Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 10-18-17

Daily Reading 10-18-17

John 6:27-38 New Living Translation (NLT)


How important is loving and believing in Christ?  Jesus tells us in our passage, today, believing in him is the “only” work God wants from us.  In other words, we cannot trust in our own efforts to gain salvation, because we can never perform at a level to earn it.  However, we can trust the love of God found in Jesus Christ as Messiah to pay the debt for our sin and receive salvation as a gift.  I am fully convinced “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Cor. 2:9).  Believing in the work of Christ brings eternal life, but that connection brings love and nourishment we cannot even imagine!


John 6:27-38 The Bread of Life

27 Jesus said, “Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that the Son of Man can give you. For God the Father has given me the seal of his approval.”


28 They replied, “We want to perform God’s works, too. What should we do?”


29 Jesus told them, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.”


30 They answered, “Show us a miraculous sign if you want us to believe in you. What can you do? 31 After all, our ancestors ate manna while they journeyed through the wilderness! The Scriptures say, ‘Moses gave them bread from heaven to eat.’”


32 Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, Moses didn’t give you bread from heaven. My Father did. And now he offers you the true bread from heaven. 33 The true bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”


34 “Sir,” they said, “give us that bread every day.”


35 Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.


Prayer:  Lord, I believe you are the Bread of Life that nourishes every aspect of my life.  Thank you for your great love and provision.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 10-17-17


Daily Reading 10-17-17

Philippians 3:13-4:1 New Living Translation (NLT)

What is the main objective of your effort each day? At the deepest level, what are you trying to accomplish with your schedule and time?


The Lord gave us a Word on Sunday in our worship time about faith, humility, and the importance of bearing the fruit of the Spirit as a key component of His kingdom reign.  According to 2 Corinthians 9:10, the Lord supplies the seed and multiples the seed for sowing which increases the harvest of our righteousness. As the Lord of the harvest, Christ invites us to be prepared for His Second Coming (a great harvest of souls) when He calls us home to reconnect to the Tree of Life.  


I am sure God is pleased when we spend time in His Word and pray.  I am positive it pleases God when we allow that Word to cause us to be more loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, gentle, thoughtful, and approach each day with more self-control.  If we are going to be victorious in producing the fruit of righteousness, it will require us to pick up our crosses and follow Christ through our daily activities.  Is bearing the fruit of the Spirit your highest goal each day as you interact with people and go about your schedule?  Do you give equal emphasis with your whole being to produce spiritual fruit in your relationships over and above the actual task or responsibility at hand?  We have an opportunity to touch the lives of others every day in some way.


Philippians 3:13-4:1  Focused on the Goal

12-14 I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.


15-16 So let’s keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision—you’ll see it yet! Now that we’re on the right track, let’s stay on it.


17-19 Stick with me, friends. Keep track of those you see running this same course, headed for this same goal. There are many out there taking other paths, choosing other goals, and trying to get you to go along with them. I’ve warned you of them many times; sadly, I’m having to do it again. All they want is easy street. They hate Christ’s Cross. But easy street is a dead-end street. Those who live there make their bellies their gods; belches are their praise; all they can think of is their appetites.


20-21 But there’s far more to life for us. We’re citizens of high heaven! We’re waiting the arrival of the Savior, the Master, Jesus Christ, who will transform our earthy bodies into glorious bodies like his own. He’ll make us beautiful and whole with the same powerful skill by which he is putting everything as it should be, under and around him.

4 My dear, dear friends! I love you so much. I do want the very best for you. You make me feel such joy, fill me with such pride. Don’t waver. Stay on track, steady in God.


Prayer:  Lord, help me to focus on your Kingdom and the growth of my spiritual fruit each day, knowing you have promised to make me prosperous in the other things my earthly life requires.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.


Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 10-16-17

Daily Reading 10-16-17

Jude 17:25  New Living Translation (NLT)


Building others up and encouraging them to stay the course of faith is the call of Christ.  Especially in these days where people just want to quit, because life is challenging. Without the Holy Spirit religion is empty and void of power.  When we pray in the power of the Spirit and remain in Christ’s love, we are kept safe by the Lord.


Our quest in these days is to remain faithful to the Word of God and obedient to the work of the Spirit in our lives.  If you are tempted to give up the holy fight for righteousness, hold on longer.  The Lord himself will keep you from falling away if you call on his name.  


Jude 17-25 A Call to Remain Faithful

17 But you, my dear friends, must remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ predicted. 18 They told you that in the last times there would be scoffers whose purpose in life is to satisfy their ungodly desires. 19 These people are the ones who are creating divisions among you. They follow their natural instincts because they do not have God’s Spirit in them.


20 But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit, 21 and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love.


22 And you must show mercy to those whose faith is wavering. 23 Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. Show mercy to still others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives.


A Prayer of Praise

24 Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault. 25 All glory to him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are his before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time! Amen.


Prayer:  Lord, thank you for the joy you place within my heart and the reassurance that you will see me to my eternal home without fault.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 10-13-17

Daily Reading 10-13-17

Mark 2:18-22 New Living Translation (NLT)


Being with Jesus was a time to celebrate; a time for new wine or a time to learn a new way to live.  The religious leaders were critical of Jesus and the way he taught his disciples when it came to fasting.  For Christ, the motive of the disciples was the most important reason for fasting.  Fasting was to be connected with repentance and not simply to draw attention to one’s piety as modeled by the Pharisees.


The Pharisees were not interested in religious change; they liked the old way of doing things even though they were not growing in their faith. There was no room in their understanding for the Messiah of Grace.   Jesus clearly was bringing a new way of enjoying a relationship with God, so he encouraged his disciples to put this new wine (gospel) into new wineskins (pliable heart and renewed mind). 


Jesus wants to teach each of us how to really enjoy our new lives in him.  So, keep your heart pliable, be led by the Spirit of Truth, and celebrate the Love of God.


A Discussion about Fasting

18 Once when John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting, some people came to Jesus and asked, “Why don’t your disciples fast like John’s disciples and the Pharisees do?”


19 Jesus replied, “Do wedding guests fast while celebrating with the groom? Of course not. They can’t fast while the groom is with them. 20 But someday the groom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast.


21 “Besides, who would patch old clothing with new cloth? For the new patch would shrink and rip away from the old cloth, leaving an even bigger tear than before.

22 “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the wine would burst the wineskins, and the wine and the skins would both be lost. New wine calls for new wineskins.”


Prayer:  Lord, sometimes letting go of old ways of doing things is a challenge, but I am going to keep my heart pliable so I can expand my understanding of your love and enjoy life with you!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.


Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 10-12-17

Daily Reading 10-12-17

Psalm 23 New Living Translation (NLT)


Years ago when I went to the Holy Land, I traveled from Egypt to the Promised Land.  Between those places I saw a great deal of wilderness; dry and barren land with scorching temperatures.  The Hebrew word for wilderness is midbar; the root is “speak” or “word.”  We know from Scripture that God speaks to the Israelites in the wilderness; He teaches them He is the Source of all things and they can trust Him.


Are you experiencing a time in the wilderness with God?  Are you experiencing trials and challenges that prepare you for bringing honor to His name?


The older I get the more I see the whole world as a wilderness; a place where spiritually dry and lifeless choices seem to abound.  Then, the Word of God speaks to my heart and I am reminded that in the midst of that environment I am pursued by the amazing grace and love of God who woos me to seek the kingdom so I may continually drink of living waters and eternal life.  Think about it; God’s goodness, mercy, and unfailing love pursues you in order to Shepherd you to the living water you need to survive the dry and lifeless places in the world and to grow in your dependence upon His provision. 


Psalm 23  A psalm of David.

The Lord is my shepherd;

    I have all that I need.

He lets me rest in green meadows;

    he leads me beside peaceful streams.

    He renews my strength.

He guides me along right paths,

    bringing honor to his name.

Even when I walk

    through the darkest valley,

I will not be afraid,

    for you are close beside me.

Your rod and your staff

    protect and comfort me.

You prepare a feast for me

    in the presence of my enemies.

You honor me by anointing my head with oil.

    My cup overflows with blessings.

Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me

    all the days of my life,

and I will live in the house of the Lord



Prayer:  Lord, I am thirsty for more and more of your living water; please quench my thirst and lead me in the paths of righteousness.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.


Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 10-11-17

Daily Reading 10-11-17

Deuteronomy 6:10-25 Living Bible (TLB)


Moses shares God’s commands for the covenant community of Israel and he tells them to love the Lord their God with all their hearts, souls, and strength.  If they do as God commands, they will enjoy a long life (Deut. 6:2-6).  As I reflect upon our verses today, it is clear God is asking His people to make a wholehearted commitment to Him, because He is making a wholehearted commitment to us.


Casual Christianity is never going to liberate us from bondage to sin nor bring us the power of God; only a wholehearted commitment to our relationships with the Lord will bring victory.  If you are struggling to break free from strongholds and condemnation, submit yourself to God and his commands, resist the enemy and he will flee because your obedience brings the Lord’s help to your life.  And “when” the Lord has brought your breakthrough, revived your life, and covered you with His favor, “then” remember to thank and serve him. 


Deuteronomy 6:10-25

10-12 “When the Lord your God has brought you into the land he promised your ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and when he has given you great cities full of good things—cities you didn’t build, wells you didn’t dig, and vineyards and olive trees you didn’t plant—and when you have eaten until you can hold no more, then beware lest you forget the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt, the land of slavery. 13 When you are full, don’t forget to be reverent to him and to serve him and to use his name alone to endorse your promises.


14 “You must not worship the gods of the neighboring nations, 15 for Jehovah your God who lives among you is a jealous God, and his anger may rise quickly against you, and wipe you off the face of the earth. 16 You must not provoke him and try his patience as you did when you complained against him at Massah. 17 You must actively obey him in everything he commands. 18 Only then will you be doing what is right and good in the Lord’s eyes. If you obey him, all will go well for you, and you will be able to go in and possess the good land that the Lord promised your ancestors. 19 You will also be able to throw out all the enemies living in your land, as the Lord agreed to help you do.


20 “In the years to come when your son asks you, ‘What is the purpose of these laws which the Lord our God has given us?’ 21 you must tell him, ‘We were Pharaoh’s slaves in Egypt, and the Lord brought us out of Egypt with great power 22 and mighty miracles—with terrible blows against Egypt and Pharaoh and all his people. We saw it all with our own eyes. 23 He brought us out of Egypt so that he could give us this land he had promised to our ancestors. 24 And he has commanded us to obey all of these laws and to reverence him so that he can preserve us alive as he has until now. 25 For it always goes well with us when we obey all the laws of the Lord our God.’


Prayer:  Lord, You are entirely sold out to love your people; your created human race. You are sold out to love each one of us.  I know my response to you must be obedience.  Thank you for this reminder, today.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.


Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 10-10-17

Daily Reading 10-10-17

2 Corinthians 5:17-21 Living Bible (TLB)



I went and bought plants today to replace some in a planter that had begun to whither and die.  I tried to nurse them back to health, but some of them just were too far gone.  The plants had been through hurricane Irma and they had taken quite a beating.  These new plants are vibrant and filled with flowering buds; these plants are healthy and producing new life.


In our spiritual formation we can run into times when the storms of life really take their toll on us.  When we are weary, we can slide into sloppy living and lose our zeal and passion for Christ’s work.  But unlike the plants, we are connected to the Vine of Life.  When we are in need of restoration, Christ is there to bring it.  He restores our souls, imparts the courage to keep going, and lifts our heads with faith.  The life of Christ pulsing through our being, is always there to respond to our cry for healing and regeneration.  When we said, “yes” to Christ, we said “yes” to abundant and eternal life for our souls.  If you are weary in well-doing and need the Healer, cry out to Him today.  As He rises up to touch and restore our souls, we have a testimony of the power of His goodness.


2 Corinthians 5:17-21

17 When someone becomes a Christian, he becomes a brand new person inside. He is not the same anymore. A new life has begun!


18 All these new things are from God who brought us back to himself through what Christ Jesus did. And God has given us the privilege of urging everyone to come into his favor and be reconciled to him. 19 For God was in Christ, restoring the world to himself, no longer counting men’s sins against them but blotting them out. This is the wonderful message he has given us to tell others. 20 We are Christ’s ambassadors. God is using us to speak to you: we beg you, as though Christ himself were here pleading with you, receive the love he offers you—be reconciled to God. 21 For God took the sinless Christ and poured into him our sins. Then, in exchange, he poured God’s goodness into us!


Prayer:  Lord, thank you for the continual regeneration you bring to my soul.  I am alive in you!  Thank you!  In Jesus’ name. Amen.


Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 10-9-17

Daily Reading 10-9-17

1 Peter 2:4-10 Living Bible (TLB)


When I was in Kindergarten, one of my favorite class times was “Show and Tell.”  I was always excited not only to share special things with others, but to see and hear what my fellow classmates would bring to share.  “Show and Tell” was a great way to learn more about others; what they liked and what was important to them.  As well, it helped alleviate the fear of speaking aloud in the classroom; it built confidence and community.


As Christians our lives are to be like the classroom activity “Show and Tell.”  A way for people to know the love of Jesus is to show them love in action and to tell them how much Jesus has changed the focus of our lives.  As we allow Jesus to light our life with righteousness, peace, and joy, we can share with others how much Christ has changed our lives.


The Apostle Peter reminds his church family they are each a spiritual house built by Christ. Our lives our built on Christ the Solid Cornerstone.  He is trustworthy, merciful, and the reason we can have a relationship with God.  Let’s be bold to “Show and Tell.”


1 Peter 2:4-10

4 Come to Christ, who is the living Foundation of Rock upon which God builds; though men have spurned him, he is very precious to God who has chosen him above all others.


5 And now you have become living building-stones for God’s use in building his house. What’s more, you are his holy priests; so come to him—you who are acceptable to him because of Jesus Christ—and offer to God those things that please him. 6 As the Scriptures express it, “See, I am sending Christ to be the carefully chosen, precious Cornerstone of my church, and I will never disappoint those who trust in him.”


7 Yes, he is very precious to you who believe; and to those who reject him, well—“The same Stone that was rejected by the builders has become the Cornerstone, the most honored and important part of the building.” 8 And the Scriptures also say, “He is the Stone that some will stumble over, and the Rock that will make them fall.” They will stumble because they will not listen to God’s Word nor obey it, and so this punishment must follow—that they will fall.


9 But you are not like that, for you have been chosen by God himself—you are priests of the King, you are holy and pure, you are God’s very own—all this so that you may show to others how God called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were less than nothing; now you are God’s own. Once you knew very little of God’s kindness; now your very lives have been changed by it.


Prayer:  Lord, You have truly brought my life into the light of your love.  Help me to listen to your Word and obey it.  Your Word has shown me your heart and tells me the Truth.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.


Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 10-6-17

Daily Reading 10-6-17

Psalm 19 Living Bible (TLB)


The enemy called “evil” hides in the darkness of the unredeemed human soul (mind, will, emotions); the evidence of it is sin against God and others.  God’s commandments of love were given long ago so we could identify the sin that tempts us to act on evil impulses.  If we love God with all our hearts, minds, strength and our neighbors as we love ourselves, we have the Light to reveal the work of darkness.  We have the authority of the Word and the power of God’s Spirit to correct us and set us on the right path to act in the justice of God.  


In our passage today the psalmist sings, “God’s laws are perfect.  They protect us, make us wise, and give us joy and light.  For they warn us away from harm and give success to those who obey them” (Psalm 19:7,8,11).  Every person needs the Savior to cleanse evil from his or her soul.  


Psalm 19

19 The heavens are telling the glory of God; they are a marvelous display of his craftsmanship. 2 Day and night they keep on telling about God. 3-4 Without a sound or word, silent in the skies, their message reaches out to all the world. The sun lives in the heavens where God placed it 5 and moves out across the skies as radiant as a bridegroom[a] going to his wedding,* or as joyous as an athlete looking forward to a race! 6 The sun crosses the heavens from end to end, and nothing can hide from its heat.


7-8 God’s laws are perfect. They protect us, make us wise, and give us joy and light. 9 God’s laws are pure, eternal, just.[b] 10 They are more desirable than gold. They are sweeter than honey dripping from a honeycomb. 11 For they warn us away from harm and give success to those who obey them.


12 But how can I ever know what sins are lurking in my heart? Cleanse me from these hidden faults. 13 And keep me from deliberate wrongs; help me to stop doing them. Only then can I be free of guilt and innocent of some great crime.


14 May my spoken words and unspoken thoughts be pleasing even to you, O Lord my Rock and my Redeemer.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 10-5-17

Daily Reading 10-5-17

Exodus 23:1-3 New Living Translation (NLT)


The Word of God is the Truth that brings wholeness.  Biblical justice involves bringing wholeness to others.  Justice flows from God’s heart and character. Therefore, acting in a manner that is contrary to the Word is not acting in the justice God requires of his children.  The Lord loves the just and will not forsake his faithful ones (Psalm 37:27-29).  He will reward and bless those who love justice (Isaiah 61:8).  One day, God’s justice will become a light to the nations (Isaiah 51:4).  


In our passage this morning, we are reminded about how God views spreading lies so He calls His people back to justice.  The spirit of evil is fed through half-truths and lies.  We must be people who tell the truth when we open our mouths and cast down the lies when we hear them. Gossip destroys family relationships, friendships, work environments, etc.  Gossip is not becoming of a son or daughter of the Most High.  So, when we are tempted to slander another or be silent when we know something someone else is saying is not true, we are responsible before God to act justly.


Exodus 23:1-3 New Living Translation (NLT)  A Call for Justice

23 “You must not pass along false rumors. You must not cooperate with evil people by lying on the witness stand.


2 “You must not follow the crowd in doing wrong. When you are called to testify in a dispute, do not be swayed by the crowd to twist justice. 3 And do not slant your testimony in favor of a person just because that person is poor.


Prayer:  Lord, you alone are the just Judge. Please give me discernment to know the Truth.  Holy Spirit bear witness in my spirit regarding what is Truth and help me to bring wholeness to all those whom you bring into my path.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.