“The instructions of the Lord are perfect, reviving the soul. The decrees of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple.” Psalms 19:7 NLT When you dive into the depths of God’s word, you discover His truth, goodness, and even His wisdom. Gods word begins to shape your life. Through His word, God transforms how you think, feel & behave. Outsiders might call it brainwashing...it’s actually the opposite - it’s mind, body & spirit cleansing + refilling with righteousness. If we pursue God daily, seek to memorize and study His word, then we will absorb His wisdom. Our nature is broken & dead because of sin, but His word revives our soul and we become wise.
The #verseoftheday today is an interesting caution. “And don’t forget to do good and to share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God.” Hebrews 13:16 I wonder, how can something so elementary as “do good & share” be forgotten? We have to actually remind ourselves to follow God’s ways. This is difficult, especially when others treat us badly. How easily do I “forget” to do good to people who have betrayed me, offended me, or cheated me? Apparently, doing good isn’t as natural for me as defending my rights or protecting my pride. Maybe this is why the author of Hebrews calls doing good a sacrifice. I need to make the effort to do good, because this is how people see the love of God in me. Not in my words, but in my actions.
Happy Sunday y’all! (And happy Mother’s Day.) Today I’m preaching a message online titled “A Tale Of Two Moms.” In part of the message, I explore characteristics of my “REAL mom.” My real mom exemplifies todays #verseoftheday “Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” 1 Corinthians 13:7 NLT This verse is impossible to fulfill until you are tempted to quit on someone. If you’ve ever thought about quitting, walking away, getting out, pulling back, or giving up on anyone...remember you had someone, probably your mom, who never quit on you. Even if it was not your mom, SOMEONE loved you and never quit on you. Celebrate them today
I am from Wayne County, NC. We are surrounded by the country...hog farms, chicken farms, turkey farms, and farms. Which means I grew up with farmers & farmers kids. Which ALSO means I grew up with NASCAR fans. I’ll never forget years ago when Dale Earnhardt died. It was widely reported that he had this verse pasted in the driver dashboard of his car. “The name of the LORD is like a strong tower; the righteous person runs to it and is set safely on high.” Proverbs 18:10 In ancient days, a strong tower was a symbol of security, a place of refuge, a fortress for protection and safety. If you were in battle and under enemy siege, you could retreat to the strong tower and the guards would see you coming. They would let you inside the city gates, and there was protection there and the armed guards could fight off your enemy at the walls of the gates. The Lord wants you to know today that he is your safety and security. He is your strong tower. If you belong to Him, you can run to Him & he will receive you, shield you & defend you.
“Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart.” Colossians 4:2 NLT Do you pray with an alert mind? For most of us, the main times we pray are right before we eat and before we go to sleep. These are the times when our minds are least alert. We pray quick, rehearsed, scripted prayers like... “Dear lord thank you for this food and for our many blessings, we pray that this food strengthens and nourishes our body for thy service, amen” Or “Good food, good meat , Good God, Let’s eat. “ Then we pig out 😂 I would argue that praying with an alert mind would include praying when you’re not hungry, praying when you’re not sleepy, and choosing not to say pre-scripted, rehearsed, redundant prayers. Instead, take your time and have a conversation with the Lord, slow down for loving union with Him, and verbally thank him for the various ways he has blessed you. Question of the day: Have you found a prayer rhythm when you’re not sleepy or hungry?
There is no such thing as a “sinners prayer” in the Bible. At no point did Jesus or Paul or Peter or ANY of the New Testament preachers EVER say “if you would like to accept Jesus into your heart, just repeat after me...” And at no point did they ever count a hand raised as equal to salvation. And never would they have considered making a social media graphic with a number on it to celebrate how many people raised a hand in their weekly sermon that day 😂😂😂 I don’t know where we get this stuff from, but it didn’t come from the Bible. However, today’s verse of the day is the closest thing to a “salvation prayer” you’ll ever find in scripture. “For Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”” Romans 10:13 NLT Paul quotes from the prophet Joel in this verse, declaring that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved (Joel 2:32). "Calling on the name of the Lord," means those who turn to Jesus in faith seeking salvation, will be saved. This is the act of placing your faith in Christ. Today o hope you’ll not only call on the name of the Lord for salvation, but I hope you’ll also call on Him for strength, for wisdom, for discernment, for provision, for help, or for anything else you need. 🤜🏻🙏🏻❤️
JESUS stepped into human history over 2,000 years ago. He lived for 33 years, fully God and fully man. He is the son of God and came to bring peace to a world at war with itself. In humility, Jesus chose to sacrifice himself on the cross so that whoever believes in him could have eternity with him in heaven. He took on the weight of all the wrong + darkness humanity had ever created and stood in the gap for us to be seen as pure and blameless in the sight of God. Jesus taught us how to live by faith, be known by love, and be a voice of hope to the world. There is a “new life” available to us in Christ, and this new life isn’t something we attain for ourselves, it’s a free gift given to us because of God’s grace…As you and I grow, we change and our life begins to produce Christian “fruit.” The #verseoftheday says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9 NIV If you would like to place your faith in Jesus, can do so by simply posturing your heart in humility, and praying a simple prayer by faith, “Dear Lord Jesus, I admit that I’ve fallen short. I’ve sinned and need your forgiveness. I believe that You lived, died, and rose again so that I could be connected to God. I confess you as my Lord and commit my life to You. I give you my past, present, and future. Take my life and use it. I give it to You. Amen.” Cheers to new you
Usually when we speak of worship, we think of music and a gathering of worshippers. In today’s #verseoftheday, Peter wants us to think deeper than that. I’m sure most of us could come up with a decent definition of worship but I’m not necessarily convinced that our issue is related to knowledge or definitions of terms. Our problem is not a lack of knowledge about worship, but forgetting WHY we worship. For most of us, it isn’t that we don’t love Jesus, it’s just that we love other stuff just as much or more. And when we consider that the creator of everything, an all-powerful, all-knowing, and ever-present God showed us mercy...a lot of just keep scrolling. This truth doesn’t impact us anymore...But it should provoke us to worship! God didn’t have to save, but He WANTED to save us. The least we could do is respond and worship him. Let’s give all our heart, soul, mind, and strength to him as an act of adoration. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he gave us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,” 1 Peter 1:3
No more tear ducts? GOD is our defender, our protector, our comforter, our provider…He vindicates, He fights for us, and He lavishly pours out his grace and blessing. One day soon, DEATH will be put in its place. When death loses its final battle, that will eliminate the need for tear ducts. 🙏🏻 Tears are a God-given outlet for the pain that we experience in this world, but you can be encouraged because one day all grief will be forever erased. It’s God’s promise. One day there will be no need for tear ducts. “he will swallow up death permanently. The sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from every face, and remove his people’s disgrace from all the earth. Indeed, the LORD has announced it!” Isaiah 25:8 NET
Today's Devotion comes from the popular resource, "Our Daily Bread." A man who was deeply troubled by his sins was having a vivid dream in which he saw Jesus being savagely whipped by a soldier. As the cruel scourge came down upon Christ’s back, the onlooker shuddered, for the terrible cords left ugly, gaping wounds upon His bleeding, swollen body. When the one wielding the lash raised his arm to strike the Lord again, the man rushed forward to stop him. As he did, the soldier turned, and the dreamer was startled to see his own face! He awoke in a cold sweat, conscious that his sin had inflicted this grievous punishment upon the Savior. As he thought of Christ’s suffering, he remembered these words in Isaiah 53:5, “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.” How wonderful that the Lord Jesus Christ suffered and died to redeem a sinful and lost world! He was wounded for our transgressions. “All we like sheep have gone astray,” but praise God, “the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6). In one sense, this was the darkest day in human history. But because of Jesus’ sacrifice for us, the cross was actually the greatest victory of all the ages!
Imagine feeling the incredible weight of shame & guilt. I’m talking about the heavy stuff - the kind that lingers & drags you down emotionally. Have you ever felt the pain of a sin that you couldn’t even forgive yourself for, much less expect others to forgive? Now think about all that weight while you breathe in real deep, inhale until your lungs are full. As you are exhaling, imagine all that emotional weight being removed from you. That’s the feeling I get when I read this verse... “God made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we would become the righteousness of God.” —2 Corinthians 5:21 God made JESUS carry the weight of Bill’s sin. All that heartache, regret, shame, & guilt was lifted of Bill’s back & place onto the back of Jesus. THEN, not only did He remove Bill’s sin, but he REPLACED it with righteousness (a right relationship with God). Jesus took Bill’s guilt on himself & traded holiness, perfection, & righteousness. Now, when God sees Jesus, he sees Bill’s sin. And when God sees Bill, he sees Jesus’ righteousness. I know I’m writing about myself in third person, but now if you place your name in every spot that says “Bill” it should make sense. We can all breathe today because God did this for ALL OF US. 🙏🏻🙏🏽🙏🏿
In today’s verse of the day we get this commandment from Jesus “...Just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” John 13:34 NET I want to focus on the phrase “one another” which means “mutual reciprocity” The phrase “one another” is written 100 times in the New Testament, teaching us how (and how not) to relate to one another. What if we all became masters in the art of “reciprocity”? When we see love, we reciprocate. Where we see good intentions, we reciprocate...how could reciprocity change our relationships? What if we... Love one another? (John 13:34) Are devoted to one another? (Romans 12:10) Honor one another above ourselves?(Romans 12:10) Live in harmony with one another? (Romans 12:16) Build up one another? (Romans 14:19; 1 Thessalonians 5:11) Be likeminded towards one another? (Romans 15:5) Accept one another? (Romans 15:7) Admonish one another? (Colossians 3:16) Greet one another? (Romans 16:16) Care for one another? (1 Corinthians 12:25) Serve one another? (Galatians 5:13) Bear one another's burdens? (Galatians 6:2) Forgive one another? (Ephesians 4:2) Be patient with one another? (Ephesians 4:2; Colossians 3:13) Speak the truth in love? (Ephesians 4:15, 25) Be kind and compassionate to one another? (Ephesians 4:32) Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs? (Ephesians 5:19) Submit to one another? (Ephesians 5:21, 1 Peter 5:5) Consider others better than ourselves (Philippians 2:3) Look to the interests of one another (Philippians 2:4) Bear with one another (Colossians 3:13) Teach one another (Colossians 3:16) Comfort one another (1 Thessalonians 4:18) Encourage one another (1 Thessalonians 5:11) Exhort one another (Hebrews 3:13) Stir up one another to love and good works (Hebrews 10:24) Show hospitality to one another (1 Peter 4:9) Employ the gifts that God has given us for the benefit of one another (1 Peter 4:10) Clothe yourselves with humility towards one another (1 Peter 5:5) Pray for one another (James 5:16) Confess your faults to one another (James 5:16) Let’s get busy one anothering one another today, 🤜🏻 Bill
In the #verseoftheday, Isaiah 53:6 says "We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all." Do you know what's worse than being lost? Being lost AND late. Haha, It's the worst! About 13 years ago, I was running late for a huge job interview in downtown Charlotte, and then the worst thing happened...I got lost!! This was before the days of cell phones and Tom Toms. I was out of town, out of my element, and over 3 hours from home. I'll never forget the alarming urgency to find my way ASAP, or I was just gonna have to turn around and drive home because there is no point in being 30 minutes late for a job interview. "Lost" is a very alarming feeling. When we are feeling lost, we don't just sit in our lostness. Instead, we find our way, we ask around, we look it up. And we hurry up about it. If we refuse to stay lost in this scenario, then why would we willingly stay lost in our spiritual lives? Isaiah compared the people of Israel to "lost" sheep that had gone astray. They had wandered into the unknown, and were not listening to God's voice. Question of the Day: Do you have the peace and reassurance that comes from knowing you are on the right path? Or are you still searching, trying to find your way? In a relationship with Jesus, you don't have to search anymore.
What do you think of when you hear the word, “serve”? Is it merely a tennis term? Is it a smack talking invitation to a street dancing battle? Do you think of the waitress or waiter at a restaurant? Serving is considering others as better than yourself, & then honoring them accordingly. It requires sacrifice, commitment & humility. Pride never compels an act of service. You cannot serve someone if you think you’re better than them. In Matthew 20:28, Jesus says He “did not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” When we think of Jesus giving his life, we mentally jump straight to his death. For some reason we associate giving his life as “dying.” But that’s not all it is. Before He ever died, he leveraged his life, his abilities, his thoughts, & everything he had for the betterment of others. He didn’t just die, but he leveraged every minute of his life to serve others. His actual death was less of a service & more of a payment. It’s like he was our server in his life, then he paid the bill in his death. In life, He was our Pro-Bono attorney who represented us in court, but in His death, He took our place in the prison when we were found guilty. In His life, He served the captives, then in His death, He purchased us from captivity. This is what it means when he says He “did not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Everyone has an obsession with statistics these days. Seems like every time I turn around, someone is citing stats about racism, stats about crime, stats about black on black shootings, stats about protests & police brutality, says about Asian lives & black lives, etc. In my opinion, here are the most important statistics to consider: How many hours have you spent trying to understand or comprehend what it might be like to walk in the shoes of someone who is different from you? Exactly how many cups of coffee have you bought for someone with a different skin color or ethnicity? Specifically, how many fist bumps, high fives, or hugs have you exchanged with someone of a different nationality or race? The reason why those stats are important, is because (if you call yourself a Christian) that’s what you’re gonna be doing for all of eternity. The #verseoftheday is “After these things I looked, and here was an enormous crowd that no one could count, made up of persons from every nation, tribe, people, and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb dressed in long white robes, and with palm branches in their hands.” Revelation 7:9 You should get used to loving people who are different from you, because you’re going to have to spend eternity worshipping Jesus beside them.
The verse of the day is.... “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him, because all that is in the world (the desire of the flesh and the desire of the eyes and the arrogance produced by material possessions) is not from the Father, but is from the world.” 1 John 2:15-16 John used the phrase “the world” 5 times here. That’s a lot of talk about the world 😂 The big idea is “Do not love the world; love the Father instead.” But if I’m being honest, that’s much easier to read & agree to than it is to live & aspire to...because I can see the world, but I can’t see the Father. If I’m given these two options, I tend to gravitate toward what I can see. But according to this verse, the world is opposed to the Father. What is the world? It’s the entire system of rebellion against God and his ultimate authority. It’s roots are in our hearts. It is our attitudes, our affections, our desires. It’s not the stuff God made that is bad, but it’s how we relate to it that is broken. We tend to assign personal value to things in the world - we esteem celebrities, we desire sexual pleasure, our affection is for wealth and material things. According to this verse, we cannot love the world (view it as ultimate) and love the Father (view him as ultimate) at the same time. One always comes first in our heart.
The verse of the day says, “Love does no wrong to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” Romans 13:10 NET In my view, laws are the “bare minimum” performance or expectations. Laws aren’t something you aspire to, they’re actually pretty low standards for living. Consider the 10 commandments: “Do not murder” or “Do not take the Lords name in vain.” These are bare minimum expectations. Nobody brags when they’re above these laws because “not killing someone” isn’t an impressive feat. You wouldn’t think that laws like this would even have to exist, but they do exist, because if left alone many people in the world would fall below these standards. But... Paul says “love” does no wrong to a neighbor & is the fulfillment of the law. What does this mean? It means if you are operating in “love” then you’ll never even need the law. If you love someone, there’s no reason to tell you not to kill them. If you love God, there is no reason to tell you not to take His name in vain. Love is something we aspire to, it’s not the lowest standard of living, it’s actually the opposite- the highest standard of living. Love requires you to be the best you can be for you, for others, & for God. Be the best you can be. Don’t walk the line of sin & lawlessness, instead walk in the way of righteousness. When you LOVE, there is no need for the law. That’s why Paul says live “fulfills” the law. Question of the day: Why is it so hard to love?
We took our 2 year old to the park on Sunday afternoon, and of course he ended up playing in a sandpit half the time. There were some shovels & buckets already there, so naturally he’s scooping and dumping sand everywhere. By the end of it, sand is on his head, in his socks, and even in his diaper 😂 Another little girl showed up and started playing with him, she was about a year older. It wasn’t long before the three year old started fussing & fighting over the toys. She kept grabbing shovels out of his hand and saying “mine!” Elijah isn’t at the “mine” stage yet, and he didn’t know what to think, so he just started handing her everything. It was like an episode of Rugrats, Angelica was bossing Elijah around and he just submitted to her LOL There is so much to be learned about life from a sandpit, here’s one thing: Nothing here is mine. The #verseoftheday today says, “The LORD owns the earth and all it contains, the world and all who live in it.” Psalms 24:1 Our Life is a big sandpit. Nothing is mine, EVERYTHING is the Lords. Although we are still tempted to fight, claim and “earn” as much status, control, or wealth as we can. It’s important to remember that everything is the Lords, and everything I have is on loan from him. I’m a steward...a manager, not the owner. We all have a greater responsibility to share, be kind, and consider others...because we are all on borrowed property. Question of the day: Have you ever loaned someone something...Maybe a car, or a place to stay? How did you expect them to treat it??
The verse of the day is Philippians 2:3 "don't be selfish. Don't try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves." That is the complete opposite of every message we hear from our culture. Our culture is like, "don't be humble, be proud." And don't think that they're better than you. You're good. You're awesome. You're the best! Go get 'em! This kind of a verse just completely transforms my heart. It helps me to see that unselfishness is a virtue, NOT selfishness. Humility is a virtue, NOT pride. It's not thinking less of myself, it's just thinking of others more than I think of myself. It's not that I'm a bad person or I'm body negative or something like that. It's just acknowledging that I should think of others more. I should consider others. And in humility, I should serve them. This is the way the kingdom of God operates. And I hope that you'll operate like that. Just give it a shot today. Just decide today, "I'm releasing pride. I'm gonna let go of selfishness and I'm just gonna live today with the lens of what can I do for others? How can I serve others? How can I see others as being more or better than myself?" This is what Jesus did, the Bible says he cast off his godliness and he took on the form of a servant or a slave. And this is what we should strive to do every day. This is how we roll in the kingdom of God.