Tuesday, November 30, 2021

How Can We Hope?

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.  2 Corinthians 4:17-18 

How Can We Hope?

It takes a deep abiding relationship with God to understand the hope of actually letting go. Letting go sometimes indicates giving up, but it also means releasing something. When we release things in faith into the hands of the One who is completely capable, we can have hope. He takes everything we get from trying to do it on our own – the hopelessness, the weariness, the fear, the worry, the exhaustion – and He exchanges it for the most peaceful hope we could ever have. Trying to do what we were not meant to do will always produce hopelessness, rather than hope, in our hearts. 

The Lord is going to walk with us through the secret things we don’t know, as we trust  in what we do know, that which God has revealed. Sam Nobles

What has God revealed? If you want to know what God has revealed, take a good look at your life. How has He been faithful to you? How has He shown up in your life? The revealed things are the promises He has given us and the examples we have in our lives, in he lives of those around us, and in the Bible of those promises fulfilled. We have Heavenly Father who is faithful and true and keeps His promises. Faith in a promise keeping God gives us the hope we need to keep going. 

The objects of hope are different for everyone.  For some, hope is waiting for financial relief from excessive debt.  For some, hope is waiting for emotional healing in a broken relationship or marriage.  For some, hope means waiting for physical healing from disease or illness.  For some, hope means never giving up believing that a child that has strayed will come back to how they were raised. For others, hope means hanging on day after day and trusting God in a seemingly hopeless life.  Hope can be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel in a life burdened by sin and shame.  But for all of these the only real hope they have is in someone or something outside themselves. It is hard to keep the faith in difficult circumstances, but looking to Jesus for hope, trusting Him, and moving forward in obedience is the only answer. 

Hope and Faith…they go hand in hand!

In order to have real hope, we must have faith.  Faith is as strong as that which it believes in.  Real hope is based on a strong faith in a loving God.  It took many, many years for the prophecy of the coming King to finally come about, and truthfully, many of those watching and waiting probably lost hope and faith as well.  But He came.  He came and He brought hope to a hopeless world.  The gift of the baby in the manger was realized hope.  He came as man, lived and died on the cross for us so we could have eternal life, and hope.  We cannot save ourselves and we cannot save each other.  Jesus is the one and only true hope for all. He came as one of us and lived, died and rose from the dead.  We now live in the hope that He is coming again!   

Advent is a season of waiting and preparing – waiting and preparing for the coming of the only hope for you, me, and this fallen world. This Christmas season prepare your heart and make room for the coming Christ.  Celebrate His birth and embrace the hope that is Jesus Christ.

Monday, November 29, 2021

Hope Is Born From Faith

 Monday, November 29, 2021 

The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law. Deuteronomy 29:29 

Hope Is Born From Faith

The advent season has begun and yesterday in church we lit the hope candle. Hope is something we have all been on a daily search for the last two years, regardless of our religion. Hope is something that everyone understands at the base level. A Christian, in a growing relationship with God, understands exactly what true, deep, hope is. Of course, understanding what hope means is different than living with hope. We cannot live with hope if we don’t have faith. 

Pastor Sam preached a wonderful sermon about faith in times of not having any answers. He told about how Moses’ last words to the Children of Israel before he died were about the choice they make to obey or not, and how it will set the trajectory for the future of their nation. He was making the point that they don’t know some things, and they are not supposed to. Those “secret things” are only for God to know. Their job, and ours, is to obey and trust God. We know we can trust Him because He has been faithful, both to those who have gone before us, and to us as well. We so often forget the things He has done and instead focus on what we want Him to do that He has not done yet.

We do want to know the “secret things.” We want to know why, how long, when, who, which direction, what should I do, etc.  Sometimes we get clear answers from Him and sometimes we don’t. When we don’t, we really do already have the answer already, and that is simply to obey and trust – and give it to God because it belongs to Him, not us. It is hard not to lose hope in difficult circumstances when you feel hopeless, forgotten, unworthy, and most of all tired. Satan loves to speak lies into our heads about the “secret things.”  Instead of believing those lies, we need to embrace the peace of laying it in our Father’s hands and letting Him deal with all. 

We can’t figure out the “secret things” anyway. Part of what makes us so tired is that we exhaust ourselves searching and rearranging and trying to fix it all when we don’t need to do that because He does it for us. We don’t need all the answers. We need all the faith in a God who has all the answers. 

Faith in a God who knows the “secret things” produces hope because there is nothing in this life that brings hope. We measure hope sometimes by the world’s standards and by our own circumstances. We seek hope in trying to solve our own problems. This world steals hope. Circumstances crush hope. True hope is born out of faith in a God that is the only one that can fix anything. He holds our “secret things” and takes care of them, then reveals them to us when the time is right - and that may be never this side of heaven. Faith in a trustworthy, promise keeping God gives us the hope we need to trust Him with the “secret things,” and continue in obedience.   

…the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. Romans 8:18

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Secrets and Promises

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Secrets and Promises

Deuteronomy 29:29

There will be situations that arise in your life that will test your faith. Such occurrences can make you feel hopeless or even like giving up. However, faith lives with unanswered questions. Grasping this truth will help you make sense of life when life makes no sense. 

The Secret Things Belong To The Lord

·  The secret things produce humility.

·  The secret things promote usefulness.

The Revealed Things Belong To Us

·  The future of your children

·  The reason for your suffering  

·  The salvation of your loved ones

·  The progress of your Christian life

Faith Bows To The Mystery Of What God Has Kept Secret And Stands In The Strength Of What God Has Revealed

·  Jesus modeled the truth of secrets and promises on the cross.

·  Jesus offers an invitation to know the greatest revelation that can be known – salvation.


Friday, November 26, 2021

Hanging of the Green

Join us this Sunday evening at 6:30 pm for Hanging of the Green as 
we kick-off Christmas at North Side!

 Some interesting facts about the color green at Christmastime:

Mistletoe–This magical little stem of greenery with white berries is usually used to steal a kiss from someone. But mistletoe is also used as an ancient symbol of God’s resurrection power.  Mistletoe is a tough little plant that grows by latching onto other trees.  Because of this, mistletoe caused second century Christians to use the plant to remind them of God’s power to bring life from death.  

Holly– Another traditional holiday greenery that you see a lot of during the Christmas season is holly.  Holly has bright red berries in the late fall that add beautiful color to the Christmas decorations.  Holly has been around as a Christmas decoration since the middle ages and has been mentioned in Christmas hymns and poetry since at least the 18th century.  The red berries are symbolic of the shed blood of Jesus Christ.  Some also see holly as a symbol for the crown of thorns that Jesus wore.  Due to its prickly leaves, again, making the holly 
the shed blood of Jesus.  

Pine – Evergreen– Evergreens symbolize growth and vitality.  Evergreens stay green all year long, even in the dead of winter.  Just as the branches of the pine tree remain green long after the frost comes, we can look forward to our coming life in Christ in the seasons of winter in our lives. The smell of pine is so distinctive. The fragrant branches rouse the Christmas spirit and remind us of the blessings of the season.  

Ivy- Ivy is an evergreen vine.  Like pine, it remains green all through every season.  Ivy is a climbing vine, so it must hold tight to survive, which symbolizes our need to 
cling to God’s promises.  

The Christmas Wreath– The circular shape of wreaths, with no beginning or end, symbolize the eternal nature of God.  God, and everything about Him, is unending.  His unending grace, mercy, love, forgiveness, and the list could go on.  He has no beginning and no end.  He never runs out or comes to the end of any of His attributes.  Because of this, we have the hope of eternal life.  He is, in every way, eternal.

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Happy Thanksgiving


Happy Thanksgiving Day from the staff of North Side Baptist Church!

Take time today to remember and be thankful for the good and perfect gifts He gives us, and the most perfect gift of all - 
 salvation and eternal life. 

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

All Good Things

 Wednesday, November 24, 2021 Some material taken from Giving Thanks For The Good Shepherd

The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside still waters, He restores my soul. He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Psalm 23:1-3

All Good Things

The Lord is my Shepherd, I lack nothing. This is the NIV translation of Psalm 23:1, and I love this translation because it is so complete. When we become His, He is our Shepherd and we lack absolutely nothing. There is nothing that we need or want that He does not provide for us.

The beautiful thing about this shepherd is that He doesn’t just give us everything we need, He is everything we need. If you’re hungry He is the Bread of Life. If you’re thirsty He is the Living Water. If you’re in the dark He is the Light of the World. If you’re lost, He is the Way. If you need it He has it. If He doesn’t have it you don’t need it. 

We have a Shepherd - a Savior - who gives us all good things. He meets all our needs, but He also meets all our wants if we let Him. We may try to get our wants fulfilled in other places, but we never will be able to find that satisfaction anywhere else. 

He provides us with the rest we need because we can rest IN Him when we cannot find rest anywhere else. We will only find green pastures in Him. 

He gives us the peace we yearn for because He is our still waters in a rushing world chaos and disorder.  

He restores our soul. When He restores us, he doesn’t just restore in part, He restores our whole being. The shepherd knows there must be a restoration for the journey and provides that opportunity.  There must be peace and restoration.

When we wander from Jesus, who gives us everything we need, we will find nothing we need. We lack nothing in Him but without Him, we lack everything. When we stray from Him, we cannot find our way back without His grace. He comes after us when we don’t have the strength to rescue ourselves.  When we can’t return to Him on our own, He rescues us.  Every time we wander, He brings us back, over and over again.  In His marvelous grace, He makes us alive in Him, and restores our soul.  

He leads us on paths of righteousness. Our paths in life are determined by our destination. When we have a relationship with God, His glory should be our goal – our destination.  So whatever path He puts us on, the destination is His glory.  It is through Gods restoration of grace that He leads us to the right paths.  His grace restores us, puts us on the right path, keeps us on the right path, sustains us, and strengthens us. 

Many paths in life fulfill great purposes for God’s glory, but at the time it doesn’t feel great to us.  Romans 11:36 says For from Him and through Him and for Him are all things.  To Him be the glory forever! Amen. Any path that brings glory to God will always be for our good.  


Tuesday, November 23, 2021

I Shall Not Want...

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want... Psalm 23:1

I Shall Not Want...
The 23rd Psalm begins with these familiar words, "The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want."  When someone says, "I shall not want," we need to sit up and take notice because this is an age of discontent. 

Listen to these words by Jason Lehman:  
It was spring. But it was summer I wanted - The warm days, and the great outdoors.
It was summer. But it was fall I wanted - The colorful leaves, and the cool, dry air.
It was fall. But it was winter I wanted - The beautiful snow, and the joy of the holiday season.
It was winter. But it was spring I wanted - The warmth, and the blossoming of nature.  
I was a child. But it was adulthood I wanted - The freedom, and the respect.
I was 20. But it was 30 I wanted - To be mature, and sophisticated.
I was middle-aged. But it was 20 I wanted - The youth, and the free spirit.
I was retired. But it was middle-age I wanted - The presence of mind, without limitations.
Then my life was over, and I never got what I wanted.  

Many people never seem satisfied, and almost everybody wants more.  A little child wants more toys and more television time.  A teenager wants more freedom and more popularity.  Most of us adults want more possessions and more leisure time.  Certainly as we age, we want more health, more friends, and more loyalty from our children. 

We witness more and more people today who are far from content.  Their lives are marked by constant dissatisfaction with their circumstances and relationships.  They are easily angered when they do not get what they want when they want it.  Like spoiled children oblivious to the needs of others they live life discontent and unsatisfied.  

Obviously, God wants us to be a happy, satisfied people.  He has given us more than we need and far more than deserve.  While we shouldn't be restless and jealous, always chafing about what we don't have, the natural man in us cries out for more.  An attitude of gratitude will always bring us far more contentment than adding to the piles of things in our lives.

Paul stated that he had learned to be content We are certainly not naturally bent this way.  I believe this verse to be one of the greatest descriptions of Christian maturity.  May God teach us today to discover the secret of contentment.

But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment. For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content. But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction.  1 Timothy 6:6-9

Monday, November 22, 2021

All We Like Sheep…

 Monday, November 22, 2021 

But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. Isaiah 53:6

All We Like Sheep…

It is no mistake that Jesus compares us to sheep in the Bible. We are sheep. We have lost our way before and we will continue to lose our way every time we move away from our great shepherd.  Thankfully we have a Good Shepherd that will bring us back into the fold every time, and we can always be thankful for that. 

Like sheep, without a shepherd, we will walk right into trouble. We need the gentle voice of the good shepherd to call to us, lead us and guide us.  We need the loving tug of His staff to pull us back to Him, to safety, where we belong.  We need His love, grace, mercy, and protection.  

The shepherd is the guardian of the flock and he watches each separate sheep. The Bible also talks about how the sheep know the voice of their shepherd in John 10:2b:…and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him.  They listen for it and when they hear it, they come.  

Jesus is our Good Shepherd and it is His desire to give us all good things, to take care of us, to give us comfort, peace, meet our needs, and to protect us. The things we think we want are sometimes not good for us.  The good things that the shepherd gives are the right things for us. His word tells us not to worry about our needs - our basic provisions of what we will eat, wear, etc.  He has it all under control.  We just have to follow Him. The shepherd always guides the sheep, and our Shepherd is no different.  He leads us, and when we stray, He will come for us like any good shepherd would. There is no place we can go that He won’t come after us.  And no matter how big the flock is, He cares about every single one of us.

Listen for the gentle sound of the good shepherd in your life and follow His lead.  Without Him we are lost and He will never lead us astray.  

If you look around you today or you can see trials and hardship and you feel the pressures of your life; if you struggle to find something to be thankful for, remember your Good Shepherd. 

He was pierced for YOUR transgressions. 

He was crushed for YOUR inquities.

He took on the punishment that brought YOU peace. 

By His stripes you are healed. 

No one can ever take from you what He has given you. No mistake you make will ever have the power to canel it out. No one can snatch you from His hand. I cannot imagine anything to be more thankful for. 


Sunday, November 21, 2021

Giving Thanks for The Good Shepherd

Giving Thanks for The Good Shepherd

Psalms 23

David, the shepherd boy turned king, writes from his understanding of God as a shepherd would see the care of the sheep.  The scripture often speaks of followers of God as sheep who need constant care and provision.  We give thanks today for our Good Shepherd.


The Lord is my shepherd…    Perfect Salvation



I shall not want … Perfect Satisfaction



He makes me lie down in green pastures ...Perfect Rest



He leads me beside still waters... Perfect Refreshment



He restores my soul... Perfect Peace



He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name's sake... Perfect Guidance



Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death... Perfect Understanding



I will fear no evil … Perfect Protection



For You are with me Perfect Presence



Your rod and Your staff they comfort me    Perfect Comfort



You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies… Perfect Provision



You anoint my head with oil  Perfect Healing



My cup overflows  Perfect Joy



Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my 
…   Perfect Care



And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever Perfect Destiny  

Friday, November 19, 2021

A Thankful Perspective

 Friday, November 19, 2021

Praise be to the LORD, for he has heard my cry for mercy. The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song. The LORD is the strength of his people, a fortress of salvation for his anointed one. Save your people and bless your inheritance; be their shepherd and carry them forever. Psalms 28:6-9

 A Thankful Perspective

Looking back over some of the devotionals we have posted over the years, I came across this one. Even though it was first posted 3 years ago, I felt like it would mean something completely different now, with all that has happened in the last 2 years. Trials and hardships change us, and they change our perspective. We learn and grow from them, and we begin to see what is truly valuable and hold those things a little closer to our hearts. Even in the most desperate times in our lives, there is always something we can be thankful for. We just have to have eyes that see. I bet when you read this and think about what you are thankful for, your answers will be a lot different than they were 3 years ago. Open your eyes to all He has done for you and enjoy a fresh perspective on your grateful heart.

Thanksgiving opens the door to God's blessings - A grateful heart changes everything. Having a grateful heart enables you to recognize God's presence in your life. 

Thanksgiving allows us to see our delightful inheritance in the Lord. The psalmist writes, Surely, I have a delightful inheritance.  Psalms 16:6You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to you and not be silent. OLORD my God, I will give you thanks forever.   Psalms 30:11-12 NIV.

Giving thanks to God in difficult times is essential because it gives us the ability to see life from an eternal perspective. - I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. I have set he LORD always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.  Psalms16:7-8  David, who wrote Psalms, understood that his future held greater blessings than anything he could hope to enjoy in the present. David took courage that even though his body may end up in a grave that this was not the end. God would give him eternal pleasures at his right hand. 

The pressures of the present are often staggering but knowing that the Lord delivers us out of the stress of the moment is the greatest encouragement for the present.  David didn’t just think about the struggles of the present, he remembered what God had done in the past too.  He remembered the blessings and all the times God had delivered him and Israel.  He had an eternal perspective.  Having an eternal perspective gives us hope and courage to see the moment as part of God’s wondrous works for our lives.  Knowing God's faithfulness to his people in the past and understanding His eternal blessing to be ours in the future helps us set a course for our lives in the present.

Today be thankful for some of the unconventional Thanksgiving things in your life.  Be thankful for the hard times and how God uses this to grow you and also how He delivers us through these times.  Remember your past and all God has done for you, how He has been faithful.  Thank Him for turning mourning to dancing.  Be thankful for the promise of eternal life – a royal inheritance - and His never-ending presence in your life.  

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.  Hebrews 12:28-29 (NIV)

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