Live Like a Champion – Week 43

The Promise of Peace (Pt 3)

Ephesians 2:13-16 (NAS95)

 

We are in the third and final message of a three-week sermon to teach you how to live victoriously in God’s promise of peace. It is my desire that you will experience the power of the promise of peace in your everyday life, to the glory of God!

 

This promise is one of the most relevant promises we can manifest to our culture that is currently experiencing a national panic attack (or is it a temper tantrum?). We, the people of God, have the solution; so, let’s bring the peace of God (Jehovah Shalom!) that transcends all human understanding to the world (The indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit), by first experiencing Him for ourselves and allowing His presence in us—God’s peace is Himself—to make us both holy and whole. We are called to pass the peace of God to others—the ministry of reconciliation that has been given to all followers of Jesus Christ!

 

Here is a very quick review that leads us into today’s teaching:

  • In the first week, I taught you about the promise of peace with God (vertical) from John 14:27: “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” Peace with God is your salvation with God—it manifests as your holiness as you learn to love God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind!
  • Last week, I focused on the promise of peace within yourself (internal) from Philippians 4:6-7: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Peace with yourself is your mental health or peace of mind—it manifests as your wholeness as you learn to love yourself as God first loved you (Ephesians 2:4-9) … through the grace which saved you and from which you draw all life and godliness (2 Peter 1:2-4).
  • Today, I conclude with the promise of peace with how we are called to pass the peace to others! Listen to our memory verse for this week: Ephesians 2:14. Paul says, “For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall.”

 

Peace with God that guards our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus means that the promise of peace is not just a vertical and internal reality, it is our greatest witness as it brings external peace between us and other people. Listen to Paul in Ephesians 2:13-16 as he gives the larger context of our memory verse for today:

 

But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity.

 

This is the Church’s mission! This was radical thinking for the first century Jewish listeners. It is still radical today! In their minds, God loved His people, but the Gentiles were not His people (Hosea 2:23). Passages such as what I just read and John 3:16 were shocking to them because Jesus was challenging the idea that God loved Israel exclusively. Jesus was declaring the parts of their Scripture that the people had ignored: God would ransom the Gentiles through the seed of Abraham—Jesus Christ. This is what Paul was talking about in Galatians 3 and concludes his argument about the seed of Abraham being fulfilled in Jesus Christ in Galatians 3:26-29:

 

For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise.

 

Experiencing the peace of God in both our holiness and wholeness allows us to give God’s love and grace towards others because we have received (faith) and internalized (baptism) it in our own lives—we are now children of God (1 John 3:1). By the Spirit we are to build bridges with people to unite them in Christ alone—our peace through His shed blood on the Cross of Calvary!

 

This is the gospel work of the church—to be peacemakers! As Jesus declared in Matthew 5:9,
 
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”

 

Let’s be clear though: God’s peace means that we can have peace with God, we can have peace within, and we can act without hostility toward others. But it doesn’t mean we can avoid all conflict. It doesn’t mean that the battle of the flesh or the brokenness of the fall or the prevailing darkness of the prince of this world won’t be brought to us. As Paul says in Ephesians 6:12, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”

 

The gospel ministry of passing the peace is for every follower of Jesus because peacemakers are commanded to be ministers of reconciliation during this ancient conflict—we, the Church are a liberating force seeking to save that which has been bound up by evil and the fall! Paul explained this in 2 Corinthians 5:16-21:

 

Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer. Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

 

The ability to pass the peace to others is only possible because you have a peaceful heart yourself. The holiness of God (Christ in you!) manifests as your ministry of loving your neighbor as you have learned to love yourself. That is why I keep pointing out to you that these three directions of God’s peace align to Jesus’ teaching on the Greatest Commandments. Jesus taught us this in Matthew 22:37-39: “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ “This is the great and foremost commandment. “The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’

 

Furthermore, Paul emphasized in Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” The “us” in this passage is critical to our ability to pass the peace. It’s not a “me” thing—it’s an “us” thing!

 

Why are we commanded to love others and pass the peace of God? Because we recognize that God loved “us” (all of us!) first. Our love for ourselves (and for others) isn’t something that we “work up”, it’s a recognition and submission to His love for every man and woman. It’s a love that is transferred upon us through the righteousness of God—His love dwells in our hearts!

 

Listen to John teach us this in 1 John 4:17-21,

By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. We love, because He first loved us. If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.

We are brought back into a relationship with God the Father through Jesus’ relationship with His Father. The holiness or righteousness of God flows into our lives from the Father through the way of the Son by means of the Holy Spirit. As we become whole through the progressive process of sanctification, we become the answer to Jesus’ prayer in John 17:20-26:

 

I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. 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. Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, although the world has not known You, yet I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me; and I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.

 

The ministry of passing the peace that you first received is truly the work of the Holy Spirit! Allow me to pray for you and all of us, in agreement with Jesus’ promise of peace, that in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we walk as His people of peace. Let us pray … Amen!

 

You can listen to the message here:

This will appear sometime on Sunday.
 

You can watch the video by clicking HERE.

 
 

Read more...

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]
 
 
 

Read more...

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.

Read more...

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.

Read more...

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.

Read more...

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.

Read more...

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.
 

Read more...

Live Like a Champion – Week 42

The Promise of Peace!” (Part 2)

Philippians 4:6-9 (NAS95)

 

Last week I started a three-week sermon to teach you how to live victoriously in God’s promise of peace. It is my desire that you will experience the power of the promise of peace in your everyday life, to the glory of God!

 

This promise is one of the most relevant promises we can manifest in our composure and speech to our culture that would be attractive and impactful in today’s world situation and our current national panic attack (or is it a temper tantrum?). We, the people of God, have the solution; so, let’s bring the peace of God that transcends all human understanding to the world, by first experiencing it for ourselves and allowing it to make us both holy and whole.

 

  • Last week, I taught you about the promise of peace with God (vertical) from John 14:27: “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”
  • Today, I am focusing on the promise of peace within yourself (internal) from Philippians 4:6-7: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
  • Next week, I will conclude with the promise of peace with how we are called to pass the peace to others Ephesians 2:14: “For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall.”

 

These three aspects of the promise of peace are a cord of three strands (Ecclesiastes 4:12) for us to experience the joy of the Lord and to fulfill His Greatest Commandments for our lives. Listen to Jesus in Matthew 22:37-39: “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ “This is the great and foremost commandment. “The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’

 

There are three directions in the greatest commandment that perfectly align with the three-stranded cord that is the promise of peace:

 

  1. Peace with God is your salvation with God—it manifests as your holiness as you learn to love God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind!
  2. Peace with yourself is your mental health or peace of mind—it manifests as your wholeness as you learn to love yourself as God first loved you … through the grace which saved you and from which you draw all life and godliness (2 Peter 1:2-4).
  3. Peace with others is a peaceful heart—it manifests as your ministry of loving your neighbor as you have learned to love yourself remembering God’s love as taught by Paul in Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” As we will learn next week, the “us” in this passage is critical to our ability to pass the peace. It’s not a “me” thing!

 

Paul practically teaches us about how to walk in this peace. Mental health comes from this internal peace of God, by which we learn to live in God’s grace—not an earning, but a receiving of acceptance by Jehovah Shalom, who sent His Son Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, to give us new life so that we may experience His holiness as our wholeness. This is our transformation through the renewal of our minds that Paul promises in Romans 12:1-2. This promise comes with practices that invite us to participate in God’s work of sanctification in us: “for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13).

 

Philippians 4:6-9 teaches how to participate in God’s work of transforming us through the renewing of our minds:

 

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

 

The spiritual practices of peace are very similar to your dental hygiene habits: they require the discipline of habit making so that you no longer think about doing them, you just do it!

 

In the same way that you brush your teeth twice a day, morning and night, so I encourage you to practice 1 Peter 5:7 morning and night: “casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” Did you hear that? This is not a harsh command, but a loving invitation—BECAUSE HE CARES FOR YOU!  God is saying, “I love you and you can trust me … Come to Me …”!

 

This is the work of the Spirit through our times of Bible intake, prayer, silence and solitude, worship to Christian music … during our times of devotion. This is the example of Jesus throughout the Gospels as we see in Mark 1:35: “In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there.”

 

When we intentionally attend our hearts and minds to the presence of God through daily and weekly rhythms of grace, then we are putting ourselves directly in the authorized way of experiencing the promise found in Philippians 4:6-8 because we are responding to the real anxiety of our day with practices of intentionally attending ourselves to God’s presence:

 

In everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

 

Let’s straight talk for a minute—mental illness is real! For some, their fight is like that with cancer (clinical depression or a personality disorder), for others like that of seasonal allergies (seasonal depression), and for others it is an acute trauma that requires immediate care and follow up therapy. Mental health comes with real illnesses and life issues that shouldn’t be minimized. Please go see your primary care physician if you think that you need the assistance of medical science to help you in this conversation. I am advocating for you to remain faithful in the habits of grace that will wash over your heart and mind so that you are not taken hostage by your medical situation. In many ways, these are the same principles I tell people going through any medical crisis. Each crisis comes with its own challenges, but all are opportunities for you to grow in God’s grace and mercy—to be closer to Him; hence, experiencing rest for your soul and peace in your heart and mind, even when these temporary dwelling places (our bodies which includes our brains) are experiencing the brokenness of the fall.

 

With that understanding, Paul commands in 2 Corinthians 10:5b, “taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” In the same way that we must remain positive and hopeful in our treatment plans for other medical issues, we cannot surrender ourselves to the anchor of anxiety or the grip of fear or the paralysis of paranoia. We are invited to be vigilant to capture our thoughts, shatter the old broken tapes, stop the stinking thinking, and cease the catastrophic thinking to give ourselves the best chance possible of experiencing God’s freedom in this fight!

 

We are invited by God to walk in the ancient paths of Joshua 1:8-9:

 

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. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

 

This ancient practice of biblical meditation is the foundation of Psalm 119’s promises:

 

  • “How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your word” (9).
  • “Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You” (11).
  • “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (105).

 

Brothers and sisters, this is biblical maturity, it is the discipline of good mental hygiene, just like good dental hygiene. You brush, you floss, you gurgle because you don’t want stinky breath, nor do you want tooth rot or gum infection. We are invited to care for our souls and our bodies, our hearts and our minds! All of this belongs to God, and we are but stewards of it!

 

In the same way, you take in God’s Word, you meditate upon it and memorize it, pray God’s Word, and apply it to your life so that at the right time you can seize the moment. No one wants to be face-to-face with you if you have either stinky breath or a stinky attitude. A mature Christian is characterized by their wholeness, which flows from their holiness.

 

Setting apart times with God that bookend your day helps you experience being the person of peace. These inform and influence the discipline of walking in the ways of Jesus by learning to take on His yoke and learn from Him how to be gentle and humble in heart (Matthew 11:28-30).

This is the teaching of being a yokefellow that is so near and dear to my heart and ministry and is echoed here by Paul in Philippians 4:9,
 
“The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”

 

Learning how to walk in the promise of peace as daily mental health practices is a key spiritual discipline to our living out the Greatest Commandments. We represent Jesus the best—passing the peace—when we are both holy (peace with God!) and whole (sound mind!).

 

We need to realize that the Bible teaches us good mental hygiene practices that are fundamental to our well-being just as the many good dental hygiene habits are ingrained in most of our daily lives. As this becomes more normalized and less stigmatized in the church, then mental health practices and check-ups will be as common as dental health practices and check-ups. When there is an illness or acute crisis that occurs, we support the person and help them through it.

 

This promise of peace not only restores us back into right relationship with God, but because of the love of God working in us we can now have peace with ourselves, then with others. It is through this peace that we can ultimately put on display our holiness through our wholeness. The way this happens is by passing the peace through living out the Greatest Commandments.

 

We are to love our neighbor as we love ourselves—by the grace of God and the peace that He has bestowed upon us by the work of the Cross and empowered us to live in through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit!

 

This requires God’s peace to come from above, into us, and then flow through us to others. We are conduits of God’s love because His peace is a cord of three strands: vertical, internal, and then external. Next week, we will examine this last component—our ministry of passing the peace to others!
 
 
 
 

You can listen to the message here:

 

You can watch the video by clicking HERE.

 
 

Read more...

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
 

Read more...

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.

Read more...
^