A Harvest of Thanksgiving from Your Generous Giving: 11.30.2021

Good morning! We sow bountifully and abundantly, knowing that God loves a cheerful giver–a cheerfulness instilled in us thanks to the Spirit who applied Christ’s work to our hearts. That freedom gives us cheerfulness. Now, will we merely receive that and go on our merry way? No, we are the conduit. 

We give based on the grace God gave us through Christ and the gospel. Paul sought to connect the giving as a basis for the giving nature of Christ toward us. Paul by the Spirit makes it clear:  there’s a connection between sowing and reaping  Not trying to be funny when I ask this, but “Sow what?” In this case, this is a sowing of acts of giving in and toward Kingdom work. The acts of sowing in these acts of grace (8:6) with reap a harvest of righteous that leads to thanksgiving and glorifying God. Thankfulness for what God has given you leads to a generosity with what God has given you. 

Are you sowing what God has given you (resources, time, giftings, talents, etc.) in order to reap a harvest of thanksgivings in yourself and others? If not, why not? The acts of grace we give physicially result from the act of grace Christ gave you spiritually through his death and resurrection?

Implications of Our Dire Situation: Good Morning Devotional for 11.29.2021

Good morning! If we have been in church world for most of our lives, we often hear or speak of “getting saved.” As is prone to happen, those phrases lose their luster over the years due to an assumption that everyone understands the implications.

To help us out, Paul uses the Word “rescue.” Outside of Christ, we exist in a dominion of darkness–so dark that we have no hope of finding our way out to escape. Thus, our need for the Father to bring us into the His Kingly Son who is the Light of the World (John 8:12).

“Rescue” implies that we are in a dire situation. Do you believe that outside of Christ is a dire situation? If not, you should. Those outside His kingdom need rescuing. That is what we should think of when we hear of salvation in all its varying phraseology. Praise God He provides that rescue through His Son, Jesus Christ.

Sunday Sermon: For the Sake of His Name Among the Nations (Romans 1:1-7)

Advent reminds us of His coming and prepares us for our going.

I pray you all had a blessed Thanksgiving. We now enter into another season in the calendar. The next holiday we celebrate en force is Christmas–a mere 27 days away. As such, today marks the beginning of a liturgical holy season known as Advent. Taken from a Latin word, it means awaiting, anticipation. This serves as a time where we calm our hearts and ready ourselves for the coming Christ-king.

Sadly, whenever I mentioned during the year on the 25 of each month, most respond with groaning. Groaning! Why? Rather than anticipate the celebration of God becoming flesh to rescue us from our sin and brokenness, we groan because of all that happens over the Christmas holidays: Christmas shopping, party preparation, school plays, church musicals, cooking, cleaning, and on and on. Rather than the beauty of resting in anticipation, we are bombarded with the racket of overscheduling ourselves. Thus, the Christmas season comes and goes with little reflection.

[Listen to the rest.]

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Don’t Waste Your Advent: ARBC Worship Ramp-Up (11.28.2021)

Do you approach Christmas Day with dread or with delight? Sadly, all-too-many approach it with dread because of all the activities to attend and presents to purchase.

The next holiday we celebrate en force is Christmas–a mere 27 days away. As such, today marks the beginning of a liturgical holy season known as Advent. Taken from a Latin word, it means awaiting, anticipation. This serves as a time where we calm our hearts and ready ourselves for the coming Christ-king.

Thankful Heart or Entitled Heart? Good Morning Devotional from 11.26.2021

Good morning. Thankfulness marks the Christian life—not simply for the things in the hear and now and not simply for material things.  James tells us that “Every good and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change (James 1:17).  Paul writes to the Corinthian church, “What do you have that you did not receive?  If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it” (1 Corinthians 4:7)?   So what we find ourselves thankful for has a whom behind it.  God gave us all we have.       Even with this, some fail to recognize this.  Thankful hearts that should mark a Christian can become entitled hearts: “Well, God, I know you gave me this—but that’s your job!”  We can become bitter hearts:  “Well, God, I know you gave me this—but I really wanted that.” We can become proud in heart like Nebuchadnezzar, who, when looking over his kingdom from his montrous  We can become proud in heart like Nebuchadnezzar, who when looking over his kingdom from his monstrous palace in Babylon, “Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by my mighty power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty?” (Daniel 4:30).  Immediately, to show who truly ruled over all men, God immediately took away Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom until He gave glory to the Most High. 

Give credit where credit is due–every good and perfect is from above. All good things come from God–most notably His Son, Jesus Christ. Will you receive this good gift?

Now Thank We All Our God

Good morning–and Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Americans!

Below is a hymn that many Christians sing all over the world in connection with the biblical attribute of thanksgiving. This hymn was penned by Martin Rinkart (1586-1649), a Lutheran pastor in Saxony who pastored during the Thirty Years’ War. Due to the military overrunning his beloved city of Eilenburg three times, along with the overcrowding of refugees, this led to pestilence, famine, and much loss of life. At one juncture in 1637, he conducted 40-50 funerals per day–almost 4000 funerals that year.

Rinkart was also a prolific hymn writer. Below is his contribution that you will still find in hymnals in church all over the world, penned in 1636 and translated by Catherine Wentworth years later.

Now thank we all our God
with heart and hands and voices,
who wondrous things has done,
in whom his world rejoices;
who from our mothers’ arms
has blessed us on our way
with countless gifts of love,
and still is ours today.

O may this bounteous God
through all our life be near us,
with ever joyful hearts
and blessed peace to cheer us,
to keep us in his grace,
and guide us when perplexed,
and free us from all ills
of this world in the next.

All praise and thanks to God
the Father now be given,
the Son and Spirit blest,
who reign in highest heaven
the one eternal God,
whom heaven and earth adore;
for thus it was, is now,
and shall be evermore.

Is He Your Strength and Shield? Good Morning Devotional for 11.24.2021

Good morning!

There was a man who heard a report on the radio that the rivers had overrun their banks and the town in which he lived would be flooded. He, being a religious man, prayed and believed that God would save him. As the waters rose, a boat came by. The captain yelled, “Sir, did you hear the report on the radio? The water is rising and flooding the town. You’re in danger. Get on the boat and I’ll take you to safety.” “No,” the man replied, “I’m religious. I pray–God will rescue me. No, thank you!” As the situation grew more dire, the man went to the roof. A helicopter came by. The pilot took to the bullhorn and yelled, “Sir! The floods are still coming. You’re in danger. I’ll lower a ladder for you to climb on and I’ll take you to safety.” “No, I’m religious. I’ve prayed and believed that God will rescue me. No thank you.”

And the man drowned.

When He stood before the Lord, he was wondering why. Why did not God listen to him? Why didn’t He rescue him from the danger? When he asked the Lord, God’s response was simple. “I heard your prayer.” “How, Lord? I drowned.” “Yes, but I sent you a radio report, a boat, and a helicopter. You took none of those.”

Obviously, there are some frayed edges to this story, but the kernel of this is truth–we must be careful to do a number of things.

  1. Spend a dedicated, intentional time in devotionals in the Word every day.
  2. Do not pigeonhole God in how he should and should not answer.

One day, we will get to heaven and see all the ways God was our strength and shield–ways we do not even understand. Praise God for that! May Christ be our strength and shield–let’s give Him all the praise for all He is and has done.

A Dire Warning from My Former English Professor: Good Morning Devotional for 11.23.2021

Good morning! You may be surprised, but the message of this verse was driven home by an English professor at the community college I attended in Florida.

During my first two years of college, I sensed a call to ministry. As a result, I worked to put Scripture in all of my papers–much to the dismay of my professors. Yet one professor, Mr. Fleming, engaged this. In one of my papers, I quoted Jeremiah 17:9: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” When Mr. Fleming returned our papers, he gave me mine and said, “Be very careful, Mr. Perry. Be very careful.” I opened up my paper, and in the margin beside my quote of Jeremiah 17:9 was…

Jeremiah 17:10.

Who can know the condition of our hearts? Who can understand it? No one but God. The Father sent His Son to rescue us from the deceitful sickness that besets us. And the Spirit examines, searches, and rewards! Mr. Fleming was right in more ways than one. Be careful not only of careless writing and communication but also be careful to recognize the warnings of God’s Word.

A Mighty Fortress: Good Morning Devotional for 11.22.2021

Good morning! In the late 1520s, Martin Luther (1483-1546) penned a hymn that was known as the “Battle Hymn of the Reformation.” Pulled from Psalm 91, Luther sought to reform the church by reminding them that it was Christ and His Word that is our refuge and fortress. Read this last stanza:

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 for ever.

Christ is on our side. The Spirit resides in us. Our bodies are metal; He, His Word, and His Kingdom are immortal.

Are we holding on tightly to something in this world that brings us security? That serves as a flimsy fortress. Christ is our Mighty Fortress. Run to Him, and be saved.