Tuesday, June 27, 2017

We Can Carry Nothing Out

- 1 Timothy 6:7

INTRODUCTION

Job stated that he came to this world naked with nothing, and he knew that he would leave this world in the same fashion (Job 1:21). Job would have understood what Paul meant when he said, “For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.” Solomon spoke of the vanity of labouring one’s whole life just to leave the fruits of his labour to a fool (Ecclesiastes 2:17-21). This was not written to suggest that man should foolishly spend the wealth before leaving this world. It simply serves as a reminder that men should not foolishly amass their wealth for a day that may never come. One must do his part before death because he can carry nothing with him into death.

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS


  • (For children): Saved and lost alike take nothing into eternity (Psalm 49:10, 16-17). Read Luke 16:19-26. Did the rich man take his riches? Did they help him? Why not use wisely what God gives us now as did those in Philippi (Philippians 4:15-17), or Dorcas (Acts 9:39)?
  • (For everyone): What are some things you can do right now that you will not be able to do when you leave this world? How will your control over your finances change at death?
  • Are you foolishly spending your money because you know that you cannot take it with you? How would the Lord have you to change your approach?

PRAYER NEEDS


  • Ask God for wisdom on how and when to spend your wealth.
  • Ask the Lord to remind you that you can take nothing with you.

HYMN

Have Thine Own Way, Lord!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Ye Have the Poor Always

- Matthew 26:11

INTRODUCTION

World leaders constantly claim that they hold the solution for how to rid the world of poverty. Yet, the Lord stated that mankind would always have a problem with poverty, at least until the millennium. Believers should be willing to help the poor but must keep in mind that they will never eliminate world poverty. According to Deuteronomy 15:11, “the poor shall never cease out of the land.” In other words, regardless of man’s efforts to give and help, there will always be a group of people who struggle financially. With this in mind, believers should not ignore the physical needs of the poor but should be most concerned with offering the poor spiritual help (Acts 3:6).

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS

  • (For children): God knew the poor would always be with us (Proverbs 22:2). He made specific provisions for them (Exodus 23:10-11). He remembered them in times of feasting (Deuteronomy 16:10-11; 13-14). Take note that even with all of man’s efforts to end poverty, the poor will still be here in the end times (Revelation 13:16).
  • (For everyone): Why is it important to be most concerned with an individual’s spiritual condition? Is it possible to help someone financially only to see them return to the problem of poverty? How is this different from the spiritual help that we can invest in them?
  • A person changed spiritually will never be the same. Is it your responsibility to solve the problem of poverty? If not, what is supposed to be your primary responsibility and focus?

PRAYER NEEDS

  • Ask God for wisdom to know what you can and cannot do.
  • Ask the Lord to remind you that the poor will always be here.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Why It Is Too Soon to Give Up

- #7905

Ten more minutes and my wife would have never been born. The story that changed everything is hope for any of us who love someone who's making some very bad choices. My wife's grandfather, Bill, had given up on life. Trashing a profitable career for the alcohol and cocaine he could not resist. He was labeled with a prison record, he was penniless, he was hopeless and he was suicidal.

And that night, as he walked South State Street in downtown Chicago, he was minutes away from Lake Michigan where he'd decided to end it all. One thing saved him. A mother who had never given up on him. There, on the street, he heard the song, the one his mother used to sing to him. It was coming from the rescue mission he had just passed. Something made him stop and go inside. And there a caring mission worker shared a Bible verse that has probably changed more lives than any other. The worker started, "For God so loved the world that He gave..." Suddenly, Bill finished it. "...His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life."
(John 3:16). Somewhere in the long-clouded corners of his memory, he could hear his mother teaching him those words.

And that night - minutes away from ending his life - he found life. The kind that verse talked about. "Everlasting" life. He would later say, "I walked out of that mission, not a reformed man, but a transformed man!" He never touched or wanted alcohol or drugs from that night on. And he spent the rest of his life bringing the hope he'd found to forgotten people across the country. And now three generations Bill never met are here, and they're living and spreading that same hope because of one man's choice that night.

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Why It Is Too Soon to Give Up."

The story behind the story is told in the inscription on the back of a photo of young Bill. His mother wrote, "O Will, every night when I read my Bible, I look at this picture and I ask God to keep you and somehow seal your heart with His love. You may see this after I'm gone and you'll know that I never ceased to pray for you. Mother." She did live ten years after the night God answered those prayers.

Even as her son's life got darker and darker, this mother was hanging onto a powerful but easily-forgotten truth. That's one that I, too, have hung onto - even today. Because so much of my life's work has been trying to love and rescue people who just keep spiraling downward. It's a hope-preserver for all of us who grieve and who pray for broken, prodigal people.

Never forget the difference between a chapter and a book. See, many a book with a happy ending has some very dark chapters. A loved one's seemingly unstoppable rush to the edge of the cliff? That's not the book. It's a chapter. If we lose that wide angle lens perspective, we're going to lose hope. But the Bible urges us in our word for today from the Word of God in Galatians 6:9, "Do not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest...". And Jesus said that we "should always pray and not give up" (Luke 18:1).

That's what Bill's mother did. She wept over many chapters. She never lost sight, though, of the ending God could write to the book of her son's life. She just kept loving, praying and believing. And the final chapters of Bill's life were more glorious and more miraculous than she could have ever dreamed.

If we can remember, in the darkest hours of a loved one's heartbreaking journey, that this is a chapter, then hope can win when despair is strong. Even as I write this, there are young men and women whose life-eroding choices I grieve for. But I know there is a relentless Shepherd who came (He said) to "seek and save those who are lost" (Luke 19:10). He says, "I will search for the lost and bring back the strays" (Ezekiel 34:16). He will do whatever it takes to bring them home. Even when it meant a cross.

So, as long as there's breath, there's hope. I know, because Bill's beautiful granddaughter told me.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Is Jesus Really Enough?

I received a peck on the cheek as I hugged a small, frail woman. "Welcome beautiful visitor," she said.

She brought small bowls of rice to feed the children who gathered outside her tiny nipa hut nestled in the rural areas of the island of Mindanao, Philippines.

In the midst of the humid, scorching heat, she fed them. They sang songs, and then she nourished their souls with Bible lessons.

Fighting mosquitoes and wiping sweat beads off my forehead, I listened and observed her joy, her passion, and patience with those little ones. As we were about to leave and head to our next stop in our missions trip, I hugged her. "I admire you," I said. "You have so little and give so much."

She gave a shy giggle. "When you have Jesus, you have enough," she said.

Can that be so? Can Jesus really be enough?

Here are three questions to determine if He's truly enough for us:

1. If we lose all we value, can we still declare we believe and trust in Him?

2. If our plans fail, our heart is broken, and our future looks bleak, will contentment still fill our hearts?

3. If His ways contradict ours, will we still embrace joy?

And if we had nothing, can we repeat what Habakkuk 3:17-18 declares? "Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior."

No matter what you're facing today, can you still rejoice in Him?

Janet P. Eckles

Friday, June 23, 2017

God’s Power Perfected In Weakness

By Pastor Cornelius R. Stam

To Paul was committed the greatest revelation of all time. He was divinely commissioned to proclaim the glorious all-sufficiency of Christ’s redemptive work. He made known God’s offer of salvation by free grace to all who trust in Christ, along with their heavenly position, blessings and prospect in Christ.

Lest he should become puffed up by the glory of these great truths, God gave him what he called “a thorn in the flesh,” an aggravating physical infirmity of some sort. “For this thing,” he says, “I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me” (II Cor. 12:8). But the Lord knew better than Paul what was good for him:

“And He said unto me. My grace is sufficient for thee; for My strength is made perfect in weakness” (Ver. 9).

How right God was! Every Christian knows that with brimming health and “good fortune” comes the tendency to forget our need of Him, while infirmity causes us to lean harder and to pray more, and this is where our spiritual power lies. Every believer should acknowledge this and say with Paul:

“Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities… for when I am weak, then am I strong” (Vers. 9,10).

Infirmities of the flesh are common even among God’s choicest saints. What satisfaction there is, then, in resting upon God’s Word: “My grace is sufficient for thee, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”

Thursday, June 22, 2017

DIRECTED PRAYER

By M. Stanford

"Be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is" (Eph. 5:17).

Prayer to God must come from God. There can, be no prayer in the full assurance of faith apart from the known will of God in the matter. "The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know His will" (Acts 2 2:14).

"I do not think that a petition that misses the mind of God will ever be answered (1 John 5:14). Personally, I feel the need of trusting Him to lead me in prayer as well as in other matters. I find it well to preface prayer not only by meditation but by the definite request that I may be directed into the channels of prayer to which the Holy Spirit is beckoning me (Rom. 8:26, 27)." - J.O.F.

"When we once have the deep, calm assurance of His will in the matter, we put in our claim, just as a child before his father. A simple request and nothing more. No crying, no beseeching, no wrestling. No second asking, either." - J.O.F.

"The Lord may see it needful, for the trial (development) of faith, to seem for a season not to regard out supplications; yet, if we patiently and believingly continue to wait upon Him, it will be manifest in His own time, and way, that we did not call upon Him in vain." - G.M.

"My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from Him" (Ps. 62:5).




THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

*What are you passing through at present?
Are you been persecuted?
Call unto God!
He is ready to answer you.
He has done it in past,
and He can still do it again.
Rely on Him,
and He will give you rest from all your troubles.*

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

If There Be Among You a Poor Man

- Deuteronomy 15:7

INTRODUCTION

The Bible says that “The poor is hated even of his own neighbour” (Proverbs 14:20). In fact, his wisdom is despised, and his words are not heard (Ecclesiastes 9:16). His friends go far from him, and his brethren hate him (Proverbs 19:7). But this should not be the case amongst believers. Instead, believers should defend the poor (Psalm 82:3). They should open their ears to the cries of the poor (Proverbs 21:13) and deliver them in time of trouble (Psalm 41:1). Believers must realize that their treatment of the poor is directly related to their relationship with the Lord (Proverbs 19:17; Proverbs 17:5). Even in the New Testament, Paul was admonished to “remember the poor” (Galatians 2:10).

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS

  • (For children): Job knew that he was to help the poor (Job 31:13-22). Jesus told the rich young ruler to help the poor (Matthew 19:21). Helping the poor is one of the ways to show that we truly love the Lord (James 2:15-20; Proverbs 14:31).
  • (For everyone): What are some ways in which you can help those who are poor? Why is it dangerous to help those whose poverty came because of ungodly behavior?
  • Are you required to help all who do not have the same financial benefits that you possess? What are man’s basic needs as defined by the Bible? How does this affect how you help others?

PRAYER NEEDS

  • Ask God to give you wisdom when helping the poor.
  • Ask the Lord to give you a heart for those in need.

HYMN

FOOTPRINTS OF JESUS

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

A Simple Prayer That Changed History

by Pastor Carter Conlon

Acts chapter 9 and verse 6, “So he, trembling and astonished said, Lord what do you want me to do? Then the Lord said to him, “Arise and go into the city and you will be told what you must do.”

You and I sometimes get entrapped by our own ideas of what kind of prayer gets powerful results. We sweat, we plead, we beg, we marathon speak and many such things, when sometimes the simplest prayers get the most profound results.

Multiples of millions of lives were about to be changed by the simple prayer of one person: the apostle Paul who said, “Lord what do you want me to do?” ‘Go into the city and you’ll be told what you must do’ was the answer just as simple as the prayer had been. Today, would you have the courage my friend to ask God what He wants you to do? Go ahead, just ask Him.

It’s time to pray!

Monday, June 19, 2017

The God of the Poor

- Psalm 10:12-14

INTRODUCTION

God especially cares for all those that the world frequently disregards. For instance, the Bible points out that the Lord is “the helper of the fatherless,” and the poor commit themselves unto His care (Psalm 10:14). Why is it important for the poor to look up for their help? Because the Lord regards “the oppression of the poor” (Ecclesiastes 5:8) and delivers the poor “from him that is strong for him, yea, the poor and the needy from him that spoileth him” (Psalm 35:10). Jeremiah confirmed this truth when he said, “the LORD . . . hath delivered the soul of the poor from the hand of evildoers” (Jeremiah 20:13). The world may regard the poor as a burden, but the Lord sees them as one of His highest priorities.

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS

  • (For children): There are many events which make people poor. Consider God’s provision for these cases: death of a spouse (2 Kings 4:1-7); drought (1 Kings 17:1, 7-16); sickness or infirmities (Luke 18:35-43); war (Judges 6:6, 12-16). Simply put, God does care (Psalm 68:10b).
  • (For everyone): How would the cause of one’s poverty change the Lord’s willingness to watch over an individual and deliver him from troubles? Why is this so important to recognize?
  • If God cares for the poor, should we not do the same? How crucial is it that we first discern the reason for one’s poverty before intervening?

PRAYER NEEDS

  • Thank God for caring for those despised by the world.
  • Ask God to help you share His heart for the poor.

HYMN

GOD WILL TAKE CARE OF YOU

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Sure Steps to Poverty

- Proverbs 6:10-11

INTRODUCTION

Some of the most popular televangelists garner their popularity by falsely teaching that God wants everyone wealthy. God simply does not want everyone to have riches. Yet, if wealth is gained through scriptural means, it can be used to do much good (by supporting missionaries, helping those in need, furthering the gospel, etc.). The Bible clearly teaches that it is wrong for anyone to seek to become wealthy. Yet, one should equally not set out to be poor. As such, every believer should know how to avoid self-induced poverty. According to scripture, there are certain actions or inactions that ultimately lead to poverty: laziness (Proverbs 6:10-11; Proverbs 24:33-34), greediness (Proverbs 11:24), pleasure loving (Proverbs 21:17; Proverbs 23:21), and following vain persons (Proverbs 28:19). These truths hold constant on both an individual level as well as collectively.

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS

  • (For children): Children need to learn to work. Read Proverbs 6:6-8 to find out what insect we are to be like. This particular insect has food because she is not lazy and no one has to force her to work. Consider other passages which warn of laziness bringing poverty: Proverbs 19:15; Proverbs 20:4, 13; Proverbs 24:30-32.
  • (For everyone): What is the financial condition of the country in which you live? Are your countrymen guilty of laziness, loving pleasures, or following vain persons? How has that affected the country’s wealth?
  • Is it sinful to be poor? Yet, do some sins lead to poverty? How would you explain the distinction between your answers? Can righteous deeds ever cause poverty?

PRAYER NEEDS

  • Ask the Lord to guide you to the proper balance of wealth.
  • Ask God to guard you from the sins that lead to poverty.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Taking Captivity Captive

by Pastor Carter Conlon

Ephesians chapter 4 and verse 8, “Therefore he says, when he ascended on high, he led captivity captive and gave gifts to men.”

There’s a story in the Bible where a young prophet, called Elisha, took captive an enemy army that had arrived to captivate the people of God. He did it through prayer. He led the whole army to a place where they were vulnerable, but instead of harming them, he fed them, and sent them home.

Today, you and I have this same authority. We can pray that even the enemies of God suddenly become aware of the peril of their condition. Then, through our kindness, may they return to their homes knowing that God is love. Yes, we have this authority; it’s ours in Christ.

Remember now, it’s time to pray!

Friday, June 16, 2017

The Journey of a Lifetime!

Pastor Carter Conlon

“Now the Lord had said to Abram: ‘Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you’” (Genesis 12:1). In spite of this incredible promise, the descendants of Abraham ended up in another place and in another spiritual condition serving their taskmasters. Like many of God’s people, you may have settled in a place that is far short of what you’re called to be, and you’re doing things that you know you shouldn’t be doing. A little bit of sexual play, a little snort; a little peek, what can it hurt? Then these things that offered you comfort become your taskmaster.

God in His mercy would not leave His own people in captivity, and neither will He leave you in captivity when you make the choice to cry out to Him. So cry out to Him. God will free you and take you on an incredible journey. It won’t be a journey where you’re always running from your former enemies, but a journey with a song and a vision that will give you the endurance to get through even the hottest fire and the deepest river.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

DO NOT BE DISCOURAGED

“‘Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria and the vast army with him, for there is a greater power with us than with him. With him is only the arm of flesh, but with us is the LORD our God to help us and to fight our battles.’ And the people gained confidence from what Hezekiah the king of Judah said” (2 Chronicles 32:7-8 NIV).

Sennacherib king of Assyria who was the then world power came to invade the land of Judah. He threatened the people to surrender to him instead of yielding to the words of encouragement from Hezekiah the king of Judah. The people had every cause to panic because of the military successes of that Assyrian king and his predecessors. However, they gained confidence from what Hezekiah said because they believed as Hezekiah said that Sennacherib depended on human resources while they had the divine backing. The LORD indeed helped the people, and the human resources of Sennacherib failed him woefully.


People tend to rely on human and material resources today, and they may be using them to oppress other people. However, the oppressed should not be discouraged. If they can put their trust in God as the people of Judah did, God would help them in His own way and His own time. No matter the strength of the oppressor, the Lord has promised, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10 NIV), “…because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:4 NIV).


Who or what is the “Sennacherib” that has “invaded” your life and that is making you to be afraid or discouraged? Is the thing or person threatening you and you are about to lose hope? Do not be discouraged! Like Hezekiah, I am imploring you to trust in God. He is with you. He will fight your battles, and you will soon testify to His goodness over your life.


In His service,
Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).

Prayer Point: Pray that you will not be discouraged in spite of any opposition you may have.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Supposing That Gain Is Godliness

- 1 Timothy 6:5

INTRODUCTION

Some have mistakenly assumed riches suggest godliness. Their assumptions are based upon two fallacies: the poor experience poverty in relation to their sins against God, while the rich live abundantly because of their faithful obedience to the Lord. Although it is true that riches come from God, it is not true that righteousness is always rewarded with riches, while wickedness is always punished with poverty. Some of the most faithful believers in mankind’s history owned little more than the clothes that adorned their bodies. It is both unscriptural and dangerous to assume that these faithful believers were under the judgment of God. The Bible explicitly states the response toward those who suppose that gain is godliness. The Bible says, “from such withdraw thyself.”

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS

  • (For children): The rich young ruler thought he was godly, but Jesus thought otherwise (Luke 18:18-24). Compare what Jesus thought of the poor widow (Luke 21:1-4). Gain does not mean godliness (Psalm 37:16).
  • (For everyone): Who were some rich people in the scripture who lived wicked lives? Who were some righteous people who experienced poverty? How do these examples prove that gain is not godliness?
  • Why would the supposition that gain is godliness be so dangerous that the Lord would tell His people to withdraw themselves from people who held such beliefs?

PRAYER NEEDS

  • Ask God to help remind you that gain is not necessarily godliness.
  • Ask the Lord to teach you how to live contently.

HYMN

I’D RATHER HAVE JESUS

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

If Riches Increase

- Psalm 62:10

INTRODUCTION

Gaining wealth (or riches) has allowed some people to increase their levels of comfort far beyond those who are financially disadvantaged. In one parable, the Lord spoke of a rich man whose ground brought forth plentifully (Luke 12:16). The rich man unfortunately came to trust in his abundance and decided to take his ease (Luke 12:19), but that night he died (Luke 12:20). Riches are not for ever (Proverbs 27:24) even if it is not death that robs a man of his riches. The Bible says for the living, riches “certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven” (Proverbs 23:5). Furthermore, we are told that those who trust in riches will fall (Proverbs 11:28). Perhaps this is why Paul told Timothy to instruct the rich to trust in the living God rather than their uncertain riches (1 Timothy 6:17).

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS

  • (For children): Job knew better than to trust in riches (Job 31:24-25, 28). Unlike eternity, riches are not forever. Consider how the Bible describes the end of those who trust in riches (Psalm 49:6-7; Psalm 52:5, 7; Psalm 73:12, 16-17; Proverbs 11:4).
  • (For everyone): What are some ways in which riches can “certainly make themselves wings”? Why is it dangerous for you to come to trust in your riches?
  • How certain is your job? How certain is the stock market? How certain is the financial stability in any country? How quickly could you lose all that you have?

PRAYER NEEDS

  • Ask God to show you the uncertainty of riches.
  • Ask the Lord to guard you from misplaced faith.

HYMN

TURN YOUR EYES UPON JESUS

Monday, June 12, 2017

Testing the Limits of God

by Pastor Carter Conlon
Genesis chapter 7 beginning at verse 11, “In the 600th year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the 17th day of the month; on that day all the fountains of the great deep were broken up and the windows of heaven were opened, and the rain was on the earth 40 days and 40 nights.”

A day that few believed would come had suddenly come. There is a point of evil behavior among people that God will no longer will overlook. The resistance of men towards truth causes them to believe that they can behave any way and call any evil good while somehow being immune from the consequences that came to those that went before them.
This is the peril of our time. As a society we are unwittingly testing the limits of God. I remind you that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. It is time to think about these things.
It’s time to pray!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

This Is the Gift of God

- Ecclesiastes 5:19

The true riches and honour come only from the Lord (1 Chronicles 29:12). Only the Lord has the infallible wisdom to determine the riches each man can rightfully possess in order to bring God the greatest glory. The Lord warned His people that as their riches increased, they would be tempted to forget the origin of those riches: God. He told them to remember that it was He that gave them power to get wealth in the first place (Deuteronomy 8:18). Solomon stated that the ability of men to possess riches and partake of those riches was the gift of God. Unfortunately, as men’s riches increase, many men lose sight of these truths.

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS

  • (For children): The following men knew the source of their blessings: Abraham (Genesis 24:35); Jacob (Genesis 31:9; Genesis 33:11); Solomon (2 Chronicles 1:11-12). Job knew the source of his wealth too. When God took all the riches away from Job, he continued to trust the Lord (Job 1:21-22; Job 42:12).
  • (For everyone): Regardless of how riches are obtained, the Lord ultimately has the right to refuse or allow such riches. Why is it important for us to recognize our riches come from the Lord?
  • If riches come from the Lord, then mankind has a responsibility to glorify God with those riches that He allows man to possess. What have you given back to the Lord for all that He has given you?

PRAYER NEEDS

  • Thank God for all that He has allowed you to have.
  • Ask God to remind you frequently concerning the origin of your riches.

HYMN

COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS