Seize the Moment – Day 988

The Hand of God is Upon Me!

Ezra 7

 

Good morning! This is Pastor Jerry Ingalls from New Castle First Baptist Church and today is Wednesday, November 30.

 

What does it mean that the hand of God is upon a person? The Bible teaches us that God is spirit (John 4:24), so when the Bible states that the hand of God is upon someone it is not talking about a literal body part. Rather, it is using anthropomorphic imagery to illustrate God being on the side of His people to guide them and to bring about success in their work.

 

The following three verses emphasize how the hand of God was upon Ezra as he led the second wave of exiles back to Jerusalem:

 

  1. Ezra 7:6, “This Ezra went up from Babylon, and he was a scribe skilled in the law of Moses, which the Lord God of Israel had given; and the king granted him all he requested because the hand of the Lord his God was upon him.”
  2. Ezra 7:9, “For on the first of the first month he began to go up from Babylon; and on the first of the fifth month he came to Jerusalem, because the good hand of his God was upon him.”
  3. Ezra 7:28b, “Thus I was strengthened according to the hand of the Lord my God upon me, and I gathered leading men from Israel to go up with me.”

 

Ezra was essential to the plans of God, but apart from God’s hand being upon him no amount of support from King Artaxerxes (11-25) or his family lineage as a priest (1-5) would have brought about such success. The key to Ezra’s success was his faith, as emphasized in Ezra 7:10, “For Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the Lord and to practice it, and to teach His statutes and ordinances in Israel.” Ezra walked hand in hand with God so it’s no wonder that God’s hand was upon him!

 

Seize the moment and put your hand into the hand of God almighty (Isaiah 41:13; 42:6).

 

God bless you!

 

If you would like to receive a personal phone call today, all you have to do is dial the phone number below right now and one of us will call you soon.

 

YOUTUBE:

If you prefer a video, Pastor Jerry reads his devotion on YouTube as well. Click HERE to visit the page.

Videos are posted about a week after the devotion appears in the blog.

 


Read more...

Seize the Moment – Day 987

Pray for those in Authority!

Ezra 6

 

Good morning! This is Pastor Jerry Ingalls from New Castle First Baptist Church and today is Tuesday, November 29.

 

Are you actively praying for the leaders of your community, state, and nation? Paul exhorts his protégé in 1 Timothy 1:1-2, “First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.”

 

Ezra 6 concludes the first half of the book as the temple was completed in 516 BC, seventy years to the date of its destruction – “This temple was completed on the third day of the month Adar; it was the sixth year of the reign of King Darius” (Ezra 6:15). Whereas Solomon’s temple stood for nearly four hundred years (959-586 BC), the second temple would stand for nearly six hundred years, until its destruction by the Romans in AD 70.

 

Just as in any major building project, the rebuilding of the temple was a coordinated effort of many involved parties and key players (Ezra 6:13-14). In Ezra 5, Tattenai, the governor of the province, wrote a letter to King Darius to know how the Persian Empire wanted him to handle the Israelites in Jerusalem. Because “the eye of their God” was upon them (Ezra 5:5), Darius wrote a decree to Tattenai to stop opposing their efforts, but rather to support the work in significant ways (Ezra 6:1-12).

 

The remnant knew that this was a miraculous answer to prayer (22), which protected their lives and provided the remnant with everything they needed to finish the temple. Upon doing so, they “celebrated the dedication of this house of God” (16-18). This chapter of Israel’s history closes with the exiles celebrating Passover to the glory of God (19-22).

 

Seize the moment and pray for all who are in authority! You never know how God will answer your prayers. This is our greatest civic responsibility.

 

God bless you!

 

If you would like to receive a personal phone call today, all you have to do is dial the phone number below right now and one of us will call you soon.

 

YOUTUBE:

If you prefer a video, Pastor Jerry reads his devotion on YouTube as well. Click HERE to visit the page.

Videos are posted about a week after the devotion appears in the blog.
 
 

Read more...

Seize the Moment – Day 984

Today’s hymn focus will be

Come Thou Long Expected Jesus

 Haggai 2:7 (KJV)

 

“And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the Lord of hosts.”

 

In 1744, Charles Wesley was pondering Haggai 2:7 while riding aboard a train coach.  As he was looking at the class divide in Great Britain and what was happening with the orphans in the areas around him, he first wrote “Come Thou Long Expected Jesus” as a Nativity prayer.

 

In 1855, Charles Spurgeon made a Christmas sermon noting that Jesus was born a King, not a prince, and was sent to rule our hearts and lives. This song appeared in both the Methodist and the Baptist hymn books ever since.

 

But it is important to realize that Wesley was also looking further towards the Second Coming of Christ, echoing the words that illustrate the believer’s hope and longing for His return. This is why we sing this song today.

 

Born thy people to deliver, born a child and yet a King,
born to reign in us forever, now thy gracious kingdom bring.

 

As we begin this Advent season, may our hearts be awakened to not only celebrate Jesus’ coming to the manger, but also to look forward with great anticipation to His return to take us home.
 

If you would like to receive a personal phone call today, all you have to do is dial the phone number below right now and one of us will call you soon.

 

YOUTUBE:

If you prefer a video, Pastor Ken reads his devotion on YouTube as well. Click HERE to visit the page.

Videos are posted about a week after the devotion appears in the blog.

 
 

If you would like to listen to this song, click on this link:

 

Come Thou Long Expected Jesus

1.
Come, thou long expected Jesus,
born to set thy people free;
from our fears and sins release us,
let us find our rest in thee.
Israel’s strength and consolation,
hope of all the earth thou art;
dear desire of every nation,
joy of every longing heart.
 
2.
Born thy people to deliver,
born a child and yet a King,
born to reign in us forever,
now thy gracious kingdom bring.
By thine own eternal spirit
rule in all our hearts alone;
by thine all sufficient merit,
raise us to thy glorious throne.
 

Read more...

Seize the Moment – Day 976

Stay in your Lane!

2 Chronicles 35

 

Good morning! This is Pastor Jerry Ingalls from New Castle First Baptist Church and today is Friday, November 18.

 

Josiah was a faithful king who brought Judah back to right worship with God. But even he made bad decisions that came with terrible consequences. We need to learn that just because we have a right relationship with God doesn’t mean we are automatically correct in all that we think, say, and do.

 

If you were to look at a map, it quickly becomes obvious why Josiah did what he did – the Egyptian army was marching through his land on their way to a battle up north. Josiah was protecting the borders, but, ultimately, the Chronicler, in 2 Chronicles 35:20-21, makes it clear that God didn’t want him to fight this battle:

 

After all this, when Josiah had set the temple in order, Neco king of Egypt came up to make war at Carchemish on the Euphrates, and Josiah went out to engage him. But Neco sent messengers to him, saying, “What have we to do with each other, O King of Judah? I am not coming against you today but against the house with which I am at war, and God has ordered me to hurry. Stop for your own sake from interfering with God who is with me, so that He will not destroy you.”

 

Josiah ignored Neco’s words and marched his army to Megiddo, as described in verse 22, “However, Josiah would not turn away from him, but disguised himself in order to make war with him; nor did he listen to the words of Neco from the mouth of God, but came to make war on the plain of Megiddo.” [emphasis added] It was in this unnecessary battle that he was killed.

 

Do you decide to get involved in situations that aren’t yours to meddle in? Proverbs 26:17 warns, “Like one who takes a dog by the ears is he who passes by and meddles with strife not belonging to him.” Instead of getting yourself or others hurt by meddling in things that you shouldn’t, here is some godly counsel for you – stop meddling and start praying!

 

Seize the moment and stay in your lane – “lead a quiet life and attend to your own business” (1 Thessalonians 4:11)!

 

God bless you!

 

If you would like to receive a personal phone call today, all you have to do is dial the phone number below right now and one of us will call you soon.

 

YOUTUBE:

If you prefer a video, Pastor Jerry reads his devotion on YouTube as well. Click HERE to visit the page.

Videos are posted about a week after the devotion appears in the blog.

 


Read more...

Seize the Moment – Day 975

No Half Measures – Be All In!

2 Chronicles 34

 

Good morning! This is Pastor Jerry Ingalls from New Castle First Baptist Church and today is Thursday, November 17.

 

Will you be successful at work if you only do part of your job description? Will you thrive in your marriage if you only keep your vows part of the time? Will your team win the championship if you and your teammates aren’t fully committed to practicing together to learn how to work as a team?  We all know that’s not the way it works.

 

We learn from Josiah, the last good king of Judah, that there can be no half measures when it comes to your worship of God – you must be all in to be faithful! Josiah demonstrated that he and his kingdom were fully committed to the pure worship of God by his removal of all idolatry from the land, as summarized in 2 Chronicles 34:2, “He did right in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the ways of his father David and did not turn aside to the right or to the left.” Josiah’s kingship demonstrated being in the yoke of covenant faithfulness to God – he was all in! He took no half measures when it came to his obedience to God (1 Samuel 15:22).

 

Are you all in with Jesus? He said in John 14:15, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” Obedience to Jesus isn’t burdensome (1 John 5:3); in fact, it’s the life of taking on His easy yoke and finding true rest with God through submission to His ways of living your life (Matthew 11:28-30). Being all in protects you from the consequences for lukewarm living (Revelation 3:16).

 

Seize the moment and be all in with your worship of God! There can be no half measures; therefore, don’t allow yourself to be pulled between the yoke of the world and the yoke of Jesus – you are either in His easy yoke of freedom or you are in the heavy yoke of sin (Galatians 5:1).

 

God bless you!

 

If you would like to receive a personal phone call today, all you have to do is dial the phone number below right now and one of us will call you soon.

 

YOUTUBE:

If you prefer a video, Pastor Jerry reads his devotion on YouTube as well. Click HERE to visit the page.

Videos are posted about a week after the devotion appears in the blog.

 


Read more...

Seize the Moment – Day 974

Hope for Dirty Rotten Scoundrels!

2 Chronicles 33

 

Good morning! This is Pastor Jerry Ingalls from New Castle First Baptist Church and today is Wednesday, November 16.

 

Are you a dirty rotten scoundrel? If so, I have good news for you… Hard to believe, but what I have to offer you is even better than what the first two hundred customers were gifted at Culver’s on Monday. You may be asking, what’s better than a free meal every week for a year? I’m glad you asked…

 

King Manasseh was a dirty rotten scoundrel (2 Chronicles 33:1-11; cf. 2 Kings 21:1-18). He was the worst of the kings of Judah. This guy gives Paul a run for his money for the title of “worst of sinners” (ref. 1 Timothy 1:15). Though it was not recorded in the 2 Kings account of his story, the Chronicler emphasized Mannasseh’s conversion later in life, in 2 Chronicles 33:12-13:

 

When he was in distress, he entreated the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers. When he prayed to Him, He was moved by his entreaty and heard his supplication, and brought him again to Jerusalem to his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord was God.

 

The Chronicler emphasized his conversion to illustrate to the remnant of Judah, after they returned to Jerusalem from their exile in Babylon, that God would keep His promise of 2 Chronicles 7:14, “and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land”

 

Just like they were with Manasseh, God’s promises are true for you and for me – this is good news for sinners, including a dirty rotten scoundrel like you and a wretch like me. This is amazing grace!

 

Seize the moment and receive the grace of God for the forgiveness of your sins through faith in Jesus Christ – “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13).

 

God bless you!

 

If you would like to receive a personal phone call today, all you have to do is dial the phone number below right now and one of us will call you soon.

 

YOUTUBE:

If you prefer a video, Pastor Jerry reads his devotion on YouTube as well. Click HERE to visit the page.

Videos are posted about a week after the devotion appears in the blog.

 


Read more...

Seize the Moment – Day 973

The Greatest Test of your Life!

2 Chronicles 32

 

Good morning! This is Pastor Jerry Ingalls from New Castle First Baptist Church and today is Tuesday, November 15.

 

Hezekiah continued to shine in his kingship, but as he neared the end, he faced the greatest test of his life, just as each of us must. As Paul taught in 1 Corinthians 15:26, “The last enemy that will be abolished is death.”

 

Not surprisingly, in response to the Assyrian’s invasion of Judah, Hezekiah organized the people of Jerusalem and encouraged them in 2 Chronicles 32:7-8:

 

“Be strong and courageous, do not fear or be dismayed because of the king of Assyria nor because of all the horde that is with him; for the one with us is greater than the one with him. With him is only an arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles.” And the people relied on the words of Hezekiah king of Judah.

 

The king put his wholehearted trust in God, and his people followed him to victory (9-22). In his words of encouragement, Hezekiah quoted from Joshua 1:9, “be strong and courageous, do not fear or be dismayed,” and he alluded to the presence of the heavenly host, just as Elisha had done in 2 Kings 6:16. His words were salted with his faith in God.

 

While Hezekiah demonstrated great humility to pass the test of this great national calamity (31), he struggled with pride when it came to his own mortality (24-26). Therefore, God confronted Hezekiah’s pride, and the king passed the test – he repented of his sin. Never forget, that God loves you and will use all things to purify your heart so that when you stand before Him face-to-face, He will see His image (1 Corinthians 13:12; 1 John 3:2).

 

Seize the moment and put your wholehearted trust in God – “And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure” (1 John 3:3).

 

God bless you!

 

If you would like to receive a personal phone call today, all you have to do is dial the phone number below right now and one of us will call you soon.

 

YOUTUBE:

If you prefer a video, Pastor Jerry reads his devotion on YouTube as well. Click HERE to visit the page.

Videos are posted about a week after the devotion appears in the blog.
 

Read more...

Seize the Moment – Day 970

Today’s hymn focus will be

Is He Worthy

 

Psalm 145:3 (NLT)                        

 

“Great is the Lord! He is most worthy of praise! No one can measure his greatness.”

 

Written and recorded in the spring of 2018 by Andrew Peterson and Ben Shive and later recorded by Chris Tomlin on his album “Holy Roar”, this song came out of a season in their lives after attending a liturgical church. The word ‘liturgy’ literally means “the work of people”, implying a community service, not just listening to the pastor, but calling the people to edify one another by reaffirming what we believe.

 

Chris Tomlin said “When I heard this song it floored me, immediately tears just started coming over my face. I have not heard a song like that that makes me want to get on my face and worship Jesus.”

 

Is He worthy? Is He worthy?

Of all blessing and honor and glory

Is He worthy of this?  He is

 

We need to wake up and realize that we are all broken and there is only One who is whole and can make us whole again, and His name is Jesus!
 
 
 

If you would like to receive a personal phone call today, all you have to do is dial the phone number below right now and one of us will call you soon.

 

YOUTUBE:

If you prefer a video, Pastor Ken reads his devotion on YouTube as well. Click HERE to visit the page.

Videos are posted about a week after the devotion appears in the blog.

 

If you would like to listen to this song, click on this link:

 
 

Is He Worthy

 
Do you feel the world is broken? (We do)Do you feel the shadows deepen? (We do)But do you know that all the dark won’t stopThe light from getting through? (We do)Do you wish that you could see it, all made new? (We do)
 
Is all creation groaning? (It is)Is a new creation coming? (It is)Is the glory of the Lord to beThe light within our midst? (It is)Is it good that we remind ourselves of this? (It is)
 
Is anyone worthy? Is anyone whole?Is anyone able to break, the seal and open the scroll?The Lion of Judah, who conquered the graveHe is David’s root and the LambWho died to ransom the slave
Is He worthy? Is He worthy?Of all blessing and honor and glory?Is He worthy of this? (He is)
 
Does the Father truly love us? (He does)Does the Spirit move among us? (He does)And does Jesus our MessiahHold forever those He loves? (He does)Does our God intend to dwell again with us? (He does)
 
Is anyone worthy? Is anyone whole?Is anyone able to break, the seal and open the scroll?The Lion of Judah, who conquered the graveHe is David’s root and the LambWho died to ransom the slave
From ev’ry people and tribe, ev’ry nation and tongueHe has made us a kingdom and priests to GodTo reign with the Son
Is He worthy? Is He worthy?Of all blessing and honor and glory?Is He worthy? Is He worthy?Is He worthy of this?He is, He is
 
Is He worthy, is He worthy?He is, He isHe is worthy, He is worthy, He is
 
 
Source: Musixmatch
Songwriters: Andrew Peterson / Ben Shive
Is He Worthy? lyrics © Junkbox Music, Capitol Cmg Genesis, Vamos Publishing
 

Read more...

Seize the Moment – Day 969

Focus on the Heart of the Matter!

2 Chronicles 30

 

Good morning! This is Pastor Jerry Ingalls from New Castle First Baptist Church and today is Friday, November 11. Happy Veteran’s Day!

 

Have you ever lost sight of the heart of the matter because you got caught up in the details? It is easy to get so focused on doing something that you forget why it is you started doing it in the first place.

 

Upon reopening the temple in Jerusalem and consecrating the priests and Levites, King Hezekiah called for a celebration of the Passover. He sent messengers throughout the lands of Israel and Judah, to bring together the remnant of God’s people. He called everyone home for a family reunion at Yahweh’s house. God favored Hezekiah’s efforts because of the purity of his heart to unify His people in right worship. Therefore, as we see in 2 Chronicles 30:18-20, God was willing to forgive and heal His people:

 

For a multitude of the people, even many from Ephraim and Manasseh, Issachar and Zebulun, had not purified themselves, yet they ate the Passover otherwise than prescribed. For Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, “May the good Lord pardon everyone who prepares his heart to seek God, the Lord God of his fathers, though not according to the purification rules of the sanctuary.” So the Lord heard Hezekiah and healed the people.

 

This is a powerful example of spiritual leadership. The Assyrian Empire had ravaged Israel and had made Judah its vassal state. After 250 years of civil war, with hatred and animosity between the northern tribes of Israel and the southern tribes of Judah, Hezekiah could have easily justified punishing disobedience to the letter of the law. But he remained focused on the heart of the matter – the healing of God’s people and their unity of worship at the temple (21-27). God was their only hope!

 

Seize the moment and keep a right perspective as you walk through difficult circumstances and uncertain times – Don’t lose focus on the heart of the matter!

 

God bless you!

 

If you would like to receive a personal phone call today, all you have to do is dial the phone number below right now and one of us will call you soon.

 

YOUTUBE:

If you prefer a video, Pastor Jerry reads his devotion on YouTube as well. Click HERE to visit the page.

Videos are posted about a week after the devotion appears in the blog.

Read more...

Seize the Moment – Day 967

The Dangers of an Unrestrained Life!

2 Chronicles 28

 

Good morning! This is Pastor Jerry Ingalls from New Castle First Baptist Church and today is Wednesday, November 9.

 

What are the restraints you to choose to put upon yourself and your family to experience God’s best for your lives?

 

In 2 Chronicles 28:19, the Chronicler captures a nuance that is a necessary component of faithful living, “For the Lord humbled Judah because of Ahaz king of Israel, for he had brought about a lack of restraint in Judah and was very unfaithful to the Lord.” According to a commentator, Ahaz’s “lack of restraint” meant more “to favour licence [sic] rather than true liberty.”[1] It implies negligence and has connotations of unbridling something, like a horse or your tongue – to set it free, to let it go out of control.

 

As we learned in yesterday’s devotion, Jotham, the father of Ahaz, had a successful kingship because he “ordered his ways before the Lord his God” (2 Chronicles 27:6). Ahaz rejected his father’s faithful life. He closed the temple for right worship and set up altars throughout Jerusalem and high places throughout Judah for the people to worship wherever they wanted (2 Chronicles 28:24-25). Ahaz’s rebellion led Judah into apostasy, which led to God’s justice (16-22).

 

Don’t let your life get out of control! Jesus’ followers are called to demonstrate restraint, known as self-control, the fruit of the Spirit, which is God’s work in us so we can live in true freedom from sin (Galatians 5:16-25). Self-control is an important ingredient to your health and prosperity; it is necessary for success. We set bedtimes, put boundaries around certain relationships, have work hours and job descriptions, limit our online usage and media consumption, budget our money, and set diets for our eating and drinking. Without restraints, we live in grave danger to lawlessness and licentiousness!

 

Seize the moment and take on the restraint of the easy yoke of Jesus for “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” – your true freedom is to live in submission to Christ (Matthew 11:28-30; Galatians 5:1).

God bless you!

 

If you would like to receive a personal phone call today, all you have to do is dial the phone number below right now and one of us will call you soon.

 

YOUTUBE:

If you prefer a video, Pastor Jerry reads his devotion on YouTube as well. Click HERE to visit the page.

Videos are posted about a week after the devotion appears in the blog.

 
 

FOOTNOTE:

 

[1] Martin J. Selman, 2 Chronicles: An Introduction and Commentary, vol. 11, Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1994), 502.


Read more...
^