In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.

Today’s gospel passage makes it seem so simple! Ask God for what you want and you’ll get it; look for what you want and you’ll find it; just knock and doors will be opened to you. However, Jesus reminds us that God is a good father and will not give us what is wrong for us! When you were young, did you ever ask your parents for something that was just not right for you? Perhaps your children have done the same to you. You don’t give a baby a steak, nor do you give a toddler a 10 speed bicycle. You wouldn’t let your children look for milk in the cabinet where you keep your cleaning supplies. But sometimes we are looking for what we think we need in all the wrong places. Yes, Jesus tells us to keep asking for what we need and we will receive it, but he also expects that we will be asking for the right things. We are bombarded with ads that tell us what we need to do or own in order to be happy, but are those things truly what we need? Jesus tells us that we need hearts that are open to others, that we must be people of peace and forgiveness, and when we ask for the gift of the Holy Spirit, we will surely receive. When we pray, do we ask God to give us those things which He knows we need in order to be happy, or do we ask for what the media says we need? If we leave the decisions up to God, then we will always receive what we ask for; we will find what we are looking for; and doors will open at our knock.

Through Jesus Christ, we can have boldness in our speech as we speak about Him, and boldness as we live knowing that death is gain. Through Jesus, we also get access to the Father, whom we wouldn’t have access to without Jesus. Beyond that, we can come to the Father confidently in the name of Jesus because Jesus covers us. He puts on us His perfection and victory over sin. Through Jesus, by faith, we get great rewards.

Father in Heaven, I am so glad that I can come before You confidently. Thank you for sending Jesus so that through Him I would be able to approach You. You have given me great things, so let me live boldly. I have no one to fear but You, Lord. You are the only one who needs to be pleased with me. Make me confident as I live out my days for You – not for men. You are good. You are beautiful. I truly serve the God of all things who created all things. There is no evil in You. I come to You, Father, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Check it out And he said unto them, I must preach the kingdom of God to other cities also: for therefore am I sent.And he said unto them, I must preach the kingdom of God to other cities also: for therefore am I sent.

Sometimes preachers use this text to question whether or not Jesus has siblings, but I think they miss the point of the text. Jesus looks at the people gathered around him, listening to his message, and says that the one who does the will of God is mother, brother and sister to him. The important thing is that he includes us in that as long as we do the will of God. In another part of the Bible, we are called adopted children of God, again being described as the brothers and sisters of Jesus. The key here is doing the will of God. This can be a stumbling block for us. What does it mean to do the will of God? Do we ever ask God to show us the path he wants us to take? Do we ask for guidance when we have an important decision to make? Do we ask for help when faced with temptations? We know that the commandments provide guidance and we have the Beatitudes to give us further instruction, but do we pay attention to them? Many times I know that I don’t. I just go along my own way and then wonder when things don’t turn out the way I want! This is especially true when I am not as considerate of others as I know I should be. I say I want justice but don’t always let my action follow my words. How about you?

Jesus was sent to preach the kingdom of God all over, not just in one place. He taught in places where others would not even go because of prejudices. Then after He had died, risen, and departed, His disciples continued preaching and spreading the gospel throughout the earth. Today, there are still groups of people who have never heard the gospel. There are missionaries whose goal it is to bring the gospel to those people. Eventually, every tribe, tongue, and nation will hear the name of Jesus and the good news about Him.

Heavenly Father, I pray for the peoples who have never even heard of the name of Jesus. Send missionaries and believers to share You with them. Prepare their hearts to receive You and Your word. Give them true hope and save them from judgment. You have a plan for all of us, and You are sovereign. Let Your will be done in the nations. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Through Commenting We improve Our Writing and Communication With One Another in Jesus name Amen

“I Choose to Forgive

“Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” 
Colossians 3:13

C S. Lewis pointed out that “forgiving does not mean excusing . . . if that were so, there would be nothing to forgive.” The people of Paducah, Kentucky, understood this. A few years ago, fourteen‐year‐old Michael Carneal opened fire on a group of students who had gathered in prayer. In seconds, ten were wounded, three fatally. Yet the students and people from the community showed a remarkable willing‐ness to forgive. Placards appeared at the high school reading, “We Forgive You, Mike.” Kelly Carneal, Michael’s sister, was not only embraced by her peers, but was also asked to sing in the choir at the slain girls’ funeral.

During the town’s annual Christmas parade, the people lifted up a moment of silent prayer on behalf of Michael and his family. One young girl said it best: “I can hate Michael and bear the scars of what he did for the rest of my life. But I choose to forgive him and get beyond it.”CONTINUE READING →

All So Read!

How to Help Your Spouse Grieve Beth Ann Baus

Helping your spouse grieve is a privilege because it’s an opportunity to love, support, comfort, and rely on the Lord in a very specific way.CONTINUE READING →

What Does the Bible Say about Interracial Marriage? Emma Danzey

No matter what a person believes on the matter of interracial marriage, I want to begin with the fact that we are all made in the image of God.CONTINUE READING →

                                                         Bible Trivia Question of the Day                                                             What did the townsfolk of Gerasenes ask of Jesus after he cast the legion of demons out of the possessed man into the herd of pigs?
A. they asked Jesus to heal their sick
B. they asked Jesus to leave their town
C. they asked Jesus to perform more miracles
D. they asked Jesus to feed them

Moral Strength: If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

Exodus: 32:26 – Then Moses stood in the entrance of the camp, and said, “Whoever is on the LORD’s side – come with me!” And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together to him.

God gave the Bible to back up the science we see today. Wernher Von Braun was known as the father of the American Space Program.

“Put your money where your mouth is!” Have you ever heard that phrase? It is often said to us when we make a claim that others think we can’t back up. Sometimes we talk a good game, but can’t play it. We let our mouths get carried away and sometimes that leads to all kinds of trouble. When we make a habit of talk, talk, talk but can’t follow it up with do, do, do, then we lose credibility and no one will believe a word we say. This verse reminds us that if we are going to “talk the talk,” then we must “walk the walk.” When we talk a lot about being a Christian and how we pray all the time and how we read our Bibles all the time and how we go to church all the time, people have an expectation of how we should behave. When our behavior contradicts what we say about ourselves, people lose faith in us. And because we represent Christianity to them, they lose faith in all Christians. It is a terrible thing to mislead someone about Christ. We must be excellent ambassadors for Him, in word and deed.

Father, I ask You to help me to live the way You would have me to. Let the words of my mouth and the actions of my heart be the same. If I speak about love, let me be known for love. If I recite scripture, let me first live by that scripture. Help me to be able to match my “walk” and my “talk.” Amen.

“The LORD has hidden himself from his people, but I trust him and place my hope in him.”

Isaiah 8:17 (GNT)

It’s easy to worship God when things are going great in your life—when he’s provided food, friends, family, health, and happy situations. But circumstances are not always pleasant. So, how do you worship God then? What do you do when God seems a million miles away?

The deepest level of worship is praising God in spite of pain, thanking God during a trial, trusting him when tempted, surrendering while suffering, and loving him when he seems distant.

The writer Philip Yancey once noted, “Any relationship involves times of closeness and times of distance, and in a relationship with God, no matter how intimate, the pendulum will swing from one side to the other.”

That’s when worship gets difficult.

To mature your friendship, God will test it with periods of seeming separation—times when it seems as if he has abandoned or forgotten you. St. John of the Cross referred to these days of spiritual dryness and doubt as “the dark night of the soul.”

King David understood days like these. Even though God called him “a man after my own heart” (Acts 13:22 NIV), David sometimes complained about God’s apparent absence:

  • “Lord, why are you standing aloof and far away? Why do you hide when I need you the most?” (Psalm 10:1 TLB).
  • “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? Why are you so far away when I groan for help?” (Psalm 22:1 NLT).
  • “Why have you abandoned me?” (Psalm 43:2 GNT).

Of course, God hadn’t really left David, and he’ll never leave you. God has promised repeatedly, “I will never leave you; I will never abandon you” (Hebrews 13:5 GNT).PLAY today’s audio teaching from Pastor Rick >>

Talk It Over

  • What practical steps can you take to help you worship God even when you’re in pain or in a difficult season?
  • What do you think God might want you to learn during these times?
  • What are some of God’s promises that can give you hope and encouragement?

Have you trusted God’s promise of salvation through Jesus Christ?

If you’re ready to commit your life to Jesus, then pray this prayer:

“Dear Jesus, you have promised that if I believe in you, everything I’ve ever done wrong will be forgiven, I will learn the purpose of my life, and you will accept me into your eternal home in heaven one day.

“I confess my sin, and I receive you into my life as my Lord and Savior. You have promised that if I confess my sin and trust you, I will be saved. I trust you when you say salvation comes by grace, through faith, and not by anything I do. Today I’m turning over every part of my life to your management.

“I’m grateful for your unconditional love. I want to use the rest of my life to love and serve you instead of serving myself. I commit my life to you and ask you to save me and accept me into your family. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.”

Surviving Human Trafficking! And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.

I am a 47 year old Native American woman who has servived being raped, being beaten and being shot by my husband who then selflessly killed himself in front of me. Seven years have past but I still can’t get the image out of my head. But, I thank God for keeping me alive. My past is my experience. An experience you can’t get in any class room. It was a hard challenging life, but By the grace of God I am here. Only to be a true testimony for the living God. To glorify His Holy Name. Fasting and prayer work hand in hand with each other. You cannot fast without praying – otherwise you will simply be on a hunger strike. The point of fasting is to sacrifice earthly needs in order to focus more on communing with God. Prayer is how we commune with God during this time of fellowship. It is in these times we can receive visions, revelations of God’s word, and a refreshed assurance in the goodness of God.

Boy, are we just like the people in Jesus’ day! We say we will follow Jesus, but we put it off with all kinds of excuses! I need to work; my kids are in sports; I’ll do it when I’m older. I don’t have time right now for you, Jesus, but the day will come when I will have time. Imagine how that works with our earthly relationships! There’s an old song called “Cat’s in the Cradle” that talks about a father who doesn’t have time for his son while the son is growing up and only realizes what he has done when he retires and the son now has no time for him. The good news is that Jesus will always have time for us no matter how long it takes for us to wake up and make room for him in our lives. But think of what we miss! We can miss years, or in some cases, a lifetime, of knowing that Jesus has our back – he will always be there to help and guide us. His grace will be there to keep us from making some pretty terrible mistakes. All we need to do is follow him. In one of the classes we had this spring, the video instructor explained that the “yoke” that Jesus asks us to take for our own, is not a burdensome piece of wood that keeps us tied to the plow, but rather, a point of view. Jesus asks us to view life as he did – working for justice, in communion with one another, always connected to the God who made us. Yes, it can be difficult at times because the world is always pulling us in all directions, but with the grace of God, we can do it. What has happened when you didn’t follow Jesus? I know that in my life, that’s when I was on my knees begging God to get me out of the mess I made. In the long run, life is actually easier when we give in, let go of the excuses, and just follow Jesus.

Dear God, my prayer is that everything I do will never be done out of ignorance or selfish desire. May I never have any ulterior motives in my actions because I know how this can nullify the very act. May I remember that the importance of all I do is to communicate with you and to ensure that your name is glorified at all times. In Jesus name I pray Amen

Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Has someone ever said to you, “You just made my day!” and you wondered what you did or said? Just think for a moment how you feel when that happens. You just brought the Good News of Christ to that person! You made that person feel better about themselves or more loved or more accepted. This is what following Jesus and being a disciple is all about. We don’t always know what it means to someone to say that we will pray for them, or to tell them they’re special or loved. When we act as Jesus would act, we are bringing God’s love into whatever situation we are in. The world can get us down sometimes. We can wonder if it’s all worth it to do the right thing when we see others profiting from the unhappiness of others. We need to hear the good news of salvation. But someone needs to bring us that good news! Bringing someone else joy, gives us joy as well. In our Gospel passage today, the seventy-two disciples returned to Jesus full of joy and couldn’t wait to tell him about their experience of spreading the Good News of the Kingdom. The message of Jesus was and is “God loves you.” When we can look in the mirror, into the eyes of a friend, into the face of a stranger and be able to say, “God loves you,” we are bringing the Good News of Christ to all we meet and we will experience joy. So, this week, go make someone’s day!

https://journeyintothewild.quora.com/https-thebohemianlounge-quora-com-Motherly-love-1?ch=18&oid=57522366&share=586517de&srid=nTc3I&target_type=post

We have a lesson to learn from John the Baptist. Many people had approached John wondering if he might be the Messiah. As we see in this passage from Mark’s Gospel, John made sure that they were mistaken, that there was “another” coming who was greater than he who would baptize with the Holy Spirit. Soon Jesus comes to John to be baptized. The lesson we should take from John is that WE are also not the Messiah. Our task, as was John’s, is to lead others to Christ, not to ourselves. I have seen many examples over the years, as I’m sure you have as well, of preachers who seem more interested in drawing attention to themselves rather than to Christ. Who appear to act as if they are the only ones who can save us. They can’t. Jesus has already done that! I once knew a woman who had emerged from a cult and who was engaged to marry a Methodist minister. Even though she had left the cult, she still had fears that by leaving, she was condemning herself to hell. The leader of the cult still held power over her, a power he never should have taken upon himself. Just as John understood that Jesus was the Messiah, the Savior, the promised one, we need to help others to come to know Jesus even if they never come to know us. Once John knew that Jesus had begun his ministry he declared that he, John, must decrease so that Jesus could increase. May we have the humility of John. There is nothing more lovely to see than a child reaching up to his/her parent in love and trust. It is to such as these that Jesus tells us we must be. Children have faith that they will be cared for by those who love them. When we were children, we didn’t really have any problems believing that God loves us, but as we grow older, we seem to become jaded by a world that lets us down, and so we can easily believe that God will do likewise. The early Christians knew what it meant to be church. They met in homes, gathered to share their memories of Jesus, or the stories they had heard, reading letters from Paul or other disciples and sharing a meal. On the Sabbath they would go to the temple to pray – until it became impossible. As time went by the spreading of the Good News was left to professionals. Today things must change if we want our children to know of God’s love for them. The emphasis now is on our role to reach out to others, to witness our faith in the home, the workplace, the neighborhood. No longer is it just the job of ministers and priests to bring others to Christ, it is our job as well. Change is difficult and personal responsibility is always a challenge. Faith, like any other relationship, needs to be nurtured and this is perhaps the greatest challenge of all. Let us take this year to grow in our knowledge of Christ; let us take more time for prayer; let us delve into the Scriptures and learn just how to truly follow Jesus. Just as we encourage our children to grow and provide opportunities for them, may we take advantage of the opportunities that will be offered to us this year, so that we may have enough faith to last a lifetime and beyond – into eternity.

Our relationship with God consists of us realizing the areas in which we need reformation, and following God’s guidance so that we can be healed, reformed, and transformed. Only the power of God can change our ways. We can’t do it without His help.

Dear God, I ask that you reveal to me any areas of my life that I need to do better in. Lord, I also ask that you help me improve in these areas because it is only through you that I can achieve such. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

American’s Need to Listen to the Word of God

If you are a believer in Jesus Christ and you live in America, then there is a glaring problem that we are faced with. Even though this problem might seem simple to identify, I am not sure if we are recognizing how much damage this problem is doing to the name of Jesus and to the hope of the message of the gospel.

The problem is the church is not one and is clearly divided. Now to be clear, there have been disagreements throughout church history – you can read about some of them in the book of Acts. Even Paul and Barnabas had a disagreement that caused them to part ways. However, even though they disagreed, it never interfered with the preaching of the gospel, and it never brought shame to the name of Jesus. I am not sure we can say that about the church in America today.

Hi Delana,

Wanted to remind you to get into this group with other pastors. There are over 3,000 members, with several hundred being very active monthly. It’s a really healthy group and there are lots of great ongoing conversations on topics I think you’ll find helpful.

One topic that is most pertinent is planning out your sermon calendar for 2022… and it’s not just because it helps you prepare your messages.

Small group curriculum can be shaped around a sermon calendar.
Giving initiatives can be incorporated into the sermon calendar.
Guest speakers and breaks for the preaching team (vacations) are included in the sermon calendar.
Volunteer and membership initiatives can fund support through sermon series.
Those are just four big benefits of getting your preaching calendar in order for the new year. There are countless more contextual benefits that will elevate ministry beyond the pulpit.

As I mentioned in my last email, you’re at the starting line for the new year and as important as it is to feel a sense of renewal to the call God has put before you, it is equally as important to be intentional in getting the work done, step-by-step.

To help you get started (or finish out) your sermon calendar, I have several links to share.

How to Create A Preaching Calendar (Article)
2022 Sermon Calendar Template (Spreadsheet)
Sermon Calendar Videos – Video 1, Video 2, Video 3
2022 Sermon Calendars – Topical, Expository, Lectionary, Acts
Workshop on January 26
It’s not abnormal to stare at your February, March, or April weekend dates hoping and planning to get some time set aside to fill them in. That’s pretty normal… not just for pastors, but people in general.

You tell yourself, “I’m going to get to this…” but it doesn’t happen.

Using the resources above, and especially the workshop I mentioned on the 26th, you can gain some insights, develop a little motivation, and before the end of the month, look at an excel spreadsheet with tentative sermon titles and even have guest speakers penciled in for weekends when you know you’ll be gone.

Don’t forget, you can still join the preacher’s group I mentioned above and in my previous email.

You won’t fail to plan for lack of resources or opportunity… it would be for lack of action… and you’ve got 6 different recommended actions in this email alone. Choose one and go!

God bless,

Justin Trapp
Founder
Ministry Pass

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.

As Christians, we should never forget that God is the source of all of our help. In times of need and distress, He will send us people and things to help us but we shouldn’t see the people as the source. They are just God’s vessels who are doing His work in our lives.

Dear God, I thank you that my help comes from you. In times of distress, no matter how overwhelmed I may feel, I know that I can trust in you, Lord. You are my guide and my strength. You keep me when the world tries to tear me apart. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Lord Do Not Delay!

When we pray the Lord’s Prayer, we say “thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” In this psalm, we pray that we delight to do God’s will. I wonder if we really mean what we pray, or if we just say the words. First, we need to think about what God’s will really is. When we read the Scriptures we see certain themes – justice, peace, and especially, love. These themes run through the Old Testament as well as the New. We are told to take care of the poor, the most vulnerable in our society. We are asked to remember that we were once strangers in the lands we now occupy. We are told to treat others the way we want to be treated, to forgive. These are not easy tasks and sometimes we do not “delight” in doing them. We want justice but not if it interferes with our comfort. We want peace, but our speech is often loaded with violence. We say we want to be forgiven but find it hard to forgive. We don’t always welcome the stranger, and we sometimes suspect the poor of being responsible for their situation. When we continue to read this psalm, we read a confession of sorts admitting that we often fail in doing the will of God. We also hear the author asking for God’s mercy and faithfulness. We need to look at ourselves with honesty and see how we can work better to bring about God’s will on earth as it is in heaven.

Dear God, I pray that I will always be kind in my ways to everyone around me. I desire that when I leave this earth, I will be remembered for being someone who expressed your love – not someone who inflicted pain on others. May I be known for being peaceful and loving and always ready to help, Lord. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Trump: ‘America Needs a Savior Right Now’ and it’s ‘Somebody Much Higher Up Than Me’

Donald Trump, Trump speaks at First Baptist Dallas

Former President Donald Trump on Sunday delivered a Christmas greeting to a Dallas church that was part-spiritual, part-political, telling members that “dark clouds” are “hanging over our country” but adding that Jesus is the “ultimate source of our strength and our hope.”null

Trump spoke for roughly 10 minutes to members of First Baptist Church in Dallas following a sermon by Pastor Robert Jeffress, who endorsed Trump in 2016 and was an outspoken defender of the Trump administration.

The former president continually hinted at a potential run for president in 2024 – which, if successful, would make him only the second president to serve non-consecutive terms. (He would join Grover Cleveland, the nation’s 22nd and 24th president.)

“We will come back bigger and better and stronger than ever before,” he said. “I’m telling you that. We won’t let this happen. We won’t let it happen.”

Trump quoted Scripture and discussed the influence of Christianity on America.

“An angel of the Lord appeared to humble shepherds and proclaimed the reason for our Christmas joy. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ, the Lord,” he said.

“… Our country needs a savior right now, and our country has a Savior. And that’s not me – that’s somebody much higher up than me, much higher up. … The life and death and resurrection of Jesus Christ forever changed the world. It’s impossible to think of the life of our own country without the influence of His example, and of His teachings. Our miraculous founding, overcoming Civil War, abolishing slavery, defeating communism and fascism, reaching boundless heights of science and discovery. … The United States ultimately becoming a truly great nation, and we’re going to keep it that way. We’re going to keep it that way. We’re not going to let it go.null

“… But none of this could have ever happened without Jesus Christ, and His followers and His church – none of it. And we have to remember that Jesus Christ is the ultimate source of our strength and of our hope.”

Trump read his prepared text but noted that he was going off-script, saying he wanted to “speak from the heart.” Presumably, his off-script comments included politics.

“We’re in trouble. I think our nation’s in great trouble,” he said at the beginning of his remarks. “I don’t think we’ve ever had a time like this with what happened in Afghanistan the way that was done so badly. And you look at the borders, and you look at the inflation, which is going to rip our country to pieces. We had no inflation, we had oil – much of it coming from Texas. We even filled up the strategic reserves. For decades and decades, they were empty and getting lower all the time. … But I will say that there’s a lot of clouds hanging over our country right now – very dark clouds.”

Trump also discussed crime, saying, “We have to give the police their authority back, and we have to give them their dignity back.”

His concluding words also focused on politics.

“We have an incredible country. It will be more incredible in years to come,” he said. “We will do what has to be done to make America great again. We are going to make America great again. We are never going to forget that message. … It’s America first – and make America great again, and we will do it.”

Trump received a standing ovation before and after the speech. 

The inclusion of politics, though, ignited a debate on social media.

“Partisan politics was grievously inserted into the ministry of First Baptist Dallas today,” said Ray Ortlund of Renewal Ministries. “Galatians 2:11-21 addresses this. It is serious. Gospel doctrine is denied when gospel culture is violated. May we always be able to say, with Paul, ‘I do not nullify the grace of God.'”

Related:

CHRISTIAN NEWS HEADLINES FROM THE UNITED STATES AND AROUND THE WORLD

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BREAKPOINTCritical Race Theory and a Christian Worldview | 2021 Year in Review

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DENISON FORUMWill God Lead Me into My Best Life in the New Year?

Some Potential Resolutions for Our Government Agencies and Elected Leaders

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