Saturday, May 31, 2014

Saturday Prayertime - May 31

Dear Lord, Thank you for this day. Thank you for my being able to see, to hear, to speak, to move about this morning. I'm blessed because you are a forgiving and understanding God. You have done so much for me. I have witnessed your hand of blessing, your miraculous power in my life and the lives of those I love, and you just keep on blessing me. Forgive me this day for everything I have done, said or thought that was not pleasing to you. I ask now for your forgiveness. Please keep me, my family, and my church family safe from all danger and harm. Help me to start this day with a positive and Christ-focused attitude and plenty of gratitude. Please clear my mind of distractions so that I can hear from you and please direct my steps today. Thank you so much, in Jesus' name, Amen.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Co-Laborers with God - Cultivated and Built

1 Corinthians 3:9 - For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.

From our start in this passage yesterday, we saw Paul is using in the Greek structure of this sentence the words out of normal grammatical order. This is a figure of speech called a hyperbaton, and is used to call attention or emphasizing a point. We noted that we are fellow-workers together, working for God. We see this continued in the last two phrases - "God's field" and "God's building."

The term in the Greek georgion denotes a cultivated field - not just a field. This is ground that has been plowed and worked to be useful and capable of producing crops. Since we are "God's cultivated field," we see that it is God who has invested His energy and work in preparing us to do His service. He has cultivated us, prepared us, and is now watching for the production of fruit.  One is not more important than another, each has been trained for the task that is expected of them.

The term for building in the Greek oikodome denotes a building or edification. Paul will continue with this image for the remainder of the chapter. He speaks of the foundation - Jesus Christ - and the work that one must build upon the foundation. We are the walls and structure that is on the foundation of Jesus.

Today, muse over the teachings of Paul about how we are cultivated and structured by God. How has God prepared you to work in His service? How can you use the preparation that God has used on you to work together with other fellow believers to advance the kingdom? As we are going into this weekend, how can you be of service to your church, fellow believers, and the lost.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Co-Laborers with God - Synergy

1 Corinthians 3:9 -  For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.

Paul has been addressing the church at Corinth over the divisions that had arisen - particularly the division over who was most important. Now Paul wants them to understand that all believers need to work together to accomplish the will of God. He spoke about the fact that God is the important One in the mission of the church. He referenced that we would be rewarded for our work. He spoke that some planted, some watered, and some would reap the harvest.

Today, we muse over what he says - "For we are co-workers in God's service...." In the Greek structure of this sentence, we have the words used out of normal grammatical order. This is a figure of speech called a hyperbaton, and is used to call attention or emphasizing a point. This could be translated as "God's fellow-workers" calling attention to the point that we are the fellow-workers with one another and we belong to God and work for Him. We do the work together - and God then gives the increase. We are not equal with God in our work, we work for Him - we are equal with each other in accomplishing the mission.

The Greek word used for co-workers in this passage is the word sunergoi, and we get our word synergy from this base. Synergy is a combined action or operation that produces results. It actually is the increased effectiveness that results when two or more people work together. The Greek word means to work with - and we understand the full intention of Paul as the challenge to work together - so that the sum is greater than the individual parts.

It has been said that it is yet to be seen what the church could accomplish in this world, if no one cared who got the credit. This is partially correct. We need to synergistically work together and only care that God gets the credit. Today, muse over what you can do in co-operation with fellow believers to advance the kingdom of God and see that He gets all the credit.


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Co-Laborers with God - Payday Someday

1 Corinthians 3:8 - The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. 

Rewards. Many believe that speaking of being rewarded for serving God is not appropriate. We should be altruistic and serve just to serve. That's a nice thought, but it is not in human's nature to always do this. In fact, since God created us, He knows and understands this.

In the Scriptures, there are a number of references to our receiving rewards. Let me give a few examples (all are from the ESV):

Hebrews 11:6 - "And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him."
Colossians 3:23-24 - "Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ."
Matthew 6:33 - "But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." (Jesus speaking)
Genesis 15:1 - "After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: 'Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.'”
Psalm 19:9-11 - "The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward."
Revelation 22:12 - “Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay everyone for what he has done."

Paul speaking to these believers assures them that when we serve the Lord - there is a payday someday, and we will receive rewards. The Bible speaks of 5 crowns given out to believers. I am going to list them and their Scripture references, and I challenge you to look at each of these crowns.

1. The Incorruptible Crown: 1 Corinthians 9:24, 25. This is also called the imperishable crown. This crown is given to believers who faithfully run the race, who crucify every selfish desire in the flesh and point men to Jesus.

2. The Crown of Rejoicing: 1 Thessalonians 2:19, 20. & Daniel 12:3 To those who faithfully are witnesses to the saving grace of God and leads souls to Jesus. This crown has also been named the soul winner's crown.
3. The Crown of Life: James 1:12. For those believers who endure trials, tribulations, and severe suffering, even unto death Revelation 2:8-11. This crown is also referred to as the martyr's crown.
4. The Crown of Righteousness: 2 Timothy 4:8. To those who love the appearing of Christ, who anxiously wait and look forward to the day when He will return for His saints. This crown is given to those who have lived a good and righteous life for God while living down here on earth.
5. And finally, The Crown of Glory: 1 Peter 5:1-4. This is the pastor’s crown and will be given to the ministers who faithfully feed the flock of God. . This probably could also include preachers, teachers, Sunday School teachers, missionaries and all those who teach the Word of God in their respective ministries. This crown may signify the importance and sacrifices of bringing up others into the ways of God.

So, today, spend some time meditating on the teaching of rewards.  Remember, a reward is not handed out for just sitting and soaking - they are given for those who go and grow. Check out the scriptures that go with each crown, and make a plan on how you can receive each one of these one day from the hands of the Savior.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Co-Laborers with God - The Important One

1 Corinthians 3: 5-7 - What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.

Paul is dealing with the issue of divisions within the Church at Corinth. These divisions revolved around the people of Corinth looking to the men who led them to the Lord instead of the Lord Himself. They placed their importance upon who led them to the Lord instead of looking to Jesus to lead them in their mission. Paul called them immature or babies. 

Paul wanted them to see that it is not the human person that is important. He wanted them to understand that the focus, the importance of their christian walk was Jesus Christ - and Him crucified, buried, and risen again.

We need to come to the point that we truly understand that our task is to live the life and share about Jesus - God's task is to do the saving. I can't save anyone. Only God can save a soul. I can plant a seed about Jesus, or I can water and weed, but I can't make it grow. Every good gardner and farmer knows that they cultivate the soil, fertilize, plant, water, weed - but they can't make the seed germinate or grow. 

The same is true in the spiritual realm. I can live before my neighbors a life that displays Christ. I can share with them what Jesus has done for me. I can talk, pray, and invite them to church. I can help remove hindrances - I can do everything that I can, and it is up to God to do the saving.

HE IS THE IMPORTANT ONE! So, why do we get so hung up on titles, denominations, etc? None can save, only Christ. God will take what we sow and germinate it and grow it into His plant. We should never worry about whether a person comes to our church or not - the important thing is that they understand and accept the Gospel message. God will do the growing if we are doing the sowing.

Today, muse over how you can share the good news with those you come in contact with. How can you plant or water today. And then - go do it.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Co-Laborers with God - Immaturity

1 Corinthians 3: 1-9 (NIV) Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly—mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans? For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere human beings?

Paul is writing to the church at Corinth to seek to correct some misunderstandings and problems that they had. In the church there had arisen divisions among the members, creating strife, and giving a bad name in the community around them. One of these divisions was the people had developed apparently a hierarchy of spiritual standing based upon who they placed themselves under. They looked at the teaching styles and presentations of at least these two men - and took sides as to who was more important. If a person was saved under Paul's ministry (at the start of the church) or under the ministry of Apollos (who followed Paul in leadership). He addressed this concern in 1 Corinthians 1: 10-17 (HCSB)

Now I urge you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree in what you say, that there be no divisions among you, and that you be united with the same understanding and the same conviction. For it has been reported to me about you, my brothers, by members of Chloe’s household, that there is rivalry among you. What I am saying is this: Each of you says, “I’m with Paul,” or “I’m with Apollos,” or “I’m with Cephas,” or “I’m with Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was it Paul who was crucified for you? Or were you baptized in Paul’s name? I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, so that no one can say you were baptized in my name. I did, in fact, baptize the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I don’t know if I baptized anyone else. For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to evangelize—not with clever words, so that the cross of Christ will not be emptied of its effect.

While the commission and purpose of the church was to bring people to Christ, these were busy taking sides as to who a person should believe and follow. Paul is going to stress to them the importance of placing Jesus first, and that they are to follow Him. He is going to talk to them in this section of the letter about what is most important - building the kingdom of Christ. In the next couple of days, we will see what he says about the importance of being Co-laborers with God.
Today, muse over the importance of following Christ instead of men. When we seek to do the work God calls us to, do we take sides - or do we go out and build according to the plans that Jesus gave us?

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Sunday Prayertime - May 25

Dear God, There is nothing like the feeling of being loved! You created us to love and be loved...and I thank you for all the love you have given me and shown me throughout all my days. Thank you for all the special touches and blessings that let me know you care about even the smallest details of my life and that you love me no matter what. Thank you for friends who are there for me...and that I can be there for...through the seasons of life. Thank you for the love of parents and children and extended family. I am grateful for the love in my life. I pray that every person will experience love...especially your unending, far-reaching, peace-bringing, merciful and unconditional love. I love you. In the name of Jesus I pray and offer my whole-hearted love and thankfulness. Amen.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Saturday Prayertime - May 24

Oh God; I want to KNOW You. You are so great and do great things. I want to spend more time with You. Help me to make time to sit before Your throne in quiet places, to read Your Word in order to know You more intimately, to develop an ear to hear Your voice so that I know when to turn to the right or to the left. I trust You to guide me in all things. Amen

Friday, May 23, 2014

The Pattern of Prayer - Benediction

"[For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.]" Matthew 6:13c (HCSB)

We come to the Benediction of this prayer. A benediction according to Merriam-Webster online is the invocation of a blessing; the short blessing with which public worship is concluded. This is how we end - invoking a blessing.  The brackets in the HCSB means that Biblical scholars and the HCSB translation team do not believe that this was part of the original text. Still, in many ways as we consider the Model that this displays, it is important. If we leave it out - we start with the Father and end with the Devil. It would be moving from Heaven to Hell. we are starting with the Father, staying with the Father, and ending with the Father.

Warren Wiersbe* says that even though this is not part of the original text, it is believed to be "added when churches began to pray the Lord's Prayer together in public worship. In the Didache, a second-century local church manual, it reads, 'For thine is the power and the glory forever.'" It is believed that this is based upon the Benediction that David gave at the commissioning of Solomon to build the Temple. Consider the words of 1 Chronicles 29:10-13

"Then David praised the Lord in the sight of all the assembly. David said,
May You be praised, Lord God of our father Israel, from eternity to eternity. Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the splendor and the majesty, for everything in the heavens and on earth belongs to You. Yours, Lord, is the kingdom, and You are exalted as head over all. Riches and honor come from You, and You are the ruler of everything. Power and might are in Your hand, and it is in Your hand to make great and to give strength to all. Now therefore, our God, we give You thanks and praise Your glorious name."

Let us consider some important words in Matthews passage. First, consider "kingdom" (Greek basile). Matthew's gospel is the Kingdom Gospel - it presents Jesus as the King. In this passage, the word refers to the reign of the Messiah. In the earlier statement, we saw the request for "Your kingdom come.
Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven." In these closing words, the one praying is acknowledging that the Kingdom already belongs to the Messiah - the Christ - God.

Then we have the word "power" (Greek dunamis). This word carries the meaning of strength and ability. we get our words dynamite and dynamo from this word. Paul shows us a glimspe of this concept in Ephesians 3:20-21 - "Now to Him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us— to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen."

The next word to muse over is "glory" (Greek doxa). It means the opinion or estimate that brings to one honor resulting from this. The glory of God is who or what He demonstrates Himself to be. We give the praise and honor to God - thus giving to Him glory. Not that He needs our opinion or honor, but it our way of ascribing to Him Who He Is. 

Consider the word "forever" (Greek eis tous aiṓn). It means literally "unto the ages." It marks an unending period of time. Thus we see the picture of eternity present and future. Finally, see the word "amen" (Greek amḗn). It means - so be it, or may it be fulfilled. It was a custom, which passed over from the synagogues to the Christian assemblies, that when he who had read or discoursed, had offered up solemn prayer to God, the others responded Amen, and thus made the substance of what was uttered their own.

So to end this short study on the Model Prayer, today begin to muse over those five words - kingdom, power, glory, forever, and amen. Consider whether you are faithful as a child and servant to the King. Do you depend upon His power, is your motive to glorify Him, and is this with eternity in view? Can I truly say Amen to these thoughts and concepts in this Model Prayer of our Lord Jesus Christ?

Jack Hayford

Majesty, worship his majesty
Unto jesus be all glory, power and praise
Majesty, kingdom authority flow from his throne
Unto his own his anthem raise
So exalt lift up on high the name of jesus
Magnify, come glorify christ jesus the king
Majesty, worship his majesty
Jesus who died now glorified
King of all kings.

* Warren Wiersbe, 2010. On Earth as It Is In Heaven, Baker Books, Grand Rapids Michigan.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Pattern of Prayer - Discipleship - Delivering

"...but deliver us from the evil one." Matthew 6:13b (HCSB). 

Satan has been characterized and satirized until we as Christians take him very lightly. We take the biblical concept of him being a defeated foe, and turn a blind eye and deaf ear to what is going on around us. We take the power and warfare of this opponent as something to lightly disregard or make jokes about.

Unfortunately, this is exactly what he wants us to do. Satan persuades many people that there is no heaven, hell, judgment, or God. He causes many to think that he does not even exist, or that, if he does exist, he is nothing more than a little red cartoon character with horns and a pitchfork, who is mischievous but not dangerous. He causes some people to be bitter toward God. He causes many others to be deceived on how to be saved. He blinds their eyes. C. S. Lewis is quotes as saying

"There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors, and hail a materialist and a magician with the same delight." 

We need to continually seek God to deliver us from this evil one (Greek, ponērós). Satan seeks to have us develop a trust in ourselves - that we can resist and defeat him. But, we need to be aware of his many schemes and plans to divert us from being what God has planned for us. Some will say, "Wait, doesn't the Bible say we can resist the devil? Look at the full scripture - James 4: 7 states "Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you." We resist the devil when we are in complete submission to the Father. Even the archangel understands the power of Satan - "Yet Michael the archangel, when he was disputing with the Devil in a debate about Moses’ body, did not dare bring an abusive condemnation against him but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” Jude 9 (HCSB)

Satan has a variety of schemes that he uses to delude and seduce a believer from staying true to God. A. W. Pink says, "Satan is not an initiator but an imitator. "He takes what God has created in beauty and twists it into something evil. The evangelist Dr. John R. Rice is quotes as saying, "I do not deny that the Devil has some pretty apples; I just say that all of them are fakes and that after you bite into them, you will find they have worms. All Satan's apples have worms." When we are confident that we have him all figured out - he has us where he wants us. He then leads us astray - and even though he can't take our salvation away - he will destroy our usefulness and testimony. and, we need to beware of how he will steal away our relational time with the Father. The late Adrian Rogers once stated - "If Satan can't make you bad, he'll make you busy." Once we replace our time with the Father with busyness, we open ourselves to Satan's deceptive lies.

Jesus knew that we need to pray for continual deliverance from the deceptions and power of the evil one. Today, muse over whether you have become complacent about our enemy.  Spend time getting close to the Father, submitting to Him, and letting Him fight the battles.

A Mighty Fortress Is Our God
Martin Luther

A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing;
Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing:
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great, and, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal. 

Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth, His Name, from age to age the same,
And He must win the battle. 

And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us:
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him. 

That word above all earthly powers, no thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him Who with us sideth:
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever.


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Pattern of Prayer - Discuipleship - Leading

"And do not bring us into temptation...." Matthew 6:13a (HCSB).

Here we come to the last two request dealing with us as believers. And they both deal with the area of discipleship in our lives. What is discipleship?

Rick Warren gives this definition of discipleship. 

"Discipleship is the process of transformation that changes us to be increasingly more like Christ through the Word (John 17:17), the Spirit (2 Cor. 3:18), and circumstance (Rom. 8:28-29). Growth is both mystical and practical; God has a part (“Only God makes things grow” 1 Cor. 3:7)  but we have a part as well (“…put off…and put on”Eph.4:22-23).  Discipleship is based on continual repentance (“Be transformed by the renewing of your mind”  Rom. 12:1-2).  It takes far more than Bible study to grow a disciple – it takes a balance of worship experiences, fellowship experiences, engagement with the Word, ministry experiences, and evangelism/mission experiences. Without balance there is no health, and without health, there is no growth. Jesus modeled both the method and goal of all discipleship, moving the 12 from “Come and see” to “Come and die!” over a period of three years....  If you don’t have a process, you aren’t making disciples, because spiritual growth is not automatic. Discipleship is intentional, incremental, relational, covenantal, habitual, and incarnational."
First, Jesus here speaks of asking God not to lead us into temptation. The word temptation used here (peirasm) can mean trial or testing. We know from James 1:13 that "No one undergoing a trial should say, 'I am being tempted by God.' For God is not tempted by evil, and He Himself doesn’t tempt anyone." God never tempts us to do evil, however He will test our faith. When a teacher administers a test, it is not to make a student fail, it is to see what they have learned and how proficient they are in the subject matter. Faith is only as good as the object of that faith - self or God. How we respond to these tests will determine whether they build us up or tear us down. It will disclose whether we place our faith in God or in something else.

In Hebrews 11 - the Hall of Faith chapter, we see that all believers have been tested. Everyone who trusted in God through these tests were mightily used of God. To the glory of God they were able to do what to most seemed impossible. It is serious and dangerous to play lightly with sin and tempt ourselves. We do not need to see how close to the edge of the cliff we can stand and not fall, but to be safe and not play that game.

When God allows tests to come into our lives, they are not designed to make us fall - they are there to strengthen us in our walk. This will only happen when we place our faith in the proper object - Jesus Christ. And, when we successfully complete the test - we will have grown in our walk with the Lord.

Today, muse over where you truly place your faith - in God or in something else (some people place their faith in faith). What can you do to place it in the proper object? So, why not do it now.

Trusting Jesus
Edgar Page Stites

Simply trusting every day,
Trusting through a stormy way;
Even when my faith is small,
Trusting Jesus, that is all. 

Trusting as the moments fly,
Trusting as the days go by;
Trusting Him whate’er befall,
Trusting Jesus, that is all. 

Brightly does His Spirit shine
Into this poor heart of mine;
While He leads I cannot fall;
Trusting Jesus, that is all. 


Singing if my way is clear,
Praying if the path be drear;
If in danger for Him call;
Trusting Jesus, that is all. 


Trusting Him while life shall last,
Trusting Him till earth be past;
Till within the jasper wall,
Trusting Jesus, that is all. 


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Pattern of Prayer - Fellowship

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

As we continue in our study of Jesus' Model Prayer, let us consider this phrase. We have seen Jesus challenge us in our prayers to consider our relationship (Matthew 6:9b, HCSB), our worship Matthew 6:9c, HCSB), our citizenship (Matthew 6:10a, HCSB), and our partnership (Matthew 6:10b, HCSB) - in other words our focus on God first. We next moved into our Stewardship (Matthew 6:11, HCSB). Now, let us consider our fellowship with God and each other.

He begins by reminding us about what has divided our fellowship. Sin. The Aramaic word for sin (opheílēma) is also the word for debt - for something owed. A debt is a legal obligation. We are obligated to observe God's law and do His will. However, we fail. Plain and simple. We are in debt to God. The glorious message of the gospel is that God forgives the sins of those who repent and trust Jesus Christ! But, what if we sin after we are saved? First, we can never lose our salvation - it is final. John 10:28 (HCSB) - "I give them eternal life, and they will never perish—ever! No one will snatch them out of My hand." That is Jesus speaking, and He never lies. Paul taught in Romans 8:38, 39 HCSB) - "For I am persuaded that not even death or life, angels or rulers, things present or things to come, hostile powers, height or depth, or any other created thing will have the power to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!"

Realize that our disobedience does not make us unaccepted by God, it means we are unacceptable to our Father. What a difference those two little words make. When we sin, we don't need forever forgiveness, we need fellowship forgiveness. (Take time today to read 1 John 1:5-10). We may feel unworthy to come to the Throne, but we need to remember that we are not unwelcome at the throne. This does not mean that we take sin lightly - no, we need to consider the horrendous way we appear to our Father with our sin. Thanks be to Christ we delivered us form this separation.

As forgiven sinners, we MUST be forgiving to those fellow Christians who have been seduced and fallen into sin. If we refuse to forgive our brothers, we must watch that we ourselves do not fall into further sin - Galatians 6:1 (HCSB) - "Brothers, if someone is caught in any wrongdoing, you who are spiritual should restore such a person with a gentle spirit, watching out for yourselves so you also won’t be tempted." We must seek to restore the fellowship between the Father, other believers, and ourselves.

When God stores, He forgives. But there are consequences to sin. It is like he pulls the nails out of the boards - but the holes remain. In Joel 2:25 (HCSB) we find a beautiful promise from God - "I will repay you for the years that the swarming locust ate, the young locust, the destroying locust, and the devouring locust—" God can cleanse and He can restore. Charles Spurgeon preached these words on this passage - "LOST years can never be restored literally. Time once past is gone forever. Let no man make any mistake about this or trifle with the present moment under any notion that the flying hour will ever wing its way back to him. As well call back the north wind or fill again the emptied rain cloud, or put back into their quiver the arrows of the lord of day. As well bid the river which has hastened onward to the sea bring back its rolling floods, as imagine that the years that have once gone can ever be restored to us. It will strike you at once that the locusts did not eat the years—the locusts ate the fruits of the years' labor—the harvests of the fields."* Yet, God can still bless us. Do we deserve it? Not on your life. This is pure grace - plain and simple.

Restore our fellowship with You, Father, and with each other.

Muse today over what needs to be repented of before God, and are their those who you are refusing to forgive? Then do something about it.

Lord, I'm Coming Home
William J. Kirkpatrick

I’ve wandered far away from God,
Now I’m coming home;
The paths of sin too long I’ve trod,
Lord, I’m coming home. 

Coming home, coming home,
Nevermore to roam,
Open wide Thine arms of love,
Lord, I’m coming home. 

I’ve wasted many precious years,
Now I’m coming home;
I now repent with bitter tears,
Lord, I’m coming home. 


I’m tired of sin and straying, Lord,
Now I’m coming home;
I’ll trust Thy love, believe Thy Word,
Lord, I’m coming home. 


My soul is sick, my heart is sore,
Now I’m coming home;
My strength renew, my hope restore,
Lord, I’m coming home. 


My only hope, my only plea,
Now I’m coming home;
That Jesus died, and died for me.
Lord, I’m coming home. 


I need His cleansing blood, I know,
Now I’m coming home;
O wash me whiter than the snow,
Lord, I’m coming home. 



Monday, May 19, 2014

The Pattern of Prayer - Stewardship

We are now shifting in this Model Prayer from acknowledging God to specific needs. We need to focus on God before we pray. When we come to Him with our requests, we need to seek out His priorities. Jesus taught, "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you." Matthew 6:33, HCSB. Consider this - if God gave us what we asked, would it glorify His name, advance His kingdom and accomplish His will on earth? If not, why should we ask.

This phrase in the prayer we are looking at is "Give us today our daily bread." Matthew 6:11 (HCSB). The word bread in that culture referred to both food in general and to the loaves made from wheat or barley flour. Basically, it stands for all that is necessary to sustain life. We are the stewards of the daily supply that God provides. Let us muse over this phrase in the prayer.

First, consider "give." This reminds us that everything we need for life comes from the Hand of God. He gives according to His grace - James 1:17 (HCSB) - "Every generous act and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights; with Him there is no variation or shadow cast by turning." That's what stewardship is all about. God is not obligated to give us anything. Yet, we see HIs grace in what He gives us, and how He gives it. If we stop to think for just a moment, to have a slice of bread it requires the cooperation of the whole universe. And that is under the controlling hand of God.

Too many people in churches today have become consumers and not stewards. Churches are looked at like "shopping malls," and we are "doing church" instead of worshipping God. The "Hey, what's in it for me" attitude has taken over the "How can I be like "Christ" attitude. If we are true to pur prayers, we will be stewards of God's grace, not greedy consumers.

Notice also, the two words us and our. We are joint stewards. The Model Prayer is a family prayer, and not a solo act. He also called it daily bread - to the Jewish mind of that day they would have recalled the account of Manna in the Scriptures. God provided daily exactly what each person needed to survive. The Manna sustained life. The Word of God sustains our spiritual life, and it is needful to be taken daily. Consider what Jesus taught in Matthew 4:4 (HCSB) - "But He answered, “It is written: Man must not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” we are reminded in what Jesus is saying that God provides our daily sustenance both from our physical food and our spiritual food. And both are needed daily.

We need to remind ourselves over and over again that we are God's stewards, and our supply comes from the Grace of God, and will bountifully supply it.

Break Thou the Bread of Life*
Mary Artemesia Lathbury

Break Thou the Bread of Life,
Dear Lord, to me,
As Thou didst break the loaves
Beside the sea;
Beyond the sacred page
I seek Thee, Lord;
My spirit pants for Thee,
O Living Word.

Thou art the Bread of Life,
O Lord, to me,
Thy holy Word the truth
That saveth me;
Give me to eat and live
With Thee above;
Teach me to love Thy truth,
For Thou art Love.

Oh, send Thy Spirit, Lord,
Now unto me,
That He may touch my eyes,
And make me see;
Show me the truth concealed
Within Thy Word,
And in Thy Book revealed
I see the Lord.

Bless Thou the truth, dear Lord,
To me, to me,
As Thou didst bless the bread
By Galilee;
Then shall all bondage cease,
All fetters fall,
And I shall find my peace,
My All in all.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Sunday Prayertime - May 18

Dear God, Let me begin by thanking you for taking care of me and my family, for being there to carry us and protect us and love us for eternity. God, please inspire me from within, through your Holy Spirit, with fresh ideas for showing your love to my neighbors, friends, family...and all who are needy in some way. Please guide me and minister through me to do your will each and every day. Let me be a blessing in your name. Let my face radiate from the joy of my salvation and the peace of your Spirit. Let my smile encourage others and my attitude be one of gratitude and hope. Let the words from my mouth speak praise, admonition, and truth in love. May the fruits of your Holy Spirit grow within me and spill out of me, overflowing and abundant. I praise you this day for everything and want to always be grateful to you. In the name of Jesus Christ, your precious son and my Lord and Savior, I pray, Amen.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Saturday Prayertime - May 17

Dear Father in Heaven, This day I look up and remember how it is you who created all and who owns the cattle upon the hills, the water that springs from the earth, the skies that span our view, and everything good. It is you who can provide for and bless the earth and the inhabitants thereof. I pray for the many people who are in difficult circumstances right now and need a touch to help them with their basic needs. I pray for those who need financial income to pay their living expenses, those who need jobs to bring in that income, who need good health to be able to do those jobs; and for those whose jobs do not provide sufficient income for their needs. I pray also for those who have the income, but do not know how to properly manage it for the best outcome. And I pray for those who have much and can give much. Please, connect the right people with jobs, and the right people with the right people, to do what needs to be done. I pray that you will meet every need; that you will bless the lives of those who follow your guidance and those who are thankful for what you provide. Hear the cries of the needy. I pray you will bless those who give from the abundance you have allowed them to have, for sharing and ministering in ways that others cannot. Thank you, Father, for hearing my prayer. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.

Friday, May 16, 2014

The Pattern of Prayer - Partnership

Warren Wiersbe is quoted as saying, "Prayer is a 'patnership' between God and His church that enables Him to accomplish His will on earth through the witness of His obedient people." So, we now come to the phrase in the Model Prayer - "Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven." Matthew 6:10b (HCSB)

Consider the message that Paul is telling us in Romans 11:33-12:2 (HCSB).

11:33 "Oh, the depth of the riches
both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God!
How unsearchable His judgments
and untraceable His ways!
34 For who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has been His counselor?
35 Or who has ever first given to Him,
and has to be repaid?
36 For from Him and through Him
and to Him are all things.
To Him be the glory forever. Amen.
12:1 Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship. 
2 Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God."

Paul gives 4 admonitions here -
1) Don't try to explain God's ways (v.33) Just do what He says in faith.
2) Don't try to change God's mind (v.34) You will only be the loser.
3) Don't try to buy God off (v.35) You can't bargain for God's blessings.
4) Don't try to steal God's glory (v.36) He will give you all that you need, 
     but He will never share His glory or praise with anyone.
"Therefore -" by considering what he has said, one can then do "what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God."

We are not responsible to see that the whole world obey God - we are responsible to see that we obey Him. we can either encourage others or provide them with an excuse. Which are you doing?

Trust and Obey
John H. Sammis

When we walk with the Lord
in the light of his word,
what a glory he sheds on our way!
While we do his good will,
he abides with us still,
and with all who will trust and obey.
 Trust and obey, for there's no other way
to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

Not a burden we bear,
not a sorrow we share,
but our toil he doth richly repay;
not a grief or a loss,
not a frown or a cross,
but is blest if we trust and obey.

But we never can prove
the delights of his love
until all on the altar we lay;
for the favor he shows,
for the joy he bestows,
are for them who will trust and obey.

Then in fellowship sweet 
 we will sit at his feet,
or we'll walk by his side in the way;
what he says we will do,
where he sends we will go;
never fear, only trust and obey.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Pattern of Prayer - Citizenship

We have mused over the beginning of this Model Prayer. We have seen that Father shows us to whom we pray, the word our refers with whom we pray - God's family of faith. Why do we pray was answered by one word - Worship. Now we consider that the church is to be "heavenly minded" not earthly bound. You see, God designed that His family members were to understand that they are a "a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of the One who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light." (1 Peter 2:9, HCSB). Today, often the church is converting to the world's ways instead of converting the world to God. So, we come to - "Your kingdom come." Matthew 6:10a.

Jesus was born a King (Matthew 2:2) and He was crucified as a King (Matthew 27:37). But as He told Pilate, “My kingdom is not of this world,” .... As it is, My kingdom does not have its origin here.” (John 18:36, HCSB).  P.P. Bliss charges us in his hymn Hallelujah, What a Savior! 

“Man of Sorrows!” what a name
For the Son of God, who came
Ruined sinners to reclaim.
Hallelujah! What a Savior! 

Bearing shame and scoffing rude,
In my place condemned He stood;
Sealed my pardon with His blood.
Hallelujah! What a Savior! 

Guilty, vile, and helpless we;
Spotless Lamb of God was He;
“Full atonement!” can it be?
Hallelujah! What a Savior! 

Lifted up was He to die;
“It is finished!” was His cry;
Now in Heav’n exalted high.
Hallelujah! What a Savior! 

When He comes, our glorious King,
All His ransomed home to bring,
Then anew His song we’ll sing:
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

One of these days, Jesus will return as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. When we pray the words, "Your kingdom come," we should be giving our complete devotion  and dedication of our entire being to Jesus as we anticipate His return. when we say this, we need to take stock of our lives and consider if we would really be happy if Jesus came back today. Someone has written that the secret of happiness is having someone to love, something to do, and something to look forward to. We have that in our Savior, Jesus Christ. Someone to love means we worship Him, something to do means we work and witness, and the something to look forward to means we are waiting, watching, and eagerly anticipate His return. We may look upon the things here on earth, "but our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ." (Philippians 3:20, HCSB). Harriet Buell gives us some understanding in A Child of the King.

My Father is rich in houses and lands,
He holdeth the wealth of the world in His hands!
Of rubies and diamonds, of silver and gold,
His coffers are full, He has riches untold. 

I’m a child of the King,
A child of the King:
With Jesus my Savior,
I’m a child of the King. 

My Father’s own Son, the Savior of men,
Once wandered on earth as the poorest of them;
But now He is pleading our pardon on high,
That we may be His, when He comes by and by. 

I once was an outcast stranger on earth,
A sinner by choice, an alien by birth,
But I’ve been adopted, my name’s written down,
An heir to a mansion, a robe and a crown.
A tent or a cottage, why should I care?
They’re building a palace for me over there;
Though exiled from home, yet still may I sing:
All glory to God, I’m a child of the King.


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Pattern of Prayer - Worship

We have mused over the beginning of this Model Prayer. We have seen that Father shows us to whom we pray, the word our refers with whom we pray - God's family of faith. And now the question arises, why do we pray.

And the answer is - WORSHIP. "Your name be honored as holy." Matthew 6:9c (HCSB) When we say these words, we should pause to worship God. I have heard that preaching should express, not impress. The same is with our prayers to God. We start with the concept here of "name." 

God's name is special. Jehovah or Yahweh is the name that He gave Moses in Exodus 3:13-15. We see that translated as "I AM WHO I AM." This is the name of the Self-existent One. He has always been, is now, and will always be.  The other names for God in the Scriptures denote His actions and what He does - this one denotes Who He Is. His person and attributes. This phrase shows us that we do not only know the name of God, but we reverence the name of God. Consider what Paul challenges us to do in 1 Corinthians 10:31 (HCSB) - "Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for God’s glory."

To hallow something means to set it apart as special, to dedicate it or consecrate it. This is especially done to set something aside for God and His Glory. We see that God's name is majestic and glorious. We should give God all the glory for all things. We rob God of glory when we magnify ourselves for what God has done. We rob God of glory when we say one thing and practice another. 

As one author has said, "God's name is glorified when God's people know His name, reverence His name, and magnify His name before an unbelieving world by trusting Him to accomplish His work in them and through them."* Consider the teaching in Acts 4:12 (HCSB) - "There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to people, and we must be saved by it.” We look forward to wearing His name in the future, so we need to glorify His name today. Let us pray "Your name be honored as holy" and really mean it.

Holy, Holy, Holy!
Reginald Heber
Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
Early in the morning our song shall rise to thee.
Holy, holy, holy! Merciful and mighty,
God in three persons, blessed Trinity! 

Holy, holy, holy! All the saints adore thee,
casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;
cherubim and seraphim falling down before thee,
which wert, and art, and evermore shalt be. 

Holy, holy, holy! Though the darkness hide thee,
though the eye of sinful man thy glory may not see,
only thou art holy; there is none beside thee,
perfect in power, in love and purity. 

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
All thy works shall praise thy name, in earth and sky and sea.
Holy, holy, holy! Merciful and mighty,
God in three persons, blessed Trinity.

* Warren W. Wiersbe, 2010, On Earth as it is in Heaven, Baker Books.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Pattern of Prayer - Relationship

We are presently musing over the Model Prayer that our Lord gave to his disciples. What I am musing over is just the very beginning of what can be gleaned from the depths of this mine. The precious gems and concepts are plentiful as we mine the truths and encouragements that Jesus develops here. This prayer is so simple a child can learn it, and so profound that theologians have been delving into the deep wells of truth. Today, consider the statement - "Our Father in heaven...." Matthew 6:9b (HCSB).

The opening statement that Jesus gives for this model is one of relationships. He starts by drawing our attention to God Himself as a Father. In the Old Testament, the Father was mainly know to His people as Jehovah or Yahweh.  This was His covenantal name that He gave to them through Moses. The many names of God in the Scriptures are there as facets on a diamond to give us a deeper understanding and clearer picture of Who He is. Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount uses the term Father seventeen times (10 with the modifier heaven or heavenly). He is showing us the privilege and responsibility that we hold as children of the Father. It also let's us know of the immanence (nearness) and the transcendence (He is beyond us) of God. He is beyond us, yet we have the opportunity of coming directly into His presence. The whole reason we have the ability to make the other statements in this Model Prayer is grounded in this truth - God is our Father.

Included in this idea of relationships is our relationship with one another. Notice the word - our - a clearly plural possessive pronoun. So, who is this our? Some believe it is everyone - since God created everyone. Yes, in a sense God is the Father of all men and women because He created them, but being a member of the human family does not automatically make us a member of God's family, nor does it give one the the privilege of prayer. God's goodness and grace does come upon all people because He created them, but the privileges of being a child of God only comes to those who are re-birthed by the Holy Spirit of God. Because of this, we are to pray with and for one another in our "family." We lose sight of the fact that God usually starts to answer prayer by working first in the pray-ers. Often we will say, well at least I can pray for you. The most we can do is to pray for others. Why? Because if we truly pray for others, then God works in our hearts to get involved in meeting their needs.

I was thinking of the old Hymn - Blest Be the Tie That Binds and thought of the words that John Fawcett penned - let me close todays devotion with them. Take time today to muse over the words of this great hymn.

Blest be the tie that binds
our hearts in Christian love;
the fellowship of kindred minds
is like to that above. 

Before our Father's throne
we pour our ardent prayers;
our fears, our hopes, our aims are one,
our comforts and our cares. 

We share each other's woes,
our mutual burdens bear;
and often for each other flows
the sympathizing tear. 

When we asunder part,
it gives us inward pain;
but we shall still be joined in heart,
and hope to meet again.

Monday, May 12, 2014

The Pattern of Prayer - The Model Prayer.

Consider with me about the Model Prayer of Jesus, the one we call the Lord's Prayer in Matthew 6 and Luke 11. Jesus gave us this prayer as an outline and pattern that we should build our prayer life around. It doesn't hurt for us to recite this model, but to only recite it without applying the precepts in our personal prayers - makes it just a recitation of redundancy.

Both places we can see that Jesus was not teaching us to just say these words. In the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 6:9, we see Jesus say - Therefore, you should pray like this:...." And in Luke 11:1 we see the disciples coming to Jesus and asking Him to teach them to pray. He then gives this pattern for us to us to develop our own personal prayers to the Father.

The disciples had clearly seen the import that Jesus had placed upon prayer, and wanted to be able to pray - to speak to God - just as He did. Jesus understood the need to speak with the Father - to have communion with God - to connect with God in a personal way. We often miss the importance of this spiritual discipline in our lives.

Do you feel like your spiritual journey has stagnated? You pray - but it is only rote words that you speak over and over again? Do you fell that there should be much more in your relationship with God the Father?

God wants our fellowship, He desires our connection with Him, and has given us the pattern of thoughts to use in speaking with Him. Let us reflect upon the phrases and their directives of maturing faith they provide. But, most of all, let us not just read these words, let us muse over them and even more importantly - let us apply them to our lives.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's Day Prayer - May 11

I read this prayer online, and felt it should be shared and I believe we should all pray it today on honor of our Mothers. To my Mom, a Happy Mother's Day!

Lord God we pray for mothers everywhere.
Like Samuel’s mother, may they have wisdom to know how to protect their children
and keep them from harm.
Like Naomi, may they be able to turn hard situations into good.
Like Lois and Eunice , may they be ready to share the love of Christ with their children.
In all that they give to others may they have the joy of knowing that they too are
children, held in the love and care of God. 


Saturday, May 10, 2014

Saturday Prayertime - May 10

O Lord, thank you for your wonderful promises! Though in this world, I face troubles, you have told me to take heart because you have overcome the world! (John 16:33 ). I am so relieved and thankful that through you, I am an overcomer. So, Lord, when I am overwhelmed or discouraged or faced by great challenges or tempted, please remind me that I can overcome when I rely on you. Remind me to "take it to the Lord in prayer" and allow you to carry me through. I also pray for wisdom and for that way out when temptation comes my way. Thank you. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Friday, May 9, 2014

New Hope Baptist Disaster Relief Team Report May 9

Well, here it is after 9 pm on Thursday evening. I have had a long day. It started a little before 5 when I got up to shave and shower. Then, I was asked to deliver the devotion so I spent time in the Word in preparation for a short teaching on 1 Corinthians 3:9.

We as a team assembled with the others for the devotion time and breakfast. We had three assignments for this day (Thursday). The first location we went to after breakfast was not directly storm related and was not in line with what we could do. We spoke with the person's daughter and explained the situation. She was in total agreement that we needed to work on homes that were damaged by the tornado. We left there and went to a second location, where we encountered basically the same situation. Again, after speaking with the owner we then proceeded to our third location. Each of these first two we talked with them and had prayer before leaving.

The third location was a group of pine trees that had come down on the owners property from the storm. The team jumped in and in about an hour and a half we were able to cut up and pile all the debris from these pines. We were able to talk with the owner and gave him a Bible. We had prayer and returned to the host church (Corinth Baptist Church in Elizabeth City) for lunch.

After lunch we had one more assignment and when we finished there we returned to the host church and packed for our return. After saying our goodbyes to the fine folks that we had been working with we began our trip home to Laurinburg. And now, before retiring for the day, I am penning these last words about our mission.

God blessed many people in the Elizabeth City area for the last two weeks with teams of NCBM Disaster Relief crews who came to their aid. In turn, we of the teams were blessed by being able to be the hands, hearts, and feet of Jesus. We ran into a number of folks who were so thankful the NCBMDR had come. A little side story - on Wednesday evening after worship with COrinth Baptist Church, as I was going into the area where we were staying a very young girl came up to me and said, "Thank you for your time and work in our town." She smiled and held out her hand. When I held out my hand, she dropped two nickels into it. My first response was to thank her and give them back, but the account of the widow's mite crossed my mind. I thanked her, and I have those nickels as a reminder of how each of us can do what we can do.

In all, this has been a very challenging week, a very tiring week, but a week that is also a blessed and gracious week. When we have the chance,let us each serve Christ in any way we can.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

New Hope Baptist Disaster Relief Team Report May 8

Well, Wednesday May 7 also was a busy day.  After devotions and breakfast, the team departed to help a family in a nearby area. The gentleman and his wife did not expect us - it was his son who contacted about the debris.  we worked all morning on dropping and cutting up a tree (about 40-50 foot tall) and moving debris from a shed that had been destroyed. The gentleman and his wife were both unharmed and still a little overwhelmed about what had happened. Damage to their house was not too severe and they were able to stay in it. We prayed and shared with them about God's love. As usual, we left them a Bible signed by all 14 members of the crew. They said they never saw a group work as hard and quickly as this team. You could sense the full appreciation for this blessing they had not expected.

After lunch we went to another house, but were unable to drop the tree because of its location between the house and work shop. The gentleman there was fully aware of this problem and still expressed overwhelming appreciation for all that the NCBM Disaster Relief teams were doing in his area. We were right at Mrs. Abernathy's house (same drive - see yesterdays blog) and we went back and dropped 11 more trees and cut and piled them up. That made 31 trees we dropped with still about 5 that needs to be dropped.  She was so appreciative - and she conceded that she had prayed that maybe we could come back and drop the trees we did today. We saw how God uses prayer to help direct the meeting of needs. We came back to the church we are housed in, tired, but very encouraged and blessed to be able to serve.

Depending upon the work needs, we will either be leaving this morning (May 8) or Friday morning (May 9). Since I am writing this on Wednesday evening, I will follow up as soon as possible.  Keep praying for us as we serve, and for our safe travel back to our homes in Laurinburg, NC.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

New Hope Baptist Disaster Relief Team Report May 7

Well, Tuesday (May 6) was a very busy day. Fifteen of us left at 6 in the morning and arrived at 1pm in Elizabeth City, NC. We met a woman at a gas station in the area who stopped us and shared her testimony of how the NCBM Disaster Relief teams meant so much to her when the tornadoes went through about 3 years ago. She lost her mother and spent months in critical condition. She praised those who give of their time to go and help those in need. We praised the Lord with her, and had a time of prayer. A Dick Britt said, "This is what it's all about."

We had a quick lunch (hot dog, beans, chips, etc) and then went to our first assignment. It was a lady named Mrs. Abernathy whose house and property was heavily damaged. Across the road diagonally from her there were many homes damaged or destroyed. We cut down 20 trees and cleared a lot of debris from the back yard of her home. As I had time to talk with her, she shared her concerns about finances and that she doesn't bounce back as quickly as she did in her youth. She shared how she had been through 2 other tornadoes, and that her home had burned completely to the ground. each time she was resilient and bounced back. This time, her home is very badly damaged as well as sheds on her property. The trees we cut down were 50 years old - her father planted each one. The day the tornado came, she and her brother and son were standing looking out the front storm door when the tornado came from the back of the house. they were thrown to the floor, but miraculously unhurt. She was very thankful for all that people were doing for them. we were privileged to pray with her and to leave her with a Bible signed by all of the team.

We came back to a nice fried chicken dinner (must be Baptists) and the time to rest and get ready for another day of work tomorrow. If the Internet holds out - I will let you know about Wednesday tomorrow. Keep praying for the folks impacted by these storms, and for those of us who are ministering to them.  

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

New Hope Baptist Disaster Relief Team Report May 6

Early this morning a group from New Hope Baptist Church's Baptist Builders - who are affiliated with the North Carolina Baptist Men's Disaster Relief team are pulling out to go to Elizabeth City, NC to assist in the clean-up work following the tornadoes that swept through the area on Friday, April 25. The reports say that Beaufort and Pasquotank County had a number of people taken to emergency rooms when the storms passed through around 7:25 p.m. Friday. There were over 200 homes either heavily damaged or destroyed.

Be in prayer for the team as we travel and work over the next few days trying to be the hands, hearts, and feet of Jesus to these people in this time of need. We will be working on Wednesday and Thursday, and will be returning to Laurinburg on Friday. Pray for our safe travel and safety during this clean-up operation. May we be used by God to bring some comfort and the love of Christ to those who are hurting. I will be travelling with the team as a NCBM Chaplain to give spiritual assistance to those who are hurting.

Over the next few days I will attempt to update you on what we have found, what we are doing, and any special prayer requests - as Internet access is available. May God bless us as we serve in this ministry. The Internet connection there is spotty, and may keep me from reporting. Pray that it holds up.

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