Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 6-23-21

Mark 6:45-52 (MSG) Walking on the Sea
45-46 As soon as the meal was finished, Jesus insisted that the disciples get in the boat and go on ahead across to Bethsaida while he dismissed the congregation. After sending them off, he climbed a mountain to pray.

47-49 Late at night, the boat was far out at sea; Jesus was still by himself on land. He could see his men struggling with the oars, the wind having come up against them. At about four o’clock in the morning, Jesus came toward them, walking on the sea. He intended to go right by them. But when they saw him walking on the sea, they thought it was a ghost and screamed, scared to death.

50-52 Jesus was quick to comfort them: “Courage! It’s me. Don’t be afraid.” As soon as he climbed into the boat, the wind died down. They were stunned, shaking their heads, wondering what was going on. They didn’t understand what he had done at the supper. None of this had yet penetrated their hearts.

Sometimes things we read in Scripture can get stuck in our heads. We may work to process the information mentally, but can find ourselves only getting frustrated because understanding eludes us. Here is the reason: Spiritual things are spiritually discerned. Therefore, we cannot really understand the supernatural spiritual ways of God with our natural minds. We need to invite the Holy Spirit to bring revelation knowledge (Truth) to our hearts. Then we invite the Spirit to help us understand the Truth we gain. Lastly, the Lord provides Wisdom to know how to apply that Truth to our lives.

In our passage today, the disciples have not been able to make sense of how Christ was able to feed the five thousand on two fish and five barley loaves of bread (with 12 baskets of leftovers), speak to the storm and bring peace, or walk on top of the sea. Where’s gravity during that last miracle? I would struggle trying to mentally process those things, too. That is why Jesus tells us we must trust him; he leads us to the knowledge of the Truth, through understanding the Truth, and into the application of the Truth. Jesus is the Truth and he knows where he is going in the Spirit! So, trust him.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for bringing Truth, understanding, and wisdom into my life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 6-22-21

Psalm 119:113-117 (TPT) Trust and Obey
113 
I despise those who can’t keep commitments,
    for I passionately love your revelation-light!
114 
You’re my place of quiet retreat, and your wraparound presence
    becomes my shield as I wrap myself in your Word!
115 
Go away! Leave me, all you workers of wickedness,
    for you can’t stop me from following every command of my God.
116 
Lord, strengthen my inner being by the promises of your Word
    so that I may live faithful and unashamed for you.
117 
Lift me up and I will be safe.
    Empower me to live every moment in the light of your ways.

In our passage today, the psalmist encourages us to be “all in” with the Lord. Sin causes us to be double-minded; floundering back and forth between obedience and disobedience. Sin causes a lack of trust that God’s Word really teaches what is best for us. As well, disobedience opens the door to evil and we must keep that door shut. We cannot honor God the way we should if we continue to be double-minded; we must make up our minds to belong Him—make Him Lord. Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters” (Matt. 6:24). Obedience is to live “in Christ.”

Verse 114 of our passage is really special for me. I pour myself out every day to take care of others around me and it is such a joy to have the Lord as my place of quiet retreat. I can testify to his wraparound presence and the peace that he imparts when we belong to Him. May you find everything you need, today, in the wraparound love of Christ.

Prayer: Lord, help me to trust and obey your every Word without being double-minded. There is a great reward for making you Lord. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 6-21-21

June 21, 2021
Acts 27:10-21 (TPT)

10 “Men, I can see that our voyage would be disastrous for us and bring great loss, not only to our ship and cargo but also to our own lives. We should remain here.” [prophetic revelation]

11 But the officer in charge was persuaded more by the ship’s helmsman and captain [ship owner] than he was by Paul. 12 So the majority decided to put out to sea, since Fair Haven was an exposed harbor and not suitable to winter in. They had hoped to somehow reach the Cretan port of Phoenix, which was a more suitable port because it was facing south.
13 When a gentle south breeze began to blow, they assumed they could make it, so they pulled up anchor and sailed close to Crete. 14 But it wasn’t long before the weather abruptly worsened and a storm of hurricane force called the Nor’easter [typhoon] tore across the island and blew us out to sea. 15 The sailors weren’t able to turn the ship into the wind, so they gave up and let it be driven by the gale winds [surrendered to its power].

16 As we passed to the lee of a small island called Cauda, we were barely able to get the ship’s lifeboat under control, 17 so the crew hoisted the dinghy aboard. The sailors used ropes and cables to undergird the ship, fearing they would run aground on the shoals of Syrtis [Lybia/Benghazi]. They lowered the drag anchor to slow its speed and let the ship be driven along.

18 The next day, because of being battered severely by the storm, the sailors jettisoned the cargo, 19 and by the third day they even threw the ship’s tackle and rigging overboard. 20 After many days of seeing neither the sun nor the stars, and with the violent storm continuing to rage against us, all hope of ever getting through it alive was abandoned.

21 After being without food for a long time, Paul stepped before them all and said, “Men, you should have obeyed me and avoided all of this pain and suffering by not leaving Crete.

In our passage today, the disobedience of the men in charge of the ship actually lead the ship and its occupants into danger. The Apostle Paul is given a prophetic message before they ever leave the harbor, “We should remain here,” but in rejecting the authority of God through Paul, everyone has to endure a terrible and frightening encounter with a typhoon-like storm.

Life is going to bring spiritual storms to our souls; some times we provoke these storms through our disobedience and some times we simply have to endure the storms provoked by evil. Either way, we must pray and set our lives before the Lord; prayer positions us in the Father’s care. God has promised his children the necessary grace to bring us his presence, provision, and protection in spite of the storms. Our greatest responsibility is to obey the Word of God, so we avoid making the same mistakes over and over again. When we are aligned in oneness with God’s love, by faith we can rebuke the storm and demand it “submit to the will of God” (Mark 4:39).

Prayer: Lord, thank you for the lessons you have been teaching on how to properly endure the storms provoked by sin. It is always a battle against your authority, but if I will position myself with you and rest in your protective care, I will see your salvation. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 6-18-21

Psalm 9:1-2 (TPT) Delighting in God [psalm of David]

I will worship you, Yahweh, with extended hands
    as my whole heart erupts with praise! [Hebrew: yadah]
    I will tell everyone everywhere about your wonderful works!

I will be glad and shout in triumph.
    I will sing praise to your exalted name, O Most High.

In our passage, today, David has decided to praise his way into spiritual victory. God has spilled a freshness within David’s heart and he bursts into ecstatic praise. He cannot be silent about the goodness of Yahweh. To worship in this level of praise is like throwing a shout toward heaven; like an arrow shooting toward the heavenlies. To worship with this level of praise is to break strongholds and anything that would try to hold one back from a place of intimate oneness [worship] with the Lord.

Scripture teaches what will one day happen to the wicked; those who reject God and his ways. They will “fall” into the darkness of death, because of the absence of their worship. The lives of believers share a purpose to “rise up” in worship and shed light over that wicked and worldly darkness. This way of living reveals a great contrast between people. When we really understand the goodness of God deep in our souls, we will throw shouts toward heaven and break every stronghold that tries to hinder us. Nothing will be able to silence us or hold back our worship of Yahweh. Tell others about the goodness and wonderful works of the Lord, today; erupt with praise and live as a worshiper!

Prayer: Lord, I delight myself in you. I praise you for all the wonderful things you bring into my life. As my soul erupts with praise, every enemy has to flee. Thank you for always being with me and making me strong when I need it the most. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 6-17-21

Acts 20:7-12
7-9 We met on Sunday to worship and celebrate the Master’s Supper. Paul addressed the congregation. Our plan was to leave first thing in the morning, but Paul talked on, way past midnight. We were meeting in a well-lighted upper room. A young man named Eutychus was sitting in an open window. As Paul went on and on, Eutychus (translates fortunate or lucky) fell sound asleep and toppled out the third-story window. When they picked him up, he was dead (lifeless).

10-12 Paul went down, stretched himself on him, and hugged him hard. “No more crying,” he said. “There’s life in him yet.” Then Paul got up and served the Master’s Supper. And went on telling stories of the faith until dawn! On that note, they left—Paul going one way, the congregation another, leading the boy off alive, and full of life themselves.

Every preacher and teacher will occasionally experience a “sleeper.” Someone’s head will tilt forward and nod as they drift off for a short snooze. In our passage today, Paul has been preaching for hours and hours; he shares about faith and the power of God. Paul is interrupted by an accident involving a young boy named Eutychus (aka Lucky). Fortunately, God resurrects and restores this young man and Paul uses the event to teach more faith lessons to his congregation.

There is a spiritual truth here in our passage about Eutychus. We may knowingly sit close to the edge of evil or danger thinking nothing will ever happen to us. However, our apathy for our own spiritual growth can cause us to become drowsy. Before we know it, we can find ourselves falling into sin and dead living. God is wonderfully faithful, but we need to guard our hearts against such apathy.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for restoring and energizing my spiritual life time and time, again. You are so faithful! In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 6-16-21

Luke 6:43-45 The Fruit of Your Life
43 “You’ll never find choice fruit hanging on a bad, unhealthy tree. And rotten fruit doesn’t hang on a good, healthy tree. 44 Every tree will be revealed by the quality of fruit that it produces. You will never pick figs or grapes from thorn trees. 45 People are known in this same way. Out of the virtue stored in their hearts, good and upright people will produce good fruit. Likewise, out of the evil hidden in their hearts, evil ones will produce what is evil. For the overflow of what has been stored in your heart will be seen by your fruit and will be heard in your words.

Like a tree bearing fruit in its season, human hearts bear spiritual fruit, as well. Apart from God, humanity cannot bear righteous fruit–love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control (Gal 5:22-23). Because of sin, every heart hides evil inclinations. We need Jesus to overcome that evil and give us a new beginning; to make us new creatures in his image. Old corrupt ways must be cut away, so new shoots of righteousness can bear good fruit. It is the work of the Spirit who produces righteous fruit in God’s human creation; we cannot take credit for his redemption. We are entirely dependent upon God to do this for us and in us. This is why we submit ourselves to the work of the Spirit who helps us produce the fruit of righteousness.

The evil stored inside of a person will always be revealed by human expression; it is a spiritual principle and the revelation of truth. May our hearts and words reveal the truth of our Master and the work of his holy hand within us. And, may we be honest to ask the Lord for help when we notice an inclination to bear something “rotten!”

Prayer: Lord, I pray for the overflow of your righteousness within me to be seen by the fruit of my character and heard in my words. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary

Revelation 22, 2021 Eden Restored
1 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, flowing with water clear as crystal, continuously pouring out from the throne of God and of the Lamb. 2 The river was flowing in the middle of the street of the city, and on either side of the river was the Tree of Life, with its twelve kinds of ripe fruit according to each month of the year. The leaves of the Tree of Life are for the healing of the nations.

3 And every curse will be broken and no longer exist, for the throne of God and of the Lamb will be there in the city. His loving servants will serve him; 4 they will always see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.

5 Night will be no more. They will never need the light of the sun or a lamp, because the Lord God will shine on them. And they will reign as kings forever and ever!

Scripture teaches the Garden of Eden will one day be fully restored; sometimes it is referred to as the heavenly Jerusalem. Like the Apostle John, we cannot comprehend a city without a temple; there is always a structure representing some kind of religion in our cities and communities. However, in this vision, clearly God has no interest in occupying structures made by human hands. Instead, we will meet with him face to face as the Lord’s presence illuminates everything for the citizens of his eternal Kingdom.

When I was a child, we used to sing about meeting the Lord Face to Face:
Face to face! O blissful moment!
Face to face—to see and know;
Face to face with my Redeemer,
Jesus Christ who loves me so.

Prayer: Lord, one day your redeemed family will rejoice in your presence. Thank you for promising to banish grief and pain, straighten the crooked ways of humanity, and illuminating the dark things in your pure Light. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 6-14-21

June 14, 2021
Galatians 6:2

The Lord looks down in love, bending over heaven’s balcony.
    God looks over all of Adam’s sons and daughters,
    looking to see if there are any who are wise with insight—
    any who search for him, wanting to please him.

I was blessed to be able to spend the last few days enjoying the beach with friends. The Lord knows when we need to rest and recharge; I needed it. My favorite time was sitting on the balcony with a cup of coffee and enjoying the early morning awakenings. The birds had started their singing, a gentle breeze was blowing, the waves were rhythmically lapping the shore, and my coffee was even more tasty than usual. From the balcony, I could see down the beach looking north and south. The canopies were going up along the shoreline and groups of people were gathering to enjoy the day. I was perched in just the right spot to observe it all.

In our passage today, the Apostle Paul reminds us God looks down over heaven’s balcony; he see everything going on in his world and in the lives of his children. The eyes of the Lord go to and fro searching for those who hearts desire him; he looks for those who seek his wisdom and come with the goal of receiving from him. As you go about your day, I pray you have an awareness of God’s tremendous love for you and that you will seek to serve the Lord with your very life, because you have placed your faith in his pure unfailing love.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for looking over my life from the vantage point of glory. Impart to me the wisdom and insight that only you can give. May my life please you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 6-11-21

Hebrews 11:4-7 (TPT)

4 Faith moved Abel to choose a more acceptable sacrifice to offer God than his brother Cain, and God declared him righteous because of his offering of faith. By his faith, Abel still speaks instruction to us today, even though he is long dead.

5 Faith translated Enoch from this life and he was taken up into heaven! He never had to experience death; he just disappeared from this world because God promoted him. For before he was translated to the heavenly realm his life had become a pleasure to God [Enoch had a reputation of pleasing God].

6 And without faith living within us it would be impossible to please God [we are powerless]. For we come to God in faith [anyone who approaches God must believe] knowing that he is real and that he rewards the faith of those who passionately seek him.

7 Faith opened Noah’s heart to receive revelation and warnings from God about what was coming, even things that had never been seen. But he stepped out in reverent obedience to God and built an ark that would save him and his family. By his faith the world was condemned, but Noah received God’s gift of righteousness that comes by believing.

If you know me at all, you know I enjoy baking; it is therapeutic and rejuvenating for my soul. When I was a child, I used to bake with my father’s mother on many Saturday mornings. I looked forward to these times with her and still cherish the memories. If you enjoy making baked goods, you know it is essential to use the proper proportion of ingredients. The right measurement of ingredients can make a very pleasing and delicious product to share with others.

In our passage today, God imparts righteous faith to his worshipers—a measure of faith is meted [distributed] by God. The Lord imparts faith to Abel, Enoch, and Noah; faith to fulfill the call on each of their lives. Through their worship and oneness with God, they will reveal the existence, love, and power of the Lord to others. Abel is given the faith to bring a sacrificial heart to his worship of the Lord. Enoch is given the faith to live righteously before the Lord and overcome death. The Lord opens Noah’s heart and gives him the faith to obey His righteous command to build the ark. My friend, you have been given a measure of faith to fulfill the call of God on your life, too. It is the responsibility of every believer to reveal his or her faith in Christ and obey the Word of God. When we use the faith God has given us, we become very pleasing in the hands of the Lord and a great testimony of His love to the world.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for the measure of faith you have imparted to me, so I can fulfill your call on my life. Continue to spur me on in faith. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 6-10-21

Hebrews 2:5-9 The One Who Leads Us To Be Saved
5 We know that God did not put the future world under the power of angels. 6 Somewhere in the Scriptures someone says to God,

“What makes you care
    about us humans?
Why are you concerned
    for weaklings such as we?

You made us lower
than the angels
    for a while.
Yet you have crowned us
    with glory and honor.

And you have put everything
    under our power!”

God has put everything under our power and has not left anything out of our power. But we still don’t see it all under our power. 9 What we do see is Jesus, who for a little while was made lower than the angels. Because of God’s wonderful kindness, Jesus died for everyone. And now that Jesus has suffered and died, he is crowned with glory and honor!

Do you like the responsibility of being “in charge” of big things? Well, whether or not you enjoy leadership or are uncomfortable with the thoughts of being “in charge,” as a believer you really have no choice. In the beginning, God left his glorious human creation in charge of his world; we have been commanded to take dominion in the power of his Word and loving-kindness. He has never rescinded that command since the Garden of Eden (Ps. 8:4-9). That is why we need Christ who brings salvation, strength, and power to lead us back to being those in charge of the Father’s righteous creation. The Lord will restore the glory and honor humanity once knew with the Father before sin entered the hearts of men and women.

According to Scripture, one day God’s redeemed will rule a new earth through his sons and daughters. Spiritually, we will be exactly like Jesus in how we love, rule, and reign. We, those who are led by the Spirit, will be “in charge” for eternity, because we will love, rule, and reign under the Lordship of our Christ. Let that thought settle in as you pray and thank God for his beautiful vision and plan for salvation.

Prayer: Lord, your Word reminds us one day you will set the earth anew in your righteousness. Your sons and daughters of the Spirit will once again rule under the perfect Lordship of your Word and loving-kindness. There will be no more evil and no more sin. I pray for that time to come quickly, because only then can we perfectly reflect your image and glory. Only then will you receive the honor you are due. In Jesus’ name. Amen.