Peace

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Today’s Passage – Isaiah 24 – 28 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – John 1 – 2; Psalms 16 – 20; Proverbs 4)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 34:1 – 4

Read the “0804 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” (Isaiah 26:3)

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.” (Philippians 4:8-9)

Peace is truly a wonderful thing. It is something that everybody desires but very few ever find. The world pays billions of dollars to find it through secular counseling, and even through entertainment, drugs, and alcohol; but those things cannot bring peace. If you were to look up the word “peace” in a dictionary or thesaurus you would find synonyms such as tranquility, contentment, safety, completeness, quietness, health, prosperity. I think that all of these words do well to describe what God was talking about in Isaiah 26:3, and they can only come to the person whose mind (thoughts, focus, and affection) is stayed on the Lord.

Too many Christians today, including myself at times, lack the peace that God wants all of His children to possess, and it is simply because they transfer their focus from God to something else. I tend to dwell on problems and circumstances when I should be focussed on and communicating with the Problem Solver. Life is full of things, people, and situations that draw our minds away from the Lord, but when we lose our focus we also lose our peace. We need to remember that when problems come (and they always do) to bring them to the One who already has the answer. When people hurt us we need to remember that there is One who will never do us wrong, and will always be there for us no matter what happens. God is the answer to every problem and distraction. It isn’t that we shouldn’t think at all about solving problems and restoring relationships, but we should filter all of these situations through Him, and He will give us the wisdom that we need as well as the comfort and strength that we need to endure. Keep your eyes on the Lord.


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A House Divided

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Today’s Passage – Isaiah 19 – 23 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – Luke 23 – 24; Psalms 11 – 15; Proverbs 3)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 25

Read the “0803 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And I will set the Egyptians against the Egyptians: and they shall fight every one against his brother, and every one against his neighbour; city against city, and kingdom against kingdom.” (Isaiah 19:2)

“And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.” (Mark 3;25)

As we read through this portion of the Book of Isaiah, we see that God is pronouncing judgment on all of the nations that have been enemies to God and His people, Israel. In chapter 19, we see that God is dealing specifically with the Egyptians. The Egyptians had been an enemy to the people of God throughout much of their history. Perhaps, they were not as bad as some; yet, still God states here that some judgment is coming.

My thought for this morning surrounds verse 2 of chapter 19. Part of the judgment that was going to come to Egypt was a battle from within its own borders; a fight among its own inhabitants; a civil war. Our nation faced this same type of conflict 150 years ago. It was perhaps the ugliest battle America would ever face: neighbor against neighbor; brother against brother. We found that it was impossible for the nation to move forward until its inner struggle was settled.

I have noticed that we oftentimes face a similar type of judgment in our families and in our churches: a division on the inside; a battle, not with an invading army, but with an injured brother. When a church moves away from fighting the external battle against the world and the devil, it then begins to fight amongst itself. It seems that by nature we are fighters, and to some degree we ought to be. We ought to fight against the sin and the darkness of this world, we ought to hate the devil, and we ought to be striving together in order to bring the gospel to the people around us. Oftentimes we forget who the real enemy is and we take up arms against each other. Satan is very wise and understands that if he can get us to destroy each other, he won’t have to destroy us himself.

We see that this problem is also prevalent inside the home. Parents are not always in one accord, but are often at odds with one another. They fight about finances, about child-rearing, and about a lot of other things. All of this division is rooted in pride, with each individual insisting on getting his and her own way. Shame on us.

The cure for this problem is simply to recognize the battle is not within, but without. When we get busy fighting for the Lord, we will not have time nor desire to fight each other.


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Do You Need an “I” Exam?

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Today’s Passage – Isaiah 14 – 18 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here  to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – Luke 21 – 22; Psalms 6 – 10; Proverbs 2)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 19

Read the “0802 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I willascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.” – (Isaiah 14:12-14)

Five times in this passage, we see Lucifer (Satan) using the phrase “I will”.  Did you ever notice how much we use the word “I”. We, like Satan, are full of ourselves. Satan fell because of his pride, and most of us have the same problem. We would never admit it, but we are really the “god” of our own lives. We worship ourselves, and though we won’t admit, we are really not much different than Satan, when it comes to pride. It is natural to exalt ourselves, and it is very diffficult to be humble; but humility is required for us to surrender to Christ. In order to be saved, we need to humble ourselves, and in order to live the spirit filled life, we must continually abase ourselves and lift up Christ. Easier said than done.

Lately, we have been bombarded with news of great men who have fallen into sin. It both grieves me, and scares me because I know that it could be me. I am sure, however, that pride is a root factor in all of these moral failures that we are hearing about. I think if we were to be able to examine each individual case carefully in retrospect, we would be able to recognize a pattern of pride. A Biblical example of someone falling due to pride is what happened to King Saul. He was at one time “little in his own eyes”, but God elevated him in the eyes of men. He enjoyed the praise and respect of men, and began to believe all of the nice things that people were saying about him, and all of the attention that he was getting. Somewhere along the line, he probably started to think that he somehow deserved the credit that he was getting. He gradually began to steal a little of the glory that rightly belonged only to God. He then started to operate independently of God, doing his own thing instead of obeying what God commanded. He also became threatened and insecure when anybody else received any praise. Eventually, he fell.

David fell also. He became too important to fight with the rest of his army, so he stayed home. He saw a woman that belonged to another man, but because he was the king, he felt that he was entitled to take her. He then tried to cover up his sin with the murder of her husband, and he was sure that he would get away with it. After all, he was a big and powerful man. Who would dare question King David? He though that he could do whatever he wanted. He wasn’t under any authority, not even God. What a shame.

Unfortunately, we see this all too often in the ministry, as well. As God begins to allow us to see some success in our ministries, we must remember that it is He that worked through us. We have no right to think that we are deserving of praise. To God be all the glory. Watch out for pride. Stay “little” in your own eyes, and don’t allow people to exalt you. Deflect all praise to the Lord for He alone is worthy.

“O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together.” – (Psalm 34:3)

“For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” – (Luke 14:11)

“Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” – (Proverbs 16:18)


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Jesus Is Coming Soon – The Saturday Morning Post

Today’s Passage – Isaiah 9 – 13(Click on the references to listen to the audio)

(Second Milers Read – Luke 19 – 20; Psalms 1 – 5; Proverbs 1)

Read the “0801 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.” (Isaiah 9:6-7)

Good morning. A black gospel blues singer, named Blind Willie Johnson, wrote a song called Jesus Is Coming Soon…

[Chorus: Blind Willie Johnson & Willie B. Harris]
Well, we done told you, God’s done warned you
Jesus coming soon
We done told you, God’s done warned you
Jesus coming soon

In the year of 19 and 18, God sent a mighty disease
It killed many a-thousand, on land and on the seas

Great disease was mighty and the people were sick everywhere
It was an epidemic, it floated through the air

Soldiers died on the battlefield, died in the camps too
Well, the captain said to the lieutenant, “I don’t know what to do.”

Well, God is warning the nation, He’s a’warning them every way
To turn away from the evil and seek the Lord and pray

Well, the nobles said to the people, “You better close your public schools.”
“Until the events of death has ended, you better close your churches too.”

Read the Book of Zachariah, Bible plainly say
Thousands of people, they did die, on account of their wicked ways

We done told you, our God’s done warned you
Jesus coming soon
We done told you, our God’s done warned you
Jesus coming soon

This song was about the Influenza Pandemic 0f 1918. It was estimated that 500 million people were infected with the flu virus world wide. There is also an estimated 50 million deaths of which 675,000 died in the United States. Compared to only 20 million, world wide, who died in World War One.

Today we are faced with another pandemic: Covid 19. 17.3 million cases world wide of which 10.2 million recovered, and 674,000 died. Is this enough to say Jesus is coming soon? Yet the Supreme Court is going against the Constitutional rights of the churches to assemble. They’ve removed the 10 Commandments from all government buildings. They made it legal to kill babies. The World is embracing God-less Socialism. Jesus is coming soon. After the rapture; after the 7 year tribulation period; during the Millennial Kingdom and after, He will put all things in order, creating a new perfect world.

Jesus is coming soon.

Are you ready?


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What Could Have Been Done More

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Today’s Passage – Isaiah 5 – 8 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – Luke 17 – 18; Psalms 146 – 150; Proverbs 31)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Deuteronomy 32:4

Read the “0731 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes? … For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant: and he looked for judgment, but behold oppression; for righteousness, but behold a cry.” (Isaiah 5:4, 7)

Our church has a lot of property, most of which is undeveloped. A few years ago a couple from our church asked if they could use a small patch of that land to plant a community garden. At first I was a little hesitant, but I agreed to let these folks plant their little garden as long as it didn’t cost the church too much money, and as long as it didn’t require any extra work from me. I had to admit, I was fascinated watching the whole process, from the cultivation of the ground to the actual planting. In the years we had that garden, we actually reaped quite a bit of vegetables. Personally, I was a big fan of the little cherry tomatoes, and so was my grandson, Jaxon. Whenever he was at the church, we always walked back to the garden to eat a few. One day, I was out in the garden with one of the men, and he noticed a rather large green caterpillar on one of the tomato plants, very similar to the one pictured above. After careful inspection, he discovered another one on another plant. If left unchecked these pests would have completely consumed all of the plants, and our little garden would have been ruined.

In our text today, we read about God’s vineyard, the Nation of Israel. God found his vineyard in ruins, and He asked the question: “What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it?” That is a good question. What more could God have done? He gave them everything that they needed to thrive as a nation, and for a while, they did just that; but eventually sin, like those nasty caterpillars, crept in and destroyed the vineyard.

Though this passage is written for and about Israel, I believe that there are some great principles here that we can apply today. I believe applications can be made to our individual Christian lives, and also to our families, and even to the local churches. Each one of these areas are a type of vineyard that belongs to the Lord. What can we do with all that God has given us in order to thrive and produce the fruit that God wants to produce through us?

1 We must use good seed. God has given us the Word of God. Why would we want to use the corruptible seed of man’s philosophies. Years ago, I made the decision that my life was going to be established with and directed by the Bible.

2 We must weed. Weeds and pests will overtake the gardens of our lives if we allow them to. In our Christian walk, many distraction can creep in, along with sinful things and false doctrines that will steal all of our energy and redirect our focus so that we cannot produce healthy fruit.

3 We must feed. Good nutrients and plenty of water will cause a garden to thrive. As Christians, we must feed daily on the Word of God, and in our churches, we must make sure that we are providing plenyt of opportunities for church members to come and dine on a healthy diet of Bible doctrine.

If God’s vineyard fails today, it will not be His fault. He has given us all that we need to thrive and produce abundant, healthy fruit.


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Rebellion Met With Grace … by Amanda Olive

Today’s Passage – Isaiah 1 – 4 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – Luke 15 – 16Psalms 141 – 145Proverbs 30)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – 1 John 4:7 & 8

Read the “0730 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the LORD hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me. The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master’s crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider. Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the LORD, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward. … Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting.” (Isaiah 1:2-4; 13)

In the first chapter of Isaiah, I can feel and hear the sadness that the one and only true God, our Great Father in Heaven, the Creator of all things has towards His children. The spirit behind their worship was absent. These people had no morals, living by the lust of their flesh, they were full of greed, envy and deceit. There was crime and murder. But yet on the Sabbaths, appearing before God as if everything was good. Sounds a lot like the people of today doesn’t it? We live in a world that is immersed in all sorts of idolatry and religion; pride drives mankind to resist God. These people of Israel, their worship, their offerings and their keeping the Sabbath was all worthless, meaningless. because it was all religion. They were just going through the motions. God does care how we worship Him. The Lord has given us commands and examples in the Bible. We are to study and meditate on his Word daily. We are to gain a godly perspective on all things in our life.

Sin, a fallen world. It is a struggle for all. There is no good sin or bad sin it’s all sin. God has always given his people a choice to do what is good in his eyes or what is wrong in his eyes. Our great Father knew that mankind would sin. BUT!!!!

“In that day shall the branch of the LORD be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel.” (Isaiah 4:2)

The beautiful branch of the Lord. That beautiful branch of the Lord is God’s Amazing Grace. Our awesome God sent his son to pay the debt of the sins of mankind.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

Cleansed by his blood! Totally undeserved, If you don’t know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, I’m praying that you reach out. To God be all the glory!

Amanda Olive

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Without Spot

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Today’s Passage – Song of Solomon 5 – 8 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – Luke 13 – 14; Psalms 136 – 140; Proverbs 29)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – 1 John 3:1

Read the “0729 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“How fair and how pleasant art thou, O love, for delights!” – (Song of Solomon 7:6)

“Thou art all fair, my love; there is no spot in thee.” (Song of Solomon 4:7)

“For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 11:2)

“That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” (Ephesians 5:27)

The Song of Solomon is a beautiful song written through the pen of Solomon. On the surface it would seem that this song represents a dialogue between Solomon and his wife; but considering he had 1000 wives and concubines, we would certainly be left wondering which wife this song refers to. This song then must go much deeper than any earthly relationship. I believe that the intimate relationship so beautifully detailed here is the relationship between Christ and His bride, the Church. Keeping that in mind, consider the little phrase in chapter 4 where the bridegroom says of the bride, there is no spot in thee. This is an amazing statement, because in reality there certainly are many flaws in any person; but the amazing thing is that this Man sees no flaw at all in His bride.

When I think about the unconditional love that Christ has for His Church (the Bride), and me in particular, I am blown away. How can he possibly love me? When I think about how spotted and flawed I am, I recognize my complete and total unworthiness. The only thing that I deserve is judgment: yet He loves me; and more than that: He does not see any flaw in me at all. Mind boggling! I guess that is what Romans 3:22 meant when it said that believers receive the righteousness of God. He sees me as completely righteous; flawless. Amazing!

God has given me two practical thoughts  while I contemplated this passage:

1 Do I appreciate Him – I know I am totally undeserving, yet He treats as if I am. This should cause me to live my life in surrender to whatever He wants from me. This should completely humble me. The Bible tells us that the love of Christ constrains us. I have often thought that was speaking about our love for Him, but the more I think about it, the more I realize that it is His love for us that constrains us.

2 Do I appreciate others – If I am undeserving, yet accepted unconditionally; why then do I have such a hard time unconditionally accepting others, especially those that are a part of His bride as I am? Why do I see everyone else’s flaws. Should not I try to see others as Christ sees me?


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I Am Here / Where Are You? … by Ashley Acosta

Today’s Passage – Song of Solomon 1 – 4 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – Luke 11 – 12Psalms 131 – 135Proverbs 28)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – James 4:10

Read the “0728 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“The voice of my beloved! behold, he cometh leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills. My beloved is like a roe or a young hart: behold, he standeth behind our wall, he looketh forth at the windows, shewing himself through the lattice. My beloved spake, and said unto me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away. For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land; The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away. O my dove, that art in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the stairs, let me see thy countenance, let me hear thy voice; for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is comely.” (Song of Songs 2:8-14)

When Issan and I were dating, I wanted to be in his presence all the time. Not only in the same room as him, but I wanted to interact and engage him. I truly enjoyed his company, and wanted to talk to him, do new things with him, and most importantly be present with him. Everything we did was so fun just because we were together. I remember when we took a day trip to Valley Forge with my brother. I was thrilled to walk around a field and take pictures. It was like I was in a new world for the first time, taking time for the small things in life. It’s one of those moments I look back on and remember falling more in love with him that day. I was truly present with him, and he was present with me.

Solomon and his wife describe a world of beauty and adventure that awaits them. With excitement and joy, she awaits for her husband. Even Solomon is looking through the window, intentionally, at his wife. He invites her to come with him so they can enjoy the beauty around them. They show us that enjoyment of life can be greatly enhanced through relationships.

This can only be possible when you are present with each other. I looked up the word “present” The definition is “in a particular place” that seemed simple enough, I thought, I’m with my husband a lot. Then the Lord quickly convicted me. “Is your mind there as well?” Am I truly present?  Am I waiting by the door, upon his arrival like the woman in this passage? Unfortunately, a lot of the time my mind is absent from him. In verse 10 he says “ rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away” He is referring to physically coming away with him, but sometimes we need to tell our spouses, rise up, my love, and come away emotionally, and mentally. Turn off whatever is distracting you from being present with me. 

“78.6% of men, and 91.6 % of women are involved in an emotional affair at some point in their life,” according to fatherly.com. We focus a lot on physical affairs, but do not realize that emotional affairs are even more relevant in our Christian circles; especially with Christian women. We are busy people, and most of our attention is on our ministries. If we aren’t present with our spouses, the truth of the matter is, someone else will be.

This applies to all relationships. It can be with our children, our friends, or family members. We think that the relationships that are the closest to us are the ones we don’t need to be as present with. We tend to turn off emotionally because we have been mentally turned on with so many others all day. What is most important is that we work harder at those relationships. The relationship with Solomon and his wife was an intimate relationship that was truly intentional. Be intentional with your husband or wife. If you’re single, be intentional with the people you love.

Issan and Ashley Acosta

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Prayer Is First … by Jaxon Erickson

Today’s Passage – Ecclesiastes 9 – 12 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – Luke 9 – 10Psalms 126 – 130Proverbs 27)

Read the “0727 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” (Matthew 21:22)

Matthew 21:22 talks about how if you believe God, He will answer your prayers. If it’s God’s will, He will give you an answer. It may not be what you are hoping for, but you can trust in God that He will always do what is right.

So keep praying for your family, your friends, your games (in the future), and school tests.

Love you guys. Be safe.

Action Jaxon

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Promises, Promises

 

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Today’s Passage – Ecclesiastes 5 – 8 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – Luke 7 – 8; Psalms 120 – 125; Proverbs 26)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Ephesians 4:32

Read the “0726 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read a previous post from this passage – “We Talk Too Much

“When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed. Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay. Suffer not thy mouth to cause thy flesh to sin; neither say thou before the angel, that it was an error: wherefore should God be angry at thy voice, and destroy the work of thine hands?” – (Ecclesiastes 5:4-6)

Back when my grandfather was a young man, a man could get a loan simply by promising with a handshake that he would pay it back. People in those days kept their word. They followed through on what they said they would do. Today it is much different. Many people today are not at all trustworthy. They are quick to promise, but often slow to keep their word. God says here in our passage this morning that we should be slow to make promises, but once a promise is made, we should do everything we can to keep it.

I want to encourage all of you that are reading this thought this morning to think (and pray) very carefully before you commit yourself to something. Don’t let pressure or emotion cause you to agree to do something that you may not be able to fulfill. I remember years ago I gave a pledge in January that I would give a certain amount of money per week toward that year’s faith promise missions offering. I was making good money at the time, and I did not think that there would be any problems. However, later that year, my family and I packed up to move to Texas to go to Bible College. I was no longer in a financial position to keep that committment, but I had made a promise, and I knew our church’s missions program was depending on that offering. Cindy and I agreed that we should sacrifice some things in order to fulfill our pledge. I haven’t always kept my promises in life, but I am very glad I kept that one.

Today we live in a world that is lacking basic trust, and the reason we don’t trust one another is that we do not keep our word. We say one thing and do another. We make promises to people and to God that may be well meaning, but ultimately we fail to follow through. Let’s stop making promises that we can’t keep. And when we do give our word, let’s keep it.


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