Friday, July 30, 2021

Trusting God No Matter What

Friday, July 30, 2021

When two years had passed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus, but because Felix wanted to grant a favor to the Jews, he left Paul in prison.  Acts 24:7

Trusting God No Matter What

At the end of Chapter 23 of Acts, Paul is taken under the cover of night to Governor Felix in Caesarea. Once again he is on trial, speaking of his faith in Jesus Christ and giving his testimony to Governor Felix. This happened off and on for two years. Paul never wavered, even though he was falsely accused:

We have found this man to be a troublemaker, stirring up riots among the Jews all over the world. He is a ringleader of the Nazarene sect and even tried to desecrate the temple; so we seized him. By examining him yourself you will be able to learn the truth about all these charges we are bringing against him. The other Jews joined in the accusation, asserting that these things were true. 
Acts 24:5-9

We know what Paul knew -  that Scripture is true—not in part, but in whole. Not sometimes, but always. Knowing what you believe is one thing but living what you believe is another thing. He had to believe that with every breath or he would have gone mad. But he knew he was right where God wanted him to be. He also knew he was safe in God’s will, even though the circumstances of his life were so uncertain. He was at the mercy of man but he trusted the sovereignty of His Lord and Savior. 

For 730 days he lived on faith and hope. Hope is a powerful force. Anyone’s hope would fade a little in the course of two years, but Paul did not allow Satan to take his hope and faith away. Instead his hope and faith is what pulled him through this difficult time. Paul did not know how his journey here on earth would end but he did know that the bondage he was living in was not the end of his story. He stayed focused on Christ and steadfast in his faith. 

Paul was always sure in his innocence. He was not guilty and would not allow them to talk him into believing he was. His confidence in the truth helped him maintain a sound mind.  

Paul was always honest to others way before every official he went before.

Paul never lost his temper. He treated everyone with the grace and dignity                                                                                              they deserved and because of this, he was given freedoms other prisoners did not have. 

Paul trusted God’s plan and believed that the hardest times in our lives can work out for His glory. We can live with that same belief and confidence. Hard times is where our faith grows. We have to exercise our faith more in places like prison cells, or waiting for a check in the mail, or a prodigal child to come home, or a job interview. In these dark places we learn to really live in the faith we have in Jesus Christ.  

What about you? Are you trusting God with your hard times? Are you sitting in a “prison cell” right now, waiting to be free? Maybe life Paul you are living in the midst of injustice. Take heart. Your Heavenly Father 

When two years had passed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus, but because Felix wanted to grant a favor to the Jews, he left Paul in prison. Acts 24:27



Thursday, July 29, 2021

The Elements of Compassion and Benevolence

 Thursday, July 29, 2021

To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; not returning evil for evil or insult for insult but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing.  I Peter 3:8-9

The Elements of Compassion and Benevolence

Learning compassion and benevolence involves both sympathy and empathy. Sympathy is living with feeling for others.  Sympathy doesn’t mean simply feeling sorry for someone, but it means to experience things together with them. It allows us to get inside and see things as they see them and feel things as they feel them.  It is Christianity that has taught people to care.  It is out of pain for others and with others that we reach out to help others.  To try to help without hurting with people is impossible for the Christian.

Sometimes we must understand beyond our own experience. That's empathy.  Empathy (Gr. empatheia 'feeling into") is the ability to discern emotions in others and then to experience, within ourselves, the same emotion.   It goes beyond sympathy, which is simply the mental awareness of the general plight of another person but with no sacrificial sharing in what is being felt.

1 Corinthians 12:26 gives the best description of real Christian sympathy…not just crying with others but rejoicing as well.  ...but that the members may have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.  We want to rejoice with each other as well as share sorrows.  

How can we develop a merciful spirit? At our rare times of introspection, we do desire to be more merciful and forgiving, but we seem to have unlearned those emotions.  How can we relearn them? How can we be, as the Scripture exhorts us, more tender-hearted, kind, and forgiving? 

Perspective - Seeing as God sees can be a giant step toward a merciful, tender-hearted, and forgiving attitude. 

  • Sometimes we are too busy for people to be very important. We are caught up with our goals, our projects. We see ourselves as busy people, always behind, working hard to get things done. In the hustle of busy lives, it is easy to see people as either roadblocks or steppingstones. It's often too easy to evaluate them in terms of whether they fit into our plans or not. 
  • It is exceedingly difficult to see people as individually important and valuable to God. Instead, we categorize people. But the truth is that God loves every one of them. Even those we think are losers are important to God. God loves the prisoner, the homosexual, the bag lady, and the bag boy just as much as He loves the medical students, and the theological students, the teachers, and the stockbrokers. All people are special in God's eyes. 

Sympathy invokes the heart of Christ. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses... Therefore, let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:15-16) His heart endeavors to restore out of a spirit of meekness and tenderness. 

Sympathy and selfishness cannot co-exist.  Sympathy will live where Christ rules and reigns. It is impossible not to care when Christ in you reaches out to Christ in someone else.


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


Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Take Courage and Be of Good Cheer!

 Wednesday, July 28, 2021

The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome. Acts 23:11

Take Courage and Be of Good Cheer!

Acts Chapter 23 opens with Paul on trial before the Sanhedrin which was the Jewish religious and civil court. He starts right off saying that he has a clear conscience before God, which meant that he believed he had done nothing wrong and should not even be on trial. Ananias, the high priest, had declared Paul a blasphemer and was even more annoyed with his declaration of innocence. He ordered Paul to be slapped across the mouth and Paul told him that God would slap him down! He apologized after being scolded by the aides for talking to “God’s Chief Priest” like that. 

Paul knew that the council was made up of both Sadducees and Pharisees, so he decided to throw a wrench in the activities. He told them “Friends, I am a stalwart Pharisee from a long line of Pharisees. It’s because of my Pharisee convictions—the hope and resurrection of the dead—that I’ve been hauled into this court.” (Acts 23:6 msg) As soon as he said this, the council was divided right down the middle and the heated arguments began. Once again, Paul was in danger as the arguments flared even more and became violent. The captain was afraid for Paul’s life, so he directed he soldiers to get him out and escort him back to safety. 

That night the Lord appeared to Paul with the greatest affirmation - Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome. This was not the first time the Lord had met Paul in a time of need. He also appeared to Paul in a vision in Acts 18:9-10: Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.

Paul needed that affirmation from God because the next day the Jews plotted to kill Paul. Paul’s nephew heard about the plot and got word to the commander. He got Paul safely out of the city that night and delivered into the hands of Governor Felix in Caesarea, where he was kept safely under guard in Herod’s palace. 

What an amazing thing to have the Lord appear to you and tell you to your face to keep doing what you are doing. How much confidence would we all have if He did that for us? Even though He may not appear to us physically, He will do the same for us He did for Paul. He always sees, hears, and knows what is going on in our lives. At all times, and especially in times of crisis in our lives, He is with us every step and will never leave us or forsake us. Through His word and other people, He speaks words of hope and encouragement into our lives. Like Paul, we can know that we do not have to be afraid, but we can keep on sharing our testimony and doing His work. 

Paul’s life and ministry is a powerful testimony to us. We see him used in such a mighty and bold way and protected by God over and over. One thing the Lord said to Paul was “Take Courage!” Some translations say, “Be of good cheer!” Paul’s situation was pretty dire to be thinking about courage or cheerfulness. But that is exactly how we can face anything in life – with courage and even cheerfulness – because we know that we have the power of the Lord behind us, surrounding us and providing the foundation we are standing on. Hard times will come for all of us, maybe not the same as Paul endured, but we still suffer in this life. Knowing the Lord is with us and that we can trust Him with our very lives can give us the strength to “Take courage!” and,“Be of good cheer!” 

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Learning From Paul

 Tuesday, July 27, 2021

The crowd listened to Paul until he said this. Then they raised their voices and shouted, “Rid the earth of him! He’s not fit to live!” Acts 22:22

Learning From Paul

Paul is at it again. For the sixth time he had riled up the crowds to the point that his life was in danger. He is in Jerusalem, and he has a large crowd before him now as he attempts to share the gospel again. 

This crowd is a mixture of Jews and Romans, and Paul wanted to bring unity between them along with sharing the gospel. Paul began by identifying himself with them. He spoke to the Jews in Hebraic dialect, and this got their attention. They perked up as soon as he began speaking and listened. I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city. I studied under Gamaliel and was thoroughly trained in the law of our ancestors. I was just as zealous for God as any of you are today. Acts 22:3 He went on to tell them how he persecuted Christians, arresting both men and women and throwing them into prison. He then told them about his conversion and how he had been blinded, but now he could see, was baptized, and the Lord had said that He would send him far away to the Gentiles. When they heard that, the crowd turned into an angry mob, yelling things like “Rid the earth of him! He’s not fit to live!”

When the crowd started going crazy, the commander ordered that Paul be taken away. Then they began to get ready to flog him when Paul pointed out that they were doing something illegal by flogging a Roman citizen before he had a trial. They quickly began to interrogate him and realized he was Roman by birth. They were alarmed that they had put a Roman citizen in chains. They released him the next day for a trial. Romans were first class, above Jews. 

Paul had evangelism down. He knew how to connect with the people he was speaking to. He engaged them by empathizing with them because he knew and understood why they thought the way they thought. He understood being trapped by religion and having to defend his religion. He was able to say to them “I was blind, but they helped me to see.” By that he meant that he was blind like they are, but now he could see the truth of Jesus Christ. He was not condemning and judging them but identifying with them – both Jews and Romans. 

Paul’s heart was for all of them. More than anything he wanted them to know the good news of Jesus Christ. He was willing to take risks for people to know that truth. In this crowd he faced ethnic, social, religious, and political tensions. Who in their right mind would take on all that? But Paul finds common ground with them so he can talk to them and share his testimony. It might have ended in chaos instead of a great benediction, but it was worth it to him. 

We can learn a couple of things from Paul about witnessing to people: 

First, pay attention to the people you are talking to. Why do they believe the way they do? Why do they feel the way they feel? 

Second, pay attention to where they are coming from.  If they don’t know our God, it’s no wonder they act and think and believe the way they do. People come from all kinds of environments, and we should not approach them thinking they know what we know about God.

What risks are you willing to take to tell others about Jesus? Like Paul, will you choose to press on, even when the opposition gets tough? Will you live your life with open hands following God’s lead even when you don’t understand? God calls us to share our faith with a brave heart, trusting Him to complete the work He starts in us. Look around. There is someone near you that needs to hear your story. Share your story honestly and trust that God will give you the right words to say. You are not doing this alone. He is right there with you, every step of the way.

Monday, July 26, 2021

The Blessing of Sacrificial Giving

 Monday, July 26, 2021 

Therefore, laying aside falsehood, SPEAK TRUTH EACH ONE of you WITH HIS NEIGHBOR, for we are members of one another. BE ANGRY, AND yet DO NOT SIN; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity. He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need. Ephesians 4:25-28

The Blessing of Sacrificial Giving

So that he will have something to share with one who has need…

In Ephesians chapter 4, Paul tells us that not only should we refrain from stealing, but we should also labor in order to be able to share with others. The past 18 months have stirred so many different needs, feelings, and reactions among all of us. We have seen people lose their jobs and we have seen many come to the aid of those who are in need. During Covid there were meals provided and meal deliveries by churches, boxes of food provided, and many other services that are still going on. We watched this world as we knew it fall apart and yet, many came together to help where we could. 

Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2

One of the first lessons many of us learned as a child in church was to give a tithe. Children love to put money in the offering plate as it is passed, and it is a great lesson for them to learn. When you are an adult, it is your own responsibility. No one gives you the money to put in the plate or tells you to do it, but there is something special about the first time you tithe of your own earnings. Suddenly, it seems like quite a bit more money when it comes out of your own pocket and not your dad’s.  The feeling, however, of sharing personally in the mission of the church is fulfilling.

Giving begins with compassion, responsibility, and sacrifice.

A gift is not a gift if you expect anything in return…even a thank you.  There is nothing that brings value to us like giving without strings. If you have ever been given a gift with strings attached, then you know that those strings often outlast the life of the gift. This kind of gift is not the sacrificial giving that Jesus modeled and that God’s word teaches us. Sacrificial giving involves a sacrifice – the giver gives up something for the benefit of someone else. It does not have to be money. In fact, you cannot put a monetary value on the most sacrificial giving. Giving of ourselves to others requires the greatest sacrifice. It is easy to write a check, but more costly to give our time to serve or spend with someone who needs it. 

The value of a gift should be determined by the difference it makes in the life of the one receiving. God gave us the greatest gift ever given when He send His Son to die for us. Jesus Christ sacrificed His life so that we can have life – a life now that is free from sin, and life everlasting in eternity. 

We all have the ability to give sacrificially. Many people wait until they can afford to give and miss the blessing of God in multiplying their gift as they become a vessel for Him to use. The sacrifice part of sacrificial giving ends when the gift is given, but the blessing continues forever. 

What is God calling you to give? Money? Time? Food? If you think you don’t have enough, God honors the amount of the FAITH, not the amount of the GIFT.  When we are willing and open our hearts and hands, and bank accounts, and pantries, etc., God always provides. When we are obedient, God blesses us and takes care of us.  When was the last time you gave something and had to trust God to fill in the gap left? 

Friday, July 23, 2021

Paul’s Ministry and The Holy Spirits Leadership

 Friday, July 23, 2021

Paul’s Ministry and The Holy Spirits Leadership by Donnie O'Fallon

But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. Acts 20:24

In Acts 20, we see Paul’s Ministry taking him to Macedonia, Greece, Troas, Miletus and Ephesus. Everywhere he went he taught and discipled in those churches he had helped to establish. We are told in scripture, Paul preached and taught well into the night at Troas, and at midnight, a young man named Eutychus went to sleep and fell out a third story window. They said, “he was taken up dead…”, but Paul gathered him into his arms and told them, “Don’t be alarmed, for his life is in him.” They broke bread together, conversed and took the youth away alive and the scripture says, “they were not a little comforted,” meaning, they were rejoicing.

The signs and miracles seen in Acts were an attestation of Gods hand and anointing being upon those performing the miracles to exaltation of Christ and to the glory of God. The third person of the Trinity, The Spirit of the Living God, had an integral part in the of the expansion of the First Century Church. He still desires to have the same powerful influence in NSBC if we will but believe and allow Him to do so through us.

It seemed that everywhere the Apostle Paul went, he either started a revival or a riot. In going to Ephesus next, he called the elders together there and shared with them (v17-21) of his ministry among them. But in verse 22 - 24 we read the compulsion and commitment of Christ’s calling upon Paul’s. “And now, behold, I am going up to Jerusalem, constrained by the Holy Spirit, not knowing what will happen to me there, “ and in verse 24, he hears his hearts conviction… “But I don’t account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify of the gospel of the grace of God.” We see in theses verses, not how much of the Holy Spirit Paul had, but how much Paul’s heart the Holy Spirit had. Friends, He had Paul lock, stock and barrel! A lot of things happened to the Great Apostle Paul. He would go to Rome in the bow of a ship in shackles, ultimately to be beheaded.

It was William Carry, the great missionary spokesman that said, “The world has yet to see what God can do through a man, or a woman, who is totally committed to Him.” What is your level of commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ and his calling up on your life? A calling to be a husband or wife, a teacher, a nurse, a doctor, or a student? Have others been able to see the supernatural working of God’s Holy Spirit in your life because of your level of commitment to Christ and His Kingdom and His calling in your life? 

Wherever you are in your pilgrimage of life you can become, “that vessel unto honor.” Humble yourself before Him now and simply say, “Dear Lord please have all of me there is to your glory and to the exaltation of Jesus in my life, Amen.”

Thursday, July 22, 2021

A Real God With Real Power

 Thursday, July 22, 2021

And God was doing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul… Acts 13:11

A Real God With Real Power

During his third missionary journey, Paul went back to the churches he had previously planted to strengthen them.  One of the cities was Ephesus and this time he stayed there for three years sharing the gospel to both the Jews and Gentiles of Asia.  The Holy Spirit used Paul in many miraculous healings and miracles. They were so convincing that many magicians and sorcerers quit their sorcery and turned to God, burning their books. Many of the people in Ephesus also stopped worshipping idols – and buying the statues of the idols. 

The city of Ephesus was a hub of activity and the epicenter of the Mediterranean. It was known for its sophisticated luxury, excessive occult practices and extravagant worship of pagan gods. They had a large city theater that could hold 25,000 people and the temple of the goddess Artemis – the goddess of fertility – towered over the city.  The structure is considered one of the “Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.” It was a giant and beautiful building. There was a silversmith in the city that made the idols and statues of Artemis that many people bought. As many people began to listen to Paul and his teaching, and turn to God, this silversmith, Demetrius, became very fearful for his livelihood, the economic future of Ephesus, and the temple. He started a riot against Paul. 

There were many local merchants who were making a substantial living selling silver shrines and relics of the goddess Artemis. When the people started becoming Christians and then stopped purchasing these items, Demetrius stirred the local merchants up and heated opposition quickly turned into a public riot of thousands, which could have easily ended in massive bloodshed. An angry and shouting mass of people gathered in the amphitheater and chanted “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” 

About that time there arose no little disturbance concerning the Way. For a man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought no little business to the craftsmen. These he gathered together, with the workmen in similar trades, and said, “Men, you know that from this business we have our wealth. And you see and hear that not only in Ephesus but in almost all of Asia this Paul has persuaded and turned away a great many people, saying that gods made with hands are not gods. And there is danger not only that this trade of ours may come into disrepute but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis may be counted as nothing, and that she may even be deposed from her magnificence, she whom all Asia and the world worship.” Acts 19:23-27

Finally, a tense two hours later, officials were able to get through the people to remind them that they did not want to be charged with rioting. Ephesus was a Roman city and if Rome got wind of the riots, then everyone would suffer the consequences. 

People’s eyes were being opened and they were seeing for the first time that an idol had nothing to offer them, and Jesus had everything to offer them. He was more powerful than their idols, and through the miracles that the Holy Spirit was performing through Paul, they could see it! 

I have been doing a Bible study with a group recently and one of the things that I was reminded of is that the people that we see in our world that act out against Christians and act in ungodly ways – such as worshiping idols – do not know. They do not know God and they have no clue of what the Holy Spirit is. That is true of the idol worshippers and businessmen who made their living off of them in Ephesus as well. That does not make it okay, but they didn’t know the Jesus that Paul was speaking of and they could not see past their own selfish needs to be open to transformation. 

It is scary when your livelihood is threatened. That is something we all can understand after this past year. We have even seen some “middle-aged” people being forced into retirement to make way for the younger generations graduating from college with no jobs. It does not feel fair, and maybe that is all it was to these businessmen. Maybe it was not about the idol at all. But for most of the people filling the amphitheater that day it was about the idol. (Some did not even know why they were there. They were just following the crowd.) It was about a false God that they didn’t want to let go of, and they didn’t want it replace it with or hear about a real God who offers so much more.  

It is sad when people are so wrapped up in their sin that they can’t let go of something that is taking their life to reach for something that will give them everlasting life. It is the same way with us. We feel like all our idols are life – money, things, drugs, alcohol, etc... – and they give us a buzz that feels good at the moment, but they lure us away from the truth to no life at all. Jesus gives us a full, abundant life - greater than anything we can ask or imagine and greater than any idol could ever give us.  


Wednesday, July 21, 2021

God Really Loves Us

 Wednesday, July 21, 2021

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. John 3:16-17

God Really Loves Us 

Most of our problems in life are because we were not responsible in some area of our life. (Money, marriage, health, faith) As a child, most of us had boundaries we had to stay within and consequences to disobedience. As we grow, our disobedience grows and so does the consequences. Especially if we do not learn from our childhood consequences, or if we didn’t have any in the first place. Adult consequences are sometimes much more life changing and last a lot longer.

It is true that God does not usually remove our consequences. He may deliver us from whatever caused the consequences, but the majority of us still have to live in the consequences we have created for ourselves. Depending on what they are, this can be a very dark and lonesome place. It can feel like God doesn’t love us because of what we have done. He certainly cannot be rejoicing over us. He must not care about us because our cries are going unanswered, and the silence is deafening. But if we are His child, He never leaves our side no matter what we do. He never turns His back on us. He does not give us what we deserve – for the wages of sin is death. (Romans 6:23) Jesus paid the debt in full as far as God is concerned. We have been liberated from our sin by the lavish love of God. 

In Numbers 21:4-9, we read the story of the Children of Israel complaining and speaking out against God and Moses. The consequences to their actions were fiery serpents! They bit many of them and they died. But then God made a way just as He has made a way for us. 

From Mount Hor they set out by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom. And the people became impatient on the way. And the people spoke against God and against Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this worthless food.” Then the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died. And the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD and against you. Pray to the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people. And the LORD said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole, and everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.” So Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on a pole. And if a serpent bit anyone, he would look at the bronze serpent and liveNumbers 21:4-9

God didn’t take away their consequences (fiery snakes!), but He did take away the ultimate consequence – death. The snakes were still there, but if they were bitten, they could look to the serpent that Moses had made and set on a pole and then they would live. 

This was a foreshadowing of what God has done for us, as Jesus said in John 3:14-15 - And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him may have eternal life. We sin, and the wages of sin is death. But Jesus, on the cross, paid our debt, which removed the consequence of eternal death for believers. We still die an earthly death, but when we turn from our sin, we have eternal life by lifting our eyes to Jesus and trusting Him as our Lord and Savior. This is the sacrifice of a Heavenly Father who loves us unconditionally, even when we were still sinners. 

But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us! 
Romans 5:8

All through scripture we can see God’s love for His people, even through their most rebellious times. He delivered, He disciplined, and He still does those things for us today. Hard consequences do not mean God doesn’t love us. It may mean some hard times, but He still loves us - and He even rejoices over us. Even in the ruins of our lives, when we turn back to Him and find our purpose, peace, and joy, He rejoices over us. 

As the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.  Isaiah 62:5 


Tuesday, July 20, 2021

What Are You Doing Today?

 Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2

What Are You Doing Today?

Every day is a blessing and a gift from God. As a Christian, it is our responsibility to steward our lives in a way that is glorifying to God. Each new day brings its own challenges and we don't know what to expect, but we can walk through what every day brings by trusting in God. 

There is a time for everything you do.  Not to respond to that time is to lose opportunity. Yesterday is past - tomorrow is future - today is your PRESENT! Stewarding our lives responsibly requires us to be aware of what God is laying before us and stepping into those opportunities. Time is one of the opportunities we waste the most. We spend a lot of time on Social Media and binge watching Netflix. Once those minutes and hours pass, they are gone and with it whatever opportunity we have ignored, even if it is the responsibility of cleaning your house or doing yard work.

LUCK When Preparation Meets Opportunity

The way you spend your time is the way you spend your life!  Potential is not lacking in our world...effort is because effort is about TODAY. What do you plan to do between now and death?  Have you ever thought about writing your obituary before you live your life? What do you want people to remember about you and what do you want to accomplish with your life?

Recall the Influences from Yesterdayssince we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us…  v.1b  

Our parents have powerful influence on our lives, and we will have significant influence over the lives of those in our subsequent generations.  It is natural to question all of the parental influence on our lives and even what seemed to guide their actions.  Be careful!  Don’t throw foundational faith under the bus!  Research has shown that 60-90% of kids leave the church once they graduate high school. 

Dr. Warren Wiersbe said “Our faith is the foundation that we build everything else on.” Faith is not mere assent of the intellect to revealed truth; it is the practical submission to the guidance and control of truth!  In other words, real faith not only says, “I believe in God,” real faith says, “so take complete control of my life.”

Accept Responsibility for Your Life  and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. v.1d

God has a plan for your life and your first job before doing anything else is to discover it.  You can stand on a mountain and shout, “I am the master of my fate!  I am the captain of my soul!” and God will laugh at you.  You are not in full control of your life, you never were…and you never will be!  However, there is no such thing as irresponsibility. You are responsible for everything you think, say or do or fail to do. Whether you accept it is another story. 

A key statement for beginning to take control of your life is "Nobody is responsible for my happiness and success but me and God.”  You cannot control what you refuse responsibility for.  Take responsibility for yourself and trust God’s leading in your life.  

Monday, July 19, 2021

What Will You Choose?

Monday, July 19, 2021

 It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore, keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1

What Will You Choose?
Eleanor Roosevelt once said Freedom makes a huge requirement of every human being.  With freedom comes responsibility.  For the person who is unwilling to grow up, the person who does not want to carry his own weight, this is a frightening prospect.  These words are true for Christians as well.  We have been set free with the freedom Christ gave us but, we have a responsibility to make the right choice. For the Christian that is unwilling to accept the responsibility that goes with the freedom, it should be a frightening prospect.

I am free to do whatever I please ... and responsible for whatever it is I choose. God's desire and design is that I use it to live and act in Christ.  Sometimes making the choice to live and act in Christ is not always the choice that will gain popularity or friends.  It usually doesn't make a very neat and pretty social media post. But if your “friends” are not your friends if you choose not to do something because of your Christian values, then they are not really your “friends," are they? 

In this world, everything to which we may become attached requires that we sacrifice our freedom. That's certainly true of government, which taxes our paychecks, and passes laws that circumscribe our very comings and goings.  That's certainly true of fact taking on the responsibilities of a family requires perhaps a larger sacrifice of one’s freedom than almost anything I know.  Not to mention the freedoms that we sacrifice to much lesser things, like houses and cars and furniture, and all those possessions that end up taking possession of us. The numbers of people enslaved to debt, alcohol, drugs, work, power, pornography, fame, electronics, shopping, and endless other addictions show the power of poor use of our freedom.  Commitments - good or bad -  take some freedom away. 

We are free to choose, but our choices have long-term consequences. Think about all the things you are attached to and ask yourself these questions. Be honest with yourself.
  • Do they glorify God?
  • Are they worth the sacrifice? 
  • Are they worth the time? 
  • Are they worth the part of you that you are giving away. 
  • What are the consequences you might have to live with for a long time? 

We can even be in bondage to religion and never experience the freedom Christ came to give.  This was Paul's message over and over.  Of all the freedoms that we lose because we can’t handle the responsibility of freedom, this is the most tragic.  When a believer chooses to follow Christ, it is not to be bound, but free.  The great paradox of the Christian faith is the freedom we find in service to Him.  For Jesus makes it clear that He came to set men free. Freedom in Christ comes by only having one Lord and not being consumed with multiple lords.

Service to Christ = True Freedom

 Being responsible usually means doing the hard things, and doing things we don’t want to do. It will not be our first choice a lot of times. But every commitment we have made limits the next decision we will make in our lives.  Every choice has consequences, though, and sometimes in making one choice, one decision, you find that you are now limited in what choices you are free to make next.

God loves us and does not want His children to suffer. He wants us to choose Him, and actions and words that are glorifying to Him. We are free to choose, but choosing the wrong things will only lead to a lot of consequences we have to live with. We will choose and choose and choose, because nothing we choose besides God will ever bring us satisfaction, joy, fulfillment or peace. 

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Life Lessons – The Importance of Responsibility

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Life Lessons – The Importance of Responsibility 
Ephesians 4:17-32

There is no greater lesson in life than to learn the importance of responsibility.  
I. Learn the Value of the Truth v.25
II. Learn How to Handle Emotions v.26-27
III. The Importance of Responsibility v.28a
·  This scripture declares that one who does not share in the responsibility of labor actually steals from others.
·  A person is responsible for everything they thinkdo or say.  People can be very unreliable, but they are still responsible.

Where Does Responsibility Originate?
·      Ownership creates responsibility.
·      Relationship creates responsibility.
·      Vocation creates responsibility.
·      Freedom creates responsibility.
·      Commitments create responsibility.

Fear of Consequences Encourages Responsibility. 
·      God does not remove consequences from our failures
·      MOST of our problems in life are because we were not responsible in some area of our life.
·      Children who fail to learn to be responsible for themselves are socially and vocationally crippled.

How to Create a Victim – Genesis 3:11-13
It is our "responsibilities" that will reveal our "purpose.” 
·      The Victim's Motto - "As long as I can blame, I don't have to be responsible.”
·      The Victim's Predicament - "Until I am responsible, I have no power.”

Control vs. Character Development – Ephesians 6:4

Freedom vs Responsibility Model

Balanced Response



·      Responsibilities = identity = self-esteem
·      Boredom = not taking responsibility for personal happiness.
·      The requirement of parents is to create an individual capable of handling the world around them.
·      The greatest responsibility a person has is to secure their eternal salvation through Christ.

Faith at Home: Talk about The Freedom vs Responsibility Model with your children.

Friday, July 16, 2021

Lessons From The Lake

 Friday, July 16, 2021

And in the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea. When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear.  But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” 

Matthew 14:24-27


Lessons From The Lake by Donnie O’Fallon

In Matthew 14:22 - 33,  Jesus gives us a Lesson From The Lake, The Sea of Galilee. For those of you who have walked down the road of life, a little further, you’ll better understand this devotional today. You’ll also appreciate this statement, “no matter how old your kids are, they’re still your kids and will always be.” When they hurt and struggle, so do you.” Gina our daughter and Clay our son-n-law as well as Adam, our grandson and Jewel his wife were all diagnosed with Covid in the last 2 weeks and have had quite a time with it - especially Adam and Clay. But, when they hurt and struggle, so do Marsha and I, right? Some others of our NSBC Church Family are experiencing hardships and difficulty too.                          


The Sea of Galilee is 1500 feet above sea level. The surface of it is some 700 feet below sea level thus creating a vacuum of air that comes rushing down the sides of the mountains that surround the sea causing, at times, some turbulent storms. Difficulties in life are going come throughout our lives. They will come, that’s a constant in life. Jesus had just told His disciples to, “go to the other side of The Sea of Galilee,” which is 13 miles long  and 8 miles wide. The disciples were obedient and followed Jesus’ directive. They got in a boat and started for the other side. The scriptures tell us they were about at the halfway point and “The winds begin blowing contrary,” or against them, at the fourth watch, 3:00-4:00am. 


 Being a Christian and being in the will of God doesn’t always assure smooth sailing and safety. Often times those “contrary winds” that blow in our lives, God allows. If you’re a Child of God, nothing comes to us that He doesn’t allow. We’re His, and He protects and keeps us in His hand. In my life’s Journey thus far I have learned the following.


(1)  Life is, 10% of What Happens To Us and 90% of How We Respond or 
React To It!

·      Sometimes God sends the storms to correct our paths.  

·      Other times He totally re-directs our paths

·      We’re responsible to learn the lesson of the storm. 


God doesn’t fail us, He just keeps giving the lesson until we get it. In the lesson we should stop, look and ask, “Lord what must I learn in this?” Often times we say, I want out of this place, situation, etc. but must never forget His promises, “I will never leave nor forsake you.”


(2)  There Is No Christian Development Without Difficulty! 

Bad times do not mean God is absent. Read Matthew 14:22 - The Psalmist said, “You, oh God, have enlarged me in my distress.” (Psalm 4:1) In Mark 6, He says, “He ever lives to make intercession for us.”


(3)  There Is No Storm that Can Hide You, Where His Eye Can Not Find You! (verse:23)

Who was Jesus praying for in the bottom of the boat? His disciples then and now!

·      The Distance from the shore, in the middle of sea, you’re in the middle of your                                            dilemma.

·      The Direction of life’s Winds are blowing against you. You’re struggling, about to                                                           go under?

·      The Darkness of the hour, the 4th watch. Always remember, “the darkest hour 
before dawn.”


(4) The Will of God Will Never Take You Where The Grace Of God Cannot Keep You! (Verses 25-27). The sea they feared was what brought Jesus to them. The water that was over their heads, was under His feet. The disciples were afraid, “it’s a ghost,” but Jesus said, “don’t be afraid, it is I.” Jesus proclaimed his presence with them as  he does with you today.


(5) Finally, God Is Ready To Take Responsibility For A Life Totally Committed To Him! (Verses 28 -32),Jesus said to the disciples, “go over not under”, see (Colossians 2:6-7; Psalm 37; 23-24).


This is how we ”Weather The Storms Of Life.” Wherever you are in your journey in life, I pray you hear His voice saying, “ It Is I Do Not Be Afraid.”

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