Bible Study & Readings
Lee Alley is providing daily
readings in this Lent season. They are as follows:
Ash Wednesday March 1, 2006
Read: 2 Timothy 4:6-8
I have fought the good
fight, I have finished the race. I have kept the
faith. (2 Timothy 4:7)
Since I was volunteered to
do this again, you will have to suffer through my
ramblings for one more season. If you missed
getting a devotional last Sunday, we have some left,
see me or one of the usurers to get one.
Today is the first day of
Lent. This is a time of self examination. We should
be examining ourselves every day, (2 Corinthians
13:5) "Examine yourselves to see whether you are in
the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that
Christ Jesus is in you-unless, of course, you fail
During the Lenten season,
we should do a more in depth examination of
ourselves to see where we are falling short, and
then set about to correct our shortcomings. If we
will do this on a daily basis, at the end of our
lives we can echo Paul's words and say, "I have
fought the good fight, I have finished the race. I
have kept the faith." Then God will say to us,
"Well done good and faithful servant."
Help us today to take a
close look at ourselves, carefully and honestly.
Draw us closer, O God, to you. In Christ's name.
Thursday, March 2, 2006
Read Exodus 3:1-17
God said to Moses: "I
am who I am."
God is always with us,
no matter what is going on in our lives. He
tells us He will never leave us in Hebrews 13:5
-- "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake
you." We may lose contact with Him, by not
praying and studying, but He is still with us.
These are very comforting words, for people may
leave us or forsake us but God will always be
with us. Even if man kills us, our spirit goes
to be with God, so even in death, God will not
leave us nor forsake us. If life was a card
game, we would have the winning hand. Don't
give up on God, for He will never give up on
Father in heaven, thank
you for never giving up on us. Amen.
Friday, March 3,
Read John 13:34-35
another....as I have loved you.
These scriptures go
on to say, "All men will know that you are
my disciples if you love one another." On
very rare occasions when I encounter a
stranger that displays Christ like love,
understanding , and compassion in a
stressful situation, I know that they are a
Christian without asking. The norm in this
society is to curse, get loud, and throw a
fit. Christ like love is described in (1
Corinthians 13:4-7) "Love is patient,
love is kind. It does not envy, it does not
boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it
is not self-seeking, it is not easily
angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love
does not delight in evil but rejoices with
the truth. It always protects, always
trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."
This is the
standard that we should all be striving
Father in heaven,
help all of us to love one another as you
have loved us. Amen.
Saturday, March 4,
Read John 15:13-17
No one has greater
love than this, to lay down one's life for
one's friends. (John 13:13)
I was going to give
you a definition of the word "Kairos," but
it wasn't in my dictionary. So I still
don't know what it means.
Jesus calls us His
friend as long as we do as He commanded
us. He gave us a new commandment to love
one another. He showed His love for us by
going to the cross and dying for us while we
were yet in our sins. We show our love for
Him by obeying His commands, following
Him, and loving one another. Two song
titles come to mind that apply here, "What A
Friend We Have In Jesus" and "Because He
Lives, I Can Face Tomorrow." God is our
best friend. He will always be with us.
He will never leave us nor forsake us. Jesus died for us and rose again on the
third day, and because He lives, and because
of Gods promises to us, we can face tomorrow
with assurance and confidence that when we
die, we will be with Him forever.
Father in heaven
help us to obey you always and to love one
another always, and to wrap our arms around
your promises through our Savior Jesus
Sunday, March 5,
Remember, I am with
you always. (Matthew 28:20)
Do we often fall
into the open "grave" of the cares of this
life? When we do, are we motivated to get
out? God is with us and speaks to us
through our conscience to motivate us to
climb out of the "grave" of the cares of
this life if we will listen to Him. There
are many open "graves" around us waiting for
us to fall in. If we stay close to God
through prayer and study He will send Jesus
to "light our paths" and keep us from
falling into one of these open "graves" God said "I am with you always," we can
claim that promise and have confidence and
assurance that He will guide our paths.
O God, give us
confidence in knowing nothing can separate
us from your love. Amen
Do this in
remembrance of me. (Luke 22:19)
In verse 21 of
the scriptures above it reads:
"But the hand
of him who is going to betray me is with
mine on the table."
Have you ever
thought of this concept, that every time
we sin, we betray Jesus. If man (or
woman) had never sinned, Jesus would not
have had to suffer. We look at Judas
as some evil person, yet we are just as
bad. We betray Jesus every day. We
can redeem ourselves by following Jesus
and putting sin out of our lives. If
we give up on God and quit living the
Christian life, Jesus' sacrifice on the
cross (for us) was in vain. If we
'hang in there" as the reading says, a
crown of righteousness is laid up for us
in heaven, waiting for us to claim.
Help us to
replace sin with righteousness and
thereby claim your free gift of
March 7, 2006
peace of Christ rule in your hearts.
If we ever
needed a blueprint on how to live
our lives, Colossians 3:12-17 is
it. All of us need to read and
reread these scriptures and try to
put them into practice in our lives. When we live by these
words, it is so totally opposite
from how the average person in the
world lives, we are immediately
recognized as being different. This is one of the ways we preach
the gospel to the world. They will
have seen Jesus through us. If
Jesus is living in us, then we
should strive to live by these
words. I will end with the last
paragraph of the reading. "In every
situation, ask the question. What is
the loving thing to do? What is the
Christ-like thing to do? And then
ask God to give you the strength and
courage and grace to do it."
heaven, with your Spirit as our
helper we can live a life of love
and compassion. Amen.
Read Luke 10:25-37
And he said to him, "You
have given the right answer; do this, and you will
live." (Luke 10:28)
If only all people would
keep just these two commandments. Love God with
all our mind, and love our neighbor as ourselves. Can you visualize what a difference that would make
in this world. There would be no more wars, no
more murders, no more scams, no more molested
children, etc. etc. etc. Alarm system companies
would no longer exist... All transactions would be
sealed with only a handshake. Even politicians
would tell the truth. Wealthy people would share
their wealth with people less fortunate. Greed
would no longer be the driving force in healthcare. Healthcare would be affordable to everyone. All of
our prisons would be empty. We could probably
write volumes on what a difference just keeping
these two commandments would make. We cannot
bring this to pass on a worldly scale, but we can
make a difference in our own small world by keeping
these two commandments faithfully in our own
lives. And then rely on God to take care of the
Father in heaven, help us
to love you with all our mind and to love our
neighbor as ourselves. Amen.
Read John 1:1-18
In the beginning was
the Word. (John 1:1)
The old saying, "Sticks
and stones may break my bones, but names will
never hurt me." As we have all experienced
hurtful words in the past, we know that this
saying is totally false. Using the right words
that build up instead of tearing down, ties in
with yesterdays reading of loving your neighbor
as yourself. The right words at the right time
is like medicine to our soul, but wrong words
are like poison to our souls. How many scars
do we have on our hearts, put there by someone's
hurtful words? I will end with the last
paragraph of the reading. "Words are so
important, so powerful, so influential. It's
important to learn the right words -- words that
are creative, not destructive."
Father in heaven, help
us to always build others up with our words
instead of tearing them. Amen.
Read Galatians 3:23-29 and
For freedom Christ has set
us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit
again to a yoke of slavery. (Galatians 5:1)
Jesus came and set us free
from a "yoke of slavery" to seemingly endless
physical laws, (animal sacrifices, circumcision,
etc). He came to set us free with love, faith,
mercy, grace, etc. Jesus reduced 613 laws down to
2 laws, (Love God with all your mind, and love your
neighbor as yourself). We have a hard time just
keeping these two laws, can you imagine trying to
keep 613, which would have grown to several thousand
by now. We don't have to keep endless laws to be
excepted by God. I will end with the last
paragraph of the reading.
"Well, the good news of the
Christian faith is that Christ came to show us that
we are not rejected. We are accepted! We don't need
to be afraid. God reaches out to us with open arms.
Fear of commitment, fear of embarrassment, fear of
rejection, need not imprison us. Christ came to set
Father in heaven, by your
grace, you have removed the yoke of slavery from our
necks, and set us free from the fear of rejection,
and have accepted us as your children, for which we
are eternally grateful. Amen.
Read Psalm 121
I lift up my eyes to the
hills... My help comes from the Lord. (Psalm
Corrie ten Boom who faced
death every day while being held in a Nazi
Concentration camp, probably thought often of a
scripture found in Psalm 23:4 "Even though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death, I will
fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your
staff, they comfort me."
None of us has faced the
shadow of death in a Nazi Concentration Camp, yet
some of us have faced the shadow of death through
sickness or an accident, and all of us have faced
the shadow of despair, disappointment, betrayal,
loss of a loved one, loss of a job, etc. As we
walked through these low places, God was with us,
walking by our side with His arms around us, even
carrying us at times. People may come and go in
our lives, but God will "never leave us, nor forsake
us". God is by our side always, He has sent the
"Comforter" (His Spirit) to help us, and has told us
that "we can do all things through Christ who
strengthens us." Even if we die, he will bring us
back to life, give us a spiritual body, and be with
us forever. With this kind of support, and help,
how can we lose? I will use the prayer in the
O God, help us to trust you
completely and totally, because there is no pit so
deep that you are not deeper still, We pray this
prayer in Jesus' name. Amen.
Read Matthew 6:5-18
Thy will be done in
earth, as it is in heaven.
(Matthew 6:10 KJV)
"tongue-in-cheek" prayer in today's reading, the
person was doing good spiritually, until they
got out of bed. In today's society we have to
work much harder to do the right thing than when
I was a kid. (I know, that was a loooong time
ago.) Today doing the right thing is looked
upon as odd and "old fashion." Sex before
marriage is encouraged, Deviate, "alternative
life style" things is looked upon as normal,
Cheating and lying is looked upon as the thing
to do. A virgin in Senior High School is
looked upon as being odd and weird. We could
go on and on. As the people of this society
become more and more decadent, we will have to
draw closer and closer to God and rely on
His Spirit to help us do the right thing. Fortunately for us Gods word never
changes. With God's word, and Jesus lighting
our paths to help us navigate through this
"Sodom and Gomorra" maze we find ourselves in,
we will be able to find our way out, and
someday hear these words, "well done good and
faithful servant." We look forward to that
Father in heaven, help
us to resist the evils of this world, and to
apply Your will in all situations. Amen.
Thy word is a lamp
unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
(Psalm 119:105 KJV)
If we were
ever faced with a terminal illness
that would end our life, we can have a
"peace that surpasses all understanding,"
for we know in our heart that God is with us
now and forever. Our life here on earth is
very short, and because of this, God must
have wonderful things in store for us when
we pass. If this physical life was the main
event, I think God would have allowed us to
live several thousand years in the flesh. But because our time here is short, His main
focus must be on our eternal life. We were
at a funeral Saturday, and as I looked at
some of the gravestones of people who passed
some eighty or ninety years ago, I couldn't
help thinking that no one remembers them as
a person, their smile, how giving they were,
the sacrifices they made for their
families. We may not remember them, but
God does. How comforting it is to know
that even if we are dead one thousand years,
God will remember us, and raise us up when
the last trumpet sounds, and give us a
spiritual body that will last forever. What a loving God we have.
Father in heaven,
help all of us to lay up spiritual
treasure in heaven, that will last
As you did it
to one of the least of these... you did
it to me. (Matthew 25:40)
We show our
commitment and love for God by the way
we treat and love his children. A
scripture comes to mind: (1 John
4:19-21) "We love
because he first loved us. If anyone
says, "I love God," yet hates his
brother, he is a liar. For anyone who
does not love his brother, whom he has
seen, cannot love God, whom he has not
seen. And he has given us this command:
"Whoever loves God must also love his
This command is
also found in (1 John 3:23)
... "And this
is his command: to believe in the name
of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love
one another as he commanded us."
And again in
commandment I give you: Love one
another. As I have loved you, so you
must love one another."
God loves us
with no strings attached. His love is
unconditional. God loves us , no matter
what we look like. He loves us whether
we have money or not, educated or not.
He loves us, no matter what color our
skin is. God continues to love us when
we disappoint Him. He loves us in spite
of our human failings. God's love for
us is the standard He has set for us to
love Him and His children. During this
Lenten season is a good time to ask
ourselves this question. How are we
doing in showing our love for God and
His children? I will use the prayer in
us to love generously, respectfully,
sacrificially, unconditionally. In His
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
Read John 15:9-12
This is my commandment,
that you love one another as I have loved you. (John
In the reading today, it
says: "Love is the answer....and it is (according
to Jesus) the key sign of discipleship!" This is
found in: (John 13:35) "All men will
know that you are my disciples if you love one
The bible defines what love
(1 Corinthians 13:4-7)
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it
does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it
is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, It
keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in
evil but rejoices with the truth. It always
protects, always trusts, always hopes, always
Are people able to see that
we are disciples of Jesus by our actions and words,
in the grocery store line, at our workplace, on the
freeway, etc.? As I have said before, if we were
brought up before a judge and charged with being a
Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict
us?" The Christian love that Jesus talks about can
only come from God. So let us love one another
from the heart, and give God all the glory and
praise. I will use the prayer in the reading:
Lord, make us the
instruments of your love. Use us to continue the
ministry of Christ's healing love. We pray in his
Read Mark 12:35-37
The common people heard him
gladly. (Mark 12:37 KJV)
We humans tend to separate
people by the size of their house, the color of
their skin, their education, where they came from,
their religion, what they look like, political party
affiliation, etc. We measure a persons success in
life by how much money they make. We think sports
figures who earn millions of dollars per year are
special. Someone who lives in a mobile home and
only earns minimum wage, we don't look upon them as
being special at all. Yet we are all special to
God. We are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians
"There is neither Jew nor
Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are
all one in Christ Jesus."
I will close with the
last part of today's reading, and the prayer.
"To Jesus Christ, there are
no common people; there are no second-class
citizens; there are no misfits; there are no out
casts. There are only children of God."
Open our eyes that we may
see. Open our ears that we may hear. Open our hands
that we may reach out to everyone we see with love
and respect. Enable us to see every person we meet
as a person for whom Christ died. Amen.
Read Mark 10:17-27
He... went away grieving,
for he had many possessions. (Mark 10:22)
Happiness truly does come
from within. Having Gods Spirit within us, and
knowing we are Gods children, and knowing we will be
with God forever when we pass, and then drawing
close to God through prayer and study, and focusing
on others instead of ourselves brings true happiness
from within. (Proverbs 14:21 KJV)
"He that despiseth his
neighbor sinneth; But he that hath mercy on the
poor, happy is he."
Also (Proverbs 16:20 KJV)
"He that handleth a matter
wisely shall find good: and whoso trusteth in the
Lord, happy is he."
If we exercise the fruits
of the Holy Spirit, (Love, Peace, Joy, Patience,
Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and
Self-control) in all our dealings with all people,
then we will have an inner happiness and peace that
surpasses all understanding.
Father in heaven, help us
to grow close to you, and focus on others instead of
ourselves, which in turn will produce an inner
happiness and peace that can only come from you.
Read Matthew 5:13-16
You are the light of the
world. (Matthew 5:14)
In the reading for today
it says: "We want the Spirit of Christ to be alive,
well, and evident in our church, our city, our
world; but we want somebody else to do the work." In most situations involving people, twenty percent
of the people do eighty percent of the work. If
everyone would do a little, a lot would get done. We tend to say, what's in it for me? This is answered in: (1 Corinthians 15:58)
"Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let
nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to
the work of the Lord, because you know that your
labor in the Lord is not in vain."
Our part may only be
folding the bulletins on Sunday morning, but if
everyone did a little, a lot would get done.
Father in heaven, help all
of us to do our part in our church, our city, our
world. Then our light will be shinning brightly
for all to see. Amen.
Read John 3:16
For God so loved the world
that he gave his only Son. (John 3:16)
How many of us have
kept pieces of "art work" that our children or
grandchildren drew for us, sometimes years ago. After my Mother passed away, we were going through
her things when I found a valentine card that I had
made for her in 1949. She had kept it all these
years, it must have meant a lot to her. When we
give a part of ourselves in the form of a visit,
phone call, card, e-mail, a hug, encouraging words
at the right time, we give a part of ourselves, and
show that we care. Remember what Jesus said,
"whatever you did for one of the least of these
brothers of mine, you did for me." God set the
standard very high, He not only gives us His words
(the bible) of encouragement and hope, He went one
step farther and gave up His only son as a sacrifice
for us, and not only for us, but for the whole
world. We have an awesome God. I
will use the prayer in the reading.
Help us, O God, to
celebrate your love by passing it on to others. In
Christ's name. Amen.
Read Romans 12:1-2
Do not be conformed to this
world. (Romans 12:2)
The reading for today, goes
hand-in-hand with David's sermon yesterday, which
was excellent. If you missed it, I would suggest
that you request a copy from him. This is a time of
self examination, so we need to ask ourselves some
questions. Are we living one way during the week,
and another way when we are at church? Are we
Christian in name only? This is described in 2
Timothy 3:5 "Having a form of godliness
but denying its power."
In the reading today it
"Don't let the world around
you squeeze you into its own mold." (Romans 12:2,
Are we being squeezed into
the mold that the world has set? Jesus gives us some
very strong admonition in Matthew 7:21-23
"Not everyone who says to
me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven,
but only he who does the will of my Father who is in
heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord,
Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your
name drive out demons and perform many miracles?'
then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew
you. Away from me, you evildoers!'
Help us to do God's will
always. I will use the prayer in the reading.
Set us free, O God, by your
liberating,saving love; free us to be the persons
you want us to be. Free us to be your servants. We
pray in Christ's holy name. Amen.
Read Psalm 118
This is the day that the
Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
When I was reading Psalm
118, I noticed verse 22 which says: "The stone the
builders rejected has become the capstone."
We may have been knocked
around and rejected by people, yet through Jesus
Christ, the cornerstone, we can become the capstones
in the Spiritual building God is building. Sometimes people accept or reject us by our outward
appearance, but God looks on the heart and accepts
us no matter what we look like.
Paraphrasing the reading
for today. We may have been knocked around in life
so much that all we want to do is sit, and do
nothing. But, life is more than that, more than
sitting, doing nothing, more than coping. Life is a
sacred gift from god. Each day is precious. 2
Thessalonians 3:13 says:
"And as for you, brothers,
never tire of doing what is right."
If we never tire of doing
what is right, we have a crown of righteousness
stored up for us.
"Now there is in store for
me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the
righteous Judge, will award to me on that day-and
not only to me, but also to all who have longed for
his appearing." 2 Timothy 4:8
I will use the prayer in
Thank you, O God, for the
gift of life. Help us to celebrate this day with
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
Read Romans 8:28-39
We are more than conquerors
through him who loved us. (Romans 8:37)
In the scriptures today, it
says that nothing can separate us from the love of
God. Even if they strip the ten commandments from
all public places. Ban our children from praying in
school. Teach evolution, but ban teaching the
creation story. Not allow the name of Jesus Christ
in any school speeches. These things are already
being done in our country. What's next? Taking
God's name off our money, burning bibles, making it
against the law to be a Christian. None of this
will separate us from the love of God. A scripture
comes to mind in (Hebrews 13:5-6)
"....Never will I leave
you; never will I forsake you. So we say with
confidence, the Lord is my helper; I will not be
afraid. What can man do to me?"
Even if they kill us for
being a Christian, this will not separate us from
the love of God. Knowing that God will never leave
us nor forsake us, and that nothing can separate us
form the love of God, gives us the inner strength to
"endure to the end," no matter what challenges we
face in life. We should give God all the
thanks, honor and glory for what He has done for us,
continues to do for us, and will do for us in the
future. I will use the prayer in the reading.
Remind us. O God, of your
sustaining love. Remind us vividly that you are
always with us. We pray this prayer in the name of
Read Ephesians 4:25-32
Be kind to one another,
tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in
Christ has forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:32)
If you haven't read
Ephesians 4:25-32 yet, please do. If ever there was
a code of conduct to live by, this is it. This is
so totally opposite of how most people of the world
conduct their lives. If a Christian truly lives
the Christian life, their light can't help but shine
brightly in this dark world. A past reading
said, "Don't let the world around you squeeze you
into its own mold". This is taken from (Romans 12:2,
When we are around
non-Christians, do we let them squeeze us into their
mold? Even our reason for working should be
different. People of the world work to store up
riches for their own pleasure. A Christians
motivation for working is to share with others.
(Ephesians 4:28) "He who
has been stealing must steal no longer, but must
work, doing something useful with his own hands,
that he may have something to share with those in
Jesus set the standard for
us to follow. His motivation was to give to
others. The world did not squeeze Him into their
mold. He resisted the worlds standards unto death,
and so should we.
Father in heaven, help us
to be kind, forgiving, tenderhearted, and loving
people as Jesus was, and is today. Amen.
Read Isaiah 6:1-8
Then I heard the voice of
the Lord saying: "Whom shall I send, and who will go
for us?" And I said, "Here am I; send me!" (Isaiah
This reading says it all.
So the only comment I am going to make is: Amen and
Here I am Lord, send me.
Use me to do your work. We pray in Christ's name.
Read Luke 19:1-10
When Jesus came to the
place, he looked up and said to him, "Zacchaeus,
hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house
As the reading says: "When
we see things through the eyes of Christ, we see
people to help, problems to solve, blessings to
count." People would not go near a leper, yet
Jesus touched them. The disciples looked upon the
children as a nuisance and wanted to run them away,
yet Jesus took them up in his arms. The people
wanted to stone the woman taken in adultery, Jesus
had compassion for her. The Pharisees would never
have eaten and drank with tax collectors and
sinners. When Jesus ate and drank with them, they
called him a glutton and a drunkard. When Jesus
said He was going to stay at Zacchaeus's house, the
people began to mutter, "He has gone to be the guest
of a 'sinner'." They couldn't see, that they were
also sinners. The disciples only saw through
Jesus' eyes on very rare occasions, we should be
growing in our ability to see through Jesus' eyes.
Father in heaven, open our
eyes so that we may see things through Jesus' eyes.
Read Philippians 4:4-13
I can do all things through
him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13}
Most people today rely on
their own strength, instead of being plugged into
the source of all power, which is God. This is
the difference between a kerosene lamp, (Our
strength), and the strength of a ga-zillion suns,
(Gods strength). Many think that the source of
their power is in their bank account, their position
in the community, their education, their friends,
but all these things can fail. Some scriptures come
15:16-19) "For if the dead are not raised, then
Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has
not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still
in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep
in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have
hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all
If our source of power
comes only from the things of this world, "we are to
be pitied more than all men." But if our source of
power comes from God, "we can do all things through
him who strengthens us." We will have the strength
to "endure to the end" and to gain eternal life by
being plugged into the source of all power, our
Creator and Strength.
Father in heaven, help us
to unplug from this worlds power, and to plug into
your strength and power. Amen.
Read John 3:17-21
For god sent not his Son
into the world to condemn the world; but that the
world through him might be saved. (John:17 KJV)
Through scripture we only
get a glimpse of "the main event," eternal life with
God when we pass from this life. (1 Corinthians
However, as it is written:
"No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has
conceived what God has prepared for those who love
And also: (1 Corinthians
"Now we see but a poor
reflection; then we shall see face to face. Now I
know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am
Will we get so evolved in
this worlds parade of life that we become a part of
it and miss out on the main event? This worlds
parade is a false parade, meant to deceive, and lead
us in the wrong direction so that we miss out on the
main event. We must seek the true parade, loving
God with all our mind, and loving our neighbor as
ourselves, prayer, bible study, regular church
attendance, etc. this parade will lead us to the
main event, eternal life with God. God urges us to
make the right choice in (Deuteronomy 30:19-20)
"This day I call heaven and
earth as witnesses against you that I have set
before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now
choose life, so that you and your children may live
and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to
his voice, and hold fast to him"....
Father in heaven, help us
to be involved in the parade of life that leads to
life and blessings. Amen.
Read Philippians 4:4-7
Rejoice in the Lord always;
again I will say, Rejoice. (Philippians 4:4)
I can't imagine living in
this uncertain and insane world without God and the
knowledge of the many promises He has made to us.
This world is moving farther and farther away from
God. The God of the universe has been replaced, by
many people, with the god of money and
possessions. We see the result of a world moving
away from God all around us. War, murder, robbery,
child abuse, lying, cheating, pornography, drug
abuse, run-away divorce, etc. We should thank God
often for opening our minds to understand His way of
love, forgiveness, and grace. As the world around
us grows more and more insane, we should thank God
for his spirit that gives us a sound mind.
"For God has not given us
the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and
of a sound mind." (II Timothy 1:7 KJV)
For this reason we don't
have to fear the future or what man can do to us.
As the reading for today says: "God is always with
us. Nothing, not even death, can separate us from
him and his love. That's why we are people of faith,
hope, love.... and joy." For these reasons, we
should "rejoice in the Lord always."
Father in heaven, we give
you thanks for your love for us, and for all you
have done for us. We thank you for all the promises
you have made to us. We thank you for always being
with us, even unto death. Help us to return that
love to you through our obedience to you. Amen.
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
Read Mark 1:14-20
The time is fulfilled, and
the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and
believe in the good news. (Mark 1:15)
If we follow Jesus Christ,
we are special to God.
(1 Peter 2:9-10) "But you
are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy
nation, a people belonging to God, that you may
declare the praises of him who called you out of
darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not
a people, but now you are the people of God; once
you had not received mercy, but now you have
Also (Luke 12:6-7)
"Are not five sparrows sold
for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by
God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all
numbered. Don't be afraid, you are worth more than
( For some of us, numbering
the hairs on our head is much easier for God than it
is for others.)
The last sentence in the
reading for today says:
"Whatever your problem may
be, God is specializing in you today." Let us
repent often, do the right thing always, so that we
may remain special to God forevermore. I will use
the prayer in the reading.
O God, when we stop and
think about it, we are bowled over by your amazing
grace. Thank you, in Jesus" name. Amen.
Read Matthew 25:14-30
But the one who had
received the one talent went off and dug a hole in
the ground and hid his master's money. (Matthew
Today's reading says:
"Talking a good game is not
enough. This is especially true in our faith
pilgrimage...just going through the rituals, just
saying the creeds, just singing the hymns, just
preaching the sermon, is not enough. We are called
to live our faith daily. Only when our creeds become
deeds are they worth anything."
Does our light only shine
on Sunday? Is it hidden under a bushel for the rest
of the week? Are we gaining "talents" by exercising
the fruits of the Holy Spirit when we are in the
check out line at the grocery store, when someone
cuts us off in traffic, when someone is rude to us,
when things are not going our way, etc.? Gaining
talents may not only be about money. Let us gain
talents every day so that when Jesus returns He will
say to us, "well done good and faithful servant."
I will use the prayer in
O God, help us this day and
every day to live our faith. We pray this prayer in
the name of Christ. Amen.
Read Mark 1:14-20
And Jesus said to them,
"Follow me and I will make you fish for
people." (Mark 1:17)
In the reading for
today it says:
"We are not alone! We
don't have to do it all by ourselves! God is
When it seems like we
are going it alone, maybe we are unplugged from
our source of spiritual power by neglecting
prayer and study. When we unplug our radio
from it's source of power, it doesn't work.
Our righteousness apart from God, like the
radio, doesn't work.
"All of us have become
like one who is unclean, and all our righteous
acts are like filthy rags, we all shrivel up
like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us
Our righteousness comes
from our source of power, which is God. We
must stay plugged into God through prayer and
study or we will shrivel up like a leaf, and
like the wind our sins will sweep us away. The
reading says: "God's strength will see us
through. It will carry us; it will save us."
If we draw on God's
strength instead of our own, we will be
victorious. (1 Corinthians 15:57)
"But thanks be to God!
He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus
I will use the prayer
in the reading.
We trust you, O God. We
go forward knowing you are with us. We pray in
Jesus' name. Amen.
Saturday, April 1, 2006
Read 1 John 4:7-12
Beloved, let us love one another, because love is
from God. (1 John 4:7)
There is not much love in this world today. It seems
people go out of their way to find reasons to hate
one another. White people and black people hate each
other for the color of their skin. Arab's and Jew's
hate each other. Factions within the Arab community
hate each other. In Ireland, the Catholics and
protestants hate each other. They look alike to me,
I have often wondered how they can identify whom
they are hating. Most countries have factions within
them that hate each other. Hate has driven this
world since Cain and Able. If only the people of
this world would just obey this one command from
God, "Let us love one another." War, murder, and
hate would disappear from the earth. We would not
spend obscene amounts of money on warfare. There
would be plenty of money to feed every hungry person
in the world. I don't see the world changing, but we
can change our little world by loving one another as
Jesus commanded us. As the reading said, a word at
the right time can work a miracle in someone's life.
A starting place to loving one another is to forgive
anyone we are at odds with. Saying I'm sorry can
heal a lot of wounds. Let us forgive and love one
another so that our light will shine brightly for
all to see. I will use the prayer in the reading.
Lord, by your grace, make us miracle workers with
our words. In His name. Amen.
Sunday, April 2, 2006
Read 1 Corinthians 13:8-13
And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three;
and the greatest of these is love.
(1 Corinthians 13:13)
Today's reading reflects David's sermon for today.
We show our love for others by "doing," not by
hitting them over the head with our words. Jesus
didn't just say, I love you, be warm and filled, and
then go on to seek His own interests. He feed the
hungry, healed the sick, cast out demons, forgave
people, had compassion for others, went to the cross
for us, He was always "doing" for others. This Godly
love is explained in:
(1 John 3:16-18) "This is how we know what love is;
Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought
to lay down our lives for our brothers. If any one
has material possessions and sees his brother in
need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God
be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words
or tongue but with actions and in truth."
The bottom line for our life here on earth will be
as David said, "what did we do." When we are "doing"
for others, we are also "doing" for Jesus.
Father in heaven, help us to follow the example
Jesus set for us, to focus on others instead of
Monday, April 3, 2006
Read Matthew 11:28-30
Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying
heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.
Sometimes life can be very cruel to us. We lose
loved ones, we lose our jobs, our children go in the
wrong direction, someone causes us a lot of stress,
our health is deteriorating, we have financial
reversals, etc. I don't think we have been singled
out to suffer more than someone else, it's just part
of our physical existence. A scripture comes to
mind: (Ecclesiastes 9:11)
"I have seen something else under the sun: The race
is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor
does food come to the wise or wealth to the
brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and
chance happen to them all."
We don't have to endure these things alone. God will
be with us. (Psalm 23:4)
"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow
of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
God will restore us in due time. (1 Peter 5:9-10)
".....because you know that your brothers throughout
the world are undergoing the same kind of
sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you
to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have
suffered a little while, will himself restore you
and make you strong, firm and steadfast."
We can go to God during these bad times, and He will
wrap His arms around us and comfort us. He is there
for us, and will give us rest from our heavy
burdens. He was with us yesterday, He is with us
today, and He will be with us forevermore.
I will use the prayer in today's reading.
O Lord, we know that you will hold us and see us
through. In Jesus' strong name. Amen.
Read Luke 18:35-43
Immediately he regained
his sight and followed him, glorifying God; and
all the people, when they saw it, praised God.
Jesus spent most of His
time here on earth, helping others. He would
help others to the point of exhaustion, and have
to slip away to get some rest. We should
follow His example in helping others, not
because we have to, but because we want to.
And not for show, to be honored by others.
"Be careful not to do
your 'acts of righteousness' before men, to be
seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward
from your Father in heaven."
There are many ways we
can help others. Sometimes all we can do is give
a smile, a hug, and encouraging word, listen to
what someone has to say, pray for them.
Praying for someone may be all a frail widow on
a fixed income can do.
Prayer can be very
effective in helping someone.
"Therefore confess your sins to each other and
pray for each other so that you may be healed.
The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and
If we only think of
ourselves, we will not be able to see the needs
of others as they come before us. And
remember, when we do for others, we also are
doing for Jesus. I will use the prayer in the
Lord, help us to live
for others that we may live like Thee. We pray
in Christ's name. Amen.
Read Matthew 5:43-48
But I say to you, Love
your enemies and pray for those who persecute
you, so that you may be children of your Father
in heaven. (Matthew 5:44)
This is a subject that
I don't feel qualified to comment on. David
taught on this subject at Sunday school last
Sunday. In the English language we have one
word for love. There are four different words
for love in the Greek. Jesus prayed for His
enemies when He was on the cross, He said:
...."Father, forgive them, for they do not know
what they are doing."....
I will use the prayer
in the reading.
Help us, O God, to be
your instruments of love. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Read Colossians 3:1-4
Set your minds on
things that are above, not on things that are on
earth. (Colossians 3:2)
Our focus in life
should be on gaining spiritual treasure that
will last forever, instead of earthly treasure
that will pass away. Would we be willing to
give up our earthly possessions for the kingdom
of heaven? (Matthew 13:44)
"The kingdom of heaven
is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man
found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy
went and sold all he had and bought that field."
When Jesus put a rich
young man to the test, he chose his earthly
possessions. The rich young man went to Jesus
and asked him what he should do to gain eternal
life. Jesus told him to keep the commandments,
he said he had kept them from his youth. Then
Jesus told him he lacked one thing. (Mark
"Jesus looked at him
and loved him. "one thing you lack," he said.
"Go, sell everything you have and give to the
poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then
come, follow me." At this the man's face fell.
He went away sad, because he had great wealth."
We fail the test every
time we chose to keep our possessions for
ourselves, instead of sharing them with someone
in need. We need to focus on spiritual things
that will last forever, instead of
physical things that will perish. I will use the
prayer in the reading.
O God, set our minds on
things above, on the things that really matter.
We pray in Jesus' name, Amen.
Read 1 John 4:7-12
Beloved, let us love
one another, because love is from God. (1 John
As the people of this
world grow more evil, and move farther and
farther away from God, there is also much less
love for others. (Matthew 24:17-18)
"Because of the
increase of wickedness, the love of most will
grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end
will be saved."
When we truly love God,
we will also love others, "because love comes
from God." (1 John 4:19)
"We love because he
first loved us."
As God is removed from
our schools, replaced in the home with
television and video games, spoken of only in
profanity, etc. He will be replaced with hatred
and wickedness, and love will slowly disappear
from the earth, "Because love comes from God."
We can't force others to love, but we can grow
closer to God and love one another as Jesus
commanded us to do. By this people will also
see the love of God. I will use the prayer in
Lord, help us remember
that as Christians we are your representatives.
Read Matthew 18:23-35
Should you not have had
mercy on your fellow slave, as I had mercy on
you? (Matthew 18:33)
The scriptures for
today are about mercy and forgiveness, the
reading is about encouragement. I think the
first step to being an encourager is to have a
positive attitude. When I am around negative
people, I don't feel much encouragement.
Yesterday, I visited with a lady in the Leonard
nursing home who is 99 years old. She has
Parkinson's disease, and has had a light stroke.
I thought I would be able to encourage her to
keep moving forward despite her age and
illnesses. Yet her attitude was so
positive, I came away being the one that was
encouraged to keep moving forward, despite all
my trials and troubles. We are admonished to
encourage one another in: (Hebrews 10:25) "Let
us not give up meeting together, as some are in
the habit of doing, but let us encourage one
another-and all the more as you see the Day
God encourages us
through His word, let us encourage one another
through our words.
I will use the prayer
in the reading.
Help us, Lord, to be
encouragers, to put the heart back into those
around us. Amen.
Palm Sunday, April 9, 2006
Read John 14:15-19
I will not leave you
orphaned; I am coming to you.
Jesus calls us His
friend in: (John 15:12-15)
"My command is this:
Love each other as I have loved you. Greater
love has no one than this, that one lay down his
life for his friends. You are my friends if you
do what I command. I no longer call you
servants, because a servant does not know his
master's business. Instead, I have called you
friends, for everything that I learned from my
Father I have made known to you."
A true friend loves you
during the bad times, as well as the good
times. A true friend loves you when you have
money, and continues to love you when the money
is gone. A true friend will stand by you when
all others have abandoned you. A true friend
will forgive you when you transgress against
them. Jesus is our true friend. He will love
us, forgive us, and never leave nor forsake us.
We don't have to have a lot of money, or be good
looking, or be someone of status, or keep 613
laws, to be His friend. The only requirement is
to obey Him and keep His commands. "What A
Friend We Have In Jesus." I will use the prayer
in the reading with added words.
O God, how do we begin
to express the full measure of our gratitude to
you for being our friend? Amen.
Holy Monday, April 10, 2006
Read Matthew 18:21-35
Should you not have had
mercy on your fellow slave, as I had mercy on
you? (Matthew 18:33)
How many of us have
done stupid things in our lives, and needed
forgiveness? If all the stupid things I have
done in my life were written down, there would
be volumes. We shouldn't be too hard on our
kids when they do stupid things, because we
probably did the same things when we were
kids. God forgives us when we do something
stupid, we also should forgive others. Jesus
instructs us to forgive more than once.
"Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how
many times shall I forgive my brother when he
sins against me? Up to seven times?" Jesus
answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but
We must forgive others,
to be forgiven by God.
(Matthew 6:14-15) "For
if you forgive men when they sin against you,
your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But
if you do not forgive men their sins, your
Father will not forgive your sins."
When we forgive, we nip
the "root of bitterness" in the bud, so that it
doesn't have a chance to grow and consume us. I
will use the prayer in the reading.
Lord, you are the Great
Physician. Bring to us the hope, healing, and
forgiveness we need this day. In Jesus' name.
Holy Tuesday, April 11, 2006
Read 1 Corinthians
For the message about
the cross is foolishness to those who are
perishing, but to us who are being saved it is
the power of God.
(1 Corinthians 1:18)
Most people in this
country think being a Christian and believing
the message of the cross is foolish. It just
isn't sheik and modern for them to believe in
Jesus and His message. Evolution is taught in
our schools, instead of the creation story.
Christianity is systematically being eradicated
from public view. Prayer is illegal in our
schools. Most people in this country say they
believe in a higher power, yet they deny His
message and power in their lives. A scripture
comes to mind in (Romans 1:20-22)
"For since the creation
of the world God's invisible qualities-his
eternal power and divine nature-have been
clearly seen, being understood from what has
been made, so that men are without excuse. For
although they knew God, they neither glorified
him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their
thinking became futile and their foolish hearts
were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise,
they became fools"...
In other parts of the
world it is against the law to be a Christian.
Recently a man in Afghanistan converted to
Christianity, and had to flee the country or be
killed. Thankfully, (at this time) it isn't
against the law, in this country, to be a
Christian. We should guard our minds against
the foolish thinking of the world, and pray for
Christians in other parts of the world that have
to worship in secret, and give thanks to God
that we can worship openly. I will use the
prayer in the reading.
Help us, O Lord, to be
the children of the cross. In the name of Jesus.
Holy Wednesday, April 12, 2006
Read Luke 15:11-24
This my son was dead,
and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.
(Luke 15:24 KJV)
I think one reason we
tend to wear masks, is that we are afraid if
people knew the real us, they wouldn't except us
for who we really are. Recently, a man, well
respected by all that knew him, was striped of
his mask when tons of child pornography was
found on his computer. He had a well
constructed mask. Some people wear spiritual
masks. Jesus striped away the Pharisees
spiritual masks on several occasions.
23:27-28) "Woe to you, teachers of the law and
Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like
whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the
outside but on the inside are full of dead men's
bones and everything unclean. In the same way,
on the outside you appear to people as righteous
but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and
During this time of
self examination, we can strip away our own
spiritual masks by going to God in true
repentance, and being able to say, "I don't do
that any more." God can see behind the mask,
yet He accepts us anyway. I will use the prayer
in the reading.
O God, help us accept
the fact that you accept us. We thank you in
Jesus' name. Amen.
Holy Thursday, April 13, 2006
Read John 14:1-7
Jesus said to him, "I
am the way, and the truth, and the life." (John
I am severely
directionally challenged, I get lost often, and
do not know my way out. Fortunately I carry
about ten road maps with me to all the towns and
cities that I may go to. The road map shows me
the way to go. We have a road map that shows
us the way to Jesus and eternal life, and that
is God's word, the Holy Bible. According to
God's word we must chose between two roads.
One will take us to our destination, and one
will not. God tells us which one to chose in:
"Enter through the
narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is
the road that leads to destruction, and many
enter through it. But small is the gate and
narrow the road that leads to life, and only a
few find it."
If we are following
Jesus, we are on the right road. There are many
potholes in this road in the form of sin, Jesus
shows us the way to avoid these potholes. But
if we take our eyes off Jesus, fall behind, and
fall into one of these potholes, Jesus will come
back and rescue us. If we keep our eyes on
Jesus, we will make it to our destination, which
is eternal life with God forever. I will use
the prayer in the reading.
Show us the way, O
Lord, to come home to you, through your
forgiveness in Jesus Christ our Lord, in whose
name we pray. Amen.
Good Friday, April 14, 2006
Read Luke 23:32-43
Father, forgive them;
for they do not know what they are doing. (Luke
In the reading it says,
that Jesus, an innocent man, received an unfair
trial that was filled with lies, plotting,
conniving, scheming; bribed witnesses, political
intrigue, jealousy, hostility, hatred; a mob
scene; and a kangaroo court. They betray him,
deny him, taunt him, beat him, curse him, spit
upon him, nail him to a cross, and he says
"Father, forgive them; for they know not what
they are doing." This makes any offences we
receive from others seem very, very, trivial.
Yet sometimes we have a hard time forgiving
these trivial things. We must forgive, to be
forgiven. (Matthew 6:14-15)
"For if you forgive
men when they sin against you, your heavenly
Father will also forgive you.
but if you do not
forgive men their sins, your Father will not
forgive your sins."
Forgiving others is one
of our lifelines.
Father in heaven, help
us to follow Jesus' example of forgiving
Holy Saturday, April 15, 2006
Read Mark 15:21-39
Truly this man was
God's Son! (Mark 15:39)
Ever since Jesus rose
from the dead, and ascended into heaven to set
at the right hand of God, He has worked through
human beings. When we pull someone out of a
pit by having compassion on them, helping them
in a time of need, being there for them when a
loved one is lost, visiting them when they are
sick, they figuratively see the nail-prints in
Jesus' hands through us. Jesus' healing touch
can work through us if we let Him. I will use
the prayer in the reading.
Savior of the World, we
stand in awe of your sacrificial love and
amazing grace. Amen.
Season of Advent 2005
Lee Alley put together a series
of Advent readings, and sent them out via email each day
of this past Advent season. Although Advent season
has just concluded, I thought I would post the
readings here so we could enjoy them all year long.
Sunday, November 27, 2005
Today, we enter the
Advent season. It
is a season where we
prepare our hearts
and lives for worthy
celebration of God's
greatest gift, the
birth of our Lord
and Savior, Jesus
Read Luke 1:25-33
The angel went to
her and said,
"Greetings, you are
highly favored! The
Lord is with you."
(Luke 1:28, NIV)
In the devotional it
says, and I quote,
"The miracle is that
would be a miracle
today also, if a
teenager listened to
us and actually
believed what we
said. But are we
actions and words
portray to others
that we haven't
listened or believed
what God has spoken
to us through his
word. During this
Advent season, we
should reflect back
on how well we have
believed what God
has reveled to
us through his word,
and make changes
where we have fallen
Father in heaven,
help us to put our
trust in your word
to guide our paths
during this Advent
season and for the
rest of our lives.
Mary was greatly
troubled at his
kind of greeting
this might be.
(Luke 1:29, NIV)
Sometimes we as
a people worry
more about what
than what God
thinks. We act
one way around
our friends and
another way when
we get to
should have the
co-workers as we
do when we are
at church. We
should care more
about what God
thinks, and less
people think so
does not creep
lives. I will
use the prayer
O God, forgive
us for being so
ruled by the
others that we
no longer hear
you speak. In
the name of the
At that time
to a town in
If God is
or task, he
for us what
called us to
4:13) "I can
do what God
told him to
he had a
had Aaron to
said he was
he was able
his task in
ran away, so
a large fish
to give him
him to carry
out what God
If God is
a way for us
God is not
will be full
with no help
give us the
us to do.
or be on
of us to
If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him! (Matthew 7:11)
The reading for today is in two parts, with part two continuing tomorrow. Today's reading is about the author as a teenage girl who wanted a green coat with a passion. She would go by the window where it was displayed, and talk to it and dream of having it. She knew the family could not afford it and all she could do was dream of having it. One day it was sold, and she prayed that whoever got that coat would love it as much as she did.
Did you notice her good attitude? I think our attitude determines whether God gives us what we ask for or not. I will use the prayer in the reading.
Loving God, help us to remember that you have loved us with an everlasting love, when we weren't aware of it and certainly when we didn't deserve it. Give us grateful hearts, we pray. Amen.
Saturday, December 3, 2005
Read Matthew 25:34-46
As every (person) hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
(1 Peter 4:10, KJV)
This is part two of the story of a teenage girl that had her heart set on a green coat that she loved. The coat was sold and she, with a good attitude, prayed that the person that bought the coat would love it as much as she did. It turned out that the mother had bought it, and the family had agreed to a less expensive gift for Christmas so that the girl could have the green coat.
While we are making a list for our wants for Christmas, there is a family in Whitewright that is in need and only want food, clothing, and the basic necessities for Christmas. Maybe we could take a less expensive gift this year, and be able to help this family in need.
The last part of the reading says, "He who gives himself with his alms, feeds three--himself, his hungry neighbor, and me." I will use the prayer in the reading.
O Loving Christ, enable us to see people as you see them and give our gifts, both tangible and intangible, accordingly. Amen.
Sunday, December 4, 2005
Read John 3:16-17
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
(John 3:16, NIV)
The reading today is about a Father who passed Gods love and his own love to his children. They in turn passed this love on to their children. This is one way that we let our light shine, which ties in with David's sermon today. We can pass this love on to others in so many ways, a hug, an encouraging word, a visit, a phone call, a pat on the back, being a good listener, a sincere compliment, giving without strings attached, letting others be the center of attention instead of ourselves, building others up instead of tearing them down, being a friend, etc. A scripture comes to mind: (1 John 4:21) "And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother." God puts love at the top of His list of the fruits of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22). Then we are commanded to love one another by Jesus (John 13:34). This lets me know that the Scrooge syndrome has no place in our lives. Love to all of you.
Loving God, help us to experience your incomparable love and to pass it on to others.
Monday, December 5, 2005
Read Acts 11:19-24
Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas,...sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles' feet.
(Acts 4:36-37, NIV)
The main theme of this reading is being an encourager. When was the last time we encouraged someone, instead of discouraging them? When we are down, an encouraging word or deed can mean so much. Children, and especially Teenagers need encouraging all the time. Many children have very low self esteem, and think they aren't worth very much, because of the discouraging words the parents relate to them most of the time. Even Jesus needed encouraging.
(Luke 22:41-43) "He withdrew about a stone's throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done." An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him.
Lift up someone today with an encouraging word.
Father in heaven, help us to be encouragers, and not discouragers. Amen.
Tuesday, December 6, 2005
Read Matthew 1:18-22
Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
(Matthew 1:19, NIV)
God not only picked the right woman to give birth to the Son of God, he also picked a righteous man to be his earthly father. Joseph displayed the fruits of the Holy Spirit by the things he didn't do. When he found out she was pregnant, and before he knew she was carrying the Son of God, he wasn't vindictive and wanting to get even. He could have brought her up before the public and had her stoned to death. Instead, he was going to divorce her quietly, not only saving her life, but shielding her and her family from public shame and embarrassment. How many of us would have displayed this degree of righteousness in a similar situation?
God, when we have doubts and fears, help us remember Joseph's steadfastness. Amen
Wednesday, December 7, 2005
Read Luke 2:13-20
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!"
The focus of today's reading is Peace. Since Cain and Able until now, this world has not known peace. Scriptures come to mind that describes the state of the world today. (Romans 3:14-18)
"Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood, ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know. There is no fear of God before their eyes."
As the reading says, "peace begins in the hearts of individuals." Until this happens, there will never be "peace on earth good will toward men." We can bring peace to our own word by practicing peace and being a peacemaker. (Matthew 5:9)
"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God." As the reading asks, "In my relationships do I radiate peace or conflict, hatred or love, sincerity or pretense? If we will practice peace, love, and sincerity in our lives, we will be at peace with mankind and with God.
O God of peace and power, let your peace that passes understanding fill our hearts and radiate through our lives. Amen.
Thursday, December 8, 2005
Read Matthew 16:13-18
"And I tell you that you are Peter; and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it" (Matthew 16:18, NIV)
Sorry I am running later that usual. I had to go to the Dentist this morning and have a jaw tooth extracted. That was no fun.
The reading today is about being insecure, and being able to grow in confidence through the affirmation of others. We should always build others up instead of tearing them down. A physical injury will heal in time, but an injury from words sometimes never heals. Love does not hurt others, so let us affirm others with love.
Father in heaven help us to love others as you have loved us.
Friday, December 9, 2005
Read Ephesians 4:17-29
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs.
(Ephesians 4:29, NIV)
The reading today is about not looking at someone where they are now, but looking at them for whom they can become. In a past reading Jesus called Peter a rock before he became a rock. Even though Peter would deny knowing him later on, Jesus saw what he could become. This came true at Pentecost when Peter preached a powerful sermon and 3000 people were saved. The same is true for us, Jesus will not give up on us. If we take our eyes off Him and start sinking, he will reach out and take our hand and keep us from drowning. As the reading says, "Think of those in your life who need a person to believe in them, to see them as they can become. Choose, in the name of Christ, to be that person for them."
Empowering Christ, enable us to embrace your expectation for our lives, and then to help others to see themselves as you see them. In your name, we pray. Amen.
Saturday, December 10, 2005
Read 1 Corinthians 12:25-27
Now you are the body of Christ, and each of you is a part of it.
(1 Corinthians 12:27, NIV)
The reading today is continuing the theme of building others up instead of tearing them down. Louise and I feel blessed that we are in a church that truly is a family. The members here build each other up, and wrap their arms around you when tragedy strikes. David is the example to follow when it comes to giving, caring, and being there for us. Jesus admonished and even commanded us to love one another, and I feel this church is doing that. When our daughter was killed in an accident, similar to the author of this reading, our "minister," (In the cult) never came to our house (Or called us on the phone) to pray with us or put his arms around us. That is one of the reasons we feel blessed to have David as our Minister. A scripture comes to mind, (Galatians 6:10) "Therefore as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers."
Merciful and loving God, enable us to use the awesome power of affirmation to build others up. In Christ's name I pray. Amen
Sunday, December 11, 2005
Read Luke 2:1-5
To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
(Luke 2:5, KJV)
After traveling by donkey for days from Nazareth to Bethlehem, Mary heard these words after arriving at her destination, "No room at the inn."
When Jesus knocks at our door, does he hear the same words? "No room at the inn." Yet we have a room for television. We have a room for shopping. We have a room for sports. We have a room for talking on the phone for hours at a time. We have a room for games etc. Yet sometimes we do not have a room for Jesus in our busy daily lives. The solution; we must reserve a room for Jesus in our lives. If we make sure that room isn't taken by someone or something else, Jesus will not have to hear these words from us, "No room at the inn."
Father in heaven, help us to always have a room reserved for You and Jesus in our lives. Amen.
Monday, December `12, 2005
Read Luke 2:1-7
She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
(Luke 2:7, NIV)
Today's reading is about being messengers of hope to others when given the opportunity. Jesus is our example to follow. He was a messenger of hope throughout his ministry. After being beaten and tortured and hung on a cross he still thought of others and gave hope to a thief on a cross next to him, (Luke 23:43) "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise." There are so many scriptures in the bible giving us hope for the resurrection and eternal life, that it would be imposable to list them all. God gives us hope in, (Revelation 21:4) "He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain , for the old order of things has passed away." Also (1 Corinthians 15:51-52) "Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed-- in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed."
With so much hope given to us, we should be messengers of hope to all as we have opportunity.
We should always build others up and give them hope, instead of tearing them down and destroying their hope.
O God of hope, let us be willing to be messengers of hope to those who have lost heart. Amen
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
Read Romans 8:18-25
For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all.
(Romans 8:24, NIV)
The scripture above brings to mind another scripture in, (1 Corinthians 15:19) "If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men." If our hope is in this world that we can see, then we have no hope at all. Our hope is in the resurrection and eternal life which we cannot see at this time. Another scripture comes to mind, (Hebrews 11:1) "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." Faith and hope are tied together. Our calling is to remain steadfast and not to give up hope. Jesus will not give up on us, he will always be there for us, so we can't lose if we keep our eyes on him and do not lose hope. If we remain steadfast and do not give up, we can say as Paul said in, (2 Timothy 4:7-8) "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day--and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing."
God, help us hope in the One whose birthday we celebrate. Amen.
Wednesday, December 14, 2005)
Read Romans 8:33-39
Who will separate us from the love of Christ?
Today's reading is continuing the theme of hope and being a messenger of hope. The above scriptures are some of my most favorite scriptures in the bible. What they are saying is, that there is nothing that can separate us from the love of God. Not even angels nor demons. These are very comforting words, and a great source of hope. We should pass this hope on to others as we have opportunity, as the author of the reading did to a young girl. We may move away from God, but He will never move away from us.
(Hebrews 13:5-6) "Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." So we say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?"
What a loving God we have, He loves us with no strings attached. May we share that love with others.
O God of hope and love, may we have the willingness to be available as your messengers of hope. Amen.
Thursday, December 15, 2005
Read Romans 5:1-5
Hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given us.
Being a cancer survivor myself, I can relate to the story in the reading today. Cancer can kill the body, but it can't kill the spirit, unless we allow it. When we are close to God, and have hope of the resurrection and eternal life, we can have an inner peace that transcends all understanding.
(Philippians 4:6-7) "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
Focus on what is important in life, and leave the trivial things behind.
God, help us focus on eternal values. Amen.
Friday, December 16, 2005
Read Hebrews 6:16-20
Hope is the anchor of the soul. (Authors paraphrase of Hebrews 6:19)
The reading is about boats and how they can be anchored safely at shore to keep them from drifting out to sea. If we give up hope, our problems can cut us loose from our anchor in Jesus and set us adrift on the sea of life. One way we can prevent this is by giving our problems over to God. (1 Peter 5:7) "Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you."
A scripture comes to mind in, (Proverbs 10:30) "The righteous will never be uprooted, but the wicked will not remain in the land."
God calls us righteous as long as we obey him and stay close to him. If we keep ourselves anchored to the Rock of our salvation (Jesus Christ), it will be like having a physical boat anchored to the Rock of Gibraltar. We will have a peace and calm that can only come through our anchor, Jesus Christ.
God, thank you for our anchor in Jesus. Amen.
Saturday, December 17, 2005
Read Hebrews 13:5-7
I will never leave you or forsake you. (Hebrews 13:5)
The reading today is about a daughters experience with a very cruel father, that caused her to need psychiatric help later in life. Many adults today, have emotional scars left by what their parents did or did not for them. The healing comes when we forgive and claim Gods promises. We have a perfect parent (God) who will never leave us or forsake us. He is always there for us, and when we are afraid, he is willing to gather us under his wing as a hen gathers her chickens under her wing.
(Matthew 23:37) "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing."
Although we sometimes do not understand, God always works things out for our good.
(Romans 8:28) "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him. who have been called according to his purpose."
What a loving parent God is.
Father in heaven, help us to return the love you have for us in obedience to you and service to others. Amen.
Sunday, December 18, 2005
Read Luke 2:8-15
Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors. (Luke 2:14)
In the reading it says, God is welcomed by people in all parts of the world. There are Christians in all parts of the world. All of these people pray to him in their own language. Can you imagine how many languages God understands. He is even fluent in ancient dialects that Moses , Abraham and others spoke. Not only can He understand all these languages that are verbally spoken, He can also understand what we are thinking. So we have no excuse for not praying to Him daily. A scripture comes to mind in:
(Isaiah 59:1) "Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear."
If we would spend more time in prayer, maybe there would be more peace on earth.
O God, let us not be so conformed to this world's standards that we fail to be your instruments of peace on this your earth. Amen.
Monday, December 19, 2005
Read Luke 2:13-20
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God. (Luke 2:13)
In the scriptures above, the angels appeared to the shepherd's to announce the arrival of Jesus as a baby. The shepherd's were one of the lowest class' of people at that time. They were illiterate and looked down upon. The angles didn't appear to the King, or the well educated, or the religious leaders of the day, (The Pharisees). The same applies when Jesus called his disciples, they were fisherman and a tax collector, not rocket scientist and brain surgeons. Mary and Joseph were very poor and not the "Highland Park" type people of the day. Most of the time in the bible, God accomplished great things through humble people who were not the elite of their day. We are not the elite of our day, and God can also accomplish great things through us as a church, if we remain humble and look to him for our strength.
Father in heaven, help us to remain humble and look to you for our strength, so that we may be able to accomplish your will in our lives. Amen.
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
Read Luke 2:10-15
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying... (Luke 2:13)
In case you didn't know what a quatrain is (I didn't), I looked it up.
(Quatrain) " A unit or group of four lines of verse."
This is one of the best readings we have had so far. An angel is described as being "messengers of God." The angels that appeared to the shepherds were literal angels from heaven. In our lives, these angels come in human form. An offer of babysitting, an encouraging telephone call, a friendly smile, a visit to the hospital, surrounding us with Gods love when tragedy strikes. Just knowing that someone cares, will work wonders in getting us through the hard times. We should look for opportunities to be an angel to someone, especially at this time of the year.
O God of light, love and peace, empower us to be your messengers to others; in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
Read 1 Peter 3:8-15
Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous. (1 Peter 3:8, KJV)
The author of the reading today was discouraged after going shopping and encountering people pushing, shoving, and being demanding. She wondered, "what ever happened to courtesy." I have noticed that people are much more selfish and demanding today than they were when I was a kid. When was the last time a sales person went the "extra mile" to help you out? The phrase, "road rage" was unheard of when I was a kid. We can't change the behavior of all these people, but we can change our behavior so that when we are courteous, showing love, being calm in a stressful situation, saying thank you and please, they will have seen Jesus in us. When we do this, our light will be shinning brightly, and not hid under a basket.
Gracious God, forgive us for our selfish and often demanding ways. Help us to accept your gift with humility and gratitude. Amen.
Thursday, December 22, 2005
Read Hebrews 13:5-9
"Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."
(Hebrews 13:5, NIV)
"Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you". What comforting words. Knowing God will always be with us, helps us get through the dark times in our lives. Even when we drift away from God, he is still there for us. When Peter denied knowing Jesus, God didn't give up on him and was there for him. Peter went on to do great things with Gods help. When Jonah ran away, God didn't give up on him, he finished the task God had for him. Many of us resisted Gods calling for years, but God didn't forsake us, he continued to work with us until we finally said, OK, "not my will, but your will be done." A very familiar scripture comes to mind:
(Psalms 23:4) "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me."
We can take great comfort in knowing that God will never leave us nor forsake us.
Eternal and everlasting God, enable us to claim your promise that you will be with us now and forevermore. Amen.
Friday, December 23, 2005
Read Ephesians 4:29-32
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32, NIV)
The reading for today is in two parts. We get half of the story today, and the rest of the story tomorrow. So I will wait until tomorrow to comment on the story. Surprise someone today by doing an act of kindness for them.
Loving God, help us to use this season as a special opportunity to show love to others; in the name of Christ. Amen.
Saturday, December 24, 2005
Read Matthew 5:43-48
If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?
(Matthew 5:46, NIV)
These readings are about the authors family drawing names and doing a secret kindness for that person each day. The little boy kept drawing his sisters name, (the one he fought with a lot) and didn't want to keep doing kind things for her. The mother suggested that they exchange names, which suited him just fine. It turns out that he went ahead and did a kindness for her anyway. We are to show God's love not only to people we like, but to all people. If we are only kind to the ones we love, we are no better than the tax collectors. A scripture comes to mind, (Matthew 5:20)
"For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven."
We are to be instruments of kindness to all people, whether we like them or not.
Almighty and transcendent God, enable us to be your instruments even to the difficult people in our lives. Amen.
Sunday, December 25, 2005
Read Luke 5:11-24
I will arise and go to my father. (Luke 15:18, NIV)
I am going to give all of you a break today and not express my "take" on today's reading. Thank you for putting up with my ramblings during this Advent Season. Please read today's devotional and form your own "take" on it. I would like to wish all of you: A MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR.
Father in heaven, may we put into practice the lessons we have learned during this Advent Season, so that our light will shine brightly in this dark world. Amen.