Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 12-4-20

Psalm 85:10-11
10 
Unfailing love and truth have met on their way;
    righteousness and peace have kissed one another.
11 
Truth will spring from the earth like a plant,
    and justice will look down from the sky.

God’s loyal love and truth joined in the act of salvation to bring restoration to the human soul. Think for a minute about the qualities of Father God’s care for his children. He offers us love, truth, righteousness and peace; all the beauty of God’s Kingdom is made available to us in Christ. It is the work of righteousness to make us ready and prepared for Christ’s Second Coming.

In ancient culture a kiss was a fairly common form of greeting. In our passage today, righteousness and peace kiss like two friends who had been separated from one another for a very long time. Because of the righteous sacrifice of Christ to die for our sins, we are reunited and connected in peace with God. This understanding should fill every heart with joy!

Prayer: Lord, thank you for bringing righteousness to prepare my soul for your return. May I embrace all that you offer in your love, truth, righteousness, and peace, today. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 12-3-20

Psalm 85:8-9
8
Now I’ll listen carefully for your voice
and wait to hear whatever you say.
Let me hear your promise of peace—
the message every one of your godly lovers longs to hear.
Don’t let us in our ignorance turn back from following you.

For I know your power and presence shines on all your lovers.
Your glory always hovers over all who bow low before you.

For those of us who will wait and listen in hope, the Lord speaks peace to our hearts. I cannot answer for you; however, for me personally I need supernatural peace to be imparted to me all the time. Life can be so unsettling and seem far from orderly. The Apostle Paul tells believers in Ephesus that before they were born again from above in Christ, they were hopelessly stranded without God in a fractured world (Eph. 2:12). Now, as believers, we do not live without hope and are welcomed into a life of peace with God even though we still live in that fractured world.

The Lord’s peace in my heart strengthens and sustains me. It assures me the Lord rules creation and has my whole life in his hands as I follow his direction. The peace of God offers me a higher spiritual perspective; a heavenly reality for my mind, will, and emotions to experience. When the Prince of Peace is ruling in my heart, I have Kingdom vision and joy. In the peace of God, I look for ways to serve the One I love. God’s Kingdom of peace may seem very upside down when compared to the world’s system, but we need to allow the Spirit to open our eyes to see just how “right side up or righteous” in the power of God believers can live.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for helping me wait in hope, listen to your direction, and welcome your supernatural and righteous way to wholeness into my life. I bow to your power and trust in your promise of peace. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 12-2-20

Luke 21:34-36 A Warning
34 Don’t spend all of your time thinking about eating or drinking or worrying about life. If you do, the final day will suddenly catch you 35 like a trap. That day will surprise everyone on earth. 36 Watch out and keep praying that you can escape all that is going to happen and that the Son of Man will be pleased with you.

Jesus wants you to stay in peace; he left us Kingdom peace because he is Yahweh Shalom (John 14:27). We have peace and fulfillment with God, because of our relationship with Jesus—the Prince of Peace. In English, the word “peace” conjures up a passive picture, one showing an absence of civil disturbance or hostilities, or a personality free from internal and external strife. The biblical concept of peace is larger than that and rests heavily on the Hebrew root “slm,” which means “to be complete” or “to be sound.” The verb conveys “to be complete or whole” or “to live well.”

In our passage today, Jesus shares a warning with his disciples. He wants believers to guard their souls (mind/will/emotions) and hold onto Shalom so they will be ready for his Second Advent or Coming. He condemns the world’s response and interpretation to what it means “to live well:” to eat, drink, and worry (to think only of temporal or worldly peace and fulfillment). Then, he tells the disciples how to escape the horrors that precede the Day of the Lord and his return.

This Word guides me to understand a time is coming when true peace and fulfillment will evade unbelievers. No human being can fix the hearts of humanity, so true and lasting peace will never be manifest apart from the rule of the Lord. And, true and lasting fulfillment is not possible unless we are living for God’s pleasure and according to his commands of love. So, what do we need to remember? Watch and be prepared for those times that will most certainly come. Pray and ask God to bring his faith and power to you in order to help you live in an unsettled time as a citizen of his eternal kingdom: in his righteousness, in his peace, and in the joy of the Holy Spirit. Remember, this is God’s provision that will bring victory. Jesus said, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

Prayer: Lord, thank you for leaving with me the peace that passes all understanding. I will allow peace to be my umpire and guide my life. Help me to live this Word, Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 12-1-20

Romans 15:4
4 Whatever was written beforehand is meant to instruct us in how to live. The Scriptures impart to us encouragement and inspiration so that we can live in hope and endure all things.

I once heard the Bible described as a manual of righteousness for believers: Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth. Do you see the Bible as instructions for your life with God? In our passage today, the Apostle Paul wants believers to understand the value of all Scripture; it is a revelation of our holy God’s heart. If we want to know how God feels about us and gain wisdom for how we are to live our lives as a creation made in his image, we will read all of Scripture and allow the Spirit of God to bring us understanding. The Scriptures teach us how to endure and be victorious even in difficult times. Our hope for victory in this life must be placed in the provision and power of the Lord. In Christ, we place our hope—confident trust with the expectation of fulfillment—knowing as we follow the Word and listen to the Spirit we are doing what is right before Father God.

Prayer: Lord, I place my hope in your love for me knowing you have promised to provide for my every need and will never withhold any good thing from me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 11-30-20

1 Corinthians 1:3-6 (MSG)
3 May all the gifts and benefits that come from God our Father, and the Master, Jesus Christ, be yours.
4-6 Every time I think of you—and I think of you often!—I thank God for your lives of free and open access to God, given by Jesus. There’s no end to what has happened in you—it’s beyond speech, beyond knowledge. The evidence of Christ has been clearly verified in your lives.

It is always exciting to hear people share their testimonies about the miracles they have experienced in their relationship with Christ and the work of his grace for salvation. When God moves in our behalf and brings miraculous results it is completely inspiring to our faith. We light up on the outside; our countenance glows with his glory. We radiate the love of God and people notice.

In our passage today, the Apostle Paul reminds the believers at Corinth (and believers throughout time) that although outward experiences with our miracle-working God are amazing, those experiences are minimal in comparison to the miracle of salvation and the work God has done “in” us. In your spirit, you are whole and perfectly glorious. This miracle makes it possible for Christ to live within us; he creates his own environment perfect because he is perfect. On outside, however, we are following the Spirit who helps and teaches us to live as Christ. Some days we live quite imperfectly, but we press on by faith and trust in God’s power to finish his miraculous work of salvation. May the evidence of Christ’s presence in us be verified in our lives.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for the miracle of salvation and for working in my life those things that are pleasing to you. Help me stay the course. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 11-27-20

1 Thessalonians 4:1-7
You’re God-Taught
4 1-3 One final word, friends. We ask you—urge is more like it—that you keep on doing what we told you to do to please God, not in a dogged religious plod, but in a living, spirited dance. You know the guidelines we laid out for you from the Master Jesus. God wants you to live a pure life. Keep yourselves from sexual promiscuity.

4-5 Learn to appreciate and give dignity to your body, not abusing it, as is so common among those who know nothing of God.

6-7 Don’t run roughshod over the concerns of your brothers and sisters. Their concerns are God’s concerns, and hewill take care of them. We’ve warned you about this before. God hasn’t invited us into a disorderly, unkempt life but into something holy and beautiful—as beautiful on the inside as the outside.

In our passage today, the Apostle Paul reminds the believers in Thessalonica of their call as Christ’s followers to live in a way that pleases God; to live in a spirited dance to the guidelines for a pure life laid out by Christ. Grace was not given so God’s family could be covered while we live sinful like the world. Grace is for salvation from sin and the power to live on the outside the new life we have received on the inside.

Christians are those who are committed to live in Christ. We can all say we accept the work of Christ for salvation and eternal life, but that is only true when we actually follow Christ toward holiness with the Holy Spirit. This is what it means to “know” God. This is the definition of a Christian—we invite the Spirit to make us in Christ’s likeness by following his teachings.

This Sunday we begin our celebration of Christ’s first advent, but we also wait and watch with great hope for his second advent when he returns for his followers. Is our greatest hope for Christ to find us living each day in a spirited dance for his glory?

Prayer: Lord, when you come back for your spiritual family, may I be dancing with hope and living each day in your power and under your holy gaze. In your second coming, may you break through the eastern sky and see your reflection in your family…please Lord in me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 11-26-20

Colossians 3:17 The Message
Let every detail in your lives – words, actions, whatever – be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.

We have probably all heard the saying “it’s all in the details!” It basically means that many times small things matter as much as big things; sometimes small details matter more. That may not always be true in the world’s perspective or culture, but it is certainly true in God’s kingdom economy. The Spirit of the Lord is in the big and small details of your life and he is working everything out for your highest and best. The details hold your blessings, so be grateful for how God diligently and divinely directs your paths. As believers, if we fail to become grateful in word and action, we will lean toward bitterness. Honor to God and gratitude for his care is like a guardrail protecting us from the ditch of bitterness. May seem like a small detail not worth sweating about to some folks, but is it?

You may not understand it all nor celebrate the sacrifices you have been called to make, but you can still be grateful for your life and purpose in God’s story. God’s plans are higher than your plans, because his thoughts are higher than your thoughts. God wants our baby steps of contented faith to grow into leaps of courageous evil-conquering faith. Evil has certainly been busy in 2020, and we have been called to make some leaps we never saw coming.

So, this Thanksgiving Day, put on a spirit of gratitude; give him glory. God blesses us all the time; his very presence in us is the greatest blessing we will ever experience. The Lord is in the righteous details, my friends, and he is making you into a trophy of his grace every step of the way. Happy Thanksgiving!

Prayer: Lord, thank you for the many, many blessings you have poured into my life this year alone. I’m so grateful for the details of your love and care. Let my words and actions be done in Jesus’ name as you direct my steps. Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 11-25-20

Psalm 7:14-15
14–15 Look how the wicked conceive their evil schemes.
They go into labor with their lies and give birth to trouble.
They dig a pit for others to fall into,
not knowing that they will be the very ones
who will fall into their own pit of failure.
16 For you, God, will see to it that every pit-digger
who works to trap and harm others
will be trapped and harmed by his own treachery.
17 But I will give all my thanks to you, Lord,
for you make everything right in the end.
I will sing my highest praise to the God of the Highest Place.

In our passage today, King David praises God for dealing with the pit-diggers in his life. Other biblical leaders found themselves dealing with wicked schemers, too. Joseph had to deal with his brothers, as well as Potiphar’s wife. Esther had to deal with Haman. Jesus had to deal with the Pharisees.

Have you experienced the work of pit-diggers?The pit-diggers are those who seek to trap others, but their desire to destroy will backfire in time. They will come face-to-face with God and he will turn the tables to make things right for his chosen ones. All the lying, cheating and scheming the wicked do will only bring themselves trouble with God. Give thanks to the Lord, today, for he faithfully deals with the work of the wicked. Sing praises of gratitude for the Lord knows how to make things right in your life.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for protecting me from wicked pit-diggers. I know you will see they are trapped by their own wicked devices. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 11-24-20

Psalm 28:6-9
6 But may your name be blessed and built up!
For you have answered my passionate cry for mercy.
7 You are my strength and my shield from every danger.
When I fully trust in you, help is on the way.
I jump for joy and burst forth with ecstatic, passionate praise!
I will sing songs of what you mean to me!
8 You will be the inner strength of all your people,
the mighty protector of all,
the saving strength for all your anointed ones.
9 Keep protecting and cherishing your chosen ones; in you they will never fall.
Like a shepherd going before us, keep leading us forward, forever carrying us in your arms!

In our passage today, King David reminds us about the importance of our actions to invoke the powerful presence of God. David sings of God’s provision “when” he fully trusts the Lord. The word “when” is a very powerful conjunction in Scripture; it means “every time that…”. Every time that we place our trust in Christ, the Anointed One, to get us through something difficult, we are assured that help is on the way. We must choose to trust the Lord over all other people or things. He desires to be the Helper for his chosen ones. So, as you venture into your day, remember any time you approach something that challenges you take time to bow, pray, and place your trust in Christ. He is your saving strength!

Prayer: Lord, I need your saving strength everyday, so I fully place my trust in you, today. Protect me and my family; be our Shepherd and carry us in your arms. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 11-23-20

2 Timothy 2:8-13

8 But make Jesus, the Anointed One, your focus in life and ministry. For he came to earth as the descendant of David and rose from the dead, according to the revelation of the gospel that God has given me. 9 This is the reason I am persecuted and imprisoned by evildoers, enduring the suffering of these chains—but the Word of God can never be chained! 10 I endure all these hardships for the benefit of the chosen ones in Christ so that they may also discover the overcoming life that is in Jesus Christ, and experience a glory that lasts forever!
11 You can trust these words:
If we were joined with him in his death, then we are joined with him in his life! 12 If we are joined with him in his sufferings, then we will reign together with him in his triumph. But if we disregard him, then he will also disregard us. 13 But even if we are faithless, he will still be full of faith, for he never wavers in his faithfulness to us!

We all crave the freedom to make our own choices, but sometimes the choices we must make for the sake of Christ the Anointed One are actually really hard or even painful. Christ may lead us into difficult situations to make choices that help us, as his followers, better understand and experience his life on earth. We may face persecution for our choices if we are committed to shine for the glory of God as the “chosen ones.”

In our passage today, the Apostle Paul exhorts Timothy to preach the revelation of the gospel so the chosen ones might know the life of Christ. Who are the chosen ones? They are the people who allow Christ, the righteous Lord, room [to rule] in their hearts. They are the ones who know the word of God is life and are willing to face the persecution and death of their flesh or sinful nature in order to glorify the rule of Christ in their lives. They are the ones who understand to disobey the word of God is to deny Christ. Lastly, they know by the Spirit their destiny in Christ is to become the living word of God to others in the world.

Prayer: Lord, please make my life a testimony of your presence living in me. Thank you for choosing me to reflect the living word. Help me to obey your word and to be faithful to my destiny, because you are always faithful. In Jesus’ name. Amen.