Seize the Moment – Day 585

Today’s hymn focus will be

“Near to the Heart of God”

 

“But as for me, how good it is to be near God!  I have made the Sovereign Lord my shelter, and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things you do.”

 

Dr. Cleland McAfee was a Presbyterian minister known as the pastor’s pastor. When tragedy struck the family, they would call on him for comfort. In 1903, the tragedy doubled as his own brother lost two infant daughters to diphtheria withing 24 hours of each other. The family was quarantined and could not attend the funerals and they could have people into their home to comfort them in order to prevent the spread of the deadly disease.

 

Dr McAfee asked God to give him the words to bring comfort to his family, and felt inspired to write the following:

 

             O Jesus, blest Redeemer, Sent from the heart of God.

            Hold us who wait before Thee, Near to the heart of God.

 

He taught the song to his choir and they sang it outside the family’s home, bringing them comfort, peace and rest, just as it still does today.

 

We need to wake up to the fact that God is our shelter in the time of storm, allowing us to find peace and rest in the face of life’s turbulences.

           
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 hear the song played, click on this link:
 

Near to the Heart of God

1
There is a place of quiet rest,
near to the heart of God,
a place where sin cannot molest,
near to the heart of God.
 
Refrain:
O Jesus, blest Redeemer,
sent from the heart of God,
hold us, who wait before thee,
near to the heart of God.
 
2
There is a place of comfort sweet,
near to the heart of God,
a place where we our Savior meet,
near to the heart of God. [Refrain]
 
3
There is a place of full release,
near to the heart of God,
a place where all is joy and peace,
near to the heart of God. [Refrain]
 
 
 

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Seize the Moment – Day 584

 

A Way of Salvation!

Numbers 21

 

Good morning! This is Pastor Jerry Ingalls from New Castle First Baptist Church and today is Friday, October 22.

 

There is a way of salvation!

 

Numbers 21 is a travel log with three stories of military conflict (1-3, 21-35) and one story of God’s righteous judgment against Israel for their grumbling and complaining, again.

 

But God … God made a way of salvation during His righteous judgment of their rebellion. Watch the scene unfold in verses 6-9,

 

The Lord sent fiery serpents among the people and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died. So the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned, because we have spoken against the Lord and you; intercede with the Lord, that He may remove the serpents from us.” And Moses interceded for the people. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a standard; and it shall come about, that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, he will live.” And Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on the standard; and it came about, that if a serpent bit any man, when he looked to the bronze serpent, he lived.

 

Did you know that Jesus used this story to illustrate God’s way of salvation through faith in Him? Listen to John 3:14-16,

 

As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

 

There is a righteous judgment for rebellion, but God made a way for salvation to those who would put their faith in Jesus lifted up on the Cross for the forgiveness of their sins.

 

Seize the moment and put your faith in Jesus Christ, crucified, risen, and coming again!

 

God bless your day!
 
 
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 583

A Eulogy to Miriam!

Numbers 20

 

Good morning! This is Pastor Jerry Ingalls from New Castle First Baptist Church and today is Thursday, October 21.

 

What do you want people to say about you in your eulogy?

 

Numbers 20 records the deaths of Moses’ brother and sister, Aaron and Miriam.

 

Miriam’s death could easily be missed. The end of verse 1 briefly records, “Now Miriam died there and was buried there.” That’s it!?! While the story continues for Israel, this was the end of the journey for Miriam.

 

Miriam was brave and bold! She was the older sister of Moses and worked with her mom to place baby Moses in a wicker basket among the reeds in the Nile, saving him from certain death and placing him in a house of privilege (Exodus 2:1-9).

 

Miriam had a vibrant faith and loved to praise God! After Moses delivered Israel out of Egypt and across the Red Sea, Miriam led them in worship to God. Listen to Exodus 15:20-21,
 
“Miriam the prophetess, Aaron’s sister, took the timbrel in her hand, and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dancing. Miriam answered them, ‘Sing to the Lord, for He is highly exalted; The horse and his rider He has hurled into the sea.’”

 

Miriam was not perfect, but she was forgiven and loved! Yes, Miriam gave in to her jealousy of Moses in Numbers 12, but Moses forgave her and prayed for her healing and restoration. Moses loved his big sister!

 

Miriam was chosen by God to do a great work! Micah 6:4 gives us God’s final word about Miriam,
 
“Indeed, I brought you up from the land of Egypt and ransomed you from the house of slavery, And I sent before you Moses, Aaron and Miriam.”

 

Seize the moment and remember that you are chosen by God! Don’t let your past failures, present hurts, or future fears stand in the way of your faithfulness to God calling!

God bless your day!
 
 
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 582

 

The Danger of Legalism!

Numbers 19

 

Good morning! This is Pastor Jerry Ingalls from New Castle First Baptist Church and today is Wednesday, October 20.

 

Are you familiar with Jesus’ famous Parable of the Good Samaritan?

 

In Luke 10:30-37, Jesus answered a lawyer’s question about the Law with this parable. Jesus taught who our neighbor is by describing how it was a Samaritan, a person hated by the Jewish people, who showed God’s love to the dying Jewish man. To emphasize this point, Jesus’ story included two Jewish elite, a Levite and a priest, who avoided the dying man.

 

Yes, there was a deep racial tension between the Jews and Samaritans that informed this story and to this day, very relevantly, that gives Jesus’ parable the profound impact of teaching us to “love your enemy” and “love your neighbor as yourself.”

 

But there is more to the story and that’s the scandal of Jesus’ parable!

 

Numbers 19:16 teaches what the Levite and priest were probably reciting to themselves when they responded to the man who was left for dead by moving away from him to the other side of the road:
 
“Anyone who in the open field touches one who has been slain with a sword or who has died naturally, or a human bone or a grave, shall be unclean for seven days.”

 

These religious men, like the lawyer who was trying to trap Jesus with his questions, were putting the letter of the Law before the heart of God. Jesus came to return God’s people back to the heart of God and the purpose of the Law—to deliver God’s people from sin to live as God’s image bearers.

 

Don’t let your religion blind you to the heart of God—Jesus came to seek and to save that which was lost (Luke 19:10)!

 

Seize the moment and return to the heart of God by loving your neighbor as yourself, not allowing racism nor religion to prevent you from being an image bearer of God.

God bless your day!
 
 
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 581

 

The Gift of Service!

Numbers 18

 

Good morning! This is Pastor Jerry Ingalls from New Castle First Baptist Church and today is Tuesday, October 19.

 

Serving others is a sacred gift, not a job description!

 

In Numbers 18:5-7 God gave a sacred gift to Aaron and the Levites:

 

So you shall attend to the obligations of the sanctuary and the obligations of the altar, so that there will no longer be wrath on the sons of Israel. Behold, I Myself have taken your fellow Levites from among the sons of Israel; they are a gift to you, dedicated to the Lord, to perform the service for the tent of meeting. But you and your sons with you shall attend to your priesthood for everything concerning the altar and inside the veil, and you are to perform service. I am giving you the priesthood as a bestowed service …

 

The priesthood was a bestowed service—a gift from God! Aaron and his sons were given the gift of the priesthood, as well as the gift of the Levites to serve in the tabernacle system. Their very lives were given as a gift to the service of God.

 

Do you see opportunities to serve others as a gift from God?

 

I was recently talking to a friend who trains employees in customer service at a restaurant that is famous for their service. Many people learn to say the right things, but it is obviously not coming from their heart—they have the appearances of good service, but not the heart of a servant! They are fulfilling a job description, not accepting the divine gift of service.

 

Do you have the heart of a servant or are you just going through the motions of your ministry?

 

Seize the moment and “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” (Colossians 3:23-24).

God bless your day!
 
 
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 580

Stop Grumbling!

Numbers 17

 

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

 

Did you know that grumbling is no small matter to God? 

 

Grumbling is an easy way to give the devil a foothold in your life, but the good news is that God has given us a way of victory to overcome it!

 

Numbers 17 narrates God’s effort to silence the grumbling of the Israelites against Moses and Aaron by clearly declaring His chosen leaders over Israel. Verse 5 implies that our grumblings aren’t just against the people or circumstances themselves, but against the Sovereign God, Himself: “It will come about that the rod of the man whom I choose will sprout. Thus I will lessen from upon Myself the grumblings of the sons of Israel, who are grumbling against you.”

 

God directed each tribal leader to turn in their rod (staff) which was their sign of authority to rule over their tribe.

 

God determined that the staff that sprouted would belong to God’s chosen leader over Israel. The conclusion was abundantly clear, as described in verse 8: “Behold, the rod of Aaron for the house of Levi had sprouted and put forth buds and produced blossoms, and it bore ripe almonds.”

 

For dead wood to bud, blossom, and bear fruit was an articulate sign from God! God shouted from Heaven that Moses and Aaron were the appointed leaders of God and in doing so, was declaring that they should be trusted and followed.

 

Grumbling has always been a big deal to God because it prevents God’s people from living on mission. The answer for followers of Jesus is clear: STOP GRUMBLING!

 

Seize the moment and “do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world” (Philippians 2:14-15).
 
God bless your day!
 
 
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 578

Today’s modern day hymn focus will be

“His Mercy is More”

 
 

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness..’”

Co-written with Matt Boswell, Matt Papa was inspired to write this hymn by something written by John Newton, who is famously known for his hymn “Amazing Grace”. In March of 1767, John sent a letter to a man in his congregation who was struggling with doubt and ongoing sin. Newton wrote to him, saying:
 

“The more you know Him, the better you will trust Him: the more you trust Him, the better you will love Him; the more you love Him, the better you will serve Him…Remember, the growth of a believer is not like a mushroom, but like an oak, which increases slowly indeed but surely… Our sins are many, but His mercies are more: our sins are great, but His righteousness is greater: we are weak, but He is power.”*

 

Boswell & Papa wanted to create a hymn that was a truth for all time, all places and for all generations and it is worth the effort to sing that truth.

 

Praise the Lord, His mercy is more.

Stronger than darkness, new every morn

Our sins, they are many, His mercy is more.

           

You and I need to wake up differently than we have the past few weeks, with a song of praise on our lips, knowing that the God of heaven is bigger, better, stronger and greater than anything that the devil may try to throw our way and cause us to stumble, for His mercies are new every morning!
 
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 hear the song played, click on this link:
 

His Mercy is More

What love could remember no wrongs we have done
Omniscient, all knowing, He counts not their sum
Thrown into a sea without bottom or shore
Our sins they are many, His mercy is more
 
What patience would wait as we constantly roam
What Father, so tender, is calling us home
He welcomes the weakest, the vilest, the poor
Our sins they are many, His mercy is more
 
Praise the Lord, His mercy is more
Stronger than darkness, new every morn
Our sins they are many, His mercy is more
What riches of kindness He lavished on us
 
His blood was the payment, His life was the cost
We stood ‘neath a debt we could never afford
Our sins they are many, His mercy is more
Praise the Lord, His mercy is more
 
Stronger than darkness, new every morn
Our sins they are many, His mercy is more
Praise the Lord, His mercy is more
Stronger than darkness, new every morn
Our sins they are many, His mercy is more
Our sins they are many, His mercy is more
 

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Seize the Moment – Day 577

 

Being Consumed!

Numbers 16

 

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

 

What is consuming your emotions and your thoughts?

 

In Numbers 16 we find Israel stirred up like a hornet’s nest after they were denied entrance to the Promised Land! The people were restless, irritable, and discontent! Their living conditions were rustic, the menu was monotonous, and the leadership just promised them forty more years of the same.

 

A perfect storm was brewing!

 

Korah, Dathan, and Abiram rebelled and in response God consumed them and their households by opening the earth (1-34). Immediately, fire from heaven consumed the 250 men who had joined with the rebellion (35-40). The people were so stirred up that they even blamed Moses for these supernatural judgements and continued to grumble against him and Aaron (41-50). In response, God told Moses and Aaron to separate themselves from the congregation so that He could “consume them.”

 

How would Moses and Aaron respond to a rebellious people so consumed with their circumstances that they had lost all perspective?

 

Numbers 16:45-48 narrates their faithful response:

 

They fell on their faces. Moses said to Aaron, “Take your censer and put in it fire from the altar, and lay incense on it; then bring it quickly to the congregation and make atonement for them, for wrath has gone forth from the Lord, the plague has begun!” Then Aaron took it as Moses had spoken, and ran into the midst of the assembly, for behold, the plague had begun among the people. So he put on the incense and made atonement for the people. He took his stand between the dead and the living, so that the plague was checked.

 

Seize the moment and remain calm in the consuming storm! I call all of God’s people to prayer so that God “will hear from heaven, will forgive [our] sin and will heal [our] land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).

God bless your day!
 
 
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 576

Memory Jogs!

 

Good morning! This is Pastor Jerry Ingalls from New Castle First Baptist Church and today is Thursday, October 14.

 

Have you ever tied a piece of yarn around your finger to help you remember to do something?

 

We all need memory jogs or well-placed physical reminders to help us remember to do something. For example, a friend gave us a beautiful gift to put in our home as a reminder to pray for them. We associate that small sculpture with them and every time I see it I pray for them.

 

Numbers 15:32-36 tells the story of a man who was punished for forgetting the Sabbath. In response, the Lord gave the Israelites a new command so that they wouldn’t forget Him and His Law. Listen to God in verses 38-40:

 

Speak to the sons of Israel, and tell them that they shall make for themselves tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and that they shall put on the tassel of each corner a cord of blue. It shall be a tassel for you to look at and remember all the commandments of the Lord, so as to do them and not follow after your own heart and your own eyes, after which you played the harlot, so that you may remember to do all My commandments and be holy to your God.

 

God gave them a memory jog!

 

  1. Where was it located? Memory jogs must be visible, and the blue tassels were located on the four corners of their garments (Deuteronomy 22:12).
  2. Why were they blue? Memory jogs work by association and blue was used in the priest’s wardrobe (Exodus 28).
  3. What was their purpose? These blue tassels reminded them that they do not belong to themselves, but they are a “kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Exodus 19:5-6).

 

Seize the moment and use well-placed physical reminders to remind you of who you are in Jesus–a dearly beloved child of God!

God bless your day!
 
 
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 575

Remain Faithful to God’s Call!

Numbers 14

 

Good morning! This is Pastor Jerry Ingalls from New Castle First Baptist Church and today is Wednesday, October 13.

 

There are many Christians who need to pay attention to this important story found in Numbers 14 and not make the same mistakes as the Israelite congregation. In the same way, there are many pastors who need to learn from Moses’ example on how to remain faithful to God in their calling to the people.

 

The fearful spies have incited a riot! The congregation has decided to fire Moses and replace him with a leader that will take them back to Egypt (1-4). How does Moses respond? Listen to verse 5,
 
“Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces in the presence of all the assembly of the congregation of the sons of Israel.”

 

Moses and his associate went to prayer together! Caleb and Joshua tried to intervene, but the people picked up stones to kill them (10).

 

Moses responded in faith! Numbers 14:17-19 records Moses’ faithful petition to God on behalf of the people even while they were in rebellion against him:

 

But now, I pray, let the power of the Lord be great, just as You have declared, “The Lord is slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, forgiving iniquity and transgression; but He will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generations.” Pardon, I pray, the iniquity of this people according to the greatness of Your lovingkindness, just as You also have forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now.

 

Amen!

 

We must remain faithful to God’s call regardless of the challenges of our circumstances or the rebellion of people! As Paul commands all Christians in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18,
 
“Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

 

Seize the moment and remain faithful in your daily walk with Jesus Christ. Don’t bail before the blessing!

God bless your day!
 
 
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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