cwkennedy

Weekday devotionals for Christians

5 Good Reasons To Come Back To Church

Church online is awesome.
It works.
But so many are saying, “It’s just not the same as being there.”
And while others would say, “What do you mean come back to church? I never left; I’m online.“
Others are owning that they are beginning to drift.
Here’s our message. The doors of the church are open, and we welcome you.When you are ready.
Some have personal concerns that we will honor along with their sense of timing for when they’re ready to return to church in larger gatherings.

Church Livstreaming is here, and I’m glad about that!
However, I have also appreciated the honesty of several who have shared their church experience with me during these past few months.
While many have worshipped and have been fully engaged through the entire online service, others are also answering emails, eating pancakes, and tending to their kids who need a response.
No matter what, in every conversation, I cheer them on and let them know I’m glad they are online! However, I also want them to experience the fullest that God might have for them.
Hey, I think the Holy Spirit approves of pancakes during church online.😀 We can’t take ourselves too seriously, but we ought to take God very seriously.
My concern as a shepherd of God’s people is that church has become an option for a very busy culture.
The local church is one of only two institutions God ordained for His people. (The other is marriage.)
It is important to continue to see the true value in God’s idea of the Church.
Church attendance is not about getting a gold star, but rather doing things God’s way. There are important things God built into the bigger picture of our design that benefit us through larger gatherings specifically for worship, fellowship, and the proclamation of His Word. Here are a few verses to start out the following statements:
Hebrews 10:23-25
(23) Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)
(24) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:
(25) Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

5 Good Reasons To Come Back To Church:


1) Drift is imminent without connection.
People are designed to be in community. Family is the core or foundation of community, but there’s greater breadth and depth when your faith community is enlarged.
As a pastor for many years now, I have seen a clear pattern and correlation between Christians who are in community and Christians who attempt to “go it on their own.”
Drift from God is often the result of some measure of spiritual isolation.
It’s true that no one is required to attend church to be a Christian, but in nearly every story, Christians with the more vibrant walk with Jesus regularly attend a church service.
The busyness and pressures of everyday life can cause your walk with God to become a part of your life rather than the center of your life.

Drift from God will happen without intentional effort, and the church is the primary leader, encourager, and teacher for the intentionality of growing your faith.
Any focused effort that helps a believer seek God helps correct drift.
Drift is imminent without connection.


2) Our worldview helps shape how we live our lives.
A worldview is the set of values and beliefs about the fundamental aspects of reality that ground and influence our perception, thoughts, knowledge, and actions.
Let me offer the obvious, whether or not a person believes in God, creation, and Jesus as the redeemer completely and absolutely changes how they see the world and live their life in comparison to someone who does not believe in or follow God.
You might challenge and say, “Well, I can read that in a book.” Yes, that’s true, but you can’t learn how to live it out in cultural context on your own. (Which takes us back to community.)
Life isn’t mechanical, it’s fluid and nuanced, and it requires intentional conversation to help us to live amidst the complexities of life in a changing culture.
For example, let’s look at the idea of forgiveness.
Forgiveness is easy to understand but extremely complicated to actually live out when someone has been deeply hurt or wronged.
The church is arguably the best place to learn life’s most complex within a Christian worldview.
This impacts the overall direction your life takes, the decisions you make, and the outcomes you experience.


3) Living a vibrant spiritual life often requires coaching, mentoring, and/or discipleship.
From my earliest days as a new Christian to now as a seasoned leader, I have always had coaches or mentors to help me understand, navigate, and live a God-honoring life.
Even with coaching, I have lived far from perfect. I just can’t imagine if I attempted to figure it all out on my own. That doesn’t mean I don’t think for myself; it means others show me the way to become and live out my life according to God’s plan.
Coaching experiences come in a wide variety of possibilities.
• It might be a volunteer leader who has a cup of coffee with you to help you think through a difficult decision.
• It might be a pastor who gives you insight into a difficult family situation.
• Or perhaps a spiritual leader who helps you develop your leadership skills.
Like a university education helps prepare a student for a meaningful career, the church helps prepare you to live your life to the fullest in Christ.
John 10:9-10
(9) I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.
(10) The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

Living a vibrant spiritual life often requires coaching.


4) The church is a light in your community.
God has given you gifts and opportunities to serve others.
You can do this without the church, but the majority of believers are more likely to get involved when the church leads the way and organizes the opportunities.
When the church organizes the opportunities to serve the community, it multiplies your efforts for a much greater impact.
Here’s the bottom line, the church is designed to be salt and light. The greater the number of Christ-followers who serve, the more significant its impact.


5) Healthy habits bring stability.
A healthy life consists of healthy patterns and rhythms based on biblical principles.
We all understand the impact of good and healthy habits.
If I eat healthy foods once a week but the other six days I each junk food, the results will not be good. It’s the same with exercise. I can work out once a quarter with the greatest of intentions, but you know how much good that will do.
Consistent patterns and habits bring a sense of strength and stability that create a healthy foundation to live by.
A consistent connection with a body of believers is likely the most important habit you can form for a deepening and meaningful spiritual life.
No church is perfect, but any church can help you make progress if you look for the good and determine to develop healthy spiritual habits in your life.

June 24, 2020 Posted by | Coronovirus, Covid-19, Devotional, faith in God, Fear, Madison Street Baptist Church, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Two Important Things

John 9:23-38
(23) Therefore said his parents, He is of age; ask him.
(24) Then again called they the man that was blind, and said unto him, Give God the praise: we know that this man is a sinner.
(25) He answered and said, Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.
Jump down to verse:
(29) We know that God spake unto Moses: as for this fellow, we know not from whence he is.
(30) The man answered and said unto them, Why herein is a marvellous thing, that ye know not from whence he is, and yet he hath opened mine eyes.
(31) Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.
(32) Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind.
(33) If this man were not of God, he could do nothing.
(34) They answered and said unto him, Thou wast altogether born in sins, and dost thou teach us? And they cast him out.
Jump down to verse:
(37) And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee.
(38) And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him.

Just a quick note to let you know that this will be my last devotional for a while. I started these devotions back 2 months ago to be a blessing during the quarantine and it is coming to a close. If you are enjoying these devotionals, then I encourage you to go back into the archives and enjoy those. Thank you so much for reading these devos, for your kind words, and all of the times that you pushed the like button! God Bless you all. You can also visit the church website at msbc.net to watch any sermons. If you are ever in Athens, AL, please stop by and see us at the church!

Here we see Jesus healing a blind man and I would like to point out a few interesting things concerning this:

1. The man never asked Jesus to heal him. 

2. The man’s healing was used to glorify God and to show that only Jesus has the Power to heal.

3. Jesus must work the works of His Father. Jesus has a job. His job is to help us.

4. He is the light of the world to lighten every one of us to the knowledge that He is the Son of God and God.

5. The man was not healed until he obeyed Jesus.

6. The Blind man became a believer and a witness.

In conclusion of this chapter, I want to finish talking about 2 very important things that every Christian should do.

A. He told others about Jesus. Wow, what a great thing for every Christian to do! We should look for ways to tell others about Jesus! Hasn’t He been so good to us? He deserves for us to tell others about Him. Keep in mimd that some people, like the pharisees in the above verses, will be told multiple times and still not believe. That is not the blind man’s fault, that is there unbelief hindering the work of faith in their life. He also was willing to be put out of the temple, a disgraceful act, for Jesus. The pharisees wanted him to change his story (vs. 24-25), but he would not. In fact, his defense of Jesus led to a simple, yet very profound statement, “one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.” The pharisees did not know what to do with that! I love it. Facts don’t care about political correctness, they just simply don’t change.

B. He turned to Jesus when the religious crowd rejected him. This is sad, but there are religious people out there that are simply fakes. They are weeds in the garden, tares amoung wheat, spies among true soldiers for Christ. Those pharisees only care about themselves and get angry when others get healing from the Lord. They only want to look like they care, rather than actually caring. I am so glad that Jesus was close by when the blind man was rejected. I am glad because he turned to Jesus!

When the world beats you up, turn to Jesus. When the religious crowd rejects you, turn to Jesus. When your friends turn on you, turn to Jesus. When your family will not support you, turn to Jesus. Guess what? Jesus can relate with all of those rejections. He felt and experienced every one. If everyone turns against you, know that Jesus is there for you! Turning to Jesus is the most important things we can do!

May 29, 2020 Posted by | Coronovirus, Covid-19, Devotional, faith in God, Fear, Madison Street Baptist Church | 1 Comment

Can Your Faith Be Trusted?

John 9:7-11
(7)  And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.
(8)  The neighbours therefore, and they which before had seen him that he was blind, said, Is not this he that sat and begged?
(9)  Some said, This is he: others said, He is like him: but he said, I am he.
(10)  Therefore said they unto him, How were thine eyes opened?
(11)  He answered and said, A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed mine eyes, and said unto me, Go to the pool of Siloam, and wash: and I went and washed, and I received sight.

Here we see Jesus healing a blind man and I would like to point out a few interesting things concerning this:

1. The man never asked Jesus to heal him. 

2. The man’s healing was used to glorify God and to show that only Jesus has the Power to heal.

3. Jesus must work the works of His Father. Jesus has a job. His job is to help us.

4. He is the light of the world to lighten every one of us to the knowledge that He is the Son of God and God.

5. The man was not healed until he obeyed Jesus. Notice that his eyes did not receive sight until he did what Jesus told him to do. I always find it interesting how that Jehovah God will heal, fix, or replace something in a person’s life, but that Jesus will require them to do something in the process. I want to point out a few thoughts about this.

A. Faith always produces an action. One sure fire way to know if you are living by faith is to see if there are any actions that are happening from your faith in the Lord. Are there any actions in your life that are a result of you trusting the Lord? If you really do trust God, then what is stopping you from doing what He wants you to do?

B. God wants you to obey Him. While this might sound like the first point, it is different. The difference is that sometimes we do not want to do what God has told us to do. This pool of Siloam…what was the big deal about that pool? Asking Jehovah God “why” is a sign that you do not trust Him and that you are not living by faith. Hebrews 11:6  But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. Obedience is an act of trust in God.

C. God will test your faith. The man was blind. How did he get to the pool of Siloam? The Bible does not record how the blind man got there, but he got there! I have not seen in this chapter, any place where it points out that someone helped him to the pool, but we see that he went and that he can see. There might be a time where God will ask you to do something that will be very difficult for you to do on your own…when that happens, find a way and “get ‘er done”. A faith that cannot be tested, is a faith that cannot be trusted. God knows where your faith is. He does not need to see where your faith is… you do. God wants you to know where your faith is, so that you can grow from there.

Can God trust your faith?

May 28, 2020 Posted by | Coronovirus, Covid-19, Devotional, faith in God, Madison Street Baptist Church | Leave a comment

Come to the Light

John 9:3-7
(3) Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.
(4) I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.
(5) As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.
(6) When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay,
(7) And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.

Here we see Jesus healing a blind man and I would like to point out a few interesting things concerning this:

1. The man never asked Jesus to heal him. 

2. The man’s healing was used to glorify God and to show that only Jesus has the Power to heal.

3. Jesus must work the works of His Father. Jesus has a job. His job is to help us.

4. He is the light of the world to lighten every one of us to the knowledge that He is the Son of God and God. We see in verse 6 that Jesus shows that He is the Son of God by doing only what God can do…healing the blind man. This man was blind from his birth. That means this man has never seen anything…ever. Think about it, never seeing a thing to seeing everything! That is what only God can do!

This was necessary for all of humanity to be able to tell the difference between Jesus Christ and others who claimed to be Christ, but were sinful men. Jesus’ work was 2 fold; to heal us and to help us recognize that He is the Son of God! How else would we be able to figure it out, other than by God doing the impossible? Guess what? He still does that today!

Jesus is still in the miracle working business of healing His people. Do you know that He still wants to prove Himself to you? Those of us who already trust and believe in Him still enjoy what He does on a regular basis for us, but if you are trying to decide or figure out who is the real God, then Jesus will prove Himself to you! All you need to do is seek Him and He will be found. Check out this verse: Acts 17:27
That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:

There are over 27 verses that tell us specifically to “seek the Lord.” They are incredible! Here are just 2 more of the verses:

Deuteronomy 4:29  But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.
1 Chronicles 16:10  Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the LORD.

Will you seek the Lord? He is waiting for you!

May 27, 2020 Posted by | Coronovirus, Covid-19, Devotional, Fear, Madison Street Baptist Church | Leave a comment

There is a Better Way to Repair It…His name is Jesus

John 9:1-7
(1) And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.
(2) And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?
(3) Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.
(4) I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.
(5) As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.
(6) When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay,
(7) And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.

Here we see Jesus healing a blind man and I would like to point out a few interesting things concerning this:

1. The man never asked Jesus to heal him. 2. The man’s healing was used to glorify God and to show that only Jesus has the Power to heal.

3. Jesus must work the works of His Father. I like this point a lot. Jesus has a job. His job is to help us. When problems arise, Jesus can fix them. Jesus wants to fix them. Jesus has the power to fix them….so why don’t we go to Him more often(preaching at myself here)? My default, human nature is to try to fix it all on my own and try everything first before I go to God. While that sounds good, it is backwards.

When we do not go to Jesus first for help, we are not utilizing all of our strength or resources.

It is like: using a screw driver handle as a hammer or using duct tape to hold a broken piece together or driving on the “donut” instead of using the normal wheel or using the microwave to cook a steak or putting a BMX wheel on a 10 speed mountain bike…I can go on and on. Jesus wants us to come to Him so that He can continue to work in our lives. His fix is to use the hammer instead of the screw driver or to give us a new piece to use instead of duct tape or giving us a brand new tire and rim for our car instead of the “donut” or a new mountain bike wheel instead of a BMX wheel.

What is wrong with the back tire?

The ironic thing about all of that is that He will not force us to come to Himwe must come to Him willingly. I have also learned that longer I hold out and try my solution, the longer it will be until I get the best solution…His solution. Can you relate? I do believe that the hard work ethic that was instilled in me, backfires at times because we need to depend on God first and not ourselves only. Please do not misunderstand….I am 110% for hard work and self-sufficiency. The Bible does say that if a man doesn’t work, he should not eat. I am not promoting a welfare mentality, but rather being more dependent on God for our needs and to fix the problems that rise up in our life.

Will you allow Jesus work in your life? He wants to fix and supply all of your needs. He is waiting on you to come to Him. Go ahead and ask Him now to fix or supply a need in your life…you just might be surprised at what He will do! He really wants to work the works of His Father! ….or you can just have something like this….LOL

Love that door!

May 26, 2020 Posted by | Coronovirus, Covid-19, Devotional, Madison Street Baptist Church, Wisdom | Leave a comment

A Teachable Moment

John 9:1-7
(1) And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.
(2) And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?
(3) Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.
(4) I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.
(5) As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.
(6) When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay,
(7) And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.

I will do a few devotionals on this story in John 9; and today will continue on with point #2

Here we see Jesus healing a blind man and I would like to point out a few interesting things concerning this:

1. The man never asked Jesus to heal him.

2. The man’s healing was used for 2 main reasons: A. To glorify God. It is vitally important for us to give God glory in our lives! Even though this man did not ask for healing, he still wanted it and appreciated it when he received it (I will show you later on in the chapter). The good things that happen in our lives come from Jesus! That is a statement that is based on faith in God. Just like this man received life changing healing without asking God for it, we receive good things from Jesus on a regular basis…Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah. Psalms 68:19. Notice in the beginning of the verse that the writer is giving God glory for daily benefits? We need to do the same as well. Do you glorify God for the good things in your life?

B. To demonstrate that as the Son of God, only Jesus has the power heal. Jesus wanted to use this time to teach His disciples more about Himself. Jesus has all the answers to our needs. The main reason that Jesus performed miracles on the earth was to show all people, that Jesus is the Son of God! If this man were not of God, he could do nothing. (John 9:33).

I go to doctors, but my trust is not in them. I get advice from counselors, but my trust is not in their wisdom. My trust is in the Lord. He is the One that will guide me in all truth! He can guide me to the right person for advice or the right doctor for healing. Jesus can heal me all by Himself if He chooses to do so. I believe that He has answered many of my prayers in both healing and wisdom. We should go to Him first before we go to any man for help or advice.

What do you trust? Who do you trust? Those are important questions for all of us to answer. Our actions, believe it or not, will answer those questions. Do you ask God to guide you in all truth? Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. John 16:13. Let me encourage you today to trust only in Jehovah God (Jesus). Go to doctors and go to counselors, but above all trust in God!

May 25, 2020 Posted by | Coronovirus, Covid-19, Devotional, Madison Street Baptist Church, prayer | Leave a comment

He Didn’t Even Ask

John 9:1-7
(1)  And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.
(2)  And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?
(3)  Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.
(4)  I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.
(5)  As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.
(6)  When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay,
(7)  And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.

I will do a few devotionals on this story in John 9; and today will start it out.

Here we see Jesus healing a blind man and I would like to point out a few interesting things concerning this:

1. The man never asked Jesus to heal him. This is odd because we see in other parts of the Bible where 2 blind men heard that Jesus passed by their way and they called out and begged Jesus to heal them. Begging and asking are 2 things that blind people do well…especially back in the Bible days. I like how Jesus did not wait for this man to ask, He healed him even though the man did not asked.

My thought on this is that Jesus knows our needs before we ask…if we ask. God takes notice of us and is greatly concerned with our needs. Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows. Matthew 10:29-31. Here is another one: But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him. Matthew 6:7-8. We should still ask in prayer because we are commanded to ask.

My point is that God knows what you need and will supply all of your needs according to His riches. Even though the man never asked Jesus to heal him, Jesus healed him anyway! Be encouraged, God is watching over you and loves you greatly! Let’s love Him back and be very grateful for what He is doing in our lives!

May 22, 2020 Posted by | Coronovirus, Covid-19, Devotional, Madison Street Baptist Church | Leave a comment

Great Memories

I Samuel 3:9-10 (9) Therefore Eli said unto Samuel, Go, lie down: and it shall be, if he call thee, that thou shalt say, Speak, LORD; for thy servant heareth. So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
(10) And the LORD came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth.
(11) And the LORD said to Samuel, Behold, I will do a thing in Israel, at which both the ears of every one that heareth it shall tingle.

What a blessed memory it is for me when I first recognized God’s calling on my life! Here in this passage Samuel, as a little boy, has his first encounter with the Almighty God! Samuel was an apprentice for the high priest, Eli. He was learning all about God, but on this particular night, he had a personal session with God! Have you ever had a personal time with God where you KNEW that He was talking to you? Have you ever had a time when He called your name?

God greatly desires to use us in mighty ways. The reason why most people never hear God calling their name is because they are not listening for Him. In this story, God woke little Samuel up and got his attention. This being his first personal experience with God, Samuel thought Eli was calling him. I think it is a special thing when a young person mistakes God’s voice for someone else’s voice, someone in their life that is extremely important. I take this as a personal challenge, not to have some self-righteous feeling, but to be so close to God that anything that I would say or do would be mistaken for God doing it.

I have been told in the past that a phrase that I said, or an action I did, reminded someone of a person that they knew (maybe you have had a similar experience). I want to be so close to God to the point that God rubs off on me…and that is where I am going with this thought today.

Have you ever been so close to God that He has rubbed off on you? I have walked through the woods or even through open fields where these prickly, little “burrs” stick to my shoes. When I would get home for the day, I would have to be very careful as I pulled those “burrs” out of my shoes. I had that experience because I brought home with me a little bit of the forest that day.

I want to challenge you and to renew a challenge with me today that we would have some of God come home with us. O, I do not want it to be painful, especially like those little “burrs”, but for us to be like Eli when Samuel thought God’s voice sounded like Eli. O for the day when the world we live in and the people we interact with, mistake us for God! Would your actions today be closer to the devil or God? Would your words be closer to the devil or God’s? Would your dealings with others be more closely related to Jesus or the devil? Believe it or not, we do have control over that. Let’s strive today to be more like the Lord Jesus, than like the devil.

May 21, 2020 Posted by | Coronovirus, Covid-19, Devotional, Madison Street Baptist Church, Wisdom | Leave a comment

It Is Through Patience

Luke 21:16-19
(16) And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death.
(17) And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake.
(18) But there shall not an hair of your head perish.
(19) In your patience possess ye your souls.

In this passage of Scripture is instruction that Jesus is giving to His disciples. He fore-warns them of persecution that will come. Their persecution will come because of being a witness for Christ…telling others about how to get to Heaven. Isn’t it odd how horrible things will come from doing right? That is the way of following Christ. He is not offering you or me a life of ease and leisure, but rather He is offering us a life of great satisfaction and fulfillment. The road that is easiest to navigate is one that we all desire, but that road usually leads to destruction. Nothing good ever comes easy.

So often we as Americans will let the philosophy of success-ism influence how we think about and look at God. God’s view of things and our views often will conflict, but know that His will is the best! The Bible says in I Peter, “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. (1 Peter 4:12-14)

It may sound morbid, but the suffering that comes from serving God will be blessed by God in immense ways. God will always make it worth your while when you suffer for His sake! It may be down here, or better yet, it may be once you get to Heaven. If it will be in Heaven, know that the blessings you will receive will be eternal and not fade away like it would down here.

Verse 19 is also good advice for us as we live this life. Patience is not something that we like or enjoy doing, but it will help us keep our life. Has someone ever tried to “get your goat”? I think this verse helps us understand it a little more, “He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city. ” (Proverbs 16:32). It will take some patient enduring, but God will not only take care of you, but He will also reward you greatly for it when it is over. I am not for sure who this is for, but I feel led of the Lord to share this here today. God Bless You!

May 20, 2020 Posted by | Coronovirus, Covid-19, Devotional, Fear, Madison Street Baptist Church | Leave a comment

A Good Question To Ask

1 Kings 11:1-8
(1)  But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites;
(2)  Of the nations concerning which the LORD said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you: for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods: Solomon clave unto these in love.
(3)  And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart.
(4)  For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father.
(5)  For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites.
(6)  And Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and went not fully after the LORD, as did David his father.
(7)  Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon.
(8)  And likewise did he for all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods.

Back in the days of kings, there was a philosophy that was considered very wise by many nations. That philosophy was to join 2 nations together through marriage to ensure peace.  If a king attacked a nation that his child was married to their leader or king, then it would be like the king attacking his child.  No king wanted to hurt their child’s welfare or jeopardize them by battles or war. Sometimes the marriage would happen through the son or daughter of a king; sometimes a king would take on multiple wives himself to ensure peace between 2 countries. That kind of philosophy was regarded very highly because wars are not only expensive, but the high cost of losing many men proved to be too much for some nations as it weakened that country.

When God raised up Saul as king, the high priest Samuel, gave the people a warning from God found in I Samuel: Now therefore behold the king whom ye have chosen, and whom ye have desired! and, behold, the LORD hath set a king over you. If ye will fear the LORD, and serve him, and obey his voice, and not rebel against the commandment of the LORD, then shall both ye and also the king that reigneth over you continue following the LORD your God: But if ye will not obey the voice of the LORD, but rebel against the commandment of the LORD, then shall the hand of the LORD be against you, as it was against your fathers.
(1 Samuel 12:13-15) The words in blue letters gives the warning from God about what will happen if they turn away from serving and worshiping God.

It is extremely important to God that we do things His way. God wanted the Israelites and every king to serve and worship God the way that God wanted them. When they disobeyed, God sent His judgement upon them. A good question to ask ourselves in our lives is, “Is this how God wants it done?” His instructions that are found in the Bible are always better than my opinion and your opinion. His ways are better than our ways. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9).

Whose ways are you following? Whose thoughts are in your mind? We should do it God’s way….what am I talking about?…everything…even the things that God is putting on your heart right now. What Solomon did not realize was that his wives would turn away his heart from the Lord who gave him his kingdom and wisdom. What a sad way to end his life by serving other gods. Last question, whose way are you following?

May 19, 2020 Posted by | Coronovirus, Covid-19, Devotional, Madison Street Baptist Church, Wisdom | Leave a comment

Looks Can Be Deceiving

Proverbs 14:11-12
(11)  The house of the wicked shall be overthrown: but the tabernacle of the upright shall flourish.
(12)  There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.

For skiing enthusiasts there are few places that top the rugged Cascade Mountains in Washington state. For “extreme skiers” who look for the most remote and steep locations, one of the best places to ski is the Stevens Pass on Cowboy Mountain. Just outside that ski park is a place known as Tunnel Creek. Though it is not maintained by the ski resort, it is known for deep snow that is perfect for skiing-and avalanches.

In February of 2012 more than a dozen world class skiers gathered for and excursion down Tunnel Creek. The trip ended in disaster as nearly 3 feet of newly fallen snow combined with temperature changes created a deadly avalanche. Three of the skiers-professionals who had spent much of their lives on the slopes-perished in the massive snow slide. The wife of one of the victims asked him that morning if the excursion was safe. She later said, “He looked me right in the eye and said: ‘Of course, I wouldn’t be going if it weren’t.” They thought that what they were doing was safe, but they were tragically and fatally wrong.

Human wisdom and understanding is fallible. Studies have shown that people routinely underestimate dangers and overestimate their abilities to cope them them. Thisis true in all aspects of life, but it is especially true in the spiritual realm. The prophet Jeremiah put it this way: “O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.”  (Jeremiah 10:23) God has given us a perfect and inerrant guide-His Word. Rather than relying on how things look and feel to us, we should truest and follow His precepts.

May 18, 2020 Posted by | Coronovirus, Covid-19, Devotional, Fear, Madison Street Baptist Church, Wisdom | Leave a comment

9 Nor’s to Encourage You

Romans 8:35-39
(35)  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
(36)  As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
(37)  Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
(38)  For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
(39)  Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

We, that is you and me, have an enemy. He is Satan, the devil. He is horrible, terrible, cruel, mean, wicked, full of wretchedness and filthy. I hate the devil. The devil wants to hurt us. The devil wants to destroy us. The devil wants to lead us astray from God. The devil wants get us away from God to make us vulnerable to his wiles. Just as a lion hunts for the weak and very young, so likewise the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about seeking whom he may devour.

1 John 4:19
(19)  We love him, because he first loved us.

The devil hates you because God loves you. The devil wants to separate you from the Love of God, but he can’t…HA HA! God loves you and the devil cannot do anything to stop it! Think about that … God….Loves….you! God is so powerful, that their is not any thing that can separate us from His love. Look above to verses 38 and 39. Their is 1 “neither” and 9 “Nor’s” that should encourage you. They are used to describe God’s limitation in our lives. Nothing can separate us from God’s love…NOT EVEN THE CORONAVIRUS…LOL. God loves us so much!

Just a simple thought today…God loves you and nothing can keep you from receiving God’s love! Take a moment and thank Him for His wonderful love that cannot be kept from His people! Thank you God!

May 15, 2020 Posted by | Coronovirus, Covid-19, Devotional, Madison Street Baptist Church | Leave a comment

Takes One to Know One

1 Kings 15:3
And he walked in all the sins of his father, which he had done before him: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father.

1 Kings 11:3-9
(3) And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart.
(4) For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father.
(5) For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites.
(6) And Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and went not fully after the LORD, as did David his father.
(7) Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon.
(8) And likewise did he for all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods.
(9) And the LORD was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the LORD God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice,

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. What goes around comes around. These statements are familiar and they are so true to so many people. I am reminded of the devotional yesterday where Solomon married 300 wives. WOW! 300! If you know much about his father, King David; you know that his father married many women as well. He had many wives, although only eight of them are named. Of the eight, five are mentioned only once. The other three wives figure prominently in the story of King David. According to 2 Samuel 5:13, David married more wives in Jerusalem, but how many is unknown. These facts are not as widely known to us today, but they were very obvious and well known to his children.

And he walked in all the sins of his father

Is there any doubt now why Solomon married so many women? Especially with his dad being highly praised and decorated. So often, we as parents do not think that our sins are that big or that bad, but they really are! While many may not see our faults or sins, our children do! And they probably see them more clearly than we do. Such is the case with King David and King Solomon. David married many women. Without getting stuck in the weeds, that was sin, but David was still able to keep his heart loving the Lord and trusting the Lord. I personally cannot explain it, but the Bible points it out.

And he walked in all the sins of his father

The sins of the father definitely effected his son. And the issue that comes is that while David may have “handled it” (the sin of so many wives), his son Solomon couldn’t. Keep in mind that Solomon was the wisest human, outside of Jesus Christ, that walked this earth.

We as parents need to make sure that we are setting an example where we set the bar up high enough and live by it that we can say, “Do what I say AND what I do,” rather than making the statement, “Do what I say, not what I do.” That statement says 2 things: 1. I am a hypocrite. 2. I am not willing to do right, but you need to. I have never seen that work out correctly.

In closing, let’s make sure that our lives are the type that could be modeled to our children as they grow up. Let us be the example of how to live and overcome the difficult things in this world through Jesus!

What will your children learn from you?

May 14, 2020 Posted by | Coronovirus, Covid-19, Devotional, Madison Street Baptist Church, Wisdom | Leave a comment

Is Your Heart Right, or Has It Left?

Proverbs 7:24-25
(24) Hearken unto me now therefore, O ye children, and attend to the words of my mouth.
(25) Let not thine heart decline to her ways, go not astray in her paths.

One of things that the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia, does is track the different things that end life. According to their statistics, more Americans die of heart disease every year than any other single cause. No one keeps similar statistics on spiritual tragedies, but if there were a way to measure the cause of them, certainly problems of the heart would be at the top of the list. If we allow our hearts to be turned away from God, disaster will soon follow.

We see this truth illustrated in the life of Solomon. Though God gave him great wisdom, wealth, and power, Solomon did not remain constant in his devotion. In his youth, he worshiped and valued God. building the magnificent Temple in Jerusalem. But he disobeyed the Word of God by having many wives from foreign countries and different false religions. Those wives eventually turned his heart away from God. Over time they destroyed his allegiance to the God of Israel. “For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father.” (1 Kings 11:4).

What goes on in the heart cannot be concealed forever. Sooner or later it will be apparent in our actions. Jesus said, “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:” (Matthew 15:19). If we love God as we should, there will be no room for the things of this world to take root. The warning that John issued to the church at Ephesus shows the vital importance of the heart: “Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.“(Revelation 2:4).

Where is your heart? The words to this hymn ring true even to this day:

Is Thy Heart Right with God?

Have thy affections been nailed to the cross?
Is thy heart right with God?
Dost thou count all things for Jesus but loss?
Is thy heart right with God?

chorus:
Is thy heart right with God,
Washed in the crimson flood,
Cleansed and made holy, humble and lowly,
Right in the sight of God?

Hast thou dominion o’er self and o’er sin?
Is thy heart right with God?
Over all evil without and within?
Is thy heart right with God?

Is there no more condemnation for sin?
Is thy heart right with God?
Does Jesus rule in the temple within?
Is thy heart right with God?

Are all thy pow’rs under Jesus’ control?
Is thy heart right with God?
Does He each moment abide in thy soul?
Is thy heart right with God?

May 13, 2020 Posted by | Coronovirus, Covid-19, Devotional, Madison Street Baptist Church | Leave a comment

Here is the Pep Talk

Galatians 6:7-9
(7)  Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
(8)  For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
(9)  And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

Are you ready for the “pep talk?” Ready or not, here it comes!

We are told and reminded in the Bible that we will reap what we sow. It is only a matter of time before it comes about. WHEN you reap, WHAT DO YOU WANT TO REAP? The verses above are a sober reminder that we need to keep pressing on. If you need to take a break, then take a break (hopefully a short one). When you are finished, jump back in. If you need to make a change, then change it and keep going forward. These are things that I am reminded about. We all get worn out from time to time, just keep it all in perspective.

Here is the list that I believe came from the Lord. It challenges me and maybe it can be a help and a challenge to you as well to keep on going:

In times of displacement:

1. How will you respond?

2. Who will you continue to trust?

3. Who will you become during your displacement?

4. Will you work on improving where flaws are exposed?

5. How will you treat others?

6. How will you improve as a leader?

7. What will get priority in your schedule?

While I will not be able to answer all of these questions now (and neither will you), the answer will eventually come for every question. Will you still keep moving forward? Progress is dependent on you moving forward. I hope you will!

Be good at doing the difficult things in life…with God, through God, and by God!…be a Conqueror!!

Philippians 4:13
I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

God Bless You!

May 12, 2020 Posted by | Coronovirus, Covid-19, Devotional, Madison Street Baptist Church | Leave a comment

Sometimes, I Just Hate Improvements

Galatians 6:7-9
(7)  Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
(8)  For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
(9)  And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

I like growing and improving. I like to see progress and things to get better in my own personal life and with things around me. I like to see various things in my house, car, personal performance, and career make improvements. “It” just gets old sometimes with me. What is the “it” that I am talking about? The inconvenience and irritation of consistently being uncomfortable or not satisfied with where I am at or the things in my life that need improving, really gets old at times. Any one feel my pain?

What should we do when this happens? Well, sometimes I need a break from the improvement and just to take a “breather (short break)” from it. At other times, I need to re-evaluate my goals. Sometimes the frustration or discouragement will come from “spinning my wheels” and not making progress. At times the frustration will come from goals that have already been achieved or achieved too easily. And there are times when I do not really know, so I need to ask the Lord to show me and wait for His answer.

All of this to say, “Hang in there, improving is worth the frustration and irritation that you will encounter. We have a human body to live in and sometimes the problem is not external, but internal….meaning, my mortal flesh just doesn’t like anything but fun and good food. I have learned that if I give my flesh everything that it wants, I will always end up having regrets in some form or fashion.

So, for those of you who feel my pain….Keep on Keeping on! It is worth it! Don’t let temporary feelings stop permanent change in our life. Remember that we have to “pay” at some point. I would rather “pay now and enjoy later”, than to “enjoy now and pay later.” Investing is paying now and enjoying later. Living on credit cards and building debt is enjoying now and paying later. Righteous and wise living is paying now and enjoying later. Sinful living that will leave you bruised and broken, is enjoying now and paying later. Hang in there. It will be worth it all, when you finish!

Tomorrow, I will share with you some newer goals and challenges that the Lord has put on my heart to help motivate me and keep me moving in the right direction on the right path. God Bless You!

May 11, 2020 Posted by | Coronovirus, Covid-19, Devotional, Madison Street Baptist Church | Leave a comment

Misunderstanding the Memo

2 Timothy 1:13-14
(13)  Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.
(14)  That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.

J Edgar Hoover ran the FBI with an iron fist. As a result, almost all of his subordinates were on the lookout for ways to impress their powerful boss. A young FBI agent put in charge of the supply department attempted to cut costs and impress his boss by reducing the size of the office memo paper.

One of the new memo sheets soon ended up on Hoover’s desk. Hoover took one look at it, determined he didn’t like the size of the margins on the paper, and quickly wrote down on the memo, “Watch the borders!” The memo was passed on through the office.

For the next six weeks, it was extremely difficult to enter the U.S. by road from either Mexico or Canada. The FBI was watching the borders. They thought they had received a warning from their chief, but they hadn’t. They had transformed an innocuous comment into a solemn warning.

Many messages are confused or misinterpreted. In the Old Testament days, the people didn’t have the entire Bible, so God gave them prophets, holy men of God, who relayed God’s messages. If a prophet refused to relay God’s message to the people, he was no longer useful to the Lord. God could speak, but if the prophet was not surrendered and obedient, the people would never get God’s message.

Think about your own life. God has given you a message called salvation. He has spoken it to you through His Word, and you are His spokesperson, sent to tell the ones He loves of salvation. Are you communicating it to them? Have you spoken the truth of God’s Word to those around you? Determine to relay God’s message of salvation to others today, for there will be a day when you will no longer be able to tell them.

May 8, 2020 Posted by | Coronovirus, Covid-19, Devotional, Madison Street Baptist Church | Leave a comment

What is Integrity

Psalms 26:1-2
(1) A Psalm of David. Judge me, O LORD; for I have walked in mine integrity: I have trusted also in the LORD; therefore I shall not slide.
(2) Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; try my reins and my heart.

Integrity is doing the right thing, even if nobody is looking. Integrity means giving your employer an honest 8 hours work for 8 hours pay. Integrity is attending church(if not quarantined) even if your relatives decide to plan an event on Sunday. It is never separating the life you live from the words you speak.

Someone once said, “Integrity is keeping my committment even when the circumstances surrounding my commitment have changed.” As Christians, our commitment is first to Jesus Chirst. No matter if the circumstances surrounding our lives have changed, we must keep our integrity by staying true to our Lord.

One of the truest tests of integrity is its blunt refusal to be compromised. Ask yourself these questions, “What does it take to stop me from serving God?” or, “What does it take to make me compromise one of my beliefs?”

If someone tried to ruin your Christian reputation, would you compromise a belief and start talking badly about them? If your parents got a divorce, would you give up on God altogether? If your family quarrels, will you forget God’s omniscience and start blaming Him for giving you a dysfunctional family?

Integrity is mentioned 16 times in the Bible, Five times that integrity is mentioned, it is referring to walking in integrity. Five other times it is mentioned, it refers to the integrity of the heart. We get integrity by maintaining a consistent walk with God from the heart.

Job is one of the best examples of a man with integrity. He allowed God to prove him, and through his integrity, he not only proved his love to God, but he also received 10 times the blessing. Can your life be characterized by integrity?

May 7, 2020 Posted by | Coronovirus, Covid-19, Devotional, Madison Street Baptist Church, Wisdom | Leave a comment

The Key to Going Up, Is Taking Your Pride Down.

1 Peter 5:5-6
(5) Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.
(6) Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:

Many years ago, Christian professor Stuart Blackie of the University of Edinburgh was listening to his students as they presented oral readings. When one young man rose to begin his recitation, he held his book in the wrong hand. The professor thundered, “Take your book in your right hand and be seated!” Ath this harsh rebuke, the student held up his right arm. He didn’t have a right hand! The other students shifted uneasily in their seats. For a moment the professor hesitated. Then he made his way to the student, put his arm around him, and with tears streaming from his eyes, said, “I never knew about it. Please, will you forgive me?”

The Story was told some time later in a large gathering. At the close of the meeting a man came forward, turned to the crowd, and raised his right are. It ended at the wrist. He said, “I was that student. Professor Blackie led me to Christ. But he never could have done it if he had not made the wrong right.”

Had Professor Blackie not humbled himself and apologized to his student, that student may have never received Christ. It took a refusal of pride, a natural human reaction, and an admission of fault.

Many times the biggest reason we fail to follow God’s leadership is because of pride. Pride is a natural human tendency on which the world seems to focus. God teaches us that in order to follow Him, we must humble ourselves.

Are you submitted to God’s leading in your life? Have you humbly given Him control? The key to walking in humility is daily submitting yourself to God’s leadership in your life. This isn’t a one-time decision, but a daily surrendering before God. Before you leave your house today, humble yourself before God. Die to pride, and allow God to guide you by surrendering your will to Him.

May 6, 2020 Posted by | Coronovirus, Covid-19, Devotional, Madison Street Baptist Church | Leave a comment

Good and True Doctrine

John Witherspoon was the only pastor among the fifty-six men who signed the Declaration of Independence. After pastoring for a number of years in Scotland, he came to America to become president of the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University). In addition to pushing for independence from England and signing the Declaration of Independence, Witherspoon would go on to serve as a member of Congress for a number of years.

But his most lasting contribution to our nation may well have been the impact he had on the lives of his students. Witherspoon was not just an administrator; he proved to be one of the school’s most popular teachers. His class, Moral Philosophy, emphasized the Christian foundation of all truth in every sphere of life. Among Witherspoon’s pupil were three Supreme Court Justices, more than seventy-five senators and congressman, ten cabinet officials, one vice president, and one president. As an educator, his focus on the foundational role of scriptural truth profoundly impacted his students who would influence the nation.

In our day it is common to find people downplaying the importance of good doctrine, both in the church and in society. Doctrine is simply teaching, and all sound teaching has its foundation in God’s truth. There is no substitute for the truth if we want to have a positive impact on classrooms and formal settings. Each of us has an influence on others, often far beyond what we realize. We must make sure that we are giving other good and true doctrine.

May 5, 2020 Posted by | Coronovirus, Covid-19, Devotional, Madison Street Baptist Church | Leave a comment

Discretion, an Undervalued Quality

Proverbs 5:1-2
(1) My son, attend unto my wisdom, and bow thine ear to my understanding:
(2) That thou mayest regard discretion, and that thy lips may keep knowledge.

Operation Fortitude was one of the most important parts of the Allied war effort against Germany during WWII. Despite its importance, almost no one outside of what was called the London Controlling Section even knew of its existence. That’s because the purpose of Operation Fortitude was to deceive the Germans so they would not reinforce their defense at Normandy, which would be the future site of D-Day.

They intentionally leaked false information, planted misleading news stories, fed detailed copies of supposed invasion plans to known German spies, and created elaborate phantom armies to confuse the German military about their true intentions. When the attack was actually launched in June of 1944, they continued their efforts, releasing stories to suggest it was only a diversion with the real invasion to follow later. The success of this secret operation contributed greatly to the victory over Germany.

Discretion is discernment which enables a person to judge critically of what is correct and proper, united with caution; it is the ability to sort truth from error. It is also defined as the ability to read between the lines. God knows that we are facing a stream of temptation from our enemy, Satan. Satan is the great deceiver. To help protect us, God has given His Word to teach us discretion. By becoming familiar with the truth, we find it easier to recognize and reject error. This is why the acquisition of wisdom is so important-it goes hand in hand with developing discretion. As we grow in grace, we should be strengthening our skill at reading between the lines and avoiding the deception of the enemy. Reading, memorizing, and studying the Bible will equip us all to see through the lies of the enemy.

May 4, 2020 Posted by | Coronovirus, Covid-19, Devotional, Madison Street Baptist Church, Wisdom | 1 Comment

It is So Elusive Isn’t It?

John 14:27
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

Thousands of people each year visit the Winchester Mansion in San Jose, California. This massive structure was built by Sarah Winchester, the widow of the gun company owner. For 38 years, from 1884 until her death in 1922, the house was under constant construction. Teams of carpenters, masons, and other workers were employed around the clock. Various stories have been told about the reason for this unusual practice. Most center on Mrs. Winchester’s belief that she was haunted or would be haunted by the ghost of those killed by her husband’s weapons unless she kept building her house.

Whatever the reason, she continued to waste money on renovations and more construction as long as she lived. There are more than 10,000 windows in the mansion. It has doorways and stairs that lead to blank walls. It has about 160 rooms in total. It is estimated that she spent more than $70 Million in today’s money. This is in large part to pursue a form of peace that she never attained.

Many people today are seeking peace through equally fruitless means. They turn to pleasure, drugs, alcohol, immorality, wealth, and other dead end avenues. Like the staircases that lead nowhere in the mansion, pursuing such paths will never bring peace. Instead we find peace when we follow the path that God has given us in His Word. Those who keep the law of God in their hearts and obey it in their actions add peace to their lives. Rather than seeking peace as an end, we should seek to follow Christ. When we do, we will find that peace comes as a by-product.

Proverbs 3:1-2
(1) My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments:
(2) For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee.

May 1, 2020 Posted by | Coronovirus, Covid-19, Devotional, Madison Street Baptist Church | Leave a comment

Hidden Treasure

Proverbs 2:1-5
(1) My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee;
(2) So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding;
(3) Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding;
(4) If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures;
(5) Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.

For more than thirty years, archaeologist Howard Carter searched the deserts of Egypt for something that most people thought didn’t exist—the tomb of King Tutankhamen. Most experts believed that everything in the Valley of the Kings had already been discovered, but Carter continued his search. After 5 more years without result, Carter’s sponsor, Lord Carnarvon of England, indicated that he would stop funding the search.

In November of 1922, during his final season of work, Carter uncovered a hidden staircase near the tomb of Ramses VI.

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He sent a cable to England which said, “At last have made wonderful discovery in Valley; a magnificent tomb with seals intact.” Carter had indeed located the tomb of King Tut, one of the greatest archaeological treasures ever discovered. After months of careful work, the golden treasures of the tomb were cataloged, and the first intact royal mummy ever found was removed from the place where it had rested for more than three thousand years.

Carter’s search was driven by his firm belief that there was treasure to be found, even though he could not be certain that he was correct. We have an even better and more profitable opportunity—a treasure hunt with guaranteed success. If we seek the wisdom of God, the reward is ours! Notice the certainty of the promise—if we receive God’s Word, If we cry out for it and seek it as treasure hunters do for precious metals, we will surely find what we seek.

What are you seeking? Are you seeking anything?

April 30, 2020 Posted by | Covid-19, Devotional, Fear, Madison Street Baptist Church | Leave a comment

Don’t Miss This Invite

James 1:5
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

One of the most lavish weddings the world has ever seen was held in April of 2011. Prince William married Catherine Middleton. Millions of people around the world watched on TV as the future ruler of England was married. In contrast to the great number watching electronically, only about 1,900 people were invited to attend the wedding. The royal wedding invitations alone cost an estimated $32,000. Those who received these invitations were the only ones who were allowed to enter the cathedral and observe the wedding in person.

You may never be selected to receive an invitation to a royal wedding, but the King of kings has offered you and every person an open invitation to all of His children. He invites us to enter the pages of the Bible and find the principles of wisdom that lead to success in every area of life. This invitation is not only for the famous, rich, or well connected. It’s not only for the people we look up to as “super Christians” either. It is for all who are willing to hear the call and respond. It is for us.

It is hard to picture someone being invited to a special event like the royal wedding and not coming to it. Surprisingly, many chose not to attend and listen to the voice of wisdom. We seek wisdom through God’s Word, we are guaranteed to find it…

Proverbs 8:1-4
(1) Doth not wisdom cry? and understanding put forth her voice?
(2) She standeth in the top of high places, by the way in the places of the paths.
(3) She crieth at the gates, at the entry of the city, at the coming in at the doors.
(4) Unto you, O men, I call; and my voice is to the sons of man.

God has not hidden his Wisdom or restricted access to it. We must seek it and ask for it. No one can truly be wise apart from the knowledge and application of the principles found in the only true source of wisdom…God’s Word.

April 29, 2020 Posted by | Coronovirus, Covid-19, Devotional, Madison Street Baptist Church, Wisdom | Leave a comment

That Really Helps?

I have another quick thought that I want to share with you today on prayer. Pray the Promises From God…continued

Psalms 34: 3-6
(3) O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together.
(4) I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.
(5) They looked unto him, and were lightened: and their faces were not ashamed.
(6) This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.

I don’t know how it started or why it started. I wish I planned it this way. In the “grand scheme of things”, it doesn’t really matter why or when, but mostly the fact that I did it. What is the “it” that I am talking about? I am talking about writing down verses in my prayer journal.

Writing down verses in my prayer journal started a long time ago. I honestly think that the Holy Spirit led me to do this, while I was unaware of His leading. Oh, sure, I could claim many spiritual things, but they would be a lie. Most importantly, I wrote them down, and still continue to write them down. I do not have scores and scores of verses, but I do have around 10 passages of verses hand written in my book.

What kind of verses are they? Great question! The only factor I have for those verses is, “the verses have to jump off the page and make an impression that will not stop.” Let me explain what I mean by that. While all verses are important, there are those that God uses to capture my attention. These verses are the ones that God keeps on my brain through the day without my doing it. That means, God reminds me of these verses through out the day. It is almost like “a thought impresses on my heart and mind to write that down!”

I have learned to go with those thoughts the past 10+ years and I am so glad that I have! In my low points, as I go through my prayer book, those verses will continue to jump out at me and encourage or challenge me in a great way. I will give you one example: Habakkuk 3:1-2
(1) A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet upon Shigionoth.
(2) O LORD, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: O LORD, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy.

I recently developed the above verses into a message that I preached on a Sunday night a few weeks ago. Here is the link https://www.facebook.com/MSBCAthensAL/videos/231083944626918/

I continue to pray those verses and many others. The verses have been a constant source of encouragement especially when I was not expecting it. Let me encourage you to do the same. It just might surprise you how much of a blessing they will be to you!

April 28, 2020 Posted by | Coronovirus, Covid-19, Devotional, Madison Street Baptist Church | 2 Comments

9) Pray the Promises From God.

This is the final piece on how to live normal when life is not normal


I’ve saved the best for last.
Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you.
*The longer I’m a Christian, the more I don’t feel right when I’m not close, daily in my relationship with Jesus.
*I love time with God. His promises alone help me to keep going on tough days. Here is one of my favorite passages is in Psalm:
Psalms 34:4-10
(4) I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.
(5) They looked unto him, and were lightened: and their faces were not ashamed.
(6) This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.
(7) The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.
(8) O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.
(9) O fear the LORD, ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him.
(10) The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing.

Prayer accomplishes many things.

  • It helps to replace worry and stress with faith and prayers.
  • It helps to remind us Who can take care of us.
  • It gives our minds and thoughts something to dwell on when stress takes over and tries to get us to doubt.
  • It helps us to obey many of God’s commands to pray.
  • It helps make us strong (through God) when we are weak.
  • It is that which prods us to stay close to God
  • It is the vehicle that we take to confess our sins to God.
  • It helps us to lead others by asking God to lead us, and in so doing, I can lead others… “follow me as I follow Christ”

Are you accomplishing anything while you have this time off? You can if you want to. All you have to do is to pray and start the process that God has designed to help us humans down here in doing His will….so go ahead, start today…take a few moments and tell God the things that are stressing you out, bothering you, worrying you. Then leave them in His hands and trust that He will take care of it…go ahead and try it…what do you have to lose?

April 27, 2020 Posted by | Coronovirus, Covid-19, Devotional, Madison Street Baptist Church, prayer | Leave a comment

How Do You Walk?

Psalms 84:6-12

(6) Who passing through the valley of Baca make it a well; the rain also filleth the pools.
(7) They go from strength to strength, every one of them in Zion appeareth before God.
(8) O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer: give ear, O God of Jacob. Selah.
(9) Behold, O God our shield, and look upon the face of thine anointed.
(10) For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.
(11) For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.
(12) O LORD of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee.


We see in the last portion of this chapter:
• vs. 6 the valley of Baca
• vs. 7 they go from strength to strength
• vs. 8 Prayer to the Lord God of hosts
• vs. 9 His reminder to God that God is his shield
• vs. 10 He brags on God’s dwelling places
• vs. 11 Bragging that God is a sun and shield. He is showing us that God will not withhold any good thing if we walk uprightly.
• vs. 12 Blessed is the man that trusteth in God

There is a lot here… The valley of Baca is a place, a low spot of weeping…a weeping place. Through such, by reason of their dry and barren condition, the worshippers often had to pass to Jerusalem. As they might become wells, or fountains, or pools, supplied by refreshing rain, so the grace of God, by the exercises of His worship, refreshes and revives the hearts of His people, so that for sorrows they have “rivers of delight” (Psa_36:8; Psa_46:4).

When we pray, we remind ourselves (and we need it) and God that He is our shield. The simple act of prayer shows that we need God and are dependent on Him. He is a great shield and He can defend better than you can!!!!

The place where God is, is the best place for any Christian to be! O that we would find out that He is our refuge and strength! That we would find out and dwell there with Him and be refreshed, strengthened, and encouraged! The sun up in the sky, 93 million miles away, warms us and refreshes our countenance. The bright sun shining outside is almost a sure way to brighten our day and our spirit! It is hard for me to be inside, when the bright sun is shining outside! We miss out on God’s refreshing and strength when we do not spend time with Him.

No good thing will God withhold to them that walk uprightly. Do not worry about those sinners who seem like they get away with everything. Their day is coming! But those who walk uprightly in the Lord, will not be fearful or have to manipulate their way out of anything because of the good that comes their way! The wicked sinners will always keep stacking lies and sin on top of sin while they keep running away from God.

The chapter closes out with a reminder that God’s blessings will always be on those who trust in God. Don’t you want that? I want God’s blessings all the time. The way to continuously receive them is to continuously trust in God! I know you can do it! It might be difficult in times of testing, but God always takes care of His people and makes it worth their while!

April 24, 2020 Posted by | Coronovirus, Covid-19, Devotional, Madison Street Baptist Church | Leave a comment

Blessed is the Man Whose Strength is in Thee

Psalms 84:1-12
(1) To the chief Musician upon Gittith, A Psalm for the sons of Korah. How amiable are thy tabernacles, O LORD of hosts!
(2) My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the LORD: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God.
(3) Yea, the sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even thine altars, O LORD of hosts, my King, and my God.
(4) Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will be still praising thee. Selah.
(5) Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee; in whose heart are the ways of them.

  • Look at the wording here is these first few verses:
  • vs. 1 How amiable (beloved) are thy tabernacles(dwelling places)
  • vs. 2 My soul longeth and fainteth for the courts(enclosed yard, village) of the Lord:
  • vs. 3-4 Blessed are they that dwell (sit down, resting) in thy house.
  • vs. 5 Blessed is the man whose strength is in Thee.

Here we have the Psalmist (most likely King David) showing us his heart for the Lord. This is the same David that killed the bear, lion, and Goliath. He was a mighty man, even from his youth. He is not worried about coming off as weak or puny in this Psalm, for he knew that his strength really is in the Lord!

O that we could have the security and love for the Lord to not be afraid of our perceived appearance when we cry to God…when we declare our need on Him and in Him. There is something very real about a Christian who is not afraid to declare his or her dependence on the Almighty God!

I believe that King David probably had the most battles and victories recorded in the Bible, over every other king of Israel. I believe one of the main reasons for all of his victories are found here in the book of Psalms. He was a mighty man, a battle tested man, and tough man, sure, but the keys to his victories are found in declaring and having his love and dependence on Jehovah God!

We live in a day when we (generally speaking) as Christians get bored quickly with something that we have done before or heard before. In that boredom, we miss one of the great keys to having victories throughout our lives…that is a continual and regular declaring of our dependence on the Almighty God…and not just the declaring, but meaning it as well! Staying dependent on God through prayer, worshipping Him in the beauty of Holiness, and reading His Everlasting Word! That is the key to continued and long-lasting victory in our life!

How good are you at continuing to love God, depend on God, worship God, and being consistent, even when our flesh grows tired or bored with doing the same things over and over? Let’s all be challenged to keep our love and dependence on the Almighty, Jehovah God!


April 23, 2020 Posted by | Coronovirus, Covid-19, Devotional, Madison Street Baptist Church | Leave a comment

Replace Worry and Stress

Psalms 81:7-16
(7) Thou calledst in trouble, and I delivered thee; I answered thee in the secret place of thunder: I proved thee at the waters of Meribah. Selah.
(8) Hear, O my people, and I will testify unto thee: O Israel,
if thou wilt hearken unto me;
(9) There shall no strange god be in thee; neither shalt thou worship any strange god.
(10) I am the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.
(11) But my people would not hearken to my voice; and Israel would none of me.
(12) So I gave them up unto their own hearts’ lust: and they walked in their own counsels.
(13) Oh that my people had hearkened unto me, and Israel had walked in my ways!
(14) I should soon have subdued their enemies, and turned my hand against their adversaries.
(15) The haters of the LORD should have submitted themselves unto him: but their time should have endured for ever.
(16) He should have fed them also with the finest of the wheat: and with honey out of the rock should I have satisfied thee.

This is a continuation of from yesterday…

How much have we prayed in this pandemic? How many minutes have I spent in prayer to God over the things that I am fearful of? I am not trying to be unkind, but I ask myself these same questions?

The point of this is to point out that God wants to answer our needs and prayers like we see in verses 7-16, but the people did not ask God to help them. They went to their other gods instead and God left them up to their own lusts and counsel. God will not force His will on you, nor will He force you to be blessed, have answered prayers, etc… We must ask.

Notice in verse 10, open thy mouth wide and I will fill it. What God means by this is if we do our part, He will do His part. Are we really doing our part? I am not talking about the quick prayers said before bed or before each meal. Those prayers are important, but the extra prayers that we should be praying to God…are they just staying in a “closed mouth” (not asking God, but rather just stressing about them). There are times when we need to open our mouth. In times of great need, we should open our mouth wide with requests in prayer to God. Prayer is how things get done. Prayer is how God has chosen to answer our greatest hardships and needs. Prayer is what motivates us to open up a dialogue with God.

If you really want to get serious in praying, count the minutes that are spent in prayer and compare them to the minutes spent in conversing with others concerning our problems. Compare the minutes in prayer with the minutes spent in daydreaming and the minutes spent quietly stressing out and worrying. I am not perfect in this either. I need this as much as anyone. God is just letting us know how to get our prayers answered. I do not believe that He is trying to scold or reprimand anyone here (neither am I scolding anyone), but He is rather giving us some friendly reminders why our prayers are not being met and why we continue to suffer.

In closing, the summary looks like this: Instead of worrying, pray. Instead of complaining, pray. Instead of stressing out, pray. I get reminded of this one fact: If I spent that time of stressing, worry, and complaining in prayer to God, I would see more prayers answered and my life would be a lot better. I believe that your life would be better as well! Dear friend, let’s determine together to turn those tough times into praying times and see how God will bless! God Bless you my friends!

April 22, 2020 Posted by | Coronovirus, Covid-19, Devotional, Madison Street Baptist Church | Leave a comment

Blow Up the Trumpet?

Psalms 81:1-8
(1) To the chief Musician upon Gittith, A Psalm of Asaph. Sing aloud unto God our strength: make a joyful noise unto the God of Jacob.
(2) Take a psalm, and bring hither the timbrel, the pleasant harp with the psaltery.
(3) Blow up the trumpet in the new moon, in the time appointed, on our solemn feast day.
(4) For this was a statute for Israel, and a law of the God of Jacob.
(5) This he ordained in Joseph for a testimony, when he went out through the land of Egypt: where I heard a language that I understood not.
(6) I removed his shoulder from the burden: his hands were delivered from the pots.
(7) Thou calledst in trouble, and I delivered thee; I answered thee in the secret place of thunder: I proved thee at the waters of Meribah. Selah.
(8) Hear, O my people, and I will testify unto thee: O Israel, if thou wilt hearken unto me;

Blow up the trumpet? What does that mean? If you look at the context of these verses, you will see in verse 1 that we need to make a joyful noise unto the Lord. One way is to sing, but another way is to play an instrument. Some of you that read this may have a talent on a musical instrument and let me encourage you to use that talent for the Lord during this time.

I can play the radio, that is about it….LOL! For those of you who can play an instrument, let me encourage you to do what verse 2 says, “Take a psalm”. In other words, take a hymn book or song book (with permission) and play a song on that instrument. It might surprise you how much of a blessing it can be to you. You can also be a blessing to those who live in the same house with you as they hear you play a song that reminds everyone about God’s victory and protection.

I remember in Italy, there were some people who would go outside on their balcony and sing and play for others to hear. That distracted others from the fear and panic that was going on and it soothed their hearts. I am reminded about how shepherd boy David played the harp for King Saul and the music helped sooth him and it brought in a great spirit as well.

1 Samuel 16:23
And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.

Filling your mind with good music and replacing the fear and panic in our minds is a great things to do. For those of you like me (can’t play an instrument) listen to good instrumental hymns that will uplift your spirit. I make this a regular practice and it greatly helps. Have you ever wondered why music is so important in our church services? This is one of the main reasons why, good music can greatly help your spirit get in the right frame of mind to think about God and worship Him. Music can help us in so many ways. Here is a link to the type of music that I like to listen to when I need some uplifting…

April 21, 2020 Posted by | Covid-19, Devotional, Fear, Madison Street Baptist Church | Leave a comment

A Roofer’s Vision

Proverbs 29:18
Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.

Proverbs 27:17
Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.

September of 2011 is when I finally gave in. I quit giving the excuses of why I can’t or shouldn’t do a devotional blog. I was being pushed, prodded, and reasoned with from a friend to start a blog. I felt inadequate. I felt that it would be presumptuous on my part. I thought if I would stay humble, then I should not think highly of my own opinions or view points…and while I still feel and believe those same things; a ROOFER NAMED RAYMOND helped me to get past those excuses and just start doing it.

If I were to be transparent about it, I would admit that he had the vision for this devotional blog and he just didn’t take no for an answer! “That’s just not good enough” were some words that he probably wanted to tell me, but he was kind and gracious enough to re-word those into something that was easier for me to swallow.

I met that crazy man during a crazy week in north east Georgia, in a small town called Winder. I was outside knocking doors with a few inches of snow on the ground. That week experienced one of those “once every 10-15 years” kind of winters. Snow dropped on the ground and remained frozen all week. That is no big deal for me, because I grew up in a snowy place, but for those who lived in Georgia, it was life altering. People stayed home, there was a run on bread, milk, and meat. People prepared for Armageddon….then there was crazy me….out “clomping around” in the snow, knocking on doors.

I was going through some discouragement at that point and just needed to be alone with God, while staying busy. I did not lead anyone to the Lord that day, but a few kind people felt sorry enough for me and invited me in their homes. I knocked on Ray’s door. I saw him peer out the side window next to the door and he probably was wondering what crazy man would be knocking on a strangers door in weather like this. I am just that kind of crazy man…LOL. He invited me into his home, we shared some verses with each other and God birthed a new friendship that would be a blessing to both of us.

I did not know it then, but God had our paths intersect for His purpose. Raymond and myself have maintained our friendship over that last decade. We both have had some highs and lows, and through it all, God has been so faithful and good to both of us.

I want to thank God for allowing me to cross the path of a Roofer named Raymond. Raymond has been used by God to sharpen me and help me grow as a leader. His friendship has challenged me as we prayed, fasted, wept, and grew in the Lord together! I would not be doing this devotional blog without Ray. I never realized that this devotional blog, that was started back in September of 2011, would still be a source of encouragement to some of those people in the churches that I ministered in, in Georgia to Florida, and now to Alabama. I never knew how much I would actually enjoy doing this blog as I continue to try to juggle everything that God has put into my life.

I just want to say a few thank you’s in closing:

  • Thank you to all of you who still care what the Lord lays on my heart by reading the devotionals.
  • Thank you to all of you who have subscribed to this blog. There are people in multiple states from multiple ministries that haven’t grown tired of me yet…
  • Thank you to my family who encourages me to continue doing this.
  • Thank you to those who like and leave comments on the devotionals on occasion.
  • Thank you to Raymond, God has used you to make my life better!
  • And last and most importantly, Thank you to Jehovah God! If it were not for Jesus, I would be totally worthless. Every good thing in my life is a result of God’s grace and His goodness to me!

Can God use you to sharpen someone? Can you, will you be a Raymond to someone? Can you encourage someone today? You just might be surprised what God can do with your influence on someone’s life.

April 20, 2020 Posted by | Coronovirus, Covid-19, Devotional, Madison Street Baptist Church | Leave a comment

Gratitude=Faith=Peace

This is a continuation on how to live normal when life is not normal

8) Express gratitude

Colossians 4:2
Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;

  • Few things restore and strengthen your soul more than a grateful heart.
  • It would be easy these days to get caught up in what you don’t have.
  • That’s a natural response to loss, and we all experience it to one degree or another.
  • The emotion that comes with that experience can be anywhere from discouraging to crushing.
  • But getting stuck there and dwelling on it is not helpful to you.
  • Do your best to focus on what you do have and the hope of a better future.
  • Those you lead don’t expect you to be superhuman, but they count on you to have hope.

How do we have hope? Trust what God is bringing into your life and thank Him for it. I know, I know, that sounds like I am crazy, but hear me out. There is a progression in trusting God.

Colossians 3:15-17
(15) And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.
(16) Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
(17) And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

Did you know that thanksgiving and peace are joined together through faith; you cannot separate the one from the other. When a christian expresses and shows grattitude, they show faith.

The outward expression of faith shows that you trust what God has allowed in your life. There is a progression here:

1.When you trust God, you will trust His will.

2. When you trust God and His will, you will realize that the different ingredients found in the making of that will, will work together for your good.

3.Once I realize that all things work together, then I realize that the things that are irritating, frustrating, aggrevating, and uncomfortable when mixed together in God’s perfect will; they will make my situation become amazing! I cannot explain how that will happen, but I can testify that I have seen God work amazing things in the background that I did not know about. When those things were exposed, I then saw how God was working in the places that I could not see.

4. The Peace of God that we see in Colossians 3, comes when we trust God and do not put Him on trial. I am at peace in my heart and soul when I trust what God allows in my life. The opposite is also true. When I do not trust God, I try to fix things on my own, and the things that are out of my control will drive me into a stressful way of life.

Please do not mis-understand, trusting God is not “rolling over and playing dead”; it is trusting what He is doing and not trying to manipulate the outcome by helping Him to do what is right (like God needs my help with that). In closing, let’s thank God today for the things that we enjoy and do not enjoy; in so doing we show faith and accept His peace in our hearts.

April 17, 2020 Posted by | Coronovirus, Covid-19, Devotional, Madison Street Baptist Church | 1 Comment

The Best Medicine

Ecclesiastes 3:4
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

7) Laugh!

This is a very serious time on our planet, but we need moments to breathe and feel normal for a bit.

Laughter is great for your soul. It’s a natural medicine to help you stay fresh and restore your physical and emotional energy so you can pour into and lead others.

For me, it might be an episode of clean christian comedy, funny stories from the Readers Digest, or just sharing a funny story with a friend over the phone or playing a board game with family!! 

How about you?

Let’s not let the Enemy take advantage of what’s happening around us by stealing all the joy from our souls.

Find the everyday humor in your life. Search on the internet or youtube for Clean Christian Comedy. Take time to laugh alone, laugh with your family, your children, and even with some humorous stories in the Bible. Believe it or not, God has a tremendous sense of humor. Go ahead and laugh, release some stress and tension, and find out how much laughing can help you feel better.

April 16, 2020 Posted by | Coronovirus, Covid-19, Devotional, Madison Street Baptist Church | Leave a comment

How the Virus Tried to Steal Easter

How the Virus Stole Easter(kind of)
                                        
By Kristi Bothur
                                            (With a nod to Dr. Seuss) 

Twas late in ‘19 when the virus began
Bringing chaos and fear to all people, each land.

People were sick, hospitals full,
Doctors overwhelmed, no one in school.

As winter gave way to the promise of spring,
The virus raged on, touching peasant and king.

People hid in their homes from the enemy unseen.
They YouTubed and Zoomed, social-distanced, and cleaned.

April approached and churches were closed.
“There won’t be an Easter,” the world supposed.

“There won’t be church services, and egg hunts are out.
No reason for new dresses when we can’t go about.”

Holy Week started, as bleak as the rest.
The world was focused on masks and on tests.

“Easter can’t happen this year,” it proclaimed.
“Online and at home, it just won’t be the same.”

Monday, Thursday, Good Friday, the days came and went.
The virus pressed on; it just would not relent.

The world woke Sunday and nothing had changed.
The virus still menaced, the people, estranged.

“Pooh pooh to the saints,” the world was grumbling.
“They’re finding out now that no Easter is coming.

“They’re just waking up! We know just what they’ll do!
Their mouths will hang open a minute or two,
And then all the saints will all cry boo-hoo.

“That noise,” said the world, “will be something to hear.”
So it paused and the world put a hand to its ear.

And it did hear a sound coming through all the skies.
It started down low, then it started to rise.

But the sound wasn’t depressed.
Why, this sound was triumphant!
It couldn’t be so!
But it grew with abundance!

The world stared around, popping its eyes.
Then it shook! What it saw was a shocking surprise!

Every saint in every nation, the tall and the small,
Was celebrating Jesus in spite of it all!

It hadn’t stopped Easter from coming! It came!
Somehow or other, it came just the same!

And the world with its life quite stuck in quarantine
Stood puzzling and puzzling.
“Just how can it be?”

“It came without bonnets, it came without bunnies,
It came without egg hunts, cantatas, or money.”

Then the world thought of something it hadn’t before.
“Maybe Easter,” it thought, “doesn’t come from a store.
Maybe Easter, perhaps, means a little bit more.”

And what happened then?
Well….the story’s not done.
What will YOU do?
Will you share with that one
Or two or more people needing hope in this night?
Will you share the source of your life in this fight?

The churches are empty – but so is the tomb,
And Jesus is victor over death, doom, and gloom.

So this year at Easter, let this be our prayer,
As the virus still rages all around, everywhere.

May the world see hope when it looks at God’s people.
May the world see the church is not a building or steeple.
May the world find Faith in Jesus’ death and resurrection,
May the world find Joy in a time of dejection.

May 2020 be known as the year of survival,
But not only that –
Let it start a revival!

April 15, 2020 Posted by | Coronovirus, Covid-19, Devotional, Madison Street Baptist Church | Leave a comment

Take a Needed Break

Part 6 of What to do When Your Normal is Not Normal

6) Take a break from social media. 

Used wisely, social media is a useful tool that enhances ministry in significant ways. This might even sound a little hypocritical seeing that I am writing a devotional on a blog that could be considered part of the social media world, but my intentions with this is to shut down the social aspect that builds a desire in us to want to be liked by many people online. This is coming from a person that likes people and generally and genuinely wants to please people.

Personally, however, we can use a break from social media, even if just for a few hours is healthy.  One of the benefits of taking a break is that we should reconnect with people in person. Instead of social media, try going next door to your neighbors, or catch them outside, or take time to have personal, face to face interactions. We are a people that are becoming more and more too busy for human interaction and that is not good. We should do our best to resist the urge for instant gratification that social media brings and go back to investing time with human beings face to face. We are losing (as a society) very quickly our people skills that are needed in day to day living and in the work place.

Another idea to do while taking a break from social media is to use that time to read a good book, one not connected to your work. Reading…with our eyes, and not our ears…from a book that was made out of paper…that does not have many, if any, pictures. Reading in silence is something that is being lost today in society. We are used to busyness and the sounds that come from the busyness that it might scare some people to be still, silent, and even ponder on what is going on around us today. Silent time away from the digital world is becoming more of a need for us now more than ever.

The length of your break is obviously up to you. Some leaders go on a social media fast for weeks; others just shut down for a half-day on occasion.

The important thing is that you can, and do, take periodic breaks regardless of how long.

If you can’t lay your phone down for a few hours, “normal” may be difficult for you to find and experience, but it is something that can and should be achieved. Remember, it can wait. If it is social media, it can always wait. WHAT WILL YOU DO WITH YOUR TIME AWAY ?

WILL YOU SPEND TIME AWAY ? The choice is yours and the benefits can be yours as well if you do it.

April 14, 2020 Posted by | Coronovirus, Covid-19, Devotional, Madison Street Baptist Church | Leave a comment

This is For You, Jesus

Part 5 of What to do When Your Normal is Not Normal

5) Do one simple thing for someone else.

Matthew 25:37-40
(37) Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
(38) When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
(39) Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
(40) And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

Can you do 1 thing…just 1? Is there someone around you or that might cross your path that could really use just a little help or a little nudge? Maybe at the grocery store or behind you in the drive-thru that you could do something for? Maybe there is a sweet little lady that just needs 1 or 2 items from the store and she can’t get out. Could you help her?

One of the biggest dangers in this time of social distancing, is the helpless individuals who quietly suffer. Yes, they should probably ask, but it is a crazy time right now. Maybe you can get something and leave it at their door, on the porch, or at a location that you can drop it off.

I do not know who will read this today, but I will venture a guess and say that there is someone out there that has it worse than you. You could be a blessing to them. Here’s a thought!!!!!….share some toilet paper with them…if you can spare any.

I have found often that when I help others, I forget at how bad I really have it and it usually will cheer me up…atleast a little. Take the challenge, do 1 nice thing for someone today. It will give a reason to do something and be a blessing to someone else at the same time.

“Others”
By Charles D. Meigs

Lord help me live from day to day
In such a self-forgetful way
That even when I kneel to pray
My prayer shall be for – Others.

Help me in all the work I do
To ever be sincere and true
And know that all I do for you
Must needs be done for – Others.

Let “Self” be crucified and slain
And buried deep; and all in vain
May efforts be to rise again
Unless to live for – Others.

And when my work on earth is done
And my new work in heaven’s begun
May I forget the crown I’ve won
While thinking still of – Others.

Others, Lord, yes others
Let this my motto be
Help me to live for others
That I may live like Thee.

April 13, 2020 Posted by | Coronovirus, Covid-19, Devotional, Madison Street Baptist Church | Leave a comment

A Rolling Stone Gathers No Moss

Part 4 of What to do When Your Normal is Not Normal

4. Keep Your Body Moving

1 Timothy 4:7-9
(7) But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness.
(8) For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.
(9) This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation.

I’m not promoting an exercise routine or any specific workout though that’s always a good idea. That’s your call.

I’m literally referring to keeping your body moving. When we go from constantly moving to being more stationary, then that energy has to go somewhere. I think some moderate exercise or action, like taking a walk, will help alleviate the extra energy, stored up energy, or even nervous energy that most will have.

Do you have trouble sleeping at night since you have been in isolation? If so, maybe some movement will help settle and tire you out. It should help your body be more relaxed when it is time for bed.

Allow yourself to move several times a day. If you are in deep study or on the phone or doing email, get up and stretch, take a few laps or go crazy and do a few push-ups. Try something new or different. I personally will try to crack out some exercises like I used to do when I was much younger. Don’t misunderstand, I will not try to do what I used to do, but doing something will help.

Stress has an outlet when you move around and do some kind of moderate exercise. It is not healthy for the body or good for your mind to stay stationary and dwell on the stresses or pressures…they will drive you insane. Take a short walk if you can, stretch your muscles, climb stairs, lift some weights, and be realistic about your exercises. Don’t over do it, but do something…anything

Keep moving; your body was designed for it, and it helps you feel better, think better, and lead better.

April 10, 2020 Posted by | Coronovirus, Covid-19, Devotional, Madison Street Baptist Church | Leave a comment

Don’t Blame Me for That!

Psalms 43:2-5
(2) For thou art the God of my strength: why dost thou cast me off? why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?
(3) O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles.
(4) Then will I go unto the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy: yea, upon the harp will I praise thee, O God my God.
(5) Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.

2 Timothy 1:7
(7) For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

Satan is a master at hurting us and making it look like it is someone else’s fault. He works his best to blame God for the bad in our world. If for some reason a Christian gets blamed instead of God, then that is OK too.

I have found through out my life that I have harbored fear inside me as well. Doing this will cause us to get our focus off of God, which will cause us not to live by faith; but rather fear. Living by fear is what will cause you to react in the wrong way and often will cause you to do the wrong thing.

I have also realized from the above verses, that when fears are in my life, it is not God’s fault. His intention is for us to have Victory through His power, His love , and His sound mind. The reason that we do not get the victory is when we live by fear instead of allowing God’s power, love, and sound mind direct us.

It is not God’s fault if you are fearful….IT IS YOUR FAULT!!! I am sorry if that seems harsh, but it is reality. No one will make you fear…only you can do that. God wants to help you overcome fear and He will help you overcome it if you allow Him.

What will you do the next time you catch yourself fearing? Will you give it over to God and allow Him to direct you through to victory or will you fear? God wants you to have Victory, but He will not force it on you. You must take His “tools” found in His Word and use them to help you overcome fear and live by faith into victory.

Remember, it is easy to blame someone else, it is hard to swallow the hard truth. The choice is yours to make.

April 9, 2020 Posted by | Coronovirus, Covid-19, Devotional, Fear, Madison Street Baptist Church | Leave a comment

The Zone of Silence

Below is a continuation of the devotional “What to Do When Normal is Not Normal” that I started last week…

3) Take time to be quiet.

Psalms 46:7-11
(7) The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.
(8) Come, behold the works of the LORD, what desolations he hath made in the earth.
(9) He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire.
(10) Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.
(11) The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.

Time to be quiet is desperately needed by everyone, especially in times of fear and uncertainty.

The world is noisy, and times of quiet become priceless.  I will admit that if I get too much alone time or quiet, I will literally start looking for someone to talk to, but quiet reflection is essential for the well-being of your soul.

I’m not referring only or specifically to your “quiet time” or daily devotional, although you might prefer to combine them. But real quiet time. Just to “be still,” to think, and reflect will help in so many ways.

Take time by enjoying a cup of coffee or tea.  Drink a Pepsi (sorry coke fans, we use coke to clean our toilets around here…LOL), eat a piece of fruit, rub some oils into your hands, wrists, back of the ears, or on top of your head while rubbing your bellies (I couldn’t resist, sorry).  Work on drinking a portion of the half gallon of water that you need (that is for me).  Or do something else that you normally can take a few minutes while being still and reflect.  If you are like me, you will naturally resist doing this, but you might be surprised at how much it will help bring a sense of calm.

Here is where the Bible comes in: what we reflect on should and will help us, if we focus in on it.  God should be our focus.  He knows it all.  He sees it all.  He approved everything that happened in your  life that brought you up to the point where you are today.  Accept it (not that you have much choice) by dismissing the anger, hurt, and frustration that you have by reminding yourself that God is still in control.  He will make you better after this, than you were before this began…if you submit to what He wants in your life.

I have found that when I stop and reflect in difficulty, I get helped when I am reminded of a few things:

There are things that I can not control; I will not worry about or fret over those things. 

There are things that I can control so I will ask the Lord to help me move on with what I can do and do God’s will for me today.

It was a good day in my life when I let go of trying to change that which I could not change either in my past or in my current (state of social distancing).  You might feel a lot better physically when you let go of control over the uncontrollable things.

Last thought:  Reflect on the great things that God has done in your life, I know it will cheer you up and strengthen your faith!

Psalms 46:7-11
(7) The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.
(8) Come, behold the works of the LORD, what desolations he hath made in the earth.

April 8, 2020 Posted by | Coronovirus, Covid-19, Madison Street Baptist Church | Leave a comment

Run For Your Lives!

Psalms 71:1-8
(1) In thee, O LORD, do I put my trust: let me never be put to confusion.
(2) Deliver me in thy righteousness, and cause me to escape: incline thine ear unto me, and save me.
(3) Be thou my strong habitation, whereunto I may continually resort: thou hast given commandment to save me; for thou art my rock and my fortress.
(4) Deliver me, O my God, out of the hand of the wicked, out of the hand of the unrighteous and cruel man.
(5) For thou art my hope, O Lord GOD: thou art my trust from my youth.
(6) By thee have I been holden up from the womb: thou art he that took me out of my mother’s bowels: my praise shall be continually of thee.
(7) I am as a wonder unto many; but thou art my strong refuge.
(8) Let my mouth be filled with thy praise and with thy honour all the day.

One of the best things any christian can do in times of stress, hardship, or hurt is to run to God and the Bible. Run to God in prayer…vs. 2. And run to the Bible to help keep your mind in a peaceful place….vs 3…also look at this:

Isaiah 26:3
Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

I believe that it is a natural reaction from all humans to run in distressful times. Running is not always bad, as long as you run the right direction. If we run TO GOD, then we will be secure and taken care of. If we run AWAY FROM GOD, then we will be left to our own devices. There might be some great devices out there, but nothing will take care of a Christian better than the Lord Jesus! You can take my word for it! I have been in enough situations in my life, to prove that God will keep you and protect you if you run to Him.

Running to Him is not and should not be, a 1 time thing. It should be a constant thing…daily thing…consistent thing.

Jude 1:21
Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

Notice in the above verse that the responsibility rests on you to stay in God’s love. Why would it be this way? Because God will not force Himself on you. He wants you to come to Him willingly. In staying with the Lord, you can be assured that God will reign over the affairs of your life and it will all work out according to His will…which is the best for anyone and everyone! Also, that word “Keep” is talking about protecting…just like a “goal keeper” would protect the goal in soccer. The goal keeper gives his entire energy to protecting the “net”. We need to give it our entire energy as well, so that we can avoid the things that will draw us away from God and toward bitterness, hard feelings, and rebellion.

April 7, 2020 Posted by | Coronovirus, Covid-19, Devotional, Madison Street Baptist Church | 1 Comment

God’s Unseen Preservation

Proverbs 2:8
He keepeth the paths of judgment, and preserveth the way of his saints.

Psalms 17:5
Hold up my goings in thy paths, that my footsteps slip not.

Ira Sankey, who for years led the music for D.L. Moody’s evangelistic meetings, was traveling by steamboat on Christmas Eve in 1875.  He was recognized by some of the passengers, and they asked him to sing.  Sankey agreed, and began singing “Saviour Like a Shepherd Lead Us.”

When the song was finished, one of the listeners stepped forward and asked, “Did you serve in the Union Army?”  “Yes,“ Mr. Sankey answered.  “Can you remember if you were doing picket duty on a bright, moonlit night in 1862?”  “Yes,” Mr. Sankey answered again.  “I was serving in the Confederate army.  When I saw you standing at your post, I raised my gun and took aim.  I was standing in the shadow, completely concealed, while the full light of the moon was falling upon you.  At that instant, you raised your eyes to Heaven and began to sing that same song.  ‘Let him sing his song to the end,’ I said to myself, ‘I can shoot him afterwards.’  I heard the words perfectly: ‘We are Thine; do Thou befriend us.  Be the Guardian of our way.’  I began to think to my child-hood and my God fearing mother who sang that song to me.  When you finished, it was impossible for me to take aim again.  I thought, ‘The Lord who is able to save that man from certain death must surely be great and mighty.’ ”

The God who loves us also protects us, often in ways we do not even realize at the time.  His promise to keep and preserve His children is one on which we can rely.  Every step of our lives is guarded by His mercies which “are new every morning” (Lamentations 3:23).  God’s preservation does not mean that we are exempt from difficult situations, but it does mean that anything that comes our way must first be filtered through His providence.

You can trust God to take care of you no matter what circumstances you face.

April 6, 2020 Posted by | Coronovirus, Covid-19, Devotional, Madison Street Baptist Church | 1 Comment

More Ideas When Your Normal Has Changed

Ephesians 5:15-17
(15) See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,
(16) Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
(17) Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.

2.Take advantage of the opportunity for Quality family time.

Similar to the first point, If you have children at home…or grandchildren, resist the urge to binge watch something on TV, smartphone, tablet, computer, etc. Have you made a statement like, “If I had more time with the kids, I would…”? This is a great opportunity to build memories, teach, train, or just have some fun time with them. If your children know some Bible stories, you can play a version of “would you rather” with different Bible characters or events, or happenings.

You might need to get creative, but it will be worth it when you look back on this time (assuming you took advantage of it).

  • Ask your kids to use their imagination in thinking up a game, activity, or idea to do in the house.
  • If your kids are small, play hide and go seek
  • If your kids are big, play treasure hunt and someone hide an item. They could even potentially give clues to the “treasure”.
  • Play a board game
  • Play dress up if you have girls
  • Have a tea party
  • Have a quiz show with prizes at the end for the winner.
  • Take a walk and give every one a set time to talk during that time.
  • Call up your parents and interview them about a historical event that they lived through.
  • There can be a lot of things that are possible, it just might take some imagination…
  • Check out pinterest…I hear that there are some good ideas on there
  • Bake something that is simple, but totally different…let your children pick an item for you to bake…get them involved with you while you bake…they will love it!
  • What things did I miss? What Ideas do you have ? Please share in the comments below.

April 3, 2020 Posted by | Devotional, Madison Street Baptist Church | , , , | 3 Comments

For Thou Art My Hope!

Psalms 71:1-8
(1) In thee, O LORD, do I put my trust: let me never be put to confusion.
(2) Deliver me in thy righteousness, and cause me to escape: incline thine ear unto me, and save me.
(3) Be thou my strong habitation, whereunto I may continually resort: thou hast given commandment to save me; for thou art my rock and my fortress.
(4) Deliver me, O my God, out of the hand of the wicked, out of the hand of the unrighteous and cruel man.
(5) For thou art my hope, O Lord GOD: thou art my trust from my youth.
(6) By thee have I been holden up from the womb: thou art he that took me out of my mother’s bowels: my praise shall be continually of thee.
(7) I am as a wonder unto many; but thou art my strong refuge.
(8) Let my mouth be filled with thy praise and with thy honour all the day.

What do you hope in? Who do you hope in?

Psalms 20:6-8
(6) Now know I that the LORD saveth his anointed; he will hear him from his holy heaven with the saving strength of his right hand.
(7) Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.
(8) They are brought down and fallen: but we are risen, and stand upright. Remember Pharaoh and his horses and chariots?…these verses are referencing that.

God gives a warning on who the Christian should go to in their time of trouble:

Isaiah 31:1-3
(1) Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the LORD!
(2) Yet he also is wise, and will bring evil, and will not call back his words: but will arise against the house of the evildoers, and against the help of them that work iniquity.
(3) Now the Egyptians are men, and not God; and their horses flesh, and not spirit. When the LORD shall stretch out his hand, both he that helpeth shall fall, and he that is holpen shall fall down, and they all shall fail together.

These are some strong words for God’s people to remember. He is a Jealous God when we go to anyone else for help…especially the world. Egypt is a type of the world in the Bible and Pharaoh is a type of Satan. Let’s make sure that while we are utilizing every help possible, that we go to the Lord first and ask Him for His help.

When we go to God first, it shows us all that we trust in God ultimately and look to Him to lead, guide, and direct those in our life. I go to the doctor when I am sick, but before I go, I ask God to intervene and help the doctor to know what to do. You just might be surprised what God might do for you when you go to Him first! There have been several times that God fixed something or healed something before I even went to someone else!

Who do you trust in? God…the world…another human…other devices? Who do you go to first? Did you know that God wants to help you through this Covid-19 problem? Did you know that He already has the answer? He will supply all your needs, if you let Him. God Bless You!

April 2, 2020 Posted by | Devotional, Madison Street Baptist Church | , , | Leave a comment

What He Really Asked For…

Mark 10:46-52
(46) And they came to Jericho: and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging.
(47) And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me.
(48) And many charged him that he should hold his peace: but he cried the more a great deal, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me.
(49) And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called. And they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort, rise; he calleth thee.
(50) And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus.
(51) And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight.
(52) And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.

5. His call for help began with his call for mercy – vs. 47+ 48
What did Bartimaeus really want? He wanted mercy.  He showed wisdom by asking for mercy first. While this thought might be a little odd, understand that healing for him came through the vehicle of mercy from Jesus Christ, the Great Physician.  Not much is said, usually, about mercy in this story; but his healing came after he asked for mercy. Notice that the beggar was not fooled about his situation. So often our pride, stubbornness, etc… will prevent us from healing because in order for us to get the healing we need, we must first ask and beg for the Lord’s mercy.  Mercy is not getting the bad things that we really deserve.  Pride fools us into thinking that we are good and do not need mercy because we are good.  Remember this:
Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. (Proverbs 16:18)
6. He overcame because Jesus had mercy on Him. – vs. 52
Do not fall for the trap that you do not need Jesus! We need Jesus! We cannot do what is needed with out His power, mercy, and grace! When Jesus stopped and summoned for Bartimaeus to come to Him, Jesus asked what he wanted.  Bartimaeus replied with a request to receive his sight. When we can show wisdom and in humility ask for mercy, we might be surprised as to what God might do for us!

When was the last time you asked for mercy? That’s right….YOU! When was the last time you asked for mercy? Make sure that you do not allow your pride to fool you into thinking that you are all good on your own and that you do not need mercy. I am not trying to be rude or unkind; I just want to point out that all of us need healing in some area of our life and we should start our request by asking for mercy!

7. The only one that really helped him was Jesus! – vs. 52
The only real help any of us get is from Jesus! Now before I get crucified; let me explain. I am not minimizing the importance of the human help that we get from others. I greatly appreciate all that has been given to me from others. I realize though that :
The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will. (Proverbs 21:1)
All of the help that I have received from every human hand came because they were following the leading of the Lord! I really appreciate those people who follow the Lord’s leading. Some of you who might read this are ones that the Lord has blessed me with. I know most of you who read this and realize that you want to follow the Lord Jesus and that is why you do the good things that you do! But remember, our help comes from the Lord! God is so good to all of us and one of the evidences is the presence of good people in our lives. Real healing for Bartimaeus came only from Jesus when no other human would help him. We should remember that, when others fail us Jesus never will!

August 11, 2017 Posted by | Devotional | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Quitting, Crying, Conquering

Mark 10:46-52

(46)  And they came to Jericho: and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging.

(47)  And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me.

(48)  And many charged him that he should hold his peace: but he cried the more a great deal, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me.

(49)  And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called. And they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort, rise; he calleth thee.

(50)  And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus.

(51)  And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight.

(52)  And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.

continued from Monday…..

  1. He was tired of his life’s situation. –vs. 48 I have found in life that most people like to complain about something rather than to fix the problem.  I am not trying to be unkind, but merely stating a fact of life.  I am there in many cases as well.  In order for change to happen in the life of an individual, that person must be so dissatisfied with their situation, that they are motivated and willing to do whatever it takes to change.  I have tried to help others who were not ready for change and it came back to bite me really hard.  In order for complete change to take place, someone has to be motivated in a life-altering way.  If they are not ready or motivated, then they are not really sick of their situation.  When life hits you hard and something bad happens, are you fully ready to do something about it or do you just want to complain about it.  So, how about you?  Is something bad happening in your life?  Is it bad enough for you to change?
  2. He was determined to be an over-comer. –vs. 48 I believe that this step is the next thing that happens.  He did the only thing he could and he became an over-comer with the power of Jesus! Notice that his actions only bolstered him to call out to Jesus more!  There is a lot of wisdom in this man’s act of faith.  What do you do when you get motivated to do something?  Do you go to Jesus first?  Do you cry out even more?  Have you ever tried it this way?  Go ahead and test God and see what He will do in your life?  He wants to be totally real and relevant in your life.

…to be continued…

August 9, 2017 Posted by | Devotional | , , , , , | 6 Comments

What School Did You Go To?

Mark 10:46-52

(46)  And they came to Jericho: and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging.

(47)  And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me.

(48)  And many charged him that he should hold his peace: but he cried the more a great deal, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me.

(49)  And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called. And they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort, rise; he calleth thee.

(50)  And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus.

(51)  And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight.

(52)  And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.

I have learned in life that (in my opinion) the most comfortable way to learn is through the school of wisdom.  While I realize that hearing advice from someone else is not always easy or comfortable, it is far better than getting burned and then suffering through a big ordeal because of it.  I look at the story of Bartimaeus the same way.  While there is not many details to go over, I would like to point out a few things from this story that might help you and me.

  1. He cried out to Jesus for mercy. –vs. 47 Herein is the essence of true faith, he turned to Jesus for help. How many times has it been said by Christians who are in a tuff time, “All we can do now is pray”.  I have said that, have you?  I believe the fast track (if there is one) to getting help lies with this as the first step.  If we can go to the Lord first, wouldn’t we be able to avoid some hardship, frustration, and pain?  Yet, what do we all do in time of trouble?  There is wisdom here that we all can benefit from.
  2. He cried out to Jesus in the face of opposition. –vs. 48  Isn’t this horrible?  The people around Jesus were trying to keep others from getting the help that they need.  This truly is bad.  I wonder if you have ever come across someone who should have helped you get relief and healing from the Lord, but instead they make it hard and some even will try to stop you from getting that help!  My flesh wants to rise up and lash out at them.  Let me encourage you to do what the Bartimaeus did and start crying out even more to Jesus!  Just think, if he started fighting with them, he would have lost his opportunity to get healed.  What he did was best: He devalued their opinions and started crying out even more.  Such is the case with us.  If you and I allow those haters to distract us away from the Lord, we will lose out because we will miss our opportunity to get the healing during that short window of opportunity.  This is something to keep in  mind when they want to rise up against you.

to be continued…

August 7, 2017 Posted by | Devotional | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I Want It Now!

Mark 10:46-52

(46)  And they came to Jericho: and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging.

(47)  And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me.

(48)  And many charged him that he should hold his peace: but he cried the more a great deal, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me.

(49)  And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called. And they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort, rise; he calleth thee.

(50)  And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus.

(51)  And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight.

(52)  And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.

Here we have a story of a blind man.  Bartimaeus was his name and he heard that Jesus was in town and was passing by his way.  I want to stop and appreciate the Lord Jesus for a moment.  If you notice in verse 46 that nothing was mentioned about Him being in Jericho.  It only mentions that Jesus entered and exited that town, but what was mentioned is the interaction between Him and Bartimaeus!  Why do I point that out?  I believe that Jesus was coming to someone in need.

That’s right!  Jesus is coming to the rescue!  While I believe that Jesus was passing by Bartimaeus on purpose; Jesus did not go to Bartimaeus.   Bartimaeus had not received an RSVP from Jesus, neither did he call the secretary and set up an appointment with Jesus.  Why do I like this so much!  Let me try to explain below.

I believe that Jesus went out of His way to go to Bartimaeus to heal him.  I also believe that Jesus wanted to test Bartimaeus and see how bad he wanted to be healed.  I have learned in the Bible and in my experience that healing and opportunity comes in many shapes and forms.  In this story, Jesus made Himself available to heal a blind man, but that blind man had to show faith.

Hebrews 11:6

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

I believe that this verse explains this story well.  Jesus wanted to see his faith and gave blind Baritmaeus a life changing opportunity.  Bartimaeus responded in faith.  His response was action!  He called out to Jesus and did not let anyone stop him from getting to his Lord!  The world we live in trains us to think that God should be knocking down my door to help me.  This is far from the Biblical view point.  We must seek Him.  If we seek Him, He will be found and will reward us for seeking Him.

Matthew 7:7-8

(7)  Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:

(8)  For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

Let me encourage you not to have a welfare mentality when it comes to God.  God does not need to be the one seeking us.  We need to be the ones seeking God!  We will become victims to the “entitlement mentality” that is plaguing our country.  That mentality leads a person to think that God needs to seek me out, fix my problems, and take away all of my hardship…..and by the way God, make it fast!

What kind of attitude do you have toward the Lord?  Is it an attitude of faith or is it an attitude of entitlement?  Notice that the blind man called out to Jesus when he had the chance.  He was not focused on what he thought the Lord’s duty was to him; he simply called out to Jesus!  I have learned that God will not make it hard for us to come to Him, but He does want to see how determined we are in getting His help.  How determined are you at getting Jesus’ help?  He is near and waits for you to call for help!

 

to be continued…..

August 4, 2017 Posted by | Devotional | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Land Ho!

Here is the conclusion of the story:

Mark 6:53-56

(53)  And when they had passed over, they came into the land of Gennesaret, and drew to the shore.

(54)  And when they were come out of the ship, straightway they knew him,

(55)  And ran through that whole region round about, and began to carry about in beds those that were sick, where they heard he was.

(56)  And whithersoever he entered, into villages, or cities, or country, they laid the sick in the streets, and besought him that they might touch if it were but the border of his garment: and as many as touched him were made whole.

While the story does not specifically state that the disciples were healed or had soft hearts, what we see is a safe landing and a continuation of service with Jesus.   The difference between this story and ones that happen today is the fact that they did not burn out or quit.  No one stopped trusting Jesus, no one committed suicide, no one turned back and went to their old ways, no one falsely accused Christ, etc…

The main differences between the success stories and failures of today are clearly seen by their actions.  Those who recover continue to serve, while those who have a hard heart quit.  I am not trying to be critical of the quitters, but much is to be learned by those who once had a hardened heart who are now serving again.  Much satisfaction and true Joy comes for those who overcome with Jesus rather than giving up and quitting.

I would also like to point out that their faith in Jesus was restored.  How do we know that?  By their actions!  The simple fact that they still followed Him shows that they trust Him deeply.  Remember how He calmed the storm that they were in?  They gave Jesus a chance to help them by calling out to Him in their trouble.  Let me encourage you today Christian to give Jesus a chance to help you in your hour of trouble.

The disciples saw more miracles and were part of more miraculous things because of the healing of their hard hearts.  What a great thought!  When you give Jesus a chance, He gives you more opportunities to serve Him when you get healed.  You get to be a part of many more miraculous things!

So much is at stake when are hearts become cold and hard.  Let me finish by encouraging you to do what the disciples did in this passage:

  • They obeyed by getting into the ship.
  • They continued on even when they could not see Jesus.
  • They were busy working; they did not give up.
  • They cried out to Jesus for help.
  • They let Him in their boat

 

Will you let Jesus calm your storm and soften your heart?

August 2, 2017 Posted by | Devotional | , , , , | Leave a comment

It Is Not A Sin To Have A Hard Heart…

It is not a sin to have a hard heart…

In order to fix a hard heart, we must notice what the disciples did to fix the condition of their heart.  In these verses, we are shown what happened to them and how their hearts were made better:

Mark 6:45-52

(45)  And straightway he constrained his disciples to get into the ship, and to go to the other side before unto Bethsaida, while he sent away the people.

(46)  And when he had sent them away, he departed into a mountain to pray.

(47)  And when even was come, the ship was in the midst of the sea, and he alone on the land.

(48)  And he saw them toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary unto them: and about the fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them, walking upon the sea, and would have passed by them.

(49)  But when they saw him walking upon the sea, they supposed it had been a spirit, and cried out:

(50)  For they all saw him, and were troubled. And immediately he talked with them, and saith unto them, Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid.

(51)  And he went up unto them into the ship; and the wind ceased: and they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, and wondered.

(52)  For they considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their heart was hardened.

 

While it is not a sin to have a hard heart…You will sin though, if you leave it there.

A hard heart does not always come from indulging in sin, it can also come from serving.  Such is the case in this passage.  The disciples immediately left after the feeding of the 5,000 at the instruction of Jesus. Notice the actions found in the following verses:

  1. They got into the ship-vs. 45
  2. They went to the other side…without Jesus-vs. 46
  3. They were toiling in rowing…working and terrified for their lives-vs. 48
  4. They cried out-vs. 49
  5. They saw him-vs. 50
  6. They let Him into their ship-vs. 51
  7. They were amazed and wondered-vs. 51

These were not actions of rebellion.  The disciples were doing what they were told to do.  Now they are rowing in a ship for their lives.  These actions they took helped them get back where they needed to be.  Notice the actions again:

  1. They got into the ship-God always….ALWAYS…blesses obedience. When you find yourself having a hard heart, obedience is one of the vital ingredients to having it be tender again.
  2. They went to the other side without Jesus. Now, technically He was not in the boat; but He was right there in their time of trouble.  Jesus is always near!  Praise God!
  3. They were busy working…they did not give up and quit.  God always blesses hard work
  4. They cried out to God. When you cannot calm the storms in your life, cry out to Jesus…He is good at calming the storms.  You just might be surprised at how close He really is to you!
  5. They let Him into their ship! They could have rejected Him, but instead invited Him into their ship.  Notice that the storm in their life did not happen until Him entered the ship.  This is no co-incident.  Many people recognize that Jesus is the answer to their problem, but they never accept Him back into their life.  And in so doing, their storm never is calmed.
  6. They were amazed and wondered! Awesome things can happen when you do not give up on God!

Come back tomorrow for the exciting conclusion to the story!……I know, I know….kind of cheesy isn’t it… 🙂

July 31, 2017 Posted by | Devotional | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It wasn’t Immorality, Back-sliding, or Rebellion.

(52)  For they considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their heart was hardened.

As I want to stick with my main thought, I want to ask you a question:  What caused the disciples’ heart to be hardened?  Was it Immorality?  Was it from being backslidden?  Was it rebellion?  What was it?  The answer to the questions is found here:

(41)  And when he had taken the five loaves and the two fishes, he looked up to heaven, and blessed, and brake the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before them; and the two fishes divided he among them all. 

The answer was from serving others.  What?!!!!  Their hearts were hardened from serving?  I will say that serving is not bad, neither is doing the Lord’s work bad either.  The hard hearts came from the weariness of serving.  If you have ever served to the point of weariness, you will understand where I am going. 

Our hearts can become hardened when are wearied from anything, especially serving.  This is why it is very important to make sure that you are not serving so much that you miss out on the main thing.  Well……..what is it?  The main thing is Jesus!  While I may not know the answer to a lot of things, I do know that much weariness can lead to a lot of bad outcomes.  I have seen it so many times in others and myself in the ministry.  Full-time paid ministry workers and volunteer workers are both effected by this. 

We run the risk of losing sight of Jesus when we do not balance our serving with resting.  No, I am not going to tell you to stop serving…LOL.  What we need to be aware of is the need for balance in the ministry.  I have seen so many great workers get burned out or become hardened because of the weariness that serving brings.  Serving is great;  we should always be willing to serve the Lord when He presents the need, but we also need to understand that we should be balanced in our service for the Lord.  I will address this in more detail in the next devotional.  I will also attempt to share with you what each Christian should do in maintaining a balanced work load while still keeping the main thing, the main thing.

July 28, 2017 Posted by | Devotional | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments