Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 4-9-21

Acts 4:23-24, 29–31 The Church Prays
Just prior to our selected passage for today from the Book of Acts, Peter and John are brought before the council of religious law. They are ordered to stop spreading their salvation propaganda about Jesus any further. Peter and John reply to the demands of the legal council, “Do you think God wants us to obey you rather than him? We cannot stop telling about everything we have seen and heard.” The council threatens them, again, but cannot stop them, because since discovering the empty tomb people are experiencing the love of God, praising him for salvation, and living in the Spirit of Truth which changes lives!

23 As soon as they were released from custody, Peter and John went to the other believers and explained all that had happened with the high priest and the elders. 24 When the believers heard their report, they raised their voices in unity and prayed, “Lord Yahweh, you are the Lord of all! You created the universe—the earth, the sky, the sea, and everything that is in them.

29 So now, Lord, listen to their (the law council) threats to harm us. Empower us, as your servants, to speak the word of God freely and courageously. 30 Stretch out your hand of power through us to heal, and to move in signs and wonders by the name of your holy Son, Jesus!”

31 As they prayed the earth shook beneath them, causing the building they were in to tremble. Each one of them was filled with the Holy Spirit, and they proclaimed the word of God with unrestrained boldness [translates freedom of speech—flowing from the heart].

The disciples choose to remain devoted to God and speak from their hearts whatever God inspires. This delivering of words is not tailored to make everyone happy, but to speak the Truth in Messiah’s Love regardless of the cost because people need to hear it. The believers pray for holy boldness to fill them and God answers their prayers. The disciples are not disrespectful or unloving to anyone, but they are purposeful and honest about sharing what they have experienced. People around them can see the Truth changing these believers; a spirit of love permeates them. May we pray for such boldness knowing God desires to answer our prayers and empower us to share the Truth in Messiah’s Love, as well.

Prayer: Lord, it is a sensitive balancing act to communicate the Truth in Love; however, you are both and, as believers, we need to become One with you. For us to speak the Truth of Your Word without Messiah’s holy love comes across legalistic and harsh. To think we are sharing holy Love without standing on the foundation of the Truth is heresy. You empowered the early disciples to speak the Truth in Messiah’s Love and I pray for myself and all believers to rise up to do the same every day. Our world needs to hear and experience both. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 4-8-21

Psalm 133:1 How truly wonderful and delightful it is to see brothers and sisters living together in sweet unity!

In our passage today, it is clear King David understood the power of unity in the spiritual family while remaining One with God. In fact, David became the king of a united monarchy by connecting the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah. David brought those once divided back together to worship Yahweh in Jerusalem. How do you feel about unity—the sharing of Christ’s love with one another—in the Body of Christ?

When the Body of Christ is united and working together, we become a powerful example to the world; it is really a glimpse and taste of heaven. Unity brings blessing and revival to the Body where tension and division actually drains the joy of believers. We see the effects division has brought upon our world, so be vigilant to remain united in purpose with fellow believers. It is hard work some times, but do it anyway!

Prayer: Lord, may the world take notice of how your children love you and one another. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 4-7-21

Psalm 118: 19-24
19 
Open to me the [temple] gates of righteousness;
I shall enter through them, I shall give thanks to the Lord.
20 
This is the gate of the Lord;
The righteous will enter through it.
21 
I will give thanks to You, for You have heard and answered me;
And You have become my salvation [my Rescuer, my Savior].
22 
The stone which the builders rejected
Has become the chief corner stone.
23 
This is from the Lord and is His doing;
It is marvelous in our eyes.
24 
This [day in which God has saved me] is the day which the Lord has made;
Let us rejoice and be glad in it.

In our passage today, the psalmist sees the Lord’s salvation as a new beginning; a new day in which God will do amazing and great things. The Lord is the Cornerstone—the first and most important stone laid for a secure structure—and we are built upon him. He gives his temple the shape it needs by guiding us in righteousness. Every day, there are many reasons why we should rejoice. So, even when we face difficulties, let’s praise the Lord and be glad, because this day ushers in the ongoing salvation of our perfect Rescuer.

Prayer: Lord, thank you that no matter how I am feeling, I can praise you because every good and glorious thing I could say about you would be true. Thank you for knowing my heart and inviting me to share it with you. You always make a safe place for me; a solid foundation on which to stand in our relationship. Mold me and shape me as a temple you delight to inhabit. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 4-6-21

Psalm 118:14-17
14 
The Lord is my strength, and He is the reason I sing;
    He has been there to save me in every situation.
15 
In the tents of the righteous soldiers of God,
    there are shouts of joy and victory. They sing:
    “The right hand of the Eternal has shown His power.
16 
The mighty arm of the Eternal is raised in victory;
    the right hand of His has shown His power.”
17 
I will not die. I will live.
    I will live to tell about all the Eternal has done.

Our Scripture, today, reminds us the Lord is our Strength, Song, and Salvation. We cry out to the Lord when our situations in life overwhelm us and he reveals himself by bringing inner strength and support. We sing songs of praise to the Lord even in trying times and he reveals his presence by spilling joy and purpose into our souls. We trust the Lord for salvation and he reveals his faithfulness to bring us eternal life. These are all promises God makes to us as his children, so rejoice today by proclaiming him as your Strength, Song, and Salvation to someone who desperately needs him but may not know it!

Prayer: Lord, I sing a new song with my life every day in some way because each day is a beautiful beginning in my ongoing experience with you and your powerful grace. Thank you for your wonderful gifts of love poured into my life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 4-5-21

Psalm 118:1
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!
    His faithful love endures forever.

Do you need to feel more secure? Then fill your words with extravagant praise and watch how God manifests his goodness in your life. In our passage today, the psalmist reminds us that even in the midst of a changing world, we can always rest confidently in God’s love.

Charles Spurgeon once wrote: “This is reason enough for giving him thanks; goodness is his essence and nature, and therefore he is always to be praised whether we are receiving anything from him or not. Those who only praise God because he does them good should rise to a higher note and give thanks to him because he is good.”

Prayer: Lord, thank you for providing a way of salvation for me and for leading my life forward in righteousness each day. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 2-16-21

Psalm 51:10-11
10 
Create in me a clean heart, O God.
    Renew a loyal spirit within me.
11 
Do not banish me from your presence,
    and don’t take your Holy Spirit [Spirit of holiness] from me.

In our passage today, David prays and invites the Lord to renew a right spirit within him, as well as take away his sin and guilt. David knows he needs the work of the Spirit to help him in his relationship with Father. As we begin to prepare our hearts for the Lenten season of reflection, may we desire the cleansing power of God to wash over our lives these next forty days and may we grow in our loyalty to Almighty God and his Word.

Prayer: Lord, I invite you to renew my spirit, cleans me from any unrighteousness hidden in my soul, and continue to develop holiness within me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 2-15-21

Hebrews 2:1-4 tot

A Warning Not to Drift from Truth
2 This is why it is so crucial that we be all the more engaged and attentive to the truths that we have heard so that we do not drift off course. 2 For if the message of the law spoken and confirmed by angels [who participated in giving the Torah] brought a just penalty to every disobedient violation; 3 then how would we expect to escape punishment if we despise the very truths that give us life? The Lord himself was the first to announce these things, and those who heard him firsthand confirmed their accuracy. 4 Then God added his witness to theirs. He validated their ministry with signs, astonishing wonders, all kinds of powerful miracles, and by the gifts of the Holy Spirit, which he distributed as he desired.

Our passage today is written to the early church believers, as well as all of us as modern day believers. Paying careful attention to the Truth that flows from God’s Word is hard work, but we must listen and obey if we are going to stay on course with Christ. To pay attention the way we should, we need to focus our minds, senses, wills, and bodies on the Lord, so we can carry out his instructions. The Lord is our Anchor and we need to stay connected to him, so the currents of culture and worldly ways do not cause us to depart from the Truth. Certainly, salvation is a great gift to receive; but, may we never neglect the understanding that God came to rescue us from sin and Satan’s work of destruction. May we allow the Spirit to build up our lives and help us be strong and mature in his love. And, may the gifts of the Spirit—signs, wonders, and miracles validate our ministry in the community and beyond.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for being my Anchor and Truth. I will stay focused on you knowing you will rescue me as needed so I can grow. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 2-12-21

1 Timothy 12:15-16
15 I can testify that the Word is true and deserves to be received by all, for Jesus Christ came into the world to bring sinners back to life—even me, the worst sinner of all! 16 Yet I was captured by grace, so that Jesus Christ could display through me the outpouring of his Spirit as a pattern to be seen for all those who would believe in him for eternal life.

Seems like every day Jesus practices his perfect patience with his human creation; he gives superabounding grace for those destined to believe. He never quits in calling hearts and reaching for the lost. God, alone, knows who is going to respond to his invitation and who will reject it.

In our passage today, the Apostle Paul testifies to the work of the Word unto salvation. He shares about how God pursued him with patience and grace. He encourages his mentee, Timothy, to never give up in sharing the gospel with others. Even though some people may reject salvation and refuse to live by the virtues and character of Christ, the Spirit knows the ones who are actually searching for true meaning and fulfillment with God. We must always get beyond our attempts to please human beings, because our real goal for our lives must be to please God.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for capturing me by your grace and for the great patience you extend each day in my direction. Fill me with your vibrant life, so others can see Christ in me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 2-11-21

2 Corinthians 2:14-17

14 I am grateful that God always makes it possible for Christ to lead us to victory. God also helps us spread the knowledge about Christ everywhere, and this knowledge is like the smell of perfume. 15-16 In fact, God thinks of us as a perfume that brings Christ to everyone. For people who are being saved, this perfume has a sweet smell and leads them to a better life. But for people who are lost, it has a bad smell and leads them to a horrible death. No one really has what it takes to do this work. 17 A lot of people try to get rich from preaching God’s message. But we are God’s sincere messengers, and by the power of Christ we speak our message with God as our witness.

In this second letter to the church at Corinth, the Apostle Paul thanks God for the ministry he has been given and the joy he finds as he helps others in their relationship with God. When the Word of God is preached, it can become the fragrance of life—Good News—to those who receive and apply it. Certainly, the Word leads surrendered hearts toward a better life. Additionally, when the Word of God is preached, it can become repulsive and offensive to those who reject it, because it reminds people of their own spiritual death.

God sets before us life or death, blessings and curses; he encourages us to walk in obedience to his commands and choose life (Deu. 30:19). The Apostle Paul quickly tells the Corinthians he is preaching to please God; therefore, some people will choose life and some will choose death. May the Spirit make us hungry for the Truth that leads to life.

Prayer: Lord, you make every one of your children useful for the Kingdom. Send us out in the power of your Holy Spirit to accomplish what only you have the ability to do. We are here to serve you and speak the Truth in love. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 2-10-21

Mark 3:7-10
Crowds Follow Jesus
7 Jesus went out to the lake with his disciples, and a large crowd followed him. They came from all over Galilee, Judea, 8 Jerusalem, Idumea, from east of the Jordan River, and even from as far north as Tyre and Sidon. The news about his miracles had spread far and wide, and vast numbers of people came to see him.

9 Jesus instructed his disciples to have a boat ready so the crowd would not crush him. 10 He had healed many people that day, so all the sick people eagerly pushed forward to touch him.

In our passage today, a crowd of people have come to see Jesus. Maybe they have come, because they are curious about his miracles and they want to touch the Truth that heals their minds. Maybe they have come, because they need physical healing and they reach out to touch deliverance and restoration in the power of his name. Or, maybe, they have come because they are hoping he is the Lamb who brings spiritual healing and they want to touch the forgiving love of Almighty God. Whatever the reason, the people need healing from Jesus.

My friends, I am no different from the crowd, because every day I need to touch him, too. I need to touch his love, grace, holiness, mercy, and life-giving ways. I reach out knowing he is at the same time reaching for me. I am his follower and I thank the Father every day for this beautiful life-giving connection I have in Jesus.

Prayer: Lord, this day is my day to enjoy fellowship with you. Let’s celebrate life, together. Thank you for letting me touch the splendor of your presence and enjoy you, today. In Jesus’ name. Amen.