VIDEO Live With Boldness

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you 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


On a regular basis we hear about athletes, students, teachers, small business owners, and others taking a stand for Christ. Sadly, they are often ridiculed and at times punished for their actions. In a world that is increasingly anti-Christian, it is not easy to stand up for one’s biblical beliefs.

In his letter to the church at Rome, Paul exhorted the believers to live their lives as a sacrifice to God. He also challenged them not to conform to the anti-Christian culture of their day.

Why are we to live boldly for Christ? Because of God’s mercy. Think about all God has done for you—the gift of salvation, spiritual blessings, the certain hope of eternity in heaven with Him. When we remember His mercy and what He has saved us from, how can we not live boldly for Him?

As you go about your day, remember God’s mercy and choose to live a life of boldness for Him.

Stop assuming an outward expression which is patterned after this world. Kenneth Wuest

Where Lives Are Changed – Romans 12:1-2 – Skip Heitzig

Sorrow and Joy

No one could distinguish the sound of the shouts of joy from the sound of weeping. Ezra 3:13

Angela’s family reeled with sorrow as they experienced three bereavements in just four weeks. After the one involving the sudden death of their nephew, Angela and her two sisters gathered around the kitchen table for three days, only leaving to buy an urn, get takeout, and attend the funeral. As they wept over his death, they also rejoiced over the ultrasound photos of the new life growing within their youngest sister.

In time, Angela found comfort and hope from the Old Testament book of Ezra. It describes God’s people returning to Jerusalem after the Babylonians destroyed the temple and deported them from their beloved city (see Ezra 1). As Ezra watched the temple being rebuilt, he heard joyful praises to God (3:10–11). But he also listened to the weeping of those who remembered life before exile (v. 12).

One verse especially consoled Angela: “No one could distinguish the sound of the shouts of joy from the sound of weeping, because the people made so much noise” (v. 13). She realized that even if she was drenched in deep sorrow, joy could still appear.

We too might grieve the death of a loved one or mourn a different loss. If so, we can express our cries of pain along with our moments of rejoicing to God, knowing that He hears us and gathers us in His arms. 

By:  Amy Boucher Pye

Reflect & Pray

Why do you think you can experience both joy and sorrow at the same time? How can you cultivate joy today?

Loving God, in this world we experience pain and suffering. Spark joy in me as I look to You for hope and peace.

Beloved Children, Pleasing to God

God delights in those who love Him and want to do His will—even when they stumble

As believers, we’re supposed to imitate Jesus. That might seem impossible to us. After all, He was the Son of God! In fact, God the Father even attested several times, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased” (Matthew 3:17). How can we possibly live up to that? 

Thankfully, God doesn’t expect us to be perfect. He knows we’re still learning. Just like a parent who rejoices over a baby’s first steps, so our heavenly Father delights in our steps as we seek to walk with Him. The goal is growth. Once a toddler walks, the parents’ delight shifts to more mature achievements. As long as we keep growing in our faith, we will never cease learning new ways to please our Father. He loves us and patiently cheers us on at each new level. 

What’s important to the Lord is our heart. Amidst all our frailties, failures, and temptations, God sees our inmost thoughts and motivations. He knows how much we love Him and desire to obey. Even in our stumbling, He helps us up and encourages us with His Word. 

If you’re prone to perfectionism, give yourself grace and time to grow. That’s what the Father does, so learn to see yourself through His eyes. He’s waiting—not to berate your efforts but to help you develop into the person He designed you to be.

All in All

“Because I will publish the name of the LORD: ascribe ye greatness unto our God. He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.” (Deuteronomy 32:3-4)

It is a thrilling exercise to note all the holy and gracious attributes attached to the name of God by the writers of Holy Scripture. In our text, for example, taken from the song of Moses, God is called a “God of truth.” According to the prophet Isaiah, the Lord is a “God of judgment” (Isaiah 30:18).

David called God both the “God of my righteousness” and “the God of salvation” (Psalms 4:1; 68:20).

In the New Testament, Stephen called Him “the God of glory” (Acts 7:2). Paul called Him both “the God of hope” and “the God of patience and consolation” (Romans 15:5, 13) when he wrote to the persecuted believers in the great capital of the Roman Empire.

To the carnal Christians in Corinth, He was called “the God of all comfort” and “the God of love and peace” (2 Corinthians 1:3; 13:11), and to the suffering believers in Philippi, Paul identified Him as “the God of peace” (Philippians 4:9).

The apostle Peter called Him “the God of all grace” (1 Peter 5:10), and the writer of Hebrews recognized Him as both “God the judge of all” and “the God of peace” (Hebrews 12:23; 13:20).

Our God is, indeed, the God who is all in all to His people. He is the God of truth and righteousness, of peace and love, of patience and comfort, of hope and grace, glory, and salvation. “Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints” (Revelation 15:3). Is He, above all, “Lord of all” in us who know Him? HMM

On Not Loosing Hope

The tragedy of man is not that he dies, but what dies within him while he still lives.“– Albert Schweitzer

Some years ago, the wife of a close friend walked out on the marriage, leaving the husband with their four children, all under 10 years of age. When this catastrophe struck, he had just completed his Ph.D., and was embarking upon a promising teaching career at a prestigious university. Desperate now for help in raising his children, he found it necessary to relinquish his position and return to the city of his parents to enlist their assistance.

Early one morning before driving his U-Haul truck of household goods the 1400 miles north, he stopped by to say good-bye. It was painfully obvious that he was deeply crushed by the desertion of his wife, and the uncertain future awaiting him. So we talked, wept, and prayed… and finally bid farewell.

And as he climbed into the cab of the truck with his four small children he looked down, eked out a smile, and said, Well Dwight, I still have HOPE.” As his vehicle disappeared from sight I was reminded of the words penned by St. Paul:

Werejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, HOPE. And HOPE does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.“(Romans 2:2b-5)

Today, eight years later, my friend and his clan are doing beautifully. The children give every evidence of maturing spiritually and socially into responsible adults. Recently he was appointed the head of his department in a respected institution of higher learning.

With the sparkle back in his eyes, it is apparent that he is experiencing God’s promise that “HOPE does not disappoint us… “

So what do you do when the bottom falls out of your life?

  • Allow that which lies within you to die while you are still alive? Or
  • Choose to place your HOPE in the character and promises of God?

Why are you downcast, O my soul?Put your HOPE in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God… ‘For I know the plans I have for youplans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you HOPE and a future.'” (Psalm 43:5; Jeremiah 29:11)

“Believest thou this?”

John 11:20-37

John 11:20

Martha had earnestly expected the Lord’s coming, and her active spirit led her to meet him. In this she is an example to us: our faith and hope and prayer, should go forth to meet the Lord in his ways of providence and grace. We may not judge Mary, but we may do well to remember that it is a temptation to contemplative Christians to sit too still in hours of sorrow. Martha was cumbered with much serving, and there have been Marys who have been cumbered with much fretting.

John 11:21, 22

Her complaint of his absence was very gentle, and her faith in his power to restore her brother was far too pleasing to Jesus for him to be displeased by what she said. How apt are we all to think that if the Lord were with us we should not be in trouble, whereas it is in affliction that he is most graciously manifest.

John 11:25, 26

It would be well after hearing any scriptural truth, to put this question to ourselves: “Believest thou this?” Especially should we be well established in the truth that Jesus is the source, substance, and firstfruits of the resurrection.

John 11:27, 28

Jesus had probably said more than is here recorded, and had asked for Mary particularly. In the gospel he asks after each one of us.

John 11:32

Her posture indicated the deepest reverence, yet her complaint was couched in the same words as that of her sister. We all find it hard to understand why the Lord permits heavy trials to overtake us.

John 11:35

This little verse is full of great teaching. It shows both the humanity and the sympathy of Jesus, and is for ever the mourner’s choicest gem of consolation.

John 11:36

A word of astonishment which may as truly be used in reference to his love to each of his servants. His love to us is wonderful.

John 11:37

Of course he could, but they had not the wit to argue that he who could preserve life could also restore it. Often men stand on the verge of faith, and yet at last die in unbelief.

“See how he loved!” exclaimed the Jews,

As tender tears from Jesus fell;

My grateful heart the thought pursues,

And on the theme delights to dwell.

“See how he loved,” who travelled on,

And taught the doctrine from the skies!

Who bade disease and pain begone,

And called the sleeping dead to rise.

“See how he loved,” who never shrank

From toil or danger, pain or death!

Who all the cup of sorrow drank,

And meekly yielded up his breath.

Such love, can we, unmoved, survey?

Oh, may our breasts with ardour glow,

To tread his steps, his laws obey,

And thus our warm affections show!

God Knows My Prayer

Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord… that they may rest from their labors. (Revelation 14:13)

We modern Christians seem to be a strange breed in many of our ways. We are so completely satisfied with earthly things and we enjoy our creature comforts so much that we would just rather stay on here for a long, long time!

Probably most of us do not tell God about that kind of desire when we pray. But for years I have made a practice of writing many of my earnest prayers to God in a little book—a book now well worn. I remind God often of what my prayers have been.

One prayer in the book—and God knows it well by this time—is an honest supplication:

Oh, God,

Let me die rather than to go on day by day living wrong. I do not want to become a careless, fleshly old man.

I want to be right so that I can die right! Lord, I do not want my life to be extended if it would mean that I should cease to live right and fail in my mission to glorify You all of my days!

I would rather go home right now than to live on—if living on was to be a waste of God’s time and my own

VIDEO Transforming Power

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. 2 Timothy 3:16

Years after the Budik people in Senegal heard the Gospel, the Budik believers showed little evidence of spiritual growth, and the church itself wasn’t growing. But one event changed everything. “The Budik believers received the New Testament in their own language.” As one believer said, “Because [of] the Word of God that was brought to us… now the Word is available to everyone…. Now when we have meetings, everyone brings their Bibles, and they’re using the meetings to learn and grow more than they were able to before.”1

The transforming power of God’s Word is the same no matter the language or the culture of the person studying it. When we read and study God’s Word, our life is changed. We begin to grow in our Christian walk, and we are equipped to live a life that is different from the world.

Take a few minutes today to thank God for the gift of His life-changing Word!

Bible study has torn my life apart and remade it. That is to say that God, through his Word, has done so.
John White

1Ian Fallis, “The Importance of the Book,” Ethnos360, March 13, 2018.

“Rooted” 2 – Rooted In The Bible – 2 Timothy 3:16-17

The God Who Restores

I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. Ezekiel 37:5

On November 4, 1966, a disastrous flood swept through Florence, Italy, submerging Giorgio Vasari’s renowned work of art The Last Supper under a pool of mud, water, and heating oil for more than twelve hours. With its paint softened and its wooden frame significantly damaged, many believed that the piece was beyond repair. However, after a tedious fifty-year conservation effort, experts and volunteers were able to overcome monumental obstacles and restore the valuable painting.

When the Babylonians conquered Israel, the people felt hopeless—surrounded by death and destruction and in need of restoration (see Lamentations 1). During this period of turmoil, God took the prophet Ezekiel to a valley and gave him a vision where he was surrounded by dry bones. “Can these bones live?” God asked. Ezekiel responded, “Lord, you alone know” (Ezekiel 37:3). God then told him to prophesy over the bones so they might live again. “As I was prophesying,” Ezekiel recounted, “there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together” (v. 7). Through this vision, God revealed to Ezekiel that Israel’s restoration could only come through Him.

When we feel as if things in life have been broken and are beyond repair, God assures us He can rebuild our shattered pieces. He’ll give us new breath and new life.

By:  Kimya Loder

Reflect & Pray

What’s broken in your life? How might you rely on God to bring restoration?

Dear God, parts of my life seem like they’ll never be restored. I’ve tried to fix them on my own, but my only hope of restoration is found in You.

For further study, read Wounded in Worship.

The Grace of Giving

Those who honor God by sharing generously are blessed with His joy. 2 Corinthians 8:1-7

In verse 7 of today’s passage, Paul wrote, “See that you also excel in this grace of giving” (NIV). Let’s look at some people in the Bible who were examples of this kind of generosity. 

In Mark 12:41-44, Jesus praised the poor widow for her sacrificial giving. Contrasting her with those who gave out of their surplus, He said, “She, out of her poverty, put in all she owned” (vv. 44). When we trust the Lord with our finances as this woman did, then no matter how little or how much we have, we’ll excel at the grace of giving. 

A sacrificial mindset can be found in the early church, too. Those new believers eagerly sold their possessions and property to meet the needs around them. (See Acts 2:45.) Because of their generosity, God blessed them with glad hearts, favor from people, and increasing numbers. 

The Macedonian churches from today’s passage also understood the importance of giving. Even though these believers were very poor, Paul says “their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.” He even says they considered it a privilege to share in this way (vv. 2, 4 NIV).

God expects us to give, and to do so cheerfully (2 Corinthians 9:7). In His grace, He’s provided biblical role models to help us learn how. What’s one way you can become a more giving person?