December 30, 2021 · 9:00 am
Our identity in Christ is vital to our spiritual growth. Remembering who we are in Jesus keeps us grounded and grows our faith.
Unfortunately, we tend to forget what Christ has done for us. We don’t keep the facts of God’s mercy in the forefront of our mind. Today, let us be reminded of who we are in Christ. Our faith matures and our hearts grow closer to Christ when we remember whose we are.
1) We are saved.
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8-9
2) We are justified.
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 5:1
3) We are redeemed.
In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace. Ephesians 1:7
4) We are indwelt by the Holy Spirit.
Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
1 Corinthians 3:16
5) We are secure.
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Child of God, remember what you have in Christ. Dwell on the good things God has done for you. Remember whose you are.
December 27, 2021 · 9:00 am
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
1 Peter 1:3-5
The Apostle’s letter begins with a thunderous proclamation. Many great and wonderful things are declared over God’s people in the book of 1 Peter. This platform will not allow a robust and detailed explanation of these three verses. Allow me the privilege of mentioning a few of the blessings Christians have received through Christ.
We have received mercy. God, who is blessed eternally, has given us mercy when we actually deserved wrath. Christ died for the ungodly so that the ungodly may be made holy. (Romans 5:1-10) It is not because of any goodness in us that Christ extends His grace. He is merciful to Christians in spite of us and not because of us.
We are born again. Through the mercy of our Lord we have been saved and sanctified forevermore. We have a hope that flows from the resurrection of Christ. As He was raised up, we shall be raised up. (1 Corinthians 15) Death will not have the ultimate victory in our lives. Jesus always hast the final say!
We have been given an inheritance. Much is included in this inheritance such as the presence of God, the promises of the Lord, and a home with Christ for all eternity. Christians are protected by the Almighty’s power and all will be revealed when we are glorified in Christ Jesus.
Be edified today, child of God. Your past is forgiven, you have power for the present, and your future is secure. May we say with Peter, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
December 23, 2021 · 9:00 am
And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
The Savior has come. Sing hallelujah!
The Savior has arrived. Let us give thanks to the Lord.
The Savior is here. There is now hope for the hopeless.
The Savior has come. There is help for the helpless.
The Savior has appeared. The forgiveness of sins is possible.
The Savior has entered. Jesus takes away our guilt and gives us His righteousness.
The Savior is with us. And He is with us forevermore!
May God bless you all with a glorious Christmas Season.
December 20, 2021 · 9:00 am
Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, o Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 2:20-21
Glory in the church! Christians must recall that one of our primary missions is to glorify God in the church. Churches are to glorify our Head, the Lord Jesus Christ. Let’s understand a few ways that God may receive glory in church through our lives.
1) We glorify God through worship. We worship through song, fellowship, prayer, giving, and God’s Word. We are giving praise and glory to our Savior as we engage in these joyful practices. We are ascribing ultimate worth to the King of kings when we worship Him. Let us hear the word of the psalmist on this matter—worship the lord in the beauty of holiness!
2) We glorify God through obedience to His commands. If we call Jesus Lord, we must obey His commands. James commands us to be not just hearers but doers of the Word. (James 1:22) Seek to obey the principles and precepts found in Scripture. Give glory to God in this matter.
3) We glorify God through sharing the good news. We ascribe glory to His name by telling others about what God has done for us. Testifying to our salvation and sharing the gospel bring glory and honor the One who gave His life for us. Share and tell so that Jesus will be glorified in your witness.
May Jesus be glorified in the church forever and ever! Amen.
December 18, 2021 · 9:00 am
Bless the Lord, O my soul, And all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget none of His benefits; Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases; Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion; Who satisfies your years with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle. Psalm 103:1-5
Bless the Lord. The command to bless and praise God is given often throughout the Psalms. The author gives us several reasons to bless the Lord in this passage. Let us examine three.
1) We should bless the Lord because He has forgiven us. God offers pardon full and free through the Lord Jesus. One of the great benefits of Christ is His forgiveness. May we bless His holy name.
2) We ought to bless the Lord because He has redeemed us. We were separated from God and a slave to our sins and appetites. Jesus redeemed us and set us free to live in a way that honors and pleases God. We are no longer slaves to our sin, fear, and passions. As a result, may we lift high the name of Jesus.
3) We need to bless the Lord because He satisfies us. Jesus gives true satisfaction that lasts. We find true contentment in Christ. That doesn’t meant that life will be perfect or trouble free. It does mean that the contentment we have in Jesus will sustain us, help us, and guard us during the difficult times. When you have Jesus, what more do you need?
Bless the Lord, people of God. Bless His name for His forgiveness, His redemption, and His satisfaction. He is worthy!
December 16, 2021 · 6:00 pm
We need learn to hear God’s voice and learn to obey. Our witness and testimony as Christians depend in large part on our obedience to Christ. How does God speak to us? God does often speak to us audibly but He does speak. Let us examine a few ways this week.
1) God speaks through His Word. Psalm 19:7-8 tells us The law of the Lord is perfect , restoring the soul; The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. We need to see Scripture as God speaking to us. Every time we open the Bible let us understand that God is teaching us and revealing truth to us. The Holy Scriptures are the primary means by which God speaks to us. Therefore, commit to reading, studying, and meditating on the Word of God each day.
2) God speaks through creation. Psalm 19:1 teaches us The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. Paul also declares For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. (Romans 1:20) Be reminded every time that you view creation that God made all things and upholds all things. Examine the world around you and hear the voice of God.
3) God speaks through Jesus. Hebrews 1:1-2 reminds us that God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. Jesus is the fullest, most robust means of God speaking to us. The Bible constantly points us to Jesus in creation, redemption, and ultimate restoration. Look to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. (Hebrews 12:2)
4) God speaks through the Holy Spirit. John 14:26 declares to us “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. The Spirit of God lives in Believers and teaches us the truth of God. Listen to Him as He leads you and guides you.
God is speaking to you, dear Christian. Are you listening? And are you obeying?
December 13, 2021 · 9:00 am
Make every effort to come to me soon; for Demas, having loved this present world , has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica; Crescens has gone to Galatia , Titus to Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me. Pick up Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for service.
2 Timothy 3:9-11
Paul speaks of usefulness in his last inspired letter to Timothy. He asks Timothy to bring Mark to him because Mark was useful to Paul’s ministry. This verse got me to thinking. Are we useful to the ministry that God desires for us?
We know that God wants to use us for His glory. But, are we putting ourselves in a place where can work in us effectively? Is there something that stands in the way of our supreme usability for God? Let’s examine three conditions for usefulness in the Kingdom of God.
We must be clean. God will not work through us effectively if we are living contrary to His will and His word. The Old Testament priests would undergo a cleansing before they entered the temple to serve. We, as New Testament priests, also need cleansing from our sinfulness for optimum usefulness in Christ’s ministry. (1 John 1:9-10) If you want to be used by God, you must be clean.
We must be compassionate. A love for God and a love for others in necessary for us if we hope to be serviceable in God’s Kingdom. (Matthew 22:37-40) Love is what will sustain us and keep us faithful. Being used by God is not always easy. Our love for God and others will strengthen us and undergird so that we can serve effectively over the long term.
We must be cognizant. Jesus desires to work in us and through us right where we are. He will use all of our situations and life spheres to place us where we can be most usable. Open your eyes, dear Christian. There are needy people all around you who need your love, encouragement, and witness. Find someone who needs help and help them. It’s just that simple!
December 11, 2021 · 9:00 am
I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
2 Timothy 4:1-5
The world in which we live is losing its mind. Good is now evil and evil is good. (Isaiah 5:20) How can we keep our heads about us when all others are losing theirs? Paul reminds us in these verses about what we are to do in such times.
The immediate context of this passage is Paul instructing the young pastor Timothy. While the present teaching is to pastors, the lessons here are for all Christians. How can we stand strong while everyone else is falling? Let’s look at four commands from these verses.
1) Stay calm. Paul teaches us to be sober and calm in the midst of the upheaval of life. We can stay calm because of God’s promises, God’s peace, and the Holy Spirit who indwells us. Make the choice to stay calm and trust the Lord.
2) Stay courageous. Paul’s second imperative is to “endure hardship.” Living for Jesus will not always be easy and comfortable. Following Christ will be costly. Determine in your heart to endure even during the worst of times. May God gives us all the fortitude we need to serve Him no matter the cost.
3) Stay compassionate. In middle of everything that was happening, Timothy was to continue to fulfill the “work of an evangelist.” The young pastor’s focus was to be outward to those who needed salvation. We have been given the same precept to follow. We must look with compassion and love toward those who need Jesus. A lack of compassion and empathy is the reason we don’t often share the gospel. Let us pray that the Lord will give us hearts that are filled with sympathy and compunction for those who are far from God. And may that compassion spur us to tell them about Jesus.
4) Stay committed. “Fulfill your ministry” is the apostle’s final imploration to us. Stay the course and finish the task that God has given you no matter what it is. Finish strong, dear Christian. The best is yet to come!
December 9, 2021 · 8:00 pm
16 Now it came to pass at the end of seven days that the word of the LORD came to me, saying,17 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore hear a word from My mouth, and give them warning from Me:
The prophecy of Ezekiel was written between 592 and 570 B.C. The Prophet hailed from a priestly family and he ministered to the exiles who were living in Babylon before the ultimate fall of Jerusalem which took place around 585 B.C. His ministry coincides with Jeremiah’s preaching though Ezekiel had already been deported during this time period.
One of the major themes of this prophecy involved the task of warning that was given to Ezekiel. The Prophet was to say (as all prophets were) everything that God had told him to reveal and he was to hold nothing back. This task would be arduous and difficult but Ezekiel was to perform this work faithfully and dutifully.
These points lead us to the conclusions we see in Ezekiel chapter 3:16-21. First, Ezekiel was told to warn the people about the Lord’s judgment. God had made him a “watchmen” who was instructed to warn the people about the threat of God’s wrath for disobedience. The work of warning is unpopular and those who undertake it don’t win many friends along the way. Ezekiel was given this task nonetheless.
Another principle emerges from these verses. The prophet was told to sound the alarm about God’s judgement. But, if Ezekiel failed to give the warnings as instructed, Ezekiel would be held accountable for not warning the people. The people who rebelled against God and refused to repent would suffer God’s wrath for their actions. But, Ezekiel would also stand guilty before the Lord for failing to proclaim the truth about the coming judgement of the Almighty.
Believers in the present day are not Old Testament prophets. Yet, all Christians are given the task of evangelism which, when done properly, includes warning people about their need for a Savior and calling them to repent and believe in Christ (Acts 1:8, Matthew 28:19-20, 2 Corinthians 5:20-21). May we, the people of God, be faithful to share the good news so that others might be saved. Let us be dedicated to this work just as Ezekiel the prophet was faithful to his calling.
December 6, 2021 · 9:00 am
The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
Jesus is our Rock. He is the foundation we build our lives upon each day. He is the Rock of our salvation and the Rock of our security. Jesus is our Rock.
Jesus is our Fortress. He is our hiding place when times are difficult. He is the only one that protects us fully and Jesus understands our lives, our hurts, and our pains. Jesus is our Fortress.
Jesus is our Deliverer. He has delivered us from the penalty of sin by paying the penalty for us. He is delivering us from the power of sin as we learn to follow Him each day. And, Jesus will ultimately deliver us from the presence of sin when we get to Heaven. Jesus is our Deliverer.
Jesus is our God. He is the second person of the trinity. As the creeds remind us, Jesus is “very God of gods and very man of men.” We worship Him, praise Him, and serve Him. He alone is worthy of all glory and honor and praise. Jesus is our God.
Take courage, dear Christian. You are not alone. Your Rock, your Fortress, your Deliverer, and Your God are with you. Be encouraged today!