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The Word of the Lord 5/30/2020 Today's Scripture & Insight: So the word of the Lord [concerning eternal salvation through faith in Christ] was growing greatly and prevailing. Acts 19:20 AMP Read Acts 19:11-20 God had given Paul such an anointing while he was in Ephesus that the city revered the name of Jesus. Diseases were healed and demons were cast out. Many of the converts put their books about magical arts in a pile and burned them. Unlike his experiences in many of the previous cities where he had shared the gospel, Paul's time in Ephesus enabled him to build up the church and the testimony of Jesus. Our verse for today summarizes the results. What does missionary success look like? "The word of the Lord continued to increase and prevail mightily"! More and more people heard the word of the Lord, and it prevailed in their hearts and minds in a mighty way. The signs and wonders God did through Paul were all for the purpose of opening the ears of the Ephesians to hear and consider the Word of the Lord. In our witness today, we need to exalt and refer to the Bible. It is the power of God's Word that transforms hearts and minds. It also strengthens us spiritually. If the devotional verse you read in this book each day is all the Word that you read, you will be spiritually malnourished. Let the Word of the Lord increase in you and prevail over your heart and mind. When that happens in the lives of a large number of people, there is revival. Consider: Contemplate the power of the Word of the Lord. It never returns void. It accomplishes the purpose for which God sent it (Isaiah 55:11). It is the means of all created things (2 Peter 3:5). Today's Daily Devotion
You Can Know God's Will May 29, 2020 BIBLE MEDITATION: “…present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:1-2 ) DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT: Some people say, “Oh, I’m searching to know the will of God.” Listen, it’s not your job to find the will of God. It’s God’s job to reveal His will to you. It’s your job simply to present yourself to Him. If you have been conformed to this world, you will not know the will of God; therefore, you will not do the will of God. A Christian needs to be transformed into the likeness of the Lord Jesus Christ. Here’s the formula for knowing the will of God: Presentation + transformation = revelation 1. Present yourself to Him. 2. Allow Him to transform you. 3. He will reveal His will to you. ACTION POINT: If you want to know the will of God, you must first present yourself to God. Humility and submission are both a part of that. Let Him change you. Then you won’t have to find the will of God; the will of God will find you. Love Worth Finding
Good Measure May 28, 2020 Today's Scripture & Insight: “But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful. “Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” Luke 6:32–38 NKJV Of all the difficult sayings of Jesus, this is one of the hardest: “Love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back” (Luke 6:35). How can Christ expect this? Actually, He’s asking us to emulate the love of our Father in heaven, who loved us despite our animosity toward Him. The apostle Paul explains, “While we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son” (Romans 5:10). God loved us despite the ugly reality of our rejection of Him and His loving directives. Now, having been forgiven, we have every incentive to give to others at every opportunity, especially to those who hate us. Jesus’ concluding words here can frighten or encourage us, depending on how we live our lives: “For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you”—by God Himself (Luke 6:38). It can be tempting to read this and focus on what we get out of giving, but doing so would miss the point. Jesus preceded that statement with this one: “Love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked” (v. 35). We don’t give to get things; we give because God delights in our generosity. Our love for others reflects His loving heart toward us. Reflect & Pray In what ways have you experienced God’s generosity in your life? How can you extend generosity to others? Gracious Father, help me to give generously to others because You’ve been so generous to me. Our Daily Bread
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Only One Spirit 5/27/2020 Today's Scripture & Insight: As we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners much gain by fortune-telling. She followed Paul and us, crying out, "These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation." Acts 16:16-17 This is a fascinating insight into fortune-telling and the spirit realm. We can see that this girl had what many would call "a gift." Paul called it "a spirit." The spirit was telling the truth. I suppose there are preachers today who would love to have someone following them around declaring that they are proclaiming the truth. However, after a few days, she had become so annoying to Paul that he cast the spirit out of her. The Holy Spirit was the only spirit they needed to help them proclaim the gospel. The men who used this girl to make money realized their business was ruined, so they stirred up people against Paul. It is likely these men didn't believe the girl's gift was consistently true, or they would have listened to what she said about Paul and his team. The crowd brought Paul and Silas before the magistrates and had them beaten with canes and imprisoned. Remember, this painful outcome occurred after Paul had the vision to go to Macedonia. They were seeking God's direction and being obedient, yet they were suffering physically as a result. Submission to God does not exclude us from trouble and pain in this world. Nothing spares us from the results of living in a fallen world. Submission to God does guarantee us that God is with us to see us through and assures us that troubles will ultimately serve God's purposes. In this case, it led to a household, and probably a number of prisoners, coming to salvation. Consider: Fortune-telling is forbidden in Scripture because it involves another spirit and is not always true (Leviticus 19:31). Even if it appears to be helpful, it is dangerous and will be detrimental in the long run. Today's Daily Devotion
The Spirit of Jesus 5/26/2020 Today's Scripture & Insight: Then a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man from [the Roman province of] Macedonia was standing and pleading with him, saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us!” And when he had seen the vision, we (including Luke) tried to go on into Macedonia at once, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them. Acts 16:9-10 AMP Paul, Silas, and Timothy were on their way to evangelize some major cities, but the Holy Spirit impressed on them not to preach the Word to the area they had in mind. They turned another direction, but then the Spirit of Jesus (Acts 16:7) would not allow it either. Finally, Paul had a vision of a man from Macedonia asking for them to come and help. The team took this as a sign from God. This is the first time in Acts that the narrative uses the first-person, "we." Luke must have joined them at this point and agreed with the vision. Luke's account does not tell us exactly how the Holy Spirit influenced them. "The Spirit of Jesus" is simply another way to refer to the leading of the Holy Spirit. They must have all been in unity on this impression. But then Paul had a vision. Again, the account doesn't reveal how that happened. We don't know if he had a dream, if he was in a trance, or if he was wide awake. We do know they all agreed it was the Lord's direction. Perhaps we don't have the specifics because we would expect God to only work in one particular way. The important thing to see in this passage is that God can influence our spirits so that together we sense the Lord's leading. Once they knew God's direction, they were eager to see what God had in store for them there. Are we as sensitive to the Lord's leading? In this passage we have an example of someone proposing but the Spirit interrupting and finally directing. Are we willing to proceed by faith as we listen for God's affirmations or prohibitions? Paul would go to some of the areas that he had earlier skipped over on the third mission, but that was a later time and another leading. What God forbids today, He may lead you to tomorrow when the situation is ripe. Prayer: Lord, help me to always be waiting upon You with a heart that is sensitive to Your direction so that You might be glorified. Today's Daily Devotion
Happy Memorial Day weekend! Church member challenge! Start at the flagpole! Walk a mile around the church (3 laps of the map are a mile): pray, recite scriptures, listen to Christian music, bring a friend, family member and/or pet. Then turn and reverse your route and go another mile! Three times a week make 6 miles! #NHBCfamily #stayingconnected
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Remembering May 25, 2020 Today's Scripture & Insight: “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. John 15:9-13 NKJV For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. Romans 5:10 NKJV Read John 15-9-17 When someone dies in defense of their country, John 15:13—“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends”—is often recited during the funeral service to honor their sacrifice. But what were the circumstances behind this verse? When Jesus spoke those words to His disciples during the Last Supper, He was about to die. And, in fact, one of His small group of disciples, Judas, had already left to betray Him (13:18–30). Yet Christ knew all of this and still chose to sacrifice His life for His friends and enemies. Jesus was willing and ready to die for those who’d one day believe in Him, even for those who were still His enemies (Romans 5:10). In return, He asks His disciples (then and now) to “love each other” as He has loved them (John 15:12). His great love compels us to sacrificially love others—friend and foe alike. Reflect & Pray Before we believed in Jesus, we were His enemies. Yet Jesus died for us. How can you honor and remember Jesus for His death on the cross for you? How can you sacrificially love others? Jesus, we’re so thankful that You were willing to die for us! Our Daily Bread

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