Daily Devotional


Wednesday, October 28, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “True Christianity” 1 Thessalonians 5:1-28

TEXT: Do not quench the Spirit.  20 Do not despise prophecies.  21 Test all things; hold fast what is good.  1 Thessalonians 5:19-21

So how does a believer be a believer?   First it should be know that a person is a Christian by the Spirit of God.  As such they should not “quench the Spirit” by which they have been made a Christian.  One of the descriptions of The Holy Spirit is that of fire.  Therefore to “quench the Spirit” is to stifle, snuff out or stop the Holy Spirit from doing His work in our life.  “The Holy Spirit is always working in the life of the  believer to lead him to do God's will.  The believer quenches the Spirit's work by

(a) ignoring Him,

(b) neglecting Him,

(c) disobeying Him, or by simply

(d) procrastinating.

The command to "quench not the Spirit" is surrounded by a series of positive commands.”  POSB Commentary

We are believers by the Word of God (vs. 20, 21) We are to read, meditate, study and practice the Word of God when we have rightly divided it. One aspect of the Word of God is that of prophecy.  Paul says we are not to “despise prophecies.”  (1 Thessalonians 5:20).  Prophecy is the  gift of proclaiming the gospel and of predicting the future under the influence of the Holy Spirit.  Both proclamation and prediction are included in the gift.  Note the exhortation: a person is not to minimize or despise the gift despite the abuse of the gift by some.  The Word of God is to be used.  That is what Paul says, "Test all things; hold fast what is good."  (1 Thessalonians 5:21). “The word 'prove' (dokimazete) means to test and to prove.  Both the  gifts and behavior of believers are to be tested.  If a person claims to prophesy—whether

proclaiming the gospel or predicting some event to strengthen believers for some coming  trial—all should be tested.  We are not to blindly accept what people say, even if it is the preacher or servant of God.  Neither are we to blindly accept people themselves.  Every person—what he says and does—is to be tested and proven.  How?  By measuring what he says and does by the Scripture.  But note: the Scriptures must be studied in order to measure what people say and do.   The only way to know truth from error is to the know the Scripture.” POSB Commentary


Larry Hudson


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: 1 Thessalonians 5

Pray or do: Practice the three verses in our text today.



Tuesday, October 27, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “True Christianity” 1 Thessalonians 5:1-28

TEXT: Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.  12   And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, 13 and to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake.  Be at peace among yourselves.  1 Thessalonians 5:11-13

The true Christian is marked by helpfulness.  They are looking outward.  Ministers are actively endeavoring to “labor” among God’s people.  Believers are to comfort and edify one another.  Believers are to “know” those who minister.  The word 'know' (eidenai) means to acknowledge, appreciate, respect, and know the value of.  POSB Commentary

Believers and ministers are to work at being at peace with each other.   Their endeavors are various.  Paul writes, “Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all.  15 See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all.”  1 Thessalonians 5:14-15). So they are to: 

 Warn the unruly

 Comfort the fainthearted

 Hold up the weak

 Be patient

 Pursue what is good for everyone

The next mark of a Christian is happiness.  They are looking inward (vs. 16-18).   They have joy.  “Rejoice always,” (1 Thessalonians 5:16).  We have so much to rejoice over.  God has saved us, and He looks after and cares for us.  They are to “pray without ceasing,” (1 Thessalonians 5:17)  Prayer is God's ordained way for man to receive things from Him.  God moves, acts, and responds to prayer.  Prayer is a law that He has established throughout the universe.  Why?  Because prayer stirs fellowship and communion with God and brings about a greater knowledge and understanding of God.  The true Christian demonstrates happiness by their giving thanks.  “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”  (1 Thessalonians 5:18).  What God means is to thank Him for His presence and power as we walk through such trials.  In Christ Jesus there is victory and triumph over all, no matter how terrible.  The fourth mark of a true Christian is holiness (vs. 22-23).  They are looking upward.  Yes there is a negative side.  Paul tells them to “Abstain from every form of evil.” (1 Thessalonians 5:22)  It does not just say to abstain from evil, but to abstain from the very appearance of evil.  If something even appears or borders on evil, get away from it.  If there is any chance whatsoever that it could be wrong, leave it alone.  If there is even a suggestion that it  could be wrong, flee it.  A believer must have nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with evil—not even the appearance of it.  There is also a positive side to holiness.  Paul says, “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thessalonians 5:23 (NKJV) 

The believer will experience four things by looking upward.

1. The believer experiences the presence of the God of peace: peace means to be bound,  joined, and weaved together. 

2. The believer experiences sanctification: the word sanctification means to be set apart and separated to God.

3. The believer has his spirit, soul, and body preserved blameless in the Day of Judgment.

4. The believer experiences the assurance of God, the very faithfulness of God.   God called the believer; therefore, God completes His work in the believer. 


Larry Hudson


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: 1 Thessalonians 5

Pray or do: Pray for peace among the believers and ministers in your church.



Monday, October 26, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “True Christianity” 1 Thessalonians 5:1-28

TEXT: But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should  write to you.  2 For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night.  3 For when they say, "Peace and safety!" then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman.  And they shall not escape.  4 But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief.  5 You are all  sons of light and sons of the day.  We are not of the night nor of darkness.  6 Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober.  7 For those who sleep, sleep at night,  and those who get drunk are drunk at night.  8 But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation.  9 For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10  who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. 1 Thessalonians 5:1-10

Paul is writing to the Thessalonians, from Corinth, not long after he had left them (See Acts  17:1-14).  This is one of if not the earliest letters Paul wrote.  In this letter he highlights the coming to faith and spiritual development of the Thessalonian believers (1 Thessalonians 1:6-10). 

In the last chapter (chapter 5) Paul gives a summary of the true Christian faith, of what a true Christian is and does.  The true Christian is marked by hopefulness.  It is a looking forward to the future that God has promised us as believers. This hopefulness is based upon what Paul had already taught them in his initial visit.  “But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you.  2 For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night.  3 For when they say, "Peace and safety!" then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman.  And they shall not escape.  4 But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief.  5 You are all sons of light and sons of the day.  We are not of the night nor of darkness.”  (1 Thessalonians 5:1-5).  Paul had already covered the “times” (chronon) the chronological time, the events that follow one another and roll in and away from one another.  He had covered the "Seasons" (kairon), the particular time and the nature of the events that are to take place.  

Therefore he had covered the order of events that were to happen in the end time.  The thing that  we know is that God is in control.  Only God could know when He is to return.  (Isaiah 13:9-11)  

(Zeph. 1:14-16) (Malachi 4:1) (Jude 14-16)

If God is the only one that can know when He will return then the believer is to be marked by watchfulness.  Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober.  7 For

those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night.  8 But let us  who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation.  9 For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. 1 Thessalonians 5:6-10

The believer is to be watching so he will be ready for the coming of the Lord.  His coming will be as a thief in the night – suddenly and unexpectedly.  The unbelievers will be caught completely off guard.  They will be in shock when Christ appears.


Larry Hudson


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: Acts 17:1-14

Bonus Material:

John Walvoord puts it in simple and striking words: "The Day of the Lord is a period of time in which God will deal with wicked men directly and dramatically in fearful judgment.  Today a man may be a blasphemer of God, an atheist, can denounce God and teach bad doctrine.  Seemingly God does nothing about it.  But the day designated in Scripture as 'the day of the Lord' is coming when God will punish human sin, and He will deal in wrath and in judgment with a Christ-rejecting world.  One thing we are sure of, that God in His own way will bring every soul into judgment.  (The Thessalonian Epistles, p.76).



Friday, October 23, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “The Godly Life” 2 Kings 18

TEXT: He trusted in the LORD God of Israel, so that after him was none like him among all  the kings of Judah, nor who were before him.  6 For he held fast to the LORD; he did not depart from following Him, but kept His commandments, which the LORD had commanded Moses.  7 The LORD was with him; he prospered wherever he went.  And he rebelled against the king of Assyria and did not serve him.  2 Kings 18:5-7

Living the godly life means we are “following”.  Hezekiah "Departed not from following Him" (v. 6)  We never stop following Christ.  Our relationship is not static.  It continues to grow.  Obeying is a key part of living the godly life.  Hezekiah "Kept His commandments" (v. 6)  The outcome of all is practical obedience.  We are obedient because we love and trust God with our lives.   The realization Hezekiah had was that the “Lord was with him" (v. 7).  Because Hezekiah was striving to live a godly life the result was “the Lord was with him”.  Hezekiah was practicing  the “presence of God”.  Dake offers this advice.  “Begin to practice a realization of the presence of God in your life.  If you have yielded your life to Him, He is with you.  He sees you and He is interested in every detail of your life.  He is your partner now; so do not ignore Him in any  activity of life.  Do nothing that you would not do if He were bodily present.  Say nothing that you would not like Him to hear.  Go no place where you would have the least doubt that He would go.  If you will follow these simple principles, your life will be happy and victorious, and God will  make you prosperous in all things of life, as you ask in faith, nothing wavering.” (Dake) 

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that  He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.  Hebrews 11:6 (Jas. 1:5-9).  The result will be prosperity. “The LORD was with him; and he prospered whithersoever he went forth” The Lord will be with you and you will prosper wherever you go when you live a godly life. 


Larry Hudson


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: See below!

Pray or do: Father, help me to live a godly life that honors and pleases you.




Thursday, October 22, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “The Godly Life” 2 Kings 18

TEXT: He trusted in the LORD God of Israel, so that after him was none like him among all  the kings of Judah, nor who were before him.  6 For he held fast to the LORD; he did not depart from following Him, but kept His commandments, which the LORD had commanded Moses.  7 The LORD was with him; he prospered wherever he went.  And he rebelled against the king of Assyria and did not serve him.  2 Kings 18:5-7

The second secret to living a godly life is to “clive to the Lord” (2 Kings 18:6).   The idea is of adhesion.  The Hebrew means “to catch by pursuit :- abide fast, cleave (fast together), follow close (hard after), be joined (together), Strong's Talking Greek & Hebrew Dictionary. We see this kind of adhesion when used of: 

 bone and skin,

 girdle and loins,

 tongue and mouth,

 man and wife,

 Israel and God,

 Ruth and Naomi. Then they lifted up their voices and wept again; and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her.  Ruth 1:14

When Paul debated with the Athenians in the Areopagus some mocked and others wanted to hear  more but some “clave” unto Paul and believed.  “However, some men joined (clave to) him and believed, among them Dionysius the Areopagite, a woman named Damaris, and others with them.” (Acts 17:34).  The things that bound them together was loyalty, love and fellowship.   The twofold aspect of “clave” is resistance – against the enemy of our soul and persistence with vigorous tenacity – never giving up with all strength and resolve therefore holding on to God.  The idea is found in Paul’s advice to young Timothy. “You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.  2 And the things that you have heard from me among many

witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.  3 You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” (2 Timothy 2:1-3)

Living a godly life implies separation from the world and attachment to God.  There is nothing that can separate us from God when we have Jesus with us.  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?  36 As it is written: 'For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.'  37 Yet in all these things we are

more than conquerors through Him who loved us.  38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 8:35-39


Larry Hudson


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: See below!

Pray or do: Let us hold fast unto the Lord with all that is within us.

Bonus Material:

Seven Ways to Seek the Lord:

1. With all the heart (Deut. 4:29)

2. Continually (1 Chron. 16:11)

3. By humbling self (2 Chron. 7:14)

4. By prayer

5. By turning from sin

6. By preparing the heart (2 Chron. 19:3)

7. Diligently (Hebrews 11:6)

Ten Blessings of Seeking the Lord:

1. He will be found (1 Chron. 28:9).

2. He will hear and answer (2 Chron. 7:14).

3. They will not want any good thing (Psalm 34:9-10).

4. Life (Psalm 69:22; Amos 5:4-6)

5. Righteousness (Hosea 10:12)

6. Glory (Romans 2:7)

7. Honor

8. Immortality

9. Eternal life

10. Rewards (Hebrews 11:6) Dake Topical Index.



Tuesday, October 20, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “The Godly Life” 2 Kings 18

TEXT: He trusted in the LORD God of Israel, so that after him was none like him among all  the kings of Judah, nor who were before him.  6 For he held fast to the LORD; he did not depart from following Him, but kept His commandments, which the LORD had commanded Moses.  7 The LORD was with him; he prospered wherever he went.  And he rebelled against the king of Assyria and did not serve him.  2 Kings 18:5-7

God wants us to live a life that is godly.  The godly life is much the same essentially, at all times.   These verses summarize Hezekiah's life before they enter upon the details of it.  They sum up our life also.  What are the secrets of all true life? 

The first secret is TRUSTING!  Hezekiah “trusted in the Lord God of Israel" (v. 5).  The Old Testament and the New Testament have much to say about trust. The great passage of Hebrews

(chapter 11) tells us “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things  not seen. 2 For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. 3 By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.  4 By faith Abel…. and the list of notable men and women of faith continues: 

 Enoch

 Noah

 Abraham

 Sarah

 Isaac

 Jacob

Time will not allow me to tell of the others who subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness and obtained promises from God.  In the Hebrew language trust means “credit—lean on, roll on, devolve, commit, stay, take refuge.”  It is the word (chacah)]; figurative to trust, be confident or sure :- be bold”.   In the Greek language trusting is (pascho); reliance :- confidence, trust.  Strong's Talking Greek & Hebrew Dictionary. 

Here the significance of the word is to lean on God as a foundation.  We are to take refuge in God.  We are to have confidence in God and His Word.  We are to commit to staying the course  no matter what comes our way.  Hezekiah was taunted with his trust.  Sennacherib’s general gave this message to Hezekiah and the people of the city, “Have I now come up without the LORD against this place to destroy it?  The LORD said to me, "Go up against this land, and destroy it." (2 Kings 18:25).  He falsely claims that Jehovah God has sent him to take the city.  He warns the people, don’t “let Hezekiah make you trust in the LORD, saying, "The LORD will surely deliver us; this city shall not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria."  2 Kings 18:30

What does Hezekiah do?  He goes to God in prayer because he trusts God.  “And Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers, and read it; and Hezekiah went up to the house of the LORD, and spread it before the LORD.  15 Then Hezekiah prayed before the LORD, and said:  "O LORD God of Israel, the One who dwells between the cherubim, You are God, You alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth.  16 Incline Your ear, O LORD, and hear; open Your eyes, O LORD, and see; and hear the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to reproach the living God.  17 Truly, LORD, the kings of Assyria have laid waste the nations and their lands, 18 and have cast their gods into the fire; for they were not gods, but the work of men's hands--wood and stone.  Therefore they destroyed them.  19 Now therefore, O LORD our God, I pray, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You are the LORD God, You alone." (2 Kings 19:14-19).

Whenever we have a crisis in our life we demonstrate our trust in God when we take our needs to Him in prayer.


Larry Hudson


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: See below!

Pray or do: Lord, teach me to trust in you for my every need.

Bonus Material:

Five Secrets of Answered Prayer

1. Freedom from condemnation (Romans 8:1)

2. Confidence in God (note, Acts 4:13)

3. Asking (Matthew 7:7-11; Luke 11:9-13)

4. Keeping commandments (1 John 3:23-24)

5. Pleasing God (Hebrews 11:6; James 1:5-8)




Monday, October 19, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “The Godly Life” 2 Kings 18

TEXT: He trusted in the LORD God of Israel, so that after him was none like him among all  the kings of Judah, nor who were before him.  6 For he held fast to the LORD; he did not depart from following Him, but kept His commandments, which the LORD had commanded Moses.  7 The LORD was with him; he prospered wherever he went.  And he rebelled against the king of Assyria and did not serve him.  2 Kings 18:5-7

Hezekiah’s name means “Yahweh is my strength”.  How appropriate for a king who went to God  in prayer in every crisis.  Hezekiah was the son and successor of Ahaz as king of Judah (716/15-687/86 B.C.).  That he ended up as one of the righteous kings is amazing considering Ahaz, his father did everything he could to hinder the work of God during his reign.  What did Ahaz do?  Holy things are cut in pieces (2 Chronicles 28:24).  In our day casting discredit upon the Bible is doing the same thing.  The ungodly are trying, with tongue and insinuation, to destroy the testimony of God’s servants.  The way of access is closed. "He shut up the doors of the House of the Lord" (v. 24). 

Denying God and then shutting others out from the acknowledging of Him as God.  Blocking the

way for others to worship God is one way that is done.  Men closing the door to their heart to their own loss and destruction.  The door of communion with God may be shut by our love of and delight in the things which He hates.  The door of Divine love and light may be closed by our own pride and prejudice.  The door of faith and prayer is shut up by the unbelief of our own hearts.  The light of testimony is quenched. "They put out the lamps"; (2 Chronicles 29:7).  We cannot afford to let the light of our Christian testimony be “put out” for it is an insult to God and a grieving of the Holy Spirit, whose character and mission is to make us as a flame of fire.  The offering of incense is given up. "They have not burned incense" (v. 7).  When the lamp of testimony has been put out, the offering up of the incense of prayer and adoration will speedily

cease.  These two are vitally connected—they live or die together.  Testimony for God will be but as sounding brass and tinkling cymbals where the sweet incense of believing prayer is lacking.  There is a general departing from the worship of God.  "Our fathers have forsaken Him, and have turned away their faces from the habitation of the Lord, and turned their backs" (v.6).  There is great need for a revival when the multitudes turn their backs upon the House of God as we are seeing in our day.


Larry Hudson


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: Above scriptures!

Pray or do: Lord, teach us the wisdom that comes from observing ants and how to apply that wisdom to our lives and church.

Bonus Material:

See below for background information leading up to today’s devotional.

“Unwilling to court the favor of Assyrian kings, Hezekiah reopened the temple in Jerusalem,

removed idols from it, sanctified temple vessels desecrated during Ahaz's reign, and initiated

sacrifices.  Hezekiah invited Israelites from the north ruled by Assyria to join in the Passover in Jerusalem.  Places of idol worship were destroyed.  Hezekiah even destroyed the bronze serpent Moses had erected in the wilderness (Num. 21:4-9) so the people would not view the bronze serpent as an object of worship.  Hezekiah organized the priests and Levites for conducting religious services.  The tithe was reinstituted. Plans were made to observe the religious feasts called for in the law.  In 711 B.C. Sargon II of Assyria captured Ashdod.  Hezekiah anticipated the time when he would have to confront Assyrian armies, so he fortified Jerusalem and organized an army.  Hezekiah constructed a tunnel through solid rock from the spring of Gihon to the Siloam pool and extended the city wall to enclose this important water source.  Isaiah warned Hezekiah not to become involved with Assyria (Isa. 20:1-6). The critical time came in 705 B.C. when Sennacherib became king of Assyria.  Hezekiah gave him a heavy tribute of silver and gold.  In 701 B.C., Hezekiah became seriously ill (Isa. 38:1-21). Isaiah warned the king to prepare for his approaching death, but Hezekiah prayed that God would intervene.  God answered by promising Hezekiah 15 more years and deliverance of Jerusalem from Assyria (Isa. 38:4-6).  Sennacherib besieged Lachish and sent messengers to the Jerusalem wall to urge the people to surrender. Hezekiah, dressed in sackcloth and ashes, went to the temple to pray.  He called for Isaiah, who announced that Sennacherib would "hear a rumor" and return to his own land where he would die by the sword (2 Kings 19:7).”  KJV Master Study Bible: The Cornerstone Encyclopedia of Bible Knowledge.




Friday, October 15, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “You Can Learn A lot From An Ant” Proverbs 6:6-8; 30:25

TEXT: "Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, 7 Which, having no  captain, overseer or ruler, 8 provides her supplies in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest. 9 How long will you slumber, O sluggard?  When will you rise from your sleep?"  Proverbs 6:6-9

The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their food in the summer.  Proverbs 30:25

The fourth lesson the ants teach us is about perseverance.  Ants continue to survive no matter what the weather is like and no matter what the circumstances are.  They have a wonderful  (except when it is my kitchen countertops) ability to endure and overcome.  Kick over their mound and they will rebuild it.  Hit it with water from a water hose and in no time they have built it back.  They know how to persevere.  Fire ants know how to protect themselves.  You learn that very quickly if you are not paying attention and step on their nest.  They will begin to swarm you and their bites are painful.  

How are you performing in life?  On the job…..with your family……for the Lord?  Are you doing  your best?  Are you a partner in the ministry of the church?  We need workers! We need for every member of  this church to participate in its ministry! 

Are you prepared for the future? Is your family prepared for the future?  Are you and your family ready to meet the Lord? If not get ready and make things right with God!


Larry Hudson


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: Above scriptures!

Pray or do: Lord, teach us the wisdom that comes from observing ants and how to apply that wisdom to our lives  and church.



Wednesday, October 14, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “You Can Learn A lot From An Ant” Proverbs 6:6-8; 30:25

TEXT: "Go to the ant, you sluggard!  Consider her ways and be wise, 7 Which, having no  captain, overseer or ruler, 8 provides her supplies in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest.  9 How long will you slumber, O sluggard?  When will you rise from your sleep?"  Proverbs 6:6-9

The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their food in the summer; Proverbs 30:25

The third lesson we receive is about preparedness.  Being prepared means you’re not guilty of  procrastination.  The ant doesn’t wait until the weather turns cold to start preparing for winter.  They gather food whenever and wherever they can.  When you think about their lifespan (45 to 60 days) you realize that the ants will work hard all day and never eat the food they are preparing because they will die before cold weather.  They are making sure that their families will be taking care of.  “Provides her supplies in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest.”   (Proverbs 6:8) “The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their food in the summer;” (Proverbs 30:25) 

Jesus said that we must work when it is day time, when night comes, no one can work (John 9:4).   We must make use of every opportunity to evangelize and win souls and not let the opportunity slip by.  They prepare for their family. They work all the time making sure to not only feed themselves  but the young and future generations as well. It only makes sense to make sure that our families will be taken care of in the future if something should happen to us.  That’s just plain good common sense, and stewardship.  They prepare for their future. They are constantly looking to the future. They are constantly preparing for the future.  Are you prepared? Are you preparing for the next generation? Are you prepared for eternity?  Are you prepared to stand before God and give an account?  Is there something God has told you to do or is leading you to do….and yet you’ve put it off?  Do it now! Prepare now! 


Larry Hudson


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: Above scriptures!

Pray or do: Lord, teach us the wisdom that comes from observing ants and how to apply that wisdom to our lives  and church.




Tuesday, October 13, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “You Can Learn A lot From An Ant” Proverbs 6:6-8; 30:25

TEXT: Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, 7 Which, having no  captain, Overseer or ruler, 8 Provides her supplies in the summer, And gathers her food in the harvest. 9 How long will you slumber, O sluggard? When will you rise from your sleep?  Proverbs 6:6-9

The ants are a people not strong, Yet they prepare their food in the summer; Proverbs 30:25

The next lesson we learn from ants is about partnership.   There is solidarity.  The ant colony is a community.  They build these colonies sometimes to a depth of 35 feet below the ground....it is like a city for ants.  There are complex buildings with

rooms for various activities.  They all live together in this colony.  You very seldom see an ant by  itself. They live together as a family and work together as a team to get done what needs to be done.  We as believers we are co-laborers with the Lord.  We have to work together, and pull together or we’ll pull apart!  There is sharing.  They share their food, their facilities, and even look after and take care of each other’s young. 

Once upon a time there were a pig and a cow living together on a farm.  The cow was popular while the pig was not.  This puzzled the pig.  "People speak warmly of your gentle nature and your sorrowful eyes," the pig said to the cow.  They think you’re generous because each day you give them milk and cream.  But what about  me?  I’m going to give them everything I have.  I’ll give bacon and ham.  I’ll provide bristles for brushes. They’ll even pickle my feet!  Yet not one likes me. Why is that?"  The cow replied, "Perhaps it is because I give while I’m still living."

Are you giving while you have the opportunity?

There is support.   We are to support each other by each of us doing our part. God puts us together in community and each of us is to use our particular gift. When we discover and use our gifts then we are contributing our part. 


Larry Hudson


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: Above scriptures!

Pray or do: Lord, teach us the wisdom that comes from observing ants and how to apply that wisdom to our lives  and church. 

Bonus Material: 

A quote from a evolutionist:

“On their own, each ant’s behavior is relatively useless, but when swarms of ants come together, the patterns optimize naturally and allow them to accomplish tasks that should be far beyond their reach.  To the outside observer, their self-organizing efforts seem to be directed by some larger force or collective intelligence.  Theirs is a society that is truly more than the sum of its parts.” Did you catch that phrase ……..” larger force”.  We call that larger force God.  He created the ant, and they fulfil their purpose!


Monday, October 12, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “You Can Learn A lot From An Ant” Proverbs 6:6-8; 30:25

TEXT: Go to the ant, you sluggard!  Consider her ways and be wise, 7 which, having no captain, overseer or ruler, 8 provides her supplies in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest.  9 How long will you slumber, O sluggard? When will you rise from your sleep?  Proverbs 6:6-9

The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their food in the summer; Proverbs 30:25

Myrmecology is the study of ants.  Solomon tells us along with other passages in the Bible that we should consider the ways of the ants.  There are over 10,000 different species of ants.  They are able to lift 20 times their own body weight. That means that if I had their strength I could lift approx. 4000 lbs.  Ants have been found to build structures 500 times their own height.  The brain of one ant has 250,000 cells whereas the human brain has 10,000 Million brain cells.  Ants also have 2 stomachs.  One for storing up food to share with others later, and one for itself.  The life expectancy of an ant is 45-60 days.  Yet these tiny creatures accomplish much in your short life-span.  One might ask, "Why are you telling us about 'ANTS' in church?"  Prov. 6:6 states "Go to the ANT…consider her ways and be wise."  The first thing ants teach us is about performance.  To perform with efficiency there must be a plan.  At first glance at a anthill, and you just see a lot of activity.  Ants running around everywhere…..but they have a plan.  We as a church must have a plan and a vision for our future.  Every organization, every committee, every class within the church should be geared towards reaching people, and eaching people!  Southside’s Vision/Mission Statement: We desire to bring our community and our world into a relationship with God through Jesus Christ thus fulfilling God’s Great Commandment (Luke 10:27) and Christ’s Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20).  We desire our church body to be filled with the Holy Spirit, to worship and to use our spiritual gifts to be of service to Christ and humanity.  To perform with efficiency there must be participation.  Take a look at an anthill, and you want see many if any ants just sitting around or standing around doing nothing.  Everyone one of those ants have a job, and no one has to tell them what it is…..and no one has to push them to do it!  Ants work together in harmony.  You know how they’re able to do it!  Each one is responsible!  And they’re so busy doing what their supposed to do that they don’t have time to fight among themselves! “and whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, (Colossians 3:23).  To perform with efficiency there must be peace.  One of the reasons that ants can get so much accomplished despite their size and in such a small amount of time is because of harmony.  The Palmist said, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brethren to dwell together in unity! (Psalm 133:1) Rarely do you see 'lone ranger' ants.  The same should be said of each of us.  We need others in our lives, and as Christians, we need to have common goals – Those goals should be to glorify God and spread the message of the Lord Jesus to a lost and dying world.


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: Above scriptures!

Pray or do: Lord, teach us the wisdom that comes from observing ants and how to apply that wisdom to our lives and church.



Friday, October 9, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “Awards and Rewards in the Kingdom of God” Revelations 3:11

TEXT: Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your  crown. Revelation 3:11

There are not only crowns to be given but rewards as well.  There will be rewards for giving to  the work of God.  “He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a

prophet's reward.  And he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward.  42 And whoever gives one of these little ones only a  cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward."  (Matthew 10:41-42) 

The Lord remembers all the labor of love that we have rendered to his servants. “For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister.” (Hebrews 6:10)

The Lord wants us to lay our treasures in heaven. "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.  21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  (Matthew 6:19-21)

We should focus our efforts on accumulating eternal treasures and not waste our life chasing the vanity of earthly wealth and possessions. “Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy.  18 Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, ) All those who have been blessed by our giving will welcome us when we reach heaven.  There are rewards for helping the poor and needy. “Then He also said to him who invited Him, willing to share, 19 storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.”  (1 Timothy 6:17-19) All those who have been blessed by our giving will welcome us when we reach heaven.  There are rewards for helping the poor and needy. “Then He also said to him who invited Him, 'When you give a dinner or a supper, do not ask your friends, your brothers, your relatives, nor rich neighbors, lest they also invite you back, and you be repaid.  13 But when you give a  feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind.  14 And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just.'"

(Luke 14:12-14) (Matthew 6:1-4) 

We should live extremely useful lives spent in the service of suffering humanity.  Whenever we feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick and those in prison, we are really doing it for the Lord himself and he will reward us abundantly. (Matthew 25:31-46) We should not live selfishly. We should eagerly seek opportunities to help others and it will bring eternal rewards to us. Our desire for eternal rewards prevents us from seeking honor from men.

All our acts of charity will have pure motives because we not want to lose our eternal reward by pursuing earthly fame.  “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.  2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.  3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13:1-3)  We should seek to help those who cannot do anything to help us in return. Then we will be rewarded in heaven.

There are also rewards for using our gifts and talents as we discover in the Parable of the Talents.  (Matthew 25:14-30; Luke 19:12-27) We should use all the gifts and talents that God has given to us.  We should not be lazy and waste our resources.  When we are faithful in the earthly

responsibilities, the Lord will reward us with greater responsibilities in eternity.


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: Above scriptures!

Pray or do: May all of our works of charity and service be motivated by our love for Christ and for His glory.

Bonus Material:

Surprise Reward at the End of Bill Broadhurst’s Marathon In July 1981, Bill Broadhurst entered the Omaha, Nebraska, Pepsi 10k.  Broadhurst is slowed by a brain aneurysm he suffered 10 years earlier, which left him partially paralyzed on the left side.  He made it his goal to finish the 10k despite this obstacle.  He was determined to run because Bill Rogers, his hero and a world-famous distance runner, was in the race that day.  Rogers, great runner that he is, placed first in a time of 29 minutes and 37 seconds.  One hour in, for Bill Broadhurst, his partially paralyzed left side started to feel like dead weight.  After two hours, the cars were back in the streets, and getting through intersections became difficult.  At two hours and twenty minutes the pain was so intense and throbbing, he didn’t think he could go on.  Then he saw the end.  But as soon as he saw it, his heart sank: the banner was gone and everybody had left.  Still, having come this far, he decided to push through to the end.  As he approached the finish line, he perceived a small gathering of people off to the side.  Then they moved out to greet him, and he saw Bill Rogers at the front crowd.  They had been waiting for him.  As Broadhurst crossed the finish line, Rogers opened his arms, and hugged him.  Rogers took the gold medal from around his own neck, and put it around the neck of the last runner to cross the line. "You’re the winner, man," he said. "You take the gold."

What a beautiful picture of our life with Christ. Jesus, the first runner of this race, has not forgotten us, struggling runners that we are.  No, he has taken hold of us, he is making us fit for the race, and he is cheering us on toward the goal, and he’s waiting for us to give us the prize that he earned.  And so, let us not forget Him Let us fix our eyes on Him, the author and perfecter of our faith, as we live our lives in an unhindered pursuit of his love and grace.




Wednesday, October 7, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “Awards and Rewards in the Kingdom of God” Revelations 3:11

TEXT: Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown. Revelation 3:11

The next crown is the “Crown of Righteousness” which is awarded for finishing our race in  holiness. These individuals have lived a holy life and finished their course without losing their integrity.  Paul expressed it best in his famous testimony to young Timothy, “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand.  7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  8 Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:6-8  Paul challenged the Corinthian believers and those who would follow how to run this race.  “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize?  Run in such a way that you may obtain it.  25 And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things.  Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.  26 Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty.  Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air.  27  But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified."  1 Corinthians 9:24-27

To continue in the works of the flesh would keep us from receiving our inheritance in Christ.

“Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Galatians 5:19-21 (Matthew 7:13-23;

Revelation 21:8, 27)

The “Crown of Glory” is the next crown and it is awarded for faithfulness in ministry.  Peter addresses the subject of how to qualify for this crown. “The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed:  2 Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; 3 nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; 4 and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.” 1 Peter 5:1-4

All our work for the Lord will be tested by fire.  “For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, you are God's building.  10 According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it.  But let each one take heed how he builds on it.  11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.  12 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each one's work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one's work, of what sort it is.  14 If anyone's work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward.  15 If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.”  1 Corinthians 3:9-15.

Therefore we should serve the Lord with pure motives and with a heart full of genuine love for the Lord and for our fellow men. “But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life

dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.  25 And indeed, now I know that you all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, will see my face no more.  26 Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men.  27 For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God.  28 Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.” Acts 20:24-28

(to be continued)


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: Above scriptures!

Pray or do: Father! May our motives be pure, our hearts filled with love and our actions holy as we serve you.





Tuesday, October 6, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “Awards and Rewards in the Kingdom of God” Revelations 3:11

TEXT: Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your  crown. Revelation 3:11

The second “crown” Christ will give is the “Crown of Life” which will be given for enduring  trial, testing’s and tribulations.  James said, “Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” James 1:12 

It is trials that will mold your character and prepare you for eternity.  Jesus said, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  11 Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.  12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Matthew 5:10-12

The crown of life, along with the other crowns, will be presented after the Lord returns and when  you and I have passed the tests, trials and tribulations victoriously.  Again Jesus says, “Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer.  Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days.  Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.”  Revelation 2:10

Therefore we should not be discouraged when we are faced with the conflicts and difficulties in this life.  Christ has assured us of great glory and reward when we endure sufferings. “And if children, then heirs--heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him,  that we may also be glorified together.  18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” Romans 8:17-18 (NKJV) (II Timothy 2:12; Mark 10:28-30) 

For clarity the word translated “tribulation” means pressure, to crowd in upon you.  We have all experienced it even though we may not have been able to express what we are feeling.  Jesus does  know and understand what you and I go through.  There is peer pressure – the pressure to conform to the world, to be what everyone else expects or wants you to be.  We often associate peer pressure with youth, but actually all of us have peers, and all of us feel the pressure of conformity from different circles of: 

 our peers –

 the circle of our immediate family;

 our wider family;

 our neighbors;

 our friends;

 our local church family;

 our team mates; 

 our schoolmates;

 our co-workers etc.

The pressure from society comes in many forms; the pressure to conform to its standards, to be sexually loose, to play the field, to cast off the prohibitions of God’s Word (which are designed to protect and dignify us) and to behave like dogs in the street – you are better than that, the pressure to be less than honest at times, to cut corners in our business, to bend the truth to our advantage, the pressure to tolerate that which God will not.  To agree that certain ways of living are OK, that one man’s choice is as good as another.  The pressure to treat truth as relative, to live  without absolutes.  The pressure to get drunk, do drugs etc.  When you resist those pressures, let me tell you trouble will come.  You instantly become a target – and the world will make trouble for you.  That is what Paul meant when he said, “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” (2Tim 3:12) 

(to be continued)


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: Above scriptures!

Pray or do: Father, help us to endure trials, testing’s and tribulations so we may bring glory to you and victory in our  lives.




Monday, October 5, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “Awards and Rewards in the Kingdom of God” Revelations 3:11

TEXT: Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your  crown. Revelation 3:11

This past Sunday we celebrated our 56 years of ministry in our community.  What a wonderful  time we had in worshiping God, fellowshipping, sharing a meal and then delivering meals to those in our church family who are not able to attend due to the pandemic.  The message I delivered was to acknowledge the contribution of so many to the work of God in our church and community.  The Word of God tells us that there are great and wonderful awards and rewards in the kingdom of God.  Salvation is free but the awards and rewards in the kingdom of God must be earned.  The Lord does not want us to live an aimless life.  Nor does he want us to trust in Christ only for earthly benefits.  There is a glorious eternity waiting for every believer and the Lord wants us to use our life on earth as a priceless opportunity to earn eternal rewards.  The scriptures reveal to us the pathway of gaining eternal rewards and lay our treasures in heaven.  This week’s devotionals will briefly examine the Crowns and awards that our promised to us in scripture. 

First there is the “Crown of Rejoicing” which is the soul-winners crown.   All those whom we have reached for the Lord and have discipled will be our crown.  We should carefully watch over them lest the devil lead them astray and cause all our labor to be in vain.  Paul wrote that that you are our hope, joy and crown.  “For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing?  Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming?  20 For you are our glory and joy. 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20 (see also Philippians 4:1; Daniel 12:3) 

It is good for those who watch out for your soul to do it with joy.  That make the work they do profitable for you.  The writer of Hebrews wrote, “Obey those who rule over you, and be

submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account.  Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.” (13:17)  You do not want those who watch over you to waste their efforts.  They will have “run in vain” and you will lose the benefit of their labor.  “I am afraid for you, lest I have labored for you in vain.” (Galatians 4:11)  Paul expounds on that when he writes to the Philippians and Thessalonians, “Do all things without complaining and disputing, 15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and

perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.” (Philippians 2:14-16) (I Thessalonians 3:5)

(to be continued)


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: Above scriptures!

Pray or do: Lord, raise up soul-winners in the church that many will come to Christ during this pandemic.

Bonus Material:

“I read a story involving the Butterball Turkey Company, which set up a hotline to answer

consumers’ questions about preparing holiday turkeys.  One woman called to ask about cooking a turkey that had been in her freezer for 23 years.  The operator told her it might be safe if the freezer had been kept below 0 the entire time.  But the operator warned the woman that, even if it were safe, the flavor had probably deteriorated, and she wouldn’t recommend eating it.  The caller replied, “That’s what we thought.  We’ll just give it to the church.”

Disclaimer: The food we served for our Church Anniversary was fresh from “Wood Grill” and

we were careful to abide by Covid-19 protocols. Our food was not frozen except for the delicious

desserts.



Friday, October 2, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “The Christian and His Finances” Luke 16:11 and Various  Proverbs

TEXT: If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit  to your trust the true riches?  Luke 16:11 (KJV) 

The spiritual values of a Christian and his finances concludes:

STEWARDSHIP

The key to understanding God's will in finances is to have the proper understanding of stewardship.  A steward is one who manages another's property.  We are merely stewards of God's

property while we are on earth.  He can choose to entrust us with as much or as little as He  desires, but in no case will we ever take ownership.  Quite often the demonstration of our stewardship is not how much we give but how we react when there is not much to give.  We cannot experience peace in the area of finances until we have surrendered total control of this area to God and have accepted the role of steward. 

There is one who scatters, yet increases all the more, and there is one who withholds  what is justly due, but it results only in want.  Prov 11:24

Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to  share, storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed.  1 Tim 6:18-19

"Do not be anxious for your life, as to what you shall eat; nor for your body, as to  what you shall put on.  For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing.  And do not seek what you shall eat, and what you shall drink, and do not keep worrying.  For all these things the nations of the world eagerly seek; but your Father knows you need these things.  But seek for His kingdom, and these things shall be added to you.  Sell your possessions, and give to charity.  For where your treasure is,  there will your heart be also."  Luke 12:22-23,29-31,33-34

THANKFULNESS

Are we grateful for what we have, rather than resentful for what we don't have?  When we look around, there's always someone else who has more.  It's easy to ask, "Why did he (or she) get that  instead of me?"  Satan tries to get us to be discontented by comparing ourselves to others.  The way to counteract that is to praise God for what we have and not let what others have affect  us.  Thankfulness is not based on an accumulation of assets; it is a positive attitude toward life.   The poor man utters supplications, but the rich man answers roughly.  Prov 18:23

"What woman, if she has ten silver coins and loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, `Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin which I had lost!'"  Luke 15:8-9

In everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.  1 Thess 5:18

TRUST

Are we willing to put God totally in control of our finances?  Will we give away the last dime or dollar we have, even if it looks like we'll do without as a result of giving?  If we really trust God with everything we have, He will satisfy all our needs as He promised.  God gives small things at first because we are only capable of trusting Him for small things.  But the more we exercise our faith, and our trust in Him grows, the more He will supply.  

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. Prov 3:5-6

An arrogant man stirs up strife, but he who trusts in the Lord will prosper. Prov 28:25

"For this reason I say to you, do not be anxious for your life, as to what you shall eat, or what you shall drink; nor for your body, as to what you shall put on.  Is not life more than food, and the body than clothing?  Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not worth much more than they?  And which of you by being anxious can add a single cubit to his life's span?  And why are you anxious about clothing?  Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory did not clothe himself like one of these.  But if God so arrays the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more do so for you, O men of little faith?  Do not be anxious then, saying `What shall we eat?' or `What shall we drink?' or `With what shall we clothe ourselves?'  For all these things the Gentiles eagerly seek; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.  But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.  Therefore do not be anxious for tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own."  Matt 6:25-34

WISDOM

When we have problems, the first thing we should ask for is wisdom - not money, not power, but wisdom.  That's the key that will unlock all the doors.  God's Word says that if we trust Him He will grant wisdom to us liberally and without reproach.  How can we seek God's wisdom in our finances?  God's Word promises that if we ask anything according to His will, and believe we will receive it, it will be given to us.  That includes wisdom, which is fundamental in the area of finances if we are going to make sound financial decisions.

How blessed is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding.  For its profit is better than the profit of silver, and its gain than fine gold.  She is more precious than jewels; and nothing you desire compares with her.  Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor.  Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, and happy are all who hold her fast.  The Lord by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding He established the heavens.  Prov 3:13-19

How much better it is to get wisdom than gold!  And to get understanding is to be chosen above silver.  Prov 16:16

By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; and by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches.  Prov 24:3-4

The wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.  James 3:17

I heard the voice of many angels...and the living creatures and the elders saying with a loud voice, 'Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.' Rev 5:11-12”


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: See above scriptures!

Pray or do: Ask the Lord to help you to apply these spiritual values to your everyday living.

Bonus Material:

LARRY BURKETT THE WORD ON FINANCES (c) 1994 Christian Financial Concepts, Moody Press. Used by permission. All rights reserved.




Wednesday, September 30, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “The Christian and His Finances” Luke 16:11 and Various  Proverbs

TEXT: If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit  to your trust the true riches? Luke 16:11 (KJV) 

The spiritual values of a Christian and his finances continues.

HUMILITY

Even though Christ is the most exalted being in the eternal kingdom of God, He assumed the lowliest, most humbling position possible during His lifetime.  God wants us to question the condition of our hearts.  Do we really consider ourselves higher than someone else simply because we may have the ability to earn more money or have more advantages?   We might not have even earned the money but, instead, inherited it.  Either way, having humility means we can  accept God's blessings without feeling superior to any other individual.  "Better is he who is lightly esteemed and has a servant, than he who honors himself and lacks bread."  Prov 12:9

Jesus called them to Himself, and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles  lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them.

It is not so among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave."  Matt 20:25-27

"Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee, and the other a tax- gatherer.  The Pharisee stood and was praying thus to himself, `God, I thank Thee that I am not like other people; swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax- 

gatherer.  I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.'  But the tax-gatherer,  standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, `God, be merciful to me, the sinner'  I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled, but he who humbles himself shall be exalted."  Luke 18:10- 14

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of  you regard one another as more important than himself.  Phil 2:3

OBEDIENCE

Since finances are one of the most often discussed topics in the New Testament, it would seem obvious that God would use that area to test our obedience to Him.  We must come to the point that God's approval is more important than the world's riches.  Being obedient means being willing to do what God's Word says, regardless of the cost.  Only then will the full measure of God's peace and power be experienced.  Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.  Prov 14:34

"No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or  he will hold to one and despise the other.  You cannot serve God and mammon."  Matt 6:24

By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's  daughter; choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God, than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin; considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward.  Heb 11:24-26

PAYING VOWS

A vow can be defined as'an earnest promise to pledge that binds one to perform in a certain manner.'  Repeatedly in the Bible the term is used to refer to a promise or pledge, and the  emphasis is that such promises are binding.  Few scriptural principles are clearer than that of keeping our vows - literally keeping our word both to God and to others.  When we give our word to do something, we are obligated to do it.  When we obligate ourselves financially, we must pay.  "You shall be careful to perform what goes out from your lips, just as you have voluntarily vowed to the Lord your God, what you have promised."  Deut 23:23 

"Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and pay your vows to the Most High; and  call upon Me in the day of trouble; I shall rescue you, and you will honor Me."  Ps 50:14-15 

"It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay."  Eccl 5:5

POSITIVE ATTITUDES

According to God's Word, having a positive attitude simply means that we trust God, we are thankful for whatever He provides, and we seek His help in knowing how to use what we have.   Not only should we be positive about our own finances, but we should be able to praise God when He benefits someone else, even though we may not have as much.  If we can praise God when someone else is prospering, we have a positive attitude toward finances. 

"All the ways of a man are clean in his own sight, but the Lord weighs the motives."   Prov 16:2

"To do righteousness and justice is desired by the Lord rather than sacrifice."  Prov  21:3

"I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone  who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek." Rom 1:16 


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: See above scriptures!

Pray or do: Ask the Lord to help you to apply these spiritual values to your everyday living.  

Bonus Material:

LARRY BURKETT THE WORD ON FINANCES (c) 1994 Christian Financial Concepts, Moody Press. Used by  permission. All rights reserved.




Tuesday, September 29, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “The Christian and His Finances” Luke 16:11 and Various  Proverbs

TEXT: If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit  to your trust the true riches? Luke 16:11 (KJV) 

The spiritual values of a Christian and his/her finances continues.

COUNSEL OF OTHERS

Balance is what God teaches us - the balance between verses that say it is a wise person who seeks the counsel of many others and verses that warn if we listen to too many people we will go astray.  Somewhere in between is the balance.  God wants us to be open, listen to people with the  same value systems, but not follow their direction for our lives too closely; rather, use it cautiously - as counsel in finding God's direction.

1. A wise person listens to counsel.

The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man is he who listens to  counsel. Prov 12:15

2. A wise person receives counsel.   

Through presumption comes nothing but strife, but with those who receive counsel is wisdom. Prov 13:10

3. A wise person receives correction with grace.   Poverty and shame will come to him who neglects discipline, but he who regards reproof will be honored.  Prov 13:18

4. A wise person seeks several counselors.

Where there is no guidance, the people fall, but in abundance of counselors there is  victory.  Prov 11:14

5. A wise person knows he will give account of himself.

So then each one of us shall give account of himself to God. Rom 14:12

FAIRNESS

The first step in establishing the principle of fairness is to recognize that all people are important,  regardless of their position.  God is not concerned about what others think is fair, only what He  thinks is fair.  From God's perspective, fairness is determined by your attitude toward other people and the way you treat them.  Do you treat others the way you would want them to treat you if the situations were reversed?   What is desirable in a man is his kindness, and it is better to be a poor man than a liar.  Prov 19:22

Nor shall you be partial to a poor man in his dispute.  Ex 23:3

Then you will discern righteousness and justice and equity and every good course.   Prov 2:9

"For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a certain king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves.  And when he had begun to settle them, there was brought to him one who owed him ten thousand talents.  But since he did not have the means to repay, his lord commanded him to be sold, along with his wife and children and all that he had, and repayment to be made.  The slave therefore falling down, prostrated himself before him, saying, `Have patience with me, and I will repay you everything.'  And the lord of that slave felt compassion and released him and forgave him the debt.  But that slave went out and found one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and he seized him and began to choke him, saying, `Pay back what you owe.'  So his fellow slave fell down and began to entreat him, saying, `Have patience with me and I will repay you.'  He was unwilling however, but went and threw him in prison until he should pay back what was  owed.  So when his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were deeply grieved and came and reported to their lord all that had happened.  Then summoning him, his lord said to him, `You wicked slave, I forgave you all that debt because you entreated me.  Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave, even as I had mercy on you?'  And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him.  So shall My heavenly Father also do to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart."  Matt 18:23-35

He was saying to them, "Take care what you listen to.  By your standard of measure it shall be measured to you; and more shall be given you besides."  Mark 4:24

FORGIVENESS

The biblical principle of financial forgiveness is a clear one.  It means that you put aside a wrong suffered, never to be remembered again, even if someone has deceived you or cheated you financially.  How far does forgiveness extend?  As far as the Lord is concerned, it stretches without end.  In our society, we all will have an opportunity to exercise forgiveness.  He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion. Prov 28:13

"If you do not forgive men, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions."  Matt 6:15

"A certain moneylender had two debtors: one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty.  When they were unable to repay, he graciously forgave them both.  Which of them therefore will love him more?"  Luke 7:41-42

"Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him."  Luke 17:3

HONESTY

Our usefulness to God is directly proportional to our honesty.  We should never allow ourselves to be trapped into anything that is unethical, immoral, or dishonest, no matter how inviting it

seems.  According to God's Word, honesty means telling the whole truth, regardless of how much it costs.  It means revealing the whole truth, even when it isn't necessary.  There are no small lies - only lies; there are no small thefts - only thefts. 

Do not let kindness and truth leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.  So you will find favor and good repute in the sight of God and man. Prov 3:3-4

"The good man out of his good treasure brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of his evil treasure brings forth what is evil." Matt 12:35”


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: See above scriptures!

Pray or do: Ask the Lord to help you to apply these spiritual values to your everyday living.

Bonus Material:

The Word on Finances was never meant to be a book.  It actually began in 1971 as my personal study into what God's Word has to say about finances.  After a Monday morning men's Bible study, at which I mentioned that the Bible had more than a hundred references on the subject of money, I was challenged by a participant who said, "I just don't think money is that important to God."  Being a pragmatist about nearly everything, I simply went home, took out a brand new Bible, and began my own study on what the Bible says about money.  As I read through the Bible in my study time, I yellow-lined every passage that dealt specifically with finances.  I discovered that there are more than 1,000 references to money in the Bible - second only to the subject of love.  I had my secretary type out all the verses I had yellow-lined, thus creating a sequential reference.  Then I studied each reference carefully and sorted them by topic, i.e., borrowing, lending, saving, investing, stealing, cheating, and so on.  Once these were retyped, I had an index for the biblical principles of finances.  Over the years I have used this "index" or reference thousands of times in writing.  It is always on my desk when I am working on some new project about family finances from a biblical perspective.

LARRY BURKETT THE WORD ON FINANCES (c) 1994 Christian Financial Concepts, Moody Press. Used by permission.  All rights reserved.




Monday, September 27, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “The Christian and His Finances” Luke 16:11 and Various Proverbs

TEXT: If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit  to your trust the true riches? Luke 16:11 (KJV) 

The Lord Himself said that if we are not found faithful in the use of money (mammon) we will  not be found faithful in other things; so, money really is that important to God.  Right attitudes in the area of finances determine our relationship with God.  Our relationship with God is determined in great part by our attitudes.  Having right attitudes doesn't just mean learning to live on a budget and tithing to the Lord.  Right attitudes include total commitment to God, listening to the counsel of other people (including husbands or wives), dealing fairly and honestly with other people, being humble and thankful, and forgiving others (in terms of debts that are owed).  The right attitudes God will honor are spiritual values being

reflected through finances.

COMMITMENT

God calls each of us to a radical lifestyle - total commitment to Him.  You can determine a great deal about spiritual commitment by what Christians treasure.  God's Word says that our treasures  will be wherever our hearts are.  All that truly matters is what we can do for the kingdom of God.  Certainly, the things we accumulate are not important.  They are simply tools for us to use in accomplishing God's work.  Sometimes commitment breaks down when a sacrifice is required.  We must make a choice about our commitment and there are only two choices.  We cannot serve God and mammon.  Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. Prov 3:5-6.  Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.  Therefore do not be anxious for tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.  Matt 6:33-34

"He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is  unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much....No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one, and love the other, or else he will hold to one, and despise the other.  You cannot serve God and mammon." Luke 16:10, 13. 

"I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus  my Lord...and count them but rubbish in order that I may gain Christ."  Phil 3:8

CONTENTMENT

In the area of finances, contentment does not mean complacency.  Complacency means that I have a problem and I suffer through it with a good attitude; but contentment means I know that  I'm in the center of God's will.  I change the things I can.  The things I can't change I am willing to accept and be content with because I know the One who is in control.  The secret of a happy life is learning how to deal with both the good times and the bad and, like the apostle Paul, knowing how to be content with either. 

1. Learning to be content.

Better is a little with the fear of the Lord, than great treasure and turmoil with it.   Prov 15:16

Jesus said to him, "The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head."Matt 8:20

"Not that I speak from want; for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.  I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of

being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.  I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Nevertheless, you have done well to share with me in my affliction."  Phil 4:11-14

Godliness actually is a means of great gain, when accompanied by contentment.  "For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either.  And if we have food and covering, with these we shall be content." 1 Tim 6:6-8

2. Those who minister must learn to be content.  Shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness. 1 Peter 5:2

"I have coveted no one's silver or gold or clothes.  You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my own needs and to the men who were with me.  In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, `It is more blessed to give than to receive.'" Acts 20:33-35

3. Determine to focus on the spiritual.

Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. Col 3:2

4. Learn thankfulness in every situation.

In everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.  1 Thess 5:18


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: See above scriptures!

Pray or do: Ask the Lord to help you to apply these spiritual values to your everyday living. 

Bonus Material:

The Word on Finances was never meant to be a book.  It actually began in 1971 as my personal study into what God's Word has to say about finances.  After a Monday morning men's Bible study, at which I mentioned that the Bible had more than a hundred references on the subject of money, I was challenged by a participant who said, "I just don't think money is that important to God."  Being a pragmatist about nearly everything, I simply went home, took out a brand new Bible, and began my own study on what the Bible says about money.  As I read through the Bible in my study time, I yellow-lined every passage that dealt specifically with finances.  I discovered that there are more than 1,000 references to money in the Bible - second only to the subject of love.  I had my secretary type out all the verses I had yellow-lined, thus creating a sequential reference.  Then I studied each reference carefully and sorted them by topic, i.e., borrowing, lending, saving, investing, stealing, cheating, and so on.  Once these were retyped, I had an index for the biblical principles of finances.




Friday, September 25, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “What the Proverbs Say About Words” Various Proverbs

TEXT: A man's stomach shall be satisfied from the fruit of his mouth, from the produce of  his lips he shall be filled.  21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.  Proverbs 18:20-21

Christ motto would come from James when James wrote, "So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath" James 1:19

For some people this motto is often reversed.  

They are slow to hear, quick to speak and always

angry.  What does that mean?  Someone wrote:

1. Swift to hear = quick to learn the truth.

2. Slow to speak = be cautious in speaking falsely.

3. Slow to anger = don’t be provoked to wrath and destroy your character.

Here are to other sayings concerning the tongue.

“Men have two ears, and but one tongue, that they should hear more than they speak.”

“The ears are always open, ever ready to receive instruction; but the tongue is  surrounded with a double row of teeth, to hedge it in, and to keep it within proper bounds.” 

The writer of Proverbs wrote, “When there are many words, sin is unavoidable, but the one who controls his lips is wise.”  (Proverbs 10:19) and “A word spoken at the right time is like gold apples on a silver tray.”  (Proverbs 25:11).  Here is a poem that tells us the effect of our words whether they are good or bad.

Death Or Life In Words

"A careless word may kindle strife,

A cruel word may wreck a life;

A bitter word may hate instill,

A brutal word may smite and kill;

A gracious word may smooth the way

A joyous word may light the day;

A timely word may lessen stress,

A loving word may heal and bless." Knight's Master Book of New Illustrations.

James told his congregation to “speak words that are good for building up someone who is in need, so that it gives grace to those who hear.”  (Ephesians 4:29).  Speaking isn’t the problem, it's controlling our tongue.  It’s letting the Holy Spirit guide us in our speech.  Remember the wise words from Pinocchio, “When bad boys become good, their looks change along with their lives.”


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: James 3:1-12

Pray or do: “Lord. I dedicate and consecrate my tongue to you today.  I submit my mind, and heart to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.  I ask the Holy Spirit to be my guide through which all my words, spoken and written will pass from me today.”




Wednesday, September 23, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “What the Proverbs Say About Words” Various Proverbs

TEXT: A man's stomach shall be satisfied from the fruit of his mouth, from the produce of his lips he shall be filled.  21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.  Proverbs 18:20-21

Here are three practical ways the scriptures from the first two devotionals will affect you.   First your vocabulary will change when your heart changes. Speaking or writing words that are not true is not the problem – it’s a heart problem – it’s a surrender problem.  Adrian Rogers wrote of the problem when he said, “The heart of the human problem is the problem of the human heart.”  We can’t control our tongues until we let the Holy Spirit control us.  That only happens when we submit ourselves to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.  

Secondly what you say and write inevitable reflects the kind of person you are.  In all or little that  we say and write becomes a flashing billboard to those who hear and read our words.  

Here are three sayings you may have heard before.  “Remember WHO you are and remember WHOSE you are.”  Whatever you speak or write you should stop and think about how this reflects upon you and what kind of person you want to be known for.  When we stop and think we remember that we are sons and daughters of God and we represent Him.  “You are what you eat,” “Garbage in and garbage out.”  And the next one, “What’s in the well comes up in the bucket!”  For some people, even for Christians with potty-mouths – it’s time to change, what we take in, and wells.  

When we were baptized the preacher took us down under the water from our toes to our nose – it  all got dunked.  This not only symbolizes we are changed from being sinners to sons and daughters of God but it also represents a changed heart, a changed life and a change of speech. 


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: James 3:1-12

Pray or do: Whatever you do or say today, take a moment before you say or do it to think about how your words or  actions will represent Christ and your character.



Tuesday, September 22, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “What the Proverbs Say About Words” Various Proverbs

TEXT: A man's stomach shall be satisfied from the fruit of his mouth, from the produce of  his lips he shall be filled.  21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.  Proverbs 18:20-21 

“The power of the tongue is life and death — those who love to talk will eat what it  produces.” That is an amazing statement – “Live and death are in the power of the tongue.  Of all the powers that man possesses, the power of speech can be the most potent.  The same words can be given in a harsh, sarcastic or loving manner.  It is all in how it is presented with tones, facial expressions and body language.  The New Cyclopaedia of Prose Illustrations: First Series illustrates this with this prose, “Hard words are like hailstones in summer, beating down and destroying what they would nourish were they melted into drops.”  We have all heard the expression, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” I agree with the person who said it is a lie straight from Satan.  All our words have consequences – good and bad.  When we use words, with people, that are hurtful and critical then we grieve God.  As Christians our words should be words of life to everyone we speak to.  The Psalmist wrote, “He also taught me, and said to me: 'Let your heart retain my words; Keep my commands, and live.'” (Proverbs 4:4) and “Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, Sweetness to the soul  and health to the bones.” (Proverbs 16:24). 


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: James 3:1-12

Pray or do: Speak words of life into someone today.

Bonus Material: 

There was a T-shirt made that said, "Lord, make my words sweet as honey because tomorrow I may have to eat  them."



Monday, September 21, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “What the Proverbs Say About Words” Various Proverbs  

TEXT: A worthless person, a wicked man, walks with a perverse mouth; 13  He winks with his eyes, he shuffles his feet, he points with his fingers; 14 Perversity is in his heart, he devises evil continually, he sows discord.  15 Therefore his calamity shall come suddenly; Suddenly he shall be broken without remedy.  Proverbs 6:12-15

I do believe all the words in this book.  And if God’s Word tells me that he hates a lying tongue I’m going to believe it.   I’m sure that every one of us has said something or written something that we wish we had never said.  Mark Twain said, “The difference between the right word and the almost right word is like the difference between lightning and the lightning bug.”  Words spoken can’t be unspoken.  Once they leave our lips there is no way to get them back.  Throughout the book of Proverbs there are over 150 verses that speak to us about the power of our words.  On average, a reference to speech appears five times in EACH of the 31 chapters.  This week, in our devotionals, I will examine three Proverbs that deal with the tongue and then three applications about our tongue.  The first Proverb is found in our text today.  This proverb tells us of a dishonest person which the writer considers worthless.  He/she is a troublemaker and is in rebellion.  He/she is perverse and a schemer who devises evil and sows discord.  This person is lost without God and eternal life with Him unless they have a change of heart and repent.  A second proverb says, “These six things the LORD hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him:  17 A proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood, 18 A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that are swift in running to evil, 19  A false witness who speaks lies, And one who sows discord among brethren.: (Proverbs 6:16-19)  Here are seven things God hates and five of them deal with body parts: the eyes, tongue, hands, heart and feet. Prideful eyes, blood covered hands who have shed the life of innocence, a wicked heart, swift feet running to evil, one who speaks falsely and a sower of discord among a group.

Two are characteristics of someone that God doesn’t like – a lying tongue and a liar.

In the story of Pinocchio the cobbler created an imaginary character who gets in trouble for lying– only to find his nose growing.  At the end of the story Pinocchio changes – he goes from being a bad boy to being a good boy. Gepetto said, “When bad boys become good, their looks change along with their lives.”

When God changes us from the bad to the good by imputing His righteousness He expects everything about us to change, including our speech.  Paul speaks to that in his letter to the Corinthian church.  “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived.  Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.  11 And such were some of you.  But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.”  (1 Corinthians 6:9-11) Yes!  We use to be and do the same things until Christ changed us.  Now we have been washed in the blood of Jesus, sanctified from the world and justified before God by the power of the Holy Spirit.


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: See above scriptures!

Pray or do: When someone needs reproof then give it in a spirit of love. When you receive reproof from the Lord receive it as a positive in your life.

Bonus Material:

HE'S SHAVING YOU!

An influential man in town was sitting in the barber's chair having a shave and a haircut.  He saw a pretty woman who was working in the office there and started flirting with her. "You're cute!"  "How about a date tonight?" he said to her.  The pretty woman smiled and said, "I'm sorry, but I'm married.  That's no big deal!" said the arrogant man.  "Call the bum up and tell him you will be home late tonight!"  The woman smiled and said, "Why don't you tell the bum yourself.  He's shaving you right now!"  James said the tongue has the power to destroy your life! (James 3).





Friday, September 18, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “Refusing Reproof” Proverbs 1:20-33

TEXT: Wisdom calls aloud outside; She raises her voice in the open squares.  21 She cries  out in the chief concourses, at the openings of the gates in the city She speaks her words:  22 "How long, you simple ones, will you love simplicity?  For scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge.  23 Turn at my rebuke; surely I will pour out my spirit on you; I will make my words known to you.  24 Because I have called and you refused, I have stretched out my hand and no one regarded, 25 Because you disdained all  my counsel, and would have none of my rebuke, 26 I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your terror comes, 27 when your terror comes like a storm when distress and anguish come upon you.  28 Then they will call on me, but I will not answer; they will seek me diligently, but they will not find me.  29 Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the LORD, 30 they would have none of my counsel and despised my every rebuke.  31 Therefore they shall eat the fruit of their own way, and be filled to the full with their own fancies.  32 For the turning away of the simple will slay them, and the complacency of fools will destroy  them; 33 But whoever listens to me will dwell safely, and will be secure, without fear of evil."  Proverbs 1:20-33

Reproof brings wisdom into our lives – This is the positive aspect of reproof.   The Children of Israel cross the Red Sea after their deliverance from the Egyptians.  This is what the writer of Exodus observed about that occasion.  “Thus Israel saw the great work which the LORD had done in Egypt; so the people feared the LORD, and believed the LORD and His servant Moses.” Exodus 14:31.  God’s reproof of Egypt brought wisdom to God’s people for they “feared the Lord”. 

Christ gives reproof because He loves us.  When Jesus addressed the churches in Revelation He said, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten.  Therefore be zealous and repent.”   Revelation 3:19

Therefore as believers we should:

 Delight in those who give reproof to us. Prov. 24:25.

 Give reproof to others when needed. Lev. 19:17; Eph. 5:11.

 Give no occasion for reproof. Phil. 2:15.

 Love those who give reproof to us. Prov. 9:8. and

 Receive reproof kindly. Ps. 141:5.

The Word of God declares reproof to be:

Better than secret love. Prov. 27:5.

Better than the praise of fools. Eccles. 7:5.

An excellent oil. Ps. 141:5.

More profitable to believers than stripes to a fool. Prov. 17:10. 

Finally the Word of God lets us know that eventually reproof will bring more respect than flattery will.  “He who rebukes a man will find more favor afterward than he who flatters  with the tongue.” Proverbs 28:23


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: See above scriptures!

Pray or do: When someone needs reproof then give it in a spirit of love. When you receive reproof from the Lord  receive it as a positive in your life.




Wednesday, September 16, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “Refusing Reproof” Proverbs 1:20-33

TEXT: Wisdom calls aloud outside; She raises her voice in the open squares. 21 She cries  out in the chief concourses, at the openings of the gates in the city She speaks her words: 22 "How long, you simple ones, will you love simplicity?  For scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge.  23 Turn at my rebuke; Surely I will pour out my spirit on you; I will make my words known to you.  24 Because I have called and you refused, I have stretched out my hand and no one regarded, 25 Because you disdained all  my counsel, and would have none of my rebuke, 26 I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your terror comes, 27 When your terror comes like a storm, and your destruction comes like a whirlwind, when distress and anguish come upon you.  28 "Then they will call on me, but I will not answer; They will seek me diligently, but they will not find me.  29 Because they hated knowledge And did not choose the fear of the LORD, 30 They would have none of my counsel and despised my every rebuke.  31 Therefore they shall eat the fruit of their own way, and be filled to the full with their own fancies.  32 For the turning away of the simple will slay them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them; 33 But whoever listens to me will dwell safely, and will be secure, without fear of evil."  Proverbs 1:20-33

Chuck Swindoll gave four reasons why reproof is refused.

“First there is willful refusal.”

“Because I have called and you refused, I have stretched out my hand and no one  regarded,” Proverbs 1:24a.  Refuse implies “to directly refuse” and is used most often to indicate the refusal of established authority.” 

Three Examples of Hating Reproof:

1. Ahab (2 Chron. 18:7; Proverbs 17:4)

2. The Jews (Amos 5:10)

3. The Pharisees. “But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the will of God for  themselves, not having been baptized by him.” 

“The second reason reproof is refused is insensitivity. “…I have stretched out my hand and  no one regarded,” Proverbs 1:24b.  The idea is “lacking awareness or alertness: In the New Testament the thought of being “dull of hearing” is implied.  Indifference is the third reason.  Because you disdained all my counsel, Proverbs 1:25a.  They distained God’s counsel.  This implies “Neglect – “to let something go; to leave alone” One who neglects counsel acts as if it makes no difference and has no importance” 

Finally there is the reason of Defensiveness.  “…And would have none of my rebuke, Proverbs 1:25b.  They had the attitude of “unwillingness; the refusal to give consent” This defensiveness is characteristic of the individual who keeps reminding himself that it is the other person who should change, not him.”


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: Luke 4:16-30

Pray or do: Determine to never refuse God’s counsel.




Tuesday, September 15, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “Refusing Reproof” Proverbs 1:20-33

TEXT: Wisdom calls aloud outside; She raises her voice in the open squares.  21 She cries  out in the chief concourses, at the openings of the gates in the city She speaks her words: 22 "How long, you simple ones, will you love simplicity? For scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge.  23 Turn at my rebuke; surely I will pour out my spirit on you; I will make my words known to you.  24 Because I have called and you refused, I have stretched out my hand and no one regarded, 25 because you disdained all my counsel, and would have none of my rebuke, 26 I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your terror comes, 27 When your terror comes like a storm, and your  destruction comes like a whirlwind, when distress and anguish come upon you.  28 "Then they will call on me, but I will not answer; they will seek me diligently, but they will not find me.  29 Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the LORD, 30 They would have none of my counsel and despised my every rebuke.  31 Therefore they shall eat the fruit of their own way, and be filled to the full with their own fancies.  32 For the turning away of the simple will slay them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them; 33 But whoever listens to me will dwell safely, and will be secure, without fear of evil." Proverbs 1:20-33

windoll says “Conviction is God’s personal criticism”.  Here is the connection between wisdom and reproof.  God uses reproof as a way to bring wisdom  into our lives.  “Reprove” means “to convince” and carries the idea of conviction. Chuck Swindoll says “Conviction is God’s personal criticism”.  When you pay proper attention to reproof that becomes proof of wisdom. ‘But he who receives correction is prudent.’  Proverbs 15:5b.  God uses two ways to point out our weakness, shortcomings and failures. 

1. Direct Means: For the commandment is a lamp, And the law a light; Reproofs of  instruction are the way of life, (Proverbs 6:23) God’s Word shines upon our minds and God speaks through His Word to correct us. 

2. Indirect Means: God uses people and circumstance to correct us.   Ministers should give reproof: 

 With all authority. “Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority.  Let  no one despise you.” Titus 2:15

 With Christian love.  “Yet do not count him as an enemy, but admonish him as a  brother.” 2 Thessalonians 3:15

Some of the character traits God wants to develop in all of us are:

 Compassion

 Consistency

 Dependability

 Discipline

 Gentleness

 Mercy

 Humility

 Love

 Self-control

 Unselfishness

 Many others…


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted.  

Daily reading: Scriptures below!

Pray or do: Father. What character traits do you want to develop in me today?

Bonus Material: 

God sends reproof because of:

Fearfulness. Mark 4:40; Luke 24:37-38.

Hardness of heart. Mark 8:17; 16:14.

Hypocrisy. Matt. 15:7; 23:13, etc.

Not understanding. Matt. 16:9, 11; Mark 7:18; Luke 24:25; John 8:43; 13:7-8.

Oppressing fellow believers. Neh. 5:7.

Reviling Christ. Luke 23:40.

Sinful practices. Matt. 21:13; Luke 3:19; John 2:16.

Unbelief. Matt. 17:17, 20; Mark 16:14.

Unrepentance. Matt. 11:20-24.

Unruly conduct. 1 Thess. 5:14.

Vain boasting. Luke 22:34.




Monday, September 14, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “Refusing Reproof” Proverbs 1:20-33

TEXT: Wisdom calls aloud outside; She raises her voice in the open squares.  21 She cries  out in the chief concourses, at the openings of the gates in the city She speaks her words:  22 "How long, you simple ones, will you love simplicity?  For scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge.  23 Turn at my rebuke; Surely I will pour out my spirit on you; I will make my words known to you.  24 Because I have called and you  refused, I have stretched out my hand and no one regarded, 25 Because you disdained all my counsel, and would have none of my rebuke, 26 I also will laugh at your calamity; I ill mock when your terror comes, 27 When your terror comes like a storm, and your destruction comes like a whirlwind, when distress and anguish come upon you.  28 "Then they will call on me, but I will not answer; they will seek me diligently, but they will not find me.  29 Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the LORD, 30 they would have none of my counsel And despised my every rebuke.  31 Therefore they shall eat the fruit of their own way, and be filled to the full with their own fancies.  32 For the turning away of the simple will slay them, and the complacency of fools will destroy  them; 33 But whoever listens to me will dwell safely, and will be secure, without fear of evil." Proverbs 1:20-33

God wants to teach us the things that will help us to know Him and to mature in Him.  He would  love for us to hear and then readily apply what we have been taught.  All too often we are disobedient to His commandments and teachings.  In the process we become offensive to others and become detrimental to ourselves.  This is when God brings reproof to us.  There are many ways that God brings that reproof. 

 His Word

 His Spirit

 Those with the ministry gifts

 Apostles

 Evangelist

 Pastors

 Teachers

 Friends

 Circumstances

How we respond to the reproof will determine if we will benefit from it or suffer the  consequences from refusing it.  So what is wisdom? 

Chuck Swindoll defines it as “the ability to see life and ourselves as God sees each”.  (Proverbs 1984 p. 6) True wisdom is to justify God and condemn self.  Dake's Wisdom is understanding what is really important in life.  NCV Dictionary.  Wisdom is a moral rather than an intellectual quality.  To be 'foolish' is to be godless.  (Ps 14:1 )  True wisdom is a gift from God to those who ask it (Jas 1:5). 'Wisdom' in Prov 1:20 may be  regarded not as a mere personification of the attribute of wisdom, but as a divine person, 'Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God'. (1Co 1:24). Illustrated Bible Dictionary: 

In Proverbs 1:20-21 we find that wisdom is available to us.  Wisdom is available to us through the Word of God, sermons and Sunday School lessons.   This wisdom can be spurned, because I have called and you refused, I have stretched out my hand and no one regarded, 25 because you disdained all my counsel, and would have none of my rebuke, Proverbs 1:24-25

Three types of people refuse reproof:

1. The simple – those who are wide open, easily deceived and enticed.

2. The scoffer – those who are skeptical and given to mockery and contempt.

3. The fool – those who misuse what they hear and believe they can survive without God

Five examples of despising wisdom:

1. Cain (Gen. 4:6-8)

2. Hophni and Phinehas (1Sam. 2:12,25)

3. Nabal (1Sam. 25:25)

4. Rehoboam (1Ki. 12:13)

5. Athenians

Then certain Epicurean and Stoic philosophers encountered him.  And some said, "What does this babbler want to say?"  Others said, "He seems to be a proclaimer of foreign gods," because he preached to them Jesus and the resurrection. Acts 17:18

And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked, while others said, "We will hear you again on this matter."  Acts 17:32

When a person spurns wisdom it brings serious and bitter consequences.  When continually rejected wisdom (personified) says, “I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your terror comes, 27 When your terror comes like a storm, And your destruction comes like a whirlwind, When distress and anguish come upon you. 28 Then they will call on me, but I will not answer; They will seek me diligently, but they will not find me.” Proverbs 1:26-28

“Therefore they shall eat the fruit of their own way, and be filled to the full with their own fancies.  32 For the turning away of the simple will slay them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them” Proverbs 1:31-32

God gives ample opportunity for us to hear and respond positively to His wisdom.  We can choose to ignore and refuse God’s wisdom and there will come a time when the consequences of our refusal will bring its consequences.


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: Proverbs 1

Pray or do: Father. Help me to understand the relationship between Wisdom and Reproof.




Saturday, September 12, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “The Benefits of the Fear of God” 2 Corinthians 7:1-7

TEXT: Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.  2 Open your hearts to us.  We have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have cheated no one.  3 I do  not say this to condemn; for I have said before that you are in our hearts, to die together and to live together.  4 Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my boasting on your behalf.  I am filled with comfort.  I am exceedingly joyful in all our tribulation.  5 For indeed, when we came to Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were troubled on every side.  Outside were conflicts, inside were fears.  2 Corinthians 7:1-5

So what are the benefits of fearing God? (Continued)

11. “The Holy Spirit teaches us more about God’s will for our life, relationships and ministries  when we consistently fear the Lord.  David wrote, "Teach me Your way, O LORD; I will walk in Your truth; Unite my heart to fear Your name.” Psalm 86:11

Ask God to help you learn more about God’s will for your personal life, relationships and  ministries through a growing reverence for the Lord. 

12. The Holy Spirit helps us learn how to be content and satisfied with a healthy fear of God.  Moses wrote, (vs. 1) "What does the Lord require of you, but to fear Him……(vs. 2) for  the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty and awesome God." (Deuteronomy 10:12-17)  "And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the LORD your God with all  your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to keep the commandments of the LORD and His statutes which I command you today for your good?  14 Indeed heaven and the highest heavens belong to the LORD your God, also the earth with all that is in it.  15 The LORD delighted only in your fathers, to love them; and He chose their descendants after them, you above all peoples, as it is this day.  16 Therefore circumcise the foreskin of your heart, and be stiff-necked no longer.  17 For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality nor takes a bribe.  Ask God to help you to find greater contentment, fulfillment and satisfaction through your healthy fear of God. 

13. The Holy Spirit helps us overcome our wants, desires and urges with a fear of God.   David wrote, “Oh, fear the LORD, you His saints! There is no want to those who fear Him.  The young lions lack and suffer hunger; but those who seek the LORD shall not lack any good thing. Psalm 34:9-10.  Ask the Lord to help you overcome your carnal desires, wants and urges with an increasing fear, reverence and trust in our God. 

14. The Holy Spirit gives greater endurance to those who fear the Lord.  David wrote, “The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. Psalm 19:9  Ask God to give you greater perseverance and knowledge of what is best as a result of your fear of God. 

15. The Holy Spirit gives us greater peace of mind, purity of thoughts and an upright conscience when we fear the Lord.   Paul wrote, “Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.  2 Corinthians 7:1  Ask God to help you to cleanse your mind, emotions and perceptions with a healthy fear and reverence for the Lord. 

16. The Holy Spirit gives you the ability to conquer you fears of people and problems with a fear  of God.  Solomon wrote, “The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, To turn one away from the snares of death.” Proverbs 14:27   The fear of man brings a snare, But whoever trusts in the LORD shall be safe.  Proverbs 29:25  Ask the Lord to help you find more of your answers in the fear of God as a way of drawing more strength from the Lord’s infinite resources.” Contributed by Paul Fritz


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: Above scriptures!

Pray or do: Thank you Holy Spirit for the benefits you bring to me as I fear God.

Bonus Material: 

TRUE FEAR VERSUS FALSE FEAR.

The fear of God is not the same as the emotional reaction we get to creaking doors at night or childhood worries  over possible monsters under the bed.  Those responses trivialize godly fear.  Blaise Pascal distinguished between true fear and false fear.   “True fear", he said, "is the fear of losing God.  False fear is the fear of finding God.  True fear comes from faith; false fear comes from doubt.  True fear is joined to hope, because it is born of faith, and because men hope in the God in whom they believe.  False fear is joined to despair, because men fear the God in whom they have no belief.  The former fear to lose Him; the latter fear to find Him."




Friday, September 11, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “The Benefits of the Fear of God” 2 Corinthians 7:1-7

TEXT: Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.  2 Open your hearts to us.  We have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have cheated no one.  3 I do  not say this to condemn; for I have said before that you are in our hearts, to die together and to live together.  4 Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my boasting on your behalf.  I am filled with comfort.  I am exceedingly joyful in all our tribulation.  5 For indeed, when we came to Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were troubled on every side.  Outside were conflicts, inside were fears.  2 Corinthians 7:1-5

So what are the benefits of fearing God? (Continued)

5. The Holy Spirit shows us that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of all sorts of wisdom.  (Prov. 1:7) The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom  and instruction. 

6. The Holy Spirit teaches us that He fulfills the desires of those who fear Him.  He also hears their cries and saves them from defeat.  (Psa. 145:19)  He will fulfill the desire of those who  fear Him; He also will hear their cry and save them.  Ask the Lord to help you fear God so you can see more of your desires fulfilled through His mighty power. 

7. The Holy Spirit helps us make do with what we have when we fear God.  Solomon wrote,  "Better is a little with the fear of the Lord than great wealth with turmoil."  (Prov. 15:16)  Ask God to help you to increase in your fear and reverence of the Lord so you are able to make do with whatever He provides. 

8. The Holy Spirit helps us cleanse our minds, emotions and spirits with a healthy fear of God.  (Psa. 19:9)  The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the LORD

are true and righteous altogether.  Ask the Lord to help you sanctify your mind, will and  emotions with a greater fear and respect for God. 

9. The Holy Spirit encourages us to grow spiritually and bear more fruit with the fear of God.  (Eph. 4:15) But, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ

10. The Holy Spirit helps us maintain a reverential trust in God with a hatred for evil by teaching us more about God’s holy attributes.  John wrote, “Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and  glorify Your name?  For You alone are holy.  For all nations shall come and worship before You, For Your judgments have been manifested."  Revelation 15:4  Ask the Lord to help you to continually grow in your knowledge, intimacy and confidence in the knowledge of the Holy One’s attributes. 


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted.  

Daily reading: 2 Corinthians 7

Pray or do: Thank you Holy Spirit for the benefits you bring to me as I fear God.




Thursday, September 10, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “The Benefits of the Fear of God” 2 Corinthians 7:1-7

TEXT: Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.  2 Open your hearts to us.  We have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have cheated no one.  3 I do  not say this to condemn; for I have said before that you are in our hearts, to die together and to live together.  4 Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my boasting on your behalf.  I am filled with comfort.  I am exceedingly joyful in all our tribulation.  5 For indeed, when we came to Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were troubled on every side.  Outside were conflicts, inside were fears.  2 Corinthians 7:1-5. 

So what are the benefits of fearing God?

1. The Holy Spirit helps us maintain a reverential trust in God with a hatred for evil by teaching  us more about God’s holy attributes.  John wrote, "Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name?  For You alone are holy.  For all nations shall come and worship before You, For Your judgments have been manifested."  Revelation 15:4

Ask the Lord to help you to continually grow in your knowledge, intimacy and confidence in the knowledge of the Holy One’s attributes.

2. The Holy Spirit reminds us that we are commanded to fear the Lord and keep all of His commandments.  Moses wrote, “You shall walk after the LORD your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice, and you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him.” Deuteronomy 13:4.  Ask the Lord to help you to fear God out of obedience, service and your need for His support.

3. The Holy Spirit motivates us to fear the Lord with all kinds of rich incentives.  Solomon wrote, "By humility and the fear of the Lord is riches, honor and life."  (Prov. 22:4)

Ask God to help you motivate others to fear God by teaching them about the Bible’s rich incentive plan.

4. The Holy Spirit helps us worship the Lord in spirit and complete truth when we fear the Lord.  It is impossible to worship the Lord without a proper reverential fear of His holy name.

Ask the Lord to help you grow in your respect, awe and admiration for the Lord to enhance the quality and quantity of your worship.

5. The Holy Spirit encourages us to fear the Lord in order to come underneath God’s protective care.  Isaiah wrote, "Fear not for I am with you.  Be not dismayed for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and will help you and will uphold you with my righteous right hand."  (Isa. 41:10) Ask God to help you encourage others to fear the Lord so they too might enjoy all of His protective benefit package.


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: 2 Corinthians 7

Pray or do: Thank you Holy Spirit for the benefits you bring to me as I fear God.




Wednesday, September 9, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “The Benefits of the Fear of God” 2 Corinthians 7:1-7

TEXT: Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.  2 Open your hearts

to us.  We have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have cheated no one.  3 I do  not say this to condemn; for I have said before that you are in our hearts, to die together and to live together.  4 Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my boasting on your behalf.  I am filled with comfort.  I am exceedingly joyful in all our tribulation.  5 For indeed, when we came to Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were troubled on every side.  Outside were conflicts, inside were fears.  2 Corinthians 7:1-5

We fear men so much because we fear God so little.  William Gurnall.

This week’s devotions begin with a definition of the “Fear of God”.  The fear of God is a sense of holy reverence of and respect or honor toward God.  It is the loyalty and duty that we owe God by placing him first above everything else.  The fear of God in its fullness represents a perfect relationship with the Creator.  Solomon wrote, "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: fools despise wisdom and instruction."  (Prov. 1:7).  Wisdom and knowledge begin  when God is placed first in our lives, and our entire world revolves around our worship of him.  We find an example of the Fear of God in the book of Ecclesiastes.  Solomon came to understand the importance of the fear of God as he explored all the wisdom in creation.  (Eccl. 1:13). As you read the book of Ecclesiastes you get a sense of the despair Solomon began to experience.  Everything turned out to be meaningless to him and he expressed it as “all is vanity and vexation of spirit” (NKJV) 

Everything proved to be meaningless, including the paths of ...

 pleasure and hedonism (2:1-11),

 intellectualism and madness or folly (2:12-16),

 toil and labor (2:17-26),

 social status (4:13-16),

 wealth and prosperity (5:8-12), and

 philosophy and science or the 'scheme of things'  (7:25-29 NIV).

He decided that wisdom was to be preferred over physical power (9:16), but a little folly could overwhelm wisdom and honor (10:1).   He learned that accumulating a wealth of human wisdom and knowledge simply increases the grief, pain, and confusion in life (Eccl. 1:13-18).  His despair was alleviated by one single truth found in the final two verses of the book.  If these two verses are omitted, then the writer of Ecclesiastes is left floundering in the gloomy vision we find in the agnostic and atheistic existential and postmodern philosophies of our recent history.  What is the only way out of our misery and desolation?  Only by fearing God, and obeying his Word or commands are we able to make sense of this world.  Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man's all.  14 For God will bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing, Whether good or evil. Ecclesiastes 12:13-14


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: Proverbs 1

Pray or do: Holy Spirit teach me to fear God with a true understanding of what that means.

Bonus Material: 

JESUS AND THE FEAR OF GOD

"The fear of Jehovah is to hate evil; I hate pride and conceit (self-love) and the evil way (deeds), and the perverse mouth"  (Prov. 8:13).

Godly people express their fear of the Lord by refusing to engage in sinful attitudes and actions.  Jesus lived a perfect and sinless life.  As such, he personified the fear of God.  He was in the Father and the Father was in him (John 14:10).  He was in his very nature God (Phil. 2:6-11). "I and the Father are one," he said (John 10:30). His entire life reveals to us the model of a person who never takes his eyes off the Father, an acknowledgement of the absolute holiness of God and a perfect expression of the fear and holiness of God.  Christians must conduct themselves in reverence and fear of God in all their work and activities.  (1 Pet. 1:17-18).




Friday, September 4, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “Only the Beginning” 5th in the series “The Second Coming of  Jesus?” from the main series “The Quest to Know Who Jesus Is” Rev. 20 - 21

TEXT: Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth  had passed away.  Also there was no more sea.  2 Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  3 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.  4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying.  There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away."  5 Then He who sat on the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new."  And He said to me, "Write, for these words are true and faithful."  6 And He said to me, "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End.  I will  give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts.  Revelation 21:1-6

Heaven is a place of riches. But riches are not the reason we want to go there.

The New Jerusalem has

• Foundations which represent permanence

• Walls symbolize protection

• Gates symbolize provision

• Streets represent glory and praise

Building foundations are usually underground, and cannot be clearly seen, but this one is visible,  and not only visible, but 12 layers thick!  And each of the 12 foundations is garnished with a different jewel.  All of these colors represent something about the character and nature of the Lord Jesus: Blue for deity, white for purity and purple for royalty John saw a wall.  “And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates

twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the  children of Israel:” Rev. 21:12

In Bible days, walls were all about protection…an un-walled city was vulnerable, an easy target.   And the enemies of earth will be no more…sickness cannot scale those walls, heartache cannot tunnel under…no crime or perversion, nothing to harm, nothing to molest, nothing to injure, nothing to destroy, and so, nothing to fear!  No viruses, no disease, no pestilence, and no public enemy #1…death!  John saw Gates, twelve of them (21:12-13, 21), made of a pearl.  Why a pearl?  A pearls value comes from how it is made.  A grain of sand or other foreign object enters the oyster’s shell and begins to irritate the oyster.  The oyster begins to secrete that white, milky substance…layer after layer, it hardens, and finally you have a perfectly formed, brilliant, round, shiny pearl.  The pearl is the oyster’s answer to that which wounded it!  The pearl owes its existence to the will of the oyster to “cover” that which hurt it!  Here is the spiritual lesson.  Sin invaded God’s perfect world, and it cut away at the heart of God, but He was willing by His own blood to cover it!  “Calvary covers it all, my past with its guilt and shame, my sin and despair, Jesus took on Him there, and Calvary covers it all!”   Calvary was God’s answer to man’s sin…and as we walk thru those gates we’ll be reminded of this fact!  We cannot enter in and of ourselves…we won’t be there because of us, but because of Him, and He made us His pearl of great price!  The streets he saw were paved with pure gold (vs. 21).  Gold is a symbol of the glory, honor and majesty of God.  And we will praise Him.  Heaven is a place of righteousness because God is there.  Heaven is a place of refuge (vs. 22-27).  There will be no need of a sanctuary because God and His son will be there.  There will be no need of the sun or moon because their glory will light the city.  And the main point is very clear.  In the end Satan will be defeated (20:7-10), the curse of sin will be broken (22:3) and the Father and Son will be present with us (21:3).  For those who belong to Christ, the end of the world is only the beginning of eternal life.  “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Romans 6:23

This devotion concludes our main sermon series “The Quest to Know Who Jesus Is”.  I trust that you know Him today.  I hope that you know Him better than ever before.  If you don’t know Jesus as Lord of your life you can call upon Him today and He will hear you and honor your request.   If you have questions about having a relationship with Christ or if you commit your life to Christ please feel free to email me.  I would love to hear from you.


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: Revelations 21

Pray or do: Lord, I look forward to the day when I’ll see your face. Help me to live my life with that end in mind.   Come, Lord Jesus.




Thursday, September 3, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “Only the Beginning” 5th in the series “The Second Coming of Jesus?” from the main series “The Quest to Know Who Jesus Is” Rev. 20 - 21

TEXT: Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth  had passed away.  Also there was no more sea.  2 Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  3 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.  4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying.  There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away."  5 Then He who sat on the throne said, "Behold, I make all

things new."  And He said to me, "Write, for these words are true and faithful."  6 And He said to me, "It is done!  I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End.  I will  give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts.  Revelation 21:1-6

Heaven will be a place of relief (vs. 4).  We will be relieved from all sicknesses and death.  There will be no need for hospitals, caskets or burial plots.  We will live forever in our glorified bodies.  

A 5 year old girl had never stayed the night with a friend before.  She was nervous, but gave it a  try.  She did fine during the daytime, but when it got dark she got nervous in a strange place.  The friend’s mother perceived this: “honey, are you getting homesick?”  With childlike innocence she replied, “No ma’am, I’m getting here sick!”   And the more you may go thru down “here”, the sweeter heaven will be for you!  Romans 8:18  

“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with  the glory which shall be revealed in us.  Heaven is a Place of Refreshing (v. 6)  When you get really, really thirsty there is nothing that will satisfy your thirst but water.  How satisfying it is when you get it. 

And in heaven, every righteous desire that we have will be perfectly and completely satisfied, once and for all!  Here on earth we pursue happiness, but don’t ever completely find it, but in heaven that thirst will be quenched!  We will be able to find the answers to all the questions we have.  Relationships will be renewed.  And in heaven, we’ll know as we are known…all life’s thirsts quenched!  Heaven will be a Restricted Place (v. 8).  Right here in the middle of this positive, beautiful description of heaven, God gives us a list of some who won’t be there.  Why does God include this info?  Perhaps to show that the sin which has cursed and ultimately destroyed this world will NOT be allowed into the next!  

The fearful—never accepted Christ, afraid to take the stand.

The unbelieving—didn’t believe at all in Christ or the Bible.

The abominable—not just sinners…these have committed abominations. 

From God’s perspective, there’s no difference between big and little sins…but this is encouragement of what WON’T be there and we need to understand from a human perspective.  

What are some abominations?

Lev. 18:22 says homosexuality is.

Deut. 17:3 says astrology and horoscopes are abominations.

Deut. 18 says consulting a medium, fortuneteller, a wizard, or somehow communicates  w/ the dead, they have committed an abomination. 

Prov. 20 says cheating in business is an abomination. “false balance”

Prov. 12 says compulsive lying is an abomination.

Prov. 16 says a heart full of pride is an abomination.

And heaven is off limits to all of these things.  

Don’t miss this truth however: any of these people can get saved, and you don’t have to commit

an abomination to be lost, just one sin!


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: Revelations 21

Pray or do: Heavenly Father, as I near the end of my journey through the Bible, help me to get a clear understanding  of the essential Jesus.



Wednesday September 2, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “Only the Beginning” 5th in the series “The Second Coming of  Jesus?” from the main series “The Quest to Know Who Jesus Is” Rev. 20 - 21

TEXT: Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away.  Also there was no more sea.  2 Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  3 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people.  God Himself will be with them and be their God.  4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying.  There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away."  5 Then He who sat on the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new."  And He said to me, "Write, for these words are true and faithful."  6 And He said to me, "It is done!  I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End.  I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts.  Revelation 21:1-6

Heaven is a place that will remain.  This is what John saw.  “Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away.  Also there was no more sea.  (Revelation 21:1).  Nothing you see on this physical earth is going to last…nothing will remain. Don’t get attached to the things of this earth because they will pass away. The only thing that remains is your soul and the treasures you have stored up in heaven.  Jesus tells us to lay up treasurers in heaven by giving and serving.  One of the greatest possible experiences we could have when we get to heaven is to have someone come up to us and tells us how our witness, testimony, prayers and mission giving helped to bring them to Christ.  Heaven is a prepared place.  This is what John saw, “the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” (vs. 2).  Just as a bride takes weeks and even months to prepare for her wedding, the Lord is preparing a home for us.  He has been preparing for over two thousand years.  Remember this; all of creation only took 6 days.

R.G. Lee wrote, “Heaven is the most marvelous place the wisdom of God could conceive and that the power of God could prepare.”  We can only imagine its glory and beauty.  Paul put it this way, “But as it is written, eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”  1 Corinthians 2:9

What will be most wonderful about the new heaven, new earth and New Jerusalem is relationships.  If the streets were not gold but gravel, if the walls were particle board and not jasper, if mud was knee deep and weeds over our heads, it will still be heaven because Jesus is there!  The worst thing will be for those who are lost without God.  They will have no relationship with Him for all of eternity.  We who believe sing,

“What a day that will be

when my Jesus I shall see.

When I look upon His face

The One who saved me by His grace”

Oh! What a day that will be!

At the same time we will not be able to help but think, as we behold Him, of what it cost Him to provide a way for us to be there.  His nail scarred hands and feet will be a constant reminder.  Someone once said, “We’ll be elated, yes, but only because we’re RELATED!”  We will be there not because of our good deeds but because we are sons and daughters by faith.  We put our trust in God and He adopted us into the family of God.


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: Revelations 21

Pray or do: Heavenly Father, as I near the end of my journey through the Bible, help me to get a clear understanding of the essential Jesus.




Monday, August 31, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “Only the Beginning” 5th in the series “The Second Coming of  Jesus?” from the main series “The Quest to Know Who Jesus Is” Revelations 20 - 21

TEXT: Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth  had passed away.  Also there was no more sea.  2 Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  3 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, ";Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people.  God Himself will be with them and be their God.  4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away."  5 Then He who sat on the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new."  And He said to me, "Write, for these words are true and faithful."  6 And He said to me, "It is done!  I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End.  I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts."  Revelation 21:1-6 (NKJV)

Human history began in paradise…the Garden of Eden.  And it will all end in paradise…the New Jerusalem.  The verse that sums up the last two chapters of Revelation is verse 5.  God will “make all things new”.  What began in Genesis is brought to completion in Revelation.  Notice this comparision:

GENESIS - REVELATION

1:1 - heavens & earth created 21:1 - New heavens & earth

1:16 - Sun created 21:23 - No need for the sun

1:5 - Night established 22:5 - No night there

1:10 - The seas created 21:1 - No more seas [exiled on Patmos!]

3:14-17 - The curse announced 22:3 - No more curse [satan, serpent, soil]

3:19 - Death enters history 21:4 - No more death

3:24 - Man driven from paradise 22:14 - Man restored to paradise

3:17 - Sorrow & pain began 21:4 - No more tears or pain

Don’t you look forward to going to heaven?  “What a day that will be…”

So what do we learn about “heaven”?  Where will we spend eternity?  The reality is “right here on earth”.  The New Jerusalem will come down from God and land on earth and that is were we will spend eternity.  Notice these ten facts about this New Jerusalem.

1. Heaven is a Real Place. It is not a “state of mind” or “wishful thinking”.  It was Jesus Himself who said, “I go to prepare a PLACE for you…there you shall be also” John. 14

It’s literal, tangible, described in detail. John “saw” what God revealed to him, with his own eyes.  We who are raptured will have real though glorified bodies like Jesus did after his resurrection.  He could pass thru walls, but yet he could touch people, sit down and eat…praise God!  It will be a different existence, but as real as it gets!

(Part 2 tomorrow)


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: Revelations 20

Pray or do: Heavenly Father, as I near the end of my journey through the Bible, help me to get a clear understanding of the essential Jesus.




Friday, August 28, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “The Day of the Lord-Don’t Be Alarmed”4th in the series “The Second Coming of Jesus?” from the main series “The Quest to Know Who Jesus Is” 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12

TEXT: Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, 2 not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come.  3 Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.  5 Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things?  6 And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time.  7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way.  8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.  9 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, 10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.  11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, 12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.  2 Thessalonians 2:1-12

What about those who follow the Antichrist?  Who are they and what happens to them?   Paul tells us they are those who do not believe the truth.  They have been deceived by the Antichrist so God “sends them strong delusion”.  Their unbelief and rejection of God causes them to believe the lie of Satan.  They loved the pleasures of all kinds of sin which results in their perishing without God.  God is not willing that any should perish but that all would come to repentance but God will not force anyone to believe in or follow Him.  Whitney T. Kuniholm in his booklet The Essential Jesus: 100 Readings through the Bible's Greatest Story sums up this chapter.  “So what does all this mean for us today?  Simply this: We shouldn’t become "unsettled or alarmed” (v. 2) if world events seem out of control.  The Bible teaches that God will let things get worse before he steps in to fix it once and for all.  But remember; we’ve already peeked at the end of the story; Jesus is coming back, and that’s all we really need to know.” 


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12

Pray or do: Lord, this world would be a really scary place if I wasn’t sure that you were coming back someday.  Please show me how I can serve you best until that day.





Thursday, August 27, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “The Day of the Lord-Don’t Be Alarmed”4th in the series “The  Second Coming of Jesus?” from the main series “The Quest to Know Who Jesus Is” 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12

TEXT: Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, 2 not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come.  3 Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.  5 Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things?  6 And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time.  7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way.  8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.  9 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, 10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.  11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, 12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.  2 Thessalonians 2:1-12 (NKJV)

So who is this “Man of sin”?  He is “The Antichrist” (2:4-9) (continued).

The danger was so great Paul reminds them again who the antichrist is.  “Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? (2 Thessalonians 2:5).  It is so important that this be taught in the church so God’s people can be warned.  His revelation to the world will occur in the middle of the tribulation.  He will “be revealed in his own time” (vs. 6-7).  For now he is being restrained by the Holy Spirit.  “For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains… will do so until He is taken out of the way.  (2 Thessalonians 2:7a)  But when the restraint is removed then he will appear.  “…And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.”  (2 Thessalonians 2:7b-8a)  When the antichrist is revealed he will carry out his work by the power and spirit of Satan himself.  “The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders,”  (2 Thessalonians 2:9).  Paul goes on to describe the Antichrists’ end. “And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.” (2 Thessalonians 2:8)


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12

Pray or do: “Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth” (Psalm 57:11).




Wednesday, August 26, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “The Day of the Lord-Don’t Be Alarmed”4th in the series “The  Second Coming of Jesus?” from the main series “The Quest to Know Who Jesus Is” 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12

TEXT: Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering  together to Him, we ask you, 2  not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come.  3 Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, 

and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above  all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, 

showing himself that he is God.  5 Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? n6 And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his  own time.  7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way.  8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.  9 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, 10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.  11 And  for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, 12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12 (NKJV) 

So who is this “Man of sin”?  He is The Antichrist (2:4-9).  There are many antichrists who have risen throughout history to carry on Satan's work with great severity.  John spoke of him in his first letter to the church.  He said, “Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour (1 John 2:18).  However, Paul is not speaking of these men who stand against Christ and His followers.  By the terms 'that man of sin' (lawless one) and 'theson of perdition' Paul means the most infamous antichrist who is to appear in the end time.  He is to be Satan's instrument in the most severe way.  How?  By being filled with Satan's spirit (2:9).  Paul did not identify the antichrist and 1 John 2:18 speaks of many antichrists.  These two facts are a warning to us, a warning to guard against hastily identifying some world leader as the antichrist.  The antichrist is most assuredly a person.  The descriptions of this passage, as well as others, have to be terribly misconstrued to make them fit any force or system other than a person.  Our Lord's words in Mark 3:26, where He uses the masculine participle, identify him as a person.  (Mark 3:26)  What do we know about the AntiChrist character?  Let us look into the scripture to find out.  Verse 4 of our text tells us a lot. “Who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.” 2 Thessalonians 2:4.  He is in rebellion against God.  He is the “Man of sin” and “lawlessness”.  He is the embodiment of lawlessness or total rebellion against God. He is the “Son of perdition”.  He will be so evil that he will be just like the devil himself.

He is an adversary and oppose to God.  He will oppose Christ and everything Christ stands for: love, mercy, morality and justice.  He will lead men into a life of immorality, injustice, selfishness and indulgence.  He will mistreat those who profess

Christ.  He even goes so far as to claim to be God. As he claims to be God he will be sitting in the reconstructed temple of God in Jerusalem thus setting himself up to be worshipped.  “We have a perfect example in the worship of the emperor of the old Roman empire.  Images of the emperor were placed in temples all around the world and the citizens were expected to worship the state.  Remember what Rome had done.  It had brought peace to a war torn world.  Because of this many people were willing to worship the ideal of the state.  Think how some people worship science and technology today.  And just imagine what would happen if a person arose upon the world scene who could either mobilize or force the nations of the world...

 to live at peace with each other.

 to solve the hunger problem by coordinating the growth and distribution of food for everyone in the world.

 to solve the problems of the world such as homelessness, unemployment, poverty, lack of medical care, crime, and on an on.  Imagine how the vast majority of people would worship the person and state that could bring about this kind of Utopian state for the peoples of the world.  Natural man would gladly follow such a leader—his science and technology, his will and desire.” POSB Commentary

(more to follow in tomorrows devotional).


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted.

Daily reading: 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12

Pray or do: “Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth” (Psalm 57:11).




Tuesday, August 25, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “The Day of the Lord-Don’t Be Alarmed”4th in the series “The  Second Coming of Jesus?” from the main series “The Quest to Know Who Jesus Is” 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12

TEXT: Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, 2 not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or  by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come.  3 Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.  5 Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? 6 And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time.  7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way.  8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.  9 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, 10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.  11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, 12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.  2 Thessalonians 2:1-12 (NKJV)

There have been many books and Bible Studies written about the afterlife. Many of them are excellent books by Christian authors.  They go into great detail and give excellent understanding of eschatology (the study of the end times).  One such book was described at “the definitive book on the afterlife”.  While there are many good books about the afterlife, the Bible is the definitive one.  The devotionals this week concern the writings of the Apostle Paul to the church at Thessalonica and give us another puzzle piece for the picture of the second coming we’ve been forming from these messages.  The first thing we learn from Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonians is that some people were sensationalizing the second coming, or simply spreading misinformation about it.  They were being persecuted and thought that Day had come.  As a result, many believers worried they had  been left behind.  Paul wanted to guard them from being shaken or troubled by the Day of the Lord. He says we are to look to the coming of the Lord not to the judgment of that Day.  We are  to be looking for the rapture (gathering together) of the believers to Christ.  “Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you,” 2 Thessalonians 2:1 (NKJV)  He says that they are to let nothing shake or trouble them about that day, “not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by  letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come.” 2 Thessalonians 2:2.  The word "shaken" means to be tossed about, agitated, shocked; and "troubled" means a continued state of tension and nervousness.  Paul says “don’t let anyone deceive you” (v. 3), and he proceeds to remind them of the basics: When Jesus returns, his followers will be with him.  There will be two things that must happen before the “Day of the Lord” occurs and you will know when it happens.  There will be “A great falling away” Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, 2 Thessalonians 2:3a

(NKJV) and the revelation of the antichrist “and the man of sin is revealed, the son of  perdition:, 2 Thessalonians 2:3b (NKJV) 


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12

Pray or do: “Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth” (Psalm 57:11).




Friday, August 21, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “Waiting for…?”3rd in the series “The Second Coming of Jesus?”  from the main series “The Quest to Know Who Jesus Is” 2 Peter 3:1-18

TEXT: and consider that the long-suffering of our Lord is salvation--as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, 16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.  17 You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; 18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  To Him be the glory both now and forever.  Amen. 2 Peter 3:15-18

Things believers are to do (continued)

Believers must count the Lord's long-suffering as salvation.  God is working to save more and more people (v.15a).  Paul confirms the same point (v.15b).  Believers must beware lest they be led into error (v.17) which will cause them of fall from their own stability in the faith.  Finally believers must grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord (v.18).  When we do these things then we bring glory to God in the present and in the future.


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: Hebrews 12:22-29

Pray or do: Lord, I ask for your help to live a holy and godly life while I wait to meet you face to face someday.




Wednesday, August 19, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “Waiting for…?”3rd in the series “The Second Coming of Jesus?”  from the main series “The Quest to Know Who Jesus Is” 2 Peter 3:1-18

TEXT: Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you  to be in holy conduct and godliness, 12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat?  13 Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.  14 Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; 2 Peter 3:11-14

Since the Lord is looking for preparation what is it a Christian must do to prepare for Jesus’ coming.  We should focus on living “holy and godly lives”. (vs. 11)  Holy means that our behavior is sanctified, that is, set apart unto God; separated from the world and given over to God; given over to live pure and righteous lives.  Godliness means that we live like God and seek to be a godly person; that we live and do all things in the reverence and awe of God; that we are so conscious of God's presence that we live like God would live if He were walking upon earth.  Then we’ll be drawing closer and closer to Jesus while we wait for that day when we meet him face to face.  “For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face.  Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.” 1 Corinthians 13:12

Believers must look for and speed up the Day of God. (vs. 12)  The word “looking for” means to  wait; to wait patiently but expectantly; to eagerly anticipate and long for the day of God; to be in expectation (W.E. Vine. Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words).   Believers must look for the new heavens and new earth (vs. 13).  So that the world will be perfect and nothing but righteousness will exist therein.  God has ordained a perfect world, a world in which only righteous people will live.  God wants a world where there will be no more sin and evil, no more accidents, disease, suffering, murder, drunkenness, drugs, adultery, sexual perversion, war, or death.  Believers must be prepared for the coming of Christ (vs. 14).  This means that when the Lord returns He will find His followers in peace, living spotless lives before men and be found blameless before men. 

(To be continued)


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: Hebrews 12:22-29

Pray or do: Heavenly Father, when it comes to the second coming, I sometimes feel like this: “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24).




Tuesday, August 18, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “Waiting for…?”3rd in the series “The Second Coming of Jesus?”  from the main series “The Quest to Know Who Jesus Is” 2 Peter 3:1-18

TEXT: But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a  thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.  10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.  2 Peter 3:8-10

Peter tells us we are not to be ignorant about why Christ has not returned yet.  The Lord does not  measure time the same as man.  Here is a philosophical response.  God is outside of time (v. 8);  he doesn’t sit around marking his calendar like we do.  The Lord is not slow in sending Christ back to earth, but longsuffering, cp. v.15 (v.9)  He doesn’t want anyone to perish (v.9a).  What He wants is for everyone to repent (v.9b).  As a  result, what seems like a long delay is actually a big opportunity for more people to come to know him.  When the Word of God says God is longsuffering it means that God is patient with us as He was with the Children of Israel in the Old Testament.  He bears and suffers a long time with us, perseveres and is constant in suffering with us and is steadfast and enduring in being patient with us. 

The Day of the Lord is coming (vs. 10).  This is how He will come.

1. As a thief—unexpected (v.10a)

2. The heavens will pass away with a great noise (v.10b)

3. The elements will melt with intense heat (v.10c)

4. The earth will burn up (v.10d)

5. All things shall be dissolved (v.10e)

While there is debate in the Christian community about whether this is a literal fire or a spiritual

fire (God is a “consuming fire” Duet 4:24; 9:3; Hebrews 12:29) we know that God is renewing

not destroying the earth.


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: Hebrews 12:22-29

Pray or do: Heavenly Father, when it comes to the second coming, I sometimes feel like this: “I do believe; help me  overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24).




Monday, August 17, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “Waiting for…?”3rd in the series “The Second Coming of Jesus?”  from the main series “The Quest to Know Who Jesus Is” 2 Peter 3:1-18

TEXT: Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle (in both of which I stir up your pure  minds by way of reminder), 2 that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken

before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and  Savior, 3 knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, 4 and saying,"Where is the promise of His coming?  For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation."  5 For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, 6 by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water.  7 But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.  

2 Peter 3:1-7

There was a college production of Waiting for Godot, the famous play by Samuel Beckett about two tramps, Vladimir and Estragon, who spend the entire play anticipating the arrival of a person named Godot.  They talk, they have conflict, they meet other characters, but in the end Godot never shows up.  Although Beckett refused to explain the play, his message was clear: life is meaningless if we spend it waiting for something that never happens.  Whitney T. Kuniholm The Essential Jesus: 100 Readings through the Bible's Greatest Story.

That’s exactly how some first-century Christians were beginning to feel about the second coming of Christ.  They were waiting, waiting, waiting, but nothing was happening.  And to make matters worse, skeptics were becoming more vocal with their taunts.  They were saying, "Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation."  (2 Peter 3:4) Today, it’s over two thousand years later, and Jesus still hasn’t returned.  Have Christians been suckered into some meaningless play with Vladimir and Estragon?  “Absolutely not!” is how the apostle Peter would answer, and he devotes the last section of 2 Peter to explaining why.  We need to understand that scoffers will come.  Peter says we must “stir up” (vs. 1) our pure minds by remembering.  He drives his point home in each of these verses (vs. 1, 2, 3 and 8).  There is a lot of fascination with end time events.  It seems that each year one of the tabloids will have a front page article about “Armageddon” or other end time prediction.  It will get sales because some people are totally fascinated by that.  What we need to remember is God is not after fascination but preparation.  A biblical response is found in vs 2.  We are to remember the words of the prophets and what Jesus and the Apostles preached.  So let us hear what the Apostle Peter says.  The first thing is: “that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts,” 2 Peter 3:3.  Scoffers will follow their own desires and lust.  They will scoff and ridicule the return of Christ (vs. 4) because if they accept the return of Christ then they will have to change their lifestyle, repent and turn to Christ or else live under the fear of eternal judgment.  Therefore they are willingly ignorant (vs. 5-7) of the coming of the Lord.  They refuse to believe that God by His Word created the world, destroyed it by water in the flood, preserves the world and will

ultimately bring judgment upon it.  The reality is, people have always doubted God’s Word.  So Peter reminds his readers that when God speaks, things happen, like at creation and at the great flood in the time of Noah.  And since God’s Word says the second coming will happen, we can be sure it will.


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: 1 Peter 3

Pray or do: Heavenly Father, when it comes to the second coming, I sometimes feel like this: “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24).

Bonus Material:

The Greek really means the last hour, the midnight hour when the world is to end.  The end time does not mean annihilation; it does not mean that everything will cease to exist.  As William Barclay describes so well: "In biblical thought the last time is the end of one age and the beginning of another.  It is not only a time of ending; it is a time of new beginning.  It is not only a time of destruction; it is a time of recreation.  It is last in the sense that things as they are pass away; but leads not to world obliteration, but world recreation.  In other words, the last hour and the last days lead not to extinction, but to consummation"

(The Letters of John and Jude. "The Daily Study Bible." Philadelphia, PA: The Westminister Press, 1958, p.71).




Friday, August 13, 2020


The devotional today is from Sunday’s message “If I Should Die Before I Wake” of “The Second Coming of Jesus”  Series of “The Quest to Know Who Jesus Is” Main Series (1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11). 

Text: 1 Thessalonians 4:13 - 5:1:11

The second practical teaching concerning the second coming of Jesus concerns how we are to live in the present while we wait for His return.

Paul writes, “But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as  a thief.  5 You are all sons of light and sons of the day.  We are not of the night nor of darkness.  6 Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober.  7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night.  8 But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation.” (1 Thessalonians 5:4-8) 

We are not to live the lifestyle of the world but rather the lifestyle that reflects Jesus Christ.  A lifestyle that pleases God.  While we do not focus on the exact time or date of His returning we are to live as if He will return today.  We are to be alert!  We are to be living by faith and with love for God and man.  Like a breastplate this will protect our heart.  We are to wear the “helmet of salvation”.  The salvation we have through faith in Christ will protect our minds from the onslaught of our enemy, the devil.  Paul gave this same advice to the Ephesian believers.  “But you have not so learned Christ, 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.”  (Ephesians 4:20-24)  “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.  11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness  in the heavenly places.  13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.  14  Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.  17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—(Ephesians 6:10-18)

Are you ready for the coming of the Lord? “It is high time to wake up, for now is your full and final salvation nearer than when ye believed” (Rom. 13:11)


Larry Hudson


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: See above scriptures!

Pray or do: Spend some time praying about the ways you could become more ready for the return of Jesus Christ.




Wednesday, August 12, 2020


The devotional today is from Sunday’s message “If I Should Die Before I Wake” of “The Second Coming of Jesus”  Series of “The Quest to Know Who Jesus Is” Main Series (1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11). 

Text: 1 Thessalonians 4:13 - 5:1:11

In our text, Paul gives us two practical teachings which will enable us to keep a balanced understanding of the second coming of Jesus.  

Today’s devotional will focus on the first one.  

While the Lord told us He will return He did not tell us when He would return.  He only told us  the conditions that would be present when He did return.  Paul expressed it like this. " But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you.  2 For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the

night.  3 For when they say, 'Peace and safety!' then sudden destruction comes upon them,  as labor pains upon a pregnant woman.  And they shall not escape."  (1 Thessalonians 5:1-3) 

This reflects what Jesus told the disciples just before His passion, "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.” Matthew 24:36 (NKJV) and before His ascension. "It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.” (Acts 1:7)   Therefore we are not to waste time trying to know the exact time or date of Jesus return. You and I cannot be distracted by this debate which continually arises.  What we do know is that if we’re not prepared, Jesus’ return will take us by surprise.  It will be like a “thief in the night”.  For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so  comes as a thief in the night. 1 Thessalonians 5:2 (NKJV)

 

Larry Hudson


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: Matthew 24

Pray or do: Heavenly Father, “keep us in [your] grace, and guide us when perplexed; And free us from all ills, in this  world and the next” (Martin Rinkart).



Tuesday, August 11, 2020


The devotional today is from Sunday’s message “If I Should Die Before I Wake” of “The Second Coming of Jesus”  Series of “The Quest to Know Who Jesus Is” Main Series (1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11). 

Text: 1 Thessalonians 4:13 - 5:1:11

Here is the basic teaching of the gospel on the subject of the rapture “catching away” of the saints and the second coming of Jesus.  “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.”  1 Thessalonians 4:14 and “Then we  who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.”  1 Thessalonians 4:17

In our text Paul gives us the description of what the return of Jesus will be like.   That the Lord will Come Again. “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.” 1 Thessalonians 4:16 It is the coming of "the Lord Himself" (Mathew 24:1-51)  That those who sleep in Jesus will come with Him (v. 14). Only departed believers will arise; no unbeliever will be resurrected, not at this point. Only those who are "dead in Christ"—who died believing in Jesus Christ—will be resurrected when the Lord rents the skies.  That the dead in Christ shall rise first (v. 16).  Blessed and holy is he that hath part in this first resurrection; on such the second death hath no power.  The rest of the dead, who have died in their sins, shall not be raised till one thousand years after (Rev. 20:5, 6).  That all shall be caught up together (v. 17).  When Christ comes those Christians who are living  on the earth shall be "changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye," and together with those who have been raised from the dead will be "caught up" to meet the Lord in the air.  That we shall be forever with Him (v. 17).  Then shall Christ's own prayer be answered, "With Me where I am" (John 17:24).  Surely we may comfort one another with these words (v. 18).  That this will be an awful day for the unbelieving.  When is Christ returning? When the earth has reached such a depraved condition that it is hopelessly lost forever and ripe for the judgments of "the day of the Lord." While they are saying "Peace and safety."  He shall come as a thief in the night, then "sudden destruction shall come upon them" (vv. 1-3). 


Larry Hudson


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: 1 Thessalonians 5

Pray or do: Heavenly Father, “keep us in [your] grace, and guide us when perplexed; And free us from all ills, in this  world and the next” (Martin Rinkart).




Monday August 10, 2020


The devotional today is from Sunday’s message “If I Should Die Before I Wake” of “The Second Coming of Jesus”  Series of “The Quest to Know Who Jesus Is” Main Series (1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11). 

Text: But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope.  14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.  15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep.  16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God.  And the dead in Christ will rise first.  17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.  And thus we shall always be with the Lord.  18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.   1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you.  2 For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night.  3 For when they say, "Peace and safety!" then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman.  And they shall not escape.  4 But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief.  5 You are all sons of light and sons of the day.  We are not of the night nor of darkness.  6 Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. 7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night.  8 But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation.  9 For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.  11 Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11

People throughout the ages have been intrigued by this question: what happens to me after I die?  Here are two examples of what men have come up with from their own imaginations.  One had written on his tombstone "I was not; I became; I am not; I care not" (an ancient tombstone).  Another wrote, "There is hope for those who are alive, but those who have died are without hope" (Theocritus).  They are both wrong.  There is only one who has died and rose again and that was Jesus.  He proves by His resurrection that there is life after death.  His ascension and His promise to return gives us hope.  “What happens to me after I die” is exactly the question the believers in the first-century city of Thessalonica were pondering, and 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11 is the Apostle Paul’s answer to them.  The concern of the believers at Thessalonica involved dead believers.  Would their loved ones who had died share in the resurrection when Christ returned to earth?  Remember: the church at Thessalonica had just been founded; it was brand new.  It was also being bitterly persecuted and was under savage attack.  Some of the believers were dying; perhaps some were even being martyred and Christ had not yet returned.  They were eagerly looking for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of Jesus Christ.  Would believers be resurrected when Christ returned?  The Thessalonian believers knew the gospel just as we know it: the gospel proclaims that Jesus Christ is returning to earth to receive believers unto Himself.  This week’s devotionals will focus on not only answering the question presented but also how we are to respond to His second coming.


Larry Hudson


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: 1 Thessalonians 4

Pray or do: Heavenly Father, “keep us in [your] grace, and guide us when perplexed; And free us from all ills, in this world and the next” (Martin Rinkart).




Saturday, August 8, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “The Greatest Sequel of All Time” 1st in the series “The Second  Coming of Jesus?” from the main series “The Quest to Know Who Jesus Is” Acts 1:1-11

TEXT: The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, 2until the day in which He was taken up, after He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen, 3 to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.  4 And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, "which," He said, "you have heard from Me; 5 for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now."  6 Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, "Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?"  7 And He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.  8  But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."  9 Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.  10 And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, 11 who also said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven."  Acts 1:1-11

Why did Jesus publicly ascend into heaven?  The implication of the phrase “while they looked steadfastly” is a slow, dramatic and spectacular ascension.  This was for the disciples benefit.

Christ needed to dramatize His final departure.  He was dramatizing His departure for additional confirmation of who He is.  He was showing that it will take place exactly as He said.  They are  not to be standing around “gazing up into heaven”.  They were to be about the Father’s business fulfilling Christ’ Great Commission.   The two men dressed in white (angels) said Jesus “will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven” (v. 11).  He would return just as He left not in a different way (Rev. 1:7) 

This "same Jesus" is the One who will come back.

This “same Jesus” who will return is the One who ascended into heaven.   The Jesus in heaven is the same Jesus the disciples knew—

 the One who was their Lord and Savior

 the One who came to earth to be their close companion

 their Advocate

 their Mediator

 their Representative before God. 

Therefore when He returns, He will be coming back to receive all believers unto Himself.  He

will be coming back that we may all be where He is (John 14:2-3). POSB - Commentary

Just imagine what that would be like if it happened today!   If you knew Jesus was returning within the next thirty days, what difference would it make for your plans and priorities? 


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading:

Pray or do: Lord, I can hardly imagine what it will be like when you return.  All I know is that I’m so thankful that  you’ve made a way for me to be with you forever. 

Bonus Material: 

He is the ascended:

Lord.

Mediator between God and man.

Advocate of man before God.

 The Holy Spirit is God's Advocate on earth with men.

 Jesus Christ is man's Advocate with God.

Son of God, the One who came "out of" heaven to earth to save man.   High Priest of God who makes reconciliation for the sins of men (Hebrews 2:17-18) 

 who is touched with the feelings of our infirmities and delivers and succors us through all trials (Hebrews  2:15-16) 

Christ (Messiah) who makes intercession for us (Romans 8:34).






Friday, August 7, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “The Greatest Sequel of All Time” 1st in the series “The Second  Coming of Jesus?” from the main series “The Quest to Know Who Jesus Is” Acts 1:1-11

TEXT: The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, 2 until the day in which He was taken up, after He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen, 3 to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.  4 And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, "which," He said, "you have heard from Me; 5 for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now."  6 Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, "Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?"  7 And He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.  8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."   9 Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.  10 And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, 11 who also said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven."  Acts 1:1-11

We have all heard the expression some people use, “If I see it I will believe it”.  For some, seeing is not always believing.  With all of the evidence Jesus has given them even the disciples cannot get over their assumption that Jesus is Israel’s national hero.  They said, "Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?"  (Acts 1:6).  Over the years I have noticed that many people have assumptions about Jesus. Some have it right. Some have it wrong.  People get it wrong when they look to the entertainment industry. When people put their own ideas and

assumptions into print or video and mix it with a little bit of the Bible then you get some false ideas about the Kingdom of God, the Godhead, end time events, heaven, etc.

One of the best ways to get a true picture of the essential Jesus today is to prayerfully read what the Bible says about him.  Another way is to rely on the Holy Spirit.  Earlier Jesus taught that the Holy Spirit would help his disciples understand the truth of the gospel after his death, resurrection and ascension (John 16:13).  However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.  John 16:13.  Christ worked and taught 'through the Holy Spirit.'  While He was on earth in the flesh, Christ was totally dependent upon the Holy Spirit.  He had to surrender Himself and to make Himself available to the Spirit.  Just think! If Christ was so dependent upon the Spirit of God, how much more are we!  How much more do we need to make ourselves available to Him, available for His gifts and power!  Now Jesus says the Holy Spirit will give his followers power for sharing that truth with a needy world.  But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.  Acts 1:8

Therefore our task, our commission is to be effective witnesses by our words and actions. We are not to focus upon the setting of dates.  We are to be looking for the second coming of Jesus.  In the meantime we are to be focusing on sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with those whom we

come into contact with.


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: Matthew 28:19-20

Pray or do: Lord, I ask that you would send the Holy Spirit to “guide me into all truth” about your death, resurrection, ascension and second coming.




Thursday, August 6, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “The Greatest Sequel of All Time” 1st in the series “The Second  Coming of Jesus?” from the main series “The Quest to Know Who Jesus Is” Acts 1:1-11

TEXT: The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and  teach, 2 until the day in which He was taken up, after He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen, 3 to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.  4 And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father,"Which," He said, "you have heard from Me; 5 for John truly  baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now."  6 Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, "Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?"  7 And He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.  8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."  9 Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.  10 And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, 11 who also said, ""Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven."  Acts 1:1-11

Luke, the writer of Acts, is setting up the greatest sequel of all time; he’s preparing us for the second coming of Jesus Christ.  He does that by describing the dramatic conclusion to Jesus’ life on earth.   Luke had finished his Gospel account with a reference to the ascension of Jesus (Luke 24:50-53), but here he gives a fuller description of that unforgettable event. “to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.” Acts 1:3 

He makes a point of reviewing the growing body of evidence for Jesus’ resurrection.   Here are two proofs of the salvation that comes through Jesus Christ.  “Jesus showed (paristēmi), presented Himself alive.  There are ten resurrection appearances of Jesus recorded in the New Testament. 

1) He appeared to Mary Magdalene (Mark 16:9-11; John 20:11-18).

2) He appeared to the women running to tell the disciples about the empty tomb (Matthew 28:8-10)

3) He appeared to Peter, probably to assure him of his restoration (Luke 24:34; 1 Cor. 15:5).

4) He appeared to the two Emmaus disciples sometime in the early evening (Mark 16:12; Luke 24:13-42).

5) He appeared to the disciples with Thomas absent (Mark 16:14; Luke 24:36-43; John 20:19-25).

6) One week later, He appeared to the disciples who had gone fishing (John 20).

7) He appeared to 500 believers (1 Cor. 15:6).

8) He appeared to the apostles (Matthew 28:16-20; Mark 16:15-18).

9) He appeared to James, the Lord's half-brother (1 Cor. 15:7).

10) He appeared to the believers at His ascension (Mark 16:19-20; Luke 24:44-53; Acts 1:3-12).

It should be remembered that since Jesus' ascension He has appeared at least two other times.

1) He appeared to Stephen at his martyrdom (Acts 7:55-56).

2) He appeared to Paul on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:3f).

There were apparently many more appearances not recorded (cp. John 20:30-31; 21:25).

Secondly, Jesus gave many infallible proofs of His resurrection.  The word 'proofs' (tekmēriois) means positive proof; infallible proof; convincing proof; sure signs and ways.  The infallible, positive proofs and appearances went on for forty days.”  POSB - Commentary

There were many eyewitnesses.


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: Above scriptures!

Pray or do: Lord, I ask that you would send the Holy Spirit to “guide me into all truth” about your death,  resurrection, ascension and second coming.




Wednesday, August 5, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “The Greatest Sequel of All Time” 1st in the series “The Second  Coming of Jesus?” from the main series “The Quest to Know Who Jesus Is” Acts 1:1-11

TEXT: The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and  teach, 2 until the day in which He was taken up, after He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen, 3 to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.  4 And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, "Which," He said, "you have heard from Me; 5 for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now."  6 Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, "Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?"  7 And He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.  8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."  9 Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.  10 And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, 11 who also said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven."  Acts 1:1-11

The Bible tells us that as Jesus was ascending into heaven after his death and resurrection, two angels appeared and said to the disciples, “This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven."  (Acts 1:11)  Ever since, the second coming of Jesus has been eagerly anticipated by his followers in every age.  As early as the first century, however, questions began to emerge.  Some people thought that the second coming had already occurred and that they had been left behind.  Others thought that would never happen and they mocked Christians who were still waiting.  Still others used the confusion over the second coming to teach their own kooky views of the end of the world.  What’s ironic is that all those things are still happening today.  This last mini-series of the main series, “The Quest to Know Who Jesus Is”, will help us to better understand who Jesus is but will give us a quick survey of what to expect about the second coming of Jesus.  This week we will delve into the scriptures concerning the ascension of Jesus to heaven.  The next four sermons will look at what the Apostle Paul and the Apostle Peter will have to say about the return of Christ and finally at what the Apostle John in the last two chapters of Revelation as to say about the eternal Kingdom of God on earth.  There have been many books and teachings produced over the years concerning the second coming of Jesus.  Years ago a conference was held that was dealing with the subject of the book of Revelation.  The first night a speaker began his presentation by saying, “With all of the symbols, visions and Old Testament references in the book of Revelation it is hard to understand and takes years of study to comprehend”.  The next night a speaker began his presentation by saying “When correctly studied the book of Revelation is easy to understand”.  It is easy to see why many are confused about the second coming of Jesus even today.  Whitney T. Kuniholm in his work “The Essential Jesus: 100 Readings through the Bible's

Greatest Story” writes, “The answer, I believe, is that people take the information in the Bible to one of two extremes.  Some make too much of the second coming; their whole worldview is built around the most obscure details of the end times. Others make too little of the second coming; for them, it might happen, it might not, but who cares?”  This short series of sermons and devotionals will attempt to present a balanced, biblical view of the second coming.  Because the one thing that is beyond question is that someday Jesus will come back in the same way that he went up into heaven.  As the old gospel song proclaims, “What a day that will be when my Jesus I shall see, when I look upon His face”.  What a joyous day that will be!


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: Acts 1

Pray or do: Lord, I ask that you would send the Holy Spirit to “guide me into all truth” about your death, resurrection, ascension and second coming.




Friday, July 31, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “The Challenge “To Know Who Jesus Is” 5th in the series “Who is  Jesus to You?” from the main series “The Quest to Know Who Jesus Is” Luke 9:18-27

TEXT: "But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the kingdom of God."  Luke 9:27

The reward for a disciple is God’s Kingdom.  The believer enters the Kingdom of God  immediately upon believing.  Standing there in the crowd before Christ, some were to be eye-witnesses of the death and resurrection of Christ and the coming of the Holy Spirit.  They were to taste and experience the Kingdom of God.  Since that day, many have been saved and have seen the Kingdom of God before experiencing physical death (cp. John 3:16; John 5:24; John 8:52; 

Hebrews 2:9, 14-15).

But Jesus didn’t come to earth to help people memorize a textbook answer about Himself.  He came so that everyone could have a personal relationship with him.  So he presses the point; perhaps this is what he had been praying about earlier (v. 18).  “Who do you say I am?” (v. 20);  that’s the essential Jesus challenge.  And it is Peter, the impulsive fisherman, who rises to the challenge: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16; see Luke 9:20).  The disciples still had a lot to learn about Jesus, and a lot to go through with him (Luke 9:21-27).  But they had crossed a threshold in their relationship with Jesus.  As we’ve discovered in our journey through the Bible, what you believe about Jesus is the most important issue you’ll ever face.  My prayer is that you’ll join Peter and countless millions throughout the ages, who have affirmed with all their hearts, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God,” because when you do, you will have crossed the threshold into eternal life.  What do you really believe about Jesus? 


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted.

Daily reading: Luke 9

Pray or do: Spend a few minutes talking to Jesus, imagining that he has personally addressed his challenge to you:  “Who do you say that I am?”




Wednesday, July 29, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “The Challenge “To Know Who Jesus Is” 5th in the series “Who is Jesus to You?” from the main series “The Quest to Know Who Jesus Is” Luke 9:18-27

TEXT: Then He said to them all, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me."  Luke 9:23

Being a disciple of Christ is more than just “believing in Jesus” and Jesus made that clear in our  text today. Here He gives us the terms or conditions of being a disciple of His.  Jesus was to bear the cross for man as he had just discussed with His disciples (Luke 9:22).  Now He said there was another cross—a cross which man was to bear for Him.  If a man wished to follow Christ, he had to bear this cross.  There was no option. Discipleship demanded it.  So here are the terms of discipleship. 

A person must deny himself.  The believer is to deny himself by discipline and control and by loving and caring, sacrificing and giving, helping and ministering.  A person must take up his cross, and do it daily.  A person must follow Jesus.  However, man's tendency is to follow someone else and to give one's first allegiance to something else.  Within the world, there are many things available for a man to serve and to put first. 

There are...

 service organizations

 humanitarian needs

 religion (institutional)

 family

 recreation. Etc.

Paul clarifies what it means to follow Jesus, "This I say then, walk in the Spirit, and ye shall  not fulfil the lust of the flesh" (Galatians 5:16). "Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour"  (Ephes. 5:1-2)

Jesus then gives a warning.  He says, "For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it." Luke 9:24

The POSB Commentary defines “life” this way. Note the word 'life' (psuchē).  In this context it means the natural, animal life; the earthly life that quickly passess away; the fading, aging, decaying, corruptible life of the earth.  The warning is twofold.  Do not save your life for yourself.  If a person saves his life, that is, works to please himself on this earth, he will lose his life eternally.

A man does not have life...

 to indulge himself: getting all he can of the comforts and pleasures and interests of life.

 to hoard life: keeping all the good things of life and seldom becoming involved in giving and

sacrificing to help those who do not have.  "And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection" (Luke 8:14).

Jesus gave us abundant life and eternal life that we might use that life for His sake.  This life was

given to us that we might know God and have fellowship with Him.  John wrote, “that which we

have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.  1 John 1:3

Jesus also gave us life that we might know men and fellowship with them.  “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.  1 John 1:7  This life we have been given is not to be wasted but rather used to help others lost in sin to come to a saving knowledge to him.  That is why He sends us.  So Jesus said to them again, "Peace to you!  As the Father has sent Me, I also send you."  John 20:21


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: Luke 9

Pray or do: Heavenly Father, I thank you for everything you’ve taught me during my journey through the Bible.  Please show me anything else you want me to know before it comes to an end.




Tuesday, July 28, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “The Challenge “To Know Who Jesus Is” 5th in the series “Who is  Jesus to You?” from the main series “The Quest to Know Who Jesus Is” Luke 9:18-27

TEXT:  And it happened, as He was alone praying, that His disciples joined Him, and He asked them, saying, "Who do the crowds say that I am?"  19 So they answered and said,  "John the Baptist, but some say Elijah; and others say that one of the old prophets has risen again."  (Luke 9:18-19) 

The thought of the common people of Jesus day was that he was a great man.   The scene was that of Jesus being off to the side, away from the disciples and all alone.  He was seeking the face of God and agonizing in prayer.  Then all of a sudden He quit praying as the disciples came over to Him.  Immediately He asked them, "Whom say the people that I am?"  Why did Christ ask this question?  What was He doing?  The disciples concept of the Messiah needed to be corrected.  Their concept was the popular concept that saw the Messiah only as the greatest of men.  The problem is the popular concept of Jesus would only doom the world if it was not corrected.  Some thought Jesus was John the Baptist, that is, the forerunner of the Messiah (Malachi 4:5).  Both John and Jesus were doing a unique and great work for God.  Some thought Jesus was Elijah.  Elijah was considered to be the greatest of the prophets and the predicted forerunner of the coming Messiah.  Even today the Jews expect Elijah to return before the Messiah.  Some thought Jesus was one of the old prophets.  The same false confessions about Christ exist in every generation.  The Apostle John wrote, “and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God.  And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.”  (1 John 4:3).  Peter would come to the conclusion that Jesus was the Messiah under the inspiration of God.  When Jesus said to them, "But who do you say that I am?"  Peter answered and said, "The Christ of God."  (Luke 9:20).  Peter was the spokesman for all, and he emphatically declared that Jesus was the Christ of God.  Jesus was the fulfillment of all the Old Testament prophecies

concerning the Messiah.  This question, “Who do you say that I am?” was meant to be very personal because the answer determines a person’s eternal destiny.  The scripture says, “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (Romans 10:9-10) The answer of faith is the answer that brings eternal salvation.


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: Luke 9

Pray or do: Heavenly Father, I thank you for everything you’ve taught me during my journey through the Bible.  Please show me anything else you want me to know before it comes to an end.




Monday, July 27, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “The Challenge “To Know Who Jesus Is” 5th in the series “Who is  Jesus to You?” from the main series “The Quest to Know Who Jesus Is” Luke 9:18-27

TEXT:  And it happened, as He was alone praying, that His disciples joined Him, and He asked them, saying, "Who do the crowds say that I am?"  19 So they answered and said, "John the Baptist, but some say Elijah; and others say that one of the old prophets has risen again."  20 He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?"  Peter answered and said, "The Christ of God."  21 And He strictly warned and commanded them to tell this to no one, 22 saying, "The Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day."  Luke 9:18-22

On this occasion Jesus makes His first prediction concerning His coming death.  The question, “Who is Jesus to you?” is before us.  This question is the most important question a person must answer.  In our text we find Jesus praying alone. “And it happened, as He was alone praying, that His disciples joined Him, and He asked them, saying, "Who do the crowds say that I am?" Luke 9:18.  Jesus sensed a deep need for prayer.  He prayed for personal strength.  He was 'setting His face toward Jerusalem,' which means that He was setting His face toward the cross where He was to die for the sins of men (Luke 9:51).  The disciples needed a very special quickening from God.  They, too, had to face the issue of the cross that the Messiah had to die for the sins of the world in order to save men.  The popular concept at that time said that the Messiah was to be the Son of David, the promised King who was to come and free Israel from her enemies and set up the Kingdom of God over all nations of the earth (Matthew 16:21-28).  Jesus was about to give them a very special revelation into His person.  It was time for them to grasp and confess without any hesitation that He was the Messiah, the very Son of God.  Three important lessons on prayer can be gleaned from what Christ was doing.  We must pray before momentous events.  Jesus said, "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you." (Matthew 7:7).  We must pray for others, that they might have special insight and the quickening power of the Spirit upon their lives.  Paul wrote to the Ephesian church and said, "Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints"  (Ephes. 6:18).  We must pray for strength to withstand severe trials that we might be enabled to bear whatever cross lies ahead.  Jesus understood what we were going to face.  Therefore He said, "Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."  (Matthew 26:41)


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: Luke 9

Pray or do: Heavenly Father, I thank you for everything you’ve taught me during my journey through the Bible.  Please show me anything else you want me to know before it comes to an end.




Friday, July 24, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “No More Shame” 4th in the series “Who is Jesus to You?” from the  main series “The Quest to Know Who Jesus Is” Acts 9:1-19

TEXT: Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went  to the high priest  2 and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.  Acts 9:1-2

Paul was arrested by Christ, convicted of his sin (Acts 26:13-14) and then acknowledged Christ  as "Lord" (Acts 26:15) and then bears his testimony to his obedience to the "Heavenly Vision" (Acts 26:19). 

That"vision" .......

1. Gave him a sight of himself. “although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor,  and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.”  1 Timothy 1:13 

2. Caused him to appreciate Calvary.  “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:20

3. Made him to see the Risen Christ. “Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time. 1 Corinthians 15:8

4. Brought him forgiveness of sins.  Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins;” Acts 13:38

5. Fired him with a holy passion.  “For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died;” 2 Corinthians 5:14

6. Moved him to sacrifice himself.  “Even if I am to be poured as a libation upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all.” Philippians 2:17  (RSV)

7. Opened his eyes to a different outlook.  "teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, Titus 2:12. 

“Paul was the kind of a preacher whom you would expect to see walk down the pulpit-stairs straight into his coffin, and then stand before his God ready for his last account.”  Spurgeon.  New Cyclopaedia of Prose Illustrations: First Series.

What is the next step you could take in your relationship with Jesus?


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: John 9:1-19

Pray or do: Ask Jesus for the courage to take next step in your relationship with him.




Wednesday, July 22, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “No More Shame” 4th in the series “Who is Jesus to You?” from the  main series “The Quest to Know Who Jesus Is” Acts 9:1-19

TEXT: Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest 2 and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. Acts 9:1-2

I accepted Christ as my Savior at a very young age.  My testimony would not be anything like the Apostle Paul’s testimony.  Mine was not dramatic.  There was no vision or conversation with  Jesus or even angels.  There is no need to apologize for that.  Most often conversion happens gradually and over time.  That is why the scripture says, "Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one?  6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.  7 So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase.”  1 Corinthians 3:5-7

Even Saul’s conversion demonstrates this:

 he grew up in a religious environment,

 developed a passion for God,

 had a dramatic encounter with Jesus, but then

 received support from the Christian community in Damascus.

Notice Paul’s experience, “And Ananias went his way and entered the house; and laying his hands on him he said, 'Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit'"  18  Immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he received his sight at once; and he arose and was baptized.  19 So when he had received food, he was strengthened.  Then Saul spent some days with the disciples at Damascus.  Acts 9:17-19  It took all these steps to transform the angry young man into God’s chosen instrument who could preach that Jesus is the Son of God.   But the Lord said to him, "Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel.  Acts 9:15

Immediately he preached the Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God.  Acts 9:20


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: John 9:1-19

Pray or do: Heavenly Father, I ask that you enable me to see one or two things I can do to draw closer to you.




Tuesday, July 21, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “No More Shame” 4th in the series “Who is Jesus to You?” from the  main series “The Quest to Know Who Jesus Is” Acts 9:1-19

TEXT: Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest 2 and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.  Acts 9:1-2

Why does Jesus make some people so mad?  For some it has to do with their unwillingness to  give up a particular lifestyle.  Others feel they’ve been betrayed by a Christian loved one.  Still others can’t accept Jesus’ claim to be the only way to God.  “Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through Me.”  John 14:6

But often, all of these reactions are a smoke screen for a deeper issue: External anger at Jesus can  be a clue that an internal spiritual struggle is going on.  That seems to be the case with Saul.  

There was no question about his passion for God.  Elsewhere in the Bible we learn that he  devoted his life to Judaism; he was a model Pharisee.  “But when Paul perceived that one part were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, 'Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee; concerning the hope and resurrection of the dead I am being judged!'"  (Acts 23:6). 

“To our shame, I say that we were too weak for that!  But in whatever anyone is  bold--I speak foolishly--I am bold also.  22 Are they Hebrews?  So am I.  Are they Israelites?  So am I.  Are they the seed of Abraham?  So am I.”  (2 Corinthians 11:21-22).  But when Saul literally “saw the light,” it burned off all his anger.  He still had questions (Acts 9:5), but until he let go of the anger he couldn’t hear the answers.  That’s true for us as well. 


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: John 9:1-19

Pray or do: Heavenly Father, I ask that you enable me to see one or two things I can do to draw closer to you.


Bonus Material:

This is Paul’s description of himself.

Six-fold Former State of Paul:

1.  Blasphemer of Christ (1 Tim. 1:13) although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent  man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. 

2.  Persecutor of Christians (Acts 8:1-3)  Now Saul was consenting to his death.  At that time a great persecution arose against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.  2 And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him.  3 As for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering every house, and dragging off

men and women, committing them to prison.

3.  Injurious-killed saints (Acts 9:1)  Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest.

4.  Ignorant of the gospel (1 Tim. 1:13) although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.

5.  An unbeliever in Christianity (1 Tim. 1:13)

6.  Chief of sinners (1 Tim. 1:15)  This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.  Dake Topical Index.


Monday, July 20, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “No More Shame” 4th in the series “Who is Jesus to You?” from the  main series “The Quest to Know Who Jesus Is” Acts 9:1-19

TEXT: Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest  2 and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.  Acts 9:1-2

We learn from our text that Saul was a young man and had some anger issues.  Acts 7 v 58  reveals Saul contributing to the persecution and execution of Christians. “and they cast him

(Stephen – a deacon in the early church) out of the city and stoned him.  And the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul.”  Jesus and Paul were boys at the same time in different villages, and Paul's antipathy to Christ was increasing.  He hated everything about Christ. He was going down then with writs  (subpoenas) in his pockets to have Christ's disciples arrested.  He was not going as a sheriff goes—to arrest a man against whom he has no spite—but Paul was going down to arrest those people because he was glad to arrest them.  The Bible says: "He breathed out slaughter."  He wanted them captured, and he also wanted them butchered.”  Bible Characters

Saul demonstrated his hatred for Christians in that he tracked them down and threw them in  prison  (Acts 9:1-2). 

Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went  to the high priest Acts 9:1 and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. Acts 9:2

So much for religious tolerance!


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: John 9:1-19

Pray or do: Heavenly Father, I ask that you enable me to see one or two things I can do to draw closer to you.






Friday, July 17, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “No More Shame” 3rd in the series “Who is Jesus to You?” from the main series “The Quest to Know Who Jesus Is” John 4:1-42

TEXT: Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, "How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a   from me, a Samaritan woman?"  For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.  10 Jesus answered and said to her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, 'Give Me a drink,' you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water."  11 The woman said to Him, "Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep.  Where then do You get that living water?  12 Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?"  13 Jesus answered and said to her, "Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst.  But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life."  15 The woman said to Him, "Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw."  16 Jesus said to her, "Go, call your husband, and come here."  17 The woman answered and said, "I have no husband."  Jesus said to her, "You have well said, 'I have no husband,' 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly."  (John 4:9-18) 

Jesus let the Samaritan woman know that soon all people would be able to have a relationship  with God.  It wouldn’t be just the Jews and Samaritans but everyone would be able to worship God in spirit and in truth.  He said, “You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews.  23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.  24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." (John 4:22-24) 

That hour would only be possible because God’s promised Messiah had arrived.  When the  woman said, "I know that Messiah is coming" (who is called Christ) "When He comes, He will tell us all things." Then this opened for Jesus to say to her, "I who speak to you am He."  (John 4:25-26) 

By the end of the encounter, the woman accepted Jesus not just as a man (John 4:9) or as a prophet (John 4:19) but as “the Savior of the world” (John 4:42).  And that’s what turned her burden of sin and shame into a source of joy.  She could invite her friends to meet the man “who told me everything I ever did” (vv. 29, 39) because he had forgiven her. "Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did.  Could this be the Christ?" (John 4:29) And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, "He told me all that I ever did."  John 4:39  And that joy is available to everyone who believes in Jesus today.


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: John 4:1-42

Pray or do: Lord, you know everything I’ve ever done. I ask that you would forgive me and then fill me with your living water.




Wednesday, July 15, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “No More Shame” 3rd in the series “Who is Jesus to You?” from the  main series “The Quest to Know Who Jesus Is” John 4:1-42

TEXT: Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, "How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a  drink from me, a Samaritan woman?" For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.  10 Jesus answered and said to her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, 'Give Me a drink,' you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water"  11 The woman said to Him, "You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep.  Where then do You get that living water?  12 Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?"  13 Jesus answered and said to her, "Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst.  But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life."  15 The woman said to Him, "Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw."  16  Jesus said to her, "Go, call your husband, and come here."  17 The woman answered and said, "I have no husband."  Jesus said to her, "You have well said, 'I have no husband,' 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly." (John 4:9-18) 

This encounter with Jesus would dramatically change her life forever.   First he revealed that he was the source of “living water” (vv. 10, 13-14); she probably thought he meant “running water” from a moving stream.  Jesus answered and said to her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, 'Give Me a drink,' you would have

asked Him, and He would have given you living water." (John 4:10) A little later in the  conversation Jesus said to her, "Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst.  But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life." John 4:13-14

This living water is alive.  To the Jew, living water was water that was always flowing and  moving along, such as a creek fed by springs or a lake with both an inflow and an outflow. Dead water was stagnant water such as ponds or pools that were always sitting still with no inflow or outflow.  

However, when Jesus spoke of 'living water,' He meant much more than living streams and  lakes. He was saying that this “living water” is of God.  It is of Him who is living, always has and always will be living.  The water that God gives is the most alive water there is.  No other water, no matter how alive it may be considered, can compare with the living water that is of God.  The Psalmist David wrote, For with You is the fountain of life; In Your light we see light. (Psalm 36:9) 

Not only is it “of God” it is a “gift” from Him. The word means it is freely given, is not earned and is not deserved.  Ho! Everyone who thirsts, Come to the waters; And you who have no money,  Come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. (Isaiah 55:1) Paul confirms this in his letter to the Ephesians. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9  not of works, lest anyone should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9

This water comes to an individual by the individual asking for it. Jesus said: "If thou knewest...thou wouldest have asked."  The woman had never received living water because she had never known about it and had never asked for it.  It was now available simply by asking for it.  So in fact, he meant the Holy Spirit; that’s what Jesus offers to all who follow him. 


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: John 4:1-42

Pray or do: “I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are  radiant; their faces are never covered with shame” (Psalm 34:4-5). Let this be your prayer this week.




Tuesday, July 14, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “No More Shame” 3rd in the series “Who is Jesus to You?” from the  main series “The Quest to Know Who Jesus Is” John 4:1-42

TEXT: Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, "How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a  drink from me, a Samaritan woman?"  For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.  10 Jesus answered and said to her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, 'Give Me a drink,' you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water."  11 The woman said to Him, "You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep.  Where then do You get that living water?  12 Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?"  13 Jesus answered and said to her, "Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst.  But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life."  15 The woman said to Him, "Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw."  16 Jesus said to her, "Go, call your husband, and come here."  17 The woman answered and said, "I have no husband."  Jesus said to her, "You have well said, 'I have no husband,' 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly."  (John 4:9-18) 

This woman was carrying a far greater weight than a bucket of water.  She was being burdened  down with the weight of her sins and shame.  How do we know?  First, she was a Samaritan, a group of people who were ostracized by the Jews.  Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, "How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?"  For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.  John 4:9

Next, she was a woman; many at that time, including even Jesus’ disciples, would have considered her a second-class citizen.  And at this point His disciples came, and they marveled  that He talked with a woman; yet no one said, "What do You seek?" or, "Why are You talking with her?" John 4:27  Finally, she had lived a sinful life that produced a series of broken relationships.  The woman answered and said, "I have no husband." Jesus said to her, "You have well said, 'I have no husband, 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your  husband; in that you spoke truly."  John 4:17-18

No wonder she went by herself in the heat of the day – she didn’t want to deal with the smirks, accusing looks and snide remarks.   Many today deal with the guilt and shame that comes from their sins and failures.  Some can’t forgive themselves for a terrible sin in their past; others have been deeply wounded by someone else’s sin.  Either way, sin and shame can leave us feeling broken, unworthy and alone.  But sometimes our lowest moment is when we are closest to God.  “The LORD is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit.”  (Psalm 34:18)  That’s what

happened to this woman.


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: John 4:1-42

Pray or do: “I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.  Those who look to him are  radiant; their faces are never covered with shame” (Psalm 34:4-5). 

Let this be your prayer this week.




Monday, July 13, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “No More Shame” 3rd in the series “Who is Jesus to You?” from the  main series “The Quest to Know Who Jesus Is” John 4:1-42

TEXT: Therefore, when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John 2 (though Jesus Himself did not baptize, but His disciples), 3 He left Judea and departed again to Galilee.  4 But He needed to go through Samaria.  5 So He came to a city of Samaria which is called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph.  6 Now Jacob's well was there.  Jesus therefore, being wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well.  It was about the sixth hour.  7 A woman of Samaria came to draw water.  Jesus said to her, "Give Me a drink."  8 For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. (John 4:1-8) 

About 750 years before the birth of Christ the Assyrians had conquered the ten northern tribes of  Israel.  The custom of the Assyrians at that time was to deport the nobles and wealthy to Assyria leaving only the poor and then in order to complete the assimilation they sent their own people to  the conquered land to settle.  This land that was settled was the central part of Palestine known as Samaria.  Judaea would be the southern section below Samaria and Galilee would be north of Samaria.  Over the 750 years, by assimilation, the Samaritans would become a mixed breed.  They would be a mixed breed by the birthing process and they would be a mixed religion because the transplanted heathen would have brought their own gods with them.  Eventually the God of Israel won out, but the Samaritan religion never became pure Judaism.  When the Jews of the two southern tribes (Benjamin and Judah) known as Judah returned from their captivity there arose a bitter hatred between the Jews and Samaritans.  The Jews saw the Samaritans as corrupted by the pagan influences and would not let the Samaritans help in the rebuilding of the temple.  The Samaritans therefore built a rival temple on Mount Gerizim.  They twisted the scriptures and history to favor their own people and nation.  By the time of Jesus this hatred and contempt on both sides was firmly engrained in the mindset of both peoples.  This gives us the background for the meeting between Jesus and the woman Jacob’s well in Samaria. 


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: John 4:1-42

Pray or do: “I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are  radiant; their faces are never covered with shame” (Psalm 34:4-5). Let this be your prayer this week.




Friday, July 10, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “The Bottom Line” 2nd in the series “Who is Jesus to You?” from  the main series “The Quest to Know Who Jesus Is” John 3:1-21

TEXT: “Jesus answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born  again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."  John 3:3  

Do not marvel that I said to you, "You must be born again." John 3:7

When a person finally accepts that truth, they begin a whole new life.  The things that Jesus said to Nicodemus were hard for him to swallow all at once.  There is no evidence that Nicodemus accepted what Jesus said at this first meeting.  What did happen is Jesus planted a seed that night  which would find fruition later.  We do know that Nicodemus later, when the Pharisees wanted Jesus brought before them, would defend Jesus.  He said, "Does our law judge a man before it hears him and knows what he is doing?" (John 7:50-51)Nicodemus at the burial of Jesus would identify himself as a follower of Christ.  “After this, Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, for fear of the Jews, asked  Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate gave him permission.  So he came and took the body of Jesus.  39 And Nicodemus, who at first came to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds.  40 Then theytook the body of Jesus, and bound it in strips of linen with the spices, as the custom of the Jews is to bury.  41 Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid.  42 So there they laid Jesus, because of the Jews Preparation Day, for the tomb was nearby.  (John 19:38-42)

Some people put their trust in Jesus the first time they hear the gospel message.  For others, believing in Jesus is a process with many steps.  But no matter how it happens or how long it takes, the bottom line is this: you must be born again.  "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life."  (John 5:24).

Where are you in the process of believing in Jesus? 


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: See above scriptures.

Pray or do: Spend a few minutes talking to Jesus, imagining that he has personally addressed this challenge to you: “You must be born again.”




Thursday, July 9, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “The Bottom Line” 2nd in the series “Who is Jesus to You?” from  the main series “The Quest to Know Who Jesus Is” John 3:1-21

TEXT: “Jesus answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born  again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." John 3:3

Do not marvel that I said to you, "You must be born again." John 3:7

“You must be born again.” Jesus interrupts Nicodemus with these words.  Here is the great revelation and it is accompanied with the words of God’s great love to mankind (John 3:16-17).   It reminds us that just going to church or even knowing a lot about the Christian faith does no good unless we’ve been truly born again.   But what exactly does it mean to be born again?  Many claim to be.  Those who are “born again” are mocked and accused of trying to push their beliefs down people’s throats.  Politicians look upon them as a voting block to be manipulated.  But Jesus defined them as people who believe that he is the Son of God, the one who died on the cross to save humankind from sin.  (John  3:14-18)  What we do know is this: The new birth is a necessity, an imperative.  Jesus said, “You must”.  The new birth is a spiritual birth.  It was being born of water, even of the Spirit. "Except a man be born of water, even the Spirit, He cannot enter into the kingdom of God."  Romans 8:11; Ephes. 2:1)

The new birth is a true experience, a definite experience. "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God"  (Romans 8:16).  The new birth can be rejected.  "Most assuredly, I say to you, We speak what We know and testify what We have seen, and you do not receive Our witness.  12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?"  John 3:11-12

The new birth is revealed only by Jesus. “No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven". John 3:13

Jesus paid the price for our sins and all that a sinner has to do is believe in Jesus and begin to follow Him.  “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.  John 3: 14-15


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: See above scriptures.

Pray or do: Lord, in addition to knowing about you, please show me how I can have a relationship with you as I read your Word today.



Wednesday, July 8, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “The Bottom Line” 2nd in the series “Who is Jesus to You?” from the main series “The Quest to Know Who Jesus Is” John 3:1-21

TEXT: John 3:1-21   

Nicodemus acknowledged Jesus only as a teacher from God.  He and others saw the miracles Jesus did, and they knew something: only a man from God could do such miracles.  In essence, Nicodemus was asking, "Who are you?"  The miracles show that God is with you, but you are claiming to be the Messiah, the Son of God.  Are you—truthfully—in all honesty?"

Jesus did not answer Nicodemus directly.  He saw into the empty, searching heart of Nicodemus and saw the honesty of his question.  So Jesus went right to the heart of the matter.  Miracles and signs were not what were important.  What was important was for Nicodemus to be changed: changed spiritually, changed within, and changed completely—to undergo such a spiritual change that it could only be described as being born again.  So many who are searching for God want to know about Him and they want to understand what He is saying through His Word.  They think that in the answers they will get what they need.  But God knows that what we need is to have faith in Him and to have a relationship with Him.  The

only way that will happen is through His Son, Jesus Christ.


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: Today’s text.

Pray or do: Lord, in addition to knowing about you, please show me how I can have a relationship with you as I read your Word today.


Tuesday, July 7, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message "The Bottom Line" 2nd in the series "Who is Jesus to You?" from the main series "The Quest to Know Who Jesus is" John 3:1-21

TEXT: There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews.  2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, "Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him."  3 Jesus answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."  4 Nicodemus said to Him, "How can a man be born when he is old?  Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?"  5    Jesus answered, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.  6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.  7 Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.'  8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit."  9 Nicodemus answered and said to Him, "How can these things be?"  10 Jesus answered and said to him, "Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things?  11 Most assuredly, I say to you, We speak what We know and testify what We have seen, and you do not receive Our witness.  12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?  13 No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven.  14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.  16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.  18 He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.  19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.  20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.  21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God."  John 3:1-21

Whitney T. Kuniholm in his work, The Essential Jesus: 100 Readings through the Bible's Greatest Story, tells of the time he worked in a nonprofit organization.  He said, “I’ve worked in nonprofit organizations all my life, and that’s given me many opportunities to try my hand at fundraising.  I once telephoned a man I had never met; I was hoping to begin a relationship that would someday lead to a contribution.  I had my phone script all prepared, but before I got even a few seconds into it the man cut me off, “What’s the bottom line; how much do you want?"

In our text today Nicodemus approaches Jesus with a question. Here is the story.  

"There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews.  2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, "Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him."  John 3:1-2 (NKJV)

What we learn about Nicodemus from our text is this.  He was a ruler (archon) of the Jews.  This means he was a senator or a member of the Sanhedrin, the ruling body of the Jews.  He was a Pharisee.  He was the master of Israel (John 3:10, ho didaskalos); that is, he held some official position of the highest rank.  He was either the leading official or the leading teacher of Israel who was either authorized or accepted as such by the public.  He apparently was wealthy.  He spent a great deal of money on the burial of Jesus (John 19:39).  He was silent at the trial of Jesus, saying nothing to defend Jesus, but he boldly stepped forth after the Lord's death and publicly helped in the burial of Jesus (John 19:39-42).

When Nicodemus said,  “We know” then it is understood that he came in behalf of other religious leaders.  They like he were wondering about Jesus.  Is Jesus a prophet?  Is He simply a great teacher?  Or could it be He is the promised Messiah we have been expecting?  According to these scriptures (cp. Luke 13:31; Acts 6:7; Acts 15:5; Acts 18:8, Acts 17) some would eventually become believers and followers of Jesus.  We also know from the text that Nicodemus comes to Jesus at night.  It may have been due to the fact that there were other leaders who opposed Jesus and they would have disapproved of any Pharisee conversing with Jesus. (Continued tomorrow)


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted.

Daily reading: Today’s text.

Pray or do: Lord, in addition to knowing about you, please show me how I can have a relationship with you as I read your Word today.



Friday, July 3, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “The Rich Do-Gooder” 1st in the series “Who is Jesus to You” from the main series “The Quest to Know Who Jesus Is” Various Scriptures

TEXT: Matthew 19:16-30

There were two things that were preventing this young man from gaining eternal life: His attachment to wealth and his belief that an individual earned his salvation through good deeds.  This brings us to the fourth step to enter God's kingdom is to give all you are and have to Christ.  Jesus could see his heart.  He also sees our hearts.  This young man had made a god out of his wealth.  He was unwilling to let it go.  The scripture tells us, “But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions".  (Matthew 19:22).  “The young man rejected Christ for three reasons.  Unbelief: he was not willing to entrust his life to Christ.  There was some lack of belief that Jesus Christ was really God's very own Son standing before him.  Self-righteousness and pride: his concept of religion was keeping laws and doing good in order to secure God's acceptance. He felt that he had the power and goodness to make God approve and accept him.

Love of the world: he was rich and was unwilling to give up the comfort and possessions he had obtained.  He made the fatal mistake that so many make with wealth, power, and fame.  He loved the things of the world more than he loved people. He loved the things of the world more than he loved the hope of eternal life.  He loved the position and recognition and esteem and power of the earth more than he loved Christ.” POSB Commentary

In the end, Jesus made it clear that there is only one way to get to heaven: “Follow me” (vv. 21,

28).  That means believing in Jesus and living like him, and he had been saying that all along.  Are there things that prevent you from completely following Jesus?  If so, what are they, and what would it take for you to remove them?


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: Today’s text.

Pray or do: Spend a few minutes talking to Jesus, imagining that he has personally addressed this challenge to you:  “Follow me.”




Wednesday, July 1, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “The Rich Do-Gooder” 1st in the series “Who is Jesus to You”  from the main series “The Quest to Know Who Jesus Is” Various Scriptures

TEXT: Now behold, one came and said to Him, "Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do  that I may have eternal life?"  17 So He said to him, "Why do you call Me good?  No one is good but One, that is, God.  But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments."  18 He said to Him, "Which ones?"  Jesus said, "You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, 19 Honor your father and your mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself."  20 The young man said to Him, "All these things I have kept from my youth.  What do I still lack?  21 Jesus said to him, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me."  22 But when the young man heard that

saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.  23 Then Jesus said to His  disciples, "Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.  24 And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."  25 When His disciples heard it, they were greatly astonished, saying, "Who then can be saved?"  26 But Jesus looked at them and said to them,  "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."  27 Then Peter answered and said to Him, "See, we have left all and followed You.  Therefore what shall we have?"  28 So Jesus said to them, "Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.  29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name's sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life.  30 But many who are first will be last, and the last first. Matthew 19:16-30

This rich young ruler thought he had it all figured out.  Eternal life will be mine if I do good things. He asked the question of Jesus, "Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?" Matthew 19:16

If the first step to enter the Kingdom of God is to seek eternal life then the second step to enter God's kingdom is to know that God alone is good.  The rich young ruler failed at one critical point: he lived a self-righteous life.  He did not know that the only good person was God and  God alone.  This is what Christ was saying to him. The rich young ruler had a wrong concept about the nature of man and saw Christ only as a man.  To him man could be good.  He called Jesus "Good Master."  By Master he meant "Good teacher, good Rabbi," acknowledging that Jesus was an honorable person to be highly regarded.  But he saw Jesus only as a highly regarded teacher.  He did not consider Jesus to be the Son of God.  He perceived Jesus to be only a mere man, not God.  He thought Jesus was a man who had achieved unusual moral goodness and by such had become a "Good Master," one capable of teaching the truths of God and life.  He asked, "What good thing shall I do?"  He had a religion of works not of faith.  He thought he could secure eternal life by being good. If he could just keep some great rule and live a clean life, then God would accept him.  He believed that his acts of morality and good works piled up a balance sheet and made him acceptable to God.  Christ had to correct these two errors.  He attempted to do so by asking a pointed question, "Why callest thou me good?  There is none good, but one, that is, God."  He was saying to the young man, "God alone is good.  No man is good, not in comparison to God, not even good enough to stand before God in righteousness.  If I am but a mere man, a good teacher, then I am not good and do not have the words to eternal life.  But if I am God, then you can address me as good and I do have the words to eternal life."  POSB Commentary

The third step was to keep the commandments.  The commandments Jesus listed were about our relationship with other people.  The young man said to Him, "All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?" (Matthew 19:20) That’s what many people believe today.  They imagine a giant cosmic scale, and if your good deeds outweigh your bad, bingo, you’re in!  But Jesus pulls the rug out from under that perspective.  First, he challenges what it means to be good.  So He said to him, ";Why do you call Me good?  No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments." (Matthew 19:17)  He then carries the philosophy to its logical extension: just being good isn’t good enough; to earn your salvation you must be perfect.  The man made the phenomenal claim that he had kept all five of the commandments that Christ quoted.  Of course, as is true with all men, he had not kept them—

 not perfectly, not in God's eyes,

 not in the spirit in which God intended them to be kept.

 He was not generous enough with others,

 not giving and helping like he should.

Christ was ready to show him this.  Jesus said to him, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me."  Matthew 19:21  Excuse me?  Even the disciples were baffled; if a good, rich man can’t get in, who can? When His disciples heard it, they were greatly astonished, saying, "Who then can be saved?" (Matthew 19:25)


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: Today’s text.

Pray or do: Lord, I ask that you clear my mind and heart of every distraction so that I can have a fresh encounter with you today.




Tuesday, June 30, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “The Rich Do-Gooder” 1st in the series “Who is Jesus to You” from the main series “The Quest to Know Who Jesus Is” Various Scriptures

TEXT: Now behold, one came and said to Him, "Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do  that I may have eternal life?"  17 So He said to him, "Why do you call Me good?  No one is good but One, that is, God.  But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments."  18 He said to Him, "Which ones?"  Jesus said, "You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery,You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, 19 & Honor your father and your mother, and, & You shall love your neighbor as yourself."  20 The young man said to Him, "All these things I have kept from my youth.  What do I still lack?"  21 Jesus said to him, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me."  22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.  23 Then Jesus said to His disciples, "Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.  24 And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."  25 When His disciples heard it, they were greatly astonished, saying, "Who then can be saved?"  26 But Jesus looked at them and said to them, "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."  27 Then Peter answered and said to Him, "See, we have left all and followed You.  Therefore what shall  we have?"  28 So Jesus said to them, "Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.  29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name's sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life.  30 But many who are first will be last, and the last first." Matthew 19:16-30

The Lord's approach to this young man has often seemed perplexing.  There are three reasons for the perplexity.

1. The young man called Christ "Good Master," but Christ denied that He was good.  How  can Christ, who claims to be God, deny that He is good? 

2. The young man asked how he might receive eternal life.  Christ said nothing about  believing, but told the young man to keep certain laws. 

3. The third perplexity is shocking.  Christ told the young man that he had to sell all that he  had and give it to the poor in order to receive eternal life. The question immediately arises, does Christ really demand that a person give all he is and has in order to be saved?  These three facts are puzzling.  However, when we study the passage and understand what was happening, the puzzle fades. Christ led the young man through the steps that are needed to receive eternal life. 

Step 1: seek eternal life (v.16). 

Step 2: know that God alone is good (v.17).

Step 3: keep the commandments (v.18-20).

Step 4: give all you are and have to Christ (v.21-22).” POSB Commentary

Notice that the rich man’s ice-breaker was about eternal life.  Now behold, one came and said to Him, "Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?"  Matthew 19:16  In spite of all his wealth in this world, he was worried about what would happen to him in the next.  That’s still the “big issue.”  The rich young ruler was seeking eternal life.   Regardless of who you are, who you know or how much you’ve accomplished in life, at some point everyone must come to grips with this question: how do I get to heaven? 


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: Today’s text.

Pray or do: Lord, I ask that you clear my mind and heart of every distraction so that I can have a fresh encounter  with you today. 

Bonus Material: 

Over the years, I’ve heard some people, usually those with lots of money, express frustration with the story in  Matthew 19:16-30:  “Well, I guess we’re all supposed to give away everything and live like St. Francis, is that it?”  I’ve also heard other people, usually those who wish they had more money, express satisfaction with this passage, 

“Well, I guess rich people don’t really understand the gospel, do they?”   But a careful reading of what Jesus said reveals that he was talking not only about money and possessions but also about something far more serious.  Jesus is talking about the cost of following Him.




Monday, June 29, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “The Rich Do-Gooder” 1st in the series “Who is Jesus to You”  from the main series “The Quest to Know Who Jesus Is” Various Scriptures

TEXT: Now behold, one came and said to Him, "Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?"  17 So He said to him, "Why do you call Me good?  No one is good but One, that is, God.  But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments."  18 He said to Him, "Which ones?"  Jesus said, "You shall not murder, & You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, 19 Honor your father and your mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself."  20 The young man said to Him, "All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?"  21 Jesus said to him, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me."  22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.  23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, "Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.  24 And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."  25 When His disciples heard it, they were greatly astonished, saying, "Who then can be saved?"  26 But Jesus looked at them and said to them, "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."  27 Then Peter answered and said to Him, "See, we have left all and followed You.  Therefore what shall we have?"  28 So Jesus said to them, "Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.  29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name's sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life.  30 But many who are first will be last, and the last first. Matthew 19:16-30

Have you ever met someone and made an assumption about them and then found out later that your assumption was wrong?  They may have made a great first impression but then you found out they were not as good as you thought they were.  Or maybe you were not impressed with your first meeting and after a period of time you found they were much better than what you thought.  In this mini-series we are going to look at the experiences of five people who had encounters with Jesus and the consequences of their decisions.  The rich young man walked away from Jesus because he loved his money.  Nicodemus didn’t believe Jesus at first, but over time, he became a follower.  Once the woman at the well got over her shame, she accepted Jesus as her Savior.  Saul had a dramatic encounter with Jesus that changed his life, and the world, forever.  And Peter gave a stunning affirmation of Jesus even though he didn’t yet understand all that it would cost him.  But the thread that holds them all together is that each person had to make a personal decision about Jesus.  The decision you and I make about Jesus are our responsibility.

Whether you heard the sermons or read the devotionals of The Quest to Know Who Jesus Is you must come to your own conclusion about Jesus.  If you haven’t yet made your decision to become a follower of Jesus I hope you will do so by the conclusion of this series.  Don’t let this sermon series be the end of your times in the Bible.  Let it become the beginning of a lifetime of meeting God every day in the Bible and prayer.


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted.

Daily reading: Today’s text.

Pray or do: Lord, I ask that you clear my mind and heart of every distraction so that I can have a fresh encounter with you today.

Bonus Material:

Whitney T. Kuniholm in this book The Essential Jesus: 100 Readings through the Bible's Greatest Story tells a story from his youth.  When I was growing up, we had a tradition in our home that I didn’t like very much.  Each year on Good Friday, from noon until 3 p.m., my mother would make me and my siblings go to our rooms and write out the answer to this question: Who is Jesus to you? 

I knew the reason she made us do this is because those were the hours that Jesus hung on the cross: “It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour” (Luke 23:44).

But I didn’t like it because at that time of the year it was just starting to get warm, and I always wanted to be outside playing baseball.  It seemed that on every Good Friday the weather was perfect for baseball.  But usually, in spite of my grumpy attitude at first, when I finally sat down to write my answer, it became one of the most meaningful things I did all year.  I’m a grown man now, with children and grandchildren of my own, but I still get by myself on Good Friday from noon until 3 p.m. and write in my journal about Jesus.  I love to remind myself of how much he has done for me.




Saturday, June 27, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “The Message-Part 4–Neither Hot nor Gold” 5th in a series on the  Early Church of Jesus–from the main series “The Quest to Know Who Jesus Is” Various Scriptures

Text: "And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, These things says the  Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God:  15 I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot.  I could wish you were cold or hot.  16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.  17  Because you say, 'I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing'--and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked-18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.  19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten.  Therefore be zealous and repent.  20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock . If anyone hears My voice and

opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.  21 To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.  22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches." Revelation 3:14-22.  As Jesus was waiting to come into the life of the church in Laodicea He is waiting to come into your life as well.  Here is His promise.  “To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.  22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches." Revelation 3:21-22 (NKJV)

The overcomer shall sit upon the throne of Christ and of God.  The person who overcomes the lukewarmness and half-hearted commitment to Christ, who repents and turns his life over to Christ, shall sit upon the throne of Christ and of God.  What does this mean?  That we shall rule and reign with Christ forever and ever.  That we shall be assigned certain duties in the new heavens and earth, given the responsibility to oversee and manage the universe for Christ (Matthew 25:21, 23; Luke 19:17, 19).  That we shall rule and oversee the work and duties of angels (1 Cor. 6:2-3).  It means that we shall rule as kings with Christ throughout the whole universe and for all of eternity (Rev. 14:13; 21:24-27.)


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: Revelations 3:14-22

Pray or do: Pray about one way you could show your love for God this week, no matter what people think about you.




Friday, June 26, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “The Message-Part 4–Neither Hot nor Gold” 5th in a series on the  Early Church of Jesus–from the main series “The Quest to Know Who Jesus Is” Various Scriptures

TEXT: "And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, These things says the  Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God:  15 I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot.  I could wish you were cold or hot.  16  So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.  17  Because you say, 'I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing'--and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked--18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.  19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten.  Therefore be zealous and repent.  20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears My voice and

opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.  21 To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with

My Father on His throne. 22  He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to he churches." Revelation 3:14-22

Jesus now turns to His warning to the Laodicians. “So then, because you are lukewarm, and  neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.  17 Because you say, 'I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing';--and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked—(Revelation 3:16-17)  Even with this church Jesus gives wise counsel and the ability to be restored. He says, “I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.  19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten.  Therefore be zealous and repent.  20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” 

(Revelation 3:18-20)

Christ advises the church to do three things.  First they are to buy spiritual gold, spiritual  clothing, and spiritual eye salve.  They needed the true wealth of the fruit of the Spirit.  "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law". (Galatians 5:22-23).  Secondly they needed to buy white clothing which represents the righteousness of Jesus Christ.  His righteous life and the offering of His righteousness is the only thing that makes us acceptable before God in that it covers our sins.  "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him". (2 Cor. 5:21).  Finally they needed to buy eye salve to open their blinded eyes. They could not see their distancing themselves from Christ, the sins of those around them nor Christ Himself.  They could not see the power of Christ and the difference He could make in their lives.  They could not see spiritual truth.  He was light but their vision had been dimmed.  "Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life"

(John 8:12).

Christ counsels them to repent and then to be zealous for Him.  The Lord's rebuke and chastening hand is for one purpose only: Christ loves them and wants them to see their wrong, correct their behavior, and change their lives.  Sometimes we may think that when bad things happen, God is out to get us. That may be so, but he’s out to get us to repent.  Finally Christ counsels them to open the door of their heart and to let Him in.  The famous painting of Jesus standing at the door is pictured here.  The standing Christ shows He is ready to enter the life of a person.  "The lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit" (Psalm 34:18; Psalm 145:18). The knocking Christ shows He is the seeking Christ. “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost."  (Luke 19:10).  He is the pleading Christ which shows His compassion.  "Come now, and let us reason together, saith the lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; through they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool" (Isaiah 1:18; Rev. 22:17).

He is the penetrating Christ.  His presence and power changes lives.  He causes the person to be born again (John 3:3-5).  He makes a new creature out of the person (2 Cor. 5:17).  He makes a new man out of the person (Ephes. 4:24; Col. 3:10). He changes the person's corruptible nature into an incorruptible nature.  Born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever" (1 Peter 1:23).  He gives the person a new divine nature, the very nature of God Himself.  "Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through  lust." (2 Peter 1:4).

He is the companion Christ.  This symbolizes fellowship.  "God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord."  (1 Cor. 1:9; Ephes. 3:17-19).


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: Revelations 3:14-22

Pray or do: Use this prayer of David as the basis for your daily prayer with this devotional. “Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!” (Psalm 66:20).




Thursday, June 25, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “The Message-Part 4–Neither Hot nor Gold” 5th in a series on the  Early Church of Jesus–from the main series “The Quest to Know Who Jesus Is” Various Scriptures

TEXT: "And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, These things says the  Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: 15 I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot.  I could wish you were cold or hot.  16  So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.  17 Because you say, 'I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing'--and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked--18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.  19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten.  Therefore be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.  21 To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.  22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. Revelation 3:14-22.  Jesus has nothing good to say about the church. He only has words of condemnation.  “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot.” Revelation 3:15.  They were only half-committed to Christ and their work was half-hearted. They were focused upon ritual, ceremony and programs as a way to be acceptable to God.  

A lukewarm church is only half-committed:

 teaching the Word of God. (2 Tim. 4:2-4)

 evangelism and missions. (Matthew 28:19-20)

 stressing holy and pure living for Christ. (1 Peter 1:22)

 self-denial and  sacrificial living, to stressing that its people must deny themselves and

sacrificially die to self. They seldom stress that total sacrifice is demanded, that a person must give all he is and has to reach the lost and meet the desperate needs of the world.  (Luke 9:23)

 the church. (Hebrews 10:25)

 attending and staying awake and learning in the services of the church. (Romans 15:4)

 supporting the church. (1 Cor. 16:2)

 witnessing. (1 Peter 3:15)

 Bible study and prayer. (2 Tim. 2:15)

 daily devotions. (Romans 15:4).

Don’t attend church just to salve your conscience or to make you feel acceptable to God.  Don’t believe that God will not reject you in the end. Christ completely contradicts that kind of thinking. This kind of person is the hardest person of all to arouse and set afire for Christ.  Jesus then warns them that their relationship with Him is intolerable. “So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.  17 Because you say, 'I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing'--and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked”-- Revelation 3:16-17

The person who claims to be a follower of Jesus Christ is claiming to be a part of His body, claiming to be nourishment for His body, a part of the growth of His body.  But when the person he church was spiritually 'blind'.  They could see only what was in the world: money and is lukewarm, he is none of this.  Jesus rejects them for their false claim of wealth and prosperity somehow being tied to their spirituality.  They focused upon their capability instead of Christ. They depended upon their ability instead of Christ. They relied upon their resources instead of Christ. The scriptural warning applies to them, "Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall". (1 Cor. 10:12).  The lukewarm are rejected because of their true condition: they are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked.  They were spiritually inferior and were missing out on the experience of the power of Christ working in them and the church.  The church was spiritually poor. (1 Tim. 6:5).  The church was spiritually blind.  They could see only what was in the world: money and human ability and effort.  They did not look beyond to the spiritual need of the human soul nor to the possibility of spiritual and supernatural power working within the church and the lives of people.  The church was spiritually naked.  They believed they could be good enough and do enough good to become acceptable to God on their own. (Rev. 16:15).


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: Revelations 3:14-22

Pray or do: Use this prayer of David as the basis for your daily prayer with this devotional. “Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!” (Psalm 66:20).

Bonus Material:

There is only one historical fact that seems to have a bearing upon this letter. Laodicea was the chief city of Phrygia—an extremely wealthy and prosperous city. It lay astride three of the most important highways of its day.  It was a city of enormous wealth.  The city had three particular claims to fame.

It was...

a financial and banking center

a clothing manufacturing center

the location of a famous medical school renown for the eye salve which it produced.

Perhaps the condition of the church in Rev. 3:17—poor, blind, and naked—has reference to these three industries.  Paul prayed for the Laodicean church (Col. 2:1-2) and wrote a letter to them (Col. 2:1; Col. 4:12-16).  Archippus is said to have been the first Bishop (pastor) of the church (The Apostolic Constitutions, 8:46.

Information from The Pulpit Commentary, Vol.22, p.114).  This seems to have some significance for what Christ says to the church, for Laodicea is a church that Christ does not commend. In writing Colossians, Paul exhorts Archippus, Laodicea's pastor: Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfill it.  (Col. 4:17). The corruption and degeneration could have begun under his ministry.




Wednesday, June 24, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “The Message-Part 4–Neither Hot nor Gold” 5th in a series on the Early Church of Jesus – from the main series “The Quest to Know Who Jesus Is” Various Scriptures

TEXT: "And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, These things says the  Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God:  15 I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot.  16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.  17  Because you say, 'I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing'--and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked-- 18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may  be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.  19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten.  Therefore be zealous and repent.  20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.  21 To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.  22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to he churches."  Revelation 3:14-22

“People who are passionate about God today are often labeled “extremists.”  A society that worships a valueless form of tolerance is threatened by anyone who knows what they believe and is willing to talk about it.  Of course, we shouldn’t try to cram our beliefs down the throats of others; that does more harm than good.  But there’s nothing wrong with making God our first priority; that’s what he wants (Matthew 6:33). 

In Revelations 3:14 Jesus Christ describes Himself to the lukewarm and half-committed church  and believer.  Jesus Christ is the 'Amen.'  This is a title that Christ says belongs to Him.  It is a term that declares and guarantees the truth. (John 14:6; 18:37) Therefore, Jesus Christ is the Amen, the declaration, the guarantee of the truth.  This means two things to a lukewarm church.  The lukewarm church can trust the promises of Christ.  He will meet the needs of any church that will repent and turn from its lukewarmness and wholly commit its life to Christ.  The lukewarm church had better heed the warning of Christ.  He is the Amen; His words of judgment will be carried out.  Jesus Christ is the 'faithful and true witness.'  (John 8:14) Jesus Christ is faithful to God the Father and He bears a true witness to God the Father.  He has not kept a single thing from us that God wanted us to know about Himself.  Jesus Christ is the faithful and true witness; He is just what the church is not.  The church is lukewarm.  It only tells part of the truth, only bears part of the witness.  It is only half-faithful to Christ and God.  Jesus Christ is the "beginning of the creation of God."  (Col. 1:16)  The churches only hope for life is to trust Him who is the beginning of creation, Him who alone can give the church life both abundant and eternal life.” The Essential Jesus by Whitney T. Kuniholm


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: Revelations 3:14-22

Pray or do: Use this prayer of David as the basis for your daily prayer with this devotional. “Praise be to God, who  has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!” (Psalm 66:20).





Friday, June 19, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “The Message-Part 3–Dead or Alive” 4th in a series on the Early  Church of Jesus–from the main series “The Quest to Know Who Jesus Is” Various Scriptures

TEXT: "And to the angel of the church in Sardis write, These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars: "I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.  7 "And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write, These things says He who is holy, He who is true, He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens.  8 I know your works.  Revelation 3:1; 7-8

Sardis was near death.  Here is a church that is alive and faithful.  The Lord Jesus Christ commends this church for three things.

1. The church used the open door of evangelism and missions to reach people for Christ.  The church was strategically located on an imperial road and in the midst of three towns.

2. The church kept Christ's Word; that is, they were faithful to the Word of God.  They obeyed the Lord Jesus Christ, kept His commandments.

3. The church confessed Christ; they did not deny the name of Christ.  They witnessed, endured opposition and confessed Christ in all they did. 

There was no condemnation therefore no warning was needed.  There was nothing they needed a remedy for.

To Sardis there is a promise to those who do not defile themselves as well as to the overcomers.

There are those who had not defiled themselves. This means there were a few faithful believers in the church.  They had kept themselves .  They were not activity centered nor program centered, but Christ centered.  The faithful and pure believer "walks with Christ in white” walking in victory, confessing sin and focusing upon Christ. The overcomer will not be blotted out of the book of life.  The overcomer will be acknowledged by

in the church. They had kept themselves "unspotted from the world" (James 1:27).  They were not activity centered nor program centered, but Christ centered.  The faithful and pure believer "walks with Christ in white” walking in victory, confessing sin and focusing upon Christ. The overcomer will not be blotted out of the book of life.  The overcomer will be acknowledged by Christ before God.  To Philadelphia the churches and believers who remain alive and faithful to Christ have five wonderful promises.  They shall receive five glorious things.

1. They will be made a pillar in the temple of God. This means that they will become a permanent part of God's house, of the eternal worship and service of heaven.

2. They will receive security; they will never again have to go in or out of the city in order to be safe.

3. They will receive God's name.  This is a symbol of possession and of belonging.

4. They will receive the name of the city of God, the New Jerusalem.  They will become the citizens of the New Jerusalem, of the capital of the new heavens and earth.

5. They will receive the Lord's new name.  What will this new name be?  No one knows but God

Himself, and He has not yet revealed it.  Perhaps the most encouraging thing from this passage is that whether you find yourself in a dead church or one that is truly alive, Jesus says you will “walk with me” (v. 4) if you remain faithful to him and his Word.


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: Revelations 3:7-13

Pray or do: Spend this time praying for the church you attend and for all the churches near where you live.




Thursday, June 18, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “The Message-Part 3–Dead or Alive” 4th in a series on the Early  Church of Jesus – from the main series “The Quest to Know Who Jesus Is” Various Scriptures

TEXT: "And to the angel of the church in Sardis write, These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars: I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.  7 And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write, These things says He who is holy, He who is true, He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens: 8  I know your works. Revelation 3:1; 7-8a

John describes Jesus as being holy. Jesus Christ is holy. The word holy is a description of  God Himself.  Jesus Christ is claiming to have the very same nature as God the Father, to be perfectly holy even as God is perfectly holy.  Jesus Christ is the One who is true.  The word true means the true as opposed to the false, the genuine as opposed to the counterfeit, the real as opposed to the unreal.  As King Hezekiah had a faithful servant who was named Eliakim to whom he gave the keys to the House of David so no one could gain entrance into the king’s presence without coming through Eliakim so Jesus has this same authority to God’s throne.   Here is what Jesus says to the church at Philadelphia. "And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write, These things says He who is holy, He who is true, He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens.  8 I know your works.  See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name.  9 Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie--indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you.  10 Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.  11 Behold, I am coming quickly!  Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown.  12 He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more.  And I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God.  And I will write on him My new name.  13 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches."  Revelation 3:7-13

The POSB Commentary says “There are five historical facts that seem to have a bearing upon the message to the church.  Philadelphia was founded as a border town to spread Greek culture to surrounding areas.  In fact, it was situated right on the borders of Lydia, Mysia, and Phrygia.  The church knew exactly what it meant to be missionary minded, to have an open door for the spread of the gospel (Rev. 3:8; cp. Acts 14:27; 1 Cor. 16:9; 2 Cor. 2:12; Col. 4:3).  The name Philadelphia means brotherly love.  The very name of the church gave the believers a constant reminder: they must love one another if they were going to fulfill their missionary calling.  Philadelphia knew what it was to live in the midst of insecure surroundings and under constant stress and strain.  The city sat over a large earthquake fault.  In A.D. 17 a terrifying earthquake hit a huge area.  It completely destroyed Sardis and ten other cities.  Philadelphia was spared total destruction. But for years the city was hit by unending tremors—each adding its own panic and crumbling walls to the devastation.  The experience of having to constantly run in and out for safety terrorized the population.  The experience was never forgotten by succeeding generations.  The church knew what it was to be given the hope of becoming a pillar in the temple of God; and the promise to the over comer that he shall go no more out"  (Rev. 3:12).

Philadelphia, after its destruction by the earthquake, was given aid by the emperor Tiberius for rebuilding.  In appreciation the city changed its name to Neocaesarea, the New City of Caesar.  The church knew what it was to be given a new name (Rev. 3:12).  Philadelphia had a Jewish synagogue within its city limits.  The Jews claimed to be the only followers of the true God (Rev. 3:9).  They claimed the keys of David, the right to open and to shut the door to God and His kingdom (Rev. 3:7).  The church knew what it was to trust and know Him who alone is true [and]...hath the key of David [and]...openeth.


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: Revelations 3:7-13

Pray or do: Heavenly Father, I want to be “dead to sin” but “alive to God” (Romans 6:11).Please show me how I can do that today.




Wed June 17, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “The Message-Part 3– Dead or Alive” 4th in a series on the Early Church of Jesus–from the main series “The Quest to Know Who Jesus Is” Various Scriptures

TEXT: "And to the angel of the church in Sardis write, These things says He who has the  seven Spirits of God and the seven stars: I know your works, that you have a name that  you are alive, but you are dead.  7 And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write, These things says He who is holy, He who is true, He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens.  8 I know your works.  Revelation 3:1 & 7

The POSB Commentary gives us background information that helps us to understand this message of Christ to the church at Sardis.  “There are two historical facts that seem to have a bearing on the letter.  Sardis was a city with two sections.  The first development sat on a ridge that jutted out from the side of a mountain.  It was fifteen hundred feet straight up and it seemed impregnable, perfectly safe from any enemy. However, when the city outgrew this ridge, a second development was begun at the base of the mountain in the valley.  Legend has it that gold was discovered just lying around in the river that flowed through the city. The city's history was one of wealth and security from all enemies.  However, by the time John wrote Revelation, the city's flourishing wealth had passed and much of its glory had faded.  The population had become flabby and soft, lethargic and complacent, living on the city's past reputation.  The church knew what the Lord meant by having a name that they lived, but they were dead (Rev. 3:1).  They knew what it was to have received the best of everything, but now they needed to repent (Rev. 3:3).  (This is what we need today in our society)

Sardis had been conquered only twice.  Both times had been due to a false sense of security behind their impregnable fortress.  They failed to post adequate watches to overlook the walls of the steep fortress.  While under attack by Cyrus of Persia, a guard of Sardis was seen to drop his helmet over the steep wall and climb down the crevices to recover it.  The city was taken that very night by a small band of soldiers climbing up the same crevices.  Under one of the subsequent rulers to Alexander the Great, the incident was remembered, and again the city was taken in the same manner.  The church knew from history what the Lord meant by "watch and strengthen...hold

fast...I will come on thee as a thief...." (Rev. 3:3).

This church received only a condemnation.  There was no commendation.  This is a dying church.  It had a wonderful reputation among the other churches.  They probably heard of all the ministries, programs and prosperity of the church.  On the surface it seemed as a progressive and active church.  Yet Jesus said it was dead.  What does this mean?  It means to die spiritually; it means to...

 have a form of worship but to deny the power thereof (2 Tim. 3:5).

 focus upon ritual, ceremony, and worship instead of Jesus Christ.

 focus upon activities instead of Jesus Christ.

 hold services and activities for social fellowship instead of for spiritual growth and edification.

 lose one's zeal for witnessing and sharing Christ and for seeing others grow.

 become complacent and lethargic in the study of God's Word and in prayer and spiritual growth.

 sit in worship and Bible classes as a matter of form instead of hungering and thirsting after righteousness.

 to preach and teach as a matter of form.

 to use the ministry as a means of livelihood instead of preaching and teaching to win and grow people in Christ.

Such an active church can seldom be convinced that it is dead and lifeless because of its bustling activity.  The remedy is to “watch and strengthen” the works that still have some life in them.  They

had not been focusing on Jesus.  They were asleep at the wheel.  The Amplified New

Testament says,"Rouse yourself and keep awake."

They needed to rethink

 why they and the church were on earth,

 what their calling was,

 why they were meeting together as a church,

 why they were claiming the name of Christ and doing works and carrying on ministries in the name of Christ.


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: Revelations 3:1-6

Pray or do: Heavenly Father, I want to be “dead to sin” but “alive to God” (Romans 6:11).Please show me how I can do that today.




Tuesday, June 16, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “The Message-Part 3 – Dead or Alive” 4th in a series on the Early Church of Jesus – from the main series “The Quest to Know Who Jesus Is” Various Scriptures

TEXT: "And to the angel of the church in Sardis write, These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars: I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.  7  And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write, These things says He who is holy, He who is true, He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens.  8 I know your works. Revelation 3:1 & 7-8

Whitney T. Kuniholm in his work The Essential Jesus: 100 Readings through the Bible's Greatest Story  tells us about his experience with renewing a dead church.  He writes, “Years ago I attended an urban church that some of my friends thought was dead.  It was part of a denomination that was drifting away from the Bible.  The church was located in a transitional neighborhood, and  we struggled to maintain a large stone building that hadn’t been filled in fifty years.  But a small group of us began meeting in a side chapel once each week to pray for the church.  As a result, God did a wonderful thing: he didn’t suddenly fill the pews, but he made those of us who prayed spiritually alive.”  Jesus now speaks to a dead church, the church at Sardis. "And to the angel of the church in Sardis write, These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars: I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.  2 Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God.  3 Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent.  Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you.  4 You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy.  5 He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels. 6 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches."  Revelation 3:1-6

First notice that Jesus Christ has the seven Spirits of God.  What does that mean?  This is a  reference to the Holy Spirit of God.  The number seven means the seven-fold ministry of the Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ Himself spelled this out in the upper room (John 14) where He revealed who the Holy Spirit was to be: He is the: 

 Comforter, the other Helper (16)

 Spirit of truth (17)

 personal presence of Christ (18-20)

 very special manifestation of Christ within the believer (21-22)

 abiding presence of the Trinity (23-24)

 teacher (25-26) 

 peace of Christ (27).

Some commentators point out that this is a reference to the seven-fold ministry of the Holy  Spirit found in Isaiah.  "And the spirit of the lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of  wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord" (Isaiah 11:2). He is The Spirit of: 

 the Lord

 wisdom

 understanding

 counsel

 might

 knowledge

 fear

The number seven also means completeness, fullness, or perfection in the Bible.  Therefore, the seven Spirits means the Holy Spirit in all His fullness.  What a lifeless and dying church needs is the Spirit of God. 


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: Revelations 3:1-6

Pray or do: Heavenly Father, I want to be “dead to sin” but “alive to God” (Romans 6:11).Please show me  how I can do that today.




Saturday, June 13, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “The Message- Part 2” 3rd in a series on the Early Church of Jesus – from the main series “The Quest to Know Who Jesus Is” Various Scriptures

TEXT: "And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write, These things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword:  13 I know your works, and where you dwell, 18 And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write, These things says the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass: 19 I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first.  (Revelations 2:12-13 and 2:18-19) 

First Jesus commends the church in Thyatira. “I know your works, love, service, faith, and  your patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first.” (Revelation 2:19)  The members of the Church at Thyatira also had some good points; they were a loving, faithful, serving and persevering congregation.  They also had some things that Jesus condemns them for and accompanies it with a warning.  But the church in Thyatira had the same problem as Pergamum: they were tolerating false teaching, and notice that it led to immoral behavior.  “Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols.” Revelation 2:20. 

When human reason takes a higher place than biblical principles, the church begins to look no different than the world.  In our day many are seduced into accepting the world’s view concerning issues like abortion, sex identity, euthanasia, and a host of other view’s thus compromising and even refuting the righteousness and holiness of God and His Word.  With consistency Jesus calls them to repentance.  Though she refused the Jezebel of the church was given the opportunity to repent.  Jesus concludes with a promise to both churches.  To Pergamum he says, “To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat.  And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.  (Revelation 2:17) 

To Thyatira He says, “And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I  will give power over the nations--27 He shall rule them with a rod of iron; They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter's vessels--as I also have received from My Father; 28  and I will give him the morning star.” (Revelation 2:26-28) 

A church as a whole may go astray, but it is the believer who must personally overcome.  How?  Let him who has an ear hear what the Spirit says, and let him heed and do what the Spirit says.  If he does then he will be an overcomer.   But all this raises an important question: how do we live with the fact that there’s no perfect church? Jesus says, “Hold on to what you have until I come” (v. 25). 

We are to hold fast until Christ comes. We are to hold fast...

 to the commitment that we have already made to Christ.

 to the spiritual growth that we have already achieved.

 to the ministries that we have already launched.

We are not to give in to the seductions of the world no matter how appealing and attractive. In

other words, remain faithful to the gospel and God’s Word, and eagerly look forward to his

return. We can do that no matter what church we belong to.


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: Revelations 2:12-29

Pray or do: Lord, you know the church isn’t perfect and neither am I. Even so, help me to hold firmly to the gospel  and to look eagerly for your return. 


Bonus Material:

1. An Ideal Believer. "Hold fast that which is good" (1 Thess. 5:21).

2. A Faithful Witness. "Holding fast the faithful word" (Titus 1:9).

3. A Tenacious Evangelist. "Hold fast the form of sound words" (2 Tim. 1:13).

4. A Cleaving Confessor. "Hold fast our confession"; (Heb. 4:14, R.V.).

5. An Expectant Waiter. "Hold fast the confession of our hope" (Heb. 10:23, R.V.).

6. A Resolute Steward. "Hold fast till I come" (Rev. 2:25).

7. A Jealous Watcher. "Hold fast that which thou hast" (Rev. 3:11).

1000 Bible Study Outlines: Study Helps and Sermon Outlines.




Friday, June 12, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “The Message- Part 2” 3rd in a series on the Early Church of Jesus – from the main series “The Quest to Know Who Jesus Is” Various Scriptures

TEXT: "And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write, These things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword: 13 I know your works, and where you dwell,..” 18 "And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write, These things says the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass:  19 I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first.  (Rev. 2:12-13 and 2:18-19)

Next Jesus speaks to the church in Thyatira (vv. 18-29). "And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write, These things says the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass: Revelation 2:18

Thyatira: there are two historical facts that seem to have a bearing upon the Lord's message to the church.

1. Thyatira was a frontier town—the least important city of the seven mentioned in Revelation.  It lay on the road that stretched through a long valley between Pergamos and Sardis.  It had no

defensible surroundings.  Its citizens could only hope to fight a delaying action for Pergamos.  The church knew what it was to hope in One who could see all circumstances and who could

trample all enemies under His foot (Rev. 2:18, 26-27).  The church knew what it was to hold fast (Rev. 2:26-27).

2. Thyatira was renowned for its trade guilds or unions.  These guilds had two prime functions: business and social.  The city's two major industries were dye and wool.  These products plus the major road that ran through the city brought merchants from all over the world.  The very life of the community was centered in the trade guilds or unions.  Their functions often involved a meal that was usually held within the temple precincts.  The social included a sacrifice to the gods and frequently ended up being a drunken immoral affair.  The church knew the attraction of Jezebel's seductive teaching.  This probably refers to a woman within the church who was teaching an idea that seemed to be very practical and reasonable.  What was it?  That believers could support the social functions of their trade guilds or unions, even if the social function was worldly.  Believers had to participate in the community's social and business functions in order to secure themselves and their jobs and in order to prosper.  Lowering Christian holiness and morality was necessary in order to guarantee social acceptance and the survival of one's job or business (Rev. 2:20).  It was felt that God would understand.  But the church knew "Him who has eyes like a flame of fire and sees all (Rev. 2:18-19).  It knew Him who was to trample all enemies under His feet (Rev. 2:18) and who was to search

the hearts of all and reward them according to their works (Rev. 2:23).  Thyatira is the city from which Lydia, the seller of purple, came (Acts 16:14, 40).” POSB Commentary


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: Revelations 2:12-29

Pray or do: Give thanks to God for all the ways your involvement in the church has helped you grow closer to him and to others.




Thursday, June 11, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “The Message- Part 2” 3rd in a series on the Early Church of Jesus – from the main series “The Quest to Know Who Jesus Is” Various Scriptures

TEXT: "And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write, These things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword: 13 I know your works, and where you dwell,..” 18  "And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write, These things says the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass: 19 I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first.

(Revelations 2:12-13a and 2:18-19)

Jesus commends Pergamos.  He says, “I know your works, and where you dwell, where Satan's throne is.  And you hold fast to My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days in which Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells.” (Revelation 2:13).

The Church at Pergamum had a wonderful history: they had remained true to Jesus during a period of unusual stress and persecution.  They were serving Christ by sharing the Word of God through biblical teaching and preaching.  They were involved in ministering to those in need.  Antipas was an example of one of them who did not deny the faith even unto death as a martyr.  But that spiritual victory was long past; now they were being enticed by false teaching.  Jesus then gives a word of condemnation with a warning.  “But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to  commit sexual immorality.  15 Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.”  (Revelation 2:14-15)  His warning followed.  “Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth.” (Revelation 2:16)

There are churches and denominations today who have a wonderful history of evangelism and

outreach but who have lost their commitment to the gospel and biblical teaching.  Jesus remedy is repent.  It was in the Old Testament “if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)  Repentance is the key to restoration with God:  For a church!  For an individual!


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: Revelations 2:12-29

Pray or do: Give thanks to God for all the ways your involvement in the church has helped you grow closer to him and to others.




Wednesday, June 10, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “The Message- Part 2” 3rd in a series on the Early Church of Jesus – from the main series “The Quest to Know Who Jesus Is” Various Scriptures

TEXT: "And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write, These things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword:  13 I know your works, and where you dwell,..”  18 "And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write, These things says the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass:  19 I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first.  (Revelations 2:12-13a and 2:18-19)

I know people who have been searching for the perfect church all their lives.  They evaluate (and criticize) the pastor, preaching and programs wherever they attend, and then move on.  It’s

important to find a church that loves Jesus and believes the Bible, and that may take some looking. But as Groucho Marx once said, “I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member.” Churches aren’t perfect because they’re made up of imperfect members.  The two churches in Revelation 2:12-29 certainly weren’t perfect; in fact, they had the same basic problem.  The third church Jesus speaks to is Pergamum (Pergamos) in verses 12 to 17.  "And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write, These things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword: Revelation 2:12.

“Pergamos (2:12): the city had three overriding claims to fame that seem to have had a bearing upon the message to the church.

1. Pergamos was a beautifully situated city with an air of royalty about it.  It sat on top of a huge mountain, arising ever so steeply and majestically out of a beautiful valley. The city's citizens could see the Mediterranean Sea some fifteen miles away.  To the approaching traveler the city struck him with a sense of stately awe and royal authority.  The church had a ready picture of "Satan's seat," (Rev. 2:13) of what it was to suffer persecution at the hands of a royal city under the power of the prince of this world.

2. Pergamos was one of the cultural and religious centers of the world. It had been a capital city for some 400 years.  Its library was second only to Alexandria, Egypt.  But the's most prominent feature was its acropolis, rising about a thousand feet in the midst of the city.  Temple after temple had been built upon it.  For example, there was a temple to Asclepius, a serpent-like god of healing.  It was famous for its college of medical priests.  But the most famous pagan altar was built to Zeus.  It was an overpowering sight, built on a huge ledge that jutted out and towered above the city.  It was the largest, most ornate, and most famous altar in the world.  It was forty feet high and ninety feet square.  The church knew what it was to live in a pagan society, as though Satan's seat itself was there (Rev. 2:13).  They knew what it was to be persecuted (Rev. 2:13).  But they also knew what it was to place their faith in Him with the two-edged sword (Rev. 2:12).  They knew Him who could provide the true spiritual manna (Rev. 2:17) and assure them a new name in the future (Rev. 2:17).

3. Pergamos was the imperial and administrative center of Asia.  As such, it was the first city in Asia to openly support imperial worship, that is, the worship of the state and its leader.  What happened was this: Rome's conquest of the world had brought about peace by which food and trade and prosperity could more easily be secured.  Life became much easier and more comfortable for many.  As a result, a Roman spirit arose in many quarters.  Roman government capitalized on this unifying spirit and began to center it in the Emperor Caesar himself.  Gradually the government erected temples, altars, and images in Caesar's honor and he became a god.  Finally, a law was issued requiring every citizen throughout the empire to go to the temple once a year and bow and say, "Caesar is Lord."  To prove that a man had performed this loyal act to Rome, a written certificate was required to be in his possession. 

The church again knew what Christ meant when He claimed to be the One with the 'two-edged sword' (Rev. 2:12). They took great confidence in the fact that He knew 'where they dwelt' (Rev. 2:13).  They knew what it was to live where 'Satan's seat is' (Rev. 2:13), and what it was to suffer martyrdom because they refused to deny Christ (Rev. 2:13).” 

POSB Commentary


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: Revelations 2:12-29

Pray or do: Give thanks to God for all the ways your involvement in the church has helped you grow closer to him and to others.




Monday, June 8, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “The Message” 2nd in a series on the Early Church of Jesus – from the main series “The Quest to Know Who Jesus Is” Various Scriptures

TEXT: To the angel of the church of Ephesus write, 'These things says He who holds he seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands: 2 I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil.'  And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write, 'These things says the First and the Last, who was dead, and came to life:  9 I know your works, tribulation, and poverty (but you are rich); and I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Revelation 2:8-9

There are promises Jesus made to these two Pastors and Churches.  To Ephesus there is the promise that they can be overcomers.  The word overcomer has the idea of conflict and struggle. The overcomer is a person who overcomes and conquers and gains the victory.  He is the victor and conqueror.  What is it that he is to overcome? Everything that pulls his heart and love away from Christ and attaches it to the world. Whatever possessions, whatever pleasures, whatever it is that has dampened the believer's first love for Christ—it is that thing that the believer must overcome.  The promise is made to individual believers; “to him who overcomes” therefore, all believers are to hear the messages to the churches.  A church as a whole may go astray, but it is the believer who must personally overcome. How?  Let him who has an ear hear what the Spirit says, and let him heed and do what the Spirit says.  If he does then he will be an overcomer.  The overcomer shall be allowed to eat of the tree of life.  This is the tree of God, the tree that gives life, both the fullness of life and eternal life.  The overcomer shall become a citizen of the paradise of God.  Paradise is heaven, the very dwelling place of God, the place...

• of eternal perfection and life

• of eternal fulfillment and completeness

• of eternal love and joy

• of eternal peace and control

• of eternal work and pleasure

• of eternal duty and honor

• of eternal service and satisfaction

To Smyrna the overcomer shall receive a crown of life.  This simply means the reward of eternal life. The overcomer shall be delivered from the second death.  What is the second death?

Scripture clearly tells us.  'And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire.  This is the second death'.   (Rev. 20:14).  Christ tells the church that more persecution is coming.  The devil is going to arouse the unbelievers of the world to attack them for ten days.  The idea of ten is that of brevity, for just a short time.  God was allowing the persecution, and the reason is given—that the believers might be tried.  The counsel of Christ is a clear message to the church when it is being persecuted: do not fear but be faithful.  Today, the churches around the world that are facing the greatest persecution are also experiencing the fastest growth.  That doesn’t mean we should throw our own churches into turmoil in an effort to boost attendance.  But it reminds us that when Christians stand strong for the gospel, as they must in persecution, the church will attract people.  Jesus calls that faithfulness (v. 10), and that’s what he wants to see in his church.

 If you are poor – be faithful

 If you are rich – be faithful

 If you are sick – be faithful

 If you are well – be faithful

 If you are going through trials – be faithful

 If everything is great – be faithful

 If you are being persecuted – be faithful

 If you are at ease in Zion – be faithful

 No matter what your situation – BE FAITHFUL!


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: Revelations 2:1-11

Pray or do: Spend a few minutes praying for the churches you’ve been part of or come into contact with in your life.




Thursday, June 4, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “The Message” 2nd in a series on the Early Church of Jesus – from  the main series “The Quest to Know Who Jesus Is” Various Scriptures

TEXT: "And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write, These things says the First and  the Last, who was dead, and came to life: 9 I know your works, tribulation, and poverty (but you are rich); and I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan."  Revelation 2:8-9

Smyrna is known as the Persecuted Church.  There are three historical facts about Smyrna, the second church Jesus speaks to, that seem to have a bearing upon the message to the church.  Myrrh is a gum-like resin taken from a shrub in Asia Minor and it was very bitter.  It was used in making perfume (Psalm 45:8), oil (Exodus 30:23), for embalming (John 19:39), and for relieving and dulling pain (Mark 15:23).  It was one of the leading commercial products.  Remember that it was one of the gifts brought to Jesus by the Wise Men which hint at the bitter suffering Jesus  would go through upon the cross. The city of Smyrna gets its name from the Myrrh which means “bitter”.  This church was experiencing what its name said: bitter sorrow, affliction, and persecution (Rev. 2:9-10).

Smyrna was a proud city—proud of its culture, its beauty, its commercial wealth, its social life.  Its citizens called it the first city in Asia.  There was a municipal vanity among the people.  Everyone tried to climb the social ladder a step further than his neighbor.  Everyone wanted the first place, the highest seat, the most recognition.  To these, Christ proclaims loudly and clearly, "I am the first and last" (Rev. 2:8); & "I am the one who has the crown of life"  (Rev. 2:10).

Smyrna was persecuting the church severely.  The city had a large number of Jews who were influential in city politics.  Jews were, of course, steeped in the Old Testament and the prophecies of the Messiah.  Many of the early converts to Christ were Jews.  Here in Smyrna, the reaction of the Jews was severe.  They reacted severely and did all they could to influence the city officials to stamp out the church.  The Christian believer knew God personally and intimately; therefore, he could not worship or participate in the festivals to the god and goddesses of his day.  He was marked.  In some cases jobs were lost, and in all cases, social life within the city was severed.  Mockery, abuse, scorn, and persecution were applied.  When Jesus says He is the first and the last, it is a promise that He is with the believer through it all—from the very first to the very last (Rev. 2:11).  He knows what the believer is going through, for He has suffered not only the threat of death, but death itself (Rev. 2:8). 

Smyrna was one of two that were singled out for commendation only.  (The other is in Philadelphia [Revelation 3:7-14].)  Smyrna was commended for their works, the tribulation they were experiencing and the poverty they endured.  Jesus says though “you are rich” they were outwardly poor, but inwardly they were rich toward the Lord and His mission.

They were faithful to the Lord...

 loving Him and one another and even those who opposed them (agapē love).

 ministering to all in need.

 studying and teaching the Scriptures.

 living righteous and holy lives.

They were faithful in the midst of persecution and trials.  To the casual observer the church in Smyrna may have looked like a failure.  They were poor, they were being criticized, and their members were about to suffer persecution and imprisonment (vv. 8-10).  That’s not such a great formula for church growth.  Or is it?  Join me tomorrow for the conclusion to Ephesus and Smyrna’s message from Christ and the implication for us today.


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: Revelations 2:1-7

Pray or do: Lord, there are lots of things that get in the way of my love for you.  Help

me to start over with you today as I hear your Word.




Wednesday, June 3, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “The Message” 2nd in a series on the Early Church of Jesus – from the main series “The Quest to Know Who Jesus Is” Various Scriptures

TEXT: "To the angel of the church of Ephesus write, these things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands:  2 I

know your works," …Rev. 2:1-2a

The good news about this body of believers is that they were activists; they were willing to work hard (v. 2).  They would labor to the point of weariness and the limits of their abilities.  They practiced “patience”.  The word patience means to persevere and to be steadfast in serving Christ and in standing against all the temptations and trials of life.  The church was steadfast in studying and proclaiming the gospel and in ministering to the needs of the needy.  Not only that, they were careful to avoid false teaching and even suffered for their beliefs.  “Cannot bear them who are evil” - This refers to sin and evil, men who were corrupt and polluted and who lived for the world instead of living for God.  The church could not tolerate the sin and shame, dirt and pollution, filth and destruction of evil. 

You have tried them who were not apostles and found them liars.  The church tested all the preachers and teachers of the church and rejected the false.  The test: Confession that Jesus

Christ, the Son of God, had come in the flesh.  They did just what Scripture exhorts: they tested the spirits of the teachers.  The bad news was they’d forsaken their first love, Jesus (v. 4).  They were like a husband who provides everything his family needs but who is unfaithful to his wife.  The church had lost its first love.  This probably means two things.  The church and its believers had lost their feelings for Christ.  Believers had left their first love.  Christ was no longer first in their lives.  They were

putting themselves and their own affairs first, and they were putting the church first—the programs, services, ministries, and fellowship of the church.  They had become more attached to the church than they were to Christ.  The church had lost its love for people.  The church saw a rupture take place in its fellowship and in its love for one another.  When the church was first founded, a deep love existed among the members (cp. Acts 20:17-38).  The church had a loving heart and a helping hand—a readiness to labor together even through persecution. But something happened.  If there’s not true love for Jesus in the church, its members are just going through the motions, and Jesus doesn’t like that.

The Lord counsels the church to return to him.  When a church or a believer goes astray, the Lord issues the very same call that He issues here: return.  Three steps are involved in returning.  

First, remember from where you have fallen.  Think back over your former love for the Lord.  Remember His presence:

 the feelings of warmth and tenderness

 the fervor, spark, and unction

 the fellowship and communion with Him

 the prayer and sharing

 the consciousness and awareness of His presence

 the joy and rejoicing of His presence that filled your heart

Second, repent: turn away from whatever has pulled you away from Christ and turn back to Christ.  Something has drawn you away from Christ.  You are attached to something more than you are to Christ.  Something is consuming your thoughts and energies and keeping your mind from focusing upon Christ and fellowshipping and communing with Him. You are not flickering your mind to Him in prayer as you walk throughout the day.  You are not sharing and communing with Him like you did.  Something has replaced Him in your thoughts and attention.  And you are more attached to that thing than you are to Christ.  Repent-turn away from that attachment and turn back to Christ.  The way to rekindle dying love is to repent and start over again (v. 5).

Christ warns the church that loses its love for Him.  The warning is twofold.  There is the warning that Christ will remove the church (the candlestick) from its place.  Christ will remove the church...from being a true church; from being a true representative of Christ upon earth.

There is warning that doctrinal purity is not enough.  This warning is going to be shattering to some when Christ returns.  Why?  Because many are doctrinally sound but they have lost their first love for Christ.


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!  Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: Revelations 2:1-7

Pray or do: Lord, there are lots of things that get in the way of my love for you. Help me to start over with you today as I hear your Word.

Bonus Material:

Ephesus is the Orthodox Church (Rev. 2:1-7).  Ephesus was, of course, a great commercial city.  Its natural harbor and strategic location on one of the main roads of the world made it such.  However, in the middle of the first century, the harbor had silted up so badly that trade had declined dramatically from the days of Ephesian glory.  There had been attempts to drag the silt out, but the efforts were half-hearted and finally abandoned.  Ephesus still enjoyed successful and profitable trade from its religious cult.  The great temple of Diana, or Artemis, was there.  The worshipping pilgrims found their satisfaction in prostitution with a host of priestesses who plied the cult of the goddess.  A great trade of silversmiths had developed over the years, and tourist commercialism boomed year-round.  This accounts for the guild of silversmiths finding the crowds an easy mark for arousing opposition against Paul

(Acts 19:24)




Tuesday, June 2, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “The Message” 2nd in a series on the Early Church of Jesus – from  the main series “The Quest to Know Who Jesus Is” Various Scriptures

TEXT:  To the angel of the church of Ephesus write, "These things says He who holds the  seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands:  2 I know your works.…" Rev. 2:1-2a

Churches are different.  There is a lot of variety out there.  Different styles of preaching and  music.  Some are inward focused and others are mission-minded.  Architecture and atmosphere varies like the landscape.  Some had lots of people and resources, some didn’t.  For a variety of reasons they all had their strengths and weaknesses.  Why is the letter addressed to only seven churches in Asia?  Why was it not addressed to all the churches down through the centuries?  The following chart clearly shows what we are asking: 

Revelation was addressed to these churches in Asia

⇒ Ephesus

⇒ Smyrna

⇒ Pergamos

⇒ Thyatira

⇒ Sardis

⇒ Philadelphia

⇒ Laodicea

Revelation was not addressed to these churches in Asia

⇒ Troas (Acts 20:5; 2 Cor. 2:12)

⇒ Miletus (Acts 20:17)

⇒ Colosse (Col. 1:2)

⇒ Hierapolis (Col. 4:12)

Church history even tells us that there were other churches in Asia beyond these eleven.  John certainly knew of them all.  Why then address the Revelation to only seven of the churches?   John does not say.  There has to be a reason, for Jesus Christ was giving the Revelation so that all of His servants would know about the events of the end time (Rev. 2:1).  The seven churches must be representative of other churches.  The conditions that existed in each of the seven churches differed, and as we study the different types of churches in society and throughout history, we clearly see that there are seven types of churches.  Therefore, in addressing the seven churches, Jesus Christ was addressing all the churches of the earth.  The messages to the seven churches were given for personal application.  Jesus Christ expects us—all churches and all believers—to apply the messages to our own situation.  Jesus Christ expects us to search our hearts and to heed the messages given to these churches.  That’s the sense we’ll get as we read Jesus’ assessment of the churches in the first century.  This week’s devotionals will examine Jesus’ assessment; the commendations, condemnations and the remedy.


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: Revelations 2:1-6

Pray or do: Lord, there are lots of things that get in the way of my love for you.  Help me to start over with you today as I hear your Word.



Friday, May 29, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “The Vision” 1st in a series on the Early Church of Jesus – from the  main series “The Quest to Know Who Jesus Is” Various Scriptures

TEXT: The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants--things  which must shortly take place.  And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John, 2 who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw.  3 Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near.  Rev. 1:1-3

This first chapter of Revelations ends with Jesus having something to say to the churches of the first century.  Jesus says, "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last," and,  "What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia: to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamos, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea." Revelation 1:11

Of the seven churches mentioned in Revelation, five fall into a “good news-bad news” category.

Look at the ten points of similarity in the letters

1. In nearly all of the letters there is a reference to one or more of the details of the description of Christ in Rev. 1:12-16.

2. Each is addressed to the pastor.

3. Each church is commended for its works except the last one.

4. Each church is rebuked except the second and the sixth.

5. Each church is commanded to repent except the second, fourth, and sixth.  The fourth has

sin of which to repent, but is not commanded to do so.

6. Warnings of judgment are given to all the churches except the second and sixth.

7. Each church was more corrupt than a preceding one except the first, second, and sixth.

The first one was commended for ten things; the last one condemned for ten things.

8. Promises to over-comers are in each.

9. Each has the same admonition to hear.

10. John is told to write in each case.

When he finishes one letter he is directed whom to write and what to write, until the last is completed.  Then he is told to write "the things which shall be hereafter" the churches

(Rev. 1:19; 4:1) Dake's Annotated Reference Bible:

It reminds us that he knows and cares what goes on in our churches too, which is a sobering

thought.  We know that the church is not a building; it is a body. Jesus cares so passionately about the church because he is one with it.  Listen to His prayer again that He prayed to the Father for them and for us today. "I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.  John 17:20-21

Remember He is praying for you individually and for us collectively. He is interceding in our behalf. He knows what we are going through and what we are doing.  May we do everything for the glory of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: Selected scriptures above.

Pray or do: Heavenly Father, I ask that you would give me a clearer vision of your Son, Jesus Christ, as I read and pray today.




Thursday, May 28, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “The Vision” 1 st in a series on the Early Church of Jesus – from the main series “The Quest to Know Who Jesus Is” Various Scriptures

TEXT: The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants--things which must shortly take place.  And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John, 2 who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw.  3 Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near.  Rev. 1:1-3

There are some new things we learn about Jesus from John’s revelation.  We see Him in His majestic and glorified appearance.  We hear his powerful voice that is like the sound of a mighty waterfall.  Hear John’s description. “Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me.  And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band.  14  His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire;  15 His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters;” Revelation 1:12-15.

Here we have an “eight-fold description of Christ.

1. His body was clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded with golden girdle

(Rev. 1:13; cp. Dan. 10:6).

2. His hair was white like wool and snow

(Rev. 1:14; Dan. 7:9).

3. His eyes were as a flame of fire

(Rev. 1:14; 19:12; Dan. 10:6; cp. Heb. 4:12).

4. is feet were like fine brass

(Rev. 1:14; 10:1; Dan. 10:6).

5. His voice like many waters.

 (Rev. 1:14; 8:5; 10:2-4; 11:15; 14:2; 16:17-18; 19:6;   Ps. 29; Heb. 12:26; Dan. 10:6).

6. His right hand held seven stars, which were the pastors of the seven churches. 

(Rev. 1:20).

7. His mouth had a two-edged sword coming out of it.

Rev. 1:16; 2:12,16; 19:15,21; Eph. 6:17; Heb. 4:12).

8. His countenance shone like the sun.

Rev. 1:16; 10:1; Dan. 10:6).” 

Dake's Annotated Reference Bible:

When Jesus was on earth, John got as close to him as anyone.  But in the vision of Revelation 1,

John sees Jesus in all his heavenly glory.  That contrast only highlights the miracle of the

incarnation; in Jesus the God of the universe became one of us.  The next thing we notice is Jesus’ description of Himself: He is eternal, He is alive, and He will decide who goes to heaven or hell. “And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, "Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. 18 I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore.  AmenAnd I have the keys of Hades and of Death.” (Revelation 1:17-18) That’s why we must take our decision about him very seriously.  It will have eternal consequences for every individual.


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: Selected scriptures above.

Pray or do: Heavenly Father, I ask that you would give me a clearer vision of your Son, Jesus Christ, as I read and pray today.





Wednesday, May 27, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “The Vision” 1 st in a series on the Early Church of Jesus – from the  main series “The Quest to Know Who Jesus Is” Various Scriptures. 

TEXT: The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants--things  which must shortly take place.  And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John, 2 who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw.  3 Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near.  Rev. 1:1-3

Yesterday we continued “The Quest to Know Who Jesus Is” with an introduction to “The  Vision” given to John by God.  The introduction was the covering of our progress since we began this quest.  Now we will examine the consistency and agreement between John’s perspective and the rest of the New Testament. 

Jesus was both a witness and a martyr (Rev. 3:4; 1Pet. 2:24; Heb. 3:2) Greek: martus is  translated both witness and martyr (Rev. 1:5).  He is the “prince of the kings of the earth” (Rev. 1:5).  The "chief"; (Lk. 11:15; 14:1); the "chief ruler" (Jn. 12:42); and "magistrate" (Lk. 12:58)  Jesus is “the firstborn from the dead” (v. 5); “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.” Colossians 1:15 “And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.” Colossians 1:18  He loved us (Rev. 1:5; Jn. 3:16).  He has freed us from sin “by his blood” (v. 5); “Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.” Romans 5:9 “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” Ephesians 1:7.  His followers are “a kingdom and priests” (v. 6); and “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;” 1 Peter 2:9

They pierced Him (Rev. 1:7; Jn. 19:34)

To Him be glory and dominion forever (Rev. 1:6; Isa. 9:6-7; Dan. 7:13-14; Lk. 1:32-33; Rev. 11:15; 22:4-5).

Someday Jesus will come again and “every eye will see him” (v. 7).  “Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name

of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those  under the earth, 11  and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:9-11

He is God (Rev. 1:8; Heb. 1:8; Isa. 9:6-7; Jn. 1:1-2; Acts 20:28)


Pastor Larry

Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: Selected scriptures above.

Pray or do: Heavenly Father, I ask that you would give me a clearer vision of your Son, Jesus Christ, as I read and  pray today.





Tuesday, May 26, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “The Vision” 1 st in a series on the Early Church of Jesus – from the main series “The Quest to Know Who Jesus Is” Various Scriptures

TEXT: I was in the Spirit on the Lord's Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet, 11 saying, "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last," and, "What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia: to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamos, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea." Revelation 1:10-11

Over the years Rhonda and I have attended churches of all types and sizes.  One was a small country church that was “family owned and operated”.  Another church was one of our leading churches in our denomination.  They were running close to 2000 people in their worship services.  They had great preachers and many programs throughout the week but it was too busy for us to connect with anyone.  Another church was a large church of about 500.  It was there that we settled into and became involved in lay ministry of teaching.  We liked the music, their Sunday School and children’s ministry.  We were able to connect with some of the folks.  Our next section covers the first three chapters in the book of Revelation, which is the record of a vision the apostle John had nearly sixty years after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  In the vision it’s as if Jesus himself has been a newcomer in seven first-century churches, and he describes the unique dynamics within each one.  Imagine what Jesus would say if he visited our church next Sunday!

We are going to discover that the main point of the next several sermons is this: Jesus knows what’s going on in the church, and he really cares about it.  So let’s get going and see if we can piece together what Jesus thinks about his church.  This series is all about Jesus.  We started in John’s Gospel and found that “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God” (John 1:1)

In Genesis He was present at the creation of man. “And God said, “Let US make man in OUR image, after our likeness” Genesis 1:26

I believe Jesus, the pre-incarnate Christ, was the one who met with Abraham as He was going with the angels to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. Remember “No man has seen God at any time” (John 1:18)

It was Jesus, The Angel of the Lord, who appeared to Gideon and the parents of Samson.  Judges It was Jesus, the pre-incarnate Christ, who astonished Nebuchadnezzar.  The scripture says, “and he rose in haste and spoke, saying to his counselors, "Did we not cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?" They answered and said to the king, "True, O king." 25 "Look!" he answered, "I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God." Daniel 3:24-25

The we come to know Jesus as the babe born in a manger, who took on human flesh and divested Himself of “the form of God”.  For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich. 2 Corinthians 8:9 A paraphrase of that scripture in A Commentary on the Holy Bible is: (9) But let me remind you of the great love of Christ, who divested Himself of the riches of His glory and became poor for your sakes, that by His self-denial and humility you might inherit eternal salvation.  Then we see the ministry of Jesus to the church as head of the church. And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, Ephesians 1:22  And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence. Colossians 1:18

The rest of the week we will examine how Jesus sees the church and what He has to say to the

church.


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. Daily reading: Revelations 1

Pray or do: Heavenly Father, I ask that you would give me a clearer vision of your Son, Jesus Christ, as I read and pray today.

Bonus Material:

Revelation is to unveil or uncover.




Friday, April 24, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “The Need for Church Life” 2nd in a series on the Easter Challenge – from the main series “The Quest to Know Who Jesus Is” Various Scriptures

TEXT: “For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do  not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.  We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.” 

Christ has called us to be the church which we know to be the assembling together of people who  have put their trust in Christ as Lord and Savior.  Our need to gather together goes beyond what we can get done or do; it actually affects who we are and what we become.  We find in the Bible that the followers of Jesus are meant to be fueled by, equipped by, and connected to the local church.  You don’t have to go to our church, but the Bible says we should be connected to some church.

In Colossians 3:16, Paul said, “Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.” The message of Christ dwells among us.  We are called to go deeper in our relationship with Jesus, to experience greater freedom in His Spirit, and to undergo a more complete transformation into His likeness.  But did you see how that happens?  The next line shows us: “As you teach and admonish one another.”  Admonish means to caution, correct, and urge.  We all have different blind spots, different experiences, different strengths and weaknesses.  If you want to grow to the next level in the way you follow Jesus, you have to get beyond your own voice and your own interpretation of God’s Word.  When has going beyond average evernbeen easy?  When has being sold out and being all in for anything ever been comfortable?  This meeting or assembly is important for our growth, our unity, and our purpose. No wonder why the Bible so clearly tells us we shouldn’t forsake it.  One of our big problems is that we need constant reminders of the truth (See bonus material).  Like the couple, when we gather here, we are reminded of the truth of God’s Word, the truth of who God is, and the truth of who we are in Jesus. We also gather together to bring real help and support for life’s difficulties.


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: Revelations 3:7-13

Pray or do: Pray for many to understand the need they have for being part of a local body of believers.

Bonus Material:

A couple went to the doctor for a check up and before they left he mentioned to them they might need to write down things so they could remember better.  Later that night, while watching TV, the man gets up from his chair.  “Want anything while I’m in the kitchen?” he asks.  

“Will you get me a bowl of ice cream?”

“Sure.”

“Don’t you think you should write it down so you can remember it?” she asks.

“No, I can remember a simple bowl of ice cream.”

“Well, I’d like some strawberries on top, too.  Maybe you should write it down.”

He says, “I can remember that.  You want a bowl of ice cream with strawberries.”

“I’d also like whipped cream.  I’m certain you’ll forget that.  Write it down,” she says.

Irritated, he says, “I don’t need to write it down.  I can remember it!  Ice cream with strawberries and whipped cream, for goodness’ sake!”

After about twenty minutes, the man returns from the kitchen and hands his wife a plate of bacon and eggs.  She stares at the plate for a moment and asks, “Where’s my toast?”





Thursday, April 23, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “The Need for Church Life” 2nd in a series on the Easter Challenge – from the main series “The Quest to Know Who Jesus Is” Various Scriptures

TEXT: “For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.  We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.”

It is true that some people hate organized religion.  They have seen organized religion at its worst when it was all about structure, hierarchy, power and money instead of reaching people with the Gospel.  There is good in organized religion and that is the power of organizing to accomplish something good.  God has called us to gather together to find ways to live, share, and spread the truth and power of the Gospel.  We have a common mission and call.  According to today’s text we can’t complete it without each other.  You can get some things done all by yourself, but it’s like a thumb without a hand or other fingers.  A thumb can do some things but it is limited.  But in conjunction with fingers, there is no end to the things your thumb can grasp, open, move, pull, or shape!  It’s the same way with the body of Christ.  Our different gifts working in conjunction with one another open up ministry and Gospel opportunities we could never imagine on our own! You can’t be all you’re created to be without us.  We can’t be all we’re created to be without you. 

The trends may say church attendance is down, but we don’t have to be subject to the trends of our culture.  In fact, we are called to change and shape our world together with the power of the Gospel.  It’s the power that God gave us when we come together.  That’s why God tells us in Hebrews 10:25, not to give up “meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing.”  I’m not asking you to add another thing to your already busy life; I’m suggesting that we all make the work of the kingdom of God a priority in our lives since it’s the only work that really matters.  One essential expression and work of that priority is for us to keep meeting together!


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted.

Daily reading: Hebrews 10:19-39

Pray or do: How are you contributing to the work of God through the church (the gathering of people in Christ)?

Bonus Material:

Why She Came

We have in the church of which I am a member a woman who is very old, very deaf, and whose eyes are bad, but she is always at church, even though she does not hear a word.  On Saturday she is given a church bulletin and she looks up and reads the hymns and Scripture lesson.  One day she remarked that all she gets out of the service is that received from the bulletin, and I told her what a fine thing it is that she comes.  She replied, "Well, you know, the Psalmist said, 'The Lord is in his holy temple,' and I come here to meet the Lord." Of how many who attend church can that be said, I wonder.—Sunday School Times




Wednesday, April 22, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “The Need for Church Life” 2nd in a series on the Easter Challenge – from the main series “The Quest to Know Who Jesus Is” Various Scriptures

TEXT: Jesus answered and said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and  blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.  18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.  Matthew 16:17-18

In verse 19 Jesus committed to us (the church – a gathering of people in Christ) a tremendous power and responsibility.  He said, “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”  Now we know that only God can forgive sins and only God can save people.  So this isn’t the power to go down a line and say, “You’re saved.  You’re not saved.  No that is not what it means.  So what does it mean that we as the local church have the power to bind and loose things on earth and in heaven?  The power to bring freedom and to break chains is found in the Gospel.  The Gospel doesn’t need us.  But Jesus values you so much.  Jesus wants to be in relationship with you so deeply, and He wants you to be a part of His work so He says, “Here’s the Gospel.  Here are the keys.  Where are you going to take it?”  The church has the authority to bring the full power and truth of heaven with it to a hurting and sinful world . . . or we can hide it.  We are to take these keys and go forth by His power under the protection of His grace, and through the leading of His Spirit so that what is loosed here on earth by His power may be loosed in heaven for all of eternity and see what this Gospel of Jesus Christ can do.  And the gates of hell will not stand against us!


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: Romans 1:16

Pray or do: Pray that you and I will take this saving, liberating, powerful Gospel to our world.

Bonus Material:

"There Is No Difference"

Remember, the man on Skid Row is not different in kind from the rest of us.  He is merely worse in degree.  On Skid Row we see fallen man at his dismal worst.  In the better neighborhoods we see him at his polished best, but he is the same man for all his disguise.  In the gutter we find him chained by dope and drink and dirt.  On the Avenue we find him bound by pride and greed and lust.  To God there is no difference.  He sees beyond appearances and he knows what is in every man.  His remedy for every man is the same, a new birth and the impartation of a new kind of life.  The Gospel is the power of God operating toward the moral and spiritual transformation of man.  And it works!  Thousands will testify that it does.  No man who wants to climb up out of his past and find a new and better life should overlook the Gospel.  It is God's way out, and there is no other.

—Pacific Garden Mission News Knight's Master Book of New Illustrations.




Tuesday, April 21, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “The Need for Church Life” 2nd in a series on the Easter Challenge – from the main series “The Quest to Know Who Jesus Is” Various Scriptures

TEXT: Jesus answered and said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and  blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.  18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. Matthew 16:17-18

One of the main reasons church attendance is down in America is that members attend with less frequency than they did just a few years ago (Thom Rainer, the former CEO of LifeWay  Christian Resources).  Whereas twenty years ago active church members attended three times a week now it is three times a month.  Schools, civic and sports organizations in the past did not schedule activities on Sunday but now they do even into Morning Worship times.  Parents often allow their commitment to the Lord and church to be cut into.  Blended and single-parent families often must split the amount of time families can spend at church. For these and other reason the commitment to church attendance has waned.  Though disappointed I am not ready to give up on the church.  The reasons I have such great hope for the Church is that Jesus established it and promised that it would prevail no matter the times or circumstances it faces.  When Peter rightly identified Jesus as the Messiah, He responded and said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.  18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. Matthew 16:17-18

When Jesus used the word “church” (in English) He was using the Greek word “ekklesia” which is a local assembly or gathering. This refers to a gathering of people not to a church building.  So this building (we are on the front porch of during the coronavirus pandemic) is not the church.  You and I are the “ekklesia”—we are the local gathering in the name of Jesus.  Jesus is the foundation of everything the Church does. The Church is built on the platform and foundation of Christ. Peter declared “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God”. When he did Jesus response was “on this rock” this declaration, “I will build My gathering of people and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it”.

Because we have made that same declaration, we know that we are also part of Jesus’s Church.


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: Ephesians 3:21

Pray or do: Pray for our church – the gathering of God’s people at Southside Church of God





Friday, April 17, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “Easter Evidence – The Beautiful Cross” 1st in a series on the  Easter Challenge – from the main series “The Quest to Know Who Jesus Is” Various Scriptures

TEXT:  If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ  is, sitting at the right hand of God.  2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.  3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.  4 When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. Colossians 3:1-4

The Resurrection of Jesus turned the tomb from a cold heartless place of death to a symbol of  hope.  The tomb of Jesus is empty.  He is not there.  He is at the Father ‘s right hand.  He is not inactive.  He is interceding for us who are God’s children through Christ.   The Jewish leaders could not produce a body so they bribed the guards to tell a lie, that the disciples stole His body.  The problem for them is the disciples saw Jesus on multiple time between Jesus resurrection and His ascension.  Five hundred witness saw Jesus rise in the clouds followed by the angelic announcements of Jesus ultimate return.  With the Resurrection, death is where our eternal glory begins Colossians 3:1-4). 

The resurrection changes everything.  Watchman Nee said, “Our old history ends with the Cross, our new history begins with the resurrection.”  

The Resurrection makes us new.  It doesn’t mean we are good or better.  It means we are forgiven and that a new life has begun in us.  We are still battling our flesh which we will have until our redemption is completed at the rapture of the church when the Lord returns in the air.  But now we have the Lord working in us since our spirit has been renewed.  We are standing in the righteousness of Jesus Christ.  We are seeking to please Him who saved us.   And God loves you so much that He made a way for you despite your inherited and willful weakness of humanity.  God has extended the invitation of the Resurrection to anyone who will simply put their faith in Jesus.  He didn’t make it too hard for us.  In Romans 10:9, Paul said, “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”  If you don’t want Him on this earth, He’s not going to force you to be with Him forever in heaven. If you don’t want to accept His invitation, He won’t force you to take it.  Understand this: God’s call is not for you to be better. His plea is not “Get it under control.” His call is “Come.” Come to the cross and die to your control. Die to the substitutes for God in your life.  Die to your sin that lingers all around you like bad breath.  To take His invitation is to lay down your pride and the weakness of your humanity and to be transformed by the Resurrection.  Let the righteousness of Jesus make you right. Look to the goodness of God to make you good.  Look to the forgiveness of the cross to make you whole. Let the power of the Resurrection make you free.


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: Today’s text.

Pray or do: See below!

Bonus Material:

So if that’s the journey you want to begin, if you want to accept God’s invitation, pray this

Resurrection prayer right now.

Dear God . . . I admit that I have done some ugly things . . .

I ask for forgiveness for my sin . . .

Thank You that Jesus paid the price on the cross for me . . .

I put my faith in Jesus . . .

I ask Jesus into my heart . . .

I am ready to take part in Your Resurrection . . .

Fill me with Your Holy Spirit . . .

As I give my life to you . . .

In Jesus’s name, I pray . . . Amen.





Thursday, April 16, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “Easter Evidence – The Beautiful Cross” 1st in a series on the  Easter Challenge – from the main series “The Quest to Know Who Jesus Is” Various Scriptures

TEXT: Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, "Rulers of the people and  elders of Israel:  9 If we this day are judged for a good deed done to a helpless man, by what means he has been made well, 10 let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole.  11 This is the 'stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.'  12 Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."  13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled.  And they realized that they had been with  Jesus. Acts 4:8-13

What a change took place in the disciples after the resurrection and ascension of Jesus.  That change of heart is evidence of the reality of Easter.  Before the resurrection Peter, though boldly  proclaiming he would never deny Jesus did exactly that out of fear.  Fear of a young servant girl recognizing him and pointing him out to those present.  After the resurrection he could proclaim the truth of Jesus to the crowd that had recently crucified Jesus.  He calls them out when he said, “Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified”.  The resurrection brought a transformation not only to Peter but the rest of the disciples.   Countless people throughout the ages have been transformed through it.  Today you can be transformed by it as well.   At the moment the Resurrection comes into our lives when we allow ourselves to be crucified with Christ, every other moment is transformed from being stuck and bound by the things of this earth to being freed and prepared for the things of heaven.  Our sins that brought us shame have been transformed by the resurrection to a beautiful testimony of the grace, love and power of God to change us.  James, the half-brother of Jesus didn’t believe in Jesus (John 7:5) before the crucifixion but after the resurrection he became the central elder of the Christian church in Jerusalem (Acts 15:13- 21).  Before the Crucifixion, every single one of the twelve disciples deserted Jesus and ran away.  After the Resurrection, all eleven of the surviving disciples boldly proclaimed the message of  His death and Resurrection.  Something happened to them that can only be explained through their firsthand witness of the Resurrection of Jesus and the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives.  If you have not experienced the trans-formative power of the Resurrection in your life, today is the day to enter into it.  If you have already put your faith in Jesus, today is the day to move forward in its power to make you bold and make you free.


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: Today’s text.

Pray or do:  Write down the change that has taken place in your life since you became a follower of Jesus Christ.




Wednesday, April 15, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “Easter Evidence – The Beautiful Cross” 1st in a series on the  Easter Challenge – from the main series “The Quest to Know Who Jesus Is” Various Scriptures

TEXT:  Now about that time Herod the king stretched out his hand to harass some from the church.  2 Then he killed James the brother of John with the sword. Acts 12:1-2

Another evidence of Easter is the great cost that came to the followers of Jesus.  After Jesus ascended to heaven the disciples began to face harassment, persecution and rejection.  Our text tells us of the first murder of an apostle – James.

Other, non-Christian sources attest to that continued persecution.  The Jewish historian Josephus  told us that James, the half-brother of Jesus, was stoned to death by Jewish leaders. The second-century church father Origen wrote of Peter’s crucifixion.  Tradition tells us that all of the other remaining apostles except for John died as martyrs.  There is convincing evidence both inside and outside of the Bible that a number of the apostles died for their faith and that they all faced significant persecution for their belief in Jesus’s Resurrection.  It is true that others have died for their religion.  They truly believed what others have told them and were willing to die for that belief.  But what makes these Christian martyrs so unique is that they died for their belief in something they saw with their own eyes—namely Jesus’s Resurrection. Their determined adherence to believe and proclaim the Resurrection brought no fame, power, or status. Rather, it cost them everything!  Herein we find the beautiful aspect of this reality.  What a transformation had come about in the hearts of the disciples because of the certainty of the Resurrection! 


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: Acts 12

Pray or do: What has being a Christian cost you?




Tuesday, April 14, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “Easter Evidence – The Beautiful Cross” 1 st in a series on the  Easter Challenge – from the main series “The Quest to Know Who Jesus Is” Various Scriptures

TEXT:  And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things, and be  rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.  32 He spoke this word openly.  And Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him.  Mark 8:31-32

This week we celebrated the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Do you have a cross necklace?  Do you know what it means?  Have you ever thought about what the cross really is?  It is not just a piece of jewelry.  It has special meaning.

The cross was an instrument of death in Roman times.  It was not only a form of punishment but it was also a means of humiliating someone or a people and to warn anyone against committing crimes.  If you had worn a cross around your neck at that time, it would be like wearing a necklace with a little electric chair pendant at the end today.  But do not stop wearing your cross.  The fact that such an ugly instrument has become a thing of elegance and beauty is actually a testimony and

clear picture of what this day is all about.  The Resurrection is the day that took things that were broken, cruel, harsh, ugly, and repulsive and made them beautiful again.  The Resurrection is redemption and transformation.  The Resurrection is so powerful and so all-encompassing that it has taken a symbol of death and transformed it into our symbol of life and salvation.  Like those beautiful crosses we wear around our necks, the Resurrection points to a harsh reality while at the same time displaying an overwhelming beauty and transformation of grace.  The Easter Evidence is found in the great proof.  As He lived, Jesus foretold His death and resurrection; we read about it in passages like Mark 8:31–32.  Jesus’s Resurrection proves all of Jesus’s words were true, and it proves that His sacrifice for our sins accomplished its work.  Because He rose from the grave we also, who believe and follow Him, will be raised from the dead also (1 Corinthians 15:17–21). 

Then there are the testimonies concerning Christ’s resurrection.  Historical witnesses outside of the Bible confirm that Jesus lived and was crucified. For example, in Annals of Imperial Rome, written around AD 116, the Roman senator and historian Tacitus wrote about how the Emperor Nero burned Rome in AD 64, then blamed it on, to quote, “the

persons commonly called Christians, who were hated for their enormities.  Christus, the founder of the name, was put to death by Pontius Pilate.”

Other non-Christians such as the Jewish historian Josephus wrote about Jesus and His followers as well.  Before Tacitus wrote his history, a Roman governor, Pliny the Younger, complained in a letter about how the early Christians he persecuted and punished would 'sing hymns to Christ as to a god.' Dr. Paul Maier called this “positive evidence from a hostile source.  In essence, if a source admits a fact that is decidedly not in its favor, the fact is genuine.”  These and other witnesses confirm that something monumental and transforming had taken place in the followers of Jesus.  Even the pagan Roman rulers testified to the fact that the earliest followers of Jesus, who knew Jesus, did not consider Him to be an ordinary man.


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: Matthew 26

Pray or do: Mediate upon the meaning of the cross in your life




Friday, April 10, 2020 (Good Friday)


The devotionals this week are from my message “Remember Me” 2nd in a series on the Crucifixion from our main  series “The Quest to Know Who Jesus Is” Luke 23:26-56

TEXT: Luke 23:26-56

When you read this text do you get a sense of something terrible yet wonderful happening? The  crucifixion of Jesus is the most amazing demonstration of sacrificial love the world has ever seen.  Over the years, moviemakers (Jesus of Nazareth, The Passion of the Christ, etc.) have done their best to depict what it must have been like, but no one can ever fully know the extent of the suffering Jesus endured. And yet for all the physical pain, the worst part for Jesus was that God temporarily abandoned him; the Father turned his back on his beloved Son. 

"Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land.  46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, 'Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?' that is, 'My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?'" (Matthew 27:45-46) 

That’s what it took to make a way for you and me and the entire human race to be forgiven of  our sins and restored to God. 


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: Text above!

Pray or do: Spend a few minutes humbly thanking Jesus for what he endured for you on the cross.




Thursday, April 9, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “Remember Me” 2nd in a series on the Crucifixion from our main  series “The Quest to Know Who Jesus Is” Luke 23:26-56 

TEXT: Then he said to Jesus, "Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom." Luke 23:42

But in a very real sense, this passage offers us a defining picture of what the essential Jesus is all about, whether we’re behind bars or out in the free world.  Many don’t recognize the condition their spiritual poverty.  The angry robber didn’t.  Some of the rich didn’t.  Some religious leaders and people didn’t.  Some in the church didn’t.  “So then,

because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.  17 Because you say, 'I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing'--and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked-- Revelation 3:16-17.

Like the repentant thief a person who recognizes his/her spiritual poverty are blessed and will receive the kingdom of heaven. "Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:3) Because of our sin, all of us are condemned to die; we’re either one thief or the other.  What will our response be? Will the responds be with insults like the angry thief, then one of "If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us."  (Luke 23:39) or with a heartfelt “remember me” like the repentant thief?  Then he said to Jesus, "Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom."  (Luke 23:42)


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: Text above!

Pray or do: Spend a few minutes humbly thanking Jesus for what he endured for you on the cross.



Wednesday, April 8, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “Remember Me” 2nd in a series on the Crucifixion from our main  series “The Quest to Know Who Jesus Is” Luke 23:26-56

TEXT: And a great multitude of the people followed Him, and women who also mourned and lamented Him.  28 But Jesus, turning to them, said, "Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. 29 For indeed the days are coming in which they will say, 'Blessed are the barren, wombs that never bore, and breasts which never nursed!'  30 Then they will begin to say to the mountains, 'Fall on us!' and to  the hills, 'Cover us!'  31 For if they do these things in the green wood, what will be done in the dry?" Luke 23:27-31

One of the reactions of Jesus we find in His Passion is his concern for others.  Even though He was in great pain and agony He was concerned for the women, the critiques and the spiritual leaders of Israel.  Jesus offered a prophetic warning; he wanted them to be prepared for the hard  times that would follow his death.  To the people, leaders and soldiers who mocked him, Jesus offered forgiveness, whether they realized they needed it or not.  Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.: And they divided His garments and cast lots. Luke 23:34

The Two thieves were really robbers.  They have been associated with Barabbas since it was Barabbas who was supposed to have died on the cross with them.  There was the identification with criminals—a picture of being numbered with sinners.  Why was Jesus crucified with criminals?  The fact that the Son of God was executed right along with other criminals adds to the shame and reproach He bore.  This event had been prophesied just as many others had (Isaiah 53:12). Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong, because He poured out His soul unto death, and He was numbered with the transgressors, and He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.  They both began to scorn Jesus but over time one of them has a change of heart.  He looked back upon his past life, and saw an infinite evil. He looked to the man dying on the cross beside him, and saw an infinite compassion.  There indeed was one unlike all other "kings of the Jews" whom the robber had ever known.  Such a one must be all that he had claimed to be.  To be forgotten by that king seems to him now the most terrible of all punishments; to take part in the triumph of his return, the most blessed of all hopes.” Smith's Bible Dictionary

To the angry thief Jesus offered silence; he didn’t try to retaliate.  Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, "If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us."  Luke 23:39  And to the repentant thief, Jesus more than offered—he promised paradise.  And Jesus said to him, "Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise."  Luke 23:43

Often Chuck Colson preached to the inmates from this passage with a message that it’s never too late to turn back to Jesus and accept his forgiveness for sin.  Many inmates gave their lives to Christ as a result of that simple appeal.


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: Text above!

Pray or do: First, ask God to help you see and experience these familiar passages in a fresh, new way.  Second, ask God to help you understand why Jesus allowed himself to be crucified?




Monday, April 6, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “Remember Me” 2nd in a series on the Crucifixion from our main  series “The Quest to Know Who Jesus Is” Luke 23:26-56

TEXT: Do not remember the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions; According to Your  mercy remember me, For Your goodness sake, O LORD. Psalm 25:7

Today’s devotional is the story I shared at the beginning of my message.  I trust that it blesses and  encourages you to remember what God has done for you. 

REMEMBER

It is gratitude that prompted an old man to visit an old broken pier on the eastern seacoast of  Florida.  Every Friday night, until his death in 1973, he would return, walking slowly and slightly  stooped with a large bucket of shrimp.  The sea gulls would flock to this old man, and he would feed them from his bucket.  Many years before, in October, 1942, Captain Eddie Rickenbacker was on a mission in a B-17 to deliver an important message to General Douglas MacArthur in  New Guinea.  But there was an unexpected detour which would hurl Captain Eddie into the most harrowing adventure of his life.   Somewhere over the South Pacific the Flying Fortress became lost beyond the reach of radio.  Fuel ran dangerously low, so the men ditched their plane in the ocean... For nearly a month Captain Eddie and his companions would fight the water, and the weather, and the scorching sun.  They spent many sleepless nights recoiling as giant sharks rammed their rafts.  The largest raft was nine by five.  The biggest shark...ten feet long.  But of all their enemies at sea, one proved most formidable: starvation.  Eight days out, their rations were long gone or destroyed by the salt water.  It would take a miracle to sustain them.  And a miracle occurred.  In Captain Eddie's own words, "Cherry," that was the B- 17 pilot, Captain William Cherry, read the service that afternoon, and we finished with a prayer for deliverance and a hymn of praise.  There was some talk, but it tapered off in the oppressive heat.  With my hat pulled down over my eyes to keep out some of the glare, I dozed off.  Now this is still Captian Rickenbacker talking..."Something landed on my head.  I knew that it was a sea gull.  I don't know how I knew, I just knew.  Everyone else knew too.  No one said a word, but peering out from under my hat brim without moving my head, I could see the expression on their faces.  They were staring at that gull.  The gull meant food...if I could catch it."  And the rest, as they say, is history.  Captain Eddie caught the gull.  Its flesh was eaten.  Its intestines were used for bait to catch fish.  The survivors were sustained and their hopes renewed  because a lone sea gull, uncharacteristically hundreds of miles from land, offered itself as a sacrifice.  You know that Captain Eddie made it.  And now you also know...that he never forgot.  Because every Friday evening, about sunset...on a lonely stretch along the eastern Florida seacoast...you could see an old man walking...white-haired, bushy-eyebrowed, slightly bent.  His bucket filled with shrimp was to feed the gulls...to remember that one which, on a day long past, gave itself without a struggle...like manna in the wilderness. 'The Old Man and the Gulls'; from Paul Harvey's The Rest of the Story by Paul Aurandt, 1977, quoted in Heaven Bound Living, Knofel Stanton, Standard, 1989, p. 79-80. 

And so did Jesus give His life without a struggle.


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: Psalm 25

Pray or do: Pray Psalm 25:7




Friday, April 3, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “Three Nails of Pain”1 st in a series on the Crucifixion from our  main series “The Quest to Know Who Jesus Is” Matthew 26:47 – 27:10

TEXT:  Then Judas, His betrayer, seeing that He had been condemned, was remorseful and

brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders.  Matthew 27:3 .

Tragically, Judas never understood that even at the last minute Jesus was willing to forgive.  Although he felt deep remorse, he never came to the place of repenting.  But the fact is there was  hope for him even at this final hour.  Like the thief on the cross, Judas could have called out to Jesus (Luke 23:39-43) and been forgiven.  Ironically, there was less hope for the chief priest and elders, whose unbelievable hypocrisy and arrogance (Matthew 27:4-10) sealed their fate.  “Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying, "And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the value of Him who was priced, whom they of the children of Israel priced, 10 and gave them for the potter's field, as the LORD directed me."  Matthew 27:4-10 (NKJV) 

So the question is “How will you respond to betrayals, mockery for your faith and denial?” Will  you respond like Jesus with love, compassion, an attempt to restore relationship and forgiving those who do you wrong?  Jesus knows the pain of those three things, those three nails of pain as it were, and He has given you power to do the same as He.  Finally, in the words of the Psalmist, “Our God, you bless everyone whose sins you forgive and wipe away. You bless them by saying, ‘You told me your sins, without trying to hide them, and now I forgive you’”  (Psalm 32:1-2 CEV). 


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: See above scriptures!

Pray or do: Do you know someone who has decided not to believe in Jesus?  Will you pray for them today?



Thursday, April 2, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “Three Nails of Pain” 1st in a series on the Crucifixion from our  main series “The Quest to Know Who Jesus Is” Matthew 26:47 – 27:10

TEXT: Now Peter sat outside in the courtyard.  And a servant girl came to him, saying,  "You also were with Jesus of Galilee"  70 But he denied it before them all, saying, "I do not know what you are saying."  71 And when he had gone out to the gateway, another girl saw him and said to those who were there, "This fellow also was with Jesus of Nazareth."  72 But again he denied with an oath, "I do not know the Man"  73 And a little later those who stood by came up and said to Peter, "Surely you also are one of them, for your speech

betrays you."  74 Then he began to curse and swear, saying, "I do not know the man!"  Immediately a rooster crowed.  75 And Peter remembered the word of Jesus who had said to him, "Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times."  So he went out and wept bitterly.  

1 When morning came, all the chief priests and elders of the people plotted against Jesus to put Him to death.  2 And when they had bound Him, they led Him away and delivered Him to Pontius Pilate the governor.  3 Then Judas, His betrayer, seeing that He had been  condemned, was remorseful and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, 4  saying, "I have sinned by betraying innocent blood."  And they said, "What is that to us?  You see to it!"  5 Then he threw down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed, and went and hanged himself.  6 But the chief priests took the silver pieces and said, "It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, because they are the price of blood."  7 And they consulted together and bought with them the potter's field, to bury strangers in.  8 Therefore that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day.  9 Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying, "And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the value of Him who was priced, whom they of the children of Israel priced, 10 and gave them for the potter's field, as the LORD directed me."  Matthew 26:69 – 27:10 (NKJV) 

The third nail of pain happened in the courtyard as Jesus was being tried.  This is the pain of  denial and it is the denial of Jesus by Peter that Jesus just a few hours before had prophesied about.  Notice the progression of Peter’s denial.  His first denial is that of a double agent (Matthew 26:70); perhaps he said it just to stay inside the enemy’s camp.  Then, in the face of mounting pressure, he denies Jesus with greater emphasis (v. 72); it’s becoming easier. When Peter is cornered and forced to declare where he stands with Jesus, he erupts with a final, angry denial (v. 74); he’d been practicing for this moment all night long.  The good news is that Jesus used this courtyard debacle to strengthen Peter’s faith and empower him for a new future of productive ministry.  That restoration happens on the shores of Galilee after the resurrection of Jesus.  The account goes like this.  “So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?"  He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You."  He said to him, "Feed My Lambs."  16

He said to him again a second time, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?"  He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You."  He said to him, "Tend My sheep."  17 He said to him the third time, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?"  Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, "Do you love Me?"  And he said to Him, "Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You."  Jesus said to him, "Feed My sheep.  18 Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish."  19 This He spoke, signifying by what death he would

glorify God.  And when He had spoken this, He said to him, "Follow Me." John 21:15-19

Many of us at one time or another, either blatantly or by silence, have denied Jesus. If we are

willing to repent of the ways we deny Jesus and sin against him, no failure is so great that it can

separate us from God or keep us from serving him (Romans 8:28-39).

Pastor Larry

Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. Daily reading: See above scriptures!

Pray or do: Lord Jesus, I’m sorry for all the little ways I turn my back on you. Please let me experience your

friendship today.




Wednesday, April 1, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “Three Nails of Pain” 1st in a series on the Crucifixion from our  main series “The Quest to Know Who Jesus Is” Matthew 26:47 – 27:10

TEXT: And those who had laid hold of Jesus led Him away to Caiaphas the high priest,  where the scribes and the elders were assembled.  58 But Peter followed Him at a distance to the high priest's courtyard.  And he went in and sat with the servants to see the end.  59 Now the chief priests, the elders, and all the council sought false testimony against Jesus to put Him to death, 60 but found none.  Even though many false witnesses came forward, they found none. But at last two false witnesses came forward 61 and said, "This fellow said, 'I am able to destroy the temple of God and to build it in three days.'" 62 And the high priest arose and said to Him, "Do You answer nothing?  What is it these men testify against You?" 63 But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest answered and said to Him, "I put You under oath by the living God: Tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God!"  64 Jesus said to him,"It is as you said.  Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven."   65 Then the high priest tore his clothes, saying, "He has spoken blasphemy!  What further need do we  have of witnesses?  Look, now you have heard His blasphemy!  66 What do you think?"  They  answered and said, "He is deserving of death." 67 Then they spat in His face and beat Him;  and others struck Him with the palms of their hands, 68 saying, "Prophesy to us, Christ!  Who is the one who struck You?"  Matthew 26:57-68 (NKJV) 

The second nail of pain occurred during the Kangaroo Court by the Sanhedrin’s.  In today’s text  Jesus was at the mercy of this Sanhedrin court, only the stakes were much higher.  Not only that, Caiaphas and his cronies were breaking all the rules of due process.  First, the trial took place at night instead of during the day.  Second, the charges were based on false evidence and false witnesses (vv. 59-60).  But the greatest flaw was that the judge and jury had already made up their minds; they were looking for an excuse to execute Jesus.  The sad truth is, when a person makes up their mind to reject Jesus, no amount of evidence will cause them to change.  Ultimately, accepting Jesus involves both a change of mind and a change of heart.  But what exactly was it that caused Caiaphas and the teachers of the law to act more like a gang of thugs than the respected leaders that they were?  Actually, it was two things. 

First, Jesus had disrespected the temple (vv. 61-62).  That’s a chilling reminder not to let our  religious institutions become more important than following Jesus.

Second, Jesus claimed to be the Son of God (vv. 63-65);  Caiaphas rightly identified that as the  central issue.  The problem was that he was unwilling to accept Jesus on that basis.  That’s the biggest mistake anyone can ever make.  This mock trial was not the only mockery that took place (Matthew 27:27-31).  There was the Robe of Mockery where the soldiers placed an old royal robe upon Jesus to make fun of him for being the King of the Jews.  There was the crown of Mockery, the crown of thorns.  Jesus should have had a golden crown upon His head demonstrating His Kingship.  Then there was the Knee of Mockery where the soldiers kneeled before him in mock humility.  Jesus could endure the mockery and punishment inflicted upon Him because He had the power to endure and overcome.  We now have that power residing in us if we will take hold of it.  And the cross should serve as a lesson that it is precisely at times when we or the church appear powerless that God’s power is most at work.  Let us learn the apostle Paul’s lesson: [The Lord] said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly  about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in headships, in persecutions, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).  We all have had instances of great joy in our lives when something wonderful happened to us.  But those pale in significance to the joy we feel knowing that Jesus willingly accepted the unfair verdict of this kangaroo court so that he could pay the debt of sin for you and me. 


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: Matthew 26:57-68

Pray or do: Jesus, I’m about to walk with you through the most difficult part of your life on earth. As I do please  give me a better understanding of why you did it. 



Tuesday, March 31, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “Three Nails of Pain” 1st in a series on the Crucifixion from our  main series “The Quest to Know Who Jesus Is” Matthew 26:47 – 27:10

TEXT: And while He was still speaking, behold, Judas, one of the twelve, with a great  multitude with swords and clubs, came from the chief priests and elders of the people.  48 Now His betrayer had given them a sign, saying, Whomever I kiss, He is the One; seize Him."  49 Immediately he went up to Jesus and said, "Greetings, Rabbi!" and kissed Him.  50 But Jesus said to him, "Friend, why have you come?" Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and took Him.  51 And suddenly, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword, struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear.  52  But Jesus said to him, "Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.  53 Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels?  54 How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?"  55 In that hour Jesus said to the multitudes, "Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs to take Me?  I sat daily with you, teaching in the temple, and you did not seize Me.  56  But all this was done that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled."  Then all the disciples forsook Him and fled.  Matthew 26:47-56

They hung Jesus on the cross with three nails. This week’s devotions will look at three acts that  produced pain in our Lord.  I am using the nails that were driven into our Lord’s hands to represent those three acts which brought pain to our Lord, how the Lord reacted to them and therefore how we should react to them.  The first nail of pain is betrayal.  Over the years scholars have speculated as to why Judas betrayed Jesus.

1. Some say he was disillusioned: he lost faith that Jesus could ever become a political superstar

for Israel.

2. Others say he was greedy: thirty pieces of silver was an offer no thief could refuse (John 12:4-6).

3. Still others say he was impatient: he wanted to force Jesus into action—like giving Popeye a can of spinach as the bad guys closed in.

The truth is we don’t really know what motivated Judas to do what he did.  What we do know is this: his act of betrayal was no accident; it was intentional.  Judas planned exactly how he would  stab his Master in the back (Matt 26:48-49).  But perhaps the most baffling thing about Judas’s charade is that he thought he could get away

with it.  Jesus saw through Judas and he sees through us.  In vs. 26 Jesus calls Judas his “friend”. How incredible.  Even though he knew what was about to happen, Jesus offers Judas one last opportunity to change his mind. In fact, Jesus had been giving Judas opportunities to change course throughout the Gospel accounts.  The real tragedy for Judas was not this single, dramatic act of betrayal.  Rather, it was the accumulation of many little acts of betrayal that led to his final rejection of the Savior.  But perhaps the most striking thing about this passage is the confidence of Jesus.  Even though he could have easily stopped Judas and his posse dead in their tracks.  "Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels?"  Matthew 26:53 (NKJV)

Jesus allows himself to be arrested without a fight;

he doesn’t demand to see a lawyer and

 he doesn’t even scream for help when the rest of the disciples cut and run. Matthew 26:56

“Jesus includes Judas until Judas decided to exclude himself from Jesus.  That is the nature of

Jesus Christ! He was the lord, who went on giving himself away to the ones who would give him away, because his faithfulness did not depend on theirs! Although betrayed by one he loved Jesus responded with love and compassion.  He wants us to respond the same way.  How do we respond?  The second way we respond to betrayal is to turn the shock and anger into love and compassion. Jesus didn’t let his anger at sin become anger towards the sinner.  

When someone betrays us we must not also betray ourselves by giving in to anger, revenge, hate or despair that betrayal can produce in our hearts.  Although the sting of betrayal still hurts we take our pain to Jesus Christ who already knows from experience how excruciating this pain really is.” Charles Mallory.

Jesus could endure that first nail of pain because his highest priority wasn’t to save his own skin; it was to fulfill the mission God had given him (vv. 54, 56).  He willingly gave up his life for the sins of the world.

"Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again.  18 No

one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself.  I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.  This command I have received from My Father."  John 10:17-18


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: Matthew 26:47-56

Pray or do: Jesus, I’m about to walk with you through the most difficult part of your life on earth. As I do please give me a better understanding of why you did it.


Friday, March 27, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “I Still Believe” 2nd in the series “I Still Believe” Romans 8:28

TEXT:  And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28

The third story comes from the parable of the persistent widow in Luke 18:1-8.  The story doesn’t need much introduction so let’s jump in and read it together:

“Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and  never give up.  He said, ‘In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought.  And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’  For some time he refused.  But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’   And the Lord said, ‘Listen to what the unjust judge says.  And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night?  Will He keep putting them off?  I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly.  Notice in particular his last sentence.  However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” Luke 18:1-8

And that’s the question we still have to wrestle with isn’t it? When He comes again, will He find  faith on earth? 

 In our city?

 In our church?

 In you?

Life is quite a journey isn’t it? It takes strength, encouragement, and faith in this journey.  At this time we are going through the Covid-19 pandemic. We certainly need these during this time.  I think that’s at least in part why the writer of Hebrews says, “Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another -- and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:24-25) 

I hope that the stories I shared with you here today are an encouragement to you.  Whether you  are in the middle of a difficult season, on the other side of one, or possibly heading towards one -- it is our collective testimonies of God’s faithfulness that help spur each other on.  We actually have one more story to share together, and that’s the story of Jeremy Camp called I Still Believe.  While I don’t want to give anything away, I do think it would be appropriate to share with you just one line from the song he wrote, conveniently called, I Still Believe.  In the midst of his own frustration, confusion, and sadness Camp wrote this as the last line of his chorus; Even when I don’t see, I still believe. 

And that’s what I want to leave you with today too. In the midst of life’s storms, when things  aren’t making sense and you don’t know how to respond to the ways God is responding to you - will you wait on Him?  Will you keep walking with Him?  Will you give him your worship?  Will you step out in faith and say, “Yes Lord! Even when I don’t see, I still believe.” 


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: See scriptures below!

Pray or do: Will you still believe?

Bonus Material: 

Thirty-six Similitudes of Believers:

1.     Jewels (Malachi 3:17)

2.     Calves in the stall (Malachi 4:2)

3.     Sun (Judges 5:31)

4.     Gold (Job 23:10)

5.     Fruitful trees (Psalm 1)

6.     Panting deer (Psalm 42:1)

7.     Green olive trees (Psalm 52:8)

8.     Palm trees (Psalm 92:12)

9.     Cedar trees (Psalm 92:12)

10.   Stars (Daniel 12:3)

11.   Eagles (Isaiah 40:31; Psalm 103:5)

12.   Mt. Zion (Psalm 125)

13.   Salt (Matthew 5:13)

14.   Light (Matthew 5:14)

15.   City (Matthew 5:14)

16.   Candle (Matthew 5:14)

17.   Wheat (Matthew 3:12-13)

18.   Babes (Matthew 11:25)

19.   Fish (Matthew 13:48)

20.   Servants (Matthew 25:21)

21.   Sheep (John 10; Psalm 23)

22.   Branches (John 15)

23.   Lambs (John 21)

24.   Building (1 Cor. 3:9)

25.   Runners (1 Cor. 9:24)

26.   Members of a body (1 Cor.12)

27.   Epistles (2 Cor. 3:1-3)

28.   Ambassadors (2 Cor. 5:20)

29.   Pillars (Galatians 2:9; Rev. 3:12)

30.   Soldiers (2 Tim. 2:3)

31.   Athletes (2 Tim. 2:5)

32.   Vessels (2 Tim. 2:20)

33.   Living stones (1 Peter 2:5)

34.   A spiritual house (1 Peter 2:5)

35.   Strangers and pilgrims (1 Peter 2:11)

36.   Little children (1 John 2:1, 12 )

Dake Topical Index.

Outreach “I Still Believe”




Thursday, March 26, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “I Still Believe”  2nd in the series “I Still Believe” Romans 8:28

TEXT:  And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those  who are the called according to His purpose.  Romans 8:28

Our next story of faith is about Andrew van der Bijl, or Brother Andrew.  He is a Christian missionary and founder of the organization Open Doors, who is known for smuggling Bibles into communist countries during the height of the Cold War.  One of the most loved Brother Andrew stories recounts a risky incident from early in his ministry and I want to share it with you as our second story of faith.   On this particular occasion, Brother Andrew approached the Romanian border in his  car—which was packed with illegal Bibles.  He could only hope the border guards were moving swiftly and not paying much attention, which might allow him to pass through undetected.  But just as he was hoping this, Brother Andrew saw the guards stop the car at the front of the line.  He watched, in anticipation, as the vehicle’s owners were forced to take out all of the car’s contents and spread them on the ground for inspection.  Each car that followed received the same treatment, with the fourth car’s inspection lasting the longest.  The guard took a full hour to sift through it, including removing hubcaps, taking the engine apart, and even removing the seats.  “Dear Lord,” Brother Andrew remembers praying, “What am I going to do?”  As he prayed, a bold idea came to Brother Andrew.  “I know that no amount of cleverness on my part can get me through this border search.  Dare I ask for a miracle?  Let me take some of the Bibles out and leave them in the open where they will be seen.”  Putting the Bibles out in the open would truly be depending on God, rather than his own intelligence, he thought.  So when the guards ushered Andrew forward, he did just this. “I handed him my papers and started to get out. But his knee was against the door, holding it closed.”  And then, the almost unbelievable happened.  The guard looked at Brother Andrew’s passport and abruptly waved him on. “Surely thirty seconds had not passed,” he remembers. Brother Andrew started the engine and began pulling away, all the while wondering if he was supposed to pull over so the car could be taken apart  and examined.  “I coasted forward, my foot poised above the brake.  Nothing happened.  I looked out the rear mirror.  The guard was waving the next car to a stop, indicating to the driver that he had to get  out.”  God cleared the way for Brother Andrew to smuggle the Bible to Christians who had no access to God’s Word.  By all measures this is a gigantic act of faith in the face of near certain disaster.  It is the striking  boldness of our first two stories that should remind all of us that faith often precipitates a step into the unknown. 

Tomorrow’s devotional will have the story that highlights the persistence of one who has nothing  to lose and everything to gain. 


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: See scriptures below!

Pray or do: Will you still believe?

Bonus Material: 

Four Ways to Draw Near to God:

1. By boldness (Hebrews 10:19; Hebrews 4:14-16)

2. By the blood of Jesus (Hebrews 10:19)

3. By a new and living way (Hebrews 10:20)

4. By the high priesthood of Christ (Hebrews 10:21)

Dake Topical Index.

Outreach “I Still Believe”




Wednesday, March 25, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “I Still Believe”  2nd in the series “I Still Believe” Romans 8:28

TEXT:  And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those  who are the called according to His purpose.  Romans 8:28

Here is the first story.  Open your bibles again to Mark chapter 5: 25-26.  You may remember last week we looked at the story of Jairus the synagogue leader and his interaction with Jesus.  We  learned Jairus was in a unique situation where he had to keep walking with Christ for quite some time before receiving an answer to his request.  Today, we are going to look at the woman who interrupted Jesus as he walked with Jairus, and the faith she had to exercise just to get to Christ.  From the passage in Mark 5 we know, “there was a woman there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years.  She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse.”.

This is, in and of itself, an incredibly difficult position to be in.

 She’s sick,

 she’s seeing doctors, and

 she’s getting nowhere.

To add insult to injury she’s spent all her money in the process and after twelve long years she truly has no options left.  What we don’t learn from the passage in Mark 5 is that her issue of bleeding would’ve made her ceremonially unclean according to the Levitical law, which we can read about in Leviticus 15:25-27.  Being unclean would have excluded her from all forms of Jewish worship both in the synagogue and at the temple.  Every chair and bed she sat on or slept in would also be unclean during the time of her bleeding, and anyone who touched them would become unclean.  This may sound gross and even confusing but it is all important information as we try to comprehend the pain and loneliness this woman was living in.  For twelve years she was unable to worship with her community, unable to share her home with others, and unable to find relief from her pain.  It is from this desperate place that an unbelievable act of faith and correspondingly tremendous miracle occur.  “When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, ‘If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.’  Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her

suffering.” (Mark 5:27-29)

The woman experienced an immediate miracle as the healing power of Christ flowed into her body.  She was instantaneously restored to fellowship, to community, and to physical health because of her bold act of faith.  And bold faith is exactly how I would describe the subject of our next story tomorrow as well.


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: See scriptures below!

Pray or do: Will you still believe?

Bonus Material:

Seven Commands for Believers:

1. To draw near to God (Hebrews 10:22).

2. To have pure conscience (Hebrews 10:22).

3. To have clean bodies (Hebrews 10:22).

4. To have unwavering faith (Hebrews 10:23).

5. To provoke others to good works (Hebrews 10:24).

6. To be regular church attendants (Hebrews 10:25).

7. To exhort one another daily (Hebrews 10:25; Hebrews 3:13).

Dake Topical Index.

Outreach “I Still Believe”




Tuesday, March 24, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “I Still Believe” 2nd in the series “I Still Believe” Romans 8:28 TEXT:  And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28

Last week we began a 2-part sermon series as we prepare to go and see the movie, I Still Believe.   With the Corona virus situation the filming at theater's was cancelled.  There is going to be a way for everyone to see it on March 27.  I will let you know how when we are informed. 

We previously talked about unanswered prayer and discussed three practical ways we can respond when we are confused, frustrated, or angry about the way God is responding, or not responding to us.  When we find ourselves in those situations we can choose to wait, to continue walking with God, and/or to worship. 

This week we are going to take it a step further and talk about the imperative ingredient needed  in these, and any of the ways we choose to respond to God, as the people of God.  Conveniently, the imperative ingredient of our faith is in fact, FAITH.  It takes faith to wait, faith to keep walking, and faith to worship. The author of Hebrews reminds us that, “...without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.”  (Hebrews

11:6)  Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the  whole staircase.” Jesus says in John 16:33, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart! (HAVE FAITH) I have overcome the world!” 

This week we are going to look at 3 powerful examples of faith.  Two of them come from the  New Testament and one from the life of an extremely courageous and bold missionary named Brother Andrew.  But before we jump into those stories I want to share with you again the chorus from Jeremy Camp’s song, Walk by Faith.  In it he sings..... 

Well I will walk by faith,

Even when I cannot see.

Because this broken road,

Prepares your will for me.

There are some of you here today who will hear these next stories and I pray you’ll be  encouraged by them. The broken road you are currently traveling is difficult, but God has a plan and purpose for it.  Even if you cannot see or understand what is happening, I want you to know that God is faithful.  There are others who will hear these stories today and be reminded of difficult seasons God has faithfully delivered them from.  And finally there are those of you

reading this who will sooner or later enter into a season that tests your faith. I can only hope that

the stories I share this week will come back to mind and in the midst of frustration, confusion,

and anger you will choose to walk by faith.

Pastor Larry

Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. Daily reading: See scriptures below!

Pray or do: Will you still believe?

If you do not want to receive the "1 Minute Devotional" please let me know and you will be removed from the

distribution list.

Bonus Material:

Eight Practices for All Believers:

1.     Continuing in prayer (Col. 4:2)

2.     Watching continually in prayer (Col. 4:2)

3.     Giving continued thanks to God (Col. 4:2)

4.     Praying for ministers and their work (Col. 4:3)

5.     Praying for success of the gospel (Col. 4:3-4)

6.     Living Christian life before men (Col. 4:5)

7.     Using time for God (Col. 4:5)

8.     Being tactful with men (Col. 4:6)

Dake Topical Index.

Outreach “I Still Believe”




Friday, March 20, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “Responding to Unanswered Prayers”: 1st in the series “I Still Believe” Romans 8:28

TEXT:  And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those  who are the called according to His purpose.  Romans 8:28

The third way to respond to unanswered prayer is to Worship.  We are supposed to be worshippers. We worship in the good times.  We are to worship in the bad times.  In the waiting, while we’re walking, we worship.  We are a people of praise and we have the eternal creator of the cosmos to receive our heartfelt and honest worship.  In the song Even When it Hurts by Hillsong UNITED they sing, “Even when my strength is lost, I'll praise you.  Even when I have no song, I'll praise you.  Even when it's hard to find the words, louder then I'll sing your praise.” 

When King David was trying to process and understand the Lord’s plans and purposes for his life, he worshiped.  The Psalms we have from him are a collective cry out and up to the ears of  the creator.  After Job lost his livestock, his servants, his sons, and his daughters he, “...got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship.” (Job 1:20) 

In his popular song, Walk by Faith, which he wrote on his honeymoon, Jeremy Camp shared these words, “Well I will walk by faith, even when I cannot see. Because this broken road, prepares your will for me.”

These are just a few examples of the power of praise from both ancient and contemporary sources.  There could be a thousand more lyrics to share.  C.S. Lewis is quoted as saying, “It is in the process of being worshipped that God communicates His presence to men.”  What if your worship actually helps bring you closer to Him?  Closer to His presence?  What if worshipping God brings you closer to the answers and responses from God that you are so desperately

seeking.  Did King David know something about worship that you don’t?  Did Jeremy Camp find relief from his pain and frustration through the writing and singing of Walk by Faith?  Have you stopped singing because you’re too hurt, too confused, too tired of hoping for answers that you’re not sure you believe are coming anymore?  I can’t answer these questions for you today.  I can however encourage you that worship is a powerful and effective response when you are feeling frustrated, confused, or angry.  This journey called life can be an extremely difficult one, and I would recommend you keep the music turned up along the way.

What would your Waiting on God playlist sound like?

What would your Walking with God playlist sound like?

The three points we’ve discussed here today, waiting - walking - and worship, are by no means an exhaustive list.  In reality there are dozens of ways we respond, both positive and negative, while our prayers go seemingly unanswered.  Which begs the question, do you trust His response?  And even more importantly, do you trust Him?”


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: See scriptures below!

Pray or do: Ask God to give you understanding in how to properly respond to unanswered prayers in your life.

Bonus Material:

The series is from Outreach and Sermon Central

Fourteen Blessings of the Fear of the Lord

1. Is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 1:7; Proverbs 9:10)

2. Determines destiny (Proverbs 1:29)

3. Helps depart from evil (Proverbs 3:7; Proverbs 16:6)

4. Is to hate evil (Proverbs 8:13)

5. Prolongs days (Proverbs 10:27)

6. Gives strong confidence (Proverbs 14:26)

7. Is a fountain of life (Proverbs 14:27)

8. Produces satisfaction (Proverbs 15:16)

9. Is the instruction of wisdom (Proverbs 15:33)

10. Tends to life (Proverbs 19:23)

11. Gives riches, honor, and life (Proverbs 22:4)

12. Brings freedom from envy (Proverbs 23:17)

13. Brings blessing and prosperity (Eccles. 8:12; Isaiah 33:6)

14. Involves humility (Isaiah 2:10-21)

Dake Topical Index.




Thursday, March 19, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “Responding to Unanswered Prayers”: 1st in the series “I Still Believe” Romans 8:28

TEXT:  And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those  who are the called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28

The second way to respond to unanswered prayer is WALK. We KEEP WALKING with GOD,  “I could take the next hour to elaborate this point but I think it’s beautifully explained in Mark chapter 5 with the story of Jairus and his daughter. Let’s pick up the story together at Mark 5:22. 

“Then one of the synagogue rulers named Jairus came there. (To where Jesus was and others  were gathering) Seeing Jesus, he fell at his feet and pleaded earnestly with him, ‘My little  daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.’ So Jesus went with him.” (Mark 5:22-24) 

At this point in the story we’ve met Jairus, he has presented his case and his request to Jesus,  who in return is going with Jairus to presumably help his dying daughter.  However, as they begin their journey another woman comes to Jesus, presents her case, and ultimately has her illness miraculously healed on the spot.  All while Jairus waits in tow, counting the seconds, breathing in and out his daughters sweet name as Jesus tends to other needs. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that Jairus is getting antsy by now.  His thoughts are probably exactly what you’d think they’d be, “Why aren’t we going to heal MY daughter?  What about MY request?  What is Jesus doing? She’s going to die!?” And then the unthinkable happens. 

“While Jesus was still speaking (to the OTHER person who needed help), some men came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue ruler. ‘Your daughter is dead. Why bother the  teacher any more?’” (Mark 5:35) 

I cannot even fathom what Jairus was feeling at this point. Then, “Ignoring what they said, 

Jesus told Jairus, ‘Don’t be afraid; just believe.’” (Mark 5:36) They continued walking  together to the home of Jairus where Jesus performed another astonishing miracle.  He took the young girl by the hand, told her to get up, and rescued her from the silence of the grave. 

Jairus had to literally walk with Jesus for 18 verses after presenting his initial request for help.   He had to watch as Jesus stopped to heal someone else. His daughter died during the process.  This doesn’t always go how we think it’s going to go. Our prayers, our requests, our cries for help aren’t answered on our timelines.  Remember, we’re working with the eternal creator of the entire cosmos, and sometimes we just need to keep walking with Him while we wait for the answer to come.” 

(The third way to respond to unanswered prayer will be in tomorrow’s devotional)


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: See scriptures below!

Pray or do: Ask God to give you understanding in how to properly respond to unanswered prayers in your life.

Bonus Material: 

The series is from Outreach and Sermon Central

The beautiful flowers of God&'s "Fear Nots" are abundant in the country of the Scriptures.  Let us call to mind a few of  the New Testament ones. 

1. The "Fear Not" of God's Provision—Matt. 10:31.

2. The "Fear Not" of Prayer—Luke 1:13.

3. The "Fear Not" of Favour—Luke 1:30.

4. The "Fear Not's of Salvation—Luke 2:10.

5. The "Fear Not" of Assurance—Luke 5:10.

6. The "Fear Not" of Promise—Luke 8:50; 12:32.

7. The "Fear Not" of Presence—Acts 27:24.

8. The "Fear Not" of Victory—Rev. 1:17.

1000 Bible Study Outlines: Study Helps and Sermon Outlines.





Wednesday, March 18, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “Responding to Unanswered Prayers”: 1st in the series “I Still Believe”  Romans 8:28

TEXT:  And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those  who are the called according to His purpose.  Romans 8:28

So friends, how do you respond when you don’t feel like God is responding to you?

 Do you cry out like David or Job?

 Do you get sad and hurt like Mary or Martha?

 Do you walk away?

 Shut down?

 Give God the silent treatment?

I can literally see some of you smirking right now.  I think you know that all of the things I just mentioned are in fact, ways we respond in relationships when we don’t like or understand the responses we are given. It just complicates everything when we realize that our point of frustration is with the eternal creator of the entire cosmos. On some level we know He can make the blind see, the mute speak, the lame walk, and that He created things like the Platypus and the Ostrich.  So why won’t He fix my problems and answer my prayers? How am I supposed to respond to that!?!

This week I am going to share with you three practical ways you can respond when you’re frustrated, confused, or angry with the answers you’re getting, or not getting, back.

First, Wait.  Wait on God.

“This may not be a popular answer, but this is a powerful way to respond. The prophet Isaiah says, “Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength.” (Isaiah 40:30-31)  Trying to understand the plans and purposes of the eternal creator of the cosmos can be tiring.  So tiring in fact, that even youths grow weary.  But those who respond with patience and who wait on their God will find their strength renewed.  Isaiah goes on to say, “...they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”  How many of you here today feel weary and tired of waiting?  It can be hard to wait - hard to trust that God is going to answer and come through.”

How many times over the last thirty years, I cannot count, have we seen God provide for our church financially when it seemed like we were out of options.  We practiced responsible stewardship yet we struggled to pay the bills.  We prayed and waited. At just the right time God provided.  Sometimes a large donation!  More often than not it was God’s people giving generously and consistently.  “I know many of us need to keep some movement in the waiting.  I have good news to share with you; Waiting on the Lord doesn’t necessarily mean you need to sit still and stop moving.”

(We will discover the second practical way of responding to unanswered prayers in the next

devotional).


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: See scriptures below!

Pray or do: Ask God to give you understanding in how to properly respond to unanswered prayers in your life.

Bonus Material:

The series is from Outreach and Sermon Central

Persons told not to fear:

1. Zacharias, the prayerful. "Fear not, Zacharias" (Luke 1:13).

2. Mary, the devoted. "Fear not, Mary" (Luke 1:30)

3. Jairus, the sorrowful. "Fear not, only believe" (Luke 8:50).

4. Simon, the fisher. "Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not" (Luke 5:10).

5. Trembling Disciples. "It is I, be not afraid" (Matt. 14:27).

6. Seeking Women. "Fear not ye"  (Matt. 28:5, 10).

7. Valiant Paul. "Fear not, Paul"  (Acts 27:24).

1000 Bible Study Outlines: Study Helps and Sermon Outlines.




Monday,  March 16, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “Responding to Unanswered Prayers”:1 st in the series “I Still Believe” Romans 8:28

TEXT:  And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those  who are the called according to His purpose.  Romans 8:28

Have you ever had a prayer go unanswered?   Have you ever been confused, frustrated, or angry about the answers you did or did not receive?  If that’s you, and let’s be honest it should be all of us, you’re in good company.  Our individual and collective relationship with God doesn’t always make sense.  We all go through situations that can leave us feeling confused.  At its worst, we can become bitter towards God for His seeming lack of understanding, care, and effectiveness to act on our behalf.  This divine dilemma has been going on for hundreds, even thousands of years.  In fact, when we open our bibles, we hear how some of the heroes of our faith processed their unanswered prayers and frustrations. After losing most of his family and fortune, Job said, “I cry out to you, O God, but you do not answer; I stand up, but you merely look at me.” (Job 30:20) 

Tired of running and hiding from his enemies, King David said, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?  Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning?  O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, and am not silent.”  (Psalm 22:1-2) 

After the death of their brother Lazarus, Mary and Martha told Jesus, “If you had been here, my

brother would not have died.”  (John 11:21, 32)

And as you all know here today, the list could go on and on.  Over the next two weeks we are going to do some processing of our own as we prepare our hearts and minds to go together to see the movie I Still Believe. I Still Believe shares the real-life story of chart-topping singer Jeremy  Camp.  I Still Believe is a modern day testimony about finding true hope in Christ in the midst of life's storms. 


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: Romans 8

Pray or do: Ask God to give you understanding in how to properly respond to unanswered prayers in your life.

Bonus Material: 

The series is from Outreach and Sermon Central

1. A Command. "Fear God"  (1 Peter 2:17).

2. A Caution. "Be not high-minded" (Rom. 11:20).

3. A Consecration. "Singleness of heart, fearing God" (Col. 3:22).

4. A Cause. "Fear not, I am the First and the Last" (Rev. 1:17).

5. A Company. "Walking in the fear of the Lord" (Acts 9:31).

6. A Condition. "Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling"  (Phil. 2:12).

7. A Consequence. "Perfect love casteth out fear" (1 John 4:18).

1000 Bible Study Outlines: Study Helps and Sermon Outlines.





Friday, March 13, 2020


This week’s devotionals are developed from last Sunday's Message "Why They Are Offended?" from John 6:59-71

Text:  It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak  unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.  64 But there are some of you that believe not.  For  Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him.  John 6:63-64

Jesus now points out the next area of offense.  He knew that they did not believe in Him nor His  words because they were spiritually dead.  Their body (flesh) was living but not their spirit.   The flesh does not profit.  All men are born, they live and then die.  They can do everything possible to keep themselves young and attractive.  They can exercise, wear makeup, have cosmetic surgery and a host of other things but all too soon the flesh fails.  It is unprofitable.  It cannot last for eternity.  It is only the Spirit of God that can quicken (make spiritually alive) a man and give him abundant life now and eternal life.  The Spirit of God can only do that when a man receive Christ and His Word. 

"But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that  raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you." Romans 8:11

This offends men because they love the world with all its pleasures and philosophies.  They refuse to believe and accept His Words because they love their flesh more than they love God. 


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share. 

Scriptures are from the King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: Romans 8:6-13

Pray: For those who are spiritually dead to forsake the flesh and receive eternal life through Christ.



Wednesday, March 11, 2020


This week’s devotionals are developed from last Sunday's Message "Why They Are Offended?" from John 6:59-71

Text:  What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? John 6:62

Men are offended by the ascension and exaltation of Christ.   If a man accepts the ascension and exaltation of Christ, he has to surrender the control of his life to Christ.  He can no longer control his own life and do the things he wishes.   Christ referred to himself as the Son of Man.  The counterfeit disciple is unwilling to look at Jesus as the 'Son of Man' that is, as the Ideal and Perfect Man, as the Pattern for all men to copy.  If a man accepted Christ as the Son of Man, he would have to pattern his life after Christ  by doing his very best to live as Christ lived.  The man would have to diligently seek to be like Christ (Hebrews 11:6). 

God exalted Jesus as Lord and Master. The counterfeit disciple is unwilling to submit himself under the control and dominion of Jesus.  He is adamantly opposed to patterning his life after Jesus. 

The words 'where He was before' point to the fact that Jesus is eternal.  He was preexistent:  God of very God.  Therefore, a man is to believe and surrender to Him as Lord.  "Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" Phil. 2:9-11


Pastor Larry

Please feel free to share. 

Scriptures are from the King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: Psalm 89:1-18

Pray: That you will exalt Christ in your words and your life.


11 Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all.  1 Chronicles 29:11 (KJV)

5 Then the Levites, Jeshua, and Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabniah, Sherebiah, Hodijah, Shebaniah, and Pethahiah, said, stand up and bless the LORD your God for ever and ever: and blessed be thy glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise.  Nehemiah 9:5 (KJV)

46 The LORD liveth; and blessed be my rock; and let the God of my salvation be exalted.  Psalm 18:46 (KJV) 

14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: 15 For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.  16 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; 17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:  18 And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: 19 And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: 20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: 21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.  22 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: 23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: 24 Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.  25 For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved:  26 Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: 27 Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.  28 Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance.  29 Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day.  30 Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; 31 He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.  32 This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. 33 Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.  34 For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,  35 Until I make thy foes thy footstool. 36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. Acts 2:14-36 (KJV)




Tuesday, March 10, 2020


This week’s devotionals are developed from last Sunday's Message "Why They Are Offended" from John 6:59-71

Text:  When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, "Doth this offend you?" John 6:61

When Jesus said “…Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.” (John 6:53) the listeners began to murmur because they were offended.  Many are offended today because they think of Christianity as a bloody religion or that God came to earth and impregnated a young girl and then he was born half-man and half-god.  Jesus claim was that he was fully God and fully man.  POSB Commentary says it well.

“He had the nature of man, being made of the very same substance as all men.  However, there was one difference: He was not born of a human father; He was born of God. God very simply spoke the Word and a miracle took place, just as He spoke the Word and created the world.  There is nothing grotesque about God's speech nor about His willing something to be done and doing it.  God did what He always does when He wills something.  He simply spoke and the event was set in motion. …Jesus Christ was born by the Word of God and by human flesh.  He was fully Man, fully God.  He came from God's Word; He became a Man by God's Word. Therefore, all men owe their obedience to Christ.”  As stated earlier, when a person “eats of Christ flesh and drinks of His blood” they arespiritually receiving Christ into their life. "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name" John 1:12


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share. 

Scriptures are from the King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: Romans 5:1-21

Pray: For those who will not be offended but will receive Christ and begin to follow Him.

"Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed" 1 Peter 2:24

"For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit" 1 Peter 3:18

"Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me" Rev. 3:20




Monday, March 9, 2020


This week’s devotionals are a review and expansion of last Sunday's "Why They Are Offended" from John 6:59-71

Text:  These things said he in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum.  60 Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, "This is a hard saying; who can hear it?"  John 6:59-60

Why are men offended by Christ?

I was talking with a gentleman this morning at a meeting I was in.  He said, “You can talk to people and mention God and everything is OK.  But as soon as you mention the name of Jesus (if they are not a Christian) suddenly they become defensive and don’t want to talk about Him.  Men were offended by Christ 2000 years ago and they are still offended by Him today.  In this passage of scripture Jesus point’s out four reasons why many are offended.  What Jesus had just said to those present was acknowledged by them to be “a hard saying”.  The word “hard” means rough and harsh according to the POSB Commentary.  Even though they understood the words they were having a hard time accepting them.  The problem was not mental but spiritual. Their heart was not right with God.  They did not believe in Him.  Jesus understood this and therefore he deals with the reasons why men are offended by Him.  If you find that the things that Christ says to you and ask of you are “hard” to accept it may be time to do a “heart check”. 


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share. 

Scriptures are from the King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: See below

Pray: That Christ will be the treasure of your heart and that your heart will not be hardened to His will.

And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.  Matthew 11:6 KJV

The same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the sea side.  2 And great multitudes were gathered together unto him, so that he went into a ship, and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore.  3 And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow; 4 And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: 5 Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: 6 And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.  7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:  8 But others fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some a hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.  9 Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.  10 And the disciples came, and said unto him, "Why speakest thou unto them in parables?"  11 He answered and said unto them, "Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.  12 For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.  13 Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.  14 And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:  15 For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. 16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.  17 For verily I say unto you, that many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.  18 Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower. 19 When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.  20 But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; 21 Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. 22 He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.  23 But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty." Matthew 13:1-23 KJV

Then came his disciples, and said unto him, "Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying?"  Matthew 15:12 KJV




Friday March 6, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “Sinners Welcome” 5th in the series “The Parables of Jesus” of the main series “The Quest to Know ‘Who is Jesus’” Luke 15:1-32

TEXT:  Then all the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to Him to hear Him.  2 And the Pharisees and scribes complained, saying, "This Man receives sinners and eats with them." 

Luke 15:1-2

The third story Jesus tells continues with what some call “The Parable of the Elder Brother”  though it is really the same story.  Jesus continues, 25 Now his older son was in the field.  And as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing.  26 So he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant.  27 And he said to him, "Your brother has come, and because he has received him safe and sound, your father has killed the fatted calf."  28 But he was angry and would not go in.  Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him.  29 So he answered and said to his father, "Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends.  30 But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him."  31 And he said to him, "Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours.  32 It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found." Luke 15:11-32

We instantly notice the anger of the older brother. He does not understand this idea of repentance by someone who was so selfish and immoral.  He is now declared by the father’s actions to be safe and secure and reestablished to the family circle.  The sound of the celebration irritates him.  So it is with the religionist. He does not understand such claims as...

 being saved

 being saved by God Himself

 being filled with power

 being filled with joy

 being delivered immediately from enslaved habits (such as alcohol, smoking, immorality, cursing, covetousness, selfishness)

 being healed

 being indwelt and given power by the Holy Spirit.

The religionist reacts against such claims.  He wants nothing to do with such a house of repentance and salvation.  He shuts himself out.  Sometimes he even talks against and criticizes such a celebration and house.  He is Self-Righteousness.  His claim is “I served thee”.  He has done a lot of good things.  He is

like the Pharisee who goes to the temple to pray at the same time a sinner does.  He looks over at the sinner and says, “I thank God I am not like other men.  I fast twice a week, I tithe”, you get the picture.  The Elder brother noted his morality.  He was not like his younger brother.  He stayed home. He was obedient and fulfilled his duties.  In his words we find lack of faith (Matthew 23:23).  He just does not trust the Father's love and judgment, His plan of salvation and repentance for all. POSB Commentary

This self-righteousness shows he is out of relationship with his father.  He also needs to repent

and learn the love of the Father towards the sinner. 

This is the message Jesus conveys to the Pharisees and Sadducees.


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: Luke 15

Pray or do: Heavenly Father, please forgive me for the times when I act like the older brother. Thank you that you are willing to welcome me back with open arms.

Bonus Material:

The series is adapted from The Essential Jesus: 100 Readings Through the Bible's Greatest Story By Whitney T. Kuniholm© 2007 by Whitney T. Kuniholm.

POSB Commentary

The Complete Jewish Bible




Wednesday March 4, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “Sinners Welcome”  5th in the series “The Parables of Jesus” of the  main series “The Quest to Know ‘Who is Jesus’” Luke 15:1-32

TEXT: Then all the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to Him to hear Him.  2 And the  Pharisees and scribes complained, saying, "This Man receives sinners and eats with them." 

Luke 15:1-2

The third story Jesus tells to illustrate His point is the Parable of the Prodigal Son.  There are  three primary characters in this story.  There is the younger son – the prodigal.  Then He said: "A certain man had two sons.  12 And the younger of them said to his father, 'Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.'  So he divided to them his livelihood.  13 And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living.  14 But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land, and he began to be in want.  15 Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.  16 And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything.  17 But when he came to himself, he said, 'How many of my father's hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!  18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, 19 and I am no longer worthy to be called your son.  Make me like one of your hired servants.'  20 And he arose and came to his father."  Luke 15:11-20

This parable is more personal and it adds a plot twist: sin.  The younger son says to the father,  “Give me my independence."  This is what the prodigal was really after, the right to his own life.  He was tied down to the father's property and was held responsible for the care of the property.  He wanted to cut loose—to be away from the father and to be relieved of the responsibility of the property.  He wanted to live his own life, to do his own thing (Luke 15:12).  The prodigal rejected and turned from the father and his way of life because he felt the father would... 

 demand and require too much work

 curtail and limit his freedom

 disallow and restrict his fun and pleasure

 be unfair and not understand

 control and discipline too much

 keep an eye and hand upon him. POSB Commentary

When the younger son returns he blubbers on with a rehearsed apology (vv. 18-19), the suspense  builds as we wonder how the father will react.  Will it be the cold shoulder, an angry tongue lashing or complete rejection? 

The second character in the story is the father.  The story proceeds, “But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him.  21 And the son said to him, "I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son."  22 But the father said to his servants, "Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet.  23 And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry;  24 for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found."  And they began to be merry.  Luke 15:20b-24

It’s none of these. The father responds with joy over a sinner who has come home (vv. 22-24).   The theme that unites the three parables is joy (vv. 6-7, 9, 23); God rejoices when sinners repent  (vv. 7, 10). 

There is also Restoration.  This restoration comes with a catch.  To experience that joyful reunion  with God, you’ve got to admit that without him you’re lost.  You’ve must come to grips with your own sin. The key to being accepted by God is repentance. 

1. “The father restored him.

a. The "robe" restored him to a position of sonship and honor.  It symbolized being  clothed with the righteousness of Christ. 

b. The "ring" restored him to a position of authority. The son was now to represent the  father and his kingdom. 

c. The "shoes" immediately restored and elevated him above servanthood, which  means he became a free man.  The son was now shod with shoes to carry the gospel of peace wherever he went. 

d. The celebration pictures reconciliation, full acceptance, and the great joy of the  occasion. 

2. There was celebration and great joy over the son's return.  The whole household celebrated in joy.

3. The Father proclaimed His son's new life.  He "was dead and is alive again.  He was lost and is found.”

The parable of the Prodigal Son is the greatest and most beloved story ever told in human language.  God loves and reaches out to the most prodigal of men, and He runs to embrace any prodigal son who repents and returns home.  God forgives His prodigal son and restores him, no matter how terrible the sin and failure of the prodigal.” POSB Commentary


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: Luke 15

Pray or do: Lord, please show me anything that stands in the way of drawing closer to you.

Bonus Material:

The series is adapted from The Essential Jesus: 100 Readings Through the Bible's Greatest Story

By Whitney T. Kuniholm© 2007 by Whitney T. Kuniholm.

POSB Commentary

The Complete Jewish Bible




Tuesday, March 3, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “Sinners Welcome”: 5th in the series “The Parables of Jesus” of the  main series “The Quest to Know ‘Who is Jesus’” Luke 15:1-32

TEXT:  Then all the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to Him to hear Him.  2 And the harisees and scribes complained, saying, "This Man receives sinners and eats with them."  Luke 15:1-2

To further illustrate His point Jesus tells the story of the Lost Coin.  "Or what woman, having  ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it?  9 And when she has found it, she calls her friends and neighbors together, saying, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found the piece which I lost!' 10 Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents." 

Luke 15:8-10

The lost coin represents the unbeliever, the sinner who is lost within the house, the family  member who has gone astray and is lost both to God and to the mother.  Note two facts. The coin was silver, of extreme worth, and greatly desired.  The coin was lost and doomed to be  lost forever if not found.  The coin was lost because of others.  This is a striking picture of the responsibility family members have for one another.

A coin (person) within the home is lost in one of four ways.  Ignoring the coin.  It is set aside and forgotten. Once it has been brought into the house, little if any thought is given to it. Being too busy, not knowing its value, and confusing priorities can cause a coin to be ignored.

Neglecting the coin. A person can know the coin is there and know its value, yet neglect it.  He can just fail to pay attention to the coin for such a long period of time that he forgets where it is.

Carelessly handling the coin.  It is badly handled, dropped, and lost.

Unconsciously placing the coin someplace.  Placing the coin can be unplanned; therefore, little attention is given to it.  A person just goes about his daily affairs without ever planning any use for the coin.  Eventually, it is forgotten.

The lost sheep was lost out in the wilderness of the world, whereas the lost coin was lost in the house.  The points are the same for each parable, but the application is different.

The sheep was lost (v.4) The coin was lost (v.8).

The sheep was lost because of self (4) The coin was lost because of others (8)

The sheep was lost 'in the wilderness' (4)

The coin was lost in the house (8)

The sheep was sought until found (4)  The coin was sought until found (9)

The sheep, once found, brought great joy (5-6)

The coin, once found, brought great joy (9)

The sheep represented a repentant sinner (7)

The coin represented a repentant sinner (10)

POSB Commentary - Luke.

The first two, about a lost sheep (3-7) and a lost coin (8-10), are fairly straightforward.  If you’ve ever misplaced a large amount of cash or lost a beloved pet, you can understand the feelings Jesus is describing. That’s how God feels about sinners.  He knows they’re lost and he really wants to find them.  That’s good news.


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: Luke 15

Pray or do: Lord, please show me anything that stands in the way of drawing closer to you.

Bonus Material:

The series is adapted from The Essential Jesus: 100 Readings Through the Bible's Greatest Story

By Whitney T. Kuniholm© 2007 by Whitney T. Kuniholm.

POSB Commentary

The Complete Jewish Bible





Monday March 2, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “Sinners Welcome”: 5th in the series “The Parables of Jesus” of the  main series “The Quest to Know ‘Who is Jesus’” Luke 15:1-32

TEXT: Then all the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to Him to hear Him.  2 And the  Pharisees and scribes complained, saying, "This Man receives sinners and eats with them." 

Luke 15:1-2

God loves sinners.  He seeks them out through His Holy Spirit.  He then invites them into the Kingdom of God.  Jesus loves sinners.  If He wore a imprinted T-shirt it might say “Sinners Welcome!”  You could post a banner in front of your church that read “Sinners Welcome”.  It may or may not bring anyone into your church but it would express God’s invitation.  I am sure that Jesus would love the change because sinners were the focus of his ministry, a point that confounded the religious leaders.  And the Pharisees and scribes complained, saying, "This Man receives sinners and eats with them."  (Luke 15:2).  They thought religion should be reserved only for “good people” like themselves.  But Jesus demonstrated that true religion was for bad people; all of us are sinners.  His Word says, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”

(Romans 3:23).

In our text Jesus uses three parables to explain His purpose in fellow shipping with sinners.  First he tells the story about the Lost Sheep.  So He spoke this parable to them, saying:  4 "What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it?  5 And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.  6 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, "Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!"  7 I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance. Luke 15:3-7

The sheep was lost because of self.  A sheep loses itself in one of three ways. 

1. The sheep is attracted by something out "in the wilderness," & "away from the flock of the Shepherd."  What the sheep sees is more attractive and appealing.  It tempts and seduces him, and he lusts after it ("the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes." 1 John 2:16).

2. The sheep is aimless, not paying attention to what is going on.  It aimlessly wanders off, and while it is getting lost, the sheep does not know it is losing its way.  The sheep is already lost when it discovers it is lost.

3. The sheep refuses to heed the warnings of the shepherd and the example of the other sheep ("the pride of life.")  1 John 2:16). POSB Commentary - Luke.

The sheep is lost but the shepherd goes and searches until He finds the lost sheep.  He then returns to the fold and celebrates with joy.  The main point Jesus makes in this story is joy in heaven when a sinner if found, repents and then brought into the fold.


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: Luke 15

Pray or do: Lord, please show me anything that stands in the way of drawing closer to you.

Bonus Material:

The series is adapted from The Essential Jesus: 100 Readings Through the Bible's Greatest Story

By Whitney T. Kuniholm© 2007 by Whitney T. Kuniholm.

POSB Commentary

The Complete Jewish Bible





Friday Feb. 28, 2020


TEXT: Then one from the crowd said to Him, "Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me."  14 But He said to him, "Man, who made Me a judge or an arbitrator over you?"  15 And He said to them, "Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses."  16 Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: "The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully.  17 And he thought within himself, saying, 'What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?'  18 So he said, 'I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods.  19 And I will say to my soul, 'Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.'  20 But God said to him, 'Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?'  21 So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God."  Luke 12:13-21

Jesus’ point is very clear: Even our ability to produce wealth is a gift from God.  It all belongs to him.  Our goal in life should not be to amass great wealth for ourselves.  Rather, we should focus on becoming “rich toward God” (v.21) and that will require us “to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share” (1 Timothy 6:18).  "So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God." Luke 12:21 (NKJV)

An anonymous writer wrote, “The more of heaven we cherish, the less of earth we covet.”  As it has been well said, "When a man gets rich, God gets a partner or the man loses his soul."  The 365-Day Devotional Commentary illustrates that our life is not in our possessions but in the gift of life that God has given us.

“SEEKING GREAT THINGS (Jer. 45)

Baruch was a frustrated man.  His confrontation with Jehoiakim over the words Jeremiah dictated to him had ruined his prospects!  He saw a bright career going down the drain.  We know from the text of Jeremiah that Baruch was a member of a respected Jerusalemite family (36:4), and that his brother was an official in the royal court (51:59).  He was trained as a scribe, very likely in order to serve in government.  Everything about Baruch—background, education, connections—suggests that he could normally expect to gain a high-status, high-paying position in the local aristocracy.  And then somehow Baruch got mixed up with Jeremiah, was linked with that unpopular prophet in the mind of King Jehoiakim—and that was it!  No high pay.  No fancy chariot.  No job with the king.  Kaput!  And so Baruch pouted, and complained, 'Woe to me.'  I suppose we can identify with Baruch to some extent. He had great plans for himself, and a real prospect of making it big.  When his plans crashed down around him, he became despondent, 'worn out with groaning' and finding 'no rest.'  Life didn't seem worth living to Baruch unless he achieved his goals, and made it in the big city.  It was then God spoke to Baruch, and rebuked him.  God was about to bring the whole society crashing down!  "Should you then seek great things for yourself?"  Bluntly God told Baruch, "Seek them not."  And then God made a promise.  In the coming disaster the Lord would give Baruch something more precious than position—God would let Baruch "escape with your life."  Sometimes we need to be reminded, as Baruch was.  We may not see the realization of our dreams. We may not reach the potential we think we have.  We may never take our place among the rich and famous of this world.  But compared to the gift that God has given us, the gift of life, these things mean little. "Seek them not," is still some of the best advice Scripture has for the godly.  Instead of wanting what we do not have, let's be grateful for God's gift of life. And use our lives to serve Him.”


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: Jeremiah 45

Pray or do: God, I thank you for the many material blessings you’ve given to me.  Please show me how I can use them in a way that pleases you.  What are some practical ways I can live a life that is “rich toward God”?

Bonus Material:

The series is adapted from The Essential Jesus: 100 Readings Through the Bible's Greatest Story

By Whitney T. Kuniholm© 2007 by Whitney T. Kuniholm.

POSB Commentary

The Complete Jewish Bible




Wednesday Feb. 26, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “Covetousness or Rich Toward God”:4 th in the series “The  Parables of Jesus” of the main series “The Quest to Know ‘Who is Jesus’” Luke 12:13-21

TEXT:  Then one from the crowd said to Him, "Teacher, tell my brother to divide the  inheritance with me."  14 But He said to him, "Man, who made Me a judge or an arbitrator over you?"  15 And He said to them, "Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses."  16 Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: "The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully.  17 And he thought within himself, saying, 'What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?'  18 So he said, 'I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all  my crops and my goods.  19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.'" 20 But God said to him, "Fool!  This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?"  21 So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God."  Luke 12:13-21

In verse 15 of our text Jesus reminds us that life is more than the possessions we have or could  have.  Charles Caldwell Ryrie wrote, “One can be covetous when he has little, much, or anything between, for covetousness comes from the heart, not from the circumstances of life.”  William Seeker said, “He is not a covetous man, who lays up something providentially, but he is a covetous man, who gives out nothing willingly.”  Possessions will pass away.  

Jesus goes on to illustrate his point with a story about a rich fool which could be summarized like  this: he who dies with the most toys . . . still dies.  (Luke 12:16-20) 

The big "I" shows that the covetous man is aggressively self-centered.

1. “The man was blessed materially, tremendously blessed, but he did not thank God for his  blessing. 

2. The man called the fruits of the ground and the possessions he had, 'my fruit'; and 'my goods'  (Luke 12:17-18).  And notice that it wasn’t the man who produced the incredible wealth for himself.  Rather, “the ground” produced it (v. 16).

3. The man called his soul, "my soul."  There is no indication he had given his soul to God.

4. He became puffed up, prideful with what he had done.  He began to think of bigger and bigger, of I and I, of my and my.

5. The big mistake of man is selfishness, self-indulgence, and extravagant living.  The sole purpose of this man is to be at ease, to have plenty to eat and drink, and to enjoy life as he wishes.

Note several facts about the man in the parable.

a. He thought only of self, of living at ease and in comfort, of indulging self and being as extravagant as he wished.  He gave no thought to helping others.  He forgot that he lived in a needy world that was lost and dying.

b. He put off living and enjoying life until he got his barns built.  The idea is that he was a workaholic, who was consumed with the passion to get what he wanted.  (How many are just like him when they want something!)

c. The most shocking point: he only thought these things.  He never did them; they were only thoughts of his heart.”  POSB Commentary


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: See above scriptures.

Pray or do: Heavenly Father, more than anything else, I desire to have a deeper relationship with you. Please show me how I can do that today.

Bonus Material:

The series is adapted from The Essential Jesus: 100 Readings Through the Bible's Greatest Story

By Whitney T. Kuniholm© 2007 by Whitney T. Kuniholm.

POSB Commentary

The Complete Jewish Bible





Tuesday, February 25, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “Covetousness or Rich Toward God”:4 th in the series “The  Parables of Jesus” of the main series “The Quest to Know ‘Who is Jesus’” Luke 12:13-21

TEXT: Then one from the crowd said to Him, "Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me."  14 But He said to him, "Man, who made Me a judge or an arbitrator over you?"  15 And He said to them, "Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses."  16 Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: "The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully.   17 And he thought within himself, saying, "What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?"  18 So he said, "I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all  my crops and my goods.   19 And I will say to my soul, 'Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.'"  20 But God said to him, "Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?"  21 So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God."   Luke 12:13-21

Jesus puts his finger on the root problem: greed. You can almost hear the frustration in Jesus’ voice. But He said to him, "Man, who made Me a judge or an arbitrator over you?" (Luke 12:14)  He continued with words not only meant for the man but for the assembled crowd and to us today, "Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses." (Luke 12:15.)  Years later, the apostle Paul said the same thing: “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil” (1 Timothy 6:10).

Covetousness has a variety of shades of meaning determined largely by the nature of the particular word used, or the context, or both.  Following are some of the uses:

(1) To gain dishonestly (‏bāçaʿ), Exodus 18:21; Ezekiel 33:31.

(2) The wish to have more than one possesses, inordinately, of course (pleonexía), e.g. Luke 12:15; 1 Thes. 2:5.

(3) An inordinate love of money, philárguros, the King James Version Luke 16:14; 2 Tim. 3:2; philarguría, 1 Tim. 6:10)

Covetousness is a very grave sin; indeed, so heinous is it that the Scriptures class it among the very gravest and grossest crimes (Ephes. 5:3).  In Col. 3:5 it is "idolatry," while in 1 Cor. 6:10 it is set forth as excluding a man from heaven.  Its heinousness, doubtless, is accounted for by its being in a very real sense the root of so many other forms of sin, e.g.

 departure from the faith (1 Tim. 6:9-10);

 lying (2 Kings 5:22-25);

 theft (Joshua 7:21);

 domestic trouble (Proverbs 15:27);

 murder (Ezekiel 22:12);

 indeed, it leads to 'many foolish and hurtful lusts' (1 Tim. 6:9).

It’s true that we need resources in order to survive.  But Jesus warned that they can easily pull our hearts over the edge into greed, so we need to watch out. 

Here is an interesting fact.  Covetousness was the first sin in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 3:6), the first in the Promised Land (Joshua 7:21) and the first sin in the Early Church (Acts 5).


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted.

Daily reading: See above scriptures.

Pray or do: Heavenly Father, more than anything else, I desire to have a deeper relationship with you.  Please show me how I can do that today.


Bonus Material:

The series is adapted from The Essential Jesus: 100 Readings Through the Bible's Greatest Story

By Whitney T. Kuniholm© 2007 by Whitney T. Kuniholm.

POSB Commentary

The Complete Jewish Bible

Once when Frederick the Great was about to declare war, he instructed his secretary to write the

proclamation. The secretary began: "Whereas in the providence of God," etc., etc.

"Stop that lying," Frederick thundered; "simply say, 'Frederick wants more land.'"

—Earnest Worker Knight's Master Book of New Illustrations.






Monday, February 24, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “Covetousness or Rich Toward God”:4 th in the series “The  Parables of Jesus” of the main series “The Quest to Know ‘Who is Jesus’” Luke 12:13-21

TEXT: Then one from the crowd said to Him, "Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me."  14  But He said to him, "Man, who made Me a judge or an arbitrator over you?"  15 And He said to them, "Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses."  16 Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: "The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully.  17  And he thought within himself, saying, "What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?"  18 So he said, "I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all

my crops and my goods.  19 And I will say to my soul, 'Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.'" 20 But God said to him, "Fool!  This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?"  21 So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God."  Luke 12:13-21

Talk about nerve! This man had the guts to interrupt Jesus in front of “many thousands” (Luke 12:1) with a complaint about his estate plan. Then one from the crowd said to Him, "Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me."  Luke 12:13.

A man asks Jesus to give a judicial decision.  A man was having a dispute with his brother over the inheritance of his father's estate.  The law gave two-thirds to the older son and one third to the younger son.  The man felt he was not getting his legal share, so he appealed to Jesus for help in getting his share.  It was a common practice for Rabbis to settle legal disputes because it concerned the Law of Moses.

Notice five things about this man.

1.  “The man was in the congregation listening to Jesus preach.  There is a strong possibility that the man was even a follower of Jesus.  This is seen in that Jesus had apparently paused for a brief rest between sermons, and the man knew Jesus well enough to approach Him about the matter in the midst of a huge crowd.

2.  What the man wanted was significant.  He wanted material wealth, money, and property.  He appealed to Jesus for help in getting what had probably been stolen from him.  More than likely the property was rightfully his anyway.  It would have been an act of justice to straighten out the inheritance.

3.  Jesus refused rather sternly.  He forcefully addressed the man as a stranger: "Man."  He treats the man as one who is alien to the Lord and His purpose on earth.  Jesus refused to become involved in worldly affairs, in settling property and money disputes.

4.  The man exposed a serious flaw in his spiritual life.  Jesus had just preached a message on trusting God for the necessities of life, for God cares and will provide.  Apparently, the man had not heard the message.  He was bodily present, but he was too preoccupied with the thoughts of property and money to really hear the Word and receive the message. Someone once said, “Listening to the Word being preached does not mean that we "hear the Word nor that we learn from it”.  Another man was quoted, “The Word, salvation, and spiritual maturity do not rub off on a wandering mind or on a worldly life”.

5. The contrast between the mind and attitude of the man and of Jesus is significant. The man's mind was set on the things of the earth and the world, on property and money, wealth and selfishness.  The Lord's mind was set on the higher and more noble, on salvation and life, on heaven and eternity.  The mission of Jesus was not to give man property, but to give man life, both abundant and eternal.  Property is nothing without life.” POSB Commentary

So what did Jesus say to this man (and other distracted followers like us) about money and possession?  What does it mean to be covetous or to be “rich towards God”?  This week’s devotionals will discover the answer to these questions.


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: Luke 12:13-21

Pray or do: Heavenly Father, more than anything else, I desire to have a deeper relationship with you. Please show me how I can do that today.

Bonus Material:

The series is adapted from The Essential Jesus: 100 Readings Through the Bible's Greatest Story

By Whitney T. Kuniholm© 2007 by Whitney T. Kuniholm.

POSB Commentary

The Complete Jewish Bible




Thursday, February 20, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “Mercy”:3 rd in the series “The Parables of Jesus” of the main  series “The Quest to Know ‘Who is Jesus’” John 10:1-21

TEXT:  And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, "Teacher, what shall  I do to inherit eternal life?"  26 He said to him, "What is written in the law?  What is your reading of it?"  27 So he answered and said, "You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself."  28 And He said to him, "You have answered rightly; do this and you will live."  29 But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?"  30 Then Jesus answered and said: "A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.  31 Now by chance a certain priest came down that road.  And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.  32 Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side.  33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came  where he was.  And when he saw him, he had compassion.  34 So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him.  35 On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, "Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you."  36 So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?"  37 And he said, "He who showed mercy on him."  Then Jesus said to him, "Go and do likewise." Luke 10:25-37

When the Jewish man felt there would be no one to help him, it is at that moment that a Samaritan came upon the scene (vs. 33)  The Samaritans were hated by the Jews (Lk. 9:52).  Often  the despised come to the rescue, showing deeds of mercy and human compassion when the respected and religious class will not.  Jesus now gives us insight to the heart of the Samaritan.

“When he saw him, he had compassion on him”. The Good Samaritan placed compassion before everything: prejudice, opinion, work, time, energy, and money.  Can you find the ten acts of mercy the Good Samaritan showed to the Jewish man?  The genius of true love is shown in his acts.  He ignored the possible lurking robbers; he was swift, cool, deft in his actions; he was ready to spend and be spent; he cheerfully sacrificed the use of his beast; the care for the patient at the end of the journey is touching, and we all admire his prudence in not leaving a great sum of money in the host's hand, and his wise hint that he would await his account on his way back.  What a combination of compassion blended with shrewdness. This defines the word 'neighbor' and illustrates how to be one.  Jesus then asked the fourth question, “Which now of these three do you think was neighbor unto him that fell among the thieves?”  The lawyer does not say “the Samaritan” which shows his continued prejudice, but “He who showed mercy on him”.  Jesus response to the lawyer is still his message today too us, “Go, and do thou likewise” (vs. 37).  Our neighbor is anyone who is in need and whom we have the opportunity to help.  The Samaritan, the mixed-race outcast of that time, was a good neighbor because he obeyed the Scriptures and pleased God.  The point is that if you want to know God you need to have mercy.  Why?  Because having mercy is the reason God sent his Son to earth.  Like the Good Samaritan, Jesus went out of his way to find us.  Like the Good Samaritan Jesus paid the price to restore us.  And like the Good Samaritan, Jesus made an enormous sacrifice to save us.  The only way to understand God’s mercy is to understand what happened on the cross.  Christ parable not only answers the question of “who is my neighbor” but also “what must I do to inherit eternal life”.  Being a neighbor and practicing mercy should be practiced by men who have eternal life (1Cor. 13).


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: 1 John 3:15-18

Pray or do: Heavenly Father, having mercy sounds good in general but it’s difficult to live out.  Please help me show mercy is one specific situation this week.

Bonus Material:

The series is adapted from The Essential Jesus: 100 Readings Through the Bible's Greatest Story

By Whitney T. Kuniholm© 2007 by Whitney T. Kuniholm.

POSB Commentary

The Complete Jewish Bible




Wednesday, February 19, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “Mercy”: 3rd in the series “The Parables of Jesus” of the main  series “The Quest to Know ‘Who is Jesus’” John 10:1-21

TEXT: And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, "Teacher, what shall  I do to inherit eternal life?"  26 He said to him, "What is written in the law?  What is your reading of it?" 27 So he answered and said, "You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself."  28 And He said to him, "You have answered rightly; do this and you will live."  29 But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?" 30 Then Jesus answered and said: "A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half

dead.  31 Now by chance a certain priest came down that road.  And when he saw him, he  passed by on the other side.  32 Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side.  33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. 

And when he saw him, he had compassion.  34 So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him.  35 On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, 'Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.'  36 So which of these three do you think was  neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?" 37 And he said, "He who showed mercy on him."  Then Jesus said to him, "Go and do likewise."  Luke 10:25-37

Jesus response to the follow up question by the lawyer was the story of what we call the  Good Samaritan.  A Jewish man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho.  The road was a steep descent from

Jerusalem to Jericho, which was about 18 miles east.  Jericho is six hundred feet below the Mediterranean. And it was 6 miles from Jordan (cp. Josh. 6:26 with 1Ki. 16:34).  It was called 'the bloody way' and the most dangerous of Palestine because of robbers infesting the country.  It is on this journey that he encounters thieves and robbers who stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.  Jericho was a priestly city.  No less than 12,000 priests lived there who would frequently pass that way to minister in the temple.  It was the city of palm trees (Dt. 34:3; Judg. 1:16). 

It is a priest that encounters the victim first (vs. 31). He looks without going over to have a closer look. He simply passes by.  Then a Levite encounters the victim next (vs. 32).  He comes over, looks on him and then passes by on the other side.  He was guilty of aggravated cruelty.  This is the extent of the help of religious people who are bound by forms and rituals, which cannot be broken even to save a life.  

These did two things: 'looked on' and 'passed by on the other side' under the pretense of avoiding legal pollution.  A merciful, compassionate and godly man would have saved the life regardless of pollution, knowing that provision was made for him to become clean again.  Jesus showed the superiority of the gospel over the law, teaching us to reject any religion or law that would neglect a deed of mercy (See Lev. 22; Num. 19).  In it, the Levite and the priest, the religious experts of that time, failed to do what the Scriptures taught or what God wanted.  To the victim it seemed like there would be no help for him. (To be continued)


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: Luke 10:25-37

Pray or do: Father God, my heart’s desire is to understand and experience you more today. Please help me do that as  I think about your Word today. 

Bonus Material: 

The series is adapted from The Essential Jesus: 100 Readings Through the Bible';s Greatest Story

By Whitney T. Kuniholm© 2007 by Whitney T. Kuniholm.

POSB Commentary

The Complete Jewish Bible




Tuesday, February 18, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “Mercy”:3rd in the series “The Parables of Jesus” of the main  series “The Quest to Know ‘Who is Jesus’” John 10:1-21

TEXT: And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, "Teacher, what shall  I do to inherit eternal life?"  26 He said to him, "What is written in the law?  What is your reading of it?"  27 So he answered and said, "You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind," and "your neighbor as yourself."  28 And He said to him, "You have answered rightly; do this and you will live."  29 But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?"  30 Then Jesus answered and said: "A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.  31 Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.  32 Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side.  33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was.  And when he saw him, he had compassion.  34 So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him.  35 On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, "Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you."  36 So which of these three do you think was

neighbor to him who fell among the thieves"  37 And he said, "He who showed mercy on him." Then Jesus said to him, "Go and do likewise."  Luke 10:25-37

The next question comes from Jesus as He responds to the lawyer’s question. Jesus asks, "Whatis written in the law?  What is your reading of it?"  The lawyer had a little leather box called a phylactery.  Several passages of Scripture were in the box, two of which were Deut. 6:4 and Deut. 6:5. These were the two verses which he quoted.

"You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind," and "your neighbor as yourself." (vs. 27) (Mt. 19:16-22; 22:35-40) 

If a man wishes eternal life, he must look into the law of God.  A person is to love God supremely. "Love the Lord thy God."  Love God as your very own God. This is a personal relationship, not a distant relationship.  God is not impersonal, not far out in space someplace, distant and removed.  God is personal, ever so close, and we are to be personally involved with God as though face to face.  The command is to "Love the Lord thy God."  Loving God is alive and active, not dead and inactive.  We are, therefore, to maintain a personal relationship with God that is alive and active.  Jesus’ answer, "You have answered rightly; do this and you will live" settles the question forever if men really want to know.  The only way you can “love God” and men are by the new birth. (John 3:3-5; 2 Corinthians 5:17)

Perhaps the expert was retreating to safer theological ground with his follow-up question about neighbors (v. 29).  The lawyer’s response was to “justify himself” (vs. 29).  This is like the average man of no real sincerity and honesty.  He then goes on to ask Jesus “And who is my neighbor?  In Jesus response to this question he uses the word “answered” which is a Greek word only used here once and in Lk. 7:43; Acts 1:9; 2:15, and it means 'to take the ground from under him'.  But Jesus’ goal was not to debate theology; it was to show us what God is like.


Pastor Larry


Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: Luke 10:25-37

Pray or do: Father God, my heart’s desire is to understand and experience you more today. Please help me do that as I think about your Word today.

Bonus Material:

The series is adapted from The Essential Jesus: 100 Readings Through the Bible's Greatest Story

By Whitney T. Kuniholm© 2007 by Whitney T. Kuniholm.

POSB Commentary

The Complete Jewish Bible




Monday, February 17, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “Mercy”:3rd in the series “The Parables of Jesus” of the main  series “The Quest to Know ‘Who is Jesus’” John 10:1-21

TEXT: And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, "Teacher, what shall  I do to inherit eternal life?"  26 He said to him, "What is written in the law?  What is your reading of it?" 27 So he answered and said, "You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself."  28 And He said to him, "You have answered rightly; do this and you will live."  29 But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?"  30 Then Jesus answered and said: "A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.  31 Now by chance a certain priest came down that road.  And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.  32 Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and  looked, and passed by on the other side.  33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came  where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him.  35 On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, "Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you."  36 So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?" 37 And he said, "He who showed mercy on him." Then Jesus said to him, "Go and do likewise." Luke 10:25-37

So many people want to draw attention to themselves by asking smart-sounding questions.   That’s the challenge Jesus faced in this impromptu Q & A session . Initially, the expert in the law wasn’t interested in spiritual things; his intent was “to test Jesus” (v. 25).  Even so, Jesus allowed him his fifteen seconds of fame; I imagine the tone of verse 26 to be something like this: 

“Okay, Mr. Know-It-All, why don’t you show everyone how well you know the Scriptures.”  But Jesus knew that beneath the man’s desire to show off was a deeper need; he wasn’t sure of his relationship with God (v. 29). 

The first question that is asked is found in verse 25. We find this lawyer, who is a teacher or in  today’s term a Doctor of Divinity, ask the question of Jesus, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?"  Note that the lawyer's question stressed works.  He asked, "What shall I do?"  To him, salvation was by works.  God was going to accept him because he was or could become good enough.  He had no concept of the part that God's love and grace played in salvation (See Ephes. 2:8-8; Titus 3:5-7 for a description of what he failed to see). 

The next devotional will examine the responding question asked by Jesus of the lawyer.


Pastor Larry

Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: Luke 10:25-37

Pray or do: Father God, my heart’s desire is to understand and experience you more today. Please help me do that as I think about your Word today. 

Bonus Material: 

The series is adapted from The Essential Jesus: 100 Readings Through the Bible's Greatest Story

By Whitney T. Kuniholm© 2007 by Whitney T. Kuniholm.

POSB Commentary

The Complete Jewish Bible



Friday, February 14, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “The Only Way”: 2nd in the series “The Parables of Jesus” of the  main series “The Quest to Know ‘Who is Jesus’” John 10:1-21

TEXT: I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. 15 As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.  16 And  other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.  17 Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again.  18 No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself.  I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.  This command I have received from My Father.  19 Therefore there was a division again among the Jews because of these sayings.  20 And many of them said, "He has a demon and is mad.   Why do you listen to Him"  21 Others said, "These are not the words of one who has a demon.  Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?"  John 10:14-21

The Truths that Jesus is teaching:

1. I am the door of the sheep (Jn. 10:7, 9).

2. All previously announced messiahs were false (Jn. 10:8).

3. I am the way to salvation (Jn. 10:9; 3:15-20, 36; 5:24; 14:6).

4. Anyone can go in and out and be perfectly free  (Jn. 10:9; 8:32)

5. The devil's work is to steal (Lk. 8:12), kill (Heb. 2:14), and destroy (Jn. 10:10; Mk. 9:22; Lk.  13:16; Acts 10:38; Job 2:7). 

6. I am come that men might have abundant life

(Jn. 10:10; Mt. 4:23; 8:17; Lk. 4:18; Acts 10:38; 1Pet. 2:24; Heb. 2:14; Isa. 53).

7. I am the good shepherd: the chief shepherd, and great shepherd  (Jn. 10:11, 14 ; 1Pet. 5:4; Heb. 13:20). He is also head of the church (Eph. 1:20-23; 5:25-31; Col. 1:18,24), and head of all principality and power (Col. 2:10; 1Pet. 3:22)

8. I redeem the sheep by dying in their place

(Jn. 10:11, 15 ,17-18; Isa. 53; 1Pet. 2:24).

9. Hireling shepherds flee from danger and leave the sheep to death, destruction, and division

(Jn. 10:12-13; Acts 20:28-31; Rom. 16:17; 2Cor. 11:14-15; 1Tim. 4; 2Tim. 4).

10. I know My sheep and they know Me (Jn. 10:14, 27 ; Jn. 17:1-3).

11. I know the Father and He knows Me (Jn. 10:15; 7:29; 8:55).

12. I have other sheep (Gentiles) which are not of this (Jewish) fold. They will hear My voice  and come into the fold, having one shepherd (Jn. 10:16; Rom. 10:12; 1Cor. 12:13; Gal. 3:28; Eph. 1:10; 2:11-22; 3:6-15).

13. My Father loves Me because I sacrifice My life for the sheep (Jn. 10:17; 1Pet. 2:24; Col. 2:20). 

14. No man can kill Me.  I volunteer to die for men (Jn. 10:18; Jn. 19:11; Isa. 53:7).

15. I will be resurrected (Jn. 10:17-18; 1Cor. 15; Mt. 28).

16. All who hear My voice and do not obey are not My sheep; all who hear My voice and obey are My sheep.  I know My sheep, and they follow and obey Me daily. To all who obey and follow Me I give eternal life. They shall never perish, nor be plucked from My hand (Jn. 10:25-29; Mt. 19:27-30; Mk. 10:28-31; Lk. 9:23; 18:28-30; Gal. 6:7-8; Rom. 6:16-23; 8:12-13). 

In spite of the miracles of Jesus and the wisdom of His words men still rejected Him both then  and now and many of them said, "He has a demon and is mad. Why do you listen to Him?"  John 10:20  Jesus stated His reason for coming in verse 10, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full”.  If you have believed in Jesus as Savior and Lord and received His word then you have that abundant life. If you have not it is not too late to put your trust in Christ for your salvation.


Pastor Larry

Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: See scriptures above!

Pray or do: Spend some time praying for one person you know who’s struggling with the idea that Jesus is the way to God. 


Bonus Material:

The series is adapted from The Essential Jesus: 100 Readings Through the Bible';s Greatest Story

By Whitney T. Kuniholm© 2007 by Whitney T. Kuniholm.

POSB Commentary

The Complete Jewish Bible




    

Thursday, February 13, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “The Only Way”: 2 nd in the series “The Parables of Jesus” of the  main series “The Quest to Know ‘Who is Jesus’” John 10:1-21

TEXT: I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own.  15 As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.  16 And  other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.  17 Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again.  18 No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself.  I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.  This  command I have received from My Father.  19 Therefore there was a division again among the Jews because of these sayings.  20 And many of them said, "He has a demon and is mad.  Why do you listen to Him?"  21 Others said, "These are not the words of one who has a demon.  Can a demon open the eyes of the blind"  John 10:14-21

The Good Shepherd

The second analogy, about the good shepherd, is more familiar.  The Bible often uses the image  of a shepherd and sheep to communicate God’s relationship with his people (Isaiah 40:11; Ezekiel 34:12).  In this passage Jesus emphasizes two details of the picture.  The first is the shepherd’s voice.  Jesus’ followers can enjoy close relationship with him (John 10:14); they will recognize his voice (vv. 4-5).  He is not an impersonal “higher being.”  He knows your name (v. 3); Eastern shepherds give names to their sheep as we do to dogs and horses.  Every sheep recognizes his own name and comes when called.  Even when flocks are mingled they speedily separate at the command of the shepherd.  Jesus cares about you like a shepherd who recognizes and loves his sheep.  Eastern shepherds go before their flocks to lead them to good grass and water.  Sheep always follow their own shepherd, but will pay no attention to strangers.  The second detail is the shepherd’s willingness to sacrifice himself (vv. 11, 15, 17).  “As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep” and “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again.”

Jesus is clearly foreshadowing what he would later do on the cross and His resurrection.


Pastor Larry

Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: See scriptures above!

Pray or do: Heavenly Father, I long to hear your voice. Please help me listen with my heart as I spend time with you and your Word.

Bonus Material:

The series is adapted from The Essential Jesus: 100 Readings Through the Bible's Greatest Story

By Whitney T. Kuniholm© 2007 by Whitney T. Kuniholm.

POSB Commentary

The Complete Jewish Bible





Wednesday, February 12, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “The Only Way”: 2 nd in the series “The Parables of Jesus” of the  main series “The Quest to Know ‘Who is Jesus’” John 10:1-21

TEXT: But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them.  13 The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep.  John 10:12-13


Marks of a Good Pastor

Pastors are called shepherd as well.  They are under-shepherds.  There are certain characteristics that apply to them according to the scriptures. 

1. Personal knowledge: no stranger to God or gospel experiences  (Jn. 10:5; 2Cor. 5:17; Jn. 3:5; Gal. 5:16-26; 1Cor. 12) 

2. Divine call: not from avarice, personal ambition, respect, honor, self-interests, or love of ease (Jn. 10:2; Acts 13:3; 1Cor. 12:28; Eph. 4:11; Rom. 11:29) 

3. Consecrated motives: God's will and glory, salvation of lost souls, and the best interests  of the church and all men (Jn. 10:9-13; Lk. 19:10; Acts 10:28; 2Cor. 5:14-21; Eph. 4:12) 

4. Divine anointing: not human education, wisdom, polish, and effort only, but divine leading and help (Lk. 11:13; 24:49; Jn. 7:37-39; 14:12-17,26; 15:26; Acts 1:4-8; 5:32; 1Cor. 2:1-10; 12:1-11; 2Cor. 3) 

5. Personal interest: acquaintance with his flock, private and public instruction, and  helpfulness in all problems (Jn. 10:3,9; Acts 20:26-35; Eph. 1:15-19; 3:13-21; 1Th. 2:4-13; 2Tim. 4:1-5; Heb. 13:7,17) 

6. Good example: lead, not drive; feed, not destroy; and live what is preached  (Jn. 10:3-4; 1Cor. 4:9-13; 2Cor. 4:8-18; 6:1-10; 1Tim. 3:1-13; 4:11-16; 2Tim. 2; Tit. 1) 

7. Divine success: be zealous and fearless to protect, heal, preserve, increase, visit, and  sacrifice for the flock (Jn. 10:9-18; Mk. 16:17-18; Jas. 5:14-16; Lk. 19:10; Jer. 23:1-8; Ezek. 13:1-9; Ezek. 34) 

The point of the gate analogy is straightforward: Jesus is the entry point into God’s kingdom (v. 9). When I or any other minister of the gospel is making this claim it is not us imposing our belief that Jesus is the only way to salvation.  It is not just our belief; it is what Jesus said and being the Son of God He should know. 


Pastor Larry

Please feel free to share and/or to respond!

Scriptures are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. 

Daily reading: See scriptures above!

Pray or do: Heavenly Father, I long to hear your voice. Please help me listen with my heart as I spend time with you  and your Word. 

Bonus Material: 

The series is adapted from The Essential Jesus: 100 Readings Through the Bible's Greatest Story

By Whitney T. Kuniholm© 2007 by Whitney T. Kuniholm.

POSB Commentary

The Complete Jewish Bible





Monday, February 10, 2020


The devotionals this week are from my message “The Only Way”: 2 nd in the series “The Parables of Jesus” of the  main series “The Quest to Know ‘Who is Jesus’” John 10:1-21

TEXT: "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but  climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.  2 But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.  3 To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.  4 And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.  5 Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers."  6 Jesus used this illustration, but they did not understand the things which He  spoke to them.  7 Then Jesus said to them again, "Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them.  9 I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.  10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.  I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly."  John 10:1-10. 

At different points in his teaching ministry, Jesus used a variation of the parable style of teaching to communicate with his listeners.  He used a “figure of speech” (v. 6).  Instead of telling a story, he presented word pictures or analogies and then used them to describe several nuances of spiritual truth.  In our devotions this week, we find two of these—a gate to a sheep pen and a good shepherd.  The Gate (John 10:1-10)  First let me give you some definitions and background to verses 1 to 10.

“Verily, Verily” in the KJV is “Most assuredly” in the NKJV and it means surely, surely or Amen, amen.  It is used for emphasis by Jesus who is the truth.  “I say to you” is used by Jesus 135 times in the NT and expresses complete authority when used by Him.  A “thief” means exactly what their name implies.  They are false teachers, who do not care to instruct men, but abuse their confidence for gain.  A “robber” is one who uses violence.  The “sheepfold” refers to the place of shelter for flocks where they might repose at night and be safe from the attacks of wild beasts. Sheepfolds were low buildings opening into a court,

surrounded by a stone wall or fence, with a layer of thorns on top for protection.  A doorway carefully guarded the entrance (Num. 32:16-36; 1Sam. 24:3; 2Chr. 32:28; Ps. 78:70).  The sheepfold represents our place of security in God’s presence.  It is our position of salvation that is ours by believing that Jesus is the Son of God.  The false shepherds or teachers are represented by the world’s religionists who go after the sheep.  They are thieves (deceivers and dishonest men) and robbers (those who uses violence and destroy lives by their false doctrines and greed) who climb into the sheepfold “some other way” (works, rituals, secret knowledge, etc.) than the acceptable way which is the door, Jesus Christ.  Porter (vs 3) - The doorkeeper of the fold who opens to the shepherds to get their flocks in the morning and who receives them at night.  “But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep”, vs. 2, 7 is a reference to Jesus Himself who is the