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Day 333 of The Bible in a Year: Peter Is Rescued From Prison
"The acts of the apostles, chapter 12. James killed, and Peter imprisoned by Herod. About that time Herod the king laid violent hands upon some who belonged to the church, he killed James, the brother of John with the sword. And when he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. This was during the days of unleavened bread, and when he had seized him, he put him in prison and delivered him to four squads of soldiers to guard him, intending after the Passover to bring him out to the people. So, Peter was kept in prison, but Ernest prayer for him was being made to God by the church. An angel rescues Peter from prison. That very night, when Herod was about to bring him out, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers bound with two chains and sentries before the door were guarding the prison. And behold, an angel of the lord appeared, and a light shone in the cell, and he struck Peter on the side and woke him saying, get up quickly. And the chains fell off his hands, and the angel said to him, dress yourself and put on your sandals, and he did so. And he said to him, wrap your cloak around you and follow followed him, he did not know that what was done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. When they had passed the first and the second guard, they came to the iron gate leading into the city. It opened to them of its own accord, and they went out and passed on through one street, and immediately the angel left him. And Peter came to himself and said, now I am sure that the lord has sent his angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod, and from all that the Jewish people were expecting. When he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John, whose other name was Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying, and when he knocked at the door of the gateway, I made named rhoda came to answer. Recognizing Peter's voice in her joy, she did not open the gate, but ran in and told that Peter was standing at the gate. They said to her, you are mad. But she insisted that it was so. They said, it is his angel. But Peter continued knocking, and when they opened, they saw him and were amazed. But motioning to them with his hand to be silent, he described to them how the lord had brought him out of the prison, and he said, tell this to James, and to the brethren. Then he departed, and went to another place.
A Meditation on Luke 10:21-24 for Tuesday of the 1st Week of Advent
"For the next few moments, surrender all the cares and concerns of the stay to the lord. Say slowly, from your heart, Jesus. I trust in you. You. Take over. Become aware that he is with you. Looking upon you with love. Wanting to be heard, deep within your heart. A reading from the holy gospel, according to Luke, chapter ten versus 21 through 24. Filled with joy by the Holy Spirit, Jesus said. I bless you father, lord of heaven and earth, for hiding these things from the learned and the clever and revealing them to mere children. Yes, father, for that is what it pleased you to do. Everything has been entrusted to me by my father, and no one knows who the sun is, except the father, and who the father is except the son, and those to whom the sun chooses to reveal him. Turning to his disciples, he spoke to them in private. Happy the eyes that see what you see, for I tell you that many prophets and kings wanted to see what you see, and never saw it, to hear what you hear, and never heard it. What word made this passage come alive for you. What did you sense the lord saying to you?
Why Evangelicals Shouldn't Fear Sacramental Worship
"Why do you think there is this fear or suspicion in the evangelical world over sacramental practices? You know, I think one concern that evangelicals have and that I had was that if you if you used, if you were to engage in the sacraments, you could make an idol out of them. And that they could be something that you were worshiping instead of Jesus Christ. And you know, that's something that we all have to guard against, that we don't replace Jesus with something that is religious, that maybe looks like Jesus, but actually isn't him. And we really want to follow the second commandment. We will not set up idols to worship. And so I think that's one concern. And I think another concern that people have is just the physical nature of liturgical worship that it involves your body. We're really strong in the evangelical world on what they know our thoughts and our feelings, reaching the heart and reaching the head, both of which matter to God. And but involving our bodies is another matter. And this is, this is one way that we can actually just honor the incarnation of Jesus Christ that he became flesh. You know, he took on a human body and in fact went to the cross and was resurrected in a human body. And today, praise God, he sits at God's right hand and intercedes for us in a human body. And when we're resurrected with him, when we rise on that final day, boy, we will stand before him in a body that has been resurrected. So, you know, the lord involves the human body in Salvation. And what liturgy and sacraments do is it sort of honors the bodies that God has given us as a gift. And just honors the fact that matter matters, you could say that matter matters. We don't worship creation, but we do honor creation as our lord did.
You Are Not Defined by Your Past
"We are never defined by our past. Everything in our life wants us to believe that we're defined by what we've been by how we failed by the mistakes that we've made that we can do something that will always define us for the rest of our life. But God seems to be saying again and again in scripture that we are not defined by our past, that there is nothing that can define us more completely and fully past present and future than our standing as sons and daughters of God and that it's because of Christ because of Christ's birth and that we celebrate at Christmas time that we can even have the freedom and the ability to be sons and daughters of God and that God gives us that through Jesus.
Managing Christmas Expectations As a Family
"Let's talk about expectations. I mean, we've got to talk about all the things that pull us down at Christmas, right? And you had a statement that really caught my attention, expectations are premeditated, resentment. Isn't that good? That's really good. And that's what is the originality for getting who you got it from. We actually know where we got that from. It was Bill and Laurie Loki, our dear Friends. But they have said that in the context of even in relationships, expectations are premeditated resentment. At Christmas. Well, think about how heavy we put expectation on even as Josh saying the joy of Christmas. I mean, hallmark just runs these movies, like 24/7 as if it's like this blissful experience. And here we are as moms and dads, bearing the burden of trying to meet those expectations for our kids in for ourselves. Not to mention the in laws. Extended family and all the things that you're expected to do. And I mean, if your kids are involved in schools and plays and all the gifts and the cookies you have to bring on this day, like there's just so much added weight and I think we get so burdened by trying to put in all these different inputs into our family, which are great. All these joy adders, or we think will be, and yet somehow, I don't know if it's just us, but I somehow you get to the end and the backside of the season and you're tired and you feel worn out and there's almost this sadness of like, ugh, it just wasn't what we expected. It was gonna be. How do you go in then with a healthier expectation? What should you do to say to yourself, okay? I'm going to take this a little differently this year. I think it's concept of inhaling and exhaling, right? We need it to stay alive. But we inhale all these experiences and things for our kids. Take them to see Santa. Or whatever, you know, all these traditions we do. We go around and see the lights. We go to all the Christmas plays, all the things we think are so great, and they are. But when we're constantly just inputting, like, inhale, inhale, inhale. We get worn out. And so we need to make these moments for exhale, where you're able to just be. As a family, in your home, and that's where, you know, to do some of these devotions or these times together, where you're just asking questions and you're sitting around the dinner table, it allows you to truly exhale where you can process the feelings of the day over the week, you can process these experience that you've had. And that's where you really start to come back. I think into this state of contentment, where you're grateful. Yeah.
A Mediation on Matthew 8:5-11 for Monday of the 1st Week of Advent
"For the next few moments, surrender all the cares and concerns of the stay to the lord. Say slowly, from your heart, Jesus. I trust in you. You. Take over. Become aware that he is with you. Looking upon you with love. Wanting to be heard, deep within your heart. A reading from the holy gospel, according to Matthew, chapter 8 versus 5 through 11. When Jesus went into capernaum, a centurion came up and pleaded with him. Sir, he said, my servant is lying at home paralyzed and in great pain. I will come myself in cure him, said Jesus. A centurion replied. Sir, I am not worthy to have you under my roof. Just give the word in my servant will be cured. For I am under authority myself and have soldiers under me, and I say to one man, go, and he goes to another, come here, and he comes. To my servant, do this, and he does it. When Jesus heard this he was astonished and said to those following him, I tell you solemnly, nowhere in Israel have I found faith like this, and I tell you that many will come from east and west to take their places with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob at the feast in the Kingdom of Heaven. What word made this passage come alive for you? What did you sense the lord saying to you?
Seek God's Correction
"Micah, chapter two verse 11. If a man should go about and utter wind and lies, saying I will preach to you of wine and strong drink he would be the preacher for this people. What a verse on a commentary on both the people in Micah's day and false prophets and Micah's day. God is saying through a faithful, true prophet, Micah, that his people just want to hear what they want to hear. They want to be encouraged and comforted to continue living for the prosperity of this world instead of being confronted and corrected in ways that would be pleasing to God, so I read this and I think, what about us? Do we want to hear confronting correcting truth in God's word? Do we welcome it and our hearts are we living with that kind of humility? I know I am prone to not want to be corrected, rebuked. By God's word or even by people who are sharing God's word with me, people who care for me and love me and want to help me grow in holiness, I can. I'm guessing we all can be prone to not want that and instead to just want comforting and encouraging words even if we're going in the wrong direction and are sinful foolishness, we can want to be encouraged toward selfishness and sin and at the same time here's a picture of Micah saying there are plenty of people who will do this who will encourage you and point you towards sin we live in a world where we are surrounded by people who are pointing us to that which is not from God and the danger is when there are even people who call themselves the people of God, who are doing this. So God we pray for your help in our lives for your Salvation from our own sinfulness. On a daily basis today, we pray that we would acknowledge God we pray that we would not ignore your correcting, rebuking, confronting, Holy Spirit,
An Advent Prayer for Hope
"Isaiah 9 6 says for to us a child is born to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders, and he will be called wonderful counselor. Mighty God, everlasting father. Prince of peace. Advent is a time of year celebrated in the preparation for Jesus's birth. It is the last four Sundays which lead to December 25th. As a four part series, we will pray through the meaning of each candle as we prepare our own hearts for Christmas. Actual advent goes from Sunday, November 27th, through December 24th this year. For more information about advent, you can visit Christianity dot com. Justin holcomb shares this. The more common advent candle tradition. However involves four candles, and new candle is lit on each of the four Sundays before Christmas. Each candle represents something different. Although traditions vary, the four candles traditionally represent hope, faith, joy and peace. Today, as we pray through the first candle hope, may we be reminded of the fulfilled promise of Jesus as the messiah, long awaited by the people's God, let's pray. Our great messiah thank you for being the fulfillment of the promise of eternal life to come. Thank you, that you came down to this earth to die for our sins. Jesus, please help us to reflect on your faithfulness through and through. You give hope to this dark world and you show us how to live with eternal perspective. Help us today in this week not to live with worldly eyes, but to see through spiritual eyes and know that you are over all and working everything out according to your purposes. God, you humbled yourself to come here and live the life that I could not live. Thank you for standing in my place and taking away my sins. Help me not to go a day without being thankful for that. Lord I confess areas in my life where I feel hopeless or doubtful for you to work. Would you please remind me that just as you have worked in the past throughout the Bible that you are still working today? Remind me that the hope that comes from you does not disappoint. Help me feel confident to trust in the one who never fails. Lord, you say in Romans 5 for 5 and hope does not disappoint us because God has poured out his love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit. Whom
Day 331: Peter Preaches to the Gentiles
"It is day 331 we're reading actually apostles chapter ten for Corinthians chapters one and two, probably chapter 27 versus 21 and 22. The acts of the apostles, chapter ten Peter and Cornelius at caesarea, there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion of what was known as the Italian cohort, a devout man who feared God with all his household, gave alms liberally to the people and prayed constantly to God. About the 9th hour of the day, he saw clearly in a vision, an angel of God coming in and saying to him, Cornelius. And he stared at him in terror and said, what is it, lord? And he said to him, your prayers and your alms have ascended as a memorial before God, and now send men to joppa. And bring one Simon, who is called Peter. He is lodging with Simon, a Tanner, whose house is by the seaside. When the angel who spoke to him had departed, he called two of his servants and had about soldier from among those that waited on him, and having related everything to them, he sent them to joppa. The next day, as they were on their journey and coming near the city. Peter went up on the housetop to pray about the 6th hour. And he became hungry and desired something to eat, but while they were preparing it, he fell into a trance, and saw the heaven opened, and something descending, like a great sheet, let down by four corners upon the earth. In it, were all kinds of animals and reptiles and birds of the air. And there came a voice to him, rise Peter, kill and eat. But Peter said, no lord, for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean. And the voice came to him again a second time, what God his cleansed, you must not call common. This happened three times, and the thing was taken up at once to heaven.
Don't Be Deceived by Prosperity
"Micah chapter one verse three for behold, the lord is coming out of his place and will come down and tread upon the high places of the earth on imagery. God, Micah says, is coming out of his place out of the heavens, and he's going to come down and tread upon the high places of the earth. That's a phrase high places that's used in different parts of scripture to refer to idolatry that had been set up among God's people or to refer to worldly prosperity and power, and that's what's interesting about the context here, in Micah, he's actually speaking prophesying these words in the middle of prosperity among God's people, material prosperity, but they were spiritually bankrupt and Micah knew the judgment and wrath were coming and would come if God's people continued and rebellion against him. And this is one of those places that we see all over the Bible where God warns us not to be lulled to sleep or deceived by prosperity specifically worldly prosperity. Jesus says over and over again that a great reversal is coming. Think about the way he describes the rich man and Lazarus, this rich man who had everything the world could offer and was basically ignoring the poor outside his house and the poor, Lazarus with nothing in this world, and when they find themselves beyond this world, it's a total reversal and this poor man is with the lord and Lazarus in hell. So let's not be deceived by material prosperity in this world, not that material possessions are bad. They're good gifts from God to be used for what will matter forever. And so we pray God to help us to not be deceived by prosperity, comfort, the things of this world, please keep us from thinking that because we have this or that we are secure God, please help us to see the things of this world as you see them to see what matters most in this world and to put our hope in you to find our security in you to put our trust in you.
A Prayer for Times of Uncertainty
"Sometimes things don't go as planned. And many times for reasons beyond what we can understand. This is why it's so important to remember where to place our hope in times of uncertainty. Our focus first reminds us that our trust is not to be placed in our circumstances, predictable or not. Instead our trust is meant for the lord, and the Bible is clear that it is safe for us to place our trust in the lord even when it doesn't make sense to us. We can do this because unlike our ever changing circumstances, our God remains the same. Hebrews 13 8. For those in Christ, we can safely build our entire lives upon the promises of God's word, knowing he has secured our last for eternity, Isaiah 33 6. And as for the temporary things that happen in this life, we can trust him to use those for our benefit too. He takes everything that happens to us, both good and bad and uses it for our good, the good of others, and his glory, Romans 8 28. The good news for those dreaded times of uncertainty is that our understanding and God's ability to work all things for our good and his glory are not mutually exclusive. Meaning one does not depend upon the other. We don't have to understand our situations to know that God is holding every detail of our lives together in his trustworthy hands. And praise God, he does not wait for us to understand to accomplish his plans and purposes in and through us. Let's pray. Dear lord, you know how much my heart desires predictability and security? But lord so often, I hope to find it in my circumstances instead of you. Lord forgive me when I don't trust you, when fear wells up inside of me, God let it prompt me to acknowledge your presence and your sovereignty over every detail of my life. Thank you that you are faithful, completely dependable, and trustworthy because you never change. Unlike the unpredictable circumstances that daily let me down. God, you never fail me. Joshua 20 one 45. And Jesus name, amen.
Caring for the Forgotten Generation
"What a great area of ministry, you know, so often we think of the elderly as maybe, you know, they live their lives and we think of them of having family that cares for them until the very end, and that's true of many, and that's a good thing. But so often, like I said, 1.3 million reside in nursing homes. I think there's another million people who are in assisted living facilities. So that's a lot, 2.3 million people. And there's something like 35% of the elderly who will be in one form or the other of that kind of living environment. And I guess the right place to start is so often those older folks are neglected. So what got you into this ministry? Would you admit it's kind of funny because I had no idea how I got into this. That's usually the lord then, right? Yes. I have a mechanical carpentry kind of a background. And so I knew that that's what I would be doing for the church, maybe building buildings and stuff like that. But somehow I ended up, I actually heard an interview on a radio program. They were looking for volunteers at a nursing home. And so I went and interviewed and they said, would you bring people out for the church service on Sunday afternoon? We have 5 pastures that rotate through the months and bring them out, let them sit through the service and then when they're done, take them back to their rooms. And so that's what I did. But after about a month or two of this watching the hunger inside their hearts for what Jesus offers, I began to pray and ask God, what can be done? What can I do to help these people grow closer to Jesus? And that's how it began. You know, it's interesting because even our experience, you know, we kind of fell in that direction because my assistant patty Watkins had said, hey, do you want to sign up to do this? And that'd be great to expose the kids to that. Now the reality is your experience will be all over the map. I remember one woman that we encountered, she was dressed to the hilt, and she was sitting on the edge of her bed, mentally sound as could be. We walked in and she said, it's so good to see you. Thank you for coming and visiting me. It was sweet. She was lucid. She had all her faculties and what was so sad about her situation, she said her two sons had put her in this nursing home and that they rarely come to visit her anymore. That broke my heart because she was capable of so much. I mean, she was older, but she was all there. And I thought, man, my heart just broke for her that they're not even stopping by to visit her. And I just remember that experience because I felt like, wow, she needs people to stop in and say, hi, that's all she needed. Yes, about 80% of the residents receive less than one visit a month from family or France. That's really heartbreaking.
God's Pity for All People (Jonah 4:11)
"Jonah chapter four verse 11, and should I not pity nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than a 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left and also much cattle. On a picture, I want to kind of hone in on one word in Jonah chapter four verse 11. God says, should not I pity nineveh on a picture of the pity of God and the contrast between God's pity God's compassion, God's love, God's care for nineveh and Jonah's pity for himself when you read Jonah chapter four and you see this plant that raises up to help Jonah be comfortable from the sun and then God takes it away and Jonah is writhing in self pity and it just causes me to look at my life and ask the question do I live am I in what ways am I prone to self pity and instead of living in light of the pity of God? And what ways am I prone to focus on myself and to complain about this or that in my life and a lack of comfort specifically in this way or that way? Instead of focusing on what rouses pity in the heart of God in the world around me, not that God doesn't care about the details of my life or your life. That's part of the beauty. He does pity us and in the same time he has pity for people who don't know him who need his grace and his mercy and we and it changes the way we live when we take our eyes off ourselves and we live with that kind of pity compassion, love for others, isn't this the second greatest commandment to love others as what as ourselves God we praise you for your pity for your pity upon us for the way you have saved us from our sins for the way you've provided for us in our lives. We praise you for your kindness, gentleness, mercy, compassion, love, and pity toward us all glory be to your name for your pity for us and for all people. So God help us to see as you see and to live accordingly to live and light of your pity, your compassion, your love for all people around us today got to help us to see people in need with compassion as you have done and do every day with us.
When Giving Thanks Is Hard
"The holidays are never cut and dry. Even though it feels as though life should be put on hold for the most joyous time of the year, unfortunately, it just doesn't work out that way. I can not describe what Christmas time does to me. It fills me with such unbridled joy. Joy that I remember feeling as a child, joy in the way it brings families together. I await this feeling all year long. As I tend to feel more depressed during the summer, I know a few who feel this way during the summer rather than the winter. When the weather starts to turn, the leaves begin to color, and then fall. And I feel the descent of the holidays, it erases that season and I feel joy in life once more. Of course, as I said, it's not that simple. Tragedy doesn't wait for the holidays to be over. It doesn't hold off until the day after Christmas to strike. Tragedy, any sort of tragedy, is terrible, no matter what time of year it is, yet it doesn't contrast with the most wonderful time of the year like it does around the holidays. When something
Reflecting on Your Blessings at Thanksgiving With Becky Kopitzke
"What is something at Thanksgiving that you guys have done as a tradition? Well, as a tradition, we do get together with all of the family and we do sound pretty excited about that. I love all mom and dad. She didn't mean it that way. We have to get together. Okay, so you're together. Yes, I love the extended family, but for us, our traditions largely surround food, and just the idea of recognizing and counting our blessings. I am that mom. No, I'm with Jean here, because I am that mom who says, let's really think about what are we thankful for? Where has God blessed us? And let's not be afraid to talk about it. And I get the same jokes, okay, mom says we have to talk about what we're thankful for, but it is good. We give them the opportunity to do that and as we go around that table, people actually start to pipe up and say, well, I am thankful for this and this and this. And maybe they haven't even thought about it all year round. It just gives us an opportunity to do that. You know, Thanksgiving, just generally, the attitude of Thanksgiving. Why do you think that would be important to God that his creation expresses Thanksgiving? Kind of like where he's coming from. Absolutely. We owe it all to him. We owe everything to him. And so Thanksgiving is not just for the capital T, Thanksgiving Day. Thanksgiving should be something we do daily. The Bible is filled with verses and passages on the importance of gratitude, the importance of generosity of God's generosity to us, and if we think that top of mind on a day to today basis are outpouring ought to be thanks for everything he's given us.
Living According to God's Word
"Jonah chapter three verse three, so Jonah arose and went to nineveh according to the word of the lord. Now, obviously, this could have happened in Jonah chapter one verse three. And this book would be completely different in the Bible. But after a journey to the sea and into the belly of a fish, Jonah is delivered from the consequences of his son and God says now go to nineveh, what I told you to do in the beginning and verse three says Jonah arose and went to nineveh according to the word of the lord and when I read that verse, I just think I so want that to be the commentary of my life. Don't you? And just put your name in there. Jonah arose. So David arose and so just put your name in there. Arose, and went according to the word of the lord. Everything I do, everything you do would be according to God's word. I think about praying through this chapter specifically when I was making a significant decision in my life and just saying God, I just want to do whatever you want me to do, help me to do whatever you want me to do. And I think right now today, I want the same. I don't want to do whatever you want me to do. I want to live today according to your word. I want the commentary of my life. I want to hear you say God well done good and faithful servant. You did. What I told you to do. Oh God, I pray for this in my life. And we pray for this and each of our lives today help us to do according to your word to live in obedience to your word and your spirit today
A Prayer for Thanksgiving
"States celebrates this holiday of God's provisions. Many of us will be cooking casseroles watching the Macy's parade, playing football in the backyard, and visiting with loved ones. This is not just a gathering. This is an opportunity to live out, giving thanks in all circumstances. This is not just God's will for one day a year. But for every day of our lives, as we pray for Thanksgiving May it remind us to be thankful always. Let's pray. Dear lord, thank you for holidays. Thank you for times when we gather with loved ones and celebrate all of your blessings. We pray that this Thanksgiving is a time of great gratitude and love for those around us. Whether relationships are strong or rocky. We are grateful for the opportunity to invest in them and nurture them. Thank you for the witnessing opportunities many of us will have with family or friends. Help us not to live in a spirit of fear, but of power and confidence in you. May our words of the gospel be pleasing like honey to them. Would you open their eyes to see the truth and that it will set them free?
A Time of Mediation on Luke 21:20-18
"For the next few moments, surrender all the cares and concerns of the stay to the lord. Say slowly, from your heart, Jesus. I trust in you. You. Take over. Become aware that he is with you. Looking upon you with love. Wanting to be heard, deep within your heart. A reading from the holy gospel, according to Luke, chapter 21 versus 20 through 28. Jesus said to his disciples, when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, you must realize that she will soon be laid desolate. Than those in Judea must escape to the mountains. Those inside the city must leave it, and those in country districts must not take refuge in it. For this is the time of vengeance when all that scripture says must be fulfilled. Alas, for those with child, or with babies at the breast, when those days come. For great misery will descend on the land and the wrath on his people. They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive to every pagan country and Jerusalem will be trampled down by the pagans until the age of pagans is completely over. There will be signs in the sun and moon and stars on earth nations and agony, bewildered by the clamor of the ocean and its waves. Men dying of fear as they await what menaces the world. For the powers of heaven will be shaken. And then they will see the son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand direct, hold your head sigh because your liberation is near at hand. What word made this passage come alive for you? What did you sense the lord saying to you?
A Prayer for Gathering When Relational Tension Is High
"This holiday season, even if you don't know what precautionary measures to take when it comes to your family's relational tension, commit to praying before you gather. We have a very real adversary who is committed to destroying families. John tintin. Saying hates to see guys children enjoying and worshiping God by gathering, rejoicing and celebrating, but Gaia's given us victory over the enemy. And we need to fight back with our spiritual weapons, while remembering our battle is not with flesh and blood. Ephesian 6 12. This holiday season, if you do nothing else, remember that your family members are not the enemy and put on every piece of God's armor, so you will be able to stand firm against our real enemies attacks. Finally, pray at all times and on every occasion, ephesian 6 13 through 18. Let's pray. Jesus, thank you that you have promised and secured for us perfect union with you and our brothers and sisters in Christ for eternity. Lord help us put on every single piece of your spiritual armor. While we live in this broken world, full of relational tension. Help us stand our ground by putting on the belt of truth and breastplate of your righteousness. Lord let our feet be ready with the good news of peace, your gospel provides. God let us take up our shields of faith to protect us from the fiery darts of our enemy. That help us put on our helmets of Salvation until wield our swords of truth. 13th or 17th. Lord, help us remember that our battle is not against our family. Or we pray that you protect our family, got our conversations, and make this holiday season glorifying to you. Jesus, will you give us the wisdom to navigate the holidays with grace and kindness that reflects who you are to our family and those onlookers who watch how we interact and wonder if you're worth following. Thank you for the holidays and reminders take the time to give thanks for all the blessings. You pour out on your people. In Jesus name, amen.
The Origin of the Diaconate
"Let's look at this. This is chapter 6 of the church. The church begins essentially. Jesus said he built his church upon the apostle Peter on that rock. And here in chapter two, we have the day of Pentecost and the birthday of the church right there. Now here we are four chapters later in chapter 6 and already, there are some issues. There are people there are factions on later on in first Corinthians will see even more kind of factions that are even greater in fact, we're going to see that in the apostles. But here's the first one in that first one is some people are being treated different than others. And that is not good. But it is not unexpected if that makes any sense. Because while the Holy Spirit is the soul of the church, so it's divine. The church still is made up of human beings. Who can fail, who do fail in so here we are. So then what happens to the 12 summoned the body of disciples to say, because it's not right, that here we are is the 12. We shouldn't give up proclaiming the word of God to serve tables, although that's really important to take care of the widows and orphans. So let's choose 7 men who are of good faith when basically this is the beginning of the deakin it. So the Greek word here that Luke uses is those to serve, so it yaku noi, or dacus, that's where in the Catholic Church we have deakins and I know in other churches they have that role of deacon. There's something to note about the role of deacon, but one is that they were anointed or sorry ordained very clearly in verse 6 that says these they set before the apostles and they prayed and laid their hands upon them. So that sense of here's an actual ordination. It wasn't like someone just chose themselves and said, I'll do it. I'll serve and they go off and go, no, this is actually an order in the early church. So the apostles knew that they were the episcopal, the episcopate, or the bishops. They knew that they were the Roy or the priests, and you have this yakini, or the deacons. Not only that, but the very next thing says that Steven, one of those. One of those deacons, who is ordained to serve a table, what's the next thing? The next time they're mentioned, it says that he is full of grace and power. He did great wonders and signs among the people, basically, he goes out and starts preaching and starts healing, and you're like, wait a second, bro, you just were ordained to serve at table, but here you are doing this. Supernatural ministry, which is remarkable and incredible. That maybe wasn't what the apostles had intended, but it seems like that was what got it intended
'The Devil and Bella Dodd' Author Paul Kengor on the Communist War on God
"Book is the devil and Bella Dodd, but you wrote a book called the devil and Karl Marx, where you talk and I think it's very important to understand that there are satanic foundations to atheists, communism, obviously we're dealing with it today in China. What they believe is true or what they what they work against are the most basic things life, the sanctity of the individual, the family. I mean, it seems, if you weren't sure what to think of it, you look at it and say, this looks like a war on God and on God's principles and God's reality. I mean, when you go to war with the family and you start saying that the state owns your children, the state will determine what your children get in school. You, as a parent, have no stay. That strikes at the heart of everything for most people. And we just saw that before young can became governor in Virginia, you have the man whose name I'm happy not to remember, running for governor in Virginia saying something shockingly similar. It is as un American and as um biblical as anything. The idea that parents should not have a say in their children's lives and that kind of thing. But that's at the heart of communist theory. It's at the very basis of it and you're saying that's part of what triggered Bella dot, a died in the world communist, finally to wake up. Yeah, in fact, she read the manifesto where it sneers out and makes fun of what they call the hallowed correlation between parent and child, right? And Bella dot actually believed, well, yeah, the correlation, the relationship between parent and child is hallowed, right? This is something special. But they declared war on that. They declared war on religion. And she learned this very early on when she went to hunter college, one of her professors who, by the way, she's a communist, the professor, and about committing suicide, which a lot of these people did, you know, they had very unhappy lives. And Bella tried to write this innocent little paper, right, about monastic life, which she thought was kind of interesting. And the teacher pulled her in and said, this is a good paper, so I'm going to give you a good grade, but we need to have a talk about this religion stuff. And the other instead, the teacher wanted to wanted her to write positively about the French Revolution, rather than rather than about life and monasteries. But Lenin called it called a medieval mildew spiritual booze. He said there's nothing more abominable than religion. Marx called religion, the opiate of the masses, Mark said communism begins where atheism begins. It was a war on God, which is why they went after and tried to infiltrate the churches. And they tapped her to do that as well.
A Gospel-Centered Approach to Holiday Gifts
"Gift giving and gift receiving becomes uncomfortable when we begin to attach it to our identity. Do I deserve this? Am I worthy of this? How does what I'm giving or receiving reflect who I am as a person. And so as we dug into this more, we're like, oh man, we've seen us live out of this almost identity in what I give and receive rather than our identity in Christ in a big way in the holiday season. So I'm totally tracking with everything you're saying. I have all the same joys and all the same struggles. I wonder what advice do you have for us? How can we honor Christ in our gift receiving? Yeah, I actually thought of a couple questions that might be helpful for us to reflect on as we go into this holiday season. And I was thinking of colossians three, really the whole chapter has a lot of really good wisdom. I'm going to read the first two verses for now. So collections three versus one or two say this. So if you've been raised with Christ, seek the things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God, set your mind on things above, not on earthly things. So I think there's two questions really in light of this passage that we can consider. One is where are we intentionally setting our minds? Is it just on earthly things or is it on things above on Christ? How we answer this question is going to determine how we respond when we receive a gift because when our minds are on eternal things of Christ, we're going to be less likely to hold to unrealistic expectations because what I think back to times when I have felt disappointed or frustrated, it's almost always tied to an expectation that I had in my head that just wasn't met. And then the second question that we can consider, it actually comes up a little bit later in cautions three, but the question is this. What is ruling our hearts? So adverse 15, it says that we should let the peace of Christ rule our hearts. And so when we ask ourselves that question, we can name it specifically, because oftentimes when it comes to receiving gifts, it can be that comfort rules our hearts or entertainment or honestly, it might be just the excitement of receiving something new. And so what we see here is that we are called to let the piece of Christ rule our hearts and then it says later in that first that we are to be thankful. And so we could be content when we recognize all that we have been given in Christ. And when we do that, we'll actually need things less. And then that's going to help us to be more grateful and more content. And now as we're talking about this, I want to say too that it is okay to enjoy receiving gifts. I enjoy receiving gifts. I know a lot of people it's like they're quote unquote love language is like giving or receiving gifts. That is okay. We just want to make sure that we respond in a way that is honoring to the lord, in gracious to the giver and I think that helps us to reflect the gospel to those around us.
The Importance of Words in Your Marriage With Dr. Mike Bechtle
"Let's start with today's discussion by looking at the power of words. I mean, people talk about this, the Bible talks about this, that the power of life and death is in the tongue we mentioned that last time, we could be pretty casual about the words we use, probably the most casual that I'm using my words unwisely is in my marriage. I'll say something to Jane just to maybe push a button and I would imagine you would say that's really not very smart, Jim. So in that context, why is that such a danger? It's a danger because especially in a marriage context because we use so many words. We're there for so long. Longer you've been married when you're first dating, you behave yourself. And you say words that you're trying to impress them or get them to like you and it grows and finally you marry the person and then you don't have the same vocabulary. You don't have the same well you add to your vocabulary, okay? And then you're able to use words, but sometimes you're just tired and you say something and it's just not as healthy as it could be otherwise or it's not as affirming or it doesn't build the other person up. When I look at a verse like ephesians four 29 that says don't say anything that doesn't build up. That's the characteristic of everything we do. And I think especially in a marriage, we just have so many conversations over the years, it's easy to just be in a place where we forget to use cautious words or healing words.
Megan Basham Discusses David French's About Turn on Marriage
"Megan, so let's keep going. We're talking about something that just happened. Thanks to these horrifically feckless Republican senators, 12 of them, God help us. What has been the evangelist, the reaction of some evangelicals now. By the way, the fact that you mentioned the southern Baptists and the U.S. Catholic bishops dissented said this was not good. That alone is amazing news because the U.S. Catholic bishops have been incredibly pathetic on a number of things. On this, they did it right. I'm thrilled to hear that. But what has been the word out there in the rest of evangelicalism? Well, I think there's been a lot of shock over in particular that David French piece. I assume your audience is probably pretty familiar with David French, but if you're not, he is a well-known evangelical pundit. He writes at the Atlantic. He has his own publication called the dispatch that he publishes with some other never trumpers. And he put out a piece yesterday that is shocking a lot of people, not only did he defend the respect for marriage act, the disrespect for marriage act. But what he did in this piece was essentially say, I have evolved on marriage and he made the argument that he still personally from a religious perspective believes that marriage is between one man and one woman. But he no longer believes that there's any reason in law to limit marriage to a man and woman. And basically said, I have changed my views legally. And the reason that's important is because I'm just going to lay out in my opinion. And I understand that there are different opinions. But the reason that we have marriage as a state recognized institution at all is not because the state needs to be in the business of blessing affection between individuals. The purpose of the state recognizing marriage is because it is the institution in which with a man and a woman, children are produced and it provides the best rearing for children the best development for children. I mean, we could go in the study after study. So it was interesting that David French did not deal with that at all in this piece. He just sort of made the argument that you hear from ostensibly Catholic politicians like Joe Biden like Nancy Pelosi saying, I am personally pro life, but I am not going to seek to defend my pro life views in law in any way. And so it's sort of astonishing for a Christian and a really well known Christian who speaks on religious legal issues frequently to say, I'm not going to argue anymore that marriage between a man and a woman, God's design for marriage has any real value in American law.
A Place of Praise to Thank the Lord
"And crowns you with love and compassion. Some 103 one through four. Life is hard. Struggles are real, but the lord is still good. In our lives, in the midst of all our hard places, we can still find so much to be thankful for. And God calls us to be thankful people. True thankfulness stems from living in a place of praise where we have our eyes, our heart, and our souls completely focused on the lord. In this place of praise, thankfulness can freely flow, changing our lives and the lives of those around us. It's all one O three one four says this. Praise the lord, my soul, all my inmost being praised as holy name. Praise the lord, my soul and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems you from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion.