Sunday, June 30, 2019

Whatever Happened to Duty?

Luke 17:10
The great privilege to have been born or brought to America carries with it a necessary response from each citizen young or old.  The abdication of the duties of citizenship is destroying freedom as we have known it in this great country.  Whatever happened to duty? 
Being a citizen of the United States of America brings privilege but it also brings great responsibility.
Families, businesses, churches and nations function only as well as individuals fulfill their duties.
Loss of potential and disharmony occur when duty is not accepted and performed.
The significance of a man’s life is measured by the dutie she performs.
I.     Understanding Duty– Micah 6:8
Duties may also be referred to as “obligations” that are assumed with relationship, membership or ownership.
Not to perform duty is to steal.
What motivates us to perform duties?
  1. Expectations of others
  2. Fear of consequence
  3. calling on our life
  4. To gain appreciation
  5. Obligation from commitment
  6. Devotion to God, work, another
    Duty performed out of obligation is works.
    Duty performed out of devotion is fruit.
II.    Understanding ResponsibilityGalatians 5:1
Duty calls– Responsibility answers
Anywhere someone abuses liberty with irrresponsibility,
is injured.
III.  The Nature and Power of DeclarationIsaiah 46:10
Declaration is a social act.  It creates unity in a group with common beliefs or values.
It’s Time to “Declare” our faith.

IV.  The Value of Duty to OthersEcclesiastes 4:9-12

Friday, June 28, 2019

A Slave’s Prayer

Submitted by Curtis Tucker
When I heard this, I sat down and wept. In fact, for days I mourned, fasted, and prayed to the God of heaven.  Then I said,
“O LORD, God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps his covenant of unfailing love with those who love him and obey his commands, listen to my prayer! Look down and see me praying night and day for your people Israel. I confess that we have sinned against you. Yes, even my own family and I have sinned!  We have sinned terribly by not obeying the commands, decrees, and regulations that you gave us through your servant Moses.
“Please remember what you told your servant Moses: ‘If you are unfaithful to me, I will scatter you among the nations.  But if you return to me and obey my commands and live by them, then even if you are exiled to the ends of the earth, I will bring you back to the place I have chosen for my name to be honored.’
“The people you rescued by your great power and strong hand are your servants.  O Lord, please hear my prayer! Listen to the prayers of those of us who delight in honoring you. Please grant me success today by making the king favorable to me. Put it into his heart to be kind to me.”  (Nehemiah 1:4-11, NLT)
A Slave’s Prayer
The story of Nehemiah provides quite a lesson in humility, prayer, commitment, vision, and a multitude of other themes. Nehemiah is a Jewish slave within the Persian Empire. However, he has a position of great responsibility; he is King Artaxerxes’ cup-bearer. A position entrusted to only the most trustworthy and loyal of people. 
On this day, Nehemiah has received some troubling news concerning his hometown of Jerusalem. The city is in ruins and it appears that the people left there are unable to correct the terrible situation. So, Nehemiah goes to prayer. 
Let’s slowly read through Nehemiah's prayer. First of all, he considers the goodness and greatness of God. He calls upon the mercy of God and acknowledges his own, and his people’s, sin. Secondly, he reminds God of His promises; an act that speaks of Nehemiah’s faith in that God will honor His word. 
I notice that as he prayed, Nehemiah did not ask for the obvious. Although he is troubled by the news that the city of Jerusalem is in ruins, the gates have been burned, and the walls have been reduced to rubble that is not the focus of his prayer. My first thought would have been to ask for some kind of miracle in rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem. But, Nehemiah has the correct thought process. You could say that he prays for the important rather than the urgent. As he concludes his prayer, Nehemiah asks for three things; 1) his prayer would be heard, 2) he would have success, and 3) he would have favor with the King.  

What prayer are you asking God to hear? Does it concern the "mission" where God wants to use you?
In order to fulfill God's plan, where do you need success today?
In order to fulfill God's plan, with whom do you need favor today?

O Lord, hear my prayer ...

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Harvest Prayer

Submitted by Curtis Tucker
Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field."
(Matthew 9:35-38, NIV) 
Harvest Prayer
Here is one of the great examples of the compassion which drove our savior, Jesus Christ. Notice how he saw the crowds of people. He did not see them as a bunch of sinners, or sick people, or outcast. He saw them as harassed and helpless. He saw beneath the surface in order to see real needs. But, I notice something else. Jesus Christ is present, yet there are still people with needs, there are still people who represent the harvest field and Jesus instructs his followers to pray for more workers. 
Surely Jesus is confused. Why would they need to pray for more workers when Jesus himself is standing right beside them? Can't he simply touch them, speak to their need, command the harvest to come in...? 
My observation is that Jesus is teaching his followers the importance of compassion, seeing below the surface to the real needs of people and then He is saying you (and I) have to get out in the field in order to bring in the harvest. Once again Scripture confirms that God's plan has always been to use us to fulfill His purposes on this earth. Without Mary's womb there is no incarnation. Without Moses lifting up his shepherd's staff the water doesn't part. Without the testimony of the apostles the first century church never goes beyond one generation of Jerusalem believers. We're not saying God can't do it without us, He simply won't do it without us!
Do you have compassion for the world around you?
Are you overwhelmed with the needs that you see?
Pray that the Lord of the harvest will send more workers.
Dear God, I want to faithfully serve you in the field where you have placed me. Help me to see the needs and have compassion for those around me. Send others to work with me so that together we can experience a harvest. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Powerful Prayer

Submitted by Curtis Tucker
Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises. Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord. Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven.
Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years! Then, when he prayed again, the sky sent down rain and the earth began to yield its crops.
(James 5:13-18, NLT)
Powerful Prayer
Look at how many times the word pray, or a form of it, is used in this passage of six verses. 
Do you think the Holy Spirit may be trying to make a point through the writer, James? 
If we desire God's power to be manifest through us, prayer must be an integral part of our lives. In Jesus ministry on earth, the gospel writers often note that Jesus withdrew from the crowds in order to spend significant time in prayer. Luke noted that on one occasion Jesus told his disciples a story to show that they should always pray. Paul told the church at Thessalonica that they should pray without ceasing. And, in the passage above, James tells us that our prayers are powerful and produce wonderful results. 
In the Book of Acts we read of the 1st century church spending time in prayer and through their prayers great miracles happened. At the birth of the church it is noted that the believers gave themselves to prayer. Their prayers shook buildings, healed the sick, raised the dead, brought the manifestation of the Holy Spirit, and literally changed the world in which they lived!
How's your prayer life? 
Most of us are busy, but how might our days be different if we took time to pray before we tackled our "to do" list? 
How about setting aside a specific amount of time each day to spend with God in prayer? You know your schedule and what is realistic but yet challenging also. It might mean setting the alarm for just a little earlier than normal. It might mean finding a quiet, private place during lunch. Try it and see what happens. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Normal Prayer

Submitted by Curtis Tucker
But when Daniel learned that the law had been signed, he went home and knelt down as usual in his upstairs room, with its windows open toward Jerusalem. He prayed three times a day, just as he had always done, giving thanks to his God. Then the officials went together to Daniel's house and found him praying and asking for God's help.  (Daniel 6:10-11, NLT)  
Normal Prayer
"What is normal?" This passage says that Daniel “prayed three times a day, just as he had always done.” So, for Daniel, praying three times a day was “normal.” Maybe you remember the story of Daniel in the lion's den from when you were a kid in Sunday school. But, I want us to look at this story with fresh eyes. Daniel lived in a culture where "normal" was very different from the "Law of God" which he had been taught. The culture where he now lived did not value the personal convictions which Daniel felt so strongly. 
Because of Daniel's goodness, he had provoked the jealousy of some of the men with whom he worked. These men schemed to get rid of Daniel in the only possible way they could think of which was to use his commitment to God against him. They had the king sign a law which made it illegal to pray to God … Think about this for a moment. The people could not ask God for anything, they could only ask the king. 
Look at Daniel's reaction. He went home, knelt down as USUAL, (his normal) and prayed! Daniel did not start praying simply because the law said he could not. He did what he always did...he prayed. No protesting in front of the king’s palace, no calling his friends together to stage public demonstrations, no plotting to over-throw the government, and no giving up because the culture was too corrupt so what's the use in praying. 
As Daniel prayed just as he had always done, he gave thanks to HIS God. How do you give God thanks when you have to live in a culture that outlaws prayer, a culture that does not respect life, other people, or God? You have to be "un-normal."  
Daniel's habit was prayer. Is it yours? 
We know Daniel was rescued because he prayed. How about rather than trying to fight our battles through human efforts, we pray and let God fight for us? 
Dear God, thank you for who you are. Today, help me not to react to situations in the "normal" way but to pray, look to you, and trust you. I commit to praying....

Monday, June 24, 2019

Bold Prayer

Submitted by Curtis Tucker
As soon as they were freed, Peter and John returned to the other believers and told them what the leading priests and elders had said. When they heard the report, all the believers lifted their voices together in prayer to God: "O Sovereign Lord, Creator of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them- you spoke long ago by the Holy Spirit through our ancestor David, your servant, saying,
'Why were the nations so angry?
Why did they waste their time with futile plans?
The kings of the earth prepared for battle;
the rulers gathered together
against the LORD
and against his Messiah.'
"In fact, this has happened here in this very city! For Herod Antipas, Pontius Pilate the governor, the Gentiles, and the people of Israel were all united against Jesus, your holy servant, whom you anointed. But everything they did was determined beforehand according to your will. And now, O Lord, hear their threats, and give us, your servants, great boldness in preaching your word. Stretch out your hand with healing power; may miraculous signs and wonders be done through the name of your holy servant Jesus."
After this prayer, the meeting place shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. Then they preached the word of God with boldness. (Acts 4:23-31, NLT)
Bold Prayer
Peter and John had been arrested because they healed a lame man in the name of Jesus and then they preached that Jesus was the Messiah. The religious leaders had threatened them and ordered them to stop preaching or teaching about Jesus Christ. Upon being released these two apostles returned to the group of first century believers and gave a full report of what had happened. One would think that having survived their ordeal, Peter, John, and all the other believers would have begun strategizing their next move. Should they go "under-ground" for a while; let some time pass before they bring up the subject of Jesus again? Should they be a little less vocal? Maybe become a little more politically active in order to overturn the current leadership? 
These radical believers didn't do any of that. They simply prayed for more of what had just gotten them into trouble. They didn't pray for protection or special grace. They didn't pray against the Romans or the Jewish religious leaders. They didn't start binding and casting out the devil. They didn't even pray for people to get saved. They prayed for boldness. They prayed for boldness to preach Christ's word and to be used to see great miracles take place.  
You are going to face challenges today. What are you praying for? 
Is there a situation where you can be bold for the cause of Christ? 

Oh God, thank you for using us to spread the message of Jesus Christ. Help us today to be bold in all we say and do for His cause!

Sunday, June 23, 2019


1 SAMUEL 9:1-20a

I.    God is at work in the seemingly ordinarypartsof your personal life to reveal his collectivepurpose
· We tend to only think of our own presentmomentand all but forget how God is eternal

· God is still at work in you for a purpose that will have an effect on others.

A. God is at work in your familybackground(v.1-2)

· God has placed you in your family for a reason, and He is using your circumstancesto   bring about His purposefor your life.

· You are not a victimof your past, but you are a productof your choices.

B.   God is at work in your setbacks.(v.3-4)

· All too often we get hung up praying for donkeys when God is preparing our destiny.

C.   God is at work in the timingof your circumstances(v.11-14)

· Your timing may be off, but God’s timing is alwaysperfect

· God is orchestrating heaven and earth to make sure the timingin your life is just right to revealHis purpose.

II.  God’s work is not done haphazardly, but according to a custom-builtplan.
A.   God’s plan precedes your present circumstance and is biggerthan you. (v.15-16)
· God’s plan included the whole nation of Israel and their deliverancefrom the Philistines. 

B.  God’s plan is on a need-to-knowbasis. (v.17)
· Your job in situations where you are having to make decisions is to readGod’sWordpray, and make the best decision you can make with the information you have. 

C.   God’s plan is often differentand always better than your plan. (v.18-20a)
· Isn’t it encouraging to know that God is at work in your life, even the parts that seem ordinary, to show Himself extraordinary.

Friday, June 21, 2019

One for the Boys

Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.  1 Corinthians 16:13-14

Looking around at all that goes on in this world today, I wonder what strong reactions would come from the great men and women from the Bible.  For example – men of today are way different from men 50 years ago and especially way different from Paul’s time.  In 1 Corinthians, Paul is addressing the church in Corinth.  He gives the men some pretty good advice that still holds true today. Paul gave five Imperatives:
Be Watchful– This requires a constant and consistent focus on God and our relationship with Him. This also means to always be mindful that Satan is real, and he is on the prowl – and he is after our families.  Be alert, aware, and always ready, paying close attention.  God has made men to be protectors of their family.  Men need to protect their families from physical and spiritual threats, but also anything that threatens to come into their house and take God’s place.  
Stand Firmin The Faith- With this imperative, Paul specifically gives further instruction for standing firm—in the faith. Paul doesn’t just mean your personal trust in God at this point; he means faith as in what you believe.  Stand firm and do not let the truth of God’s word be compromised.  Standing firm, when it comes to the faith, means holding the biblical ground.  It is active, not passive—not leaning or sitting or retreating but standing – and standing firm so nothing can knock you off your feet.  
Act Like Men– Acting like men is not about acting at all. It is about controlling yourself.  Conducting yourself in a manner that reflects the Lord – in the way you work, the way you parent, the way you love others.  It is intentionally choosing behavior that overrides our natural bent towards sin and selfishness.  When we don’t act like men, we hurt others that we love.  
Be Strong – The strength that Paul is speaking of here is not the physical strength that comes from lifting weights. This strength is strength in character, conduct, and life. This is not the kind of strength that is behind a strong punch and then it is gone.  This is continuous strength that comes from a source other than us. It comes from God. Men need to model this strength, and to BE this strength for their families.  That strength brings safety and peace and trust in their families.  Men also need to make sure their families know that their strength comes from the Lord. 
Let All That You Do Be Done in Love – This last imperative is very straight forward and self-explanatory.  Paul literally meant let everything you do be laced with God’s love – through you – to others.  This means self-sacrificing, others first, love.  It means that when you work, take care of your family, discipline your kids, or teach a Sunday School class, do it all in love and you will do it right. When we try to solve disagreements outside of God’s love, it is not going to be the right way.  When we try to discipline our kids out of anger instead of in God’s love, it is not going to be the right way.  Whatever you do – do it all in love.
As men, we love our families and want to be the best for them. God gives us all we need to be the men our families need and the men He wants us to be – Be watchful, stand firm, act like men, be strong, and above all, let all that you do be done in love.  

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Contentment is Sufficiency in Christ

It is my belief that the greatest statement of Christian maturity is Paul’s statement of contentment in any circumstance.  Reread it and see how much wisdom and life experience is behind this statement. 
Was he in need?  Probably.  To Paul, it made no difference whether he was free or bound to a soldier, whether the day was hot and humid or bleak and frigid, whether the Philippians sent a gift or failed to make contact.
Content may be a mistranslation of the original language, even though many versions use it. The Greek word autarkes, which is translated as content, really doesn't refer to one's emotional state of satisfaction. Rather, the word autarkes means "self-sufficient" or "self-reliant." 
As the Christians at Philippi first heard this letter read in their assembly, they may well have been shocked by Paul's claim to be “self-sufficient”. They were all-too-familiar with the whole concept of "self-sufficiency" because it was prized by the popular philosophers of their day, the gurus who preached in the marketplace. 
Many of these counselors were advocates of Stoicism, the most popular philosophical system in the Greco-Roman world during the first century A.D. At the core of Stoic ethics was the view that human happiness can be attained through self-sufficiency; through relying only upon oneself in all things.   SELF-HELP GURUS!!
If we can stop depending on the opinions and help of others, the Stoics argued, then we can be truly happy, and nothing will take away our contentment. So, at first blush, Paul appears to adopt the Stoic way of life when he says "I have learned to be self-sufficient with whatever I have."How very Stoic of Paul! Or so it seems.   BUT LET’S READ ON…
Philippians 4:13 explains everything. This is the mystery into which Paul has been initiated. But, unlike inductees of pagan mysteries, Paul freely and eagerly gives away the secret: "I can do all things through him who strengthens me."  Though the text doesn't tell us who “Him” is, the overall context in Philippians leaves no room for doubt. Paul is speaking here of Jesus Christ. 
Without verse 13, verse 11 sounds very Stoic. Paul seems to say that he has learned to rely upon himself in every situation. But with verse 13 in mind, verse 11 reads in an utterly non-Stoic way. In fact, Paul is not self-reliant at all, but wholly reliant upon Christ.

And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. 
Philippians 4:19

Wednesday, June 19, 2019


The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

How often have you heard people say that they didn't feel qualified to do something in the service of the Lord and use that as an excuse not to do anything for God.  Our gifts are not meant to restrict our ability to serve the Lord, but rather to enhance our service.  If the Lord wants us to do something for Him, then He will stretch our limited talents and multiply them just as He did when He fed five thousand people with five loaves of bread and two fish.  Moses was a prime example to us of a man called by God who didn’t feel like he could do the job God was asking him to do. 
Moses was a prince in Egypt, but he was not Egyptian. He was born to Levite parents.  Most know the story of how his mother put him in a basket in the Nile river to save him from the King Pharaoh’s decree that every Hebrew baby boy born at that time would be cast into the river to drown.  The Israelites were multiplying too fast in his opinion and this was another way to oppress them.  He had already made them slaves.
Moses was found by Pharaoh’s daughter, floating in the river, and she rescued him.  Moses’ sister was one of the King’s daughter’s servants, so she offered to find a woman to nurse the baby and Pharaoh’s daughter agreed.  Of course, Moses’ sister got his own mother to nurse him, so she took the baby and kept him until he was older and then she took him back to Pharaoh’s daughter who then raised him as a prince in the king’s palace. From that time until he was around 40, we don’t really know what went on in his life.  But when he was 40, he came upon an Egyptian beating a Hebrew man. Moses looked around to make sure no one was watching and then he killed the Egyptian and buried him in the sand. Since no one was around so he thought no one would ever know, but someone how Pharaoh found out and tried to kill Moses.  As a result, Moses fled to the desert to hide and escape punishment.  
It is a bizarre story.  Moses was a good man in word and deed, but he purposefully killed a man.  He spent the next 40 years hiding in Midian where he marries Zipporah, the priest of Midian’s daughter.  During his time in Midian, Moses became a father and tended his father-in-law’s sheep – a long way from the life of an Egyptian prince.   Moses had no idea, but God was using this time to get him ready for the purpose God had for him.
All the events of Moses’ life had made him who he needed to be to carry out God’s purpose.  Tending sheep for his father in law was good because when the Children of Israel fled Egypt, they took their flocks with them.  After hiding in Midian for 40 years, he was well equipped to guide the Israelites through the desert.  God can take our bad choices and turn them to good for His purposes.  It is impossible for us to know what experiences God is truly using to prepare us for service.  We have no idea the plans He has for our lives.  What may seem like an insignificant moment today might become a pivotal point in our lives.  What may seem like the destruction of the rest of our lives may turn out to be what changes our lives to become better than we ever imagined.  No matter what mess we make of our lives, He takes our messiest places, shines them up, and uses them for His glory.  
One thing we can be sure of is that whatever He calls us to do, He will qualify us for the task.  Even though Moses didn’t feel qualified, it wasn’t even about him. It’s never about us when God calls us to a task – it’s always about Him.  He is more than qualified to handle our issues and prepare us for His purposes. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Lies, Lies, Lies

Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.  Proverbs 3:7

Satan is always there when we are most sure he will not show up.  Even when we think we are doing the right thing, we have to be careful and be sure that we are not being deceived.  The father of lies lives to deceive the children of God.  
Complacency– One of the lies Satan likes to put in our heads is that we are doing ok – better perhaps than all those around us.  Maybe we work with non-Christians who don’t love their families like we do, who use language we don’t, who use the name of the God we worship in vain. Satan loves to whisper in our ear that we are looking pretty good – because we are not like them
Church Doesn’t Matter –Christians make many excuses for not coming to church on a regular basis:
·      Too many hypocrites in church
·      They don’t have what we need – not enough classes or programs that pertain to us
·      Our feelings were hurt, and we won’t go back
·      We can worship God anywhere – we will just watch online or listen
·      It doesn’t really matter if we don’t go as long as we read our Bible and pray
Satan doesn’t want you in church.  He doesn’t want you gathering with other Christians, worshiping and praying together, growing in your faith.  He wants you to live in isolation, unattached and uninvolved.  You are way more accessible to him that way.  The author of Hebrews tells us in Hebrews 10:24-25-And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.  The writer of Hebrews knew two things – that we would need the fellowship of other believers, and that we would easily fall into neglecting this fellowship.  Satan doesn’t want us in church, and he certainly doesn’t want us to think we need the fellowship.  
I Will Never Be Good Enough for God– Satan loves to make us think we will never be good enough to earn the love, mercy, and forgiveness of God.  He whispers in our ear that we are disqualified, unworthy, and we will never be able to have His love.  The truth is that we don’t do anything to earn God’s love.  He has given freely to all who receive.  Nothing in our past disqualifies us or puts us out of reach of Him.  We are not unworthy.  We have full access to redemption through the blood of Jesus – we only have to believe. 
All lies can be dispelled with the truth.  Satan distorts and perverts the truth. The truth of God’s word shines light on the darkness of Satan’s lies.   Know the truth.  Read the word.  Memorize. Because Satan is counting on being able to trick you into thinking his truth is THE truth.  

But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.  2 Corinthians 11:3

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