Thursday, August 31, 2023

Finding Peace In Being A New Creation

 Thursday, August 31, 2023

For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:14-17

Finding Peace In Being A New Creation

We are all broken people. No matter how much we try to hide it, we cannot deny the fact. There is no shame in being broken - it is part of being human. The most beautiful part of following Jesus is that He takes our brokenness and turns it into something beautiful - a new creation in Him. 

He wants us to come to Him in our brokenness. He meets us exactly where we are and if we let Him, He takes the burden of our brokenness from us, and He makes it into something we don’t even recognize - a new creation. 

Following Jesus changes how we see the people around us, but it also supposed to change how we see ourselves. This one is very hard for some of us. Sunday Andy Brady said, “Broken people make bad decisions.” Sometimes those bad decisions have long lasting consequences. Dealing with consequences for a long time can even lead to more bad decisions because we don’t know how to deal with the difficulty properly. Even if we do, sometimes the sheer length of dealing with hardship causes us to cave. 

We may have made bad decisions that might not have long lasting consequences, but the shame and guilt we feel and continue to inflict on ourselves keeps us from seeing ourselves as Jesus does. We almost refuse to believe that we could ever be worthy of His love. We cannot look at ourselves and see anything else but the mess we have made. It can consume us. 

This is not God’s plan for us. He frees us from the bondage of sin so we can live free. He does not want us to be in bondage to ourselves, our wrong thoughts about ourselves, or our past bad decisions.  The scope of Jesus’ love covers all of that and more.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; \behold, the new has come. v17

We cannot fix our brokenness, but God can. That doesn’t mean that we don’t still have to deal with consequences, but He makes us a new creation - the old is gone. The broken person that made those decisions is not who we are anymore. There is nothing we have to do to be worthy. We could never be worthy enough on our own. Jesus paid the price for all of us on the cross so we can stop trying so hard and find peace in who we are in Him. Our old ways and bad choices are gone and He wants to do something new in us.


 Remember when you look in the mirror, that He sees His child. He sees His daughter or son. He sees His chosen, redeemed, new creation that He loves. 

"Beloved, if you have no more religion than you have worked out in yourself, and no more grace than you have found in your nature, you have none at all. A supernatural work of the Holy Ghost must be wrought in every one of us, if we would see the face of God with acceptance."  - Charles Spurgeon


Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Following Jesus Should Change How We See Others

Wednesday, August 30, 2023 Some material from An Uncommon Why

For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:14-17

Following Jesus Should Change How We See Others

Our lives should look completely different when we become Christ followers. There should be a shift in our why, who we live for, how we view ourselves, and how we see the people around us. We may think we don’t have a problem with how we see the people around us, as long as we like the people around us. But in real life, we daily rub elbows with lots of people, and some of them might not be our favorite people. Some of them may even live in the same house we do. This takes on a whole new meaning of how we see the people around us. 

Following Jesus should change how we see others around us. When we become Christians, what we want and how we feel no longer dictates our choices, and actions. We become focused on everything through the perspective of God’s love. It changes who we live for, how we view ourselves, and how we treat others. If we are truly living for Him and setting aside our flesh, then we can see the people around us through the scope of God’s love. 

What does it mean to see the people around me through the scope of Jesus’ love? If we are no longer regarding anything through the flesh, then we cannot regard people the same. We are supposed to see them as Jesus sees them. We are human, and this is more difficult for us to do, but we can pray that God will help us to see them the way He does, and we can pray to love them as He does. 

When Jesus looks at us (people), He sees souls and lost sheep - who He would leave the 99 for. He sees sons and daughters of the King - His joint heirs. He sees people He died for. How do you view, treat, and talk to them or about them? Is there something you are doing or saying to them that would make them think that there is no way that the God of the universe could ever love them? That is a strong question, and one we should keep in our thoughts at all times. 

Our flesh wants to hurt others who have hurt us. Our flesh wants us to say hurtful things to someone who says them to us. Our flesh wants us to treat others they way they treated us, not the way we want to be treated. But following Jesus means we set our flesh aside. We are no longer serving our flesh, we are serving our Lord, who has heaped abundant love on us. This love is what compels us to see others how Jesus sees them, to treat others the way Jesus would treat them, and to love others the way Jesus would love them. This compelling love that overwhelms us presses us forward, not in our own power but in His, to love like Him. 

This compelling love that never ends for me, even though I don’t deserve it, compels me to give it to others. His grace upon grace for me is the same grace upon grace that all the people around me deserve to know. We are his vessels and through our words, actions, and treatment of them, may all those around us know the scope of the love of Jesus Christ.  




Tuesday, August 29, 2023

How Following Jesus Changes Our Lives

Tuesday, August 29, 2023 Some material taken from An Uncommon Why 

For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:14-17


How Following Jesus Changes Our Lives

Becoming a Christ follower changes why I do everything. My why is purposed through the scope of His love. His love for me and in my life is my why. It is why I get up in the morning. It is why I take care of my family. It is why I sing. It is why I love. It is why I can have joy no matter what the circumstances of my life are. His love propels me forward in Him, in faith, and He carries me when I need Him to. It is why I can walk through hard things - because in His love, He has already overcome everything. 

Before we become Christians, we operate in the flesh. Our flesh wants us to only think of doing things the way we want to do them. In our flesh we make important decisions based on what we want or how we feel.  As Christians, when our why is born out of His love, our whole life changes - inside and out. Being His child changes why we do the things we do, think the way we think, who we live for, how we see and treat other people, and how we see ourselves as a new creation in Him. What we want and how we feel is replaced by the scope of His love. As we realize His amazing love for us, we know we can trust Him, and He knows what is the very best for us. Even in our sinful selfishness when we regress to wanting our own why again, we realize how wrong our own why is for us, and how right His love is. Again, it is His love that refocuses our why in the right direction. 

Becoming a Christ follower changes who I live for. All of the efforts in our lives – our time, our meditation, what we spend money on, determine who or what you live for. God gave them to you to steward faithfully, and manage, but not to own. He died so we do not live for ourselves but surrender ownership of our whole life to Him. Everything. He gets all the elements of our lives as believers. When we hand these elements over to Him and leave them in His hands, we can trust Him, and we can live freely for Him. We can be free from the bondage of fear, worry, shame.

We can be living for something other than Him and not even realize it. We may be living for our spouse, for our kids, grandkids, the approval of others, a certain number of likes on social media, or any number of things. It is important that we pay close attention to who or what we are really living for. When Jesus challenges the biggest love of your life, you must choose who will be the biggest love of your life. It is a continuous surrender of the elements of our lives. It is a continuous effort to release them to Him, trust Him and walk away. It is continuous surrender of our hearts and our own fleshly thoughts and desires.  

What is it for you that keeps you where you are or makes you move? What reveals what you value more? What are you meditating on or thinking about most of the time? What is your why?

Take some time to really examine your life and what your why is. Pray and hand over those areas of your life you don’t want to relinquish control of. Trust in Him and ask Him to help you see your why through the scope of His love.  

Monday, August 28, 2023

Four Things We Can Remember in the Seasons of Life

Monday, August 28, 2023 

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith. Galatians 6:9-10 ESV

Every day is a good day to start something new and good for you.   If we want good things in our lives, we have to put forth the effort, and then it still takes time to see the fruits of our efforts. Nothing happens instantly. Time is really a part of every single aspect of life.  There is not a part of life that is not affected by time. Take raising kids for example - although there are days that literally drag by, it really does happen so fast. It feels like forever when they are 100% dependent on us, but the next thing you know they are graduating from High School. Time and waiting on God’s timing for our lives is something we have to learn to accept - and rest in - or it will steal the joy from our lives. Part of the waiting and trusting in His timing is recognizing that there are seasons in our lives and circumstances in our lives, and we cannot control either one.  We can embrace them and trust in His perfect plan. 

Seasons of Life
God created the earth and our lives to operate in seasons. A season in our life is a time frame that has been allotted for something to happen...which affects the future.  There is a lot of change in life, but nothing in our lives happens by accident.  Every single thing, good and bad, is appointed by God and we should give thanks for every season, even the hard ones. We experience all these things in life because God, in His complete sovereignty has ordained all of them for our lives...the bad, the difficult and the painful as well as the pleasant, the comfortable and the delightful. It all comes from the hand of God, even when none of it makes sense to us.

Circumstances of Life
Letting our experiences dictate our happiness and peace is not God's plan. We have no control over many of the circumstances in our lives.  But we do have control over our reactions and what we do with ourselves in the midst of difficult circumstances.  Circumstances without purpose can wear us out. Just going through the motions in life can will cause us to be apathetic, bored, and empty. If our heart is not involved, we will have no initiative or ownership in anything we do.  God's design and desire is to control our lives to produce the purpose and fulfillment He has planned for our lives. Being responsible to God with time in life can bring us the peace, joy, and fulfillment we have been trying to produce on our own. When we discover God's purpose then we can also discover His power and peace.  We all should ask ourselves “How much of my daily life is under God's control?" 

Four things we can remember in the seasons of life:

  • Choose Faith Over Frustration - Trust God and His wisdom that He will use every season of our lives to accomplish His purpose for our lives. 
  • Choose Gratitude over Grumbling - Complaining doesn’t change anything, so instead look for God in the circumstances and see what gift of the season you can find.
  • Choose Good over Gain - All the things in the world will not satisfy your aching soul the way doing something kind for someone else will. 
  • Choose to Reverence God rather than Fear Life - Living in fear of what can happen in life will steal your life.  We don’t have the perspective that God does.  We can only see a short distance, but we make ourselves miserable imagining things that will never happen.  

Our AWESOME God is present in all the seasons and circumstances of life working 
out His eternal plan!  We stand in “reverent awe” before Him.

Sunday, August 27, 2023

An Uncommon Why

 An Uncommon Why  - Andy Brady

2 Corinthians 5:14-17 

Main Question: 

What changes does being a follower of Jesus have on the day-to-day life of those who call Him their Savior?

1. Following Jesus changes my why. What was about what I want and how I feel is replaced by the scope of His love. (v.14)

2. Following Jesus changes who I live for. (v. 15) 

How do I respond to the call of continuous surrender?

3. Following Jesus changes how I see the people around me. (v. 16)  

What do I see when I look at other people?

4. Following Jesus changes me from the pursuit of self-improvement to the peace of being a new creation. (v. 17)  

Friday, August 25, 2023

The Beginning of Knowledge

Friday, August 24th, 2023

The Beginning of Knowledge   

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            God provides us with precepts intended not merely to give us head knowledge, but also the skill to work out that knowledge in our lives.  Proverbs is filled with illustrations of divine truth put in such a way that we can appropriate and bring that truth into our lives and experiences.  In the Old Testament, "knowledge" means information or eternal truth. "Wisdom" refers to skill. If one is wise in knowing how to do something, he has skill in it. 

There is a difference between having knowledge in our head and wisdom in our lives.  The mere bringing of divine knowledge and divine revelation into our minds is not enough.  Such knowledge is intended to be worked out in our lives in a way that will bring great harmony and blessing to our existence.

Proverbs opens with a very important statement concerning the seeking of wisdom…The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; Proverbs 1:7a  Reverence is the first element needed to build a beautiful and pleasing life before God.  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.

This tells us something about God.  We are introduced to him by the word "Lord," a word appearing in Proverbs more than 100 times.  The Hebrew word used here is transliterated "Yahweh," and can be translated "Jehovah" or "the Lord."  It is the name God used with his people because of his covenant relationship with them.  It is the personal name for our God, and we are his children.

The writer of Proverbs believed that God is not merely an idea, an abstraction of thought, or an impersonal first cause of existence. Rather, he believed God to be a personal God who has a name. The God of Proverbs is indeed the God revealed throughout the entire Word of God.  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 with God.  It is the place of launch, the point of departure in our quest.  We normally think of a beginning as something that happened at one point in time, then was left behind as we went on to something else.  In this passage the word "beginning" has nothing to do with a past place. Instead it refers to the entrance to a specific road.  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.  Reverential awe and submission is our beginning attitude, but it is also to be the continuing core of our relationship with God.

We are To know wisdom and instruction, To discern the sayings of understanding. Proverbs 1:2  Experiential knowledge is fundamental to a relationship.  It does not matter how much we know-about God.  We must know God.  Proverbs is not a book of instructions but a way of thinking and living in relationship to our Creator God.  Many develop techniques, methods, or rituals as their way to live.  But wisdom is the skill to live in relation to God and His principles for life. 

For the LORD gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding. Proverbs 2:6

Thursday, August 24, 2023

Disciple’s Prayer

 Thursday, August 24, 2023

Disciple’s Prayer – Matthew 6:9-13 Submitted by Kay Crumley

The Disciple’s Prayer is sometimes called the Model Prayer. What comes to mind when you hear the word model? There are models we build from kits like cars, there are models who walk around showing the newest fashions, there are architectural models of building projects, and there are models that we shape our lives upon. Each of us have experienced behaviors that we see in our parents, even when we vowed not to follow that pattern.  As children we learn to speak, walk, and react based on our parents’ behavior patterns. I am guilty of promising myself I will never do something that I found undesirable in my parent and then catch myself doing that exact thing.  Models are important and sometimes unintentional. However, for today’s study we are looking at an intentional model that Jesus’ disciples requested, and Jesus demonstrated. Luke 11:1 the disciples asked Jesus to “teach us to pray.” His answer is recorded in Luke and in Matthew. In Matthew we find the ‘Disciple’s Prayer’ in the middle of the Sermon on the Mount.  It is a prayer for His followers to pray.  Prayer is central to Jesus’ teaching.   

Belief in the goodness of God will shape our prayer life.  Why would anyone pray to God unless they have faith, trust in His characteristic of being good.  God is good, John 3:16.   

How NOT to pray: Jesus admonished us to NOT pray as the hypocrites prayed, Matt 6:5 And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. When we pray to be heard and approved of by man, we are not pleasing God.  Jesus used this example of what was incorrect to show us what is the right way to approach the Father.  Instead, we are to go into a private place and voice our praise and petitions to Him.  When our prayers are genuine and personal, He hears and answers. 

God’s personal nature: Jesus reveals the personal nature of God the Father in vs 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Our God knows His children.  He knows what we need and how to provide.  We pray because we trust Him to bless us.  He may not answer in our timing, but He will do as He as promised.   

Pray in His Name: He is personal and at the same time, Almighty.  Vs. 9 ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, He is our Father, that’s personal, intimate.  Yet, at the same time we see He is the Almighty God in Heaven.  We are to honor Him as Holy.  We submit to His will and to His Kingdom in vs. 10 your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. God wants our obedience to His plan; His will is best for us while we’re here.  ‘God’s will’ refers to the redemptive and moral intent of God for His people. We begin our prayer by glorifying Him, asking for His Kingdom to be here on earth and submitting to His will not our own. 

Provisional Nature of God: Jesus shows the ability of God to provide our most basic need in vs.11 Give us today our daily bread.   Matt 7:7-11 Jesus told the disciples that if we ask, seek, and knock, God responds to us.  He gives good gifts to His children. 

Forgiving Nature of God: God provides our physical needs and guides us tend to our relational needs.  He teaches us to love one another.  Vs 12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. Jesus willingly took the punishment due us because of our sin.  That gift of forgiveness demands that we forgive others.  The way we show love for Him is forgiving others.  However, we really do need Jesus’s help to forgive.   

God’s Nature is Good: God is good, this world is broken. God will never tempt anyone to do evil, James 1:13-15.  He will protect us from evil vs 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. We can be overwhelmed by evil, the evil one. When temptation turns into sin, it can lead to awful places we could never have imagined ending up in.  Jesus was tempted in Matt 4:1-11.  How did He combat that temptation?  He used scripture to counter Satan’s temptations.  His knowledge of the Word and praying the Word were two of His greatest protections against Satan.  Some translations end that verse with the reason we must trust the goodness of God.  Vs 13b for yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.  He is more powerful than any other kingdom on earth or in the heavenlies.  He alone deserves our honor and we must give glory to Him alone.    

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

A True Identity

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

And because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba Father!” So you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then God has made you an heir. Galatians 4:6

A True Identity

Recently I saw a meme that is the best one I have ever seen. It said - 

“Satan: God will never forgive you.” 

Me: “Oh I thought someone who was kicked out of heaven said something.” 

Just think about that - he cannot snatch us out of the hand of God, but he can sure mess with us. More times than not, we believe the lies he whispers in our ears. Reflecting on this very basic piece of information about him, why do we give his words such power over us? The reason is just as basic. We often do not feel worthy or that we could be forgiven for all the things so when he whispers, we subconsciously grab onto the words that we deep down believe to be true about ourselves. 

We sometimes pay more attention to what the world says we are. The sting of rejection, whether real or perceived, keeps us trying to measure up to those around us and those we don’t even know on social media platforms. It is all about how we look to them. But what about our hearts? We cannot measure up to everyone’s standards. There is one standard that is the only one we need to believe in and aspire to. 

For through faith you are all sons of God in Christ Jesus. Sons and Heirs. For those of you who were baptized into Christ have been clothed with Christ. Galatians 3:26-27

When we become a Christian, we are instantly adopted by God - we are His child. Whoever we were before that moment is gone. We are His sons and daughters. Our faith - believing in Him as the Messiah, our Savior - and putting our trust in Him, now and for eternity, brings us into a special relationship with God. He is our loving and caring Father and our relationship with Him provides a place of care, affection, and closeness with the God of the universe. 

Those who were baptized into Christ is a picture of baptism. When we are baptized by water, it is immersion. We are immersed in water. Being baptized by Christ is the same as being immersed in Him. Our whole life should be covered by Him and He is in every part, not just the parts we choose. If we cannot give it all to Him, we are not ready to be His son or daughter. 

We are clothed with Christ as we put on His identity. We are identified by our relationship with Him. We are Christians and that should have an impact on how we think and act, and others should feel it too - not condemnation, but the love of Christ coming from us. That identity in Christ is the voice that we should listen to, not the world and not Satan - who, may I remind you again, was kicked out of heaven. Heaven in our inheritance and our Father reigns. His voice is the voice that speaks the truth of who we are. We don’t have to worry about measuring up because there is no way we ever can. But Jesus did it for us. God wants us just the way we are. He wants us to come to Him in our weakness and failures and find restoration in Him. We are His adopted children, joint heirs with Jesus. 

As His heirs, we have a place in eternity - long after the voices of this world will be silenced in our ears. We have a place here on earth until then as a part of God’s family, brothers and sisters in Christ. We have a place in all of history as part of God’s plan for us and for the world. 

So Who Am I? Who Are You? We are sons and daughters of God, family members with all the redeemed, past, present, and future. We are a part of the family of God and our Father says we are loved, redeemed, chosen, worthy, called, and His. In light of these words, nothing anyone else says really matters! 


Tuesday, August 22, 2023

A God Who Delivers and Redeems

Tuesday, August 22, 2023 

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he has redeemed from trouble? Psalm 107:1-2

A God Who Delivers and Redeems 
In this chapter of Psalms, we see the amazing steadfast love and mercy of our Heavenly Father. The chapter tells the stories of redemption for four different kinds of people. 

The chapter starts off proclaiming thanks for God – for His goodness and mercy. The rest of the chapter praises God’s deliverance in these four stories of redemption. 

Verses 4-9 tell the story of deliverance for those lost in their wandering.  Some wandered in desert wastes, finding no way to a city to dwell in; hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted within them. Psalm 107:4-5

Have you ever wandered and gotten lost? Maybe you wandered away from home, or maybe you wandered away from God? Reminding us of the Children of Israel, wandering is not a journey. A journey has a destination and wandering is what you do when you are lost. Wandering is what we do sometimes when we are lost in sin. But the Lord hears us when we cry out to Him in distress, and He will provide what we need and redeem us. In Him we are no longer lost in our wandering, nor will we thirst and hunger when He satisfies the longing in our soul. 

Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He led them by a straight way till they reached a city to dwell in. Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man! For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things. Psalm 107: 6-9

Verses 10-16 tell the story of deliverance for captives. Some sat in darkness and in the shadow of death,prisoners in affliction and in irons, for they had rebelled against the words of God, and spurned the counsel of the Most High. So he bowed their hearts down with hard labor; they fell down, with none to help. Psalm 107: 10-12

Have you ever been held captive by anything? A certain sin that you could not escape? Your thoughts? A past sin? Someone else’s wrong words about you? We give so much time and energy to things that have no right to even a second of our time. We can call out to God in the middle of whatever is holding us captive – sin, shame, addiction, anything. He will deliver us and we can thank Him for His steadfast love. He breaks chains – the chains that hold us captive. 

Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and burst their bonds apart. Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man For he shatters the doors of bronze and cuts in two the bars of iron. Psalm 107:13-16

Verses 17-22 tell the story of deliverance of those who have made bad choices. Some were fools through their sinful ways, and because of their iniquities suffered affliction; they loathed any kind of foodand they drew near to the gates of death. Psalm 107: 17-18

We are truly our own worst enemy. We can find ourselves in some of the worst places, by the way of our own choices. We are His children. What happens to your heart when you see your kids making a mistake. It breaks our heart and it breaks His heart for us. We back ourselves into a corner and find ourselves with no other option – so we cry out to our Father. And He delivers. 

Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress.  He sent out his word and healed them and delivered them from their destruction.  Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of manAnd let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving and tell of his deeds in songs of joy!

Verses 23-32 tell the story of deliverance of those who have found themselves in a storm that they would not live through. For he commanded and raised the stormy wind, which lifted up the waves of the sea.They mounted up to heaven; they went down to the depths; their courage melted away in their evil plight; they reeled and staggered like drunken men and were at their wits' end.    Psalms 107: 25-27

Have you ever felt like you were in a fight for your life? Maybe you are literally fighting for your health. Stressful situations, abuse, and relationship conflict can eventually take a toll on our health when we fight them for a long time. Maybe you have been fighting for a long time and you are tired and have no more energy to give. We can call to Him in the midst of the storm, and He will deliver us from our distress. He quiets the storm. He calms the waves. 

Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed. Then they were glad that the waterwere quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven. Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man! Let them extol him in the congregation of the people and praise him in the assembly of the elders.  Psalm 107:28-32

God’s love is so true and steadfast that there is nothing we could do that would make Him stop loving us. 

This is the Good News of the Bible - When we cry out to God, He hears us, and He delivers us. It may not be the way we thought He would, and it is usually never in the timeline that we want it to be. That's what He did for every person described in Psalm 107, and He will do that for me and you too.   

Monday, August 21, 2023

A Royal Identity

Monday, August 21, 2023

Now when he had spent everything, a severe famine occurred in that country, and he began to be impoverished. So, he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would have gladly filled his stomach with the pods that the swine were eating, and no one was giving anything to him.  Luke 15:14-16

A Royal Identity

In our lifetime, we will identify with so many different things, and our identities change according to what season we are in. We go from being a teenager to a young adult to a married man or woman. We are children, spouses, grandparents, friends, confidants, employees, and so much more. We can get our identities tangled up in what we do or what we like, instead of who we really are. It is easy to hide behind a false identity when we don’t want to deal with a certain area of our lives. Like the prodigal son in the scripture above, sometimes we just get a wild idea about who we want to be or what we want to do without ever considering our relationship to God. Maybe we do this on purpose – if we just want to do things our own way and not hear what He has to say. The prodigal son thought he knew what he wanted in life, and it didn’t line up with what his father wanted or knew what was best for him. After wandering from one place to another looking for the fulfillment, he thought he would find, he literally ended up in the pigpen. 

I don’t know about you, but I have found myself in some “pigpens” in this life. Oh, they didn’t look like a pigpen on the outside. (I don’t think any of us ever intentionally seek out a pigpen.) They looked more like a palace. Satan is careful to make sure the pigpens don’t look like what they really are. They look like a store, a drink, drugs, a person, a job, or whatever it is that we think will make us satisfied or important, or popular, or fill the void in our hearts. What we are seeking we already have. What we want these pigpens to give us, He already has. In our identity as His son or daughter lies everything we could ever need or want. Every need we could have fulfilled, every empty inch satisfied. 

When we leave God’s authority – or care, we seek an identity in all the wrong things, just like the prodigal son. He thought he wanted this life of extravagance and that would make him happy. As with anything in this world, the happiness or fulfillment we think we have found on this earth will fade quickly, leaving us to feel even more unsatisfied – or up to our knees in the muck of the pigpen. We too easily “wander” into all kinds of pigpens looking for something. We want something to make us happy. We want something to give us peace. We want something to make us feel fulfilled. Sometimes, we want something to make us forget. 

This can happen before we realize it. We jump from one pigpen to another, usually hopping a lot of fences before we realize we are not living the life we want to live. Most importantly, we are not the living life God wants us to live. 

Remember – you have an eternal identity that never changes, no matter what season you are in or what your circumstances are. The one identity that we have from the moment we are His can only be found in Him. All of our other identities should be built on this foundation. 

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation. 1 Peter 2:9-12

Sunday, August 20, 2023

Who Am I? Why Am I Here?

Who Am I? Why Am I Here? - Guest Speaker Mike Williams

Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. Matthew 16:13-18

1.    Who Am I?


Answer: The only way I will ever understand who I truly am is through a relationship with God through Jesus Christ.


2.    Why Am I Here?



Answer: The only way I will ever understand why I am really here is when I find where I am willing to follow Jesus.



Conclusion: Who Are You, Northside Baptist Church? Why Are You Here, Northside Baptist Church? 

Friday, August 18, 2023

Prayers of Petition to Prayers of Thanksgiving

Friday, August 18, 2023

Prayers of Petition to Prayers of Thanksgiving - Submitted by Kay Crumley


Jackie Hill Perry taught the lesson on prayers of petition which leads us to prayers of thanksgiving in the “When You Pray” Bible StudyThere are many examples that she referencedI will select verses as examples of each point in this devotional.   


Prayer of petition is a prayer requesting something of GodGod wants us to ask Him for thingsHe will answerWe must trust in the nature of God to believe asking Him to hear and respond to our requests is worthwhile.   Matthew 7:7-11 is the passage where Jesus is telling His disciples to ask, seek, and knockHe promised that all who do that will receiveVerses 9-11 describes God’s response based on His character. 9 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone?10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good giftsto those who ask him!   Even sinful, evil men give good gifts to their children so how much more should we believe that God will give good gifts to his children, He is Good.   


The Problem: Every petition is an attempt to overcome a problemThe primary passage in this study is 1 Samuel 1:1-2:11. I will not print that whole passage but encourage you to read itWe see that Hannah had a problem, she was unable to conceive, and she desperately wanted a childHer husband had another wife who had several children. The second wife, Peninnah, ridiculed Hannah to irritate herBecause Elkanah, her husband, loved Hannah best he hoped that love and generous provision would be enough to satisfy herThat love was not sufficient to overcome her need to have a child of her ownWhile Elkanah was good, he was not able to grant the gift she most wantedGod’s character drew her to give her problem to Him. 


The Pattern: The family went annually to the temple to worship GodYear after year Hannah suffered knowing she was not able to have childrenShe pleaded with God every time they went to worshipPsalm 42:3 may describe her feelings, My tears have been my food day and night, while people say to me all day long, “Where is your God?”  When God doesn’t answer as soon as we prefer, the problem becomes a pattern1 Samuel 1:7 tells us she wept and would not eat.   


The Petition: This year when the family went to the temple to pray the pattern repeats itselfHannah left the family table where they had gathered for a feast and went to the temple to pray with the double portion of offering Elkanah had given her. 1 Samuel 1:10-16 

10 In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the Lord, weeping bitterly.11 And she made a vow, saying, “Lord Almighty, if you will only look on your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.” 

12 As she kept on praying to the Lord, Eli observed her mouth.13 Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. Eli thought she was drunk14 and said to her, “How long are you going to stay drunk? Put away your wine.” 

15 “Not so, my lord,” Hannah replied, “I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the Lord.16 Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.” 

In Hannah’s anguish she was pouring out her heart to God. She promised to dedicate her child to God if only He would allow her to have a sonEli mistakenly took her behavior to be a result of her being drunkShe assured him she was, instead, in deep anguishEli accepted her explanation and gave her his blessing by agreeing with her and asking the God of Israel to grant her request. After she prayed her distress turned to joy18 She said, “May your servant find favor in your eyes.” Then she went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast. She had completely emptied her deepest desire at the feet of God and was content that He heard her plea and would answer her prayer. We can see a similar situation in Psalm 6 where David is crying out to God to save him and knows He will deliver him because of His unfailing loveToward the end of that petition David says in verse 9 The Lord has heard my cry for mercy; the Lord accepts my prayer. We can be confident that our Father hears our deepest most heartfelt petitionsHe answers in His time and in a way that brings benefit to us and glory to Him. Peace comes from a Father who is good to His children and a warrior to His people. 


The Praise: After the family returned home, Hannah conceived and gave birth to a sonShe had made a promise to God and was faithful to keep that promiseShe did not return to the temple for a few years while her son, Samuel, grew to an age to be weaned and could leave his motherThen she returned to the temple and presented her son, the one she promised to give to God, to EliSamuel grew to be a prophet to IsraelChapter 2:1-10 of 1 Samuel is Hannah’s prayer of thanksgivingShe praises Him for His bower, His provision, and His love for His childrenVerse 10 is prophecy of the MessiahIt is not by strength that one prevails; those who oppose the Lord will be broken. The Most High will thunder from heaven;the Lord will judge the ends of the earth. He will give strength to his king and exalt the horn of his anointed.”  Jesus is the person we have constant access to. The Lord of Hosts, the Lord of Armies is available, He is faithful.   

Psalm 106:1 Praise the Lord. 

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; 
    his love endures forever. 


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