Daily Devotional from Jen Auer 06-17-24

In our passage today, Paul is concluding his letter to the Galatian churches, and this message remains Truth to the universal Church of believers today. In verse 11, which is the first line of “Paul’s Final Advice”, he points out that he is writing the letter himself and he does it in all capital letters. The usual practice of writing, at that time, would have been to dictate to a trained secretary who would have neatly printed the letter for public reading in the churches. By Paul writing himself and, in a caps, he is letting believers know the seriousness of this message.

Today’s eight verses summarize what Paul has been saying throughout the letter, that false teachers will try to persuade believers to submit to their flesh rather than to the Holy Spirit, and the sad part is that some of them do not even realize they are working against God’s Word and for Satan. That is why it is critical that you, me, and all believers remain in the Word of God all of the time. Paul uses the example of circumcision again to help believers understand the motives of false teacher’s hearts. The false teachers at that time would want to “look good to others” (not much has changed today, it might even be worse), but those teachers had an outward express of the Jewish system practices (the Law). Paul’s message is the exact opposite of living outwardly by our flesh nature, as he points you, me, and all believers to live by the guidance of the Holy Spirit as we seek to grow closer and closer in our relationship with Christ Jesus.

Friends, all that you and I do is for the glory of Jesus. Paul makes sure that we know he has no interest in this world, that all of his worldly interests have been crucified and died. That he has been transformed into a new creation because of Jesus. You and I have been transformed into a new creation because of our choice to lay down our earthly lives and to pick up our cross and follow Jesus.

Galatians 6:11-18 NLT

Paul’s Final Advice

11 NOTICE WHAT LARGE LETTERS I USE AS I WRITE THESE CLOSING WORDS IN MY OWN HANDWRITING.

12 Those who are trying to force you to be circumcised want to look good to others. They don’t want to be persecuted for teaching that the cross of Christ alone can save. 13 And even those who advocate circumcision don’t keep the whole law themselves. They only want you to be circumcised so they can boast about it and claim you as their disciples.

14 As for me, may I never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of that cross, my interest in this world has been crucified, and the world’s interest in me has also died. 15 It doesn’t matter whether we have been circumcised or not. What counts is whether we have been transformed into a new creation. 16 May God’s peace and mercy be upon all who live by this principle; they are the new people of God.

17 From now on, don’t let anyone trouble me with these things. For I bear on my body the scars that show I belong to Jesus.

18 Dear brothers and sisters, may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.

Prayer: Jesus, thank You for being our example. You laid down Your life for each one of us. Holy Spirit, help us to disconnect from our worldly desires, and to grow deeper in our relationship with You. Impart Your wisdom and discernment to our spirit to know when we encounter false teachers and those who seek to spread false doctrine. Thank You for Pastor Mary, who seeks to spread Your Truth, Your Word, and share Your message of eternal love. Cover her with Your protection and protect our spiritual Family so that we can continue to build Your Kingdom. In Your Name, Jesus. Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 06-14-24

Faith is a positive response to the Word of God; we act upon the Word because we believe it is how we apply and live the Truth! It can be a temptation to look at the world and view it as reality. However, this world is not reality; it is a perverted imitation of the Truth. Reality is what God created in the beginning through his Word. Heaven is reality and Christ is our example of how to live as citizens of heaven while on earth! God wants us to hunger for the blessing and righteous Truth vs. settle for a lousy cursed worldly imitation that is destined for destruction and empty of Spirit.

In our passage today, the writer of Hebrews revisits some Old Testament heroes of the faith—which is active trust—so we will understand the struggle to live in reality while in a fallen world. Abel responds to God with active trust to remind us God requires his worshipers to offer a holy sacrifice. Enoch responds to God with active trust to remind us of the reality of eternal life. Noah responds to God with active trust to remind us that obedience is required—it separates us from the fallen world—so we can carry the reality of God’s presence. In Christ, we are not of this godless world; reality is whatever God created that has not been touched by sin. Because of Jesus, reality and a Spirit-led life is waiting for you, today; run to Christ and enjoy what is real!

Hebrews 11:4-7 NLT
4 It was by faith that Abel brought a more acceptable offering to God than Cain did. Abel’s offering gave evidence that he was a righteous man, and God showed his approval of his gifts. Although Abel is long dead, he still speaks to us by his example of faith.

5 It was by faith that Enoch was taken up to heaven without dying—“he disappeared, because God took him.” For before he was taken up, he was known as a person who pleased God. 6 And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.

7 It was by faith that Noah built a large boat to save his family from the flood. He obeyed God, who warned him about things that had never happened before. By his faith Noah condemned the rest of the world, and he received the righteousness that comes by faith.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for providing the reality of Truth. We know your Word is what teaches us about the pure world you created in the beginning. Thank you for the promise that one day you will provide that perfect world for us to live in once again. All glory be to you! In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 06-13-24

This week in our devotions, we have learned more about the perfectly organized plan of God for salvation, as well as the temporary tactics and destructive motive of evil to deceive people so they will not receive salvation or live in the Truth. Satan’s purpose to destroy humanity’s relationship with God can only occupy a temporary time on earth; while God’s purpose to enjoy a relationship with humanity is eternal and not bound by time at all. Remember, we must choose to begin a relationship with God before Jesus returns, so we can enjoy that relationship with him forever.

In our passage today, we are told who is in charge of the future of the world. We do not need to be afraid or confused by all that is going on in the world around us, because scripture tells us Jesus is the One with authority to rule heaven and earth. When Jesus descended to earth the first time, he did not come to gain political power. Instead, he came to suffer and die for the sins of the world. While he was here, Jesus chose participation in the spiritual family over demonstrating power over others, a servants heart over a dominating ruler, and giving to others over gaining anything for himself. It is hard to comprehend, but this is the attitude of the Christ in us, as well.

Maybe we need to check our motives as Christ’s followers. Invisible forces are always trying to shape our culture and make it more worldly; filled with the idols of consumerism, relativism, and materialism. We need to take a stand against those things so we can properly reflect our Master. Don’t forget how filled with joy you were when you first accepted Christ. That joy—the joy of your salvation—is what will sustain you against the work of evil to derail or snuff out your faith.

Hebrews 2:5-9 NLT Jesus, the Man
5 And furthermore, it is not angels who will control the future world we are talking about. 6 For in one place the Scriptures say,
“What are mere mortals that you should think about them,
    or a son of man that you should care for him?

Yet for a little while you made them a little lower than the angels
    and crowned them with glory and honor.

You gave them authority over all things.”
Now when it says “all things,” it means nothing is left out. But we have not yet seen all things put under their authority. 9 What we do see is Jesus, who for a little while was given a position “a little lower than the angels”; and because he suffered death for us, he is now “crowned with glory and honor.” Yes, by God’s grace, Jesus tasted death for everyone.

Prayer: Lord, I am so grateful for your salvation and I pray for people to run to you. Only in Christ can we know your designed purpose for our lives. Help us walk each day in obedience to that purpose, so we may glorify you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 06-12-24

The human heart will always be occupied and governed by one of two spirits or masters: Christ or Satan. There are no empty hearts and no neutrality; to be neutral is to be an enemy of Christ. We must choose whom we will serve, because there is an ongoing spiritual war between the citizens serving the unrighteous kingdom of the world and the citizens serving the righteous kingdom of God.

We see the truth of this in our passage today from Luke. Obviously, Jesus brings great power to heal and restore—a power that comes from God and reveals his kingdom—but the people have mixed reactions when Jesus takes authority over a demon and sets a mute man free to begin a new life. The people have witnessed a miracle and many presented with a positive response proclaiming God did it. Those with negative responses to Jesus could not deny his power, but they just did not want to admit the power was God’s because they did not like Jesus or want to believe he was from God. So, they gave Satan credit for the miracle.

If hearts are not open and operating by the truth of God’s Word; unfortunately, they are open to Satan’s occupation and deception. Remember, no neutrality. So, Jesus gave the example of a dethroned evil spirit that was forced to leave a person by the exorcism of someone greater—Christ’s cleansing the human temple. Unless that person starts obeying and practicing the Word of God, they are open to even worse demonic rule. Pause and consider this situation. Is it essential for us to internalize and live the Word of God?

Sin is sin and scripture is clear about what is detestable to God; so every disciple of Christ must learn to live according to the Word of God. Every spiritual leader, throughout time, will one day give an account and answer to God for how he or she loved and lived in accordance to the Word of God; we will not be answering to other religious leaders. God’s true anointed leaders serve in humility and possess the power of grace and mercy as evident in their very lives—they seek, by faith, to reflect the Anointed One.

Luke 11:14-28
NLTJesus and the Prince of Demons
14 One day Jesus cast out a demon from a man who couldn’t speak, and when the demon was gone, the man began to speak. The crowds were amazed, 15 but some of them said, “No wonder he can cast out demons. He gets his power from Satan,[Beelzebub] the prince of demons.” 16 Others, trying to test Jesus, demanded that he show them a miraculous sign from heaven to prove his authority.

17 He knew their thoughts, so he said, “Any kingdom divided by civil war is doomed. A family splintered by feuding will fall apart. 18 You say I am empowered by Satan. But if Satan is divided and fighting against himself, how can his kingdom survive? 19 And if I am empowered by Satan, what about your own exorcists? They cast out demons, too, so they will condemn you for what you have said. 20 But if I am casting out demons by the power of God,[by the finger of God] then the Kingdom of God has arrived among you. 21 For when a strong man is fully armed and guards his palace, his possessions are safe— 22 until someone even stronger attacks and overpowers him, strips him of his weapons, and carries off his belongings.

23 “Anyone who isn’t with me opposes me, and anyone who isn’t working with me is actually working against me.

24 “When an evil[unclean] spirit leaves a person, it goes into the desert, searching for rest. But when it finds none, it says, ‘I will return to the person I came from.’ 25 So it returns and finds that its former home is all swept and in order. 26 Then the spirit finds seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they all enter the person and live there. And so that person is worse off than before.”

27 As he was speaking, a woman in the crowd called out, “God bless your mother—the womb from which you came, and the breasts that nursed you!”

28 Jesus replied, “But even more blessed are all who hear the word of God and put it into practice.”

Prayer: Lord, this is such a relevant lesson for us, today. As we look at the world, we see the division of kingdoms and we know our greatest weapon is your Word and our practice of the Truth. Help us to be righteous examples of the gospel which brings the power of salvation to the open hearts of others. We draw near to you, today, and in doing so we take a stand against the work of Satan and his demonic army. In Jesus’ name Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 06-11-24

Yesterday, Jen got our weekly devotionals started with a reading from the book of Revelation; the time of Christ’s millennial reign without the deception of Satan (20:1-6). During the thousand years, Truth will be exalted and people will have the opportunity to choose to live in the fear [adoration] of the Lord. Can you even imagine what it will be like at that time to live for Christ without the corrupting influence of Satan’s power and deception?

In our passage today, Scripture picks up at the end of the millennium when Satan is once again released. I do not know much about Gog and Magog [no one really does], but we must remember in Hebrew when those names [each letter has a numerical value] are added together they represent the number 70 [meaning sacred order/judgment]. Recently, we read in the book of Genesis about the Tower of Babel [Babylon and the symbol of human arrogance, rebellion, and self-sufficiency against the God of Israel] when God scattered people into 70 nations of the world. As well, let’s remember the people’s purpose for building the Tower in the first place was based on the unified hatred of the nations to dethrone the God of Israel; driven by nations who wanted to make a name for themselves rather than align with God’s authority and Name (Gen 11:4). It was believed, the Tower would preserve the Babylonian people should Israel’s God decided to send another Flood to destroy the world.

Well, at the end of time, it will be like it was in the beginning only instead of evil-driven humans trying to ascend to God through rebellious disobedience and hatred, God will return to earth, judge evil and those following Satan, and rid the world of evil arrogance and disobedience once and for all. Then, we will all be unified [whole] in our worship of Messiah.

Revelation 20:7-15 NLT The Defeat of Satan
7 When the thousand years come to an end, Satan will be let out of his prison. 8 He will go out to deceive the nations—called Gog and Magog—in every corner of the earth. He will gather them together for battle—a mighty army, as numberless as sand along the seashore. 9 And I saw them as they went up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded God’s people and the beloved city. But fire from heaven came down on the attacking armies and consumed them.

10 Then the devil, who had deceived them, was thrown into the fiery lake of burning sulfur, joining the beast and the false prophet. There they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

The Final Judgment
11 And I saw a great white throne and the one sitting on it. The earth and sky fled from his presence, but they found no place to hide. 12 I saw the dead, both great and small, standing before God’s throne. And the books were opened, including the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to what they had done, as recorded in the books. 13 The sea gave up its dead, and death and the grave gave up their dead. And all were judged according to their deeds. 14 Then death and the grave were thrown into the lake of fire. This lake of fire is the second death. 15 And anyone whose name was not found recorded in the Book of Life was thrown into the lake of fire.

Prayer: Lord, our passages from John’s revelation of your beautiful and eternal presence, as well as your heavenly rule and glory are precious to us. Thank you for the promise you have made to return for us, as well as permanently defeat and destroy evil. You are our Hope. Thank you Jesus for making it possible for our names to be written in your Book of Life. May we gain a renewed vision of the importance of how we live right now. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Daily Devotional from Jen Auer 06-10-24

Friends, as many of you know, when I write a devotion from the book of Revelation, I like to offer a reminder that the book of Revelation is the prophetic messaging through the Apostle John that Jesus gives to His entire Church so our hearts and lives can be spiritually ready for His return.

Today we are looking at “The Thousand Years” in Revelation 20. First, let’s remember that in Revelation 18 John reveals that there will be “The Fall of Babylon” and after that happens there will be “Songs of Victory in Heaven” as the beast (Satan) and his false prophets will be thrown into the fiery lake of burning sulfur by “The Rider on the White Horse,” Jesus in chapter 19. Then, as we enter into today’s verses, we see that God sends an angel from heaven with a key to the bottomless pit to lock up Satan (who is named, the dragon, the old serpent, and the devil) for a thousand years. Let’s notice how God or Jesus do not go to lock up Satan, rather an unnamed angel is sent to lock him up. This action reveals that Satan is not the opposite in terms of being equal to God, so locking him up does not warrant that the most powerful King of Kings, the Almighty, the Holy Trinity do it; no, God sends one heavenly angel to do the deed. Friends, this is proof that our most powerful weapon against Satan is the Word of God, and since we are container of the Holy Spirit, we need to keep feeding on the Word of God all of the time because it’s always the weapon the Spirit will guide us to use against Satan. He is not more powerful than the Holy Spirit that lives within you and me, so we must be in oneness with the Holy Spirit and keep growing so He can use that growth of the Truth within us to guide us.

There are many views on the thousand-year Millennium reign. No matter the viewpoint, we cannot be afraid of the Good News in Revelation 20:1-6. Please do not get fearfully distracted by the word “beheaded”, rather focus on the glory and honor that each life is given for their devout and unwavering heart for Christ and His Word.

Friends, as you prepare to read today’s passage, let’s remember what Paul tells us about our new life in Christ Jesus, “since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, Who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all His glory.” (Colossians 3:1-4)

Revelation 20:1-6 NLT

The Thousand Years

1 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven with the key to the bottomless pit and a heavy chain in his hand. 2 He seized the dragon—that old serpent, who is the devil, Satan—and bound him in chains for a thousand years. 3 The angel threw him into the bottomless pit, which he then shut and locked so Satan could not deceive the nations anymore until the thousand years were finished. Afterward he must be released for a little while.

4 Then I saw thrones, and the people sitting on them had been given the authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their testimony about Jesus and for proclaiming the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his statue, nor accepted his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They all came to life again, and they reigned with Christ for a thousand years.

5 This is the first resurrection. (The rest of the dead did not come back to life until the thousand years had ended.) 6 Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. For them the second death holds no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him a thousand years.

Prayer: Jesus, thank You for this Word. Holy Spirit, we call on Your wisdom to guide each one of us to a greater understanding of how this Word is to minister to our lives right now. Father, we look forward to Jesus’s return and the day when Satan is lock up. In the meantime, Holy Trinity, help each one of us to remain devoted to You, to keep growing in Your Word, and to keep speaking Your Truth into a hurting and needing world. Keep us close to You, Jesus. In Your Holy Name, Jesus. Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 06-07-24

Our beautiful 23-month-old granddaughter is talking more and more. Each time I am with her, I notice she has added more words to her vocabulary and usually connects them with the proper meaning. It is so fun to witness her learning; I talk to her all the time, but I also listen and respond to her efforts. Sometimes, I have to listen to her words carefully and pause for understanding; it can be a bit of a mystery until I catch on. Words have meanings that communicate information and each time we hear them we have the potential to grow in knowledge and wisdom.

Every time the gospel is preached, it calls for a positive response from human beings. The meaning may feel hidden, but if we open our hearts to learn, we begin to understand and connect the Word with the proper meaning. The Word of God is the Seed and when it is released into the anointing it is sown in the soil of our hearts for the purpose of producing fruit and glorifying God. It’s a spiritual Word! Believers are to be receivers and responders to the revealed Word of God! The Word is hidden in our hearts.

We see the revelation of this Truth in our New Testament passage, today. Jesus is teaching the crowds in parables; this was prophesied in the Old Testament (Psalm 78:1-2). Parables serve two functions: They reveal truth [illuminated illustrations] to those who are spiritually responsive to God’s solutions; and they conceal truth from those who are spiritually superficial or hostile to God. Let’s not forget in the midst of the Word being sown, the devil seeks to prevent people from believing and being saved. May believers across the globe submit to God, resist the devil, and desire a pure heart, as well as the grace to produce a huge harvest!

Luke 8:4-15 NLT Parable of the Farmer Scattering Seed
4 One day Jesus told a story in the form of a parable to a large crowd that had gathered from many towns to hear him: 5 “A farmer went out to plant his seed. As he scattered it across his field, some seed fell on a footpath, where it was stepped on, and the birds ate it. 6 Other seed fell among rocks. It began to grow, but the plant soon wilted and died for lack of moisture. 7 Other seed fell among thorns that grew up with it and choked out the tender plants. 8 Still other seed fell on fertile soil. This seed grew and produced a crop that was a hundred times as much as had been planted!” When he had said this, he called out, “Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.”
9 His disciples asked him what this parable meant. 10 He replied, “You are permitted to understand the secrets of the Kingdom of God. But I use parables to teach the others so that the Scriptures might be fulfilled:

‘When they look, they won’t really see.
    When they hear, they won’t understand.’

11 “This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is God’s word. 12 The seeds that fell on the footpath represent those who hear the message, only to have the devil come and take it away from their hearts and prevent them from believing and being saved. 13 The seeds on the rocky soil represent those who hear the message and receive it with joy. But since they don’t have deep roots, they believe for a while, then they fall away when they face temptation. 14 The seeds that fell among the thorns represent those who hear the message, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the cares and riches and pleasures of this life. And so they never grow into maturity. 15 And the seeds that fell on the good soil represent honest, good-hearted people who hear God’s word, cling to it, and patiently produce a huge harvest.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for making your Word and message understandable for those seeking to live by your grace and walk by faith. Continue to help us grow and produce abundant fruit. Be glorified in our hearts, Lord. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 06-06-24

Although, I do not use the word ‘suffering’ frequently, I am very aware of the many manifestations of suffering as I care for and counsel people each day. Both Hebrew and Greek expressions lead us toward a greater understanding of this word. Some common meanings of suffering are: to allow, experience, endure, tolerate, sustain loss, or undergo judgment. Every human being will experience suffering, but will we suffer for believing and following Christ by making righteous choices or will we suffer for choosing to allow unbelief and evil to take dominion of our lives?

No one would make a deliberate choice to suffer; yet, we do suffer because the world is fallen and human nature is flawed—this we share in common. Suffering is a part of the Christian life; no one escapes a level of suffering. Sometimes we suffer alone and sometimes we suffer collectively, but at all times of suffering we still live in the grace and blessings of God. “God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers” (Mat 5:11). Remember, our purpose for living is to glorify Christ and, in order to fulfill God’s purpose for us, we will find ourselves suffering for God’s cause to make us like Jesus. Suffering is a place of spiritual refining that produces mature faith.

In our passage today, Peter reminds Christ’s followers to be prepared for levels of suffering, because sin loses its power when we exalt Christ in the midst of suffering. Much of our suffering is because of the war between Spirit and flesh. So, in the midst of suffering, Christ is delivering us from sin’s power [refining us].

Judgment is a part of suffering, as well. Humanity will experience the suffering of judgment by how and in whose power each person has lived. We reap what we sow. Therefore, people who truly know God do not deliberately persecute, seek to destroy, or inflict suffering upon others, nor do we rejoice or revel in another’s suffering (Pro 24:17). Mocking the misery of others is evil; it actually dishonors God. To do so reveals absolute ignorance of the character of God; the One who will one day serve as Judge for all humanity. Do not be a part of inflicting suffering or enjoying the suffering of others, because you open the door for suffering to visit you (Gal 6:7). Guard your hearts and actions, as well as watch your mouths!

1 Peter 4:12-19 NLT Suffering for Being a Christian
12 Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. 13 Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.

14 If you are insulted because you bear the name of Christ, you will be blessed, for the glorious Spirit of God rests upon you. 15 If you suffer, however, it must not be for murder, stealing, making trouble, or prying into other people’s affairs. 16 But it is no shame to suffer for being a Christian. Praise God for the privilege of being called by his name! 17 For the time has come for judgment, and it must begin with God’s household. And if judgment begins with us, what terrible fate awaits those who have never obeyed God’s Good News? 18 And also,

“If the righteous are barely saved,

    what will happen to godless sinners?”
19 So if you are suffering in a manner that pleases God, keep on doing what is right, and trust your lives to the God who created you, for he will never fail you.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for being with us in good times and even in our suffering. We know this world is not our home, so it consistently puts pressure against our allegiance to live for you. As well, we suffer as you refine us; so, in spite of the trials, may we remain faithful to the character of Christ. Holy Spirit, please be our Helper. In Jesus’ name Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 06-05-24

I grew up in the 60’s and 70’s loving the songs of Simon and Garfunkel, but one of my favorites was the song, “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” written by Paul Simon. I realize the meaning of the song lyrics is for the singer to convey the message to someone listening that no matter how bad things get in the world, he will be a source of support and comfort. Sadly, these two folk song stars were the best of friends until they released this song.

In 1971 Aretha Franklin took the song to church making it a gospel song about God and our Bridge being Jesus the Christ. Honestly, every time I hear the song, I think about Jesus and how he is speaking and encouraging me through it; he is so faithful and nothing can separate me from His love! Maybe Paul Simon did not know he was an instrument for Jesus when writing the song, but I recognize the fingerprints of God all over it, as well as the promises of Christ throughout it. Jesus is the Bridge over the troubled waters of the world who laid down his life!

In our passage today, Jesus returns to Jerusalem and were does he go? He goes to a pool that is surrounded with sick people waiting for troubled water. A common belief—but was actually unbelief—was an angel would come down during certain seasons and stir the water. The first person in the troubled water would be healed, but Jesus knew this false belief would never bring the miracle any of these folks needed. So to make a statement and provide an example of truth for the crowd, Jesus goes specifically to speak with a certain invalid; Jesus knows everything about him and plans to extend to him compassion and the power for new life (Psalms 139:2-4).

Our world is troubled and looking in all the wrong directions. Jesus stands before humanity each day; the Savior and Bridge to divine wisdom, compassion, and power. We need to cast our eyes upon Jesus, because only he can bring forgiveness of sin, connect us with Creator Father, and fill us with his miraculous righteousness. We are called to be believers walking toward his glorious presence each day. Don’t be afraid; just walk by faith and cross over on the Bridge of grace into the Christ life!

John 5:1-15 NLT Jesus Heals a Lame Man
1 Afterward Jesus returned to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish holy days. 2 Inside the city, near the Sheep Gate, was the pool of Bethesda, with five [symbolic of grace].
covered porches. 3 Crowds of sick people—blind, lame, or paralyzed—lay on the porches. 5 One of the men lying there had been sick for thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him and knew he had been ill for a long time, he asked him, “Would you like to get well?”

7 “I can’t, sir,” the sick man said, “for I have no one to put me into the pool when the water bubbles up. Someone else always gets there ahead of me.”

8 Jesus told him, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk!”

9 Instantly, the man was healed! He rolled up his sleeping mat and began walking! But this miracle happened on the Sabbath, 10 so the Jewish leaders objected. They said to the man who was cured, “You can’t work on the Sabbath! The law doesn’t allow you to carry that sleeping mat!”

11 But he replied, “The man who healed me told me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’”
12 “Who said such a thing as that?” they demanded.

13 The man didn’t know, for Jesus had disappeared into the crowd. 14 But afterward Jesus found him in the Temple and told him, “Now you are well; so stop sinning, or something even worse may happen to you.” 15 Then the man went and told the Jewish leaders that it was Jesus who had healed him.

Prayer: Lord, the spiritual waters of this world are certainly troubled, but we are going to cling to you and stay focused on your love in action. You are the only solid and trustworthy One and we are grateful for how you become the Bridge of salvation we need by grace through faith. You bring us ongoing healing as we are refreshed in the waters of the Spirit. Holy Spirit, help us to understand and remember we are healed so we can be containers of your holiness. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 06-04-24

Did you know according to Scripture, a person’s way or choices for living may seem pure to him or her, but be entirely based on self-serving motives and have nothing to do with God? (Pro 16:2). In fact, there is a path before each person, found in the sin nature, that seems right but it ends in death, so we must choose to follow the Truth according to God’s Word (Pro 14:12). It is imperative to remember creation was made for God’s purposes. Our sin nature wants to be god—a false one.

It would help us to remember our sin nature has a will of its own. God himself revealed this to be true when he told Cain, “…if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door; eager to control you. But, you must subdue it and be its master” (Gen 4:7). Because Cain did not do as God instructed, he killed his brother and was banished from God’s presence (Gen 4:8). If we do not take authority over our sin nature, it will take dominion and rule us.

In our passage today, God is still drawing attention to the choices made by his human creation. Eli had two sons who were a part of the Levitical priesthood; but even though they proclaimed to serve God, they were unfaithful. Eli and his sons knew the sin being committed against God, but they had gotten away with it for so long they began to have a false sense of security in their sin. God sent a message to Eli, his sons, and all human beings; “I will honor those who honor me, and I will despise those who think lightly of me” (1 Sam 2:30).

1 Samuel 2:22-30 NLT
22 Now Eli was very old, but he was aware of what his sons were doing to the people of Israel. He knew, for instance, that his sons were seducing the young women who assisted at the entrance of the Tabernacle. 23 Eli said to them, “I have been hearing reports from all the people about the wicked things you are doing. Why do you keep sinning? 24 You must stop, my sons! The reports I hear among the Lord’s people are not good. 25 If someone sins against another person, God can mediate for the guilty party. But if someone sins against the Lord, who can intercede?” But Eli’s sons wouldn’t listen to their father, for the Lord was already planning to put them to death.

26 Meanwhile, the boy Samuel grew taller and grew in favor with the Lord and with the people.

A Warning for Eli’s Family
27 One day a man of God came to Eli and gave him this message from the Lord: “I revealed myself to your ancestors when they were Pharaoh’s slaves in Egypt. 28 I chose your ancestor Aaron from among all the tribes of Israel to be my priest, to offer sacrifices on my altar, to burn incense, and to wear the priestly vest as he served me. And I assigned the sacrificial offerings to you priests. 29 So why do you scorn my sacrifices and offerings? Why do you give your sons more honor than you give me—for you and they have become fat from the best offerings of my people Israel!

30 “Therefore, the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I promised that your branch of the tribe of Levi would always be my priests. But I will honor those who honor me, and I will despise those who think lightly of me.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for the many ways you love us through Scripture. This lesson today is incredibly relevant for us, because in this world we see the sin nature gaining dominion in humanity. Thank you for helping your children know the power, perversion, and penalty of sin lurking within and surrounding us, so we can call for the power of the Spirit, take dominion over sin, and continue to live in freedom with the ability to obey you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.