The blog contains daily devotions and notes from the weekly messages.  We encourage you to review the notes during the sermon or through the week!  Most of the posts will have an audio and/or video link at the end of the notes.  From time to time the pastors will share other insights and devotions here.

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Seize the Moment – Day 1050

Walk in the Light!

Job 18

 

Good morning! This is Pastor Jerry Ingalls from New Castle First Baptist Church and today is Tuesday, January 31.

 

Have you ever stubbed or broken your toe because you were walking in the dark? I have, and sadly, I have done so in my own home. Regardless of the circumstances, it is hard to find your way where there is no light. This is not only true in the physical world, but also in the spiritual realm of life.

 

Bildad explains of the wicked in Job 18:5-6, “Indeed, the light of the wicked goes out, and the flame of his fire gives no light. The light in his tent is darkened, and his lamp goes out above him.” As you continue to read Job 18, Bildad amplifies the effect of the darkness on the wicked – their steps are shortened (7), they are thrown in a net, (8) seized in a snare (9), snagged in a trap (10), they become scared (11), weakened (12), and weary (13). He summarized the state of those who are outside of the light in verse 18, “this is the place of him who does not know God.”

 

This distinctive imagery (motif) of darkness and light is found throughout the Bible. Solomon used it to capture the same contrast between the righteous and the wicked in Proverbs 13:9, “The light of the righteous rejoices, but the lamp of the wicked goes out.” Understandably, Jesus described Himself in John 8:12, using this same motif, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” Furthermore, Jesus invites us accordingly in John 12:36a, “While you have the Light, believe in the Light, so that you may become sons of Light.”

 

Seize the moment and walk in the Light that cannot be extinguished and whose source will never fail to lead you in the way of life – “In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” (John 1:4-5; cf. 1 John 1:5-10).

 

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.

 


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Seize the Moment – Day 1049

Living with a Guarantee!

Job 17

 

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

 

Have you ever been in a situation where you felt like you weren’t going to make it out alive? It’s a scary place to be! Job was there, in a perfect storm of chronic pain, profound grief, and social rejection. He petitioned God in Job 17:1-3:

 

My spirit is broken, my days are extinguished, the grave is ready for me. Surely mockers are with me, and my eye gazes on their provocation. Lay down, now, a pledge for me with Yourself; who is there that will be my guarantor?

 

Job made a legal request of God – to put down a pledge, to publicly stand with him, as proof of his innocence. With no one else to turn to, Job petitioned God to secure a favorable outcome with a guarantee. If God would not respond to his hopeful request, he would be left alone in his presumed guilt awaiting Sheol (Job 17:15-16).

 

The same is true for us – we, too, need an advocate! God responded to our need, as promised by Paul in 2 Corinthians 5:4-5:

 

For indeed while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed but to be clothed, so that what is mortal will be swallowed up by life. Now He who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave to us the Spirit as a pledge.

 

In Live Like a Champion Today, I explained, “The Holy Spirit is the ‘pledge of our inheritance,’ meaning that the Holy Spirit guarantees delivery to the intended destination of Heaven (Ephesians 4:30).”[1] This promise brings us comfort and hope as we experience suffering and face death – to persevere with courage (2 Corinthians 5:6-8).

 

Seize the moment and live with the hopeful confidence that God has guaranteed your eternal life by giving you the pledge of the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 1:20-22; Ephesians 1:13-14).

 

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.

 

 

FOOTNOTES:

 

[1] Jerry D. Ingalls, Live Like a Champion Today: The 40 Promises in 40 Days Challenge! (New Castle, IN: AGF Publishing LLC, 2022), 43.


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Train to Live on Mission – Week 41

Battle Drill #41:

Manage your Household Well!

Proverbs 31:25-31 (NAS95)

 

Today, we are going to walk through the four action steps of a soldier’s training routine to learn Battle Drill #41 – “Manage your Household Well!” Interestingly, this is one of the requirements of church leadership. As Paul taught his protégé in 1 Timothy 3:5, “but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?” Before you complain that this is coming from a West Pointer and former military officer, I forthrightly acknowledge that I am bent this way in my personality type and professional training. I assure you though that this is a biblical exhortation and an important battle drill as you will see from today’s teaching of Proverbs 31.

 

Allow me to explain by using another example from my days as a paratrooper. Last week, Pastor Ken closed out the service talking about how those who jump out of airplanes trust the people who pack their parachutes. What he probably doesn’t know is that the soldiers who pack our parachutes are called Riggers. They are a special group of paratroopers, but do you know why we trust them with our chutes? Is it because they have a title, wear cool red hats, or have special training? Partly, but titles, education, cool clothes, and training are not enough to trust someone with your life! There is only one reason we paratroopers trust them; it’s because their Commander requires them to regularly jump their own parachutes, randomly selected from all the parachutes they have personally packed. They have an awesome responsibility, for which the Army has given them authority and recognition, but then holds them accountable to ensure they are willing to put their own lives on the line, just as we are asked to do. Their willingness to submit to their Commander builds trust with the rest of the paratrooper family!

 

The same thing is true in the church! James 3:1 emphasizes, “Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment.” While you may appreciate my specialized training, high levels of education, two decades of pastoral experience, and various titles and recognitions, what truly matters is that I submit myself to God, the Commander, for what I teach from the pulpit, how I conduct my ministry, and live my life. I must jump my own chute every day – my Commander requires it of me! Am I teaching the Field Manual accurately? Am I walking the talk and living up to the Field Manual myself? I will incur a stricter judgment. That should never be forgotten nor taken lightly by me or you – that’s part of me counting the cost in answering the call! Have you counted the cost of your calling?

 

Christian leaders must live lives that are worth following! Over thirty years ago, when I was learning about leadership as a plebe at West Point, I was taught this simple rule of leadership – “Look over your shoulder, if no one is following you, then you are not a leader!” After three decades of holding various leadership positions in numerous organizations I have found this to be true, but especially in the church. If your Christianity is not worth following, then no one is going to be convinced to follow the Jesus you preach. This is nowhere more visible than in our households, at home and in the church, so let’s learn how to manage our households well.

 

Action Step #1) Know the Field Manual.

The battle drill we are going to learn and apply this week is from Proverbs 31:25-31:

 

Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she smiles at the future. She opens her mouth in wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and bless her; her husband also, and he praises her, saying: “Many daughters have done nobly, but you excel them all.” Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her the product of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.

 

We know what the Field Manual says, let’s now take the second action step to learn how to apply today’s battle drill to our everyday lives as good soldiers of Jesus Christ.

 

Action Step #2) Train together as one unit.

The Proverbs 31 woman is the embodiment of the wisdom of the book of Proverbs.
 
It is the call for a person to manage their life according to the wisdom of God, just as a Jewish wife and mother was called to manage her household well. Proverbs 31 should not be read as a pressure cooker! I know there are plenty of women (and men) who are ready to blow a gasket because of the pressure our society puts upon you (us), so please do not read this Scripture as more pressure to perform or to be more than any one person can be. This passage is a literary device; it is the convincing conclusion of why we should live a life of godly wisdom, which begins in the fear of the Lord, as taught throughout the book of Proverbs. This is the life God rewards – a life submitted to Him! The following are ten ways that being a Proverbs 31 person, according to the Scriptures, brings blessings to your life:

 

  1. You will be a person of character (25a).
  2. You will face the future with hopeful confidence (25b).
  3. Your will not only live wisely, but your words will be wise (26a).
  4. You will be a kind person (26b).
  5. You will manage your household well (27a).
  6. You will bring value and meaning to the work you do (27b).
  7. You will be a blessing to your children (28a).
  8. You will be faithful and praiseworthy to your spouse (28b-29).
  9. You will bear the good fruit of God that comes from fearing the Lord (30).
  10. You will leave a godly legacy (31).

 

As verse 31 concludes of the book of Proverbs, “Give her the product of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.” You will reap what you sow! Your life will reflect that which you were devoted and the works of your life’s devotion that survive you will proclaim that truth.

 

Proverbs 31 is emphasizing the role of a wife and mother to her family, and the blessing that her well-managed household is on the entire community. She represents a life in submission to God. This passage demonstrates how we are to answer God’s call on our lives as a Proverbs 31 people. The Proverbs 31 woman is an embodied picture (a metaphor) of a faithful life. Some of my favorite biblical imagery about our relationship with God, and how we are to live, is found in this kind of familial language – we are the children of God! This family-oriented imagery cultivates a deep security of identity and a profound motivation for managing our lives according to His wisdom, as the beloved of Jesus communicated in 1 John 3:1-3:

 

See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.

 

There is a deep intimacy to be had with God when we understand Him through terms of such endearment, which is why Proverbs 31 leverages the image of a Jewish wife and mother, the one who manages her beloved household. A similar usage of embodied wisdom is Proverbs 6:20-23:

 

My son, observe the commandment of your father and do not forsake the teaching of your mother; bind them continually on your heart; tie them around your neck. When you walk about, they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you; and when you awake, they will talk to you. For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching is light; and reproofs for discipline are the way of life.

 

Clearly, the foundational unit of God’s household is the home. This is the tried-and-true way of God’s people, generation to generation, generation after generation, as instructed through the Shema in Deuteronomy 6:4-9:

 

Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

 

This is God’s intent for each of our households. Our households are a training ground for the mission of God by learning from Proverbs 31 parents how to become Proverbs 31 people. Let’s now turn to the third action step.

 

Action Step #3) Seek the Commander’s approval.

Our faithfulness to God will be tested and proven in the hardest of life’s circumstances, in the most challenging of human emotions, in the greatest allure of spiritual idolatry, and in the seductions of this world to disobey God as our heavenly parent.
 
We are called to manage the household of God well, and that begins in our own lives, in our own relationships and marriages, and with our own parents and children.

 

How does a baby bond with its mother? How do children learn to trust their parents? Why is it parents or grandparents expect to have influence over their children and grandchildren? It’s all about building trust by first responding to their cries, then providing for their needs, then discerning their wants. The proper management of your household is about relationships because the Kingdom of God is a relational kingdom! We see the priority of relationships in the New Testament’s household codes for God’s family. There is clear teaching on marriage in Ephesians 5:22-33 and Colossians 3:18-19. These passages are immediately followed by clear instruction on parenting, emphasizing the parent-child relationship in Ephesians 6:1-4:

 

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth. Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. (cf. Colossians 3:20-21)

 

Parents, before you apply this to your children, you must first ask yourself if you are a Proverbs 31 person – are you submitted to the Commander in your mission? You must apply the household codes to your relationship with God as your Father, where you are the child, and He is the Father. His will for your life is that you mature in the discipline and the instruction of His Word for His glory! Therefore, you must learn to observe all His commandments, just as you expect your kids to know your expectations and obey. The people of God, as the children of God, shall not forsake the Word of their heavenly Father, but memorize it, meditate upon it, and apply it to their everyday lives. As we’ve seen, this is learned in the household of God – at home and in the church! Are you reaping at home what you are sowing with your heavenly Father? The same question can be asked of us as a church family.

 

This is the power of the Bible’s familial imagery – it is an embodied metaphor that helps us experience the security of our identity as God’s children and the motivation of living as loyal participants of God’s covenantal love. As one author explained of the household codes:

 

Relationships within the household thus become a concrete expression of what it means to live under the lordship of Christ. … It gives mundane household relationships an entirely new focus and motivation; the way Christians behave toward others is an outworking of Christ’s lordship over the community (Col 3:17).[1]

 

The Christian household is where mission begins – to manage one’s household well is to live on mission because you are training up your children to walk in a manner worthy of the gospel of Jesus Christ! A child’s god-ordained chance at life and blessing is to live according to the training their parents give them. Are you managing your household according to God’s priorities? Just like a child honors his or her parents by obeying them, we are to seek our Commander’s approval by managing our lives, and the church, according to His Word so that we may live on mission for God. That leads us into our final action step.

 

Action Step #4) Live on mission.
God commands His children to be faithful to Him because He is our heavenly Father.
 
Jesus teaches us in the Lord’s prayer to address God as our Father. This prayer, found in Matthew 6:9-13, is our marching orders to live on mission:

 

Pray, then, in this way: “Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”

 

Why this familial language in the book of Proverbs and throughout the Bible? Because children represent their parents – you are image bearers of God (Genesis 1:27)! We are commanded to train ourselves to live on mission for God and the only way to do that is to put ourselves willingly and wholeheartedly under the instruction and discipline of the Lord, just as children are commanded to put themselves under the authority of their parents. There is a rightful authority that flows from Heaven to Earth, through parents to children. With this authority comes the responsibility to do so as a men and women under submission, who are willing to be held accountable to how they managed their households.

 

We are to be the mature adults who can do this, which is why the embodiment of wisdom, as given to us in Proverbs 31, is of a Jewish wife and mother who manages her household well. The church is the household of God on earth and our mission is to invite all who will listen and accept all who receive, but we don’t stop there because we are then to help the family mature in Christ so that we can live on mission together. This process of raising up new Christians into spiritual maturity follows the example of the family, which requires the same anguishing hard work and commitment to the family. This is the calling of every member of the body of Christ. We all, at one time, were little children in the faith, but we must grow up and pass on what we were given to others who will grow up and pass it on (2 Timothy 2:2). This is the mission!

 

When we live according to this battle drill, then we, like the Proverbs 31 woman, will leave a faith legacy of praise to the One who called us to Himself. As Revelation 14:13 declares over the life that is lived on mission for God, “‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on!’ ‘Yes,’ says the Spirit, ‘so that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow with them,’”

 

What good works will follow you? Remember what I learned as a young leader – if you want to know if you are a leader, look over your shoulder and see who is following you. Who is following you? Manage your household well! Make this battle drill a reflexive, instinctive, and habitual part of your Christian life so that you can CM – Continue the Mission! Therefore, live on mission today and train the battle drill of the week for the glory of God. Let us pray.
 

You can listen to this message by clicking below:

 

You can watch this message by clicking HERE.

 

 
 

FOOTNOTE:

 
[1] Dean Flemming, Contextualization in the New Testament: Patterns for Theology and Mission (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2005), 147-148.
 
 

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Seize the Moment – Day 1047

Today’s worship song focus will be

King of My Heart

 

Romans 8:28 (NASB95)              

 

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those

who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”        

 

Written in 2015 by John and Sarah McMillan, this modern-day hymn is a declaration, giving praise to the goodness of God and that He is our refuge and salvation. With all that is going on in our world, it is easy to lose our focus. This song brings us back to the facts that God is with us and greater than all the evil that may be around us. He is good, faithful, and will never let us down.

 

        Let the King of my heart be the mountain where I run

The fountain I drink from, Oh, He is my song…

 

We need to wake up to that fact that God is good, all the time and all the time, God is good…even when we may not be feeling it. Like Katie told us last week, we need to get on our faces before God and declare to ourselves and believe that He is trustworthy and good!

 

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:
 

King of My Heart

 
Let the King of my heart
Be the mountain where I run
The fountain I drink from
Oh, He is my song
Let the King of my heart
Be the shadow where I hide
The ransom for my life
Oh, He is my song
 
‘Cause You are good
You are good, oh oh
You are good
You are good, oh oh
You are good
You are good, oh oh
You are good
You are good, oh oh
 
And let the King of my heart
Be the wind inside my sails
The anchor in the waves
Oh oh, He is my song
Let the King of my heart
Be the fire inside my veins
The echo of my days
Oh oh, He is my song
 
Let the King of my heart
Be the wind inside my sails
The anchor in the waves
Oh oh, He is my song
Let the King of my heart
Be the fire inside my veins
The echo of my days
Oh, He is my song
 
‘Cause You are good
You are good, oh oh
You are good
You are good, oh oh
You are good
You are good, oh oh
You are good
You are good, oh oh
 
You’re never gonna let
You’re never gonna let me down
And You’re never gonna let
You’re never gonna let me down
You’re never gonna let
You’re never gonna let me down
You’re never gonna let
You’re never gonna let me down
 
You’re never gonna let
You’re never gonna let
You’re never gonna let me down
You’re never gonna let
You’re never gonna let me down
You’re never gonna let
You’re never gonna let me down
 
Oh ’cause You are good
You are good, oh oh
‘Cause You are good
You are good, oh oh
‘Cause You are good
You are good, oh oh
You are good
You are good, oh oh
 
You’re never gonna let
You’re never gonna let me down
You’re never gonna let
You’re never gonna let me down
You’re never gonna let
You’re never gonna let me down
You’re never gonna let
You’re never gonna let me down
 
‘Cause You are good
You are good, oh oh
You are good
You are good, oh oh
 
 

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Seize the Moment – Day 1046

The Spirit is My Witness and My Advocate!

Job 16

 

Good morning! This is Pastor Jerry Ingalls from New Castle First Baptist Church and today is Friday, January 27.

 

Job responded directly to Eliphaz’s last speech with a rebuke, “Sorry comforters are you all” (Job 16:2b). Clearly, Eliphaz’s desire to bring words of consolation to his friend had fallen short. Rather than Job being comforted by his friends’ words, he felt accused and judged by them. Have you ever felt that way?

 

After rebuking his friends, Job returned his attention to God. He knew that his only hope for vindication (or comfort) would come from God, as he explained in Job 16:19-20, “Even now, behold, my witness is in heaven, and my advocate is on high. My friends are my scoffers; my eye weeps to God.” [emphasis added]

 

Did you know that Job was using legal terms? A witness testifies to what they know or have seen. An advocate acts as a representative on behalf of a person or cause. Jesus used these same legal concepts when He taught the disciples about the Holy Spirit in John 15:26-27:

 

When the Helper [Advocate] comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify [bear witness] about Me, and you will testify [bear witness] also, because you have been with Me from the beginning. [emphasis added]

 

Job cried out to God to be his witness and his advocate because his friends had tried him and found him guilty of being a sinner in the hands of an angry God. Whereas, Jesus, our “Advocate with the Father” (1 John 2:1), testifies to us through the Spirit that we are already “saved through Him” (John 3:17).

 

Seize the moment and “pray at all times in the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:18) – invite the Witness and Advocate to testify that you do belong to God and “that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed” (Romans 8:16-18).
 

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.

 

 


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Seize the Moment – Day 1045

The Promise of Comfort!

Job 15

 

Good morning! This is Pastor Jerry Ingalls from New Castle First Baptist Church and today is Thursday, January 26.

 

Have you ever experienced the consolations of God? The Lord desires to comfort His people like a mother who cares for her children (Psalm 131:2). In Isaiah 66:13, the prophet Isaiah gave a consoling word from God to Israel during their despair, “As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you; and you will be comforted in Jerusalem” (cf. Isaiah 40:1-3). In your times of disappointment and suffering, God promises to console you with His presence.

 

Job 15 begins the second cycle of the dialogue between Job and his three friends. In Job 15:11, Eliphaz asked a piercing question of Job, “Are the consolations of God too small for you, even the word spoken gently with you?” Eliphaz sincerely believed that God had sent him with a word of consolation for his friend Job during his time of suffering. His goal in coming to sit with his friend and talk with him was to bring comfort to his friend. As I wrote in my book on the promises of God, Live Like a Champion Today:

 

To comfort means to alleviate sorrow, to relieve distress, to give emotional strength. To comfort someone is an activity of love from one person to another. God incarnates this promise to us, and then between us, from one person to another.[1]

 

In 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, Paul commands us to comfort one another according to the consolations of God:

 

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

 

Seize the moment and comfort someone who is suffering today – bring hope to despair, shine light into darkness, and resurrect victory from defeat!

 

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.

 

FOOTNOTES:

 

[1] Jerry D. Ingalls, Live Like a Champion Today: The 40 Promises in 40 Days Challenge! (New Castle, IN: AGF Publishing, 2022), 90.

 


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Seize the Moment – Day 1044

Live Fully within God’s Boundaries!

Job 14

 

Good morning! This is Pastor Jerry Ingalls from New Castle First Baptist Church and today is Wednesday, January 25.

 

There are times when it feels like people are spending more of their time trying to preserve their lives than live their lives. What if I could guarantee you a way to live your life more fully and abundantly?

 

Job is lamenting his life and crying out to God as he suffers from his agonizing disease. In Job 14:5, Job reflects on the truth of God’s sovereignty over the lives of every person, “Since his days are determined, the number of his months is with You; and his limits You have set so that he cannot pass.”

 

This is an amazing truth and can be interpreted in two ways. First, no person will exceed the human life span that has been established for all of us as a divine boundary, as taught in Genesis 6:3b, “nevertheless his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.” Second, the length of days of each person’s life has already been determined, as taught by Psalm 139:16, “Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.”

 

Boundaries are the gift of limits, designed by a benevolent God who loves you and has promised you the abundant life in Jesus Christ (John 10:10). You see, God knows that life is short and filled with grief. But God! God is not indifferent to your tribulations (John 16:33); in fact, He entered our suffering, as taught in 1 Peter 2:24, “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.” He has overcome and has called us overcomers (Romans 8:37-39)!

 

Seize the moment and live fully within God’s boundaries! Trust Jesus for your healing and get busy living the abundant life within the gift of limits He has invited you to thrive!

 

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.

 

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Seize the Moment – Day 1043

Nothing to Lose!

Job 13

 

Good morning! This is Pastor Jerry Ingalls from New Castle First Baptist Church and today is Tuesday, January 24.

 

Have you ever felt like you had nothing to lose? When you get to this point in life, you are willing to take risks that you normally wouldn’t take – it can either be a point of desperation or a time of great hope! Either way it can look like a Hail Mary pass in the final seconds of the big game – it may feel desperate, but as long as the pig skin is spiraling through the air, there is still hope!

 

Job makes a powerful statement of faith in Job 13:15a, “Though He slay me, I will hope in Him.” This is one of the great faith statements of Job because it demonstrates how he is more concerned with proving God’s justice than with the preservation of his own life. In preparing for his own acquittal, he predetermined that whatever God decided to do was right. He had nothing to lose by waiting upon God. He was not throwing his life away with a Hail Mary pass, He was entrusting it into God’s hands!

 

Daniel 3:16-18 is another powerful example of trusting God’s justice. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego told the king of Babylon that they trusted God in life and death when he confronted them with being thrown in the fiery furnace for not bowing to his idol:

 

O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to give you an answer concerning this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.

 

Seize the moment and trust your life into God’s hands – you have nothing to lose and everything to gain! Touch down!

 

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.
 
 

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Seize the Moment – Day 1042

The Hand of Yahweh!

Job 12

 

Good morning! This is Pastor Jerry Ingalls from New Castle First Baptist Church and today is Monday, January 23.

 

During Job’s lament, there is a reminder of his unrelenting faith in Job 12:9-10, “Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this, in whose hand is the life of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind?” Throughout the long dialogue between Job and his friends, this is the only usage of the sacred name of God – Yahweh.

 

Job’s usage of Yahweh is intended to grab your attention; it points us back to Job’s declaration of faith in Job 1:21, when he used the sacred name three times, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall return there. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” A commentator highlights the importance of this connection:

 

Job sees only the hand of God in these events. It never occurs to him to curse the desert brigands, to curse the frontier guards, to curse his own stupid servants, now lying dead for their watch-lessness. All secondary causes vanish. It was the Lord who gave; it was the Lord who removed; and in the Lord alone must the explanation of these strange happenings be sought.[1] [emphasis added]

 

Job entrusts Himself and His suffering into the hand of Yahweh alone as the only explanation of cause and effect! As Job emphasizes in verse 13, “With Him are wisdom and might; to Him belong counsel and understanding.” Job’s friends were quick to blame Job’s sin for his own suffering, looking for a logical explanation that helped the world make sense to them, but Job returned to the only explanation that is always true – “the hand of the LORD has done this.”

 

Seize the moment and place yourself securely into God’s hand – Jesus’ promises, “no one is able to snatch [you] out of the Father’s hand” (John 10:29b).

 

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.

 
 

FOOTNOTES:

 

[1] Francis I. Andersen, Job: An Introduction and Commentary, vol. 14, Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1976), 93.


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Train to Live on Mission – Week 40

Battle Drill #40:

Trust your Training!

Proverbs 30:5-6 (NAS95)

 

Today, we are going to walk through the four action steps of a soldier’s training routine to learn Battle Drill #40 – “Trust your Training!” You are going to find that this battle drill serves as an effective bookend with Battle Drill #3 – “Trust the Commander!” from Proverbs 3:5-6. These two are intimately yoked as we learn to trust God and the Bible from which He calls us to train ourselves in godliness. This is a critical reality for the church, just as it was for me as a soldier in the military to learn to trust my training.

 

For example, the United States Army’s Airborne School is unnecessarily long – it is three weeks long but could be consolidated to one week! Honestly, all you must do to earn your wings is successfully complete five jumps, including one night jump. Of course, it is highly encouraged that you can walk off the jump zone each time and stand at graduation. The first week is called ground week and you spend most of the day, every day, learning how to do a parachute landing fall (PLF) in sawdust pits. It is mind-numbing training and besides getting sawdust in every possible place in your body, you are constantly being evaluated for mental and physical toughness before you are allowed to move to the second week, which is called tower week. Tower week is doing countless simulated jumps from a ten-meter tower simulating the procedures you must follow upon leaving the airplane, preparing to hit the ground, and executing a proper PLF at the approximate force of an actual jump. The intensity of training increases in every way for one reason – to prepare you for jump week when you must trust your training because nothing can quite prepare you to jump out of a perfectly good airplane! The third week is jump week and you quickly learn that nothing can quite prepare you to step out of that airplane at 1,250 feet, flying at 130 mph when you step out of it, but by this point you have done more PLFs, simulated leaving an aircraft more times, and followed all airborne procedures so many times that you reflexively, instinctively, and habitually do what you are trained to do when it matters – as you plumet to earth at 13 mph, hitting at the equivalent force of jumping off a nine-to-twelve foot wall. The first two weeks of Airborne school are to ensure the person is mentally, emotionally, and physically capable of trusting their training when it matters.

 

This is what this battle drill sermons series is all about. We must learn to trust our training so that we execute the Field Manual according to the Commander’s intent when it matters the most. Regardless of how much you know about God or say you love Him, if you don’t learn to trust your training, you will not live on mission. You will be hijacked by your circumstances, driven by your feelings, or engulfed by your nervous system.

 

To illustrate the importance of learning and applying today’s battle drill in real life, Katie Kinnaird is going to share with us a recent testimony.

 

Action Step #1) Know the Field Manual.

The battle drill we are going to learn and apply this week is Proverbs 30:5-6,
 
“Every word of God is tested; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him. Do not add to His words or He will reprove you, and you will be proved a liar.”
 
We know what the Field Manual says, let’s now take the second action step to learn how to apply today’s battle drill to our everyday lives as good soldiers of Jesus Christ.

 

Action Step #2) Train together as one unit.

Our battle drill begins with these words, “Every word of God is tested.”
 
Psalm 12:6 explains this concept, “The words of the Lord are pure words; as silver tried in a furnace on the earth, refined seven times.” To go deep on this concept, refer to the previous Battle Drill – “Endure the Refining Process!” A significant part of a soldier’s training is to trust the Field Manual from which all the battle drills are derived. If a soldier is going to trust his or her training, the soldier must start by trusting that the Field Manual is what it claims to be – the authorized source from the Commander to successfully complete the mission for which the soldier was enlisted in the first place! It doesn’t help the soldier, nor the army, to spend your time critiquing or questioning the source or the document. While that may be a hard thought for civilians, that is the bread and butter of being a good soldier—submission!

 

Just as an army must trust its field manuals so that every soldier is being trained according to the same doctrine and strategies, the church must be unified in the Bible as infallible in its authority and inerrant in its source. We must trust God’s authority and that He gave us a trustworthy Bible, our Field Manual. As our battle drill states in Proverbs 30:5, “Every word of God is tested; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.” Psalm 18:30 complements, “As for God, His way is blameless; the word of the Lord is tried; He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him.” When we trust God, we will walk in His ways, according to the Scriptures.

 

Paul taught his protégé in 2 Timothy 3:16-17, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” The Word of God is sufficient to the task for which we were called, so trust it and don’t adlib, as the second half of our battle drill emphasizes in Proverb 30:6, “Do not add to His words or He will reprove you, and you will be proved a liar.” Don’t hijack the process by trying to fix it yourself. You will only make it worse!

 

The Commander has given you His battle drills to protect you and provide for you all that you need to fulfill His mission. From Joshua 1:8, the Commander said to one of His first generals, “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.” Do you believe this?

 

In the same way that we learn to trust that God has enlisted us to successfully fulfill His mission according to the Scriptures, we must learn to trust that we aren’t alone in the mission. As fellow members of His body, we need one another. This is God’s will for our lives as Paul emphasized through the body imagery of the church in Romans 12:4-5, “For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.”

 

We need one another, more than we know, just as we learned from our previous Battle Drill, “Train with a Battle Buddy!” We need to walk in the way of Jesus Christ with one another and carry one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:1-2). A significant component of the training regimen is training as a fellow member of the body of Christ, and not alone, because if we are to do what Jesus, the head of the church, commands us, and please Him, then we must do it in concert with His will for our lives, collectively as the individual members of the one body of Christ. As Paul said in Ephesians 1:22-23, “And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.” Ultimately, God is glorified through our unity as Jesus prayed in John 17:22-23:

 

The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.

 

This is how we are to train together! Now, let’s turn to the third action item.

 

Action Step #3) Seek the Commander’s approval.

There’s a problem!
 
In the moments of our greatest needs, we often want to take matters into our own hands – to wrestle back some measure of control over our out-of-control lives, to ensure the odds are ever in our favor, or to fix the situation according to our own understandings. This is often the impulse of our own flesh – this body of ours, to include our emotions, our hormones, our nervous system, each of which can easily betray us so that I don’t do what I know I should do but I do what I think is right. The Apostle Paul empathized with us on this point, testifying in Romans 7:14-23:

 

For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members.

 

This teaching applies to every area of our lives because this battle drill gives you the tools to defeat your self-will (the flesh); it is winning the battle for your loyalty so that you can CM on God’s rescue mission! You will trust in God or in yourself, but don’t be deceived – there can be only one in whom you ultimately trust and that is revealed in the moments where the stakes are the highest. Don’t make assumptions – train this trust into your bones! Now is not a time to swim in da Nile (denial)!

 

Do you remember the second half of our battle drill that I touched upon earlier? Proverbs 30:6 warns us, “Do not add to His words or He will reprove you, and you will be proved a liar.” In other words, don’t adlib or else! When you add to or modify His words, you demonstrate your lack of faith in God as infallible and your inherent mistrust in His Word as inerrant. Remember, the higher the stakes, the more we must trust our training; that God is our shield and refuge!

 

Allow me an anecdotal story from my days as a paratrooper. There is a major mistake paratroopers make when they are about to hit the ground – they reach for the ground with their feet. This is so natural to do that you must train yourself to not do it! Otherwise, you end up with a major injury like a twisted knee, broken leg, smashed ankles, or worse. You must absorb the ground upon impact by keeping your knees and ankles flexed, but it takes an incredible amount of discipline to trust your training, especially in night jumps when you can’t see the quickly approaching ground. It’s this same survival instinct that causes so many broken wrists when people fall. It is natural to reach out to stop yourself from falling, but those who have been trained how to fall know not to – often what you feel is the right thing to do is not!

 

Allow me to give you a word of grace: If anyone tells you that at any point in your Christian life you won’t struggle with your humanity and the effects of living in this tent (2 Corinthians 5:1-9), then they are placing a burden on you that Christ has not. Holiness is Christ in you, not your ability to perfectly master the flesh. The righteousness you have is imputed upon you through Christ’s victory, not one earned by a life of perfect thought life, perfect emotional stability, and perfect mastery of your body. Training this battle drill is about trusting the Holy Spirit to do in and through you what God promises! The life we live is a life submitted to Jesus Christ, just as Paul commented about himself in Galatians 2:19-21:

 

For through the Law I died to the Law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly.

 

This is our victory – our faith (1 John 5:4)! That leads us into our final action step.

 

Action Step #4) Live on mission.

The battle we are engaged in is not won on islands of serenity with peace-time conditions, but on the beaches of Normandy where the distress and tribulation of spiritual warfare manifests at every level of human experience!
 
We live in a war-torn creation; therefore, we must train ourselves to trust the Commander, His Field Manual, and His training regimen! Never forget that God has won for us the victory through His Son Jesus Christ, as Paul testified about in Colossians 2:15, “When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him.” It is from this place of victory that Paul calls us to train ourselves to CM according to 1 Timothy 4:7b-10:

 

On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. It is a trustworthy statement deserving full acceptance. For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers.

 

This is our hope – it is the way of victory in Christ! As you learn to trust your training you bring glory to God and you will lead others to know Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, and they, too, will bring glory to God until the Day of His return. This is the promise of the Father, the provision of the Son, and the power of the Holy Spirit at work in and through you. This is the victory we must trust! Make this battle drill a reflexive, instinctive, and habitual part of your Christian life so that you can CM – Continue the Mission! Therefore, live on mission today and train the battle drill of the week for the glory of God. Let us pray.
 

 

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