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Spending Time in Scripture when Life is Uncertain – Selected Scripture

Welcome to our COVID -19 Connection Series # 12  

   It snowed in North Idaho today! Winter going out like a lion. We can look forward to April showers and May flowers!

   Most of you have probably heard that the President’s 15 day Slow the Spread has now been pushed out through April 30th. What does this mean for you and me? What does this mean for our church? Well, as of now nothing will change – we will continue to meet online daily at 11:00 A.M., and at 10:00 A.M. on Sunday mornings. We will continue to stay in contact with each other through social media like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and now Zoom.

   Now, a word to the SLBC family. I would really like to encourage all of us to stay in contact with each other – use the church directory. Make a phone call. Pray with another church member – pray for each other’s family. Also will you keep your pastor and his family in prayer? I would greatly appreciate it.

   Women’s Online Bible Study – 20/20 books are available for pickup at the church. Please drop by between 9:00-4:00 P.M. You can Ring the Ring doorbell, and we will come and assist you.

   Let’s develop a Volunteers list: Should the need arise and you would like to volunteer to prepare and deliver meals let us know my going to slbc2u.com and use the connect with us on the bottom of our front page. Let’s be prepared should we be called upon.

Pause for Prayer

  • Tom Spann.
  • Bob Ahsmuhs.
  • Shut-in’s.
  • Chuck Morse – shoulder pain.
  • Emergency workers.
  • God would bring revival and an end to COVID-19.
  • Be with the sick, and those recovering.
  • Provide for the needs of God’s people.
  • Help us to be wise during these times.
  • Minister grace to the city of Spirit Lake.
  • Use Cup of Grace and Senior center – meals.

Our WORD from the Lord today comes from a wide selection of Scripture. I am going to title this devotional: Spending Time in Scripture when Life is Uncertain

   Each of us deals with times of uncertainty in life. They come in many shapes and sizes:

  • A financial crisis – loss of income due to COVID-19 and layoffs.
  • A medical diagnosis – something you didn’t want to hear.
  • The loss of a loved one – we have recently had that in our church family.
  • Uncertain days ahead of us – we don’t know about tomorrow. (Note: You didn’t know about tomorrow before the COVID-19 pandemic).
  • A broken relationship – young love, divorce, separation.
  • A natural disaster – we will probably see other things happening around the world.
  • Global panic – nations of people are afraid.
  • Betrayal by a friend – a friend walked out when you needed them the most.
  • A wayward child – a child decides to walk away from God, and make a bunch of wrong choices.
  • And so many others – anyone want to comment of other things that are uncertain about life? Leave your comments.

   Regardless of what shape these times of uncertainty take, they are enough to stir fear, worry, and anxiety in the heart – Let us be reminded of II Timothy 1:7

   Just the other day we talked about the need for a solid anchor (our time in the book of Hebrews). Well, when the seas get rough, we need to lower the anchor, and find some stability. God’s Word is this anchor.

   Psalms 119:105 reminds us too that God’s Word is a lamp to light our path in times of darkness. God’s Word is a great source for everything that pertains to life and godly living.

   Thank God for His HOLY Word in times of uncertainty.

   Because we know that we live in a fallen world, we know that not every day will be sunshine and bless. There will be storms, rain, hail, and many other types of hardships. In this world we will face persecution and problems. No one is exempt.

   Do you want some GOOD NEWS? God has not left us to fend for ourselves but has given us words of hope and the promise of His presence (Hebrews 13:5). When times are uncertain, we must cling to, rely on, and memorize the Scriptures (Joshua 1:8). Be in the Word/ Hold on to the Word/ Trust fully in the Word.

   Today I want to walk with you through some very encouraging Bible verses. I have 30, but I will only be sharing 15. I will make this a blog post and you will be able to download it and obtain all 30 verses. They will bless you, encourage you, comfort you, and provide assurance in the midst of these difficult days.  May God use this devotional to bless the socks right off your feet.

   Let the Word of God provide you peace in the midst of the storm, and light to see you through to the other side. Download handout for Scripture

  1. Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. – 1 Corinthians 16:13
  1. The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? The Lord is with me; he is my helper. – Psalm 118:6-7
  1. May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. – Romans 15:13
  1. What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? – Romans 8:31
  2. So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. – Isaiah 41:10
  1. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. – Philippians 4:6
  1. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. – 2 Timothy 1:7
  1. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. – Psalm 23:4
  1. The righteous person may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all; – Psalm 34:19
  1. But now, this is what the Lord says ÖFear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. – Isaiah 43:1
  1. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 8:38-39
  1. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. – Joshua 1:9
  1. God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. – Psalm 46:1
  1. You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. – 1 John 4:4
  1. The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. – Psalm 9:9
  1. I keep my eyes always on the LORD. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.- Psalm 16:8
  1. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. – Psalm 62:6
  1. You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. – Isaiah 26:3
  1. The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him, – Nahum 1:7
  1. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. – 1 Corinthians 15:57
  1. For we live by faith, not by sight. – 1 Corinthians 5:7
  1. But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one. – 2 Thess-alonians 3:3
  1. May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. – Romans 15:13
  1. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. – 1 John 4:18
  1. But as for me, I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me. – Micah 7:7
  1. For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. – Jeremiah 29:11
  1. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose – Romans 8:28
  1. I can do everything through him who gives me strength. – Philippians 4:13
  1. Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. – Proverbs 3:5
  1. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. – Hebrews 10:23

   What can you do with these 30 wonderful Bible verses? You can pray them back to God. You can use them to encourage others. They would make great social media posts. You can write them out and post them in key locations throughout your home. You can start a Bible memory program while you are self-quarantining. Yes, take some time to actually hide God’s Word in your heart (Psalm 119:11).

   Thanks for joining me today. I will speak with you again tomorrow Lord willing. Remember, walk with the King today and be a blessing. (Dr. Robert Cook)



The Certainties because of Christ – I John 5:13-21

Good morning and welcome to our COVID-19 Connection Series # 11

Headlines News – Deadline for stay home stay safe has been extended to April 30th. Please do you part to SLOW the Spread of the coronavirus.

Visit Apple store or Google Play Store to download the slbc app.

Pause for Prayer:

Church family

Spirit Lake Citizens

Police and City Hall

Senior Center

Shut-in’s

National response to the COVID-19 pandemic

Our WORD from the Lord today is found in I John 5:13-21. The title of our devotional today is: The Certainties because of Christ.

Grab your Bible and follow along with me.

   We have all heard that there are two things certain in life – Death and Taxes. Have you heard that before? Well, I would like to remind us that the Bible is filled with certainties that we as believers can hold on to in uncertain times.

   I want to share six certainties with you this morning. They are:   

   I. We are certain of eternal life – vs. 11-13

   11 And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 12 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. 13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.

   This was actually one of the very first sections of Scripture that was shared with me after I gave my heart to Jesus Christ. I was told that whenever I doubted my decision for Christ, or when the devil tried to discourage me about the decision, I made for Christ that I needed to go to this section of Scripture.

   The word “testimony” means recorded.

   What did God give us according to verse 11? Eternal life. How long I eternal life? It’s forever! (Illustration: Send a bird to the moon to bring back a grain of sand. By the time the bird emptied the moon that would be but a day in eternity).

   Where is this eternal life found? It is only found in the person of Jesus Christ – John 14:6; Acts 4:12.

   Take a look at verse 12 again. We read,

   12 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.

   This verse is emphatic! It is ROCK solid theology. If you know Jesus, you have eternal life. If you do not know Jesus Christ, you do not have life.

   Finally, I want you to underline in your Bible the word “know” in verse 13. You and I can know that we know that we know we belong to Jesus Christ.

   By the way, when does eternal life begin for the believer? At the moment of death, or at the moment of one’s conversion? It begins at the moment of salvation. 

   II. We are certain of answered prayer – vs.14-17

  The heading in my Bible over these verses reads: Confidence and Compassion in Prayer. 

   Are you praying in the days we are presently living in? I hope you are. There are so many things to be praying about. Immediate family to our global family. Local to International issues. 
 
   A. We have confidence in our prayers – v. 14

14 Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 

   B. We have confidence that God hears our prayers – v. 15

15 And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.

God delights to answer prayer – See Matthew 7:7-12.

God wants to be asked. Many times we do not have because we do not ask. We are to ASK, SEEK, and KNOCK according to Jesus. How are you doing in your prayer life today?

   C. We have confidence that we can pray for a sinning brother – v. 16-17

16 If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin which does not lead to death, he will ask, and He will give him life for those who commit sin not leading to death. There is sin leading to death. I do not say that he should pray about that. 17 All unrighteousness is sin, and there is sin not leading to death.

   Do you know a believer that is living in open rebellion against God? You and I should be praying for them.

   There is a hit as to what the sin of death is in these verses, especially verse 17. It is all unrighteousness. Practice sin and you could die! That’s the sin leading to death.

   III. We are certain that we can have victory over sin and Satan – v. 18

18 We know that whoever is born of God does not sin; but he who has been born of God keeps himself, and the wicked one does not touch him.

What do we have here in verse 18? We discover that…

  • True believers do not practice habitual sin – does not sin.
  • True believers know that they have a responsibility before God – Look at the two words – “keeps himself”.
  • True believers know that when they are walking close to Jesus Christ that the wicked one (Satan) does not touch them.
   IV. We are certain we are of God – v. 19

   19 We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.

   What do we have in verse 19? We learn two great truths. They are:

  • We can know that we are of God. How?
  • We received His Son, Jesus Christ.
  • We love God’s Word.
  • We hate sin, and the things God hates.
  • We have a love for what’s right – righteousness.
  • The whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.

   What comes to your mind with the word “sway” – isn’t that just like sin in people’s lives. It as if they are swaying back and forth. People usually sin, walk away from their sin, and then go back into their sin.

   V. We are certain that Jesus Christ is the true Son of God – v. 20

20 And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.

   Again in verse 20, underline the word “know”. This speaks of certainty. It speaks of biblical fact. This is what our devotional is all about today. We can and are a certain people who hold to certain facts.

Don’t miss that the first “know” in verse 20 provides the second “know” in verse 20. What is the second know?

   We know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true.

   Because of the certainty that Jesus Christ came, we can be certain to know Him, and we can be certain that we are in the one who is true, in Jesus Christ. 

   VI. We are certain that Jesus Christ alone satisfies – v. 21

21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.

I truly hope by now that we as followers of Jesus Christ have learned that idols do not satisfy. Only a walk with Jesus Christ fully and completely satisfies.

  • Idols provide no eternal life.
  • Idols provide no answered prayer.
  • Idols provide no victory over sin or Satan.
  • Idols provide no certainty that we belong to God.
  • Idols provide no certainty that Jesus is the Christ.
  • Idols provide no satisfaction.

   Live for your idols and you will be just a dead and cold as they are.

   Only Jesus Christ fully and completely fills the VIOD in our lives.

   Dr. Robert Cook from the King’s College used to end his daily radio program by saying, “Walk with the King today and be a blessing.”

 



Thank God for the Last Adam – I Corinthians 15:45-48

   Welcome everyone to our COVID-19 Connection series.

   Today is March 28, 2020.

  • Stay connected with your church family
  • Download resources at slbc2u.com
  • Get the SLBC Church App from Apple App Store or Google Play Store

   I hope that you are doing well today. I also trust that you are staying home. Now is the time to hunker down and stay well. Avoid going out unless you need necessities. If you are older with a compromised immunity, I would encourage you to get someone younger to do your shopping.

  • Download the 15 Days to SLOW the Spread (Front page of our website)

Pause for Prayer: Read: Jeremiah 33:3, I Peter 5:7 

  • Tom Spann – Ended up in the hospital yesterday.
  • Ron & Marilyn Bidwell – Passing away of their son, John.
  • Tyler Mitchell in Oklahoma (Business trip)
  • Thank God for those who are healing from COVID-19
  • Shut-in’s – Lowana LaBolle
  • Bob Ahsmuhs – Cancer treatment

   Memorize: II Timothy 1:7

Our WORD from the Lord Today comes from I Corinthians 15:45-48. I’ve entitled this devotional – Thank God for Last Adam

   Are you aware that the Bible speaks of two Adam’s? Well, today I want us to take a close look at the difference between these two Adam’s. Do you have your Bible? Open up to I Corinthians 15:45-48.

I. The First Adam – I Corinthians 15:45-48

      So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being” the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven. As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the man from heaven, so also are those who are of heaven.

   There is a lot of meat in those few verses. What do we know about the first Adam?

  1. He was made – Genesis 1:26

   Genesis 1:26 –  Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”     

  The first Adam was a man – physical (Genesis 1:26). The first Adam was created in the image and likeness of God – Latin: Imago Dei. The first Adam was given dominion over all other things in creation (sea creatures, birds, cattle, etc.).

   What else do we know about Adam? We know that…

2. He was formed – Genesis 2:7

   Genesis 2:7 – Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being

   Not only was Adam made, but he was also formed, and God did the forming. Are you aware that the name Adam means “of the ground, or red earth?”

   Adam was a physical man. He was fearfully and wonderfully made and formed by God. Someone once joked and said that the way Adam will be recognized in heaven is that he will be the only man without a bellybutton.

3. He was disobedient – Genesis 3

    Adam was placed in a perfect environment, and God provided for his every need. But this is where things go from perfect to tragedy. God sees Adam alone and so He creates Adam a helper, and gives her the name Eve. Eve means “mother of us all.” No sooner was Adam and Eve brought together as the first couple that light changes to darkness, and the serpent enters into the story. The serpent deceives Eve, and she disobeys God, and gets her husband Adam to disobey God, and in Genesis 3 we have SIN entering into the world.

   Don’t miss this next statement – SIN here in Genesis 3 is why we have COVID-19, the Coronavirus, and all other types of diseases. This is why we have death, disease, destruction, and every other kind of suffering in this world today.

   Paul penned these worlds in Romans 5:12,

   Therefore, just as through one man (Adam) sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned.

   Who is the “one man” mentioned in this verse? It is Adam from Genesis. The first Adam is responsible for all the chaos in our world today. You and I cannot think of one evil that didn’t start with the sin of Adam.

   In Genesis we discover that everything God created was good, and when He created man, He was considered “very good”, but shortly thereafter the good was soured and polluted with lies, death, and murder.

   Contrary to anthropoglots and sociologist mankind is not getting better. Those who us who know Jesus Christ can see what is happening around us. Good is being called evil, and evil today is being called good. Right is being called wrong, and wrong is being called right. I mean we are living in a time when people cannot even identify their own gender. This demonstrates the total depravity of mankind, and all of this can be traced by to the first Adam.

   How bad is our world? It very bad! Will we move towards a utopian society? Never!

   If I stopped now we would have no hope. Sadness would reign in our hearts. Life would look bleak, very bleak.

   But thanks be to God that He put a plan into motion. This is what the Bible is all about. It is a book about the redemption of mankind. It is the history of God’s redemption story of mankind. This is where we come to understand the need for the Last Adam.

II. The Last Adam – I Corinthians 15:45-48

   Jesus Christ is this last Adam. What do we learn about Him?

  1. Jesus is a life-giving spirit

   In the same way that God breathed physical life into the first Adam, so Jesus Christ breaths spiritual life into a natural man. Today we call this the second-birth, or being Born again (see John 3).

   Someone once said, “Born once die twice, born twice die once.” What does that mean? It means that if you only have a physical that you will have a physical death (it is appointed unto men once to die), and you will have a spiritual death (forever separated from the God who created you). However, if you have both a physical birth and a spiritual birth you will die physically, but you will NEVER face a spiritual death. No, those who have been born from above will live forever in the presence of their creator (II Corinthians 5:8).

2. Jesus is spiritual.

   There has only been one person who ever lived without sin, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ. He was born by the virgin Mary. Jesus had a human mother, but the Spirit of God impregnated her womb. Jesus’ birth was supernatural. And because Jesus had no earthly father, he did not inherit the sin from the first Adam. Jesus was born without sin.

 3. Jesus was from heaven

   Isn’t this exciting information about Jesus? Jesus came down from heaven. The theological words is “incarnation” (John 1:14 – “the Word became flesh”). And the one from heaven came to show us the Father – the God who created us. But that’s not all. The Bible tells us that this man from heaven was tempted in all forms as we are tempted, and yet without sin. The heavenly man lived a perfect life. And it was because He was perfect that He could actually die in our place, and that is what happened to Jesus. The heavenly man died on a cross for your sin, and for my sin. Jesus took our place so that we could be restored back int a right relationship with the God, our creator.

   I would like to bring our time to a close by reading one additional passage of Scripture. We read in II Corinthians 5:17-21 these words,

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

   Thank God for the Last Adam! Do we now understand why we should give God thanks for the Last Adam? There is NOTHING better than a new creation in Christ. If you have never received Jesus Christ to be your Savior and Lord, I would encourage you to make this decision today.

   What have we learned from our time together?

  • We learned about two Adam’s: The first Adam of Genesis 2:7, and the Last Adam of II Corinthians 15:45-48.
  • We learned that the first Adam was made, formed, and placed in perfect a environment., the Garden of Eden.
  • We learned that the first Adam disobeyed God, and brought sin into the world (Genesis 3), and because of his sin we all have sinned (Romans 3:23).
  • We also learned about the Last Adam, our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • We learned that the Last Adam was a life-giving spirit, spiritual, and from heaven.
  • We learned that the Last Adam was the only man born without a sin nature.
  • We learned that the Last Adam (Jesus Christ) was able to be the sinless sacrifice for the sins of the world.


Our Anchor in Times of Storms

Welcome to our COVID-19 Connection Series. Today is March 27, 2020, and this is our 9thFacebook Podcast.

COVID-19 has taken the life of three men in Idaho. One 60, one 70, and one 80 years old. As of 3/26/2020 there are 148 confirmed cases in Idaho. In the U.S. 1,000 people have died. 82,000 people have contracted the Coronavirus.

Pause for Prayer: 

  • Ron & Marilyn Bidwell
  • Shut-in’s
  • Church family
  • Spirit Lake officials
  • People working essential jobs
  • Daily provisions 

Our WORD from the Lord:

   Our Word from the Lord today will be from Hebrews 6:17-20. The title for this podcast is: Our Anchor in Times of Storm. 

   I was to begin by letting you know that I am indebt to Dr. Charles Stanley for much of what I am going to be sharing with you in this podcast. 

Hebrews 6:17-20

    17 Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, 18 that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us. 19 This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, 20 where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.

   There are many different storms in life. All of us are living in a pandemic – COCID-19! However, it may be possible that before this pandemic that you were facing a conflict at work, or financial trouble, or maybe even a job loss. You might be struggling with poor health (some of our church members are) or a difficult relationship (marriage, children, family). Our heavenly Father doesn’t promise to deliver us from all adversity. However, He has provided us with Scriptures that provides encouragement and comfort. 

Get this truth down: God’s Word is an immovable anchor in times of storm.  

   In the midst of every kind of hardship and pain, you and I can rely on the Bible for stability, guidance, and security.

Play Song: My Anchor Holds by Ray Boltz -https://youtu.be/MSAc5Z2lprk

   I. What is the Cause of Storms?
 
   1. We can bring adversity on ourselves.
 
  • Through sin – Lying, Stealing, Cheating, etc.

“Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay and cost you more than you want to pay.” (Adrian Rogers)

  • Poor judgment – We do something dumb and face consequences.

   Young girl calls in sick, and later goes off to the Mall. Her employer called her home later and asked for her. Her mother told them she wasn’t home, and that she had gone with her friends to the Mall. When the girl showed up at work the next day, she was fired.

  • Lack of experience – We try something that we have never done before without seeking advice from the more experienced.
 
   2. Some difficulty is caused by the wrongdoing of other people. 
  • People want your job.  

   Something is shared about you that is not true, but is believed, and you are overlooked a promotion, or worse, you are fired.

  • People take something that belongs to you and creates a hardship.

   When Debbie and I were newly married we had our car battery stolen. We had no money to replace it. It wasn’t a good experience. We prayed and God later supplied us a new battery.

  • We had a young man who attended SLBC whose sister was killed by her boyfriend.

   A young lady tells her boyfriend that it’s over, and instead of accepting it and moving on, he get a gun and shoots the young girl. His thought is, “If I can’t have her no one will.”

  • Poor investment by a friend – you lose your shirt.

   You are invited to join an investment. You know little about it, but you put in thousands of dollars. It doesn’t go well, and you lose everything. You now are far behind when it comes to retirement.

   3. Satan brings hardship in an attempt to draw us away from the Lord.
 
  • This is what the book of Job is all about – Job 1-42

   Satan was given permission to bring all kind of hardships in his life, but he couldn’t take his life. Job lost everything, and yet he continued to keep his eyes on God.

  • This is what Satan wanted to do to Peter – Luke 22:31

  Satan would like to sift every one of us. We need people who, like Jesus, are praying for us. We need a very strong faith

  • Paul had a messenger of Satan that buffet him – II Cor. 12:7
 
   4. The Lord causes some adversity.

   Whether or not the storm is from Him, He will always use it for our good. We must trust the Father’s heart – He always has our good in mind.

   The disciples were caught in the midst of a storm on the Sea of Galilee. Jesus was in their boat. Disciples awoke Jesus and asked Him, “do you not care that we are perishing?” Jesus stood up, spoke to the storm – “Be silent.” God’s power over nature is seen (Mark 4:35-41).

   I can remember when someone close to me was going through a storm that God spoke to me and said, “I waste no hurt.” Those words are an anchor!

   What are some things you faced?

   II. What are God’s Purposes in Storms?

    God wants to . . .

  1. Get our attention.

   When we lose our passion for the Father, He may use troubles and difficulty to gain our focus.

   Example: The Church becoming complacent, so God permitted persecution – Acts 8:1

   Is it possible that through COVID-19 that God is wanting to get people’s attention? Has He gotten yours? Will our nation wake up?

   2. Purify us from sin.

   Through storms, God can call attention to areas of our lives that are not pleasing to Him.

   Andy was a young man in our church that was drinking with his cousin. Driving home from Priest Lake he was in a terrible accident. His leg was damaged, and to this day Andy walks with a limp. The limp reminds him that God does not look lightly on sin.

   Read: I John 3:3

   3. Cause us to surrender to Him.

   The Father may want you to loosen your grip on something you treasure, because He has another blessing in mind for you.

   All too often we don’t want to let go of something, and God will allow a storm in our lives to move is on. I heard about a man called to the mission field. He got this great job at the hospital, and he purchased a big home, and he felt that he couldn’t leave either. One day a storm hit the town, and a tornado destroyed his home. It leveled it. He now had nothing to hold him back from total surrender.

   Do you have anything that you are holding on to too tightly?

   4. Conform us to His image.

   Through adversity, the Lord refines our character and makes us more Christlike. This is what Romans 8:29 is all about. We read,

  28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

   5. Equip us to serve Him.

   If you remain close to the Father, hardships will purify your heart and realign your life with His will.

   III. What makes the Bible an Anchor for our lives?
 
  1. It is the record of God’s unfolding Revelation of Himself.
  • Through the spoken Word (Heb. 1:1)
  • Nature – Romans 1
  • History – Whole Bible is His Story.
  • Ultimately the coming of His Son Jesus Christ into the world – Revelation 19
 
   2. Most importantly, we know who God is because we see how Jesus lived.

   Read: John 14:9-10

   3. The Bible is infallible and inerrantwhich simply means it’s without error.

    God has given us the Bible as our guidebook.

   It has been said of the Bible, “It supplies everything we need for faith and practice.” In other words it provides us doctrine – truth to base our life on. It also gives us the practical ways to live this doctrine out.

   Much of the Bible is built on the following plan – teach doctrine, and then tell us how that doctrine is to be played out in our lives through many practical principles.

  What we believe determines how we live.

   Name one doctrinal truth that you hold on to:

   IV. How does the Word of God Anchor us in times of storm?
 
  1. It comforts us.

   In the middle of heartache and struggle, try reading the Book of Psalms.

   Example: Psalm 57:1-3.

   2. It reminds us of God’s promises.

   Scripture assures us of the Lord’s presence, power, and provision in our lives.

  Read: Matthew 11:28 and Joshua 1:8-9, Hebrews 13:5

   3. It is a compass for our lives.

   Every person is in need of direction. We also need to make sure that we are moving in the right direction. One degree off will cause us to arrive at the wrong destination point.

   Read: Proverbs 3:5-6

   4. It teaches us how the Father works.

   Reading about the saints teaches us how to make wise decisions, and the stories of Israel’s rebellion help us avoid similar mistakes.

   Read: 1 Corinthians 10:1-13

   5. It gives us God’s viewpoint.

   By studying how He used adversity in the lives of biblical characters, we can better understand how He may want to use our present struggles.

   V. How does the Bible work as an Anchor? 

   How does an anchor work with a boat? You must use it. Toss it overboard and it sinks, and keeps the boat from drifting. This is how the Bible works as an anchor in our lives as well. We must use it for the purposes that God designed.

   Remember the account of the wise and foolish man in Matthew 7:24-29? One builds on the rock, and the other on the sand. One hears the word, and does it, and the other hears the word, and does nothing. When storms come, and they will come, the one on the rock stands firm, and the other, well, it crashes down.

  1. You must read it.

   Just as a ship’s anchor does no good unless it is lowered, the Word of God can’t encourage you unless you take time to study it.

  • A dusty Bible leads to a dirty life.
  • It matters not how a man marks his Bible, but how the Bible marks the man.
  • Two things God has married, dust on the Bible and drought on the heart.   

   Develop a plan in your life where you are going to read the Bible for at least 15 minutes every day.

   2. You must meditate on it.

   Think about the Lord’s promises and how He proved His faithfulness to believers in the past.

   Meditate – To churn over in your heart and mind. To mediate means that you think about God’s truth often.

   Key Scripture: Joshua 1:8; Psalm 1:2, 119:15,23,27,48,78,97,99,14

 
   2. Believe what it says.

   If you allow yourself to doubt God’s promises, you will never receive all He has for you.

   My Pastor, Royal Blue use to say, “God said it – that settles it.”

    3. Apply it to your own life first.

   When you read the Bible read it for yourself, and not for someone else. It is always easier to think of someone else who needs what we have read, but we must first read it so that it transforms our own lives.

It’s Me, It’s Me, O Lord

[Refrain:]
It’s me, it’s me, O Lord,

standing in the need of prayer.

It’s me, it’s me, O Lord,

standing in the need of prayer.

Not my brother, not my sister, but it’s me, O Lord,

standing in the need of prayer.

Not my brother, not my sister, but it’s me, O Lord,

standing in the need of prayer. (Refrain)

Not the preacher, not the deacon, but it’s me, O Lord,

standing in the need of prayer.

Not the preacher, not the deacon, but it’s me, O Lord,

standing in the need of prayer. (Refrain)

Not my father, not my mother, but it’s me, O Lord,

standing in the need of prayer.

Not my father, not my mother, but it’s me, O Lord,

standing in the need of prayer. (Refrain)

   4. You must be willing to obey it.

   Name at least three things that God has told you to do from His word in recent days.

   1.
   2.
   3.

   You and I live in traying times, and unless we are grounded, we will drift in our devotion to the Lord. So anchor yourself to His Word. It will comfort you, remind you of His promises, reveal His ways, and act as a moral compass. Most importantly, it will renew your mind with His eternal perspective. Regardless of what storms come, you can weather them with confidence, anchored to the solid rock of Jesus Christ.



Maintaining a Devotional Life

   March 26, 2020
 
   Welcome to our COVID-19 Connection Series. I am so glad that you are joining us today.

    Did you sleep well last night?

 Pause for Prayer: 

  • Ron Bidwell son died yesterday.
  • Idaho is in shut down mode.
  • Essential workers still working.
  • Congress passing funding

   What do you want to pray about today? Share your prayer requests in the comments this morning.

   Our WORD from the LORD today will be found in several places, so be ready to turn in your Bible.

   I want to talk about Maintaining a Devotional Time while we are being quarantined. There are four essentials that I want to go over with you. They are:

  1. Read the Bible – II Timothy 2:15; Revelation 1:3

   15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near.

   Do you have a daily Bible reading plan? Here are some suggestions:

  • Read through the Gospel of John in 21 days.
  • Read through Proverbs in a month – 31 chapters.
  • Read through a book of the Bible in one setting.
  • Listen to the Bible through apps like You Version.

   I am going to make this online devotional available at our blog site, so you will want to go and download it as soon as we finish our time together. I would encourage you to use the chart that I am going to provide you with to keep track your Bible Reading and Prayer time and Bible time throughout our time in lockdown as a Church. Do you have a Bible reading goal? Are you desiring to improve your Quiet Time? Sometimes it is helpful to have some available tools.

   What is your goal for spending adequate time in God’s Word? Is it 15 minutes a day, or 45 minutes? Some of you spend a lot more. You can never go wrong by spending time in the Bible. And how important is prayer to your daily Quiet time? Will you pray 5 minutes or 25 minutes?
 
My Bible Chart would not upload. Find it under resources COVID-19 Handouts. 

   Do you journal? I’m not good at journaling, but I really should. As we read the Bible, we should joy down a few thoughts about what we read. It would actually help us to remember what we read. Here are four questions you might want to answer after you read through a Bible passage:

  1. What have I learned from the Bible text?
  1. Was there a Promise for me to claim?
  1. Is there a good verse for me to memorize?
  1. What questions do I now have after I read the text?
  1. Did God convict me of anything in my personal life through His Word.
 
   II. Taking time to actually Pray – Matthew 6:9-13

   “Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. 10Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. 11     Give us this day our daily bread. 12And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. 13 And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

   Next, I want to talk with you about how one can develop a prayer life. I believe that there are three key essentials:

  1. You must have a time when you pray. 6:00 A.M., Noon, 8:00 P.M.?
  2. You must have a place where you pray. Prayer closet, office, bedroom?
  3. You must have a prayer list that you pray through. WHO are you praying for? Notice that I didn’t say WHAT are you praying for. 

   When you pray about a matter do you pray in faith believing that God is going to answer your prayer request?  

   Who is on your prayer list?

  • Your immediate family
  • Your neighbors
  • Your community
  • Your local civic officials (Mayor and city council)
  • Your church family -I cannot overly state the importance of keeping your church family in prayer. We must be praying for each other.
  • Your pastor and his wife
  • Missionaries that you know
  • The persecuted church – they have lived what we are presently living for decades.
  • The Pandemic crisis and our response

     Jesus taught His disciples to pray in Matthew 6:9-15. He told them to:

  1. He told them to address God as their Heavenly and Holy Father – v.
  2. He told them to express to God their desire that his Kingdom come to earth, and that His will would be done on earth like it is in Heaven – v. 10
  3. He told them to ask God to provide for their daily needs – v. 11
  4. He told them to ask God to forgive their sins, just like they have forgiven the sins of those who have wronged them – v. 12
  5. He told them that they should ask God to protect them from temptation throughout theday – v. 13

   This prayer has often been called The Lord’s Prayer, but it is more accurate to call it The Disciple’s Prayer. It is the prayer that Jesus taught His disciples to pray. The Disciple’s prayer should help us determine how to pray, and what to pray for! Now I want to challenge all of us to develop a prayer list. Have a place where you can write down all the things that God lays on your heart.

   What internal business must we all take care of before we pray? Here is a checklist of three items to look at:  

  1. Your heart – Is there any sin in my life that I have been unwilling to confess? Do I have any relationships that remain unreconciled? Am I harboring an unforgiving or bitter spirit toward anyone?
  2. Your mind – Do I have thoughts in my head that should not be there? (Romans 12:1-2)
  3. Your soul – Do you have some emotions that are not right.
  4. Your strength – Am I using the strength that God gave me to do what He has told me to do?

   If the answer to any of these is “yes” then make sure that part of your prayer time is spent confessing these things to God.

Prayer List:                                  Answered Prayer:

 

   III. Giving God Thanks – Psalm 100:4  

   Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.

   During our COVID-19 Pandemic are you finding it hard to come up with things to be Thankful for? Are you using the My Blessings List? Download it at our website under resources. I hope you will consider using it.

   I would encourage you to think of at least one thing every day for which you can sincerely give God thanks for.

  • Are you healthy? That’s something to give God thanks for.
  • Are you eating? That’s something to give God thanks for.
  • Are you warm? That’s something to give God thanks for.
  • Do you have Toilet paper? That something to give God thanks for.
  • Are you surrounded by people who love you? That’s something to give God thanks for.

   Now is the time for us to COUNT OUR BLESSINGS and name them one by one.

 
   IV. Take time to share the Gospel – Matthew 28:19-20

   18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

   What is some way that we can share the Gospel during these days we are living in? Here are some suggestions:

  • Tracts – Phillip Fourroux shares the Way of the Master Tracts

  The Way of the Master: http://store.livingwaters.com/catalogsearch/result/?cat=5&q=Tracts

  • Letters – Now is a great time to send a letter to a family member.
  • Social media – Make good posts – don’t be weird. Enough weird stuff out there already. Don’t post “I bet you won’t send this to 10 of your friends” That’s weird.
  • Telephone calls – Who has God laid on your heart? Reach out and touch someone (That used to be the telephone company motto).
  • Prayer – For family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and nation.

    Here are some very practical ways:

  • Donate food and basic supplies to those in need.
  • Facetime shut ins who you can’t visit.
  • Have your children draw or paint pictures, and send them to grandparents.
  • Let your light shine (Matthew 5:13-16).


Jesus the Christ heals you – Acts 9:32-35

   It’s another NEW day. Top of the morning to you. Snowing here in North Idaho. It’s March 25, 2020.

   Pause for Prayer: Go through your Church family and pray for one another. 
 
   Did you pray? Really, pause for some prayer before you proceed. 

   Our WORD from the LORD:

   Today our WORD from the LORD is found in Acts 9:32-35. I’m giving this passage of Scripture the title: Jesus the Christ heals you. 

   Grab your Bible and open to Acts 9. 

   In Acts 9 we have the story of Saul’s conversion (Acts 9:1-30). I’ve always referred to that passage of Scripture as: Detour on the Damascus Road. We in the church today can be thankful for Saul’s conversion because today we refer to him as the Apostle Paul. God changed his name from Saul to Paul.

   Also in Acts 9 we have the growth of the early Church. This was largely due to the fact that Saul was converted, and he was no longer persecuting and killing followers of Jesus Christ. The Churches throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and were edified. They were walking in the fear of the Lord in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they were multiplied (Acts 9:31). The church is growing.

   Did you know that in what I already shared with you we have seen the healing that comes from Jesus Christ? Think about this:

  • Saul was healed spiritually. A dead man walking was given a NEW LIFE. He was Born Again. Saul experienced the second birth. Thank God for spiritual healing.
  • Churches were healed emotionally. Once Saul was saved, they had peace. We all know that when we lack peace that our lives can be characterized by stress, anxiety, and even fear. But thank God through Jesus Christ we for emotional healing.

   So there we have two types of healing that people still need today. Again they are:

   I. They need spiritual healing.

   Do you know anyone who needs spiritual healing? Why not earnestly begin to pray for them while you are staying home during this pandemic. People can go into lockdown, but you cannot lockdown prayer!

   Listen to these words that Paul penned to young Pastor Timothy, “who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (I Timothy 2:4). The truth of the matter is that God our savior wants all men to be saved. There is not a person alive today that God doesn’t want to be a part of His forever family. 

   Just recently I’ve joined a Church Online Platform. It is a place where churches can post their services online for people to watch. Last week many Churches through the nation actually broadcasted their sermons online – including ours. Here is a note from the host of that website. They wrote, “And in spite of the down time in some of our church online services, God still moved in 28,000 people who clicked the Salvation Moment through church online!” Isn’t that fantastic – 28,000 people were saved because of Churches being online!

   II. They need emotional healing.

   Do you know anyone who needs emotional healing? Do you need emotional healing? Are you frayed, frantic, or fearful? Do you feel emotionally drained? No doubt there are a lot of people today who are facing all kinds of emotions. I mean think of all the emotions we have witnessed this past week alone here in our community and nation. One of the biggest emotions right now is fear.

  • So many false rumors are being spread.
  • People are talking about national guard troops locking down interstates. Some say they are going to enforce Marshall law.
  • News services drive fear.

   What do we know about fear? 

   Fear can be healthy. I should be afraid to cross an interstate. Cars and trucks are moving at speeds up to 60-70 miles an hour. That probably would not be a healthy choice. Right?

  • I should be fearful when it comes to fire. Fire burns.
  • I should be fearful to mess around with live electrical wires. Electricity shocks.

   Fear can also be unhealthy. As an Illustration I want to share with you about a wealthy Billionaire by the name of Howard Hughes. He was a film director, inventor, record-setting pilot, engineer. He formed Hughes Aircraft Company in 1932. Later he renamed it Hughes Air West. In his later years of life he developed phobias, and became fearful of germs and unseen bacteria. He built clean rooms in his home and wore masks to protect himself from air born virus’. Howard Hughes had all the money he could ever dream of having, but it didn’t protect him from irrational emotional fears. Many believe that he had actually lost his mind. Irrational emotional fear can cause people to lose it mentally. Howard Hughes legacy if maintained through the Howard Hughes medical Institute.

   I’ve attached a url from YouTube that speaks of Howard Hughes death if you are looking for something to watch.

Howard Hughes death reported –

   Again the Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy and remind him, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (II Timothy 1:7)

   I want to challenge you to commit that verse to memory. Will you do it? Better to dwell on Scripture than to dwell on the Coronavirus. Make the better choice. 
 
 There is a third type of healing that people need. 

   III. They need physical healing.

   People need Physical healing today. Consider just the Coronavirus pandemic for a moment. Worldwide there have been 422,959 cases. 18,907 deaths. 109,144 have recovered. But my point is simple – people need physical healing. If you were sick you would want to be healed, right? (See James 5:13-18 for additional insight for physical healing).

   I want to draw our attention to Acts 9:32-35. Allow me to read these verses for us. We read,

   32 Now it came to pass, as Peter went through all parts of the country, that he also came down to the saints who dwelt in Lydda. 33 There he found a certain man named Aeneas, who had been bedridden eight years and was paralyzed. 34 And Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus the Christ heals you. Arise and make your bed.” Then he arose immediately. 35 So all who dwelt at Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord. 

   The first five words of verse 32, “Now it came to pass,” are in reference to the spiritual conversion of Saul, and the new enjoyed peace and edification that the Churches were enjoying. The Churches were enjoying such a relief from persecution that the Gospel once again was starting to spread.

   In our text today we find Peter (a pillar of the New Testament Church) going through all parts of the country, and that he came down to the saints (believers) who were at Lydda. It was when he came into Lydda that he found a certain man named Aeneas, who had been bedridden eight years and was paralyzed.

   A little over a year ago I had knee surgery that laid me up for about two months. Those two months felt like forever. My wife was so kind and gentle, and did so much for me. When I was going through it, it seemed like a very long time. But now it feels like it was so long ago. Can you imagine being bedridden for eight years.  Starring at the same four walls every day for eight years. And on top of that, being paralyzed? Aeneas was totally dependent upon the kindness of other people. Some of you know that feeling. At times you might feel like a burden to others.

   Drop your eyes down to verse 34. We read,

   34 And Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus the Christ heals you. Arise and make your bed.” Then he arose immediately. 

   Underline the words, Jesus the Christ heals you.

   Those are beautiful words. Can you imagine having someone walk up to you and say what Peter said to Aeneas?

   We know that Jesus heals spiritually (He saved Saul). We know that Jesus heals emotionally (The Churches found peace), and now we discover from this story that Jesus heals physically (Aeneas was healed immediately). Our text reads,

   “Then he arose immediately.”

   On a side note: Take a look at what was the first thing Peter told Aeneas to do. He told him,

   “Arise and make your bed.”

   Have you made your bed today? I want to challenge you to go and make your bed as soon as I bring this Facebook Live to a close. I really believe that discipline starts by doing the first thing we can do after we get out of bed, and that is to make our bed. I’m attaching a link on the importance of making one’s bed by U.S. Navy Admiral William McRaven – www.youtube.com/watch?v=3sK3wJAxGfs

   Does Jesus Christ heal today? Yes!

   Does He always heal today? No!

   Are we okay with this truth? Our physical healing is not based on the amount of our faith. I don’t care what the Faith Healers tell us. God in His sovereignty chooses who is healed and who is not healed. (Remember the story of the three Hebrews and the fiery furnace in Daniel 3? Those three men understood this truth). If God heals, wonderful. If God does not heal, God is still God and that is enough.

   God choose to heal Aeneas.

   What does healing do for the Churches witness? Take a look at verse 35. We read,

   35 So all who dwelt at Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord. 

   Divine healing can at times be the instrument that actually uses to turn people to the Lord.

   Can God, and will God use the Coronavirus as an instrument to turn people to the Lord? We can pray that way. We can seek to be used as a tool in the hand of the Master for this purpose.

   One final thing I want to point out from our text today. It is two words found in verse 32. The two words are,

   “Peter went”.

   We will make a difference when we follow the example of people like Peter.

   And remember we are in touch, so you be in touch.

 



Love Your Neighbor

March 24, 2020

Hello everyone – we are on day 6 today!

I have been asked to take my notes on these Connection Series and make them available on our church website as devotions. If you go to slbc2u.com and go to our resource page under COVID handout you will now find the devotions from the past six day, including today.

Pause for Prayer:

  • Tyler Mitchell in Oklahoma City
  • Bob Ashmuhs – cancer treatment
  • Tom Spann – cancer treatment
  • Local city officials in Spirit Lake
  • Families with small children
  • New York – 25,000 cases of Coronavirus
  • Direction for our political leaders
  • Provisions for our SLBC families

Our WORD from the LORD today is from Romans 13:9-10 – Love Your Neighbor

   When I use the word NEIGHBOR what comes to your mind right now? Make a comment in the comment section here on Facebook below.

  • Nice
  • Strange
  • Terrible
  • Difficult
  • Great
  • Christians
  • Drunks

   The word “Neighbor” is actually used 153 times in the NKJV.

   Who is your neighbor? According to the parable of the Good Samaritan all people are our neighbors (Luke 10). However, today I want us to talk about our neighbors in light of the community where God has placed us. Your neighbor then might live on your right and left, and across the street. These are the people I want us to specifically consider today. Seek to build relationships with them.

  • God told Israel in the law that they were to love their neighbors.
  • Jesus repeated this command to the rich lawyer when he asked who his neighbor was (Luke 10).

   And today I want to reemphasize the need for all of us to love our neighbors. Dr. Warren Wiersbe wrote, “Love one another is the basic principles of the Christian life. It is the “new commandment” that Christ gave to us (John 13:34). When we practice love, there is no need for any other laws, because love covers it all!”

   What can we learn about love from these verses this morning? We lean first about…

   I. The debt of Love – v. 8

Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law.

We are a people of great debt. And in light of the Coronavirus our government is talking about a two trillion-dollar subsidy package to help with people’s salaries and to stimulate the economy. Is this neighbor helping neighbor? Someone is going to have to pay for those two trillion-dollars – there are no FREE monies.

Paul says that we are to owe no one anything. Do you feel indebted to anyone today? You know I read that more than any people Christians ought to pay their debts – let us be good citizens and pay our debt of love to our neighbors!

The only debt that we are to have is called, the debt of love. We are told to love one another. This is the only debt that is never fully paid, or even repaid. Love is what separates the world from Christians. Christians are filled with the Holy Spirit and because God’s Spirit lives in us we are able to love one another. As a matter of fact the first fruit of the Spirit is LOVE (Galatians 5:22).

Do you remember when Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was, and He said that it was first, to love God – that’s # 1. And the second was to love your neighbor a yourself. This is why this verse ends with the words, “for he who loves another has fulfilled the law.”

There are three key thoughts in this single verse:

  1. Owe no one anything
  2. Love one another
  3. Love for others fulfills the law

   There is no need for rules (laws) when people love one another.

   II. The Commandment to love – v. 9

For the commandments, #7 “You shall not commit adultery,” #6 “You shall not murder,” #8 “You shall not steal,” #9 “You shall not bear false witness,” #10 “You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

   The Ten Commandments are found in Exodus 20, and Deuteronomy 5.

   Are you aware that the 10 Commandments have actually been broken up into two parts? The first four focus on our love towards God, and the next six focus on love towards our fellow man. The first four commandments are vertical. If we get those right, then the next six will fall into place. Our horizonal relationships will be right.

   Notice that the commandments listed here in verse 9 are the second part of the Ten Commandments. They are the horizonal commandments. True love for people never violates these commandments. Look at them as they are listed:

  • You shall not commit adultery, (having sex with someone other than your spouse)
  • You shall not murder, (doing a Cain thing)
  • You shall not steal, (taking what belongs to others, not yours)
  • You shall not bear false witness, (lying about others)
  • You shall not covet, (desiring what others have)

   These are serious commandments. They are cross generational commandment. They weren’t just for the Jews. They are for all those who know God. All those who have come to faith and been saved by Jesus Christ. These are no excuse commandments.

   Listen to what Paul writes at the end of verse 9,

   “and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

   Here is the point: Love never ever does harm to one’s neighbor.

   And that thought brings us to our third point.

   III. The fulfillment of love – v. 10

10 Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.[1]

   Underline the first part of verse 10 – “Love does no harm to a neighbor;”

  • The KJV translates it as, “worketh no ill to his neighbor.”
  • The ESV translates it, “does no wrong to a neighbor;”
  • The NLT translates it, “Love does no wrong to others,”
  • The LEB (Lexham English Bible) translates it, “Love does not commit evil against a neighbor.”

   Now turn to the last part of this verse. It reads, “therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”

   All the teaching of the Old Testament can be summed up (fulfilled) in the truth of NOT doing harm to one’s neighbor. I would encourage you to go and read through Leviticus 19. There we have Moses’ instructions for loving our neighbors.

   Think with me for just a moment. What would it be like to live in a community where you actually knew that those around you really loved you, and that they had a genuine concern about your overall welfare? God help us to be that kind of a neighbor.

   When Jesus finished the parable of the Good Samaritan he responded to the rich lawyer, “Go and do likewise.” (Luke 10:37).

   Debbie once taught a children’s Sunday school class, and she taught the lesson of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10). Afterwards she asked her class what she had just taught them. A little boy raised his hand and said, “It was the story of the Good American”. Isn’t that great?

   Now, let us go and be the Good American by loving our neighbors.

[1] The New King James Version. (1982). (Ro 13:8–10). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.



Our Plans Vs. God’s Will

March 23, 2020

Good day everyone!

   This is Facebook Live day 5 for our COVID – 19 Series – WELCOME.

Let’s start our time off with a few jokes –

  • Did you hear about the guy whose boss told him to have a good day, so he went home.
  • What do you call a boomerang that won’t come back? A stick.
  • A woman in labor suddenly shouted, “Shouldn’t! Wouldn’t! Couldn’t! Didn’t! Can’t! – “Don’t worry,” said the Doc. Those are just contractions.”

   What’s going on in our life today? Take a moment and type a comment in the comment section below. I’ll wait and see who responds.

Pause for Prayer: Do you have a prayer request for today? Send it to SLBC at our website, or respond below in the comments here on Facebook.

  • Church family
  • People traveling for work
  • Moms & Dads with their kids
  • Shut-ins
  • Neighbors
  • Police and first responders
  • Medical centers and hospitals
  • National leaders to get their act together

A Word from the LORD today – Our Plans Vs. God’s Will

Our word from the LORD will be found in James 4:13-17.

   I. We plan without God – v. 13 

13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”;

   As I read that verse, I couldn’t help but to think of William Earnest Henley’s (1849-1903) famous poem: Invictus

 Out of the night that covers me,   
  Black as the Pit from pole to pole,   
I thank whatever gods may be   
  For my unconquerable soul.   

In the fell clutch of circumstance 
  I have not winced nor cried aloud.   
Under the bludgeonings of chance   
  My head is bloody, but unbowed.   

Beyond this place of wrath and tears   
  Looms but the Horror of the shade, 
And yet the menace of the years   
  Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.   

It matters not how strait the gate,   
  How charged with punishments the scroll,   
I am the master of my fate:
  I am the captain of my soul.

   So many people think that they are in charge of their lives – they’re not.

   Have you ever noticed that some people are into chasing the almighty dollar – they live for profit. This verse seems to be speaking to merchants. Traveling salesmen. People who push products for a living. Sometimes people can get so busy chasing the almighty dollar that they forget the ALMIGHTY!

   Don’t plan your day without God. Put God front and center of your daily life.

   III. We presume about tomorrow – v. 14

14 whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.

Do you see the question in this verse? James asks, “For what is your life?” Think about that question for just a moment. What is your life? James answers his own question. He states.

  • It is a vapor that appears for a little time. (Vapor is a puff of steam).
  • It quickly vanishes away. I personally find it hard to believe that I’m 60 years old. Don’t blink your eyes or you’ll quickly be there too.

   Years ago someone said that the brevity of life could be the dash on the headstone between one’s birth, and one’s death. The dash is small compared to eternity.

One author penned, “James tells them that they had not factored into the equation the brevity and unpredictability of life. They could talk about one place, that city over there, and, before they could get there, end up in another place—eternity. They could talk about a period of time, this year or next, and, before that period began, find themselves in the realm of the timeless.

How easily we forget what life is like! It is a vapor! It is like the morning mist that lingers only in the early morning hours and vanishes when the sun rises. And when the sun rises, it doesn’t take long for the vapor to vanish!”[1]

   SLBC family – we need this Biblical perspective about our lives. We must begin to focus on what really matters in this life. Preparing for what lies ahead.

   It is possible that COVID-19 is a blessing in disguise. By that I mean is I possible that God wants to SLOW us down, so that we will actually contemplate what is really important in this life. So many people live as if they have a corner on life – they don’t.

   God help us to pause long enough during these days of social distancing and take inventory of what is really important in the days to come.

   Hint: People and God’s Word is the only things that last forever. 

   III. We pass over God’s Will – v. 15

15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.”

   Can I ask you a question, and at the same time I am asking myself this question: Do I ever consider God’s Will for my daily life? Do I factor in that God has a will for my daily life? 

   How many of us really want God’s perspective on how we live every day?

  • Do we start our day with God on our minds?
  • Do we contemplate God through our day?
  • Do we bring our day to a close thinking about God?

   The point that James is making is that we are to live our daily lives in such a way that we don’t forget God. Keep God front and center in all of our decisions.

  • In light of COVID-19 what should your family do?
  • How many people do you feel comfortable to be around?
  • Will we let God use us to minister to others who might be afraid, fearful, or anxious?
  • Are we open to be the hands and feet of Jesus during this pandemic?

   Here is a suggestion: Begin to pray daily that God will reveal His will for you during this global COVID-19 Pandemic. God what is your will for my life? Speak to me.

   IV. We put forth arrogance and boasting – v. 16-17

16 But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.

Have you ever met someone who seemed to have their lives all neatly wrapped up in a brightly covered package? They tell you their plans for the next decade, and lay it out like a road map. All the time you hear them say:

  • I am going to do this
  • I plan to take these steps
  • I will reach these goals
  • I’m going to push ahead

   Self-centered bragging must be replaced by God-honoring trust.[2]

   Yesterday in the Sunday sermon I spoke about Nebuchadnezzar’s pride. Well, this is what we have here in this verse as well – PRIDE.

   There are some people who live as if they don’t need God in their daily activities. I for one cannot think of not having God involved in my daily activities.

   You might think you have your life all wrapped up in a package, but if the truth be known, it’s a very small package.

   Boasting and arrogance is called EVIL. 

   V. We practice good and do it – v. 17 

17 Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.[3]

   We constantly have the tendency to make this life the main event and eternity a footnote. Eternity is the main event, and only a fool lives as if this life is all that there is.[4] Don’t live for the dot (the present), but for the line (eternity) writes Randy Alcorn.

   One author wrote, “Don’t count on your time. It is passing! Don’t count on your possessions. They will soon belong to someone else. Don’t count on your career. It will soon be over. But count on this: eternity is rapidly approaching, and only those who have taken refuge in Jesus Christ can face it.”[5]

  • What good is God asking you to do in light of COVID-19?
  • What good is God asking you to do in light of your Biblical understanding?
  • What good can you do in your community? Acts of kindness to neighbors.
  • What good can you do in your own life?
  • Will we live to do good?
   As your Pastor I want to encourage all of us to listen for the Holy Spirit to speak to our heart about any action on our part. Do what God tells you to do. If you know to do good, and you don’t do it, it is sin.   

[1] Ellsworth, R. (2009). Opening up James (pp. 141–142). Leominster: Day One Publications.

[2] Blue, J. R. (1985). James. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 832). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[3] The New King James Version. (1982). (Jas 4:13–17). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[4] Ellsworth, R. (2009). Opening up James (p. 142). Leominster: Day One Publications.

[5] Ellsworth, R. (2009). Opening up James (p. 142). Leominster: Day One Publications.



Rules for Living

March 21, 2020

Welcome to Day # 4 of our COVID-19 Connection Series. 

How are you all doing today? I hope you will enjoy the sunshine and the warmer weather.

Are you hanging in there? You’re not going stir crazy, are you? I hope not.

Make sure you take time for your daily devotions – spend time in the Bible just reading scripture.

Prayer Time – Pause for Prayer

Use the Church prayer list from bulletin.

Our WORD from the LORD – Rules for Living

Today I want to share Seven rules for daily living that are found in the book of Philippians chapter 4 (Grab your Bible) and follow along. Are you ready to receive them?

   I. Rule # 1 – Stand Fast – 4:1

4 Therefore, my beloved and longed-for brethren, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, beloved. 

   II. Rule # 2 – Be United – 4:2-3
  • In verse 2, it is being united in one mind.

I implore Euodia and I implore Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord.

 To live above

With the saints we love;

Oh, that will be glory!

But to live below

With the saints we know;

Now that’s a different story!

  • In verse 3, it is being united in ministry.

And I urge you also, true companion, help these women who labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the Book of Life.

  • Look at the words used in this verse:
  • labored with me in the gospel,
  • My fellow workers
   III. Rule # 3 – Rejoice always – 4:4

Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!

When I was going to Bible school our professors would have us memorize Scripture. This was one verse that we were challenge to commit to memory.

  Do you know the song that comes from this verse?

Rejoice in the Lord always;
And again I say, rejoice.
Rejoice in the Lord always;
And again I say, rejoice. Rejoice, rejoice,
And again I say, rejoice.
Rejoice, rejoice,
And again I say, rejoice.

   Let that little song be with you throughout today.

   I hope that I haven’t lost anyone who was listening by singing you that song!

   IV. Rule # 4 – Display Gentleness

Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.

The New Living Translation renders this verse like this,

   5 Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon.

    Now is the time for all of us to be considerate of others around us. In light of what we have been asked to do let us show some gentleness towards our family, neighbors, and community.

   V. Rule # 5 – Don’t worry/Pray – 4:6-7

    Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

    The word “anxious” can also be translated “worry”. Just the other day we looked at what Jesus taught about worry from His sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6). Jesus said, “Do not worry.” Worry is a sign that we are lacking faith. Also remember, worry sees a problem, but concern looks for a solution. Worry is praying to the wrong God.

  • Don’t worry – be prayerful.
  • Supplication – with thanksgiving.
  • Let your requests be made known to God

   If we will but pray, God will show up in a BIG way. Look at the wonderful promise found in verse 7,

    7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

   The opposite of a worried and troubled heart is a heart at peace and rest. This peace here is a tranquility that flows from God to man (all who know Him). Do you possess the peace of God today? God promises to guard our hearts and our minds through Jesus Christ. Here is the point: Troublesome times don’t have to be that troublesome for the believer. 

   VI. Rule # 6 – Think Right – 4:8

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

Bible teachers call this verse the P48 Standard. Write that in the margin of your Bible. This is the standard when it comes to what you and I are to think about.

   In Opening Up Philippians the author writes, In keeping with that thought, Paul suggests to his readers a ‘divine programming’ that will ensure their peace. He calls upon them to think about:

  • THE TRUE—those things that correspond to the teaching of God’s Word;
  • THE NOBLE—those things that have the dignity of moral excellence;
  • THE JUST—those things that conform to God’s standards;
  • THE PURE—those things that are free from the taint of sin;
  • THE LOVELY—those virtues that make believers attractive and winsome, such as generosity, kindness, compassion and willingness to forgive;
  • THE THINGS OF GOOD REPORT—those things that give Christians a good reputation and a good name.

Paul sums it all up by telling his readers to meditate on anything of virtue and anything worthy of praise.

   VII. Rule # 7 – Just Do it – 4:9

The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.

    What good is the Bible if all we do is take it in, but never put it into practice? We have all learned some great truths to put into practice concerning these difficult days before us. What will we do with what we heard? Yesterday I warned us NOT to set aside all the wonderful benefits that God gives us (Psalm 103). Well, today I want to encourage us not to forget to put into practice what Paul taught us here in the fourth chapter of Philippians.

I want you to know as your Pastor that I love you, and I miss seeing your face-to-face. But we all know that this is temporary and that soon we shall be gathered together in our building and we shall be worshipping our LORD and Savior Jesus Christ. Until then, we are just doing the same thing a different way.

Sunday I will be going live at 10:00 A.M. I want to encourage your family to spend ½ hour listening to some great Christian music in preparation for receiving the message. You’ll want to download the message notes at slbc2u.com. Go down the page to our sermon area, and underneath that you will see note for download. Also make sure your download the My Blessing List from our resources under COVID-19 Handouts.

And remember, that we’re in touch, so you be in touch.

See you tomorrow at 10:00 A.M. (Facebook Live)



Forget Not His Benefits

March 20, 2020
Welcome to day 3 of our COVID-19 Connection Series!

I would love to know what you and your family are doing while we are social distancing ourselves to slow down the spread of the coronavirus. Shoot me an email or text message at grace2u4@gmail.com

I want to remind all of us that what we see happening around us, and what we hear in the News is temporary – there is a Biblical statement for that – “it came to pass. Those four words are found some 100 times in the New Testament.

Have you been enjoying the sunshine? I have! I actually walked around outside yesterday without a winter jacket on. It was so nice! Those days will be back sooner then we think, and everyone will once again be enjoying the rivers, mountains, and lakes. We are so blessed to live in the Pacific Northwest. So much beauty around us.

Prayer Time – Pause for Prayer. (Send us your prayer requests).

Our WORD from the Lord today is found in Psalm 103. Why don’t you grab your Bible and follow along as we look at this wonderful section of Scripture? I’ve entitled this word of encouragement: Forget Not His benefits

The heading above this chapter in my Bible reads: Praise for the Lord’s Mercies. We also discover that it is: A Psalm Of David.

Question: Over the past week have you found yourself complaining, or counting your blessings? Upset at what you see, or grateful for what you possess? Well today I want to talk to all of us about the many blessings (benefits) we receive from having a personal relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ.

   I. The Challenge – To Bless the LORD – vs. 1-2

   My challenge for us during the COVID-19 Series is to practice verse 1 and 2 of Psalm 103. Let’s read verse 1 first, 

1    Bless the Lord, O my soul;

And all that is within me, bless His holy name!

   The word “Bless” in Hebrew means an act of adoration, kneel (down), praise, salute, to thank.

   The “soul” is the seat of your emotions. Think this through. Our emotions usually follow our mindset and what we say with our mouth usually is played out in our lives. Negativity breeds negativity, and positivity breeds positivity! Here is the point: Bless God and your emotions will follow!

   Now, take a look at verse 2, we read,

2    Bless the Lord, O my soul,

And forget not all His benefits:

  Again for the second time we are told to “Bless the LORD, O my soul,” Notice that “LORD” is fully capitalized. This means that David is writing about Jehovah, the self-Existent or Eternal God.

   Suggestion: Write down at least one thing every day until this pandemic is over that you can “Bless the LORD” for. What can you praise God for, give God thanks for?

   Take a look at part two of verse 2. We are told very specifically, “And forget not all His benefits:

  • To forget means to mislay, to be oblivious of, to put out of memory.
  • Benefits speaks of God’s gracious acts of good will, that which He has given, or reward.
   II. The Benefits – vs. 3-5

   What were God’s benefits for David and His people? Take a look at verses 3-5, we read,

3    Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases,

4    Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,

5    Who satisfies your mouth with good things,So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. 

   Did you catch God’s benefits in those verses? There are six benefits:   

  1. Forgiveness – God forgives all your sins
  2. Healing – God heals all your diseases
  3. Redemption – God redeems your life from destruction
  4. Love – God crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies
  5. Satisfaction – God satisfies your mouth with good things (Chocolate for some, steaks for others).
  6. Renewal – So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

   We SOAR above all problems when we keep our mind on the benefits of knowing and loving God (See Isaiah 40:30-31). Over the next few weeks I want to encourage us to keep your mind on all the benefits (gracious provisions) from God.

   Now, what I want to do is to read to you about the character of our God. Our God is unlike any other god (little “g”) that people in world religions worship. We get a beautiful picture of our God as David experienced Him. We read, starting in verse 7,

6    The Lord executes righteousness And justice for all who are oppressed.

7    He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the children of Israel.

8    The Lord is merciful and gracious, Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.

9    He will not always strive with us, Nor will He keep His anger forever.

10   He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor punished us according to our iniquities.

11   For as the heavens are high above the earth, So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;

12   As far as the east is from the west, (notice it doesn’t says, north and south) So far has He removed our transgressions from us.

13   As a father pities his children, So the Lord pities those who fear Him.

14   For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.

15   As for man, his days are like grass; As a flower of the field, so he flourishes.

16   For the wind passes over it, and it is gone, And its place remembers it no more.

17   But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting (Eternal God)

On those who fear Him, And His righteousness to children’s children,

18   To such as keep His covenant, And to those who remember His commandments to do them.

19   The Lord has established His throne in heaven, And His kingdom rules over all. (Remember God is Sovereign over everything) 

   In light of who our God is – what is the required response?

  1. Angels are to bless the LORD – v. 20

20   Bless the Lord, you His angels, Who excel in strength, who do His word,

Heeding the voice of His word.

  1. Hosts are to bless the LORD – v. 21 (God’s armies)

21   Bless the Lord, all you His hosts, You ministers of His, who do His pleasure.

  1. Creation is to bless the LORD – v. 22a

22a  Bless the Lord, all His works,In all places of His dominion.

  1. People are to bless the LORD – v. 22b

   22b Bless the Lord, O my soul! This is David who wrote this Psalm

  • But this also includes all of us.
  • Remember the word “Bless” in Hebrew means an act of adoration, kneel (down), praise, salute, to thank.

   FREEBIE: Who likes freebies? I have a freebie for you today. Go to our church webpage: slbc2u.com, and under resource section in the menu bar look for the “My Blessings List” handout. Download your copy and begin to keep track of all the things you would like give God praise for, thanks for, or just appreciation for.

   Remember, we’re in touch, so you be in touch.