Help for When We Feel Helpless

Psalm 94:12-15 As I hear about the events going on at this time, it is easy to feel somewhat helpless. We hear about corruption in the highest levels of our government, and it seems that justice never comes. We hear about crimes and murders, greed and swindling—still little to no justice. We watch politicians fail to even attempt to fulfill their campaign promises, and it seems like our votes don’t matter. We see public officials over-step their authority and act like dictators or petty tyrants rather than public servants, and we have no idea how to even begin to fix it. We watch the economy ebb and flow while seemingly being controlled by wicked people in high places, and we feel like

Pray for Leaders and "Hidden Saints"

Psalm 72 is a great devotional reading for this time that our country is going through. Prayers for the king in vs. 1, 8, & 15-17 remind us to pray these kinds of prayers for our leaders. Verses 18-19 remind us to praise God, who is carrying out His eternal plan. The lyrics of this song in between the prayers show us the desired results that the psalmist had while praying these prayers. The introduction and conclusion of the song seems to indicate that David is writing this for his son, Solomon, and one of his grandsons who would be king after that. His lyrics also remind us of Jesus, the son of David, who will one day rule on his throne over Israel and the whole earth. Pray for our Le

Running the Rat Race

Recently I’ve been helped when I read in a Christian book the idea that no one can win the rat race of life. We all know the feeling of striving, trying, working to get ahead, keep up, stay afloat, survive. The problem is that the rat race of life is unwinnable. There is no winner. You’ve probably heard the ridiculous statement ‘he who dies with the most toys wins.’ What nonsense! They’re still dead. So rather than exhaust ourselves like a hamster on a wheel, let’s reconsider what are we striving for? No, you should not just give up and quit everything in life. You can, however, stop trying to win and succeed by our culture’s definitions and expectations. See what God says about hav

The Work of God

Psalm 111 What comes to your mind when you think about the works of the Lord? Does your mind go to the expanse of the universe full of stars and galaxies? Perhaps you think of the amazing landscapes found all over the earth. Maybe you think about the creation account in Genesis of God making all that is out of nothing. Let me suggest to you that we may limit the works of the Lord to only the great expansive aspects of creation while forgetting what He is doing in our lives. Psalm 111:2 says Great are the works of the Lord, studied by all who delight in them. When was the last time you really considered what God was doing in your life: in your heart, your community, your family, your wor

The Right Order

Ladies, you have to understand that the struggle is real. Guys, I feel your pain. What am I talking about? Reading and following the directions of the instruction manual whenever we make a new purchase. It seems so superfluous and unnecessary. It feels like I can just figure it out by looking at it. Maybe the temptation to make it work, assemble it, use it without consulting the instructions comes from too many yard sale purchases. I don’t know, but I do know that I’d rather just jump in without the directions. (Julie is very thankful that I don’t feel this way about asking for directions while driving.) But what about the directions for assembling our life? Where do we start, and ho

Never Alone

It’s always comforting to have the security of someone reliable. Whether it’s friends or family just knowing that you are not alone brings peace. Human companionship is something that all of us were created to enjoy. Even those of us who like their solitude generally also crave love and attention and companionship in their own way and at their own time. Even though we were made to desire and enjoy human relationships, our relationship with God should bring greater peace. Verse six in Psalm 118 says that “the LORD is on my side.” What an incredible statement of confidence! Often when an adult plays games with the kids, the kids all want the adult on “their side.” The reason is obvious—

Happily Ever After?

Happily Ever After?—Reflections from Mark 6 We’ve all seen it a hundred times. You know the famous plot arc of movies and books. The good people are confronted by enormous opposition of some sort. They persevere. They fight through the problem, and they live “happily ever after.” The scene that sticks in my mind the most is the end of Disney’s old Robin Hood—the one with the cartoon fox. Robin and Maid Marianne are riding away in the carriage after getting married and the back of the carriage says “Just Married.” The implication of the ending for these stories is that once victory is achieved a blissful life awaits. As believers, we know that our true eternal bliss and our true eterna

Where Are You Planted?

As the weather is getting warmer, I am assuming that many of you have started doing more and more outdoor yard work. Some of you have been gardening and planting new plants or tending to the ones already there. Have you ever planted a plant in a bad place for the plant’s health? Maybe it was in a location that didn’t get enough sunshine or maybe it was in location that got washed out. Did you know that we can also "plant" ourselves in the wrong place? As I have been doing more and more yard work, I have been reminded of Psalm 92. We exist to praise and exalt the Lord, even now as we walk the earth. There is no better place to praise the Lord than to be “planted in His courts”. The Lord’s spi

Caught in the Middle? Shine Your Light!

Let us review God's call to the church to be missional beyond her doors into the community and to the "uttermost parts of the earth" through missions partners. Philippians 2:14-16 reminds us that we are to be bright lights or light fixtures for the Light. Our light is to be shining "in the world in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation." Greg heard a preacher recently say that we like going to church as a light show. We believers shine our lights at each other, and feel good about the show with all those "spiritual" spot lights. God calls us to shine His light also in the middle of this dark world as individuals, not just as a church "set on a hill, that cannot be hid," So let

Since You Put It That Way...

Bluntness is a quality that at times can be so refreshing and at other times so uncomfortable. Many of us appreciate when someone will “just tell it how it is.” However, we all can recall those times when we’ve thought “I can’t believe she just said that.” Being direct in speech is considered a virtue: “Let your ‘yea’ be yea and your ‘nay’ be nay. It is especially important when confronting a problem. In Psalm 97:10, God gets right to the heart of what He wants from His people. “You who love the Lord, hate evil!” This is a very direct and concise command. As believers, we must hate evil at all times and in every form. God says that there are no two ways about it. If we love God then

Never Alone

It is with a heavy heart that I write this devotional, and I want everyone who reads this to realize they are never truly alone. The sad reality is that in an effort to contain or slow the spread of the virus, other issues have surged due to isolation and the economic crisis. One statistic that has skyrocketed over the past few months is suicide, especially among our nation’s youth. We need to be constantly reminded that the Lord is always present, even in times of isolation and crisis. How are you really doing? Do you feel as though you are alone? The current situation has reminded me of how important it is to truly know and understand that the Lord has not forsaken us and is ever present,

Work Out Your Own Salvation

God calls us today (what Paul wrote to the Philippian believers) to WORK out our own salvation in a public way where others at home, church, work and play will see results of our gift of salvation. At the point of our salvation, God worked IN us regeneration, new life, cleansing, etc. (1:6). That work was in the personal privacy of our sinful hearts, but God expects us to then be changed also in a revealing way to those around us. "Work out" involves applying truths and resources that came to us with the gift of salvation. Math problems in school are a good illustration because we had to work out the problem, using the logical, mathematical concepts. Our goal was to completely solve

Think Like Jesus Thought and Thinks

I encourage you to review John 13:12-17 as a cross-reference to Philippians 2:5-11. What was Jesus thinking on earth when He fulfilled God's eternal plan for man's salvation? What were His thoughts and motives about all of His power and privileges He enjoyed in eternity past? Let us be willing to change our thinking, motives, and attitudes as we learn about how He thought. From Sunday's message, remember that Christ thought He was, is, and will be the All-Powerful God. He never was our door-mat to be used for our goals and dreams. He also decided to be our Pattern for humble service. Finally, He is to be praised now and forever because of what He accomplished in His death, burial, and

Hope in a Faithful God

Have you ever been rebuked for asking a question? It’s somewhat of a cultural joke to talk about a child asking “are we there yet?” or “how much longer?” Growing up in my family, whenever one of the kids asked about the trip, we would hear dad say “we get closer every time the tires turn.” In Psalm 89 the writer is considering the character of God during the midst of bad times in Israel. He recounts God’s mighty acts. He remembers God’s promises. He praises God’s faithfulness. And, He questions God’s timing. Israel was experiencing the pain of God’s judgment. The writer of Psalm 89 recounts God’s promises regarding the judgment and discipline. “If his sons forsake My law And do not wa

Lack of Sun Exposure or Son Exposure?

As the weather is starting to warm up, church members have been working diligently to maintain the church property. As I was looking for projects to assist in, I noticed the retaining wall behind the church property could use a good pressure washing. Because the sun does not hit the wall as much as other places, there was a mildew build up among other things. As I was washing, I got to thinking about how much this analogy could serve as a great illustration for biblical truth. The retaining walls got covered with all sorts of mildew from lack of sun exposure. In the darkness and damp, bacteria and mold are allowed the thrive, grow, and fester. I have done a lot of work on mission trips to he

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