Daily Devotionals
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Daily Devotionals

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 12-5-19


December 5, 2019

Psalm 72:1-7 The Passion Translation (TPT)


There are many good things I still look forward to experiencing in life, how about you?  God is so loving that each day is like a wonderful gift that opens up many opportunities to experience his goodness.  In our passage today, Solomon also looks forward to the goodness of God.  He prays for the arrival of the righteous King who will rule the world in divine justice.  As he prays, he describes the Messiah who will one day rule the world and reign with his righteous prosperity and Lordship of peace.  Among the things I still look forward to experiencing is living in the manifested Kingdom of God on earth in which there will be no more tears, sorrow, sickness, or pain.  Peace will consume us.  The very thought fills me with joy!

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 12-4-19


December 4, 2019

Psalm 124 The Passion Translation (TPT)


As believers, if we will consider our lives carefully, we will find God has always been watching over us; guiding, helping and defending through every twist and turn. What if God had not been there for you? Where would you be?  Although that is a sobering thought to consider, it is a necessary process to put things into perspective when resting in the promises of God.  If you cannot see the faithfulness of God in the past, how will you ever be able to recognize the faithfulness of God in your present and future?

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 12-3-19

December 3, 2019

Hebrews 11:32-40 The Passion Translation (TPT)


Faith brings the power of God to the aid of his obedient children.  No other power on earth is as strong as the power of God to fulfill His promises to those willing to walk by faith and rest in his care.  Believers are to place their faith in the God in Whom all things are possible, right?  What does God’s impossible power look like in the world? 

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 12-2-19

December 2, 2019

Romans 6:1-11 Contemporary English Version (CEV)


Do you desire to experience the fullness of the new life Jesus died to give you?  We may be tempted to respond, “Absolutely!  Preach it, Pastor Mary!  Bring it on, Jesus!”  Yet, when it comes right down to it, most of the time we are fearful of the new life, because it involves so many challenges, changes, and risks.  Have I nailed it?


It helps us deal with fear as we lay it along side the Truth of God’s Word; we must nail fear to the cross with everything else the enemy tries to use to rob us of new life.  So, let’s remind one another of a few things, today, that should stir our faith and move us forward with the Spirit.  Believers belong to Christ; we have died to the sins of the flesh and have been baptized and raised to new life.  This is what it means to be “in Christ.”  We have spiritually shared in his death and resurrection.  Our list of sinful deeds against God have been washed away.  Now, we focus on the life we were originally created to live with God; a life of communion, blessing, and abundant spiritual resources.  Jesus makes this new life possible and now we live life under the guidance of God with Whom nothing is impossible.  Let that soak in, friend!  If God lives in you, what do you need to fear?  What can’t you overcome?

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 11-29-19

November 29, 2019

Hebrews 11:1-7 The Passion Translation (TPT)


How important is it to use faith in seeking God?  According to Scripture, it is essential and the only way to please God. The Lord has extended a measure of faith to every person, so that he or she will use it for righteousness.  Faith moves the hand of God to manifest righteous things in the natural realm that actually begin in the heavenly realm. Our faith opens our spiritual eyes to see the provision and revelation of Almighty God; all things brought forward by the power of God’s word. That is an exciting promise! 


In our passage today, Paul lists some of the great heroes of the faith. May their faith inspire us to use our faith more and more.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 11-28-19

November 28, 2019

Psalm 95:1-2 New Living Translation (NLT)


Happy Thanksgiving Day!  May God—the Rock of our salvation—be ever in our thoughts and praise.  He has provided everything we will ever need to ensure our home with him in glory.  Our part is to believe and receive his provision in Messiah and the redemptive work of the Holy Spirit.  Rejoice people of God and praise him for his mighty deeds of love and goodness. Share that goodness with others.  Blessings for your day!

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 11-27-9


November 27, 2019

Psalm 24:7-10


As human beings and Christ-followers, we face some form of spiritual battle everyday.  The battle you face may be different than the battle I face, but no matter how you look at things the common factor is we all face an enemy who wages war to gain dominion in our lives.  This is called a spiritual battle and even though this battle begins in the spirit realm it is experienced in the temporal realm of human life.  Therefore, we must stop empowering the battle through negative and defeating thoughts and words and begin to empower the Lord, because He is strong in battle and no enemy can stand against him. When you find yourself facing great opposition or challenges, stop…drop to your knees and invite the Lord who is mighty in battle to bring victory.  Speak what the Word of God says about you and about the Lord’s power to save.  Then, lift up your head, because salvation is coming to fortify your spirit!  He is the King of glory and the Savior of your soul.  Let a spirit of thanksgiving overtake you with this knowledge.  


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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 11-26-19

November 26, 2019

Psalm 105:1-3 The Voice (VOICE)


Do you see yourself as a joyful person?  God desires for his children to live joyfully and that means we must allow God’s presence to stir within us a spirit of thanksgiving.  Your level of joy is connected to your level of thankfulness, because joy is a gift from the Spirit.  When we experience miracles—when we are alert for the signs of his presence in our lives—we  are filled with wonder, awe, and joy.  Open your eyes today and look for God to reveal his presence in your life. It is the certainty of your salvation.  May joy fill you, today!

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 11-25-19


November 25, 2019

Psalm 117 New Living Translation (NLT)


Do you like things short and sweet; brief but relevant?  Well, our passage today is short and sweet.  It is the shortest chapter in the Bible, as well as the middle chapter in the Bible.  This passage from the psalmist shares a precious promise from the Lord; our holy and loving Lord desires for the whole world to come to him for salvation.  

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 11-22-19


November 22, 2019

1 John 2:15-17


For the past three to four weeks, I have been bombarded with emails from retailers.  My "junk mail” box is full of them every morning. I’m sure you know what I mean.  If I have searched the internet for an item, then the next time I know I have every kind of advertising arriving by email that even remotely resembled my search.  It is all worldly stuff to distract me from maintaining a holy balance, as well as a healthy spiritual perspective and direction for my life.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 11-21-19

November 21, 2019

Hebrews 9:23-28 The Passion Translation (TPT)


Does the love of God overwhelm you?  It does me. Redemption is a profound and awe inspiring word. Redemption is defined as the act of saving from sin, error, and evil. Jesus brings redemption when we call upon him for salvation.  The phrase in our passage today, “in our place,” causes me to feel overwhelmed with gratitude.  The love of God for each of us as his children and the spiritual purification work he did for us in heaven is overwhelming.  He cleansed us and made us acceptable to enjoy the presence of our Heavenly Father.  Christ gave himself as a sacrifice so that we would never have to experience spiritual death; instead we can know and enjoy eternal life.  We can live with courage knowing when we die we will be face to face with Jesus who redeemed us and now calls us to himself.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 11-20-19

November 20, 2019

Matthew 23:9-14


Last Sunday, the Lord took me to teach on Luke 21:5-19 with an emphasis on the false teaching from false prophets Christ prophesied would precede his return.   In our passage today, we find a parallel to the passage in Luke.  Matthew actually shares in deeper detail the persecution of believers that will precede the Second Coming of Messiah.  In our Tuesday morning prayer time this week, we had a visitor who came by the church and asked to be a part of the prayer time.  She said her heart was burdened for persecuted Christians—our brothers and sisters. She felt compelled of the Spirit to gather our hearts and pray for believers worldwide.  It was confirmation of what God had revealed to me last week.  

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Daily Devotionals from Pastor Mary 11-18-19

November 18, 2019

Ephesians 4:25-5:2 New Living Translation (NLT)


Believers are to be imitators of God; we look at the human life of the Savior—Jesus Christ—and we invite the divine Spirit to help us be conformed to his image.  Therefore, we need victory over things like lying, stealing, using foul or abusive language, and spewing anger, because those things grieve the Holy Spirit.  Anger alone opens the door to the enemy of love. Those kinds of behaviors are not found in the Savior, so they should not be a pattern of behavior for our lives. 


In our passage today, the Apostle Paul reminds the early church of its mission.  We need to be examples of hard working children who know they essentially work for Father God.  Honorable work is godly; God pleasing.  We need to be examples of givers, because the Savior gave his life so he could be a Giver through the multitude of believers.  We need to exalt Christ in our lives, because the Holy Spirit has marked us for eternal life. So let’s really bring our lives into agreement with God; he offers the strength and grace to make it happen we just need to imitate our Teacher.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 11-15-19


November 15, 2019

2 Thessalonians 1:3-12 New Living Translation (NLT)


Two people groups make up the human race:  Believers and Unbelievers.  Believers are those who believe God exists and is a Rewarder of those who seek him; God’s greatest reward is the Good News of Jesus Messiah—the Savior.  Believers are covered by the blood of Jesus, receive pardon for sin, and are given the impartation of the Spirit who helps them live in right standing with God.  Unbelievers are those who do not know God and deliberately reject the Good News of Jesus who brings forgiveness of sin.  Therefore, Scriptures teaches unbelievers will face the judgment of God for their own sin.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 11-14-19

November 14, 2019

Romans 1:18-25 The Passion Translation (TPT)


Scripture teaches it is the purpose and work of evil and wickedness to smother the Truth about God.  God created humanity in his image and within every human being is the seed of Truth about God that wickedness tries to smother.  According to our Scripture today, no human being has an excuse for why he or she does not know the Truth about God, because from the beginning of creation God embedded this understanding in the human heart.  So the real issue is not ignorance of God; rather, the problem is the power of wickedness that positions itself to manipulate and dominate human flesh with lies.  Seek the Truth from the Word of God, pray to walk with the Spirit into all Truth, and speak the Truth to others.

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Daily Devotional from PastorMary 11-13-19

November 13, 2019

John 5:19-29 Contemporary English Version (CEV)


In our passage today, Jesus is telling those around him about his devotion to the Father; Almighty God directs his every step. This devotion to live the divine nature drives Christ into absolute unity with the Father.  He does nothing on his own.  Wouldn’t we be powerful if we would just stop trying to control and drive our own lives and instead allow the Father to lovingly guide them?  Jesus has the power to bring us that kind of life—eternal life—if we will welcome it, listen carefully, and obey the Word.  The radical obedience of Christ has positioned and raised him for authority; he is the Giver of Life and the Judge of humanity.  Let the Word of God raise you up!

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 11-12-19

November 12, 2019

Psalm 123 The Passion Translation (TPT)


It is the limitless inspiration of the Spirit at work in God’s children Who guides each one to rise or ascend in spiritual understanding; to learn how to better use the measure of faith each has been given and to appropriate grace to reach the next level.  Think about a stairway; a flight of stairs usually with landings to pass from one level to another.  Scripture teaches God’s children move from one level of glory to another level of glory.  As Jacob slept one night he dreamed of a stairway that reached from the earth up to the heaven.  And he saw the angels of God going up and down the stairway (Gen. 28:12).  In his second letter to the Corinthian church, the Apostle Paul writes, “We can all draw close to him with the veil removed from our faces. And with no veil we all become like mirrors who brightly reflect the glory of the Lord Jesus. We are being transfigured into his very image as we move from one brighter level of glory to another. And this glorious transfiguration comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit (3:18).

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 11-11-19

November 11, 2019

2 Peter 1:16-21 The Voice (VOICE)


There is no substitute for experiential learning and spiritual revelation to build our faith.  When God shows you something majestic about himself, it is like it becomes etched in your heart. For example, Peter was with Christ at the Mount of Transfiguration with James and John.  They saw the glory of the Lord.  They saw the realities of Moses and Elijah—thought long dead but certainly alive.  Nothing would ever be able to take the experience from these disciples of Christ.  They saw the glory of God touch the earth; they watched Christ become momentarily transformed and overshadowed by Almighty Father God. They heard the Voice of God affirm the Son.  When that happened, they knew God loved them and wanted to affirm them, too.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 11-8-19

November 8, 2019

Luke 20:1-8 New Living Translation (NLT)


Hypocrisy is a big thing with God.  Let’s define hypocrisy as the pretense of having a virtuous character that one really does not possess.  Scripture teaches our God knows the motives of the human heart; God knows my heart, your heart, all hearts.  So, hypocrisy is seen very clearly by God when we enter into it even if we think we are successfully hiding behind a virtuous mask.


In our passage today, the religious leaders pretend to care about God’s reputation, but inside their motive is really to trap and accuse Jesus of blasphemy.  They care more about saving face with people than being authentic and transparent with Almighty God.  Note that Jesus is aware of their deceptive tactics—pleading ignorance—and he outshines them with his wisdom, insight, authority, and holy character.  When you and I live from a loving heart—love for God and for our neighbor—God knows the truth and he causes us to shine with his integrity.  Choose integrity over hypocrisy.  By the way, the remedy for hypocrisy is to know God knows you; therefore, it is wiser to tell the truth. 

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 11-7-19

October 7, 2019

Psalm 145:17-21 Contemporary English Version (CEV)


What is your character trademark?  What is that distinguishing characteristic or feature that most people associate with you? All the fruit of the Spirit are great and any one of them would be a noble trademark, but the best characteristic would be having a trademark of love because love never fails (1 Cor. 13:7).  Love is not simply a human emotion or feeling; true love is a choice. God is love and when we choose Christ we choose to live in God’s love. The world should see the trademark of love operating in the lives of every believer. Jesus proclaims, “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples” (John 13:35).

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 11-6-19


November 6, 2019

Luke 19:11-27 The Message (MSG)


The life of every believer has been entrusted with spiritual gifts and natural resources that “must” be used to benefit God’s Kingdom. The word “must” reveals an obligation; expressing necessity.  We “must” share our Master’s passion for the Kingdom.  We know his intentions are to one day establish his Kingdom on earth and, as disciples of Christ, we “must” help with that process.  It “must” be our passion to see the Kingdom grow and multiply.  Lastly, we “must” faithfully invest every resource we have been given to bring a harvest of souls to the Lord.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 11-5-19


November 5, 2019

Jude 17-21 New Living Translation


“Keep in step!” Many people seem to want to keep in step with the times, but that is not one of my goals.  Don’t get me wrong, I want to be relevant with the gospel message but never at the cost of trying to rewrite the Word of God. The times are wicked and people who work to stay in step with the times can be self-exalting rather than God exalting. What I really desire is to keep in step with God’s love.  I want to be where his love rests and I want to go when his love moves.  I want to release God’s love at appointed times into the lives of others. Only the Holy Spirit can help me keep in step; therefore, I must invite the Holy Spirit to help me pray for God’s will and purpose.

Our passage today comes as a letter written by Jude (brother of James) to the early church. Jude shares the dangers of false teachers or those who teach from a worldly—keep in step with the times—perspective rather than from a Spirit-led perspective.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 11-4-19

November 4, 2019

Luke 19:1-10 New Living Translation (NLT)


Well, friends, it is nice to be back writing daily reflections and devotions this week.  My assistant, Jennifer, has carried the Light of the Word in excellence during my brief recovery.  My eyes and vision continue to improve and the swelling from my outpatient surgery is now very minimal.  I praise God who has held me, healed me, and caused me to rest.  This week, I have been able to “see over the crowd” of worldly cares and physical challenges to find Jesus waiting to share fellowship with me.  Do you know how much Jesus enjoys spending time with you?

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Daily Devotional for Pastor Mary 11-01-19

November 01, 2019
Luke 6:27-31 Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)
Today is All Saints Day, and many believe that scripture points to the body of Christ, which includes you and me, as being saints. So, it’s basically an annual reminder of our connectedness as Christians to Christ Jesus. 

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Daily Devotional for Pastor Mary 10-31-19

October 31, 2019
Proverb 15:9 Common English Bible (CEB)

“The LORD detests the path of the wicked,
but loves those who pursue righteousness.”

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Daily Devotional for Pastor Mary 10-30-19

October 30, 2019
Matthew 21:28-32 The Message (MSG)
“One who is faithful in very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.” – Luke 16:10 

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Daily Devotional for Pastor Mary 10-29-19

October 29, 2019
1 Peter 5:1-11 New Living Translation (NLT)
Yesterday we looked at some verses from 1 Peter 4 and we were reminded that once our lives are committed to Jesus there’s a right way to suffer and that’s for Him and not for the sins of this world.

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Daily Devotional for Pastor Mary 10-28-19

October 28, 2019
1 Peter 4:12-13 The Message (MSG)
“And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple. But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it?” – Luke 14:27-28 (NLT)

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 10-25-19


October 25, 2019

2 Timothy 3:10-15 New Living Translation (NLT)


Every Christian who follows the commandments of God will experience persecution. Persecution has to do with oppression or affliction and can come in the form of physical, social, emotional, mental, or spiritual pressure.  Evil never gives up the quest in trying to destroy our relationship with God by attacking our faith, trust, and devotion to Christ through persecution. It would be great if evil people would choose for themselves to reform and repent before Almighty God, but we cannot stop living for God if they do not change and do the right thing.  

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 10-23-19

October 23, 2019

Luke 22:39-46 The Passion Translation (TPT)


There is so much to learn from the life of Jesus and how he chose to relate to Father God. Jesus is the perfect role model to teach us how to present a life to God that is pleasing.  For example, Jesus prayed from the posture of a trusting Child openly conversing with his loving Father.  Jesus took time to get alone to pray each time life presented new challenges; he was fully present with the Father and very specific with his needs.  He knew the necessity of getting alone with the Father, so he better understood his path.  When we are alone with God we, too, can get very specific; very real and sincere. 

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 10-22-19

October 22, 2019

James 5:9-12 The Voice


Integrity is a big deal with God and we see an excellent example in our reading today from the Apostle James.  The example is simple and practical, yet so many people struggle with honoring this discipline of truth.  When we say “yes” and agree to a commitment, then do we stay the course or do we look for reasons to bail at the last minute? You know the scenario; your heart was not in it from the beginning, but you agreed to do it, anyway. Your commitment was heard by God, so don’t be surprised if the Lord watches and weighs your integrity as a test. Integrity is built on truth and your word means a great deal as a son or daughter of God who is Truth.  Some times things come up last minute—emergencies—but God knows whether we actually have an emergency or we are just making excuses to get out of the commitment we should have never made in the first place. 

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 10-21-19


October 21, 2019

Jeremiah 9:23-24


The words justice and righteousness share some similarities; they describe the character of God. Justice and righteousness are to be revealed in our relationship with God and others.  The fear or respect of the Lord is essential if we are going to experience both of these attributes.  When we have a proper attitude about God and the gifts he pours within his children, then we realize we cannot take credit for any of it.  So, if we are tempted to brag about our wisdom, strength, or wealth, then we need to share with others these things are imparted or gifted to us by the God we worship and adore.  


In our passage today, the prophet Jeremiah shares what the Lord wants to see in his people.  Since you are the equipment God desires to use to tell his story, how well do you reflect his kindness, justice, and mercy to those around you?

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 10-18-19

October 18, 2019

Psalm 119:97-104 The Message (MSG)


In our passage today, the psalmist is praising God in song for giving him great wisdom that brought change into his life.  Applying God’s Word has helped this child of Light take authority—gain an edge—over his enemies rather than his enemies taking dominion over him. As he applies and “absorbs” the Word, he finds himself insightful beyond human knowledge.  In response to God’s direction, the psalmist uses obedience and self-control to avoid the traps of evil.  Therefore, true life was laid before him and he could tell the difference when the lies of the enemy came calling. Spend time in the Word of God, because it will prepare you for life.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 10-17-19

October 17, 2019

Acts 17:22-34 The Message (MSG)


I love home-cooked food or to use a common idiom “stuff made from scratch.”  Not that I don’t enjoy going out to dinner occasionally, but there is just something about planning, making something from basic ingredients, and eating food at home with loved ones.  Mother used to say, “Mary, good smells coming from the kitchen make a house a home.”  However, here is a thought to ponder: if we are going to make food completely from scratch, we are going to have to first create the heavens and the earth.  I can’t do it, but feel free to give it a try.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 10-16-19

October 16, 2019

Matthew 10:5-10 The Message (MSG)


We certainly have become a culture built on “technology.”  When you think of ministry, does technology play a roll?  It does for me. Technology helps us carry the news of the Kingdom; we can connect to an extended group of people beyond the gathered congregation.  Our teaching can spread the Word and grow disciples through our videos and devotionals. With that being said, I see technology as an asset, but every Christian is really the most valuable piece of equipment to be used by God.  If you are led by the Spirit, you carry the anointing of Christ and no technology can take your place.  Technology may serve to draw a person’s attention to spiritual things and even feed them, but a vibrant Christ-filled disciple moves in the anointing to bring a harvest heart and hands to the work of the Kingdom. We are to be “doers of the Word” not just “hearers” (James 1:22).

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 10-15-19

October 15, 2019

Ephesians 6:10-18 The Message (MSG)


When I was quite young, my family used to go to my grandfather’s cottage on a freshwater lake in Michigan. Dad would take the boat out away from the shore—away from the leeches—so we could swim.  I was frightened because the water was deep and way over my head, but I would resist the help of a life preserver.  I would bounce like a bobber trying to keep my head above water.  Sometimes life feels like we are treading water; we can’t stop because we are in way over our heads, right?

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 10-14-19

October 14, 2019

Psalm 66:1-3 The Message (MSG)


Every now and then we can all feel overwhelmed by the tenacity of evil and the immense burden of sin influencing our world. Justice—the ways of God—is under attack all the time.  Issues and temptations can rise up to confront our lives at any moment and we must be ready to respond in the love of Christ.  In those times, we must grab a hold of our courage and confidence in Christ and invite God to occupy the issues facing us.  

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 10-11-19

October 11, 2019

Psalm 111 Amplified Bible (AMP)


When is the right time to praise the Lord?  Is it when everything in our lives is going well and we are soaring above turbulent moments?  Is it when we are in desperate need of divine help on the verge of weariness?  Or, do you have the revelation that no matter what is going on in a day, God is good, ready to bring justice and help, and worthy to be praised every moment?  

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 10-10-19

October 10, 2019

2 Timothy 1:8-11, 13-14 New Living Translation (NLT)


The Holy Spirit has entrusted you with a priceless Gift; a hidden treasure in your heart.  This is a treasure the father of lies—Satan—hates and hopes we will be careless to guard.  In fact, Jesus warns us Satan wants to rob, steal, and destroy the Truth in us.  He wants to hinder us from living in spiritual abundance (John 10:10).  My friends, guard the Truth in your hearts diligently; God trusts you to guard the Truth and live out his message of love.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 10-9-19


October 9, 2019

Mark 11:12-14, 20-24 Amplified Bible (AMP)


Most of us work hard at taking care of our outward appearances; we represent the Lord so it is right to be clean and neat.  However, we are wise if we remember that God looks at the inward motives of our hearts; he is looking deep in our souls for fertile ground and the evidence of budding fruit.  He knows if we are ever going to bear the fruit of righteousness outwardly as a testimony of salvation to the world, we are going to need a healthy root system. We need to be rooted in Christ if we are going to bear fruit. 

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 10-8-19

October 8, 2019

1 John 5:1-5 Contemporary English Version (CEV)


If you believe Jesus is the Son of God—the Messiah who brings salvation from sin—you are a world conqueror.   It is true!  You overcome the world’s ways through your faith in the Anointed One who lives in you.  We have the power to defeat sin, because we love God, obey his Word, and ask Jesus to help us.  I cannot speak for you, but I need the help of Jesus everyday.  I am so grateful he delights in being my Helper and Deliverer. 

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 10-7-19

October 7, 2019

James 1:2-8 Contemporary English Version (CEV)


The testing of our faith through experiential learning is what helps us to grow toward spiritual maturity.  Peace governs us as we mature in our faith.  Peace or shalom is a realm where we are whole and resting in the love of God.  We trust God to love us and care for us and we refuse to worry, because we know the resources of heaven will see us through.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 10-4-19

October 4, 2019

Matthew 20:29-34 New Living Translation (NLT)


I find the work of gaining spiritual understanding absolutely amazing; the Holy Spirit is such an incredible Giver of insight and revelation.  For example, how is it that we may know something in the Spirit—by revelation—and not really have thought about it, spent time analyzing it, or visually seen the evidence of it manifest?  It’s because God weaves threads of spiritual understanding throughout Scripture and it is up to every child of God to use faith to see the whole picture and how he or she fits into it.  When we apply wisdom and understanding to our lives, we can find the truth revealed and we know how to please God with our lives.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 10-3-19

October 3, 2019

Psalm 37 New Living Translation


Trust is a very important piece in all relationships.  When we lose our trust in someone, it is a struggle to regain it (although it can be done).  Jesus teaches we are to forgive those who sin against us; those who violate our trust.  In fact, being a follower of Christ involves forgiving others; giving the offending person and issue to God.  The battle to bring justice then belongs to the Lord. Forgiveness is a matter of redirecting our focus off from the offender and onto the Lord who is the God of perfect Justice. 

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 10-2-19

October 2, 2019

Matthew 19:16-22 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)


God has commanded us, as his children, to love Him with the totality of our being.  As well, God has commanded us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. We cannot love our neighbor without first receiving the love of God into our hearts; without the Lord we have no capacity to exemplify the love required.  We want people to extend us mercy when we make mistakes.  We want people to forgive us when we sin against them.  We want people to express compassion and empathy when we are hurt or wounded.  We want to be offered understanding without judgement.  So, when Jesus says,”Love your neighbor as you love yourself,” he is saying everything we want for ourselves we should be willing to give to our neighbors. 

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 10-1-19

October 1, 2019

Psalm 62:8-12


Do you believe the Lord desires to reward you for the good you do in representing Him to the world?  The Bible is full of passages that reveal God’s promise to bring rewards to those who diligently seek Him and obediently walk by faith to manifest His glorious presence in a world darkened and deceived by sin. God rewards us to keep us in balance; to bring us hope and endurance for the journey set before us.  He knows just when to bring a blessing that stirs and motivates us to press on.  

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 9-30-19

September 30, 2019

Revelation 3:14-22 Contemporary English Version (CEV)


Spiritual indifference is a dangerous attitude that arises from a sinful root in the soul. The Bible defines indifference as a neutral attitude toward God that is as dangerous as hostility.  It is condemned as rejection of God’s love, as well as the needs of others.  A person who suffers spiritual indifference has no desire to diligently seek God’s presence and no problem refusing to follow God’s Word.  God reaches out to correct and discipline his children of indifference.  Repentance, study, and worship is used by the Spirit to bring people to the Truth; however, when a person has deep roots in this destructive attitude many times he or she ignores the warnings and care nothing about the spiritual peril involved.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 9-27-19

September 27, 2019

Ephesians 2:1-5 Contemporary English Version (CEV)


As I look at the world and I listen to the news, I must remind myself over and over again that all powers are subjected to Jesus—the sinless Son of God—and one day he will be Head over all creation. Things in the world are so antagonistic to a godly life; demonic forces always seeking to diminish our perfect Teacher—Jesus Christ—who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life of God (John 14:6).

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 9-26-19

September 26, 2019

Psalm 91:1-4, 11 The Voice (VOICE)


Do you believe in guardian angels?  Guardian angels serve Almighty God and are messengers sent to help and protect God’s people against the attempts of evil.  In the Book of Exodus, God promises to be with his people by sending angels to protect them on their journey and lead them into the Promised Land (23:20). In the Book of Revelation, four angels will hold back God’s judgment until His people are sealed and the angels will bind Satan for 1,000 years during the millennial reign of Christ (7:1, 20:1-3).  Angels—guardians of God’s people, worshipers and proclaiming of God’s holy and powerful presence—have been a part of God’s story from Genesis through Revelation.  Angels are never to be worshiped, but they are a great blessing sent by God to guard and protect the beloved Bride of Christ.

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Daily Devotional rom Pastor Mary 9-25-19

September 25, 2019

Philippians 3:10 New Life Version (NLV)


Yesterday morning during our Connect2Christ prayer time, I prayed that, for myself and for us as a spiritual family, we might know the power outflowing the resurrection of Christ; the power that raised him from the dead.  The Spirit of God prompted me to boldly pray that Scripture and I have been thinking about it and pondering it since. In fact, I have held my breath at the thought.  It was like God was asking, “Mary, what would resurrection power look like through obedient servants?”

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 9-24-19

September 24, 2019

1 Corinthians 9:19-23 The Message (MSG)


Yesterday, I spent several hours waiting for my SUV to be serviced.  Although I went prepared to catch up on some reading and writing while I waited, I was forced to notice the people around me.  People are so very interesting; we are all so different and unique.  Yet, we share one thing in common: sin.  We are all in need of the perfect love and intervening help of Almighty God to save us from sin and death.  Every human being needs a relationship with Jesus Christ who alone can bring the salvation we need to enter the Kingdom of eternal life.  Therefore, as we engage with people each day, it is extremely important that we seek to remain faithful to the Word of God and speak Truth in love while compassionately listening to the life stories of others.  Salvation opportunities are birthed during these times.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 9-23-19

September 23, 2019

Mark 12:41-44 The Voice (VOICE)


Giving all of ourselves to the Lord and the work of his Kingdom is God’s call to every believer.  Our measure of gratitude is revealed in how we give “our” time, talents, and resources to God.  A believer with a right attitude about what is “ours” knows everything comes from God and is brought into our lives through the blessing he promised long ago.  It makes giving so much easier when we realize what we have been given is a gift that must be held lightly and released through the directing hand of God.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 9-20-19

September 20, 2019

Romans 8:31-39 New Life Version (NLV)


Every day I think about Jesus Christ and how God’s life and love within me has grown stronger over the years.  Salvation is such a gift and miracle!  As believers, we face nothing alone and we will never be found guilty.  It is the truth of God’s love based on the cross;  it is the truth of eternal life based on the resurrection.  Believers—those who live in and practice the Truth—are seated with Christ. If you belong to Jesus, you are buckled up with Truth; snuggly held in place and protected by his love. 

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 9-19-19

September 19, 2019

Romans 3:1-8 The Message (MSG)


During our recent vacation, we rented an RV.  On the day we were to receive the RV, it became abundantly clear the company had said one thing days before and was actually practicing something quite different that day.  In other words, we were lied to on multiple occasions by multiple people. The world lives this way.  Here’s an example of a common worldly mindset: tell people what they want to hear even if you have to lie to convince them and if you get caught flip the conversation to make them feel ignorant because unfortunately they misunderstood.  I don’t care if the whole world does it, lying portrays an absolute lack of integrity—it is serving the father of lies!

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 9-18-19

September 18, 2019

Job 42:1-6


As I mentioned yesterday, I truly needed the change of environment our recent vacation provided.  As a result of being “unplugged” from electronics, social media, and TV, I found myself rather ignorant of last week’s current events and media highlights.  I am slowly gaining insight.  But, a greater blessing is I am learning to simply trust that God knows all things in its purest form of Truth and he can reveal it to me at any time. I make myself available to receive from the Lord.  I care less and less about listening to people babble about things far beyond them.  I have no desire to be a partial truth babbler. lol!  How arrogant can any human be thinking he or she has things figured out.  Life is complicated, so our greatest quest in life must be to know the heart of the Lord, follow the Father’s commands, and await revelation.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 9-17-19

September 17, 2019

Psalm 94:12-19 The Message


One of the most precious gifts our recent California Tahoe/Yosemite vacation provided involved quiet times.  Do you require or crave quiet time?  I practice quiet time each day by limiting some interruptions.  Yet, occasionally, I just need to disconnect from the ongoing influence and pressure of my daily routine—step into a new environment—in order to gain a fresh sense of God reality.  I always think about this type of quiet time as a huge gift from God.  During the quiet times God provided on our trip (beginning Day 2 lol), I felt encircled in his love and somewhat shielded from anything negative or worldly.  Everywhere I looked, I could see beauty and the presence of God. The world was still spinning, people were still being people, and evil was still trying to make dents into my time, but I could look above the distractions and witness the hand of God working things out for my good.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 9-16-19

September 16, 2019

1 Timothy 1:18-20 The Message (MSG)


As believers, when we are willing to take an honest look at our lives, it is not difficult to see the patience and mercy of Almighty God working to bring us into a greater depth of love.  We are on a quest to appropriate and reveal the love of God. Did you know human difficulties can serve as an avenue for God to impart his love to us and reveal love through us?  It’s true, God is wanting to be revealed to the world through us and in the midst of difficulties we can represent the Spirit of holy Love or the selfish works of the flesh (sinful humanity).  Difficulties bring opportunities for our transformation.  Don’t hate difficulties.  Grab your faith in God’s love and allow any difficulty you face to exalt Christ in you.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 9-6-19

September 6, 2019

Psalms 1:1-3 Contemporary English Version (CEV)


When we invite Christ into our lives, we are asking for him to teach us his ways; the godly ways that please the Father. It is the work of the Spirit of the Law to draw us into the Hand of God; the Spirit beckons us to come and receive divine love, healing, and relational connection.  Scripture teaches, the Law leads to divine blessing.  Think about that for a minute.  Blessings are connected to obedience to Christ; we flourish when we connect.  The Lord calls us to his love commands, so we will use the extravagant and life-changing love he gives in a righteous way.  Jesus is the fulfillment of the Law and the Spirit has written its Truth on human hearts.  We must follow…the Way.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 9-5-19

September 5, 2019

Genesis 39:1-5 Contemporary English Version (CEV)


Yesterday, we read a passage from the gospel of Luke about the feast God has prepared for those who trust him.  Jesus is our Feast—the Bread of Life—the One who feeds us and causes us to spiritually flourish in the promises of God.  


In our passage from the Old Testament today, Joseph trusts his life to the work of God. He is a good example of one who is spiritually flourishing. Because of his trust in the Lord, Joseph prospers in everything he does.  You might say, “Pastor Mary, Joseph was abandoned by his Hebrew brothers, sold into slavery, sent to a foreign country, falsely accused of a crime, and spent years in prison.  How is that flourishing?”  We must focus on the truth that God had a plan for Joseph’s life and as he trusted God to develop him and reveal Truth—never giving up Hope in God’s salvation even when it made no sense—Joseph became a beacon of the Lord’s love and tasted the promises and provision of God.  Joseph humbled himself in obedience to God and at the right time, God raised him up.  As we humbly allow Christ—the Word—to feed us Truth that changes our hearts we will prosper, too.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 9-4-19

September 4, 2019

Luke 14:15-24 The Passion Translation (TPT)


God has designed the journey we make in this earthly life to be preparation for the eternal life we are invited to enjoy in glory.  The Father has invited every “humble” soul to a spiritual feast.  Therefore, we must humble ourselves, confess our sin, repent, and connect to Christ.  Only when we are humble will we welcome God’s correction in our souls to make us more like Christ. 


Making excuses for not attending to our spiritual lives is a recipe for soul disaster, so wake up!  Spiritual formation can only happen as we humbly submit to the work of Christ’s Spirit to bring growth and maturity; partaking of a spiritual feast.  Jesus has already told us we are to hold firmly to our relationship with him because he is returning unexpectedly for his followers, “Go back to what you heard and believed at first; hold to it firmly. Repent and turn to me again. If you don’t wake up, I will come to you suddenly, as unexpected as a thief” (Rev. 3:3).

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 9-3-19

September 3, 2019

Isaiah 2:12, 17 Contemporary English Version (CEV)


There is no room for pride in the lives of Christ’s followers; there is no time in which it would be right to put on a smug attitude of superiority.  In fact, pride is the root of all sin.  We are to think highly of others and clothe ourselves with humility (Phil 2:3; 1 Peter 5:5).  God opposes the proud, but he gives grace to the humble, so we must humble ourselves before the mighty hand of God and wait for him to lift us up (James 4:6, 10).  


In our lesson, today, from the prophet Isaiah, we are reminded that God knows our hearts and the level of our humility. God monitors how we treat people; he measures our humility and love using Christ as the standard.  After all, Christ is the One we say we serve and follow. So, if we are wise we will humble ourselves, because the prideful will take a fall.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 9-2-19

September 2, 2019

Hebrews 13:20-21


Happy Labor Day; may God’s blessings overtake you today.  If you are off work, then enjoy your rest for the glory of God.  If you find yourself working, then enjoy your work for the glory of God.  Whatever you do, today, make sure Jesus is in the center of it and you are faithfully running the race.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 8-30-19

August 30, 2019

Psalm 112 New Living Translation (NLT)


As believing parents and grandparents we have the privilege and responsibility to set our children up for spiritual success; to help them establish a right relationship with Almighty God.  As our children and others watch our lives, they should be learning what it means to fear the Lord; to respect him as Creator and to worship him by obeying his commands of love.  Jesus said, “If you love me, obey my commandments”…“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength…and love your neighbor as yourself” (John 14:15; Luke 10:27).

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 8-29-19

August 29, 2019

1 Peter 3:8-12 New Life Version (NLV)


Pride hinders us from abiding or communing with God. In fact, Scripture teaches God detests a prideful or haughty spirit (Prov. 8:13).  In his sermon on the Mount of Beatitudes, Jesus taught the “poor in spirit” or humble are blessed to inherit the Kingdom of God (Matt. 5:3).  If we are poor in spirit, we understand our spiritual emptiness apart from the work of Grace, as well as our inability to save ourselves.  Pride is a constricting spirit that seeks to hinder the exaltation of God who is Love.  Pride tempts the human soul seeking to induce self-worship; rather than worship God from whom all things are provided. As well, the enemy uses pride to restrict sacrificial love in our relationships; pride brings division to the Body of Christ.  So, we need to be mindful of how pride works against our relationship with God and others.  Once we identify a wrong spirit of pride, we know the answer is agape.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 8-28-19

August 28, 2019

Luke 6:6-11 New Life Version (NLV)


In our passage today, the people who were to guide God’s spiritual family—to be leaders pointing others to the One True God—reveal they know very little about the salvation Yahweh promised to bring his people. They do not understand the eternal substance of the Sabbath or what a spiritual rest really means for the people.  Biblical rest, as God designed it, involves dwelling in peace while walking in obedience to God; we step away from self-sufficiency.  As God’s children take a posture of submissive rest, it is symbolic of how we are to live each day resting upon his strength and power to work salvation in our lives.  The leaders in our lesson care more about their manmade laws defining work on the Sabbath and their power to control things than the misery and broken life of this man with the shriveled hand. Jesus demonstrates authentic Sabbath rest as he reveals God’s compassion and the power of grace to bring salvation and restoration to one of his children.  Jesus is the Lord of the Sabbath.  True Sabbath rest; therefore, can only be found in Christ.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 8-27-19

August 27, 2019

Revelation 3:7-13 New Living Translation (NLT)


Do you ever focus on your weaknesses?  The enemy is really good at trying to steer our attention in that direction in order to halt our spiritual progress and faith.  But, as believers, when we are weak in a given area of our lives, that is the perfect place to reveal God’s strength.  The Lord told the Apostle Paul, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). But, we have to get to the point where we do not despise our weaknesses.  Instead, we look at them as opportunities for God to reveal his power and be glorified.  Christ has the authority and the power to operate in our lives, but we have to invite him into those places.  He knows all about our weaknesses, anyway.  The truest test for us is to endure our weaknesses while inviting the Lord to shine through us; there is no room for worldly pride in our lives.  

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 8-26-19

August 26, 2019

Hebrews 12:18-29 The Message (MSG)


In Christ, God welcomes us into the heavenly Jerusalem—Mount Zion—where we become citizens of the unshakable kingdom built on the Cornerstone of Truth.  The writer of Hebrews lays out before those listening the reality of two relational covenants offered by God which promise eternal life.  The first covenant, involves trying to live the Laws of God in our own strength; which we all fail to do (Mount Sinai).  Therefore, that failure ends in spiritual death. The second covenant, involves repenting and welcoming Jesus the Savior to pay the penalty for our sin—failure to love God and others  as commanded by the Law—and to receive the Holy Spirit who writes the Law on our hearts and speaks Truth for us to follow (Mount Zion).  Jesus—the sinless Son of God—secures eternal life for us.  Choosing between these two covenants should be easy, but human hearts can be hardened by sin.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 8-23-19

August 23, 2019

Hebrews 12:7-11 The Message (MSG)


I love children and I have always thought being a mom was one of my biggest callings from the Lord; it certainly has been one of my greatest pleasures. I read an article yesterday that contrasted parenting styles of today vs. thirty years ago.  I don’t think I was a harsh parent, but I certainly did not seek to reason nor negotiate every little issue with my children.  In fact, some things were non-negotiable.  I did not start every sentence with the question, “Would you like to…” Challenges to our wills can be great for disciplining our character; it gets our focus off self and onto a bigger purpose.  In fact, God uses that Parenting style all the time.  Never forget God is educating you in his ways of love.

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Daily Devotional for Pastor Mary 8-22-19

August 22, 2019

Hebrews 12:1-6 The Message (MSG)


For those of you who know me well, you are aware I spend as much time as I can each day with our sweet dog, Gracie.  She is easy to be around; a great daily companion for me.   So, most of the time where I go Gracie goes. She adds to my life and is never a burden or a drain.  Unlike Gracie, there may be companions in our lives that go along with us each day—self-exalting sin—that actually make us spiritually sick, drain us of the joy of our salvation, and leave us ineffective for the work of the Kingdom.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 8-21-19

August 21, 2019

Luke 19:45-48 Contemporary English Version (CEV)


Sin—failure to love God and others—has the ability to get a death grip on unredeemed or uninformed people.  The spirit of anti-Christ maneuvers, intimidates, and even coerces in order to gain power.  It is relentless in its search for a host and uses fear as fuel.  Good News: Perfect love—Christ—casts out fear and keeps our hearts inclined to love and worship God (1 John 4:18). But, we must listen to the Truth and obey the Word or commands of God; we must acknowledge the sin that tries to hide and repent.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 8-20-19

August 20, 2019

Acts 7:44-51 Contemporary English Version (CEV)


The Truth is always going to be released in some way or another; the Lord who is Truth cannot be silenced.  The Word of Truth will always demand a response.  We can either take the Truth in or resist it.  If we are full of ourselves and sow into a selfish perspective—narcissistic by sin—then we will hate the Truth if it disagrees with our inclinations or agendas.  Human flesh fights to dominate the Spirit; always a power struggle. In our passage today, we will see the division the Truth can create when human flesh and the Spirit clash.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 8-19-19

August 19, 2019

Psalm 32 Contemporary English Version (CEV)


God desires to bless you; to bless all of his children with his love.  Blessings are God’s reward for living in honesty and integrity before him.  When we live honestly, we recognize the truth about our hearts and actions. We do not resist God’s hand of guidance.  We know when we have sinned against the Word and we do not try to hide our sin from the Lord.  He loves us and wants to help us, but we must confess and turn from our sin in order to taste the joy of forgiveness.  Truly, as we follow Christ, blessings abound!

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 8-15-19

August 15, 2019

Hebrews 10:26-31 Living Bible (TLB)


Rejection is a painful experience.  Anyone who has experienced rejection knows it leaves scars and memories that are difficult to work through. If you have felt the sting of rejection, there is Someone who knows exactly how you felt inside.  No one has experienced rejection more than Jesus. Seriously, I want you to think about Jesus—the Son of God—for a minute.  Jesus experienced rejection from his biological family, friends, religious leaders, as well as his spiritual family.  Scripture teaches Jesus was rejected by an entire generation (Luke 17:25).  And, here is the cherry on the top of that rejection sundae, every time people reject the Word of God as Truth even today, they are rejecting Jesus the very One who can save them (Acts 4:12).


In our passage today, the writer of Hebrews shares about this rejection of Christ and the judgment people will face because of it.  “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb 10:31).

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 8-14-19

August 14, 2019

Luke 12:41-48 The Voice (VOICE)


On Sunday, the Word of God encouraged us to be spiritually dressed and ready for service.  We are to keep our lamps burning (lives thriving in the Spirit) as we watch and wait for our Master to return.  In other words, we are to live with an urgency about remaining in the anointing of God; remaining a soul on fire in the Hand of God.  We are properly dressed when we seek to apply and live the Truth we have heard in the Word; the anointing is about the presence of God or a place of spiritual prosperity as God reveals His strength and power through us.  Think about the anointing of Christ for a minute; Christ, the Anointed One, went about doing good being led by the Spirit for the mission of God.  He brought healing and deliverance to those who knew they were poor in spirit apart from Him. The humble, seeking, and hungry servant always wins with God.  Do those words describe you?


In our passage today, Peter wants to know if this spiritual fervor and urgency Jesus has been teaching about is for everyone or just for His leaders.  Jesus tells a parable that reveals the answer to Peter’s question is actually ‘both.’  Christ’s leaders are responsible to pursue the anointing every day; to teach the Word of God by his or her lifestyle.  As well, all Christ’s servants are responsible to do the same.  If we know this is how the Kingdom works and simply don’t put the things we know into practice, we will find ourselves judged.  However, if we live diligent in the anointing and live for the presence of God to be revealed, reward is awaiting us when Christ returns.  So, live as a soul on fire!

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 8-13-19

August 13, 2019

Hebrews 11:17-28 The Message (MSG)


Every child of God will experience a divine time of testing; a life situation initiated by God to help us evaluate our spiritual temperature, as well as our vision of God.  It is out of the goodness of God’s love that we face such times. Testing reveals our integrity, morality, compassion, devotion, etc.  The test is to see if our lives are aligned with the Truth.  While the testing of our faith is still in progress, we must be ready to obey whatever the Word of God brings to our understanding.


Think about the great biblical heroes of the faith. They all tasted life situations initiated by God that pushed them into a deep place in their faith; their faith empowered them to keep eternity in mind as they continued their journey with the Lord.  We are wise if we allow any time of testing to make us stronger and more faithful to the mission of God and the work of the Spirit.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 8-12-19

August 12, 2019

Hebrews 11:1-7 The Message (MSG)  


When I think of the word faith, I immediately think of believing God’s Promise to love us from the beginning of life until the end of life—oh, and trusting Him with every bit of the time in between.  The foundation for our faith is the Love of God found in Jesus.  In fact, Jesus makes it all possible, because we find our refuge in him.  When I was a child, we used to sing a hymn in church, “How Firm a Foundation.” Below are three of the verses.  Truly, the song speaks to the love and care God desires to extend to us; but we must believe in God’s goodness.  If our faith is not built on the foundation and Cornerstone of Christ, we may know some things about God, but we have not tasted the true and thriving relationship God has for us.  Throughout history, God has drawn a distinction between the believing world and the unbelieving world.  Make sure your faith is in Christ’s righteousness; then you will please God. The enemy has no power to shake the Lord, so stay fixed on Jesus and he will hold you in His Hand, today.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 8-9-19

August 9, 2019

Matthew 6:19-24 The Message (MSG)


Did you know wholehearted devotion to God provides us with spiritual vision?  Spiritual eyes help us see what God wants us to do and to see the world from a righteous perspective.  When we are less than devoted to God, our spiritual vision suffers and we struggle to understand life on God’s terms. 


In our passage today, Jesus is sharing about worship.  He encourages people to live for God by keeping heaven in mind.  A true Christ follower has his or her eyes on heaven and makes behavioral decisions based on what effect it can influence for eternity.  When we are generous, money is serving us; we are using money to love people and have heaven in mind.  When all we care about is accumulating earthly treasures, we are serving money and loving self.  Worship is oneness with God’s heart; it is living life in the Hand of God who loves through us.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 8-8-19

August 8, 2019

Psalm 33:12-15, 18 Contemporary English Version (CEV)


Worshiping Creator God is an essential foundation upon which to build eternal blessings; worship places our lives in God’s Hands as our Maker.  When we worship God we are bowing our lives in an act of respect to His sovereign rule of mercy, love, and kindness. We welcome God to shape our lives as we worship. 


Scripture teaches, it is the heart of God that all nations would worship Him, so He could guide the world with His righteous, loving, and just Hand.  One day He will have that place.  Every day I pray for all people and all nations to worship God and give Him the honor He is due.  In order for that to happen, people must embrace God’s love found in the saving work of Christ.  Daily, do you pray diligently for our nation—all nations—to worship Almighty God? 

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 8-7-19

August 7, 2019

Luke 12:22-31 New Living Translation


As God’s ambassadors in this world, we are expected to be responsible Image-bearers with work and rest.  According to the Word of God, work has been designed by God for people and we are to work as if we are working for God; this is righteous because it reveals a love and respect for God’s plan.  Rest is also a part of God’s plan for people; God never designed us to be workaholics. In his teaching Jesus says, “Come to me those of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens and I will give you rest (Matt 11:28).  When all we do is work and never rest, we are not trusting in God’s provision nor living dependent upon Christ.  Actually, greed can motivate excessive work without rest. 


In our passage today, the Lord has just finished teaching about the greedy fool (Luke 12:12-21).  Now, the Lord turns to teach about how worry and anxiety can creep in and rob God’s people of trust. If we truly believe God is love and his unfailing love is directed toward us, then we must use our faith to believe God will provide the things we need.  He may not provide all the things we want, but maybe the things we want sometimes is not going to be feeding good things in us. Things like greed. If we make Jesus the Lord of our lives, we have the perfect Source at the center of our beings.  His focus is the eternal Kingdom and when we make our focus the Kingdom, he has promised to provide for us.  So, I pray for you to put work and rest into a proper perspective as you look through the Kingdom lens of God’s love. He will always care for you.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 8-6-19

August 6, 2019

Colossians 4:2-6 The Message


Yesterday, we shared about how seeking God everyday through prayer was essential if we are going to be effective for Kingdom work while on earth.  God has a plan for our lives and He shapes us according to that plan.  If we do not prayerfully place ourselves completely in His care, we will be headed off in a wrong direction missing ways to expand the Kingdom.  Today, our passage is from a letter the Apostle Paul wrote to the early church in Colosse encouraging them to pray diligently.  The word diligently is translated steady, earnestly, and energetically.  Does the word diligently describe your prayer life?


The purpose of diligent prayer is to make Christ obvious; clearly seen and understood in our lives. What will make us effective is to pray for opportunities to reveal Christ in us to others through our loving words and actions. You can reveal the heart of Christ to your family, your neighbors, people at work or leisure, at the grocery, etc.  It is not about location nor perfect Christian dialogue; it is about our willingness to follow the Holy Spirit and step through open doors. The Apostle Paul is in jail (in chains and behind locked doors) as he diligently prays to be effective in order to reveal Christ to others around him.  What would happen in your life, if daily you prayed for the Lord to open a door of opportunity, so you could make Christ in your life plain as day to someone who has yet to meet him?

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 8-5-19

August 5, 2019

Psalm 127 The Message (MSG)


Years ago, Stephen Covey wrote the book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.”  In his book, he asks the question, “What one thing could you do in your personal and professional life that, if you did on a regular basis, would make a tremendous positive difference in your life?” The word effective means the power to produce the right result.  I’m not sure how you would answer that question, but for me personally I believe the only way I am going to produce the right result is to bow before Almighty God every day and learn to live being shaped by his righteous Hand.  He wants to bring greater things into our lives than what we could ever accomplish on our own. Please don’t try to live self-sufficient apart form God, today. You need the Lord for everything; He is your very breath.  Make that one thing you do on a regular basis prayer.


Psalm 127:1-2  A Pilgrim Song of Solomon

1-2 If God doesn’t build the house,

    the builders only build shacks.

If God doesn’t guard the city,

    the night watchman might as well nap.

It’s useless to rise early and go to bed late,

    and work your worried fingers to the bone.

Don’t you know he enjoys

    giving rest to those he loves?


Prayer:  Lord, I place my life at your feet and ask you to make me an effective daughter for the work of your Kingdom.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 8-2-19

August 2, 2019

Ephesians 4:17-24 The Message (MSG)


Yesterday, I was reading about Jesus healing a man with leprosy (Matt 8:1-4). Physical leprosy leaves people with no sense of touch; they suffer loss of feeling. They cannot feel pain; they cannot feel pleasure. Jesus restored touch, so this man could once again experience both pleasure and pain. As well, the man experienced cleansing that allowed him to return to the Temple and worship God, so this lesson has spiritual significance for believers. Spiritual leprosy leaves a person out of touch and alignment with Truth. God wants to bless his children with great pleasures. He is love and wants to fill our lives with joy and purpose. However, we must also be able to experience pain, because pain can be a love language God uses to guide our path in a righteous direction making us more like Christ. 

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 8-1-19

August 1, 2019

Romans 11:33-36 New Living Translation (NLT)


The last three days have been filled with many phone calls. I have called members of my family, spiritual family, friends, repair personnel, bank representatives, reservation clerks, etc. Some of the calls were made to build and enjoy relationships, some were made to gain service advice, some were made to make payments, and some were made to confirm plans. My little fingers were busy dancing over the cell numbers!


Now, I am sitting quietly meditating on God’s Word and praying for God’s guidance today. I am reminded that with every call I made the last three days God was with me and already aware of what I needed and of what others needed. For example, God knows I love my relationships, so he connected me with people so love could be shared. God knows I need service work, so he connected me with people who could advise me and bring the necessary help. God knows I need to pay my debts, so he prompted and helped me fiscally love others. God knows I am looking forward to one more vacation this year, so he connected me with securing the right lodging. Everything within me shouts, “Thank you, Lord, for your rich love!”


The Apostle Paul reminded me this morning about the vastness of the riches of God. My friend, God’s love is rich toward you. He cares about everything that involves you, because you belong to him. Your life is sustained by God and his strength and wisdom is available for you. Pray and place everything before him, listen for his Voice of love, and follow his guidance; then, you will live for his glory. 

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 7-31-19

July 31, 2019

Matthew 5:43-48 The Message (MSG)


Grow up! Have you ever had a spiritual temper tantrum? You may be saying, “Pastor Mary, I would never…!” In reality, we can all act like spiritual babies who get “crazy” when we don’t get our way or understand what God is doing in our lives. You and I will never control God, so when we try and fail our response may be to have a fit, get mad and blame somebody else, or try to justify our poor love walk. While we engage in such actions, the Spirit of God is whispering in our spirits, “My child, I love you, but it’s time to grow up!”

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 7-30-19

July 30, 2019

Romans 10:4-10 The Message


Did you know the written Law or Word of God was a revelation of humanity's need for salvation? The written Law revealed God’s righteous standard, as well as humanity’s sinful nature and inability to obey the Word.  It was helpful to reveal the character of God, but because we could not obey it, the Law could not save us from spiritual death. So, God sent His Son—the Living Word—as the final revelation for salvation.  In Christ, sin and death is finished; salvation is complete.  When we accept Christ’s work on the cross, the Word becomes written on our hearts.  That Word goes to work in order to bring our souls into agreement with the righteousness of God.  The Word sets things right in our lives, but we must trust the Lord to do it.  Put yourself in the Hand of God.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 7-29-19

July 29, 2019

Colossians 3:1-2


Look up! Last night, I pulled a load of laundry out of the dryer and walked away with my arms full of clothes leaving the top door on my stackable unit open. I folded the clothes and put them away; then, walked back to get something in the other room. I was looking down, not forward or up and I smacked my head on the open dryer door. I thought to myself, “That would have never happened if you would have been looking up, Mary.” Therein, lies our spiritual lesson. 


In our passage today, the Apostle Paul is writing to the new believers in Colosse; they are spiritually disoriented so he guides them back to the basics of Christ. Paul encourages them to aim for the Lordship of Christ; to seek how to live out heavenly practices each day. The people had been looking down—at a worldly level which was messing with their heads—so Paul calls them to look up in order to see things from Christ’s vantage point. The Holy Spirit is our Helper in expanding our Kingdom vision of the work of Christ.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 7-26-19

July 26, 2019

Luke 8:22-25 New Living Translation (NLT)


It seems like every day each of us face something that is directed at disturbing or overwhelming our faith or confident trust in God’s integrity.  “Now faith is the assurance (title deed, confirmation) of things hoped for (divinely guaranteed), and the evidence of things not seen [the conviction of their reality—faith comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses] (Heb. 11:1 amplified).  The enemy is busy all the time using tangible “storms” to assault our senses; he knows the weakness of our humanity.  Fear causes us to doubt God’s love and decrease our confidence is his care for us. But, we are carriers of the Living Christ; he is in our LIFE vessel.   Our response to every storm must be to call on the name of the Lord: 1) praise Christ for being with us, 2) confidently pray and exalt Christ to work in our behalf, 3) invite the Spirit to help us speak faith and exalt God’s integrity, and 4) trust and obey.  With our words we either express faith or fear; we either empower Christ or the storm.


In our passage today, Jesus takes the disciples on a boat ride.  While on the journey with Jesus, the disciples face a storm. The storm is real, the water is rising, their senses alert them to danger, and all of a sudden fear usurps their faith. They know Jesus is with them, but they cannot seem to get their eyes off the storm or the conditions they face.  After all, Jesus is silent in this moment; he has allowed the storm as a way to teach them the power of faith. 

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 7-25-19

July 25, 2019

Psalm 138:1-3 The Voice (VOICE)


Last year for Mother’s Day, my kids bought me an infusion pitcher for water.  It motivates me to drink more water, because I can add any fruit, veggie, or herb to flavor it.  This morning I went to my little herb garden and picked some fresh mint to infuse the water. I will spend the day drinking this pitcher of water, because my body needs the hydration to stay filled. The process of infusion reminds me of an important spiritual truth for me to remember.  Infusion is more than just a steeping of herbs in liquid like I did this morning.  Infusion is an inward flow that helps to fill something.  An infusion of the Spirit is how God’s sons and daughters remain filled with strength and power.   


In our passage today, David is singing a song of praise to God.  He cannot praise enough.  He is humble and grateful for God’s love and provision.  There is nothing God cannot do; David sees it so clearly.  Every time David calls out, the Lord answers and meets this worshiper’s need.  In verse 3, David praises God for infusing his soul with strength.  The Spirit of the Lord brings an inward flow of strength when David needs it most.  My friends, God wants to bring an infusion of strength to your soul, as well.  Find yourself in a posture of worship, and call out to be filled. 

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 7-23-19

July 23, 2019

1 John 2:1-6 Good News Translation (GNT)


Yesterday, John and I enjoyed having company over for dinner.  John worked with me in the kitchen to keep the dishes done; trust me I kept him very busy!  Having him help me was such a gift; he came along side me to make the work easier. He was such a helper!


In our passage today, we are reminded that Christ is our spiritual Helper.  He never leaves us or forsakes us in the messes we make, because he knows we cannot be obedient without him.  We could work ourselves into a spiritual frenzy and still never be ready for the Supper of the Lamb.  Yet, Jesus stays right with us in the work of our salvation; helping us conform to the Word and live like him.  Spiritual formation—embodied Truth—is all about obedience to the Word and Christ is our Helper.  

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 7-24-19

July 24, 2019

Psalm 119:97-104 The Message (MSG)


If you were told that doing one specific thing would give you a spiritual advantage over your enemies, make you wiser in decision-making, and cause you to understand and enjoy fullness of life, would you do that one thing?  Most of us would say, “Absolutely!”  It’s a no brainer!   Well, Scripture tells us over and over again that obeying the Word of God is the one thing that can provide favor, wisdom, and understanding for our lives.  Yet, weekly I chat with people who rarely open the Word God, read it, or seek to live it.  If we know God wants to provide for us and we never take what he offers for provision, we are simply rejecting his help.  Jesus said, “Everyone who denies me here on earth, I will also deny before my Father in heaven” (Mat. 10:33).  Please don’t ever forget that Jesus is the Word of God; the Truth made flesh.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 7-22-19

July 22, 2019

Psalms 119:25-32 New Living Translation


Every week, in some practical way, I teach people how the Word of God emphasizes spiritual formation; growing up in the fullness of Christ.  In order to receive, we must first understand the supremacy of Christ the Living Word in the provision and plan of God.  The Word must become our teacher; we are the humble and eager students awaiting divine instruction. God not only helps us understand the divine plan and how we fit into it, the Lord remains with us to guide us with wisdom along the way.  In our reading today, the psalmist reinforces the power of the Word to guide our faith and enrich our relationship with God.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 7-19-19

July 19, 2019

Ephesians 3:14-21 The Message (MSG)


In the divine plan, the children of God become a family.  As family, we are built together by our faith in Christ—the Head of the family. Life with God is all about Christ’s perspective; Christ is embodied Truth. So, Christ calls every follower out of the world and into the work of truth and grace to make us One.  “He calls us a chosen people, a royal priesthood; his very own possession” (1 Peter 2:9).


In our passage today, the Apostle Paul encourages his spiritual family in Ephesus to experience the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love; to be strengthened into One whole family by the Spirit.  Paul is not praying for the family to experience the same kind of love each follower has for Christ.  Instead, Paul is praying for the family to experience the same kind of love Christ has for each follower.  Big difference!  Christ’s love is devotedly pure, limitless in resources, and comes with a connection to supernatural power.  The word power used in our passage is from the Greek word, “dunamis” from which we derive the word dynamite.  So, Paul is praying for the family of God to experience the same measure of love and power that is equal to the fullness of love and power found in the incarnation of the glorious Christ.  Christ is the embodiment of the Godhead and he makes it possible for us to embody the Godhead, too. Is this how you see your identity?  If not, please exchange your wrong thoughts for Christ’s perspective of Truth. “The Lord has told you what is good and this is what he requires of you; to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 7-18-19

July 18, 2019

Amos 5:10-17 Contemporary English Version


Last night I was reading some excerpts from a book on evangelism; specially, I was reading about evangelist, Charles G. Finney who was a leader in the Second Great Awakening—a 19th century protestant revival in the United States. This man of God spent years preaching about “heart reform” or conversion that would lead people toward a movement of “social reform” or justice.   Finney had an encounter with the Spirit of God that set a new course for how he viewed Christianity; the Christian’s responsibility before God to live revealing the Truth of Christ’s indwelling presence.  Finney’s passion to see God’s people understand the essential work of the Word, faith, and grace to bring holy reform to humanity’s sinful heart and actions, actually influenced the nation’s leaders and helped to abolish slavery in our country. Reading and preaching the Word of God set forth a plumb line of responsibility for the lives and actions of God’s sons and daughters. When the heart of a person is given to the Lordship of Christ—placing faith in him alone—all things are possible. Where sin abounds, grace becomes even more abundant (Rom. 5:20). To God be the Glory!


In our passage today, the prophet Amos is delivering a similar message from Almighty God to his people; they are to live in the Truth and reflect God’s character and heart to the world.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 7-17-19

July 17, 2019

Matthew 25:31-46 New Living Translation (NLT)


Do you see yourself as a person who is prepared for uncertainties? For example, we are in the midst of hurricane season.  Do you have a plan in place?  Every time a hurricane heads toward Florida, I am grateful for the weather warning.  We may not know what to fully expect from the storm, but we are guided to prepare for our safety in the midst of it.  Whenever an evacuation warning is given, there are still people in the path of danger who mocked the storm and refuse to leave their “stuff.”  Those can be life or death decisions. To be told of the danger and still make a decision not to prepare oneself by seeking a safe place is truly foolish.

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Devotional from Pastor Mary 7-16-19

July 16, 2019

1 John 3:11-17 


Do you believe the love of God in Christ wants to reach out through you every day to touch lives? How about other believers; those who declare, by the power of the Spirit, Jesus is Lord of their lives? Father may want to love more of his children by expressing his love and goodness through you. If you believe this is true, you will not be participating in the work of Christ if you isolate yourself from certain believers or hand pick a few folks you will love. Doesn’t it make sense that Christ would reach out through you to love those who are the most challenging in order to reveal the presence of the Lord in you who wants to produce the fruit of authentic love and faith? 

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 7-15-19

July 15, 2019

Colossians 1:9-14 The Voice


I dearly love knowing that people pray for me; I feel the love of God when I am lifted before the Lord in prayer. Life is tough; circumstances can overwhelm any one of us and cause our faith to be shaken. The enemy tries to isolate us, but the Spirit gathers us and calls us into prayer. That is why God calls us to live as a family under his authority; we are stronger and healthier together as we focus on Christ. We overcome the challenges of life, because we use our faith to pray for one another in order to remain strong and victorious.  By faith, we grab ahold of the L.I.F.E. Jesus promises.


Our passage today is based on a prayer of thanksgiving penned by the Apostle Paul. In his prayer, he prays for the church at Colossae. But, my friends, this prayer is also for us. So let’s take time to pray for our loved ones and all fellow believers to hang onto L.I.F.E.  

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 7-12-19

July 12, 2019

Acts 7:9-16 The Voice (VOICE)


When you face the hard places in life, do you still know God is with you and working in your behalf? Every place of trial stretches our faith and trust in God. I have many loved ones who are facing hard places right now. They must fight every feeling of having been forsaken by God. Jesus taught his disciples and he teaches us, “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). 


Yesterday, we explored how the Lord is our Rescuer.  We touched on how sometimes the Lord rescues us by intervening in our circumstances. However, sometimes the Lord rescues us by covering us with his grace and wisdom, so we can stay in the hard places and be a witness to God’s power working in and through us.  It is God’s heart to draw all people to himself; his ways are not our ways (Is. 55:8).  If you are going through some hard times, please recognize you have an opportunity to reveal God’s presence to others.  Stay humble and trust the Lord to overcome in your life.  Be encouraged by our lesson today from the life of Joseph.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 7-11-19

July 11, 2019 John 3:16-21 The Voice (VOICE) Every day I enjoy God’s miraculous creation. I enjoy nature and relationships. Yet, as beautiful and diverse as God’s creation emerges each day or as much as I enjoy my relationships, I never lose an awareness that this world is rebellious against God and, therefore, headed toward destruction. According to Scripture, the world and its inhabitants needs to be rescued and the Rescuer is Jesus—the Son of God. In our passage, today, John reminds us about our need to come to the Light or Word; to see things from God’s perspective. Shining this Light is the work of the Rescuer. When we come to Jesus, he illuminates the darkness of the world and draws our attention to the sin hiding in our own souls (mind/will/emotions). Jesus is such a Gift, because without him we would arrogantly walk around deceived all the time and ignorant that we are headed for our own destruction.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 7-10-19

July 10, 2019 Psalm 119:73-80 The Message (MSG) It is really good to be back from vacation; however, John and I completely enjoyed the mountains of Georgia and the solitude of our little log cabin in the woods. Interestingly, before arriving to our restful cabin, we endured a major traffic challenge. The traffic in Atlanta was horrendous, but eventually (note, we endured for a period of time) that tremendous traffic “blockage” caused us to change our planned course of travel. Jesus brought us a lesson. We got off the main highway and headed along a new route; an uncharted route for us. This route was exponentially better than the original path we had planned to take and still delivered us to our cabin of rest. That which we initially saw as extremely negative—traffic mayhem—actually served to help us see the working of the Word in our behalf.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 7-9-19

July 9, 2019
Jeremiah 8:4-13 New Living Translation (NLT)

There is a difference between knowledge and wisdom. The world contains a great deal of knowledge, and we benefit from that which is good. However, wisdom is supreme as it comes from God and it can only be obtained through His Word.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 7-8-19

July 8, 2019
Psalm 6:2 New Living Translation (NLT)

Watching someone we love battle physical pain can be extremely difficult. In those moments, we often find ourselves wanting to fix what our loved one is going through. Attempting to “fix” anything in our own strength will only cause us to become physically, emotionally, mentally, and/or spiritually weakened. Instead, we need to call on the Lord in prayer so He can bring His wisdom, guidance, and the fruits of His Spirit to sustain everyone during the battle. Psalm 34:17-18 reminds us that “The LORD hears His people when they call to Him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles. The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; He rescues those whose spirits are crushed.”

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 7-5-19

July 5, 2019
Psalm 66:1-5 New Living Translation (NLT)

How often do you find yourself praising the Lord? Take a minute and think about your week so far… If you had to divide your week into how much of it has been spent in praise to the Lord, versus how much of it has been spent asking of the Lord, where would you be? I’m sure the greater percentage for many has been spent asking of the Lord.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 7-4-19

July 4, 2019
Romans 7:21-25 New Living Translation (NLT)

Happy 4th of July! Today we celebrate our independence as Americans. It’s amazing that we get to live in a free country with the ability to openly worship our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. So many of our brothers and sisters in Christ across the world must hide their faith and worship for fear of dying. The beauty of our God is He allows each of us an opportunity to choose Him. He doesn’t force His way into our hearts, He gently nudges us, and then we get to decide if we are going to allow Him a permanent home where we can grow in an everlasting relationship with Him. Once that decision is made, we become dependent on Him to guide us to do what is right. We are sinful people living in a sin filled world, so our human instincts are to sin. We need the power of the Holy Spirit, which is Jesus Christ our Lord, living within us to overrule the power that wants to hold us as captive slaves to sin. As we celebrate our independence as Americans today, let’s also celebrate our dependence on God’s law that connects us in eternal life to our loving Lord, Jesus Christ.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 7-3-19

July 3, 2019
Matthew 10:16-20 New Living Translation (NLT)

In our passage today, the Apostle Matthew provides us with direct instructions from Jesus that were given to the twelve disciples. As I was reading over today’s passage, The Whole Armor of God kept coming to my heart. Yesterday, the Apostle Paul reminded us of the grave importance of Living by the Spirit’s Power, and one chapter over from that lesson, He taught that we are to put on The Whole Armor of God so that we can stand firm against all strategies of the devil. The enemy is cleaver and cunning, he doesn’t just test and fight our flesh in the earthly realm, he battles against us in the spiritual realm (much of which we cannot see) and so we need to be equipped to stand firmly against him. Every day we must arm ourselves with God’s: 1. Belt of Truth, 2. Breastplate of Righteousness, 3. Shoes of Peace from the Good News, 4. Shield of Faith, 5. Helmet of Salvation, and 6. Sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:10-18). Once armed we can live out Jesus’s instructions in today’s passage. He knows that we are His sheep walking amongst wolves. He wants us to beware, to be on guard against people of this world, to understand that worldly people will try to stop the sharing of the Gospel, He wants to use us to witness to them, and we need to allow the Holy Spirit to speak through us. It’s exciting to know that the same Spirit that Jesus imparted to the disciples lives and moves in us!

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 7-2-19

July 2, 2019
Ephesians 5:15-20 New Living Translation (NLT)

Yesterday, the Apostle John reminded us that we are to live in the Light of Christ. Today, the Apostle Paul teaches us that when we chose to live in the Light of Christ, we are “Living by the Spirit’s Power”. These 5 verses from the 5th chapter in Ephesians, are AMAZING! I see verse 15 as an instruction guide to a 4-step daily process found in verses 16 – 20:

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 7-1-19

July 1, 2019
1 John 2:7-11 New Living Translation (NLT)

Do you ever find yourself speaking poorly about a brother or sister in Christ? Do you not like a fellow believer?

In our passage today we learn from the “Apostle of Love”, John. He not only writes about love, but he puts the true love of Christ into action within his life. At one time Jesus nicknamed John and his brother, James, the “sons of thunder” (Mark 3:17), and in Luke (9:51-56) these two brothers wanted to call down fire from heaven to destroy a village. So, John may have not always been known as the “Apostle of Love”, however, he followed Jesus and grew to know that reality is to be lived by God’s way, and no longer the world’s way. In verses 7 – 11 John repeatedly uses the words: love, life (living), and light. These words belong together in our lives as Christians. Our love is affected when we choose to either live in light or darkness. If we are walking in the light of Christ, we will love our fellow Christian brothers and sisters. If we are walking in the darkness of the world, we will spread hatred even amongst our brothers and sisters. John lived his life loving like Jesus, and so should we.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 6-28-19

June 28, 2019 Galatians 4:8-16 New Living Translation (NLT) God has called me to preach and teach his Word of Truth; hearing His Word miraculously brings regenerating love to human life. By listening to the Truth, we become mature in Christ’s love (Eph. 4:15). “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right” (2 Timothy 3:16). In our passage today, the Apostle Paul was able to speak Truth to the Galatians when he first came to preach to them. They joyfully received the Word and invited the Spirit to help them live it out in love. However, in time these same Galatian Christians began to move away from the Truth; finding themselves enslaved to the world’s principles. Scripture teaches us to connect with the Living Word of God, so we can live in the Truth as God’s children. God makes the power available!

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 6-27-19


June 27, 2019

Psalm 16 Good News Translation (GNT)


I truly love the life God has provided for me. It hasn’t been an easy road, but it’s my road, so I love it. I thank him all the time—like a constant prayer—because I know the Lord has revealed to me much about his heart in the midst of my simple life. I call these revelations the Lord has shared with me LIFE Lessons, because they are things God revealed to me about our relationship; our spiritual dance. When I have allowed the Lord to lead, we have danced to a heavenly symphony. When I have demanded to lead, I have danced to my own worldly tune.


I look back and the past tells me the Lord was with me; I was blessed. I think about today and the Lord's presence with me; I am blessed. I place my hope in Christ and eagerly look toward tomorrow; I am sure I will be blessed, again. The Lord has been so faithful to love me—to bring to my life his highest and best—so I place great confidence in him for every tomorrow. Do you have confidence in God’s love for you? I hope so, because God wants only good things for you, too.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 6-26-19

June 26, 2019

Luke 9:37-43 The Message (MSG)


As you make a spiritual journey through each day, do you sense an awareness of God’s powerful presence with you? I am not talking about an internal emotion; I am asking if you understand the power of God made available to you, as you seek his heart, and the role prayer plays in releasing that power into the lives of others. 


In our passage today, Peter, James, and John have been up on the mountain with Jesus.  They have witnessed the glorious presence of Almighty God surrounding Messiah, Moses, and Elijah.  It is a miraculous moment for the disciples’ faith; it is like a foretaste of heaven on earth. These disciples can’t even speak about the glory; it is overwhelmingly powerful. However, the crowds, religious leaders, and the disciples waiting at the base of the mountain have not witnessed the Transfiguration.  They do not have the same sense of God; therefore, they do not have the same power in the Spirit against evil.


May the first thing we do each day be to gain a renewed sense of God; to climb the spiritual mountain for a fresh revelation of his power and might.  Let’s get into the Word, pray, and allow the Spirit to stir our faith in his power at work in and through us.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 6-25-19

June 25, 2019

Matthew 11:29-30 The Message (MSG)


I like to take our small dog, Gracie, with me when I head out for a kayak ride.  She loves being with me, but in order to go she must put on a special life-jacket.  When I first put the jacket on her, she lays down like it weighs a ton, but actually it is very lightweight.  So, within a few minutes, she is up and moving freely. The jacket is the perfect size for her and provides protection while we are making the journey; she is required to put it on.


Gracie’s life-jacket symbolically reminds me a little bit of Christ’s yoke of grace for believers; how we learn to live by faith and through grace. God does not weigh us down with an ill-fitting yoke; rather, God’s grace is a perfect fit for our salvation.  Christ knows we need freedom to move about, but we also need the protection grace provides.  Christ’s yoke is a blessing; we do not need to worry about anything while we are learning the rhythms of grace.  The Holy Spirit guides us along and will one day deliver us to our journey’s end.  In the meantime, grace protects us and allows us to enter a confident rest in God’s love.  So, don’t resist the work of the Spirit.  Instead, thank the Lord for his yoke of grace and learn from him.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 6-24-19

June 24, 2019

1 Corinthians 1:18-31 The Message (MSG)


On this amazing Monday morning, isn’t it great to be on the way of salvation?  Doesn’t hope in God’s love for you make every day exciting?  We are following the Savior into new territory each day.  We can share about the love of Jesus for the world and the salvation that is offered every seeking heart.  Salvation calls us to invite the Spirit to bring change and renewal to our souls.  Are you daily inviting God into every area of your life?


Listening to the Word being taught is wisdom that opens the eyes of the spiritually blind and teaches the spiritually hungry how to please God.  When we gather for worship, it is not for entertainment purposes; sadly, that would be making worship about us.  Rather, worship is filled with expressions in the Spirit  as each of us exalts God.  Worship leads us into thriving and life-filled opportunities beyond our gatherings; to help us grow in our love and trust of God.  Take a minute today and think about how God has connected you to abundant opportunities. 

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 6-21-19

June 21, 2019

Proverbs 8:11-13


In this week’s Bible study time, we looked at Luke 18:35-43.  In the biblical lesson, Jesus is walking down the Jericho Road.  A blind beggar who is sitting beside the road begins to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”  Jesus comes close to the man and asks, “What do you want me to do for you?”  The man says, “I want to see!” And Jesus says, “All right, receive your sight!  Your faith has healed you.”  Instantly, the man could see and he begins to follow Jesus.


Whether we accept it or not, every human being is spiritually blind unless he or she connects to Christ—the Light of the world.  There is no sight unless there is Light; because Light is our stimulus.  Faith is walked out with Jesus who goes before us and lights our Way.


In our Scripture passage for this morning, Lady Wisdom is talking.  She is reminding us the best thing we can ever ask for is wisdom and spiritual eyesight. When we have wisdom, we have the fullness of God’s knowledge and insight. If we are going to ask God for wisdom, we need to be willing to step away from the things God hates; the things the enemy has used to cause and keep us in spiritual blindness.  Pray for wisdom and spiritual eyesight.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 6-20-19

June 20, 2019

Proverbs 7:1-4 Good News Translation (GNT)


When I was in my forties, it became necessary to wear corrective eye glasses.  I tried contacts, but I struggled putting them into place.  Every time I got the contact close to my eye, the lid would instinctively clamped shut.  Something within my response system saw that little piece of plastic as a tremendous threat. 


In our wisdom passage for today, we are reminded to carefully follow the Lord’s teaching; we must protect God’s Word and care for its well-being against all the destructive intrusions of evil.  We are told the enemy comes for the Seed of the Word in our souls; he seeks to rob, steal, and destroy (John 10:10).


Everyone needs to protect his or her eyes in the physical realm; we need to make sure nothing destroys our sight.  We also need to protect our spiritual eyes, the enemy does not want us to receive wisdom and hear from the Lord; the enemy works against the growth of our faith because the Word causes that growth.  When we are tempted by the enemy to be disobedient to God’s Word, the threat to our spiritual eye sight is substantial. So, treasure wisdom and follow the Word; by doing so you will clamp your soul shut at the right time against the destructive work of evil.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 6-19-19

June 19, 2019

Matthew 9:27-31 The Message (MSG)


Faith is many times a misunderstood concept by people; it is more than loving God or witnessing about him.  Faith is certainly more than attending a worship service.  It is more than memorizing Scripture or reading the Bible.  Those things are wonderful to teach us about God and his character.  However, believers live by exercising faith to connect with God and receive from the abundance of his love when human senses seem to be ignorant of the potential.  According to Hebrews 11:1, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not yet seen.” 


Everything we could ever need to walk out our lives for the glory of God exists in his eternal realm. We cannot please God without faith; we must believe that God exists and that he is a Rewarder of those who diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).  It is why Jesus commanded us to pray and follow him into salvation and answers.  That’s why the Apostle Paul assures his readers by sharing the vision of glory he experienced, “No Eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Cor. 2:9). In the spiritual realm, faith is connecting power to the realities of God; there is nothing missing or broken in eternity and faith connects us with the Righteous Ruler of that realm who loves us.  Get that in your spirit, today.  Become what you believe!

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 6-18-19

June 18, 2019

Ephesians 5:15-20 New Living Translation (NLT)


This morning I had to ask myself, “Mary, do you make the most of every opportunity?”  Then, I had to answer myself honestly, “Yes” and “Not always.” “Yes,” I do a lot in the natural to get things done, because I wear so many hats of responsibility.  “Not always” because it has only been in recent years that I have looked at everything I do in the natural with a spiritual eye to discern a way to bless God and further his Kingdom.  I want everything about me and what I do to reveal to God and the world whom I worship and adore.  I want to exalt my God with my life.  I believe, if I lift up and exalt Jesus in my life, he will draw others to himself through me.  With every aspect of my day, I seek to view it as a way to live as Christ. Yet, honestly, some days I do that better than others.  


Always remember, everything you do has a spiritual opportunity attached to it, because we must choose to serve one of two masters:  Wisdom—the Christ or Foolishness—the World.  Every moment counts in a race; we are in a faith race with Christ to overcome evil in this world.  When we lay our hands to any task or responsibility, we either glorify God, self, or the enemy.  So, do you make the most of every opportunity?  Press in to the Spirit who gives us the victory.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 6-17-19

June 17, 2019

Ephesians 4:7-16 New Living Translation (NLT)


The standard for Christian maturity is Christ, so the Holy Spirit brings supernatural transforming work to make us like Christ in our character.  The Spirit works through all of us in order to bring us to unity in the faith.  In other words, we help one another grow up.  Every member has a part to play; Christian service to the body is everyone’s calling.  Each of us needs to be operating in wisdom, so our faith is not shaken and we are not vulnerable to the work of the enemy.  Wise Christians know better than to allow themselves to be isolated from the body, because spiritual strength comes in numbers and together we identify and stand against the work of evil.


In our passage today, the Apostle Paul teaches the early church at Ephesus about the gracious gifts of Christ and the need to help other believers grow in love, truth, and wisdom.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 6-14-19

June 14, 2019

Proverbs 3:19-26 Good News Translation (GNT)


Do you spend time reading God’s Word and enjoying his presence each morning?  Is it a priority that cannot be displaced?  If everyday we will allow the Word to remind us of God’s infinite wisdom, greatness, power, and love for us, it will change how we view life and, therefore, how we process our feelings and circumstances. We will not allow negative situations or emotions to dictate our lives, because Almighty God already has that place in our thoughts and hearts; we have made him Lord.  If the Lord, who loves you, created the earth by his wisdom, does fear or worry deserve your time or energy?  When we know the Truth, we will not allow those fleeting or hiding negative occupants of fear or worry to displace our loyalty to our Primary Resident—Messiah.  Why would we take our focus off from the Savior and Creator of all good things in order to entertain the unwelcome guests of fear and worry?  Maybe the reason we struggle with life is because we are not spending time allowing God’s Word of wisdom to become the foundation of everything we think and believe. 


In our reading this morning, the Psalmist reminds us to remain focused on Almighty God; it is wisdom. Christ is returning soon for those who call him Lord.  Scripture teaches the Last Days will be difficult (1 Timothy 3:1). “People will faint from fear as they wait for what is coming over the whole earth, for the powers in space will be driven from their courses. Then the Son of Man will appear, coming in a cloud with great power and glory. When these things begin to happen, stand up and raise your heads, because your salvation is near” (Luke 21:26-28).   Be ready for the Lord’s return.  Read and obey the Word—make the Lord at home in your heart—so the Spirit of wisdom will rule your life.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 6 -13-19

June 13, 2019

Proverbs 3:13-18 New Living Translation (NLT)


Charles Dickens once said, “There is a wisdom of the head and a wisdom of the heart.”  Wisdom is to be valued, because wisdom comes from God.  When we begin to understand the Source of wisdom, as well as the work of the Word and life experiences to reveal wisdom, we will begin to recognize God’s blessing and favor over our lives.  Listening to God is the first key to gaining wisdom, because it is His desire to take care of us.  Wisdom is a tremendously valuable gift the Holy Spirit cultivates in us; the profitable, precious, and prosperous gift from God for his children. 


Scripture teaches in the last days, people will live for themselves and what they think will make them happy, but that is not wisdom.  God’s sons and daughters will live by heart wisdom and in so doing the blessing and favor of God will radiate in those lives guided by the Word.  Live today in the wisdom of God and be joyful!

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 6-12-19

June 12, 2019

Luke 1:26-38 New Life Version (NLV)


Our Scripture this week is drawing our attention to the work of the Holy Spirit.  It is the Spirit who brings us into the realm of God when our minds, wills, and emotions are actually willing to stop fighting the reality of Truth.  We fight to understand everything with our natural senses and God’s mystery of salvation is only received and revealed by the Holy Spirit.  How powerful is the Holy Spirit?  


Well, in our passage today, the Spirit comes upon Mary and the power of the Most High covers her and she becomes pregnant with Messiah; no man involved.  Pretty powerful, right?  The kind of news the angel delivered from God to Mary cannot be receive in the natural, because it makes no sense to us.  But, it is nonetheless Truth about the power of God over the natural realm. We must surrender our limited human understanding in order to receive his unlimited divine wisdom and provision. 

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 6-11-19

June 11, 2019

1 Corinthians 2:12-16 New Life Version (NLV)


Our passage today fills me with joy, because it reminds me again how the Christ follower must engage in a spiritual life of discovery.  The definition of discover is to find something or someone unexpectedly in the course of a search.  Think about it, today we have amazing spiritual discoveries to make in Christ!  


Jesus teaches, “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need (Matt 6:33). The Kingdom of God is within each believer.  Here the Word of God is setting us up for success by giving us directions for living each day.  The world doesn’t understand the Word or the guidance of the Spirit, because it is a gift for believers. 


Life brings challenges for sure, but it also brings exciting discoveries.  If with every day we live, we seek the Truth of God’s Kingdom, God will provide everything we need for that day—which is our classroom for learning to trust God.  If we did not have the Spirit, we would never know what lies deep within us.  Therefore, we would live at a superficial level never pressing in for the fathomless love and goodness of God.  As we walk out our faith in the power of the Spirit, we grow up into Christ—his thoughts and plans become our soul reality.  What an awesome God we serve!  So, rejoice, and discover something new in the Spirit today!

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 6-10-19

June 10, 2019

1 Corinthians 2:1-5 The Passion Translation (TPT)


Do you ever feel inadequate? Sometimes, as believers, we are called to do certain things that seem terribly above our natural ability and certainly beyond our comfort zones. Yet, God does not check our resume nor our skill set to call us into Kingdom action. He looks for the presence of the Holy Spirit in us; he checks our hearts and reviews our motives. In the Spirit, we can be and do all things to which God calls us. He knows that all too well, but we have to learn to trust God's power.


Yesterday, we celebrated Pentecost; the coming of the Holy Spirit to bring power to the believers for sharing the gospel message. So, when you are tempted to feel inadequate, don’t shrink back and be disobedient to the call. Simply, stop looking at yourself and start calling on the Spirit to take the lead. He is well able to guide you and me to serve the heart of the Father. 

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 6-7-19

June 7, 2019

Galatians 6:7-10 The Passion Translation (TPT)


Personal responsibility as a Christ follower is a big deal, because we grow and harvest what we sow or allow to be planted in our lives.  We either sow to the Spirit or we sow to the selfish flesh.  The seed of selfishness and the soil of the earth are under the dominion of Satan who exists around us; he is in the world.  The seed of the Word and the righteous soil of the Kingdom are under the rule and reign of Jesus Christ and he lives in us.  Who’s more powerful?  God in you, of course!  We must choose wisely, because our choice for what we sow declares our master.   Remember, as I shared yesterday, we cannot flow in the power of the Spirit and selfishness at the same time.


I confess sometimes I grow weary waiting on the good seeds I have planted to grow, but Scripture warns us we are not to grow weary in doing good (Gal. 6:9).  So, when I feel weary I correct my attitude and get back on the path to bless others.  I have to work to get myself off my mind! lol! Could that be God’s purpose in delaying the harvest?  Could he be giving us time to grow in righteousness?  Maybe he is testing us to see if we will continue to plant the Word in our hearts, trust, and wait for the righteous harvest God has promised.  Whatever the case, Father knows best.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 6-6-19

June 6, 2019

Galatians 5:16-25 The Passion Translation (TPT)


Yesterday, we explored the meaning of “Let go and let God.” If we are honest, every human being craves freedom, satisfaction, and power of some kind; we like to hold onto certain things that make us feel “good,” don’t we? Letting go may feel like we are sacrificing something good for us. Remember, the Lord has given us freedom, so how will we use it?  We like being able to stand in a place of independence, influence, or power and honestly, in Christ, we were created to do so. Yet, our will has to be supported by righteous attitudes in our minds, righteous motives in our hearts, and the power needs to be used to exalt Christ not our flesh. Sometimes believers experience an internal war, because our flesh craves something the Spirit is not free to give because the Anointed One says it is contrary to God’s will for our lives.  We cannot flow in the power of the Spirit and selfishness at the same time.


Today, the Apostle Paul teaches us about the benefit of letting go and embracing the realm and reign of God. Only when we flow in the Spirit will our lives produce an eternal and holy victory. The Spirit wants us to connect in power and oneness with God.  In fact, the Spirit craves that oneness in the holiness of God.  Not everything we may have a desire to say or do will bring a holy victory; not everything is good according to Christ the Anointed One.  In fact, we are free, yet that freedom misused can cause us to forfeit the Kingdom realm of God.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 6-5-19

June 5, 2019

Luke 9:23-27 The Voice


“Let go and let God” is a phrase I have frequently heard believers use when they are encouraging others to consciously surrender his or her free will, as a servant, for the will of God.  Sometimes people interpret that as just giving up, doing nothing, and thinking God is going to bring all things to pass with no effort, work, or change on our part.  This is not truth, but rather a fantasy.  If you and I are going to “Let go and let God,” we are going to make a continual effort to set down the agenda’s we may have for our lives and pick up God’s will.  That means I may need to allow Jesus to reposition me, transform me, and lead me into his will and quite honestly that is not an easy thing to endure.  Our flesh is at war with the Spirit, remember?  Letting go involves a cross, because it calls for sacrifice.  It may even test our faith, but it is biblical to pick up our cross and follow Jesus, anyway.  When we commit to “Let go and let God,” we are committing to follow the Word at all costs even when it feels risky, frightening, or goes counter cultural.  So, if you really want the will of God which heals and restores us in love, by all means “Let go!”

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 6-4-19

June 4, 2019

Acts 26:19-23 The Passion Translation (TPT)


Jesus Messiah is a life-changer.  He brings new life to open hearts and calls us to follow him into abundant living.  When we are willing to surrender our stubborn wills and mindsets, he brings transformation to our attitudes, priorities, choices, etc.  Getting our attention is part of God’s work of salvation.  I imagine sometimes getting our attention is quite a task.


Jesus Messiah is the life-changer for Saul (Apostle Paul) who met Jesus on the Road to Damascus.  Saul was going to persecute Christians, but Jesus got his attention and sent him in a new direction.  From that day on, Saul would become Paul; a man with a life-changing story.  God sent him to the Gentile or non-Jewish nations to be a witness to the resurrection of Christ.  God’s directive and Paul’s obedience provided salvation for me and you. 


In our passage today, Paul is presenting his case in court; Paul has been put in prison for his witness of the Living Christ.  Our take away today comes as a reminder. We must receive the love and forgiveness of God through Jesus and demonstrate our connection to Christ with our changed lives. Behold old sinful ways of living are to pass away and we are to live each day in the righteousness of Jesus Christ.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 6-3-19

June 3, 2019

Revelation 22:12-14, 16-17, 20-21


This last week’s violent mass shooting at Virginia Beach has reminded us again this world is ruled by Satan and evil is expanding its reach for more hearts.  If the heart of humanity is not sold out to Christ, anyone can be a pawn for Satan.  As we look at a world filled with issues, problems, evil, violence, persecution, lawlessness, and selfishness, we must endure in our faith, hang onto God’s love abiding in us, and patiently wait for our Messiah to return.  Our eyes must be fixed upon the promises of God; our hope resting on the Word of Truth.  One day Jesus will rule a new earth where sin and evil no longer exists. For now, the Lord's grace is sufficient to keep us abiding in his love.  He is faithful and true and he will bring everything he has promised to pass.  May God cover us with his grace each day and may we live ready to meet him at any moment.  Come Lord Jesus and bring lasting peace.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 5-31-19

May 31, 2019

John 1:16-18


The more I get to know some folks the better I like them and the more I value them.  It takes time to really get to know someone, doesn’t it?  When we invest time in people, we gain a truer picture of their character and know them at a deeper level.  Did you know Scripture tells us we need to spend time with Christ—the Living Word—in order to gain a proper understanding of the heart of the Father?   It is Jesus who really interprets God and makes him known to humanity.  If you want to know the loving-kindness and grace of God, spend time in the Word.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 5-30-19

May 30, 2019

Acts 1:6-11 Jesus Is Taken to Heaven


Today is called Ascension Day.  It is the day we celebrate Christ’s ascension into heaven; 40 days after his resurrection from the dead. In our passage, Jesus is sharing his goodbyes to the apostles. They want to know how everything affects Israel, but Jesus redirects their attention to the weightier things of the Kingdom.  Jesus instructs the apostles to focus on three things: 1) Wait and receive the Holy Spirit—don’t try to do things in your own strength; 2) Expect the Holy Spirit to bring the power of God—supernatural provision for every assignment; and 3) Bear witness to what God is doing everywhere you go—share every LIFE lesson.  As Christ’s disciple, these three things are for you, too!

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 5-29-19

May 29, 2019

John 1:14 Living Bible (TLB)


How do you view forgiveness?  Is it hard for you to forgive others when they sin against you?  Even though many people struggle to do so, extending loving forgiveness to others is a very holy act. We are given the gift of forgiveness from God that we can actually give to others. When we forgive, we obey and reflect the Word or Voice of God.  Forgiveness is actually liberating for us; we do not have to carry around the weight of hurt and pain.  So, the next time you find yourself needing to forgive someone, please realize as you forgive that person you are actually being kind to yourself.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 5-28-19

May 28,, 2019

Psalm 93 Living Bible (TLB)


In our passage today, the psalmist shares some revealed Truth he has gained in his relationship with God.  This Truth is helpful and relevant for us. So think about it.  The Lord has established his throne over the world.  It may not look like it right now because evil is front and center, but the Lord rules and reigns and will forever.  We will all one day stand before the throne of God and give an account for how we lived our lives; whom did we serve?  Who’s on the throne of our lives?  Will the Lord see himself in us?  If we are wise, we will establish our lives under his rule right now.  To do so, we must respond to God with a desire for his holy character.  As we conform to the things of God, we are gathered into the will of God.  That’s why there is such a battle for your worship…your lifestyle.  Satan, does not want you to be devoted to God, because he knows it is a place of peace and blessing under God’s rule.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 5-27-19

May 27, 2019

John 15:13 Living Bible (TLB)


When I think about love the first thing that comes to my mind is the word, “commitment.”  I realize not everyone feels this way.  Our culture is inclined to see love as more about pleasure and less about a lasting commitment.  But, in everything that God’s Word teaches us about love, we find the evidence of commitment and sacrifice associated with it. “God so loved the world (was so committed to love his creation) that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him (John 3:16-17). Jesus laid down his life for the world.


Today, we remember those in our military who have served and loved their country to the extent that they laid down their lives to maintain our freedom.  Again, this is real love; real commitment. May we treasure this freedom by living under the authority of Almighty God; one nation under God is where true liberty is found.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 5-24-19

May 24, 2019

Proverbs 2:6-8 New Life Version (NLV)


Do you like idioms?  An idiom is a group of words that is given meaning, but really has nothing to do with the definition of each individual word. An example might be:  I’m all ears” which means I am  paying attention. Sometimes when I am reading things, idioms come to mind…such as today. 

In our passage, the author is still sharing about the benefits of wisdom.  The Lord imparts wisdom that can successfully navigate our lives toward the righteous path. The Lord covers us and keeps us on that narrow path, because we belong to him.  The Lord is our “safe-covering.” Bingo!  He covers us!  That reminds me of the idiom “I’ve got you covered.”  Just think about it, the Lord is wisdom and He covers us.  In other words, the Lord is with you, has got you, will back you up, and is providing for you through His amazing wisdom.  So when worry, stress, sickness, disappointment, sorrow, etc. tries to cover you, throw it off! Pray and give anything to God that should not cover you and get yourself back under His care. Let wisdom in the Lord cover you instead. Blessings for your weekend.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 5-23-19

May 23, 2019

Proverbs 2:1-5 New Living Translation (NLT)


Lately, I find myself speaking a great deal about wisdom; it is such a beautiful treasure from God.  Therefore, I also find myself studying and praying a great deal about wisdom.  Multiple times every week I hear, “Pastor Mary, ______ is going on in my life and I need to know what to do?”  My response every time is “Let’s pray for wisdom, because God gives it generously to those who ask” (James 1:5).  Contrary to what many people may think, wisdom is very practical.  We need to gather knowledge, but we also need wisdom if we are going to understand what to do with that knowledge in a way that pleases God.  We want the blessing of God, so we must listen to the voice of wisdom.  The Apostle Paul teaches, “God has brought you into connection with Christ Jesus, and God has made Christ to be our wisdom (1 Cor. 1:30).  We need the work of Christ and the leading of the Spirit to bring answers we understand. Those who are led by the Spirit understand the essential work of wisdom.  God encompasses all things; God wants to love and share Himself with us. 


Wisdom begins with the fear of the Lord and humbly hearing and seeking to do God’s will as revealed in Scripture and in the issues of life.  How can you have wisdom?  You must make Jesus your Lord, desire wisdom above all things, seek to live in harmony with God’s Word, live with eternity as your focus (rather than just the temporal things of the world), and pray for the Spirit to guide you. Wisdom is an inseparable companion to the Word; so be in the Word of God every day if you want the impartation of wisdom.  In these days that form a challenge for us, let us never forget the benefits of wisdom.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 5-22-19

May 22, 2019

Luke 10:25-28 New Living Translation (NLT)


Since cell phone texting has come along, it has made some quick informative or directive communications easier, hasn’t it?  Most of the time, I find texting helpful in my relationships and as a leader to deliver some quick information.  Short and brief, direct and to the point, bottom line response and all people have to do is read it and/or do it.  But, better add a few emojis if you make it too short, so you can show the emotional tone of the text!  


The leaders of religious law did not have to deal with cell phone texting, but many of them came to hear Jesus with a preconceived idea about devotion to God based on the text of the Torah. It was the job of these lawyers to interpret the law in the life of the people. In our passage today, an expert in religious law asks a question to test Jesus’ message; it is not necessarily adversarial in nature, but he wants clarification.  It is all right to have questions; Jesus can handle them.  Many times we know pretty much how Jesus may answer based on God’s Word, a bigger issue is whether or not we are willing to do what he says? In our passage, Jesus chooses to keep things short and brief in the biblical text.  He spins the question back to the leader who quotes Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18.  So, I imagine if Jesus had a cell phone to end the communication he would have texted, “Right! Do it!” 😇

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 5-21-19

May 21, 2019

Psalm 133 New Living Translation


God is Good and I am truly blessed! God opens my eyes to see His goodness, every day.  He opens my ears to hear His love.  He opens my soul (mind/will/emotions) to receive His grace.  Just think about the goodness of God and the opportunity each of us have to stand together in harmony or agreement and proclaim His goodness to the world.  As we stand in that place together, we are connected in perfect Truth.  As we stand in that place together, we are connected in divine Love.  As we stand in that place together, we are connected in One powerful and restorative mission. As we stand in that place together, we share in the Life of God. Let that soak in for a minute! In the goodness of God found in Jesus Christ, we have some big things in common, don’t we? Stand there! David new all about the power of harmony, so he called God’s people to focus on it in our psalm reading, today. 

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 5-20-19

May 20, 2019

Acts 11:19-26 New Life Version (NLV)


Encouragement is a great gift from the Lord to His Church.  We all need encouragement in our faith if we are going to grow up into Christ.  We start as new believers and we look forward toward the maturity that God’s Spirit brings about in our lives.  True spiritual teachers are those who press us forward into maturity by encouraging us to trust and obey the Word of God while we love others.  Every Christian should be a source of encouragement for his or her brothers and sisters in the faith.  As we share our testimonies and reveal our experiences with God, it causes our faith to grow and broadens our view of the Gospel.


Peter’s testimony to the church leaders in Jerusalem that God was saving the Gentiles, caused the good news to flourish in Antioch.  Many people came to Christ.  God even used the persecution of believers in Jerusalem to spread the Gospel, because the believers headed out to other countries.  The life of God went with the believers and that life created more life wherever the believers went.  It was during this time, believers everywhere began to share their life experiences in Christ with others.  It was in Antioch where the first Gentile church was founded and the term Christians or “Christ-ones” was used.  Barnabas, an encourager, came and began teaching the new believers how to live in this new life they had been given in Christ.  Even though the believers were from different races, cultures, and spoke different languages, Barnabas taught them about all they actually shared in common in Christ.  This diversity of people sharing a unity of faith caused the church to increase.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 5-17-19

May 17, 2019

Revelation 11:15-18 New Living Translation (NLT)


It is hard when good things come to an end because we are so enjoying those times, but can I tell you I will not be sad to see bad or evil things come to an end?  According to Scripture, things like war, crime, hatred, pride, condemnation, injustice, greed, indifference, faithlessness, and lawlessness (just to name a few) will come to an end and I will be glad to see each of those things destroyed.  I am ready for the Lord of Love to rule and reign the nations!


Our reading today is from the Book of Revelation; the Lord’s revelation to the Apostle John and His message regarding the nature of evil and the eternal consequences it will be given.  The seventh trumpet is the one announcing the arrival of King Jesus; He is coming to rule and reign with His Kingdom on earth.  With His arrival, time stands still.  The Eternal and the reality of His Kingdom has arrived.  There is no time to go back and change things and there is no time to move forward without the consent of the King. That means, with His arrival, every decision we have made regarding the Messiah and living for God is final.  Even indecision is final.  Organized religion will not be the judge of the human soul.  Relationship with the King determines everything, because only the blood of Jesus is enough to save the soul from judgment. The King must know you and recognize you as His own.  Many people may reject this message, but it doesn’t change the fact that it is Truth based on God’s Word or Testimony.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 5-16-19

May 16, 2019

Revelation 10 New Living Translation (NLT)


I am always intrigue with how two people can experience the same exact thing and come away with a totally different interpretation of it.  As human beings, we are so different apart from our oneness with Christ.  It is that oneness with Christ that must hold our hearts in the last days; we cannot allow anything to separate us from that union. Our gaze must be upon Christ’s mission and our spirits and souls (mind, will, emotions) must be upheld by the Holy Spirit.  The gifts of the Spirit are being called into place, so we can help one another navigate in the Spirit each day.  You need other believers; you need the fellowship of the Spirit in other believers in order to gain the Wisdom—whole counsel—of God. The unbelieving world will struggle in the last days—lack understanding and guidance—but believers will be held together and encouraged by the Word and the spiritual family.  Are you staying in the Word and in fellowship with other believers?


John is exiled on the Island of Patmos for speaking and sharing the Word of God to those who did not want his message.  While imprisoned there, he receives a vision from the Lord.  In Chapter 10, we find John encounters a mighty angel who announces God’s final judgments that will deal with all creation.  John has been aware of two scrolls: the first scroll revealed in Chapter 5 was opened by the Lamb and listed judgments, but the content of the second scroll is not revealed.  It is described as small, but it is clearly critical to God’s purposes for the eternal Kingdom.  John is told to eat the scroll much like Ezekiel was told to eat the scroll regarding the judgment of Israel. It tasted sweet in the mouth of those believers, but it will actually bring hardship and destruction.  The Word of God is precious and comforting to those who receive the Lord, but for those who rebel against the Word it will bring sorrow and suffering.  

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 5-15-19

May 15, 2019

John 10:31-42 New Living Translation (NLT)


Did you know getting familiar with the Voice of God’s Spirit is the perfect way to navigate through the difficult places in life? Jesus tells his disciples, “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth.  He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard from me.  He will tell you about the future” (John 16:13).  It is the work of the Spirit to guide God’s people; to speak into our spirits in order to protect us and help us avoid danger, as well as guide us into blessings.  It was the guiding of the Holy Spirit that helped those in the early church prepare for a future famine (Acts 11:27-29). The Holy Spirit hindered the Apostle Paul from going to certain places to preach the Gospel because it wasn’t safe, so he taught Christ’s disciples to listen, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (Romans 8:14).


In our passage today, Jesus has been speaking at the Temple.  The Spirit of God is upon him to preach the Gospel and to heal lives.  The religious leaders have been listening for Jesus to say something that would be grounds for his termination. Even in the face of Christ’s many miracles, these religious leaders accuse him of blasphemy, because Jesus says, “The Father and I are one” (John 10:30).  Because the religious leaders want to capture and kill Jesus, the Holy Spirit supernaturally guides the Lord through the midst of a crowd to escape.  


As we extend our lives to the work of the Spirit, we are assured of his guidance.  The Spirit sees what we do not see; knows what we do not know, and understands the heart of the Father and his will for our lives.  Ask the Holy Spirit to lead your life; to be your Guide.  Invite him to take on the role of being your Teacher and Leader, because no matter what the enemy may use to attack you, the Spirit will make a way of escape.  The key is to cooperate with the Spirit.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 5-14-19

May 14, 2019

Acts 9:32-35 New Living Translation (NLT)


The other night John and I watched an old western staring Henry Fonda, My Name is Nobody.  Most of the time, we have really enjoyed watching some older movies, but this one was a stretch as far as me really enjoying it.  For me, the plot was just too vague for too long with filler taking up too much space. What was the main character’s purpose?  He travels from town to town for what?  Have you ever watched or read something and thought, “Where is this going?”


Our lesson today, from Luke in the Book of Acts, is quite the opposite of the movie.  Jesus is the Somebody that everyone needs. It’s clear from the very beginning of the reading that God is wasting no time to reveal His heart or purpose.  Peter has been filled with the Holy Spirit and he is on a mission to bring the Good News of Jesus the risen Lord everywhere he goes; Peter is relentless in his passion to serve God and people.  He travels to wherever the Spirit leads him and he speaks the words the Spirit places on his lips.  And what happens?  A dunamis (Gk. powerful) domino effect.  One man is instantly physically healed by the touch of Christ through Peter which leads to a whole community turning to serve God, as well.  The evidence of God’s love and purpose is overwhelmingly evident; there is no missing the plot.  Then, Peter moves on to the next town.


What does this mean for you?  God wants to do something powerful in and through your life, but you must focus and make His purpose your purpose. Like Peter, God just wants the best life for you which is the Spirit of Christ abiding and living in you.  We are children, sons, and daughters of an All-Powerful God who desires to change lives and communities; turn every heart toward His love. It’s salvation in action.   You and I can drag ourselves through each day with no real purpose, or we can be led by the Spirit into great opportunities to reveal the realities of the true Lord of Life.  You decide.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 5-13-19

May 13, 2019

Psalm 100 New Living Translation (NLT)


What is your favorite hobby? We all have varied interests and doing those things that bring us joy can be very diverse. God placed healthy desires in you; things to develop that would bring you joy, because He loves you.  He wants an abundant life for you.  Personally, I like to bake goodies.  When I was a very young girl, my grandmother taught me how to bake.  She made the most amazing baked goods; spent hours in the kitchen every day.  Baking was one of the ways she shared the love of God with others.  She put such “heart” into everything she made and whether she realized it or not she helped me see the value of doing such things that I also enjoy as an act of worship.  Worship is about Oneness with God; bowing down to thank God for our lives and the blessing of his design.  When you look at your life, do you understand every aspect of you is unique and lovingly crafted, so you will acknowledge and thank your Creator as you enjoy your life? 

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 5-10-19

May 10, 2019

Psalm 23:4-6 New Living Translation


Testimonies are powerful teaching tools; they inspire us to hope for more.  I always enjoy hearing people share how God has touched their lives or provided for them during difficult times.  The Body of Christ can always benefit from the sharing of testimonies; they encourage and enrich our faith.  When we listen to testimonies it spurs us to seek for more encounters in the beauty of God’s presence.  We believe God is Good and takes good care of his own, but it affirms our faith and fills us with joy as we hear others share good news.  


Today we will explore the rest of the passage from Psalm 23.  Note the writer (David) is one of the Shepherd’s sheep and he is testifying about the loving care he has personally received.  Does God’s love make you feel protected, held in high esteem, and blessed?  If so, tell somebody…testify!

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 5-9-19

May 9, 2019

Psalm 23:1-3 New Living Translation (NLT)


As I spend time pondering our passage for today, I am filled with such an awareness of my need for the Good Shepherd. The Lord is my All-in-One! He is everything I need to live as a daughter of the Most High. I lack nothing, because he is my Everything.  He is my Guide who helps me experience contentment; I know I would never find my way into obedience without the Lord. He is my Instructor; I need a lot of Wisdom.  He is my Restorer when life drains me.  Right now, I am not feeling the best physically and he is helping me rest and receive healing; He is my Care Giver.  He is my Peace and he helps me drink in his calmness even in the midst of adversity.  And, the best part of all is he does it by drawing me close to himself; he loves taking care of us.  What do you need from the Good Shepherd today?   

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 5-8-19

May 8, 2019

Luke 12:29-32 New Living Translation (NLT)


Worry is not of God, but it seems to come natural, doesn’t it.  Worry is connected to facing potential problems and our concern to “get” answers or provision.  In Hebrew, the word “get” has several meanings.  The first meaning has to do with “movement” and the second meaning has to do with “acquisition.” Sometimes we expect the world to provide for us, but Scripture teaches it is actually God who gives us the power to get provision in order to reveal his promise to us (Duet 8:18).  So, in my spirit I hear this question, today, “Where do you go first to get what you need?” 


Leading up to our passage for today, the crowd has been listening to Jesus teach about the need to “get” their hearts right before God.  Notice movement (change) is required.  The Lord is the One who must be pleased and satisfied with every human soul.  Then, Jesus shares with those gathered the parable of the Rich Fool; a fool is a person who dishonors and disobeys God.  A fool gets and stores up earthly riches but suffers poverty when it comes to his/her relationship with God (Luke 12:21). Notice true movement and acquisition is focused on God. Then, Jesus turns to the crowd and tells them not to worry; instead, live dependent upon God.  Bingo; there’s the Answer…mission accomplished.


God chose you and he is going to take care of you as you seek His way of loving and living; so, live dependent upon God and stop worrying. Be an active part of His spiritual family, because he flows through His children.  Give to the work of the Kingdom; this is sowing for an eternal harvest.  We need to stop focusing on “getting” everything from the world, turn to receive the true substance of the unshakable Kingdom, and respond to God’s call to be giving members of His family.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 5-7-19

May 7, 2019

Acts 26:9-18 Contemporary English Version


Do you make the most of every opportunity the Lord provides you each day?  It begins with a proper perspective.  Not every situation we face is going to be good, but every situation can be an opportunity for good in the hands of our loving and good God.  If we believe the Lord has positioned us in life and He directs our steps, then we are going to trust Him even when we face a hard or bad situation.  Tough days can become the most fertile ground for us to bear righteous fruit.  Those times become our best opportunities to witness the work of the Lord in our lives.  The Lord wants the world to know Him, so how we face things is a testimony to how we view the goodness of the Lord.  Think about it.  Your testimony of the Lord’s presence with you each day is a way to witness to the resurrected and Living Lord those around you need to know.


In our passage today, the Jews have brought charges against the Apostle Paul; he is in prison awaiting trial for inciting problems among the Jews with his testimony. Yet, he is going to make the most of this opportunity for the Lord.   Many Jews hated the content of Paul’s message; that Jesus is the promised Messiah from God—for the Jews and the world—and that the Messiah has been raised from the dead. The resurrection is central to the Christian belief; Paul wants to tell his story about his encounter with the Living Lord to validate the Truth. King Agrippa, of Jewish descent, gives Paul an opportunity to defend himself and explain the foundation of his beliefs. 

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 5-6-19

May 6, 2019

Acts 9:20-31 Contemporary English Version


Has Jesus turned your whole life upside down with the Truth of God’s love?  No matter whose life is touched, anyone who has an encounter with Jesus is forever changed; never to see things quite the same again. In an instant we know the Truth about our hearts, our need for salvation, and the Truth about God’s gracious and forgiving love. We see that so clearly not only in our lives and the lives of other followers of Christ, but in all the biblical accounts of people meeting Messiah.  The Apostle Paul experienced a 180 degree shift in his life after meeting Jesus on the Road to Damascus.  He went from persecuting the disciples of Christ to preaching Jesus as the Messiah; God stopped him in his tracks and gave him a clearer vision of His heart.  In that moment, Saul experienced the Truth, but he also experienced the grace and forgiveness of God.  The Truth made Saul a new man with a fresh and accurate vision.


Because of this change in Saul, he finds himself being hated by his own peers. Have you had to leave some people behind to follow Christ?  Before meeting Christ, Saul had no problem hating and persecuting Christians, but now he has met the risen Messiah and finds himself compassionate for the disciples and passionate for the Gospel.  If you read the New Testament letters, you will discover the Lord never wasted Paul’s background or training.  Instead, the Lord turned it to benefit the Kingdom and the work of Christ in ministering the gospel to the Gentiles.  God will not waste your past successes nor failures; instead he will use it for the salvation of the world if you will allow it. Your life story can always lead others to Christ.  Give the Lord your whole life and see what the Spirit can do with it.


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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 5-3-19

May 3, 2019

Psalm 30 Contemporary English Version


God’s Word is always calling us away from sin and selfish living, but do we always listen? As believers, we experience the temptation of sin and we wrestle with faith.  In the midst, do we call out for God’s help?  Some times we know we are a mess in need of mercy and grace.  Other times, we just feel invincible; secure in our own ability to perform or fix ourselves.


God is the Author of our success; we are the author of our failures. The Lord certainly knows how to humble us when he gets angry with our choices; he hides his face and allows our faith to be tested.  If God did not humble us, we would allow all kinds of things to go to our heads and fill us with self-exalting pride.  The Good News we should always remember is that God delights in restoring us, so call on his name.  He will always be there to bring the precise help you need when you need it.  He will help you overcome sin and destructive behaviors and he will help you increase in your faith by showing himself faithful in every circumstance.


In our passage from the Psalter today, the psalmist David had allowed his success, wealth, and power to go to his head, so God disciplined him.  Then, God delivered him.  In David’s song, he praised God for delivering and healing him.  God used this weakness in David, to turn him toward the work of Grace.  Only the Grace of God can turn our failures into trophies for His glory.  

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 5-2-19

May 2, 2019

Revelation 3:14-22 Contemporary English Version (CEV)


Are you an active listener in your relationships?  We all face difficulties in communicating well.  Active listening requires the listener to fully concentrate on what is being shared, pause to comprehend, respond to do something with the information, and then remember what that person has said because it is important to him or her.  This type of listening is essential if we are going to successfully fulfill commitments.  Active listening is truly essential for personal growth; it requires an honest assessment of what this information means for one’s life and relationships.  


God’s Word requires active listening.  Scripture teaches, “What God has said isn’t only alive and active! It is sharper than any double-edged sword. His Word can cut through our spirits and souls and through our joints and marrow, until it discovers the desires and thoughts of our hearts. Nothing is hidden from God! He sees through everything, and we will have to tell him the truth.” (Heb 4:12-13).  Throughout the Word of God we are commissioned to listen; actively listen. This is about your relationship in Christ—the Living Word.  When you come to read and listen to the Word are you taking time to fully concentrate, comprehend, respond, and remember what has been shared?


In our lesson today, Jesus is addressing the Church at Laodicea; they think they can see but they are blind to the Truth.  Will the people of God listen to the Voice of Truth?  In this reading, the Truth is getting ready to pass judgment on the Church.  Remember, the writings, from the Book of Revelation, are for the Church of all time.  Jesus shares the Word with the Apostle John because the Lord knows every heart and many hearts are far from him.  The Lord is grieved by the worldliness of his Church. Because Jesus loves us so much, he tells it like it is.  To change hearts all the people of God need to do is repent and practice active listening.


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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 5-1-19

May 1, 2019

Luke 12:4-7 Contemporary English Version (CEV)


Have you noticed how many times we fear something that may never happen? Like a cloud of doom, fear wants to hang over us and diminish the joy of our salvation.  We are all tempted to fear the unknown, but have you thought much about fearing God?  Biblical faith is associated with the fear or respect of the Lord; to trust him, do his will, and join with him in service. When we give power to fear we are actually pulling our faith and trust away from God.  We have not been given a spirit of fear from the Lord; rather, love, power, and self-discipline (2 Tim 1:7).  When fear rises up in you, are you more afraid of the unknown than the Known?   


In our passage today, Jesus is talking to his disciples about the sin and hypocrisy they must resist; the religious leaders have been threatening Jesus and his disciples with the purpose of stopping their witness for God.  The disciples are fearing opposition from these leaders; it is hindering their faith and courage.  So, the Lord challenges his disciples to fear what is Known; that God determines humanity’s eternal destination.  We can face life without fear, because we belong to God and he loves and values us.  He values you!  Get that Truth into your heart today.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 4-30-19

April 30, 2019

Revelation 2:8-11 New Living Translation (NLT)


When life happens, do you ever need a word of assurance? The Word of God can always get assurance to us. We can all find ourselves going through times of intense pressure; we sense the pressure from the opposition that takes place in the spirit realm.  The world is subject to the power of sin and our faith in Christ the Deliverer will always face hostility until the Second Coming.  Satan’s goal is to hinder the work of faith in God’s people.  


The Apostle Peter assures and prepares us, “So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are (5:6-9). Charles Spurgeon reminds us: “Faith is believing that Christ is what He is said to be, and that He will do what He has promised to do, and then to expect this of Him.”  As we place our trust in Christ, we know Satan will come to oppose our faithfulness to “believe.”  Therefore, we must resist the lies and attacks of Satan and always remember he is no match for our loving and all-powerful God. In the Spirit, slap that roaring lion yelling in your ear to the curb and keep following Christ’s guidance.  As Christ’s followers, our focus must be fixed on joyful obedience to the Word as we follow the Spirit, because we overcome the attacks of Satan by remaining true to the Word of God.


In our passage today, we read not just about a specific church called Smyrna or its congregation, but this message is for the church of all time. We all need to take this message from the Lord.  Satan is opposed to the Church—Christ followers—so we should not be surprised when we face hostility; the devil has followers, too.  Satan wants to put our faith in prison; but Jesus has already liberated us.  Every human being is an eternal being, but not every being will spend eternity with God; only the faithful.  We are given the ability to hear and know good and evil; so, we must choose to whom we will listen and obey.  Who will be your Lord for eternity?  The Apostle John tells us if we are faithful to listen and follow the Spirit until God calls us home, we will enjoy eternal life with him (the second death).  Fight the good fight of faith my family!

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 4-29-19

April 29, 2019

Revelation 1:9-10, 12-19 New Living Translation (NLT)


Do you believe God is always speaking to His children even in the midst of this hostile world? Scripture teaches God delights in being in relationship with his children; he longs to commune and bring us eternal wisdom and direction or guidance for our lives.  All this is part of the gift of Grace and the eternal life Christ makes available. God desires to bring us peace, comfort, and reassurance when fear attacks; he longs to pour power into us when we are weak. Therefore, we need to conclude that God speaks to each one of us.  Do we recognize his voice in the midst of this hostile world?  


Sometimes the Lord speaks through our circumstances, people, nature, thoughts, visions, peace, even a whisper, and those are just a few of the ways. He always bears witness to the truth of his Word when we invest time in it.  According to the Word, Jesus teaches us the benefit of hearing his voice, “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock” (Mat 7:24). Listen for the voice of the Rock of Ages!


While he was exiled on the Island of Patmos, the Apostle John received a vision from the Lord.

John saw the Lord and he shared that vision with us in the Book of Revelation.  Jesus revealed himself as our wise, secure, and all-powerful Savior who always cares for us.  He desires to be our First and Last Love.  He is the Living One—the True One for our hearts—and he loves us enough to lead us into life eternal if we will draw near to him.  Nothing is impossible for the Lord and we are the focus of his love. So, is there any room for fear in your life?

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 4-26-19

April 26, 2019

Luke 24:36-40 Contemporary English Version (CEV)


Have you ever tried to use your intellectual sense of reasoning to discern spiritual realities? It seems reasonable that we should be able to make a bit of sense out of all things in life; God gave us these minds.  But, Scripture teaches God’s thoughts are not our thoughts and faith is essential to experience him, so why do we press in to the point of doubt in order to mentally process in our humanity the deep truths of the divine spiritual realm?  We want answers, but in our spiritual immaturity we neglect asking the Lord to bring the revelation and wisdom he alone can provide while we live in these human bodies. Until Christ returns, Kingdom realities are revealed as given Spirit (God) to spirits (humanity). 


In our passage today, the disciples are trying to figure out what has really happened with Jesus and what that means in their lives now.  The disciples talk among themselves in order to gain some shred of understanding.  While they are trying to wrap their minds around the trial, crucifixion, and the empty tomb, Jesus appears to reveal Kingdom realities.  He is alive, but different.  He shares the evidence of his human journey, and the revelation of spiritual realities.  How amazingly loving and good of God to interrupt our doubting minds with Truth, right?


Jesus truly understands our humanity.  So, in his love and mercy, Jesus reveals things Spirit to spirits in order to help us understand the powerful realities of the Kingdom.  The Kingdom of God is in you and around you.  We pray, “Your Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.”  Live with that in mind each day. Jesus has made a way for us to communicate with God on a whole new level.  Pray for spiritual eyes to see and spiritual ears to hear; this prayer means you are offering yourself to be challenged and changed by the Truth.  God opens the eyes of the spiritually blind and the ears of the spiritually deaf as we draw near to him.  Jesus, the Light of the World, taught his disciples, “Things are hidden temporarily only as a means to revelation. For there is nothing hidden except to be revealed, nor is anything [temporarily] kept secret except in order that it may be made known (Mark 4:22). Jesus is the Revealer of Truth, so ask for revelation to confront any doubt or uncertainty you may have in the natural.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 4-25-19

April 25, 2019

Acts 5:17-26 New Life Version (NLV)


How would you describe the emotion of jealousy?  When it is used against you it feels like opposition and when it rises up in you it feels like rejection.  In the Bible, the word jealousy has both a positive and negative meaning.  God is described at times as a jealous God, but it is always positive and based on his concern for us because we belong to him. God’s jealousy causes him to be angry at sin and then turn to restore people to himself because he cannot bear to be separated like a Groom for his Bride. When the Word speaks of God’s jealousy it always has to do with his faithful protection for those whom he loves; the depths he will go to call his children back into his care.  


Human jealousy is a result of sin in the heart; it is negative and can bring destruction to relationships.  Jealousy is fear based and is awakened in humans by something that may exalt others over self or provide greater pleasures or advantages for which we desire for ourselves.  Think about the jealousy that rose up in Cain over Abel, brothers over Joseph, and Saul over David.   St. Augustine once said, “He that is jealous is not in love.”  The Apostle Paul teaches, “Love is not jealous…” (1 Cor 13:4).  In our passage today, Christ’s new missionaries are flowing in the anointed power of God to heal people and the Temple priests and religious leaders are jealous. Instead of acknowledging Christ and joining with the Spirit-led apostles, they try to fight them and diminish them.  But, when God is in something and he sends us, no weapon formed against us will prosper.  So although these leaders may initially look like they have the upper hand and they think they are representing God, the Lord reveals otherwise and the Truth continues to be preached.  Don’t allow jealousy to have dominion over you; stay connected to Christ because he can be trusted with your heart as you serve him.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 4-24-19

April 24, 2019

Acts 5:12-16 Contemporary English Version (CEV)


Would you describe yourself as an honest person?  Scripture teaches we must be authentic and honest with God and others; the Word commands it.  This authenticity is referred to as integrity and it is associated with the root word of shalom or peace.  Integrity is the state of being whole or undivided.  At the cross, Christ made peace with God in our behalf.  As we allow God to make us whole, we begin to live in his integrity. He brings the proper shape to our character. Power is released to us as we mature spiritually.  We cannot bear false witness—lie—and still walk in God’s power.  Sometimes, we don’t have the power of God flowing through us because we are not operating in the integrity of Christ.  Have you associated God’s power with the integrity of your words or actions?  


During Jesus’ ministry, he performed many miracles and signs that pointed to God’s power living in him.  Now, the Apostles are experiencing that same kind of power; the power to heal and deliver people from the bondage of darkness.  Truthfully, people are somewhat afraid of meeting with the apostles, because they have heard about what happened to Ananias and Sapphira when they lied to Peter and God. Do you know what happened to this couple? They died as soon as the lie came across their lips (Acts 5:1-11).  


On the other hand, Peter understands the power of lies, because he lied about knowing the Lord.  He suffered greatly with his own verbal sin.  But, because of the blood of Messiah, Peter experienced the forgiveness of God and a new beginning in his integrity.  Peter is determined not to make the same mistakes and therefore he connects with the power of God to heal others.  Peter, the teachable spirit, walks in integrity and power! 

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 4-23-19

April 23, 2019

Psalm 118:17-23


In the midst of an ever-changing world, how important is it to you to have a solid foundation for your life?  I want stability even in the midst of unsettling times; in fact, I crave it. Life will happen, but it does not need to cause me to throw up my hands and give up. I am not a victim; I am victorious in Christ (1 Cor 15:57).  We were created to enjoy life, so how is that possible when we really cannot control life?


The answer is found in acknowledging our life “Cornerstone.”  God has provided Jesus as our Cornerstone (Matt 21:42).  It is the work of Christ to bring a solid foundation, shape, and stability to our lives.  He helps us endure and overcome any storm or challenge life brings.  We were created to live. The life God has in store for us is prosperous and engaging; we are to live in the power outflowing Christ’s resurrection and experience the power that raised Christ from the dead even in the midst of suffering (Phi 3:10).  As we face life each day, our part is to stand on the foundation of God’s love found in Christ and “Whatever we do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Col 3:17). We must give thanks and live with a spirit of gratitude each day, because the Lord is our Savior. So, when life sends you a challenge, look at that challenge as a way to watch Christ work in your life.  In our passage, the psalmist calls God’s people to acknowledge the goodness and faithfulness of God to provide for his children. Alleluia—Praise ye Yah! (Praise the Lord!)

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 4-22-19

April 22, 2019

Psalm 118:1-2; 14-16, 24 New Living Translation (NLT)

What difference does the resurrection of Christ make in a life?  Actually, the difference the risen Lord makes is huge!  With the Lord, we can be victorious in this life and the life to come; eternal life.  Life will change, but God never changes.  He brings us security and hope.  No longer are we victims to the attacks of the enemy; instead we are righteous in the army of the Lord.  We are never alone and no weapon formed against us can prosper.  Our faith in Christ is the cornerstone and foundation for our victory!  In Christ, we are more than conquerors!  Be confident for greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world! (1 John 4:4).


The resurrection of Christ the Messiah has given us the victory we needed to overcome sin and death.  He is the first fruit of the righteous and redeemed of the Father.  Let your hearts be filled with gratitude and thanksgiving, today, for God has overcome the grave; therefore, we overcome the grave.  Be filled with joy, because your Savior and God is in control of your life and he is determined to do glorious things in and through you.  Nothing that tries to come against you and God’s will for your life can prosper, because the Lord is with you and all of creation must bow to his authority.  Allow God to bring change and growth to your life, because he alone knows what will give your life meaning and purpose.  Call upon the Lord for salvation each day, for he is good!  REJOICE!

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 4-20-19

April 20, 2019

John 19:38-42 New Living Translation (NLT)


Today is the fortieth day of our 40-Day Lenten Series, “Praying for a Kingdom Heart.”  Lent should be a time of prayerful reflection, repentance, and restoration as we draw closer to the heart of God. We have had a full journey over the past forty days in the Word of God. I pray you have been blessed by the Word. For the past month or so, we have highlighted many ways God demonstrates his love for us, but no greater truth can we gain than this:  God sent his Son to die for us, so we could experience peace with God.  Through the cross, Christ himself has brought peace to us (Ephesians 2:14).  When we believe in the atoning work of Christ for our sins, we are offered a vibrant relationship with Almighty God.  Have you taken God at his Word about that offer? 


Joseph and Nicodemus were secret followers of Christ until Father God called them to go to Pilate and ask for Christ’s body so they could bury it with dignity and respect.  The body of Christ was laid in a tomb nearby the cite of crucifixion; a garden tomb.  According to Genesis, God gave life to humanity in a garden (Eden), but sin caused hostility with God. Once again in a garden, Christ will give his life as a peace offering, so humanity can have another chance to enjoy a vibrant relationship with God.


During Lent, we will be using the acronym P.R.A.Y. as we pray for a Kingdom Heart.  P=praise, R=repent, A=ask, and Y=yield.  May God bless you as you spend time in God’s Word and in prayer today.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 4-19-19

April 19, 2019

John 18:28-19:30


Today is the thirty-ninth day of our 40-Day Lenten Series, “Praying for a Kingdom Heart.”  Lent should be a time of prayerful reflection, repentance, and restoration as we draw closer to the heart of God.  Today is Good Friday and we celebrate the King of Glory as we read the story of the Father’s great love for the world.  Do you know the depths of God’s love for you?


During Lent, we will be using the acronym P.R.A.Y. as we pray for a Kingdom Heart.  P=praise, R=repent, A=ask, and Y=yield.  May God bless you as you spend time in God’s Word and in prayer today.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 4-18-19

April 18, 2019

John 13:1-17, 33-35 New Living Translation (NLT)


Today is the thirty-eighth day of our 40-Day Lenten Series, “Praying for a Kingdom Heart.”  Lent should be a time of prayerful reflection, repentance, and restoration as we draw closer to the heart of God. This is Holy Thursday and it is a perfect time to focus on the loving heart of Jesus; a pure Kingdom heart.  Jesus is God in the flesh and he came to teach us the ways of love.  He came to serve us and make us ready as fellow servants for the work of the Kingdom. Do you have a servant’s heart?


There are a lot of people who want to be leaders in this world, but according to Jesus a true leader is a humble servant who knows how to love others.  To love sacrificially like Christ requires action.  Jesus was a living example of God’s love and now we are to be living examples of Christ’s love.  So, the kind of love Jesus commissions his disciples to share sets them apart from the world.  Christ did not call just some of his disciples to be servants; he calls every one of us to take a humble posture and be a blessing to others.  


During Lent, we will be using the acronym P.R.A.Y. as we pray for a Kingdom Heart.  P=praise, R=repent, A=ask, and Y=yield.  May God bless you as you spend time in God’s Word and in prayer today.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 4-17-19

April 17, 2019

John 13:21-30 New Living Translation (NLT)


Today is the thirty-seventh day of our 40-Day Lenten Series, “Praying for a Kingdom Heart.”  Lent should be a time of prayerful reflection, repentance, and restoration as we draw closer to the heart of God. We serve a very merciful God.  Jesus knows our hearts and he knows exactly how we are going to respond to every test, trial, or temptation.  He understands the power of our flesh and the war we may wage against the work of the Spirit.  Yet, the Lord loves us unconditionally. He extends mercy and forgiveness. The psalmist writes, “How kind the Lord is! How good he is!  So merciful, this God of ours!” (116:5).  Over your lifetime, have you been aware of the overflowing mercy of the Lord for you?


In our passage today, Jesus knows Judas is going to betray him.  Have you ever been betrayed? It’s a painful experience.  A biblical definition of the word ‘betray’ is ‘to deliver up in a breach of trust.’  Judas is ready to betray Jesus, but the Lord does nothing to stop it, nor does he stop loving Judas or treating him with respect.  Why? Because even this betrayal is a part of God’s plan for salvation; a living testimony to the love and mercy of God for us as sinners.  So, Jesus stayed in a posture of worship—oneness—with the Father and the Spirit and remained merciful in the face of betrayal.  Each one of us has in some form betrayed the Lord.  Yet, he extends mercy and grace in exchange.  Be ready to extend mercy every day, because soon someone you know may need it.


During Lent, we will be using the acronym P.R.A.Y. as we pray for a Kingdom Heart.  P=praise, R=repent, A=ask, and Y=yield.  May God bless you as you spend time in God’s Word and in prayer today.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 4-16-19

April 16, 2019

John 12:23-29 Contemporary English Version (CEV)


Today is the thirty-sixth day of our 40-Day Lenten Series, “Praying for a Kingdom Heart.”  Lent should be a time of prayerful reflection, repentance, and restoration as we draw closer to the heart of God. This journey we have been making in our prayer time to experience a Kingdom heart is a personal journey that gains momentum with each passing day.  For example, today is Holy Tuesday and it is overwhelming for my heart to think that God would be willing to suffer for my sin, disobedience, and iniquities.  It’s personal.  God suffered for me.  Actually, the Lord suffered injustice, oppression, and abuse because of me; he suffered under the load of my sin, guilt, and shame. He did the same for you. The love of God for us is so great he was willing to suffer the immense weight of our unrighteousness in order to offer us his light righteous yoke as followers (Mat 11:29).  To wear Christ’s yoke, we must be willing to love eternal life more than this present life.  In your prayer time, do you praise the Father for his Suffering Servant?


Isaiah prophecies about the Messiah, “Yet it was the Lord's will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.  After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge My righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities (53:10-11).  Jesus said he came into the world to suffer for the glory of the Father; to bring about the forgiveness for our sins.  We celebrate the work of Messiah, but let’s not forget the suffering he took upon himself, so we could know and enjoy the fullness of God’s love and grace.  


During Lent, we will be using the acronym P.R.A.Y. as we pray for a Kingdom Heart.  P=praise, R=repent, A=ask, and Y=yield.  May God bless you as you spend time in God’s Word and in prayer today.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 4-15-19

April 15, 2019

John 12:1-8 Good News Translation (GNT)


Today is the thirty-fifth day of our 40-Day Lenten Series, “Praying for a Kingdom Heart.”  Lent should be a time of prayerful reflection, repentance, and restoration as we draw closer to the heart of God.  As we draw closer, we learn from the Spirit what it means to have life in his name.  This life in his name brings Light or illumination and reminds us of our oneness with Christ; we are in him and he is in us. It is a picture of worship; the Lord is worthy of our worship.  We bring our lives to God and in a holy exchange for salvation we are connected to Christ. The Apostle Paul wrote a letter to the early church in Colosse teaching them, “Everything you do or say, then, should be done in the name of the Lord Jesus, as you give thanks through him to God the Father (Col. 3:17).  Are you learning to live life in his name?


In our passage today, we note Mary knows what it means to live life in Jesus’ name.  Mary releases extravagant worship for her King.  Remember, worship is at the center of the Christian life.  Although she does not realize it, Mary is a lead worshiper in this moment as she anoints the feet of Jesus with perfume and dries his feet with her hair.  This anointing is a public demonstration and declaration of Mary’s faith in Jesus as the Messiah; she cares nothing about what others around her think because she is focused on worshiping the One who alone is worthy of all praise. Therefore, the Lord honors her. In fact, the gospel of Matthew shares the story about Mary, the anointing perfume, and quotes Jesus, “Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what Mary has done will also be told, in memory of her” (26:13).  Within days, Jesus will wrap a towel around his waist and wash the feet of the disciples.  He will tell the other disciples, “If I as your Teacher and Lord have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet.  I have given you an example to follow.  Do as I have done” (John 13:13-14). The disciples are learning to live in Jesus’ name. 


During Lent, we will be using the acronym P.R.A.Y. as we pray for a Kingdom Heart.  P=praise, R=repent, A=ask, and Y=yield.  May God bless you as you spend time in God’s Word and in prayer today.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 4-13-19

April 13, 2019

Psalm 31:6-8, 14-16 The Message (MSG)

Today is the thirty-fourth day of our 40-Day Lenten Series, “Praying for a Kingdom Heart.”  Lent should be a time of prayerful reflection, repentance, and restoration as we draw closer to the heart of God. Because we live in a world where we fight spiritual battles that try to distance us from the Father’s heart, the Lord becomes our Shield of love and protection when we call upon him.  The Lord advances us and causes us to be victorious. King David sings, “We put our hope in the Lord, He is our help and our Shield (Ps 33:20).  Behind this Shield we can experience the unfailing and limitless love of God.  Behind this Shield we can experience healing and rest from torment.  Behind this Shield we can breathe and sort through the many messages that bombard us from our souls—mind, will, and emotions. It is our faith in this Shield that protects us from the fiery darts of the enemy.  This Shield is Jesus Messiah and he wants to protect you by placing you in the center of his love.  Do you know the Lord wants to be your Shield in the time of evil?


During Lent, we will be using the acronym P.R.A.Y. as we pray for a Kingdom Heart.  P=praise, R=repent, A=ask, and Y=yield.  May God bless you as you spend time in God’s Word and in prayer today.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 4-12-19

April 12, 2019

Hebrews 2:10-18 The Passion Translation (TPT)


Today is the thirty-third day of our 40-Day Lenten Series, “Praying for a Kingdom Heart.”  Lent should be a time of prayerful reflection, repentance, and restoration as we draw closer to the heart of God. Did you know the heart of God is to walk with you through all the ordeals of your life?  The ordeals of life are tests and tribulations we all must face; they come to every human being and child of God.  But you and I do not have to face these spiritual battles alone. Battles are opportunities to bring attention to the Lord’s excellence. Our Lord is Excellent in battle!  Christ wants to fight our battles; the battle actually belongs to the Lord because we belong to the Father. Therefore, the Lord has the final word over our lives.  We stand by faith on the Word of God calling for our Excellent Lord to show us a way to escape our temptations (1 For 10:13). Obedience to God’s direction is key; trust in and obedience to God is our part in every battle.  As we submit and humble ourselves before God and resist the devil, he will flee (James 4:7). You and I are from God, we are over-comers because “greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). God has provided armor for our spiritual battles and we must put it on or apply it.  The Apostle Paul teaches us, “Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare” (Ephesians 6:13-18).  A Kingdom heart knows the Lord of every battle.  Are you trusting the Lord with all the ordeals of your life?


During Lent, we will be using the acronym P.R.A.Y. as we pray for a Kingdom Heart.  P=praise, R=repent, A=ask, and Y=yield.  May God bless you as you spend time in God’s Word and in prayer today.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 4-11-19

April 11, 2018

Hebrews 2:1-9 New Living Translation (NLT)

Today is the thirty-second day of our 40-Day Lenten Series, “Praying for a Kingdom Heart.”  Lent should be a time of prayerful reflection, repentance, and restoration as we draw closer to the heart of God.  If we are going to identify with the heart of God, we must learn to recognize the Truth from false teaching.  Since the arrival of Christ, Satan has been manipulating and lying to people in order to get them away from the Truth. We must learn to listen carefully to God’s Word in order to know we are in the Truth; otherwise, we will be led astray.  Because God gave us the Word, we must base our faith on it and rest in the eye witness accounts of Christ’s disciples and the miracles of which they wrote. Jesus blesses us for this kind of faith.  In fact he told his disciples, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen me and yet have believed” (John 20:29). False teaching rejects the authority and supremacy of Jesus as the Messiah.  Yet, the Word teaches God placed Jesus the Messiah in charge of everything and gave him absolute authority before he ascended to heaven (Mat 28:18). We must connect to Christ, because he promised, “I will be with you always even unto the end of the world” (Mat 28:20).  He is our Lord of Lords and King of Kings.  When you find yourself troubled by current events and worried about the future, do you turn to the Truth of Christ’s authority over all things and praise him because you are in his care? Do you know the power of praying in his name and remaining in a lifestyle of worship?


The author of Hebrews called his readers to listen carefully to the Truth that is written about Messiah, so they would not be deceived by false teachings.  It would be easy to believe since God is love, there is nothing else required for humanity to do; however, there is the matter of believing in the work of Christ as our sin sacrifice. As well, there is the matter of listening to the Spirit of Truth for the purpose of making us holy.  We live in a fallen world that rejects Christ.  Scripture identifies the rising of the evil Anti-Christ in end times who deceive the very elect of God. Jesus prayed to the Father for his disciples, “Father, I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. They do not belong to this world any more than I do. Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth. Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world. And I give myself as a holy sacrifice for them so they can be made holy by your truth” (John 17:15-19).


During Lent, we will be using the acronym P.R.A.Y. as we pray for a Kingdom Heart.  P=praise, R=repent, A=ask, and Y=yield.  May God bless you as you spend time in God’s Word and in prayer today.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 4-10-19

April 10, 2019

Luke 18:31-34 The Message (MSG)


Today is the thirty-first day of our 40-Day Lenten Series, “Praying for a Kingdom Heart.”  Lent should be a time of prayerful reflection, repentance, and restoration as we draw closer to the heart of God. We must want to be taken deeper into God’s thoughts in order to better understand his heart and plan for us.  Understanding God’s ways can sometimes be a challenge; our minds are not conditioned to think the way our Heavenly Father thinks. God’s Word is given to challenge and guide our thinking, so we can gain a bigger picture of our God.  “What is impossible with people is possible with God” (Luke 18:27).  This is a Truth we must never forget.  The disciples were always struggling to understand the literal words of Messiah.  He had to speak to them again and again and again.  Christ was trying to reveal to them something prophetic and spiritual and they were stuck trying to process information in their souls—minds, wills, emotions. Sometimes Christ had to take them away from the crowds; take them aside for the purpose of bringing clarity.  Even then, the disciples did not always get the message until it manifest later in the natural realm. I am so grateful Father God is patient with his children; with me!  Learning the ways of faith in God is hard work that requires our devotion to understand and apply Truth.  The Good News is God never gives up on getting Truth to us.  Are you sometimes tempted to give up the quest for more of God, because you feel uncertain in your thinking when reading the Word?  


In our passage today, Jesus is trying to tell the disciples about his upcoming death.  They could not grasp how what Jesus was saying to them could be even possible.  Just like the disciples, we need the work of the Spirit to help us understand the depths of God’s love and the work of Truth in our lives.  We will never allow ourselves to be taken to the deep places, until we are willing to trust the Lord with our whole lives.  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not depend on your own understanding.  Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take” (Prov 3:5-6). Keep reading the Word of God and ask the Spirit to impart Truth to your heart. God wants to get it to you.


During Lent, we will be using the acronym P.R.A.Y. as we pray for a Kingdom Heart.  P=praise, R=repent, A=ask, and Y=yield.  May God bless you as you spend time in God’s Word and in prayer today.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 4-9-19

April 9, 2019

Psalm 20 New Life Version (NLV)


Today is the thirtieth day of our 40-Day Lenten Series, “Praying for a Kingdom Heart.”  Lent should be a time of prayerful reflection, repentance, and restoration as we draw closer to the heart of God.  As we draw closer to God’s heart, we are able to rest in his power. Have you ever found yourself on the verge of a meltdown? You are overwhelmed.  This is when life leaves your faith stretched, emotions raveled, and an inner awareness that you have no ability to sustain yourself.  This is a time of change and you are too weak to embrace it.  My friends, God is our Strength.  During those times, we must trust God and resist acting in fear, because God has promised to be our wisdom, power, and strength (Isaiah 12:2).  If you know King Jesus, you never face a day alone.  The Kingdom is righteousness, peace, and joy; the King abides in the Kingdom that is within you.  Every day seems to bring some form of approaching change, so as the day plays out will you place your trust in God’s Strength?


David prayed for God to keep his people safe.  He knew the true strength of a nation was found not in military might, but in the worship of Yahweh who was their Strength.  We, too, must place our trust and confidence in God. We were created to be worshippers of Yahweh—the One True God.  He alone can honor the desire of our hearts and make our lives victorious. His strength never fails.


During Lent, we will be using the acronym P.R.A.Y. as we pray for a Kingdom Heart.  P=praise, R=repent, A=ask, and Y=yield.  May God bless you as you spend time in God’s Word and in prayer today.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 4-8-19

April 8, 2019

Hebrews 10:19-25 New Living Translation (NLT)


Today is the twenty-ninth day of our 40-Day Lenten Series, “Praying for a Kingdom Heart.”  Lent should be a time of prayerful reflection, repentance, and restoration as we draw closer to the heart of God.  Scripture teaches spiritual struggles will be a part of the Last Days before Christ comes for us. We face struggles now and we will face struggles in the future.  Therefore, we must persevere, because we cannot allow the enemy to rob us of our faithful walk with Christ. Do you know what helps Christ’s followers overcome the struggles?  Meeting together in worship, because there we grow in our relationship with God, we can share our faith, draw upon the faith of others, motivate one another, and receive help when we need it most.  Where two or more are gathered in his name, he is in our midst (Mat 18:20).  Jesus is our High Priest and he makes a way for us to connect and remain strong and vigilant.  Do you realize the great value of meeting with other believers in praise and worship? 


During Lent, we will be using the acronym P.R.A.Y. as we pray for a Kingdom Heart.  P=praise, R=repent, A=ask, and Y=yield.  May God bless you as you spend time in God’s Word and in prayer today.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 4-6-19

April 6, 2019

John 11:45-53 The Message (MSG)

Today is the twenty-eighth day of our 40-Day Lenten Series, “Praying for a Kingdom Heart.”  Lent should be a time of prayerful reflection, repentance, and restoration as we draw closer to the heart of God. People have the freedom to go in two entirely different spiritual directions each day. We can choose to look for God’s presence and grace guiding us along the paths of righteousness, or we can choose to guide our own self-serving paths. God allows us to make the choice. Now, when we choose to yield our lives to God, the Spirit reveals God-Signs to us along the way. It’s like being guided by little symbolic spiritual hugs of assurance for our faith. As we pray and ask for God’s grace, we may see details being brought together or connected to help us while facing challenges or concerns. These are moments of revelation that God is taking care of us. Every day as you pray and ask for a Kingdom heart, do you also expect the Spirit to reveal God-Signs that help you follow and grow in your belief and faith in the saving work of God’s Son? 

In our passage today, Jesus has just resurrected and restored Lazarus. As a result of this miracle, many people were turning to believe in Jesus as the Son of God—the Messiah. Talk about a huge God-Sign! You would think that would be a hard God-Sign to miss, right? It depends on the heart. The hearts of the Pharisees and chief priests were bent on self-serving power. They wanted power over the people; rather than to help God’s people yield and grow under the rule of God. Yet, God used even the hardness and the selfishness of their hearts to bring his will to pass. In fact, he even put the words he wanted spoken in Caiaphas’ mouth in order to save the world. Our lives will move in the direction of our hearts. Choose to believe in the Son of God as the greatest God-Sign of all times!

During Lent, we will be using the acronym P.R.A.Y. as we pray for a Kingdom Heart. P=praise, R=repent, A=ask, and Y=yield. May God bless you as you spend time in God’s Word and in prayer today.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 4-5-19

April 5, 2019

Psalm 126 The Message (MSG)

Today is the twenty-seventh day of our 40-Day Lenten Series, “Praying for a Kingdom Heart.”  Lent should be a time of prayerful reflection, repentance, and restoration as we draw closer to the heart of God.  God is always able to bring something good out of something difficult.  As believers pray and seek the heart of God, we know we are seeking the heart of the Healer.   How big is your God?   God restores and heals spiritual drought, wounded emotions, infirm physical bodies, fractured relationships, etc.; anything that can be injured God desires to restore and make whole once again. Restoration flows from God’s goodness; a goodness that is evident to believers, as well as non-believers. Grace and favor is a part of every believer’s spiritual garments. When God miraculously works in restorative and healing ways, people who were previously burdened and downcast are suddenly filled with great joy and hope. It is evident that something “suddenly” changed.  We sow our disappointments and look for God to use it for our good; as we yield to God’s plan for our lives he has promised to bring an abundant harvest of his goodness to the forefront of our lives. When our hearts are focused on the Kingdom, we guide others to experience the Healer during times of difficulty, too. Are you quick to pray with others and help them connect with the Healer?

In our passage today, the psalmist remembers God’s past healing work with faith and hope as he prays for God to heal Israel, again.  God brought restoration in the past when he brought his people back from the exodus and exile.  Biblical history demonstrates God’s desire to restore Israel time and time again.  He desires to restore every one of his children. It may seem hard to understand, but God wants great things for you and you must be whole to receive them!  Be healed in Jesus' name!

During Lent, we will be using the acronym P.R.A.Y. as we pray for a Kingdom Heart.  P=praise, R=repent, A=ask, and Y=yield.  May God bless you as you spend time in God’s Word and in prayer today.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 4-4-19

April 4, 2019

Isaiah 43:1-7 The Message (MSG)

Today is the twenty-sixth day of our 40-Day Lenten Series, “Praying for a Kingdom Heart.”  Lent should be a time of prayerful reflection, repentance, and restoration as we draw closer to the heart of God.  When you and I pray, we should maintain an awareness of God’s great love for us. Despite our failures to love God the way he deserves, he has chosen to respond with love and mercy. God is our faithful God who extends forgiveness and grace.  Our lives are precious to him.  When you pray, do you realize you are sharing time with Someone who sees you as precious; Someone who would pay any price to be with you and take care of you?

In our passage today, Israel has spent five decades under Babylonian captivity; God allowed Babylon to overtake Israel because they were unfaithful to him. Isaiah kept trying to call them back into a posture of repentance, but they did not listen.  Therefore, Israel tasted exile and it was painful. During that time, they did a great deal of soul-searching and praying about their relationship with Yahweh.  They may have been wondering if Yahweh would be faithful to them in the future; after all, they rejected him, right?  Israel’s problem is our problem, too.  We forget God is perfect Love; we think about our human capacity for love and judge God accordingly.  Because Israel belongs to the Lord, God will be faithful.  You and I can count on God’s faithfulness to us. God is for us not against us. That does not mean the way will always be easy.  In fact, sometimes our paths lead to hard places.  But, God has promised to be with us.  As we pray and seek God, let us never forget he is faithful and we were created for his glory.  He is going to see us through.  Praise our Faithful God!

During Lent, we will be using the acronym P.R.A.Y. as we pray for a Kingdom Heart.  P=praise, R=repent, A=ask, and Y=yield.  May God bless you as you spend time in God’s Word and in prayer today.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 4-3-19

April 3, 2019

2 Kings 4:1-7 The Message (MSG)

Today is the twenty-fifth day of our 40-Day Lenten Series, “Praying for a Kingdom Heart.”  Lent should be a time of prayerful reflection, repentance, and restoration as we draw closer to the heart of God.  Today, we continue our prayers for a Kingdom heart as we look further into God’s plan to provide for us through righteous sowing and reaping.  He alone is the All-Sufficient One.  He is the Source of everything we need in life.  God resists the proud, but he gives Grace to the humble; he instigates supply when the humble cry out (1 Peter 5:5).  When we have problems, we need to get with people of deep faith to pray and gain wisdom. That level of transparency may be difficult for some of us; we might not want others to know where we find ourselves.  Yet, people of deep faith push our faith to produce big things in God’s Kingdom economy. We must sow a seed and activate our faith in order to reap divine supply.  Sometimes the Lord provides inspiration or places an idea on our hearts when we pray; then, he asks us to follow.  The idea may not always make sense to our natural mind; the idea is a seed that requires faith.  Have you found yourself praying for God to meet a need in your life only to find you have an idea as a seed? 

In our passage, we note a woman in need. Recently widowed, she approaches the prophet Elisha.  This woman’s husband was a godly man who served the Lord by serving others; he sowed seeds of goodness in his devotion to God. She tells of her husband’s faith, but never mentions her own.  Elisha sets her up to receive; he pushes her to use her faith.  He makes her identify a small seed of provision; oil is left in her house.  Elisha instructs her use her faith by collecting jugs.  I am sure she is thinking, “God, this is ridiculous! These empty jugs are not going to save my sons from becoming slaves!”  True enough, collecting jugs was a test of her faith.  How many jugs would she collect, because she believed God spoke through Elisha?   

During Lent, we will be using the acronym P.R.A.Y. as we pray for a Kingdom Heart.  P=praise, R=repent, A=ask, and Y=yield.  May God bless you as you spend time in God’s Word and in prayer today.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 4-2-19

April 2, 2019

Joshua 5:9-12 The Voice (VOICE)

Today is the twenty-fourth day of our 40-Day Lenten Series, “Praying for a Kingdom Heart.”  Lent should be a time of prayerful reflection, repentance, and restoration as we draw closer to the heart of God.  Our prayers connect our human lives with the loving provision of Creator God; it is a communication partnership to which God calls us. He loves working with us, as well as helping us see and enjoy his presence.  The Lord is our divine Provider and he is teaching us to be his sons and daughters of faith and love.  We are to be led by the Spirit to bear righteous fruit which brings forth more seeds. Therefore, we generously sow that which is good into the fertile ground of the Kingdom while we pray and wait; in so doing we are sowing to the work and will of our loving God.  While we are helping others, God multiplies that love seed to bring forth our harvest. “Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary (Gal. 6:9).  Are you putting faith to your seed as you ask God to provide in your life?

In our passage today, Joshua has successfully led the Israelites into the Promised Land as directed by God. The wilderness wandering and God’s temporary provision of manna is history; the Jordan River has closed up behind them.  They must move forward if they are going to obey God.  It is time to grow up and put their hand to the plow.  Israel has been delivered into a land to call their own; they will now receive God’s provisions through sowing and reaping in obedience to God’s Word.

During Lent, we will be using the acronym P.R.A.Y. as we pray for a Kingdom Heart.  P=praise, R=repent, A=ask, and Y=yield.  May God bless you as you spend time in God’s Word and in prayer today.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 4-1-19

April 1, 2019

2 Corinthians 5:16-21 The Message (MSG)

Today is the twenty-third day of our 40-Day Lenten Series, “Praying for a Kingdom Heart.”  Lent should be a time of prayerful reflection, repentance, and restoration as we draw closer to the heart of God.  In order to connect in God’s best for us, we need to look at life in a whole new way. God is all about healing and restoring his children in right relationship with himself; this desire of our Father motivates everything he puts into place.  Through the Prophet Isaiah, God promised to bring reconciliation, "The Redeemer will come to Jerusalem to buy back those in Israel who have turned from their sins," says the LORD (59:20).  God fulfilled his Word and demonstrated his love for us by sending Jesus as the Messiah to be our new life Giver.  When we connect to Christ we are re-created in the image of our new Master; we are a new creation.   Believers are members of a new creation order.  Our sins are erased and we are brought into right relationship with God.  Now, we are invited to join Christ in his ministry of reconciliation.  You and I have a ministry to fulfill; we are the Messiah’s ambassadors to reveal to the world the restoration God has put into place.  Our hearts should be overflowing with gratitude for what God has done in our behalf.  What do you talk about each day with the people around you?  It would be nice if we spent more time talking about Messiah and the new creation he made available than all the garbage going in the old creation.  Are you telling people every day about Christ the Redeemer?

During Lent, we will be using the acronym P.R.A.Y. as we pray for a Kingdom Heart.  P=praise, R=repent, A=ask, and Y=yield.  May God bless you as you spend time in God’s Word and in prayer today.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 3-30-19

March 30, 2019

Luke 15:1-7 Good News Translation (GNT)

Today is the twenty-second day of our 40-Day Lenten Series, “Praying for a Kingdom Heart.”  Lent should be a time of prayerful reflection, repentance, and restoration as we draw closer to the heart of God. Today, we are reflecting upon Jesus our Good Shepherd and his heart for increasing the Kingdom.  The Lord is always tending to us and leading us into righteous living and spiritual vitality; he is our personal Savior and we love him. As we respond to his love we spiritually grow and develop.  He is always with us, so when the enemy of our souls attacks, the Good Shepherd gently gathers us into his arms, restores, and heals us.  We have all that we need as we follow our Shepherd (Ps 23:1).  Every believer has a story of how God has been the Good Shepherd who has loved us when we needed it most; provided for us when the world would have left us behind. If we are honest, we will admit our lives would be in shambles apart from Christ; he holds our lives together in his love. We know every heart needs the Good Shepherd, but how concerned are we for those who are still lost and don’t know him? If we are truly concerned, our lives will reflect Christ’s passion for outreach. Honestly, are we praying and asking the Shepherd for opportunities to help him in his quest for the lost?  

The Lord cares about every human being.  He cares about those who know him and those who have yet to meet him. Our passage today reminds us that Christ is no respecter of persons, what he does for one he will do for all.  He rescues us from evil and surrounds us with grace; he calls us by name and treats us with dignity.  Others need to experience the Shepherd. 

During Lent, we will be using the acronym P.R.A.Y. as we pray for a Kingdom Heart.  P=praise, R=repent, A=ask, and Y=yield.  May God bless you as you spend time in God’s Word and in prayer today.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 3-29-19

March 29, 2019

Psalm 32:6-11

Today is the twenty-first day of our 40-Day Lenten Series, “Praying for a Kingdom Heart.”  Lent should be a time of prayerful reflection, repentance, and restoration as we draw closer to the heart of God. Sincere prayer acknowledges the holiness of God and the Grace he desires to spill over our lives as his children; he only wants good things for us.  God loves and treasures his children and this will never change; his love is not based on our performance.  Honestly, the Grace extended to Jesus is the same Grace offered to each one of us. “God saved you by his grace when you believed.  And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God” (Eph.2:8).  I once heard Grace used as an acronym:  God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.  Christ was sinless, but we are not.  As prodigals, God’s Grace calls us to repentance and welcomes us with open arms. “So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God.  There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most” (Heb 4:16). God is Grace so instead of running from him, we should be running to him with every aspect of our lives.  Do you pray knowing extravagant Grace and Love are waiting to be offered to you?

During Lent, we will be using the acronym P.R.A.Y. as we pray for a Kingdom Heart.  P=praise, R=repent, A=ask, and Y=yield.  May God bless you as you spend time in God’s Word and in prayer today.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 3-28-19

March 28, 2019

Psalm 32:1-5 Contemporary English Version

Today is the twentieth day of our 40-Day Lenten Series, “Praying for a Kingdom Heart.”  Lent should be a time of prayerful reflection, repentance, and restoration as we draw closer to the heart of God.  This is a time to deeply reflect upon our spiritual lives and how we tend to wander as God’s children.  To enjoy God is to be real and focused in our quest for him through heartfelt prayer.  Prayer flows from the meditations of the heart.  In the gospel of Matthew, Jesus sets out an example of a prayer for us that touches on the very issues or things for which God knows we need his help (Mat 6:9-13).  Within that prayer, Jesus teaches his disciples to pray about forgiveness.  “Forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us” (Mat 6:12).  Many times we struggle with forgiving those who have sinned against us, but we fail to realize how essential that very act of forgiveness is to our relationship with God.  Remember, God’s ways are not our ways.  Forgiveness is God’s way of restoring us, taking away the unhealthy remnants of sin, and filling us with Kingdom joy. Do you know the joy of forgiveness in the holy hand of the Restorer?

Love keeps no record of having been wronged (1 Cor 13:5).  Forgiveness means we choose to forfeit our right to hold onto feelings that are not from God; it is a decision that forbids an attitude of resentment or bitterness to take root in our lives.  We cannot serve two masters by trying to say we love God and at the same time refuse to forgive others.  When we refuse to forgive others, we are not serving God we are serving Self.  God is the Great Forgiver who is also the Restorer.  We need God to restore our souls when we sin against him; to obey the conviction of the Spirit and humble ourselves in order for the Lord to restore our fellowship and communion in his love. He wants to take us to a vibrant place of Joy.  We also need God to restore our souls when others sin against us; to allow the Spirit to draw us into extending forgiveness to others in order for him to take the burden off our hearts that is constricting our Joy.  When we forgive others, we are allowing God to deal with that sinner.  David knew about forgiveness; asking God to forgive his sins, as well as forgiving those who sinned against him.  Either way, the topic is sin and forgiveness is the answer.  Let the passage this morning rest in your hearts.

During Lent, we will be using the acronym P.R.A.Y. as we pray for a Kingdom Heart.  P=praise, R=repent, A=ask, and Y=yield.  May God bless you as you spend time in God’s Word and in prayer today.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 3-27-19

March 27, 2019

Luke 13:18-21 New Living Translation

Today is the nineteenth day of our 40-Day Lenten Series, “Praying for a Kingdom Heart.”  Lent should be a time of prayerful reflection, repentance, and restoration as we draw closer to the heart of God.  When you pray for a Kingdom heart, you are praying for growth. Let’s reflect on Jesus’ message about the Kingdom. Jesus walked around the region of Galilee preaching and inviting people to listen to him and follow him into Kingdom living.  I am sure as he moved from town to town preaching about the Kingdom of God, some people were thinking, “Jesus, don’t look now, but it doesn’t appear you have much of a Kingdom.  You only have a few undisciplined men following you!” There was no way to view the Kingdom to which Jesus referred. One day the Pharisees asked Jesus when the Kingdom of God would come and he answered, “The Kingdom of God does not come in such a way as to be seen. 21 No one will say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’; because the Kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:20-21).  Do you realize when you pray for a Kingdom heart, you are praying for the lordship of King Jesus to be revealed in the very substance of your life?

Jesus is the Author of small beginnings and he works in hearts that are willing to grow; it requires the faith of a mustard seed.  We may not like small beginnings, but God loves them because there is plenty of room to grow and expand. We must never forget God is Sovereign and his ways are not our ways. Therefore, he declared the Kingdom would begin with a small group of “spiritually poor” people living under the lordship of their King (Mat 5:3).  From that small beginning, the Kingdom that grows through divine life would one day be a place of shelter for all the other kingdoms of the earth (Dan 4:10-12).  The Apostle John wrote about a vision he had of this growth, “The kingdom of this world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ and He will reign forever and ever” (Rev 11:15). So, my spiritual family, keep praying for a Kingdom heart.

During Lent, we will be using the acronym P.R.A.Y. as we pray for a Kingdom Heart.  P=praise, R=repent, A=ask, and Y=yield.  May God bless you as you spend time in God’s Word and in prayer today.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 3-26-19

March 26, 2019

Isaiah 55:6-9 New Living Translation

Today is the eighteenth day of our 40-Day Lenten Series, “Praying for a Kingdom Heart.”  Lent should be a time of prayerful reflection, repentance, and restoration as we draw closer to the heart of God.  I am very proud of those of you who have been reading the devotions and allowing the Word of God to settle into your souls. Reflection that leads to repentance and restoration begins in our thoughts as we meditate on the Word.  Remember, humanity thought it was foolish to acknowledge God, so “he abandoned us to our foolish thinking” (Rom 1:28). The Lord transforms us from being foolish children of the world into children of faith in a loving God by saving us and changing the way we think (Rom 12:2).  Christ is Truth and our Source for Wisdom. Therefore, the believer’s minds can become a great battlefield between truth and deception. The enemy is a liar and he will not give up working against your devotion to God or your quest for Truth.  Knowing or identifying Truth is essential to winning the spiritual battle. Don’t ask the world about who God is and what pleases him; the world has been abandoned to foolish thinking. Go to the Word and see what it reveals about God’s character and expectations for his children; pray for Wisdom as you read.  Scripture is the story of God’s self-revelation to the world; it is the Wisdom people need to move beyond foolish thinking into faith living and enjoy his holy presence.  Have you found yourself wondering if your thoughts about God and his ways are based on Wisdom?

As humans, we should never be so foolish as to think we have a handle on God’s thoughts and presume to understand his ways.  However, we can know his heart for us as his children; he affirms us with his love. Trying to fit an infinite God into our human thoughts is ludicrous.  Trying to live our lives according to our flesh or according the culture is equally ludicrous.  Apply the Word to your life and look for the fruit of the Kingdom to manifest in you.  God’s children are known by their good fruit (love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control).  When the believer bears Kingdom fruit it is a revelation of God’s presence in us…and God smiles!

During Lent, we will be using the acronym P.R.A.Y. as we pray for a Kingdom Heart.  P=praise, R=repent, A=ask, and Y=yield.  May God bless you as you spend time in God’s Word and in prayer today.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 3-23-19

March 23, 2019

Luke 6:43-45 New Living Translation (NLT)

Today is the sixteenth day of our 40-Day Lenten Series, “Praying for a Kingdom Heart.”  Lent should be a time of prayerful reflection, repentance, and restoration as we draw closer to the heart of God.  Recently, I had an experience that captured my attention and made me pause for reflection; I believe God allowed it for my benefit and growth, as well as the growth of others whom I would teach.  I was a target of a stranger’s escalating impatience while driving; I was in this person’s way and there was nothing I could do to avoid or change things.  I am grateful for the experience, because it gave me an opportunity to look deep in my heart for the presence of Truth; to assess my spiritual growth in Christ in the Light of this encounter.  As part of my reflection time, I turned inward to ask, “When things aren’t going the way I think they should, do I still represent the Truth (Lord of Love) in how I treat others?”  The world demands its own way; sinful flesh demands its own way and seeks to justify evil behavior. But, Love does not demand its own way and abides in Truth (1 Cor. 13:5).  Therefore, there should be a visual and spiritual contrast between the world’s way of treating others and Christ’s way.  How do you treat the people around you? What kind of fruit is your mouth producing?

As children of God, we must never forget how we speak to or treat someone else is an outside snapshot of who is sitting on the throne of our hearts. We can attend worship, sing songs, raise our hands, perform good deeds, and act godly at church, but whose character do we reflect every day?  When we produce actions that are void of the Truth of God’s character, we are not producing the life of God.  This is Truth whether we are behind the steering wheel of a car, speaking to family, friend, or stranger, or living contrary to God’s commands. If the Lord is not on the throne of our hearts, we will not produce the fruit of the Kingdom.  

In the sixth chapter of the Gospel of Luke we see a series of contrasts.   First, there is a blind man trying to guide another blind man.  Second, there is a person who draws attention to the speck in his neighbor’s eye never realizing he has a log sticking out of his own.  Third, we see two trees—one good and one bad.  All of these examples from the Lord point to a spiritual condition that requires repentance; hypocrisy.

During Lent, we will be using the acronym P.R.A.Y. as we pray for a Kingdom Heart.  P=praise, R=repent, A=ask, and Y=yield.  May God bless you as you spend time in God’s Word and in prayer today.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 3-22-19

March 22, 2019

Revelation 3:1-6 New Living Translation (NLT)

Today is the fifteenth day of our 40-Day Lenten Series, “Praying for a Kingdom Heart.”  Lent should be a time of prayerful reflection, repentance, and restoration as we draw closer to the heart of God. We must make time for reflection.  When we sit quietly, meditate on the Word, and pray, the Spirit helps us enjoy fellowship and favor.  When we choose to live differently than the Word commands, we need to repent. Repentance is a gift and blessing from the Lord, because it gives us the opportunity to change our direction and move once again in power toward oneness with God. Repentance, restoration, and the work of faith are key to Kingdom Living.  Are you quick to repent, ask for the Lord to restore you, and use your faith to overcome further sin and worldliness?

In our passage today, the Apostle John writes a vision he receives from the Lord about the church in Sardis; a sleeping church out of fellowship with Christ. These believers had a form of godliness, but they failed to trust and follow the Spirit into repentance and restoration.  The people started out right, but over time they stopped growing in righteousness and began living lives contaminated by the world.  Christ calls his followers to remain stedfast through trials and temptations.  “Whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith in Jesus Christ” (1 John 5:4-5). White garments are a reward for those who apply the Word and reject the world. Christ is our Overcomer. Are you awake, using your faith, and yielding to your Overcomer?

During Lent, we will be using the acronym P.R.A.Y. as we pray for a Kingdom Heart.  P=praise, R=repent, A=ask, and Y=yield.  May God bless you as you spend time in God’s Word and in prayer today.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 3-21-19

March 21, 2019

Psalm 63:1-8 New Living Translation (NLT)

Today is the fourteenth day of our 40-Day Lenten Series, “Praying for a Kingdom Heart.”  Lent should be a time of prayerful reflection, repentance, and restoration as we draw closer to the heart of God.  During my reflection time today, I am very aware the fallen world and its rebellion against the authority of God actually seeks to drain me and leave me “feeling” frustrated and fearful; while God’s Spirit encourages, sustains, and fills me with faith and hope by “knowing” I have a bright future.  With one fleeting thought I can “feel” all kinds of emotions that do not rest on God’s love or sovereignty. Do you sometimes feel weakened by your own thoughts and feelings due to the issues that flow from a sinful world? In Christ, I am peaceful, sustained, and satisfied; the Lord is my happy place!  There is such a contrast for me between the world and God’s Kingdom when it comes to “knowing” I am secure, safe, and satisfied. The Refiner is helping me gain spiritual fitness, so he can sustain me, but I need to pay attention.  Do you reach for the Sustainer to make you feel secure and safe, as well as look for his presence to satisfy your soul when the spirit of the world vies for your attention?

Life in the world can “feel” threatening.  Fear is certainly trying all the time to find a home in our thoughts so it can be worked out through our lives.  All fear does is drain us by repetition; it keeps coming around and around in our thoughts for us to consider or entertain.  Fear wants to be planted so it can grow.  We do not need to give into fear’s process.  The Word teaches, “Humble yourself before God, resist the enemy (fear), and he will flee” (James 4:7).  If we are willing to praise and humble ourselves before God, as our Sustainer, he will open our spiritual eyes to see the reality of his glory and power over all things.  Our thoughts can suddenly be refocused on Truth, so like David parched and feeling insecure in the wilderness, we can begin to praise our God who is the true Sustainer of Life and the Lover of our Souls who will never fail us.  If we were never left spiritually thirsty by the world, would we ever drink from the life of God? Your thirst is your Friend!

During Lent, we will be using the acronym P.R.A.Y. as we pray for a Kingdom Heart.  P=praise, R=repent, A=ask, and Y=yield.  May God bless you as you spend time in God’s Word and in prayer today.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 3-20-19

March 20, 2019

Luke 13:22-27 The Living Translation

Today is the thirteenth day of our 40-Day Lenten Series, “Praying for a Kingdom Heart.”  Lent should be a time of prayerful reflection, repentance, and restoration as we draw closer to the heart of God. As his children, we are constantly going through the refining process as God seeks to free us from impurities in our character and make us spiritually fit in our faith. The Kingdom was not created for the spiritually undisciplined; it was created for those of great faith and mighty in the Spirit. “God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God” (Mat 5:8). Do you realize how you respond to God’s refining process for your life determines how spiritually fit you become to handle Kingdom living in a sinful world?

The Lord is the righteous Refiner of our faith. We must be willing to endure the Lord’s discipline and our souls must be willing to pay the price, because refining is not painless. The refining process can strengthen our faith through trials or through self-denial. It is the work of Christ to open the Kingdom door to life. The door is the shape of Jesus; he is the door and we are to be molded in his image (John 10:9). There are not many paths to God or his Kingdom. There is One narrow door; he is the Christ—the Refiner—who brings us to the heart of God.

During Lent, we will be using the acronym P.R.A.Y. as we pray for a Kingdom Heart. P=praise, R=repent, A=ask, and Y=yield. May God bless you as you spend time in God’s Word and in prayer today.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 3-19-19

March 19, 2019

1 Corinthians 10:1-11 Good News Translation (GNT)

Today is the twelfth day of our 40-Day Lenten Series, “Praying for a Kingdom Heart.”  Lent should be a time of prayerful reflection, repentance, and restoration as we draw closer to the heart of God.  God offers his children of faith every spiritual advantage, but we cannot lust after the things of the world; it is spiritual rebellion.  Faith in God’s Word must govern our choices; therefore, we hunger for God’s holiness.  The Word living in us brings a holy alliance with the Lord.  Do you realize every passage we read in Scripture is relevant for our lives because it reveals something about our Holy God, as well as the lessons we can learn from either the faithfulness or faith-failures of his people?

We can learn quite a bit today from the Israelites’ journey in the wilderness. They have given us much to ponder.  According to Scripture, in the wilderness the people lusted after false gods and immorality (remember the golden calf).  They tested the Lord and then complained when he disciplined them.  In the book of Numbers, Moses records the complaints of the people, “If only we had died in Egypt, or even here in the wilderness!  Why is the Lord taking us to this country only to have us die in battle. Let’s choose a new leader and go back to Egypt” (14:2-4).  The people made a choice to rebel, their faith was positioned as they verbalized their will, and God’s power rested on it.  Therefore, many died according to their own rebellious words.  They put faith to their words in the corrupt system of Egypt (symbolic of the world) and their hope in another leader whom they could control. They preferred bondage over freedom and death over following God.  So, God honored their request.  Do you understand faith, your will, and the power of your words? 

During Lent, we will be using the acronym P.R.A.Y. as we pray for a Kingdom Heart.  P=praise, R=repent, A=ask, and Y=yield.  May God bless you as you spend time in God’s Word and in prayer today.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 3-18-19

March 18, 2019

Romans 4:1-5 The Message (MSG)

Today is the eleventh day of our 40-Day Lenten Series, “Praying for a Kingdom Heart.”  Lent should be a time of prayerful reflection, repentance, and restoration as we draw closer to the heart of God. Faith is essential in order to please God. He is the Creator of Life and he has decided his children must demonstrate faith in his love and care. If we are going to walk by faith and not by sight, it means we must adjust how we perceive God in our lives. He does not love us and call us to faith, because we are worthy and deserve good things. We are sinful creatures loved by a holy God. He calls us to faith, because he chooses to spill his love over us and faith is the vehicle to get righteous provision to us. Do you realize God invites you to connect to Christ in faith in order to bless you with a meaningful and abundant life he has chosen for you as your Righteous Creator?

The way we enter into God’s plan is to place our lives before him, graciously receive his righteous salvation, choose obedience to the Word, and fearlessly live in the power of the Spirit who promises to direct our paths. Therefore, we must push past every fear the enemy sends our way. God has not given us a spirit of fear but of love, power, and a sound mind (2 Tim 1:7).  Quite frankly, the enemy puts up a spiritual fight when we are determined to obediently walk by faith in the love and ways of God. Satan knows we are very near the Father’s heart.  

When it comes to real spiritual life, the turning point for each child of God is to learn how to use his or her faith to manifest God’s righteous provision. Believers all have a measure a faith; we must protect our faith and invite God to increase it. We need to start speaking faith-filled words over every aspect of our lives. Faith must be practiced in the natural to manifest the provision of God. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God. Have you ever thought about how God may use different struggles or conflicts found in your life to grow your faith and trust in him, because he is seeking to get Kingdom supply to you? 

During Lent, we will be using the acronym P.R.A.Y. as we pray for a Kingdom Heart. P=praise, R=repent, A=ask, and Y=yield. May God bless you as you spend time in God’s Word and in prayer today.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 3-16-19

March 16, 2019

Matthew 23:37-39 The Passion Translation (TPT)

Today is the tenth day of our 40-Day Lenten Series, “Praying for a Kingdom Heart.”  Lent should be a time of prayerful reflection, repentance, and restoration as we draw closer to the heart of God. He wants us near his heart in order to take care of us.  A Kingdom heart develops as we welcome and dwell with the Word in bringing deliverance to our souls (mind, will, and emotions).  Therefore, do you live each day feeding on the Truth of God’s Word, confronting anything in your flesh that tries to keep you in bondage to sin, and asking the Lord to deliver you into the Truth of who you really are as his child?  

When we first come to Christ, we confess we need a Savior; a Deliverer from sin and death.  Christ brings us freedom and eternal life; our bodies become the Temple of God.  Now, we are free to live out our salvation each day being led by the Spirit whose job it is to keep us living the Word or Truth.  Let’s do some reflection.  Do you recognize as a human being living in a world tainted by sin you have an inclination in your flesh to live wayward to the Word of God, because Satan uses people and systems to oppose God? We need to live in close fellowship with God, because he is the Truth that delivers us, on an ongoing basis, from the intent of evil.

In our passage today, Jesus prophesies the future while sharing about the heart of the Father.  At this time, the Temple in Jerusalem is considered the earthly dwelling place of God. The religious leaders and systems are to be examples of the Truth; reminding God’s people about how the Deliverer came to take them from slavery in a system corrupted by evil and delivering them into a realm of freedom to live the Truth. It is the stubbornness of the people and systems that will cause them to face God’s judgment. The Temple will lie in ruins and the people will be exiled back into slavery.  But, where is the Deliverer?  Waiting for the Truth to be welcomed.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 3-15-19

March 15, 2019

Philippians 3:17-20 The Passion Translation (TPT)

Today is the ninth day of our 40-Day Lenten Series, “Praying for a Kingdom Heart.”  Lent should be a time of prayerful reflection, repentance, and restoration as we draw closer to the heart of God.  A Kingdom heart develops when we recognize and trust the Author of our Faith—Christ the Anointed One—to finish the work he began in us (Heb 12:2).

Every believer struggles in life; no one is exempt from trials and testing. God helps us disconnect from the world’s influence; a struggle is the outflowing result.  Have you ever thought about how God may use different struggles or conflict found in your life to help you grow in the humble character of Christ? It is a blessing, but it doesn’t feel like one at the time.  Sometimes our struggles are connected to the discipline of God in our lives.  God’s discipline flows out of his love for us and his desire to make us holy.  We may struggle and suffer in order to learn obedience. God may use our disobedience to his Word in order to draw us back to himself. Scripture teaches God disciplines those whom he loves. God is the Father of our spirits, so we should submit quickly to his discipline to draw us to himself and away from sin. 

In our passage today, the Apostle Paul is sharing with those in the early church in Philippi; they must govern their lives by a different standard than the world.  As their pastor, Paul weeps for those who have chosen to return to the ways of the world; they rejected the discipline of God and the leading of the Spirit toward self-sacrificial living. Keep this in your thoughts today, if you know Jesus, you are a citizen of his Kingdom and he is making you a proper representation by maturing your faith.  Imitate Christ’s Kingdom heart.

During Lent, we will be using the acronym P.R.A.Y. as we pray for a Kingdom Heart.  P=praise, R=repent, A=ask, and Y=yield.  May God bless you as you spend time in God’s Word and in prayer today.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 3-14-19

March 14, 2019

Philippians 3:7-12 Contemporary English Version (CEV)

Today is the eighth day of our 40-Day Lenten Series, “Praying for a Kingdom Heart.”  Lent should be a time of prayerful reflection, repentance, and restoration as we draw closer to the heart of God.  A Kingdom heart knows the only way to live is found in the resurrecting power of the LORD.  According to Scripture, daily God sets before us life and prosperity, as well as death and disaster. Then, he calls us to make a choice between the two.  If we choose life, he commands us to love the LORD our God, walk in his ways, keep his commandments, so we can increase and enjoy his blessings (Due 30:15-16). So, if we know the Lord is our resurrection and he brings a life with priceless spiritual blessings, why are we slow to choose real life over a lifeless existence pursuing worthless worldly pleasures and treasures?  I believe the answer lies in the struggle. 

The enemy of your soul is Satan and his spirit of sin that is found in the world and human flesh. Sin struggles against Christ’s righteousness. Sin leads a war that tries to keep you from the throne of God and the restoration Christ alone can bring. Jesus conquered sin, but now you and I need to overcome sin by surrendering to the work of the resurrected Christ. Many people exist, but how many are actually walking in the ways of God and enjoying the abundant life Christ offers? I don’t know about the hearts of others, but I am responsible for my heart and will answer for my choices about life.  Believers in Christ are destined for heaven, and resurrection power is given by the Holy Spirit so we can identify and face the struggle, throw off sin in Christ’s authority, and turn to wear the blessings of God that leads to love and Kingdom life.

In our passage today, the Apostle Paul teaches about this life Christ offers.  If you want a Kingdom heart, the love of Christ must take ahold of you and be the life you choose.  Don’t hate the struggle. Use your faith, run toward the goal, and make the choice, today.  

During Lent, we will be using the acronym P.R.A.Y. as we pray for a Kingdom Heart.  P=praise, R=repent, A=ask, and Y=yield.  May God bless you as you spend time in God’s Word and in prayer today.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 3-13-19

March 13, 2019

Luke 21:34-36 New Living Translation (NLT)

Today is the seventh day of our 40-Day Lenten Series, “Praying for a Kingdom Heart.”  Lent should be a time of prayerful reflection, repentance, and restoration as we draw closer to the heart of God. A Kingdom heart motivates us to focus on the authority of Christ; the One to whom we will one day give an account for how we have chosen to live our lives.

In our passage today, Jesus has been teaching the disciples about the future; what to look for and what will signal his Second Coming. He begins with a warning; they are to guard their hearts against apathy—lack of interest or concern for their spiritual state. They are not to allow their flesh to rule them. They must remain vibrant in their faith and loyal in their devotion to God if they are going to escape the events that precede Christ’s return. 

So here is the picture according to Luke 21: 25-28. Jesus tells his disciples to look for a future bringing strange signs in the sun, moon, and stars. The tides will be affected. All of nature will be pulled into a place of turmoil. People will be terrified at what they see coming upon the earth, for the powers in the heavens will be shaken. It is a sign the Kingdom of God is near. Then, everyone will look up and see the Son of Man coming on a cloud with power and glory; he is coming to take his place of authority over creation. For those who have lived carelessly and failed to prepare to meet Christ, they will see gloom and destruction. For God’s children who are watching and have allowed grace to cover them and the Spirit to prepare them, they will experience justice and restoration. Examine your heart today. Are you vibrant in faith and prepared to meet Christ? Have you allowed the Word to have authority over your life?  If you have questions about what the Word teaches on certain topics, then do some research.  Invest in your spiritual life; it is the real you.


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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 3-12-19

March 12, 2019

2 Peter 2:4-10, 19b-21 New Living Translation (NLT)

Today is the sixth day of our 40-Day Lenten Series, “Praying for a Kingdom Heart.”  Lent should be a time of prayerful reflection, repentance, and restoration as we draw closer to the heart of God.  A Kingdom heart develops and flourishes as we recognize any sin in our lives—which is rebellion against God’s loving character and authority—and invite the Lord to rescue us from it.

Sin is always present in this fallen world. We must live with an awareness of God’s presence with us and turn from those things God condemns.  Do you believe God condemns certain actions because he is trying to control you or keep you from enjoying life?  Or, do you believe God sees the power certain actions have to control or enslave you, so he is trying to help you maintain the freedom and loving fellowship in Christ he has provided?

Knowing God in fellowship brings amazing discernment and wisdom to each individual.  We can know the heart of God and discern when the enemy is trying to rob us.  Trials and temptations will come, but if we understand the heart of God behind his instructions, we can trust and obey him.  In our passage today, Peter teaches us about God’s consistent response when it comes to sin.

During Lent, we will be using the acronym P.R.A.Y. as we pray for a Kingdom Heart.  P=praise, R=repent, A=ask, and Y=yield.  May God bless you as you spend time in God’s Word and in prayer today.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 3-11-19

March 11, 2019

1 John 2:1-6 New Living Translation (NLT)

Today is the fifth day of our 40-Day Lenten Series, “Praying for a Kingdom Heart.”  Lent should be a time of prayerful reflection, repentance, and restoration as we draw closer to the heart of God.  A Kingdom heart grows through obedience to God’s Word and by following Christ’s way of living.  

Salvation is for the world, but each individual must, by faith, accept the work of grace. The Father desires a relationship with every follower of Christ; he connects in order to have fellowship and bring salvation to human hearts.  In our passage, today, the Apostle John teaches who God is and how he expects his children to live.  He cautions those listening to run from anything that would break fellowship with God. The Apostle John speaks as a loving teacher to his disciples.  He encourages them not to sin. Truth:  We have a way to stay in right fellowship with the Father.

Christ calls us to live in the truth and be obedient to follow him, but sometimes our steps are wayward.  John comes along to tell these Christ followers they cannot lose their fellowship or salvation with God, because they have an Advocate who intercedes for them with the Father. Sin hinders us, but Jesus has made a way for us to regain that fellowship through repentance of sin.  As we are forgiven we must grow from that place to overcome the sin that previously so easily hindered us.  Mature love for God manifests in obedience. Obedience measures our faithfulness and the truly faithful bear the Kingdom fruit of righteousness.  The mature, obedient, and faithful to the will of God are the ones who “know” God.  If we are going to “know” God, it means we have to take up our cross and follow Jesus.  Truth:  We must reflect on and examine our level of obedience.  Love for God and his rule over our attitudes and actions, as well as love for others will mark our lives.

During Lent, we will be using the acronym P.R.A.Y. as we pray for a Kingdom Heart.  P=praise, R=repent, A=ask, and Y=yield.  May God bless you as you spend time in God’s Word and in prayer today.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 3-9-19

March 9, 2019

John 12:27-36 New Living Translation (NLT)

Today is the fourth day of our 40-Day Lenten Series, “Praying for a Kingdom Heart.”  Lent should be a time of prayerful reflection, repentance, and restoration as we draw closer to the heart of God.  A Kingdom heart is fashioned by a deep respect and gratitude for our Creator.  God is Light and in him is no darkness. Christ is the Light we all need to fulfill the Father’s purpose; so we must connect to Christ.  God has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the Kingdom of his Son (Colossians 1:13).  Therefore, we must also follow Christ.  Be aware, we do not habitually practice what the Word calls sin; otherwise, we are living in the dominion of darkness.

If we are truly following Christ, we are living a life of continual confession of sin; even as children of the Light we still sin and need forgiveness.  Selfishness and worldliness can gain the upper hand if we open the door with our flesh.  Walking in the Light is walking in fellowship with God and loving others especially fellow believers. The Spirit of Truth convicts us when we have failed to love as God requires and our response should be repentance.  If we confess our sin, God is faithful to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).  True Christianity is about partaking of the ongoing cleansing blood of Jesus, as we recenter our hearts before him according to his Word. 

In our passage, Jesus accepts the pain God allows to his flesh in order to fulfill the Father’s purpose.  Many days we just want to handle the next task, seek fleshly pleasure, and certainly avoid pain to our flesh at all costs.  When God cleanses us—does sin surgery—it is painful for a while, but it leaves room for Kingdom rewards.  Therefore, the question before us today in light of this Word… “Will we invite the Light of the World to shine Truth upon any sin in our flesh, repent, and allow God to cleanse us, so we can continue our journey to become authentic children of Light?  

During Lent, we will be using the acronym P.R.A.Y. as we pray for a Kingdom Heart.  P=praise, R=repent, A=ask, and Y=yield.  May God bless you as you spend time in God’s Word and in prayer today.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 3-8-19

March 8, 2019

Psalm 91:14-16 Contemporary English Version

Today is the third day of our 40 Day Lenten Series, “Praying for a Kingdom Heart.”  Lent should be a time of prayerful reflection, repentance, and restoration as we draw closer to the heart of God. We pursue God’s presence and enjoy time with him; we learn from his wisdom and gain valuable insights and revelations.  Having a Kingdom heart brings an attitude of surrender before the Lord.  So, today reflect on this question, “Do you perceive God as your Righteous Rescuer?”

Scripture teaches the Lord will deliver his children from every evil attack and will bring us safely into his heavenly Kingdom (2 Tim 4:18).  He is the Righteous Rescuer.  Our part is to stay close to him; to connect, attach, or bind ourselves to him.  In this connected place, we know the heart of God experientially. In other words, because of our connection in Christ we have heart knowledge of God.  This becomes a place of intimacy between God and each individual; a place of deep trust and devotion to the truth of God’s love for his creation. Has God ever pulled you from a difficult or even dangerous situation?  Or, maybe God has rescued you by providing the resources you needed to get beyond a difficult situation?  However he has chosen to rescue you in the past, it has been to reveal his unfailing love for you and to call you into a greater measure of trust and protection.

During Lent, we will be using the acronym P.R.A.Y. as we pray for a Kingdom Heart.  P=praise, R=repent, A=ask, and Y=yield.  May God bless you as you spend time in God’s Word and in prayer today.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 3-7-19

March 7, 2019

Psalm 91:1-2 Contemporary English Version

Today is the second day of our 40 Day Lenten Series, “Praying for a Kingdom Heart.”  Remember, Lent is a time of prayerful reflection, repentance, and restoration as we draw closer to the heart of God.  Having a Kingdom heart is an attitude of surrender before our All-Powerful God. In our surrender, we seek the Kingdom of eternal life and fellowship with the loving Lord; we should wisely bring our lives under his care because nothing is impossible with God.

Whether we are aware of it or not, we all need a solid foundation for our lives.  Life brings along many unknowns which can threaten our faith, scatter our relationships, and unsettle our confident hope that we will find a place of safety for our hearts and lives again.  Many times our first response is to foolishly scurry and gain control of our unraveling circumstances, rather than seek the solid rock and fortress of the Lord to ask for help.  Nothing is too difficult for God; he is awesome in his love for his children.  From the beginning, humanity was created to live under the Lord’s care and protection; yet, thousands of years later humanity still chooses to exalt self-preservation and fail. 

Our God is All-Powerful (1 Cor 1:24).  There are two things to keep in mind when surrendering to the power of God and pressing in to ask for his will to manifest in our earthly lives.  First, God’s focus for us will be entirely consistent with his perfect character.  He will bring good things to pass and provide a righteous way for us to portray the attitude, wisdom, and heart of Christ, so we can live as Christ’s examples in a fallen world.  Second, as the All-Powerful, everything he desires to do in our lives can be carried out.  He will accomplish everything he sets out to do in our behalf.  As people watch our lives, they should be aware of the presence of the Lord with us.  

During Lent, we will be using the acronym P.R.A.Y. as we pray for a Kingdom Heart.  P=praise, R=repent, A=ask, and Y=yield.  May God bless you as you spend time in God’s Word and in prayer today.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 3-6-19

March 6, 2019

Joel 2:12-17 Contemporary English Version (CEV)

Today is the first day of our 40 Day Lenten Series, “Praying for a Kingdom Heart.”  Lent is a perfect time for prayerful reflection, repentance, and restoration.  Authentic reflection calls for a shift in our perspective; to honestly evaluate how near we are to God. He hasn’t moved away from us, but perhaps we have moved away from him. The Lord must always have first place in our hearts; we are to have no other gods before him. Every day the enemy distracts us with “other gods” seeking to move God out of his rightful place in our lives. As well, we can bring along a stubborn will and flesh filled with lousy priorities, careless choices, and unbiblical lifestyles that try to usurp God’s authority to direct our paths. We must draw near to God in prayer and seek him with all of our hearts. No half-hearted measures will do. God desires to pour himself entirely into a relationship with us; so our response should be to give ourselves entirely to him in return.

Our passage today is from the Old Testament book of Joel; he served as a prophet of the Lord following the Babylonian captivity around 538BC. God’s people had allowed things to enter their lives; things that separated them from God.  The all-knowing God was waiting for his people to return.  Now, to avoid judgment, the people needed to embrace change. Prayer would bring that change. Joel told the people to place their hope for restoration in the Lord. Hope was possible because of God’s steadfast love and generous mercy. Joel called people to repent and encouraged them to ask the Lord for relief.  

As Joel called God’s people to pay attention to their lives; today, I call us to do the same. During Lent, we will be using the acronym P.R.A.Y. as we pray for a Kingdom Heart. P=praise, R=repent, A=ask, and Y=yield. May God bless you as you spend time in God’s Word and in prayer today.  

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 3-5-19

March 5, 2019

Acts 10:23-33 Good News Translation (GNT)

When it comes to our relationship with God, there is always going to be room to grow and receive more. God is limitless in supply and love. In our passage today, Cornelius is hungry for more of God, but he does not really understand the work of faith, the supply of grace, or how to be filled. Charity and giving to others has been Cornelius’ focus, but now God is directing his attention toward a personal relationship of power from the inside out. Peter has a personal relationship with Christ and God is setting him up to share about it with hungry souls. The connection between Peter and Cornelius all began with prayer.

People around you need to know a personal and loving God; the God you serve and love. If people do not know Christ, nor have received him into their hearts, they are hungry for something they have not identified. So, pray and make yourself available to God then turn and help others put the pieces together and make the connection.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 3-4-19

March 4, 2019

Acts 10:9-23 Good News Translation (GNT)

The longer I walk through life with Jesus, the more aware I am that his plan for me—and all the connections with others he has for me to make while in this world—comes together precisely at his appointed time. It is really quite exciting; only God could line everything up so perfectly.  Of course, individually and collectively we must be in step with the Spirit.

Peter is filled with the Spirit, but he drags along some religious misconceptions.  God has a plan to change Peter, so he can embrace a Kingdom mindset.  Peter goes to a high place—the rooftop—to pray.  God uses Peter’s hunger to teach him something about his present level of spiritual understanding, as well as God’s heart and plan for salvation.  While Peter is praying, the Lord releases a vision.  Much of that vision doesn’t make sense to Peter until the Lord brings in the next step…a connection to Captain Cornelius.  Peter is a Jew and he truly believes the gentiles are unclean, but God instructs Peter to the contrary.  Like Peter, we must embrace God’s Word as Truth and adjust our lives accordingly.  God wants to redeem the whole world; he is ready to make any willing heart clean.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 3-1-19

March 1, 2019

Acts 10:1-8 Contemporary English Version (CEV)

Cornelius is a Roman military leader on assignment from his headquarters in Rome; soon he will return to Rome.   He is noted as a generous man who believes in God; he guides his family to do the same.  Cornelius faithfully practices his faith by praying to God; his prayers are sincere.  Then one day everything changes.  The Lord communicates back to Cornelius through a vision, calls him by name, and gives him specific “marching orders.”   This is a huge change in the prayer life of Cornelius!  What is his response?  Obedience to God’s Word. The results of Cornelius’ obedience is the gospel will spread to the empire’s capital city.

Praying to God is a wonderful act of reverence and respect.  Seeking, communing, conversing with the living Christ is a whole new level. Cornelius has a religious practice, but he realizes this day—a day of conversion—that Christ is real, alive, and with him.  Does God want to speak with you in Christ?  Yes.  Yes he does.  When he does, will you be obedient like Cornelius?

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 2-28-19

February 28, 2019

Psalm 99:1-5  Contemporary English Version (CEV)

To be Christ followers is to acknowledge God has a claim on our lives and we are to live under his authority and leadership.  It is no longer about living according to the dictates of our flesh; it is about living under the authority of God’s Word.  He alone is fair and just; he shows no favoritism. Sometimes we think God doesn’t care about our thoughts, desires, or what would make us “happy;” but that is a false perception.  He loves us and knows more about our selfish and corrupt flesh than we do.  If the Holy Spirit convicts us of sin, it is because God sees the harm that sin can do.  He knows all things.  He is gentle, kind, and the Spirit’s work is to connect us in his perfect shalom.

In our passage today, the psalmist reminds us about God’s greatness, mercy, and might.  Our response should be “Yes” and “Amen” to that truth.  God is great, full of mercy, and brings his might to help us live each day.  Praise for the Lord should continually flow from our lips.  Charles H. Spurgeon once said, “It ought to be our daily delight to magnify so good and great a God.”

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 2-27-19

February 27, 2019

Luke 17:1-4 The Message

In our lesson today, Jesus is teaching the disciples about sin and their need to live as examples, as well as, their need to forgive others.  We live in a fallen world and sin is a part of human nature.  We tend to think about sin being an individual matter, but that is rarely the case.  Think about Adam and Eve.  Scripture teaches Eve was deceived and sinned, but Adam did not stay the course to obey God and sinned, as well.  Bottom line, as believers we do not want to be the ones tempting or causing another child of God to sin.

Do you struggle forgiving fellow believers who repeatedly hurt you?  We must forgive personal offenses; it is a part of Kingdom living.  In fact, we may have to forgive the offending brother or sister multiple times.  Therefore, forgiveness is granted by faith. Forgiveness is a holy act; when we forgive and move on we are the most like Christ.  When we have truly forgiven someone, we ceased to discuss it with others or mentally entertain it further.  Otherwise, we sin before God, too, because we say we have forgiven and our mouths prove otherwise.  This makes us hypocrites.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 2-26-19

February 26, 2019

1 Samuel 24 Contemporary English Version (CEV)

There are so many amazing life lessons David teaches us, today.  I know the passage is long, but please take the time to read the whole story.   As you read our passage, please notice how David demonstrates the Fruit of the Spirit; I have noted nine in parentheses.  Manifesting the character of the Lord is David’s passion and should be ours, as well.  David trusts God even though his circumstances remain challenging and evil pursues him.  God is preparing and providing for David who will soon step in to be the King of Israel. The Lord himself referred to David as “A man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do” (1 Sam 13:14; Acts 13:22). David ran from Saul for about fifteen years.  If you were David, would you have handled fifteen years of testing this way?  The lessons are abundant and the fruit David grew during the years of preparation are eternal. 

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 2-25-19

February 25, 2019

Luke 10:21-24 Contemporary English Version (CEV)

It is the gracious will of God to reveal his goodness and love to those who are humble enough to receive it.  Pride is a spiritual sickness that God rejects; Jesus is the Cure.  Prideful people think they see and know all things, so God confuses them in order to lovingly “dethrone” or humble them.  “Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18).

Education is valuable and we are blessed when we can enjoy higher learning.  However, we must never let what we know with our natural minds make us think we know supernatural things apart from the revelation of Christ.  It is the work of Christ to make the Father known to us.  And, with Christ, only the humble are welcomed into Kingdom Living.  Take a humble position, today, and ask Jesus to teach you about the Father.  

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 2-22-19

February 22, 2019

1 John 2:15-17 The Message (MSG)

Since the first of the year, our LIFE Lessons Bible Study group has been focused on the Fruit of the Spirit. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law” (Gal 5:22-23).  Through his writings to the Galatians in the early church, the Apostle Paul helps us better understand our need to allow the Spirit to produce and ripen spiritual fruit within us.  The fruit is unified and not separate; it is grown within Christ believing individuals as a whole.  The evidence of fruit reveal the manifesting characteristics of Christ’s presence in our lives; he is One and he is the Firstfruit within us as the redeemed.  

The Lord God is to be our First Love and allowing our lives to faithfully bear fruit pleases and exalts him.  That is why the enemy tempts us to get us off the righteous path by distracting us with desires for the temporal things of this world. We are innately deficient in spiritual fruit; so, instead of connecting to the Vine to be filled with righteousness, we want and accumulate worldly stuff thinking it will satisfy.   We must love the Lord and what he provides more than what the world offers, because the stuff the world offers will not last.  Don’t let the enemy squeeze out your First Love. The world’s way is not worth the price. God’s provision is abundant, satisfying, and eternal.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 2-21-19

February 21, 2019

Romans 8:5-7 New Living Translation

According to the Word of God, humanity has the opportunity to follow one of two paths; 1) the path of righteousness, or 2) the path of foolishness.  We must make a choice for our minds to follow; our behaviors follow our thoughts.  If we are focused on pleasing God, we will follow the path of righteousness (life in the Spirit).  This is a new life imparted by God. When we accept Christ, we are born anew from above and we cannot remain complacent to sin.  When we choose life in the Spirit, sin becomes exceedingly sinful and we never feel right or have peace about practicing what God calls sin. 

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 2-20-19

February 20, 2019

Luke 11:37-41 The Voice

It doesn’t happen near often enough, but I love when our family gets together for a sit down dinner; time spent talking, laughing, and sharing about life (and eating great food, of course!)  Jesus did much of his teaching over dinner.  It was a time to teach, listen, and grow from the thoughts shared of those gathered around the table.  

Jesus was always prompt at telling the truth and in our passage today, he tells the truth and spiritually smacks those listening upside the head.  Actually, Jesus offends people before they even get started with dinner. He calls them a “walking contradiction.”   What will our takeaway be today as we read from the gospel of Luke? Is it possible we care more about the external things of life than the internal things which are actually eternal?

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 2-19-19

February 19, 2019

Psalm 37:39-40 New Living Translation (NLT)

When I work on a project, I can be relentless until it is finished.  I am patient, but I want to press on and give whatever I am doing the energy necessary to complete it.  Sometimes my husband says, “Mary, you are relentless!”  lol…in other words, I keep my goal in sight.

God will never forsake his faithful servants; our faith maturity in Christ is his goal.  He is relentless and steady as he loves his children.  He takes care of us and rescues us from the temptations and pitfalls of the ever-present evil around us; the Lord provides a way of escape.  To find shelter in the Lord is to find a secure place in his care.  We can enjoy  God’s shelter because we are connected to Christ by grace through faith. So take a deep breath, ask the Lord to be with you, and know God holds you and will be working in your life, today.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 2-18-19

February 18, 2019

Psalm 37 New Living Translation

Although it may look like the wicked are prospering, they cannot sustain it because they do not have a right relationship with God.  The wicked are more interested in being their own god; living by their own rules and taking care of themselves.  The righteous do have a right relationship with God; they trust and obey the Savior.  Therefore, spending time in prayer asking for God’s help is wisdom that brings provision. 

In our passage today, we find some steps for the righteous to enjoy the Lord. The psalmist shares one “don’t” and four “do’s.” The one “don’t” is don’t worry.  The three “do’s” are trust in the Lord, delight the Lord, and commit everything to the Lord.  Your help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth (Ps 121:2).  The Lord wants to help you with every struggle, so “do” your part and God will be there for you.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 2-15-19

February 15, 2019

1 Peter 1:17 The Message (MSG)

It has been said confession is good for the soul.  So, I must make a confession to you today; essentially, I am a neat-nut for clean spaces. I like things clean and in order in my environments.  I will also confess to you that I cannot always achieve my desired goal of neatness, because life “stuff,” as well as  the “goodies” others leave clutter my many spaces.  lol…By the way, asking for help with the clean up is not always fruitful. To be honest, some people do not even see the mess. I try not to feel frustrated by the clutter, but I do work at sorting, organizing, and pitching until I am more satisfied.

Do you know Father God sent the Spirit to help us bring order and holy neatness to our lives? We know we cannot bring holiness or clean living to our own lives, so we ask for the Lord to help us.  Unfortunately, even though we ask him many times for help, we keep living sloppy lives that he cannot tolerate. He wants to clean house.  So, let’s open our lives up to our loving Father and ask him to do the work of sorting our thoughts, organizing our priorities, and pitching smelly baggage we are carrying from years gone by.  The Lord only has good in mind for us.  May we all pray, “Come and clean up my spiritual house, Lord Jesus!”  

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 2-14-19

February 14, 2019

1 John 4:7-10 The Message (MSG)

Love is a focus for many, today; it is Valentine’s Day. The card industry will certainly prosper today. Cards will be exchanged between people expressing feelings and emotions. John usually makes me a Valentine card and I have saved most of them over the forty-one years of our marriage. I love my husband, our sons and daughter-in-loves, our sweet puppy Gracie, our whole extended family, our amazing friends, our spiritual family, and…all of God’s creation. Yet, the greatest focus of my love story begins with the One who extends pure agape to me; Jesus the Anointed One.  

The highest form of love is agape: the selfless and sacrificial love that God has for human beings and the love human beings were created to return to God and share with others. I cannot even truly love the people in my life well apart from being loved by My Lord. So, I challenge you to begin your day with the Lord who perfectly and sacrificially loves you, and then love him in return. Please do not leave the greatest Love out of your day; spend time with the Lord.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 2-13-19

February 13, 2019

Luke 5:27-32 The Message (MSG)

Jesus spent his energy wisely when it came to ministering to people. For those who knew they needed the healing touch of a Savior, Jesus made himself completely available to them. He spent time with them; he wanted something better for them and they knew it. The people who rejected Christ, were those who felt they had a corner on God’s favor; they worked on outside appearances and managed a form of godliness, but inside they were dark and lawless when it came to the rule and authority of God.  

In our passage today, Jesus further upsets the religious leaders with his heart for bringing salvation to crooks and sinners. In our lesson, Levi is one such man; a crooked tax collector. Levi knows he is not living as a man made in the image of God. So, he opens himself up to the Savior who promises to change him inside and out. He is changed through a connection to Christ and he cannot wait to introduce Jesus to others. So, who were the real outsiders—the sick ones—in the lesson? The answer is “everyone!” Every human being needs to make Jesus Lord by giving Him authority over his or her life.  Inside change is where it begins.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 2-11-19

February 11, 2019

Luke 11:24-28 Good News Translation (GNT)

Every human being must embrace the spiritual cure God offers in Christ Jesus if we are going to be spiritually healthy and well.  We cannot reform ourselves and it last; only the Spirit can bring lasting results.  We must allow God to do the transforming of our souls and continue forward by obeying the Word of God.  The Word then guards our hearts as we stay fixed and immoveable; devoted to pleasing God with our lives.  So, be filled with the Holy Spirit, obey the Word, and you will never give evil an opening into your life. 

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 2-8-19

February 8, 2019

Acts 9:26-31 Good News Translation (GNT)

The Holy Spirit is the Agent of God’s goodness to bring change and peace into our lives and into the world.  When we invite Christ to be the Lord of our lives and the Holy Spirit indwells our hearts, we are not the same, anymore.  We are immediately changed inwardly; we inherit the Seed of the Kingdom of God.  From that moment on, the Holy Spirit seeks to permeate our whole being; transform our outward person to make it consistent with our spiritually reborn inward person.  That holy synchronicity of our spirit, body, and souls (mind, will, emotions) enables us to be powerful witnesses for the Kingdom of God.  Our lives are the evidence of God’s good work for peace or wholeness.

When our lives take a strong personal change, it may be a challenge for others to keep up.  They may doubt the sincerity of our new devotion to the work of the Spirit.  What we leave behind may be a direct contradiction of what we say we are becoming.  Such is the case with Saul.  In spite of the disciples’ fear and suspicion, God’s goodness is evident in Saul.  His old life as a Christian persecutor has been crucified.   Barnabas, filled with the Spirit, is used by the Lord to position Saul to speak goodness into the lives of others and bring them into a greater measure of peace or wholeness with God.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 2-7-19

February 7, 2019

Acts 9:19-25

On the road to Damascus, Saul’s journey to arrest Christians takes a momentary detour.  Light encircles him, he falls off his horse to the earth, and hears a voice address him by saying his name twice (meaning pay attention).  Who is speaking?  The voice identifies himself as Jesus and asks Saul, “Why are you persecuting me?” In this moment, Saul realizes even though he thought he was doing the will of God by stomping out the sparks of Christianity he was actually opposing the One True God. 

The experience leaves Saul blinded by the Light.  In his own strength and ability he is helpless and weak.  But God wants to be his strength; so, God sends Ananias (a disciple) to lay hands on Saul and pray for him to receive the Holy Spirit so he may have spiritual sight.

We can all find ourselves detoured in life and blinded from the Truth.  Pleasing God may be our desire, but as humans we see dimly.  We must remain humble and welcome God to bring Light to anything wayward within us. This experience changes Saul.  He proceeds to preach Christ with passion and determination.  He knows Christ is real; he knows Christ is Messiah.  Now, Saul will be on the other end of persecution.  Yet, God will deliver him again and again to continue preaching Truth. Never give up sharing about Jesus; God is with you, too. 

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 2-6-19

February 6, 2019

Psalm 56:8-13 The Message

I am not sure why this is the case, but for many who seek God, we seem to first make a journey to see if God is trustworthy with our hearts.  Fear tries to come in and halt our devotion and our trust, but if we stay the course we begin to look over our lives and realize that God has always been on our side working all things for our good.  When we finally trust God with all our hearts, we can take a deep breath and stroll through life with him knowing it is going to be all right.  Not everything in life will be pleasant or even welcomed, but we are making the journey with God so our hearts can be at leisure or rest.  It’s a picture of the Sabbath life.

David understood trusting God was THE essential step.  Being fearful of anything this world has to offer is ridiculous, because God has us covered.  So, no more tossing and turning; instead walk in the sunlit fields of life with Father God.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 2-5-19

February 5, 2019

Psalm 138:1-3 The Message (MSG)

I love to say, “Thank you!”  When people are thoughtful and kind, it fills my soul with joy to express gratitude.  Appreciation blesses the giver and it blesses the receiver.  Does saying, “Thank you” to others come easy to you?  Does it graciously roll off your tongue?  If you understand how God feels about a grateful heart, you will make expressing gratitude to those around you a part of your daily practice. 

Expressing gratitude for the faithfulness of God should be part of our daily prayers.  God is so very good to us; always providing and sharing blessings with his children.  Every good and perfect gift comes from him.  So, start your day with “Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you…(you get the idea).

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 2-4-19

February 4, 2019

1 Corinthians 2:10-16

There is a great deal I do not know or understand about life. Sometimes I sit back and just shake my head until it rattles.  However, because of Scripture, I know some of the most important things that affect the foundation of my understanding; I am grateful for that wisdom. I know I am loved by a holy and amazing Father.  He is my Creator and Source of life.  He desires only good things for me; He delights in blessing me.  Everything I have just shared about myself, is also true about you. God loves you and has a great plan for your life. This plan is something God desires to do in you in order to help others around you.  You hold the message someone else needs to hear.

In order to experience all God has for us, we must surrender to the work of the Spirit, because our “unspiritual self” cannot understand divine Wisdom.  Humanity gets lost in the maze of the mind and struggles to understand spiritual things.  Scriptures teaches we actually have “no capacity” to receive the things of the Spirit (1 Cor 2:14).  However, Jesus set the “no capacity—no room in the Inn thing” on its heels and made a way for us to be spiritually alive. Now, we have access to all God is doing in us; wisdom makes all the difference in the world. Dive deep into the depths of God and live His plan.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 2-1-19

February 1, 2019

Acts 19:1-4 The Message (MSG)

In our passage today, the Apostle Paul is visiting those who claim to be “disciples.”  As he observes their lives and listens to their words, Paul notices something lacking in these Ephesians.  He comes to them with a question about the Holy Spirit.  Think about this situation.  These disciples are more than likely teaching others about the need for repentance before God and to honor Him as Lord; this is the message of John the Baptist.  It is a good and sound message.  But, Paul knows this level of understanding is only the beginning in the story of God’s love and work of Christ Jesus for salvation.  The Holy Spirit is where we find the power for Kingdom living.

God wants to get down inside humanity—each individual led by the Spirit—not just invite people to be baptized and make a mental ascent to honor God’s authority.  He wants to save us from our sin and it takes the work of the Holy Spirit to accomplish this in our lives.  We are spiritual train wrecks without the impartation of the Spirit of Truth.  We will make up our own truth if the Spirit doesn’t guide our lives; actually, we will try to control others to live by our truth.  If we are going to be saved from sin and death, the Spirit must wash us and walk with us into Christ’s righteousness and wholeness.  This is the Good News! 

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 1-31-19

January 31, 2019

Psalm 71:1-3 The Message (MSG)

When I pray I tend to talk to God the way I would speak to my closest family members and friends who care about me.  I simply share my heart as honest as I know how to do. The Lord loves his children and I always see my prayer time as a way to come boldly yet come as I am; his daughter.  Sometimes I cannot slow down my praise to take a breath and he laughs at my exuberance. Other times I need direction or his holy problem-solving and he delights in my desire for wisdom.  Lately, I have come with tears for several in my spiritual family who are suffering and he cries with me.

King David teaches the same thing with regard to prayer; David was a man after God’s own heart. We must remember God’s door is always open, so run in today and just sit and share your heart like you would with the most perfect Friend you have ever known.  When you finish talking, sit and listen for his heart and enjoy his beautiful presence.  You will come away refreshed and ready for your day of Kingdom Living.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 1-30-19

January 30, 2019

Psalm 119:92-96 NLT

Recently, I have had to limit my caffeinated coffee intake; I don’t like it, but I feel calmer!  I have chosen to limit my carbohydrate intake, as well; I don’t like it, but I feel healthier!  I have to leave some things behind and limit other things in order to move forward to greater wholeness.  Do you like limits?  I don’t like limits, but I know setting an amount restriction on these two areas is really good for me.  So, like it or not, I will embrace the change and honor the limit.

In life, we will have to face or implement a variety of limits in order to take care of these physical temples (bodies); we are carriers of the Word.  We need to be as healthy as possible; we need the healing grace of God every day.  Only the Word can heal us and help us limit the dominion of the world’s ways over our lives.  We are in the world, but we are not of the world. 

Now, even though there are limits in the natural world, there are no limits to the abundant provision of God’s Word or his salvation.  So live your Christian life today with a new perspective.  We serve the limitless God who stands ready to speak his blessings over us moment by moment.  Jesus called this limitless living “Kingdom life” in the abundance of God. We just need to follow his Word of Life! The enemy wants to rob steal and destroy, but Jesus came to give us life (John 10:10).  So, spend more time in the blessings of God and less time thinking about what you have to leave behind or limit.  Better things in the goodness of God await us…

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 1-28-19

January 28, 2019

Romans 12:14-21 NLT

As we go through every day in our ordinary lives, we will encounter evil, negative, angry, and selfish spirits in people.  It is just a part of living in an unredeemed world where evil still has a space on the playing field with willing or oblivious hosts.  Scripture teaches we do not war with flesh and blood but with cosmic powers over spiritual darkness.  So, how are we going to contend with those who curse at us or hurl unkindness our way?  1) Will we return evil for evil?  2) Will we shoot off our mouths like we know it all in order to put others in a humble place?  3)  Or, will we surrender our flesh, dig down deep into the Love of God, and make a Holy Exchange for Christ’s righteousness so we can return the spiritual fruits of patience and goodness instead?  Make the decision how you will respond before the opportunity actually comes and it will be easier to follow Christ.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 1-24-19

January 24, 2019

Psalm 19:7-9 The Message

God is always sending messages to humanity in order to attract their wandering attention. We just have to be willing to receive his revelations. What do you think of when you hear the word “revelation?” According to biblical translations, the word “revelation” refers to God’s self-unveiling to humanity who cannot discover anything accurate about God or themselves without his help. We were made in his image, but what does that mean for individual human life?

When God gives us signs, connects our faith with the map of his plans, and guides our steps thereby causing us to walk in the right life direction, we are gaining glimpses of his holy character and his faithful love for us. For those who seek God’s heart and desire a relationship with him, their lives are truly pulled together in the joy of his salvation. If you have not experienced the joy the Lord has for you, then press in for more revelation. Ask God to reveal more to you about his love and plans for you. He will never reject your request if your heart is fixed on loving and knowing him. Please note there may be a huge chasm between your human plans and God’s holy plans; therefore, we need Jesus Christ to be our bridge and the Holy Spirit to be the power by which we shift in order to fulfill God’s plans. Remember, God is holy and his plans for us is to follow Jesus; so be willing to lay down your human life in order to pick up your new life in Christ.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 1-23-19

January 23, 2019

Luke 5:33-39 The Message (MSG)

For some odd reason our lesson today reminds me of pigs in a blanket (baked mini crescent hotdogs). lol! Go ahead and laugh; it certainly does not sound very spiritual, but it is a pretty good analogy of a spiritual condition called pride.  In our passage today, the religious leaders have basically wrapped themselves in self-righteous respectability; much like the hotdog being wrapped and covered by the crescent roll.

These religious leaders struggle against sin in their lives just like everyone else, but they prance around like they are spiritually flawless; wrapped in a form of godliness void of humble gratitude and love.  They need a Savior, too.  These leaders emphasize ridged religious rules and exercise judgment; they actually question the spiritual integrity of Jesus and his disciples.   In fact, these leaders abhor the fact that Jesus associates with sinners and attends celebrations with them. He never ever agrees with people’s sin, but he gathers with them in order to influence their understanding of how to please God through salvation.  Think about it; during Christ’s ministry the sinners enjoyed their time with the King of Glory and many of the religious leaders missed the party.  

We have to allow the Spirit of Christ to change our thinking and to renew how we see salvation and the work of redemption.  If you know Jesus, you are wrapped in his righteousness; it is a gift from God.  Please do not take credit for it, because it is all Christ’s doing.  He deserves the glory.  Our job is to cooperate and allow the Spirit to convict us and lead us away from all sin and unrighteous living, so our lives can bring glory to God.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 1-22-19

January 22, 2019

Psalm 145 The Message (MSG)

In our passage today, David shares his extravagant praise of God’s faithfulness.  David gives thanks and confesses the unfathomable greatness of God.  David’s praise is built on his appreciation for God’s kingdom and rule in his life.  God alone rules in righteousness and under His authority God’s people are safe in His care.  David sings about how God has always been there to help him through the difficult times with His healing grace.  Humanity was created to give God praise not because God needs it, but because praising God takes our eyes off from our humanity and places our hopes on Someone greater who sincerely and purely loves us. 

If you are going through a tough time, then bow in praise and thanksgiving to God.  Ask God to take care of you and everything involved in this trial.  Ask and you will find Him faithful.  Give fear no room in your thoughts or emotions.  God will always stick by you—He is faithful beyond human understanding—and He will provide for you in every way.  You have God’s Word or promise to be your Standby.  Let your faith in God be greater than your fears!  Praise Him because He alone is worthy to be praised!  I look forward to the day when everything on heaven and earth gives God praise and honor!

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 1-21-19

January 21, 2019

Romans 12:9-21 The Message (MSG)

In our passage today, the Apostle Paul gives us a glimpse of how to love others authentically with the love of God. Our love is not to contain judgment; we have no right to judge another person.  Our greatest task and responsibility is actually to examine ourselves and judge our love walk as we encounter others. Christ calls us to model his love and use that love to honor others who may not realize they have been made in God’s image.  Chances are in their ignorance they will need forgiveness; we certainly needed God’s forgiveness.  By reflecting Christ, we are passing the healing grace of God on to those around us.  We have received from the mercy and grace of God, so let’s turn and be givers of healing grace.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 1-17-19

January 17, 2019

Psalm 36:5-10 New Living Translation (NLT)

As a continuation of our devotion from yesterday, Scripture teaches we need light in order to see.  In the beginning, our eyes were created to see God and to enjoy all that He created.  Sin brought dark or cloudy vision to human eyes; but God sent Jesus to roll the clouds away and bring sight to the spiritually blind—which is all humanity.  If we are living in the Light of God’s love and truth, we will be a people who are filled to overflowing with praise and joy.  In Christ is life and his life is the Light for humanity to see the glory of God in an otherwise dark world (1 John1:4).  

We are now able to see the goodness of God working in our lives and around us keeping us in his grace and care.  As well, we are able to see creation as his gift and to care for it and enjoy it.  If it has been awhile since you have taken time to enjoy a quiet time in God’s creation, then give yourself permission to go and watch a sunrise or sunset, listen to creation make joyful noises to the Creator, and allow creation to be a glorious gift to you from God’s goodness. 

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 1-16-19

January 16, 2019

Luke 11:33-36 New Living Translation (NLT)

Everyday the sun shines is a great day for me. I truly enjoy waking up and seeing a glorious sunrise lighting up the darkness. Jesus is the Light of the world and he brings true light to our otherwise darkened souls. We have no spiritual eyes to see without Jesus. We need him to even understand a true spiritual connection with God.  

Do you have healthy eyes? If you see Jesus and if you recognize he is the glory of God, they your eyes can truly see. So, cast your gaze upon Jesus and make him your first love. Then, darkness cannot hide and evil must flee as the Light occupies you. Receive the Light of Truth from God’s Son—the Living Word—and be radiant for God’s glory. Ask the Lord to increase your spiritual vision, today. Scripture reminds us it is a prayer God delights in answering.  

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 1-14-19

January 14, 2019

Ephesians 6:10-17 CEV

The devil is a liar; in fact, Jesus called him the father of lies.  He has all kinds of tricks to hinder Christ’s followers from laying hold of God’s promises.  It’s a battle evil wages in the heavenlies against Christ and believers.  Although the devil is evil and an enemy of our souls, Christians have three enemies:  the devil, the world, and our flesh. The devil uses the things of the world and our weak flesh to lure us away from our love and trust in Christ.  

So, you need a “fight” strategy, because otherwise the devil will slip that worldly evil monkey (symbolic) onto your back, pierce and wound your flesh, and make you want to quit. Have a plan.  Fear not, stay in step with the Spirit, remember you bear Christ’s righteousness, be determined to hang onto Truth, feed on the Word, walk in love, and partake in the promises of God.  No weapon formed against you shall prosper; at the end of the battle you will be victorious.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 1-11-19

January 11, 2019

John 15:5-11 New Living Translation (NLT)

This week in our LIFE lessons we have been studying the Fruit of the Spirit.  Our topic this week has been joy and we will continue to look at the fruit of joy, today. You and I can only bear the fruit of the Spirit as we stay connected to Jesus.  He is our Vine or Source of spiritual life.  It is the work of the Spirit to bring us ways to increase our fruit-bearing abilities. The Spirit causes us to exercise our faith in order to produce spiritual fruit that pleases our Father. The Spirit wants to cause us to bear so much fruit that it actually spills over into the lives of others around us.

So, what Scripture is telling us is we are to be so filled with the Spirit that no matter where we go, we are spilling into others the fruit of our salvation—love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, thoughtfulness, and self-control (Gal 5:22-23) The antonym of joy is misery.  In our humanity, we cannot produce joy or lift ourselves out of misery.  But, the Spirit causes us to see beyond any misery and experience the goodness of God; that revelation causes joy to rise up within us.  We cannot remain in misery; there is no such thing as a miserable Christian!  That would be like saying God is not Good and his Grace to take care of us is insufficient.  Lies.  When you and I realize God is constantly trying to spill his love and goodness into us, around us, and through us, it fills us with joy. It is the Good News that we can receive and enjoy the perfect Love of God! Joy begins in you, so be a river of joy to others, today.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 1-10-19

January 10, 2019

1 Corinthians 1:18-31 The Message (MSG)

How important is the work of the Spirit through preaching and teaching to the lives of Christians?  According to the Apostle Paul it is the way to salvation; God uses anointed preaching to get people’s attention, so they will turn toward God and away from sin, self-destructive attitudes, and unrighteous behaviors.  The Word is powerful to bring change, because it draws us into the presence of God; the Word equals God reality.  Essentially, the anointed Word humbles us so we can recognize the love, might, and holiness of Almighty God and invite him to work in our lives.

I have no problem recognizing the power of the Word to bring transformation to human life, because the Word has and continues to change me.  The Word transforms my thinking to align with God’s love and heart; I need God’s wisdom in order to identify and resist the work of evil.  The Word quickens me to know good and wise decisions from poor ones; I am protected by the Word. The Word lifts my sometimes weary heart with joy and assures me of security and a future in God’s glorious plan; the Word brings my life vision and hope.  Jesus is the Living Word and he is the greatest miracle humanity has ever experienced. So, if you need to experience some transforming things in your life (change), the Word is where you should start.  I assure you it isn’t foolishness; it’s the love of God in action to redeem the world.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 1-8-19

January 8, 2019

Ephesians 4:25-32 The Message

Scripture teaches we are all connected in Christ. As each person connects to Christ, we increase in community, influence, and power.  Believers are connected in one Lord, one faith, one baptism (Eph. 4:5).  However, sometimes I get the idea by our words and actions in how we treat one another that we really don’t understand that truth.  We need greater revelation by the Spirit.

Christianity is about living the examined life.  So let’s honestly examine our hearts, today.  If within every believer you met, you could see the presence of Jesus dwelling within him or her looking back at you, how would you speak or act to that person carrying Jesus?  If we actually believed Jesus lives and moves and has his being through believers, we would use every once of self-control we could muster in the Spirit to guard our words and actions.  We would be quick to forgive, because each time we looked at another believer, we would be reminded by Jesus looking back at us of our own need for forgivess. 

Because we are connected, to hurt another believer brings hurt to self and to the Lord. These actions grieve the Holy Spirit who brings spiritual life.  For this and other reasons, Jesus gave the greatest commandments, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:30-31). We must grow in our understanding of this very message, so we stop hindering the work of the Kingdom and begin building it upon Truth for his Second Coming.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 1-7-19

January 7, 2019

Ephesians 4:17-24 New Living Translation (NLT)

Henri Nouwen, priest and theologian, once said, “Each day holds a surprise. But only if we expect it, can we see, hear, or feel it when it comes to us. Let's not be afraid to receive each day's surprise, whether it comes to us as sorrow or as joy. It will open a new place in our hearts, a place where we can welcome new friends and celebrate more fully our shared humanity.”

We are called to live life together as a community of believers.  We share our stories and our life lessons and we help one another press on to the high call of Christ on each of our lives.  We do not live according to the dictates of our flesh or the press of the crowd.  We are in pursuit of a God-fashioned life; renewed from the inside out.   Are you expecting God to surprise you with new experiences each day, so he can make a new place in your heart?

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 1-4-19

January 4, 2019

Isaiah 6:1-5 Contemporary English Version (CEV)

As Christ’s followers, we may casually speak about the love of God we have received in salvation.  Divine love is made available because God who is love makes his abiding presence available within us. We have become his temple.  But, today let’s take just a minute to look deeper at this love of God.  It is a holy love; pure and self-giving.  God’s love is perfect and powerful.  God’s love changes hearts and lives. God’s love mends broken and wounded souls.   When we recognize God’s love for us, we are different by even one touch.  Nothing compares to the holy love of God for his people.  He’s the Creator Father and down deep we know it.  We also know we fall terribly short of sharing the very love to others that God has imparted to us.

On this fourth day of the new year, let’s not only pay attention to our love walk with God and people, let’s pay attention to our attitudes about the holiness of God and our great need for him to work his love in our own lives to make us more like Jesus.  The prophet Isaiah understood this reality when he had a vision of the Lord.  All of a sudden he realize an exalted reality of God—loving, holy, and all powerful, thereby causing the heavenly beings to hide their eyes and bodies—and that revelation made him also take another look at himself as God’s child or offspring.  What was Isaiah’s response?  

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 1-3-19

January 3, 2019

Acts 7:44-53 The Message (MSG)

According to Scripture, Christ followers are to find a church home that preaches the Spirit-filled Word of Truth; we are to plant ourselves so we can grow as worshipers and serve as missionaries.  The church is to be a House of Healing to groom worshipers who have become individual temples of the living God.  No matter what church you may attend as a worshiper of the Most High, it will never be perfect until Jesus’ Second Coming.  There are no perfect churches because there are no perfect people.  We all come with soul messes that need to be turned into Life lessons with Christ. However, every church can be counted as faithful as we allow the Spirit to bring forth the Truth and the necessary healing of our individual souls.

As we enter a new year, let’s reflect on our worship.  Why do we resist God’s healing Truth and the work of grace to transform our physical temples?  I suspect it is because we do not want to hear the Truth about the mess in our souls (minds, wills, emotions); it pierces, wounds, and crucifies our flesh, so we walk away rather than receive the healing Christ offers.   We may say we worship God but we deny him the power to change us; we can squander the gift of grace.  We may choose to point an accusing finger at others, ignore the Spirit, and avoid the work of grace to correct us.

The early church was filled with people who came from all walks of life with all kinds of soul messes.  Some people allowed the Spirit to bring the Truth of Christ and the power to change them.  Some people did not.  Stephen, full of the Spirit and wisdom, was a leader and preacher of the Truth in the early church.  He was accused of blasphemy and taken to the Sanhedrin or religious council of the Law for correction.  How will the religious council respond when they hear the Spirit of Truth through Stephen? Will they allow the words to stir and redirect them toward true worship?

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 1-2-19

January 2, 2019

James 3:13-18 The Message (MSG)

Wisdom in any human life begins when that life worships the One True God.  Worship is willingly and joyfully placing ourselves under God’s authority and reign.  Therefore, worshipers of God should be the wisest people living, because we live to please our audience of One with holy lives he alone creates in us.  If we are not living our worship we are not living wisely; worship is a lifestyle of living as Christ.

In this new year as God’s children, sons and daughters, we have an opportunity to renew our commitment and turn our attention and lives toward a renewed aim of pleasing God above all; making God our first love and priority.  If all of us are committed to doing these things, we will find ourselves as a spiritual community living in the blessing of God, as well as getting along with one another because we are working hard to live wisely.  If you want real wisdom, you will have to work for it by setting new priorities that your flesh may not welcome.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 1-1-19

January 1, 2019

Ecclesiastes 3:1-13 Good News Translation (GNT)

If someone looked you straight in the eye, demanded honesty, and asked if you were really enjoying the life God gave to you what would you say?  Would your answer come forth because of what you don’t have or what you have lost?  Or, would your answer come from realizing your journey is a gift from God and everything your life touches has passed through his care for you?

In our passage today, King Solomon journals this letter.  He has been reflecting and looking back on his life.  Much of his life has been lived apart from God.  He married wives who served foreign gods and his convictions and relationship with Yahweh suffered because of those choses.  However, even though Solomon stepped away from God, the Lord remained faithful to him because God had made a promise to his father, David.  

Because of Jesus, God has made a promise to us, as well.  We are to enjoy our lives in connection to Christ.  If you are not enjoying your life, chances are you are facing a conflict involving God’s timing.  On the first day of this New Year, get into agreement with God and begin to enjoy your life in his favor. Life is a gift from God for you and your attitude about God’s timing in your life is pivotal.  Happy New Year to all!  

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 12-31-18

December 31, 2018

John 8:12-19 New Living Translation (NLT)

If someone came to you and claimed they had the power to help you avoid the dark and dangerous places in life, what would you do? His or her claim would call for a response from you wouldn’t it?  Jesus claims to be the Light of the World that leads to spiritual life, so we must respond to his claim.  Either we believe it and are willing to use our faith to follow him.  Or, we refuse to believe it and therefore deny that Word any power in our lives. Much of Scripture is like this scenario.  The Word speaks and we respond with either “Yes Lord,” or “Won’t believe it.”

Tonight, we will step into a New Year.  This can be a new beginning in your spiritual life with Christ.  He claims to be the Light and he invites you to walk with him in the Light of His Love.  He claims you never have to walk in darkness again.  To stay close to Jesus is to stay close to the Source of Light or Truth.  He alone knows your heart and the plans he has for you.  So, stay the course and see where the Light takes you this year.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 12-28-18

December 28, 2018

Colossians 3:12-17 The Message (MSG)

I had to smile while I was reading our passage this morning, because I just recently had a chat with my friend, John, about the God-chosen garments we are to wear as Christians. That’s right; God is the Tailor for our holy garments. God has made us new inside; we have been born anew from above.  Our old outside garments no longer fit us; gossip, immorality, greed, drunkenness, etc.  Now he asks us to put on garments that are becoming of this new image; he has picked them out for us.   God will be identifying us by our “wedding garments” because we are the Bride waiting for the Bridegroom; we need to be dressed appropriately (Matt. 22:12).

I always pray for practical ways to remember things that are important to God heart.  So, as I pray about starting this New Year 2019, every day when I go to my closet to choose clothing for the day, I will think about the spiritual closet of clothing God has fitted just for me.  I will make a decision to put on love that translates in tangible deeds of kindness and keep a melody of peace playing in my soul. 

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 12-24-18

December 24, 2018

Luke 2:1-14 New Living Translation (NLT)

Immanuel—God with Us—wants to be born in each one of us so we may live out the Light of His agape love in a world that prefers darkness. Allow our reading for today to fill you with gratitude, because God so loved the world he sent Messiah. As well, allow this word to prepare you to be flesh and bones over Immanuel. Like the shepherds, discover Messiah anew today. He is coming again soon to harvest his children of love. Invite the Spirit to help you get ready for the Lord’s return.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 12-17-18

December 17, 2018

Isaiah 12:2-6

God is the joy of our salvation; the Savior who covers us with grace and fills our hearts with His presence. Joy might be described as the sense or feeling we receive when we become aware we are in the provision of God’s abundant grace.  That grace is available to make us joyful, but if we are not careful we can allow situations to rob us and make us miserable.  Choose to hang onto your joy; keep choosing it until it settles in your heart.

On this Advent journey celebrating the joy of our salvation, we remember our joy is a gift sent down from God to humanity.  It is the fruit of God’s Kingdom and of his reign in our lives.  So let’s produce a harvest of joy for the Lord.  God with us is Good News of Great Joy!  Enjoy Jesus today!

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 12-13-18

December 13, 2018

Isaiah 12:2-6 New Living Translation (NLT)

I truly enjoy beautiful and decorative water fountains.  One of my favorite fountains I have visited is found in Forsyth Park, Savannah Georgia.  The design is beautiful and it puts out so much water and spray.  It just makes me happy to watch it. It is beautiful in the daytime and lit up and beautiful at night. I took picture after picture when we were there visiting several years ago.

Did you know the Lord’s salvation—peace with God—within every believer is like a fountain of joy?  It bubbles up to satisfy our souls and bring peace, as well as equips us to be powerful witnesses to the healing shalom of God.  So, pursue peace and protect the joy found in your salvation.  It is a priceless gift that just keeps on giving…

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 12-12-18

December 12, 2018

Luke 7:18-30 New Living Translation (NLT)

Doing the right thing—the Christ honoring thing—in life does not always bring the results we might expect.  For example, in our passage today, John the Baptist is in jail for doing the right thing—speaking the Truth as the Spirit gives it to him.  But, even though he has followed God’s heart and is the fulfillment of prophecy, he finds himself punished and in jail.  I imagine that is why he begins to questioned whether or not Jesus is the Messiah and sends the disciples to bring back an answer. Jesus indirectly answers John’s questions by proceeding to do many miracles for the disciples to witness and report back to John.

As we continue our Advent journey on the path of peace, may we like John be willing to face our doubts, go to Jesus for reassurance, and continue our move forward into the peace and completeness of God knowing he is in control of his children. We must guard our hearts so we do not fall away from the faith when things do not go as we planned. Jesus is the Savior and he will save every heart that seeks him.  Jesus shines a Light on the Truth of a bigger mission in the world than just one soul, yet he always fulfills his promise to be our personal Savior.  Trust the Lord with your whole heart and remain in peace, today.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 12-11-18

December 11, 2018

2 Peter 1:2-15 New Living Translation (NLT)

I have never minded hard work (effort).  I am grateful, because everything in life worthwhile requires effort and sometimes sacrifice. Any form of work calls for grace (favor of God) and endurance because some work can involve a difficult process.

Our spiritual life requires work, grace, and endurance, too. The process can be difficult and even painful.  However, many people fail to grasp just how essential this form of work or effort is for sharing in the divine nature; such effort is required to lay hold of the eternal promises given by God. So what is this spiritual work?  Our spiritual work is to believe in the One whom God sent to take us on the faith journey.  Our faith, strength, and peace are dependent on the work of Christ on the cross and our willingness to follow him on the path toward the shalom or peace of God’s eternal presence.

As we continue on our Advent journey toward peace, may we allow Christ to shed his Light on the importance of following him even when the work of trusting him in the process is hard.  Shalom!

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 12-7-18

December 7, 2018

Philippians 1:20-26 New Living Translation

The world’s definition for peace is freedom from disturbance or tranquility.  It conjures up a more passive picture. Biblical peace based on the Hebrew world, shalom, brings a much broader and active meaning.  God’s peace translates to be sound of mind, complete, or whole.  God’s Word teaches that His peace is not necessarily based on pleasant circumstances.  In fact, we can stay in peace no matter what is going on in our lives if we stay focused on trusting God who is the Source of our shalom or peace.

While the Apostle Paul spent time in prison for sharing his faith in Christ, he held onto his peace and continued to write to the church in Philippi and encourage them to keep spreading the Good News of Jesus.  He prayed for the church family to overflow with love for one another, because that would be a testimony to the presence and power of God operating in their lives.  Then, Paul shares his testimony of how God was working in his life; he found joy in Christ even in prison.  Paul was able to share the Good News with the palace guards and they became believers.  Paul’s witness for Christ in prison gave other believers confidence and courage to share Christ’s message without fear.  Sometimes we forget how God uses our circumstances to touch the lives of others who are watching our lives and listening to our words.  This is why it is so important to remain in God’s love, hold on to our peace, and trust His plan.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 12-6-18

December 6, 2018

Luke 1:68-79 Contemporary English Version (CEV)

I truly enjoy creating environments, sharing the Word, and preparing God’s people for an encounter with the Lord.  I see each opportunity as a great privilege offered by God.  In our passage today infant  John the Baptist is being dedicated; he will be a prophetic voice for God. One day John will take his place in God’s plan and instruct people to turn toward the Light; preparing them to receive salvation from God.  John would bear witness to the Light with his life.

During this Advent season, be a part of preparing others for a visit from Messiah—the eternal Light for the darkened soul.  Light and Life comes to those who welcome Messiah. He delivers us from our enemies: evil and the power of sin.  Please tell people how much God loves them.  Let praise rise on your lips to let others know the healing peace the Savior has brought to you.  Fear is not the reason we serve Christ.  We tell others because Love has called us to a miraculous life of peace with God and our neighbors.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 12-5-18

December 5, 2018

Psalm 90:1-2, 12 The Message (MSG)

I love being home. By home I am talking about a place where I live as part of a family. Sadly, I realize there are some people who cannot make that statement, but for me home is where my heart is free and feels secure. When life is heavy and the stresses of the holiday season press in, I come home and everything get’s put back into perspective. I look around and things are familiar and therefore, liberating. Pictures remind me of the people in my heart who motivate me to press on in love, and suddenly I take a deep breath and am filled with hope and an inner peace that all will be well; that God smiles as I, His daughter, understand the feeling of being home.

God is our true home, and if our earthly homes can make us feel secure and peaceful then in some small way we have managed to place God, our living Hope, in the middle of that family dwelling. I can only imagine the peace we will experience when Christ returns and sets up his kingdom to remake our earthly home. During this season of Advent, focus on your living Hope, as well as making where you live a place that is peaceful, free, and feels secure in the love of God. Where you call home, work, or live out each day is your mission field. You have the presence and the power of God to make your home…God’s home because God lives in you. You can live out the hope and the peace of God in your workplace; spill into the lives around you. Wisdom teaches us that is what living wisely is all about; living in Christ the Hope of our salvation and our Prince of Peace. In our passage today, Moses understands home. Make room in your heart and home for more of the Lord.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 12-4-18

December 4, 2018

Revelation 22:12-16 New Living Translation (NLT)

Each week as I share the Word of God, I encourage people to embrace the Truth the Spirit bears witness to in their hearts because we are accountable for living in the Truth once it has been revealed.  In our passage today, the Apostle John shares a Word from the Lord reiterating the importance of keeping our lives free from the influence of evil; to wash our robes is to walk away from sinful living. To do so requires us to invite the Spirit to break the chains of any bondage that seeks to hold us captive so we can embrace the Light of Truth and the Way of Righteousness. Because of this Word, live in a “Lighter” place today than you did yesterday.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 12-3-18

December 3, 2018

2 Peter 3 New Living Translation 

Every now and then I forget something for which I was certain was locked into my memory. I think, “Where did it go?”  I am always surprised when I forget certain things, because the reason I wanted to remember it was because it was so important to me. I may lose track of a few things, but I am not going to forget the nearness of the Lord’s coming.  The Holy Spirit has etched it on my heart and fills me with amazing anticipation.  In our passage today, the Apostle Peter calls us to live with faith in the promise of the Lord’s coming.  While we wait, let’s abide in peace and grow in love and grace.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 11-30-18

November 30, 2018

Psalm 25

In our passage today, King David is singing a song to the Lord thanking God for helping him conquer the enemies of his soul; asking the Lord to guide him onto the righteous path.  If we are going to join Jesus on the righteous path, we are going to need to confess that sometimes we need a change in direction.  In fact, Scripture teaches there is a way that seems right, but it ends in destruction (Prov. 14:12).  So, it is best not to lean on our own understanding, but acknowledge the Lord in all things and look for his guidance to get us on the path of righteousness.

Do you consider yourself a teachable person?  Are you someone who welcomes new ideas, new experiences, and new thoughts?  If so, you will enjoy your journey with Jesus.  He is all about teaching us what it means to live in Christ…live in the Anointed One.  There is no other experience or journey like it.  Have a blessed weekend…

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 11-29-18

November 29, 2018

1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 The Message (MSG)

Have you ever found yourself sleepwalking?  I remember a movie I saw years ago that depicted the hilarious antics of a sleepwalker who remembered nothing about his night adventures the next morning.  I know very little about sleepwalking or the medical reasons for it, but I did read it usually takes place during the first third of the night when a person is in his or her deepest sleep pattern.  At that time, the brainwaves are slow, relaxed, and peaceful, but the body is still active tossing and turning or moving around.  

In our passage today, the Apostle Paul reminds us we are to be alert and spiritually awake for Christ’s second advent or coming.  We are warned against a false sense of peace.  We are to guard against sleepwalking through life; being oblivious to our actions or how we are living.  Let’s keep our minds fixed on Jesus and his work of redemption; focus on eternal life and stay vibrant in the righteousness of the Lord.  Fight the temptation to be preoccupied with only earthly activities.  Choose to spend time allowing the Word to transform your mind and grow you up into Christ who speaks hope into the lives of others getting them ready, as well.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 11-28-18

November 28, 2018

John 16:25-33 New Living Translation (NLT)


Jesus has brought so many gifts to believers, but the greatest gift of all is the ability to have a new relationship with our Heavenly Father.  Before Jesus it was impossible to approach God on a personal level; people could only connect with God through priests.  After the resurrection of Jesus Christ, whosoever will believe in Christ can connect with Almighty God and enjoy fellowship.  We can talk directly with Father—the Creator.  So, whatever is going on in your life—blessings as well as challenges—enjoy a conversation with Father, today.  He waits for your visits and will always leave you feeling comforted and valued.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 11-27-18

November 27, 2018

Revelation 11:15-19 Good News Translation (GNT)

Scripture teaches when the seventh trumpet sounds it signals the arrival of the King of kings and the Lord of lords; the Son of God our Jesus Messiah.  He is coming back to earth to rule forever.  Once that trumpet sounds there is no turning back; at that point judgment will have arrived and evil will have no escape.  For the people who have declared their need for Messiah to cover their sin, they will be rewarded for their love and reverence of the Lord with eternal life in God’s presence.  Obedience to God’s Word is His provision to protect us from the effects of divine wrath against evil.

God has revealed his plan in advance so humanity could get ready for his return and reign.  Are you ready?  Evil and sin will be destroyed and those who partake of it—who connect to and live out the very things God has forbidden—will not survive the wrath of God who will take down evil in every form.  If you haven’t already done so, ask Jesus to cover your sin and then turn to live in obedience to God’s Word.  It is the Good News! 

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 11-26-18

November 26, 2018

Revelation 11:1-14 The Message The Two Witnesses

God promises “spiritual protection” to those in his church (believers) who seek to faithfully abide and obey his Word; God will spiritually protect his own during times of persecution. Evil will come to an end, but until it does God will take care of those who call on the name of the Lord.  He has given his Word. 

In our passage today from the prophetic Book of Revelation, the Apostle John has a vision of the passion and power of God to save the world.  God provides two witnesses to speak truth to the people outside the spiritually protected church; God does not give up on getting the Truth to humanity.  God desires that no one would perish, but all would come to the saving knowledge of the Lord.  Yet, notice humanity’s reaction to the witnesses who speak only what God tells them to speak; truth of God’s love and the need for repentance or turning from sin.  The people are miserable, they cannot enjoy their sin when these two are speaking.  The Word pricks their conscience and the unbelievers don’t like it. People actually celebrate the death of these two prophets, so they don’t have to listen anymore to the truth.  Could human hearts be so harden against God?  The Bible teaches when human hearts are hardened, God allows the stubborn to face the consequences of their sin without his spiritual protection.


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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 11-23-18

November 23, 2018

1 Corinthians 15:20-28 New Living Translation (NLT)

We must all be wise and diligent in getting ready for the Second Coming of Christ.  When Christ returns we will be raised to life the way he has been raised to life.  In our passage today, we are reminded when Christ returns he is coming to destroy every power and source that opposes God’s Kingdom reign; therefore, Christ will bring every opposing spirit under his authority,  Jesus is not only Good News…he is Lord!

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 11-22-18

November 22, 2018

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Because of Jesus we are invited to live the resurrected life; I don’t know about you, but this understanding fills me with joy unspeakable.  There is nothing for which I am more grateful than being able to respond to God’s giving of his Son so I can live, move, and have my being in Christ.  In Christ, I have an amazing family, friends, spiritual brothers and sisters who live life with me and teach me more about the Lord.

As you spend time celebrating the holiday called “Thanksgiving” please remember to be filled with joy, pray for God’s will in your life, and give thanks for all he has done, is doing, and will do to get you ready to bring him glory. Happy Thanksgiving for Joyful Thanks Living!  Blessings!

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 11-20-18

November 20, 2018

Hebrews 10:32-39 New Living Translation (NLT)

Are you focused on what is truly important in life?  If we are going to operate in wisdom, we must stay focused on Truth.  The Word of God is Living Truth and the Spirit bears witness to the Truth when we hear or read it so we can wisely align our lives with it.  

The Book of Hebrews focuses on persevering in our Christian faith, as well as being transformed in our actions as we patiently wait for Christ’s return.  Everyone faces suffering, but how we suffer has to do with our faith and our focus.  Do you realize suffering is a part of human life and even Christians experience seasons of suffering? That’s why God helps us develop perseverance.   If we will focus on doing God’s will, stay connected to people who live in Christ, and remain filled with joy and gratitude for the good things God has done for us, then no matter what comes our way we can persevere in our faith.  For those who do not remain focused on Christ and his promise of salvation, they can find themselves isolated and their faith faltering.  Faith calls us to rest confidently in what Christ has done for us in the past, as well as trusting him for what he promises to do for us in the future.  He is faithful; we must be faithful too.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 11-19-18

November 19, 2018

Hebrews 10:26-31 Good News Translation

The truth of God’s love has been made know through the Savior, Jesus Christ. Jesus is the visible image of the invisible God. The same love and power that forgives our sin through the righteous blood of Jesus is the same love and power that delivers and helps us grow beyond any sin that tries to keep us enslaved.  If we resist the grace that tries to separate us from sin, then we are opposing God.  We must offer ourselves as living sacrifices holy and acceptable to God; we must chose to follow Christ into a deeper level of freedom.  Scripture teaches if we will judge ourselves, we will not be judge by God.  So, evaluate your heart and invite God to continue to pour his grace into your life so you can go into the future with “Thanks Living.”

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 11-16-18

November 16, 2018

Colossians 2:6-15 New Living Translation (NLT)

According to our Scripture passage today, every time we follow Christ beyond the cross into “eternal living” our faith in Christ is grown and our trust expanded.  It is difficult to take those steps to follow Christ, because all of our emotions which are motivated many times by fear, come to make us feel the only safe place is what “feels” good to our flesh.  But what if our finest blessings and experiences lie beyond the fears that seek to stop us?  What if God is asking us to live beyond the fears in order to root our faith more fully in the Truth of who we really are now in Christ?  

We must get to the point where we wisely discern that God is Agape and Wisdom and the very things we have known in our human comfort zones is not necessary the Truth.  God is always wanting to give His children more glimpses of pure Truth; however, it takes obedience to follow and a heart that is hungry to discover the Truth about ourselves.   Do you think if we really believed God has only Good and Holy things for us that make us more authentic to who he created us to be, that we would stop fighting against where he wants to lead us?  How are we ever going to know how much work Christ has done inwardly in our lives until he releases it and reveals it outwardly as we follow? We must live “on earth as it is in heaven.”  Blessings for your weekend in Christ!

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 11-15-18

November 15, 2018

Psalm 16 The Wisest Decision

David made a life time commitment to the Lord and in our psalm today, he describes the benefits of that decision that brought him peace and joy.    The fullness of God’s presence found in David’s commitment sustained him in this life and brought him hope for eternity.  The world brings fleeting pleasures, but at the righteous hand of God, we can know true and lasting pleasure as he takes us from being a refuge to making us an heir in Christ Jesus.  Jesus never promised his followers a trouble free life; rather, he promised to always be with us and to guide our paths.   Pray for God to make you hungry for eternal pleasures and fill you with heavenly joy as you trust him with your life.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 11-14-18

November 14, 2018

Luke 4:16-21 New Living Translation (NLT)

Jesus—wisdom incarnate—understood his Spirit-driven purpose to bring Good News. Do you know every day your purpose is to share the Good News with others in your sphere of influence? It’s true. The Spirit of Christ—who lives in you—wants to continue his purpose of connecting with the spiritually poor; bringing sight, relief, and freedom to the spiritually blind, wounded and oppressed, because God’s favor and wisdom awaits those who will turn to him. Jesus, the Light of the World, wants to shine a Light of Truth through you for the sake of others to give their life purpose, too. Favor comes to those who live with purpose!

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 11-13-18

November 13, 2018

Psalm 113 New Living Translation (NLT)

When you think about your life and expressing gratitude, how far or high do you need to look in order to find a reason to be thankful?  If we are simply looking directly in front of us or to our immediate right or left, we may have difficulty seeing beyond the challenging situations or circumstances surrounding us.  We may have passed through some great things in the past for which we are grateful, but God is a very present help in time of need.  We cannot live in the past even though we can be thankful for God’s goodness years ago.  Where do you see him working in your life today?  How is the Lord revealing his glory in your life now? Pause and Ponder…then, Praise!

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 11-12-18

November 12, 2018

1 Timothy 5:1-8 The Message (MSG)

Family relationships are very important in God’s eyes.  We are encouraged to lovingly care for one another in good times and in hard times.  Our passage today is a great reminder of how our faith should work to love others.  True faith expressed in love begins with our families; and if we don’t have families we should open our eyes to see how we can help others who are burdened as they take care of their families. Wisdom guides us to know the truth about where others may find themselves and stirs the servant’s heart within.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 11-9-18

November 9, 2018

Psalm 119:1-8 The Message (MSG)

Faith is about approaching life with an expectation that God may at any moment place something amazing in your path; a blessing because God rewards those who diligently seek him and follow his directions of love. Our words need to align with our faith in order to prepare ourselves to receive. Christ, the Living Word, is our standard of love and he’s promised to never leave us. Each day the Lord makes a way to get his love to us; to reveal his heart and the things that are eternally valuable.  It may be smile that catches your eye when you need it most, a kind word of encouragement to lift your soul because life is hard, or soothing melodies when you need peace for your anxious mind.  We must look for the Lord each day and pursue his presence; if we seek we will find the joy of our salvation. 

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 11-8-18

November 8, 2018

Romans 5:6-11 The Passion Translation (TPT)

I live every day thanking God for his mercy over my life and the life of my family.  I am so grateful God does not return to me what I actually deserve; instead, he gives me mercy and grace to live another day in a better and more righteous way.  God extends passionate love, mercy, and forgiveness to me.  Because of the sacrificial agape of Jesus, these things are mine and I never have to worry about facing God’s anger. I have been reconciled to God through my connection to Christ.  My slate has been wiped clean and my life given new direction and motivation. This is my love story with God; I am eager to share this Good News with others and invite them to watch Christ work in my life.   If this is your story, too, then join me as we share the News of great joy!

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 11-7-18

November 7, 2018

John 13:31-35 New Living Translation (NLT)

From my earliest memories, my mother used to have a saying when she was skeptical about an opinion that someone was embracing as truth, “The proof is in the pudding.”  When I was young I really did not understand this idiom, but as I have gotten older I do. Mother’s version of the phrase was based on the modification of an old proverb which read, “The proof of the pudding is in the eating.”  Pudding can look really good on the outside and someone can tell you it is delicious, but actually taste lousy; so we should not believe it is true based on words or appearances alone.  When my mother said, “The proof is in the pudding” she meant when something is put to the test truth is revealed.

In our passage today, Jesus is preparing his disciples for his death and the reality of the fact they cannot go with him.  As he does so he gives the disciples a “new commandment.”  It is really not a new commandment, but it is a part of the new covenant.  The mark of faithfulness to the new covenant is agape (selfless, sacrificial, and unconditional love) for those within the community of faith.  The focus is on loving action rather than simply loving feelings.  Jesus always translated agape into action that benefit others and he calls us to do the same.  It is agape that Jesus had for the Father and for his followers.  We may not always “feel” affection for others, but it is not impossible to be a help and source of support to them.  As far as our agape goes, the proof is in the pudding…the selfless, sacrificial, unconditional love and respect we extend to others will be tangible.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 11-6-18

November 6, 2018

Mark 11:12-14; 20-24  Contemporary English Version (CEV)

There are some spiritual principles of faith that are true and work in the positive realm of God, as well as in the negative realm of Satan; a universal spiritual principle of sowing and reaping.  Therefore, we must choose our thoughts and words wisely.  Jesus teaches agreement brings power; what we believe in our hearts and speak with our mouths without doubting will come to pass.  It’s a connection of heart and mouth; a creative connection when our heart and mouth get into agreement.  

Satan looks for agreement, as well.  So, when Satan puts negative and unloving thoughts into our heads and we choose to be negative and spew negative words…then, we reap negative results that are contrary to what God has for us as his children.  It’s one of the traps Satan uses to rob us.  Meditate on the truth of God’s Word, so your thought life has direction and your mouths will follow.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 11-5-18

November 5, 2018

Psalm 18:20-30 The Message (MSG)

I found the following quote today and it touch my heart.  “When something does not insist on being noticed, when we aren’t grabbed by the collar or struck on the skull by a presence or an event, we take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.” ~~ Cynthia Ozick

In a world that takes God for granted, may we as his children never do so because he alone deserves our gratitude.  He is so good to us; so nurturing for our faith and lives to develop.  Just think about it, God desires for us to wear his glory. He lays his love out for us.  Personally, I want my heart to be an open book for God’s eyes. He sees what I cannot see and completes what I would, otherwise, leave unfinished. 

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 11-1-18

November 1, 2018

Psalm 24 New Living Translation (NLT)

During our LIFE Lesson study on Wednesday evening from the Book of Daniel, we talked about End Times and how the Lord will be the great victor in the final battle between good and evil.  The King of Glory is invincible in battle and he will fight for those who have a right relationship with him. In our passage today, we see King David knew the power of the Lord with him to fight battles and win.

Let’s face some truth here, the enemy of our freedom tries to ensnare us in spiritual battles each day; he tries to get us to wage war in our own strength so we will fail.  We must give the battle to the Lord who calls us to receive his blessings; he intercedes and brings divine might and strength to us. We are not to just give up the fight, we are to invite Jesus, the King of kings, to bring wisdom and guidance and power to our lives when we need it most.  It is how we bring glory to God; it’s worship.  So, open the gates of your heart and connect to the King of Glory, trust him with your life, and any battle you face is a battle he will overcome with you.  There is power in the name Jesus!

Psalm 24  A psalm of David.

The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.

    The world and all its people belong to him.

For he laid the earth’s foundation on the seas

    and built it on the ocean depths.

Who may climb the mountain of the Lord?

    Who may stand in his holy place?

Only those whose hands and hearts are pure,

    who do not worship idols

    and never tell lies.

They will receive the Lord’s blessing

    and have a right relationship with God their savior.

Such people may seek you

    and worship in your presence, O God of Jacob.[a] Interlude

Open up, ancient gates!

    Open up, ancient doors,

    and let the King of glory enter.

Who is the King of glory?

    The Lord, strong and mighty;

    the Lord, invincible in battle.

Open up, ancient gates!

    Open up, ancient doors,

    and let the King of glory enter.


Who is the King of glory?

    The Lord of Heaven’s Armies—

    he is the King of glory. Interlude

Prayer:  Lord, if I did not give you my spiritual battles, I would become weary and worn out from the fight.  Thank you for the power outflowing your resurrection and the might and strength of your righteousness to overcome every snare the enemy sends my way.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 10-31-18

October 31, 2018

Psalm 146: 8-10

The other day I was working on a small window project at the church with my friend, Ray. I am usually quite coordinated on a ladder, but not this day.  As well, I am usually quite flexible to bend or squat when working close to the floor, but not this day.   On two occasions, Ray reached for me and stopped me from sprawling on the floor.  It was so great to have Ray there looking out for me.

In our passage today, the psalmist reminds us the Lord is like that for us spiritually.  He helps us see things in the Spirit, sets us free from the dominion of sin, lends a helping hand when we lose our balance due to careless living, and never steps away from his post as Ruler of all.  If you know Jesus, aren’t you glad you have him looking out for you?  If you don’t know Jesus, you need to call on his name…he is the Savior.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 10-30-18

October 30, 2018

Psalm 146:1-6 CEV

Today, would have been my mother’s 89th earthly birthday, but she is enjoying her first heavenly birthday with Jesus.  Mom was a young and positive thinker.  One of her favorite quotes was by Satchel Paige, “How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?”  Well, Mom is eternal, so she is now forever young.

Mom taught me many profound and wonderful things, but her greatest gift to me was teaching me how to depend upon the Lord with all my heart.  She used to tell others, “Mary trust God!”  She knew it was true, because she taught me it was the only way to experience a deep spiritual life.

In our passage today, I am reminded that we are to depend upon the Lord above all else.  He is worthy of our praise, we can trust him, and he always keeps his word. Give him your heart and life and you will be shouting praise, too.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 10-29-18

October 29, 2018

1 Peter 2:1-55 The Message (MSG)

We can acquire a taste for many things in this world that are just not good for us.  Things like foul language, jealousy, gossip, deceit, unforgiveness, and overall rude behavior. Those things hinder our walk with God; they pollute us on the inside causing strongholds in our minds, as well as affecting our physical health. If any of those things have become our “go to” when we are pressed by life or rejected in our relationships, then we have acquired a taste for the wrong things.  Let those things go and ask the Lord to give you a taste for the pure spiritual nutrition he makes available to believers.  

In our passage today, the Apostle Peter teaches us about enjoying a taste of the Lord’s kindness which leads into wholeness or the full experience of salvation.  Christ, the Source of Life, desires to build us up into a holy priesthood of believers who speak out for the love, goodness, and kindness of God and life with him.   Have you had a taste of the Lord’s kindness?  If so, share your experience with someone else today.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 10-26-18

October 26, 2018

Psalm 126 New Living Translation (NLT)

Life does not always serve up the experiences we would choose, but abiding in the midst of those times is our greatest opportunity to experience the joy of a harvest. There is much about life we do not control; yet, we can choose how we will react in those times.  We do have the power of the Spirit available to help us control our souls—minds, will, and emotions. The Apostle Paul teaches us to sow to the Spirit as opposed to sowing to the flesh; we will reap a harvest if we don’t quit (Gal. 6:8-9). Sowing seed is about believing the Word of God is truth; the Word is the seed.  If we obey the Word, we are promised a harvest of righteousness. Do you realize you can sow to the Spirit even your disappointments, sorrows, and loss by placing them into the fertile ground of God’s love and trusting him? 

In our passage today, the Israelites had been captives for years until the Lord set them free and brought them back home.  They sowed those years of captivity in the fertile ground of God’s love and in time the Lord brought them back and restore them in every area of their lives. Sowing can be financial seeds and we need to obey God’s Word to give to the work of his kingdom, but sowing is much broader than that according to Scripture.   If you are experiencing disappointments and challenges in life, take time right now to sow them by giving them to God in prayer.  Leave them in his care and trust him, because sowing any seed into the kingdom can only produce good things in return.  When we sow in our lack, we harvest from God’s generosity.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 10-25-18

October 25, 2018

Psalm 34:1-8 The Message (MSG)

Recently, I have been spending quite a bit of time pondering what I really want people to know about the God I serve.  Do you ever set aside time to think about what you want the people around you to know as to why you follow Christ and live by the authority of his Word? Why you set aside a financial tithe and join with people of faith in praise and worship each week?  If you had one sentence to share with others knowing you might never see them again, what would that sentence be?  What would comprise your life testimony?  Would fear drive it or would love drive it?

King David spent years running in fear from the abuse and hatred of Saul; oddly, at one time he found himself trying to take refuge with the Philistines who hated him (remember David took down their champion Goliath). Our passage today, is the testimony of David and how the Lord was near him even during these times of running, hiding, and pretending.  David was learning how to worship the Lord with his every breath; to praise God first as an individual and then to grow that praise in the hearts of others so that it would become a corporate praise radiating from the earth and glorifying the Lord with one voice.  David testifies that when the Lord delivered him from each level of fear, he could take on a new appearance and shine with radiance for God. Our testimonies are powerful because they reveal the action of God in our lives.  

So, my one sentence testimony would be:  “All my life God has rescued me from fear and delivered me into new ways of experiencing his love, forgiveness, power, and blessings so I may help you and others connect to the Truth, cast down fear, trust his love, and praise him with me!”  May our lives be a living testimony as we worship the Lord.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 10-24-18

October 24, 2018

John 13:6-17

During his time on earth, Jesus sought to get the truth of God’s heart to his disciples. Repeatedly, Jesus would remind them “the Father and I are One.” Sometimes Jesus’ disciples were way off on discerning God’s character or how Jesus should act in a given situation. So, let’s get real here; it is interesting how many of us come to God with our own ideas of his heart only to be confronted and surprised when God does something in our lives or the lives of others around us that we never saw coming. 

In our Scripture today, Jesus will soon lay down his life to die for the sins of the world (kosmos), but before he does he gives the disciples an object lesson about what it means to be a disciple. He washes all of their feet; he washes the ones who will abandon him and he washes the one who will betray him. Notice, he does not berate them or publicly call them out to slap them for their immaturity. What does he do? He teaches them about the humble love of God who would not only clean them up on the inside, but would bend down to wash the feet of those who say one thing with their mouths and another with their lives. Unless Jesus washes us, we cannot love the way we are supposed to love. We will only love those who are like us. The very thing that proves we are Christ’s followers is unconditional love; without humble love we cannot be a part of what he is doing.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 10-23-18

October 23, 2018

Hebrews 6:13-20 New Living Translation (NLT)

When I was a young girl, we had a tetherball pole game in our yard and friends would come to the house to play. Three things made up the game: A tall pole secured in the ground, a rope, and a ball. The ball was connected to the rope and the rope was connected to the top of the pole.  To win the game a person had to hit the ball around the pole until it was tethered and had no way to move.  My friends were all much taller than me, so as long as they kept the ball encircling up toward the top of the pole, I had little hope to hit it and reverse the direction of the ball. lol. 

I am certainly glad my relationship with God is won at the heart level; I am tethered at the heart with the crucified Christ and securing the victory for my life is promised.  I cannot lose no matter how high the odds are stacked above me.  People play games above my head all the time, but it doesn’t matter because I am tethered to the Savior who has promised me the victory if I will simply hold onto hope and remain faithful.  God—the Rock of Ages—tethered himself to his Word and I am tethered to the Savior…the blessings of God are mine.  If you are tethered to the Savior; he is the anchor for your soul and the blessings are your’s, as well. Walk in obedience to the Word and move forward in the direction it teaches.  With every righteous decision you make, the Spirit will give you the strength to live in faithfulness.  One day you will look at the pole (cross) and realize God wrapped your life around himself, so you could enjoy a holy place in his presence filled with promises that have miraculously manifest.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 10-22-18

October 22, 2018

Psalm 34:1-8 Contemporary English Version (CEV)

Christian maturity can only be achieved if we are willing to admit that we have broken souls (minds, will, emotions), lean toward wayward thinking and living, and need the power of the Spirit to call us back to the plumb line of God’s Word.  When we honor the Lord we are taking steps of obedience to follow His Word of wisdom and guidance with our lives.  With every step of obedience to His Word we are willing to take, it is like humbly asking for help and suddenly we find ourselves in the midst of God’s goodness and kindness; He saves us.  We experience more of God each time and we grow in our ability and willingness to trust Him with our whole being.  Jesus is the only one who can make us whole. Take a step today by standing on this Word.  Praise the Lord with all your heart, listen, and keep your eyes on the One who loves you more than you can imagine. 

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 10-19-18

October 19, 2018

Luke 22:24-30 New Living Translation (NLT)

There are many different kinds of leadership styles in the world, but a leader, no matter which style is used, is to motivate people and help them find purpose in a job well done.  Too many times leaders claw their way to the top and beat down anyone who appears to be competition.  Leadership is very different in the Kingdom of God.  Among Christians, a leader is to be the one who serves people according to God’s standards.  It requires humility, a great commitment to love, and a desire to see others become devoted disciples of Jesus Christ.

In our passage today, the disciples are arguing about who will have the best position in the Kingdom of God.  Jesus sets out the truth; his life as an example.  You are valuable to the work of the Kingdom no matter what position you may have in this world.  So, put on a spirit of servanthood and get busy loving and serving others for the glory of God.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 10-18-18

October 18, 2018

Psalm 104:24 New Living Translation (NLT)

The longer I live the more aware I am that God, as Creator of life, has unique experiences with beauty and wisdom in mind for his creation.  I have always appreciated my life, but lately I have been taking time to really soak in my surroundings in order to observe a bigger picture of God’s goodness. My desire for paying closer attention is so I can express a greater measure of gratitude to the Lord each day. Right now, I am listening to the melodies of the birds; they are so happy.  I think they are expressing gratitude to their Creator with me.  As I spend time with people, I am amazed at how different we all are and how special we become as we choose to operate in wisdom by giving praise, glory, and honor to God in one accord. He deserves our words of appreciation; our praise of gratitude as we experience life. Not everything that tries to enter into a day is good, but God who dwells with me each day…is! He has all the wisdom I need to discern the difference.  Let all that I am praise the Lord!

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 10-17-18

October 17, 2018

Psalm 91:9-16 New Living Translation (NLT)

What meaning do you think of when you hear the word “if”?  The Hebrew word translated “if” literally means “because.” As believers in Christ Jesus, we have a covenant with God based on the promise God made to Abraham.  We can enjoy everything God has promised, but those blessings are benefits based on obedience.   So, as we read our passage today, pay attention to the first verse and the first word, as everything that follows is “because” we choose to operate in the Lord’s wisdom.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 10-16-18

October 16, 2018

Job 28:12-29:20 The Message (MSG)

Many times people confuse wisdom with knowledge, but they are not the same. We can gain knowledge by our own efforts, but we cannot gain wisdom without divine help. Wisdom is given so we can make good use of knowledge and to determine what is right or wrong in our lives before God.  

In our wisdom passage from Job, we learn the ultimate interpretation for our lives must come from God—from the One who created us in his image.  Only God can reveal his plans for our lives. Our reverence and respect for God will establish a beginning in our quest for wisdom. In order to receive wisdom, we must trust the Lord who gives it generously to those who seek him and ask. So, ask God for wisdom and trust him to bring to your understanding what you need to be prosperous in every area of your life.  Father God wants to bless you with wisdom, so be listening carefully.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 10-15-18

October 15, 2018

Psalm 39 New Living Translation (NLT)

Do you find yourself tempted to complain about aspects of your life?  In our passage today, King David has decided to watch what he says, because he realizes being negative about his life may lead people to think God does not take care of him.  King David had reasons to be disappointed, but complaining was not going to change God’s timing or plans.  Our words need to reflect our commitment and devotion to God.  When you find yourself disappointed, take time to pray for God’s peace to still the turmoil, and hold your tongue.  It’s wisdom.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 10-12-18

October 12, 2018

Hebrews 4:1-11 New Living Translation

Just as the Israelites turned back from their Promised Land due to fear and spent 40 more years in the wilderness, we as Christians can turn away from the promised rest we have been offered in Christ.  Rest is about trust; trusting Christ, surrendered to his authority, and then doing what he says.  We live in the Sabbath rest of Christ when we believe and trust the Lord to finish the work he has begun in us.  The Life Application Bible has this to say about spiritual rest, “To enter his rest, you must believe that God has this relationship in mind for you; you must stop trying to create it; you must trust in Christ for it; and you must decide/determine to obey him.”  We cannot have control and rest at the same time.  So, surrendered to the work of the Master, because he created you and knows where you are to go.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 10-11-18

October 11, 2018

Hebrews 3:7-14 New Living Translation (NLT)

I continue to pray for my sisters and brothers in the panhandle of Florida and the southern states that are suffering from the arrival of Hurricane Michael. May God use even this storm to bring attention to the condition of people’s hearts and may the Spirit help them turn to receive the love and provision of God.

The writer of Hebrews seeks to gain the attention of all believers in Christ and exhort them in their faith. The letter (which reads more like a sermon) encourages believers to press on to follow Christ into a place of rest (peace with God and their inheritance in Christ).  No matter what we are going through, we must not harden our hearts and set ourselves against God, because that hardness leads to separation from the One who can save us.  Faith is what enables Christians to face trials; it is our confident trust in God’s love for us.  Genuine faith includes the commitment to stay true to God when we are under pressure.  Our commitment causes our character to grow, as well as our faith to mature in endurance.  Whatever you are facing, today, reach for God and enter his rest.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 10-10-18

October 10, 2018

Psalm 90:12-17 New Living Translation (NLT)

For many years, I enjoyed listening to Billy Graham share the Word of God.  He always seemed to bring forth such wisdom.  I ran across this quote from Billy Graham and I felt it was worth sharing as it connects with our Scripture for the day.  

"There comes a moment when we all must realize that life is short, and in the end the only thing that really counts is not how others see us, but how God sees us."  Billy Graham

May God truly help us grow in wisdom and realize our great need for him, because only God’s love can renew and satisfy a life.  Blessings!

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 10-9-18

October 9, 2018

Matthew 15:1-9 New Living Translation (NLT)

Centuries after the Israelites were released from Babylonian captivity, they were still teaching and practicing religious rituals that had been added to God’s law during their captivity.  The laws God handed down to his people were about fostering a loving relationship with Him and with everyone else; a picture of a worshiper.  God’s fifth commandment is: “honor father and mother so your days may be long…,” yet the traditions of man, in our reading, had strangely become equal with the commands of God.  

Every day we must invite God to cleanse us from incorrect thinking and impure motives; to lay our lives down as living sacrifices holy and acceptable to God.  Our worship of him depends on the Truth we are willing to believe and live.  Worship is agreement and oneness with God.  Worship is an internal individual action based on the authority of Christ we are willing to yield to with our daily lives.  Clearly, we are either in agreement with God’s Word as worshipers or our worship can sadly become a farce.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 10-8-18

October 8, 2018

Psalm 112 New Living Translation (NLT)

The fear or reverence of the Lord leads people toward wisdom in honoring God which brings about blessing for the family and compassionate outreach to the community.  Wisdom causes us to imitate our loving Heavenly Father in every area of our lives; that wisdom guides us toward righteous acts of generosity and compassion.  Our honest dependence upon God keeps us strong and unshakable, because God watches over our minds and action when our hearts are truly fixed on keeping his commands.  The strongest place you and I can ever find ourselves is to prayerfully and reverentially abide in the presence of the Lord.  Pray and ask God to fill your heart with Himself.  Spiritually cling to Him and praise Him for being your Rock, today!

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 10-5-18

October 5, 2018

Romans 8:1-8 New Living Translation (NLT)

In our flesh, we tend to compare ourselves to others. These comparisons can be physical, emotional, or spiritual.  But you know comparing ourselves to one another is really sinful.  It’s like saying one person is of greater value than another.  God never compares us to one another.  Never.  You see without being covered by the blood of Jesus, our sin causes us hostility with God; which demands the death penalty.  We are all guilty of sin.  The only person who would never deserve death is the one who actually gave his sinless life for us; Jesus.  When God looks at believers, he sees the blood of Jesus and blesses us for Christ’s sake.  Grace is such an extravagant and sacrificial gift!

Jesus wanted us to be able to enjoy life in the Spirit, as well as enjoy the Father.  So, he freed us from sin and death and gave us a new beginning. Be joyful for who you are because God celebrates you as his child.  Make your focus each day to please the Spirit. Value the gift of grace above anything this world has to offer.  Set your mind on things above; the things that lead to real life.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 10-4-18

October 4, 2018

Galatians 3:23-29 Contemporary English Version (CEV)

The Law of Moses was given to serve God’s people as a guard; but it was not a path to salvation.  It was a way to protect and prepare God’s people for salvation through faith in Christ.  The Law was given to keep people from straying into dangerous areas outside the will of God.   Now, faith in Christ leads to salvation.  Faith in his love. Faith in his sacrifice for our sin. Faith in his way of being born again.  Faith in his instructions to our hearts.  Faith to know if Jesus—the Word of God—calls for a change, it is necessary in order to live right before God.  Faith to know we will be given power to accomplish what Christ asks us to do. Faith in God’s promise of blessing and eternal life.  As children of faith, we do not live according to our own desires; rather, we live to please Christ because he is the good Shepherd guiding our new lives.

In our passage today, the early Christians in Galatia had trouble deciding how far the Law was to go now that Messiah had come.  Paul reminded them Jesus paid the price for sin and now everyone was invited on the same journey of faith to follow the same Shepherd.  No one was better than another; all were One by faith.  “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not yet seen” (Hebrews 11:1).

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 10-3-18

October 3, 2018 Psalm 5 New Living Translation (NLT) Until the world is completely redeemed and renewed under Christ’s future rule, Christ’s followers will have to stand against the evil schemes of Satan—the author of temptation, deception, wickedness, and rebellion against the word and will of Almighty God. In our Psalm today, David has tasted all kinds of distressing and evil situations at the unrighteous hand of Satan and his demonic spirits. When he is focused on the Lord, David understands the power of praise and worship to take down the spirit that opposes his God. Do you understand the power of praise? In Psalm 22:3, a song by David, he reveals what he has learned from the Lord, “You are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel (people chosen by God). When David praised the Most High with words and actions of Truth, he found the power of the Lord with him for every battle against evil. When he allowed himself to be tempted and deceived by Satan, he found himself powerless and lacking heart for the battle. Satan is the great deceiver; Scripture calls him the father of lies who comes as an angel of light. People just don’t always know when Satan is using them. For that reason it is essential for people to know the word of God or Truth. Otherwise, people do not realize they have opened the door through sin and disobedience to God’s Word; thereby, allowing Satan to gain a foothold in their thoughts and actions. The only One who can save people from the power of Satan is Christ the Anointed One. Satan and his demons know the Truth. It’s why one day Satan will commission the Antichrist—a human representative filled with Satan—to deceive people from knowing the Truth that Christ alone can save them. So, when you are in a spiritual battle, praise the One who can save you and ask for HELP!

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 10-2-18

October 2, 2018

1 John 2:18-25 New Living Translation (NLT)

Believing in the work of Christ is essential for genuine fellowship and life with God.  We cannot know Father God without knowing his Son, Jesus Christ the Anointed One. God is three persons in One: Creator Father, Savior Son, and Holy Spirit.  Because Christ is the only way to know the Father and the Spirit, Satan uses deceiving spirits (the spirit of antichrist) to influence people in order to minimize the essential need for Christ, his work of salvation, the need to connect to him for forgiveness, and the impartation of the Spirit of truth and righteousness. In other words, Satan knows if we connect to Christ we will have the privilege of standing in his authority, appropriating the resources of heaven, and using the power of his name with the purpose of bringing people to our life-changing God.  Satan is afraid of genuine believers; we know the value of allowing God to transform our thinking, bring us wisdom, so we can overcome evil with good.  Any religious group who denies Jesus is the Christ is going no further spiritually than religious expression; which is zero threat to the work of evil.

The Apostle John teaches us this morning about a separation in the early church that happened due to the spirit of antichrist. Satan’s goal is to deprive the Church of power.   As well, John reminds us that one day the Antichrist—the embodiment of evil and opposition to the triune God—will try to come to deceive the very elect—community of faith.  We need to guard our hearts—the temple of God—and stay fixed on God’s living Word—Jesus Christ.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 10-1-18

October 1, 2018

1 Peter 1:3-9 New Living Translation (NLT)

As I have been reading the Word of God today, I have been pondering the word genuine.  I think about the word genuine and the word real comes to mind.   I prefer genuine solid wood furniture, genuine friendships, and genuine food without all kinds of preservatives and artificial ingredients.  I want a genuine relationship with God and a genuine relationship with all of his creation.  As I love the Lord my God with my whole being, I want to receive all God has for me knowing he is a rewarder for those who genuinely seek him.   The Apostle Paul teaches that genuine Christians receive the gospel, they trust in him alone by laying down every idol, and serve God while waiting for Christ’s return.

The Apostle Peter tells us something similar in our passage today.  If we want a genuine faith, then we will be tested by fire.  The fire of God longs to burn up whatever is hazardous to our spirits; idols and lies that hold us back from being spiritually genuine.  We must be willing to give over to God those things which have the potential to hinder our faith and ultimate salvation in the genuine love of God.   

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 9-28-18

September 28, 2018

Matthew 5:17-20 New Living Translation (NLT)

Last month, our LIFE Lesson Study was based on the foundational principles written in Christ’s Sermon on the Mount. In his sermon, Jesus got very specific about the reasons he left heaven for his First Coming: to accomplish the purpose of the Law and prophetic writings.  In other words, Jesus lived without sinning and he fulfilled the Law with his life.  No one had been able to live a sinless life, as commanded by God, before the coming of Jesus Christ.  As well, Jesus fulfilled the writings of the prophets because they spoke of God sending a Messiah who would come and lay down his sinless life and take upon himself the sins of the world. By believing Christ is the fulfillment of the Law and the prophetic writings, we connect to Christ, receive forgiveness of sin, and enjoy a relationship with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Now, Christ in us becomes the teacher of God’s heart regarding the Law and prophecy. Because of Jesus, we can know the heart of God, his purpose for our lives, and have the power to actually live for him.  Righteousness is spiritually imparted (begins invisible) by Christ and is worked out to be seen (made visible) in our daily lives.  As Christians, we are the visible manifestations of the difference the invisible God has made and continues to make in us.  So, according to Jesus, it isn’t enough to just receive his righteousness and talk about faith in God; although that is good.  If we are really going to live for Christ’s purpose in us, we must live what we say we believe every day so our lives will teach others about the presence of God in us.  It is how Jesus lived for our benefit.  Will we allow the Spirit to help us live the same way for the benefit of others?

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 9-27-18

September 27, 2018

Psalm 19:7-14 The Message (MSG)

I love and enjoy people.  So many people around me bring good things to my life. I value people and their life lessons.  As I connect with them, I look for glimpses of the goodness of God evident in their lives.  People who have welcomed the Lord usually welcome all that God is as the Most High.  They give God the glory for all things.

Truly, God brings amazing blessings to human life.  Our part is to welcome him into our hearts, so those blessings are worked out in our daily lives.  In our reading today from the Psalter, we are reminded of the blessings and the benefits the presence of the Lord brings as a free gift just because he makes his home within us.  Some of those blessings that can be enjoyed in Christ are wholeness, righteousness, joy, and direction.  Some of the benefits are known as we cry out in prayer and he becomes our Protector, Provider, Savior, and Deliverer.  Do you know Christ, the Anointed One?  Even if you have never acknowledged him, he knows you!  Pray and ask him to make his home in your heart, today.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 9-26-18

September 26, 2018

Ecclesiastes 5:1-7 The Message (MSG)

Over the past few weeks, we have been studying what God’s Word says about wisdom.  We have been challenge about the words that pour forth from our mouths: what we say, how we say it, and to whom we say it.  Communication is a huge gift from the Lord and our mouths have to come under the obedience of God just like every other part of our being in order to use our speech for the glory of God.  Our words are indicative of the purity of our hearts and the depth our character. Jesus, the Living Word, has been made Wisdom for us and we live in him.  Therefore, God’s wisdom should be reflected in and through our words; otherwise, we have engaged in foolish gabble.    

In our wisdom literature reading this morning, we are reminded God is in charge of all things and he wants to be in charge of our entire being.  He is true to his word.  Scripture teaches the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Prov. 9:10).  So, if we want a transformed mouth, the answer lies in the fear of the Lord (awe for his majesty, love for him as our Father, and respect for his authority to correct us).

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 9-25-18

September 25, 2018

Proverbs 27:17-21 New Living Translation (NLT)

Character plays a huge role in God’s idea of success and that reality motivated my father and mother.  I was blessed with parents who continually pointed at my responsibility to respect God, others, and myself when it came to success.  We need to include ourselves in that respect line up, because if we disrespect ourselves with how we live we can never get away from ourselves, can we?  You and I can accomplish all kinds of things the world may deem successful, but if we do not develop the right attitudes and character, we can find ourselves filled with lust, greed, pride, and arrogance which snuff the spiritual light and life out of us.

In our proverb today, we are reminded about the need for integrity and great character as an essential  portion of what God calls success.  Praise reveals a lot about our character; it works in our souls like high temperatures test metal.  Do we work just to get praise?  Is that our attitude and goal for success?  When people around us praise everything we do is that the only time we feel good inside?  If we try our hardest and no one praises us do we still feel successful? To grow in true personal success, we must ask ourselves: 1) “why” we do the things we do; 2) “what” we care most about in life; and 3) “where” we want to lead other people by our words and actions.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 9-24-18

September 24, 2018

James 4:8-17  New Living Translation (NLT)

God is calling his children toward holiness; he is getting us ready for his second coming.  We can judge ourselves and submit to his purification process, or we can wait for God to judge us and purify us then. According to God, it is an easier path and pleases God for us to submit and draw close to him now.   If we are going to embrace God’s plan as his children, we are going to need to stay on the path with his instructions and welcome the purification process as he deems necessary.  He is the only one who can make us holy, because he is holy.  

In our passage today, the Apostle James is calling for the people of God to stop being divided in how they are living.  They have allowed the world and their flesh to tempt them and cause them to deviate from their devotion to God. In true fashion, we like to look at the lives of others so we can say we are more holy than “that person.”  But, judging another person is not our job.  So, if we are inclined to judge others, we should stop, get out the duct tape, put it over our mouths, and bow our own lives before God.  Keeping track of our own sins and repenting is enough work to keep us busy. Amen?

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 9-21-18

September 21, 2018

Romans 11:25-32 The Message (MSG)

In God’s economy of love, everyone who calls on the name of the Lord benefits.  God loves everyone so he opens the door for relationship and everyone who reaches for God experiences that love.  It’s really a win-win, because God extends love and receives love as we receive love and return love.  

In our passage today, the Apostle Paul is sharing about Israel—the people of God—and their future since many Jews rejected their Messiah in his first coming.  Can there still be a win-win?  Can Gentiles and Jews find themselves being loved by a holy God even though at one time we were both outside of his love?   According to Scripture, God has the final say over all creation.  He has declared to be faithful to his “oldest friends.”

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 9-20-18

September 20, 2018

1 Corinthians 2:1-5 Contemporary English Version (CEV)

In yesterday’s devotion, we were reminded of two kinds of wisdom:  heavenly and earthly. According to James, “The wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure and full of quiet gentleness. Then it is peace-loving and courteous. It allows discussion and is willing to yield to others; it is full of mercy and good deeds. It is wholehearted and straightforward and sincere” (3:17). 

In our lesson today, the Apostle Paul—who had a dramatic encounter with the risen Christ on the Road to Damascus—was sharing his story with others in Corinth about Jesus.  Greek culture valued earthly wisdom, so those listening to Paul wanted to argue point by point with the purpose of pridefully proving him wrong.  Paul let these folks know he did not base his words on earthly wisdom and rhetoric; rather, his words of wisdom were heavenly empowered by the Spirit of truth who raised Jesus Christ from the dead.  No argument could refute Paul’s experience with Christ; it happened (truth) and it changed Paul’s whole mindset and direction for life.  Earthly wisdom had nothing to do with it and deserves no credit according to Paul. Heavenly wisdom is imparted through faith in Christ.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 9-19-18

September 19, 2018

Proverbs 29:15-20 The Message (MSG)

There are two kinds of wisdom: earthly and heavenly.  Heavenly wisdom is essential to spiritual victory.  We are to allow heavenly wisdom to guide all of our paths and when we do so God leads us into spiritual success in His shalom.  God has promised to never leave us or forsake us, so the presence of the Spirit of Christ must speak and we must listen.  

Wisdom grows as we allow God’s Word to correct us in order to transform our souls (mind, will, emotion) and reestablish our lives according to God’s plumbline who is Jesus Christ.  It means discipline and that is never really enjoyable.  However, when we allow God to correct us we become so much stronger.  Then, it becomes easier for others to see Christ as the standard to which we have chosen to connect. Our part is to pause long enough to gain God’s will and then do the next thing He asks of us.  

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 9-18-18

September 18, 2018

Colossians 3:1-11 New Living Translation (NLT)

When I was a child, I loved playing the game hide and seek.  I was petite for my age, so I could find some great places to hide until I wanted to be found.  Sometimes spiritual things are hidden or veiled. God is all about order and timing; until his appointed time arrives some things remain hidden no matter how diligent we seek. 

According to Scripture, our lives in Christ are somewhat hidden from the world until God decides the time to reveal him in us.  Can you imagine what that appointed time will be like?  In a twinkling of an eye to be found in the complete likeness of Jesus!  It will be revealed that Christ is tabernacling or inhabiting us.  Until that day, while we are hidden in Christ, we must allow the work of the Spirit to transform us from the inside out for the new life; to give us new desires as we put to death our old way of living. Everyone who believes in the work of Christ’s redeeming love is on this hidden journey and seeks to be found living the new life.  Christ is the Master of this spiritual hide and seek.  I am ready to be found…are you?

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 9-17-18

September 17, 2018

Proverbs 22:1-21 New Living Translation (NLT)

The Book of Proverbs shares practical snippets of wisdom for living; that wisdom is usually contrasted with a foolish way to live. We can choose to live wisely or foolishly. For those who desire to serve God and live in fellowship with him, we seek to follow the righteous path vs. the foolish path. Yet, we cannot do that in our own strength or righteousness.  Good behavior alone does not bring salvation; belief in Christ brings salvation and a desire to please God.

God desires for us to have a pure heart before him and Jesus brings deliverance and forgiveness; we have all sinned and fallen short of God’s pure requirements. Our sin has caused us to be separated from God.  Jesus is the Savior who died for humanity and paid the price for our sin-filled lives, so we could re-connect with the Father.  The blood of Jesus makes spiritual purity possible and obedience to God’s Word keeps our hearts tender and ready for the change new life in Christ requires.  To stay on the righteous path, we must be willing to allow the work of the Spirit to bring transformation to how we think, how we speak, and how we act.  Because of Jesus, we can enjoy life with God; the way we were originally created to live before human sin.  So, practice wisdom and follow the Lord with your life.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 9-14-18

September 14, 2018

James 2:17-26 Contemporary English Version (CEV)

According to the Bible, every child of faith is called to share “good deeds.” It is a natural outflow of spiritual salvation in the grace of God.  Apart from the grace of God we are spiritually empty.  God generously (even ecstatically) gives of himself pouring love into us and awaits our response.  What will we do with what we have been given?  

Good deeds are actions of obedience that come from having Christ as the Lord of our lives.  Christ brings a lifestyle change; he shifts our perspective from our own inclination of selfishness and turns it toward his generous heart.  The Holy Spirit helps us live each day with the desire to glorify God by releasing good everywhere we go, because in essence it is releasing God.  True faith—a living faith—involves a commitment of one’s whole self to the work of God which must include good deeds.

In our passage today, James is reminding the early church that faith is more than a mental or emotional assent to God.  As well, it is more than just giving a bunch of supplies to the needy.  Faith is revealed in how we live each day in response to a loving God and being willing to share the love of Christ with others in tangible ways.  This is the path of lasting joy.   Live in his joy, today!

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 9-13-18

September 13, 2018

Hebrews 11:17-22 Good News Translation (GNT)

What do you prize most or hold dear in life?  Sometimes we hold possessions, people, jobs, dreams, etc.; yet, God must be our first love.  Uncontrolled circumstances in life have a way of revealing what we hold most dear.  This morning I am praying for the people whose lives are about to be impacted and faith tested with the approach of Hurricane Florence to the southeastern coast of the United States.  I ask you to join me in prayer as this storm will be devastating to many, many people.  May those with living faith in God’s love grab ahold of him for strength, courage, shelter, supply and find him faithful.  May those searching for the truth of God—in the midst of the storm—find their eyes have been opened to the existence, great power, and love of God who promises to raise humanity from the ashes of this temporal life into eternal life.

Living faith is speaking and acting in a way today about what we believe God has promised to provide and do in the future.  It is walking in obedience to God when our faith is tested like Abraham, remaining hopeful when everything in us wants to feel discouraged because only pieces of his promise have manifest.  Living faith is holding on to the promise even if it does not take place in our lifetime like Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph.  Living faith is built on eternal promises and the character of Almighty God and acts accordingly.  When life challenges us and our faith is tempted to topple, we must remember God has perfect character and he has promised to provide for his children.  We may trust Abba!

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 9-12-18

September 12, 2018

Matthew 17:14-15 Amplified Bible (AMP)

As we explored in our passage on Monday, faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things yet unseen.  As we learned from our passage on Tuesday, we must have faith that when God corrects us and disciplines us, he sees something in us that must be surrendered so we can move forward in his plan.  In our passage today, Jesus tells the disciples the reason they were unable to cast out a demon was because of their “little faith.”

Our faith can move mountains, but that faith must be “living faith.”  In other words, our faith must be accompanied by actions that reveal our devotion and our confidence in God.  Our lives will bear the fruit of active faith as we put ourselves in God’s hands and allow the Spirit to make us more like Jesus who knew the will of God. With God all things are possible and he works upon our faith.  So continue to set your faith out for the work of good…of God.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 9-11-18

September 11, 2018

Hebrews 12:3-13 New Living Translation (NLT)

God has welcomed humanity to come to his heart of Love. But, when he receives us we must submit ourselves to his discipline.  His heart is holy and pure in Love and we have to learn what God declares holy and loving living by accepting His discipline when we try to support unholy mindsets, emotions, and actions. Learning God’s love can be a painful process especially if we have spent years acting in a purely human understanding of love.  When God disciplines us, he is actually loving us with a deep and abiding affection, because he is the Father of our spirits.  

The Apostle Paul reminds his readers the Christian life is about hard work.  We must be willing to step away from whatever hinders our relationship with God and press on to finish the faith race.  We must be willing to accept God’s correction gratefully, because God has already declared his love for us through Jesus Christ.  So, live with the victory of pleasing God’s heart and love in a way that helps others long for a relationship with Him, too.  

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 9-10-18

September 10, 2018

Hebrews 11:29-40 The Message (MSG)

It is good to be back from vacation; I must admit I truly rested and enjoyed myself. I did miss connecting with you through God's Word, so let's talk a bit about faith, today.

I recently had a conversation with someone dear to me about the essential work of faith in every Christ follower’s life. To many people faith is simply a word Christians throw around to sound spiritual. Yet, the Bible teaches without faith it is impossible to please God and faith is actually the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not yet seen (or in other words things yet to be manifest). To walk by faith is a choice we make each day. We can either think our faith is superficial and isn’t really required to walk in victory each day or we can grow in our understanding of the “bigness of God” and realize every day God is looking to bring his power to our measure of faith.

Your faith and my faith is put together with the biblical heroes of the faith in order to make a whole. In our passage today, we will review the faith of some of these heroes. God has a plan for you and for me and we walk it out by faith. We are people of faith who believe in a merciful, loving and all-powerful God who delights in blessing his children by manifesting the work of faith. How will you walk by faith today? It really depends on your perspective of God. How big is your God? Some of these heroes in our lesson served a big God.  Is God big enough to make you victorious in the plan He has for your life? If so, live today with purpose and faith. I will be on the faith walk with you…

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 8-31-18

August 31,2018

James 1:9-18 The Message (MSG)

Evil comes to rob, steal, and destroy the righteous life.  Scriptures tells the truth about evil from the beginning in the Book of Genesis until the end in the Book of Revelation.  High above all evil and deception stands Truth; his name is Jesus and he is the second person of the Godhead.  It is Christ who helps us to meet and conquer life’s challenges and spiritual attacks.  Jesus never brings evil to us; rather, he delivers us from the evil we carelessly bring into our own minds and hearts one thought at a time.    

In our passage today, the Apostle James reminds us to guard ourselves against the temptations of evil.  Evil begins as a thought and then if we dwell on it long enough it will become an action.  So, stay loyally in love with God.  Invite Jesus into every thing you do; his righteousness will keep you strong against evil.  Run to Christ so you can handle anything life brings your way.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 8-30-18

August 30, 2018

James 1:2-8

Scripture teaches to every person a measure of faith is given; so, we all have faith. But, how do we each use that faith?  Now, that is a deep question. The measure of faith God gives us is like a seed; our faith must grow and develop if it is going to keep us moving forward in God’s plan.  God uses the “troubles” the enemy sends our way to help us grow in endurance.  The biblical definition of endurance is “commitment in the face of difficulty.”  We are to hold onto our faith no matter what is thrown our way.  Through our endurance, we reveal our devotion to God and our faith in his love for us remains stable and unshakable.  Such stability releases JOY!

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 8-29-18

August 29, 2018

John 15:16-25 New Living Translation (NLT)

I really enjoy eating fresh fruit; all different kinds of fruit.  Every week I look forward to checking out the produce section at the grocery store or market to decide what fruit looks good.  I pick a specific fruit by the appearance, but sadly a few days later it no longer looks the same nor smells the same. Disconnecting the fruit from the life-giving vine causes it to begin the spoilage process.  Wouldn’t it be nice if the fruit we pick, pay for, and take home stayed fresh?  

In our passage today, Jesus reminds the disciples that he chose them and appointed them to bear lasting fruit; fruit that stays fresh, ripe, and inspiring for eternity.  In fact, Jesus connects lasting fruit developed in us with receiving answered prayer.  That is a great lesson and one beautiful reason to remain connected to Christ—our True Vine. The lasting fruit Jesus is talking about in this passage is not bananas, apples, or berries; rather it is love.  Our love is not to spoil or diminish in power.  We are to hold onto our love in spite of how we are treated in the world.  Maybe you understand Jesus’ comment because others have hated you without a cause; they have rejected the fruit of your love.  Pray for those that persecute you; stay connected to the Life-Giving Vine and move on to learn with those who celebrate God’s love in you.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 8-28-18

August 28, 2018

Psalm 11 The Message (MSG)

In our Psalter reading for today, David reminds us God’s mission is to set things right—everything in a straight line under his authority.  Just think about that for a minute.  God is looking to set creation straight, set humanity straight, and set you and me straight; in a straight line to his heart as the righteous Ruler.  He is calling us to bow in obedience to his laws of love.

Are you going through a time of testing? Feeling a bit pressed and overwhelmed? Remember, everything believers seem to experience must first go through the cross of Christ (since we belong to him) and must work for our long-term good, because getting all things going in a righteous line is God’s mission.  Like David, we would be wise to run to the arms of God and cooperate with his work in us, because he is in charge of all things.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 8-24-18

August 24, 2018 Luke 11:5-13 New Life Version (NLV) I enjoy giving good things to our family; it truly is a blessing to bless them. If one of my children would ask me to make a special meal, I would hurry to do so. Did you know that Father desires to bless you as His child? It’s true. He desires to bless you with every spiritual blessing in the Holy Spirit. We are instructed to ask. So, how do we ask? We come boldly to the throne of grace and ask. Then, we begin looking for the answer. We persist in our prayer, because our persistence helps us recognize the move of God when it arrives. We know it is not of ourselves. Be bold in your asking! In our passage today, Jesus uses a picture-story to explain how to ask the Father for good things.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 8-23-18

August 23, 2018

1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

If you are reading this devotion today, it is a reminder for you that you have been chosen by God to possess salvation in Jesus Christ.  You were chosen to connect to Christ and live in the Truth. Just think about it, God chose you to be the light of his love and heart for the world.  If you could pull back the skin from your body you would see his light pulsing as life in you. What started as a divine spark within us can become a roaring fire when Truth is lived out. He saved you so you could reveal his salvation to others; to demonstrate his loving care and provision for your life. You are a carrier of the divine fire! 

God is not angry with you, he loves you and delights in you. He did not choose you for anger or wrath.  He chose you to walk in his favor and grace.   All he asks from his children of light is to stay in the light and be an authentic witness for him.  We are to live with his love over our hearts.  We are to make our decisions with the helmet of his wisdom over our thoughts.  We are to stay ready for his return by living in his resurrection power, because we have the great privilege to be beacons of the Truth in a world that prefers the darkness.  Allow Jesus to shine through you, today!  

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 8-22-18

August 22, 2018

Mark 8:14-21 Living Bible

The Word of God always puts things into perspective for me.  For example, today’s passage reminds me that the things I may find myself worrying about do not trouble the Lord.  The world and sin are like pinches of yeast that try to permeate our souls—mind, will, emotions—with worry, fear, and minutia that are meaningless when we consider the immense power of God to save and his plan for our lives.  The peace of God is given to keep our hearts and minds focused on Christ, so we can accomplish everything the Lord brings for us to do.  Why do we allow ourselves to be distracted by things that try to dominate our lives and cause us such unrest? 

The Apostle Paul exhorts us to guide our thoughts toward “…whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things (Phil. 4:8). The Word must be given the power to rule our lives.   Jesus is the Bread of Life—the Living Word of God—and upon him alone should we focus and feast.  We take his Word in and allow it to feed us with good things to think about and honorable ways to live before him. 

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 8-21-18

August 21, 2018

Acts 7:9-15 New Living Translation (NLT)

I always enjoy when the New Testament and the Old Testament are merge in our reading; it brings a much fuller understanding of God’s heart and message.  Such is the case with our passage today.  God covered Joseph with favor and imparted wisdom to him; it manifest in dreams that were hard to understand.  Others around Joseph rejected him and his dreams; denied he was hearing from God. His brothers formed the opinion that he was arrogant and self-exalting. He was sold into slavery, falsely accused, spent time in prison, and waited for the righteousness of God to act in his behalf. 

Luke reminds us about the journey of Joseph and how he tried not to allow the inner stumble “skandalon” to hinder his walk into the promises of God.  He certainly had challenges that would trip anyone up;  he must have felt his family and God had forgotten him.  But, by faith, he stayed the course and finished his destiny in the wisdom of God.  What the enemy meant for harm, God used for good in order to bring about a way of salvation for many (Genesis 50:20).  Joseph realized his purpose included forgiving those who had wronged him; welcoming them back in order to provide for them.  Think about the people in your life. Think about your relationship with God.  Do you need to forgive someone? Has God used a “skandalon” in your life to bring about something good; salvation for more people?

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 8-20-18

August 20, 2018

John 4:7-26 New Living Translation (NLT)

In our Scripture lesson from Sunday, I shared about how the words of Jesus had the ability to cause people to stumble.  He said, “Blessed is the person who finds no occasion for stumbling in me” (Matt. 11:6).  The word scandal comes from the Greek word, “skandalon.” It does not bring along the thought of causing one to be embarrassed or endure emotional pain.  Rather, skandalon encompasses such things as “a trap, a snare, or a stone that causes someone to stumble.  It’s an image that refers to something that makes you fall down as you are moving forward. 

The skandalon never existed in Jesus’ teaching itself—he told the hard Truth.  The skandalon existed then and still exists in the heart of people who are unwilling to make a journey of faith in order to seek the wisdom of God.  In our passage today, Jesus meets the Samaritan woman.  At first she stumbles with Christ’s words to her.  They don’t make sense.  He doesn’t have the right equipment.  Does he really think he is more spiritual than Jacob?  Ok, now he has gone to messing in my personal life!  But, the woman presses in and continues to listen and she finds salvation as she confesses to her need.  This woman is looking for some answers and Christ gives them to her.  She grows as she worships in spirit and truth. 

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 8-17-18

August 17, 2018

Psalm 34:9-14 Living Bible (TLB)

Yesterday, I shared a bit about what comes together for a strong corporate worship opportunity.  Today, I want to share about the heart of worship.  How do you view the heart of worship?  In our passage from the Living Bible, the psalmist uses the descriptive word “reverence” in approaching God. In other translations the word “fear” is used instead.  In the Message Bible, the word “worship” is used in connection with God.  Whichever word we use, the meaning is the same.  Because we belong to Christ, we are learning how to become worshipers; so, I prefer that descriptive word.   

A worshiper comes to God—with a heart of worship—in spirit and in truth.  That means true worship takes place on the inside—in the heart or the spirit of a person.  But worship is more; it involves truth.  The spirit of a person must connect with the truth of God found in Jesus Christ—the Living Word.  To sum it up, authentic worship is a matter of the heart and spirit being rooted in the knowledge of and obedience to the revealed Word of God. As we worship in spirit and truth, we are acknowledging that apart from God’s Word operating in our lives we would be living a lie.  How we live our lives is worship; saying “yes” to whatever God places on our hearts to do or reveals to our understanding.  When we disobey and refuse to do what he places on our hearts, we live a lie and our worship lacks truth.  Yet, when we live in harmony with Truth—God’s love and plan—he provides everything we need.  Therefore, we live in a continual state of gratitude for his goodness which leads us into new depths of love and peace as worshipers of the Most High.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 8-16-18

August 16, 2018

Acts 6:8-15 The Message (MSG)

It is my prayer that everyone who reads this devotion makes a point to attend a weekly worship opportunity where the Spirit of God is actively moving through anointed spiritual gifts and the faith of the people growing.  God calls everyone to experience the power of his presence during corporate worship; this power comes when the Word is spoken--the Son is exalted--and God’s Spirit rests on surrendered, hungry hearts to bring healing and a greater measure of wholeness.

When the powerful presence of God is not experienced in worship there are reasons for it.  Maybe it is because the people attending the worship service grieve the Holy Spirit by their hard hearts; those who reject God’s Word as a Voice of authority or hinder the work of spiritual gifts.  Maybe people are there to put in time and not really there hungry for an encounter with Truth that brings healing and growth. Maybe people gather but come expecting nothing, so they leave with nothing.  Maybe the spiritual leaders themselves have grieved the Spirit and hindered the power and focus of Truth. I’m sure the list can go on and on, but the common thread for not experiencing the presence of God in worship is due to human disobedience or dishonor of Christ’s place as Head of the church.  God is not to blame; we are.

An example of religious leaders who grieve the Spirit by dishonoring Christ’s place as Head of the church can be found in our passage, today.  Stephen, a man chosen by God--anointed--full of grace and power in the Holy Spirit is falsely accused of blasphemy (disrespect of the holy).  Signs, wonders, and changed lives follow the work of the Spirit through Stephen.  He is so filled with the Spirit his face glows with the glory of God.  And yet, a group of leaders feel justified to oppose him, encourage others to falsely accuse him, and in time silence the voice of the Spirit through Stephen.  I imagine these folks went on with worship as usual once Stephen was gone; but I wonder how much of it God occupied with such resistance to his grace and power.  

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 8-15-18

August 15, 2018

John 6:35-40 Good News Translation (GNT)

In a world which seeks to diminish the reality of the Christ—the Resurrected Messiah and Savior of the World—we who have accepted Him and know his living presence have a big mission ahead of us.  We need to reveal the Truth of His love resident within us and operating through our lives. The Spirit of Christ is alive in believers!  For Christians, Jesus is the Bread upon which we feed—the Living Word.  As we eat, we begin to understand his heart and love for his Creation; the depth of his sacrifice to save us.  He sustains us and nourishes our souls with good things.  We can know the Lord, experience grace, and receive healing.  We see through the eyes of the Savior, because we sip from the cup of his eternal salvation and are satisfied.  

In practice, Christ came to connect humanity with God; he is the way the truth and the life with Abba Father.  We do not need to face our emptiness, pain, or problems by ourselves; God longs to live life with us. He knows we are powerless apart from him to bring any lasting change; he alone is the Savior.  Christ in us seeks to lift the hearts of the brokenhearted in our path.  Christ prays through us, gathers, and heals the emotionally wounded and oppressed who have lost hope.  Christ is the Influencer who turns the thoughts of the downtrodden toward the unmerited favor and grace of God.  Let’s face it, the whole world needs Jesus!

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 8-14-18

August 14, 2018

2 Peter 3:8-15 New Life Version

God’s purpose for this world is salvation and recreation; he longs for God-serving people to dwell in the beauty which he originally created and human will actually destroyed.  He patiently waits for people to want the same beauty he alone can create.  Scripture teaches one day this world will pass away and all things will be made new; God will bring beauty for ashes in the world. Life on earth as it was once known—in darkness and sin—will be no more.  Likewise, when Christ comes into our lives and brings salvation, all things in our spirits become alive and new; again he brings beauty for ashes.  Life as we once lived it—in darkness and sin—is to be no more.  He wants to renew our minds, wills, and emotions so we will be replicas of what he created us to be in the first place.  The world and humanity were originally created to occupy the glory of the Lord.

He is the Creator of Beauty and will one day recreate.  So, let’s make sure our lives are ready and invite the Spirit to make us burdened for those who are not ready.  In that way, we will reach out and tell everyone we know that Jesus is alive and brings salvation to anyone who will believe. People need to get ready for the New.  Christ alone can make humanity holy and ready for new life and a new dwelling.  Tell someone today.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 8-13-18

August 13, 2018

Ephesians 5:1-14 New Living Translation (NLT)

As Christians, our actions should truly reflect our faith; the light of God’s love should shine from our lives.  Jesus taught this same truth in his Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:13-16).  You ARE the Light of the World and people are watching to see if what you say with your mouth aligns with your actions.  It is a big responsibility to live in the Light of Christ; it is a big responsibility to make sure our lives are imitating God. If we are aware we are walking in disobedience in an area of our lives, we need to turn and realign our lives with Truth.  Christ shines the light and way for us.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 8-10-18

August 10, 2018

Galatians 6:1-6 The Message

Every believer will make mistakes in life; we are imperfect people who are loved by a perfect God. We carry flesh-dwelling imperfections, but we learn how to put them on the cross and receive a spiritual blessing.  Believers desiring the Lordship of Christ do not knowingly practice sin against God, but we still sin because like children we want our own way.  Our flesh is strong and our ability to bring it under the authority of Christ requires divine power; otherwise, we are too weak to walk in righteousness or share good deeds with others.  God knows all about our strengths, as well as our weaknesses and imperfections.  He knows our personality quirts and he knows our emotional bents or inclinations toward sin (living for self or flesh rather than living for God).  

His knowledge of our true selves is why he allows us to face different situations; they become LIFE lessons.  He wants us to lean on his strength at those times by taking responsibility for identifying our weaknesses.  He watches if we will be merciful with others, because we are all in the same spiritual state of needing a Savior.  God is not wanting us to fail; far from it.  He is wanting us to listen and learn how to be led by the Spirit into a spiritually healthy place of unity.  He desires to gain our attention and guide us to a right place long before we make mistakes.  We will all say or do wrong things at times, we will all need forgiveness, and we will all need to take responsibility for our lives and grow.  This process is called spiritual formation.  To press on and not quit we must realize, with every lesson we learn, a seed of righteousness is planted in our hearts and we will harvest good things in our lives as a result.  Galatians 6:9 reminds us “And let us not get tired of doing what is right, for after a while we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t get discouraged and give up.”  Truly, our witness becomes even greater because we see more clearly God’s love at work in our lives.

I have really needed our Scripture reading this morning and I delight in sharing it with you.  I am in awe of the goodness of God and the timeliness of His Word to my heart.  Wow, God is so good.  I pray you are blessed, as well.  Have a wonderful weekend.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 8-9-18

August 9, 2018

Romans 15:1-6 The Message (MSG)

To embrace the Lordship of Jesus Christ in every area of our lives means to connect to what he values and the direction he wants us to go in life.  The Lord has a plan for our lives; he has positioned the people we will meet and the influence we will be in bringing them to the knowledge of the Savior.  Christians are people of influence set up by God.  True influence is much more than what we say to people.  It is how we make them feel when we are around.  Crowds followed Jesus because he made them feel valued when he spoke Truth into their lives.   Do people sense Jesus in you?

I imagine many of you reading this devotion can testify to an experience of being with someone who professed Christ, but actually made you feel inadequate by criticizing or condemning your personhood, faith practice, or lifestyle.  These are the finger pointers in life; they hold themselves as the standard of true Christianity and judge everyone else around.  It’s a pride issue in their lives, because Jesus never did that to people.  In fact, when the religious leaders brought to Jesus the woman who was caught in adultery and asked him to judge her, he first turned to these leaders and asked which one of them was without sin.  They did not care how they made this woman feel; they extended her zero worth. They were bent on framing Jesus as an unholy man. Jesus did not condone her adulterous lifestyle, but he loved her into a change by helping her see a bigger picture of her life than she was able to see before meeting him.  He revealed to her the weakness of others (all humanity has a sin nature) so she did not feel alone and inadequate before a holy God.  Jesus covered her shame, extended her personal worth, and influenced her to turn in a new direction; he challenged her to live for God in the strength of God.

The Apostle Paul was not telling the Roman church (or us) to ignore the sin that robs people; we are not to be people pleasers. We are God pleasers.  Paul simply was challenging the Christ followers to be “faith influencers for the weak.”  We are to be ready in a moment’s notice by being loving influences in the world guiding people to a loving God who alone can bring change.  Who will God bring into your realm of influence today?  Be ready to love not judge; guide them to Jesus.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 8-8-18

August 8,2018

Isaiah 55:1-3, 6-9 New Life Version (NLV)

When I was younger, I had an image in my mind of what would constitute a full life.  Although, I have enjoy many wonderful experiences, some things I once thought were vitally important proved not to be fulfilling.  Now that I am older, I can tell you my perspective on what makes a full life has changed “greatly.”  I value joy and fellowship with Jesus brings great joy.   In his Word, God has promised to provide a spiritually rich and satisfying life—a great full life—for all of his children.  Money can’t by it; only feeding on God’s love, listening, and living God’s way can provide it.  

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 8-7-18

August 7, 2018
1 Corinthians 12:27-31
The Body of Christ--believers under Christ’s Lordship and authority--has been given amazing gifts through his limitless Grace.  Spiritual gifts are not only essential to building Christlike character in God’s family, the gifts are the power for believers to live as examples and influencers of the gospel of Truth--God’s love manifest for humanity in Jesus the Messiah. 
In our passage today, the Apostle Paul encourages believers to value the spiritual gifts--some of which he lists--but to never forget that the greatest gift of all is God’s love or Agape (pronounced ah-GAH-pee).  It is not the spiritual gifts themselves that bring the power, it is faith in the Spirit of Agape that accomplishes all things.  If we are truly eager to grow God’s Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven, we must value Agape above all things.  Agape is at the center of reconciliation--the act of getting God and people connected to Christ.  
Longing for the wellbeing of others is the essence of Agape which is not based on feeling; rather, it is a choice and is identified by how it puts the welfare of others above self.  It was Agape that caused Christ to offer up his life for the sins of the world so humanity could experience the forgiveness of sin and know God who is Agape.  It is the work of the Spirit of Agape that motivates us to enthusiastically tell others about Jesus Christ and model the love he imparts.  If you want to make a statement for Christ, today, please stand on the platform of Agape--let your love for others motivate what you do.  We are to love those who are easy to love, as well as those who are not.  Only Agape can help us love our adversaries or antagonists.  All of heaven watches our love walk; power awaits those who are committed to Agape.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 8-6-18

August 6, 2018

Ephesians 4:17-24 New Living Translation (NLT)

In his letter to the church at Ephesus, the Apostle Paul teaches the early Christians that Christ has called them to be different in character and behavior.  In fact, the world should notice a difference in how Christ’s followers live and treat people.  Christ calls us to be humble, gentle, patient, extending love to others while remaining united in the bond of peace.  We accepted salvation based on Christ’s terms that we would give him our old life (put it on the cross) and follow him to newness of life.  Let’s allow him to do the work in our hearts and minds that make us more like the One we are supposed to be following; connect to Christ and live.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 8-3-18

August 3, 2018

Psalm 51:1-12 New Living Translation (NLT)

In our Wednesday LIFE Lessons Bible Study, we spent more time on the Beatitudes found in the gospel of Matthew; the attitude of being in Christ which should be every Christian’s goal.  Blessings abound in God’s Kingdom.  We abide in that spiritual realm of blessing when we understand: 1) our spiritual poverty (emptiness apart from Christ); 2) as we mourn for his world who is lost to him; 3) the need for a spirit of meekness (quiet strength); 4) the value of being hungry and thirsty for righteousness (right living before a holy God); 5) the power of extending mercy to others; 6) the necessity of being pure in heart (undivided in devotion to God); and 7) the work of remaining in peace (shalom) with God and others.

David recognized his spiritual poverty, God’s call to meekness or humility, the hunger for God’s presence that had departed, and his sin that had caused him to be unclean before a holy God. David cried for mercy based on God’s kindness.  He saw clearly his sin and the need for spiritual cleansing and restoration.  We’ve all sinned against the love of God and we must bear the responsibility of knowing that truth.  In Christ we have a righteous sin offering.  May we allow the blood of Jesus to cleanse us from all unrighteousness, may we hunger for more of God each day, and may we be willing to live with the attitude of Christ. Enjoy a blessed weekend.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 8-2-18

August 2, 2018

Psalm 78:23-29 New Living Translation (NLT)

As I write this devotion, the wind is blowing past the window and the sound of gentle thunder is echoing in the distance.  It’s peaceful and almost reassuring to my soul as I read our passage today about how the heavens and earth are God’s domain to command.  Our psalm today tells the story of the Israelites and how God took care of them.  He fed them manna and quail to sustain them.  At God’s Word heavenly food rained down and at God’s command the wind changed in direction and actually brought quail to the camp of the Israelites. However, the people who were taken out of slavery so they could experience the abundance in the land of promise, all too quickly forgot the wonders of God and his faithfulness to them. We must guard our hearts so we do not repeat history.

We always have a choice in our relationship with God, because his salvation offer is the same today.  By a declaration of our faith in the work of Christ on the cross, the Lord takes us out of slavery to sin and selfish living.  He calls us to join him on a new journey toward a land of promise where he will become our Provider.  We can rejoice in God’s provision or grumble when he turns in a direction we do not really want to go.  The Christian journey is all about trust and, if we are faithful to follow him, eventually we will look back and see the wisdom of God that has been acting in our behalf.  Stay the course.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 8-1-18

August 1, 2018

Mark 6:35-44  New Living Translation (NLT)

This past Sunday we studied the passage of Jesus feeding the 5,000+ based on the gospel of John.  Our focus was on reaching for God’s love; faith works through love. We may be able to tap into an ever increasing knowledge of God’s Word, but his love can never be measured; it is beyond human comprehension.  We need to use faith.  Jesus leads the disciples to go beyond an awareness of God in order to be a part of a love miracle. The true knowledge of the mysteries of God is found in Christ himself; so, we must connect to Christ.

Today we will be reading the same lesson of Jesus feeding the 5,000+, but the passage is read from the gospel of Mark.  We see some similarities as the disciples struggle with their rational minds when listening to Christ’s challenge to feed the people.  He listens to their rationale, but then he instructs the disciples to find out what resources they actually have among the people; he wants them to find the seed of faith.  Faith is the substance of things we hope for and the evidence of things not yet seen (Heb. 11:1). God always provides seed to multiply, but we must identify it, bring it to him, and expect results (faith).  In this case, the disciples bring five loaves and two fish as food seed.  The Lord then multiples it and feeds the crowds until they are satisfied.  When it comes to your life, pay attention to the provision of spiritual seed you have been given from God.   As long as the earth remains there will be seed time and harvest time.  When planted by faith in the fertile ground of God’s love, your seed will bring abundance. 

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 7-31-18

July 31, 2018

Genesis 18:1-4, 6-13 New Living Translation (NLT)

Our passage for today is special to my heart; I have internalized a promise from God for years.  Sometimes it feels like our imparted dreams from God teeter between hope and the impossible.  If you have felt that way, you are in good company with the biblical heroes of the faith.  When God gives a promise, he never tells us how long it will be before it comes to pass.  We have to stand by faith and believe that if the Lord says something is going to take place in our lives, it will.  

In our passage today, Sarah struggles with hearing the Word of the Lord—she is promised a son—because it defies human logic and physical possibilities.  Yet, like Sarah we must wrestle down those mindsets that demand God fit into human knowledge or experience. Love surpasses or goes beyond human knowledge. God is in charge of all things; He is the Creator of Life.  So, if the Lord speaks to your heart, never abort the promise.  Hang onto it and watch for him to bring it to pass in his time. Just as the Lord promised, Sarah had a son, Isaac, a year later.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 7-30-18

July 30,2018

Philippians 4:10-20 New Living Translation (NLT)

God calls all of his children to abide (dwell) in a state of contentment. Contentment is a state of the soul (mind/will/emotions) as human confidence and trust are placed in God’s love.  So, in the midst of life whether we find ourselves in a place of lack or a place of plenty, we are to be content knowing God is our provider and our Source.  In times of lack, we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength to endure and await his blessing.  In times of plenty, we can do all things through Christ who gives us more than enough to live so we can be a blessing to others.  Make contentment your goal today.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 7-27-18

July 27,2018

Colossians 3:12-17 The Message (MSG)

On Wednesday, we started a new Bible Study series from the gospel of Matthew.  In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus told those listening that God designed human beings to be receivers of the abundance of the Spirit; the inheritance and blessing of the kingdom of heaven.  We must first confess we are poor in spirit in need of God’s Spirit to be satisfied or filled.  Just think about it, we have the privilege of holding within our bodies everything heaven offers with the purpose that we would treasure it on the inside and wear it like clothing on the outside.  We can wear the essence of God’s righteous presence; garments of compassion, kindness, meekness, and love.

In our passage today, the Apostle Paul’s letter to the church at Colosse aligns with this same teaching from Jesus Christ.  When we live in the blessing through fellowship with the Lord, we can dress in the wardrobe God picks out for us each day. That challenges my thinking and leads to the question, “Why do you suppose we draw from the closet of our flesh and what we can produce in ourselves, rather than pull out the perfect Tailor made garments?”  Honestly, it is our inclination to dress ourselves based on what we think, how we feel, and what we want.   How will you dress, today?

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 7-26-18

July 26, 2018

Colossians 1:9-14 Living Bible (TLB)

I love getting to know people; every person is unique and divinely created by the imagination of God.  I love hearing life stories and I treasure learning about people’s encounters with God.  Those encounters are as unique as each person, because God is limitless in his creativity.  He has fit us with special personalities and gifts that partner perfectly with him in his mission to redeem the world.  That’s why it is so important that we all use our spiritual gifts.  As we pursue God, his heart, and use our gifts for his mission, we can know him better and better.  Press in for more of God, today.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 7-24-18

July 24, 2018

Acts 20:17-24 Living Bible (TLB)

Paul is getting ready to go to Jerusalem; the Spirit of God has placed the journey upon his heart and given him some information about what to expect.  Paul does not know specific reasons for the Lord sending him to Jerusalem, he does know the trip will involve jail time and suffering.  I wonder how many of us reading the passage today can honestly say we would have followed through to make the journey with the information the Spirit gave Paul.  Would you have gone? 

Like Paul, our place as followers and kingdom co-builders with the Master Builder is to go and do exactly what we are told.  It is a privilege to be led in such a fashion for kingdom purposes.  It requires faith to be led into work with Christ, because he gives us the first step and a bit of a vision, but does not play out the whole event for us.  That’s where faith comes in.  Should we choose to follow and participate in the building assignment, what we are given must be enough and the rest is about trust.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 7-23-18

July 23, 2018

Hebrews 13:17, 20-21 Contemporary English Version (CEV)

This week John and I are preparing our home to be tent fumigated; we have dry wood termites in the garage. Snakes, rats, fleas AND termites!  What a fun season this has been! (note sarcasm).   To prepare for the fumigation, we need to clear out all the food items, spices, medications, dog food/treats; we must empty our refrigerator, pantry, and medicine cabinets.  We will do everything they have asked us to do, so we can get the greatest benefit from the gas/chemical application.  I speak to every pest that has tried to make our home their home, "Bye bye! It is finished!”

As we have been watching over our home and have taken steps to clear away all unwanted pest guests, God has been watching over the souls of his children by taking steps to clear away every area hiding the evil pests of sin and selfishness. Psalms 91:2-3 says, "I will say of the Lord He is my refuge and my fortress my God in Him will I trust. Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the annoying pestilence." As John and I have made our house ready for radical extermination, may the Holy Spirit make all souls ready for the extermination of every trace of evil and help us eagerly embrace his righteous way of living. As a spiritual guide and leader, in Christ, watching over God’s family, I speak to every unrighteous spiritual pest that has tried to make the people of God’s physical bodies their home, “Bye, bye! It is finished!”


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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 7-19-18

July 19, 2018

Psalm 23:5-6 New Living Translation

So many of my friends are wonderful at bringing people into their homes and making them feel welcomed, valued, and safe; it’s the life fragrance of Jesus.  I thank God all the time for them, because they bring joy to my life.  I want to be like them.   Are you a great host when people come to your home?  

In our final scene of Psalm 23 today (vv. 5-6), we gain a glimpse of The Perfect Host.  In ancient Near Eastern culture, it was customary for the host to anoint his/her guests with fragrant oil and protect them against enemies while in their home.  Clearly, David has knowledge of this custom and understands how a good host must treat guests.  So, David sings a psalm of praise to honor The Perfect Host; the Lord his Shepherd who pursues his heart with unfailing love in order to guide his life and bless him.

Every day we have the opportunity to be lovingly groomed by a Holy God; the One who pursues us and will never leave us.  If we have accepted the work of Christ, he is our Host.  For what purpose is God wanting to groom us?  The answer is to live in his household forever.  While we are making the journey in this temporal world, the Lord is getting us ready--as a perfect Host--by refining our characters, making us holy, and protecting our lives from evil.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 7-18-18

July 18, 2018

Psalm 23:1-4 New Living Translation

Early Tuesday morning, we received a call from our daughter-in-love, Whitney, that our son, Jimmy, was quite ill so she was taking him to the emergency room.  Prayers for Jimmy began and by the time John and I got to the hospital, he was being assessed by an amazing medical team. The Lord was with us; we were comforted by God’s love.  Jimmy needed fluids, medication, and rest; even though he still had symptoms he would be able to go home within hours.  Yet, there was another young man the same age as our son who was brought into the exam room next to us and he had a very different story.  Sadly, he overdosed on IV drug use and died alone.

The Lord promises to lead us along right paths for our lives; however, that promise must be connected to a seeking and surrendered heart.  The paths to which the Lord leads us are never self-destructive; living in a self-destructive way does not bring honor to the name of the Lord.  The Lord always seeks to lead his human children away from those kinds of temptations; the enemy tries to rob, kill, and destroy us, but the Lord protects.  I continue to pray for the loved ones of this deceased young man. May every person struggling with this type of battle open his or her eyes to see God reaching for them; reaching to lovingly guide them and walk this life with them.  He will lead every willing heart into a life of freedom.  Praise his Holy Name!

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 7-17-18

July 17, 2018

Psalm 23:1-2 New Living Translation

Emotions are gifts from God; he has brought great things into our lives.  We jubilantly praise him for our blessings.  We love the emotions that manifest in positive energy and leave us feeling joy-filled, but what about the times when we suffer loss, disappointment, and struggle to find our way? Is the Lord our Shepherd then?  Can we seek to connect with him and allow him to lead us into the spiritual supply of peace we desperately need?  

If we are in a time when our emotions are all over the place, it is best to pause and remember the Lord’s faithfulness to us in the past.  Think back to times when you have experienced loss, disappointment, or doubt; did the Lord bring you through those times in the past?  Did he bring you rest and in time lead you into peace? I am confident he did, because He is the Good Shepherd and he really is all we need.  

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 7-13-18

July 13, 2018

Colossians 4:2-4 The Message (MSG)

Paul teaches the spiritual family at the Church of Colosse, as well as believers everywhere, to pray with spiritual diligence.  Pray with gratitude.  Pray for open doors to share the gospel.  Pray for effectiveness.  Pray.  Why?  It is God’s will that we pray; it’s a responsibility and a privilege.  Because when we pray we are revealing our confidence and dependence upon God as the exalted Ruler of our lives.

Paul offers these instructions to help the spiritual family further understand their divine connection to God and to one another.  Prayers are words that open spiritual doors in order to receive wise guidance and answers; we offer up our desires to God. The enemy tempts us to become weary in praying especially when circumstances do not change.  Or, perhaps you have prayed in hope believing for a situation to go in a specific direction and it did not.  Even then our response should be to continue to thank God for the privilege of bringing our requests to him knowing he will answer them as He sees is best.  God sees things from a higher perspective and we are invited to connect with him in it through prayer.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 7-12-18

July 12, 2018

Colossians 2:1-5 Living Bible (TLB)

Whether or not we are aware of it, humanity is on a quest for the Truth; God has ordained it.  Like the struggles of our culture today, the Apostle Paul was praying for the early Church to learn the difference between the truth and the rising false doctrines (beliefs) of humanity.  Gnosticism was trying to deceive the Church by claiming: 1) God only imparted spiritual secrets or revelations to certain people; 2) the human body was evil; and 3) Christ was not really human and only seemed human.  

In Paul’s letter, he reassures the people of God every one of those things is made complete through a personal relationship with Christ; Yeshua (Jesus) is the Source.  Christ holds the great mysteries and secrets since the creation of time and he lives in the core of every seeking and surrendered human being.  Christ himself lived in a human body, so the body is not evil; obviously, the human soul (mind/will/emotions) needs transformation through the divine touch of God.  Lastly, Christ was fully divine and fully human. The love of Jesus Christ brought the divine and the human spirits together.  In Christ, we are invited to be made in his image.  The more we listen and follow Christ into every life situation, the more love and blessing we actually stand to inherit or invite into our lives.  Everything belongs to Christ; he offers us the assurance of his love and provision for every human lifetime.  Have you given everything in your life to him so you may know with real certainty and clear understanding the depths of God’s love for you?  That is the pure Christian journey; the Truth of life in Christ. 

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 7-11-18

July 11, 2018

John 7:1-11 The Message (MSG)

Embarrassment is an awkward and sometimes uncomfortable feeling, isn’t it?  It can be associated with our personal actions or with the verbalizations and actions of those whom we care about; people with whom we have relationship.  Let’s be real; some people have a way of placing us in socially awkward situations.  How good are you at masking your feelings when you find yourself put in a situation that embarrasses you? Do you try to pretend that you are not bothered by skirting the issue or redirecting the attention? 

In our lesson today, Jesus’ brothers are embarrassed by him, so they try to push him into making more public displays in order to draw attention away from themselves (family) and onto “that man” Jesus.  Yet, Jesus does not allow himself to be pushed to do things in his own strength.  He speaks the truth about his ability and mission to expose evil pretending to be righteous; hypocrisy.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 7-10-18

July 10, 2018

James 5:7-12 New Living Translation (NLT)

God always seems to help me love and deal with all kinds of people.  I encounter so many different personalities each day; so many needs in human lives.  Some days my pray is, “Lord, how can I best love this person into your loving arms?  What do they really need and how can I reveal your presence in the answer?  Whatever I need to say, Lord, give me the words.  Whatever action I need to take, Lord, guide my thoughts, arms, and feet.”  Christ is returning for his Bride and we need to be ready by waiting and living in peace with God and others; this means we must live by the power of grace. 

Our passage the last two days has been focused on loving people; staying the course in the love of Jesus Christ in order to extend mercy and to grow our endurance for handling difficulties.  I still find myself frustrated at times when reaching out to love people who just want a quick fix and not a life change.  So, I have some growing to do and God is bringing me a greater measure of freedom.  I still feel God is wanting to bring a directional change to the lifestyle of the world, but I am only one daughter of millions and my biggest challenge is to face my own Judge with a right heart.  So, as you reach out today to live in the light of Truth with Christ’s Spirit as your Guide, be patient and know that God is helping you grow each time you encounter folks who frustrate you.  He may not be bringing the change in them; his plan for change may be in you.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 7-9-18

July 9, 2018

2 Corinthians 12:2-10 New Living Translation (NLT)

The Apostle Paul consistently instructs the Corinthian church about staying focused on the path of God; to follow Jesus in spite of the hard places and difficult people. In our passage, today, Paul shares about having a very mysterious encounter with God.  It is off the charts amazing, but even with that mountain top experience he continues to face other human challenges.  When we experience difficult times and people, God is still ready to reveal wonderful mysteries about his love and plans for us.  

Paul calls his difficulty a thorn in the flesh.  Many theologians believe that thorn had something to do with getting along with difficult people. Yet, God used the challenge to keep Paul humble and reliant on grace.  Give God your challenges and ask him for an abundance of grace; it’s more than enough to cover every weakness.  

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 7-6-18

July 6, 2018

2 Corinthians 10:7-11 Good News Translation (GNT)

Because we are human, we tend to look at this world first through human eyes, but what would happen if we spiritually saw beyond this temporal world to understand the deeper realities of the growing Kingdom in our midst?  As you walk through each day, please focus on the beauty and positive things around you rather than the negative things that try to possess you.  Scripture teaches God is providing good things every moment.  It may look one way with the natural eye, but is really quite different as we look beyond it to the spiritual realm.   We should not deny the presence of evil nor the difficult places we may find ourselves, but in the midst of those things lies a Kingdom and a God seed of grace that is waiting for the Spirit to multiply by our praise and by our actions.  We say we believe these things with our witness, but we must put action to that which we say or it is meaningless to the advancement of the Kingdom and void of the Spirit’s power.

The Apostle Paul continues to write to the church in Corinth; to give them instruction as to what it takes to belong to Christ and the authority that can be accessed from that spiritual connection.  He explains it clearly to those who profess Christ.  He essentially tells the Corinthians and us to put gospel action to our words and we will access the power to manifest the Kingdom.  God gives His children authority when we have chosen to live, move, and have our being each moment in Christ.  That means there is no hypocrisy between what we say we believe (Christ the Living Word) and how we live each day. This is instruction and truth that can easily offend those who want to profess Christ but live according to the world’s standard.  Have a blessed weekend…

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 7-5-18

July 5, 2018

1 Corinthians 4:8-13 The Message (MSG)

If you know Jesus, you have direct access to Almighty God.  You don’t need anyone else to be a go-between.  You have more access to God than you realize; more power at your disposal than you could ever imagine. What are you doing with that access?  That power?

The Apostle Paul tells us we have become Messiah’s misfits; we just live differently than most people because we are driven by the powerful love of Messiah.  Paul and his fellow Christians worked endlessly to bring the gospel of Messiah to the attention of others.   Last night we celebrated our independence as a country.  But, each day we should celebrate our independence as people who have chosen to live for Messiah and work to share divine love with others.  Loving this way is counter cultural.  You will be perceived as culturally odd. But, God will smile!

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 6-28-18

June 27, 2018

Psalm 30  The Message

Who gets the credit for your life?  You?  Somebody else?  David knew who should get the credit for the good things in his life and who should get the credit for the mess.  When things are going great, please give God praise; ascribe to him the credit.  When things are not going well, draw close to God and call on Him for help.  He has promised to dry our tears and return the joy of our salvation; to turn our grief into “whirling dance!”  Praise God, today!

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 6-27-18

June 27, 2018

Mark 6:45-52 Living Bible (TLB)

Jesus is constantly directing us to trust His Word imparted to our hearts; He is Truth and he cannot lie.  If Jesus (Living Word) imparts it, He will make sure that Word is accomplished in our lives.   In birthing terms, we become spiritually pregnant with the Word and we will deliver or manifest the Word in the appointed time.  It’s a promise.  With that in mind, we must remember, in the midst of the promise, Satan comes to catch us off guard and get us to be filled with fear or doubt and halt the Word.  We must “want” to believe and press on in faith.  May the Word today minister to your heart and make you spiritually stronger.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 6-26-18

June 26, 2018

Acts 27:39-44 Living Bible (TLB)

Today, we continue our reading from yesterday with the Apostle Paul, a raging storm,  and the plight of the ship transporting him and other prisoners to Rome.  Even though Paul told the pilot and crew the ship would go down, they still did not believe.  They lowered the rudders like one digging in his or her heels.  We are a stubborn creation and we are sure we can save ourselves.  They thought they saw a clear way—between the rocks—of escaping the shipwreck prophesied, but they never counted on the sandbar which they could not see.

God has perfect vision and we need to trust him.  Life will carry us into unfamiliar places; things we have never before faced.   We must be comforted that God knows exactly where we are and how to bring salvation.  We need to fall on our knees and ask for God’s help when we are facing the storms of life.   He will bring us into a safe place.  

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 6-25-18

June 25, 2018

Acts 27:13-38 Living Bible (TLB)

What begins as a perfect day, does not always end as a perfect day.  In our lesson from the Book of Acts, the Apostle Paul is a prisoner; falsely accused.  As a Roman citizen, he uses his right to appeal to Caesar.  His appeal is granted and plans are made to have him transported to Rome by way of a sailing vessel. Paul encourages the pilot and crew to abort their plans of sailing.  But the ship’s owner does not want to stay in this location for the winter. They set sail anyway.

At first the wind seems favorable for sailing, but in a very sort time a deadly storm arrises. Paul begins to pray for wisdom and guidance.   Satan does not want Paul to reach his destination so he sends a storm; Paul will speak truth to too many influential people if he is able to reach Rome. But Paul is led by the Spirit of God and the Spirit tells Paul he is going to reach Rome and stand before Caesar; he is not to allow fear to overtake him.  God is in charge of this journey; this is the Lord’s battle.  Enough said; Paul believes the word of the Lord.

If you are facing difficulties because you are serving the purposes of Christ, stay strong in the Lord.  Live for Christ and hold fast to His Word.  This spiritual battle you are encountering belongs to the Lord.  He will fulfill his Word to your heart.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 6-22-18

June 22, 2018

Psalm 107:1-3, 23-32

Today is a Fantastic Friday; we are loved and valued by a liberating God so we should rejoice!  

Throughout Scripture, God is the Deliverer of His people; he liberates and saves us from our spiritual enemies: The world, our human flesh, and Satan.  The human exalting world has not willingly placed itself under God’s authority, so it will reject the Word and we will feel the spiritual battle outwardly if we choose to pursue life in Christ.  Our spirits have been redeemed in Christ, but our flesh (which prefers sin) must learn how to live under God’s authority; we will feel the spiritual battle on the inside as the Spirit calls us to surrender to God’s holy will for our lives.  Lastly, Satan and his demons are on a mission to defeat those who have accepted God’s salvation in Christ; his purpose is to hinder the growth of our faith by causing us to quit and give up our quest for the truth; we will feel the spiritual battle waged against our minds.

The world, our flesh, and Satan all desire for us to live as if this life is all that matters.  But God has delivered us from the power of all of these things, so we may live for his eternal purpose.  You are more than a conqueror in Christ; stay the course and hold onto your joy!

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 6-21-18

June 21, 2018

Job 29:1-6

In our Wednesday LIFE Lessons study, we have been reading the Book of Job.  Job lived a very abundant life before Satan secretly began robbing him of the things he valued.  God was still watching over Job, but with Satan actively attacking him it no longer felt the same.  Have you ever looked back at life and said, “I miss the old days?” Job did.

What can we learn from this short passage of Job’s recollection?  It is very important to never lose track of the many blessings God brings into our lives. But let’s not confuse blessing with an easy road or path in life.   Blessings can come through laughter, success, failure, and even tears if it bring us closer to God.  The goal of the Christian life is to live and remain in the wisdom of God.  Wisdom comes when we apply God’s Word to our lives; wisdom is applied Truth.  Whatever teaches us wisdom is a blessing.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 6-20-18

June 20, 2018
Luke 6:43-45 Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

The Bible serves to teach us and the Spirit makes divine connections for us regarding the spiritual life. We know in this world we can find the presence of both good and evil. People are free to choose to share words and deeds of goodness or words and deeds of evil acts. 

In our passage today, we notice the heart and the mouth are connected to spiritual production: it's called fruit bearing. What comes out of our mouths is connected to what we have stored in our hearts. That is why it is so important to forgive and extend mercy to others, because if we hold onto unforgiveness and judgment in our hearts, it is just a matter of time before our mouths are going to speak evil and our hands reach to manifest it. Choose to be a tree of righteousness; allow righteousness to fill your heart and your mouth will speak the heart of God.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 6-19-18

June 19, 2018

Revelation 21:22-22:5 New Living Translation (NLT)

I love praise time in our worship gatherings each week when collectively God’s people lift their voices to exalt him; to express heartfelt gratitude for his great love and provision. Praise is warfare initiated by lifting up One who is so much greater than he who is in the world.  Scripture teaches God inhabits the praise of his people and I am aware of His presence each time we seek Him with praise.  

In our passage from the Apostle John today, he tells of a time when God pulled back the visual curtain separating the heavenly realm and allowed John to observe the praise room of heaven.  The room was illuminated by God’s glory and the people were able to look upon the face of God.  Can you imagine?  This room has the complete absence of evil and a river flows from the throne of God and the Lamb.  Trees with medical leaves line the river; the leaves heal the individuals as well as the nations under heaven.  Praise is the occupation of everyone there; unrestrained praise of God and the Lamb for the love that is self-emptying. 

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 6-18-18

June 18, 2018
Galatians 6:11-18 New Living Translation (NLT)
The Bible is the rule of Christian faith.  If we have given our life to Jesus, we know the Bible is to be followed and applied in our daily living.  The entirety of Scripture is our spiritual food.
Some of the early Christians from Galatia were preaching that circumcision was necessary for salvation and holiness.  Paul reminds them salvation comes through the cross alone and holiness is the work of the Spirit in us. With God the condition of our hearts is what really matters.  As the people of God, let's place our hearts before the Lord every day and allow him to bring the necessary transformation.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 6-15-18

June 15, 2018

Hebrews 11:4-7 Living Bible (TLB)

Scripture teaches true faith is about trusting and pleasing God; we come to God with a seeking heart.  Trust brings the ability to hear from God.  This letter to the Hebrew Christians was to teach them life lessons about what it takes to know and enjoy fellowship with God.  If we are wise, we will allow it to teach us life lessons, as well.  

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 6-14-18

June 14, 2018

Hebrews 2:1-12 Living Bible (TLB)

Sometimes I am asked questions like, “Pastor Mary, do you think it is important for people to believe in the work of Jesus on the cross? Do you think he is really the way to salvation?  Do you think Jesus is the only way to know the heart of God?”   Based on the Word of God here is my answer to all three of those questions, “Yes.”  Scripture teaches God put Jesus (Yeshua) in charge of all things.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 6-13-18

June 13, 2018

Luke 11:14-28 New Living Translation (NLT)

We are tempted to fear many things in life, but Scripture teaches we are to, “Fear not.”  In our passage today, Jesus is speaking to the scribes and religious teachers of the Law.  They are accusing Jesus of casting out demons by the power of Satan.  What is Christ’s response?  He challenges his listeners to think about whether or not they are working with or against God.  

Making sure we are working with God is a very big responsibility.  If we know the Word, we know his heart. Then, Jesus reminds his listeners that only someone stronger than Satan could cast out his demons.  Pause.  Greater is he who is in us, than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4).  Never forget Christ lives in believers.  So, let’s put on our spiritual armor and guard our lives by putting the Word of God into practice.  We have no one to fear if we choose to live God’s Word in Christ.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 6-12-18

June 12, 2018

1 Samuel 8:1-9 The Message

God made a covenant or promise with Israel to be their God if they would be his people.  But instead of being excited about God as King, Israel wanted to be like other nations who had a human king. Can you imagine telling God “thanks for the offer…but, no thanks?”  

In our reading today, please note how God responds when the people reject His offer to be the King of their lives.  He lets them have their own way; they will taste the fruit of their demands and regret it later.  If we are wise, we will give God his rightful place in our lives and not demand that he do things our way.  

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 6-11-18

June 11, 2018

1 Samuel 16:14-23  The Message

The Lord rejected Saul as Israel’s king because he sought to please people more than God.  Because of Saul’s choice to dishonor the Lord, God sent Samuel to anoint a new king from the sons of Jesse.   The youngest son, David, was God’s choice as Israel’s new king.  God looks at the heart to determine his leaders; David was a worshiper and a man after God’s heart.  Samuel was instructed to anoint David as the new king; in the pouring of the oil the Holy Spirit came upon David in power.

The Holy Spirit then departed from Saul and left him struggling with a tormenting evil spirit. In our passage today, the Lord is starting to prepare David to be king.  The Lord will allow David to witness leadership without the anointing of the Spirit.  David would learn a lot during his time as a musician in Saul’s court.  For our life lesson, we must never forget the work of the Spirit to bring peace and wholeness to our lives.  Our dedication must be to live to please the Lord above all else.


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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 6-8-18

June 8, 2018

Psalm 130 The Message

Long before Messiah came to earth the Holy Spirit prompted the psalmist to prophesy about the love and redemption God would one day send; first to Israel and then the nations.  Because forgiveness is God’s habit, it was destiny for him to make a way to forgive the sins of the world.  When God forgives our sin, he truly remembers them no more and keeps no record of having been wronged.  We are free to live, move, and having our being in Christ’s love!  Meditate on that Truth, today!

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 6-7-18

June 7, 2018

1 Peter 4:7-19 The Message (MSG)

It seems like everywhere I go there are always opportunities to wander from practicing the love of God.  The fruit of the Spirit—love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, thoughtfulness, faithfulness, and self-control—are being tugged on within me to be released so I may remain in the shalom (wholeness) of God.  Love and self-control are like bookends that bind all the fruit together.  I must reach for love and a greater portion of self-control with each trial or challenge.   When someone is impatient with me, the Spirit tugs on me to release patient love in return.  When someone is unkind to me, the Spirit tugs on me to release kind love in return.  Every day I must choose whether or not I will retaliate.  Can you relate?

In our lesson today, Peter speaks to my heart.  I am reminded God’s family will taste judgment in such a manner.  In order for a judgment to be made and test of character must be experienced.  So whatever you may experience each day, choose to remain in the love of God and be prepared to exercise that spiritual fruit for his glory.  God is watching; He knows what he is doing. It’s preparation.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 6-6-18

June 6, 2018

John 5:1-18 The Voice (VOICE)

During the time of Jesus’ ministry, Bethesda was known as a place full of suffering, impurity, and darkness.  Most people in the vicinity purposely avoided this place, but Jesus walks boldly into it in order to serve people.  Among those plagued with disease and physical challenges, Jesus singles out a lame man who for 38 years has waited patiently for God to heal him.  The man has been looking at his limitations and talking about needing people to help him, but the Lord is going to get him to look Higher for salvation in order to receive the wholeness found in the presence of God.

We are all tempted to focus on our limitations, but we must resist doing so because God is not limited by our weaknesses.  For 38 years the “mat” has been this man’s resting place, but Jesus tells him to pick it up and carry it in new strength.  Pick up your mat—that thing you have been resting on for comfort—ask and expect the Spirit to move you into wholeness leaving weakness behind.  Be bold with your asking and avoid trying to figure out how God will touch you.  Trust, because Jesus is the Healer and we all need him!

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 6-5-18

June 5, 2018

Psalm 78:1-4 New Living Translation (NLT)

God has been so very good to each of us; life in Christ is a beautiful gift.  At Connect2Christ Church we are starting a new children’s music ministry, today.  This will be a time of praise and creativity; a time to pass along to the next generation our stories about the love and goodness of God.  Please be praying for Corbi, as well as the worship team as they bring leadership to this ministry.  Our children are the future when it comes to the work of the Kingdom; we must groom them for the faith that will be required in their lifetime.

In our passage today, the Psalmist teaches about the importance of sharing spiritual truths and life lessons with the next generation.  We are in agreement with the Word and looking for the work of the Spirit to multiply the seeds we are devoted to plant in the lives of those whom God brings.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 6-4-18

June 4, 2018

Romans 9:19-29 New Living Translation (NLT)

Potter God fashioned you as a jar of clay to reflect His glory.  He has done that with every child of Promise. Since He is the Potter and we are the clay, He can form our shape any way He chooses.  You are a unique work of His hands; find joy in your differentness.  Glorify God with your unique life.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 6-1-18

June 1, 2018

Romans 8:31-39 The Message (MSG)

The love of God pursues all people, but swaddles those who by faith welcome Him.  If you have accepted the work of Messiah on the cross for the forgiveness of your sins, you are swaddled in the pure love of God and nothing can penetrate or tear you away from Him.  You are snug and secure in his loving care.  

If we are honest, sometimes it does not feel like we are swaddled in God’s love, because we look at our circumstances to determine the love of God for us.  That is a wrong way to view life in Messiah.  We must “know” that nothing comes into our lives that hasn’t first gone through the cross of Jesus Christ.  When you think of it, there is nothing more than the cross he could possibly do to demonstrate his perfect love…but he continues to love us and bless us anyway!  Focus on this love of God for you, today.  View your fleeting circumstances as you stand at the foot of the cross gazing on God’s love for you and don’t let life rob you of Truth.  Messiah loves you; He embraces you so you can’t lose!  

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 5-31-18

May 31, 2018

Acts 25:1-7 The Message (MSG)

As Christians, our reputation as law-abiding, peace-promoting, and honest-living people matters; we are to reflect our Master’s integrity and love.

In our lesson today, Paul’s reputation is under attack, but he knows he is innocent of the charges the high priests are trying to bring against him.  He has done nothing to harm the Jewish religion, the Temple, nor Caesar’s empire. Paul’s conscience is clear and his reputation as one who walks with God stands.   He is not bowing down to the accusations of others.  He knows if he were guilty of these things, the Spirit would convict him.

Sometimes we may be tempted to think how we live our lives does not matter to God, but those are lies the enemy tries to get us to believe.  Cast down the temptation to compromise and seek to reflect the reputation of God.  The Spirit will guide you.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 5-30-18

May 30, 2018

Mark 4:21-25 New Living Translation (NLT)

When I was younger, I had what my kids would call “turbo hearing.”  lol…Probably, because what was in secret came out into the open.  Honestly, I find the older I get the more closely I must listen to what people are trying to tell me.  I have always desired to be fully present and paying attention, but now I need to really focus because background noise and conversations can mess with my hearing and understanding. Sometimes, I need to move to a quieter place in order to really listen.

In our passage today, Jesus is speaking to his disciples.  He tells them they need to really pay attention and listen closely.  The disciples’ understanding is based on how closely they listen.  In fact, if they will press in to really pay attention, listen, and do what he says, Jesus promises they will be given even greater understanding…greater Light.  So, listen to the Word, allow it to teach you truth, and let the Light of Christ shine understanding in you, today.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 5-29-18

May 29, 2018

1 Corinthians 2:1-10 New Living Translation (NLT)

From the beginning of Creation, God has desired a relationship with His human creatures. Relationship has been a way to share His glory, wisdom, and love.  God desires for people to live and have fellowship with Him and others; to know and be known.  God longs to equip His children with wisdom and everything we need to overcome the world and be successful.  The mystery of God has been and remains salvation and the redemption of all people.  It was not until Christ rose from the dead that people began to put some pieces together and begin to understand the mystery of God; the love that motivates the Almighty and the plans He has for our “forever!”   

Spend time today thanking God for His great wisdom and secret plan, because He has something in mind for all of His children that will be beyond our ability to mentally process.  We must allow the Spirit to prepare us to receive the mystery and live for His glory.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 5-28-18

May 28, 2018

Revelation 4:1-8 New Living Translation

It is essential for us as God’s children that we learn to recognize his Voice; the Word of God speaks!  In our passage today, we see it is the Spirit who calls the Apostle John to join in heavenly worship. John recognizes the Spirit’s Voice and receives a vision so we, as readers of the Word, can gain a glimpse of the throne room, the glory and holiness of the Lord, and the worship of God from every being present. 

According to John this is the revelation of Christ.  Christ says to those who read the Word of God, “Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it…” (Rev. 1:3).  The Trinity is the Source of all truth, so we must press in to listen to the Voice of God and learn.  

In the previous three chapters, the Word has spoken to the seven churches in Asia and continues to speak to the universal church today.  To the Church at Ephesus the Word says, “Remember your first Love and Repent.”  To the Church at Smyrna the Word says, “Don’t fear and remain faithful.”  To the Church at Pergamum the Word says, “Repent and stop compromising with evil.”  To the Church at Thyatira the Word says, “Repent of immorality.”  To the Church at Sardis the Word says, “Wake up and repent of superficial faith.”  To the Church at Philadelphia the Word says, “Hold on in spite of trials!”  To the Church at Laodicea the Word says, “Repent and stop being lukewarm in your worship and mission.”  To the universal church, the Lord desires that we learn from all of these examples, because true worship and loyalty in relationship to God is about loving and living in agreement with the Word.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 5-25-18

May 25, 2018

Romans 8:9-11 New Living Translation

Many people have an idea of God; an image or a way to ascribe a respect or “feeling” to God.  That has never been enough for me.  I desire a thriving relationship with God the Creator of all things; I want to commune with the Holy One, learn about Him and myself, and enjoy fellowship.  Belief in the work of Christ on the cross is always the first step if we desire a relationship with God and want to learn how to walk with the Spirit.  The Father sends the Son and the Son sends the Spirit.  When the Holy Spirit descends upon on our hearts, we are endued with the love and power of Christ. Jesus taught us, "I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father” (John 14:12).

We can enjoy every day with God and grow in our understanding of how the power of Christ’s Spirit works within us.  This power of God in human vessels is not pitiful power it is dunamis (Greek) or dynamite (English).   So what are you going to do with the dynamite power within you, today?  May I offer a suggestion?  Seek the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, use your faith to raise the power within you, and release the dynamite love of God into the lives of others.  Go about your day radiating the love and power of Christ’s presence in you.

In our passage, the Apostle Paul writes to Christ’s followers in Rome and further explains what it means to have new life in the Spirit.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 5-24-18

May 24, 2018

Romans 8:1-18 New Living Translation

To be able to choose every day how we will think or emotionally respond to life's situations is a very liberating thought. If sin is the rejection of the God-life, righteousness is putting God in the center of our lives and learning not to be controlled by everything we see or experience with our thoughts or natural senses.  As believers, we are human beings on a faith journey with a God who is Spirit.  Our natural inclinations, senses, or mindsets have to be monitored, because our flesh is infected with sin. That monitoring is the work of the Spirit who guides us into all Truth.   I am so grateful Jesus cleared the eternal slate recording my sin and every day is a prayerful new beginning for the Spirit to help me make better decisions.

The decision for how we mentally process things is done at an individual level.  If I am going to focus on the positive things of God vs. negative sinful things the decision begins with me.  Changing certain situations may be impossible, but how you and I approach those things with our thoughts and responses is a free choice of our will.  We must make a decision to be led by the Spirit for the glory of God.  When we find ourselves experiencing more negative consequences in our lives than positive ones, we need to evaluate our choices by getting in the Word to see what the Spirit has to say to our hearts.  A positive life change might be one Spirit-led decision away.  Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 5-23-18

May 23, 2018

John 20:19-23 The Voice (VOICE)

On Sunday, we celebrated the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit; the work of righteousness to convict and forgive sin, as well as call us into holy living.  Christ has made his life and power available to every believer.  By the work of the Spirit, we can reveal to others the power of God living in us through our love, testimony, spiritual gifts, and active faith.  

In our passage today from the Gospel of John, Jesus tells the disciples to welcome the Holy Spirit and he breathes life-giving power into them.  They could “feel” the breath of God and the unction of the Holy Spirit to share about the forgiving love and salvation of Almighty God for the sins of the world. 

Messiah sends believers into the world to share about this forgiveness of sin and the gift of the Holy Spirit to groom us in righteousness.  We must tell the world that Jesus lives and the Spirit compels us to share this Good News of God’s love everywhere we go.  If we do not tell others, they may never know they could receive forgiveness too.  May God make us bold in our witness and powerful in our love!

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 5-22-18

May 22, 2018

1 Corinthians 12:12-20

In our spiritual lives as Christians, we are baptized into one Spirit, one faith, for one Lord.  Through salvation, Jesus Christ has become the Head of our lives; he must be Lord.  Therefore, everything that comes into our lives must bow to the will of Christ; otherwise, we may find ourselves fighting against the Lord. 

God decides every person’s gifts and graces; He imparts gifts and we are given opportunities to use them. Agreement is essential for the Anointed One to shine.  These gifts are not about talent per se; although they may be perceived as such.  The gifts of the Spirit serve to build up the Body of Christ to spiritual maturity.  In some form or fashion every person should be serving the Lord in their local spiritual family.  Every gift is necessary; to withhold it or minimize it would be an act of fear or selfishness.  

If you are reading this devotion today, I may not be aware of the gifts inside of you, but if you know Jesus then you most certainly have them.  Identify them.  Sometimes the best way to identify your gifts is by trying different things in ministry.  The Body tends to affirm our gifts.  When we release our spiritual gifts to help the Body, it is never about how it makes us feel it’s for the benefit of the whole.  The purpose of using every person’s gift(s) is for the growth it brings the Body when we use it. 

In our lesson today, the Apostle Paul continues to teach us about the unique work of the Holy Spirit and how the Body of Christ is set up for success if we allow the work of the Spirit to direct our lives and purpose.  

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 5-21-18

May 21, 2018

Joel 2:28-29 and 1 Corinthians 12:4-11 New Life Version

Through God’s Old Testament prophet, Joel, the Lord sends a prophetic word that He will pour out His Spirit on his sons and daughters and they will speak God’s Word.  The Spirit brings all kinds of gifts as we welcome Him into our lives; different ways to powerfully share God’s love.  Same Spirit but different gifts because we are different people.  The Spirit is about exalting the Anointed One—Christ the Messiah.  

If we have accepted Christ into our lives and have welcome the work of the Holy Spirit to lead us into righteousness, we are set up for sharing God’s love in Word and deeds.  As we step into God’s righteous plan for our lives and begin using His gifts, the Anointed One is exalted and the lives of others are touched.  The Holy Spirit is a person and it is the work of the Spirit to convict the world of sin, the need for righteousness, and the coming time of judgement.  This judgment has to do with justice and the just shall live by faith.  Place your faith in the work of Christ, connect with the Spirit, and live for the Lord of Righteousness!

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 5-17-18

May 16, 2018

1 Corinthians 15:42-49 New Living Translation (NLT)

Scripture teaches us in a variety of ways how valuable sowing and reaping is to God. Even our human bodies are sown into the earth for a season until harvest time.  The Father sowed or planted his Son into the earth, but he was raised in glory at the resurrection. Our natural bodies are perishable, but our spiritual bodies will be eternal.  No more decay, sickness, or weakness.  Christ is the first fruit of the resurrection of the spiritual body; a body not limited by the laws of nature. 

The Apostle Paul teaches the Corinthian church about the resurrection and the believer’s future to be raised as heavenly people.  We have such an exciting future awaiting us! 

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 5-16-18

May 16, 2018

John 16:16-24 Contemporary English Version (CEV)

In our passage today, the Apostle John writes about the time just before Jesus is arrested.  Jesus tells the disciples he is going away and lets them know he is aware they will be sad when he leaves. Then, Jesus teaches the disciples about the Holy Spirit. He tells them the Spirit will convict the world of sin, call people to repentance, and guide them toward righteousness. It will be a new relationship between the believer and God.  The Holy Spirit will be a Helper who guides believers into the Truth of the Savior: the Living Word or utterance of God. Upon receiving the Spirit, the disciples will be filled with great happiness and joy.   

It is the work of the Spirit to exalt Christ and teach believers the ways of God; to help us through Grace apply the principles of love to our lives.  Our part is to pray and ask for the Spirit to indwell our lives and be our Helper.  In this new relationship, God will be pleased and believers will be happy and whole.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 5-15-18

May 15, 2018

Psalm 115: 1, 9-18 Contemporary English Version (CEV)

In Christ Jesus, we are protected from the unholiness of this world.  Our protection comes when we are united (abiding) in love and affection with the sovereign Lord of the heavens and earth.  We return love and honor to God, because he loves and honors us as his creation. Honor is about value; giving weight to something important. For God, his character is pure and honorable, so the honor he bestows on us is perfect.  For us as his people, we must learn and grow in honor as it is a connective bridge in our future with the sovereign God. Our lives honor God when we live to please him.  As his people, we learn to honor and love the Lord with every aspect of our lives.  We walk with him by faith knowing he is worthy to be praised in all things and he will surely protect us.

Scripture teaches God will protect us as a Shield, so do not give fear any place in your life.  When you start feeling afraid, use your faith and speak words of praise lifting up Christ.  If you are truly abiding or dwelling in him and honoring his utterance/Word, as he is lifted up you will be lifted up. 

In today’s passage, the psalmist encourages Israel or the people of God to love, trust, honor, and praise the Lord.  In Christ, the people of God are those who call on the name of the Lord to be saved. Praise the Lord!

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 5-14-18

May 14, 2018

Philippians 1:3-11 New Living Translation (NLT)

If you were allowed to give one message to people you truly cared about, what would that message be? What would you want to place in their thoughts that would last?  In our lesson today, the Apostle Paul wants to get a message to his spiritual family of what really matters in life: to overflow with the love and righteous character of Jesus Christ.  

Jesus is the Answer and Good News for every issue, because he is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  He is the Way, because he brings new perspective to human thinking.  He is the Truth, because he is Wisdom incarnate.  He is the Life, because he is the Savior who leads us into eternal life in connection to the Father through the Spirit.  Take time today to truly give thanks to the Lord and pray for opportunities to share a message of hope to those in your sphere of influence.  God knows when someone needs to hear the Good News.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 5-11-18

May 11, 2018

Revelation 1:9-18 New Living Translation (NLT)

Jesus Christ has set us free from the death penalty of sin by his death on the cross; his blood has atoned for our sin and set us free to live eternally.  We can now share the good news of God’s love with others.  Every person who believes in Christ’s work on the cross is called to administer the Father’s love; in Christ we have the anointing and the power to endure every trial that may come when we by faith choose to share the Word with others.

Our passage today is written by the Apostle John.  He is exiled to Patmos for preaching the Gospel, but God uses that time to bring great revelation to John.  As you read, enjoy his description of the Son of Man; the First and the Last…the Beginning and the End.  Glory to the Living Lord!

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 5-10-18

May 10, 2018

Luke 24:44-53 Tree of Life Version (TLV)

Yesterday, we went to the Gospel of Mark to read about Jesus’ last day on earth before his ascension to heaven.  He commissioned his disciples to teach repentance, baptism, forgiveness of sin, and new life in Christ by their witness.  Their experience with Christ was of great importance and they were to remember it.  In his Spirit-led humanity, he fulfilled everything mentioned in the Scriptures or Word of God: Torah, Prophets, Psalms.  But, the disciples needed one more thing before they began the work of Christ…the person and power of the Holy Spirit.

In our passage today, from the Gospel of Luke, after Jesus had commissioned his disciples, he told them to wait in Jerusalem until they had received power from on high. Fulfilling Christ’s mission to redeem the world was never anything to be done in human strength or power.  God’s redemption of humanity and the world would be accomplished by the fulfillment of another prophetic Old Testament Scripture, “I am the LORD all-Powerful.  So don’t depend on your own power or strength, but on my Spirit” (Zechariah 4:6 CEV). 

According to Scripture, Christ is coming back for his Body of believers.  Something God has impressed upon my heart has to do with the “building” or “grooming” of the Temple or the Body of Christ. Before the ascension or rapture of believers, the Spirit will be poured out over all flesh and true power from on high will be experienced in those who have made themselves ready. You can be made ready by repentance (turning to Christ), forgiveness of sin (asking to be covered by the blood of Christ), and allowing the work of the Spirit (cleansing us or reshaping our lives) to bring us into agreement with the Word—Jesus Christ—the Head of the Body.  Walking by faith and allowing the renewing of our thoughts is the grooming process. Allow the Spirit to use the Word to renew your mind or thinking.  Deception is the work of Satan and the way to protect ourselves against it is the renewing of our minds.  Christ the Head is returning and he will be looking for the Body of believers made in his image.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 5-9-18

May 9, 2018

Mark 16:19-20 Contemporary English Version (CEV)

Our passage today follows the resurrection of Jesus and his multiple appearances to some of his followers.  After these appearances, there were still some of the eleven original disciples who did not believe the witness of others and their encounters with the risen Lord. Interestingly, for this reason Jesus rebukes his eleven disciples for their lack of faith.  Did they believe Jesus would only reveal himself to them?  Are they thinking Jesus is not interested in saving others? Perhaps they thought of themselves as more spiritual than others.  No matter the reason, their response caused Jesus to rebuke them in order to refocus them on their mission.  Isn’t it interesting how off-task we can be as Christ’s followers when we make faith and salvation about ourselves and not for the advancement of Christ’s kingdom? 

Following his rebuke, Jesus gives the disciples what we call the Great Commission.  “Go and preach the good news to everyone in the world. 16 Anyone who believes me and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe me will be condemned. 17 Everyone who believes me will be able to do wonderful things. By using my name they will force out demons, and they will speak new languages. 18 They will handle snakes and will drink poison and not be hurt. They will also heal sick people by placing their hands on them” (Mark 16:15-18).

By using the name of Jesus and calling people to believe, we, too, can walk in the Great Commission for the good news of Christ.  In fact, it is not an option.  It’s a required mission.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 5-8-18

May 8, 2018

1 Timothy 6:13-16 Contemporary English Version (CEV)

Today’s passage is again a continuation of the Apostle Paul’s charge to his spiritual son, Timothy.  Paul asks Timothy to remain in integrity with God and his human connections even when he comes under fire.  Why would Paul ask Timothy to make such a promise?  Because when Christ’s followers compromise their integrity it dilutes the Gospel.  As well, it grieves the Spirit who desires to bring pure power for transformation.  It hinders our witness and sends the message the Spirit’s power is insufficient to change our lives.  We need the boldness the Spirit brings, so we can inspire others to embrace faith in Christ and live in the Light of His Love.

Live each day with an awareness of God’s presence with you.  If we stay focused on our understanding that God sees every action and is aware of every thought, it will be easier to stay in a place of integrity (unity of inner and outer life).  Don’t compromise your testimony; tells others about the saving grace of our sovereign King and Lord, Jesus Christ.   

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 5-7-18

May 7, 2018

1 Timothy 6:11-12 New Life Version (NLV)

Our passage this morning is based on the Apostle Paul’s continued mentoring of his spiritual son, Timothy.  Earlier, in Chapter 6, Paul instructs Timothy to be content with his present life and what God is doing in it.  He is to take authority over selfish living and instead choose to live a life that pleases God.  

Paul reminds Timothy that one day riches will be gone, contentment will have to sustain him, he will need to guard his heart against greed, choose to love people more than money, be kind and commit to share what he has with others, and love God’s work even if he is not paid. According to Paul, if Timothy is willing to open his life up to the Lord’s work and live in these areas by faith, he will not be a slave to his human desires. He will be right with God by fighting the good fight of faith in love. Eternal living must be every Christ follower’s goal. 

We can all learn from Paul’s mentoring.  If God is asking you to wait for something in your life, take the Apostle Paul’s advice and live in contentment, walk in love, and use your faith to believe for growth and provision. 

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 5-4-18

May 4, 2018

Psalm 98 The Message (MSG)

In our passage today, the psalmist encourages us to praise the Lord for the salvation he provides humanity by his death and resurrection; as well, he calls us to praise the Lord because Christ will return soon to set the world and humanity righteous before him. Praise the Lord! One day God will deal with sin once and for all.  Sometimes, if we are willing to be honest, we would like God to overlook sin, but he simply loves us way too much to do so.  

Do you realize it is love that causes the Lord to set righteous boundaries for his children?  The boundary of love protects and establishes us in the image of Christ; ”'You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. And your neighbor as yourself.”’ (Matt 22:37).  The Lord desires more for us than we desire for ourselves.  God will deal with evil when he returns the next time.  In the meantime, let’s choose to let him love us into right living, so we are ready for his return.  Blessings for your weekend.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 5-3-18

May 3, 2018

Acts 10:1-36 The Message (MSG)

Our passage today is quite long but a wonderful lesson for every person.  Clearly, God demonstrates no favoritism.  If people are sincerely seeking God, they will find him.  As they seek, God will send people to connect them to Christ.  Never rule out God’s love for every human being.  As long as we are seeking God and willing to live according to His Word, the door for relationship is open and the offer for eternal life in the love of God is available. God is Good!

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 5-2-18

May 2, 2018

John 14:21-28 The Message (MSG)

Jesus left us with two commandment.  He said all the other commands of Father God could be summed up this way:  “‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.  A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”

We are to love the LORD—Christ who is the visible image of the invisible God—with all our hearts.  That means we love him and obey him; in other words we keep his commandments of love.  How blessed we are that Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to help and teach us to love the way God requires. You may feel that certain people are beyond your capability to love and that may be true.  But they are not beyond God’s capability to love through you.  We must allow God’s love to flow.  Stay strong and stay committed to love the LORD and allow him to have his way of love in and through your life. 

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 5-1-18

May 1, 2018

James 3:17-18 New Living Translation (NLT)

Wisdom is revealed by the depth of a person’s Christ-like character.  If we are operating in true wisdom, we are sincere and our lives demonstrate integrity or wholeness; our actions accurately reflect what is on the inside.  If we have wisdom operating on the inside it will be confirmed by our actions; it will be a place of shalom or peace between our heart and our actions.  It will be a posture of sincerity.

A true apple tree produces apples; not oranges. The tree could believe and declare its identity as an apple tree all day long, but if the fruit it bears are oranges it is not an apple tree.  A tree of wisdom in a person’s life will produce the character of Christ who was led by the Spirit.  God has made Christ to be wisdom itself for our benefit. Therefore, the spiritual fruit we bear should be love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  

If we are bearing the fruit of anger, bitterness, worry, unforgiveness—essentially unbelief in God’s power to deliver us from such things in our actions—we are not representing Christ in integrity.  We are not operating in wisdom.   We can call ourselves Christians all day long, but the fruit will reveal the truth.  So, we must stay in the Word of God and allow the Spirit to help us bear good fruit, righteous fruit, and much of it.  May our Heavenly Father have mercy on us and the Holy Spirit help us to embrace Christ—Wisdom—for the glory of God.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 4-30-18

April 30, 2018

Galatians 5:16-26 New Living Translation (NLT)

The Holy Spirit develops within believers the character traits that abide in the nature of Christ.  If we want the fruit of the Spirit to be developed within us we must connect to Christ and abide in his Word.  We can know Christ more intimately, love and follow him more obediently, and imitate him more accurately.  In order to do so, we must live by the Spirit’s Power.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 4-27-18

April 27, 2018

Mark 4:30-32 Good News Translation (GNT)

By our faith, God is building a kingdom in our hearts and one day he will build a worldwide Kingdom here on earth.  The kingdom may have started as a small seed in our hearts, but in time it will take over the world and every nation; it will overshadow the world and cause many to be uncomfortable.  God's kingdom will become unwelcome in the world much like the mustard plant in our parable that starts as a seed but begins to take over the garden.  

Our parable today includes a man (Christ), a seed (the Word), field/garden (the world), growth (time), and birds (the presence of evil). Ponder this: If Jesus' reference to the birds finding shelter was from his previous parable about the sower and seed, the birds might also be unfavorable.  The birds are taking advantage of the benefits of the kingdom while diluting it with evil.  The growth of the mustard plant gives even a place for evil to nest because the kingdom welcomes whosoever calls on the name of the Lord.   If we are going to be open to the King, all kinds of undesirable things may show up as Truth shines the Light.   After all, Jesus came to save sinners (human beings) who have given shelter to the work of evil in their souls, so we live messy lives until we allow Jesus to be Lord.  

We have an opportunity to be builders with the Master Builder of his eternal kingdom, so let's allow the love of Christ to build us in his image each day and be a part of establishing His reign on earth. 

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 4-26-18

April 26, 2018

Psalm 22:25-31 New Living Translation (NLT)

King David found himself rejected by family and friends; he became a target for his enemies, but he stayed focused on God’s great love and faithfulness that had been revealed to him.  He believed God would lead him out of his present feelings of hopelessness, because God had always been faithful in the past.  So, David put on praise, lived according to God’s Word of love, and told others of the goodness of the Lord and the power of his might.

Future generations will be depending on our faithful witness of Christ’s love, salvation, and deliverance today.  How will they recognize and acknowledge the goodness of God unless we witness and model Christ’s miraculous love and goodness now?  We must continue to plant the seeds of Truth in the lives of others, so the Vine can grow and reach all nations.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 4-25-18

April 25, 2018

Mark 14:26-31 New Living Translation (NLT)

Have you ever found yourself emphatic about something only to find later you were wrong?  In our passage today, Jesus tells the disciples they will desert him when trouble comes.  Peter proclaims emphatically that he will NEVER desert or deny Christ even if he has to die in the process.  We shall see that Jesus knew Peter better than Peter knew himself.  Jesus knows each one of us better than we know ourselves and the sooner we accept that as truth the better off we will be for the work of the kingdom.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 4-24-18

April 24, 2018

Psalm 95 The Message (MSG)

Our minds are continuously busy aren’t they?  There is always something near to capture our attention and occupy our time.  It’s a real part of our culture.  Have you ever just tried to sit for five minutes and focus on enjoying God’s presence? It can be a challenge to stay focused.  I’m not talking about sitting and trying to wrap your thoughts around who God is or trying to make sense of your life. This is not an exercise where you come with an agenda or do anything; it is an exercise in trust and spiritual “rest.”  I’m asking if you make time to sit quietly for five minutes and just breath, open your heart, and whisper for God’s abiding presence to connect with you in a powerful way? 

If we do not learn the posture of rest before God, we cannot rise in the power of His Spirit.  That does not mean we do nothing all day long.  It means we spend time with God, gain guidance for our day, and then tell our souls (mind, will, emotions) to rest and allow him to live and move and have his being in us.  In other words, we stop fighting the process outflowing his resurrection; we embrace trust and obedience.  He has come in the Spirit to live through us, remember?

In our passage today, the psalmist is singing about the greatness of God, the power of his mighty love, and the rest and obedience He requires to guide our lives. Let’s learn from this psalmist today.  So, sit for five minutes and focus on praising and enjoying God, my friends!  He wants to speak to you.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 4-23-18

April 23, 2018

1 Peter 5:1-5  New Living Translation (NLT)

What makes a good or great leader for the work of God?  Is it education alone?  Is it experience alone?  Scripture teaches the making of a good leader has everything to do with character and spiritual formation.  A leader who is listening to and following the Spirit will care for God”s flock and be eager to wholeheartedly serve each member.  He or she will be motivated by what can be imparted to others that feed them, rather than by what can be gained personally.   And, here is something very important to keep in mind; a good leader humbly leads by example.  During his earthly ministry, Jesus followed the Spirit, loved and served the Father’s flock, and led as a humble example.  Would Christ’s true shepherd’s today be any different?

Before Christ ascended, he told Peter, “If you love me, feed my sheep.”  In our passage today, we can tell Peter was doing the very thing the Good Shepherd had asked of him.  Scripture teaches one day Christ will come out into the open with his rule.  At his second coming, Christ will take his rightful place as the Great Shepherd. Every Christ follower will bring something valuable to the Kingdom; we will then find ourselves governed and positioned under his reign for eternity.  Will you be ready for what he has called you to be and do?

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 4-20-18

April 20, 2018

Psalm 23 New Living Translation (NLT)

Contentment is a very valuable condition in which to live; a state of happiness, satisfaction, and ease of mind.  When we are content, we are mentally and emotionally satisfied with where things are in our lives.  That does not mean everything is great; rather, it means we are content in the care of the Father.  Biblical contentment has to do with trust and confidence because we are satisfied that God knows who we are, what we have, and where we are going. 

Jesus teaches we are to be content with no worries, because the Father knows all things.  If you find yourself struggling with worry, it is time to spend some time with the Lord and receive the assurance of his love and gain his peace.  He truly desires to shepherd each one of us into a state of contentment.  Jesus is the Good Shepherd (John 10:11), the Great Shepherd (Hebrews 13:20), and the Chief Shepherd (1 Peter 5:4).  If we are willing to follow our Shepherd, he will lead us into contentment. David learned contentment from the Shepherd, as well.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 4-19-18

April 19, 2018

Acts 3:17-26 New Living Translation (NLT)

When we are warm and tired, something refreshing to drink is a great comfort.  Sometimes in our spiritual life we need the refreshment of the Spirit for the draining difficulties of our natural life.  We do not always know what has drained us or worn us out, but we are aware when we need refreshment.

Peter tells those who will listen about the refreshment that comes from the presence of the Lord.  In ignorance, the people killed their Source of refreshment.  So, Peter tells them how to reconnect and get the necessary refreshment for their spirits.

To enjoy heavenly refreshment, we must turn from our sinful self-preserving busy tendencies and rest in the holy work of Messiah who comes to liberate us and restore us. Our part is to cooperate with the restoration process.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 4-17-18

April 17, 2018

2 John 1-6 The Message (MSG)

Because it seems to be easy for humans to get off God’s righteous path, we always need to be reminded of what is most important.  Pastors are to bring God’s people back to the basics, because false teachings are always trying to usurp the Truth.   The Word of the Lord—the Bible—is the foundation of understanding God’s heart and the infinite reach of his love.  God is love so when we give what the Word defines as love we are revealing the Truth and presence of God to others.

In our passage today, we witness the Apostle John’s focus for his flock.   As their pastor, he reminds the early church what is paramount as a Christ or Truth follower; loving one another.  The ingredient that should always be found in a true Christian community is an abundance of God’s love flowing in and through the spiritual family.  We genuinely care for one another and we believe the best of one another. Love does not step all over others in word or deed in order to exalt, satisfy, or protect the flesh; that is the world’s way.  Love does not demand its own way; that is stubborn and controlling flesh.  Love is patient and kind; like God.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 4-13-18

April 13, 2018

Psalm 4:4-8 New Living Translation (NLT)

David reminds us we can trust the Lord to take care of us.  In the midst of life’s challenges, the Lord is the One who brings us into peace.  Peace comes with agreement; we must agree with God who is perfect Love.  So, we journey out of a state of disagreement (that which opposes God’s way) and into a state of agreement or peace.  

That means there is no room for us to hold onto things like anger, resentment, bitterness or disobedience.  God who is Love is not in those things.  If you lack peace, relinquish those emotions and actions that are peace-robbers and take you out of agreement with God.  Instead, trust yourself to the Lord’s care.  He will bring you into peace and he will protect you with His Love.  He is the perfect Lover of your Soul.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 4-12-18

April 12, 2018

1 John 2:18-25 New Living Translation (NLT)

In our passage today, the apostle John reminds us about the spirit of antichrist; the spirit that denies the Father and the Son.  The phrase “the last hour” describes the time between the first and second coming of Jesus Christ.  At one time or another, I am sure you have heard someone say, “I believe in God, but I do not believe Jesus is his Son.”  Well, according to Scripture, “Anyone who denies the Son, does not have the Father, either” (v.23).  

The Spirit of Christ has been given to those who believe in the work of the Son; the Spirit causes us to know the difference between the truth of God and the lies of Satan.  Therefore, the Spirit is an incredible Gift from the Father and the Son so we can know the truth and live it.  We recognize deception because of the Holy Spirit.  Jesus will always be God’s divine Son and his sacrifice for the sins of the world is permanent.  Jesus is the Truth and the Holy Spirit guides people to Jesus.  Anything that is preached or taught that contradicts these truths comes from the spirit of antichrist and are inspired by lies.  

If you have never done so, now is the time to believe, connect to Christ, and live in the Truth of God’s love.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 4-11-18

April 11, 2018

Mark 12:18-27 New Living Translation (NLT)

All things in Scripture point to eternal life; essentially all things point to Christ who is life.  What life will be like in eternity we can only imagine, but Christ said it would be amazing because the Father has prepared it for us.  Jesus also said we had to trust our future to him and the power outflowing his resurrection.  Jesus taught about the resurrection; he told his disciples and followers he would rise in three days.   Because of Christ, we must believe in our own resurrection.  

The Sadducees held to the Law of Moses and were unwilling to look deeper into the spiritual truth of which Christ spoke.  They did not believe in the resurrection; they were trying to force the Word of God to say what they wanted to believe. Jesus sidesteps their question by pointing to their ignorance.  Jesus was not implying people would not recognize their partners in eternity; rather, he was simply saying eternity is not merely an extension of this life.  It is a new life with a new King and new physical and natural rules. It’s a whole new realm called reality.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 4-10-18

April 10, 2018

1 John 2:12-17 New Living Translation (NLT)

Faith--hoping for the unseen things of God--is developed over time and through experiences.  On the other hand, worldliness--craving the things of this world--comes naturally/innate.  Worldliness is really an internal state of the heart.  We must pay attention to what our heart longs for the most; we can find answers to where we are in our faith journey by doing so.  

God values things like meekness, generosity, fruitfulness, and a spirit of self control.  We are not to be led by our feelings or cravings.  We are to be led by the Spirit of God who exalts the Lordship of Christ.  So, today, deliberately indulge yourself in those things God values; make the Lord smile.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 4-9-18

April 9, 2018

1 John 2:3-11 The Message (MSG)

Our lives are to match the life of Jesus; if we have accepted his invitation to salvation, we belong to him.  The power outflowing the resurrection is for the purpose of raising our level of love.  That means being raised by the Father into a mature love and vibrant faith.  Faith works through perfect love; perfect love can be found in the commandments of God.  Scripture teaches God is Love, so therefore his commandments are established on the foundation of his Love.  When we move toward continuing faith, we move forward into the Light of God’s Love and we become powerful witnesses of Christ’s presence—the Living Word of God—with us.

Invite God to work and move in your life; internalized and apply his commandments of love to your life.  Sure, the Lord will bring change, but it will be the best change you could ever experience.  The change the Lord brings prepares us for eternity.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 4-6-18

April 6, 2018

Acts 4:23-31 New Living Translation (NLT)

In our reading today, the Apostles are learning what it means to live out of the resurrection of Jesus Christ in the power of the Spirit.  They are boldly stepping out in faith and taking authority in Christ.  Through them the Lord has healed a crippled beggar.  Miracles are following the apostles; lives are being changed.  

The religious leaders do not like what the apostles are teaching and they command Peter and John to stop teaching in the name of Jesus.  Do they stop when they are threatened by the elders of the religious council?  On the contrary, they pray and ask God for more courage. What is God’s response?  He fills them with the Holy Spirit and with boldness.

When we go through difficult times and the enemy is trying to snuff out our faith, the Lord promises to be with us.  Whatever your faith is facing today, you are not alone and Christ desires to show himself strong and powerful in you.  Pray for the strength of faith and courage you need.  Jesus will provide.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 4-5-18

April 5, 2018

Psalm 133 Good News Translation (GNT)

This morning’s passage teaches about harmony; the place where the Lord has promised his blessing—life that never ends.  Harmony is not about conformity; quite the opposite.  Harmony requires a blend of diversity.  In music, harmony is a blend of different notes played at the same time coming together for a beautiful song.

When it comes to our spiritual lives in relationship with the Lord, our lives all sing differently but every life should sing to glorify the Lord.  Therefore, the greatest harmony is experienced when God’s family comes together, bows before his authority, and seeks to glorify His name.  We do not have to sing the same note, because God has provided plenty of diverse lives to blend for the song.  Be happy with who you are and what you bring to life, because you are a necessary part of the harmony.  Blessing comes when you use your life to sing praise to God.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 4-4-18

April 4, 2018

Psalm 118 Good News Translation (GNT)

Our Lord is gracious and wonderfully good.  He fights our sin; he takes it on as his own.  He is the Victor and we are his righteous receivers.  Every heart needs the Lord and the power outflowing his resurrection.  Salvation connects us in order to be raised by the Father.  Because we belong to the Lord, not only do we have life eternal, we can overcome anything that comes against us.  The battle belongs to the Lord and he is always victorious in love.

Surrender your concerns and challenges to the Lord.  He loves you; He will deliver you and bring you through. He is the Savior.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 4-3-18

April 3, 2018

1 Corinthians 15:50-58 (NLT)

Our passage today is a continuation of the spiritual lesson from yesterday about the resurrected bodies that we will one day occupy; a future with immortality.  Because of our present human limitations, we look forward to a time when we no longer suffer from those physical, emotional, or mental challenges.  

In the meantime, God’s grace is sufficient to carry us through whatever we face while in these mortal bodies. It requires living in the power outflowing Christ’s resurrection; the firstborn of the resurrection.  We will explore more about resurrection living in the weeks to come.  We need each other as we love one another through our human limitations.  Remember, nothing we every do in the name of Christ to share mercy and offer help to one another or further the Kingdom is ever wasted.  God sees and knows. He is glorified in our lives when we press on to love him wholeheartedly and love one another.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 4-2-18

April 2, 2018

1 Corinthians 15:35-49 (NLT)

In our passage today, the Apostle Paul tells us our resurrected bodies will reflect our individual personalities only they will be perfected because of Jesus Christ. Can you imagine your life with no sickness, no disease, and no death?  Jesus, the last Adam, is the life giver who will bring us into resurrection.  We will receive a new body that is suitable for eternal living.  We have a good, good Father!  Amen?

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 3-30-18

March 30, 2018

John 18:1-19:42

In the life of Jesus, let us always remember to look for the heart of God and evaluate our hearts as they relate and seek to follow him.  Every time we confess Jesus with our mouths, acknowledge the authority of his Word, and move in agreement, we are exalting him as Lord of our lives.  Jesus—the Lord Most High—suffered at the hands of his creation; the very ones to whom he gave life turned and crucified him.  

With this sobering thought, we know there are times we crucify the Word rather than live it.  Maybe we do not like what it says; so we deny and reject it.  Maybe we do not understand how it relates to our lives, so we ignore it. And, maybe we actually understand what the Word is asking of us and we are simply unwilling to obey it.

If we have invited Jesus into our hearts—the garden of our being where the seed of Love has been planted—we have the privilege of knowing the heart of the Father. His love for us is sacrificial and he will love us forever.  Let us praise God for his love everyday. 

If we have made Jesus the Lord of our lives, we possess the power to love and serve others like Christ because he lives in us and causes our love to grow.  That is another level of trust and intimacy with God that many followers are afraid to embrace.  We must never forget we have the freedom to entomb the Lord in our hearts and never share him.  Or, we can publicly confess him, but if he is not Lord we will never deny ourselves, pick up our cross and follow him in order to extend sacrificial love to others the way he commands. 

In our lengthy passage today, Jesus will lay down his life.  The Word—Jesus—will submit himself to be beaten and killed…but, death and darkness will never hold back the Light of Truth which leads to Eternal Life.  Truth, Life, and Love are in the Word.

Jesus just finished praying, “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you…may your love for me be in them and that I myself may be in them” (John 17:25-26).

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 3-29-18

March 29, 2018

1 Corinthians 11:23-26  New Living Translation

Today is known as Maundy Thursday; the Last Supper Jesus shared with his disciples.   The word Maundy is derived from the Latin word for “mandate” or “command.” We are mandated or commanded by Christ to love one another in humility, remember what he has done for us by laying down his life, and give Father God thanks for it.  Let love fill your heart today; because God so loved the world that He gave His Son to take our place in death so we could join him in eternal life.  

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 3-28-18

March 28, 2018

John 13:21-32 New Living Translation

In our passage today, we read about the betrayal of Jesus by Judas.  Betrayal will always be an ongoing issue in life.  Betrayal has to do with a violation of trust.  The Bible describes betrayal as an enemy masquerading as a friend.  An common example of this definition would be someone saying nice things to your face to gain your favor, but verbally criticizing you when he or she is with others in order to make himself or herself look better.  People do it all the time and think nothing of it, but Scripture teaches it is sin. It is similar to the sin of gossip but leaves deeper wounds and it is built on the foundation of arrogance/pride.  Maybe you have tasted betrayal; if so, be comforted because Jesus understands.  

How does Jesus treat his betrayer?  Jesus loves him.  It can only be done by submitting to the grace and power of God Almighty.  Jesus stays focus on his mission, forgives Judas, and keeps seeking to please the Father.  He did not let this single betrayer taint him from loving and trusting his other friends.  And, God was glorified.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 3-27-18

March 27, 2018

John 12:20-36 New Living Translation

In our passage today, Jesus sets out to explain to those listening—both Jews and Greeks—that he must die.  This is not the picture of Messiah people have been wanting and hoping would come as God’s Promise of salvation.  When Jesus did not meet the expectations of people, he was rejected.  It was true then and it remains true.  

Jesus is the light we need to navigate the dark places in life. He is the Savior who brings us grace for each moment and delivers us from evil.   He has offered to be the light for us and then he calls us to be the light for others.  Is the light of Christ shining brightly in your life?

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 3-26-18

March 26, 2018

John 12:1-11 New Living Translation

I love our reading for today. Jesus’ dear friends are focused on bringing glory to God. Lazarus is given new resurrected life and cannot stop talking about it with everyone he meets.  Martha is back in the kitchen serving others; using her gift of hospitality.  Mary is extravagantly worshiping at the feet of Jesus.  

However, at the very same time Satan is also focused on defeating Jesus.  Judas is planning to betray the Messiah.  Seekers are trying to decide if they believe the story about Lazarus.  And, the chief priests are planning to kill Lazarus.

The Kingdom is advancing and increasing, but Satan still tries to hinder it.  As you and I make progress in our relationship with Christ, we must expect some opposition.  Stay strong in the power of His might.  Stay the course and hold on to His righteousness.  No weapon Satan forms against you can prosper; submit yourself to God, resist Satan, and he will flee.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 3-20-18

March 20, 2018

Psalm 119:9-16 Living Bible (TLB)

John and I are presently in the midst of remodeling my mother’s condo; it was in need of quite a bit of work.  There’s one problem, the inside of the condo is covered with drywall dust and debris of every kind.  Sometimes I stop by and try to get some things done after being at the church during the day.  Every time I go to the condo to do anything I get dirty…really dirty.  How does one keep clean in a filthy environment?  

The psalmist asks a similar question, how can we keep our hearts clean and pursue the presence of God when the world we occupy is a filthy environment?  The answer is to stay in God’s Word, follow God’s instructions, and allow ourselves to surrender to the power of the Spirit.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 3-19-18

March 19, 2018

Ephesians 2:1-10  New Living Translation (NLT)

We have been given the power to live in Christ now.  Satan has no power over us unless we give him power.  God made the decision to save us and leave us here in this world; he also gave us the freedom to choose how we will live as his children while here.  Out of gratitude we should live in obedience to God’s Word.  We have been given new life and the grace to live it for God’s glory.  Let’s not waste the gift of grace; let’s do the good things God has planned for us. 

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 3-13-18

March 13, 2018

1 Corinthians 10:6-13 New Living Translation (NLT)

In our passage today from the Apostle Paul’s letter to the church in Corinth, he uses Israel’s exodus out of bondage, journey across the Red Sea, and into the wilderness as an example of spiritual immaturity.  God had performed miraculous things for Israel, yet they struggled with idolatry and arrogance.  We can always learn from history, because life brings temptation to everyone.  Let’s pay attention to our passage and allow Wisdom to teach us, today.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 3-1-18

March 1, 2018

1 Peter 2:4-8 Contemporary English Version (CEV)

Scripture tells us how to build our lives and live in fellowship with the Lord.  We begin with a solid foundation; the Rock of Ages—Christ the Cornerstone—because he is Truth and entirely trustworthy.  We do not need to fear the future, because Christ is with us and able to deliver us into peace.  Choose to live by faith in the One who shines light and displaces darkness.  He is the Precious One everyone needs; the only One who can save us and give us worth and value.

1 Peter 2:4-8

4 Come to Jesus Christ. He is the living stone that people have rejected, but which God has chosen and highly honored. 5 And now you are living stones that are being used to build a spiritual house. You are also a group of holy priests, and with the help of Jesus Christ you will offer sacrifices that please God. 6 It is just as God says in the Scriptures,

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 2-28-18

February 28, 2018

John 12:36-43 New Living Translation (NLT)

From the beginning of time, despite the amazing and magnificent miracles of the Lord, people did not want to believe or submit to God.  Jesus did one healing after another as people witnessed the “praise of God” or power resting on Messiah.  Many were astounded, but did not believe or put their trust in Messiah even then.  

God is still moving in miraculous ways in our world, but many struggle to confess belief because loving Jesus and believing in the Living Word causes offense to others.  That is why Jesus said, “Blessed are those who are not offended by me” (Matthew 11:6).  Why would Jesus respond that way?  Because in Christ we have the invitation to allow the “praise of God” to rest on us as we live in fellowship with the Father.   But as we will see in our passage today, people sometimes desire human praise rather than the “praise of God.”   Allow the Word to do its work in your heart, mind, will, and emotions, and enjoy the “praise of God” abiding in your life.  It is SWEET!

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 2-27-18

February 27, 2018

Hebrews 11:1-3 New Living Translation (NLT)

It is our faith that rises like a sweet smelling fragrance before the Lord; our faith pleases the heart of God because it acknowledges the Lord as Source.  When we come to God with faith believing that he desires to bless us as his children; he is a proud Abba.  We all think we know what will make us happy or fulfilled as we pray and petition God, but sometimes we are looking at things from a very shallow perspective and unable to see the greater options.  That is why we come by faith to the throne of God.  He knows us and He knows our needs.  God knows your needs, today.

One thing we must all keep in mind, the rewards and treasures God imparts to us may not always be what we are looking for in the beginning nor recognize as such when they arrive.  Those spiritual blessings will, however, be the very things we are the most grateful for as time goes on.  God knows how to give good gifts to his children; they are always eternally connected to the inheritance of Christ the Anointed One. Put your faith out for the Lord and expect him to bless you because of Jesus!  Be an example of great faith by believing for God to meet every need in your life.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 2-26-18

February 26, 2018

Genesis 21:1-7 New Living Translation (NLT)

God is all-powerful and he can stretch the limits and cause unheard of events to occur.  The rhema (uttered/spoken) word of the Lord came to Abram announcing he and Sarai would be having a child in their old age.  They had to believe by faith that God would fulfill his promise no matter how challenging the circumstances.  God delivered His promise into their arms. So, by faith put your trust in God, because he is able to do exceedingly, abundantly, above all you could ask or think according to the power that works in us (Ephesians 3:20).

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 2-22-18

February 22, 2018

Romans 3:21-31 New Living Translation (NLT)

God chose for his children to be saved by faith through grace.  Why do you think God chose faith as the necessary action for salvation?  I believe it is because faith presses us to admit there is nothing we can do to save ourselves. God is holy and we are sinners in need of cleansing and the impartation of the Spirit of Holiness.  Faith exalts what God has done for us—taking our sins upon himself—and our willingness to simply receive his gift of forgiveness.  Faith calls us into relationship with a loving God who wants us to know the extent to which he would go to bring righteousness to us so he can be with us. Amazing!  Thank you, God!

In our passage today, the Apostle Paul is reminding the church in Rome about their need for faith in Jesus Christ.  He also challenges the new believers to continue the journey with the Spirit of Holiness; being made into the image of Christ (Love) one day at a time.  Don't stop your journey at the cross.  Bow at the cross, then move beyond it to find the richness of grace awaiting to bring you even closer to our Holy and Loving Lord. Ponder that for a moment, because it should excite your soul!

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 2-20-18


February 20, 2018

1 Peter 3:8-18 New Living Translation (NLT)

There are many, many wonderful lessons in our reading today.  We are brought to God through Christ and we are to have his mindset.  What is the mindset of Christ?  To see ourselves as one household connected to Christ.  That means we deeply appreciate and serve one another and keep a clear conscience of how we love each other.  There should be no relationships stronger on earth than our spiritual connections in Christ who is Love incarnate and the Head of the Church (believers).  We are his Body reaching out to others, moving in synchronicity with the Spirit, to serve in God’s mission of salvation.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 2-19-18

February 19, 2018

Ephesians 2:1-10 New Living Translation (NLT)

In the days of Noah, God brought a flood.  Noah and his family were in the ark; they were both saved by the water and saved from the water.  They were saved by the Spirit from the flooding judgment of Almighty God.  And, that water of the Spirit is a picture of baptism that now saves us through a response to God from a clean conscience.  Baptism is effective because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 3:20-21).

Because of the Spirit, we are now made alive with the resurrected Christ.  We are baptized into the Spirit of Christ.  We can follow his lead for our lives and we can have his strength to live in the love and presence of God so we can do the good things he has planned for us.  There is no fear and no judgment; we are saved to Testify!

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 11-13-17

Daily Reading 11-13-17

Psalm 63:1-8 The Voice (VOICE)

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 11-10-17

Daily Reading 11-10-17

Matthew 24:1-14 The Voice (VOICE)

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 11-9-17

Daily Reading 11-9-17

Psalm 78:1-7 New Living Translation (NLT)

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 11-8-17

Daily Reading 11-8-17

Proverbs 16:21-25 New Living Translation (NLT)

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 11-7-17

Daily Reading 11-7-17

Psalm 5:8-10 Living Bible (TLB)

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 11-6-17

Daily Reading 11-6-17

Psalm 5:1-6 Good News Translation (GNT)

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 11-3-17

Daily Reading 11-3-17

Psalm 43:5 Good News Translation (GNT)


Human emotions are fickle; they can run high and then low without much warning.  As well, they can be difficult to tame and bring under the authority of the Lord.  When our emotions run low and we find ourselves sad or discouraged, we should not just “sit in our sadness.”  Instead, we need to open the Word of God and receive wisdom from the many heroes of the faith.  What did they do when they felt this way?  They meditated on the goodness of the Lord. 

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 11-1-17

Daily Reading 11-1-17

Matthew 5:1-12 Amplified Bible (AMP)

Over the past three days the Lord has been drawing my attention to the word, “Blessed or Blessing.”  In the Greek, the word “blessed” is translated using many different descriptive words that are all interconnected.  In today’s passage, I will use brackets to highlight a greater understanding of the word “blessed,” as well as the response of God on behalf of those pursuing the “blessing.”  Enjoy the teaching for today from the Word of God; you who are blessed of the Lord.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 10-30-17

Daily Reading 10-30-17

James 2:8-13 Living Bible


Mercy is defined as not getting what you deserve; punishment is withheld.  We have all broken God’s Laws in some way; all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.  We deserve the punishment for sin; eternal separation from God.  But because of God’s mercy (loving kindness) and grace we are forgiven.  God withholds the punishment we deserve, because Jesus paid the price and died for our sin. He took our place.  Extravagant gratitude is the proper response for such a Gift.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 10-27-17

Daily Reading 10-27-17

John 5:39-47 Living Bible


It is possible to read all of Scripture in order to seek God, but miss the evidence of the Anointed Lord—Messiah—within it’s pages.   In our passage today, the Lord rebukes the religious leaders for hanging their hopes for eternal life on the Laws of Moses; because Moses wrote about Love incarnate (Messiah) and they weren’t living it.  Only the Lord brings eternal life and causes us to honor the Father of Righteousness.  


In order to know the righteousness of God, we must know the correcting and sanctifying work of the Lord.  Jesus Messiah is the One who teaches Truth about what honors Father God.  So, please listen to the Word of the Lord and choose to grow in righteousness—the character of Messiah.  

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 10-26-17

Daily Reading 10-26-17

Psalm 90:1-6, 13-17 New Living Translation (NLT)


Any absence of godly leaders does not mean the absence of God or his love.  He alone is our dwelling place; our eternal Home and our Hope.  We must never forget it is by faith, as finite beings, we enjoy the eternal refuge of our Creator and Father.  We will go through times of pain and trouble, but God is still with us.  He is not bound by time for He is the Creator of time.  He does not lack power for He is sovereign and everlasting.  Even if all our circumstances aligned with our will, we would not be satisfied unless we were enjoying fellowship with the Lord.  It is the Lord who makes the difference in human existence.  

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 10-25-17

Daily Reading 10-25-17

Matthew 17:24-27 New Living Translation (NLT)


In our passage today, Jesus’s critics are once again criticizing Him to His disciples about taxes. The temple tax was prescribed in Exodus 30:13. This passage is not about paying taxes to the civil government, it is about fulfilling a worship obligation to God.  

The point Jesus makes is that the Christ and His disciples enjoy a relationship with God that frees them from the obligations imposed upon “others.”  Kings and their family did not pay taxes.  Jesus, the King, owed no taxes; however, He chose to comply with the Law’s requirements to avoid offending others.  

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 10-24-17

Daily Reading 10-24-17

Daniel 3:19-30 New Living Translation (NLT)


As followers of the Most High God, we are to have no other gods—nothing more important in our lives.  The world will always seek to woo us from our complete devotion to God; many false gods—idolatry—will seek to own us. The enemy knows if we remain committed to the abiding presence of God, we have power over the things of this world.  God is the creator of the heavens and the earth, so nothing is beyond His reach, love, or power.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 10-20-17

Daily Reading 10-20-17

1 Peter 5:1-5 The Message (MSG)


I have the great privilege of working and serving with some amazing leaders; gifted people who love God and His family.  They volunteer their time and work for the advancement of the Kingdom.  The right motive must drive all leaders called of God.  Our main concern must be pleasing God; our focus should not be on ourselves.  We serve not for what we get out of it—what benefits us or even brings us personal satisfaction—but for the honor of bringing glory to the very holy substance of our love—Jesus Christ.    


Godly leaders model integrity.  One should extend respect to those older and shaped by Truth, listen to those younger who come with fresh ideas to reach others, and be willing to learn from both.  Peter shares this wisdom not just for people who work in church, but for all of God children who are led by integrity.   Do you respect those with greater experience than you?  Do you listen to those we see things differently?  Are you willing to learn from both? 


1 Peter 5:1-5

1-3 I have a special concern for you church leaders. I know what it’s like to be a leader, in on Christ’s sufferings as well as the coming glory. Here’s my concern: that you care for God’s flock with all the diligence of a shepherd. Not because you have to, but because you want to please God. Not calculating what you can get out of it, but acting spontaneously. Not bossily telling others what to do, but tenderly showing them the way.


4-5 When God, who is the best shepherd of all, comes out in the open with his rule, he’ll see that you’ve done it right and commend you lavishly. And you who are younger must follow your leaders. But all of you, leaders and followers alike, are to be down to earth with each other, for—

God has had it with the proud,

But takes delight in just plain people.


Prayer:  Father, help me to lead and love your family in integrity and truth, because I want to please you.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 10-19-17

Daily Reading 10-19-17

Psalm 96:1-9 Living Bible (TLB)


The other day Mother and I were meeting with her oncologist and he asked, “Ida, how are you doing?”  My mother is an eternal optimist, so I looked her in the eye before she could answer and said, “Confession is good for the soul, Mom!”  We laughed because we knew how hard the past few weeks had been on her physically, but in the midst of all of it God remained faithful to get us the help she needed.  The doctor laughed, because he was overwhelmed with the joy we expressed in that moment.   Then the doctor shared with us that Mom’s recent MRI and CT scan showed no new cancer growth, Praise God!


We are to live each day by praying without ceasing—putting our needs before the Lord—and praising God for the provision and strength to press on.  We overcome by the blood of the Lamb—Christ—and the words of our testimony (Rev. 12:11).  Mom clings to Jesus Christ who is the true Life and she finds joy in the midst of the “mess!”  


Many people can praise God when life is going smoothly and emotions are running high and positive.  But, we are to be overcomers when it comes to this life; we overcome by bringing a sacrifice of praise.  I don’t know what you are facing, today, but grab ahold of your confession and make it count for God’s glory.  Holy joy—spiritual fruit—will fill you!


Psalm 96:1-9 Living Bible (TLB)

96 Sing a new song to the Lord! Sing it everywhere around the world! 2 Sing out his praises! Bless his name. Each day tell someone that he saves.


3 Publish his glorious acts throughout the earth. Tell everyone about the amazing things he does. 4 For the Lord is great beyond description and greatly to be praised. Worship only him among the gods! 5 For the gods of other nations are merely idols, but our God made the heavens! 6 Honor and majesty surround him; strength and beauty are in his Temple.


7 O nations of the world, confess that God alone is glorious and strong. 8 Give him the glory he deserves! Bring your offering and come to worship him. 9 Worship the Lord with the beauty of holy lives. Let the earth tremble before him.


Prayer:  Lord, if I am willing you always find a way to turn my attention toward your goodness and provision.  Thank you for capturing my heart and my attention with your love.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.


Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 10-18-17

Daily Reading 10-18-17

John 6:27-38 New Living Translation (NLT)


How important is loving and believing in Christ?  Jesus tells us in our passage, today, believing in him is the “only” work God wants from us.  In other words, we cannot trust in our own efforts to gain salvation, because we can never perform at a level to earn it.  However, we can trust the love of God found in Jesus Christ as Messiah to pay the debt for our sin and receive salvation as a gift.  I am fully convinced “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Cor. 2:9).  Believing in the work of Christ brings eternal life, but that connection brings love and nourishment we cannot even imagine!


John 6:27-38 The Bread of Life

27 Jesus said, “Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that the Son of Man can give you. For God the Father has given me the seal of his approval.”


28 They replied, “We want to perform God’s works, too. What should we do?”


29 Jesus told them, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.”


30 They answered, “Show us a miraculous sign if you want us to believe in you. What can you do? 31 After all, our ancestors ate manna while they journeyed through the wilderness! The Scriptures say, ‘Moses gave them bread from heaven to eat.’”


32 Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, Moses didn’t give you bread from heaven. My Father did. And now he offers you the true bread from heaven. 33 The true bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”


34 “Sir,” they said, “give us that bread every day.”


35 Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.


Prayer:  Lord, I believe you are the Bread of Life that nourishes every aspect of my life.  Thank you for your great love and provision.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 10-17-17


Daily Reading 10-17-17

Philippians 3:13-4:1 New Living Translation (NLT)

What is the main objective of your effort each day? At the deepest level, what are you trying to accomplish with your schedule and time?


The Lord gave us a Word on Sunday in our worship time about faith, humility, and the importance of bearing the fruit of the Spirit as a key component of His kingdom reign.  According to 2 Corinthians 9:10, the Lord supplies the seed and multiples the seed for sowing which increases the harvest of our righteousness. As the Lord of the harvest, Christ invites us to be prepared for His Second Coming (a great harvest of souls) when He calls us home to reconnect to the Tree of Life.  


I am sure God is pleased when we spend time in His Word and pray.  I am positive it pleases God when we allow that Word to cause us to be more loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, gentle, thoughtful, and approach each day with more self-control.  If we are going to be victorious in producing the fruit of righteousness, it will require us to pick up our crosses and follow Christ through our daily activities.  Is bearing the fruit of the Spirit your highest goal each day as you interact with people and go about your schedule?  Do you give equal emphasis with your whole being to produce spiritual fruit in your relationships over and above the actual task or responsibility at hand?  We have an opportunity to touch the lives of others every day in some way.


Philippians 3:13-4:1  Focused on the Goal

12-14 I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.


15-16 So let’s keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision—you’ll see it yet! Now that we’re on the right track, let’s stay on it.


17-19 Stick with me, friends. Keep track of those you see running this same course, headed for this same goal. There are many out there taking other paths, choosing other goals, and trying to get you to go along with them. I’ve warned you of them many times; sadly, I’m having to do it again. All they want is easy street. They hate Christ’s Cross. But easy street is a dead-end street. Those who live there make their bellies their gods; belches are their praise; all they can think of is their appetites.


20-21 But there’s far more to life for us. We’re citizens of high heaven! We’re waiting the arrival of the Savior, the Master, Jesus Christ, who will transform our earthy bodies into glorious bodies like his own. He’ll make us beautiful and whole with the same powerful skill by which he is putting everything as it should be, under and around him.

4 My dear, dear friends! I love you so much. I do want the very best for you. You make me feel such joy, fill me with such pride. Don’t waver. Stay on track, steady in God.


Prayer:  Lord, help me to focus on your Kingdom and the growth of my spiritual fruit each day, knowing you have promised to make me prosperous in the other things my earthly life requires.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.


Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 10-16-17

Daily Reading 10-16-17

Jude 17:25  New Living Translation (NLT)


Building others up and encouraging them to stay the course of faith is the call of Christ.  Especially in these days where people just want to quit, because life is challenging. Without the Holy Spirit religion is empty and void of power.  When we pray in the power of the Spirit and remain in Christ’s love, we are kept safe by the Lord.


Our quest in these days is to remain faithful to the Word of God and obedient to the work of the Spirit in our lives.  If you are tempted to give up the holy fight for righteousness, hold on longer.  The Lord himself will keep you from falling away if you call on his name.  


Jude 17-25 A Call to Remain Faithful

17 But you, my dear friends, must remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ predicted. 18 They told you that in the last times there would be scoffers whose purpose in life is to satisfy their ungodly desires. 19 These people are the ones who are creating divisions among you. They follow their natural instincts because they do not have God’s Spirit in them.


20 But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit, 21 and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love.


22 And you must show mercy to those whose faith is wavering. 23 Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. Show mercy to still others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives.


A Prayer of Praise

24 Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault. 25 All glory to him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are his before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time! Amen.


Prayer:  Lord, thank you for the joy you place within my heart and the reassurance that you will see me to my eternal home without fault.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 10-13-17

Daily Reading 10-13-17

Mark 2:18-22 New Living Translation (NLT)


Being with Jesus was a time to celebrate; a time for new wine or a time to learn a new way to live.  The religious leaders were critical of Jesus and the way he taught his disciples when it came to fasting.  For Christ, the motive of the disciples was the most important reason for fasting.  Fasting was to be connected with repentance and not simply to draw attention to one’s piety as modeled by the Pharisees.


The Pharisees were not interested in religious change; they liked the old way of doing things even though they were not growing in their faith. There was no room in their understanding for the Messiah of Grace.   Jesus clearly was bringing a new way of enjoying a relationship with God, so he encouraged his disciples to put this new wine (gospel) into new wineskins (pliable heart and renewed mind). 


Jesus wants to teach each of us how to really enjoy our new lives in him.  So, keep your heart pliable, be led by the Spirit of Truth, and celebrate the Love of God.


A Discussion about Fasting

18 Once when John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting, some people came to Jesus and asked, “Why don’t your disciples fast like John’s disciples and the Pharisees do?”


19 Jesus replied, “Do wedding guests fast while celebrating with the groom? Of course not. They can’t fast while the groom is with them. 20 But someday the groom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast.


21 “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.

22 “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the wine would burst the wineskins, and the wine and the skins would both be lost. New wine calls for new wineskins.”


Prayer:  Lord, sometimes letting go of old ways of doing things is a challenge, but I am going to keep my heart pliable so I can expand my understanding of your love and enjoy life with you!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.


Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 10-12-17

Daily Reading 10-12-17

Psalm 23 New Living Translation (NLT)


Years ago when I went to the Holy Land, I traveled from Egypt to the Promised Land.  Between those places I saw a great deal of wilderness; dry and barren land with scorching temperatures.  The Hebrew word for wilderness is midbar; the root is “speak” or “word.”  We know from Scripture that God speaks to the Israelites in the wilderness; He teaches them He is the Source of all things and they can trust Him.


Are you experiencing a time in the wilderness with God?  Are you experiencing trials and challenges that prepare you for bringing honor to His name?


The older I get the more I see the whole world as a wilderness; a place where spiritually dry and lifeless choices seem to abound.  Then, the Word of God speaks to my heart and I am reminded that in the midst of that environment I am pursued by the amazing grace and love of God who woos me to seek the kingdom so I may continually drink of living waters and eternal life.  Think about it; God’s goodness, mercy, and unfailing love pursues you in order to Shepherd you to the living water you need to survive the dry and lifeless places in the world and to grow in your dependence upon His provision. 


Psalm 23  A psalm of David.

The Lord is my shepherd;

    I have all that I need.

He lets me rest in green meadows;

    he leads me beside peaceful streams.

    He renews my strength.

He guides me along right paths,

    bringing honor to his name.

Even when I walk

    through the darkest valley,

I will not be afraid,

    for you are close beside me.

Your rod and your staff

    protect and comfort me.

You prepare a feast for me

    in the presence of my enemies.

You honor me by anointing my head with oil.

    My cup overflows with blessings.

Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me

    all the days of my life,

and I will live in the house of the Lord



Prayer:  Lord, I am thirsty for more and more of your living water; please quench my thirst and lead me in the paths of righteousness.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.


Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 10-11-17

Daily Reading 10-11-17

Deuteronomy 6:10-25 Living Bible (TLB)


Moses shares God’s commands for the covenant community of Israel and he tells them to love the Lord their God with all their hearts, souls, and strength.  If they do as God commands, they will enjoy a long life (Deut. 6:2-6).  As I reflect upon our verses today, it is clear God is asking His people to make a wholehearted commitment to Him, because He is making a wholehearted commitment to us.


Casual Christianity is never going to liberate us from bondage to sin nor bring us the power of God; only a wholehearted commitment to our relationships with the Lord will bring victory.  If you are struggling to break free from strongholds and condemnation, submit yourself to God and his commands, resist the enemy and he will flee because your obedience brings the Lord’s help to your life.  And “when” the Lord has brought your breakthrough, revived your life, and covered you with His favor, “then” remember to thank and serve him. 


Deuteronomy 6:10-25

10-12 “When the Lord your God has brought you into the land he promised your ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and when he has given you great cities full of good things—cities you didn’t build, wells you didn’t dig, and vineyards and olive trees you didn’t plant—and when you have eaten until you can hold no more, then beware lest you forget the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt, the land of slavery. 13 When you are full, don’t forget to be reverent to him and to serve him and to use his name alone to endorse your promises.


14 “You must not worship the gods of the neighboring nations, 15 for Jehovah your God who lives among you is a jealous God, and his anger may rise quickly against you, and wipe you off the face of the earth. 16 You must not provoke him and try his patience as you did when you complained against him at Massah. 17 You must actively obey him in everything he commands. 18 Only then will you be doing what is right and good in the Lord’s eyes. If you obey him, all will go well for you, and you will be able to go in and possess the good land that the Lord promised your ancestors. 19 You will also be able to throw out all the enemies living in your land, as the Lord agreed to help you do.


20 “In the years to come when your son asks you, ‘What is the purpose of these laws which the Lord our God has given us?’ 21 you must tell him, ‘We were Pharaoh’s slaves in Egypt, and the Lord brought us out of Egypt with great power 22 and mighty miracles—with terrible blows against Egypt and Pharaoh and all his people. We saw it all with our own eyes. 23 He brought us out of Egypt so that he could give us this land he had promised to our ancestors. 24 And he has commanded us to obey all of these laws and to reverence him so that he can preserve us alive as he has until now. 25 For it always goes well with us when we obey all the laws of the Lord our God.’


Prayer:  Lord, You are entirely sold out to love your people; your created human race. You are sold out to love each one of us.  I know my response to you must be obedience.  Thank you for this reminder, today.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.


Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 10-10-17

Daily Reading 10-10-17

2 Corinthians 5:17-21 Living Bible (TLB)



I went and bought plants today to replace some in a planter that had begun to whither and die.  I tried to nurse them back to health, but some of them just were too far gone.  The plants had been through hurricane Irma and they had taken quite a beating.  These new plants are vibrant and filled with flowering buds; these plants are healthy and producing new life.


In our spiritual formation we can run into times when the storms of life really take their toll on us.  When we are weary, we can slide into sloppy living and lose our zeal and passion for Christ’s work.  But unlike the plants, we are connected to the Vine of Life.  When we are in need of restoration, Christ is there to bring it.  He restores our souls, imparts the courage to keep going, and lifts our heads with faith.  The life of Christ pulsing through our being, is always there to respond to our cry for healing and regeneration.  When we said, “yes” to Christ, we said “yes” to abundant and eternal life for our souls.  If you are weary in well-doing and need the Healer, cry out to Him today.  As He rises up to touch and restore our souls, we have a testimony of the power of His goodness.


2 Corinthians 5:17-21

17 When someone becomes a Christian, he becomes a brand new person inside. He is not the same anymore. A new life has begun!


18 All these new things are from God who brought us back to himself through what Christ Jesus did. And God has given us the privilege of urging everyone to come into his favor and be reconciled to him. 19 For God was in Christ, restoring the world to himself, no longer counting men’s sins against them but blotting them out. This is the wonderful message he has given us to tell others. 20 We are Christ’s ambassadors. God is using us to speak to you: we beg you, as though Christ himself were here pleading with you, receive the love he offers you—be reconciled to God. 21 For God took the sinless Christ and poured into him our sins. Then, in exchange, he poured God’s goodness into us!


Prayer:  Lord, thank you for the continual regeneration you bring to my soul.  I am alive in you!  Thank you!  In Jesus’ name. Amen.


Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 10-9-17

Daily Reading 10-9-17

1 Peter 2:4-10 Living Bible (TLB)


When I was in Kindergarten, one of my favorite class times was “Show and Tell.”  I was always excited not only to share special things with others, but to see and hear what my fellow classmates would bring to share.  “Show and Tell” was a great way to learn more about others; what they liked and what was important to them.  As well, it helped alleviate the fear of speaking aloud in the classroom; it built confidence and community.


As Christians our lives are to be like the classroom activity “Show and Tell.”  A way for people to know the love of Jesus is to show them love in action and to tell them how much Jesus has changed the focus of our lives.  As we allow Jesus to light our life with righteousness, peace, and joy, we can share with others how much Christ has changed our lives.


The Apostle Peter reminds his church family they are each a spiritual house built by Christ. Our lives our built on Christ the Solid Cornerstone.  He is trustworthy, merciful, and the reason we can have a relationship with God.  Let’s be bold to “Show and Tell.”


1 Peter 2:4-10

4 Come to Christ, who is the living Foundation of Rock upon which God builds; though men have spurned him, he is very precious to God who has chosen him above all others.


5 And now you have become living building-stones for God’s use in building his house. What’s more, you are his holy priests; so come to him—you who are acceptable to him because of Jesus Christ—and offer to God those things that please him. 6 As the Scriptures express it, “See, I am sending Christ to be the carefully chosen, precious Cornerstone of my church, and I will never disappoint those who trust in him.”


7 Yes, he is very precious to you who believe; and to those who reject him, well—“The same Stone that was rejected by the builders has become the Cornerstone, the most honored and important part of the building.” 8 And the Scriptures also say, “He is the Stone that some will stumble over, and the Rock that will make them fall.” They will stumble because they will not listen to God’s Word nor obey it, and so this punishment must follow—that they will fall.


9 But you are not like that, for you have been chosen by God himself—you are priests of the King, you are holy and pure, you are God’s very own—all this so that you may show to others how God called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were less than nothing; now you are God’s own. Once you knew very little of God’s kindness; now your very lives have been changed by it.


Prayer:  Lord, You have truly brought my life into the light of your love.  Help me to listen to your Word and obey it.  Your Word has shown me your heart and tells me the Truth.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.


Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 10-6-17

Daily Reading 10-6-17

Psalm 19 Living Bible (TLB)


The enemy called “evil” hides in the darkness of the unredeemed human soul (mind, will, emotions); the evidence of it is sin against God and others.  God’s commandments of love were given long ago so we could identify the sin that tempts us to act on evil impulses.  If we love God with all our hearts, minds, strength and our neighbors as we love ourselves, we have the Light to reveal the work of darkness.  We have the authority of the Word and the power of God’s Spirit to correct us and set us on the right path to act in the justice of God.  


In our passage today the psalmist sings, “God’s laws are perfect.  They protect us, make us wise, and give us joy and light.  For they warn us away from harm and give success to those who obey them” (Psalm 19:7,8,11).  Every person needs the Savior to cleanse evil from his or her soul.  


Psalm 19

19 The heavens are telling the glory of God; they are a marvelous display of his craftsmanship. 2 Day and night they keep on telling about God. 3-4 Without a sound or word, silent in the skies, their message reaches out to all the world. The sun lives in the heavens where God placed it 5 and moves out across the skies as radiant as a bridegroom[a] going to his wedding,* or as joyous as an athlete looking forward to a race! 6 The sun crosses the heavens from end to end, and nothing can hide from its heat.


7-8 God’s laws are perfect. They protect us, make us wise, and give us joy and light. 9 God’s laws are pure, eternal, just.[b] 10 They are more desirable than gold. They are sweeter than honey dripping from a honeycomb. 11 For they warn us away from harm and give success to those who obey them.


12 But how can I ever know what sins are lurking in my heart? Cleanse me from these hidden faults. 13 And keep me from deliberate wrongs; help me to stop doing them. Only then can I be free of guilt and innocent of some great crime.


14 May my spoken words and unspoken thoughts be pleasing even to you, O Lord my Rock and my Redeemer.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 10-5-17

Daily Reading 10-5-17

Exodus 23:1-3 New Living Translation (NLT)


The Word of God is the Truth that brings wholeness.  Biblical justice involves bringing wholeness to others.  Justice flows from God’s heart and character. Therefore, acting in a manner that is contrary to the Word is not acting in the justice God requires of his children.  The Lord loves the just and will not forsake his faithful ones (Psalm 37:27-29).  He will reward and bless those who love justice (Isaiah 61:8).  One day, God’s justice will become a light to the nations (Isaiah 51:4).  


In our passage this morning, we are reminded about how God views spreading lies so He calls His people back to justice.  The spirit of evil is fed through half-truths and lies.  We must be people who tell the truth when we open our mouths and cast down the lies when we hear them. Gossip destroys family relationships, friendships, work environments, etc.  Gossip is not becoming of a son or daughter of the Most High.  So, when we are tempted to slander another or be silent when we know something someone else is saying is not true, we are responsible before God to act justly.


Exodus 23:1-3 New Living Translation (NLT)  A Call for Justice

23 “You must not pass along false rumors. You must not cooperate with evil people by lying on the witness stand.


2 “You must not follow the crowd in doing wrong. When you are called to testify in a dispute, do not be swayed by the crowd to twist justice. 3 And do not slant your testimony in favor of a person just because that person is poor.


Prayer:  Lord, you alone are the just Judge. Please give me discernment to know the Truth.  Holy Spirit bear witness in my spirit regarding what is Truth and help me to bring wholeness to all those whom you bring into my path.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.  


Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 7-21-17

Daily Reading 7-21-17

Hebrews 6:13-20 New Living Translation (NLT)


If you are connected to Christ, you are set up to be blessed.  Are you aware God took an oath and made a promise to bless you in Christ?  He did it a long time ago; and he is bound by that Word.  Since you know the truth, wait patiently for God to bring forth what He has promised.  You can place your confident hope in God and His love for you.  Allow faith to move and position you; God is growing your character while you wait.  Remain obedient in His loving care, because authentic faith lives for God.


Hebrews 6:13-20 God’s Promises Bring Hope

13 For example, there was God’s promise to Abraham. Since there was no one greater to swear by, God took an oath in his own name, saying:



“I will certainly bless you,

    and I will multiply your descendants beyond number.”


15 Then Abraham waited patiently, and he received what God had promised.


16 Now when people take an oath, they call on someone greater than themselves to hold them to it. And without any question that oath is binding. 17 God also bound himself with an oath, so that those who received the promise could be perfectly sure that he would never change his mind. 18 So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. 19 This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary. 20 Jesus has already gone in there for us. He has become our eternal High Priest in the order of Melchizedek.


Prayer:  Lord, thank you for your oath and promise to bless me. I am so grateful for the love you spill over me each day.  I don’t live for the hope that my circumstances will always please me; rather, I live in the confidence of your presence and the hope that you will always be good to me even beyond what I can see.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 7-19-17

Daily Reading 7-19-17

Matthew 13:10-17 New Living Translation (NLT)


When we have a growing relationship with Christ, we hear the Word and it deepens our understanding of God’s heart and multiplies our spiritual fruit.  When we neglect our relationship with Christ, hearing the Word and discerning the meaning and application becomes more difficult.  When we reject a relationship with Christ, the mind becomes deceived and the heart becomes hardened.  


In our passage this morning, Jesus teaches his disciples and he teaches us.  If you want a thriving relationship with Christ and you invest time in learning to live the Word, he says to you, “You are permitted to understand the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven.”


Matthew 13:10-17

10 His disciples came and asked him, “Why do you use parables when you talk to the people?”


11 He replied, “You are permitted to understand the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven, but others are not. 12 To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them. 


13 That is why I use these parables,

For they look, but they don’t really see.

    They hear, but they don’t really listen or understand.

14 This fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah that says,

‘When you hear what I say,

    you will not understand.

When you see what I do,

    you will not comprehend.



For the hearts of these people are hardened,

    and their ears cannot hear,

and they have closed their eyes—

    so their eyes cannot see,

and their ears cannot hear,

    and their hearts cannot understand,

and they cannot turn to me

    and let me heal them.’


16 “But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear. 17 I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, but they didn’t see it. And they longed to hear what you hear, but they didn’t hear it.


Prayer:  Lord, I am blessed to see your hand at work in my life and to hear what you want to teach me.  Please continue to teach me the mysteries of the Kingdom.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 7-18-17

Daily Reading 7-18-17

Ephesians 4:17-5:2 New Living Translation


We are no longer to live according to the demands of our flesh—sinful nature—instead we are to put on the righteousness of Christ and live in the new nature.  The Apostle Paul teaches we are to throw off the old nature (stop lying, stealing, becoming angry, and using our words against others) and instead put on the new nature (be truthful, kind, forgiving, holy, and righteous).  There is a great deal to meditate on this morning in our passage.  We need the help and power of the Spirit if we are going to consistently apply it to our lives.  Let the Word of God minister to you, today.


Ephesians 4:17-5:2 Living as Children of Light

17 With the Lord’s authority I say this: Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused. 18 Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him. 19 They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity.


20 But that isn’t what you learned about Christ. 21 Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, 22 throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. 23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. 24 Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.


25 So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body. 26 And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.”[a] Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 for anger gives a foothold to the devil.


28 If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need. 29 Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.


30 And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own,[b] guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption.


31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. 32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.


Living in the Light

5 Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. 2 Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us[c] and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.


Prayer:  Father, help me to remember I am to imitate you in every area of my life; it’s a journey of transformation into the image of Christ. Please continue to transform my thinking; help me to keep my heart pliable.  I realize the more like you I become the brighter the Light in my life becomes.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 7-17-17

Daily Reading 7-17-17

1 Thessalonians 4:1-8 (NIV)


The temptation to live for self rather than submit to God is a daily opportunity.  God desires for us to live obedient to his Word and to offer ourselves for the process of sanctification.  Being sanctified or made holy is the process of living the Christian life.  It is how the Holy Spirit works in us to conform us to the image of Jesus Christ.  Let’s not reject God’s instruction, but take it to heart and learn from him.


1 Thessalonians 4:1-8  Living to Please God

1 As for other matters, brothers and sisters, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. 2 For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus.


3 It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; 4 that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, 5 not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God; 6 and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister. The Lord will punish all those who commit such sins, as we told you and warned you before. 7 For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. 8 Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you his Holy Spirit.


Prayer:  Lord, thank you for this Word on sanctification; I welcome your instruction.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 7-13-17

Daily Reading 7-13-17

Romans 2:12-16 The Message (MSG)


Every culture and society recognizes some kind of moral law.  Even though that moral law may be viewed differently, there is evidence of what a society perceives as right and wrong.  If we are honest, we will have to admit that we fail to live up to even our own standards of right and wrong.  Knowing what is right and doing what is right must be our constant goal, but understanding that God is the One who actually decides what is right, sets the standard for us, and gives us the power to live it is the greatest truth. 


In our passage this morning, the Apostle Paul explains how knowing and doing is connected to the Living Torah (Law)-Jesus!  Has Jesus written the Law of God’s love on your heart? If so, you know what is right according to God.


Romans 2:12-16

12-13 If you sin without knowing what you’re doing, God takes that into account. But if you sin knowing full well what you’re doing, that’s a different story entirely. Merely hearing God’s law is a waste of your time if you don’t do what he commands. Doing, not hearing, is what makes the difference with God.


14-16 When outsiders who have never heard of God’s law follow it more or less by instinct, they confirm its truth by their obedience. They show that God’s law is not something alien, imposed on us from without, but woven into the very fabric of our creation. There is something deep within them that echoes God’s yes and no, right and wrong. Their response to God’s yes and no will become public knowledge on the day God makes his final decision about every man and woman. The Message from God that I proclaim through Jesus Christ takes into account all these differences.


Prayer:  Lord, thank you for making your standard and way known to my heart. In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 7-12-17

Daily Reading 7-12-17

John 13:1-17  Living Bible (TLB)


Do you agree Christ’s way is the humble way?  You know there is a difference between believing in the humble way and actually living it, right?  We are not better than our Master; so, if Jesus humbled himself, took on a servant’s role, and washed the feet of the disciples, then we should find ways to serve others in a way that glorifies God.  How do you treat the people around you?  Are you waiting for them to serve you?  Or, do you actively look for ways to serve them?  If we are willing to take on a servant’s role and serve others, then clearly Christ has washed us and we have become his partners.  Our passage today, reminds us to know the truth and do it is the path of blessing!  So, I am praying blessing for you today!


John 13:1-17

13 1-3 Jesus knew on the evening of Passover Day that it would be his last night on earth before returning to his Father. During supper the devil had already suggested to Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, that this was the night to carry out his plan to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had given him everything and that he had come from God and would return to God. And how he loved his disciples! 4 So he got up from the supper table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his loins, 5 poured water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel he had around him.

6 When he came to Simon Peter, Peter said to him, “Master, you shouldn’t be washing our feet like this!”


7 Jesus replied, “You don’t understand now why I am doing it; some day you will.”


8 “No,” Peter protested, “you shall never wash my feet!”

“But if I don’t, you can’t be my partner,” Jesus replied.


9 Simon Peter exclaimed, “Then wash my hands and head as well—not just my feet!”

10 Jesus replied, “One who has bathed all over needs only to have his feet washed to be entirely clean. Now you are clean—but that isn’t true of everyone here.” 11 For Jesus knew who would betray him. That is what he meant when he said, “Not all of you are clean.”


12 After washing their feet he put on his robe again and sat down and asked, “Do you understand what I was doing? 13 You call me ‘Master’ and ‘Lord,’ and you do well to say it, for it is true. 14 And since I, the Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. 15 I have given you an example to follow: do as I have done to you. 16 How true it is that a servant is not greater than his master. Nor is the messenger more important than the one who sends him. 17 You know these things—now do them! That is the path of blessing.


Prayer:  Lord, thank you for the reminder that we are to serve you by serving others; we are partners in your mission.  In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 7-11-17

Daily Reading 7-11-17

Romans 3:1-8  Living Bible (TLB)


There are some things in life that should be overlooked, but sin is not one of them.  Do you think God overlooks your sin?  In his epistle to the Romans, the Apostle Paul reminds his listeners that everyone sins and stands guilty before a holy God.  With that in mind, the best way to handle the truth of that statement is repentance; a turning from sin in order to live for God.  


People love to make excuses for why certain sins are all right and others are not, but in reality sin is sin and God hates sin; he will judge it.  God sent the Holy Spirit so we could be delivered from sin and instead live in his righteousness.  God is good and will always be righteous, but we are his children who are to be growing into the image of Christ.  If we are not growing in righteousness, more than likely we are making excuses for the sin we want to practice.


Romans 3:1-8

3 Then what’s the use of being a Jew? Are there any special benefits for them from God? Is there any value in the Jewish circumcision ceremony? 2 Yes, being a Jew has many advantages.


First of all, God trusted them with his laws so that they could know and do his will.[a] 3 True, some of them were unfaithful, but just because they broke their promises to God, does that mean God will break his promises? 4 Of course not! Though everyone else in the world is a liar, God is not. Do you remember what the book of Psalms says about this?[b] That God’s words will always prove true and right, no matter who questions them.


5 “But,” some say, “our breaking faith with God is good, our sins serve a good purpose, for people will notice how good God is when they see how bad we are. Is it fair, then, for him to punish us when our sins are helping him?” (That is the way some people talk.) 6 God forbid! Then what kind of God would he be, to overlook sin? How could he ever condemn anyone? 7 For he could not judge and condemn me as a sinner if my dishonesty brought him glory by pointing up his honesty in contrast to my lies. 8 If you follow through with that idea you come to this: the worse we are, the better God likes it! But the damnation of those who say such things is just. Yet some claim that this is what I preach!


Prayer:  Lord, thank you for guiding me toward righteous living; I need your help and power.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 7-10-17

Daily Reading 7-10-17

Romans 1:18-25  New Living Translation (NLT)


Yesterday morning when I was getting ready to leave the house for church, I saw the most amazing rainbow.  As I looked at the beauty before me, I heard myself say, “Thank you, Father, for your promise.”  The rainbow is a sign of God’s promise that never again will the world be destroyed by a flood.  As in the days of Noah, our sin grieves the heart of our Father, but His grace in Christ covers us and protects us from His wrath.  We are free to respond to God’s invitation for relationship.  If we are honest, we know God exists because of the beauty and inspiring ways He has revealed Himself through creation.  Let’s honor God’s promise by allowing Him to be the Lord of our lives.  If you have wandered away from God’s righteous ways, come back today.  The God who made the covenant with Noah, is the same God who makes His promise to us. Instead of embracing sin, let’s embrace Christ who helps us overcome sin.


Romans 1:18-25  God’s Anger at Sin

18 But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness. 19 They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. 20 For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.


21 Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. 22 Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools. 23 And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles.


24 So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies. 25 They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen.


Prayer:  Lord, thank you for your promise to love me and to work with me so I may grow into spiritual maturity.  I hold onto your promise and reach for your heart.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 7-7-17

Daily Reading 7-7-17

Luke 10:21-24 New Living Translation (NLT)


Although truth is for everyone to discover and receive, we all come to Christ through childlike trust.  Scripture teaches the Lord opposes the proud, so we cannot be full of ourselves and full of Christ.  In our passage today, Jesus demonstrates the importance of thanking God that we have access to Him and for helping us to trust the work of grace in our lives.  


If you desire a deeper and more meaningful relationship with Christ, take the humble road, listen to his instructions, pay attention to his actions, and obey him.  It’s a privileged position; to know and be known by Almighty God.


 Luke 10:21-24 Jesus’ Prayer of Thanksgiving

21 At that same time Jesus was filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit, and he said, “O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank you for hiding these things from those who think themselves wise and clever, and for revealing them to the childlike. Yes, Father, it pleased you to do it this way.


22 “My Father has entrusted everything to me. No one truly knows the Son except the Father, and no one truly knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”


23 Then when they were alone, he turned to the disciples and said, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you have seen. 24 I tell you, many prophets and kings longed to see what you see, but they didn’t see it. And they longed to hear what you hear, but they didn’t hear it.”


Prayer:  Father, thank you for the privilege of being a participant in your grace.  Keep teaching me and guiding me in your ways.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 7-5-17

Daily Reading 7-5-17

Jeremiah 18:1-11 New Living Translation (NLT)


God has granted us freedom in His Son, Jesus Messiah.  Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. God has always existed in freedom; He is free to do His will, because His will is always righteous and just.  


In our passage today, we will read about how God is free to remake us into whatever vessel he chooses. He is our Creator; He knows the image into which we are to be made.   Remember, God will only choose good things for us, because He is Love and Light.  There is no darkness in the Lord.  That is why it is so important to allow God as the Potter to remake us into the proper image as His children.   If you believe God only wants good for you, then invite Him to fashion you as He chooses.  It means discipline, but God only disciplines those whom He loves. You are free.  How will you use your freedom?


Jeremiah 18:1-11  The Potter and the Clay

18 The Lord gave another message to Jeremiah. He said, 2 “Go down to the potter’s shop, and I will speak to you there.” 3 So I did as he told me and found the potter working at his wheel. 4 But the jar he was making did not turn out as he had hoped, so he crushed it into a lump of clay again and started over.


5 Then the Lord gave me this message: 6 “O Israel, can I not do to you as this potter has done to his clay? As the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand. 7 If I announce that a certain nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down, and destroyed, 8 but then that nation renounces its evil ways, I will not destroy it as I had planned. 9 And if I announce that I will plant and build up a certain nation or kingdom, 10 but then that nation turns to evil and refuses to obey me, I will not bless it as I said I would.

11 “Therefore, Jeremiah, go and warn all Judah and Jerusalem. Say to them, ‘This is what the Lord says: I am planning disaster for you instead of good. So turn from your evil ways, each of you, and do what is right.’”


Prayer:  Lord, I want to be made in the image that is right as your daughter.  So, mold me and make me as you have willed.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 7-4-17

Daily Reading 7-4-17


Happy Independence Day!  In America, we are a free people because we are one nation under God with liberty and justice for all.  How grateful I am to live in the United States and for our military and law enforcement who keep order and maintain mutual respect among its people.  


Because of Jesus, we are spiritually free.   We are free to receive the love of God so we may love Him in return and extend love to all people.  We are free from the penalty of sin.  We are free to turn away from practicing sin.  In Christ, we are free to serve one another in His love.  The Spirit makes us free and where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom.  


Take time to thank God for your freedom, because He is the Maker of heaven and earth; He is the One in control. I have chosen to share some Scriptures that highlight freedom.  Enjoy!


Luke 4:18-19 NLT


Jesus said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,

    for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor.

He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released,

    that the blind will see,

that the oppressed will be set free,


    and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.


John 8:31-32 NLT

Jesus said to the people who believed in him, "You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." (NLT)


2 Corinthians 3:17 NLT

17 For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.


Galatians 5:13-14 NLT

For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: "Love your neighbor as yourself."


1 Peter 2:16 ESV

Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.


Prayer:  Lord, thank you for the freedom you provide. I celebrate the independence you have granted me; but I choose to be fully dependent upon you because you are abundant life.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.  

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 7-3-17

Daily Reading 7-3-17

1 Thessalonians 4:9-12a Living Bible (TLB)


I want to thank the leadership of Connect2Christ Church, as well as the membership at large in how they have loved me and my family especially this past year. Loving and caring for my Mom has been and continues to be a great honor; it also consumes much of my time and energy.  Although we are home, I am taking this week to rest and enjoy some time with John as we celebrate our 39th wedding anniversary.  


How Christians actively love one another is a big deal with our Father; because Father God is Love.  As His children we are to exemplify His holy character in how we display our love and concern for one another.  We are to be a positive force in society; acting independently in the liberating love the Spirit of the Lord brings us. 


In our lesson this morning, the Apostle Paul is writing to the Church at Thessalonica to remind them of the importance of being responsible in every area of life.  It is a developmental journey of allowing the Holy Spirit to make us good examples of how grace and love are operating in our lives. The results should be that others who do not know the love of God, will see it in action and desire a relationship with God, as well.  Every day we should honestly examine our love walk to make sure we are living in the character, integrity, and moral courage provided to us by the Lord.


9 But concerning the pure brotherly love that there should be among God’s people, I don’t need to say very much, I’m sure! For God himself is teaching you to love one another. 10 Indeed, your love is already strong toward all the Christian brothers throughout your whole nation. Even so, dear friends, we beg you to love them more and more. 11 This should be your ambition: to live a quiet life, minding your own business and doing your own work, just as we told you before. 12 As a result, people who are not Christians will trust and respect you;


Prayer:  Lord, your love is perfect and all consuming.  Help me to love as you love and to be responsible in every area of my life.  Thank you for this time of rest and recuperation.  Thank you for the love of my spiritual family.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 6-30-17


Daily Reading 6-30-17

Galatians 5:7-10 New Living Translation (NLT)


Since the coming of Christ, humanity has experienced a propensity for choosing a legalistic approach to faith rather than the gospel of grace Christ actually modeled and taught.  Christ modeled the perfect fulfillment of the Law given to Moses by God; therefore, as we live and move and have our being in Christ we will learn how to obey God’s true Word as it is spoken to our hearts.  The Spirit speaks and we listen and obey.  Christ’s followers are not to be burdened by the “job description or code” of how to earn salvation by following the Law in our own strength.  Apart from Christ and the power of his Spirit, we cannot begin to obey.  If we try to make ourselves holy by practicing a do’s and don’ts list, we will fail every time.


Either we believe in the work of Christ on the cross to save us from our sins or we do not.  Grace provides forgiveness for our sins when we believe.  The cross is where the truth of grace actually begins; where we begin the training race of faith in the Spirit who brings holiness to human life.   If we are being taught anything other than obedience to the Word in us, we are leaning toward false teaching or legalism.  Christ came to set us free, so we could learn from him as we live life.  How loving is he?  Thank Amazing Grace!


In our passage, today, the Apostle Paul continues his letter to the Church at Galatia.  Legalism is an issue and the person teaching it is distorting the gospel. Mary paraphrasing the Apostle, “Come back to the truth and run the race in Christ!”  Blessings for your day…


Galatians 5:7-12 Christ Has Set Us Free

7 You were running the race so well. Who has held you back from following the truth? 8 It certainly isn’t God, for he is the one who called you to freedom. 9 This false teaching is like a little yeast that spreads through the whole batch of dough! 10 I am trusting the Lord to keep you from believing false teachings. God will judge that person, whoever he is, who has been confusing you.


Prayer: Father, please help me to stay focused on learning, because that is what you have called me to do in my connection to Christ.  Today, I am going to take steps and I want each one to count for your Kingdom.  Thank you for taking my sin, so I may learn from you how to operate in holy love.  In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 6-29-17

Daily Reading 6-29-17

Galatians 5:4-6 The Message (MSG)


Over the past few days we have been reminded in our readings to keep Jesus, the Living Word, our first love by inviting the Spirit to teach us how to honor his name.  It is a consistent message we find in the gospels, because Jesus taught his disciples, “If you love me you will obey my commandments” (John 14:15).  In other words, if we have really taken to heart the gospel of grace, we will respond with respect to the Word of the Lord by allowing its authority to bring a change in our thoughts and behavior.  Obedience to God’s Word or Commands is how we are conformed to the image of God’s Love.


Today, we will gain a glimpse of what I just mentioned above from a letter the Apostle Paul wrote to the Church in Galatia reminding them the gospel is not about an exterior practice of a religious system.   Rather, the gospel is a faith-instigated internal obedience to the Word that becomes externally visible in our love walk.  How do you see the authority and work of the Word?  Do you understand and appropriate the power of the gospel of grace?  Pray and ask the Lord to reveal His heart to you regarding this Word, today.


4-6 I suspect you would never intend this, but this is what happens. When you attempt to live by your own religious plans and projects, you are cut off from Christ, you fall out of grace. Meanwhile we expectantly wait for a satisfying relationship with the Spirit. For in Christ, neither our most conscientious religion nor disregard of religion amounts to anything. What matters is something far more interior: faith expressed in love.


Prayer:  Lord, help me to be quick to obey your Word to my heart, today.  I will recognize my level of obedience by how well I love and extend the fruit of the Spirit, today.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 6-28-17

Daily Reading 6-28-17

Psalm 86:11-13 New Living Translation (NLT)


We can all testify to times when we really needed help.  In our passage this morning, the psalmist is reaching out to God in prayer in order to gain help.  What does he want help with?  He wants the Lord to teach him how to honor His name.  Let our prayer today be, “Lord, teach me how to honor your name, today!”  


Teach me your ways, O Lord,

    that I may live according to your truth!

Grant me purity of heart,

    so that I may honor you.


With all my heart I will praise you, O Lord my God.

    I will give glory to your name forever,


for your love for me is very great.

    You have rescued me from the depths of death.


Prayer:  Lord, please hear my prayer and teach me anew how to honor your name.  I want to bring glory to you.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.


Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 6-27-17

Daily Reading 6-27-17

Psalm 89:14-18 Living Bible (TLB)


Are you aware you need the Lord’s support: A vertical support system?  The Lord is the strength we need in every relationship and in every detail of life.  His ways are righteous and just; it is how He rules.  If we find ourselves dealing with others in an unrighteous, unmerciful, or unjust way, we are not walking in the light of His presence.  In order to reflect his reputation, we must rest on His support system.  Evaluate your ways before the Lord and receive His strength for Life.  He wants to be your King.


14-15 Your throne is founded on two strong pillars—the one is Justice and the other Righteousness.  Mercy and Truth walk before you as your attendants. Blessed are those who hear the joyful blast of the trumpet, for they shall walk in the light of your presence. 16 They rejoice all day long in your wonderful reputation and in your perfect righteousness. 17 You are their strength. What glory! Our power is based on your favor! 18 Yes, our protection is from the Lord himself and he, the Holy One of Israel, has given us our king.


Prayer:  Lord, thank you for the solid foundation you place in my soul for your throne in my life.  Help me to walk in righteousness and justice.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 6-26-17

Daily Reading 6-26-17

Revelation 2:1-7 New Living Translation (NLT)


In our reading today, we turn to the Book of Revelation and read a letter to the Church in Ephesus.  Ephesus was surrounded by pagan worshipers; they worshipped the goddess Diana and many people in the community had no fear/respect of the Lord.  Although Christ commends the Church for being faithful with a variety of things, he corrects them for leaving their first Love.  Do you love Jesus today as much as you did when you first met him?


Revelation 2:1-7  The Message to the Church in Ephesus

1 “Write this letter to the angel of the church in Ephesus. This is the message from the one who holds the seven stars in his right hand, the one who walks among the seven gold lampstands:


2 “I know all the things you do. I have seen your hard work and your patient endurance. I know you don’t tolerate evil people. You have examined the claims of those who say they are apostles but are not. You have discovered they are liars. 3 You have patiently suffered for me without quitting.


4 “But I have this complaint against you. You don’t love me or each other as you did at first! 5 Look how far you have fallen! Turn back to me and do the works you did at first. If you don’t repent, I will come and remove your lampstand from its place among the churches. 6 But this is in your favor: You hate the evil deeds of the Nicolaitans, just as I do.


7 “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. To everyone who is victorious I will give fruit from the tree of life in the paradise of God.


Prayer:  Lord, I love you and desire to be a light shining for you in this world.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.


Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 5-2-17

Daily Reading 5-2-17
1 Peter 2:1-3 New Living Translation (NLT)

Scripture teaches we have been given new birth by Christ’s atoning sacrifice for our sins. He has extended mercy and kindness in dying for our sins (the penalty for our sin is death) and our response for this gift of life should be gratitude and surrender. Our new birth means a new beginning and a new way to live; living by the Word of God rather than our feelings and our flesh. Our flesh thrives on doing what makes us feel good; however, that is usually exalting the flesh over the Lord. In order to move beyond infancy, we must be nourished by the Word.

1 Peter 2:1-3 New Living Translation (NLT)
2 So get rid of all evil behavior. Be done with all deceit, hypocrisy, jealousy, and all unkind speech. 2 Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment, 3 now that you have had a taste of the Lord’s kindness.

Prayer: Lord, I am going to spend time every day in your Word; feed me until I can hold no more. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 4-3-17

Daily Reading 4-3-17

Acts 20:7-12  New Living Translation (NLT)


Do you love going to church and listening to the Word of God being taught?  Are you spiritually hungry to the point that you can’t get enough of Christ’s teaching?  People in the early church were so eager to hear about the work of Christ, they would meet together around the clock in order to hear more of the Good News.   The Apostle Paul never tired of sharing about Christ.  As long as people would listen, he would preach.  


Have you ever fallen asleep in church?  In our passage today, we read about a young man who was attending a church service on the third floor of a building. The service went on for hours and hours.  This young man fell asleep while sitting on the window ledge.  This Scripture gives new meaning to the phrase “falling out” in the Spirit!


Acts 20:7-12  Paul’s Final Visit to Troas

7 On the first day of the week, we gathered with the local believers to share in the Lord’s Supper.Paul was preaching to them, and since he was leaving the next day, he kept talking until midnight. 8 The upstairs room where we met was lighted with many flickering lamps. 9 As Paul spoke on and on, a young man named Eutychus, sitting on the windowsill, became very drowsy. Finally, he fell sound asleep and dropped three stories to his death below. 10 Paul went down, bent over him, and took him into his arms. “Don’t worry,” he said, “he’s alive!” 11 Then they all went back upstairs, shared in the Lord’s Supper,[b] and ate together. Paul continued talking to them until dawn, and then he left. 12 Meanwhile, the young man was taken home alive and well, and everyone was greatly relieved.


Prayer:  Lord, make me hungry for more and more of your Word.  Keep me hungry for more of your presence.  Be blessed by my desire to enjoy you.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 3-21-17

Daily Reading 3-21-17

1 Corinthians 10:1-7, 12-13


I have made many mistakes over the past sixty years.   How about you?  Scripture teaches a wise person learns from his or her past mistakes.  I strongly believe we can learn not only from our own mistakes, but from the mistakes of others around us.  We can evaluate the success or failure of life choices and learn from them; our choices can become wiser.  We can grow more spiritually.  God expects us to learn from mistakes.


Our Scripture for today has the Apostle Paul telling the early church in Corinth about the mistakes the Israelites made worshiping other gods.  Why would he dig up the past?  So these new Christians might not make the same mistakes.


1 Corinthians 10:1-7, 12-13 Lessons from Israel’s Idolatry

10 I don’t want you to forget, dear brothers and sisters, about our ancestors in the wilderness long ago. All of them were guided by a cloud that moved ahead of them, and all of them walked through the sea on dry ground. 2 In the cloud and in the sea, all of them were baptized as followers of Moses. 3 All of them ate the same spiritual food, 4 and all of them drank the same spiritual water. For they drank from the spiritual rock that traveled with them, and that rock was Christ.  5 Yet God was not pleased with most of them, and their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.


6 These things happened as a warning to us, so that we would not crave evil things as they did, 7 or worship idols as some of them did.


12 If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. 13 The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure. 


Prayer:  Father, thank you for the lessons I have learned from my mistakes and from watching others.  Continue to teach me wisdom.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 3-13-17

Daily Reading 3-13-17

Hebrews 3:1-6 New Living Translation


Human identity is a big deal.  As Christ followers, our journey is one of discovering who God created us to be.  Each one of us is unique, so purpose should be lingering in our minds.  We are all called to leave an honorable human legacy, as well as an inspiring mark for God in this world.  Jesus makes a huge difference in our lives for the glory of God.


The author(s) of Hebrews reminds us Moses was used mightily by God as people followed him; he left a tremendous legacy and mark for the Jewish people.  But, Jesus came to call all people to follow him for the glory of God. In our text this morning, the supremacy of Christ is recognized so he may draw all of humanity to himself and thereby make a connection to God.  


Hebrews 3:1-6 Jesus Is Greater Than Moses

3 And so, dear brothers and sisters who belong to God and are partners with those called to heaven, think carefully about this Jesus whom we declare to be God’s messenger and High Priest. 2 For he was faithful to God, who appointed him, just as Moses served faithfully when he was entrusted with God’s entire house.


3 But Jesus deserves far more glory than Moses, just as a person who builds a house deserves more praise than the house itself. 4 For every house has a builder, but the one who built everything is God.


5 Moses was certainly faithful in God’s house as a servant. His work was an illustration of the truths God would reveal later. 6 But Christ, as the Son, is in charge of God’s entire house. And we are God’s house, if we keep our courage and remain confident in our hope in Christ.


Prayer:  Father, may my life in Christ be an honorable example of your grace in action and may you receive all the glory for having accomplished it.  Thank you for giving me Jesus and the work of your Spirit to change how I view my life.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 3-9-17

Daily Reading 3-9-17

Psalm 121 NLT


I don’t know about you, but some days I find myself rather distracted.  I will start something important, face an interruption or two/three/four, and then become so detoured I never make it back to the first thing I was doing.  I might reflect on my day or think about the things I started and form the question, “Why didn’t I finish that, today?”


Scripture tells us the Lord never finds Himself distracted or detoured from the very best for our lives.  I find that so reassuring.  I am grateful God does not become distracted and walk away from me while bringing restoration to my soul and renewal to my mind.  He has promised to stand beside me and watch over my soul.  He has promised the same to you.  Let this truth refresh your soul and fill you with gratitude.


Psalm 121  A song for pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem.

I look up to the mountains—

    does my help come from there?

My help comes from the Lord,

    who made heaven and earth!

He will not let you stumble;

    the one who watches over you will not slumber.

Indeed, he who watches over Israel

    never slumbers or sleeps.

The Lord himself watches over you!

    The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade.

The sun will not harm you by day,

    nor the moon at night.

The Lord keeps you from all harm

    and watches over your life.

The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go,

    both now and forever.


Prayer:  Thank you, Lord, for never losing tract of finishing your work in me.  I trust your timing and your way.  In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 3-8-17

Daily Reading 3-8-17

Matthew 18:10-14 NLT


It makes us feel good when people are concerned about our well-being; we feel loved and valued.  We should care about one another.  As well, we should recognize how very much God loves us. Sometimes we forget how very much Messiah is concerned when we wander off the righteous path.  


In our passage today, Jesus teaches his disciples about the depth of the Father’s concern and care.  I pray you enjoy our reading for today.


Matthew 18:10-14 The Parable of the Wandering Sheep

10 “Beware that you don’t look down on any of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels are always in the presence of my heavenly Father.


12 “If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them wanders away, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others on the hills and go out to search for the one that is lost? 13 And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he will rejoice over it more than over the ninety-nine that didn’t wander away! 14 In the same way, it is not my heavenly Father’s will that even one of these little ones should perish.


Prayer:  Heavenly Father, thank you for always being concerned about me; you know where I am at all times.  If I should wander away, please come and get me.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 3-7-17

Daily Reading 3-7-17

Hebrews 4:14-16 New Living Translation (NLT)


If we place our hope in anything getting us to heaven other than Jesus, we have become terrible confused as to what it takes to have fellowship with God.  I am so grateful for the work of Jesus and his righteousness to cover my sin so I can enjoy the presence of my Abba—Father!  Jesus gets me; he knows me—my weaknesses—and chooses to extend me mercy and cover me with grace, anyway.  It is why I can pray boldly and ask my Father for healing, restoration, and wholeness for myself and my loved ones.  Thank you, Jesus!


Hebrews 4:14-16 Christ Is Our High Priest

14 So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. 15 This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. 16 So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.


Prayer:  Abba, thank you for Jesus.  Jesus, thank you for your merciful heart and extravagant grace.  Holy Spirit, I love living life with you guiding the way!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 3-6-17

Daily Reading 3-6-17

Hebrews 2:10-18 New Living Translation (NLT)


Who’s your daddy?  According to the Word of God, because of Jesus our High Priest, we all have the same Abba-Daddy.  Christ restored our broken relationship with God; a relationship broken due to our sin.  Through his obedient sacrifice, Christ broke the power the devil had over us.  That is such an awesome reality isn’t it?  Now, we are set apart for God’s service.  We are brothers and sisters with Christ and all of us should be about our Abba’s business.


Hebrews 2:10-18

10 God, for whom and through whom everything was made, chose to bring many children into glory. And it was only right that he should make Jesus, through his suffering, a perfect leader, fit to bring them into their salvation.


11 So now Jesus and the ones he makes holy have the same Father. That is why Jesus is not ashamed to call them his brothers and sisters.[a] 12 For he said to God,

“I will proclaim your name to my brothers and sisters.

    I will praise you among your assembled people.”[b]


13 He also said,

“I will put my trust in him,”

    that is, “I and the children God has given me.”[c]


14 Because God’s children are human beings-made of flesh and blood-the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had[d] the power of death. 15 Only in this way could he set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying.


16 We also know that the Son did not come to help angels; he came to help the descendants of Abraham. 17 Therefore, it was necessary for him to be made in every respect like us, his brothers and sisters,[e] so that he could be our merciful and faithful High Priest before God. Then he could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people. 18 Since he himself has gone through suffering and testing, he is able to help us when we are being tested.


Prayer:  My Father who art in heaven, hallowed be your name.  Your kingdom come.  Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Give me this day my daily bread.  Forgive my trespasses as I forgive those who trespass against me.  And, lead me not into temptation, but deliver me from evil; for yours is the kingdom, power, and glory forever.  Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 2-28-17

Daily Reading 2-28-17

Romans 11:1-6 Living Bible (TLB)


Kindness is the fruit of the Spirit. I looked up the biblical definition of the word “kindness” and found this: An attribute of God and quality desirable but not consistently found in humans. Kindness and mercy are used interchangeably. That means when we are truly kind and care about the heart and soul of others, we are responding like the Lord. In fact, Scripture teaches God considers extending kindness or mercy to others more important than offering ritual sacrifice to God. As you go through you day, please remember to sow kindness into the lives around you. God will smile.


The Apostle Paul taught all the time about the mercy of God, because God extended kindness to him. Once he experienced the fruit of kindness given as a gift by the Spirit, he better understood the heart of God. Paul shared his understanding in a letter of correction to the Christians in Rome who were convinced God no longer loved the Jews. 


11 I ask then, has God rejected and deserted his people the Jews? Oh no, not at all. Remember that I myself am a Jew, a descendant of Abraham and a member of Benjamin’s family.


2-3 No, God has not discarded his own people whom he chose from the very beginning. Do you remember what the Scriptures say about this? Elijah the prophet was complaining to God about the Jews, telling God how they had killed the prophets and torn down God’s altars; Elijah claimed that he was the only one left in all the land who still loved God, and now they were trying to kill him too.


4 And do you remember how God replied? God said, “No, you are not the only one left. I have seven thousand others besides you who still love me and have not bowed down to idols!”


5 It is the same today. Not all the Jews have turned away from God; there are a few being saved as a result of God’s kindness in choosing them. 6 And if it is by God’s kindness, then it is not by their being good enough. For in that case the free gift would no longer be free-it isn’t free when it is earned.


Prayer: Lord, help me to receive in a greater measure the spiritual gift of kindness, today. Then, help me to release it into the lives around me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 2-24-17

Daily Reading 2-24-17

Hebrews 11:23-27  New Living Translation (NLT)


Deception is a very real enemy of faith; it is expressed through people.  Anyone can fall into deception unless he or she guards their heart with the Truth.  I might define the word Truth this way: Jesus is the manifestation of the Truth about God and in him there is no darkness or deception.  Therefore, there is the existence of absolute Truth.  When we give our hearts to Jesus we belong to the Truth.  


How does faith enter into truth?  Faith is expressed in believing something to be true (intellectual assent) and trusting it (relying on it as fact) with our lives.  Here’s another way to say it: faith is expressed in believing Christ to be Truth and trusting Him with every aspect of our lives.  When we choose to live by faith and follow the Lord, we gain heavenly eyesight.


Hebrews 11:23-27New Living Translation (NLT)

23 It was by faith that Moses’ parents hid him for three months when he was born. They saw that God had given them an unusual child, and they were not afraid to disobey the king’s command.


24 It was by faith that Moses, when he grew up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. 25 He chose to share the oppression of God’s people instead of enjoying the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 He thought it was better to suffer for the sake of Christ than to own the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking ahead to his great reward. 27 It was by faith that Moses left the land of Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger. He kept right on going because he kept his eyes on the one who is invisible.


Prayer:  Lord, thank you for the ability to know truth and stand against deception.  You open my eyes so I may see.  You bless me!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 2-23-17

Daily Reading 2-23-17

Hebrews 8:1-7New Living Translation (NLT)


Sometimes repetition is very helpful; especially when it is something really important we need to grasp.  So, repeat after me, “Christ died for me!”  Let the sound of that sentence resonate in your mind.  Christ died for every person, because we are all guilty of sin and deserve death and eternal separation from God.  By Christ laying down his life as an offering for the sin of the world, humanity can call out for Grace and choose live a “risen” life.  Christ becomes our High Priest—our mediator in the faith.  The risen life woos us to live high above selfish mindsets and self-centered living.   I am so grateful for the second covenant of Grace and to know God is directly involved in my life.


Hebrews 8:1-7 Christ Is Our High Priest

8 Here is the main point: We have a High Priest who sat down in the place of honor beside the throne of the majestic God in heaven. 2 There he ministers in the heavenly Tabernacle, the true place of worship that was built by the Lord and not by human hands.


3 And since every high priest is required to offer gifts and sacrifices, our High Priest must make an offering, too. 4 If he were here on earth, he would not even be a priest, since there already are priests who offer the gifts required by the law. 5 They serve in a system of worship that is only a copy, a shadow of the real one in heaven. For when Moses was getting ready to build the Tabernacle, God gave him this warning: “Be sure that you make everything according to the pattern I have shown you here on the mountain.”


6 But now Jesus, our High Priest, has been given a ministry that is far superior to the old priesthood, for he is the one who mediates for us a far better covenant with God, based on better promises.


7 If the first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no need for a second covenant to replace it.


Prayer:  Lord, thank you that your new covenant focuses on the reign of Christ in the hearts of believers.  Christ died for me!  And, I love you for the great love you have extended me.  Let my life worship you.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 2-21-17

Daily Reading 2-21-17

Hebrews 12:14-16 New Living Translation (NLT)


When we read Scripture we cannot help but notice that God desires for humans to have a revelation of his presence and love.  It is not a secret; God wants us to know.  The Bible is like a love letter describing the reality of God and how he interacts in relationship with those whom he loves.  Who does God love?  The answer is all of his creation. Every human being has a birthright to know his or her Creator.  If only we would value that birthright and listen to how He designed us to live….


Hebrews 12:14-16 A Call to Listen to God

14 Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord. 15 Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many. 16 Make sure that no one is immoral or godless like Esau, who traded his birthright as the firstborn son for a single meal.


Prayer:  Lord, I want to see you, so help me to live according to your Word.  Open my eyes that I may see.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 2-13-17

Daily Reading 2-13-17
James 1:2-8 New Living Translation (NLT)

In our physical fitness training, the goal is to increase our endurance for activity. In our faith training, the goal is to allow endurance to grow our faith from the measure God gave us originally to what it can be with the work of the Spirit. Faith and endurance must grow. “Troubles” or perhaps another word would be “struggles” is what makes our endurance level grow. If we never faced a “struggle” our faith would not be necessary; it would never be stretched to grow. Most of the time we want to fight the struggle rather than use our endurance and faith to get beyond it, but God is faithful to call us to wisely stay the course and grow up in our faith and trust that God loves us and will make a way for us. If you are facing a struggle, today, allow endurance to do what God intends. Hold fast to your trust in His love for you!

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 2-8-17

Daily Reading 2-8-17

John 8:12-19 New Living Translation (NLT)


Darkness is terribly unsettling at times.  Especially, when you are looking to focus on something in order to find your way.  During those times, any source of light is helpful to give perspective or guidance.  When the children of Israel were wandering through the dark wilderness, God provided a pillar of light to guide them.  Get that Old Testament picture into your thoughts.  


Let’s move to the New Testament and our passage for today.  Jesus was at the Temple  teaching during the Festival of Booths; a time to remember when Israel wandered through the wilderness and how God provided for them.   As we read today’s passage we understand the Light to guide God’s people through the wilderness was a picture of Jesus and his work to save.  Today, Jesus is still available to be the Light that safely guides our lives in a dark world, but we must follow the Word.


John 8:12-19  Jesus, the Light of the World

12 Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”


13 The Pharisees replied, “You are making those claims about yourself! Such testimony is not valid.”


14 Jesus told them, “These claims are valid even though I make them about myself. For I know where I came from and where I am going, but you don’t know this about me. 15 You judge me by human standards, but I do not judge anyone. 16 And if I did, my judgment would be correct in every respect because I am not alone. The Father[a] who sent me is with me. 17 Your own law says that if two people agree about something, their witness is accepted as fact.[b] 18 I am one witness, and my Father who sent me is the other.”


19 “Where is your father?” they asked.


Jesus answered, “Since you don’t know who I am, you don’t know who my Father is. If you knew me, you would also know my Father.”


Prayer:  Father, thank you for connecting the testaments of your provision and salvation to a dark world.  Jesus is my Light and my salvation.  I am so grateful for His brightness to guide.  Bless this day.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 2-7-17

Daily Reading 2-7-17

2 Corinthians 4:1-12New Living Translation (NLT)


Living the Christian life in the power of the Spirit is a wonderful gift from God.  As we live in that power, people respond to Christ in us.   The Word of God is essential to that power.  The Good News is the creative word of God that brings spiritual life and understanding.  When we choose to love and apply that word to our lives it becomes extremely powerful in and through us.  Humility is necessary because we can never forget we are fragile human creatures occupied by a holy all-powerful God.  As you go through your day, please do not forget, if you know Jesus—the Son of God—you are the dwelling place of His loving presence. 


In our reading today, the Apostle Paul tells the church at Corinth about a holy God in clay jars.


2 Corinthians 4:1-12  Treasure in Fragile Clay Jars

4 Therefore, since God in his mercy has given us this new way, we never give up. 2 We reject all shameful deeds and underhanded methods. We don’t try to trick anyone or distort the word of God. We tell the truth before God, and all who are honest know this.


3 If the Good News we preach is hidden behind a veil, it is hidden only from people who are perishing. 4 Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.


5 You see, we don’t go around preaching about ourselves. We preach that Jesus Christ is Lord, and we ourselves are your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.


7 We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.


8 We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. 9 We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. 10 Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.

11 Yes, we live under constant danger of death because we serve Jesus, so that the life of Jesus will be evident in our dying bodies. 12 So we live in the face of death, but this has resulted in eternal life for you.


Prayer:  Heavenly Father, thank you for the work of Jesus and the privilege of being filled with your spiritual presence.  Help me to submit to your Word and to apply it to my life, so I may be a powerful witness of what you accomplish through me.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 2-6-17

Daily Reading 2-6-17

Romans 11:2-10 New Living Translation (NLT)


Happy Monday to you all!  Thank you so much for a wonderful birthday brunch at the church today; it was a delight sharing my celebration with all of you.  You blessed me.


Over the years I have listened to people talk about whether or not God was done with the Jews.  Has the church replaced the Jews as God’s chosen people?  Let’s turn to Scripture to answer that question…


Romans 11:2-10

2 No, God has not rejected his own people, whom he chose from the very beginning. Do you realize what the Scriptures say about this? Elijah the prophet complained to God about the people of Israel and said, 3 “Lord, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.”

4 And do you remember God’s reply? He said, “No, I have 7,000 others who have never bowed down to Baal!”


5 It is the same today, for a few of the people of Israel have remained faithful because of God’s grace—his undeserved kindness in choosing them. 6 And since it is through God’s kindness, then it is not by their good works. For in that case, God’s grace would not be what it really is—free and undeserved.


7 So this is the situation: Most of the people of Israel have not found the favor of God they are looking for so earnestly. A few have—the ones God has chosen—but the hearts of the rest were hardened. 8 As the Scriptures say,


“God has put them into a deep sleep.

To this day he has shut their eyes so they do not see,

    and closed their ears so they do not hear.”


Prayer:  Father, your Word teaches you have brought a spiritual blindness to the Jews until the full number of Gentiles (non-Jews) have responded to the gospel.  Thank you for loving the Jews and for loving the rest of us, too.  Glory be to you, O Lord!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 2-3-17

Daily Reading 2-3-17

James 3:13-18New Living Translation (NLT)


Scripture teaches God has united us with Christ and for our benefit made Christ to be wisdom itself (1 Corinthians 1:30).  Wisdom is associated with righteous motives; it is pure, peace-loving, gentle, and merciful.  Simply put, wisdom is the spirit of Christ revealed in humble people through effective practice of God’s ways.  


Pride on the other hand stirs anger and contention, is puffed up, self-exalting, and demands its own way.  Simply put, pride is the spirit of fallen humanity operating in human understanding apart from God; it is foolishness and manifests in arrogant destructive competitiveness.  


James 3:13-18 True Wisdom Comes from God

13 If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your heart, don’t cover up the truth with boasting and lying. 15 For jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and demonic. 16 For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind.


17 But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. 18 And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.


Prayer:  I pray for my heart to be right before you, Lord.  Bring to my understanding any prideful attitudes or motives that need sanctification and healing.  Help me to be a great citizen of this country by practicing wisdom in my own life.  I pray for peace and wisdom to rule in this country.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.  

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 2-2-17

Daily Reading 2-2-17

Malachi 3:1-4 New Living Translation (NLT)


I know very little about refining metals, but I do realize the Lord uses the word “refining” to refer to his work of holiness; taking our flesh and making it holy.  Malachi releases a prophecy the Messiah will bring the refining fire that will make a sinful people holy.  


We are purified by God when we are open to his purification process.  When things heat up inside, God is up to something good in our lives.  May we cooperate with the Lord’s process for his glory.  If you have been tasting the Refiner’s fire, pray for the Lord to make you strong.


Malachi 3:1-4  The Coming Day of Judgment

3 “Look! I am sending my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. Then the Lord you are seeking will suddenly come to his Temple. The messenger of the covenant, whom you look for so eagerly, is surely coming,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.


2 “But who will be able to endure it when he comes? Who will be able to stand and face him when he appears? For he will be like a blazing fire that refines metal, or like a strong soap that bleaches clothes. 3 He will sit like a refiner of silver, burning away the dross. He will purify the Levites, refining them like gold and silver, so that they may once again offer acceptable sacrifices to the Lord.


Prayer:  Lord, I realize there is still much work to be done in my flesh to reflect a greater measure of your image.  Thank you for working for my good.  In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 2-1-17

Daily Reading 2-1-17

Luke 6:17-26 New Living Translation (NLT)


When the Word of God is partnered with the anointing (influence of the Holy Spirit), the results is people begin to understand the work of Christ and His love for them.  In our passage, today, the crowds come to hear Jesus—the Word—and receive healing and peace from inner turmoil.  


Jesus has authority and power over sickness and disease, as well as evil.  While on earth, he overcame sin and death.  May we remember this truth and cry out to Jesus in order to receive from His amazing Grace. Some of us may need physical healing, emotional healing, and/or spiritual renewal.  If your soul is craving an impartation of peace, Jesus is the answer.  May God’s highest and best be released for you, today.


Luke 6:17-19  Crowds Follow Jesus

17 When they came down from the mountain, the disciples stood with Jesus on a large, level area, surrounded by many of his followers and by the crowds. There were people from all over Judea and from Jerusalem and from as far north as the seacoasts of Tyre and Sidon. 18 They had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; and those troubled by evil spirits were healed. 19 Everyone tried to touch him, because healing power went out from him, and he healed everyone.


Prayer:  Lord, please impart your peace to my weary mind, will, and emotions.  I take authority in the name of Jesus over anything that would try to rob me of the blessing of your perfect peace. In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 1-31-17

Daily Reading 1-31-17

Psalm 37:8  New Living Translation (NLT)


Are you quick to lose your temper?  We have all experienced strong feelings when things took place that we did not expect.  Anger is a very strong emotion; sustained anger is a very destructive emotion and gives a foothold to evil.  God’s children are to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry because anger does not produce righteousness (James 1:19-20).  


Psalm 37:8  

Stop being angry!

    Turn from your rage!

Do not lose your temper—

    it only leads to harm.


Prayer:  Lord, help me to put a watch over my emotions; to choose to love and believe the best of others.  I can see the enemy is trying to get people angry and bitter.  With patience I will gain greater understanding; so, I will remain focused on You with trust.  In Jesus’ name. Amen.  

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 1-30-17

Daily Reading 1-30-17

Psalm 37:3-5 New Living Translation (NLT)


When our son, Joe, was eighteen, he preached a sermon on Psalm 37.  I will never forget it. Every time I read Psalm 37, his sermon rises up in my heart.  The sermon involved three simple words:  Trust, Delight, and Commitment.   


Joe taught about the value of trusting the Lord; trust is the root that upholds and nourishes the tree of the Christian life.  He highlighted the word “delight” and encouraged everyone “to bend toward” or “be inclined toward” pleasing the Lord; submitting to His way and working for the salvation of others. When we set our hearts on pleasing the Lord, the Lord brings us blessings in return.  Joe shared a cute story about commitment that drove a deeper meaning of that word home, too.  I will share it with you now:


Once upon a time, a chicken and pig lived on a farm.  The farmer was very good to them and they both wanted to do something good for him.  One day the chicken approached the pig and said, “I have a great idea for something we can do for the farmer!  Would you like to help?”


The pig, quite intrigued by this said, “Of course.  What is it you propose?”


The chicken knew how much the farmer enjoyed a good healthy breakfast.  He also knew how little time the farmer had to make a good breakfast.  “I think the farmer would be very happy if we made him breakfast,” said the chicken.  

The pig replied, “I’d be happy to help you make breakfast for the farmer!  What do you suggest we make?”


The chicken understanding that he had little else to offer suggested, “I could provide some eggs.”


The pig knew the farmer might want more, “That’s a fine start.  What else should we make?”  


The chicken looked around, scratched his head, then said, “Ham?  The farmer loves ham and eggs!”


The pig, very mindful of what this implied said, “That’s fine, but while you’re making a contribution I’m making a real commitment!”


As you read our passage from Psalm, today.  Please examine your level of trust, delight, and commitment to the Lord.  Blessings for your day!


Psalm 37:3-5

Trust in the Lord and do good.

    Then you will live safely in the land and prosper.

Take delight in the Lord,

    and he will give you your heart’s desires.

Commit everything you do to the Lord.

    Trust him, and he will help you.


Prayer:  Lord, you are looking for me to trust you with my whole being.  May I delight or lean toward pleasing you moment by moment.  And Lord, help me to be sold out in my commitment to love you and my neighbor, because it is you mission in the world.  Spill your favor and love over me and everyone who reads this prayer.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 1-27-17

Daily Reading 1-27-17

John 13:31-35New Living Translation (NLT)


Every Christ follower understands he or she is to love others.  Yet, not every follower understands the magnitude of Christ’s command.  Stated simply we are to love others the sacrificial way that Christ has loved us.   If we are honest in evaluating our love for others, more than likely we would not call it sacrificial love.   This kind of love is not convenient, can be emotionally painful because we are called to give when it hurts, is draining to our energy, and requires we think of the well-being of others not just ourselves.  It is this sacrificial kind of love that reveals us as Christ’s disciples or followers.  This love sets us apart from the shallow love of the world.  Jesus knew Peter would deny him, yet Christ sacrificially loved him.  Later, Peter would know just how much Christ loved him and he would spend his life sharing that same sacrificial love.  


John 13:31-35  Jesus Predicts Peter’s Denial

31 As soon as Judas left the room, Jesus said, “The time has come for the Son of Man[a] to enter into his glory, and God will be glorified because of him. 32 And since God receives glory because of the Son,[b] he will give his own glory to the Son, and he will do so at once. 33 Dear children, I will be with you only a little longer. And as I told the Jewish leaders, you will search for me, but you can’t come where I am going. 34 So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. 35 Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”


Prayer:  Lord, it is time to grow up into the kind of love that reveals us as your followers.  Help me to lead, preach, and teach about this amazing love that is so valuable to your work of salvation.  In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 1-26-17

Daily Reading 1-26-17

Psalm 15 New Living Translation (NLT)


Our words matter if we are interested in building up relationships as God’s children; we cannot just throw out comments that hurt people and still please God. We are called to be worshipers of the Most High and that means we live to please our Father.  It means we know when to shut our mouths if we are tempted to harm others with our words. 


In David’s song, he sings about the heart that may know a deep intimate place of worship with God.  In this song, how we use our words can either connect us with God or distance us from God.


Psalm 15  A psalm of David.

Who may worship in your sanctuary, Lord?

    Who may enter your presence on your holy hill?

Those who lead blameless lives and do what is right,

    speaking the truth from sincere hearts.

Those who refuse to gossip

    or harm their neighbors

    or speak evil of their friends.

Those who despise flagrant sinners,

    and honor the faithful followers of the Lord,

    and keep their promises even when it hurts.

Those who lend money without charging interest,

    and who cannot be bribed to lie about the innocent.

Such people will stand firm forever.


Prayer:  Lord, in this world there seems to be a spiritual battle going on with words; conflict and deception are busy dividing.  Help me to guard my words carefully so I may not sin against you or my neighbor.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 1-24-17


Daily Reading 1-24-17

Philippians 2:12-18 New Living Translation (NLT)


Constant complaining seems to be a way of life for many people these days. Every time I turn on the news someone is complaining about something or someone.  It is sad because according to Scripture it is choosing to live with a dark attitude rather than a Light spirit.   Why are we expecting that other people must please us?


A sign of our salvation is desiring to please and trust God to bring things about for our good. Maybe we need to grow in the understanding that to actually trust God means we accept this natural world is not always going to give us what we want; so God will find a way to get a better blessing to us.  Life is not always fair, but God is Good!  Can you be joyful and peaceful even when things are not going the way you want them to go?  The Father loves us; we are his children who are to shine in the darkness.


Philippians 2:12-18 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,[a] 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:  Father, please help me to watch my attitude and avoid a complaining spirit, today.  Help me to trust you with gratitude.  This world may disappoint me, but you never will.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 1-19-17

Daily Reading 1-19-17

Galatians 1:11-24  New Living Translation (NLT)


It is interesting to me how the Lord can turn our passions and inclinations for thinking and living around.  I can certainly testify how the Lord has changed me by renewing my mind and thoughts and imparting His will.  I have faced many a turn around once the Lord imparted Truth. The Apostle Paul was driven to destroy the Christian movement until the Lord help him see the error of his reasoning, his wrong inclinations, and the lack of love in his heart.  


Galatians 1:11-24 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.[a]


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[b] 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.[c] 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,[d] 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:  Lord, thank you for having a plan for my life that exists apart from my performance and understanding.  May you be glorified in what I am called to share by grace.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 1-13-17

Daily Reading 1-13-17

Acts 1:1-5 New Living Translation (NLT)


In a world where so many people want to dismiss the reality of a loving Savior or reject a relationship with this living holy Friend, today’s passage made me smile.  Especially verse 3; for 40 days Jesus demonstrated to the apostles he was actually alive.  Jesus told the apostles what to expect and they still had difficulty receiving it as truth.  Hallelujah!  There is hope for us!  Even though it is truth that Jesus lives and moves and has his being through willing hearts, we still find it hard to believe he is really alive, don’t we? Well, maybe the more difficult thing is not just believing, but humbly surrendering our lives to him and allowing him to live through us. That’s really the toughest part; it is the reason the Father sent the Spirit.


Acts 1:1-5 The Promise of the Holy Spirit

1 In my first book I told you, Theophilus, about everything Jesus began to do and teach 2 until the day he was taken up to heaven after giving his chosen apostles further instructions through the Holy Spirit. 3 During the forty days after he suffered and died, he appeared to the apostles from time to time, and he proved to them in many ways that he was actually alive. And he talked to them about the Kingdom of God.

4 Once when he was eating with them, he commanded them, “Do not leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you the gift he promised, as I told you before. 5 John baptized with[b] water, but in just a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”


Prayer:  I believe you are alive Jesus and that you desire to save me daily from the effects of this evil world.  Help me to cooperate as you make me the daughter you planned from the beginning of time.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 1-11-17

Daily Reading 1-11-17

Matthew 12:15-21 Living Translation (NLT)


Intentions matter to God; He desires that we come to him not out of an act of obligation, but out of longing to be with Him.  Love must be our motivation; relationship our goal.   Jesus wants us to be as excited about the little things he is doing for us in the quietness of the heart as much as the big or outwardly obvious things he is doing to bring wholeness to our lives.  He is Good and is the Author of all Good in our lives.


In our passage today, Jesus has many people following him.  He heals the sick ones and instructs them not to tell others.  He wants people to come for relationship reasons not just for physical healing.  Jesus wants a forever relationship and the ways he desires to heal us are endless.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 1-3-17

Daily Reading 1-3-17

Hebrews 11:13-22 The Message (MSG)


To be a Christ follower is to be a person who lives, moves, and has his/her being by faith in the love of God.  It is easy to have faith that God loves us when everything in our life is going well.  We confidently tell others we are blessed!  But, what happens to our faith when we face things we never thought would happen?  What happens to our trust in God when we find ourselves pressed by life or attacked by evil?  Are we still blessed? According to Scripture, it is during the most difficult of times that our faith is tested.  During those times will we stand obedient to the Word of God and trust Him to work things together for our good?

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 1-2-17

Daily Reading 1-2-17

Psalm 20 New Living Translation (NLT)


The true might of any nation is found not in weaponry, but in the level of that nation’s worship.  Therefore, let us place our trust and confidence in the Lord!  Let us bow down and worship the Great I Am, because he rescues us by his power and might. 


Our passage this morning is a song of David.  It is his testimony to the love and care of God.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 12-29-16

Daily Reading 12-29-16

John 8:12-19 New Living Translation (NLT)


The Messiah is the Light of the World; he was sent by the Father so we could walk in the light of God’s love.  In God’s love there is Life and it is his desire that we experience abundant life.  Another way to describe abundant is rich with blessing.  God desires that we experience the riches of heaven while on earth; we are to share our blessings with others. If at the end of the day, after sharing our lives with those around us, we find we are still filled with hope, peace, joy, and love we have tasted abundant life!

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 12-28-16

Daily Reading 12-28-16

Matthew 18:1-7,10 New Living Translation (NLT)


Learning to be submissive to authority always calls for humility; a state of being humble begins with respect and submission.  Father God calls us to respect Him and submit ourselves to what He speaks over our lives. This is the process for entering His Kingdom.  Jesus uses the example of a child to teach his disciples about this state of being humble, because some of his followers had become self-centered and competitive.


Think about the Christ child.  Jesus said to welcome a humble child with a sincere heart is to welcome Him.  May we open our hearts to others around us who demonstrate a sincere heart toward God, because to do so is to welcome and connect to Christ.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 12-19-16

Daily Reading 12-19-16

Galatians 4:8-20 New Living Translation (NLT)


It is the calling of spiritual guides and leaders to teach the truth of God’s Word to receiving hearts until Christ is fully developed in their lives.  Humans can get sidetracked and lose focus on the most important things.  That is why we must follow Christ.  As we place our faith in the work of the Word, spiritual maturity is developed and we become more like Jesus.  Because of the Light Christ brings, we can love God and others in a purer way.  We can be filled with joy!


As we are learning, we may not like everything spiritual leaders say about our attitudes or actions.  However, we need to receive correction and allow a time to examine our hearts.  Then, we can invite the Spirit to bring the necessary change.  In our passage today, we realize the Apostle Paul is not real popular with some of the people in the early church at Galatia because he has corrected them, but he is going to tell them the truth, anyway.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 12-13-16

Daily Reading 12-13-16

Jude 17-25  Living Bible (TLB)


Many of you know John and I have adopted a new puppy named Gracie.  Gracie is now 5 months old and is full of energy ready to experience each day.  We are trying to teach Gracie about boundaries; training her not to bolt out of an open door, stopping at the edge of the grass without going into the road, listening to our commands for her safety.  She is learning there are limits and obedience is necessary.  We are spending time speaking these commands because we love Gracie.  She needs to stay within the reach of our love and care.


Through His Word, Father God teaches us about boundaries for our safety, as well.  In today’s reading, Jude (brother of Jesus) reminds God’s family to listen in order to stay strong in the faith entrusted to every believer, because danger awaits those who are not paying attention.  The Word is a guard for our lives that protects us as we explore and experience life; it’s a boundary that seeks to keep us within the reach of God’s love and shelter.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 12-9-16

Daily Reading 12-9-16

Luke 3:1-18 New Living Translation (NLT)


John the Baptist was the one whom God called to prepare His people for the work of Messiah.  What did John ask of the people who came to him?  They were to prove by the way they lived that they had repented and turned back to God in order to receive the Word.  Let’s read Luke’s witness about John the Baptist.


Luke 3:1-18  John the Baptist Prepares the Way

3 It was now the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius, the Roman emperor. Pontius Pilate was governor over Judea; Herod Antipas was ruler[a] over Galilee; his brother Philip was ruler[b] over Iturea and Traconitis; Lysanias was ruler over Abilene. 2 Annas and Caiaphas were the high priests. At this time a message from God came to John son of Zechariah, who was living in the wilderness. 3 Then John went from place to place on both sides of the Jordan River, preaching that people should be baptized to show that they had repented of their sins and turned to God to be forgiven. 4 Isaiah had spoken of John when he said,


“He is a voice shouting in the wilderness,

‘Prepare the way for the Lord’s coming!

    Clear the road for him!


The valleys will be filled,

    and the mountains and hills made level.

The curves will be straightened,

    and the rough places made smooth.


And then all people will see

    the salvation sent from God.’”


7 When the crowds came to John for baptism, he said, “You brood of snakes! Who warned you to flee the coming wrath? 8 Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God. Don’t just say to each other, ‘We’re safe, for we are descendants of Abraham.’ That means nothing, for I tell you, God can create children of Abraham from these very stones. 9 Even now the ax of God’s judgment is poised, ready to sever the roots of the trees. Yes, every tree that does not produce good fruit will be chopped down and thrown into the fire.”


10 The crowds asked, “What should we do?”

11 John replied, “If you have two shirts, give one to the poor. If you have food, share it with those who are hungry.”


12 Even corrupt tax collectors came to be baptized and asked, “Teacher, what should we do?”


13 He replied, “Collect no more taxes than the government requires.”

14 “What should we do?” asked some soldiers.


John replied, “Don’t extort money or make false accusations. And be content with your pay.”


15 Everyone was expecting the Messiah to come soon, and they were eager to know whether John might be the Messiah. 16 John answered their questions by saying, “I baptize you with[d] water; but someone is coming soon who is greater than I am—so much greater that I’m not even worthy to be his slave and untie the straps of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.[e] 17 He is ready to separate the chaff from the wheat with his winnowing fork. Then he will clean up the threshing area, gathering the wheat into his barn but burning the chaff with never-ending fire.” 18 John used many such warnings as he announced the Good News to the people.


Prayer:  Thank you, Father, for the forgiveness you extend when I repent of my sin against your Word.  Thank you for the Holy Spirit who convicts me of sin so I may turn.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 12-8-16

Daily Reading 12-8-16

Galatians 3:23-29  New Living Translation (NLT)


The way of faith is the Way of Christ.  Jesus is the fulfillment of the Law.  As we put our faith in the work of Christ, we are made right with God.  The Apostle Paul’s analogy that putting on Christ is like putting on new clothes is priceless.  We are no longer separated by our differences; rather, we are all dressed alike.  We are united by our Oneness in Christ.  Now, we can all make a journey as we follow Christ into the holiness of God.  Joy Supreme!

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 12-7-16

Daily Reading 12-7-16

Matthew 12:33-37 New Living Translation (NLT)


How important are the words of our mouths?  Let’s go to Scripture to read about the connection between our words and our hearts.


The religious leaders accused Jesus of working for Satan; in so doing they sinned against the Holy Spirit.  The very leaders who were supposed to encourage God’s people of the coming Messiah, totally sinned against him when he came. Sometimes people just don’t want to recognize the power of God in and through the work of Jesus Christ—the Living Word of God.  The Word can offend hardened hearts.  


Jesus was always going about doing good; his heart was in sync with the Father and the Spirit.  Therefore, his words were truth and his actions righteous.  The Word teaches that what we say and do reveals what is in our hearts.  Let’s not reject the Living Word. 

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 12-6-16

Daily Reading 12-6-16

Romans 15:14-21 New Living Translation (NLT)


Are you proud of God’s holy work in you?  Recognizing all that God has done in your heart is not pride; rather, it is worship.  Recognizing all that God has done in the heart of others is also worship.  This week we are looking for the Spirit to grow the spiritual fruit of joy in our hearts.  Are you full of joy when witnessing to Christ’s saving work in human hearts?  Tell someone about Jesus, today!

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 12-5-16

Daily Reading 12-5-16

1 Thessalonians 4:1-12 New Living Translation (NLT)


Every now and then we need a bit of encouragement to press on in our life with God.  We can get sloppy in how we live the God-taught life.  We are to be filled with joy as we live in the holiness and beauty of God’s presence.


In our passage this morning, the Apostle Paul is giving a Christian pep talk to the Thessalonians.  The way he is encouraging them is by clarifying what it means to live to please God.  We can learn from Paul’s pep talk, as well.  He teaches: Passionate worship, respect for our bodies, and the practice of empathy as we love others.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 12-1-16

Daily Reading 12-1-16

Psalm 72:18-19 New Living Translation (NLT)


When I was a child I looked with great anticipation to the Christmas celebrations with family.  We always went to my maternal grandparents for Christmas Eve; we gathered with the whole extended family. Everyone brought an abundance of joy to share.  We always had such a wonderful time and It remains one of my favorite memories.  


Scripture teaches the Lord—Jesus Christ—and his Kingdom will cover the earth with his glory.  Joy will erupt from every corner of the earth.  The Christ will release his fullness of joy for believers.  We know that will take place when Christ returns to reign forever.  In the mean time, we lift praise for Christ’s first advent and patiently wait in hope and anticipation for his second advent.  It is going to be a wonderful time!

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 11-28-16

Daily Reading 11-28-16

Romans 6:1-11  New Living Translation (NLT)


Sin is serious to God, yet he forgives and extends grace.  Grace is the unmerited favor extended by God to break the power sin has over His children.  We don’t have to live in bondage to sin; fulfilling the dictates of our flesh.   We can break free because of Christ.   We can choose obedience to the Word.  Understanding this truth should bring us a greater measure of motivation to follow Christ into freedom from sin.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 11-24-16

Daily Reading 11-24-16

Psalm 100 New Living Translation (NLT)


Be filled with joy and thanksgiving, today, because the Lord is Good!  Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 11-22-16

Daily Reading 11-22-16
Psalm 24 New Living Translation (NLT)

Human beings are stewards of God’s world. Some people may not see it that way or even believe it, but that does not change the truth. We are to love God, love people, and take care of God’s creation. Let me repeat that same sentence but elaborate: We are to love God with surrendered lives as worshipers who follow His Word, love people by sharing Christ’s love and message of repentance and salvation, and take care of God’s world by respecting and maintaining his order as well as standing in God’s strength against evil.

This psalm of David’s not only points to the King of Glory-Jesus Christ-and his first coming to set humans free from the power of sin (cross); it also points to Christ’s future entry into the New Jerusalem-his second coming when he will reign and rule God’s world exactly as the Father commanded. The work of Christ is to clean us up and renew a right relationship with God, so we can share in the blessing and rule with him!

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 11-21-16

Daily Reading 11-21-16

Revelation 21:5-7, 22-27  New Living Translation (NLT)


Scripture begins with God creating the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1) and it ends with God creating a new heaven and a new earth (Revelation 21).  One day following God’s judgment, He will create a new eternal earth.  God will live among his people in the New Jerusalem.   The inheritance of blessings we will enjoy is the fulfillment of all God’s promises; he will bring everything to pass.


In today’s passage from the Book of Revelation, we should note that God has truly provided for the future of His children.  There is no need to fear; be filled with hope because your God has a plan for eternity.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 11-17-16

Daily Reading 11-17-16

Luke 1:68-75 New Living Translation (NLT)


Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied the coming of the Messiah.  Can you imagine the joy Zechariah would feel as he realized the Messiah would come to fulfill prophecy in his lifetime?  God had another honor in store for Zechariah, as well. God would call Zechariah’s son to prepare the way for Messiah.    


We must allow the Spirit to prepare us for the Messiah.  Perhaps Christ’s second coming will happen in our lifetime; we have every reason to be filled with that hope.  The very thought puts a smile on my face how about you? 

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 11-18-16

Daily Reading 11-18-16

Acts 24:10-16 New Living Translation (NLT)


Did you know that when you are faced with adversity it becomes an opportunity for you to witness for Christ?


The Apostle Paul was able to use every opportunity that came his way to witness for Christ.  Paul was falsely accused; the religious leaders hoped Felix would execute the apostle based on their testimony.  The Apostle Paul was accused by the religious leaders of being a troublemaker, leading an unrecognized religious cult, and trying to desecrate the temple.  Paul defended himself against these accusations by simply admitting that he followed the Way; presenting the gospel of Jesus Christ.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 11-16-16

Daily Reading 11-16-16

Ephesians 5:1-2 The Message (MSG)


Good morning!  I want to thank you for your prayers.  I am home from the hospital, but still need to rest.  I have missed these devotional times, so I am going to try to post them each morning.  I need my time with the Lord and so do you.


God calls his children to imitate him in how he loves.  The world’s love is shallow and selective, but not God’s love.  God may not love everything we do, but he always loves us and wants fellowship with us.  We may not love everything others do, but we are still called to love them.


Our passage this morning is based on a letter from the Apostle Paul to the church at Ephesus.  He reminds the family of God how to love.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 11-7-16

Daily Reading 11-7-16

2 Peter 1:16-21 New Life Version (NLV)


How do you view Scripture? Is it a historical document, a theological story, a good book of virtues, or is it the inspired Word and revelation of God to humanity about Himself and His will?   Your perception will likely determine the measure of authority the Bible is given over your life.   


Scripture is filled with times of human interaction with God.  In our passage, today, Peter shares the importance of Scripture.  Remember, he had the privilege of witnessing the glorification of Christ on the Mount of Transfiguration.  Nothing would ever be able to rob him of knowing the truth of that encounter with God or sharing it with others; Peter knows Christ is the enteral Son of God.  It is a documented story in the Bible.  Peter tells us to trust the Scriptures.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 11-3-16

Daily Reading 11-3-16

Psalm 145:1-5 New Living Translation (NLT)


Do you know what can turn a tough day around?  Praise.  It’s true.  When we lift up the name of Jesus and praise him for his amazing grace, it lifts our focus off from ourselves and onto the Savior.  Our spirits gain strength and our souls—mind, will, emotions—turn toward joy.  God inhabits the praise of his people, so we can experience more of God when we declare his goodness.  Try it!

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 11-2-16

Daily Reading 11-2-16

Luke 19:11-27 New Living Translation (NLT)


Jesus tells his disciples he will be going back to the Father soon, but that he will one day return for them.  Until he returns, the disciples are to be busy going about the Father’s business of sharing the Good News.  They are to use their gifts for the benefit of the Kingdom.  


Jesus tells us the same thing through his Word, today.  How strongly does God feel about us remaining faithful to the work of the Kingdom while waiting for his Second Coming?  Jesus shared a parable to convey the importance.


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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 11-1-16

Daily Reading 11-1-16

Luke 6:20b, 31 New Living Translation (NLT)


I like simple or elementary ideas and tasks.  Do you like it when things are simple to understand or do?  You don’t have to spend a long time thinking about how to accomplish the task, because it is not complicated. When something is simple to understand and do, we should have no trouble doing it, right?


I have shortened our passage today to one verse in order to keep it simple, but as uncomplicated as the verse truly is to understand, every human being has difficulty consistently applying it to his or her life.  

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 10-31-16

Daily Reading 10-31-16

Psalm 32:1-7 New Living Translation (NLT)


Have you ever wanted to do something for someone so badly, but you realized you needed to wait until that person allowed it?  Well, I believe that is how God feels sometimes about our sin.  He desperately wants to forgive us, but we have to confess our sin.  When we confess our sin, we are actually agreeing with God.  We are telling God he is right and we have been wrong.


In our passage today, David found joy when he finally confessed his sin to God; he got into agreement and the weight of sin fell away.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 10-28-16

Daily Reading 10-28-16

2 Peter 1:3-11 New Living Translation (NLT)


Through the years, people have made some great promises to me and have delivered them; a tremendous blessing in my life.  God makes promises to His children, too.  His promises are associated with giving us the ability to share in His divine nature and escape the world’s corruption.  Talk about some great promises!  Since we cannot turn on news broadcasts without hearing the word “corruption,” God’s promises sound like something we all need.  Amen?

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 10-27-16

Daily Reading 10-27-16

2 Corinthians 1:3-11 New Living Translation (NLT)


Life is full of opportunities to share our stories with others.  We may share our life lessons of success or we may share our life lessons of loss and failure.  Every lesson is important.  But, did you know when we suffer or face troubles, God comes to comfort us?  Scripture tells us God comes to shower us with his comfort.  What a shower of blessing!  And here’s an important lesson to be gained about God’s comfort.  He brings it so we will turn and share our lessons of comfort with others.  People around us may be hurting; let’s share the comfort through Christ.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 10-26-16

Daily Reading 10-26-16

Matthew 21:28-32 New Living Translation (NLT)


Today’s passage is one of my favorite parables shared by Jesus.  It reminds me of how off track we can get with what God is really asking of us.  God desires that we might go into the world and share the Truth of His love with others; to share that when we repent of our sin Christ is faithful to forgive us.  As believers we vow, “I will go!”  But, do we?  We must believe AND follow.  Let’s remember to obey our Father.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 10-25-16

Daily Reading 10-24-16

1 Peter 5:5-11 New Living Translation (NLT)


Every day most of us dress ourselves and go out into the world.  Depending upon where we go, our physical clothing changes.  Did you know there is some spiritual clothing that is always appropriate and pleases God?  In fact, this spiritual clothing is perfect for wherever we go.   What is the appropriate spiritual clothing that is attractive to God?  Humility.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 10-21-16

Daily Reading 10-21-16

2 Timothy 3:10-15 New Living Translation (NLT)


Some of us reading this devotional today were taught the Scriptures by our parents or grandparents. They passed down what they knew to be true about the love of God for the world. That is the case with Timothy. He was taught the Scriptures (which would have been portions of the Old Testament) by his mother and grandmother long before he met the Apostle Paul who taught him that Jesus was the fulfillment of everything he had learned from his family.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 10-20-16

Daily Reading 10-20-16

2 Timothy 3:1-9  New Living Translation (NLT)


How would you describe godliness?  What behaviors would be consistent with a godly person?  Would it be attending church services, quoting Scripture, and practicing religious traditions?  All Scripture teaches that godliness is consistent with the character of Jesus Christ who is Truth.  The Holy Spirit brings forth love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, thoughtfulness, and self-control.  Devotion to Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit is the only way to grow in godly character.


In our passage today, the Apostle Paul warns Timothy that in the last days godlessness not godliness would be advancing.  In fact, Paul describes future societies and cultures driven by godlessness.  In the last days, even people who identify themselves as Christians will deny the power that could make them godly.  That means the Holy Spirit is grieved or quenched and not welcome to make even professing Christians holy and set apart from the world.


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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 10-19-16

Daily Reading 10-19-16

Luke 22:39-46 The Message (MSG)


As you and I are willing to turn our wills over to God and invite His will to rule and reign over our lives, we will need greater strength to remain faithful. Surrendering to God is an act that radiates great light and darkness doesn’t like it.  Temptation comes. The enemy always wants us to get discouraged and feel like God’s will is going to fail to provide something even better for our lives than what we want for ourselves. Darkness lurks to rob us of something supernatural.  When we need help fulfilling God’s will, we gain access to the help of heaven.  How do I know?  Jesus received angelic help when he needed it the most and in Christ we will too when we ask. 


It was a dark night for Jesus.  His friends abandoned him.  He had to surrender to the will of the Father and it was hard for him.  The Father knew it would not be easy, so He sent the angels to Christ’s side to strengthen him.  I love the image of God’s provision that bursts in my mind as I read our passage for today!

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 10-18-16

Daily Reading 10-18-16

James 5:7-12 New Living Translation (NLT)


I trust God and believe he has everything under control in his world. Sometimes it feels like certain things are charging toward a very unstable state, but that’s when we must pray the hardest and resist the temptation to get caught up with all the negativity and grumbling.  I have chosen to be a follower of Christ (a follower of the Word) and my “yes” must remain fervent in spite of opposition. Jesus said, “If anyone loves me, he/she will keep my Word” (John 14:23). So, I will remain patient, but I do get excited when I think about Christ’s return.  What a celebration that will be! 


Patience and Endurance

7 Dear brothers and sisters, be patient as you wait for the Lord’s return. Consider the farmers who patiently wait for the rains in the fall and in the spring. They eagerly look for the valuable harvest to ripen. 8 You, too, must be patient. Take courage, for the coming of the Lord is near.


9 Don’t grumble about each other, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. For look—the Judge is standing at the door!


10 For examples of patience in suffering, dear brothers and sisters, look at the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 We give great honor to those who endure under suffering. For instance, you know about Job, a man of great endurance. You can see how the Lord was kind to him at the end, for the Lord is full of tenderness and mercy.


12 But most of all, my brothers and sisters, never take an oath, by heaven or earth or anything else. Just say a simple yes or no, so that you will not sin and be condemned.


Prayer: Father, thank you for your Word that brings encouragement and direction.  Help me to remain patient and courageous while waiting for Jesus to return.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen. 

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 10-14-16

Daily Reading 10-14-16

2 Timothy 2:14-26 New Living Translation (NLT)


More and more I am reminded that God alone recognizes and knows His people of faith; the Lord knows every heart and every personal story.  Nothing gets past the wisdom of our God and He is in control.  


What do you think would happen if every human being presented himself or herself to God for approval?  I believe the answer is we would know the Truth.  Truth is a person; His name is Jesus and His Word reveals the foundation of God’s love. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could all reach for Truth, turn away from evil, stop engaging in ignorant arguments, so we could pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace?

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 10-13-16

Daily Reading 10-13-16

Acts 17:22-34 New Living Translation  (NLT)


Now more than ever before, it is essential that we prepare ourselves with the Word of God so we may share the gospel message with others.  We need to hold onto our faith and our core beliefs in Christ’s work on the cross for the atonement of sin and the redemption of lost souls.  We can know forgiveness of sin and form a relationship with the Living God. We can grow in holiness through the world of the Holy Spirit.  Jesus is coming back to judge the world with justice; the world needs to get ready.


The message of Jesus Christ—the resurrected Savior of the World—must be communicated and shared with others.  How we communicate the message is modeled by the Apostle Paul on his trip to Athens.  Paul used examples the people would understand by sharing about the nature of God.  By using examples, he sought to establish common ground so they could discuss and emphasize what they agreed about God.  Then, Paul pointed toward the understanding that humans have a sinful nature and all need to come to repentance and salvation through Christ Jesus the Son of God.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 10-12-16

Daily Reading 10-12-16

Matthew 10:5-15The Message (MSG)


Jesus instructs his disciples to tell people in their own neighborhoods the Kingdom of God is near. Confusion and discouragement was weighing people down; they were waiting for a military King to deliver them.  However, Jesus was not coming as a conquering military King.  He was coming to bring a spiritual Kingdom to earth; a Kingdom not everyone would accept.


For us, Jesus has already begun bringing his Kingdom to earth in the hearts of his people.  When we share the Good News with others and they accept it, we have furthered the Kingdom that is connected to Christ.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 10-11-16

Daily Reading 10-11-16

2 Kings 5:19-27Contemporary English Version (CEV)


Sometimes it seems that for humans one lie can lead to another.  One act of deception can lead to another, because we try to hide the lie.  Being dishonest is a snowball effect and never worth it.  Tell the truth no matter how difficult it may seem.


Our lesson today continues from yesterday’s passage regarding Naaman (the man who was cleansed and healed of leprosy) and Elisha (the prophet of God who was an instrument of God’s healing).  Today, we will add to the mixture of characters Elisha’s servant, Gahazi.  Through a series of greedy choices, Gahazi brought disaster on himself and his family for generations.  


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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 10-10-16

Daily Reading 10-10-16

2 Kings 5:15-19 Contemporary English Version (CEV)


Naaman was a military man who served in the Syrian Army; he also had leprosy.  Naaman went to Israel to see Elisha the prophet of God. Elisha gave Naaman some simple instructions for healing. Upon dipping himself in the Jordan River seven times Naaman was healed of the leprosy. Naaman recognized the power of Israel’s God and proclaimed Him Lord.  Gratitude filled this man’s heart.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 10-7-16

Daily Reading 10-7-16

2 Timothy 2:1-7 New Living Translation (NLT)


How does someone stay strong in Grace?  Grace is God’s unmerited favor extended to us.  We can all be recipients; but we must trust God and be willing to embrace His strength when ours begins to fail.  


As of today, 1.5 million people are under evacuation mandates and 3,500 National Guards have been deployed to help as Hurricane Matthew heads toward the east coast of Florida.  Many of us are praying for God’s protection over every life and to stay strong in the Grace that Christ alone can give.  May we all help others as best we can while being good soldiers in God’s grace.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 10-6-16

Daily Reading 10-6-16

2 Timothy 1:13-14 Contemporary English Version (CEV)


The Apostle Paul writes to Timothy and praises him because he has remained true to the teachings of Christ.  During this time, some other disciples who had been following Jesus fell away from faith in Christ.


Our faith will always be under attack.  Guard your faith in Jesus Christ every day.  Satan wants to rob, steal, and destroy the life Jesus died to bring you; deception is one of the enemy’s favorite weapons.  We cannot allow the world to confuse us or draw us into compromising the foundation of our faith.  Our faith is built on the personhood and work of Jesus Christ to redeem us from sin; a Gift from God.  Keep Jesus Christ your first love!

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 10-5-16

Daily Reading 10-5-16

Mark 11:12-14; 20-24  Contemporary English Version (CEV)


Today, we continue to explore the connection of the Word and our faith in Jesus Christ.  Having faith in God with a motive to advance God’s Kingdom is a key to answered prayer.  Faith-motivated prayer is what pleases God.  Jesus uses an example of a fig tree in our reading to remind us about growing faith.  Most of the time figs grow as the leaves grow, but Jesus found no fruit among the leaves.  Our faith can be like the fig tree; showing the potential of bearing fruit, but actually producing nothing for God’s kingdom.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 10-4-16

Daily Reading 10-4-16

1 John 5:1-5 Contemporary English Version (CEV)


Did you know you and I reflect our worship of God based on how we love and respect others?  It’s true.  In fact, how we treat the people around us on a day to day basis is the real test of our love for God.  The world cannot teach us how to love.  We gain the victory through our faith in Jesus Christ!  He is the One who teaches us how to victoriously love God and others.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 9-30-16

Daily Reading 9-30-16

Matthew 20:29-34 New Living Translation (NLT)


I tend to be an idealist or visionary. Sometimes I can look at life...and certain things--positive opportunities--seem so clear to me; yet, I can chat with others who look at the same thing and cannot see anything positive because their focus is entirely on the negative stuff. Where we choose to place our focus determines what we see! Hint: Focus on Jesus; His Word lights the Truth of his power!


Jesus has been teaching in the town of Jericho about laying down his life so the whole world could enjoy life with God. It’s a life of serving others and being the Light of Christ to bring answers the world so desperately needs.   Jesus talks about the power of God.  Some of those gathered around Jesus listened to his message and some did not.  


After Christ delivers his message he leaves town. Two blind men are sitting by the road. They called on Jesus the Son of David to open their eyes and help them see more clearly. Identifying Jesus as the Son of David is very telling, because it demonstrates these men recognized the supernatural Savior-the Messiah-when he spoke. They knew he brought power for change. The very fact these two blind men recognized Jesus is profound, because the spiritual leaders who said they were waiting and looking for the Messiah heard the same message and did not recognize him at all when he was sharing the Father’s heart with them about bringing salvation and serving others.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 9-29-16

Daily Reading: 9-29-16

Psalm 37:1-9 GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)


What would it look like if every day we practiced being faithful to God?  I believe the answer is we would be blessed (happy and to be envied) as well as fulfilled, because God wants to give us the desires of our hearts when we are focused on His righteousness.  Are you waiting for God to meet the desires of your heart?  If so, wait patiently for Him to provide for you.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 9-28-16

Daily Reading: 9-28-16

Matthew 19:16-22  The Message (MSG)


We hold all kinds of things in our minds, hearts, and hands, don’t we?  We like stuff.  Some stuff we hold onto is good and some stuff not so good.  We want to think that which is good will get us rewards in heaven.  But in the gospel of Matthew, Jesus tells his disciples they do not enter into heaven because they are good or that they do good.  They enter into heaven because God is good and they are willing to do what he asks of them.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 9-27-16

Daily Reading: 9-27-16
Psalm 62:5-12 Contemporary English Version (CEV)

In a world where words and actions are frequently unkind, isn’t it wonderful to know that God is entirely kind? Our hearts are always safe with God. Always. He does not love us because we are respectful or kind to Him. He loves us because He is powerful and infinitely kind enough for all of us no matter what the state of our hearts. As humans, we can accept or reject God and He will still be kind. However, how sweet to enjoy fellowship with Him in Christ. Seek His kind heart!

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Daly Devotional from Pastor Mary 9-26-16

Daily Reading: 9-26-16

Revelation 3:14-22 The Voice (VOICE)


To be rich in God’s Kingdom is to share the robe of Grace with Christ and to allow the purification process of the Spirit to recreate us for passionate and abundant living.  If we are not allowing the Spirit of Christ to bring that ongoing discipline and refining, we become dispassionate and ineffective for God.  Jesus said it this way, “You have a form of religion, but you reject the power that could make you godly ” (2 Timothy 3:5).


In our passage from John’s Revelation, Jesus sends a message to the church at Laodicea. It is a word of correction and a warning for them to grow in godliness.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 9-23-16

Daily Reading: 9-23-16

Ephesians 2:1-10 The Message (MSG)


God is a Father who desires to share his perfect love with all of his creation. It appears when we do not know how much God loves us we will expect humans to make us feel worthy and valuable.  And, if humans don’t rise to the occasion the way we expect, then we generalize things and assume “no one” cares.  It’s just not true.  God cares and many people who have experienced God’s love also care.


The real issue is that we have sought to gain our worth and value out of human flesh that has its own war with sin.  In time, people will let other people down.  It may not be a deliberate thing; it’s simply a human thing.  God, on the other hand, not only values us He has made a way to enjoy fellowship with us on a perfect performance level. He never disappoints. He takes our messed up thinking and living then guides us into a plan for us to prosper; a plan only we can fulfill.  If people do not seek God, they will never know how special they are nor what amazing things they could do in the power of God’s grace.   

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 9-22-16

Daily Reading: 9-22-16

Psalm 91:1-6 New Living Translation (NLT)


More and more I crave the reassurance of safety and security from my heavenly Father.  He is the refuge and shelter for my soul and I never need to be afraid, because God will cover and protect me.  Just knowing I can live in God’s shelter, causes me to breathe a sigh of relief, how about you?

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 9-21-16

Daily Reading: 9-21-16

Luke 20:45-21:4 Contemporary English Version (CEV)


Sometimes it appears that people get away with some pretty awful things; not all crimes are met with the proper justice in this world.  But, Scripture teaches that God will punish people who use their positions of responsibility to cheat others while pretending to be sincere.  God will deal with people who see themselves as superior to others.  Superiority is a worldly and dark mindset that can happen in government, the workplace, home, religion; basically, anywhere a spirit of pride is welcomed and fed.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 9-20-16

Daily Reading: 9-20-16

1 Corinthians 9:19-23  The Living Bible (TLB)


I truly love this reading, today.  It reminds me of the importance of knowing who we are in Christ Jesus; to operate in a spirit of humility and acceptance of the person without necessarily agreeing with every choice a person makes with his or her life.  Our goal as Christ’s followers is to allow God’s love and grace to so fill us that we are influential in revealing Christ operating in our lives.  The world needs Jesus not our pompous opinions or religious judgment.  We must seek to find what we share in common with others and then enjoy discussing areas of life from there while still holding onto our own convictions.   Maybe we will be able to tell many about Jesus just by starting with respect and kindness.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 9-19-16

Daily Reading: 9-19-16

Acts 4:1-12 The Living Bible (TLB)

The Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection of the dead, so they were very upset with Peter and John’s message about Christ and how God raised him.  These religious leaders set up a council to question John and Peter.  Interestingly, Peter turns the table at the inquiry and he uses this session with the council as a way to share the gospel about the Messiah.  Because of Jesus, all of humanity is offered a relationship with God.


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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 9-16-16

Daily Reading: 9-16-16

Romans 8:31-39 The Message (MSG)


Have you ever had someone stick up for you while others condemn you?  If you know Jesus and are seeking to make him the Lord of your life, you have enjoyed a divine mediator.  It’s true, nothing can separate you from divine love, because Jesus makes sure of it.  Jesus loves you and embraces you as his own. So, today, don’t allow anything to cause you to doubt God’s love.  Be convinced; live convinced.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 9-15-16

Daily Reading: 9-15-16

Romans 3:1-8 The Message (MSG)


Do you ever find yourself letting things get “under your skin?”  Well, Scripture teaches for our faith to be powerful it must get under our skin.  Otherwise, it is only hypocrisy and religious talk; we can easily become smug and self-satisfied.  God’s teachings are to be believed and practiced in the deep places of the heart; nothing superficial will sustain our faith.


The Apostle Paul was teaching the Romans about the need for trusting God and practicing His Word.  The work of Grace is to deliver us from evil and straighten us out.  Then we reveal the truth that God’s Word has gotten under our skin.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 9-14-16

Daily Reading: 9-14-16

John 3:13-18 The Message (MSG)


According to the Christian calendar, today is Holy Cross Day.  It is a time to celebrate by focusing on the cross and how our Lord Jesus Christ atoned for the sins of the world, defeated death and the devil, reconciled the world to God, and obtained our salvation.   Proclaim the cross today; Jesus won the victory and now he draws all people to himself.  Hallelujah!

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 9-13-16

Daily Reading: 9-13-16

2 Peter 3:8-13  Contemporary English Version (CEV)


What do you look forward to each day?  I look forward to enjoying relationships because that is what I value the most.  In our passage, today, I notice God values relationships so much that he wants everyone saved.  I am amazed by the intensity of God’s mercy.  Yet, I am aware from reading our text that his eternal judgment will be severe.  We need to be ready by accepting salvation in Christ.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 9-12-16

Daily Reading: 9-12-16

1 Timothy 1:18-19 Contemporary English Version (CEV)


With regard to your faith, can you honestly say you lean completely on God with absolute trust and confidence in His guidance?  The Apostle Paul wrote a letter to his spiritual son, Timothy.  In it, Paul reminded Timothy to keep the faith, as well as maintain a clear conscience.    In order to maintain a clear conscience, we must do what we know is right.  When we ignore our consciences, our conviction for right and wrong diminishes.  

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 9-9-16

Daily Reading: 9-9-16

Psalm 51:1-10Living Bible (TLB)


Scripture teaches that sin (rejection of God’s ways) comes with consequences.  King David had an affair with a married woman and killed her husband.   The consequences of that sin were long lasting and caused David great emotional pain; brokenness.  But God forgave David’s sin and cleansed him of sin’s residue.  God is the Healer of the brokenhearted.  He is always interested in creating a clean heart within us and we need cleansing because we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.  May we ask for forgiveness and receive healing.

Psalm 51:1-10

1 Written after Nathan the prophet had come to inform David of God’s judgment against him because of his adultery with Bathsheba, and his murder of Uriah, her husband.


O loving and kind God, have mercy. Have pity upon me and take away the awful stain of my transgressions. 2 Oh, wash me, cleanse me from this guilt. Let me be pure again. 3 For I admit my shameful deed—it haunts me day and night. 4 It is against you and you alone I sinned and did this terrible thing. You saw it all, and your sentence against me is just. 5 But I was born a sinner, yes, from the moment my mother conceived me. 6 You deserve honesty from the heart; yes, utter sincerity and truthfulness. Oh, give me this wisdom.


7 Sprinkle me with the cleansing blood[a] and I shall be clean again. Wash me and I shall be whiter than snow. 8 And after you have punished me, give me back my joy again. 9 Don’t keep looking at my sins—erase them from your sight. 10 Create in me a new, clean heart, O God, filled with clean thoughts and right desires.


Prayer:  Thank you, Lord, for creating a clean heart within me with right thoughts and right desires.  Help me to continue to follow your ways, so joy fills me.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 9-8-16

Daily Reading: 9-8-16

1 Timothy 1:1-11 The Message (MSG)


The Good News of the Gospel is that we can know and enjoy the love of God when our hearts are open to making Jesus the Lord.  God desires for us to open our lives up to His rule.  As you will read in our passage today, the law was given to bring revelation to to God’s family, so they would know when their lives were off track; when they had wandered off to live according to their own desires and inclinations.  The law was fulfilled in Jesus Christ.  Now, when Jesus comes to live in our hearts, we are conformed to God by love and grace.  The Spirit helps us turn from sin in order to keep our hearts pure before God.  We are free, but not to live any way we want to live.  We are to live freely under the authority of God’s Word.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 9-7-16

Daily Reading: 9-7-16

Luke 18:18-30 Living Bible (TLB)


Sometimes Christ’s Word can make us feel very uncomfortable.  Jesus can ask for us to follow him by surrendering something that makes us feel secure or to which we base our identity.  What makes you feel secure or important?  What is it that makes you feel like you stand out from the crowd?  Chances are the thing that makes you feel the most important has the greatest chance of robbing you of receiving something even better.  God is Good and He desires to bring forth supernatural promises, but sometimes we have to let go of what is presently in our hands.


In today’s reading, Jesus encounters a man who gains his worth and value out of his money and possessions. These things give the man a sense of authority and power in his community.  Jesus asks the rich man to give it all away to the poor and follow him.  The lesson for this man will be to find his security and identity in Christ; not his money or his possessions.  God wants to take care of him.  Great blessings await the rich man and Jesus reminds him of that truth.  But, the request is just too much to ask and the man walks away humanly rich but spiritually robbed.  If we are going to follow Christ into Kingdom living, we must focus on what we have to gain; rather, than focus on what God has asked us to surrender.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 9-6-16

Daily Reading: 9-6-16

1 Timothy 3:14-4:2 Contemporary English Version (CEV)


The truth of the gospel is that Jesus was both divine and human, so we could know salvation.  It’s a mystery that can cause people to doubt and stumble. However, because of Jesus, we can enjoy a divine relationship with God while our human nature is being made holy by the Spirit.  If you think about it, you will realize it is an indescribable gift.  Jesus lived in perfect harmony with Father God.  We can do the same, because Jesus is Truth and Christ lives in us.


Division is always trying to pop up in the faith community to send the teaching of God’s love off course. Satan lies to our human side; we have to forbid him access to our thoughts.  As well, we need to be able to identify when others are lying as instruments of Satan’s deception.   We must turn our spiritual ear toward the Truth (the Spirit bears witness) so we can keep growing in the unity of faith that is modeled by Christ. 

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 9-2-16

Daily Reading: 9-2-16

Psalm 1 Contemporary English Version (CEV)


If I were to ask you what makes you happy, how would you answer my question?  Many people think happiness is based on temporal pleasures; when everything in life is going well we can be happy.  Yet, Scripture teaches that happiness is actually simply knowing and following Truth (Jesus).  We were created to live in the Truth of God’s love through the Savior.  It is how God made us.  So, when we do not align our lives with the Truth, we may know fleeting pleasure but not biblical happiness.  If we are not discovering and following the Truth with our lives, who are we following?  The advice of the Liar.


The word blessed is translated “happy or to be envied.”  In our passage today, the Psalmist laid out the Way to Happiness or blessing; the way to success in everything we do.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 9-1-16

Daily Reading: 9-1-16

Psalm 139:1-6 Contemporary English Version (CEV)


How does God know what’s going on inside us?  In our passage from the Psalter, we are reminded that God looks in our hearts; He knows our desires.  God knows our thoughts; he discovers them from heaven.  God knows what we are going to say before we even open our mouths.  Yikes!  That thought comforts me and startles me all at the same time.  God knows me.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 8-31-16

Daily Reading: 8-31-16

Luke 14:15-24 Living Bible (TLB)


Like an excellent Host, God has extended two invitations for people to enter the Kingdom.  One invitation was through Moses and the prophets; this was really to announce an upcoming event.  Many religious people received this invitation.  The second invitation was when God sent his Son into the world to announce the guests should now come because everything is ready for relationship.  This second invitation has been met with all kinds of excuses through the years. 

Our present culture may use different excuses, but they are still excuses for not attending and feasting on spiritual provision that is found in a relationship with Christ.  By making excuses, people find themselves in spiritual starvation.  How sad when the feast is ready and waiting.


While Jesus was having dinner with friends and family, he was sharing with them about the invitation to enter the Kingdom.  A man listening to Jesus and witnessing his glory still did not understand how one could enter the Kingdom. So Jesus told the following parable.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 8-29-16

Daily Reading:  8-29-16

Psalm 119:65-72 New Living Translation (NLT)


If I have calculated things correctly, today would have been Mother and Dad’s 68th wedding anniversary.  It is hard to believe but it has been six years since Dad went home to be with Jesus; I miss him.  In fact, I have thought a lot about Dad recently.  He was a strict parent, but a good one.  When Dad told us to do something; he meant it and wanted it done quickly.  More than once I dallied too long and found myself in the thick of a discipline moment.


It can be the same with our heavenly Father.  Sometimes we can be so slow to follow God’s commands for our lives we find ourselves being disciplined.  God is honored when we pay attention to His Word and quickly step out to follow.  In our passage today, the Psalmist reminds us what a blessing it is when we allow God to teach us.


Psalm 119:65-72


You have done many good things for me, Lord,

    just as you promised.


I believe in your commands;

    now teach me good judgment and knowledge.


I used to wander off until you disciplined me;

    but now I closely follow your word.


You are good and do only good;

    teach me your decrees.


Arrogant people smear me with lies,

    but in truth I obey your commandments with all my heart.


Their hearts are dull and stupid,

    but I delight in your instructions.


My suffering was good for me,

    for it taught me to pay attention to your decrees.


Your instructions are more valuable to me

    than millions in gold and silver.


Prayer:  Father, please continue to teach and instruct me; I need you. I want to thank you for the times you have disciplined me, too.  I have learned many valuable insights even from my mistakes; I thank you for my ability to recognize the truth.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen. 

Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 8-26-16

Daily Reading:  8-26-16

Psalm 112 New Living Translation (NLT)


Do you ever read the Word of God and then sit back and ponder the great blessings that are available to those who trust and obey Him?  In our passage today, we notice those who turn from doing evil and respect God’s ways are truly blessed.  A few spiritual blessings I notice from our reading:  joy, successful relationships, prosperity, live without fear, compassion, and generosity.  Some character blessings that are developed in those who love and trust God: fairness, kindness, mercy, dependability, and influence.  And let’s not forget our passage ends with the statement that God’s blessings are so great on His children, the wicked of the world can actually be jealous. 

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 8-25-16

Daily Reading:  8-25-16

1 Peter 3:8-12 New Living Translation (NLT)


In God’s Kingdom, taking revenge or insulting another person is an unacceptable behavior.  This is a very challenging expectation God has for His children, because it is our natural inclination to lash out and hurt people who hurt us.  Being tenderhearted and humble when someone else has pushed you beyond your ability to maintain peace requires God’s strength.  You cannot accomplish it alone.


All Christians are called to be peacemakers; sons and daughters of God who work toward peace. We work to bring people into a place of peace with God and one another.  To work toward peace with others, we must bring problems out into the open and deal with them before those problems begin to dominate our thoughts and steer us toward negativity.   Because when we allow negativity to take root, it isn’t long before our mouths are engaged in speaking evil.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 8-24-16

Daily Reading:  8-24-16

Luke 6:6-11The Voice (VOICE)


God is always trying to bring us spiritual insight, but we must be open to it.  The Word brings instruction to our souls which need salvation, but many times that Word finds a hostile reception from our mind, will, and emotions.  We may be resistant to change, so we seek to dismiss or even discredit the Word of God. 


In our passage of Scripture today, Jesus wants to help people understand God’s heart to heal and restore them. A man with a crippled hand would be Christ’s example.  Jesus also wants the religious scholars and teachers who are witnesses to gain a glimpse of their malicious intent; he knows their thoughts.  They wanted to accuse Jesus of breaking the spirituals law of practicing medicine on the Sabbath, but instead the Word accused them by shining a light on the evil in their own hearts. 

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 8-23-16

Daily Reading:  8-23-16

Revelation 3:7-13 New Living Translation (NLT)


Have you ever been falsely accused?  In this world, we may find ourselves enduring accusatory comments, nasty rumors, and unkind or even cruel treatment.  This treatment can come from unbelievers, as well as professing believers.  Just because a person confesses to know Jesus does not mean that person has allowed the Holy Spirit to bring transforming love to his or her soul (mind/will/emotions).  When a Spirit-led Christ follower opens his or her mouth, the words are not accusatory.  Satan is actually the accuser of those who love Christ.


In his revelation to the Apostle John, we understand Jesus knows when his followers endure trials and remain obedient despite persecution.  God knows when our hearts are faithful.  That understanding encourages my heart!  Let’s read our passage for today; Christ’s message to the church in Philadelphia.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 8-22-16

Daily Reading: 8-22-16

Hebrews 3:12-4:3 Contemporary English Version (CEV) 


Faith is what pleases God. It is faith in God’s love and promises that keeps us following and discovering more about God’s character. All too easily, we can choose to harden our hearts and refuse to listen to God’s voice. When we listen and obey God’s instructions, it actually causes us to prosper in every area of our lives.


The writer of Hebrews reminds his readers by revisiting the story of the Israelites in the wilderness.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 8-19-16

Daily Reading:  8-19-16

Psalm 103:1-8 Contemporary English Version (CEV)


Some days I am overwhelmed by the love of God and how He values people; His love is so pure.  God truly desires our highest and best (our wholeness) all the time. He understands our struggles and He is compassionate and merciful with our failures.  

David was very familiar with this pure love of God; His enduring kindness and absolute forgiveness.  This unfailing love and favor that surrounded David caused him to trust his whole heart to God; every aspect of his life.  Praise for God erupted from the depths of his soul.


As we head into the weekend, let’s spend a few minutes reading David’s song of praise to the Lord. 

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 8-18-16

Daily Reading:  8-18-16

Hebrews 12:3-11 Contemporary English Version (CEV)


Suffering is the training ground for spiritual maturity. God uses it because it develops our patience and endurance.  It is never fun being corrected by God, but it is necessary because He loves us and wants us to be able to share in His holiness.  God is trying to teach us about Himself and we must decide if we are going to receive that discipline with gratitude.  


In our Scripture passage, today, the Apostle Paul is extending this same wisdom in his letter to the Hebrews.  He reminds God’s people, it is because of God’s great love that he corrects anyone.  If they are not being corrected, it is not a good sign.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 8-17-16

Daily Reading:  8-16-16

Luke 19:45-48 Contemporary English Version (CEV)


Did you know that Jesus gets upset when people take advantage of others?  It’s true.  God is fair and just; He expects that his children will be fair and just, as well. 


In our Scripture today, Jesus comes to the temple only to find the religious leaders have allowed money changers and those selling animals for sacrifice to mistreat God’s people; to take advantage of them.   People had traveled to honor God in the temple and when they got there they were met by shysters and fast talkers.    In our lesson, we see a side of Jesus that we don’t normally see in the gospels; he literally drives certain people out of the temple.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 8-16-16

Daily Reading:  8-16-16

Acts 7:44-53 The Message (MSG)


Sometimes humans can be very stubborn.  We can set our minds on what we want to believe even when faced with convincing Truth.  


Stephen was one of seven leaders chosen to supervise food distribution to the needy in the early church.  He was confronted and accused by Jewish leaders of dishonoring God’s temple in the process.  However, that was a lie to cover up the truth.  Stephen was simply telling people about Jesus and many were converting to Christianity.  Instead of defending himself against his accusers, Stephen took the opportunity to share his vibrant faith and relationship with God. He reminded these leaders of God’s love and provision for his people throughout history and how God was not limited to living in a temple made with human hands.  Now, through the Spirit, God can live in human hearts. 

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 8-15-16

Daily Reading:  8-15-16

1 John 4:1-6 Contemporary English Version (CEV)


The message of Christ, the Son of God, coming in human flesh and dying on the cross is the message of Truth.  Christ died so that we could live forgiven and in fellowship with the Father.  The Spirit was sent so we could know the liberating power of God that lifts us out of dead living due of sin.  We can know vibrant life in Christ Jesus.  Voices that speak of anything else are not from the Spirit of God; in fact, it is the spirit of antiChrist. 


Don’t believe everything you read or hear.  You can identify someone who is telling the Truth from someone who is telling a lie based on whether their ways line up with Christ’s message.  Some leaders tell people what they want to hear; they do not denounce sin nor encourage a change in behavior.  They do not confess or promote the ways of God. Rather, they promote the spirit of antiChrist.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 8-12-16

Daily Reading:  8-12-16

Hebrews 10:32-39 The Voice (VOICE)


If you know Christ and He has brought light and vibrant life to your human existence, you are a member of the faith company.  In other words, we live by faith in the love and provision of God.  Hard times can come to every person; no one is exempt from the trials of life that can chip away at our faith.  However, we never give up, because Christ is our Hope. 


In his letter to the Hebrews, the Apostle Paul exhorted Christ’s followers to stay strong and endure every trial, because God would stay faithful to bring his promise of salvation.  

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 8-11-16

Daily Reading:  8-11-16

Hebrews 10:26-31 New Century Version (NCV)


Sometimes we know the Truth or God’s will on a matter, but do not really want to accept the Truth because it means we would have to acknowledge our will to sin.  In our passage this morning, the Apostle Paul reminds Christ’s followers to continue to allow His sanctifying work to be done in them.  When Christ speaks to specific sin in our lives, that sin must go on the cross so we can experience freedom.  Otherwise, we grieve the Spirit.  A turning away from this holy process the Father put into place for our spiritual growth is called apostasy.  We can choose to run the other direction from God, but eventually we will find ourselves back in the audience of His sovereign judgment.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 8-10-16

Daily Reading:  8-10-16

Luke 12:41-48


God has poured spiritual gifts into every one of His children.  These are gifts to be used for the exaltation of Christ and the advancement of the spiritual Kingdom.  It is unwise to handle these gifts irresponsibly, because God certainly comes with expectations.  God’s gifts are powerful and bring about the necessary results when used in obedience to God’s purposes.  We are wise if we realize God’s spiritual gifts to us are the very things that effectively draw more people into Kingdom living while on earth.  Our lives are the greatest witness to the reality of Christ in us.  In Christ, we are loving, sincere and filled with integrity, quick to witness to the goodness of God, trusting God for provision, and diligent with every task no matter what the size.  Our foreheads are sealed with the joy of our salvation.


In our passage today, Jesus has been teaching his disciples about staying ready for his return.  Jesus told his followers he would be leaving while the Kingdom was being prepared, but in the future he would return for them. They were to faithfully occupy until his return.  If Jesus returned today, would you be watching for him?  Would you be ready to give an account for your work on behalf of the Kingdom?

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 8-9-16

Daily Reading:  8-9-16

Hebrews 11:17-28 Contemporary English Version


Faith is associated with desiring God’s best for our lives.  As well, we can count on the fact that our faith will be tested when it comes to the things we prize the most.  Things in this world might seem good and inviting at times, but compared to the promises of God it offers only fleeting pleasures.  God offers an eternity of blessing.


The Apostle Paul continues his examples of faith in his letter to the Hebrews. 

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 8-8-16

Daily Reading:  8-8-16

Hebrews 11:1-7 Tree of Life Version (TLV)


Recently on our Alaska vacation, John and I spent a great deal of time admiring God’s creative handiwork from afar.  Everything within me wanted to get close and enjoy it, but that was not possible.  So, I just kept my eyes focused on enjoying what I could see and basking in the revelation of God’s glory despite the distance.


Today’s Scripture continues the passage I taught on yesterday at C2C.  If we desire to please our Heavenly Father, every child of God must take an ongoing spiritual journey of faith.  Faith joins assurance with anticipation; a state of certainty with uncertainty.  We believe that everything God tells us is true.  For these giants of faith listed below, we can see they trusted the Father.  As children of God and disciples of faith, we must live each day knowing it is but a piece of the greater reward God will reveal one day.  God is a Rewarder of those who seek Him.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 8-5-16

Daily Reading:  8-5-16

Matthew 6:19-24The Message (MSG)


As His children, God asks us to be in step with His purposes (obedience) and be willing to offer all that we are and have at our disposal (stewardship) to increase His Kingdom.  If we are going to serve as ambassadors of God’s heart, we need spiritual vision to see things from God’s perspective. There is no room for our self-serving inclinations or entitlement attitudes, because they will cause our spiritual vision to be diminished.  The Holy Spirit not only feeds the Light within us, but He is the Light that makes Christ known to us. 


In our passage, today, Jesus is teaching his disciples about living in the Light of true worship.  A Christ follower cannot worship God and money.  Both require single-hearted devotion; there can only be one lord. We need to choose based on what is more permanent.  Jesus reminds his disciples they are immortal and therefore need to deposit in the security of the eternal Kingdom where no one can steal their investment.  Not only do we reap what we sow, we reap based on where we sow.  Jesus reminds every follower, “Seek first His Kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matt. 6:33).

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 8-4-16

Daily Reading:  8-4-16

Romans 9:1-9  New Living Translation (NLT)


This world seems to be filled with leaders who throw out empty promises in order to get ahead.  I wish they understood the magnitude of this deception; making promises that one never intends (or is not able) to keep is sowing seed in the wrong soil.  I am still a firm believer that a promise is a promise.  If I promise to do something for someone, I need to follow through as best I can because I am a child of Promise. My word to someone else needs to be sown in integrity, because I want to spiritually reap from the promises of God.   Even though I have had to break a promise before, God never breaks His promise to us.  What does God promise to do?  He promises to make us His children if we are willing to repent and turn from our own way to follow Christ’s way with our lives. In other words, for those who are born from God above, practice His righteousness, and seeks to love his/her neighbor, God makes them His spiritual seed or child of Promise.  We are sown in spiritual soil to produce a harvest.


In his letter to the Romans, the Apostle Paul is concerned about his Jewish brothers and sisters who continue to reject Christ.  It is their belief simply being physical descendants of Abraham is what makes them a child of Promise.  He explains it is not a matter of physical ancestry; rather, it is a matter of spiritual ancestry.  I call it a spiritual connection.  We are children of Promise when we take God at His Word and live by spiritual Guidance and Power (the Holy Spirit).  Beyond this one beautiful promise from Father God, we find a lifetime of spiritual potential and blessings as our inheritance.  We have to be willing to live as children of Promise; our lives guided by His Word.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 8-3-16

Daily Reading:  8-3-16

Luke 12:22-31 The Living Bible (TLB)


By the time you read this passage, I should be back home from a much needed vacation with my husband.  We needed a time to rest, relax, and enjoy the beauty of God’s presence in creation.  God desires that each one of us would relax, stop worrying, and simply enjoy Him.  We all need to step away from the demands of life from time to time in order to be replenished.


God will always meet our needs.  He has promised to provide for us when we make His Kingdom our priority.  We make the Kingdom of God our primary concern when we allow the Holy Spirit to work Christ’s righteousness in our souls (mind, will, emotions), so we can remain in peace and be filled with joy.


In our passage, today, Jesus is teaching his disciples about the need to trust God’s care for their lives.  If God’s people will pursue and trust Him, like creation does, we will find ourselves secure, safe, fed, and warm in His love.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 8-2-16

Daily Reading: 8-2-16

Colossians 4:2-6  The Message (MSG)

Let’s spiritually examine our thoughts and attitudes for a minute; it’s how we listen for truth and grow in all relationships.  When you are talking to others, is it your goal to bring out the best in others during those conversations?  To set a platform for ongoing dialogue, rather than stopping at a stiff exchange of information? 


When it comes to sharing the gospel, we are to pray for God to open doors of opportunity and communication in our every day lives.  We are to step into those times filled with Grace, because we are to follow our leader, Jesus.  Scripture teaches Jesus always stepped into gospel-sharing moments in humility, gentleness, meekness, and lowliness in order to be welcomed into ongoing dialogue.  The only time we see something different in Jesus’ character is when he is communicating with the Pharisees who are simply trying to further their religious agenda by controlling others.  


In our passage, today, the Apostle Paul is in jail for speaking about Jesus, but he is still praying for the Lord to open doors of communication so he can share the abundant gospel of salvation.  No matter where Paul finds himself, it is a place that needs a Word from the Lord.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 8-1-16

Daily Reading: 8-1-16

Colossians 3:18-21 The Message (MSG)


Scripture seems to always reveal something about relationships. It is Christ who brings us wisdom and the measure of love we need to be victorious in all relationships.  In our passage today, the Apostle Paul is addressing marriage and parenting in Christ.  

Mutual submission is essential for a vibrant marriage.  We must truly desire God’s highest and best for one another and be willing to work through all the challenges that come against that covenant of love.  Marriages that have Christ at the center have the greatest opportunity for happiness and lasting joy.  


Children require great love and discipline; they are a blessing from God.  However, children need to be taught to love and respect the Lord’s authority over their lives.  They learn by watching their parents.  In so doing, they will learn to respect and value others as well as themselves. 

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 7-28-16

Daily Reading: 7-28-16

Romans 11:33-36 Living Bible (TLB)


Many people are content with living their faith at a surface level; having a form of godliness but denying the deeper power.  Christ died so we might actually explore the depths of God’s love and the wisdom He desires to extend; tools for living.  Scripture teaches that God’s thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways, so God definitely has insight I need (Isaiah 55:8).  I don’t think God will be asking me for advice any time soon.  I do, however, need His guidance and wisdom so I will go deeper in His Word every day.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 7-27-16

Daily Reading: 7-27-16

Matthew 5:43:-48 The Voice (VOICE)


In our present culture, we are witnessing an intense level of daily discord.  Satan is hard at work trying to cause division everywhere (family, friendships, work, etc.).  Division makes us weaker by forcing isolation.  


Jesus is teaching the disciples about loving even those we see as enemies.  We are to unselfishly seek the best or higher good for them and pray for them.  And get this: when we respond this way to those who mistreat us we are revealing ourselves as God’s authentic children.   When we reflect our Father, we are living the Higher Life.


It is easy to love those who love us back, but Jesus has called us to love our enemies and pray for them.  Why would he say that?  Because it is the character of God.  He even loves those who hate Him.  God knows it is a hard thing to desire good things for hateful people, so Jesus provided the Spirit who helps us. 

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 7-26-16

Daily Reading: 7-26-16

Romans 9:30-10:4 Common English Bible (CEB)


Jews and non-Jews can experience the truth of the gospel; God desires to make all people His people.   Life in the Spirit—faith in Christ—helps us to understand God’s tremendous love for us all.  For many, the gospel is just too simple and too amazing, so we trip over the Rock of Ages trying to make it difficult!   We cannot earn God’s favor or forgiveness; it’s a gift of Grace.  We must trust the righteousness of God found in Christ that has been extended to humanity.  Our hands come to God empty.   Remember, God will hold us accountable to remain obedient in Christ.  Christ is the complete revelation of God.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 7-25-16

Daily Reading: 7-25-16

Colossians 2:16-3:1Common English Bible (CEB)


The Apostle Paul teaches about how easily people can be led astray from the Law of Grace if Christ is not given his rightful place.   Christ is the Head of the Church; therefore, a connection to Christ is essential for proper spiritual growth.  Christ has set us free to be led by the Spirit through faith in him alone; we are not to be led by the opinions of others, self-made religions or human traditions.  If we have a relationship with Christ, we have the understanding available to us (Spirit) so we can please God.  As we grow up and reach for maturity in Christ, our lifestyles will be based on continual change. We can trust Christ to make us anew, so stay focused on Jesus.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 7-22-16

Daily Reading: 7-22-16

Acts 2:22-36 Living Bible (TLB)


The Holy Spirit is the One through whom all things spiritually come alive.  Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit and went about with the power to perform live-giving miracles, wonders, and signs as the Father directed.  It is the Spirit who imparts the blessing to those who trust in the Lord and seek to know the ways of life eternal.  Blessings and favor await every Christ’s follower.


Peter proclaimed Jesus to be the Anointed Messiah the Jews had been waiting for and he used Scripture to prove his point. God’s plan had been in motion since the beginning of time and was prophesied through David, as well as others.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 7-21-16

Daily Reading: 7-21-16

Psalm 138 Living Bible (TLB)


From heaven the Creator is orchestrating the story of redemption. The Lord has promised to provide salvation and he does so by calling each of us to embrace a lifestyle of worship and an attitude of service to our neighbors.   As well, the Lord provides a plan for our individual lives so we can participate in the story.  Even when we face difficulties, the Lord is working His good plan out for our lives.  We need to remember it is essential to connect our plans with God’s plans, because He is Good.  Let’s praise Him!

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 7-20-16

Daily Reading: 7-20-16

John 6:41-51 Amplified Bible


It is Father God who deposits the desire in human hearts to know and follow Christ.  We do not generate that desire. We have no ability to believe in Christ apart from the work of God to call us.  The Father plants the Seed in human hearts and we choose to activate our faith in the work of Christ (the Bread of Life) and follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit.  It’s called Grace and salvation is entirely provided by God; that’s what makes it the greatest of all miracles.


In our passage today, the Jews are having trouble seeing the divinity of Jesus; after all, in the natural he is the carpenter’s son.  Yet, no one could deny the power of his teaching or how his Word was changing lives.  Jesus calls for their obedience to the Word, but for the most part he only receives criticism.  Since they did not like the message, they condemned the messenger.  


We connect to Christ by believing in his death and resurrection, as well as by devoting ourselves to living as he requires.  The Spirit teaches us and provides the power to fulfill our choice.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 7-1-16

Daily Reading: 7-19-16

1 John 2:1-6 The Voice (VOICE)


I am going to set a word out for you today that most people are afraid to use because it sounds judgmental.  The word is “sin” or that which is evil, immoral, and transgresses against God’s Word.  Jesus is the Living Word, so when we follow the Word we are following Christ.  For the Christ follower who is seeking to know the Father and gain understanding, the word “sin” is familiar.  It is not a judgmental word; rather, it is an honest assessment of our human behavior and sincere recognition of our need for a Savior.  Jesus died for the sins of the whole world; in other words everyone sins.  


We are to avoid judging the sins of others and focus on our own journey; remember Jesus saying, “Why is it that you see the dust in your brother’s or sister’s eye, but you can’t see the wooden plank in your own eye? (Matt. 7:3-4).  Christ’s followers realize sin is our natural condition and, without the supernatural work of the Living Word, sin separates us from our perfect God.  Knowing God means learning to follow His holy ways; we grow closer to God (intimacy) when we confess our sins to Him and choose to allow the Spirit to bring the necessary change into our lives that causes us to align our ongoing choices with God’s Word.


In our passage this morning, the Apostle John is writing a letter and urging Christ’s followers to avoid the inevitable pain and guilt that comes when we practice sin.  There are always consequences to practicing sin.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 7-18-16

Daily Reading: 7-18-16

Colossians 1:27-2:7 Living Bible (TLB)


This is a Word for today; keep it in your heart and never let it go:  Christ in your hearts is your only hope of tasting the glory and culture of heaven.  You need to connect to Christ.  God desires to give us glimpses of the glory; it pleases Him to share with His children.  We must press in and open ourselves up for the revelation and understanding; to live in vital union with Christ.  


Several weeks ago in our LIFE lesson series on Revelation, we read about the lukewarm church at Laodicea who turned away from Christ’s highest for them.  In our passage this morning we see the Apostle Paul had been pouring himself out to help them grow in the riches of heaven, but in Revelation we can see they were too full of themselves to be full of Christ and, therefore, faced God’s discipline instead of being filled with His glory.  It is always about humans making wise choices.   

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 7-15-16

Daily Reading: 7-15-16

Ephesians 3:14-21 New Living Translation (NLT)


When we truly allow Christ the Living Word to make his home in our hearts and trust our lives to his design and purpose, we can experience the unmeasurable love of God for us. God’s presence causes us to grow up spiritually. When we feel empty in our souls, it is simply because we have not invited the Word to transform us, fill us up, and become what we lack; God has fullness for each of us. He did not create us to be spiritually weak nor fragile when facing difficulties in this temporal world. By the Spirit we are to be full of love and mighty in bringing down evil. He created us to be filled with the fulness of Life (mature in Christ), so as his followers we may connect to all the resources of heaven and the wisdom to know how to use them. Every battle in this temporal world originates from a spiritual battle between good and evil and the intersection of the human will to choose between them. God’s Word teaches us about the strategies of evil, as well as the spiritual weapons (resources of heaven) that cause us to stand firm against every attack. 


In our passage today, the Apostle Paul encourages the church at Ephesus to give praise to God for His love and goodness in bringing spiritual maturity to everyone who desires it: 

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 7-14-16

Daily Reading: 7-14-16

Luke 8:4-10 The Voice (VOICE)


Our world is certainly complex and challenging for me right now.  I am not discouraged; rather, I simply recognize what seemed really secure to me has become shaken.  This challenge has to do with the release of words.   A person’s word—what is chosen to be said—is powerful.  It has far reaching effects.  I listen to reports, leaders, and public figures, but what is said on the surface sounds like garble filled with half-truths and many times absolutely void of wisdom.  Yet, I am still grateful for free speech in this country.  The challenge that I spoke about is simply the need to cut through the garble to find Truth.  Honestly, I care about this country and world very much, so I stay connected and informed.  But I put my trust in God who is Truth.  So, I spend a lot more time in the eternal Word of God than listening to the words of the world, because His Word brings me direction, hope, joy, and blessing for eternal living.  There is life beyond this temporal world and I want to be ready for it.


People say the Word of God is difficult to understand and apart from the work of Holy Spirit to bring revelation it can be.  The difficulty came with humanity’s choice to know good and evil.  So now we must sift the words for Truth.  Jesus spoke in parables—little works of art—that were intended to hide the truth and force those listening to go to a deeper level in his or her understanding and comprehension. This is a deeper level in intimacy with God.   The Word of God is a love letter penned by the Spirit that always points to the spiritual riches found in Jesus Christ—Messiah.  The natural mind cannot understand the things of the Spirit, so we must press in by reading, and rereading, and praying for revelation.  Investment, understanding, application, and harvest is the Word process partnered with the Spirit. 


In today’s passage, Jesus tells a parable about the potential power of His Word when it is released in the natural soil or soul—mind, will, emotions—of God’s human family.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 7-13-16

Daily Reading: 7-13-16

Matthew 25:31-46 Living Bible (TLB)


Please pause with me today, as I have many things on my heart. Some times I am entirely taken back by the attitude and responses of people in our world who profess to know God. To actually know God, we must not only profess Christ’s work on the cross for the forgiveness of sin, we must put his loving Grace and mercy into action and witness to Christ’s presence in us by the integrity of our Love. Otherwise, we are simply pretenders of the gospel and not true followers; followers of Christ bear the fruit of the Spirit so the world will be given an accurate image of the One True God. It is by our fruit that we are distinguished as Christ’s followers: love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23). When we operate in this fruit, we accurately represent God’s attitude toward His children.


It isn’t hatred in the heart that causes people to be separated from God who is Love, it is indifference and rejection of His Law of Grace to bring forgiveness and eternal change to the innate selfish attitudes and routines of human beings. Grace leads us to embrace the merciful heart of God as we look at others. Hatred then has no room to grow.


In the Wisdom Book of Proverbs, we find seven things that God calls abominations; things that God’s Grace was sent to change. These things should never find a welcoming home in the heart of those who profess to know God, because the Spirit will aggressively convict us: a proud look (overestimate oneself and discount others), a lying tongue, hands that kill innocent people, a mind that creates wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to do evil, a false witness who speaks lies (half truths), and one who stirs up trouble among the faithful (6:16-17). Now, think about our world, country, leaders, and people who profess to know God.


In our passage today, Jesus reminds his disciples that the Father is looking for followers who have offered his or her entire being to the work of His kingdom. Christ is returning to earth for a second time and when he does the attitudes, integrity, and faithfulness of his followers to extend mercy and bear fruit will be evaluated. Are we doing our daily work out of love for God while responsibly loving the people around us (neighbors)?

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 7-12-16

Daily Reading: 7-12-16

1 John 3:11-17 The Voice (VOICE)


Every day is a gift from God. How we live out each day is a choice. We can choose to live out the day by practicing good (loving God and others) or we can live out the day by practicing evil (loving only self). According to the Word of God, since the beginning of the Garden the choice to practice good and evil was made available to every human being. God said, “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life!” (Deuteronomy 30:19). If we choose life we choose love; they go Hand in hand. Jesus who is Life and Love takes our hand and lives His Life through us to Love the world.


As we look at our world, it becomes obvious that not everyone takes the Hand of Jesus by choosing Life and Love, but we cannot stop releasing both because heaven and earth witnesses our choice. If every follower of Jesus would choose TODAY to release Life and Love, the media would light up witnessing accounts all over the world; because earth would witness our choice. I don’t know about you, but I am ready for the media to be shaken with reporting Good! The Love and Life of Jesus on the move...because He alone overcomes evil.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 7-11-16

Daily Reading: 7-11-16

Psalm 15 The Voice (VOICE)


God created humans to enjoy relationships. We are to love Him and worship Him alone. In His Presence we find our true home and our hearts His dwelling place; our hearts are supremely valuable. Just think of it. The Eternal One knows our hearts and welcomes us to enjoy Him when our motives are sincere. This is the very reason we must diligently guard our hearts because from a sincere and pure heart come the good and noble things of life (Proverbs 4:23). Out of our hearts, we can release the life of God into the world through our thoughts, words, and actions. But with that knowledge, we must remember turning our hearts and devotion will always be the target of the enemy.


For people who do not guard their hearts, they will be led all over the place by their emotions and fears. We see that going on in our world, today. Do not be tossed to and fro by the enemy. Allow God’s love to rule your heart and trust the work of His grace through you.  Listen to the Voice of the Spirit and follow peace.


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Dally Devotional from Pastor Mary 7-8-16

Daily Reading: 7-8-16

John 3:16-17; 19-21 The Voice (VOICE)


God sent the Light, Jesus, to expose the darkness of the human heart that exists without the reigning authority of God—Love.  Every human heart needs to receive the love of God.  Jesus is the answer to our greatest need as humans; otherwise, we will live in a spiritual state of anarchy.  Every act of darkness—hatred, lies, greed, violence—grieves my spirit.  This morning my heart is grieved by the darkness of the heart—the violence—released against the Dallas Police Officers.  Everything in me cries, “We must pray in Jesus’ name!”  I pray for those wounded and fighting for their lives to be healed and restored in Jesus’ name.  I pray for the families of the fallen officers to be covered and held by the Comforter in Jesus’ name.  I pray for truth and justice to rise up and take authority in Jesus’ name.  I pray for peace to cover our nation in Jesus’ name, because it is being shaken by darkness.  


To pray in Jesus’ name is to ask God for everything to spill forth from the glory of heaven that is consistent with His perfect character and fill the earth.  It means as humans we lay our hearts before the Savior and surrender to the work of Love who will cast out darkness from our sinful souls.  We must pray consistent with His nature to rule in our individual lives, as well as care about the things that matter to God.  I pray for our country and the world to embrace the Love of God found in Jesus Christ, because in Him is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5).  Light overcomes the darkness (John 1:5).

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 7-7-16

Daily Reading: 7-7-16

James 2:14-17 New Living Translation (NLT)


As God’s children we are to live our life each day by faith in His Word of love, not by what we see in our realm of awareness (Hebrews 11:6) “Faith makes us sure of what we hope for and gives us proof of what we cannot see” (Hebrews 11:1 CEV). Maybe another way of saying these two things in a personal affirmation might be: I confidently live my faith out in tangible expressions of love by following the example of Jesus Christ in doing good and when I do I experience the heavenly realities of God and the riches of His kingdom being manifest on earth. Jesus prayed, “This is the way to have eternal life, to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth” (John 17:3) Faith is a catalyst (stimulus) for experiencing the realities of heaven on earth and it is connected to God who is Love and the work of Christ to provide eternal life. 

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 7-6-16

Daily Reading: 7-6-16

Luke 10:8-11,16 New Living Translation (NLT)


Rejection can be difficult to deal with no matter what season of life in which we find ourselves; it’s a painful reality that can be found in relationships because they involve feelings and commitments. We want to belong and feel needed; we want people to listen to our thoughts and ideas about life and the things that are important to us. 


Now, think about God for a minute and our conversation about rejection.  God desires to get a very important message to humanity about how much He loves us and how He longs to have a relationship with us.  All are welcomed to live in His Kingdom of love. He created us so we could all enjoy communion or fellowship with Him and one another.  How does God convey His love message?  The answer is through creation, Jesus Christ and his followers, and the work of the Spirit.  Will we welcome and listen to God’s love message or reject it?  It is our choice and we must face the effect of our decision.


In our passage, today, Jesus makes a point about rejecting God’s love message.  Having the right priority will help his followers.  Jesus sends the disciples out to share the Good News of God’s love and His desire to have a relationship with His human creation.  He prepares them by issuing a warning that not everyone will welcome their message about God’s love or the invitation to live in His Kingdom.  They are not to take it personally; they are to put it into perspective.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 7-5-16

Daily Reading: 7-5-16

Psalm 119:73-80 The Message (MSG)


Yesterday was such a wonderful day!  What a great celebration of freedom this nation enjoyed; one nation formed to live under God. As I watched an amazing fireworks display, my soul just lit up with excitement and gratitude for our freedom. We live as free people, yet we must never use our freedom as an excuse to live contrary to God’s righteous paths for our lives. He is our Maker and knows the plans He has for us. Our biggest assignment is to know Him and live by His wisdom.


Our passage this morning is from the longest chapter in the Bible. The psalmist understands that to grow in revelation and understanding we must stay in God’s Word. The culture of the world can confuse us and cause us to live contrary to God’s wisdom; therefore, His Word was given to be a guide. The Word is more than what is written on the page; sometimes the text is a challenge to understand with our natural minds.  But, praise God for the work of the Spirit.  The Spirit brings holy revelation and power to apply God's wisdom to our lives. Wisdom is the tune we should all dance to as individuals made in His image.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 7-1-16

Daily Reading: 7-1-16

Psalm 66:1-12The Message (MSG)


Today, John and I are celebrating our 38th wedding anniversary.  God brought us together and He has truly blessed our years of becoming One with Him and one another.  We started our marriage in a posture of worship (connected and submitted to Christ) and we continue to bow our imperfect yet grateful lives before our spotless Maker.  God caused our love to create two amazing sons who have recently bowed in worship with their wives to become One.  God loves His family and our family is God’s greatest gift to us; we treasure every day we can share with them.


Life is a journey to be lived and enjoyed for the glory of God and the work of His Son, Jesus, and His kingdom.  If we are willing to give our lives to Him and surrender to the work of the Holy Spirit to refine the soul, we can know great joy and blessing.  God gives us what the world cannot.  Honesty, John and I never enjoyed the training portion of God’s work in the soul because it was painful; sometimes God pushed us to the very limit.  But, now when we look back over our lives we can see that Father really does know best.  He has walked with us in dry times of testing—never left us alone—and He has quenched our souls with His refreshing Spirit when we have opened our hearts to receive.  For the record, John and I are still working on becoming One, because we are two very different people (somebody laugh here!). Yet, we have lived our married lives knowing we both need the Savior, Jesus.  Connecting to Christ has brought us this far.  What an awesome God we serve; He truly does take our breath away!

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 6-30-16

Daily Reading: 6-30-16

Romans 7:14-25  The Living Bible (TLB)


When I was a child, I played outside a lot.  It was a great time as there were many children around my age in the neighborhood.  One of the games we used to play was tug-o-war.   I was never picked for the team until the very end, because I brought very little mass and strength for victory. 


For the Christian, every day can be an inner battle or tug-o-war between choosing to do that which is good before God and choosing to do that which is evil.  Even though we are born again to new life and have the indwelling Spirit, evil still lurks within our old nature.  Just becoming a Christian does not eliminate sin and temptation from our lives. 


The Apostle Paul teaches us this morning that when we get into the Word, it begins to show us the Truth of our lower natures that have yet to be transformed into the image of Christ.  Knowledge of residing sin cannot save us; knowledge just reveals to us we have a problem.  Trying to change ourselves cannot save us, we will always fail the tug-o-war and fall into frustration.  We need the work of the Spirit; we must take hold of the tremendous power provided by Grace to deliver us from evil.  Christ has made the power available to us, but we must choose to let the Spirit lead us into freedom.  Becoming like Christ takes a lifetime of appropriating Grace.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 6-29-16

Daily Reading: 6-29-16

Matthew 10:16-25 New Living Translation (NLT)


The other day I was studying an official scientific research chart of the top twenty-one causes of death in the USA in 2016 (six months). Abortion is the number one cause of death at 501,325. Murder by gun was the twenty-first entry at 5,276. I noticed most of the categories in between these two were actually deaths caused by some type of disease: addictions and physical afflictions that overtake our human bodies.  As I looked at the list of words and numbers and prayed because my heart was so grieved with the facts, the Holy Spirit reminded me that everything on the list was a result of the spiritual disease and death that is connected to the world that chose to experience the knowledge of good and evil.


In our passage today, Jesus sends his disciples out into the world, but tells them they will be protected by the Holy Spirit against the spiritual disease of evil. The disciples are to be wise of the world's infectious environment, yet innocent and untainted from the spiritual disease of evil that invades human nature and causes humans to choose to act in opposition to God (Love). Christ's disciples will always experience hardship because we live in the world, but we are to remain devoted to Love at all cost.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 6-28-16

Daily Reading: 6-28-16

Ephesians 5:6-20 New Living Translation (NLT)


A fruit tree must have Light to bear fruit; about six hours of sunlight daily to produce fruit that is healthy and flavorful.  God has created His children to bear spiritual fruit, so we must stay in the Light (Christ) of goodness, righteousness, and truth in order to produce fruit that is healthy and has the flavor of God.  We learn what God desires for our lives through study, revelation, and experience in the Word.  We do not make the journey alone.  The Holy Spirit is available to fill us and guide us on this fruit-bearing faith journey each day.  If we allow the Spirit to lead us, we will become sensible, intelligent, and discerning people who are determined to fear (respect) and enjoy fellowship with God (know Him).

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 6-27-16

Daily Reading: 6-27-16

1 John 2:7-11 New Living Translation (NLT)


Love is always connected to the Son of God, Jesus Christ.  He is divine Love expressed through human flesh.  If we follow Christ’s example that is revealed in Scripture-how he loved all people-we will be pleasing the heart of God.  Let’s remember Jesus did not always agree with the way people chose to live out love because sometimes people chose to love self more than God, as well as abuse others.  However, Christ extended to even the greatest offenders unconditional love and an attitude of respect.  Love is not a feeling; love is a choice.  God’s grace provides the power to put His love into action when we choose to love God’s way.


In his letter to believers everywhere, the Apostle John reminds Christ’s followers that living in God’s love is living in the Light of Truth.  Christ revealed a clearer picture of God’s commandments by how he loved, respected the rights of others, and served people far beyond his circle of family and friends.  In fact, Jesus loved his enemies; those who were really difficult to love.  If we find ourselves ignoring and despising people, then it really points toward our own wrong attitude and poor choice regarding love.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 6-24-16

Daily Reading: 6-24-16
Galatians 4:8-20 GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)

Some days it is more difficult than others to hold onto a positive attitude, isn’t it? We can get weighed down with the daily issues of life and forget the power of Abba--Father God--who actually forms all of our futures as His children. We say we believe God loves us and has a great plan for our lives, but do not always display that belief in our attitudes.  

When we are focused upon God and His purposes for our lives (this is called worship) we are filled with His love and joy. We can be the most positive folks around; our spirits are full of Light and Life and our souls (mind, will, emotions) respond accordingly. This is what it means to spiritually dominate. Remaining (spiritually living) in His loving presence and radiating His holy principles each day brings an infilling of the Spirit that is experientially tangible to ourselves and others. Jesus modeled this devotion to Abba so beautifully when he prayed for God to take care of us as His followers, “I come to You; I told them many things while I was with them in this world so they would be filled with my joy. I have given them your word (principles for living). And the world hates them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one.” (John 17:13-15 NLT). When we shift our focus from God and living in the joy of our salvation and choose instead to absorb the culture of the world it can drag our otherwise positive attitudes into the stagnant pool of negativity. This is where Satan desires to drag your joy, so be on guard.

The Apostle Paul has to write a letter to the church at Galatia in order to rebuke their negativity and misguided priorities. They have allowed the world’s customs and the expectations of religious tradition to rob them of their joy. Paul reminds them of how positive and free they were at one time as they lived in the principles of God in the power of the Spirit.  

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 6-23-16

Daily Reading: 6-23-16

2 Corinthians 13:5-10


What do we gain from recognizing our weaknesses?  Some people may prefer to deny their weaknesses and simply focus on their strengths.  But, Scripture teaches that it is beneficial to examine our weaknesses, because it can grow our faith.  When we are weak—when we have come to the end to our human strength in an area of life—we can use our faith and reach for the eternal inheritance of God’s resources set aside for each one of us in Christ.  God’s divine strength in the midst of our human weakness is noticed by others and we become His witnesses.  Christ is the Anointed One who loves us and brings the resources of heaven in response to our faith; but, we must get into agreement with God’s plan for our lives.  What is that plan?  We are living true to faith when we allow the Holy Spirit to bring restoration to us; continue our growth and maturity in the Lord’s holy character.  Recognizing our weaknesses will cause us to mature in Christ.


In his writings to the church at Corinth, the Apostle Paul challenges them to spiritually grow up as they live out their faith.  He exhorts them to recognize the areas in their lives that need more of God’s strength and to use their faith to appropriate a righteous change.  Paul was willing to correct those under his leadership for stepping away from the weak areas in their lives that needed to mature by urging them to reach for the strength of God.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 6-22-16

Daily Reading: 6-21-16

Luke 9:37-43 Amplified Bible (AMP)


The Holy Spirit invites us to enter into the presence of God; a sweet place of awareness and understanding that God loves us and is all-powerful over heaven and earth.  In that place, we have no doubts, fears, and are filled with faith and love in our understanding of His goodness.  It is a mountaintop experience with the holy Lord.  Life calls us to an awareness and understanding of holiness, but also allows an awareness and understanding of evil.  The more beauty we experience with the Lord the more ugly evil appears.  Disciples who want intimacy in Christ and to operate in His authority become very aware of the presence of evil.  The Truth (Christ) exposes evil (John 3:20).


Jesus has been with three of His disciples for a mountaintop experience.  During His prayer, Christ is transfigured and the disciples experience an awareness of His extreme holiness.  These three are so amazed they do not want to leave.  Instead, they want to build structures and live on the mountain with the Lord.  I understand that desire; I get it!   But, if Christ’s disciples are going to be effective in revealing the Way of eternal life to a fallen world, we will need to descend the mountain and walk into the valley to confront evil (dead living) with Truth (eternal living).

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 6-21-16

Daily Reading: 6-21-16

Ephesians 2:11-22 Tree of Life


Today, we continue our celebration of the Pentecost season of the Church where we recognize the work of the Ruach; the Holy Spirit.  Jesus made a way for all of humanity—Jews and non-Jews or Gentiles—to enjoy fellowship with God and love for one another; no more hostility for our differences because Christ is making us all a part of himself.  Jesus Messiah is the Cornerstone of Peace; he brought together two groups of people with God and began the work of building them up into One body in the Spirit.  


The Jews experienced the nearness of God and His faithful love through moral obedience to the Torah Scriptures and religious ceremonies He set forth, but in Christ they would repent and experience the freedom to really enjoy human life while still pleasing God.  The Gentiles passionately lived out their humanity and knew nothing about a holy God or what pleased Him, but in Christ they would repent and now be free to draw near and learn how to live in His moral standards while still enjoying life.  These two groups of people were given the opportunity to turn to a God-driven life, merge through the Spirit, and become the temple of the Lord; God’s dwelling place.  It is the work of the Spirit to form us into men and woman who bow to Christ’s authority and express holy love.  Now, in Christ, we can all live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28).  God desires that no one be excluded, because this life Christ gives is abundant or beyond measure (John 10:10). The Spirit is our Guide.


The Apostle Paul is writing to the church at Ephesus and reminding them of Christ’s purpose to bring people together.  We share One thing in common; the love of the Father, the work of Christ’s cross (repentance/sacrifice) and the power of the Spirit to unite us and make us One so we can enjoy abundant life as a family.  

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 6-20-16

Daily Reading: 6-20-16

1 Corinthians 1:18-31  Tree of Life Version (TLV)


There is a phrase that I hear every now and then that really makes me stop and think.  The phrase is, “(So and so) is a self-made individual.”  Self-made or having become successful by one’s own efforts.   Can that be a true statement about anyone if we line it up with the evidence of creation and the Lord’s involvement as the Authority of heaven and earth?  


Our lives, as humans, are temporary and fragile apart from the work of God’s Spirit.  We can have one area of our lives flourishing while another area is tumbling downward faster than we can grab it.  For example, perhaps we are climbing the vocational ladder of success at an exponential rate, but the tapestry of our most personal relationships is unraveling.  We have sacrificed one for the other.  Neither the practice of our religious traditions, nor the advancement of our human intellect can bring the Wisdom for wholeness to our lives.


We need to be God-made individuals in order to be whole and eternally successful.  The Spirit of God is the One who brings wholeness to our lives.  Even though the very concept can seem foolish, we can know true success when we are being lead by the Spirit of Christ.  Wholeness comes through the work of the cross; we follow the sacrificial Christ and we seek His Kingdom first.  That means we do not seek after power and authority through the natural paths of the world.  Instead, we sacrificially offer ourselves to loving others as God brings a greater measure of wholeness to our lives.  It seems backwards, but it is living life forward toward eternity.  Our lives were created to be lived this way, so wholeness is available if we are willing to be God-made.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 6-17-16

Daily Reading: 6-17-16

Galatians 3:15-22  New Living Translation (NLT)


Some times it is difficult to persuade people to look beyond their own perspective on a topic and/or experience just in case there is more to be known beyond a slight turn of the will.  This can be true in our natural understanding or knowledge of the material world and in our spiritual understanding or knowledge of faith.  The point is not necessarily that what is presently known or understood is a bad thing or without purpose; in fact the present knowledge and understanding can be quite beneficial.  The point is there may be something ahead that actually builds upon that present perspective; a point of revelation to be encountered if we are willing to be taught.  Such is the case with the Apostle Paul and his argument with the Galatians that we will read today.  What is the topic of this dialogue?  The “What” is the Law of Moses or specifically the Torah.   


History:  The Jewish leaders managed to make hundreds of rules and rituals (Torah) out of God’s Ten Commandments—moral and ethical standard that is consistent with His Love.  In fact, those rules and rituals (Torah) governed almost every aspect of Jewish life.  It was slavery and self-defeating, because no human could fulfill the Torah Law human’s actually created. lol…  In the Gospels, Jesus confronted this reality all the time, because He revealed to the religious leaders of his time that they had actually broken God’s commands, found “loopholes” and convinced themselves they were obeying the Law while at the same time living self-centered, unrighteous, and greedy lives before the Father (Matthew 23:23-28).  Humanity apart from authentic Love is a manipulating mess that denies the authority of God.  Jesus, the Promise, came as the “descendant” of Abraham to bring forgiveness for humanity’s sinful or selfishly created “loopholes,” as well as the ability to live by the Spirit into newness of life.  Jesus connects us with a new beginning in the Love of God.  Let’s see how Paul explains freedom from the Law…

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 6-16-16

Daily Reading: 6-16-16

Romans 2:17-29 New Living Translation (NLT)


Scripture teaches and history reveals that human beings can be deceived into thinking they have a special relationship with God, know His heart, and at the same time terribly misrepresent Him to the world through their actions. We need the Holy Spirit shining the light of Truth on God’s Word to know Father God’s heart; we need the Word (Jesus) and the Spirit operating in our lives in order for us to be one with His heart. God’s Word must be written on our hearts and lovingly lived out each day in the power of the Spirit for us to really represent God.


In our passage this morning, the Apostle Paul is speaking to a group of Jews in Rome who think they are in a position to judge others. Clearly, anyone can set a standard for others, judge them, only to find himself or herself violating that standard with his or her own life. It is only through the mercy and goodness of the Lord that any of us (human beings) are saved from a life of sin and death and reborn into a life of righteousness and eternal living.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 6-15-16

Daily Reading: 6-15-16

Mark 2:1-12 Modern English Version (MEV)


The Word of God brought forth creation and is such an awesome mystery.  It reveals the vital connection between the spiritual and material realms regarding God’s creation and the world in which He placed us.  The spiritual lessons are eternal and always relevant for the material world.  A biblical story is not only about what was going on in the text at a certain time in the past material world.  The Word is eternal and alive, so it transcends time to be partnered and loaded with a spiritual context and relevant lesson for a faith application.  This revelation is imparted to us by the Holy Spirit.  The Word always accomplishes what it is sent to do in our lives, that is why we must invest time in the Word every day.  As humans on a spiritual journey, the Word-Christ-is who connects us to eternal truth about our lives.  In Christ, we walk in our humanity by faith, not by what we see going on around us.


God is teaching me many things lately.  I confessed to the Lord this morning that many of the things He is teaching me are deep for me.  Let’s press in, anyway!  The number four in creation is symbolic of God’s material universe.  For the past four days, I have spent more time than usual listening to the news and what is going on in God’s creation.  The reports about the many happenings in Orlando consume not only the local and national networks, but the international ones, as well.  I usually limit watching the news, because I find the reports burden my heart-the pain others are enduring-which in turn pulls on my soul (mind/will/emotion).  I want to be informed in order to invest myself in prayer for others, but I cannot allow myself to be immersed in the news.  I have to stay focused on Jesus, the Living Word my Source of Peace, and press in through the crowd of doubt to understand what He is presently doing in the center of all His creation because He loves us; rather, than focusing on the violence and display of evil in the world that seeks to distract, impart fear, as well as bring chaos, confusion, and spiritual starvation to humanity.  Fear will always seek to paralyze and hinder our movement and growth as children of faith in God’s Love for His creation.  Satan knows our lives matter to God, so evil seeks to speak deception and keep us away (sin) from opening up the Word our Healer.   As children of faith we may have to grab ahold of one another, go to the mat, and struggle with understanding the things that go on in the material world, but Jesus-the LORD of all creation-will always speak an eternal Word to bring healing that helps us to rise in victory!  Others around us will notice when we have pulled back the barrier of doubt in order to be with Jesus; our lives reflect His glory.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 6-14-16

Daily Reading: 6-14-16

Psalm 130:1-5 New Living Translations (NLT)


The spirit of deception is busy seeking to cause God’s human family to destroy one another. Deception always presents as truth, but it is evil, twisted, misleading, and self-serving at its core; all about personal advantage and power over others.  In contrast, the Spirit of Truth calls us to gather to God, as His children, and grow together as we experience and learn about His love.


My heart is burdened in recognizing the evil deception that drove a young man’s terroristic thoughts and actions to rob the freedom and life from so many innocent people in Orlando this weekend.  It breaks my heart that some people may be so deceived that they think this young man’s actions pleased God.   As well, my heart is burdened by the knowledge that any human being can be a host to evil deception when we do not submit ourselves to and respect God who created us to live in His loving image.  The Holy Spirit is the One who helps us understand the Truth of God’s love and our great need to learn from Him.


I pray for people to turn to God and connect to Love in these difficult days, because Love is the only thing that will sustain us when facing the mountain of deception that evil throws our way.  First Corinthians 13:4-8 reminds us what a person who lives loyal to God’s Love (modeled by Christ) actually exemplifies: Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude.  It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.  It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”  

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 6-13-16

Daily Reading: 6-13-16

Galatians 3:1-9 New Living Translations (NLT)


The Holy Spirit is the fulfillment of the promises God made to Abraham under the Old Covenant of the Law—(based on perfect performance to God’s standards through human effort).  God promised to make Abraham the faith father of many descendants.   Through Christ’s love, death, and resurrection, humanity is offered the choice to have a right relationship with God and a New Covenant called Grace.  The New Covenant of Grace is built on trusting God to make us righteous; rather, than trying to make ourselves righteous. 


Human beings can always lose their way when it comes to faithfully following God’s Word.  Even though we may love God, we can still wander and lose sight of the big picture associated with God’s heart.   In our lesson, today, the Apostle Paul wants the wandering Galatians to remember the foundation of the church and having a right relationship with God is built on the New Covenant and the work of the Holy Spirit to teach us how to live by faith.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 6-10-16

Daily Reading: 6-10-16

2 Samuel 15:1-12 New Living Translations (NLT)


Since the Garden of Eden, humans have been infiltrated with deception—an egocentric bent or inclination.  It is why we must humble ourselves and draw near to God.  Deception tries to draw us away from God and tempt us to give our authority to the purposes of evil (a supernatural force that produces sin or rotten fruit:  e.g. profound immorality, wickedness, depravity, and corruption).  Only God can liberate us from the power of evil and position us for His divine purpose.  Please remember, we overcome evil with Good (Romans 12:21).


In our study of Revelation this past Wednesday evening, we discussed the rising presence of deceptive evil in the world.  If humans do not draw near to God in order to grow in the Word by the Spirit of Love, we can open ourselves up to controlling and deceptive spirits.  In particular, we discussed the presence of a Jezebel spirit (Jezebel is a name synonymous with an evil and seductive egocentric spirit).  A Jezebel spirit tries to control humans with the purpose of getting the unwitting to live for the kingdom of darkness; rather, than live for the purpose of releasing God’s Love and Goodness.   Some characteristics of a Jezebel spirit present as follows:  accusatory, easily offended, divisive by forming conspiracies against those who seek to release Good, twists communications, constricts the desire to live in integrity, morally unteachable, manipulating, controlling, competitive, and vindictive when others resist being controlled by them.  All we need to do is ask the Spirit to open our eyes and watch the news for a few minutes to see the presence of a Jezebel spirit active in our world. Humans can give authority to supernatural forces that control the soul (mind/will/emotions).  However, we never need to be afraid, we simply must choose to be led by the Spirit of God and resist evil by releasing Good fruit (Love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, thoughtfulness, self control. Galatians 5:22). Jesus gives us the authority and power to be victorious for His Kingdom.


In our reading below, David’s son, Absalom, has given power to deception and presents with a Jezebel spirit.  He initiates a conspiracy against his father who seeks to honor God by twisting communications, manipulating, and competing for power and authority.  

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 6-9-16

Daily Reading: 6-9-16

James 4:1-7 New Living Translations (NLT)


I am grateful for every day God gives me breath (ruach or spirit) in my lungs to live in His created world! I believe God is the Giver of all Life. As recipients, humans are given the freedom to choose how we will live that life before the Giver. As Creator, God asks humanity to humbly draw close to Him and choose to live for a God-centric purpose. Scripture teaches how we are to live in God’s Love; we need Jesus and the work of the Holy Spirit. God wants only good for humanity, so when we draw near to Him, we are actually opening the Door to our greatest and most fulfilling purpose. The world (now infiltrated by evil) seeks to draw us away from God in order to live and fulfill an egocentric purpose which always leaves a person unsatisfied and misdirected.  A focus on self alone will always produce poor choices.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 6-8-16

Daily Reading: 6-8-16

Luke 8:40-56 New Living Translations (NLT)


The last few days we have been reading Scripture passages on faith; how our faith will be stretched, because our souls need to rise in spiritual maturity.  Since it is impossible to please God without faith, it must be our faith that causes God to move in our behalf. The Word stretches our faith, guides and corrects us, so the Spirit can come and respond to our faith with healing.

Jesus is the Living Word who is filled with the Spirit of Love doing the Father’s will.  Here is another way to say the same thing: Jesus has the heart of the Father for all creation, has obediently and flawlessly applied the Word to his humanity, and is filled with the healing Spirit of Love to go about releasing the goodness of God into the world.  Jesus is the fullness of God to bring salvation.  


Many people claim to know Father God. Do you know the Father’s Son, Jesus, the Living Word in human flesh?  Do you realize the gift and value of Scripture when it comes to your life as a child of the Father who is spiritually growing to look like the Son, so you can be useful in the power of the Spirit for God’s kingdom?  Timothy said it this way, “All of Scripture is God-breathed; in its inspired voice, we hear useful teaching, rebuke, correction, instruction, and training for a life that is right so that God’s people may be up to the task ahead and have all they need to accomplish every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17). 

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 6-7-16

Daily Reading: 6-7-16

Galatians 2:11-14 New Living Translations (NLT)


Yesterday, we looked at a passage from Genesis that reminded us our faith will be stretched.  That reminder is necessary so we will always be prepared to protect the joy of our salvation and our trust in the Lord’s Love for us.  He disciplines those He loves; He guides those who welcome renewal. 


Today, we will read a passage from Paul’s letter to the Galatians.  This is a great reminder why our faith needs to be stretched; our souls need a dose of divine healing and renewal to reflect the heart of God.  As Christ’s followers we must be more concerned with pleasing the Lord than pleasing people. Peter is going to experience that love and faith-stretching lesson in a public confrontation.

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 6-6-16

Daily Reading: 6-6-16

Genesis 22:1-14  New Living Translations (NLT)


Has the Lord been stretching your faith? For every child of God who calls on the name of the Lord (Here I am, Lord!), he or she will experience salvation.  Please remember salvation of the spirit is instantaneous; because of Grace we become a new (redeemed) spiritual creature. Our spirits are reborn in the righteousness of Christ; the Holy Spirit remains our Companion.  Salvation of the soul (mind, will, emotions) is revealed and learned experientially; the journey for the salvation of the soul is taught by the Spirit.  Not only does the Spirit help us to learn Truth about God’s heart and ourselves through the Word, the Spirit stirs our desire and offers the power for us to bring our minds, wills, and emotions into obedience with God’s plan for us as His children of faith and Love. 


The fear of the Lord is reverence for His authority as our Creator.  God allows experiences to strengthen our faith and secure our devotion to Trust Him; He knows the plans He has for us and He desires to love us into that plan.  When our faith is being tested, we will be tempted to question God’s love.  It is a refining fire that purifies our faith.  God allows the test, but we must always remember God brings the provision for salvation, as well.  The revelation of God’s salvation for us and in us brings us a testimony of His goodness and an increase to our faith. We become greater instruments for God's plan to redeem the world.


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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 6-3-16

Daily Reading: 6-3-16

Acts 26:1-11 New Living Translations (NLT)


When we meet Jesus and the Holy Spirit fills us with the ability to know Truth, it changes our perspective of what is truly important in life and drives us to articulate it.  We choose our conversations more carefully, because sharing from an eternal life perspective is exalted above all things.  Why?  Because Christ in us wants others to know Him and the power outflowing His resurrection that is available to everyone.  Christ compels us to share Love and the hope of eternity with God.  Paul is an example of a compelled man with an eternal story.


Paul has made a journey to Jerusalem where he is arrested for preaching the truth about Jesus Christ by sharing the encounter he had on the road to Damascus.  Paul cannot stop speaking a message of Hope—resurrection from the dead—since meeting Jesus.  The Jews listen and become furious with his story, so they beat him and demand his death.  The Romans step in because they do not like the disruption to the peace; they take Paul to the fortress where he awaits sentencing.  


In our passage, Paul is giving his own defense before King Agrippa of the Herodians (Hellenistic Jews).  Agrippa is not sitting as judge in this inquiry, but is there to give his opinion on the matter of how to present accusations against Paul to the emperor in Rome.  Paul seeks to vindicate his character, articulate the facts of what happened in his life to cause a change in his understanding of Jesus, defend his own conversion, and preach a message of hope to everyone listening. 

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 6-2-16

Daily Reading: 6-2-16

Acts 22:6-21 New Living Translations (NLT)


Humans were created to love and serve God—the Light of the World—through choice (remember the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil).  The darkness of sin came through a poor personal choice (it still does).  Humanity rejected receiving the Light and Truth of God’s Love and instead chose human effort or power.  Apart from a relationship with God through the Spirit of Love who Lights our path, we can get way off course in how we perceive the goodness of God extended to humanity, as well as how we treat people. 


The Apostle Paul served God’s Law as devout as anyone; tenacious for the Law to be fulfilled.  He thought that success make him a light to others as he served God.  However, in his choice to make the keeping of rules his focus he actually ventured into darkness; he mistreated and abused people rather than love them toward God.  The Light of God showed up to help Paul turn toward the Truth of authentic Love: 

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 6-1-16

Daily Reading: 6-1-16

Mark 7:24-30 (CEV)


Faith is acting like we believe the Word of God’s Love is Truth; human activated faith pleases God (Hebrews 11:6).  Scripture teaches, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not yet seen” (Hebrews 11:1).   Today’s passage shares the active faith journey of a desperate mother.  Her daughter is inhabited by a demon.  We are not told how the demon gained possession.  Scripture teaches it is possible for us to open our hearts to be ruled by habitual sin and provide an invitation for a demon to enter (e.g. refusal to forgive).  A demon is an angelic entity who opposes God’s sovereign control of Love.  Demons influence people to live in a way that is contrary to God’s intentions.  


News has traveled the area about Jesus; the One who delivers the captives.  This mother does not stop until she finds Jesus and petitions Him to provide the grace she knows He possesses in order to heal and deliver her daughter.  She believes Jesus is the Messiah of Truth sent by God.  Therefore, she stands on the prophesied Word from Isaiah about Messiah, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, and the oppressed will be set free” (61:1).   She does not take “no” for an answer; she does not leave without the Word of the Lord being spoken over her daughter.  Jesus tells this mother He has really come to release the Word of grace in order to “feed” or teach the Jews.  It is not time to reach out for Gentiles or non-Jews.  She accepts that Messiah came first for the Jews, but she begs for the crumbs of grace, because she is convinced that even the crumbs of God’s Love and mercy will bring the miracle she needs.  Jesus is impressed with her statement of reasoning; her Word usage accompanied by faith. 

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Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 5-31-16

Daily Reading: 5-31-16

Romans 12:9-16 The Voice (VOICE)


I trust you had a restful Memorial Day.  It is truly important for us to remember and honor the people who have served and died to defend the freedom God has extended.  When we honor those who have fallen in order to protect freedom; we honor God.  Under God’s authority, we are instructed to despise evil and take a stand against it.  Evil gains power through wrong thoughts and attitudes put to action. 


As humans, we have a tendency to bury all kinds of negative attitudes and mindsets deep within us.  Many times these wrong thoughts are entombed by the stone of self-denial. Some times these wrong thoughts are about ourselves; we can have haughty attitudes.  Some times these wrong thoughts are about others; people we are called to love as much as we love ourselves.  As Christ’s students, we should expect the Savior—the Living Word—to bring attention to what, in our humanity, needs a holy touch.  With that understanding, we need to invite the Holy Spirit to bring us salvation by renewing our minds about others with whom we have issues.  Jesus knows what needs to be made holy (process is called sanctification) in our souls (mind/will/emotions).   In order to enjoy the glory of the Lord, we