Shepherd of the Hills - Richfield, Wisconsin
Daily Devotions - In God’s Hands

Daily Devotions - In God’s Hands

June 26, 2021

Ecclesiastes 9:1-12 NIV
A Common Destiny for All
9 So I reflected on all this and concluded that the righteous and the wise and what they do are in God’s hands, but no one knows whether love or hate awaits them. 2 All share a common destiny—the righteous and the wicked, the good and the bad, the clean and the unclean, those who offer sacrifices and those who do not. As it is with the good, so with the sinful; as it is with those who take oaths, so with those who are afraid to take them. 3 This is the evil in everything that happens under the sun: The same destiny overtakes all. The hearts of people, moreover, are full of evil and there is madness in their hearts while they live, and afterward, they join the dead. 4 Anyone who is among the living has hope—even a live dog is better off than a dead lion! 5 For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing; they have no further reward, and even their name is forgotten. 6 Their love, their hate, and their jealousy have long since vanished; never again will they have a part in anything that happens under the sun. 7 Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for God has already approved what you do. 8 Always be clothed in white, and always anoint your head with oil. 9 Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love, all the days of this meaningless life that God has given you under the sun—all your meaningless days. For this is your lot in life and in your toilsome labor under the sun. 10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom. 11 I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all. 12 Moreover, no one knows when their hour will come: As fish are caught in a cruel net, or birds are taken in a snare, so people are trapped by evil times that fall unexpectedly upon them.

 

How is death described here?

There is no escape from death. That time will come for each of us. When that time is, no one knows. Lord, I am not afraid of death because I know that You are preparing a wonderful place for me in Heaven. I have an eternity of worship, relationship, fun, joy, peace, and total fulfillment waiting for me in Heaven.  I pray that whatever time is left on this earth that You make it fruitful. Since time is limited on this side of heaven, give me a sense of urgency to share Your gospel to all who do not know You. Each day is a gift. Allow me to be a good steward of each day that I am on this earth. Seasons consist of a collection of days. There are multiple seasons in life. I don't know what to expect as I enter a new season. But You guide me through them all; good, bad, challenging, and successful. Today is the end of a season. It is the last day that I will be sharing my heart through these devotions.  I have been richly blessed during this season. Thank You for the dedication and faithfulness of Jerry Rhinehart who has blessed us with his voice. I also thank you for Jo Schneider, Al Campbell, and all of the others who have assisted with prayers and readings over the past 3.5 years. I am thankful to all who have subscribed and been a part of this piece of ministry at Shepherd of the Hills. Lord, I pray that You bless them and continually fill their lives with Your Word. I may not know what the next season brings. I may not know how much time I have left in life. But I do know that my life is in Your hands. I know where I will spend eternity. I look to the day when we gather together as one glorious family, praising and worshiping You. To You be the Glory, Honor, and Praise, forever and ever. Amen.

 

If you haven't already done so, the time is now to ask Jesus into your heart and put Your faith in Him: 

"Lord, Jesus, I know that I am a sinner and have hurt You. I ask for Your forgiveness. I submit my life to You. I confess that I believe in You, and accept You as Lord and Savior. I ask that You come into my heart right now. I pray that the Holy Spirit ignites in me a hunger for a deep relationship with You. I pray that You will walk with me the rest of my days on this earth.  I now have hope for eternity because I know that You have a place prepared for me in heaven. I receive Your gift of grace. Amen"

 

Daily Devotions - Renew a right spirit within me

Daily Devotions - Renew a right spirit within me

June 25, 2021

Psalm 51 NIV
For the director of music. A psalm of David. When the prophet Nathan came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba.
1 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. 3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. 4 Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge. 5 Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. 6 Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb; you taught me wisdom in that secret place. 7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. 8 Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. 9 Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. 10 Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. 11 Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. 13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways so that sinners will turn back to you. 14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, you who are God my Savior, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness. 15 Open my lips, Lord, and my mouth will declare your praise. 16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. 17 My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise. 18 May it please you to prosper Zion, to build up the walls of Jerusalem. 19 Then you will delight in the sacrifices of the righteous, in burnt offerings offered whole; then bulls will be offered on your altar.

 

If God creates all things good, why does humanity sin?

 

In the beginning, You created all things and it was good. You had a perfect relationship with Adam and Eve and they lived freely in paradise. They listened to the lies of Satan to eat the fruit of the forbidden tree to become "woke". (Genesis 3:5) Instead of the freedom they already had, they became slaves. Instead of living in peace and prosperity in the garden, they were thrown into the world to experience real sin including jealousy, pride, murder, and fear. Sin infiltrated humanity and it ain't pretty. Lord forgive us. I pray that Your church and Your people do not become woke by listening to the demon-possessed lies of the WOKE Crowd, but are shaken from their complacency and laziness to realize that Satan is using the same lies over and over. Give us a repentant heart and return to You. Start with me right now. Slay my sinful spirit, cleanse me with Your blood. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit, lead me to do Your will, and show me Your ways. Who do You say that I am? Bless me indeed and expand my territory. Keep your hand on me and protect me from the evil one. Create in me a clean spirit, oh God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore onto me the joy of Your salvation and uphold me with Your free spirit. My eyes are focused on You Lord. Show me Your ways and let me witness Your Glory shine for all people in this dark world. Amen

Daily Devotions - Prepare my way

Daily Devotions - Prepare my way

June 24, 2021

Matthew 3 NIV
John the Baptist Prepares the Way
3 In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea 2 and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” 3 This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: “A voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’” 4 John’s clothes were made of camel’s hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. 5 People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. 6 Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. 7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8 Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. 9 And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. 10 The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. 11 “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

The Baptism of Jesus
13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. 14 But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” 15 Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented. 16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him, I am well pleased.”

 

Who has been a John the Baptist in your life? How did they prepare the way for Jesus?

 

Throughout my life, I have been led, taught, and impacted by both people who love You and those who have a heart for evil. Who I have chosen to associate with has made a difference in the choices I have made. Not all were good. Thank You that You did put people in my life who had a sincere love for You. I witnessed sacrificial love and service for You and others. Their influence prepared the way for me to confess my sins and redirect my life to follow You. I readjusted who I called friends and mainly associated with people who love and serve You. I became hungry for Your Word and I listened and studied Your Word intently. I thank you for pastors who don't sugar coat your Word. I thank you for small groups that help me stretch my faith and make me think. I thank You for people who demonstrate Your Love through the faithfulness of their lives. I pray that I can influence others through my faithfulness. I pray that my words and actions help others to recognize their sinful ways and help them to know and follow You. I pray that each day I grow in Your Spirit and keep my heart on fire for You so that I can share that fire with others. Prepare my heart as I spend quality time with You so that You influence my life. Lord, I want to please You. I want to be used by You to expand Your kingdom. I pray that as my faith and commitment are strengthened, that I boldly proclaim Your love with people who do not know You. Thank You for loving me and preparing my way, my precious Lord and friend. Amen

Daily Devotions - God directs those who listen

Daily Devotions - God directs those who listen

June 23, 2021

Matthew 2:13-23 NIV
The Escape to Egypt
13 When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.” 14 So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night, and left for Egypt, 15 where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.” 16 When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. 17 Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled: 18 “A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children
and refusing to be comforted because they are no more.”

The Return to Nazareth
19 After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt 20 and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead.” 21 So he got up, took the child and his mother, and went to the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, 23 and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets, that he would be called a Nazarene.

 

When, like Herod, have you been threatened by the kingship of Jesus?

 

I have never been threatened by the Kingship of Christ. I stand in awe of His Kingship and I am humbled that He put aside His majesty to come to earth and die a cruel death for my sins.

 

Lord, it doesn’t take too much time in scripture to see just how you have orchestrated this world. The escape from Egypt and your return to Nazareth to fulfill the prophecy prove your control over time. You made a safe journey for the Magi possible. It is clear Lord that your hand is in everything and that your desire is to care for and love your creation. Dear Lord, please continue to keep my mind focused on you especially when things are scary, it is not your desire that I should perish. I want your kingship over my life every day. Amen

 

Today's prayer submitted by Jo Schneider

The sincerity of the magi’s worship of Jesus is contrasted with Herod’s insincere pledge to worship Jesus.

The sincerity of the magi’s worship of Jesus is contrasted with Herod’s insincere pledge to worship Jesus.

June 22, 2021

Matthew 2:1-12 NIV
The Magi Visit the Messiah
2 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” 3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. 5 “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written: 6 “‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’” 7 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.” 9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

 

What do the star, the magi, the gifts, the hostility, and the prophecy teach about the significance of Jesus?

 

The story of the magi is usually read during the rush of Christmas and is often missed or is an afterthought. To read this during the summer gives me the opportunity to really soak in the significance that it brings. Your Glory is often shown in signs and wonders. That star is the light shining on those who dwell in darkness and it indicates that the Messiah has arrived. The magi symbolize our search for God and meaning in life. The gifts they brought proclaimed Jesus to be the King at birth. Gold is symbolic of Christ’s deity as King, frankincense represents His purity as Priest of God, and myrrh is suggestive of His anointed work as a Prophet and of His death. The sincerity of the magi’s worship of Jesus is contrasted with Herod’s insincere pledge to worship Jesus. From the very moment of Jesus' birth, there was tension in the kingdom of God and the kingdom of man. Isaiah’s vision of salvation includes a pilgrimage of the nations, who will come to Israel’s light, to worship the God of Israel. The Gentile magi are to be understood as enacting the fulfillment of this prophecy. Lord, help me to pay attention and consider the signs and wonders that demonstrate Your power and authority over heaven and earth. Let me be drawn to Your light in this very dark world. I search for the meaning of life through You and You alone. I worship You as King of my life, of my country, of the world, and for all eternity. Let my life and everything in it be a gift to You, pointing others to You as Lord and Savior. There is still tension between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of man. Let me not be surprised that evil hates You and desires to destroy people, activity, or things that represent You. I pray that I heed Your voice of warning and that You protect me from evil. You have shown Your faithfulness to all generations. I trust that Your Word is true and speaks of the past, present and future. I look forward to the day when I can worship You with adoration and praise at the foot of Your eternal throne. You are my King and Lord, Amen

 

Daily Devotions - Walk in faith in the face of rejection

Daily Devotions - Walk in faith in the face of rejection

June 21, 2021

Matthew 1:18-25 NIV
Joseph Accepts Jesus as His Son
18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. 20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus because he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). 24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.\

 

What do you learn about faith from Joseph?

 

Joseph was a man of quiet strength. He was a man of integrity, true to his convictions. I can only imagine the anguish, anger, and heartbreak that he was going through after receiving a life-changing punch to the gut. He couldn’t, in good conscience, go on with the wedding; yet, he couldn’t bring himself to humiliate Mary either, much less put her to death. The weight on his heart had to be crushing. But then, You spoke to him in a dream and gave him direction. I have had many dreams, most of them have been bizarre and elusive. I don't normally make major life decisions based upon what I saw or heard in a dream. Yet Joseph recognized that the angel in the dream was from You and he listened. He married Mary and claimed Jesus as his own. Joseph was a faithful man of God who concerned himself with honoring You even when all the facts were not initially known. He listened to Your voice over worldly wisdom. Think about how difficult it is right now to have Christian convictions, thoughts, and beliefs.  It is difficult to walk against the cultural grain as Joseph did. Listening to Your voice can be life-changing. Being obedient to Your voice is challenging. Lord, I often worry about what other people think. Forgive me. Help me not feel discouraged when others do not accept my beliefs, especially those close to me. Help me to not worry about what other people think more than I worry about what You tell me. Lord, I believe in You. I trust in You. Let me recognize it when You are giving me direction and follow it with confidence. Let me dare to be obedient to Your will in the face of objection. Lord let me stand in faith against all fear, opposition, or rejection. Let my actions be an example of my faithfulness. Let others see You through my faithful obedience. Give me humility based on a simple trust that, by Your grace, all things really do work together for good for those who love You and are called according to Your purposes. Amen

 

Daily Devotions - Persevere in Righteous Living

Daily Devotions - Persevere in Righteous Living

June 19, 2021

Ecclesiastes 8:2-17 NIV
Obey the King
2 Obey the king’s command, I say, because you took an oath before God. 3 Do not be in a hurry to leave the king’s presence. Do not stand up for a bad cause, for he will do whatever he pleases. 4 Since a king’s word is supreme, who can say to him, “What are you doing?” 5 Whoever obeys his command will come to no harm, and the wise heart will know the proper time and procedure. 6 For there is a proper time and procedure for every matter, though a person may be weighed down by misery. 7 Since no one knows the future, who can tell someone else what is to come? 8 As no one has power over the wind to contain it, so no one has power over the time of their death. As no one is discharged in time of war, so wickedness will not release those who practice it. 9 All this I saw, as I applied my mind to everything done under the sun. There is a time when a man lords it over others to his own hurt. 10 Then too, I saw the wicked buried—those who used to come and go from the holy place and receive praise in the city where they did this. This too is meaningless. 11 When the sentence for a crime is not quickly carried out, people’s hearts are filled with schemes to do wrong. 12 Although a wicked person who commits a hundred crimes may live a long time, I know that it will go better with those who fear God, who are reverent before him. 13 Yet because the wicked do not fear God, it will not go well with them, and their days will not lengthen like a shadow. 14 There is something else meaningless that occurs on earth: the righteous who get what the wicked deserve, and the wicked who get what the righteous deserve. This too, I say, is meaningless. 15 So I commend the enjoyment of life because there is nothing better for a person under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany them in their toil all the days of the life God has given them under the sun. 16 When I applied my mind to know wisdom and to observe the labor that is done on earth—people getting no sleep day or night— 17 then I saw all that God has done. No one can comprehend what goes on under the sun. Despite all their efforts to search it out, no one can discover its meaning. Even if the wise claim they know, they cannot really comprehend it.

 

How easy is it to trust God when the answers are unattainable?

 

Holy God, I trust You but I am challenged as goodness seems to be swallowed up by evil and I continually face situations that are at odds with my faith. There is wickedness and inequalities all around me. I see the evil in government. Those living sinful lives, who are not punished immediately, prompt others to sin too. They think it is easy to cover up their sins. Even if they get away with their sin on this earth and no one knows, You know. You are waiting, to give them ample time to repent. My concern is not their sins, or how You deal with them, my concern should be about my own sins. My faith in You must be healthy in order to persevere in righteous living while enduring inequity in human government.  It is my responsibility to respond wisely and peacefully, knowing there will be no perfect kingdom until the rule of Jesus. I am to be obedient to the rules and laws of the land, even though I don't like them unless they are in direct opposition to the law of God. I wait for Your wisdom to show me a suitable opportunity to act in such a way that does not disobey the government authorities, but also to not sin against my conscience. Keep me from being distracted from my primary mission. You give me the ability to live for a cause bigger than myself and greater than any human government. You see the misery of Your people like You did the children of Israel in Egypt. You will not allow the misery to go on forever. Help me not despair over these problems, but rather enjoy whatever You have given me in life. Help me to not spend weary days and sleepless nights puzzling over problems to which only You know the answer. It is impossible to understand everything about You. Intelligence does not get me to heaven. You want me to accept You on simple faith. So in faith, let me enjoy life to the fullest on this earth. Let me be thankful for the blessings of this life and enjoy laughter, food, and drink. Answers to my questions and concerns may not be attainable, and Your secrets may not be known until I get to heaven, but I still trust that You are God of the universe and King of all kings. With the help of Your Holy Spirit, let me live in Your wisdom so I show Your character, trust in You, and be blessed by You.  Amen

Daily Devotions - Thank-offering

Daily Devotions - Thank-offering

June 18, 2021

Psalm 50 NIV
A psalm of Asaph.
1 The Mighty One, God, the Lord, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to where it sets. 2 From Zion, perfect in beauty,
God shines forth. 3 Our God comes and will not be silent; a fire devours before him, and around him, a tempest rages. 4 He summons the heavens above, and the earth, that he may judge his people: 5 “Gather to me this consecrated people, who made a covenant with me by sacrifice.” 6 And the heavens proclaim his righteousness, for he is a God of justice. 7 “Listen, my people, and I will speak; I will testify against you, Israel: I am God, your God. 8 I bring no charges against you concerning your sacrifices or concerning your burnt offerings, which are ever before me. 9 I have no need of a bull from your stall or of goats from your pens, 10 for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. 11 I know every bird in the mountains, and the insects in the fields are mine. 12 If I were hungry I would not tell you, for the world is mine and all that is in it. 13 Do I eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of goats? 14 “Sacrifice thank offerings to God, fulfill your vows to the Most High, 15 and call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me.” 16 But to the wicked person, God says: “What right have you to recite my laws or take my covenant on your lips? 17 You hate my instruction and cast my words behind you. 18 When you see a thief, you join with him; you throw in your lot with adulterers. 19 You use your mouth for evil and harness your tongue to deceit. 20 You sit and testify against your brother and slander your own mother’s son. 21 When you did these things and I kept silent, you thought I was exactly like you. But I now arraign you and set my accusations before you. 22 “Consider this, you who forget God, or I will tear you to pieces, with no one to rescue you: 23 Those who sacrifice thank offerings honor me, and to the blameless, I will show my salvation.”

 

What thank-offering can you give to God?

 

You are the Mighty One, God the LORD, there is no one greater than You. Let the heavens declare Your righteousness, for You are the Judge of all. All have fallen short and have sinned against You. I deserve Your judgment of death and eternal damnation, but instead, You became the ultimate sacrifice out of Your great love for me and all mankind. You paid the price for my sin and disobedience. I receive You as Lord of my life and thank You. Because of Your ultimate sacrifice, the ritual of animal sacrifices is no longer required, but we are still tempted to practice Christian duties in a spirit of ritualism. Sometimes attending church becomes an empty repetition of religious ceremonies, but our hearts and lives are not engaged. We say that we are Christian, but we dishonor You with our disobedience. We have become complacent, too casual, and easy in our relationship with You and we ignore evil. This does not please You. Instead, You desire a thankful heart, a life of obedience, and a living trust in You. Lord, I pray for Your forgiveness.

Psalm 50 NIV
A psalm of Asaph.
1 The Mighty One, God, the Lord, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to where it sets. 2 From Zion, perfect in beauty,
God shines forth. 3 Our God comes and will not be silent; a fire devours before him, and around him, a tempest rages. 4 He summons the heavens above, and the earth, that he may judge his people: 5 “Gather to me this consecrated people, who made a covenant with me by sacrifice.” 6 And the heavens proclaim his righteousness, for he is a God of justice. 7 “Listen, my people, and I will speak; I will testify against you, Israel: I am God, your God. 8 I bring no charges against you concerning your sacrifices or concerning your burnt offerings, which are ever before me. 9 I have no need of a bull from your stall or of goats from your pens, 10 for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. 11 I know every bird in the mountains, and the insects in the fields are mine. 12 If I were hungry I would not tell you, for the world is mine and all that is in it. 13 Do I eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of goats? 14 “Sacrifice thank offerings to God, fulfill your vows to the Most High, 15 and call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me.” 16 But to the wicked person, God says: “What right have you to recite my laws or take my covenant on your lips? 17 You hate my instruction and cast my words behind you. 18 When you see a thief, you join with him; you throw in your lot with adulterers. 19 You use your mouth for evil and harness your tongue to deceit. 20 You sit and testify against your brother and slander your own mother’s son. 21 When you did these things and I kept silent, you thought I was exactly like you. But I now arraign you and set my accusations before you. 22 “Consider this, you who forget God, or I will tear you to pieces, with no one to rescue you: 23 Those who sacrifice thank offerings honor me, and to the blameless, I will show my salvation.”

 

What thank-offering can you give to God?

 

You are the Mighty One, God the LORD, there is no one greater than You. Let the heavens declare Your righteousness, for You are the Judge of all. All have fallen short and have sinned against You. I deserve Your judgment of death and eternal damnation, but instead, You became the ultimate sacrifice out of Your great love for me and all mankind. You paid the price for my sin and disobedience. I receive You as Lord of my life and thank You. Because of Your ultimate sacrifice, the ritual of animal sacrifices is no longer required, but we are still tempted to practice Christian duties in a spirit of ritualism. Sometimes attending church becomes an empty repetition of religious ceremonies, but our hearts and lives are not engaged. We say that we are Christian, but we dishonor You with our disobedience. We have become complacent, too casual, and easy in our relationship with You and we ignore evil. This does not please You. Lord, I pray for Your forgiveness.  Thank You for Your patience. Instead, You desire a thankful heart, a life of obedience, and a living trust in You. All that I am, and all that I have are Yours. You don't need what I can offer, but out of Your desire for an intimate relationship with me, You give me the opportunity to grow in my trust in You through sacrificial living. Fill my heart with a passion for You as I worship You on Sunday. Let that passion overflow into every day of the week and in all aspects of my life. As a result, let me be bold in my conviction of Your righteousness. Let me stand against evil and declare Your Glory to the world, trusting You as I risk a backlash. Lord, receive my thank-offering as I surrender my heart and life to You today. You deserve all my honor and praise. Amen and Amen.

 

Daily Devotions - You know my Name

Daily Devotions - You know my Name

June 17, 2021

Matthew 1:1-17 NIV
The Genealogy of Jesus the Messiah
1 This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham: 2 Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, 3 Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar, Perez the father of Hezron, Hezron the father of Ram, 4 Ram the father of Amminadab, Amminadab the father of Nahshon, Nahshon the father of Salmon, 5 Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab, Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth, Obed the father of Jesse, 6 and Jesse the father of King David. David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife, 7 Solomon the father of Rehoboam, Rehoboam the father of Abijah, Abijah the father of Asa, 8 Asa the father of Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat the father of Jehoram, Jehoram the father of Uzziah, 9 Uzziah the father of Jotham, Jotham the father of Ahaz, Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, 10 Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, Manasseh the father of Amon, Amon the father of Josiah, 11 and Josiah the father of Jeconiah and his brothers at the time of the exile to Babylon. 12 After the exile to Babylon: Jeconiah was the father of Shealtiel, Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, 13 Zerubbabel the father of Abihud, Abihud the father of Eliakim, Eliakim the father of Azor, 14 Azor the father of Zadok, Zadok the father of Akim, Akim the father of Elihud, 15 Elihud the father of Eleazar, Eleazar the father of Matthan, Matthan the father of Jacob, 16 and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, and Mary was the mother of Jesus who is called the Messiah. 17 Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Messiah.

 

What does it mean to you that God’s promises are trustworthy over the generations?

 

You are a big God. You created the heavens and the earth. How is it that You know all of the stars and planets in the universe but still You know my name? Out of all the people in the world since the beginning of time, You know my name!  You know me. What a comforting thought!  People matter to you. As I read the list of Jesus’ ancestors, it is encouraging to see that they include Tamar (the adulteress), Rahab (the prostitute), Ruth (the non-Jewish Moabite), Solomon (who was conceived after King David’s adulterous affair with Bathsheba), as well as many others. Thankfully, You use sinful human beings and, therefore, can use me. Whatever is in my past, no matter how broken life may seem right now, You can use me to do something great with my life. You know me by name. I find joy in knowing that I am called by You and that my name is written on the palms of Your hands. Although it is amazing that You know my name, it's salvation when I know Your Name. Your Name is above all Names! There's no other Name given where men can be saved. Your Name is a healing Name, a soothing Name, a powerful Name, a demon scaring Name, a present refuge name, there is strength in Your Name and it is a Praise Worthy Name. I praise Your Name right now! Jesus, Jesus, Jesus!!! You call me by name not only for me but for my children and the generations after them.  May they personally know You by name through my faithfulness. I look forward to the day that I hear You call me by name and say "Well done, good and faithful servant". Amen

 

Daily Devotions - Keep yourselves in God’s love

Daily Devotions - Keep yourselves in God’s love

June 16, 2021

Jude NIV
1 Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James, To those who have been called, who are loved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ: 2 Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance. The Sin and Doom of Ungodly People 3 Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people. 4 For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. 5 Though you already know all this, I want to remind you that the Lord at one time delivered his people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not believe. 6 And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their proper dwelling—these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day. 7 In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire. 8 In the very same way, on the strength of their dreams these ungodly people pollute their own bodies, reject authority, and heap abuse on celestial beings. 9 But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not himself dare to condemn him for slander but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” 10 Yet these people slander whatever they do not understand, and the very things they do understand by instinct—as irrational animals do—will destroy them. 11 Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam’s error; they have been destroyed in Korah’s rebellion. 12 These people are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm—shepherds who feed only themselves. They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted—twice dead. 13 They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever. 14 Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about them: “See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones 15 to judge everyone, and to convict all of them of all the ungodly acts they have committed in their ungodliness, and of all the defiant words ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” 16 These people are grumblers and faultfinders; they follow their own evil desires; they boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage.

A Call to Persevere
17 But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. 18 They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.” 19 These are the people who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit. 20 But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. 22 Be merciful to those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.

Doxology
24 To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— 25 to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power, and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.

 

What can make a church vulnerable to false teachers today?

 

Churches today could be vulnerable to false teachers if it provided for “easy grace” and half-truth teaching. This results in people who don’t fully understand the reason for Christ's sacrifice and continue to live with unchanged hearts and minds.

Father thank you so much for the preaching of your servant Jude who tells us in mighty words of how you want us to live resulting in lives that would be abundant in mercy. peace and love. I pray dear Lord for myself and those whom I love to love your word and instructions and wait on your mercy. You have not promised us perfect happiness, you have told us that there will be storms in our lives but you have promised us to be there for us. You will never leave us or forsake us, what more could I ask for. To you be all Glory. Majesty, Power and Authority Amen

 

Today's prayer submitted by Jo Schneider

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