Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 01-27-23

Intro: Yesterday, John and I were expecting the delivery of a new washer and dryer. It was the second appointment for delivery we had been given, because the first set of appliances associated with the first appointment were damaged before they got to our house. Unfortunately, the second appointment for delivery did not go any better than the first appointment. What was my response? I promptly called Customer Service. Although, the representative who answered my call was kind and apparently wanted to be helpful, the guidelines he was given to read to me for problem-solving was of no value for the issue we were facing. Friends, I am grateful God’s guidelines are always perfect for the problems I face.

Elizabeth George once said, “God has written His divine guidelines for your life right in the Bible.” In our passage today, David affirms this truth. Good guidelines can be very helpful when we have questions about what God may want from us as his children. Rules are associated with laws and permanent policies, but divine guidelines are recommendations that lead to the best behaviors or practices. It was David’s desire to dwell in the presence of God; therefore, he sought the guidelines of Scripture to learn how to dwell or remain in God’s love.

Even though David failed to live in moral excellence during portions of his life, he wanted his future to be filled with success. God wants that same success for all his children. The world’s standards, morality, and ethics may be eroding, but God’s guidelines will never be shaken and always stand the test of time. So, may we pray and ask the Holy Spirit to help us honor these guidelines for our lives.

Psalm 15 The Voice/Amplified Bible
Eternal One, who is invited [as a guest] to stay in Your dwelling?
    Who is granted [continual] passage to Your holy mountain?

Here is the answer: The one who lives with integrity, does what is right,
    and speaks honestly with truth from [what is held in] the heart.

The one who doesn’t speak evil against others
    or wrong his neighbor,
    or slander his friends.

The one who loathes the loathsome,
    honors those who fear the Eternal [worship with obedient, reverent, and submissive wonder],
And keeps all promises no matter the cost [for his own benefit].

The one who does not lend money with gain in mind [to a fellow believer]
    and cannot be bought to harm an innocent name.
If you live this way, you will not be shaken and will live together with the Lord.

Prayer: Lord, many of your guidelines in this passage today address the evil humans can do with words. Help me to speak honestly and deny evil the use of my mouth. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 01-26-23

Intro: Do you associate righteous conduct with God’s blessing? I hope so, because God tells us we are blessed with divine righteous love in order to be a blessing to others (Gen 12:2-3). God releases his righteous love into our lives, because he loves to share himself by serving us. When we serve and bless others, we receive more blessing from God to prepare us for more service. God’s blessing is a picture of a reciprocal love that just moves and flows through the lives of his children like spiritual nutrition. Feast on the love of God + Share the love of God = BLESSING!

In our passage today, the Apostle Peter reminds all Christians of how we must treat one another in order to stay in the flow of that sweet reciprocal love and blessing of God. Peter emphasizes some righteous behaviors: Sympathy, familial love, tenderheartedness, humility, and self-control. When we genuinely sympathize and understand one of our family members has a problem and needs help, we are gentle in our treatment and response, because we value the relationship we share in Christ.
So, if you want to enjoy the genuine blessing of God, remember righteous conduct is associated with God’s blessing. We bless others, not out of duty, but out of love and choice, because this is how God treats us. God desires to bless us, so let’s position ourselves to receive the blessing of his love and allow the Spirit to motivate us toward righteous conduct in our relationships.

1 Peter 3:8-12 NLT/Amplified Bible All Christians
8 Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. 9 Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will grant you his blessing. 10 For the Scriptures say,
“If you want to enjoy life    and see many happy days,keep your tongue from speaking evil    and your lips from telling lies [deceit].
Turn away from evil and do good.    Search for peace [with God, self, and others], and work [actively pursue] to maintain it.
The eyes of the Lord watch [favorably] over those who do right,    and his ears are open to their prayers [eager to answer].But the Lord turns his face    against those who do evil.”

Prayer: Lord, thank you for how you love us as your children and provide your blessing so we can serve others. You have set abundance within us, so help us today to release the blessing into the lives of others. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Daily Devotional from Jen Auer 01-25-23

Today we are reflecting on a section of Psalm 27. In the beginning of the Psalm, King David states his confidence in the Lord. Yet, around verse 9, we begin to see that although he is committed to God by faith, he is still human and is struggling with fear. David is pleading with God for His protection.

You and I need Jesus with every breath that we take. When life is moving along smoothly, and things seem just fine, in an instance, what seemed to be perfect can be turned upside down and become a complete disaster.

So, what do we do? Well, David tells us in verse 14 to “Wait patiently for the LORD. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the LORD.” We see throughout the Old Testament, within Genesis, Exodus, Psalms, Proverbs, Lamentations, and Isaiah where we are instructed to “wait” and to be “patient” for the Lord. Waiting for the Lord within the Old Testament isn’t just about waiting on the coming (birth or return) of Jesus the Messiah, it is also about waiting for God’s timing. God has and is being patient with us, remember, we had to choose our salvation in Christ, which took time. So, it is completely wrong for us to be impatient with God? Especially, when we consider that He is all knowing, that He knows what is best for us, that He loves us more than anyone could ever love us, and that His timing is always right and it is not our timing. Peter tells us, “But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day.” (2 Peter 3:8)

We may not have God’s individual plan for our lives “written out on paper”, but we do have the Holy Spirit, which is willing to guide our hearts along that plan that God has for us. We need to cry out to the Spirit and ask for the impartation of Jesus’s strength so that we can be brave and courageous during our times of waiting. We have to ask for Jesus’s peace so that we can be patient in our times of waiting. We need to ask for Jesus’s wisdom so that we can learn from His Word. We need to ask for guidance so that we can ensure that we are following God’s path and not a path laid out by anyone else.

Psalm 27:7-14 NLT

7 Hear me as I pray, O Lord.
Be merciful and answer me!

8 My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.”
And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.”

9 Do not turn your back on me.
Do not reject your servant in anger.
You have always been my helper.
Don’t leave me now; don’t abandon me,
O God of my salvation!

10 Even if my father and mother abandon me,
the Lord will hold me close.

11 Teach me how to live, O Lord.
Lead me along the right path,
for my enemies are waiting for me.

12 Do not let me fall into their hands.
For they accuse me of things I’ve never done;
with every breath they threaten me with violence.

13 Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness
while I am here in the land of the living.

14 Wait patiently for the Lord.
Be brave and courageous.
Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.

Prayer: Jesus, thank You for Your patience with me. Please forgive me for my impatience at times and for wanting to jump ahead or off of the plan that You have for me. Help me, Jesus, to trust in You and Your plan for my life. Cover and fill my soul with Your Holy Spirit so that I can understand that I am merely a part of Your vast plan. I am humbled to be included and thank You. Strengthen my faith, fill me with Your peace, and guide me with Your wisdom so that I can remain steadfast with You on this path. I ask all of this in Your Name, Jesus. Amen.

Daily Devotional from Jen Auer 01-24-23

Ok! So, I need to remind you that Pastor Mary follows the Revised Common Lectionary for the daily passages of these devotions, which means I do the same as her mentor. This reminder is because we are now going on 4 consecutive devotions of hearing from the Apostle Paul, and although I love him tremendously, I do not want anyone to think that I favor one Apostle over the rest. 😊

Yesterday’s letter moved us to Ephesus from the previous two days which were in Galatia, and today we find ourselves in a letter to the Church in Philippi. Although the chronology and dating of the events in the Apostle Paul’s life are still debated, it seems like the last 4 devotions moved in the order from his older writings to his newer writings, with several (obviously) missed writings in-between and on the bookends.

Here’s a couple questions for you, and you can be completely honest because you are only answering yourself and Jesus. Today, the Apostle Paul tells us to “Do everything without complaining and arguing.” (v.14)

Questions 1. When was the last time you complained about someone or something?
Questions 2. When was the last argument that you had with someone?

So, I’m going to use myself as an example, because I firmly believe that “God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.” (Rom 8:28) and I believe that is me. Also, I believe that Satan, like the cunning and sneaky fox he is, is always looking to attack us. Actually, much of his time is spent prowling around looking to pounce on God’s kids; so by the Spirit of Christ we need to, “Catch the foxes, the little foxes, before they ruin our vineyard in bloom” (Song 2:15) Remember, our “vineyard in bloom” is our spiritual garden, or our heart, for Christ (Curtis talks about tending to our spiritual garden or our heart for Christ all of the time).

So, here it is, I complained last Wednesday about something I saw on social media, and that complaint turned into an argument. See, God knew that the Apostle Paul and I would be spending some quality time together in His Word…and so did Satan, as he was prowling around and seeking to throw me off of my faith walk with Jesus knowing that I would not only be deep in God’s Word for myself, but that I would also be sharing it with all of you. Keep in mind, my 4 devotions that are all from the Apostle Paul came after my complaint/argument.

Friends, it all took about 3 hours before I found myself kneeling at the foot of the cross asking for Jesus’s forgiveness, and then turning around and asking the person for forgiveness. I’m blessed by what God brought out of it, but I learned that the enemy will take what he can get, and for him wasting 3 hours of my day was a win in his book.

I share all of this with you because within those hours I was not doing as this letter instructs…as Jesus tells us: to live clean, to live innocent as a child of God, and to shine bright as an extended Light of Christ. I believe that I am forgiven for complaining and for arguing, but we need to use these moments to step up and move forward with Jesus. We do not need to be complaining every day, we do not need to be arguing every day, or week, or month. We need to be holding firm to the Word of Life and running the race of our faith with Jesus, and as we wait upon His return, we need to be calling on the Holy Spirit to make us aware of those little foxes that Satan attempts to use to knock us off course.

Philippians 2:12-18 NLT
Shine Brightly for Christ

12 Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. 13 For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.

14 Do everything without complaining and arguing, 15 so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. 16 Hold firmly to the word of life; then, on the day of Christ’s return, I will be proud that I did not run the race in vain and that my work was not useless. 17 But I will rejoice even if I lose my life, pouring it out like a liquid offering to God, just like your faithful service is an offering to God. And I want all of you to share that joy. 18 Yes, you should rejoice, and I will share your joy.

Prayer: Jesus, thank You for your forgiveness. I need Your daily guidance for living the obedient life You have for me. Help Your Light within me to shine bright. Please give me Your wisdom so that I can see where the enemy seeks for me to stray from You. My prayer is to move forward with You, Jesus, and for Your Word to continue to be my guide. I ask all of this in Your Name, Jesus. Amen.

Daily Devotional from Jen Auer 01-23-23

We ended last week in the letter that the Apostle Paul wrote to the Galatians, and this week we continue with Paul, only this time in his letter to the Ephesians. Here, Paul is contrasting light and dark, in other words, good and evil which all boils down to the choice we have in everything, to either choose God or to choose Satan. We must remember that we cannot serve both. In Matthew 6, we are reminded that no one can serve two masters (meaning both God and Satan), for we will hate one and love the other, we will be devoted to one and despise the other (v. 24). Thus, God gives us the freewill to choose, either Him or Satan.

You might be thinking…well, I choose God for 90% or more of most everything in my life, and so He will understand and be forgiving of the faction of my life that is lived in sin, because I will just keep asking for His forgiveness. Friends, it doesn’t work that way. Paul reminds us in the beginning of Ephesians 5 that we are to imitate God, to live a life that is filled with His love, following the example of Christ, which means to be obedient to His Word with 100% of our life. We will never be perfect while we live in this earthly realm, but when we know we are living in sin, we have a responsibility to cry out for forgiveness, to turn away from that sin, and to ask the Lord for the guidance of His Holy Spirit to move us past that sin as we move forward with Jesus. Remember, we can’t keep going back to sin, we must be a willing and active participant in our faith to walk away from sin and forward with Jesus each and every day.

In today’s passage, Paul goes on to tell us not to be fooled by those who try to excuse sin, and really, we cannot partake in sinful behavior ourselves because we profess Christ and should be in living by the Word, which means we know better. If we choose sin, Paul tells us that God’s anger will fall on all who are disobedient. The chose is simple…light/goodness/heavenly realm/God or dark/sinfulness/earthly realm/Satan. It doesn’t matter how much we try to hide our sin, God knows, and He wants nothing more than for us to willingly turn it over to Him, and to awaken to His Light and from our dead living with Satan.

Ephesians 5:6-14 NLT

6 Don’t be fooled by those who try to excuse these sins, for the anger of God will fall on all who disobey him. 7 Don’t participate in the things these people do. 8 For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! 9 For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true.

10 Carefully determine what pleases the Lord. 11 Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them. 12 It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret. 13 But their evil intentions will be exposed when the light shines on them, 14 for the light makes everything visible. This is why it is said,

“Awake, O sleeper,
rise up from the dead,
and Christ will give you light.”

Prayer: Jesus, thank You for taking our sins with You to the cross. Please forgive us, Lord, when we sin, and help us to turn away from sinning again and again. We want to grow closer to You, and we know we need to get rid of sin in order to do that, so we call on Your Holy Spirit to guide us and to quicken our hearts to press into Your Word for our daily lives. We ask this in Your Holy Name, Jesus. Amen

Daily Devotional from Jen Auer 01-20-23

In yesterday’s devotion we were with the Apostle Paul in the first chapter of Galatians. There we witnessed him defending his ministry and message about Christ, through the use of his testimony. Paul’s letters to the church in Galatia were meant to preserve the Truth of the gospel message of Jesus Christ against the false teachers at the time.

In today’s passage, we move into the second chapter of Galatians. Here, we witness a meeting between Paul and the other Apostles in Jerusalem. Remember, these Apostles had traveled and walked with Jesus during His ministry on earth. Paul, on the other hand, received his message from Jesus after His death, he never physically met Jesus or walked with Him, like the other Apostles. Today, we learn that Paul brought with him Barnabas who was a Jewish Christian and known to the Apostles, and Titus who was a Gentile Christian and unknown to the Apostles. Keep in mind, that Paul had been preaching to the Gentiles, and Titus was proof of the power of Christ’s salvation through the gospel message that he had heard from Paul. Titus was also not circumcised, and the Apostles accepted him as he was, a brother in Christ, and did not demand that he be circumcised.

There are many takeaways from today’s passage, but one that stands out to me can be summed up in Paul’s words that are to come in the third chapter of Galatians: “There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you.” (v. 28-29)

Friends, we need to be very careful to only judge our own faith walk and relationship with Jesus. Remember, He welcomes all who are willing to accept His gospel message and walk in salvation with Him. Each walk is different, each person is different, but Jesus remains the same. So, the next time we want to judge another person’s faith walk, or their relationship with or without Jesus, we need to remember who God chose to write almost half of the New Testament…Paul. Jesus forgave and loved Paul just as much as He forgave and loved the other Apostles who walked with Him (and that means He forgives and loves us the same). God also used Paul in today’s passage to bring together the unlikely, the likely, the Jews, the Gentiles, the circumcised, and the un-circumcised…all to reveal that WE ARE ALL GOD’S CHILDREN! We need to treat people like Jesus would treat them and love them towards the open and loving arms of Jesus.

Galatians 2:1-10 NLT
The Apostles Accept Paul

1Then fourteen years later I went back to Jerusalem again, this time with Barnabas; and Titus came along, too. 2 I went there because God revealed to me that I should go. While I was there I met privately with those considered to be leaders of the church and shared with them the message I had been preaching to the Gentiles. I wanted to make sure that we were in agreement, for fear that all my efforts had been wasted and I was running the race for nothing. 3 And they supported me and did not even demand that my companion Titus be circumcised, though he was a Gentile.

4 Even that question came up only because of some so-called believers there—false ones, really—who were secretly brought in. They sneaked in to spy on us and take away the freedom we have in Christ Jesus. They wanted to enslave us and force us to follow their Jewish regulations. 5 But we refused to give in to them for a single moment. We wanted to preserve the truth of the gospel message for you.

6 And the leaders of the church had nothing to add to what I was preaching. (By the way, their reputation as great leaders made no difference to me, for God has no favorites.) 7 Instead, they saw that God had given me the responsibility of preaching the gospel to the Gentiles, just as he had given Peter the responsibility of preaching to the Jews. 8 For the same God who worked through Peter as the apostle to the Jews also worked through me as the apostle to the Gentiles.

9 In fact, James, Peter, and John, who were known as pillars of the church, recognized the gift God had given me, and they accepted Barnabas and me as their co-workers. They encouraged us to keep preaching to the Gentiles, while they continued their work with the Jews. 10 Their only suggestion was that we keep on helping the poor, which I have always been eager to do.

Prayer: Jesus, thank You for loving each of us the same. Help us to love like You love. Forgive us when we judge someone else. Give us Your heart to love like You love, Your eyes to see people how You see them, and guide us with Your wise Holy Spirit to speak words You would say. We ask all of this in Your Name, Jesus. Amen.

Daily Devotional from Jen Auer 01-19-23

The true gospel message is one that offers us freedom from the enemy and the power to change by God’s grace. There is no greater example of this than in the life and testimony of the Apostle Paul.

In today’s passage, and throughout the book of Galatians, Paul defends his ministry and the message of Christ. He knows that there are false teachers who are twisting God’s Word and presenting it as the true gospel message. Paul’s righteous anger fuels his letter to the churches. He reminds them of his testimony and who he once was before God offered him His grace. Some of the Galatians think that Paul received his gospel message from the Apostles, and that the message might have changed along the way (similar to a game of telephone). But Paul wants to make it very clear that the message he received came down from heaven in the person, Jesus Christ, and was given as a revelation of His grace to Paul and to the Church. Why does this matter? Well, because Paul received his message directly from Jesus, not from man. On Wednesday nights during Curtis’ Bible study, we’ve been growing to understand that while man may change, the Word (which is Jesus) never changes.

We can learn so much from Paul’s heart for the Lord and from all of his many letters and teachings. One major thing that we can take away from today’s passage is that there is power in sharing our testimony. Remember, Paul’s first encounter with Jesus was approximately 4 to 7 years after Jesus was crucified and Paul was Saul at the time, a Jewish Rabbi of Tarsus, who was murdering God’s people. He went from executioner to evangelist. Maybe your story isn’t as dramatic as Paul’s, but it’s still your love story about Jesus and how He saved you by His grace…and that story needs to be shared with someone today, it’s the most loving thing you can do for someone else.

Galatians 1:11-24 NLT
Paul’s Message Comes from Christ

11 Dear brothers and sisters, I want you to understand that the gospel message I preach is not based on mere human reasoning. 12 I received my message from no human source, and no one taught me. Instead, I received it by direct revelation from Jesus Christ.

13 You know what I was like when I followed the Jewish religion—how I violently persecuted God’s church. I did my best to destroy it. 14 I was far ahead of my fellow Jews in my zeal for the traditions of my ancestors.

15 But even before I was born, God chose me and called me by his marvelous grace. Then it pleased him 16 to reveal his Son to me so that I would proclaim the Good News about Jesus to the Gentiles.

When this happened, I did not rush out to consult with any human being. 17 Nor did I go up to Jerusalem to consult with those who were apostles before I was. Instead, I went away into Arabia, and later I returned to the city of Damascus.

18 Then three years later I went to Jerusalem to get to know Peter, and I stayed with him for fifteen days. 19 The only other apostle I met at that time was James, the Lord’s brother. 20 I declare before God that what I am writing to you is not a lie.

21 After that visit I went north into the provinces of Syria and Cilicia. 22 And still the churches in Christ that are in Judea didn’t know me personally. 23 All they knew was that people were saying, “The one who used to persecute us is now preaching the very faith he tried to destroy!” 24 And they praised God because of me.

Prayer: Jesus, thank You for saving us. We did nothing to deserve Your grace, but You love us beyond measure and shower us with Your grace. Help us to share our testimonies with others. Let us be open to the Holy Spirit’s guidance while we share about Your saving love. We ask all of this in Your Holy Name, Jesus. Amen.

Daily Devotional from Jen Auer 01-18-23

Yesterday, I saw a picture of an apple in front of a mirror. If you look directly at the mirror the apple appears to be ripe, shiny, and beautifully in season. However, if you look at the entire apple, you will notice that from the back side, the apple is withering and rotting away. So often, we want people to think that we are shiny and perfect on the outside, when in fact the full picture is entirely different.

None of us are perfect. Over the last two days we’ve been in scripture that has revealed perfection is only found in Jesus. He is the only perfect and sinless One Who invites us to be cleansed of our sins. We have the opportunity to live in Jesus’s perfect presence through an ongoing relationship with Him. It’s a humble invitation from the bridegroom, that requires our simple acceptance.

When we enter into a relationship with Jesus, the only way it can be successful is through an ongoing commitment of true change. Let’s be honest, change is not easy for most of us. In fact, many of us avoid change, and if we change anything at all it’s our appearance for others to think that we’ve changed. But Jesus knows our hearts, and in today’s passage, He is warning us that we are to be growing and changing for Eternity in our relationship with Him now. “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit with me” (Psalm 51:10); help me, O God, to stop wasting time and energy on the past, on fear, anxiety, anger, guilt, shame, and any other feels that the enemy wants to use, with in me and my soul, to take my gaze off of Jesus. I stand firmly again the work of the enemy and I fixate my spiritual eyes on You, Jesus.

Matthew 9:14-17 NLT
A Discussion about Fasting

14 One day the disciples of John the Baptist came to Jesus and asked him, “Why don’t your disciples fast like we do and the Pharisees do?”

15 Jesus replied, “Do wedding guests mourn while celebrating with the groom? Of course not. But someday the groom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast.

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

17 “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the old skins would burst from the pressure, spilling the wine and ruining the skins. New wine is stored in new wineskins so that both are preserved.”

Prayer: Jesus, thank You for our relationship. Help me to seek ways to continue to grow in my part. I also want to keep changing into my new self with You, Jesus. So, please help me to lay down any part of my old self that still needs to go. I ask all of this in Your Name, Jesus. Amen.

Daily Devotional from Jen Auer 01-17-23

Friends, I had no idea when I wrote yesterday’s devotion that there would be a direct connection to today’s devotion, and I have to share it with you! So, today’s passage is from Hebrews 10, in the New Testament, and verses 5-7 are a direct quoted reference of verses 6-8 from Psalm 40, in the Old Testament, which were the first three verses from the passage in yesterday’s devotion. I just love how that divinely worked out!

I’m thinking that God knows there is a need to continue to work on allowing the Holy Spirit to break our religious mindsets so that we may be free in our relationship with Jesus. In complete transparency, I pray often for the Holy Spirit to overtake me and to remove any religious bondage from me. I want Jesus to be able to use me for the good of His Kingdom, and I realize that in order for Him to do that there is no room for my own religious judgement.

For those who are not familiar with the Old Testament Mosaic Law, it is the law which God gave to the Israelites through Moses. It began with the Ten Commandments and includes 613 Jewish commandments (or rules of religious observation) given within the first five books of the Hebrew Bible. The Mosaic Law was the old system which included animal sacrifices to atone for sin. As we know, Jesus came into the world to put an end to the old system. A system that repeated over and over and over again, as a ritual, because it alone could not take away sin. In fact, it was a systematic reminder of sin, not a removal of sin. Jesus is the only perfect sacrifice, Who was/is/and will forever be The One Who takes away sin and removes the year after year reminder of guilt and shame. In Jesus there is no guilt or shame.

Religion can help us to put a band-aid on sin. It’s a temporary covering to make things appear on the outside like they are perfect. But, if we do not seek a thriving relationship with the Great Physician, Who is Jesus, that sin will never be healed by any religious band-aid. It does not matter what type of religion is used, how often religion is practiced, if the religion is changed, or how good the religion can cover up what is on the outside; all of it is fleeting and will never add up to the One and only relationship, with Jesus, Who came to do God’s will, and that is to save you and me from sin for all eternity! THANK YOU, JESUS!

Hebrews 10:1-7 NLT
Christ’s Sacrifice Once for All

1 The old system under the law of Moses was only a shadow, a dim preview of the good things to come, not the good things themselves. The sacrifices under that system were repeated again and again, year after year, but they were never able to provide perfect cleansing for those who came to worship. 2 If they could have provided perfect cleansing, the sacrifices would have stopped, for the worshipers would have been purified once for all time, and their feelings of guilt would have disappeared.

3 But instead, those sacrifices actually reminded them of their sins year after year. 4 For it is not possible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. 5 That is why, when Christ came into the world, he said to God,

“You did not want animal sacrifices or sin offerings.
But you have given me a body to offer.

6 You were not pleased with burnt offerings
or other offerings for sin.

7 Then I said, ‘Look, I have come to do your will, O God—
as is written about me in the Scriptures.’”

Prayer: Jesus, thank You for saving us from sin. Help us to break any religious chains that we have so that we can grow closer and closer to You in our relationship. We lay down our sins at Your feet, and we cast away all guilt, because that is not of You. We ask this in Your Name, Jesus. Amen.

Daily Devotional from Jen Auer 01-16-23

During yesterday’s sermon, we were reminded that we are a part of God’s divine design. We looked back at the very beginning, in Genesis 1, on “The Account of Creation”, where the Holy Trinity (God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit) as One, created males and females in their image (v.26-27). Then, we moved over to Psalm 139, where King David talked about how God knitted him together in his mother’s womb, and how God saw him before he was born (v.13-16). David praised God for making him so wonderfully complex, it was beyond what his human mind could comprehend; nevertheless, he had a spiritual understanding of the Truth that God knew everything about him because God knew his heart. He even began Psalm 139 with “O LORD, you have examined my heart and know everything about me.” (v.1)

In today’s passage of Psalm 40, David takes us back to the sacrifices and offerings of the old system that God had set for His people within the Old Testament to atone for their sins. You and I no longer live under the old system, as Jesus was the only sinless sacrifice Who qualified to bear the weight of our sin on the cross as a substitute for the old sacrificial system. Remember, King David lived many generations before Jesus walked the earth, yet David’s heart for the Lord, understood that He did not require burnt offerings or sin offerings. He knew that God’s instructions were written on his heart, and that those instructions of the “Good News” were not meant to be kept hidden in his heart but were meant to be shared. King David a man “after God’s own heart”, had a spiritual awareness of Jesus without human knowledge of him. It was mentioned yesterday that Jesus is within every part of the Bible, and that is because Jesus existed in the beginning with God. God created everything through Him, the Word gave life to everything that was created, and His life brought Light to everyone. No darkness can ever extinguish the Light of Christ. (John 1:1-5) Friends, as containers of the Light of Christ, and by His unfailing love for us, we must ask the Holy Spirit to empower our faith so that we may share the Good News of Christ with everyone!

Psalm 40:6-10 NLT

6 You take no delight in sacrifices or offerings.
Now that you have made me listen, I finally understand
you don’t require burnt offerings or sin offerings.

7 Then I said, “Look, I have come.
As is written about me in the Scriptures:

8 I take joy in doing your will, my God,
for your instructions are written on my heart.”

9 I have told all your people about your justice.
I have not been afraid to speak out,
as you, O Lord, well know.

10 I have not kept the good news of your justice hidden in my heart;
I have talked about your faithfulness and saving power.
I have told everyone in the great assembly
of your unfailing love and faithfulness.

Prayer: Jesus, thank You for creating me. Help to cleanse me, Lord, each day so that Your Word can instruct my heart and bring me closer to You. Open doors so that I can share Your unfailing love with at least one person each day. Keep me growing in Your Word. I ask all of this in Your Name, Jesus. Amen.