Encouraging, Living, Reaching

March 7, 2017

Crawford Paul

And there he built an altar to the Lord and called upon the name of the Lord. Gen 12:8

It’s pretty frightening turning on the news these days. Bad news floods our minds on a regular basis. There is, however, a place of safety.  It’s found in the name of the Lord.  When I think of his name it brings to mind many wonderful truths about him.

There’s power in that name.  “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Rom 10:13.

There’s family in that name. “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” John 1:12

There’s hope in that name. “and in his name the Gentiles will hope.”  Matthew 12:21

There’s forgiveness in that name. “To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” Acts 10:43

Whatever your situation is the name of the Lord can be your strong tower. Call upon his name today!

March 1, 2017

Crawford Paul

But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. 2 Cor 2:14 ESV

Notice that this verse doesn’t say “.. the fragrance of him everywhere.”  I am pretty sure that would be impossible.  What this verse does tell us is that through our lives the Lord leads us in all the world spreading the knowledge of him everywhere. In other words by our actions, words and attitudes others will learn who the Lord Jesus is.

That’s a tall order to fill.  The only way this will be possible is if we are following the leader.  It’s Christ who leads us in triumph – always!  Wherever he goes he leads us to victory. He never leads us to defeat. We don’t need to figure out how to spread this fragrance, the Lord does that work. We can leave that up to him.

So let’s follow on and allow him to use us as part of his great work of revealing himself to a world that so desperately needs him.

February 28, 2017

Sherri Jason

Ah, Lord GOD! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you. Jeremiah 32:17

What a blessing to know the great Creator personally.  The one who designed both the heavens and the earth. If He can do that, He can do anything! Nothing is out of reach of His outstretched arm. Including you.

Whether you’re facing the daily grind or a seemingly insurmountable trial, find peace in the fact that nothing is too hard for Him.  Whether or not He chooses to remove the problem for you or sustain you through it, take hold of the fact that His arm is outstretched to you, His child.  Will you take His hand?

February 27, 2017

Allan Dunlap

“Be wise, my son, and bring joy to my heart; then I can answer anyone who treats me with contempt.” – Proverbs 27:11

This verse has been a challenge to me as a son to obey my father and to seek his advice and counsel. However, it is also challenges me as a son of my heavenly Father. Because of the salvation God has provided for us, we are called his sons, and he has provided us with Scripture that instructs us on how to live to honor and glorify him. We must strive to obey his Word, and live lives that bring glory to his name. He has blessed us with new life, and we must not waste the salvation we have been given. It brings joy to our heavenly Father when he sees those who he gave everything for living lives that honor him.

February 24, 2017

Andrew Brown

John 12:26 “If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor.” 12:37 “But although He had done so many signs before them, they did not believe in Him” 12:43 “for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.”

Following Christ is so often looked at exclusively in terms of practical – how to live the Christian life – teaching. Not to take away from that at all, but to where was He asking us to follow?

THE CROSS!  Follow Him to the cross! There we put to death the flesh. There sin is dealt with. There at the cross, self becomes nothing and Christ becomes everything having exchanged my sin for His righteousness, my well deserved wrath for reconciliation to the Father! At the cross we put to death self will by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ who was crucified for sinners. Christ was then from the cross buried and gloriously raised from the dead for sinners. Praise to God! Follow Him, rejoice in Him.

February 23, 2017

Sherri Jason

But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold.  Job 23:10

Sometimes we can go through a spiritual winter – a “chilly” spiritual time where we just aren’t feeling that warm glow of closeness with Christ.  We know the truth that He is with us and that we can’t base our relationship solely on emotions, but it still can be disconcerting when we just aren’t sensing the Spirit leading us.  Then comes along a trial and it’s like a dizzying blizzard – one of those whiteouts with snow flying at you and you can’t even get a sense of the direction you are going.

Perhaps Job wouldn’t have related his many heart-breaking trials to a blizzard – maybe more of a sandstorm – but he certainly rested in the fact that “He knows the way that I take”.  If life is seeming blizzard-like to you right now, rest in the knowledge that the Lord knows the way that you take and that when the sun peeks through the clouds, you will have gone through the divine refinement process and be so much more like the Lord Jesus.

February 22, 2017

Crawford Paul

Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips! Psalm 141:3 ESV

We all know how damaging our words can be to hurt people and destroy relationships.  King David understood the potential of the tongue so he prays for help. He asks the Lord to step in and guard what he says.

How often do we go to the Lord for help relating to our words? Not a bad idea. Let’s follow David’s example.


February 21, 2017

Scott Duncan

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1

Our God is a creative Artist!  It’s amazing to think upon things such as how every sunrise and sunset appear different than the previous day, each leaf on the same tree display various shades of color, not one cloud in the sky has the exact same shape as another, not one person’s fingerprint matches anyone else.  Creation alone shows that our God is one who is detail oriented and that He cares for ALL of His creatures since He is sure to even feed the birds of the air (Matt. 6:26)  May we continually be in awe of our Great God who is not only our Creator, but Redeemer, & Friend!

February 17, 2017

Crawford Paul

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Psalm 119:105

Where would we be without the Word of God?  It’s powerful. It transforms lives.  It cleanses our walk.  It has everything we need to understand life and godliness.

Above all, it allows the Lord to speak to us. Are in his Word every day? Are you listening?

February 16, 2017

Scott Duncan

The eyes of the Lord are in every place,
Keeping watch on the evil and the good.  Proverbs 15:3

It is quite sobering to know that the Lord sees all that we do.  The Scripture is clear that God is omniscient and even our thoughts & intentions are not hidden from Him.  This thought may seem discomforting but it should only be to those who are doing evil.  
I actually find this verse to be very comforting because it reminds me that God will carry out complete justice on all those who violated His perfect laws.  God saw and heard all of the cries that came from the children of Israel in Egypt and He responded in due time by delivering them from bondage and bringing them into a land flowing with milk and honey.  
May we be encouraged and not forget that God loves to reward His servants and He will remove us from this cursed earth and bring us to the place where He dwells and rules perfectly.  Let us stay motivated to serve Him so that He may be pleased by the good He sees in the place where we are located today.

February 15, 2017

Hanniel Ghezzi

Then David took hold of his clothes and tore them, and so did all the men who were with him. And they mourned and wept and fasted until evening for Saul and for Jonathan his son and for the people of the Lord and for the house of Israel, because they had fallen by the sword. 2 Samuel 1:11-12

  • Jonathan pursued the Philistines when Saul wouldn’t (1 Sam. 14)
  • Samuel killed Agag when Saul wouldn’t (1 Sam. 15)
  • David killed Goliath when Saul wouldn’t (1 Sam. 17)

In the end, the only life Saul was credited with taking was his own (1 Sam. 31:4). Saul had many enemies but ultimately, he was his own worst enemy. When once spiritual leaders reject God’s appointment, He will raise up spiritual men to glorify Him.

February 14, 2017

Sherri Jason

We love Him because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19

No matter where we are in our relationships with the Lord Jesus, He is the perfect gentleman.  He lovingly woos and pursues His Bride on a regular basis with a perfect love that only He demonstrates.   We fail so often, yet He displays faithfulness and lavishes new mercies on us continually.

No matter your Facebook status this Valentine’s Day, focus first on your eternal status and your relationship with the perfect Bridegroom.  How can we help but love Him, when He loves us so?

February 13, 2017

Allan Dunlap

For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. Philippians 3:3

To have no confidence in the flesh is perhaps the greatest advice for me personally that I have found in Scripture. Paul went on to say that even though he has great reasons to have confidence in his flesh, it is still foolish. This is because the flesh will fail. Another, perhaps even more important, reason is that reliance on the flesh causes us to ignore the possibility of what God could do through us if we only let him.

God has blessed us with incredible talents, and we can achieve incredible things with these talents. However, we must rely on His grace, place our lives and talents in His hands, and give ourselves completely to Him, so that He can use us for His glory. Nothing should bring us more joy than accomplishments that give all glory to God.

February 11, 2017

Crawford Paul

Then Joseph could not control himself before all those who stood by him. He cried, “Make everyone go out from me.” So no one stayed with him when Joseph made himself known to his brothers. Genesis 45:1 

This scene always gets me. Joseph reveals himself to his brothers after all those years of being apart. After the rejection, the abuse, the hatred. Joseph had the power to do whatever he wanted to get back at them for all the hurt they had caused.

Yet Joseph shows kindness, grace and love. In a very small way this is a picture to us of what the Lord has done for us. Mankind had rejected him, sinned against him and hated him. Instead of wiping us all out he showed love to us.

No matter the circumstances of your life and no matter how far you have wandered from the Lord he is merciful and gracious and longs to have you back. He wants to forgive you and cleanse you and take you into his arms again.

February 10, 2017

Crawford Paul

You must not mistreat or oppress foreigners in any way. Remember, you yourselves were once foreigners in the land of Egypt. Exodus 22:21 NLT

It’s pretty easy for us to judge and mistreat those who are not saved. We can become proud in our “righteousness” and forget that we too were once strangers to God. We were far from Him and yet His love was revealed to us through the Lord Jesus. In the same way we should love others.

As we move through this world may we be characterized by compassion. As we look at those without Christ we see sheep having no shepherd.  Instead of condemning them let’s point them to the true shepherd. Instead of looking down on them let’s lift them up to the Lord and reflect the kindness of His heart.

Oh that we would love the lost like the Good shepherd who gave His life for the sheep.

February 9, 2017

Scott Duncan

She had spent all that she had and was no better, but rather grew worse. 27 When she heard about Jesus, she came behind Him in the crowd and touched His garment. 28 For she said, “If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well.”  Luke 8:26-28

This woman tried everything to stop her flow of blood that she had for 12 years.  She had spent all of her money seeking the best physician to cure her but with no avail.  Her life seemed hopeless until she came in contact with Jesus.  She had complete confidence that He would not only be able but also willing to cleanse her.  His power flowed into her at the moment she touched His garment which immediately stopped her flow of blood.

Do you have complete confidence that the Lord Jesus can heal you?  He may choose not to heal you from your physical ailments (although He can) but He will ALWAYS be willing to heal you from your disease of sin!  Our sin is the real killer but Christ Jesus can be your Savior if you’re willing to receive Him and the power He offers to wash your sins away.  Why wait?  If you haven’t already reach out to the Lord Jesus like this woman did and be healed immediately.

February 8, 2017

Deb Bingham

Are You In Financial Difficulty?

“Though the fig tree does not bud and there is no fruit on the vines, though the olive crop fails and  the fields produce no food,  though there are no sheep in the pen and cattle in the stalls, yet I will triumph in the LORD; I will rejoice in the God of my salvation! The LORD is my strength…”  Habakkuk 3:17-19a

At a time of family financial difficulty, I came upon these verses. “Difficulty” being an understatement as it was a failed business with thousands of dollars of debt. The Holy Spirit used the Word of God to free me to praise the Lord – to “rejoice in the LORD of my salvation”.  

About 5 years later, after much work and careful budgeting, the debt was cleared. I have shared the verses to others in similar straits. I can also say there is hope for God’s help in the finances. After all, 5 years or so is not a very long time in light of eternity!



February 7, 2017

Crawford Paul

 For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the Lord, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel. Ezra 7:10 ESV

This is a pretty full-proof formula for living a victorious Christian life: setting our hearts to know God’s Word, putting it into practice and then teaching it to others.  So often the busyness and stress of life take away the desire to know what God wants for us. We make excuses not to read His word and communicate with him.

The tougher task is doing what we know. Our conscience, the Word of God and the work of the Holy Spirit all drive us to holiness and yet we resist and sometimes flat out reject what we know is God’s plan for our lives. We go our own way and wander off to handle life on our own.

It doesn’t stop at living out the law of the Lord. We must also be in the pursuit of sharing it with others. The role of discipling those younger in the faith is vital to the growth of the church as well as our own lives.

So let’s be like Ezra and put these three truths into practice in our lives today!

February 6, 2017

Sherri Jason

Lead me, O Lord, in Your righteousness because of my enemies; make Your way straight before my face. Psalm 5:8

It is comforting to know that even though we may have opposition in our lives, the Lord can and will lead us through any situation if we allow Him.  So often, however, we get caught up in our fleshly responses to our enemies and don’t really seek His leading.  One confrontation can send us along a path of worry, anger, spite, gossip, manipulation in a circumstance. Yet, if we stay in tune with our Lord, He will lead us in His righteousness and reveal the “straight way” in the situation.

Let’s remember to seek Him in all circumstances.  He is trustworthy and knows what is best and we can have faith that whatever path He reveals to us will be the perfect one.

February 4, 2017

Pat Van Horne

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 NKJV

If the theory that the Bible was written by men and isn’t the divinely inspired word of God were true, then the short text portions of the unnamed woman who poured out 300 denari’s worth of perfume to anoint her Lord for His burial in the first two Gospels, would most likely have been excluded from every single written account because of its seeming “irrelevance” (Matt 26:7-13, Mark 14:3-9). Surely Matthew and Mark would have wanted to tell more captivating and riveting stories of Jesus than this? The woman has no identity, so why even bother to mention it?

Even John said that the Saviour performed many miracles that weren’t recorded, and I’m sure that he could have told us all of them if he had wanted to (John 20:30-31). But if the Bible is just someone’s take on the life of Jesus Christ, we’d possibly know every single story and event from the 12 disciples’ time with Him. What the Lord states in Mark 14:9 that this nameless devoted woman will always be mentioned and remembered, only further shows that small details were crucial for the Holy Spirit in composing all 66 books of the Bible. We don’t need to know the woman’s name when we consider that our Lord knew who she was and each of her sins, just as He knows us and ours, and He has graciously forgiven them.

Thank You Father for providing us with a model in Your divinely inspired written word of how to go about life and service for the kingdom: Completely anonymous, not sounding a trumpet, but knowing that we are to obey what You have instructed us to do until Christ’s return. Help us to do so faithfully and in earnest expectation of spending eternity with You.