Sunday Service





It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without a heart. —Mahatma Gandhi


red fall leafVery truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. John 12:24–25, NIV

Dear Father in heaven, we long to be your children and to grow closer and closer to eternal life with all its goodness and truth. In your love to us your children, bless us as we walk on earth under great stress and temptation. Keep us from going astray, and let what you have placed in our hearts grow toward perfection, to your glory and your honor. May our hearts always know the joy that our struggle and suffering are not in vain, that if we are faithful, we may bring forth the fruit of righteousness. Amen.



Daily Dig

Caffeine for your conscience


ChestnutThe sun sends its rays upon us directly, paying no heed that we look askance at one another. The rose smells sweetly both to the Jew and to the Christian. And so God is God of all, and whatever he says, he says in the same manner to all that are ready to listen. If, then, we look to our own rules, books, and works which we have made ourselves, and which differ in many thousands of ways, we are irreconcilable. But if, with due attention and honor, we accept God’s ideas regarding our lives, reconciliation is very easy.

Source: A Perfect Reformation



Verse of the Day—


Thoughts on Today’s Verse…

The wicked fear the triumph of goodness, holiness, and righteousness. They fear not being in control. They fear death overtaking them. The righteous desire the triumph of goodness, holiness, and righteousness. They offer their life to be controlled by the Holy Spirit of God. They recognize death is an enemy, but one that has been conquered by their Savior. In times like these, isn’t it comforting to know that the fear of the wicked is really all the wicked can be sure of receiving!

My Prayer…

O LORD God, please bring your justice, mercy, and righteousness to triumph in the lives of all who seek after you and your will. Please make my heart more like yours in regard to evil and those who perpetuate it and stir in me a deeper passion to lead those to Christ who do not know you. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.




September 24

When I awake, I am still with Thee.–PS. cxxxix. 18.

Let the glow of love destroy
Cold obedience faintly given;
Wake our hearts to strength and joy
With the flushing eastern heaven.

With his first waking consciousness, he can set himself to take a serious, manly view of the day before him. He ought to know pretty well on what lines his difficulty is likely to come, whether in being irritable, or domineering, or sharp in his bargains, or self-absorbed, or whatever it be; and now, in this quiet hour, he can take a good, full look at his enemy, and make up his mind to beat him. It is a good time, too, for giving his thoughts a range quite beyond himself,–beyond even his own moral struggles,–a good time, there in the stillness, for going into the realm of other lives. His wife,–what needs has she for help, for sympathy, that he can meet? His children,–how can he make the day sweeter to them? This acquaintance, who is having a hard time; this friend, who dropped a word to you yesterday that you hardly noticed in your hurry, but that comes up to you now, revealing in him some finer trait, some deeper hunger, than you had guessed before,–now you can think these things over.



Quote of the Day

“When you read the story of the death of Lazarus (John 11:1-45), you have to ask the question, “Why did Jesus delay in coming to see Lazarus?”
-by Jack Graham (from Why Didn’t Jesus Raise Lazarus Immediately)

Today’s Answer

Did the Disciples Steal Jesus’s Body?

Alfred Edersheim

After successfully sending Jesus to the cross, the members of the Sanhedrin feared that His disciples would sneak in and steal the body. They asked for and received soldiers to guard the tomb. Although they didn’t believe such a thing could happen, they took Jesus’s claim that He would rise again in three days in a literal sense. But His disciples, on the other hand, don’t seem to have shared the same conviction, despite Christ’s promise.

On the day of the resurrection, two of them set off toward the village of Emmaus and away from the tomb (>Luke 24:13). Instead of expressing hope that Jesus had risen or would rise, they showed their disappointment that He had not fulfilled their hopes of a present Messianic kingdom (Luke 24:21). Even news of His missing body simply confused them. Jesus had given them plenty of warning about His impending death and—to a lesser extent—His resurrection. But it wasn’t a bodily resurrection they expected.

Given their background and beliefs, the disciples had no real motive to steal the body. They might have expected a spiritual resurrection—that is, a continuation of His work and ministry or His vindication after death. At most, they might have believed Him to have meant a ghostly appearance, since most Jews believed the soul continued after death. However, they had no real foundation for expecting the body to physically return to life and, thus, no need to do what the leaders in Israel feared.

In fact, the disciples’ radical change concerning their belief about the resurrection—not to mention the transformation from fearful hiding to bold proclamation—proves that, at the least, they themselves became convinced that Jesus rose from the dead. Although faced with scorn from Jews and Greeks alike, they preached not just a continuation of Jesus’s work, but a Savior who lived again.

Adapted from The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah by Alfred Edersheim (Book V, Chapter XVI).



King of the Sunrise


Psalm 19:1-6

The heavens proclaim the glory of God (v.1).

One morning before getting out of bed, I heard a radio announcer commenting on something other than news headlines and traffic backups. She was describing the sunrise, saying it was incredible and even camera-worthy. Sure enough, a glance out the window revealed an exquisite array of colors and light. Low lavender clouds embedded in a pale yellow sky grazed rooftops in the distance. To the north, fire-colored clouds hovered against a deep, turquoise backdrop.

As the sunrise melted away, I thought of what David wrote: “The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship. . . . They speak without a sound or word” (Psalm 19:1,3). To people who don’t know God, the sky and all it contains shouts, “Yes, God exists!”

This message is available to everyone who lives on earth. The clouds and sun harmonize to send their wordless confirmation of God “throughout the earth” (v.4). To those on the other side of the planet, the stars and moon say the same thing. There’s never a time when the sky doesn’t testify to God in our world. Dark or light, it’s always there. “Day after day [the heavens] continue to speak; night after night they make [God] known” (v.2).

Why does God reveal Himself in such a continual, powerful way to human beings? The answer is simple. He wants a restored relationship with those He’s created. He wants “everyone to be saved and to understand the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). God’s truth extends beyond His existence. It includes His plan of redemption through the death and resurrection of His Son Jesus. It also includes all the aspects of His character, which is more amazing and beautiful than the most fabulous sunrise ever seen.  —Jennifer Schuldt


Read Psalm 8:3-6 and consider why the psalmist was in awe that God would reveal Himself to human beings. Read Romans 1:20 to see how God reveals Himself through creation.


How are you declaring the glory of God in your life? Which of God’s invisible qualities are most obvious to you when you observe the natural world?


September 24
Gold and Silver… 
For reading & meditation – Mark 1:14-28
“After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God.” (v.14)

Yesterday we looked at the final answer to dealing with unmerited suffering: reminding ourselves that in God’s universe, He only allows what He can use. Look again at the words of our text for today: “After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God.” After the finest and truest of prophets had been put in prison and his preaching silenced by a wicked and unjust king, Jesus came preaching the good news about God. How could there be good news about the God who had allowed such a thing to happen? But that is exactly what Jesus did proclaim – and proclaimed unashamedly. And why? Because Jesus knew that everything God allowed, He would use. By His action, He rejected the idea that a man like John should be exempt from suffering, and that God isn’t good when He permits such things to happen. Can you see now why God allows us to go through suffering? He does it so that, in the fires of affliction, we learn the secret of an alchemy which transmutes the base metal of injustice, and consequent suffering into the gold of character and the silver of God’s purposes. In one place in the New Testament, Jesus refers to being “perfected” by His death on the cross(Luke 13:32, AV). Just think of it: the worst thing that can happen to a man – crucifixion – turns out to be the best that can happen to Him – perfection. This is the attitude we must cultivate if we are not only to face, but use suffering.
O my Father, how can I ever sufficiently thank You for showing me this way of life? Nothing stops it – permanently. When men and circumstances concentrate on doing their worst – You bring out of it Your best. I see, I follow, and I am unafraid. Amen.
For Further Study
1. What was David’s declaration?
2. What is your declaration today?

From Right from the Heart by Bryant Wright


In that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east.

-Zechariah 14:4

I love football season—the fans cheering, the big games, the great rivalries. With every new season there’s always anticipation and hope. Will the players rise to the challenge, or will some bad play cost the team a game? Or even a season? And certainly no play in football is more important than the touchdown . . . the goal of every drive.

Did you know the Bible speaks about a touchdown, the greatest touchdown ever? It’s something biblical Jews and Christians alike will agree on. The Bible says it’s going to happen just as time is running out, at the end of the game. The Messiah is going to touch down on the Mount of Olives in Israel. The Scriptures teach us the great touchdown will be made by a Man named Jesus.

He’s coming for those who are on His team and to judge those who are not. His touchdown will mean victory for His team and lasting defeat for the opponents. The question is, are you going to be one who celebrates His touchdown, or one who loses the ultimate game of life?

Order your own copy of Right from the Heart by Bryant Wright




False gods

O Lord, my strength and my fortress, my refuge in time of distress, to you the nations will come from the ends of the earth and say, “Our fathers possessed nothing but false gods, worthless idols that did them no good. – Jeremiah 16:19
We like to call ourselves sophisticated. We trust in scientific theory and read the Wall Street Journal. We subscribe to the theory, secretly or not, that mankind has evolved intellectually and that we are far superior to our simple-minded, superstitious ancestors. We smirk when we read how they worshipped man-made gods–those deaf, dumb, and blind pieces of wood and gold.
Yet at the same time, we’re on our knees worshipping more subtle, but just as tangible, false gods–the “isms” of our day: workaholism, as if the fruit of endless labors will finally bring satisfaction; legalism, as if being good and performing flawlessly will secure peace; intellectualism, as if we could get so smart that we would finally feel fulfilled; and materialism, as if some possession could bring us joy.
The first step in the worship of false gods is exchanging truth for lies. “You will not surely die,” was the serpent’s lie to Eve in the garden. Cling to the truth. Once it’s discarded, you’ll believe anything.
The truth of the Bible doesn’t change with our circumstances of life; rather, it defines and weeds out all falsehood. Remember Jesus’ words, “…the truth will set you free.”
“A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.” – Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

What Jesus Did! ‘Not So Among You!’

Jesus called all the followers together. Jesus said, “You know that the rulers of the non-Jewish people love to show their power over the people. And their important leaders love to use all their authority over the people. But it should not be that way with you. If one of you wants to become great, then he must serve you like a servant.”

Key Thought

Not among you! Jesus was dramatic and emphatic. It doesn’t matter what the latest leadership trend may be! It doesn’t matter what the culture around us dictates! It doesn’t matter if that is not what we’ve seen! In Jesus’ Kingdom, leaders are not bosses and leadership is not about exerting authority. Leadership is about service and example.
Jesus’ words are made even more powerful by his example. He doesn’t just say it; he shows it in what he does to prepare his disciples for his death and how he goes to his death for them and for us.

Today’s Prayer

Holy and loving Almighty God, you have all power and might, yet you demonstrated your love and leadership in Jesus. I pray that you will pour out your Spirit upon us today, especially our leaders, so that we can have more leaders who display the character, courage, and charity of Jesus. I pray especially that you make me a more deligent and selfless servant. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Today’s Verses in Context

Jesus was going to Jerusalem. His twelve followers were with him. While they were walking, Jesus gathered the followers together and spoke to them privately. Jesus said to them, “We are going to Jerusalem. The Son of Man will be given to the leading priests and the teachers of the law. The priests and teachers of the law will say that the Son of Man must die. They will give the Son of Man to the non-Jewish people. Those people will laugh at him and beat him with whips, and then they will kill him on a cross. But on the third day after his death, he will be raised to life again.” Then Zebedee’s wife came to Jesus. Her sons were with her. The mother bowed before Jesus and asked him to do something for her. Jesus said, “What do you want?” She said, “Promise that one of my sons will sit at your right side in your kingdom. And promise that the other son will sit at your left side in your kingdom.” So Jesus said to the sons, “You don’t understand what you are asking. Can you accept the kind of suffering that I must have ?” The sons answered, “Yes, we can!” Jesus said to them, “Truly you will suffer the same things that I will suffer. But I cannot choose the person that will sit at my right side or my left side. My Father has decided who will have those places. He has prepared those places for those people. Those places belong to them.” The other ten followers heard this. They became angry with the two brothers. Jesus called all the followers together. Jesus said, “You know that the rulers of the non-Jewish people love to show their power over the people. And their important leaders love to use all their authority over the people. But it should not be that way with you. If one of you wants to become great, then he must serve you like a servant. If one of you wants to become first, then he must serve you like a slave. It is the same with the Son of Man. The Son of Man did not come for other people to serve him. The Son of Man came to serve other people. The Son of Man cameto give his life to save many people.” When Jesus and his followers were leaving Jericho, many, many people followed Jesus. There were two blind men sitting by the road. The blind men heard that Jesus was coming by. So the blind men shouted, “Lord, Son of David, please help us!” All the people criticized the blind men. They told the blind men not to speak. But the blind men shouted more and more, “Lord, Son of David, please help us!” Jesus stopped and said to the blind men, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind men answered, “Lord, we want to be able to see.” Jesus felt sorry for the blind men. Jesus touched their eyes and they were able to see. Then the men followed Jesus.

Related Scripture Readings

Now I have something to say to the elders in your group. I am also an elder. I myself have seen Christ’s sufferings. And I will share in the glory that will be shown to us. I beg you to take care of the group of people that you are responsible for. They are God’s flock. Watch over that flock because you want to, not because you are forced to do it. That is how God wants it. Do it because you are happy to serve, not because you want money. Don’t be like a ruler over those people you are responsible for. But be good examples to those people. Then when the Ruling Shepherd (Christ) comes, you will get a crown. That crown will be very glorious, and it will never lose its beauty.

Remember your leaders. They taught God’s message to you. Remember how they lived and died, and copy their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Later the apostles began to argue about which one of them was the most important. But Jesus said to them, “The kings of the world rule over their people. Men who have authority over other people make the people call them ‘great helpers {of the people}.’ But you must not be like that. The greatest person should become like the youngest person! Leaders should be like servants. Who is more important: the person sitting at the table or the person serving him? You think the person sitting at the table is more important. But I am like a servant among you!

Passion for Praise: ‘You Stretch Them All Out’

Let all that I am praise the LORD. O LORD my God, how great you are! … You stretch out the starry curtain of the heavens; you lay out the rafters of your home in the rain clouds. You make the clouds your chariot; you ride upon the wings of the wind.

The Daily Word of Hope Devotional

Bible Fun Fact: The Levites had to shave their whole body as part of purifying themselves (Num 8:6-7).

Icy Paint Buckets

He who is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much. He who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. If therefore you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? If you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own? Luke 16:10 WEB

It was a cold day and the wind coming in off the ocean caused the paint in our buckets to have small slivers of ice floating in them. I was a new employee at this company, and we were painting a condominium right on the oceanfront during the winter, the off season.

I worked hard, partly to just keep warm, and the rest because I try to do everything as unto the Lord: wholeheartedly. I have found that: 1) When you concentrate on your work, the day will go by faster. 2) Having an attitude that you work directly for the Lord, and that He put you here, will give your job new meaning.

After a while, the foreman came to me and in a hushed tone, explained that I was making the rest of the crew look bad. They were doing just enough to get by, and it seemed a coordinated effort to stretch the job out as long as possible. As you can probably guess, within a month I was the foreman, and that guy was on unemployment. In time, God gave me my own business. He that can be trusted with a little, can be trusted with a lot.

I try to work for the Lord, wherever He places me. I have pumped septic tanks, painted houses, changed transmissions, polished plumbing parts, installed servers at a data center, and written software. He would open the door, and I would step through it. If I was faithful, He promoted me, even if it meant closing that door and opening another one somewhere else.

You can prosper wherever you are. Joseph prospered while in prison. If God put you there, work hard and keep a good attitude. It will lead to promotion or something better. How you behave at work directly reflects on the God that you serve. Be faithful in what God has given you. Work hard at it, for there will be a reward.

Prayer: Heavenly Father please give me the grace to perform my best. Equip me with the skills that I need and help me make the right decisions. Open the next door for me, in the name of Jesus Christ I pray.





Consider What Your Actions Say

For I was ashamed to ask the king for a band of soldiers and horsemen to protect us against the enemy on our way, since we had told the king, ‘The hand of our God is for good on all who seek him, and the power of his wrath is against all who forsake him.’ Ezra 8:22

A convoy on many accounts would have been desirable for the pilgrim band, but Ezra was ashamed to ask for one. He feared that the heathen king might think his professions of faith in God were mere hypocrisy or might imagine that the God of Israel was not able to preserve His own worshipers. He could not bring his mind to depend on human instruments in a matter so evidently of the Lord, and therefore the caravan set out with no visible protection, and yet guarded by Him who is the sword and shield of His people.

It is to be feared that few believers sense this holy jealousy for God; even those who in some measure walk by faith occasionally spoil the sparkle of their life by seeking help from man. It is a most blessed thing to have no props and no buttresses, but to stand upright on the Rock of Ages, upheld by the Lord alone. Would any believers seek government funds for their church if they remembered that the Lord is dishonored by their asking for Caesar’s help? As if the Lord could not supply the needs of His own cause! Would we run so quickly to friends and relatives for assistance if we remembered that the Lord is glorified by our obvious reliance on His solitary arm? My soul, wait only on God.

“But,” says one, “are means never to be used?” Certainly they are. But our fault seldom lies in their neglect: Far more frequently it springs from foolishly believing in them instead of believing in God. Few run too far in neglecting the arm of man; but many sin greatly in making too much of it.

So learn, dear reader, to glorify the Lord by leaving means untried, if by using them you would dishonor the name of the Lord.



God’s Messengers
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
September 24, 2017

“Surely the Sovereign Lord does nothing without revealing His plan to His servants the prophets.” Amos 3:7

“You are called to free workplace believers from the Esau life.” Those were the words spoken to me years ago by someone God sent into my life. I had been in the midst of trying to understand some catastrophic events that shook my world. Years later, I was able to see that God gave this person supernatural insight that revealed God’s calling on my life.

God still uses His prophets today to reveal His plans in the lives of His people. I have seen this Scripture proved over and over in the lives of people. It is as though God sends out His “scouts” to inform His servants what is ahead for them. Sometimes He does this because He knows the event will require such changes in that person’s life and so He wants to assure them of His love. I have experienced the Lord using me in this way in the life of other individuals. God did this in the life of Moses. He came to Moses at the burning bush to reveal His purposes for the people of Israel and His call on Moses to free them.

Has God placed individuals in your life to speak His plans for you? Are your eyes and ears spiritually sensitive so that you will know who are messengers of God? Elisha had a servant who could not see or hear with spiritual eyes and ears until Elisha prayed they would be opened. Then the servant could see the great army of God protecting them (see 2 Kings 6:17). Pray that you might see and hear with the Spirit. He may desire to reveal His purposes and plans through another individual.



Happy, Blessed Sunday to all of you!!  God is good, isn’t He?  
Well, yesterday was September 23, and some people were sure the Rapture was going to happen, my one son included……it didn’t happen.  
I recall Sundays when I was a child……going to Sunday Mass at our Catholic Church……our Mom telling us, “Behave in Church.  God’s all-seeing eye is there and will see everything you do.”  And, sure enough, there was the eye….above the crucifix with the Jesus image hanging on it…..that eye, inside a pyramid, just glaring at me and making me fear to even move……why did the Catholics want to physically FEAR God and instill such fear in their children?  They have their Pope, who lays out laws and the people dare not go against these laws!  Why?  Is this truly God’s way for us?  Was I right or wrong to break away from Catholicism?  I always had questions that the Sisters at school had no answers for and so, they would shut me up with their blackboard pointers!  But, the epitome came on one Saturday, when I went into the confessional to give my weekly confession……the Father calmly informed me that HE would tell me my sins!  It was Father Robert…..he thought he could get away with this because he was a Priest……well, I just as calmly got up, told him that he had no right to tell me my sins, and I walked out of the Catholic Church and intended to never return.  I was done with THEIR so-called “one, true Religion” with its outdated rules and laws.  Oh, I had quarrels at home……..insisting my way was right, for ME…….but, I was true to my intent……..only to have my daughter join the Catholic religion years later…………now she and her one daughter go to Mass on Sundays, dressed in blue jeans with no hats on their heads……..if that church is God’s home on earth, shouldn’t respect be shown by dressing properly?  Oh well, my experience with being Catholic is mine… my daughter, it’s all for show, I guess……there’s no Faith involved………no passion for Christ………..
Have a blessed Sunday!!!

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