to his position. Governors had to be at least 27 years old. They had to rise up through the ranks proving themselves capable leaders along the way. Military service was expected. Pilate likely was an officer who used his rank to obtain administrative positions in the government. Eventually, he became governor—a governor who was not fond of the Jews, and the Jews were not fond of him.

It was common knowledge that the Jews abhorred idols. Whenever a new ruler was brought in, the Roman standard was included in the procession. The standard wasn’t a flag, but it did have an image of an eagle. That image was highly offensive to the Jews because it was looked at as being a graven image—something God had spoken against. In respect to the Jews, former governors had removed the golden eagle from the standard when they entered a Jewish populated area such as Jerusalem. However, Pilate intentionally insured the eagle was on the standard when he entered Jerusalem knowing it would antagonize the Jews.

One of Pilate’s accomplishments was the repair of the aqueduct system. Instead of using Roman money to achieve this, he used money taken in by the Jewish Temple.

Pilate began his rule as governor in 26 A.D., and ruled for around ten years before he was called back to Rome. 

Luke gives us a few more details in Luke 23:1-3:

Then the whole assembly rose and led him off to Pilate. And they began to accuse him, saying, “We have found this man subverting our nation. He opposes payment of taxes to Caesar and claims to be Christ, a king.”

So Pilate asked Jesus, “Are you the king of the Jews?”

“Yes, it is as you say,” Jesus replied.

Jesus is accused of being a traitor and dangerous to the nation by opposing paying taxes to Caesar and claiming to be a king. The only issue Pilate is concerned with is the claim of being a king. He wants to insure Jesus is not a threat to Caesar. Upon examination, he finds Jesus to be no threat to the emperor. Luke 23:4 says:

Then Pilate announced to the chief priests and the crowd, “I find no basis for a charge against this man.” 

Pilate found Jesus to be innocent of the charges against him. 

When he was accused by the chief priests and the elders, he gave no answer. Then Pilate asked him, “Don’t you hear the testimony they are bringing against you?” But Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge—to the great amazement of the governor.  (Matthew 27:12-14)

Normally, when a person is falsely accused of a crime, that person wants to defend himself. He wants to answer the lies that are being used against him. Jesus is in a court of law. His life is on the line. He could have easily defended himself and shown that what the religious leaders were accusing him of was not true. Pilate is amazed when Jesus says nothing to defend himself. It was a right that anyone living in the Roman kingdom could defend himself. Paul said in Acts 25:16, “I told them that it is not the Roman custom to hand over any man before he has faced his accusers and has had an opportunity to defend himself against their charges.”When Jesus didn’t defend himself, it fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah 53:7: He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.

Pilate has declared Jesus to be innocent, and yet he continues the trial. It could be that he wanted to get out of the situation he was in without any controversy taking place. As governor Pilate was directly accountable to the emperor. Anything that would get the emperor’s attention in a negative way would not be beneficial for Pilate because then Pilate would have to go to Rome and explain his actions to the emperor. 

Now it was the governor’s custom at the Feast to release a prisoner chosen by the crowd. At that time they had a notorious prisoner, called Barabbas. So when the crowd had gathered, Pilate asked them, “Which one do you want me to release to you: Barabbas, or Jesus who is called the Christ?” For he knew it was out of envy that they had handed Jesus over to him  (verses 15-18). 

This trial was being held in a public place where anyone could witness the proceedings. We see for a second time that Pilate knew Jesus was innocent. Pilate knew they were handing Jesus over because of their jealousy. The religious leaders were self-righteous. In their minds they could do no wrong—they were always right. They saw themselves as the power people, and they certainly didn’t want to share any of that power with Jesus. Jesus was a threat to their power. He had exposed them for who they really were, and rather than turn from their wicked ways they chose to destroy Jesus. 

The second half of Pastor Michael’s sermon will be shared tomorrow.

Verse Completion. . . Noah walked with God. Genesis 6:9b