Sunday Message: A Present and Powerful Hope

November 28, 2021

Today’s Reading: Isaiah 40:27-31

But those who wait on the LORD
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.

Isaiah 40:31

Sermon Main Idea: Waiting on the Lord to fulfill His promises fills us with strength to keep walking with God.

Text Notes:

  • Israel’s despair (v.27)
  • God’s greatness (v.28-29)
  • Israel’s renewal (v.30-31)

Prayer: Loving and Everlasting Father, thank You for the hope that is found in the Truth of Your Son, Jesus Christ. Thank You for the blessed assurance of eternal life throughHim. Please help me to remain ever fixed on You. Grow me in faith to live encouraged by all that you have already done by my Beloved Savior. In His precious Name I pray, AMEN.

Bible-in-a-Year Reading Plan (credit: Bible, Matthew 10:1-25; Leviticus 7-8; Proverbs 22

Tell the Truth

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Today’s Reading: Leviticus 5:1-7

When someone sins [in any of these ways]: [If] he has seen, heard, or known about something he has witnessed, and did not respond to a public call to testify, he is guilty. 

Leviticus 5:1

Reflection: God requires His people to make His Truth known. In His instruction to the Israelites, God considers it a sin to conceal the truth in any situation where it can be shared. God desires that His people not only tell the truth, but also expose the truth when it is being hidden. In the community of God, His people are held accountable for being a perpetual witness to the Truth.

Today, God still demands that His people bear this same responsibility of witnessing to Truth, specifically the Truth of the Gospel. While noble actions and compassionate deeds can be beautiful embodiments of God’s grace and love, they can only accompany a Christian’s motivation for them. They must be explained with the Gospel Message in order for people to learn about God through Jesus Christ. The believer in God must share the Truth of God with others.

This Truth of God is simple: in sin, we were separated from God and needed a way restore our relationship with Him. God by His Law showed us how to atone for our sin through sacrifice. And by His love, God also gave, through Jesus’ death on the Cross, the ultimate sacrifice that atoned for all our sin. The discovery of this great love of God must be told, for to withhold it from those who have not heard keeps them from experiencing the true love of God.

So for those who rest in this Truth about God, be exhorted to tell it to others as God requires. After all, God has first reached you through the willingness of someone who understood the magnitude of sharing His Truth.

Prayer: Father in Heaven, thank You for Your Gospel Truth. Thank You for the assurance of eternity with You because of Your great and wondrous love. Please forgive me for the times I have withheld from others the Truth about Your salvation through Jesus. I pray that You help me to share the Gospel with the people I encounter throughout my walk with You. In Jesus’ Name I pray, AMEN.

Bible-in-a-Year Reading Plan (credit: Matthew 9:18-38; Leviticus 5-6; Proverbs 21

The Invitation

Friday, November 26, 2021

Today’s Reading: Matthew 9:9-13

On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.”

Matthew 9:12

Reflection: God calls sinners, not saints, unto Himself. Upon seeing Matthew sitting at the tax office, Jesus invites Matthew to follow Him. As a tax collector, Matthew was an outcast of society, making a living off of whatever he over-collected from his fellow Jews on behalf of the Roman government. He was despised by his own people and looked down upon by the Romans. And yet, here he is seen by Jesus. Matthew is found in the tax office and is asked by Jesus to be His disciple.

Jesus’ invitation to Matthew is an invitation to discipleship whereby he is able to learn from Jesus’ wisdom and teaching. It is an invitation to fellowship where, as an outcast of society, Matthew is welcomed into the presence of God. Jesus’ invitation is also an opportunity for redemption where Matthew’s past sin and shame is replaced with God’s power and purpose. In responding ‘yes’ to Jesus’ invitation to discipleship, Matthew the tax collector becomes Matthew the follower of Jesus who pens one of the Gospel accounts.

Jesus’ love is remarkable. It is demonstrated to us in the same way that it is demonstrated to Matthew. While we are far from God in our own sin, Jesus draws near to us, sees us from far off, and beckons us to follow Him. He does this not based on our merit, but based on His grace; not because of what we deserve, but because of what He freely chooses to provide. Praise God for His invitation to each one of us to follow Him. Praise God for the example He gives us of Matthew, who is forever changed by saying ‘yes’ to Jesus’ invitation. May we all be like Matthew and receive the blessing of what it is to be a disciple of Jesus.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, Your love and compassion is unmatched. Thank You for Your unconditional love. Thank You for calling me to be Yours. As I follow Your Will, Lord, help me to tell others about Your invitation which calls to them too, that You might be truly glorified. In Jesus’ Name I pray, AMEN.

Bible-in-a-Year Reading Plan (credit: Matthew 9:1-17; Leviticus 3-4; Proverbs 20

Strong Tower

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Today’s Reading: Proverbs 18:10-11

The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are protected.

Proverbs 18:10

Reflection: The righteous find protection in the name of the Lord. God’s name is not a magical charm, but a reminder to us of His character. Yahweh, the Ever-Existent God, possesses a strength that is Eternal as He is. Therefore, those seeking God’s protection do not have to be afraid. They can confidently run to His protection, which guards them from all sides. Unlike fortresses built by human hands, the Lord’s protection stands firm.

In contrast, the ones who find their strength in their wealth live only under the illusion of protection and strength. Wealth provides far less protection than it promises. It is also fleeting, coming and going throughout the span of time. Wealth is a high wall and strong tower only in the imaginations of those who depend on it. It is not really able to protect anyone from impending danger.

That is why God through Jesus urges us to rely on Him instead of earthly treasures. In our own strength and by our own imagination, we can make the mistake of building up for ourselves high walls of protection that are flimsy to withstand real danger. Our best strategy of safety is to follow the path of the righteous: to run in humility to the strength the Lord provides by His character and person. God’s Name reminds us of the steadfast strength and protection He alone provides, which is far beyond what we can imagine. Find protection and safety in the name of the Lord.

Prayer: Almighty God, You alone are my Strength and Strong Tower. You are my Refuge. Your Name assures me of Your unfailing love and unending grace. Thank You for granting me rest in knowing that You are always near. Help me to continually trust in Your strength and sovereignty over the things of this world. In Jesus’ Name I pray, AMEN.

Bible-in-a-Year Reading Plan (credit: Matthew 8:1-13; Exodus 39:1-40:38; Proverbs 18

God’s Work

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Today’s Reading: Exodus 38:22-31

Bezalel son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, made everything that the Lord commanded Moses.

Exodus 38:22

Reflection: Faithfulness to God’s plan allows us to be used for His miraculous work. Bezalel, a gifted artisan, is inspired by God to create beautiful furniture and elements for the Tabernacle, God’s Holy Dwelling Place. Along with the gift of unmatched craftmanship, Bezalel is also given specific direction from God regarding the design of the Tabernacle. We read in the Book of Exodus that Bezalel faithfully follows every specific detail that God instructs for the space.

Bezalel’s faithfulness to God’s plan results in his great appointment to utilize thousands of pounds of precious metals – gold, silver, and bronze – into furniture and instruments that would adorn the Tabernacle and be used for worship by the Israelite priests. Because of his obedience to God, Bezalel is entrusted with the great privilege of completing this important and historic work for His Lord.

Each one of us has been given gifts to offer towards God’s plan. But being gifted at something is just the beginning of contributing meaningful work for God’s glory. We must also be yielded to God’s leading as we use our gifts and talents. Also, it is important to remember that God’s greatest desire is not to witness us doing good works, but rather, to create His good work in us: to transform our hearts by His love and grace, perfect our character by His Holy Spirit, and enhance our understanding by His wisdom and truth. His work begins when we allow our work to be guided by Him. All of our best work through our gifts are result of His good work in us.

Prayer: Lord God, You are sovereign and good. You do great works which are unmatched. Thank You for the gifts that You’ve given me to use for Your glory. Thank You for Your generosity and blessing. I pray that You would do Your good work in me. Guide me in the ways I can use what You have given to lead others to You. In Jesus’ Name I pray, AMEN.

Bible-in-a-Year Reading Plan (credit: Matthew 7; Exodus 37:1-38:31; Proverbs 17

God Cares for You

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Today’s Reading: Matthew 6:25-29

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?

Matthew 6:26

Reflection: You are valuable to God. The Sovereign God Who provides for all creation is the One Who provides all that you need and all that you have. God formed the span of the universe, and His design is in every detail of what we see around us. He is Creator and Sustainer of all that is living. Allow this thought to sit in your mind: Every plant, every creature, everything that lives and grows is cared for by God.

We are far more valuable to God than the birds of the air and the flowers of the field, both upon which He bestows His tender care. We were made to be bearers of God’s image in the world. How much more, then, does He and will He provide us with all that we need. God not only supplies us with physical food which sustains us, but also spiritual nourishment when we are willing to receive it. While He clothes generously to warm us, cool, us and protect us, God also provides heavenly garments of righteousness prepared by His Only Begotten Son, which clothe us for eternity.

So do not worry, beloved child of God, about your life. Yes, continue to work as the birds of the air do, but do not think that your means of living from day to day are sourced by you. Instead, keep your gaze fixed upwards to heaven, as do the flowers of the field. Your Heavenly Father cares for you because you are valued and loved by Him.

Prayer: Father in Heaven, I come to You in thanks and praise for all that You continue to provide. Thank You for Your care and concern for me. Thank You for Your faithfulness. As You continue to nourish me in body and spirit, please guide me in the ways that I can live as a testament to Your great love and care. In Jesus’ Name I pray, AMEN.

Bible-in-a-Year Reading Plan (credit: Matthew 6:19-34; Exodus 35:1-36:38; Proverbs 16

Life in its Fullness

Monday, November 22, 2021

Today’s Reading: Proverbs 15:15-17

Better a little with the fear of the Lord than great treasure with turmoil.

Proverbs 15:16

Reflection: Life with God is a life of true abundance, and life without Him is one of absolute destitution. What is the difference between the person who is oppressed by the cares of this world and the one who is utterly joyful in it? Or between the one who claims love as their only possession and the one with everything the world can offer including hatred? The difference is God.

It is better to have little earthly possessions and know the Creator of Heaven and Earth than to create a life of turmoil by trying to fill it with things that fade away. All that the world offers falls vastly short of the richness of heavenly treasures God has in His storehouse. But because our lives are so saturated by the world surrounding us, we can fail to see beyond the limits of this world to the eternal blessings that come through a relationship with God.

When this happens, we risk holding on too tightly to the things of this world. We forget that it is God’s love which fills the gaps of scarcity and replaces them with fullness of joy. He is the One Who transforms and enriches the lives of those who place their trust in Him, and He does so in ways that the world cannot. If you are looking to fill a void that you cannot quite define, God guarantees that your fulfillment comes through Him by way of His Son Jesus. The world has nothing to offer that can stand the test of eternity. Life in its fullness comes from a relationship with God.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, what a joy it is to know You. What a blessing it is to experience life in abundance because of Your faithfulness and loving kindness. Thank You for the precious relationship we share. I pray that You would draw me nearer to You, that my life would reflect Your character and return to You the love that You have first shown me. In Jesus’ Name I pray, AMEN.

Bible-in-a-Year Reading Plan (credit: Matthew 6:1-18; Exodus 33:1-34:35; Proverbs 15

Sunday Message: Human Advice vs. God’s Direction

November 21, 2021

Today’s Reading: Acts 21:1-14

13 Then Paul answered, “What do you mean by weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” 14 So when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, “The will of the Lord be done.”

Acts 21:13-14

Sermon Main Idea: The Church receives human advice humbly, but follows God’s direction completely.

Text Notes:

  • Paul continues on a difficult journey. (v.1-6)
  • Paul’s future persecution is prophesied. (v.7-11)
  • Paul listens to Christian counsel, but follows God’s course. (v.12-14)

Prayer: Almighty God, we thank You for calling us and commissioning us to serve You. Sometimes it is hard to discern what is of You and what is of our desires. Please help us to know You more, to trust You more, and to lean on our own understanding less. When the path You call us to walk is difficult, please assure us with Your Spirit. Thank You for not leaving us alone. Thank You for being with us. We love You. In Jesus’ name we pray, AMEN.

Bible-in-a-Year Reading Plan (credit: Bible, 1 Peter 3; Jeremiah 35; Jeremiah 36; Psalm 136

Kingdom Citizens

Saturday, November 20, 2021

Today’s Reading: Matthew 5:1-6

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, because they will be filled. 

Matthew 5:6

Reflection: In His famous Sermon on the Mount, Jesus teaches that His Kingdom citizens are those who are aware of their need for God. They are poor in spirit, spiritually depleted and in need of the richness of God’s grace. They are mourners, deep with grief, in need of comfort that only God’s presence can give. Those in God’s Kingdom are blessed because they have found true fulfillment in a relationship with God.

People of God’s Kingdom are willing citizens who have pledged their life to Him and dedicated themselves to Him wholeheartedly. They have come to God in their emptiness and have been filled to the brim. Now, they can be gentle, because they can depend on God’s power and sovereignty. They can exhibit righteousness, because they have first been covered by the righteousness of God. They are vessels overflowing with God’s goodness because they have been so filled by His Spirit. They know the gift that is a life with God because they remember what their life was like without Him.

Jesus the Son of God came to earth because He saw our need for Him. He saw that we were lost in sin and without hope, depleted and wearied in a fallen world, and burdened by grief and pain in it. By His death on the Cross, He paid the price that sin required in order that we could abide with Him in His Kingdom. We are invited by Jesus to be a part of God’s Kingdom, to be under rule of the Good and Perfect King.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I thank You for Your teaching which reminds of my need for You. I thank You for allowing me to be a part of Your Holy Kingdom and Your good work. As I abide with You, Lord, help me to continually trust in Your providence and provision, that my life would testify of the fullness and joy that can be found in Your Presence. In Jesus’ Name I pray, AMEN.

Bible-in-a-Year Reading Plan (credit: Matthew 5:1-20; Exodus 28:1-29:46; Proverbs 13

The Purpose of Blessings

Friday, November 19, 2021

Today’s Reading: Proverbs 11:23-28

A generous person will be enriched, and the one who gives a drink of water will receive water. 

Proverbs 11:25

Reflection: We are blessed by God in order to be blessings to others. Farmers know that in order to reap a bountiful harvest of wheat, they must be willing to generously scatter some of the grain that they’ve harvested from a previous crop. Similarly, when a crop of grain is produced, there is no use keeping it all stored away. It must be used or sold or else it risks rotting. Even if stored well for years, a blessed harvest is useless to the farmer if it is never used. There is no benefit gained from hoarding grain.

Likewise, God’s blessings are only purposeful when we put them to use, specifically for God’s glory. Dealing rightly with our blessings exhibits our trust in the Great Provider and shows Him that He can trust us with more to sow into His Purpose. Note the illustration that God uses through the cycle He created of sowing and reaping: when we are confident in God to sow the blessings we receive, we can count on a harvest that is multiplied by Him, a harvest that can then be sown again to reap even more.

What of our blessings – our time, treasure, or talent – are we sowing into the cycle of God’s abundant harvest? None of God’s blessings were ever meant to be kept only to ourselves. None of God’s blessings were ever designed to be sown into the world. Either way, there is only loss in store when we prefer to keep our blessings from God’s work. True abundance of life is in store for us only when we decide to give what we’ve been given back to God.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, You are the Giver of every good thing. Thank You for Your generosity and faithfulness to bless me abundantly. Thank You for the courage by which You help me to give what I have back to You. I pray, Father, that You would open my eyes to see more and more the blessings I can utilize for Your good purpose. Help me to see what I can surrender. In Jesus’ Name I pray, AMEN.

Bible-in-a-Year Reading Plan (credit: Matthew 3; Exodus 24; Proverbs 11