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Let Us Press On

Prayer Requests:

  • Connors Healing
  • Lizzie – Burn Victim
  • Keoki – ICU

Updates:

Unfortunately I have not connected with Connors dad in a little bit. But I do know his next round of treatment will be challenging.

Lizzie just underwent some skin grafts, and they removed the wraps and staples which is supposed to be an extremely painful process.

The last update I got on Keoki is that his family is now able to visit him in the hospital which is a tremendous comfort and blessing for the family.

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Sermon of the Day:

John MacArthur Daily Broadcast

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Hosea 6:3 ESV

“…Let us know; let us press on to know the Lord; his going out is sure as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth.”

Good Morning Men. I hope and pray this message finds you well in the Lord. I am so encouraged to know that God has steadfast love, mercy and compassion towards those who pursue and love Him.

For a little context, Hosea began his ministry some 250 years after King David. According to commentaries Hosea is believed to have been from the northern kingdom in Israel. During this time the nation of Israel is reaping the fruit of good economic and political fruit. Times were very good on the surface in Israel and the people were more dependent on their own strength and good will then the Lords.

Our keynote verse is taken from a passage where Hosea is leading the people in a prayer. He starts in v1 saying:

Come, let us return to the Lord.

Usually when we have to return to the Lord, we have left Him in some way. Although this may be difficult depending on why we left. The reminder all through scripture is that God’s steadfast love and mercy are always available to all who seek Him with all their heart (Jeremiah 29:13).

Hosea prays to know God, to press on to know the Lord.

First of all, Hosea is acknowledging the problem his people have with the Lord. This problem was mentioned back in Hosea 4:6 where the Lord says:

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me.

A lack of something will almost always be due to the lack of a pursuit of something. If we are lacking anything in our life it is because we give it either not enough or no attention.

Is our marriage struggling? If so, how much attention are we giving our wife?

Is our relationship with our children struggling? Again, how much attention are we giving to their needs and hearts desires?

The same is true for our relationship with God. Are we pursuing God through His Word? Are we pressing on through challenges, emotions, tiredness to know the Lord?

What an encouragement we have here, that not only is it encouraging us to press on to know the Lord. But we can bank on the fact the God is as reliable as the dawn. In other words as sure as me and you know the sun will rise again tomorrow, so is the steadfast fast love and faithfulness of the Lord God Almighty.

For anyone that may be doubting this, maybe your heart has some junk and sin that is not allowing you to believe this right now. Let us not forget the greatest sacrifice ever given in the history of mankind. That sacrifice was given by the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus gave it all, so we can have it all in Him.

Let us know Him dear brothers. Let us press on to know the goodness of the Lord. Let us turn from our sins, let us surrender any obstacle in our hearts. Let us receive all of Him.

As Jesus says when He speaks of taking on all of Him, every Word He has said, everything He represents, He says:

Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. John 6:56 ESV

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Heavenly Father thank you that Your faithfulness, mercy and love are so great and abounding. Father I have sinned and I need Your forgiveness. Please help me to know You, help me to press on to know You. I desire all of You. I want to know You intimately. Please help me and fill me with Your Holy Spirit in Jesus name, Amen.

God Made All Things

Prayer Requests:

  • Connor’s Healing
  • Lizzie – burn victim
  • Keoki – ICU

Updates:

Connor and his family have had some reprieve over the last few weeks by going home and spending time with family and friends. The next round of treatment is a challenging one and Connor and his family will need our prayers. So thank you for continuing to pray.

Lizzie is a friend of mine who suffered significant burn injuries at a recent brush fire. She has a long road ahead for healing and recovery.

Keoki is a friend of mine who has been in ICU for several weeks. We are praying he will overcome this virus and continue being the awesome dad and husband he is.

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Sermon of the Day:

John MacArthur Daily Broadcast

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Isaiah 44:24 ESV

Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, who formed you from the womb: ”I am the Lord, who made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself…”

Good Morning Men. I hope and pray this message finds you well in the Lord. In such uncertain times I pray all of us are leaning more into the Lord, trusting in Him with all our heart (Proverbs 3:5).

Our above verse was a great encouragement for me the other day, and my hope and prayer is that it will do the same for you.

The audience of this chapter is a pre-Babylon Israel with Isaiah continuing to encourage them of God’s loving redemption for them as a people and nation.

This passage as it continues through v28 has some very powerful prophecy that mentions Cyrus, who would be the deliverer of the Israelites after their 70 years in exile. This prophecy of Cyrus was spoken some 200 years before it was fulfilled.

Although I am always encouraged to read of prophecy that God spoke and it came to pass. In this current season of the world the first few verses were really what encouraged me.

As we all know the last year and a half have been quite the roller coaster. There have been more global changes than any of us have witnessed in our lifetimes. It has been tragic and devastating for many, while on the other hand it has been rewarding and enjoyable for some. The biggest problem is it doesn’t seem to be getting any better based on our own measurements.

Yet here we have some foundational truths about our God. Although He is talking to Israel, He is describing His nature that all of us are to know, believe and cling too.

First of all God is the Lord, He is our redeemer.

What an amazing truth, a rock we can all cling too. When things are unclear or uncertain. When we don’t know up from down, or left from right. We can always know that He is the Lord our Redeemer, Hallelujah!

Secondly it says: “who formed you from the womb…”. This is no specific person, God is speaking to all of Israel, and therefore in regards to His attributes they are the same for all of us.

You and I were formed in the womb by God, He formed our inward parts, we are fearfully and wonderfully made and God has more thoughts about you and I than the sand (Psalm 139:13-14,17-18).

We all have those moments of doubt, we all have insecurities. Yet God says here to me and you; I created you specifically the way I wanted too, I love you.

Does God really have this kind of power? Does God really have this kind of intelligence? Many in our society have those types of questions. Maybe you do.

I believe God has His answer right here for those that have ears to hear and a heart to receive.

God says I am the Lord, who made all things. Not some. Not the easy things; all things.

God says I alone stretched out the heavens, and spread out the earth by myself. God did not need any help, nor consult with any man. These types of omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent attributes are here to comfort me and you when we fear, when we doubt. When we wonder and worry about the future.

With the still small voice of God, He is saying in our ear don’t worry, cast your burden on me, trust me, follow me, repent and lean not on your own understanding.

Our greatest message is the good news of Jesus Christ. The Savior of the World. Jesus gave His life so we could have ours. To be a follower of Christ means to die to yourself, to die to our sinful nature and grow our spiritual nature. To put our hope, our faith and our complete trust in the work of the cross, in what Jesus did not what we can do.

For the follower of Christ, when the world looks dark, dim and worrisome. We have an eternal hope. A hope that is greater than any temporary thing on this earth.

May you and I learn to trust in the God who formed us in the womb, the God who made all things and stretched out the heavens by Himself. May we turn from our sin, and put our trust in the work of Christ.

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Heavenly Father thank you for creating me in Your image, to love me so much that you formed me in the womb. Please forgive me of all my sin. Teach me to pursue holiness over happiness. Teach me to trust You, that You alone are God. That you are in control of all things. In Jesus name, Amen!

The Righteousness of Christ

Prayer Requests:

  • Connor’s Healing

Updates:

No new updates. Just continuing to pray for God’s healing and blessing over this young man and his family. So that God is most glorified when we are most satisfied in Him.

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Sermon of the Day:

John MacArthur Daily Broadcast

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Matthew 5:20 ESV

For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Good Morning Men. I hope and pray this message finds you well in the Lord. It is such a comfort to know and believe that God made the earth by His power, He established the world by His wisdom, and by His understanding stretched out the heavens.

Starting in Matthew 5, the first 12 verses are known as the Beatitudes. The audience for this teaching were the Jews of Israel, including but not limited to the Pharisees and teachers of the law.

Jesus preached with such authority, boldness and raw truth that the crowds were astonished at His teaching (Matthew 7:28). These people were really rocked to the core. Their entire belief system had just been flipped upside down by Jesus.

The Pharisees and the scribes were idolized by the people. They were the standard of excellence, of godliness and in a sense perfection on earth. They were the standard of righteousness as far as they knew.

Yet Jesus directly confronts these religious leaders and everything they had created and stood for right in the mouth.

My first question for each of us, is who do we see Jesus as? In other words, when you and I think of Jesus, what image do we have of Him?

Is Jesus the passive, politically correct soft leader that bends and adjusts to the cultural, societal and traditional norms?

Or, is Jesus the divine authority of truth that stands on the Word of God despite what may or may not be pleasing to the ears?

If you’re not sure, my encouragement is spend time reading through the gospels. Study the context of the people, the time and the words of Jesus. Then lets see if our image of Him is reshaped.

What Jesus is summarizing to the people and to us in v20 is that we are incapable of being righteous on our own. The standard was so high already, then Jesus says that personal righteousness must exceed these already unreachable standards (at least for the common Jew looking at a Pharisee).

Many religions and teachers(priests, pastors, etc) teach that we must earn our standing before God. Or earn our salvation even. This was true then, and unfortunately it is still true now in many circles. Unfortunately for the many being deceived by this, the Word of God does not teach this.

Jesus teaches us to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33). Everything is about Jesus, everything is about what He has done.

Jesus is the only one capable of righteousness (Romans 3:10). Jesus is the righteousness that every follower of Christ has put on (Galatians 3:27). We do not put on or earn our own righteousness, that is the last thing we want to try and do. Isaiah teaches us that when we do this; our righteousness are as filthy rags before God (Isaiah 64:6).

Many times we get distracted to think that it must be about what we do. Or that what we must do in order to be established in Christ.

Let us close with what Jesus says about His words:

Matthew 7:24-27 ESV


24 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”

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Heavenly Father, thank you so much for Your Word and Your truth. Thank you for Your Son Jesus who is the perfect example for me to follow. Who, for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Father help me to seek first Your kingdom and Your righteousness. Draw me close to You. I need You more each day. In Jesus name, Amen!

Trust in the Lord

Prayer Requests:

  • Connor’s Healing
  • Friend “M” who got sick and hospitalized, but is recovering
  • Afghan allies and civilians trying to escape danger

Updates:

Connor is doing great, Praise the Lord. As of the last message he has 10 radiation treatments to go. Then him and his family get to go home for a little reprieve. God is the God of miracles!

“M” got really sick and was near death. All glory to God that he is home now and recovering.

God is Soveriegn and has a plan for the Afghan people fearing death and evil rulers. May God draw many to Him.

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Sermon of the Day:

John MacArthur Daily Broadcast

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Jeremiah 17:9-10 ESV


The heart is deceitful above all things,
    and desperately sick;
    who can understand it?
10 “I the Lord search the heart
    and test the mind,
to give every man according to his ways,
    according to the fruit of his deeds.”

Good Morning Men. I hope and pray this message finds you well in the Lord. Trusting in His promises, clinging to His truth. Knowing and believing that He alone is God over all things. Also, never forget that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.

Our keynote verse this week really stood out to me recently as I read through it. Let’s take a look at some of the context from this chapter and see what God has for each of us.

Starting in v1, Jeremiah gives us a powerful image of the sinful and rebellious heart of Judah. Describing their sin as written with a pen of iron, or the point of a diamond.

Their rebellion was deeply etched in their culture, in their beliefs and there was no turning back in their heart and mind.

When I read things like this it makes me think of my own sin, and the influences upon me from our own culture and society. We all would like to think and say, this would never happen to me. I may have a little sin problem, but I would never be that bad.

Then we see in v5 that the Lord says a man is cursed when he trusts in man, when he trusts in his own flesh. This turns a mans heart away from the Lord.

How easy and how often we too can so quickly consult ourselves, make our own decisions and not even think twice about a decision we make. Yet we are reminded in Proverbs 3 to seek the Lord with all our heart. To not trust in our own understanding, and that we should acknowledge Him in all our ways. Then He will make our paths straight.

God then describes in v6 this individual that trusts in man, would be like a shrub in the desert, no good will come to him as he dwells in parched places and uninhabited lands.

Some of the commentaries I read on this give the image that things may look good on the outside, but that is only superficial. The true health and well being is dry, hollow and desperate.

As we build up into our keynote verse Jeremiah describes to us in v7-8 what it looks like when a man trusts in the Lord. That he is well anchored, prepared to weather any storm and capable of bearing constant good fruit.

Then we have a description of the human heart; deceitful and desperately sick and that no one can understand it (v9).

You and I are constantly fed lies; “follow your heart”, “do what makes what makes you happy” and so on. Men if this were true then what God is saying here is incorrect.

So you and I have a choice of what to believe. Do we believe what we feel in our heart? Do we believe what we hear from society? Or do we believe and trust in God’s Word?

Then God brings even more clarity in v10, HE the Lord searches the heart and tests the mind.

Many times what we want is not what we need. Or what we get is not what we want.

However as we learn to trust God’s Word, to trust that He tests the mind and that He rewards every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds. We will in turn learn that His ways are always better than our ways. God’s ways bring life, healing and eternal joy. Man’s ways will eventually bring emptiness, dryness and brokenness.

My hope is that we can learn from this passage. To know that we have a sinful nature that is capable of major rebellion towards God. That we have a choice to trust in ourselves/man or to trust in God. That we can either be a shrub in the desert or a tree planted by water.

I don’t trust my heart. I hope you don’t either. Instead lets trust the Lord God Almighty and His Word.

God sent His Son Jesus to die on that cross. To face a horrific and torturous death so that you and I can have a choice to receive the forgiveness of our sins and eternal life. IF, we put our faith in Him. If we repent of our sin and surrender to Him.

As a new creation in Christ we trust that He will give us a new heart. A heart that will not be conformed to this world, but transformed by the renewal of our minds so that we may be able to test and discern what is the will of God, what is good, acceptable and perfect (Romans 12:2).

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Heavenly Father thank you for Your unfailing Word that never changes. That Your Word is an anchor for my soul, a refuge in times of trouble and a beacon of hope that I can always count on. Help me have a soft heart that is sensitive to sin. Quick to repent. Quick to forgive. Humble enough to always trust in You. Direct my steps by Your Word and let no iniquity have dominion over me. In Jesus name, Amen!

Jesus – Savior

Prayer Requests:

  • Connor’s Brain Tumor.
  • My friend “D” has been struggling with alcohol. Let us pray for him to resist and turn from it. That God would give him the strength he needs to turn from this. Also that his relationship with God would blossom, so that God becomes his constant desire and savior.
  • My friend “H’s” grandpa passed away recently. Lets pray for this entire family to draw close to God like never before, in genuine belief and faith. For salvation, healing and peace.

Update:

Connor completed his third brain surgery last week and the doctor removed a new tumor, but found no new growth on the original tumor cavity. Which is great news! Praise the Lord!

Connor is continuing with his radiation treatments, and is a little more than halfway through his 30 treatments of it. What a trooper! May God continue to give him grace, courage, peace, strength and continued miraculous healing!

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Sermon of the Day:

John MacArthur Daily Broadcast

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Isaiah 9:6 ESV

For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
    and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Good Morning Men. I hope and pray this message finds you well in the Lord. What a gift it is to know and believe that the Lord is high above all nations, and His glory above the heavens (Psalm 113:4)!

Although our keynote verse is the famous Christmas verse, it is also extremely deep in theology. I was reminded of a few powerful truths about Jesus Christ, the Messiah and I wanted to share that with you.

These quotes were very educational and rather than try to retype it I am sharing them from David Guzik’s commentary on this chapter.

b. For unto us a Child is born: This glorious prophecy of the birth of Messiah reminds Israel that the victory-bringing Messiah would be a man. Theoretically, the Messiah could have been an angel. Or, the Messiah could have been God without humanity. But in reality, neither of those options would have qualified the Messiah to be our Savior and High Priest as Jesus is. The Child had to be born.

i. What amazing mystery! There is nothing weaker, more helpless, more dependent than a child. Theoretically, the Messiah could have come as a fully-grown man, created as an adult even as Adam was created. But for Jesus to fully identify with humanity, and to display in His life the servant nature that is in God, He made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men (Philippians 2:7).

v. Jesus remains a man eternally (Acts 7:55-56, 1 Timothy 2:5). He did not relinquish His humanity on His ascension; but He is now a man in a resurrection body, as we will one day have.

vi. If Jesus were not fully man, He could not stand in the place of sinful man and be a substitute for the punishment man deserves. If He were not fully God, His sacrifice would be insufficient. If Jesus is not fully God and fully man, we are lost in sin.

Many have missed these powerful truths completely. Others have downplayed them to be just some good story about a good man/prophet that lived a long time ago. Brothers, these truths are about Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world. These truths are about the Son of God; who, to fulfill the Fathers plan of redemption willingly sacrificed it all.

I love what Paul teaches us here:

Philippians 2:5-10 ESV

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

My hope is that each of us would grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. That we would have the fear of the Lord, acknowledging and turning from our sin. Growing in holiness and the fruit of the Spirit. So that we too would hear those words: Well done, good and faithful servant.

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Heavenly Father, thank you so much for sending Your Son Jesus to die for me. I am forever grateful. Please remove all my sin, and anything that is getting in the way of an intimate relationship with You. Teach me how to be more like You in all that I do. I want more of You in my life. Thank you Father, I praise You and I thank you. In Jesus name, Amen!

Listen and Give Ear

Prayer Requests:

  • Connor’s Brain Tumor
  • My friend “H”’s grandpa is being taken off life support because he is not improving due to Covid. Lets pray for grandpa and this entire family to draw close to God like never before, in genuine belief and faith. For salvation, healing and peace.
  • My friend “D” has been struggling with alcohol. Let us pray for him to resist and turn from it. That God would give him the strength he needs to turn from this. Also that his relationship with God would blossom, so that God becomes his constant desire and savior.

Update:

Connor had his third brain surgery on Monday. He is recovering well (I am amazed at God’s grace in this boys situation). Praying for God’s righteous right hand over this young man and this entire situation.

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Sermon of the Day:

John MacArthur Daily Broadcast

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Isaiah 1:2-4 ESV

Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth;
    for the Lord has spoken:
“Childrenhave I reared and brought up,
    but they have rebelled against me.
The ox knows its owner,
    and the donkey its master’s crib,
but Israel does not know,
    my people do not understand.”

Ah, sinful nation,
    a people laden with iniquity,
offspring of evildoers,
    children who deal corruptly!
They have forsaken the Lord,
    they have despised the Holy One of Israel,
    they are utterly estranged.

Good Morning men. I hope and pray you are doing well in the Lord God almighty; Who was, Who is and Who is yet to come (Revelation 1:8).

Our passage this week brings us to the prophet Isaiah who opens this book with a prophecy for Judah, commands from God and a stern rebuke for the people.

God is directly speaking in verses 2-3. There are two commands here; Listen(Hear) and give ear. The Greek verb used here is shama’. This word is implying to listen with reverence, obedience and attentiveness. It is used in the present tense where it implies a continual listening knowing that our fallen flesh is prone to wonder.

How quick we are to wonder in our thoughts and in our actions. We, just like Judah need constant reminders to listen and give ear to the words of God.

God then brings the heavens and the earth as His witnesses against Judah. The entire universe has now become the courtroom where God is announcing His judgement.

For the Lord has spoken.

The Lord is Jehovah, the Great I AM, the One true God, creator of all life as we know it. He is speaking, therefore all should listen.

The judgement is against His children. These children God has reared and brought up, in other words raised them, protected them, elevated them. God has made available to them all of His riches, power and glory. Leaving them without any excuse to be lacking in anything.

Yet they rebelled.

Children of ingratitude on the highest degree, the most offensive lack of gratitude against their Heavenly Father, their God and their Creator.

Although there is heaviness with these words from God, like the stern voice of a commanding Father. There are also subtle tones of a loving and grace filled Father. With rebellion and ingratitude on the docket of offense, he still calls them ‘children’.

In the Old Testament we have seen the sin in the garden, the rebellion that led to a world wide flood, the deliverance from Egypt and slavery, the rebellion of the wilderness for forty years. We saw God rejected through multiple judges and a desire to be like another nations, requesting a king.

But God, still calls them children. His children that He loves and still keeps His plan for their redemption.

This same God loves you and I with the same love. An agape love, a sacrificial love built on the foundation of action and willingness to love at all costs.

God then describes the people of Judah and compares them to the dumbest animals they dealt with. The ox and the donkey are well know for lacking in IQ. Yet God says even these brute animals have enough IQ to know their owner. Even these animals recognize who is the boss. But Israel, Judah, these people God declares do not even know their God, their creator.

Through this powerful yet painful analogy; God still calls them His people. God still keeps His undertone of agape love.

What a travesty that you and I can be so alike to this example. How often our pride can lift us to think, “we” actually are in control. That we control our destiny, or we created this skill set, or this great lifestyle. We forget oh so quick that we were created from the dust of the ground, and filled with the breath of life from God almighty (Genesis 2:7).

In our mountain tops of life, when things are good; let us never forget that all things are from Him, through Him and to Him, to Him be the glory forever (Romans 11:36).

Verse 4 begins with the prophet Isaiah bringing the charges of the people. Isaiah presents it in an agonizing cry filled with pain, sorrow and frustration towards the people and their nation.

Like any genuine follower of Christ, the truth of God’s Word should always be presented, never dulled or withheld. Brought forth with brokenness and love being grieved and convicted by sin.

The root issue here for Judah is sin. They did not recognize nor acknowledge it as such. They failed by doing that.

Unfortunately you and I have that same condition. To justify, to make excuses, to twist, dilute or avoid God’s word.

Our issues are due to sin. Sin is the root cause and until we acknowledge, confess and repent of our sin these issues will deepen and build to become full blown destruction and rebellion.

I liked this quote from one of the commentaries:

”We all, like Judah, are either moving toward God (seeking Him) or away from God (abandoning Him). To abandon God is the opposite of seeking Him.”

What a powerful truth. My hope and prayer is that each of us will repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand. We do not have the strength, or the power to save ourselves. We need God. We need His mercy. We need His grace. Thanks be to God for sending His Son to die on that cross for our sins. So that if we put our faith and trust completely in Him we will have eternal life with Him.

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Heavenly Father, You alone are great and wondrous in all Your ways. You breathed life into me, You are my creator and Father. Teach me to surrender to Your Word. Teach me to listen and give ear to Your Word. Forgive me of all my sin, help me to turn from anything holding me back from intimacy with You. Thank you for Your Son Jesus. I love you and praise you with all my heart. In the mighty name of Jesus, Amen!

But God

Prayer Requests:

The last update on Connor I got is from last week, where he completed his first full week of radiation. It was a great success.

Heavenly Father we just lift Connor up to you, and pray for Your continued hand upon him. Please completely remove any cell of cancer in his brain, please continue to fill Connor with Your peace that passes all understanding. Please continue to fill Connor with courage as he faces every day. Most importantly please give Connor a heart to know You, to run to You, to love You and worship You with all his being. Father please fill Connors entire family near and far with Your Spirit. That they may be anchored in You, trusting You, and turning to You like never before. That through this pain and suffering You receive all glory, honor and praise. In Jesus name, Amen.

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Sermon of the Day:

John MacArthur Daily Broadcast

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Psalm 73:25-26 ESV

25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
    And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
    but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Good Morning Men. I hope this message finds you all well in the Lord God Almighty. It is so comforting to know that the Lord is high above all nations and His glory above the heavens (Psalm 113:4)!

Our keynote passage above was a tremendous encouragement for me when I read through it. My hope today is that each of us would desire the same heart as the Psalmist in this passage.

Whom have I in heaven but you?

This question the Psalmist presents is really fascinating. We have so many descriptions of heaven in the Bible, not only as a physical place but what transpires with our body and soul. There is so much for the follower of Christ to be exited about when it comes to heaven.

In fact when I think of heaven, I normally think of heaven related to me and how I benefit. I think of those streets of gold (Revelation 21:21), I think of angels, I think of receiving an understanding of creation and my life on earth. Yet the Psalmist has such a heart for God, that God alone is the greatest treasure he is looking forward too.

And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.

So if someone were to ask you and I, do we desire anything on earth more than God? Our answer, for most if not all of us reading this would probably be; of course not. But do our actions line up with that on daily basis?

Do you and I live in a way where we have no greater desire on this earth but God. Could we really attain that? Could you and I really live, breathe and act in a way where not only we feel that, but others saw that!? Where others see our actions and give glory to our Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16).

My flesh and my heart may fail…

The older I get the more aware I become of my physical limitations and aging body. The more I am learning to let go and trust God rather than cling to youthful vigor and strength. It seems that is what the psalmist is wanting us to see here as well. That not only do we have weaknesses but compared to a holy and righteous God we are just diminishing flesh and bones. If we are unable to accept that then the next part of this verse may be difficult.

…but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

I love when the Bible does that…but God. No matter what the situation, no matter what we may feel or think. We must learn to always take every thought captive and but God…the list is endless that follows that statement. Here the psalmist knows God is His source of strength. Since everything flows from the heart, God is the strength of his heart.

God is also his portion. Rather than claiming his earthly portion where moth and rust destroys, and where thieves break in and steal (Matthew 6:19-20). The psalmist’s portion is in God alone. In the Old Testament, the Levites and the Priests were taken care of by the Lords tithes and offerings. They were denied the privilege of land ownership, the Lord alone was their inheritance!

Men, you and I may not be on that level right now, but God! But with God all things are possible! I know and I believe with all my heart that if you and I desire this heart, and pursue God with all our heart, we too can have the heart of the Psalmist who says:

Whom have I in heaven but you?
    And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
    but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

All of this sounds great, if your like me, you may thinking well what’s the plan? How do I get there?

I believe the first step is to meditate on the steadfast love of the Lord. To really take a look, think about what God has done for you and me through Jesus Christ on that cross over two thousand years ago. God’s plan of redemption is so radical, it is so contrary to the human heart that it is hard to receive.

Until you see the love of God driving it. A love so radical, so reckless, so infinite it allowed the Son of God to be mocked, beaten, stabbed and crucified on the most horrific device of human cruelty of that time.

Jesus Christ the Savior of the World, was fully God and fully man. Laying down His heavenly robe, coming in the likeness of man. To suffer as we suffer, to feel pain as we feel pain so that we have a high priest that knows exactly what we go through in this life.

Honestly, push yourself to stay in this area until you cry. Until you cry with pain, with gratitude, with shame, with regret, with joy and awe. Then remember but God! God made a way through Jesus for us to receive forgiveness, for all our sin to be washed away. As far as the east is from the west, gone!

We must repent, we must turn from sin. We must pursue a life that is holy and pleasing before a holy God. We must deny ourselves daily, carrying our cross for His names sake. This takes time, in fact it will take the rest of our lives. But if we truly desire this relationship with God, let’s start taking the fist step.

Let me close with a verse that I pray daily, and I hope you will as well. To be honest, real and transparent before a holy God:

Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting! (Psalm 139:23-24)

Hallelujah! God is so good! God is merciful! God is gracious! Slow to Anger, abounding in mercy! Praise Him all you saints! Praise Him with all that you have! Praise the Lord!

——

Heavenly Father, whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting! In Jesus mighty name I pray, Amen, Amen, Amen!

Steadfast Love of the Lord

Prayer Requests:

Update: Connors second brain surgery was a success, and he has started radiation treatment. Conor is continuing to handle everything with his infectious smile. There very well could be increasing fatigue, headaches and nausea with each treatment. Let’s continue to pray for complete healing over Conor, and that Conor and his family’s pain will not be wasted. That God will get all the glory from this season. That lives will be transformed to know and experience the steadfast love of God.

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Sermon of the Day:

John MacArthur Daily Broadcast

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Psalm 103:11-14 ESV


11 
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
    so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
    so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
13 As a father shows compassion to his children,
    so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.

Good Morning Men. I hope and pray this message finds you well and hungry for more of God. We all should be so encouraged to know that the Lord reigns, that the world and His throne are established from of old; and shall never be moved (Psalm 93:1-2).

This week’s keynote verse has some powerful truths that I wanted to unpack for each of us.

Starting with the heavens above the earth. The ancient biblical world had three concepts of heaven; the first heaven was the blue sky, the atmosphere and the sun. The second heaven is the night sky with all the stars and their constellations. The third is the place where God dwells and is enthroned.

Although we don’t know which heaven David is referring to here, it is very interesting to think about that; either way this is a great distance. Greater than you and I can travel and grasp on our own merit and strength.

The psalmist, David then makes a comparison that this great distance is just like the steadfast love of God. This Word steadfast comes from the Hebrew word, ‘hesed’; pronounced: ‘kheh’-sed’. This word is used here in the context of mercy, kindness, lovingkindness, goodness.

These are all attributes of God that are in immeasurable quantities towards those who fear Him. This is a very important distinction. Although God loves everyone, since everyone is a part of His creation, and since He sent His Son Jesus to die for the entire world. This unmeasurable kindness, goodness, faithfulness and mercy; expressed through steadfast love and displayed to those who fear Him through the grace in which we are saved.

How does this happen?

Verse 12 tells us this happens by our transgressions being removed from us. Not just temporarily, or just out of his sight but as far away as possible, especially with the way the earth was viewed in that time. Knowing the true shape of the earth today, technically east and west never meet. That is how far our transgressions or sin is from God for those who fear Him.

In verse 13 we get a beautiful picture of a loving father, showing compassion on his children. God the Father has this same type of love towards those who fear Him. Again we have this distinction between those who fear Him. Repeating this statement three times within seven verses is giving a special emphasis to this important statement and distinction.

Fearing God is the beginning of wisdom we learn (Proverbs 1:7), it is a healthy reverent fear that draws us closer to Him. Desiring to obtain favor and mercy, working our life towards obedience to His ways and His Word. Allowing God’s Holy Spirit access to our hearts, and submitting to Him in surrender and repentance.

My hope and prayer is that each of us would learn to fear the Lord God Almighty more and more. To have a healthy and reverent fear that drives us towards holiness and obedience to His Word. That His Word would be stored in our heart. Just as David taught us here:

Psalm 119:9-11 ESV

How can a young man keep his way pure?
    By guarding it according to your word.
10 With my whole heart I seek you;
    let me not wander from your commandments!
11 I have stored up your word in my heart,
    that I might not sin against you.

——

Heavenly Father, thank you for Your goodness, kindness, faithfulness, mercy and steadfast love for me. I am in awe of Your love, although I do not deserve it. Although You gain nothing from me, I have nothing to offer You, yet You love me anyway. Even though I was created from dust, You still sent Your one and only Son to die in my place. Even though You knew I would sin against You, Your steadfast love was still so great that You allowed Jesus to die for me. Thank you Father. Thank you so much. Help me store Your Word in my heart that I will not sin against You. In Jesus’ mighty name I pray, Amen.

Create in Me a Clean Heart

Prayer Requests:

Heavenly Father, You are God. You created everything in this world by the word of Your mouth. You are the Sovereign God of this entire universe. Your ways are higher than our ways. Your thoughts are higher than our thoughts, even more than the heavens above the earth. Father you love each and every one of us, with a love so radical it was nailed and crucified to a cross. You created us to be fearfully and wonderfully made, forming our inward parts, knitting us in our mothers womb. You have more thoughts about us than the sand. All of these things are promised in Your Word. So I know this stands for Connor as well. I know that You are working behind the scenes. I know that You promise to work all things for good for those who are called and who love God. Therefore my prayer is that you continue to move in Connors heart. That he would know You as His personal Lord and Savior. That You will fill him with peace and courage as he continues his battle. I pray that You will use Connor to be a mouthpiece of Your Great Love. I also pray that You would heal Connor. Completely remove and cure him of that tumor with Your righteous right hand. Comfort his family, and fill them with a desire to bring every burden before You. Teach them to trust in the Lord with all their heart, to lean not on their own understanding, that in all their ways they will acknowledge You, and You will make their paths straight. In Jesus name we all pray, Amen, Amen and Amen!

——

Sermon of the Day:

John MacArthur Daily Broadcast

——

Psalm 51:10 ESV

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
    and renew a right spirit within me.

Good Morning Men. I hope and pray this message finds you well in the Lord. I’m reminded this morning that blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who alone does wondrous things. Blessed be His glorious name forever; may the whole earth be filled with His glory! Amen! (Psalm 72:18-19)

Our message this week takes us to one of my favorite Psalms. This is a Psalm of repentance by King David after his tragic sin of adultery and murder.

Today I want to focus not just on our keynote verse, but the word used in this verse; ‘create’.

The psalmist, David asks the Lord to create in him a clean heart.

David wanted more than a cleansed heart, he wanted a new heart. The word create here comes from the Hebrew word ‘bara’, which is used in Genesis 1 when God created the heavens and the earth.

What David is asking for is a miracle, something only God can do. 

This really stood out to me. The more I dive into God’s Word the more I am learning that on a personal level how God hates my sin. I am learning that there is less and less that I can do in my own reasoning and strength. I need more of God. I see that connection here as God’s Word is teaching us with David’s desires.

Our nature is a sinful nature. Each and every one of us is bent towards our sinful desires. We learn this all-throughout scripture. That there are none who do good, not even one (Psalm 14:3). That all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). That every intention of the thoughts of mans heart is evil continually (Genesis 6:5).

But, Praise the Lord God Almighty who does not leave us stranded in our sinful state. God has made a way through His Son Jesus. A path of redemption for mankind, that is available to all who come and humbly receive this free gift.

We must first realize our spiritual poverty (Matthew 5:2). We must grieve over the sin in our life (Matthew 5:3) turning from it daily (Luke 9:23). We need to learn to put our hope, trust and belief in all that God says He is.

This is why David then asks in our verse above; for a ‘renewed spirit within me’. The steadfast or right spirit is to help him remain anchored in the Lord. To be steadfast in holiness and a humble reliance on God rather than himself. 

The more I read and learn from God’s Word, the more I can come to understand I need more of God. I need Him in the good times to keep me humble and anchored. I need Him in the low times, to remind me I’m not living for the temporary pleasures of life. I need Him through challenges to know that He is God over everything, and that I can do nothing apart from Him (John 15:5).

My hope is that each of us is moved by God’s Word today. That each of us would allow God free reign in our hearts. To surrender anything holding us back. To desire a miracle, the miracle for God to create in each of us a clean heart. Followed with a renewed steadfast, right spirit within us to be anchored in the truth of God’s Word.

——

Heavenly Father, You are God of this universe. I stand in awe of Your wondrous works. Father, my heart is sinful, it runs towards sin at every chance. Please create in me a clean heart, O God. Please renew a right spirit within me that I will remain anchored to Your truth. I need You. Thank you for loving me so much that You sent Your Son Jesus to die in my place. That type of love I can barely fathom. Thank you Father. In Jesus name, Amen.

Surrender

Prayer Requests:

Conor and his family are currently at a St. Judes children’s hospital in Memphis. The tumor that was removed initially is a very rare type of cancer. Conor is scheduled to have surgery again this coming Thursday. The tumor that was removed is very aggressive and the regrowth needs to be removed. The cat scan showed no other parts affected.

Connor’s family has thanked us for our prayers and asks that we continue.

God is Sovereign. God is faithful. God is greater than any sickness. To God be all the Glory.

——

Sermon of the Day:

John MacArthur Daily Broadcast

——

Psalm 46:10 ESV

“Be still, and know that I am God.
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth!”

Good Morning Men. I hope and pray you are doing well in the Lord, the creator of heaven and earth. I am so comforted to know; and pray you as well; that God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1).

Our keynote verse above has been an anchor for me in many storms. However after a little deeper study on it I was encouraged to learn more about it. My goal is to share that with you today.

What does it mean to Be Still in this context?

FIrst let me tell you what it does not mean. It does not mean to be idle, to sit there and do nothing. Of course there are times and seasons where that is needed in our life. However, that is not the meaning of this verse.

Rather, to Be Still and Know that He is God refers to a life of surrender.

A life that will stop opposing, fighting and arguing with God.

I am reminded of a few passages that bring me to this question:

Who am I to question God of the Universe?

Let me share a few of those passages:

Psalm 50:12 ESV

If I were hungry, I would not tell you,
    for the world and its fullness are mine.

The Sovereign God of the universe does not need any help from us.

Isaiah 64:8 ESV

But now, O Lord, you are our Father;
    we are the clay, and you are our potter;
    we are all the work of your hand.

Just as the potter forms vessels of clay, so we were formed and created by God.

Job 38:4 ESV

Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
    Tell me, if you have understanding.

What a humbling question that no man can answer.

In our sinful and rebellious nature we are at war with God. We take on the attitude to answer back to God, as the molded, we question the molder; Why have You made me like this? (Romans 9:20).

God says to our rebellious heart: Be still and know that I am God.

Laying down our arms, surrendering before God and coming to the realization that He is God alone, and the only great and victorious God.

We see that this message doesn’t just end with me and you, God promises:

“…I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”

This extends way past me and you, our nation, the nation of Israel and the world. God calls all of creation to Be still and know that He is God. The difference will be who chooses to surrender.

The biggest block you and I have is our sinful nature. It is a huge problem that we will battle until death. The good news is God did not leave us stranded with a big problem and no answer.

The answer is Jesus!

Jesus Christ the Savior of the World came to earth in the greatest act of selfless love in the history of mankind. Loving us so much that He was willing to die for the sins of the entire world. Willing to be the perfect, blameless sacrifice to pay for our sin.

This type of love is absolutely unfathomable. To love a world that would reject and rebel against you, even curse you and deny your existence. But He gave His Son anyway.

If we are willing to repent of our sin, to turn from sin and say Jesus I need You. He will accept us.

I love how Pastor Jake put it so simply yesterday in regards to living a life as a Christian:

Jesus only asks:
Just be committed to me! Put your faith in me and I will do the work!!! (Luke 9:23, John 3:16, Matthew 11:28-30).

——

Heavenly Father, You are God, You are the creator of heaven and earth and everything within it. Please forgive me of the times where I doubt You, where I question Your goodness, Your eternal wisdom that far exceeds anything I could imagine. Teach me to be still and know that You are God. Father, I am a sinner. I need a Savior. Thank you for sending Jesus to die on the cross for my sins. Please teach me to be committed to You, to put my faith in You and allow You to do the work because I cannot. Thank you for loving me so much. In Jesus name, Amen.

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