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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Responding to Jesus by Giving Thanks – Week 2

“Three Church Marks that Lead a Pastor to Give Thanks!”

1 Thessalonians 1:1-3 (NAS95)

 

Last week, Pastor Ken opened up our November sermon series on “Responding to Jesus by Giving Thanks” and today, I continue from the same book of the Bible: Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians. Please turn with me to 1 Thessalonians 1:1-3,

Paul and Silvanus and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace. We give thanks to God always for all of you, making mention of you in our prayers; constantly bearing in mind your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father.

 

From this passage we learn three characteristics of the early church that caused the early church leaders to give thanks to God always for all of the people.

 

Before we examine these three characteristics, I want to make two quick observations from this Scripture:

 

First, this is clearly not about people pleasing.
 
Paul said, “We give thanks to God always…”. The focus is on God, not on making people feel good about themselves. And vice versa, just as critically, we see that the people’s focus was on the Lord Jesus Christ and not on making their leaders happy. This was not co-dependence; this was a unity of focus, which results in worship to the God who is worthy of all our worship!

 

Second, notice that they prayed for one another by name.
 
Praying for one another is intimately connected to giving thanks for one another. That is why Christian counselors prioritize the importance of couples and families praying together: those who pray together, stay together! Let us be a people who pray for one another by name. To this end, we recently provided for you a pictorial directory and every week we provide for you an updated prayer guide. We also invite you to sign up for our Constant Contact prayer emails.

 

Now, what can we learn from the three characteristics of the early church that caused the early church leaders to give thanks to God always for all of the people? According to 1 Thessalonians 1:1-3, church leaders; hence, the people of the churches should focus their thoughts or “bear in mind” these three areas: (1) Work of Faith; (2) Labor of Love; and (3) Steadfastness of Hope.

 

These three things are what Paul admonishes us to focus on and give thanks to God for when we see them in one another: faith, love, and hope. Please take notice that there is nothing new to this admonition; in fact, Paul stated in 1 Corinthians 13:13,
“But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

 

Biblically, these are the three areas we should excel as Christians in character and conduct, as individuals, as families, and as communities. This is how we are called to stand out and shine like stars in these dark days!

 

Let’s now apply them to our lives. It has been said,

“Faith rests on the past; love works in the present; hope looks to the future” (Moody Bible Commentary, 1879).
 
We rejoice and give thanks in all circumstances because our thankfulness is in response to what God has already done, is doing, and has promised to do! Thankfulness is God-centered thinking and living—giving thanks is the outflow of you having a Christian worldview!

 

1.  Work of FAITH!

 
Paul is talking about the work of our lives—our deeds and actions; that which we manifest (make visible to the world). Paul is saying that what brings thankfulness to him and the church leaders is when people work in union with Christ—focused on faithfulness to Him, not success for themselves! Work of faith is the fruit of the Vine (John 15:1-16) and the rest of the easy yoke of Jesus Christ (Matthew 11:28-30).

 

Our day-to-day living is in response to the gracious gift of Jesus Christ! As Paul said in Colossians 3:23-24,
“Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.”

 

And what are the most important results of our work? Only that which flows from faith! The good fruit comes when our work is in response to Christ’s finished work. Paul commands us to the
“work of faith … in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father.”
 
We are to remain mindful of who we work for at all times!

 

While this applies to all three of these points, I will only say it once, all that I am teaching today invokes the teachings of every sermon series from 2020: we are called to the work of faith, the labor of love, and the steadfastness of hope in response to the Plans of God, the Passion of Jesus Christ, the Priorities of Jesus, the Promises of God, and the Presence of God. All that we have been discussing this year, through each of the sermon series, is being called forth in this passage.

 

When we do something in the name of Jesus, we work according to His character for His purposes and glory, and through the power of His Spirit, which is manifested as the “fruit of the Spirit” in us, as Paul teaches in Galatians 5:19-26,
“Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another.”

 

Christians must remain faithful to the One for whom they work. How we do our work is essential to bearing witness to the One the work of our hands is to declare! We always represent the god we serve! Just as Jesus said in John 15:8,
“My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.”

 

When our work is the work of faith (when our trust is in God) we manifest the “fruit of the Spirit”, but when our work is of any of source, we show the world ourselves—the “deeds of the flesh”!

 

Work of faith proves who we serve and to whom we belong! What you do is important because it is the only way you can show the world the life of Christ that is in you… This is a life that brings thanksgiving to Paul!

 

2.  Labor of LOVE!

 
Paul is speaking of hardships with this phrase—how we are to face discomfort or distress. Whatever hardship or circumstance we face, we are to do so with the motivation of God’s love (agape). Paul is saying that what brings thankfulness to Him and the church leaders is when they see their people responding to hardship with God’s love—to make visible God’s grace and mercy in our lives.

 

Listen to Paul in 2 Corinthians 6:1-10,
“And working together with Him, we also urge you not to receive the grace of God in vain— for He says, ‘At the acceptable time I listened to you, And on the day of salvation I helped you.’ Behold, now is ‘the acceptable time,’ behold, now is ‘the day of salvation’— giving no cause for offense in anything, so that the ministry will not be discredited, but in everything commending ourselves as servants of God, in much endurance, in afflictions, in hardships, in distresses, in beatings, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in hunger, in purity, in knowledge, in patience, in kindness, in the Holy Spirit, in genuine love, in the word of truth, in the power of God; by the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and the left, by glory and dishonor, by evil report and good report; regarded as deceivers and yet true; as unknown yet well-known, as dying yet behold, we live; as punished yet not put to death, as sorrowful yet always rejoicing, as poor yet making many rich, as having nothing yet possessing all things.”

 

Again in 1 Corinthians 15:58,
“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.”

 

When we labor in love, though we may not get the results we want (success vs failure), we will live lives that give glory to God and invoke thankfulness from our faith communities! Love does not always win in this world, as the world defines winning and losing, but God’s love never fails. But, without God’s love, even if you score a win in the eyes of the world, you still lose! We must do all things in God’s love if we are truly giving thanks!

 

Paul teaches of God’s love in 1 Corinthians 13:1-8,
“If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing. Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away.”

 

And that leads us to Paul’s final admonition…

 

3.  Steadfastness of HOPE!

 
This is the capacity to endure, persevere, to hold out and bear up in the face of difficulty for what you know is true about the promises of God. Paul is saying that what brings thankfulness to Him and the church leaders is when they see their people living for what is not yet seen, as citizens of Heaven, eagerly awaiting the Day of Christ Jesus when all things will be made right.

 

Listen to Paul bring all three of these admonitions together in Romans 5:1-5,
“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”

 

What leads Paul and church leaders to give thanks? The people of God maturing in Christlikeness and reflecting Him in this life, more and more, one day at a time, until the Day of His royal visitation.

 

May we give thanks for one another by name because we see the Holy Spirit working in our fellowship and our witness in these three areas:
 
(1) our work flows from what Christ has done for us on the Cross of Calvary and what He has assured us through His resurrection from the dead;
 
(2) our labor is in God’s perfect love because God will never fail to satisfy our every need and has poured out His Spirit so that we may walk faithfully with Him; and
 
(3) our hope perseveres because our trust for the future (hope) is in the promised work of Jesus Christ to make all things new and bring all things under subjection to Him—His Kingdom come, His will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven (Matthew 6:9-13).

 

The Lord Jesus Christ has victoriously ascended to the right hand of the Father where He is actively praying for you. Respond to Jesus by awaiting His return with faith, love, and hope—Be thankful for His Day of royal visitation is coming soon!
 

You can listen to the message here:

 

You can watch to the message HERE.

 

 
 
 

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Seize the Moment – Day 235

Hymn: “Victory in Jesus”

1 Corinthians 15:57

 

“But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

 

Eugene Barlett studied to be a music teacher and was said to have had a major impact on the development of Southern Gospel Music. In 1918, he started Hartford Music Company, which became a major publishing company.
 
He traveled all over the southern U.S. singing and preaching the Gospel message. Throughout his career, he wrote and published more than 800 gospel songs.

 

In 1939, he suffered a stroke that left him partially paralyzed, and became bed ridden. While he missed traveling, he continued to study the Bible, longing for the day when he would be with Jesus in Heaven.
 
It was during this time that he wrote the words for “Victory in Jesus”. He was reflecting on how it all began; all that God had brought him through; and that God’s love had sustained him. Even though it was written during the darkest period of his life, he chose to make the melody full of happiness and enthusiasm.

 

When you wake up, do you automatically think of the victories that Jesus has given you? If not, make that a daily practice as we serve the One we love!

 

O Victory in Jesus, my Savior forever!
 

 

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 read the words to this hymn or hear the melody played, click on this link:

 
If you would like to hear a more upbeat version, try this link:
 
 

LYRICS:

I heard an old, old story, how a Savior came from glory (how He gave His life)
How He gave His life on Calvary to save a wretch like me
I heard about His groaning, (of His blood’s atoning) of His precious blood’s atoning
Then I repented (repented) of my sins (repented of my sins) and won the victory
 
Chorus:
Oh victory in Jesus (victory in Jesus), my Savior (my Savior) forever (forever)
He sought me and He bought me with His redeeming blood (bought me with His blood)
He loved me ‘ere I knew Him and all my love is due Him
He plunged me to victory beneath the cleansing flood
 
I heard about His healing, of His cleansing power revealing
How He made the lame to walk again and caused the blind to see
And then I cried, “Dear Jesus, come and heal my broken spirit”
I then obeyed His blest command and gained the victory
 
I heard about a mansion He has built for me in glory
And I heard about the street of gold beyond the crystal sea (beyond the crystal sea)
About the angels singing (the angels are singing) and the old redemption story
Oh and some sweet day I’ll sing up there the song of victory
 
 
 

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Seize the Moment – Day 234

God’s Design and Plan: Navigate

Proverbs 3:5 & 6

 

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”  (ESV)

 

As we conclude on building our PLAN, Tuesday we talked about where we PLACE OUR TRUST. Wednesday was why we do not LEAN ON our own understanding. Thursday was in all your ways ACKNOWLEDGE Him. Today is why we need to let God NAVIGATE.

 

When we travel, I always have Tina be my navigator. Before there was Google maps or SIRI to talk us through our routes, we had to rely on Trip Ticks from AAA. I could not look at the map and drive at the same time without putting the family at risk, so it was up to Tina to tell me where to go.
 
It also meant we had to be in communication when we got into unfamiliar territory so that we didn’t miss a turn.

 

With God, He has got a much better view of how things look as we navigate through this world.
 
Psalm 31:3 reminds us that He will lead us and guide us. But here in Proverbs, it says He will make straight our paths! He wants us to rest assured that He is already going ahead of us and clearing the way and not taking us in circles. While it may not be familiar territory, we know that He is the one with us every step of the way.

 

Let’s wake up and start our day by asking God everyday “What would You have me to do for You? For where You lead me, I will follow.”

 

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.

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Seize the Moment – Day 233

God’s Design and Plan: Acknowledge

Proverbs 3:5 & 6

 

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”  (ESV)

 

As we continue to build our PLAN, Tuesday we talked about where we PLACE OUR TRUST. Wednesday was why we do not LEAN ON our own understanding. Today is in all your ways ACKNOWLEDGE Him.

 

To acknowledge God is more than just a head nod, like saying, “Oh yeah, I see you there.” This is a full on recognition, giving a high regard and reverence to God, letting everyone know that without Him, we can do nothing!

 

There is a song written by Mylon LaFevre that states, “Without Him, I could do nothing. Without Him, I’d surely fail. Without Him, I would be drifting like a ship without a sail.”

 

And there are three little words that proceeds this charge…IN ALL THINGS. This means in all that we say, in all that we do, in how we treat our family, our neighbors, even those with whom we don’t always get along.

 

Only then will it be evident to ALL who see us that Jesus is Lord of our lives, and He is leading and guiding us every step of the way.

 

Wake up! Let the Holy Spirit throw some cold water on our faces to bring us back into focus. Be fully aware of and in fellowship with Him in all your ways!

 

 

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.

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Seize the Moment – Day 232

God’s Design and Plan: Lean On

Proverbs 3:5 & 6

 

 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”  (ESV)

 

As we continue to build our PLAN, Tuesday we talked about where we PLACE OUR TRUST. Today, we understand why we do not LEAN ON our own understanding.

 

If you lean on or against someone or something, you rest against them so that they partly support your weight, or so that it is partly supported by that thing. This means you are placing your trust in your own understanding rather than trusting in the Lord with all your heart. When that ‘moves’, we move with it.

 

Another view is that if something is leaning, then it is not plum, or perfectly straight, and may cause the object to eventually fall down. Would you want to lean against something that is already leaning? Our natural understanding of things will mislead us or even fail us because it shifts with whatever is going on around us. We need to fully trust what God is leading us to do and not say “I can’t do that”. Rather we need to say, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!”

 

We need to wake up and realize where we are placing our trust, and do it with all our heart, and take self out of the picture by not leaning on what we think it to mean. We need to be like Jesus, totally surrendering to our Father who loves us and say, “Not my will (understanding), but Your will be done!”

 

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.

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Seize the Moment – Day 231

God’s Design and Plan: Place Our Trust

Proverbs 3:5 & 6

 

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”  (ESV)

 

When we finally realize the design God has for our lives, then we need to have a PLAN to fulfill it. So the P in plan stands for where we PLACE OUR TRUST.

 

This concept of placing trust in the Lord was nothing new to Solomon. I am sure that he heard it many times from his father, David, as this was a phrase that he used many times throughout his writings in the books of Psalms. While Israel and its armies were known for their victories, they knew that it was the Lord who gave them those victories. David wrote in Psalm 37 to ‘trust in the Lord and do good”, but Solomon took it a step farther in saying to trust in the Lord with all your heart. We cannot put our trust in man, for they will fail us. We cannot put our trust in money, because it can quickly disappear. We need to place our trust in the One who created us and already knows what the future holds.

 

Join me today in placing our trust in our Lord as we lift up our community and our nation as people are placing their votes. Let’s follow Paul’s instruction to Timothy and offer up petitions and prayers for everyone, including those who are in leadership over us “so that we may lead tranquil and quiet lives in all godliness and dignity.

 

 

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.

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Seize the Moment – Day 230

God’s Design and Plan: Nature

2 Peter 1:3-4 (ESV)

 

“It is the one and only Spirit who distributes all these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person should have.” 

 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence,  by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.” 

 

As we conclude our acrostic of DESIGN, Monday was what DRIVES us; Tuesday was how God uses our EXPERIENCES to shape us. Wednesday, was what SPIRITUALLY STIRS us to best connect with God. Thursday, was how we IMPACT those around us. Friday was with what are we GIFTED. We finish out with what is your NATURE.

 

Let’s be completely honest. If we would live by our nature, we may be a good person because of how we were raised, but could we be without sin?
 
When God created Adam and Eve, they were without sin, for they were created in His image. But when sin entered into their lives, their nature was corrupted, quickly learning how to shift blame for their wrongdoings to someone else.
 
The only one to live a sinless life was Jesus, and He gave his life as a payment for our sins…past, present and future. But if we are truly in a relationship with Him, our nature will be transformed to be more and more like His, divine and from God.

 

Wake up from your spiritual slumber and seek after the Master Creator and Designer who wants only the very best for you! Live your life each and every day being led by the Holy Spirit, and not the sinful nature of man.

 

 

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.

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Responding to Jesus by Giving Thanks – Week 1

“In All Things”

1 Thessalonians 5:12-18

 

It is my privilege and honor to be able to bring the message today that I believe God has given me to share with you, His beloved children. Let’s stand for the reading of God’s Word as we turn to our passage today:

 

 “We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves.  And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle (undisciplined), encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.   See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”                1 Thessalonians 5:12-18(ESV)

 

I am thankful to be working with Pastor Jerry as we serve this body of believers here at FBC. I am thankful for a group of elders and trustees that have come around us that have joined in this partnership to lead this church. I am thankful for Jody and Kevin as the ministry directors as they work with us in leading the NextGen ministries. I am thankful for the volunteer leaders that serve in the various ministries, for without them, we could not do or offer these ministries. And most of all, I am thankful for the people of FBC who love and support all of us!

 
 

As I was reading through this first letter to the church of Thessalonica, it could have been written to our church here in New Castle. In the first 3 ‘chapters’ of this letter, Paul was thanking God for what was happening in the church even after he had left. He was encouraging them to keep being faithful, letting them know he was praying for them. He also was encouraging them to keep spreading the Gospel until Christ’s return by living out their faith in their daily lives so that others would see the message of hope being ‘fleshed out’ in front of them.

 

Paul closes out the letter with the passage we are focusing on today. I mean, this is the Thanksgiving Season, so at what else should we be looking? But there are three little words that throw us for a loop…”In All Things (Circumstance)”.
 
WHAT?!? In ALL things??? (Jerry quote here)
 

He precedes these words with how we can do it, and then proceeds to tell us why. So let’s look at those together more intently (or intensely, as the case may be)

 

1.  HOW?

 
A. RESPECT
 
Thank you for remembering us during Pastor Appreciation Month! Your cards and gifts spoke to our hearts to let us know we are loved. Paul was very specific about why this is important. We don’t take this calling lightly, for we know what is expected of us by God. But, it can be a thankless position, and can be difficult to carry out at times without people misunderstanding why we are doing it. Just like a parent loves their children when they sometimes make their kids mad or upset because they correct or discipline them, the same is true for church leadership. Look how Paul puts it:
 

“…who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work…”

 

-labor among you (work hard with you)

-over you in the Lord (led by the Spirit)

-admonish you

 

DEFINITIONS OF ADMONISH: 

to indicate duties or obligations to;

to express warning or disapproval to, especially in a gentle, earnest, or solicitous manner;

to give friendly earnest advice or encouragement to;

to say (something) as advice or a warning

 

Expositor’s Bible Commentary says:

“admonish” means correction administered either by word or deed. It implies blame on the part of the one admonished. Naturally, this process arouses resentment, since discipline is never pleasant. Still the apostle presents admonition as necessary for the congregation and requires respect for those who exercise it.

 

Esteem in love:   This is a part of respect that has been lost or forgotten  In this day and age of “my rights” and “me first”,  we have pushed love out of the picture.

 

B. BE AT PEACE

 

With who?
With each other!  This is something we all must work at, not being a source of the problem, but a key to the solution.

 

C. BE PATIENT WITH OTHERS

 

– This is not just for the leaders
All the fellow believers are to do this: admonish the idle/undisciplined

encourage the fainthearted

help the weak

be patient with them all (Jerry quote)

 

D.  PROTECT

 

See that no one repays anyone evil for evil…” (v15a)

 

1 Peter 3:9
Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will grant you his blessing.”

 

always seek to do good to one another and to everyone.”(v15b)
 

 

Hebrews 13:16

“And don’t forget to do good and to share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God

 

 
 
E. REJOICE ALWAYS

-Always joyful…in all ways…full of joy

-demonstrated by what we say and do
 

Philippians 4:4

“Rejoice in the Lord always, again I will say, rejoice!”

 

F. PRAY

 

~Without ceasing

~What could he mean by that?

 

Expositor’s Bible Commentary:

“Intimately related to constant joy is incessant prayer—the only way to cultivate a joyful attitude in times of trial. Uninterrupted communication with God keeps temporal and spiritual values in balance. “Continually” does not mean nonstop praying. Rather, it implies constantly recurring prayer, growing out of a settled attitude of dependence on God. Whether words are uttered or not, lifting the heart to God while one is occupied with miscellaneous duties is the vital thing. Verbalized prayer will be spontaneous and will punctuate one’s daily schedule.”

 
G.  GIVE THANKS

 

~ When?
 

Colossians 3:17

“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

 

– How often?
 

Philippians 1:3-4

“Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy.”

 

 

2.  WHY?

 
IT IS GOD’S WILL FOR YOU IN CHRIST JESUS

 

It justifies all these commands: rejoicing, praying, giving thanks, so that we can truly live victorious Christian lives.

 

I pray that these words have resonated with you. As I was writing this, I felt like God was giving us a wake-up call. (Since Tuesday Phone Devotions). By all that has been going on around us, we have been lulled to sleep with our eyes open…moving forward, but sometimes missing what God wants us to see because we are lost in thought of the things we have to do.
 
Join me in waking up each day to say “Okay, God. What would you have me do today for You?”              
 
Pray over Shawls

 

BENEDICTION:

1 Thessalonians 5:23-24(ESV)

“Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.”                                                                     

 
 
 

You can listen to the message here.

 

You can watch the message HERE.


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Seize the Moment – Day 228

“I Will Sing of My Redeemer”

 
“For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify

God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” 

 

Philip Bliss, a contemporary of D.L. Moody and Major Daniel W. Whittle, was known for several great hymns like Hallelujah! What a Savior!, Wonderful Words of Life and the music for It is Well by H.G. Spafford.

 

While these words reflect a joyful note of praise, their discovery came out of tragedy.  Bliss had been visiting family for the Christmas holidays when he was requested by telegram to come lead the singing for the closing service at Moody Tabernacle.
 
While riding the Pacific Express from Pennsylvania to Chicago with his wife, the trestle bridge collapsed near Ashtabula, Ohio, sending the cars plunging over 60 feet into the ravine. While he was able to crawl out a window, he soon discovered his wife was trapped inside the railcar, which was now on fire. He went back in to save her, but both perished. His trunk from the luggage car survived, and they found these words inside:

 

I will sing of my Redeemer, and His wondrous love for me.

On the cruel cross He suffered, from the curse to set me free.

Sing , Oh sing, of my Redeemer. With His blood, He purchased me.

On the cross, He sealed my pardon. Paid the debt and made me free.

 

Take some time today to reflect on these words that remind us of the great price that was paid that we might have life, and have it more abundantly!

 

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.
 
 
Text and audio for hymn devotional:
 
If you would like to read the words to this hymn or hear the melody played, click on this link:
 
 

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Seize the Moment – Day 227

God’s Design and Plan: Gifted

1 Corinthians 12:11 (NLT)

 

“It is the one and only Spirit who distributes all these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person should have.” 

 

As we continue our acrostic of DESIGN, Monday was what DRIVES us; Tuesday was how God uses our EXPERIENCES to shape us. Wednesday, was what SPIRITUALLY STIRS us to best connect with God. Thursday, was how we IMPACT those around us. Today is with what are we GIFTED.

 

Remember back to the verses we first used to start this series. “For I know the plans I have for you…” means that our Creator/Designer already knows what the finished product is supposed to look like and what we can do.
 
The Holy Spirit, always in direct communication with our Creator since He is part of the Trinity, gives us the gifts we need to be the man or woman of God that He wants us to be.
 
Yes, some people have natural talents like with music, or sports, or fixing things. But I am talking about finding and using the gifts that the Holy Spirit has given to you and me. And there is a large variety of gifts! If we were all the same, doing the same thing, then it would be boring!
 
We need each other to help sharpen our skills in these gifts.

 

It’s time for us to wake up and realize how special the gifts are that Holy Spirit has placed in our lives!  If you have not taken a spiritual gifts test, then I challenge you to seek out one of the pastors or elders and ask them to help you find out what your gifts are!

 

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.

 

More about Spiritual Gifts:

If you would like to learn more about the Gifts of the Holy Spirit and their place in the Church, we did a series in 2014.  There are videos, messages on audio and documents along with a Gifts Test to help you gain insight into how God has gifted you!  CLICK HERE
 
 

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.
 

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