Encouraging, Living, Reaching



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.



February 3, 2017

Lynn DeGroff

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5

Proverbs 3:5 is perhaps one of the most well known verses in Scripture. It is so simple, and yet it can be so very difficult at times.

But why is that? It is most certainly not because He is in any way not worthy of our trust: He who created us for His glory, who upholds all things by the word of His power, who never has and never will fail, who works all things together for good to those who love Him, to those who are the called according to His purpose!

That’s where I’ve gotten myself into trouble; where I’ve struggled to trust with all my heart. It’s been in realizing that there are parts of my heart that I’ve still tried to plan my own way. Life gets so busy and I so quickly become focused on all of it and how to make it run smoothly. I never intend, or even consider, to leave the Lord out of any of it. In fact, I want so much for all that I do to bring glory to God. But sometimes I forget that it’s in and through His purposes that I am to be bringing Him glory! Not my own.

I am so thankful that I have a Father who so patiently works to fulfill His purposes in me. And I’m so glad I don’t have to figure it all out, but that I can just trust in Him!

In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Prov. 3:6



February 2, 2017

Mike Dilione

For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come. 1 Timothy 4:8

I don’t have to exercise anymore! The first time I read this verse I was filled with joy. I do not enjoy working out, but that is not what this verse is talking about at all. I am sure we can even look up other passages that state we should take care of our bodies. The point is that exercise profits a little. Now compare it to godliness. Godliness improves our whole life overall. It is profitable not only for us now in this life, but also for our eternal life with Christ.

What is godliness then? The Greek word used for godliness is Eusebeia. It really means having a reverence for God. We are to approach Him with the awesome respect that is due to Him. Improving in godliness improves our relationship with Him and profits us in eternity. Now don’t forget to exercise today!



February 1, 2017

Andrew Brown

Proverbs 10 makes no less than 18 references to the mouth or parts of it. Two instances are a bit veiled, “a prating fool”, in verse 8 & 10. Prating is absurd talk with great seriousness. In Hebrew the word is sometimes translated as lip, edge or border. An absurd talking fool! That’s a serious charge. The uses of words about the mouth, lips, are tongue are both positive and negative, though most appear to be more negative.

I’m reminded of the words of the Lord Jesus, in Matthew 15:18-19 “but those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witnesses, blasphemies.”

James warns of the tongue as well. It is the mouth that is the signal to what is in the heart. It is the mouth that echoes the darkest thoughts or the brightest tones. Our mouth can signal wickedness or the glorious soul cleansing blood of Christ.

 

Come thou fount of every blessing
Tune my heart to sing thy praise
Streams of mercy never ceasing
Call for songs of loudest praise



January 31, 2017

Allan Dunlap

“My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.” – I John 2:1-2

The Scriptures give us instruction to help us avoid stumbling into sin. However, John acknowledges the reality that Christians are still sinners who still struggle with sin. This verse teaches a comforting truth that even when we sin, our advocate is Jesus Christ, the righteous one. He was the perfect and holy sacrifice for our sin who declares believers righteous in the sight of God the father. We must not let our sins hold us back and should not hesitate to confess our sins to Him who is faithful in forgiving our sins and cleansing us from unrighteousness.



January 30, 2017

Andrew Brown

Then Saul sent messengers to take David, and when they saw the company of the prophets prophesying, and Samuel standing as head over them, the Spirit of God came upon the messengers of Saul, and they also prophesied. When it was told Saul, he sent other messengers, and they also prophesied. And Saul sent messengers again the third time, and they also prophesied.  Then he himself went to Ramah and came to the great well that is in Secu. And he asked, “Where are Samuel and David?” And one said, “Behold, they are at Naioth in Ramah.”  And he went there to Naioth in Ramah. And the Spirit of God came upon him also, and as he went he prophesied until he came to Naioth in Ramah. And he too stripped off his clothes, and he too prophesied before Samuel and lay naked all that day and all that night. Thus it is said, “Is Saul also among the prophets?” 1 Sam 19:20-24 

Saul, the King of Israel sent messengers to take David from the refuge he found with Samuel in Ramah. Three times Saul sent messengers who were overcome with the power of the Holy Spirit of God and they prophesied! 

Saul himself then comes and again the Spirit of God comes upon him and he prophesies! Upon arriving with Samuel, David and Saul’s messengers, who are under the Spirit of God, Saul strips naked and prophesies. Obviously, the evil intentions of man are thwarted by the plans of God through His Holy Spirit. It is striking that in the company of believers, under the influence of the Holy Spirit we are naked and bare before Him. There is no room for fleshly boasting or titles. There is unity under the Spirit’s control, no discord, no strife no angst. What a beautiful site! Even more striking is that even the most crass and fleshly believer can speak forth the glories and praises of God when under the control of the Holy Spirit of God.



January 27, 2017

Mike Donahue

How can I be sure I am saved?

But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness. Romans 4:5 

It’s been said that the Colt 45 was the gun that cleaned up the West, and Romans 4:5 is the verse that clears up any difficulty about the role of our works in salvation. I can be absolutely sure I am saved if I simply believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. He justifies, or declares to be in the right, those who admit they are ungodly and trust alone in who Jesus is and what He has done for them. It’s not the amount of faith that saves, but the object the faith is placed in. If I rely on myself and my own efforts, that is work and Jesus can’t save me based on that. If I stop trusting myself and start trusting Him, that’s when He can deliver me from the guilt of my sin.



January 26, 2017

Scott Duncan

Even a fool is counted wise when he holds his peace;
When he shuts his lips, he is considered perceptive.  Proverbs 17:28

Proverbs has much to say about the usage of our tongue.  Many times we’re encouraged to refrain from saying too much or venting our feelings but rather holding our thoughts back until it becomes necessary to reveal them.  Proverbs associates: 1. Foolishness with an unruly mouth and 2. Wisdom with the self control to hold back unhealthy words.  
 
How has your day gone thus far?  Would people count you as wise for holding your peace or foolish for not knowing when to keep your mouth shut?  May we seek to be wise in God’s eyes and not our own.


January 25, 2017

Crawford Paul

” Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.”  But he said, “Oh, my Lord, please send someone else.” Exodus 4:12-13

Moses is having an argument with God. He’s trying to convince God that he’s not the right man for the job.  He’s afraid. If I were to put myself in the sandals of Moses it’s very possible I would be too. After all, going before the most powerful man in the known world at that time is no small task.  God was trying to convince Moses that he had nothing to worry about because it would be the Lord that was actually going to be coming up with the words. All Moses had to do was op[en his mouth and speak those words from the Lord.

This is not too different from you and I in 2017.  We have been given a message from the Lord to share with the world.  Most in the world are not near as terrifying as Pharaoh was. Yet do tell ourselves that we are not the right person for the job? Do we excuse our inaction by convincing ourselves that someone else will do it? Or maybe we are like Moses and ask the Lord to find someone else to do what the Lord has asked us to do.

Let’s be bold, courageous and obedient to share the message of the gospel and rely on the Lord to give us the words to share.



January 24, 2017

Andrew Brown

and begged Him that they might only touch the hem of His garment. And as many as touched it were made perfectly well” Matt 14: 36 

And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word.” Luke 10:39 

One group sought proximity. They begged to be near. Mary didn’t beg she just came near to Him. One groups sought healing and in reality begged to be part of the healing. Mary simply wanted to be intimately connected to Him. One group was made perfectly well! While it isn’t in the text I get the sense they moved in, were healed and moved out. Mary came in and sat at the feet of the Christ and listened.

I would love to have perfect health. I would love to see my brothers and sisters in Christ who are suffering physical and mental infirmities healed, and I will in that day.

Until then, I want to choose, “that good part” (v42) and be near Him, submitted to Him, hearing His word. I will beg Him for intimacy now, to hear His voice and be at His feet. Lord give me more intimacy with You.