Tuesday, June 30, 2020

The Real Blessing

Tuesday, June 30, 2020 Some material taken from The Blessing by Sam Nobles
The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.  
Numbers 6:24-26

The Real Blessing
What does blessed mean to you? People say they are blessed when they have good things happen, or a lucky financial streak or a healthy family. Sam pointed out on Sunday that all these may be great gifts God gives us, but they are not necessarily His blessings for us.  Sometimes God’s blessings for us are couched in circumstances we would never consider blessings. Then somewhere down the road we realize how God was in control and all that happened was for a reason – and we have been blessed. These blessings are usually the ones that change our lives and bring us closer to God. In my own personal experience, they have started out hard, maybe even painful, but ended up making me a better person. Sam’s words on Sunday said it the best:

In the midst of painful events, you experience God’s richest blessings. A stronger faith than you had experienced before. A deeper love than you had ever known. A more intimate walk than you could ever explain. Your trials will ground your faith in ways that prosperity and abundance never can. While trials may not be blessings in and of themselves, they are channels through which God’s blessings flow into our lives. – Sam Nobles

Material possessions and even health can disappear in an instant. Even the precious people He gives us have not been promised us forever. We all know the painful truth and reality of sickness, tragedy and death. Loss feels nothing like blessing. We cannot base our belief in God’s love for us or His favor for us on circumstances or events that happen in our lives, or our lack of worldly possessions. It is easy to feel like God doesn’t care for us when things are hard. Be careful – hard times are often blessings in disguise. A wise friend told me that God will keep us tethered to Him with whatever will keep us at His feet, and nothing keeps us at His feet like hard times. But at His feet the blessings flow beyond anything we could ever imagine. Also, hard times are often consequences of bad choices we have made and have nothing to do with how much God loves us. However, He does loves us enough to allow us to experience whatever will help us change and grow, which means that even our bad choices can eventually flow into blessings. 

In the Old Testament, some of the blessings we read are based on special favor granted by God followed by joy and prosperity. One example is Isaac blessing Jacob before he sent him to Paddan Aram to Laban’s house to find a wife: May God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and increase your numbers until you become a community of peoples.  May he give you and your descendants the blessing given to Abraham, so that you may take possession of the land where you now reside as a foreigner, the land God gave to Abraham. Genesis 28:3-4

Most of the Old Testament blessings had three common elements:

  1. The greater blesses the lesser.
  2. The blessing is a sign of special favor that results in prosperity and success.
  3. The blessing is a petition for God’s blessing – May God Almighty bless you

The New Testament is a little different with blessings being more spiritual in nature. Jesus’ last words to the disciples were a blessing. - When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. Luke 24:52  Jesus was always declaring that no matter what difficulties we face, the promises of God and His salvation and eternal life should bring us happiness and favor with God. Blessing.

The truest blessing we will ever know is discovering our completeness in God and finding full satisfaction and contentment in Him alone. We can then see the reality of who we are and what we have in Him. Blessings draw us closer to Him where we see the real blessing is Him, not anything He gives us or anything we can achieve or attain.

Lara Cook

Monday, June 29, 2020

A God of Restoration and Blessing

Monday, June 29, 2020 
Instead of your shame there shall be a double portion; instead of dishonor they shall rejoice in their lot; therefore in their land they shall possess a double portion; they shall have everlasting joy. Isaiah 61:7

A God of Restoration and Blessing

If you think that God’s blessing is not for your family…

My family is broken. The family I grew up in as a little girl was broken too. Most families have some broken parts – broken relationships, broken marriages, broken children, - because our families are made of human beings.  Whether you want to believe it or not, we are all broken. We have trouble understanding sometimes why we have these imperfect lives and broken families when we love the Lord, and we believe He loves us.

Only God Himself can love us perfectly. No human being can love us like He does, and we are totally incapable of loving others the way He does, even with the very best and truest intentions. We are human, and in our sinful nature, we make a mess. We make a mess of family, marriage, relationships, jobs, and the list goes on. Are you haunted with thoughts like this - I have made too much mess for God to ever restore me or my life.  My family – the broken relationships – He will never bless us. He cannot fix this. I have tried to fix the brokenness in my family and the brokenness I see all around me. Can you relate? With the best of intentions, some of us think we can help bring broken relationships back together, but there is absolutely nothing you or I can do to mend what only God has the power to mend.  God may use you, but only He can do this. Only He can fix what is broken in our lives.

Some people believe that ungodly behaviors in family lines are results of generational curses. Generational curses are believed to be patterns of ungodly behavior passed down from generation to generation in families. Sometimes scripture taken out of context has led some to believe that because their parents had certain issues, then they will have the same problems.(Let me say that I know that addictions can run in families and I know that it can be a real struggle that can be passed down.) Exodus 20:5 says You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me Certainly, there are consequences of the sins of those who go before us that sometimes affect more than one generation, but every generation has the choice to not be defeated by the consequences of the sins of those who have gone before them. Behaviors such as alcoholism, drug addiction, out of control anger, financial irresponsibility, and more will influence children who grow up in certain environments, but in Christ they too have the power to overcome. This is not a curse. There is no brokenness beyond the power of God.

Rebellious behavior is a personal choice that we make, and though it’s convenient to blame them on our ancestors, before we can break free from anything, we must lay the responsibility where it belongs – on ourselves. We can choose to break these cycles with the power of God. He alone has the power to break any ungodly rebellious behavior. His blessing is stronger than any hold that we may believe there is on our own life or those in our families. His love and grace are strong enough to love us unconditionally through all our bad decisions and wrong turns.  His mercy and forgiveness are strong enough to break the power of sin and His sacrifice broke the power of death forever. There is nothing He cannot conquer for us and through us.  Let me also say that there are times when we may need the help of professionals to break out of some cycles, and there is no shame whatsoever is receiving help.  God is completely sufficient, but He equips others to help us through this process as well when needed.

Satan wants nothing more than for you to believe that your family is too broken to be blessed by God. And God wants nothing more than for you to know the power of His love, grace, mercy, forgiveness, and redemption. God is a God of restoration. He is all about fixing the broken parts of our lives and families and redeeming them for His glory. That is His goal – redemption. It is not shame. It is not condemnation. It is not defeat. It is redemption, made complete in Him. 

By Lara Cook

Sunday, June 28, 2020

The Blessing

The Blessing

Numbers 6:22-27

Without meaning to, well intended believers have made success the posterchild for what it means to be blessed by God. However, the blessings of God are so much more than success, material objects, or favorable circumstances. We often talk about being blessed, but what does it really mean? How should a Christian understand the blessings of God?

A.   Earthly success does not fully characterize God’s blessing.

·   Earthly blessings are temporary and can all disappear in one day.

·   Your desire for God is greatly fueled by the needs you have.

·   While trials may not be blessings in and of themselves, they are channels through which God’s blessings flow into our lives.

B.   There is no hint of material prosperity or perfect circumstances in any New Testament reference of blessing.

C.   Scripture shows that a biblical blessing is anything God gives that makes us fully satisfied in Him – whether we interpret it as good or bad.

·   Great families, financial wealth, and good health are all wonderful gifts we can thank God for, but they are not necessarily His blessings.

·   God’s blessing always rests in God Himself.

II.    The Blessing Offered

·   The blessing of another person should be a personal, generous, outpouring of your desire for God’s goodness in the life of another.

·   The effect of God’s blessing would display His character, His nature, His very being in and through His people.

·   For the believer, this blessing is a reminder of what one has and who one is in Christ Jesus.

III.    The Blessing Received

·   God’s blessing does not come as a reward for performance given.

·   God’s blessing looks beyond who you are today and communicates the reality of who you are in Christ.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Acceptance of My Brothers and Sisters in Christ

Friday, June 26, 2020 By Van Houser
Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves. Each of us is to please his neighbor for his good, to his edification.
Romans 15:1-2

Acceptance of My Brothers and Sisters in Christ
God has really called us into a simple task...SERVICE to others.  God as our Master has given a single order...Serve others as Christ served.  The thing that seems to intervene in our service to others is our feeling of personal rights.  It is not like the Bible did not expect this to be a problem.  Many scriptures speak of the attitude that must accompany Godly service...an attitude of selflessness. Here lies the real problem...the heart of a man.

Paul strikes a powerful blow to us in our feeling of personal rights in this chapter of Romans.  There is an ongoing hunger in the life of every person for acceptance.  It is what drives us into social order and relationship.  The fact that you regard me as worthy of your presence, love and support validates me as long as you are accepting me as I am and not as I am “ACTING.” 

The call of God to Christian service involves the responsibility of Christian patience with others.  To "bear the weaknesses" does not mean to solve their problems.  God never made us responsible for another man's burden.  To "bear" in this passage is a word that means to endure patiently.

There is a stone in my office that reads, "Please be patient.  God is not finished with me yet."  How true it is.  The cry here is for us not to demand the spiritual perfection of others that we have not achieved ourselves...or even to demand what we have achieved.

God is dealing with every individual at their personal pace of growth.  The fact that someone does not agree or does not act properly does not mean they are less than you.  When someone says, “that is just the way I am", they may be sharing a place of weakness rather than personality.

A major problem for these people was cultural differences and expressions of worship. Paul told the church at Rome, Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions. One person has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only. The one who eats is not to regard with contempt the one who does not eat, and the one who does not eat is not to judge the one who eats, for God has accepted him. Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.  (Romans 14:1-4)  Methods of ministry and worship are varied but we are all responsible to God.  The key to the need outlined is "not pleasing ourselves".  

The course of self-denial is the only course for the believer.  Anytime that you can serve God and always get your way, you can know that you have lost somewhere the servant spirit that is sensitive to others.  The Christian is most pleased with himself when others are benefited. 

This is a good word for all believers seeking a fellowship that is for all people.

Scripture to Claim:

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-4

Thursday, June 25, 2020


Thursday, June 25, 2020
Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:22-23

Unwavering We all know that because we are Christians, we are not exempt from trials and tribulations. So far in 2020 most of us have had more than our fair share of trials. Just turning on the TV or getting on social media is enough to send us over the edge as things just keep coming and piling up on top of each other. God knows our hearts and knew that we would face these times. He tried to prepare us by telling us we would have trials and teaching us to have faith in Him. Unfortunately, faith is never tested in good times. It always takes a trial to test the strength and endurance of our faith.

Not only does the Bible say to have faith in times of uncertainty, but it says Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering…That is where the really hard part comes in. When we have to stand trials for a long time, it is hard not to waver. When we see one thing after the other coming full speed ahead, it is hard not to waver. When we think about what COULD happen, it is hard not to waver. When we get a diagnosis that scares us, it is hard not to waver. When so much bad stuff seems to be happening, with no break, how can we hold fast? When the unemployment lasts and we don’t know how we will pay the bills, how do we not waver? When our loved one succumbs to disease and their only healing is not this side of heaven, how do we not lose hope?

How to Hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering

  • Pray – Spend a lot of time on your knees.  Ask God to help you be strong and to not waver in your faith.  Ask God to give you the strength to be an example to those around you who are watching how you handle this storm.
  • Study and learn – Study and learn all you can about God. Read your Bible, do Bible studies, find a mentor, watch sermons, listen to podcasts. Saturate your life with Him and His word. Feed your hunger with the things God has done and left for us to learn about in His Word.
  • Find some friends – Find a support group, a group of friends that you can have coffee with, or even just one close friend. Let them know how you are struggling and ask them to pray for you. Find out what they may be struggling with. We need each other and one of the most beautiful gifts that God has given us is the gift of friendship.
  • Remember the Promises of God – You have learned about them, now remember them. Remember what He did for the people in the Bible. Remember what He has done for you in your own life. Be on the lookout for His hand in your life right now – even though it may not be the “big” thing that you are waiting on Him to fix.  Often, I see His hand in my life and I know He is reminding me that He is in control. Look for your reminders. They are there.

Standing the tests that come our way and holding fast to what we believe – unwavering - is impossible if all we see are the circumstances of our lives and the world around us. The weight of circumstances will crush us. But the promises of God, that stand the test of time, will carry us over, around, and through any set of circumstances that could come. Our human minds cannot fathom a solution, but nothing is stronger than our God and nothing is impossible with Him.  Pray, study, lean on others, remember, and trust – unwavering.
In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.  1 Peter 1:6-9

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Pass It On – Faith

Wednesday, June 24, 2020
Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one! "You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. "These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. "You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.  Deuteronomy 6:4-7

Pass It On – Faith

If we pass nothing else on to our children and grandchildren, we must pass faith from our lives to theirs. There are many good and helpful things we can teach them, but none they will need more than they will need Jesus Christ in their lives. Unfortunately, they will live in a very different world than we grew up in. Satan’s influence is strong, and many are deceived. We must make sure they know the truth – God’s truth. 

"Children learn what we live!"  - Brother Van

One way we lead our children is by the example we set for them. We can talk to them – and talk and talk and talk - and they won’t hear us.  But I can promise you, they won’t forget all the mistakes we make.  They won’t forget the good things either like seeing you pray and read your Bible, taking them to church on Sunday and how you handle what life throws your way. 

The way we handle ourselves when anger, frustration, loss, grief, resentment, and other negative feelings take over is important.  Every feeling of life has to be expressed properly to be dealt with effectively.  And when we fail, our kids know it. We need to admit it and talk to them about how to handle those emotions properly. If they are not handled properly, they can cause devastating consequences, not only to our own lives, but to the lives of those around us. 

The greatest lesson any parent or grandparent can give to a child is how to apply faith to their lives. Share your stories of faith with your children and grandchildren. Let them know what God has done in your life and how He may have used you to work in other people’s lives. Take them to serve so they will know the value of serving others. Provide opportunities for them to grow and learn and for God to work in their lives. Teach them to be aware always of people and circumstances that He allows in their lives for a purpose. Teach them to be kingdom minded. 

Our children and grandchildren need to know that their Heavenly Father is filled with compassion, mercy, and grace.  They need to know that He is our protector and provider, and they need to see evidence that we believe that too. A parent or grandparent who worries openly does not display faith. Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to show faith outwardly when we are crumbling inside, but it can actually make us stronger. Having to be strong for others builds strength and having to be stronger in our faith for others can make our faith life stronger.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Pass It On - Wisdom

Pass It On - Wisdom
You can never gain true wisdom without truth. A wise person knows the truth. If we do not know God, we cannot know the truth. Jesus said, I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. John 14:6

An elementary awareness of God affects my knowledge, my understanding, and my wisdom and insight. The essence of wisdom is full knowledge, not only knowledge of the facts, but a knowledge of God Himself.

·         "Don't ever trust yourself. In everything you do, put God first, and he will direct you and crown your efforts with success." Proverbs 3:5, 6

·         "For the reverence and fear of God are basic to all wisdom. Knowing God results in every other kind of understanding." Proverbs 9:10 In this passage "knowing" means "to know by experience."

Those who know a lot about the Bible, do not necessarily know very much about God. They know what the Bible says, but don't know how to put it into practice. They seem to be unaware of God's presence in their lives, or of the reality of his Spirit within them. They have knowledge, but they lack the skills needed to live a life that pleases God. Wisdom is far more than the mere gathering of information. A person may have a great deal of information and not have wisdom.

The Source of Wisdom is God –

"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge." Proverbs 1:7 - Lets dissect this verse bit by bit to discover what wisdom it offers us.

Reverence - "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge."  This reverence for God is pivotal in our lives. If we do not come to God in submission and reverence, we can never have the skill to experience life as it ought to be lived. 

Relationship - "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge." Knowledge is basically a relationship.  It does not matter how much we know about God. We must know God.  There is a big difference. That knowledge is to be experienced. Our whole purpose of life is to come to know God and to come into a relationship with him. The fear of the Lord is the starting point of that relationship.
Repetition - "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge." In this passage the word "beginning" has nothing to do with chronology. Instead it refers to a "starting point." It is the place where we begin, but it is more. It continues to be the controlling principle of our relationship with God. It is the very heart of life for us. We begin with the fear of God, and we never leave it behind.  Wisdom never comes to the lazy, careless, or casual person. It is a pursuit that calls for diligent energy to be expended. Reverential awe and submission is our beginning attitude, but it is also to be the continuing core of our relationship with God.
(Discipline) Wisdom does not come to the undisciplined or the careless. It does not come with the casual application of knowledge.  A vital part of discipline involves heeding the warnings God gives from the experiences of life and from the pages of His word.  A wise man will listen and so increase his knowledge. He sharpens his skills. He realizes that we never arrive, never exhaust our potential to learn.

When we experience God's discipline, we will gain the wisdom to use our time wisely. Discipline helps us use our days well and wisdom also helps us learn to communicate properly. 

Open your mind and heart and make yourself available to the Holy Spirit.  Seek His wisdom in His word.  There are many lessons for all of us to learn.

Monday, June 22, 2020

Pass It On - Courage

Pass it On - Courage
What is Courage? The kind of strength required for courage has nothing to do with muscle. Courage is different from power. Courage is having the ability to NOT use physical force but to stand up against those who do. Truly courageous men are tough-willed but kind-spirited. Courage implies firmness of mind and will in the face of danger or extreme difficulty. – Brother Van

Using physical strength, or fists, to resolve problems is never the right answer. Sometimes courage is having the strength to walk away – even in the face of humiliation and taunting. What we need to teach our kids and to pass on to the generations that follow is that violence is not the courageous way. The courageous thing to do is always to do the right thing. People mistake a man who fights as a strong, brave man, when in reality, it might just be a cowardly man hiding behind his fists. It requires far more strength to control anger than to let it out, without thought, and with flailing fists.

Solomon’s father, David, was dying and some of his last words to his son were be strong and prove yourself a man. David himself had learned many lessons and imparted much wisdom. He knew that physical strength is not what makes a man truly strong. David wished for his son to be strong in the Lord, and he knew from experience that he would need strength from the Lord to endure life’s battles. These battles are not the kind that require physical weapons, but spiritual ones. It is not the physical battles of life that wear us down and destroy as much as the spiritual ones, and brute strength is of no use on these battlefields.

David was passing on the crown to his son. He wanted his son to seek the courage of the Lord that would make him strong. Passing on courage is done by embracing and living by the Word of God, filtering our lives through its commands, and standing on the foundation of our beliefs. The convictions of these beliefs will also give us courage. If there is anything in our lives that does not line up with the Word of God, and His commandments, then we can 100 percent believe that it is not His will for us. He will never lead us into something that does not line up with His word. It takes courage to follow God wherever He leads us. Solomon did this at first, but later he allowed things into his life that did not line up with God’s words and it was his downfall. That is really what we should want to protect our kids and grandkids from the most. Courage will help them learn to stand for what is right and what is true. We can make sure they know where to find that courage and truth – from the Lord.

Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.
1 Corinthians 16:13

Friday, June 19, 2020

The Fruits of Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-Control

Friday, June 19, 2020
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law…  Galatians 5:22-23

When we become one of God’s children, we immediately have the benefit of the Holy Spirit in our lives. One evidence of the Holy Spirit in our lives, is the fruit we bear – spiritual fruit that we refer to as the fruit of the spirit.  We have looked at love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, and goodness.  Today we will look at the last three – faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.


Faithfulness can be described as loyalty, allegiance, steadfastness, constancy, and carefulness in what we are entrusted with.  When we talk about faithfulness in terms of the Christian, we may think about faithfully attending church, being faithful to God and our family members, or believing in God and that even though we can’t see Him, we believe that He exists and that His promises are true.  Faithfulness is trusting God even when we cannot hear Him, when He is silent, and we see no solutions.  We know that God is reliable and trustworthy.  Faithfulness is ultimately believing that God is who He says He is no matter what.  This is living by faith and not by sight. 
Right now, we need faith more than ever to move forward into a world full of so much uncertainty.  God is not surprised by anything that is happening, and though we cannot see
through to the other side, He is already there.  


Gentleness does not mean weakness.  Gentleness is humility and thankfulness to God as well as a self-controlled approach in behavior towards others.  We all have the ability to build up or tear down, and being a Christian does not automatically make our sinful nature go away.  We have the ability to speak words that encourage others and act in ways that help and not hurt.  With the Holy Spirit’s help, we can be gentle with our words and actions.  The strength and power of the Holy Spirit is the greatest power on earth.  He helps us to be far meeker and gentler than we could ever be in our own strength.  God is all powerful but does not misuse His power.  He is gentle with us, His wayward children, and He never overreacts.  Having an attitude of meekness will help produce gentleness in our actions. 


Self-Control should not be called self-control at all because if we are controlling ourselves, we will probably not be acting like we are living in the power of the Holy Spirit.  It should be called Spirit Control instead.  It is only with the help of the Holy Spirit that we can be in control at all.  It is true that we are our own worst enemy.  For the Christian, self-control means that your whole person, your whole being comes under the control of Christ.   You become an individual governed by God, physically, spiritual, and morally.  Being Self-Controlled to a Christian means total submission to the Holy Spirit.  A lack of self-control can lead us to sin and Satan knows that and uses that weakness in our life.  We actually have to remove the self from self-control in order to have self-control.  We must allow the Holy Spirit to make us Christ like.  We must rely on the power of the Holy Spirit and not give in to our own emotions and desires when they do not line up with God’s.  Only through the power of the Holy Spirit can we do this very hard thing!

For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.
 2 Peter 1:5-7

Thursday, June 18, 2020

The Fruits of Patience, Kindness, and Goodness

Thursday, June 18, 2020
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law…  Galatians 5:22-23

When we become one of God’s children, we immediately have the benefit of the Holy Spirit in our lives. One evidence of the Holy Spirit in our lives, is the fruit we bear – spiritual fruit that we refer to as the fruit of the spirit. Yesterday we looked at the fruits of love, joy, and peace. Today we will look at patience, kindness, and goodness.


Surely there can be no greater example of patience than that of God’s patience with us, His unrepentant, disobedient children.  We wander away and even turn our backs on Him sometimes but still He waits, with open arms, ready for us when we come running back to Him.  In his book A Gardner Looks at the Fruits of the Spirit, W. Phillip Keller states that patience is the powerful capacity of selfless love to suffer long under adversity.  Being patient is very hard.  Sometimes it means we have to let go of expectations – expectations we place on people and expectations we place on God.  We have to let go of how and when we believe things should happen and accept that God’s ways are not our ways.  He knows what is best for us and we have to trust in Him and His timing. 


Most of us have experienced someone being kind to us at one time or another in our lifetime.  We all want to be treated with kindness, but when it comes to being nice to someone else; we have a hard time with it.  We are humans and human nature is selfish and sometimes rude and uncaring.  But kindness and mercy go hand in hand.  You cannot be merciful without being kind, and you cannot be kind without being merciful.  Kindness begins with being caring, tenderhearted, and compassionate towards each other.  We should be looking for ways to show kindness in our everyday lives.  Don’t hesitate when you see an opportunity because it may be gone if you put it off.  Kindness should begin at home with the people we are closest to and who mean the most to us but often it is harder to show kindness there.  We often display our most unkind behavior towards the people we love the most. 

But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.. Luke 6:35 God calls us to be kind to everyone – including strangers and not just friends and family.  Sometimes people will not be grateful to you for your display of kindness or reciprocate it, but the Bible tells us that our reward will be great:

Today, when so much unkindness abounds, be intentional about showing kindness.


Goodness is the outward evidence of Christ in our hearts.  It is good deeds motivated by righteousness and a desire to do the right thing simply just for the sake of doing the right thing.  It is a principle which one lives by.  It is a standard of living a life controlled by the Holy Spirit.  It is the selfless desire to be a blessing to those around you for no reward to oneself but only for the benefit of others. This is a virtue that can only come as a result of the Holy Spirit inside us. 

In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.  Matthew 5:16

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

The Fruits of Love, Joy, and Peace

Wednesday, June 17, 2020
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law…  Galatians 5:22-23

When we become one of God’s children, we immediately have the benefit of the Holy Spirit in our lives. One evidence of the Holy Spirit in our lives, is the fruit we bear – spiritual fruit that we refer to as the fruit of the spirit. Today we will look at the fruits of love, joy, and peace

It has been said that Love makes the world go round.  Well, there is some truth in that statement since we are human and as humans, we crave love.  Love is generally associated with feelings and feelings are important.  God wants us to feel love for Him and others, but more than that, God longs for us to experience a greater love, beyond any human emotions. 

This incredible love can only come from one place and that is from God.  1 John 4:7 says Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.  God showed His love for us first by giving us life and a beautiful world to live in. Then He gave His son as the ultimate sacrifice of love for us.  He has shown us mercy and grace and wants us to show love, mercy and grace to the world, the fruit of the spirit flowing from our lives.  God wants His love to stay in a continuous stream from Him, to us, out of us to others and to Him. 

Love covers a multitude of sins – and forgives a multitude of offenses.  In our human nature, it is only through the love of our savior can we set aside differences, forgive each other, and love one another.  Right now, our hurting world needs some of this love more than anything else. 


Let’s face it, there are just some days that are very hard days and the thought of exuding joy is crazy.  Joy in a sense, goes hand in hand with peace. When we have peace and know that God is in control when everything is spinning out of control, we have a sense of joy. This is not the giddy, laughing hysterically joy that you may feel at a party occasionally. This is a feeling of safety, knowing that you have a purpose and a place in Christ and that He is going to take care of you.  Even in times of suffering you can have joy.  Even in times of uncertainty you can have joy. Being a Christian does not mean life will be easy and we will not suffer hardships.  It means we have an anchor.  It means we know that God is in control when we are not. We can have hope because we have a different perspective of eternity and people around you can see the fruit of joy in your life.  


Peace - that is definitely something we could use more of. Our busyness has been replaced with confinement and a forced slowing down, that admittedly for many has been very enjoyable. However, busyness has also been replaced with uncertainty. And now unrest. The more “crises” we have to deal with in life, the more we cling to God for the peace we can get only from Him.  He can give us calmness, confidence, and inner contentment even when the storm is raging fiercely around us. This is only possible through the Holy Spirit and His presence in our lives.  It is a fruit of the Spirit in our lives that we can exhibit to the shaking world around us with an example of how we react and handle the events happening around us.  How could we possibly make it through these hard times without the blessed assurance of the Holy Spirit and His love for us? Our example can possibly lead others to seek peace that only He provides as well. 

The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life. Proverbs 11:30

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Who is the Holy Spirit?

Tuesday, June 16, 2020
I have said these things to you while I am still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. John 14:25-26

Who is the Holy Spirit Exactly?
When you hear the term “Holy Spirit,” what comes to mind? If the power of the Holy Spirit can make such a difference if we choose it, then why don’t we claim Him? Maybe we don’t know exactly what that means. In the Gospel of John, Jesus invites us to know about, expect, and experience the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is God. He is God in spiritual manifestation as He possesses all the attributes of God. In the verses above Jesus speaks of the third member of the divine family – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit - in terms that are personal. In fact, He challenged his original followers to think of the Holy Spirit in the same personal ways they had experienced Him; that He would come along side them in everything, teaching them as Jesus had.  There would be an advantage to God’s presence with them through the Holy Spirit. He would be an ever-present Defense, Advocate, Burden-Bearer, and Strength-Provider for the disciples, and He is all that for us as well.

The Holy Spirit is God working in us, through us. The indwelling Spirit of God enables us to accomplish God's will and work. He enabled the disciples to speak other languages on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:4). He stood with them giving them the words to speak before their opponents. Throughout the book of Acts, we see how He guided the early church through its struggles. The Spirit continues to work in and through man today, to accomplish God's will and work. He is the power to bring about righteous living in our lives.

The Holy Spirit brings Conviction of Sin- Sin separates us from God, and through the conviction of the Holy Spirit, knowing that we are sinful and lost without God, we can come for salvation. The Holy Spirit continues to convict and sanctify us once we are Christ's. When we sin, the Spirit convicts and brings us to a place of confession to receive God's forgiveness.

It is All About Christ. The Holy Spirit’s role is to glorify Christ, not promote or reveal Himself. In glorifying Christ in us, this reveals God through the Son, and in us.  The Holy Spirit renews us in the image of Christ and when we have received the Holy Spirit, our lives will reflect it.  We will turn from sin and actively pursue Christ. We will be hungry for His word and our choices will reflect the leadership of the Holy Spirit to glorify Christ in all we do.

In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. 
 Ephesians 1:13-14

If we are born-again are have the dwelling Spirit of God inside us. However, the power to live in Christ comes through being filled daily with the Spirit. We must daily choose to walk in the Spirit so that others can see the Fruit of the Spirit in our lives. We must daily choose to be filled.  It is not a choice we make just once when we become Christians. It is a choice we must make every single day if we wish to have Him in our lives and live in His power.  A life lived in this power will reap the benefits and bear much fruit.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Galatians 5:22-23

Monday, June 15, 2020

Have You Misplaced the Holy Spirit?

Monday, June 15, 2020
In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit.  Ephesians 1:13

Have You Misplaced the Holy Spirit?
Are you missing the Holy Spirit’s power in your life? Maybe you lost it before you realized what was happening, but maybe you set it aside on purpose. In the sermon yesterday, Pastor Van spoke about some men who were building a house. It is a story full of symbolism that represents us losing the power of the Holy Spirit and how we can do nothing in our own power without Him. We need Him.

One man was swinging an axe and the axe head came off and it fell into the water. Well anyone can figure that an axe without an axe head is useless. You won’t chop down any trees with just an axe handle. In the story, he asks the prophet, Elisha, “What am I going to do? The axe was borrowed!” Elisha threw a stick into the water where the axe head sank and made the iron float to the top and Elisha told the man to reach out and grab it. Meanwhile, another man swings away with the axe handle, another man is in the forest measuring the trees, and then another polishes the axe handle to return it with no axe head.

The main point is that the without the axe head, the axe is useless, swinging the axe handle won’t do anything, polishing the handle is futile, and measuring the trees is pointless with nothing to chop them down. This is symbolic for us because many times we forget about the Holy Spirit, or we may put Him aside if He will be in the way of the things we want to do. Without the Hoy Spirit’s power, our work is futile. If we lay Him aside and endeavor to work in our own power, for our own desires, or for our own glory, we work in vain, just as trying to chop down a tree with an axe handle. There may be a lot of work going in, but the work is ineffective without the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. Just as Elisha told the man to reach out and grab the axe head, we must reach for the Holy Spirit.  Relationships are two-way streets and our relationship with the Holy Spirit works the same.

We never tap truly tap into the power of God that is ours for the taking.  The minute we become His child we have the power of the Holy Spirit.  We have the power that caused the dead to rise. We have the power that raised a crucified Christ for our salvation. That SAME power is ours. If we ever prayed and believed in the power we have at our disposal, we would be truly amazed and overwhelmed at the work of God in our lives. We get afraid. We hear the enemy whispering in our ear – constantly – that is it not ours for the taking. He tells us we don’t deserve it, or that He would never want to help us because we are so unworthy.  Satan will hound us as long as we let him, which is as long as we believe the lies.  He will speak lies into our ear as we watch the axe head float away.

This week I challenge you to claim the power of the Holy Spirit that is yours.  Really pray and ask for the power of the Holy Spirit in your life. It is very exciting to believe and expect Him to work and then to wait and see what He does. It may not be instantaneous, or the way you think He will work, but He will work in your life. He already is.

And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
Acts 2:38

Lara Cook

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Power From On High

Power From On High
II Kings 6:1-7
God’s purpose is accomplished through God’s plan and His power.  Using fleshly power to try to accomplish a spiritual purpose is to invite frustration.  Jesus tells where to find Power From On High.
Analogy Explained
Elisha - represents God
Axe Handle - represents the church
Forest - represents the lost world
Axe Head - represents the Holy Spirit
How do you get an Axe head back?
 I.    First Admit That You Lost It 2 Kings 6:5
·         Our lack of ability must be replaced with our availability for the gift of power.
III.    Go Back To Where You Lost It 2 Kings 6:6
IV.    Trust God to Give It Back 2 Kings 6:6
V.    Reach Out and Grab It 2 Kings 6:7
VI.    Experience Spiritual Victory and Power  Luke 24:49
·         SPIRITUAL GAIN can only be made through SPIRITUAL POWER.
Characteristics of This Power
It Is Received Power
·         God's limitless task requires unlimited power from an unlimited God.
It is Spiritual Power

Results of This Power
We Are Transformed, Not Conformed
·         Sanctification is the carrying on to perfection the work begun in regeneration and it extends to the whole man.
·         The issue is not what sanctification is, but how it is accomplished
·         Conformation to God’s precepts and principles is not God’s transformation of our heart by His Word. 
·         God has promised to change us, not help us change ourselves. 
We Are Christ Filled, Not Just Christ Focused.
·         The presence of Christ secures my salvation.
·         My salvation is not secured by my imitation of Christ but by my participation in Christ. 
·         The presence of Christ empowers my service.
·         The presence of Christ is my victory. 
·         Victory is not something I achieve, but someone I receive into my life.
We Are Delivered, Not Just Strengthened

Devotional Archive