The Great Reward

The teachings of the LORD are perfect. They renew the soul. The testimony of the LORD is dependable. It makes gullible people wise. The instructions of the LORD are correct. They make the heart rejoice. The command of the LORD is radiant. It makes the eyes shine. The fear of the LORD is pure. It endures forever. The decisions of the LORD are true. They are completely fair. They are more desirable than gold, even the finest gold. They are sweeter than honey, even the drippings from a honeycomb. As your servant I am warned by them. There is a great reward in following them. (Psalms 19:7-11)

Some assembly required. Those three little words seem so innocent on the package. But when you’ve opened the box and the myriad of pieces fall you the floor your heart sinks. How will this scattered pile of parts ever resemble the desired product? Read through the instructions and follow them step by step and like magic it begins to appear!

Do You want your soul renewed? Do you wish to be wise? Does your heart rejoice and your eyes shine?
Read the teachings of the Lord adds follow them.

Lord forgive us for our impatience. We like children want all of your promises fulfilled in or lives. However, we often fail to follow Your instructions on how to achieve  them. Grant us wisdom and patience as we read and follow the directions.
Amen.

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  • Tom and Ella’s Daily Journal of Our Lives
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  • My NEW sermons blog Armchair Sermons. Sermons posted Sundays 10 AM central time.
  • ©2020 Thomas E Williams

    Baptism of Jesus

    Matthew 3:13-17

    13. Then Jesus appeared. He came from Galilee to the Jordan River to be baptized by John. 14. But John tried to stop him and said, “I need to be baptized by you. Why are you coming to me?” 15. Jesus answered him, “This is the way it has to be now. This is the proper way to do everything that God requires of us.” Then John gave in to him. 16. After Jesus was baptized, he immediately came up from the water. Suddenly, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God coming down as a dove to him. 17. Then a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love–my Son with whom I am pleased.”

    Do you, like me, and like John the baptizer, find it odd that Jesus wound request to be baptized? We’re not alone. Theologians have questioned, debated, and theorized for centuries about this event in the Lord’s life. Jesus was the perfect sacrifice without spot or blemish. Since he was without sin, he had nothing for which to repent.

    And what did Jesus say about the reason for being baptized? “This is the way it has to be now. This is the proper way to do everything that God requires of us.”

    Though it is difficult or impossible for us to understand, it was required by God. It was that initial step required before beginning his public ministry. And, as a dutiful son, he obeyed. He who had no need, humbled himself to be baptized.

    PrayerLord, we are once again reminded that we don’t need to understand but to obey.
    Amen.

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  • Tom and Ella’s Daily Journal of Our Lives
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  • ©2020 Thomas E Williams

  • Tom and Ella’s Daily Journal of Our Lives
  • http://TomAndEllaJournal.WordPress.com
  • My NEW sermons blog Armchair Sermons. Sermons posted Sundays 10 AM central time.
  • ©2020 Thomas E Williams

    We Gather Together

    Hebrews 10:24-25 24.
    Let’s consider how to provoke one another to love and good works, 25. not forsaking our own assembling together, as the custom of some is, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.


    Every Wednesday a group of us gather for a card ministry. We send cards to celebrate anniversaries, birthdays, and other milestone events. Cards are sent with our sympathies. Get well cards are sent with our prayers. The cards are signed by all in attendance (up to 24 folks). Though this group also has other ministries within and for the community, the cards are what draw us together every week. At the end of each meeting we take a role call. The roll call is when each member updates us on their joys and concerns for the week. The roll call binds us together to celebrate each other’s joys and carry each other’s burdens.
    If there is a similar group near you, I encourage you to join them. If there is no group, make one!

    Prayer
    Lord we are mindful of the apostle’s words , “not forsaking our own assembling together”. Lord, thank you for bringing your followed together for ministry toward the community and within our assembly.
    Amen.

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    ©2020 Thomas E Williams

    Knowledge Wasted

    Matthew 2:1-6

    And so, when Jesus had been born in Bethlehem of Judah, in the days of king Herod, behold, Magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying: “Where is he who was born king of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the east, and we have come to adore him.” Now king Herod, hearing this, was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. And gathering together all the leaders of the priests, and the scribes of the people, he consulted with them as to where the Christ would be born. And they said to him: “In Bethlehem of Judea. For so it has been written by the prophet: ‘And you, Bethlehem, the land of Judah, are by no means least among the leaders of Judah. For from you shall go forth the ruler who shall guide my people Israel.’ ”

    I’ve become fascinated by this section of scripture as if I had never read it before. However, I’ve read it and heard it read as well as seen it portrayed every Christmas for over 50 years. But I never before understood as I now understand it’s importance.

    For 20 some years I’ve encouraged people to read their bibles. To pray for and seek understanding of the scriptures. I’ve asked them to ask questions of the passage. Ask, who, what, where, when, and how them finally to ask what it means to them. The first five questions are seeking facts. The last question is seeking application.

    As I’ve read today’s passage I realized that all the leaders of the priests, and the scribes of the people had the facts that they needed. Over hundreds of years various prophets had given pieces of the puzzle about the coming of the Messiah. The various students of the scriptures had all of the facts readily available to them, as evidenced by the speedy answer to the king, In Bethlehem of Judea. Yes, they had the facts but not the understanding or the application.

    Knowledge is not wisdom. I enjoy watching shows like “Jeopardy”. Some of the contestants seem to have such a depth and breadth of knowledge that it is truly remarkable. However, few of them have the accompanying wisdom to turn the things they know into useful operation. Most seem to have very mundane jobs.

    Jesus said, “You hypocrites! You discern the face of the heavens, and of the earth, yet how is it that you do not discern this time?” (Luke 12:56-57) Jesus was not here speaking to the priests and scribes. He was speaking to the crowds who were following him. He well could be speaking to us.

    Prayer

    Lord, forgive us for not applying the truths you have given us. The facts are there before us. Give us the wisdom to put then to use. Amen

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    FISH IN AN AQUARIUM

    Matthew 11:16-24 “How can I describe the people who are living now? They are like children who sit in the marketplaces and shout to other children, ‘We played music for you, but you didn’t dance. We sang a funeral song, but you didn’t show any sadness.’ “John came neither eating nor drinking, and people say, ‘There’s a demon in him!’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and people say, ‘Look at him! He’s a glutton and a drunk, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ “Yet, wisdom is proved right by its actions.” Then Jesus denounced the cities, where he had worked most of his miracles, because they had not changed the way they thought and acted. “How horrible it will be for you, Chorazin! How horrible it will be for you, Bethsaida! If the miracles worked in you had been worked in Tyre and Sidon, they would have changed the way they thought and acted long ago in sackcloth and ashes. I can guarantee that judgment day will be better for Tyre and Sidon than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted to heaven? No, you will go down to hell! If the miracles that had been worked in you had been worked in Sodom, it would still be there today. I can guarantee that judgment day will be better for Sodom than for you.” Jesus came to seek the sinners and did what the “religious” people would not, he went to where the sinners were. It only makes sense. If you were going to catch fish you wouldn’t build an aquarium and expect the fish to come to you, would you? No. You would get in your boat and cast your line or your net, right? Then why do so many Christians think that, if we construct a beautiful church building, that the lost will come flooding in? Are we afraid to be seen associating with “tax collectors”? Prayer Jesus, you called us to be fishers of men* but we have become aquarium builders. Forgive us. Send your spirit to fill us with the same desire to save the lost that you and your early disciples had. Amen. *Matthew 4:19
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  • Servants of Justice

    Romans 6:12-18

    Therefore, let not sin reign in your mortal body, such that you would obey its desires. Nor should you offer the parts of your body as instruments of iniquity for sin. Instead, offer yourselves to God, as if you were living after death, and offer the parts of your body as instruments of justice for God. For sin should not have dominion over you. For you are not under the law, but under grace. What is next? Should we sin because we are not under the law, but under grace? Let it not be so! Do you not know to whom you are offering yourselves as servants under obedience? You are the servants of whomever you obey: whether of sin, unto death, or of obedience, unto justice. But thanks be to God that, though you used to be the servants of sin, now you have been obedient from the heart to the very form of the doctrine into which you have been received. And having been freed from sin, we have become servants of justice.

       In his letter to the Romans, Paul, the Jew of Jews, schooled in the 613 commandments of the Hebrew law, like a good lawyer, hammers away at his point from many angles. He repeats his arguments over and over. Here is His main point right up front.

    • How can we who died to sin go on living in it?

    Why would we want to? We were prisoners to sin.  Why would we return to that life? Why would people released from prison return to doing the things that put them in prison?

    In the natural world it is shocking the number of people who have been released from prison that commit crimes that land them right back in prison.

    People are creatures of habit. When times are tough, we return to our old familiar and comfortable habits.

    God, through the person of Jesus, has freed us. We, however, have to adopt newer, healthier habits. Jesus taught, and demonstrated the new life we are to live.

    Precious Lord, you have freed us to live a life out servanthood. Give us the strength and guidance to stay on the path. Fill us with a new spirit. Amen.

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    Lead Us, Lord

    Jude 20-24

    Dear friends, use your most holy faith to grow. Pray with the Holy Spirit’s help. Remain in God’s love as you look for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to give you eternal life. Show mercy to those who have doubts. Save others by snatching them from the fire of hell. Show mercy to others, even though you are afraid that you might be stained by their sinful lives. God can guard you so that you don’t fall and so that you can be full of joy as you stand in his glorious presence without fault.

    Lead Us, Lord

    In just four short verses Jude gives Christ’s followers a list of things to do.

    • Grow in faith
    • Pray in the Spirit 
    • Remain in God’s love
    • Look for mercy
    • Show Mercy
    • Save others
    • Snatch them from hell
    • Don’t fall
    • Be full of joy
    • Stand without fault

     Add these to your daily To-Do List.

    Nearly every Sunday our church congregation sings “Lead me, Lord, lead me in thy righteousness, make thy way plain before my face.”

    We sing it as though that path is hard to find. It isn’t. Book after book and page upon page in the Bible tells us, as in the passage from the book of Jude, what is expected of God’s children.

    If you are in the dark, you want a flashlight. Well, friends, I’m telling you, when you feel lost, alone, and don’t know which way to turn, open the Bible. It will light your way. It may be a blazing floodlight or a dim flickering candle, But it will be enough for your next step. And the next. And the next

    Prayer:

    Lord, we your people sometimes cry out to you asking for guidance even though we haven’t done our part in accepting the guidance you’ve already given us in your holy book. Forgive us, we pray.

    Amen.

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