Serving Up Sunday

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Sunday Prayer1

Daily Prayer for October 28

Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt

Sacrifice thank offerings to God, fulfill your vows to the Most High, and call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me. Psalm 50:14–15, NIV

Dear Father in heaven, we want to praise you together and to thank you with all our hearts for your goodness and your deliverance from our many needs. Accept our thanks, and help us go on our way with ever joyful hearts. Make us ready for whatever you have prepared for us, your children. Bless us in our individual lives and bless us in our community. Let your Spirit shed its rays into all places to comfort people’s hearts and to restore and strengthen their faith. May your name be praised forevermore. Amen.



yellow pillar candleGod poured out over all flesh the gift he had foreordained, his Spirit, to oppose the mighty spirits of unbelief and perversity. In this way he breathed new life into diseased faith. In this way he freed the ancient documents from all obscurity and ambiguity by the bright light of the Word and of understanding.…Accordingly, the Holy Spirit now really has overcome all the old ambiguities of obscure parables by proclaiming openly and clearly the entire mystery through the new prophecy flowing in copious streams from him. If you draw from his springs, you will never thirst for any other teaching; no feverish craving after questions will ever consume you again.

Source: The Early Christians





Verse of the Day

Inspirational illustration of 1 Peter 1:24-25

Thoughts on Today’s Verse…

As the seasons change, the leaves fall, and the grass dies, we are reminded once again of how short our lives are. Despite the rapid advancements of technology, our deepest needs are addressed only by the eternal and proven will of God in Scripture. Whether you get your Scripture from the Bible on your mobile device or from an old family Bible, access it today. Don’t you need a dose of the eternal today?

My Prayer…

As I age, I am constantly reminded, O God, of my transitory stay on earth and your eternal reign in heaven. Give me a sense of my place before you as I seek your will in your Word. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.





God’s Holy Fire: ‘I Know All the Things You Do’

[In his revelation to John, Jesus said,] “Write this letter to the angel of the church in Sardis. This is the message from the one who has the sevenfold Spirit of God and the seven stars: ‘I know all the things you do, and that you have a reputation for being alive — but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what little remains, for even what is left is almost dead. I find that your actions do not meet the requirements of my God.'”

Illustration of Revelation 3:1-2 NLT — "Write this letter to the angel of the church in Sardis."

Key Thought

Jesus knows us. He knows us personally. He knows our churches. He knows our strengths and our weaknesses. He knows our opportunities and our obstacles. The letters to the seven churches in Revelation chapters 2 and 3 are Jesus’ way of saying that he knows us, loves us, and wants us to follow him faithfully. The Holy Spirit, in “sevenfold” perfection, is Jesus’ presence in us and among us. The Spirit is a divine partner with Jesus knowing us, convicting us, being present in us, and empowering us to be all that God wants us to be. The Spirit works in us, through us, and for us. So let’s be challenged to listen and respond with obedience to what Jesus says to us and what the Spirit makes clear to us so that we can truly live as Jesus’ bodily presence in the world.

Today’s Prayer

Almighty God, I pray that you will wake up your people through the message of Jesus and the work of the Holy Spirit among us. In the name of the Lord Jesus, I pray. Amen.


Passion for Praise: ‘It’s Time!’

Illustration of Psalm 107:43 MESSAGE — If you are really wise, you'll think this over — it's time you appreciated GOD'S deep love.


Spiritual Warfare: ‘Trust God: He Knows What He’s Doing’

God’s Power for Our Battles

Illustration of Isaiah 55:8-9 NCV — The Lord says, "My thoughts are not like your thoughts. Your ways are not like my ways. Just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts."

Lord, forgive me for always trying to get You to fulfill MY agenda rather than being submissive to Your ways and methods and Your perfect timing. I usually think I have all the answers I need, but the truth is that I am usually ignorant of what really needs to happen and clueless as to how to make a difference. So I’m asking You today to use me to bring You glory in SPITE of my inability to know what to do or how to help. Lead me on this journey and teach me Your plans along the way. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


Note from Jesus:

‘Be Faithful!’

Dear Friend,

I want you to feel the urgency in today’s words that Paul wrote to Timothy. They come from the last of Paul’s writings to his son in the faith. These words plead for Timothy to join Paul in his life of faith in two specific ways:

  1. Be faithful to the call he had received to proclaim My message and do it with truth and passion.
  2. Join Paul in his last days so that he could be of assistance to Paul and so that these days could have an impact on the lost world and strengthen new churches to live for Me and the kingdom of God.

Paul was realistic but not pessimistic about the future awaiting him. He was fully confident in My coming with power and glory. This faith in Me helped him to remain loyal to Me, to be strong in his faith, to be inspired by the Scriptures, and to be faithful even to death. He was urging Timothy to be faithful, too.

As Paul often did at the end of his letters, he mentioned people who were both faithful and unfaithful to him and to Me. This is just another way for Paul to appeal to Timothy’s heart and challenge him to do the following:

  • [S]tay focused and be alert at all times.
  • Accomplish the good work of an evangelist, and complete the ministry to which you [Timothy] have been called.
  • [L]ove and long for His [My] appearing.
  • Come to me [Paul] … as soon as you can.
  • Bring Mark with you because he is useful in this work and will help look after me.
  • [P]ick up the cloak I [Paul] left with Carpus in Troas, and bring the scrolls — especially the parchments.
  • [W]atch your back because he [Alexander the metal worker] has gone overboard to oppose our message.
  • Give my regards to Prisca, Aquila, and everyone over at Onesiphorus’s house.

At first glance, these excerpts from the verses below appear to be miscellaneous instructions and requests thrown in at the end of a letter. However, look closely, and you will see Paul’s focus on being faithful in every area of life: to all the people in his life, to the ministry he had been called to complete, and to the people to whom I had called him to mentor and serve.

Most of all, Paul finished with a reminder of how I was faithful to him even when everyone else abandoned him:

He [Me, Jesus] stood by me, strengthened me, and backed the truth I proclaimed with power…

Paul’s example of faithfulness was a challenge for Timothy to be faithful in every area of his life, his relationships, and his ministry. I want it to be a challenge to you to be faithful in every area of your life as well!

Verses to Live

Are you a faithful person?

Do you live up to your word?

Do you stand by your friends?

Are you committed to faithfully living out your commitments to Me?

I hope Paul’s words to Timothy challenge you to be faithful in every area of your life and ministry. Be faithful!

And now I bring you this charge before God and Jesus the Anointed, the one destined to judge the living and the dead, at His glorious appearance and His kingdom: go out and preach the word! Go whether it’s an opportune time or not! Reprove, warn, and encourage; but do so with all the patience and instruction needed to fulfill your calling because a time will come when some will no longer tolerate sound teaching. Instead, they will live by their own desires; they’ll scratch their itching ears by surrounding themselves with teachers who approve of their lifestyles and tell them what they want to hear. They will turn away from the real truth you have to offer because they prefer the sound of fables and myths. But you must stay focused and be alert at all times. Tolerate suffering. Accomplish the good work of an evangelist, and complete the ministry to which you have been called.

For I am already being poured out, and the last drops of this drink offering are all that remain; it’s almost time for me to leave. I have fought the good fight, I have stayed on course and finished the race, and through it all, I have kept believing. I look forward to what’s in store for me: a crown of righteousness that the Lord — the always right and just judge — will give me that day (but it is not only for me, but for all those who love and long for His appearing).

Come to me, Timothy, as soon as you can. You see, Demas has fallen for this world, abandoned me, and headed off to Thessalonica. Crescens took off for Galatia. Titus has gone to Dalmatia. Luke is the only one left. Bring Mark with you because he is useful in this work and will help look after me. I sent Tychicus to Ephesus. On your way here, pick up the cloak I left with Carpus in Troas, and bring the scrolls — especially the parchments.

Keep your eye out for Alexander the coppersmith! He came against me with all sorts of evil — may the Lord pay him back accordingly — so watch your back because he has gone overboard to oppose our message.

When it was time for my first defense, no one showed up to support me. Everyone abandoned me (may it not be held against them) except the Lord. He stood by me, strengthened me, and backed the truth I proclaimed with power so it may be heard by all the non-Jews. He rescued me, pried open the lion’s jaw, and snatched me from its teeth. And I know the Lord will continue to rescue me from every trip, trap, snare, and pitfall of evil and carry me safely to His heavenly kingdom. May He be glorified throughout eternity. Amen.

Give my regards to Prisca, Aquila, and everyone over at Onesiphorus’s house.Erastus stayed in Corinth, and I left Trophimus in Miletus because he was sick. Try your best to come before winter blows in. Eubulus says hello and so do Pudens, Linus, Claudia, and all the brothers and sisters. May the Lord be with your spirit, and may His grace be with you. Amen.
(2 Timothy 4:1-22)

Response in Prayer

O glorious Father, may the words of my mouth, the thoughts in my mind, my involvement with others, and the actions in my life all show an unquenchable desire to live faithfully for You. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.



National Chocolate Day October 28


National Chocolate Day is observed annually on October 28.  While there are many specific chocolate related holidays throughout the year, National Chocolate Day celebrates all things chocolate.  As America’s favorite flavor, chocolate is well deserving of its own day of honor and celebration.  (Some sources designate July 7 or December 28 as Chocolate Day or International Chocolate Day.)

How is chocolate made?

Chocolate comes from the seed of the tropical Theobroma cacao tree.  Cacao, which has been cultivated for at least three millennia, is grown in Mexico, Central America and Northern South America.  The earliest known documentation of using cacao seeds is from around 1100 BC.  The cacao tree seeds have a very intense, bitter taste that must be fermented to develop the flavor.

Once the seeds have been fermented, the beans are dried, cleaned and roasted.  After roasting, the shell is removed to produce cacao nibs.  The cacao nibs are then ground into cocoa mass, which is pure chocolate in rough form.   The cocoa mass is usually liquefied then molded with or without other ingredients. At this point in the process, it is called chocolate liquor.  The chocolate liquor may then be processed into two components: cocoa solids and cocoa butter.

  • Unsweetened baking chocolate –  cocoa solids and cocoa butter in varying proportions.
  • Sweet chocolate –  cocoa solids, cocoa butter or other fat and sugar.
  • Milk chocolate – sweet chocolate with milk powder or condensed milk.
  • White chocolate – cocoa butter, sugar and milk but no cocoa solids.

Research has found that chocolate, when eaten in moderation, can lower blood pressure.


Go out to your favorite restaurant and indulge in a delicious chocolate dessert.  Here are a few recipes to try on National Chocolate Day.

Chocolate Lasagna
No Bake Chocolate Oat Bars

Use #NationalChocolateDay to post on social media.


National Chocolate Day was created by the National Confectioners Association.




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Sunday Slacking…

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Sun Prayer1

Daily Prayer for October 21

Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt

Then another angel came and stood at the altar, holding a golden censer; and he was given a great quantity of incense to offer with the prayers of all God’s people upon the golden altar in front of the throne. And from the angel’s hand the smoke of the incense went up before God with the prayers of his people. Revelation 8:3–4, NEB

Lord God, we come before you and ask you to turn our hearts and minds to you alone, to you who have power over the whole world and who can do everything in our hearts according to your will. Let there be light in our time. Hear and answer the many prayers that have already come to you, rising for centuries before your throne, prayers for your kingdom and for your will on earth. This earth has become the prey of evil. We are poor and needy, and you alone can help us. Help us, O Lord, our God and Father. After this misery let your day come, your great day over all the world and over all peoples. Amen.



mushroomsbrownWe do not need definite beliefs because their objects are necessarily true. We need them because they enable us to stand on steady spots from which the truth may be glimpsed. And not simply glimpsed – because certainly revelation is available outside of dogma; indeed all dogma, if it’s alive at all, is the result of revelation at one time or another – but gathered in. Definite beliefs are what make the radical mystery – those moments when we suddenly know there is a God, about whom we “know” absolutely nothing – accessible to us and our ordinary, unmysterious lives. And more crucially: definite beliefs enable us to withstand the storms of suffering that come into every life, and that tend to destroy any spiritual disposition that does not have deep roots.

Source: My Bright Abyss





Verse of the Day

Inspirational illustration of Psalm 40:8

Thoughts on Today’s Verse…

Too many of us are paranoid about the word law and find it hard to hear a scripture like this. But we must recognize that the goal of the New Covenant of grace and the gift of the Spirit is that God’s law is written on our hearts and demonstrated in our lives. God is not concerened that it be written on tablets of stone. Jeremiah prophesied of such a day when the focus of God’s people would be their desire to do God’s will — a passion to love the things our Father loves and despise the things he despises.

My Prayer…

Abba Father, I do want to do your will. I want to please you, glorify you, and lead others to you. Give me spiritual discernment to know your will and spiritual courage to do it today. I want your character and righteousness to inform my heart when I am tempted by Satan not to live for you. Humble me gently when I am wrong or have lost my way. In the mighty name of Jesus I pray. Amen.





David’s Armor
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
October 21, 2018

“David fastened on his sword over the tunic and tried walking around, because he was not used to them. ‘I cannot go in these,” he said to Saul, “because I am not used to them.’ So he took them off.” 1 Samuel 17:39

David, the young shepherd boy, heard the challenge from the Philistines to send someone to fight Goliath. No one volunteered to fight except David. King Saul reluctantly agreed and offered David his armor. David put on the weighty equipment, but quickly concluded he could not fight in this heavy armor.

God equips each of us in such a way that is unique to our strengths and abilities. David was trained as a shepherd to use another weapon. For David, it was a slingshot. David showed great maturity in realizing he could not be effective with Saul’s armor. What are the gifts and talents God has given to you? Have you ever tried to accomplish a task with tools you were not trained to use? God allows each of us to develop skills that are unique to our life. He will not call you to use someone else’s tools.

However, this is only half of the equation. These talents must be mixed with faith. Talent alone is not enough. Faith alone is not enough. It is only when the two are combined that God’s power is released and manifested in the physical realm. Mix your unique gifts with faith today; you will be surprised at the power of God that will be manifested.

Coming Signs of Persecution
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 2 by Os Hillman
October 21, 2018

“Come,” they say, “let us destroy them as a nation, that the name of Israel be remembered no more” (Ps 83:4).

God calls us to know the signs of the times. The final end time conflict will arise when nations of the world will come against Israel. The Bible is clear that Jesus will return to the physical place of Jerusalem to collect His bride, represented as all those who believe and trust in Jesus, the Messiah. “Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready” (Rev 19:7). “I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband” (Rev 21:2).

Israel will always be a place of conflict in the world because Satan knows that this is the place Jesus must come back to in order to collect His bride. And when Jesus does that, it will be the end of Satan’s influence on the earth through anti-Christ nations. But until Jesus returns, the land of Jerusalem will be in a tug of war among the nations.

There is a growing intolerance in the world for anyone who has a belief system in absolutes. Christians will be viewed as rigid, inflexible and intolerant of other faiths. There will be a season of political moderate philosophy among many nations and individuals. This moderate philosophy will even happen among Christians, Muslims, and political groups. This will open the door to the influence of the antichrist to come against any group believing in absolutes.

A growing trend of anti-Semitism and persecution will emerge against Jews and committed Christians. Christians will be called to stand with our brothers and sisters in Israel. When this happens it will be one of the reasons Jews will believe in the Messiah.

There has been a season of peace for followers of Christ in the western, European and Asian world. But know that a season of persecution is to come. “However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name” (1 Peter 4:16-17).

Pray that you will be faithful.

Listening to the Father’s Heart – October 21 
by Os Hillman

Son, sometimes my children must be blinded before they can see, wounded before they will fight, and crippled before they can walk. A shepherd’s solution for a wandering sheep is to break its leg and then carry it over his shoulder, keeping it close to his heart. This is a good picture of a process I also use with my sons and daughters. It’s not my preference, but my last resort. You live in a time when many hearts have wandered away from me and their hearts have been shut down. They live only from their head. Their hearts are calloused from a lifetime of wounds. But I am raising up a remnant, healed and awakened to my Spirit (Prov 23:26) after walking through the valley of death. Like my Son, I have called these to be healers of the brokenhearted, repairers of the breach (Isa 61). You are part of my remnant, son. Be my instrument to spread my healing over others in their pain.

“In that day,” says the Lord, “I will assemble the lame, I will gather the outcast and those whom I have afflicted; I will make the lame a remnant, and the outcast a strong nation; so the Lord will reign over them in Mount Zion from now on, even forever.” Micah 4:6-7

If you extend your soul to the hungry and satisfy the afflicted soul, then your light shall dawn in the darkness, and your darkness shall be as the noonday. The LORD will guide you continually, and satisfy your soul in drought, and strengthen your bones; You shall be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail. Those from among you shall build the old waste places; shall raise up the foundations of many generations; And you shall be called the Repairer of the Breach, the Restorer of Streets to Dwell In. Isaiah 55: 10-12




Passion for Praise: ‘Sung in the Camp of the Godly’

Illustration of Psalm 118:15 NLT — Songs of joy and victory are sung in the camp of the godly. The strong right arm of the LORD has done glorious things.


Spiritual Warfare: ‘Outsiders (Us) Are Welcome in God’s Kingdom’

God’s Power for Our Battles

Illustration of Acts 11:1-13 NLT — [The apostle Peter explained,] "Just then three men who had been sent from Caesarea arrived at the house where we were staying. The Holy Spirit told me to go with them and not to worry that they were Gentiles. These six brothers here accompanied me, and we soon entered the home of the man who had sent for us. He told us how an angel had appeared to him in his home and had told him, 'Send messengers to Joppa, and summon a man named Simon Peter.'"

[The apostle Peter explained,] “Just then three men who had been sent from Caesarea arrived at the house where we were staying. The Holy Spirit told me to go with them and not to worry that they were Gentiles.These six brothers here accompanied me, and we soon entered the home of the man who had sent for us. He told us how an angel had appeared to him in his home and had told him, ‘Send messengers to Joppa, and summon a man named Simon Peter.'”

Lord, I love the stories in the Bible about how You repeatedly helped Your people, the Jews, but I am especially thankful that You have grafted in Gentiles like me into the tree of life through faith in Jesus Christ as Your only Son. This story in Acts seems to be the first time that happened, and every day I’m thankful I’m included so I can have a relationship with You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Morning & Evening: Morning Devo, Oct. 21st

Illustration of 2 Corinthians 5:14 — "The love of Christ constraineth us."

Morning Thought

How much owest thou unto my Lord? Has he ever done anything for thee? Has he forgiven thy sins? Has he covered thee with a robe of righteousness? Has he set thy feet upon a rock? Has he established thy goings? Has he prepared heaven for thee? Has he prepared thee for heaven? Has he written thy name in his book of life? Has he given thee countless blessings? Has he laid up for thee a store of mercies, which eye hath not seen nor ear heard? Then do something for Jesus worthy of his love. Give not a mere wordy offering to a dying Redeemer. How will you feel when your Master comes, if you have to confess that you did nothing for him, but kept your love shut up, like a stagnant pool, neither flowing forth to his poor or to his work. Out on such love as that! What do men think of a love which never shows itself in action? Why, they say, “Open rebuke is better than secret love.” Who will accept a love so weak that it does not actuate you to a single deed of self-denial, of generosity, of heroism, or zeal! Think how he has loved you, and given himself for you! Do you know the power of that love? Then let it be like a rushing mighty wind to your soul to sweep out the clouds of your worldliness, and clear away the mists of sin. “For Christ’s sake” be this the tongue of fire that shall sit upon you: “for Christ’s sake” be this the divine rapture, the heavenly afflatus to bear you aloft from earth, the divine spirit that shall make you bold as lions and swift as eagles in your Lord’s service. Love should give wings to the feet of service, and strength to the arms of labour. Fixed on God with a constancy that is not to be shaken, resolute to honour him with a determination that is not to be turned aside, and pressing on with an ardour never to be wearied, let us manifest the constraints of love to Jesus. May the divine loadstone draw us heavenward towards itself.
Illustration of Luke 24:38 — "Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts?"

Evening Thought

“Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest O Israel, my way is hid from the Lord, and my judgment is passed over from my God?” The Lord cares for all things, and the meanest creatures share in his universal providence, but his particular providence is over his saints. “The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him.” “Precious shall their blood be in his sight.” “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.” “We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are the called according to his purpose.” Let the fact that, while he is the Saviour of all men, he is specially the Saviour of them that believe, cheer and comfort you. You are his peculiar care; his regal treasure which he guards as the apple of his eye; his vineyard over which he watches day and night. “The very hairs of your head are all numbered.” Let the thought of his special love to you be a spiritual pain-killer, a dear quietus to your woe: “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” God says that as much to you as to any saint of old. “Fear not, I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.” We lose much consolation by the habit of reading his promises for the whole church, instead of taking them directly home to ourselves. Believer, grasp the divine word with a personal, appropriating faith. Think that you hear Jesus say, “I have prayed for thee that thy faith fail not.” Think you see him walking on the waters of thy trouble, for he is there, and he is saying, “Fear not, it is I; be not afraid.” Oh, those sweet words of Christ! May the Holy Ghost make you feel them as spoken to you; forget others for awhile-accept the voice of Jesus as addressed to you, and say, “Jesus whispers consolation; I cannot refuse it; I will sit under his shadow with great delight.”

A Year with Jesus: ‘Helping Churches on the Brink’

Note from Jesus

Dear Beloved,

On Paul’s last visit with the Ephesian elders, he warned them:

Here are my instructions: diligently guard yourselves, and diligently guard the whole flock over which the Holy Spirit has given you oversight. Shepherd the church of God, this precious church which He made His own through the blood of His own Son. I know that after I’ve gone, dangerous wolves will sneak in among you, savaging the flock. Some of you here today will begin twisting the truth, enticing disciples to go your way, to follow you. You must be on guard, and you must remember my way of life among you. For three years, I have kept on, persistently warning everyone, day and night, with tears. So now I put you in God’s hands. I entrust you to the message of God’s grace, a message that has the power to build you up and to give you rich heritage among all who are set apart for God’s holy purposes.
(Acts 20:28-32)

In many ways, the issues Paul addressed to the Ephesian elders in these verses are the same ones in his letters of 1 Timothy and Titus. Paul sent these two letters to men he mentored from their youth to help them to be missionaries, church planters, and ministers. In their letters to churches, Jude and Peter also had to address those kinds of issues unequivocally and with urgency and strong language. Each of these faithful servants had to be bold in confronting difficult challenges. Many of My churches were on the brink of destruction as they faced a variety of difficult issues.

Even in New Testament times, problems arose in churches as they began to grow and age. Some of those problems that were addressed in letters to various churches had to do with persecutions. Some had to do with people who refused to get along with each other. Some had to do with false teachers who spread gangrenous teaching that undermined the gospel. How could Paul guard new churches against these kinds of problems? Where could he turn to provide direction for these churches through their storms? He appointed elders and mentored ministers to appoint elders and to deal with these issues. They warned of coming heresies. They spoke directly about the lure of immorality that could infect and disable their churches and could harm their witness to a lost world.

Paul appointed elders in the towns where he planted churches (Acts 14:23). These elders were sometimes called overseers (bishops) (Acts 20:28 NIV). Their job was to shepherd or pastor My people (1 Peter 5:1-4) just as I AM the shepherd for My flock of sheep (John 10:1-18). These elders were to protect the flock of God from false teachers, to correct My disciples when they were not living holy lives, to encourage them in their walk with Me, and to lead by example.

At the end of Paul’s life, he had to face several imprisonments while trying to make sure the new churches were stable and protected by wise spiritual leaders. In 1 Timothy and Titus, Paul gave character qualities for both male and female leaders. He warned against fussing and fighting over meaningless arguments. He shared standards of behavior for young ministers as they dealt with different age groups. Paul entrusted this work with churches in Crete to Titus and with churches in Ephesus to Timothy. These men were to carry on Paul’s work, appoint faithful leaders in churches, and be men of courage and character as they led. Paul saw their faithful ministry as the key for the church’s future. His instructions make up what are commonly called the Pastoral Epistles of 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, and Titus. You will find similar kinds of teaching and concerns in the short letter of Jude and the letter of 2 Peter as they directly addressed these same issues.

Verses to Live

Today’s verses come from 1 Timothy, Titus, Jude, and 2 Peter. Leadership for the future, guidance for the present, confrontation of false teachers at the moment, and a constant and clear focus on the core gospel and on My ultimate return give strength to churches on the brink. Too often these words are forgotten and ignored today, so I hope you will spend some time letting Paul, Jude, and Peter awaken you to the urgency of living faithfully both in the present and into the future.

Paul, an emissary of Jesus the Anointed commissioned by order of God our Savior and Jesus the Anointed, our living and certain hope, to you, Timothy, my true son in the faith. May the grace, mercy, and peace that come only from God the Father and our Lord Jesus the Anointed mark your life. As I said that day I left for Macedonia, stay in Ephesus and instruct the unruly people in the church, once and for all, to stop teaching a different doctrine. Tell them to turn away from fables and endless genealogies. These activities just cause more arguments and confusion. Instead, they should concern themselves with welcoming in and bringing about the reign of God, which is all about faith.
(1 Timothy 1:1-4)

Here’s another statement you may trust: if anyone is seeking a position as overseer in the church, he desires an honorable and important work. Here are the qualifications to look for in an overseer: a spotless reputation, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, sensible, respectable, welcoming to strangers (allowing them into his home), and gifted to teach. Disqualify any drunk or violent man. Look for a gentle man; no belligerent fellow can follow this calling. And he should be free from money lust. He should exert good control over his own household, and his children should obey and honor him. (If someone can’t manage his own household, then how can he take care of God’s family?) He mustn’t be someone recently converted; otherwise, he may become arrogant and fall into the devil’s condemnation. He should also be respected for his character and known as an honorable person by people outside of the church so as to avoid the trips, traps, and pitfalls of the devil.

The same standards apply to deacons: they should be dignified. Double-talking hypocrites, heavy drinkers, and those greedy for ill-gotten gain should not be considered. They should be people who hold tight to the great mystery of faith with a clear conscience. Put these deacon-candidates to the test first; and if they come through without stumbling, then send them out to serve.

Again the same applies to women in key positions; they should also be dignified, not backstabbing gossips but self-controlled and faithful to the core.

Now deacons should live faithfully as the husband of one wife and be in control of their households, including their children. Those deacons who serve well will achieve a good standing for themselves in the community and have great confidence to walk in the faith that is in Jesus the Anointed, our Liberating King.
(1 Timothy 3:1-13)

Paul, servant of God and emissary of Jesus, the Anointed One, on behalf of the faith that is accepted by God’s chosen people and the knowledge of the undeniable truth that leads to godliness.

We rest in this hope we’ve been given — the hope that we will live forever with our God — the hope that He proclaimed ages and ages ago (even before time began). And our God is no liar; He is not even capable of uttering lies. So we can be sure that it is in His exact right time that He released His word into the world — through the preaching that God our Savior has commanded into my care.

To you, Titus, my dear son birthed through our shared faith: may grace and peace rest upon you from God the Father and Jesus the Anointed, our Savior.

I left you on Crete so you could sort out the chaos and the unfinished business and appoint elders over communities in each and every city according to my earlier orders. Here’s what you should look for in an elder: he should be above suspicion; if he is married, he should be the husband of one wife, raise children who believe, and be a person who can’t be accused of rough and raucous living. It is necessary that any overseer you appoint be blameless, as he is entrusted with God’s mission. Look for someone who isn’t pompous or quick to anger, who is not a drunkard, violent, or chasing after seedy gain or worldly fame. Find a person who lovingly opens his home to others; who honors goodness; who is thoughtful, fair, devout, self-controlled; and who clings to the faithful word that was taught because he must be able, not only to encourage people with sound teaching, but also to challenge those who are against it.
Titus 1:1-9

Jude, a slave of Jesus the Anointed and a brother of James, to you, the ones whom God our Father loves and has called and whom Jesus, the Anointed One, has kept. Kindness, peace, love — may they never stop blooming in you and from you. Friends, I have been trying to write you about our common salvation. But these days my heart is troubled, and I am compelled to write to you and encourage you to continue struggling for the faith that was entrusted to the saints once and for all. Vile men have slithered in among us. Depraved souls who stand condemned have made a mockery of the grace given to us, using it as a pretext for a life of excess, lived without any thought of God. These poor fools have denied Jesus the Anointed, our one Lord and Master.
(Jude 1:1-4)

Just as false prophets rose up in the past among God’s people, false teachers will rise up in the future among you. They will slip in with their destructive opinions, denying the very Master Who bought their freedom and dooming themselves to destruction swiftly, but not before they attract others by their unbridled and immoral behavior. Because of them and their ways, others will criticize and condemn the path of truth we walk as seedy and disreputable. These false teachers will follow their greed and exploit you with their fabrications, but be assured that their judgment was pronounced long ago and their destruction does not sleep.
(2 Peter 2:1-3)

Response in Prayer

O Father, we need strong and faithful leaders in our churches today. I pray for those who preach Your word, who serve as shepherds, and who equip us to serve You. Please help us pursue godliness and avoid foolish and divisive arguments. Strengthen us to overcome temptation and deliver Your people, and especially Your leaders, from the evil one. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.





Loving God

Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers. —1 Timothy 4:16

One of the most surprising and enlightening things I share with conservative evangelical pastors is that there are people with valid gifts of the Spirit who are themselves still carnal. This challenges a commonly held idea that it is greater truth, wisdom, and character that produce greater power. Many think that only godly, mature people are used by God in demonstrations of power, but there are many exceptions. What is often surprising to both charismatic and noncharismatic pastors is that people can express valid gifts of the Spirit, yet have some pretty significant hang-ups and unresolved issues in their lives. Many leaders have assumed that if there is a definite flaw in a person’s doctrine, wisdom, or character, then that is proof positive that the gifts and power in their ministries must not really be from God after all.


Father, You have determined to give Your spiritual gifts to imperfect, human individuals. Help me to understand that Your words and messages may be given through vessels of clay, imperfect people who may not always have the ability to speak with clarity.

Prophetic people must be clear about
major doctrines, but on lesser
points of doctrine, they
might be misinformed.

By Love Transformed

Coping With a Rival

I saw that all labor and all achievement spring from man’s envy of his neighbor. —Ecclesiastes 4:4

Do you have a rival? Is there someone who is in competition with you? Is there someone who gets under your skin?

A rival is a competitor, someone who is a threat, a person who could upstage you. Sooner or later most of us know what it is to have a rival. It may be a close friend. Perhaps you don’t mention the rivalry between you, you rarely think about it, and yet it’s just beneath the surface. Sometimes that rival is an enemy, and it would seem in this case it almost came to that. Leah and Rachel were so jealous of each other because although Rachel had the looks, Leah could produce children; that was her claim to fame. We don’t know whether this caused rivalry between Leah and Rachel as they grew up, but it’s possible.

Ambition will get things done, but achieving that ambition will make another person jealous. You know the feeling when you’ve achieved something and someone says, “I’m very happy for you,” and somehow you don’t really think they are. Sometimes it’s the loneliest thing to have accomplished something and you don’t have anyone you can tell who will be glad for you.

You see, an ambitious person may start out wanting people to admire them, but that won’t be enough, ultimately, to bring glory to God. God wants to bring you to a place where you just want to please Him.

Perhaps a rival spirit has brought you to a place where you have lost all sense of pride, you’ve been put down, and you have lost all sense of self-esteem. Often a rival lives for one thing, and that is to make you look bad. It is very painful. What can you do if you have a rival? You can let a rival spirit throw you or destroy you, or you can let them be the best thing that has ever happened to you. The day will come when you are so thankful for that “thorn in the flesh.”

Excerpted from All’s Well That Ends Well (Authentic Media, 2005).


Daily Breakthroughs


And ye shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and strike the lintel and the two side posts with the blood that is in the basin; and none of you shall go out at the door of his house until the morning. —Exodus 12:22

We can plead the blood of Jesus continuously, but if we are not obedient to the Word of God, we will be wasting our breath.

God told the Israelites to stay inside their homes that Passover night. If they had disobeyed His instructions and crossed their thresholds, the blood would not have covered them.

Even though the Israelites believed what God said, if they didn’t follow His instructions to them, the blood could not keep them from harm.

Be obedient to God’s commands, and abide under the protective covering our loving Father has provided for you and your family. Are you obedient to the Word of God? Are you obedient to the leading and voice of the Holy Spirit? Will you repent of those areas of disobedience in your life?

Jesus, I repent of any disobedience in
my life. Convict me of any unknown
area of disobedience. In
Jesus’ Name, Amen.


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This Is One of the Most Dangerous Emotions You Could Entertain

(Photo by Maia Habegger on Unsplash)

When I was a little girl, my parents bought Bible storybooks for my sister and me. I can vividly remember the depiction of Jesus in the boat on the Sea of Galilee as the storm arose and threatened the lives of all aboard. When the disciples woke Him, Jesus stood up in the boat and with only a word calmed the wind and the waves. Then He looked at His disciples and said, “Why were you afraid? Why were you afraid when I was with you?” (See Mark 4:36-41).

Indeed, why are we afraid when He is with us?

In the Bible we are told “fear not” or “be not afraid” nearly 100 times. God must have known fear would be a problem for us. He knows we are human beings, and fear is one of those emotions that seems to arise unbidden. It feels out of our control, but if God asks us not to be afraid, He must also know that getting there is something we can accomplish.

Fear is frequently a bedrock emotion underlying worry and anxiety. You can’t fight fear simply by trying harder to not be afraid. The space that emotion occupies in your soul needs to be refilled with something stronger, something deeper, something more encompassing. And we’ll find that in God’s Word.

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If you’re struggling with fear, you’re in good company. Some of God’s best friends were afraid; that’s why He needed to say, “Fear not!” so often. Joshua struggled with fear over the coming battles to take over the land of Canaan (Josh. 1:9). Elijah struggled with fear when Jezebel threatened to take off his head (1 Kings 19:1-3). David struggled with fear of his many enemies (Ps. 56:1-4). Jeremiah struggled with fear over what people would think of him (Jer. 1:8).

You may have heard sermons about overcoming fear based on Job 3:25: “For the thing which I greatly feared has happened to me, and that which I dreaded has come to me.” Some have interpreted this to mean that if you are afraid of something, your fear will cause that thing to happen. That belief may have stirred up even more fear in your heart: “I’m not afraid. I’m not afraid! I’m not afraid!” God is not asking you to work yourself into a frenzy trying to not be afraid. There’s a bigger picture of what the Bible says about fear that you need to understand.

The initial emotion of fear is not the problem; however, when you park there and let fear continue to have control, you suffer a negative impact on your well-being and dishonor God. Remember, you can’t get rid of darkness by trying to push it out; you must turn on the light.

One of God’s own went from fearful to fearless. When Jesus first called Peter to follow Him, Peter was an uneducated fisherman, accustomed to a hard life. During the three years he spent as Jesus’ disciple and constant companion, Peter’s mouth and impetuous spirit sometimes got him into trouble. Then, when Jesus was on trial just before His crucifixion, Peter denied Him three times. (See John 18:15-27). We know that story, and like Peter, we may either say, “I’ll never deny Him,” or live in fear that we might.

Did Peter have another option besides denying Jesus that night? Of course! But appreciate for a moment the very human fear going through his mind. I doubt you’ve felt any more afraid than Peter did that day.

But just a few weeks later everything about Peter was different. He and John ministered healing to the lame man at the temple gate. A crowd gathered in amazement, and Peter was soon speaking to them all about Jesus—apparently not caring what anyone thought (Acts 3:10-11). When Peter and John were soon arrested and called to stand before the authorities, Peter held nothing back. Even the authorities were surprised. “When they saw the boldness of Peter and John and perceived that they were illiterate and uneducated men, they marveled. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13).

How did Peter get there? It wasn’t by trying harder. It was through spending time with Jesus, seeing Him alive after His resurrection and experiencing the Holy Spirit’s presence. (See John 21:15; Acts 2:14-18) It can be the same for you.






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Moody Monday…

Monday Morning Prayer Pin

Monday Morning Prayer and Bible Verses

As we commence this new work week, let us kick it off with a talk with our Heavenly Father. Let us spend some time in prayer, devotion and praise. The past week is behind us, and new beginnings are ahead..

Heavenly Father, I come before You Oh Lord, my God, thanking You for waking me up this Monday morning to embrace the sunlight that shoots down from the heavens.

Thank You for giving me the health and strength I need to overcome every stronghold in my life. And thank You for loving me unconditionally in the times where I may fail You.

Psalm 90:14 Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.

Psalm 5:3 O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch.

Father, I request that Your Holy Presence draws near to me. Wrap me in Your loving arms and never let me go. Cover me under the precious blood of the lamb. Cleanse me of anything that is displeasing to You. Renew my mind, my body and my soul, as I worship You and You alone.

Psalm 19:14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

Proverbs 8:17 I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me.

When the storms arise, bestow Your tranquility and peace upon me so that I may not be moved. Work from within me, Lord to bring a revival into my Life. When I feel broken Lord, transform my spirit so I can emerge whole again. And, as I pray Lord, use me daily as Your vessel.

Walk beside me as I endure the challenges of today. Give me the strength I need to challenge the week ahead. Send Your angels to guard over me as You lead me into my divine purpose. In Jesus’ mighty name I pray, Amen!

Isaiah 26:9 My soul yearns for you in the night; my spirit within me earnestly seeks you. For when your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.

Psalm 104:30 When you send forth your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the ground.


Daily Prayer for August 27

Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt

Hear my voice when I call, O Lord; be merciful to me and answer me. My heart says of you, “Seek his face!” Your face, Lord, I will seek. Do not hide your face from me. Psalm 27:7–9a, NIV

We thank you, dear Father in heaven, that you let the light from your face shine into our hearts. Look upon our time, we pray, with your clear, penetrating eyes, and let all people sense that they are watched over by more than they are able to see. Let them realize that a strong God and Father is watching over them. Protect us on our way, and let your light shine ever more brightly, so that in all we do your name is glorified. Amen.


starfishIt’s funny: I always imagined when I was a kid that adults had some kind of inner toolbox, full of shiny tools: the saw of discernment, the hammer of wisdom, the sandpaper of patience. But then when I grew up I found that life handed you these rusty, bent old tools – friendships, prayer, conscience, honesty – and said, Do the best you can with these, they will have to do. And mostly, against all odds they’re enough.

Source: Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith




Verse of the Day

Inspirational illustration of Isaiah 26:3

Thoughts on Today’s Verse…

While it is naive, on one hand, to think that trusting in God makes all of our problems go away — Christians have many of the same problems that unbelievers do because they share the same mortal flesh, on the other hand it’s true. If we trust in God, we believe our work stands or falls in his hands and that ultimately we will share in his victorious and glorious presence. It means our lives will not be lived in vain. That’s not just confidence; it’s the foundation of true peace — life lived to its fullest and richest, knowing that every moment of life matters and we don’t need to be anxious about its results when we rest our life in the hands of the LORD.

My Prayer…

Almighty Father of Peace, thank you for giving me the assurance that my life will not be lived in vain. May I share that peace with others today. In the name of Jesus, my Prince of Peace, I pray. Amen.




TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
August 27, 2018

…”Peace be with you!” John 20:19

How would you respond to a group of fellow workers if you were their leader and you poured your life into them, teaching them all you know for three years, only to have them disband and go their own way when troubles came? What would you say to them after you were reunited for the first time? Perhaps you might scold them. Perhaps you might cite each one’s offense. At the least, you might shame them for their lack of faithfulness and courage.

After Jesus was crucified and raised from the dead, He appeared to the disciples. His first words to them were, “Peace be with you!” The word grace means “unmerited favor.” When someone loves you unconditionally, without regard to your behavior in return, it becomes a powerful force in your life. Such was the case for the disciples when Jesus appeared to them. They could have expected reprimand. Instead, they received unconditional love and acceptance. He was overjoyed to see them. They were equally overjoyed to see Him.

Jesus understood that the disciples needed to fail Him as part of their training. It would be this failure that became their greatest motivation for service. Failure allowed them to experience incredible grace for the very first time. Grace would transform them as human beings.

Have you experienced this grace in your life? Have you extended grace to those who have hurt you? Can you let go of any wrongs that have come through friends or associates? The grace you extend may change their lives – and yours.

Sharing Your Faith with Others
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 2 by Os Hillman
August 27, 2018

“I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ” (Philem 6-7).

There is a strong correlation between those who publicly share their faith with others and an increase in spiritual growth for that individual. In my own journey I’ve discovered that when I stop sharing my faith with non-believers I begin to see a dryness in my walk with God.

Sometimes we justify our lack of verbal witness by saying we don’t have the spiritual gift of evangelism. Or we conclude that because we have an introvert personality we leave witnessing to others who we deem as more qualified. As a well-qualified introvert myself, I’ve often wanted to use that excuse. Then, the Holy Spirit reminds me of a few instructions Jesus said to EVERYONE:

“But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven” (Matt 10:33). “He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation” (Mark 16:15-16). There is not much confusion about what Jesus is saying in these verses. And it relates to all of us.

When we share Christ with others God allows us to gain a deeper and greater understanding of every good thing in Christ. Do you see the direct correlation between sharing your faith and your own spiritual growth? Paul says it’s actually a prerequisite to spiritual growth.

One of the great ways to turn a conversation to faith is by asking someone if there is anything you can pray for them about. You will be surprised how easily this will transition you into a conversation about their faith lives.

Ask God for boldness today to offer to pray for someone.

Listening to the Father’s Heart – August 27 
by Os Hillman

Son, I want you to be at peace with not seeing or understanding the entire picture. Only occasionally do I allow glimpses of future events, as I did with Abraham. “Why” questions are never answered on earth; only in heaven. There was a point in time when Abraham needed to know my plans (Gen 15:13-15). I do answer “what” questions. But I give you only what you need to know. You would not be able to handle knowing your entire picture. I know you understand this, son. Life has many unexpected twists and turns that make up your journey. I give my grace at the time of need, not before. That is why I rarely reveal the future to you unless I know it is needed to encourage you. Just keep seeking me with all your heart day by day. It all turns out good in the end. You must believe this.

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28

For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. 1 Corinthians 13:12



National Just Because Day August 27


Each year on August 27th it is National Just Because Day.  Feel free to celebrate this day any way you choose.  Just because!

Every day we all do things that are expected or required of us or because we have to. Well, on National Just Because Day, that does not apply.   This day is a chance to do something without rhyme or reason.

It could be that there is an outfit at the mall that you are admiring; buy it…just because.
Maybe you want to use a vacation day just to go fishing; do it…just because.
Perhaps you would like to pay the tab for the table next to you at your favorite restaurant; do it…just because.
Possibly you want to sing really loud while you’re in your car, by yourself, with your windows rolled down; do it…just because.
Surprise someone with flowers…just because!
Make something up…just because!
Or maybe, just maybe, do something just because Mom said so.


Do something just because.  Use #NationalJustBecauseDay to post on social media.


Our research indicates that National Just Because Day was created by Joseph J. Goodwin of Los Gatos, CA, in the late 1950s.  It began as a family holiday and has grown into an annual celebration across the United States.




Well, maybe no jokes, humor, or cartoons today……maybe I’m just not in the mood for silliness…..maybe I’m just feeling TOO down!

Well, it’s now a whole year since my children and grandchildren up in Pennsylvania decided to cut me out of their lives.  They said it was because I’m “too negative”, but, really?  I can’t help feeling that it was just an excuse they used to do what they wanted to do…..that I’m an embarrassment……I just don’t fit into their design any longer…….I’m what their other Grandmother was…..a poor excuse for both a Mother and a Grandmother!  I can’t believe that MY Mariah treated me as she did…….she was always my sweetie…….she would come crying to me so often, because her Mom and Dad were constantly scolding her for overeating and getting fat…….does she recall any of this?  Jenni doted on Mindy way too much!  But, they turned out so well…….and I was so very proud the first time I visited!  Then, my second visit……….my second day at Jenni’s, she pointedly told me not to ask her to take me to visit any of MY family (sisters), because she has nothing to do with them……this hurt…….they are family, too, whether she wants to admit this or not!  And, I have since discovered that she associates with my youngest sister, Nan……the one who tossed our Mother out like trash and helped her to die sooner than she should have!  And why?  All because our Dad left money to Mom that Nan thought should have been used to pay for HER big wedding!!  And this is a woman who was invited to my granddaughter’s wedding?  It just goes to prove some of what I’ve said………

I’ve stayed away from them all as much as possible…….I have no one now……….I have my fella, and I wonder about him, too…..and I have my two sons here…….my fella’s family put me and my sons through hell this past Christmas and tried to come between Duane and me………thank God, Duane came back to me!  

Well…….that’s all for now……God bless you all!!!!




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