Daily Devotionals

The Pastors of the church provide a daily devotional entitled Today's Word of Encouragement they hope will be a source of inspiration, encouragement, and strengthening of your faith. It is not intended to take the place of other devotional materials (Our Daily Bread, Open Windows, etc.) but to supplement those devotionals. Contact the church office if you wish to receive Today's Word of Encouragement via email, or subscribe to the church's website and it will be sent to you automatically. We pray it will be an encouragement to you.

August 14, 2020

Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few (Matthew 7:13-14).

This is a letter written to a Melbourne, Australia, daily newspaper.

August 12, 2020

Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few (Matthew 7:13-14).

The narrow gate is Jesus Christ. The wide gate is everyone and everything else that promises salvation. The narrow gate opens up to the path that is hard. The wide gate opens up to the path that is easy. The hard way is the way of holiness and righteousness. The easy way is the way of ungodliness and worldliness. Both gates and paths lead to eternity, but the narrow gate and hard path leads to eternal life, whereas the wide gate and easy path leads to eternal damnation.

August 11, 2020

Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few (Matthew 7:13-14).

The narrow gate is Jesus Christ. The wide gate is everyone and everything else that promises salvation. The narrow gate leads to the way that is hard. The wide gate leads to the way that is easy. The hard way is the way of holiness and righteousness. The easy way is the way of ungodliness and worldliness. There are two gates to eternity and there are two ways to travel to eternity.

August 9, 2020

Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few (Matthew 7:13-14).

The Marvel Cave, a cavern ca. 500 feet underground, is one of the main attractions at Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri. The Cathedral Room in the cavern is large enough to stand the Statue of Liberty. The entrance into the room is so narrow and the ceiling so low only one person at a time can squeeze through.

July 25, 2020

Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? (Matthew 6:25).

Over the door of my Old Testament Professor’s door in Seminary was a sign that read, “Your life is God’s gift to you, what you make of it is your gift to God.” I’ve thought of those words many times since my seminary days. My life has been filled with successes and struggles, good days and bad, just like everyone else. But one thing I have known through it all - God has been faithful to provide for my needs and the needs of my family, without fail. That’s His promise to all who trust in Him faithfully.

July 24, 2020

Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? (Matthew 6:25).
 

July 23, 2020

No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money (Matthew 6:24).

Someone ask me along time ago, “Man, how did Solomon make it with all those wives to deal with?” The answer is, “He didn’t.” What began as a promising career as the King of Israel ended up a sad and lamented epitaph of a life ruined with too many masters. In truth, when you read Ecclesiastes 2:1-11 you will realize the problem was not with Solomon’s wives, his wealth, his fame, or even his status as king. The problem with Solomon was Solomon. He did not have a ‘healthy eye’ or a ‘single eye’ (6:22-23). God was not his master, he was his own master.

July 22, 2020

     The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! (Matthew 6:22-23).

    It is a given that most of us take our eyes for granted . . . until something goes wrong with our sight, then we get very concerned. In this text Jesus used our eyesight as an illustration for what He had just talked about – focusing our attention on the Lord and His ministry through our generosity.

July 21, 2020

     . . . but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Matthew 6:20-21).

July 20, 2020

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal (Matthew 6:19).

What do you prize most of all in life? What is it that you treasure? Family? Peace? Contentment? Health? Safety? Do you treasure the material things of life - wealth, fine clothes or foods, a luxurious car or house? Or do you treasure status, popularity, acceptance, power, influence?

July 19, 2020

And your Father who sees in secret will reward you (Matthew 6:18).

July 18, 2020

And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you (Matthew 6:16-18).

Fasting is the abstaining from food and drink out of necessity or as a religious practice. In Scripture, fasting is primarily a religious activity that expresses grief or sorrow.

July 17, 2020

For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions (Matthew 6:14-15).

These two verses are not a part of the Model Prayer, but are a commentary of Jesus on a significant point of the prayer. Jesus repeated one of the petitions in the prayer for a purpose, . . . forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors (v.12).

July 16, 2020

For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen (Matthew 6:13).
 
This is properly called a doxology - a hymn of praise - akin to our “Praise God from whom all blessings flow. Praise Him all creatures here below. Praise Him above, ye heavenly host. Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.”
 

July 15, 2020

     . . . forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors (Matthew 6:12).

June 15, 2020

COVENANT
Monday, June 15, 2020

    It was also said, 'Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce' (Matthew 5:31).

June 14, 2020

LOVE AND MARRIAGE
Sunday, June 14, 2020

    It was also said, 'Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.' But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery (Matthew 5:31-32).

June 13, 2020

SELF CONTROL
Saturday, June 13, 2020

    If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. . . . And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell (Matthew 5:29-30).

June 12, 2020

Friday, June 12, 2020

    But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart (Matthew 5:28).

June 11, 2020

LUST
Thursday, June 11, 2020

     You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery.' But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart (Matthew 5:27-28).

June 10, 2020

STUBBORNNESS
Wednesday, June 10, 2020

    Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison. Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny (Matthew 5:25-26).

June 9, 2020

HYPOCRISY
Tuesday, June 09, 2020

    So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift (Matthew 5:23-24).

June 8, 2020

ANGER
Monday, June 08, 2020

     . . . everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, 'You fool!' will be liable to the hell of fire (Matthew 5:22).

June 7, 2020

TRUE RIGHTEOUSNESS
Sunday, June 07, 2020

    For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:20).

June 6, 2020

INSTRUCTION WITH APPLICATION
Saturday, June 06, 2020

    Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock (Matthew 5:22).

June 5, 2020

JESUS AND THE LAW
Friday, June 05, 2020

    Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them (Matthew 5:17).

June 4, 2020

LIGHT
Thursday, June 04, 2020

    You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven (Matthew 5:14-16).

     Like salt (v.13), light is essential to life. We cannot live without it. Very few things can live without it. There are many organisms that live in places where light does not reach, such as the depths of oceans or underground caves. However, most organisms require some input of solar energy into their food chain. Some of the effects of light include:

June 2, 2020

PERSECUTED
Tuesday, May 02, 2020

    Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:10).

June 1, 2020

PEACE
Monday, June 1, 2020

    Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God (Matthew 5:9).

May 31, 2020

A PURE HEART
Sunday, May 31, 2020

     Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God (Matthew 5:8).

May 29, 2020

STEPS TO SALVATION
Friday, May 29, 2020

    Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
    Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
    Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
    Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied
(Matthew 5:3-6).

May 28, 2020

STARVING FOR SATISFACTION
Thursday, May 28, 2020

    Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied (Matthew 5:6).

May 27, 2020

MEEK, NOT WEAK
Wednesday, May 27, 2020

    Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth (Matthew 5:5).

May 26, 2020

INCREASING WHILE ISOLATED

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

. . . let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near (Hebrews 10:24-25 NASB).

     We may rightly infer from this passage that there is no substitute for the personal assembling of ourselves together in public worship.  It obviously does not mean, however, that we must decline spiritually when we are restrained from meeting. There are a number of recorded cases in the Bible where God's people flourished spiritually in isolation.

May 25, 2020

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted (Matthew 5:4).

Each principle in the Sermon on the Mount is not as an independent entity, but as part of a whole - like links in a chain. The first link is to recognize not just that we are destitute in spirit, but I am destitute in spirit. The Holy Spirit opens my eyes to it, and I must acknowledge and accept it as God’s truth.

The second link in this spiritual chain is to respond to the truth. I can do this in one of two ways: 1) ignore it, excuse it, rationalize it, or simply reject it, or 2) grieve over it.

May 24, 2020

BROKEN HEARTED
Monday, May 25, 2020

    Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted (Matthew 5:4).

May 24, 2020

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:3).

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus initiated His 3½ year ministry of rescuing lost souls from judgment and restoring God’s Kingdom on earth. He began by outlining what it means to be His disciple and a citizen of His Kingdom. Carefully read the Sermon and you will see the values we honor as model citizens are 180̊ opposite of the values Jesus honors in His Kingdom.

May 23, 2020

DESTITUTE IN SPIRIT

Sunday, May 24, 2020

    Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:3).

     In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus initiated His 3½ year ministry of rescuing lost souls from judgment and restoring God’s Kingdom on earth. He began by outlining what it means to be His disciple and a citizen of His Kingdom. Carefully read the Sermon and you will see the values we honor as model citizens are 180̊ opposite of the values Jesus honors in His Kingdom.

May 23, 2020

Seeing the crowds, He went up on the mountain, and when He sat down, His disciples came to Him. And He opened His mouth and taught them (Matthew 5:1-2).

May 22, 2020

THE SERMON OF SERMONS
Saturday, May 23, 2020

    Seeing the crowds, He went up on the mountain, and when He sat down, His disciples came to Him. And He opened His mouth and taught them (Matthew 5:1-2).

May 22, 2020

The ‘Tau’ (T) section of Psalm 119 (vv. 169-176) is the last section of this marvelous song on the excellency of God’s Word. In this conclusion to the Psalm, King David drew together everything expressed throughout the song:

    • He asked God for a deeper understanding of His Word,
    • He asked for continued deliverance from his enemies,
    • He praised God for His grace,
    • He was thankful to God for His help and guidance.

May 21, 2020

THE SAVING WORD OF GOD
Friday, May 22, 2020

     The ‘Tau’ (T) section of Psalm 119 (vv. 169-176) is the last section of this marvelous song on the excellency of God’s Word. In this conclusion to the Psalm, King David drew together everything expressed throughout the song:

    • He asked God for a deeper understanding of His Word,
    • He asked for continued deliverance from his enemies,
    • He praised God for His grace,
    • He was thankful to God for His help and guidance.

   In his summary, David again recognized his failures, his flaws, his sinfulness. But he asked that the Lord would not let his weaknesses stand in the way of hearing and answering his prayers.

May 20, 2020

PRAISE FOR THE WORD OF GOD
Thursday, May 21, 2020

     Sometimes prayer needs no petition, but should be the simple sacrifice of praise to God from a grateful heart. Though we are a needy people, our greatest need is to recognize the great love, mercy, grace, and compassion of the Lord, and to thank Him for these gifts. The mind, heart, and spirit need to give God the glory for His goodness toward us.

     Seven times a day I praise You, because of Your righteous ordinances (Psalm 119:164).

May 20, 2020

THE REVIVING WORD OF GOD
Wednesday, May 20, 2020
 
     In the ‘Resh’ (R) section of Psalm 119 (vv. 153-160) David cried out to God,
 
     Revive me according to Your word (v. 154),
     Revive me according to Your ordinances (v. 156),
     Revive me, O Lord, according to Your lovingkindness (v. 159).
 
     The word ‘revive’ has a multitude of meanings depending on how the word is used in its context. It can mean, ‘to make alive’, to come alive’, ‘to give life’, ‘to keep alive’, ‘to live again’, ‘to preserve alive’, ‘to restore life’, etc.

May 18, 2020

WAITING ON GOD’S WORD
Tuesday, May 19, 2020

     I have observed an interesting phenomenon among some Christians of late. There is the idea that since we have the Holy Spirit living within us to speak God’s counsel to us, there is little need to study the Scriptures. Simply put, some say “The Holy Spirit will tell me what I need to know, so why spend time studying the Bible?” This is a very short sided and completely unbiblical approach to the Christian life.
     What was King David’s attitude toward God’s Word?

    I rise before dawn and cry for help; I wait for Your words. My eyes anticipate the night watches, that I may meditate on Your word (Psalm 119:147-148).

May 17, 2020

THE SUSTAINING POWER OF GOD'S WORD
Monday, May 18, 2020

    Trouble and anguish have come upon me, yet Your commandments are my delight (Psalm 119:143).

     The people of God are no strangers to trouble and hardship. Yet we do not face trials and testings alone. The Lord has promised His presence with His people - always

    . . . I am with you always, even to the end of the age (Matthew 28:20).
    . . . He Himself has said, "I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you" (Hebrews 13:5).

     Knowing the presence of God with us is comfort enough, but understanding the sustaining power of His Word is an added comfort.

May 17, 2020

PASSION FOR THE WORD OF GOD

Psalm 119:129-136

Sunday, May 17, 2020

      How much did King David love the Word of God? What if the Christian church today, and all its members, loved God’s Word as David did? My mother taught me “to love God’s Word is to love God; to love God is to love His Word.” Note the love affair David had with the Law of God.

      Your testimonies are wonderful (awesome, beyond excellent),

           therefore my soul observes (to protect, keep, obey) them.

     The unfolding (doorway, entrance, portal) of Your words gives light (insight, to illuminate);

May 15, 2020

JUSTICE OR MERCY?

Saturday, May 16, 2020

     Deal with Your servant according to Your lovingkindness and teach me Your statutes (Psalm 119:124).

     Scripture tells us that God is a holy, righteous, and just God - that He executes justice for the orphan and the widow (Deuteronomy 10:18), He gives justice to the afflicted (Job 36:6), He leads the humble in justice (Psalm 25:9), and that righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne (Psalm 89:14). ‘Justice’ (mishpat) has a broad range of meaning and application in the Bible, but basically it means ‘to make right’ or ‘to set in order’, albeit by judgment, penalty, or punishment.

May 15, 2020

MY HIDING PLACE AND SHIELD
Friday, May 15, 2020

    You are my hiding place and my shield; I wait for Your word (Psalm 119:114).

May 13, 2020

THE GUIDANCE OF GOD’S WORD
Thursday, May 14, 2020

    Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path (Psalm 119:105).

May 12, 2020

THE WISDOM OF GOD’S WORD
Wednesday, May 13, 2020

    O how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day. Your commandments make me wiser than my enemies, for they are ever mine (Psalms 119:97-98).

May 11, 2020

THE ETERNAL, IMMUTABLE, UNCHANGING  WORD OF GOD

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

    Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven (Psalms 119:89).

    Someone once said, “The only thing constant in the universe is change.” Not so with the Word of God. It is forever settled, it forever stands. The ‘Lamedh’ (L) section of Psalm 119 (vv. 89-96) declares it so.

Pages