dreamstimefree_3437005He sat with his eyes fixed on the judge, the right amount of dignity, honesty and humility showing on his face. He was under oath, and his expression indicated nothing but the truth would come from his lips.  His answers were slightly hesitant, as if he were making certain the facts were presented correctly, and only those who knew him knew this was the biggest act he had ever put on. Well, perhaps the second biggest: the first had been several years before, when he had embezzled something from his employer, and he had fought for his freedom by trying to sway that judge. Experience in this area really helped.

The ones in the courtroom listened as he told lies, one after another. The woman’s attorney tried to gets the facts straight, but the judge was so gullible that he took each spoken sentence as if it had been in the Holy Writ. She could see the handwriting on the wall, and knew he was destroying her family as surely as if he had a smoking gun in his hand. Who wouldn’t believe that baby face? And she knew, just like she had known several years before when he had lied to the previous judge, that it wasn’t about truth, or caring about people, or any other of the myriad of possibilities: it was about HIM being in control, able to have their lives in his hand, to do with as he desired.

He won. The judge couldn’t see through the lies, and swallowed each one. She was left out on a limb, trying to appear as if this was what had been expected. Justice is not served in the courtrooms of America very often anymore, and she knew it.

As I heard this incident, suddenly Scriptures regarding Satan and his dominance here on earth began to flood my mind. He, the father of lies, had been thrilled with the testimony of the person who sat before the judge, tearing a family apart. It would be so easy to get caught up in the anger, hate and bitterness against someone, when it’s really Satan we’re fighting against (Eph. 6).

Satan comes as an angel of light. And just as the judge believed everything the man’s modest demeanor said under oath, it looked like light. Satan is not red, with a pitchfork and long tail: he was made with such beauty that, after a while, he wanted to be given the majesty, honor and glory that belongs only to God. Do you really think he could have persuaded one-third of the angels created by God to fall, unless he is exceedingly able to sway the powers who rule the world?

Are you one of those who has endured pain, agony, possibly the death of someone you love, at the hands of another? Has gossip touched you, tearing down your life? Perhaps a lie was told, believed, and friends left you? Whatever someone has done to destroy you, you probably cannot fix. The only control you have is your own reaction. It’s easy to desire revenge! It’s WORK to rise above the hurt and forgive, pray for salvation for the perpetrator, or move past their actions, back into a right relationship with God.

The sermon preached at Thomas Road Baptist Church on Sunday, February 12, 2017, was aimed directly at the hundreds in the congregation who have been hurt, seen their family torn apart, relationships damaged to the point of being unable to mend them, and countless other indignities–and undoubtedly it hit a good portion or those attending. For certain, many of us struggle with discouragement because of those who have hurt us deeply, wronged us, or verbally shot us and left us for dead! Do you want to overcome that discouragement? Rise above the anger and let God restore you to a position of joy in your Christian walk? Click on http://www.trbc.org/sermons and pick the last posted sermon (2-12-17) and settle in for a time of searching your heart for any sin that would keep you from a beautiful walk with your Lord. Get your notebook, some friends if possible, and watch the sermon. Listen–if you have time–to the song service, as a special guest blessed everyone with praise focusing on the love and power of God to bring good out of every trial! Then, do the study below, learning what steps can be taken in order to forgive those who have sinned against you. Only by the active, intentional choice to give everything to God, can we gain holy living!

Overflow: Making Room for Life: Forgiveness, Holiness and     Peace                                                 Pastor Jonathan Falwell


There is probably no one who has not been hurt by the actions of someone else—some very severely, with life-long consequences. Can you think of an example, and how you handled or are handling the situation? If you are by yourself, write your thoughts in a notebook.

Discouragement is a burden that can suffocate our spirit. Last week we looked at that depression which we bring on ourselves, and how we could change our perspective. Today we want to look at the discouragement that comes as a result of actions someone else has initiated toward us, as we choose to take steps to free ourselves from the anger through forgiveness. We want to lay aside the despair, getting our joy and peace back.

Focal Passage: Hebrews 12:14-29

Think About or Discuss:


  1. Read verses 14-17. What does the word “work” indicate? What other verbs are in these verses? Who is implied as doing the working and watching?
  2. What is the consequence of unforgiveness in 15b? What steps can you take to forgive those who have hurt you? (The Action Points at the end may help).
  3. Read Matt. 6:14,15. What is another result of unforgiveness?


  1. Read 14b. What are some evidences of living a “holy life”? What is the consequence of unholiness?
  2. Read Eph. 1:13, Heb. 12:15 and 1 Pet. 1:16. What does God expect of us? What is the verb in 14b? The Greek word meant to go after something in such a manner as to attack it! Is that how you “work” to be holy?


  1. Read 15a. What are you to strive for? What things are you doing at present to “live peaceably with all men” (Rom. 12:18)?
  2. How does this apply to those who have wronged you?


  1. Why is it so hard to forgive those who have hurt us (verse 15b)?

A matter of the heart

  1. Read verse 28. What has God prepared for us? What does God deserve from us? Why?


  1.  Make a list of those whom you need to forgive;
  2.  Put them in order as to the length of time since it happened, or the greatest in pain;
  3. Do whatever is necessary to actively forgive that person; if you no longer know where they are, ask God to bring them to you, praying for their salvation daily, and sincerely repent and realize you are cleansed;
  4. Seek to live a holy life, putting the past behind you (Phil. 3:13,14);
  5. When a new hurt comes along, take care of it immediately;
  6. Always keep in mind that, as God has forgiven you, so you must forgive others;
  7. Move on with joy!


As Paul tells us in Romans 17, our sinful nature is at war with our new nature in Christ! It is not natural for us to easily forgive those who hurt us, or worse, hurt those we love most—it takes “work.” Not forgiving leaves us open to the enemy, giving Satan a foothold in our lives, and we can become bitter, which then defiles others. It is imperative that, just as we have been forgiven, so we must forgive those who have sinned against us. It takes prayer and a heart that truly desires a close relationship with God to live in peace with all men. As you saw in the opening verses of this passage, the Christian life is not passive but active; it is not easy, it is “work!” It is not natural, it is godly, and comes from a yearning to be holy. Pray for those on your action list, that they would be saved, coming to a right relationship with God. The more you pray for them, hopefully the more you will find love growing in your heart, and a desire to see them as a repentant Christian brother or sister. Pray for yourself, as well, that you will be the example that others can point to as a follower of Jesus Christ.

Memory Verse: Hebrews 12:14: “Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord.”

© Denis Makarov | Dreamstime Stock Photos


Fireworks display with several different colored fireworks exploding in the sky.

She pointed to herself, and remarked, “There’s a SKINNY in here somewhere, and I’m going to find her!” I had to laugh at my friend. It was this morning, January 1, 2017, and a day in which we all traditionally start our New Year’s resolutions! I have learned the hard way not to stress myself–I’m not going to keep them more than 2 days! It’s much easier to take one of my favorite verses from Scripture out of context and relax in the words, “Bodily exercise profits little!” (1 Tim. 4:8–like I said, taken out of context.) But I still felt slightly victorious, as I had decided , back before Thanksgiving, to get up in the mornings in time to walk, at least three days per week–and if you knew me well, you would know I totally despise anything remotely connected to exercise. The fact that I am now going on 8 weeks is nothing short of a miracle. No, it is not a habit–even after three times a week for eight weeks: every stinking step, every drive to the place where I walk, is DISCIPLINE. Let’s make sure we understand there’s a big difference.

There are probably more decisions to lose weight, to be nice, to stop spending so much money, to exercise, or…. fill in the blank… on this day than any other day of the year. Did you make a resolution? Are you going to keep it?

The only one I’m faithful about (let’s wait awhile before we call the walking “faithful”) is my desire to read my Bible each year, or, depending on what I’m focused on, perhaps I may spread it out for two years. I love to study it with a goal in mind: this past two years I read it with the intention to find out why the apostles ask Jesus to teach them how to pray. I was amazed, as I went back through the OT, at how few times there are actual prayers in the Scriptures. Nehemiah prayed often, Solomon prayed often, but David took the prize. If ever you want to know how to pray, read the Psalms. His prayers are agonizing, beautiful, full of repentance, fruit, … they cover almost all topics. By having a goal, it keeps my mind much more focused as I read. It is not intended as a “pat me on the back,” but just a suggestion that there are ways to read it that will keep you concentrating on what you read. Do you often realize your mind has wandered? Then go back and re-read the paragraph. Once you do it often enough, you will keep your concentration better.

In today’s sermon, Jonathan Falwell quoted some amazing facts: facts that should make us sick to our stomachs, since most of us are dealing with a schedule so full that we don’t have “time” to do much for Christ except check off our to-do list on Sunday that we have attended church. As you listen to the sermon, prepare yourself for the statistics that say the average person checks their Smart Phone 150 times per day (someone in my family–not in this house–does that much in 2 hours, I kid you not!) Again, the average person watches tv approximately 3.6 hours per day. Does that make you gag? Garbage in, garbage out, right? Facebook racks up about 1 1/4 hours per day. We are now at approximately seven hours. When do people sleep, eat, work? Does God get the leftovers?

How would you feel if you were God, and you got the time that you give Him? Would you wonder at the depth of your love? Would you question whether He really is first in your life? Let us be sure we hunger and thirst after righteous, and seek Him—He will fulfill our needs if we put Him first, and this day is a great time to start off for the year!

If you haven’t heard the sermon preached at Thomas Road Baptist Church for Sunday, January 1, 2017, click on the link http://www.trbc.org/sermons and then click on the play button. Be sure you have your notebook, something hot to drink, and if someone can join you, make it a good discussion time! Enjoy the song service if you have time, but most of all, seek the Lord with your whole heart, and lean on Him for strength this year!


A new year! As you think of the coming months, what’s on your calendar? You probably know some of the challenges you are going to face—others may take you by surprise. How prepared do you feel to face the next twelve months?

When we consider the beginning of a new year, we generally think of things in our own life or family that we would like to change. We decide January 1 is a good day to start, so we make a “resolution” to begin a new way of eating, exercising, habits, or whatever it is we feel needs to be improved. As a Christian, this is a great time to make a commitment to read the Scripture every day and see how our lives reflect the standards Jesus has set for us. Do we “hunger and thirst” after righteousness? Do we desire a closer walk with Him more than we desire anything else? Do we want to “seek first the Kingdom of God”? Today is a good day to start, giving yourself a full year to draw nearer to Him, and you will find the “new walk” will produce a “new you”!

Focal Passages: Ephesians 4:17-32


A New Walk

  1. Read verses 17-19. Can you think of examples showing how this reflects the world we live in today?
  2. What do you consider your number one problem? Did you say “busyness”? Why is that a problem? Is boredom a problem?
  3. Be honest: when is your devotional life happening? If you are involved with your television, electronics, or listening to music for over 5 hours each day, do you discipline yourself to find time for God—hopefully first?
  4. Read verse 24. What does God expect of you? If you call yourself a Christian, do you intentionally seek a relationship with Him, or do you just hope it will happen at some point during the day?

Here are a list of commitments to make for this new year:

  1. Commit to make room in your schedule and your life for God.
  2. Commit to make time for your family—apart from movies, tv, or video games.
  3. Commit to make time for others, to serve and help them, perhaps even disciple them.

  A New You

  1. If you spend quality time dieting or exercising this new year, what would you expect to happen? How is that analogous to exercising your spirit with God’s word and serving Him?
  2. Who should benefit from your new focus if you truly make Him first in your life?
  3. In verses 21-32, what are some things that you should see go out of your life? What should replace them?

Here are a list of commitments for A New You:                                                               a. A commitment to live right (and get rid of the bad!)                                                b. A commitment to live better (renew your thoughts and attitudes)                        c. A commitment to live with eternity in mind (and share Him with the world)



As I said in the opening, my friend said “I’m starting a diet..there’s still a ‘skinny’ inside here!” In like manner, according to 2 Corinthians 5:17, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new.” There should be a “new creation” inside of us then! That should be our standard for this coming year: we call ourselves Christians, so therefore, a new creation is inside of us. Do you have things left over from the “old” person you were that is still taking up residence, but needs to be moved out? All things in your life should have become new when you were saved. Did it? When you are going about your daily business, can the world tell that you are a Christian by your actions? If not, something is desperately needing to change. Today is the first day of the new year—let it be a beginning that will find you, on December 31, 2017, in such a close relationship with Jesus Christ that everyone will know, just from being around you, that He is in residence in your life! Pray for those whom you love who need to hear that He loves them, and pray that He will open a door for you to witness to them in the coming days. Let this be the year that you evangelize your world!

Memory Verse: Ephesians 4:32: “Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.”

Focal Passages: Ephesians 4:17-32.





Pizza sounded sooooo good! I had to decide: would it be worth it when it came back up? For nine months I had lost almost everything I had eaten, but this time–this time–I was giving in to my craving! So the pizza went down, every yummy, cheese-dripping, bite! And sure enough, within thirty minutes it was coming back.

Carrying this baby was an act of love, and I could hardly wait for him or her to get here. The agony of the birth itself, the long nine months when one goes from “normal” to waddling like a duck, the back aches, trying to get a good night’s sleep–all that is forgotten the second a mother holds her baby. But. The glory of children is their Father. (Proverbs 17:6).

Not fair, Lord! We’re the one who feeds them, changes their stinky diapers, plays airplane with their food, remembers to write everything in the baby’s book, and smells like spit-up 24/7! We’re the ones who carry a two-year old on one hip, a purse over one shoulder, a diaper bag over the other, and lug a twenty-pound car seat/carrier with the infant in it! But. The glory of children is their father.

The class stood at attention: some were shepherds, some were animals, a few wise men, and some held signs. Moms, for the most part, and tons of grandparents, were sitting as close to the front as possible, cameras flashing. The little shepherd on the back row kept his head straight, looking at his teacher, but every thirty seconds he cut his eyes to the right. Finally, a light bulb was turned on in his face–his daddy had arrived to watch the program. The glory was reflected in his face. The glory of this child–my grandson–is his father.

Summer eventually comes–after a long winter–and mom has to come up with tons of ideas how to keep the children occupied, especially during rainy days, when going outside is not even considered. Oh, the things thought of to do! Making tents over the dining room table, having lunch in a “campsite,” playing Hide and Seek. But everyone is waiting for that special moment when daddy comes home. The glory of children is their father.

A new car is needed now, one that will carry all the kids and all their gear, their musical instruments, and presents for parties, and mom becomes not only the nurse, the cook, maid, and now the chauffeur. But the glory of the children is their father.

God, how can this be?! We pour our souls into these children, we take care of every need, are You sure this is right? And He says, yes, it’s right. My Father is My Glory, and I want to be the Glory of your children, as well. And we say, “But God, what about all the homes where Dad has left, and Mom has to carry all the burden? He doesn’t even send money except when the courts make him!” And God says, he will answer for it, because I created him to be the glory of his children.*

In Mark Lowry’s song, “Mary, Did You Know?” a series of questions are asked that examine the magnitude of how this (approximately) fifteen year old mother could understand the depth of importance in the child she was giving birth to. A phenomenal song, it has blessed the hearts of worshipers since it was written. Mary has been revered, placed with Saints by some churches, prayed to by others, made into an idol, put on necklaces. But today, CHRISTMAS, 2016, let’s take a look at the one person who was also chosen by God to fulfill, not only the role of earthly father, but the one who was godly enough to raise and be responsible for the infant Son of God.

As you come to this week, get your notebook, friends or family, and watch the Christmas service from Thomas Road Baptist Church on Christmas morning, December 25, 2016. Click on http://www.trbc.org/sermons and hit play! If you have time, worship with the children and Praise Team, as the congregation is led in carols that have been sung for years. As Jonathan Falwell leads us to think of the man about whom little is known, let us consider Joseph, a man so humble and godly that God Himself let him be a father to His Only Begotten Son during the first thirty years of His life.


Not all of us have had fathers who were models that we could learn from; others of us were taught from infancy by one who trained them into leaders. What male made a difference in your life? If you’re with a group, perhaps you can share your thoughts; otherwise, write them down in your notebook.

Today we focus on the outstanding father-figure that has probably among the fewest verses written about him as anyone in the Scripture. Yet his legacy of being chosen by the Creator God is, according to Scripture, amazing in the importance of the role he would play in the life of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, fully God and yet fully man. Join as we study this little-known hero.

Focal Passage: Luke 2: 1-20, Matthew 1:18-25

Think About or Discuss:

As we heard the story of “Mary, Did You Know?” we could almost turn that song around and ask, “Joseph, did YOU know? Did you understand that God had hand-picked you for one of the most important roles in history? Did you, too, ponder these things in your heart? You were now responsible for the well-being of His Son, the one predicted for hundreds of years by the prophet Isaiah, and you–YOU–have been asked by God, nay, told by God, that you were going to raise Him as your own!” What an amazing, incomprehensible action.

1. What are some of the qualities God would have looked for in this man?

2. Three times in his life, God sent an angel to give him directions as he took care of God’s Son. Do you recall the other times?


3. Read Isaiah 7:13, 14. Joseph, raised in the Jewish culture, knew God had predicted a virgin would have a Child who would be the Savior of His people. Only Joseph knew for certain that this child Mary carried was not his. He, in his honor, decided to forego the marriage with her. What happened before he could do this?

4. Read Zephaniah 3:16, 17. What was the purpose for which Jesus Christ was going to leave heaven’s glory and come to this earth? What did the name “Immanuel” mean?

If an angel appeared to you, telling you that you were to be part of a fulfillment that had been expected for decades, would you believe it? Joseph did! He immediately sought out Mary, and although we are not told, took her as his wife without delay. He did not want her subject to gossip and painful rumors.

Not, of course, part of the sermon, but when my grandfather was a young man in his early twenties, he took as his wife a young girl, about sixteen years old. Because he was several years older than she, he was afraid the marital relations would be fearful for her, and he waited. He wooed her in a husbandly fashion, taking time for weeks to ease her into the gentle caresses and the wonder of marriage that God has ordained. Whenever I think of the kindness, the understanding, and the epitome of a man loving his wife more than he loved himself, my grandfather is my hero. Joseph, as well, waited until after the birth of this special Child before “knowing” Mary as his wife.


5. The verses in Matthew and Luke underline the faith that can be counted on when God makes promises. What verses in Luke reinforce the glory that God had come down to dwell among men?

6. Who else was able to join in the jubilation of this wondrous night? How far did the news spread?


Never can we understand how Joseph must have felt to have so many unfathomable events occur so quickly in his life: he was bethrothed to marry a young, godly girl, who had to tell him she was pregnant. Surely she explained the circumstances of the angel, but the disbelief had to be paramount! Then he himself is visited by the angel, and within a short period of time, they are married. Soon, the Child of God is part of their family, and not long after–within two years–he is again told by an angel to take his wife and child to Egypt. An awesome, incredible man, who obviously put God first in his life, in his marriage, and in the training of his children. Would that we all had husbands and fathers who loved God above all things. If you are a woman, you can pray for your husband to be the man God intended; if you are a man, pray that God will give you a love for your wife that is the type described in Eph. 5:25, loving them as Christ loved the church, and gave Himself for it.

Merry Christmas to all, and a beautiful 2017!


  • Written in Love Notes blog, Sandra Day

© Melinda Nagy | Dreamstime Stock Photos


ultrasound-baby2One final push, and sllllluuurrrppp! Baby was in the world! Months before, we had watched in amazement as we saw the miracle of this baby in the womb, our eyes glued to the monitor screen, afraid to miss even a second of movement! You could see the fingers, toes, beating heart, and even the facial changes. As months went by and another ultrasound was scheduled, we learned this new member of the family was to be a son–one who would be born while Daddy was serving overseas. A boy! After two little girls, the excitement of decorating a room, planning the name, and preparing for sleepless nights became the new “normal” in their household.

When time came for the birth, the military allowed Daddy to come home. Another miracle! And then, to top off the wonder that a new baby brings, my daughter-in-law asked if I’d like to watch the birth. It was a moment in time that you feel stunned with happiness, speechless with gratefulness. Having had my own–five, and losing a sixth–it was still not something I had ever thought I would get to witness. During the labor, everything else fades except the awe of the amazing way God has planned the birth of babies. Soon a head appeared, and with that final push, he became someone we could hold, kiss, love on, and teach the awesomeness of his creation.

Many who read this will never have had that experience, or even worse, will have had the baby aborted while still in the womb. Some, like me, will have lost the wee one that was growing, never having had a chance to know why. Life doesn’t always go like we dreamed when we were young. You can still rejoice that God sent His only Son, to give you a life full of peace. Yesterday is gone, so give today to the Savior.

Still, the miracle of birth brings the long-ago and far-away story of Christmas to mind, and how Mary must have felt as a young girl, probably less than fifteen years old. She was truly, except for God, the only person who knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that she was a virgin. Joseph believed because he heard it from the angel, but Mary–even hearing it from the angel–knew that she had never had “relations with a man.” Do you think it all felt surreal, that God had chosen her to be the mother of the Messiah? Undoubtedly. We wonder, how did the residents of her little village treat her, even after Joseph was willing to take her for his wife? Did they continue to think the two had been intimate? Did she fear the pains of labor? Do you think, because she was carrying the Christ-child, that she had no pain? She probably did. (John 16:21). She would have never imagined that a day would come when we could not only see the baby in the womb, but do operations or other life-saving procedures on the unborn!

Christmas is such a special time, a time to remember that God is still the same as He was when He created the earth and all things, the same who gave His only begotten Son to come to the earth to die a death to pay for our sins, and who now waits for the Father to say, “Son, go get Your children!” If you saw the Sunday sermon at Thomas Road Baptist Church, you know Pastor Jonathan Falwell focused on the worship that should pour from within us at all the wonderful things God has done for us.

Get your notebook, a cup of hot chocolate, your Bible, and get ready to work through the study questions below, digging a little deeper into the message that was preached. If you have a friend, family, or group who can join you, make a fellowship time out of it! If not, work on it throughout the week, or do it all in one sitting, but enjoy learning how better to worship the God who loves you so dearly–much more dearly than you can love even your precious children or family. Click on http://www.trbc.org/service-archive, and click on the sermon for Sunday, Dec. 11, 2016. Let your worship be a priceless gift to God!

Self on the Shelf: Our Worship Matters                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Pastor Jonathan Falwell


Often we hear the term worship used as in, “he worships the ground she walks on!” Can you think of other examples of worship used by the world, relating to things or people? Jot your answers down in your notebook, or discuss them if you have someone with you.

Over the past few weeks we have looked at the importance of the true meaning of the Christmas gift of the Savior. We are hoping it impacts our hearts, so that we are not obsessed with the gifts under the tree. This week we are going to look at the response of Mary, as her entire being worshiped and magnified God in the acceptance of being the chosen mother to God’s Son, Jesus, who was to be born as a baby.

Focal Passages: Luke 1:46-55

Think About or Discuss:

Worship Comes from Within: It is the condition of the heart in our daily living

  1. What comes to your mind when you hear the word worship?
  2. How did Mary worship God in verse 46?
  3. Where should your worship originate? Can you think of a moment when spontaneous gratitude and thanksgiving poured from you because God had done something wonderful for you?

A Life of Worship Results in a Response from God: He always responds to a humble heart

  1. What did Mary mean when she referred to herself as “LOWLY”?
  2. Why is God against the proud (verse 51)? Who is the epitome of Pride?
  3. How does your heart alert you to times you are feeling prideful? Can you be worshiping at that time?

This Response is needed in Our Daily Struggle: His mercy overcomes anything we might face

  1. In verse 50, who are the ones who are recipients of His mercy?
  2. Why do we need His mercy daily? What happens when we decide we can handle a situation? What does that action stem from (verse 51)?

This Response is All that is Needed

  1. Who does God have control over? Do you really believe that truth in the depth of your heart? Do you find yourself “helping” God in situations even when you have prayed and tried to give it to Him? Why do you do this?

This Response is Permanent

  1. Who is the promise of verse 55 for? Who are the children spoken of here?
  2. Mary had studied the Old Testament from a child. What did she believe about God’s promises? Do you believe them to the extent you would die for Him?


Worship is something that is not dependent on external circumstances, but originates in your soul and spirit. You may be “led” in worship by those who are having a group join together in hymns of psalms and praise, but the joy in singing and praying should be an offering to God for all He has done. Few things are more joyous than having spontaneous praise and gratefulness come from your heart because God has shown Himself mighty in a situation. Would that you would always be so full of worship that your soul and spirit magnify Him, as Mary’s did. As you go about this week, be aware of times that pride inserts itself into your life, squashing your wonder at the work God is trying to do. Pray daily that others see Jesus as you live your life, and may your joy and peace be so deep that others desire to know Him and worship Him! Let your daily theme be “O, come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.”

Memory Verse: Luke 1:49: “For He who is mighty has done great things for me. And Holy is His name.”

Focal Passages: Luke 1:46-55, Prov. 16:18. A mirror response of Mary’s song is Hannah, in 1 Samuel 2:1-10.

C.H. Spurgeon, on Mary’s Song of Worship:

“My soul doth magnify the Lord.” Here is an occupation for all of us who know the Lord, and have been born into His family. It is an occupation which may be followed by all sorts of people. This humble woman speaks of her low estate, and yet she could magnify the Lord. All believers, of every rank and condition, can attend to this work. This is an occupation which can be followed in all places. You need not go up to the meeting house to magnify the Lord, you can do it at home. You may be tossed about upon the sea in a storm, but you may trust His name, and be calm, and so magnify Him. Or, you may be no traveler, and never go a hundred yards out of the village in which you were born, but you may magnify the Lord just as well for all that. This is not an occupation which requires a crowded congregation, it can be fitly performed in solitude. I suppose this sonnet of the Virgin was sung with only one [person] to hear it, her cousin Elizabeth. There is quorum for God’s praise even where there is only one; but, where there are two that agree to praise God, then is the praise exceeding sweet.




Overcoming Those Who Want Us to Lose

dreamstimefree_228381Standing in the Gulf of Mexico, my son and I dropped our rods not far from our feet. We were using triple hooks this time, loaded with bits of hot dog. The catfish swimming near us usually loved those.

Soon we each had a good sized fish grabbing the meat, and taking off. Jerking the line to “set” the hook, we reeled them in, put them in the bucket and started again. Neither of us minded these early morning jaunts to the beach, and most mornings found us at some favorite fishing spot.

We had quickly learned different fish will grab different bait. No big surprise there, right? After all, in a group of friends, how many all have the same “favorite” food? James–the small book following Hebrews that is filled with phenomenal wisdom–likens Satan’s dastardly plots to tempt us or to attack us (or get us to take the bait) to the same techniques the fishermen use to fish. He studies us, or his demons do, until they know us better than we know ourselves, then use the exact bait that will cause us to grab the hook, and we start feeling ourselves reeled in. Is it any wonder we find temptation at every turn? He knows our greatest weaknesses and attacks at that very spot.

The past few weeks the sermon series at Thomas Road Baptist Church has focused on the internal struggles we might feel if God seems to be calling us to  do a certain work for Him. We have studied the life of Moses, as God raised him up to lead over two million Israelites out of Egypt, where they had been enslaved over four hundred years. Moses used every excuse he could think of to get out of the calling, and then some. Today we are going to focus for the week on the external struggles that Moses faced. Those people and situations that caused him to want to throw up his hands and quit! Have you been there? Think of those people as being placed in your life as bait from Satan, trying to get you to give up, crawl in your hole, and not come out. Yet God wants you to hang in, and be an “overcomer!”

Now is a good time to watch the sermon from Sunday, July 31, by clicking on http://www.trbc.org/service-archive and select the sermon just preached. After watching it, get your notebook handy, grab a friend or group if you’d like, and take time to study the sermon in depth from the questions below. You can do them in one setting, or spread them over several days! Enjoy “hungering and thirsting after righteousness,” learning and growing in the knowledge and understanding of the Lord.


In this modern age of distractions, busyness, heavy schedules, and more, attacks—personal or general—seem to come at us daily. Can you think of some you’ve endured recently? Use your notebook to write down your thoughts.

Think About or Discuss:

Our Battle Is Bigger Than We Think

  1. Read Exodus 5:1-11. In the second half of chapter 4, Moses and Aaron went to the Israelites, and told them God had called the two of them to deliver the Hebrews from slavery. Next they went to Pharaoh. How did he react? The battle suddenly became more real, did it not?
  2. What kind of reaction should Moses have expected from Pharaoh? Read Ex. 4:21-23. What had God told Moses would happen?
  3. Sometimes being told someone will react in a certain way doesn’t come into focus until you are met with the action face to face. How would you have felt if someone so powerful or popular had been so antagonistic to you?

Our Hope Is Bigger Than We Believe

  1. Read 5:3a again. Think of something you recently tried to do for the Lord, or a new discipline you wanted to begin. How did it go, and were you met with obstacles (perhaps phone calls, distractions)? Did you quit or persevere?
  2. Why do you think Moses and Aaron persisted when it would have been easier to give up? Why would their refusal to quit have anything to do with their trust in the Lord?

The Attacks May (Will) Keep Coming

  1. In verse 5:7, what command did Pharaoh give? This attack seems to verge on insanity! Why are we surprised when sinners act like sinners?
  2. Why will attacks keep on happening as long as you are trying to do something that will help you to know and serve God better? Read Eph. 6:12 and 1 Peter 5:8. Do these verses explain the attacks?

The Victory Is His

  1. Read Ex. 9:16 and 1 Samuel 17:47. Are the battles you are engaged in going to be fought by you alone? How do they depend on you?
  2. What are the best things you can do to overcome the attacks?


As you move your focus from looking at the internal battles to those that come at you from outside, are you intimidated that you are in a war with Satan? He ultimately wants to take you down, and it is not going to be your strength that saves you. As you go into this new week, concentrate on the weapons of warfare that you need to use as you battle daily. They are outlined in Ephesians 6:10-18. Focus on the points in this sermon, and internalize them so that you realize daily that it is only your personal relationship with Christ that is going to bring you through as an “overcomer!” Pray for those you love, for the families, marriages, children and grandchildren represented by them. Try to make a disciple of someone this week, asking God to change a heart because of your witness.

Memory Verse: Exodus 6:1: “Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh. For with a strong hand he will let them go, and with a strong hand he will drive them out of his land.’”

Focal Passage: Exodus 5:1-11, 9:16, 10:1, 10:2, 14:4, 14:13, and 14:31

Further Study: Take time to read Chapter 4, seeing the challenges that Moses was going to be facing as he prepared the people to leave Egypt.

 © Judy Ben Joud | Dreamstime Stock Photos



dad caregiver

The children played outside the school building, obviously a recess time. That one–the little girl–she could be the age my little girl would have been. Unbidden, the tears came, and I walked on. Would I ever let go of the past, I wondered? It seemed every child was a reminder, an angry parent became someone I wanted to shake and scream at (“You don’t know what you’re doing!!”), and the thought of what I’d lost haunted my dreams. Counseling sessions, therapy, nothing really erases past losses except love and time. You get so tired of hearing people say, “Give yourself time,” or “Time will heal the wounds,” since you don’t believe it’s possible. Eventually, it is, and they dim.

There are very few people whom you meet who do not have some type of burden, loss, choice, sin, or catastrophic mistake that makes a scar. Does God hold that over our head? Not if it’s confessed in the name of Jesus (1 John 1:9). But it’s not quite so easy to forgive ourselves, is it? Even King David, the man “after God’s own heart,” penned with  emotion, “My sin is ever before me.” He struggled with choices he had made. Do you have some of those scars wearing on you? Get your notebook out, and get ready to study how we can live a life of purpose after a gigantic failure–perhaps one that has given years of consequences.

Click on the link for the sermon from Thomas Road Baptist Church, preached Sunday, July 17, 2016, at http://www.trbc.org/service-archive and select the last Sunday morning service. After watching it, work on the study notes below. They can be done in one day, all week, with a friend, by yourself, or in a group setting. The important thing is to grow as a Christ-follower daily, getting your “daily bread” by your study! Have your notebook handy as your notes will reinforce the sermon.

Today we want to focus on being an “Overcomer,” i.e., being victorious through troubles and trials, in spite of our past! Have you ever made a choice that caused you to lose hope and think a good life could never be pulled from beneath the chaos you created? What was it that continued to push you through the pain to see what the future might hold? Write down some thoughts.

We want to contrast our lives with that of Moses, an Israelite man who was raised in the palace of Egypt’s Pharaoh, with all the the pomp and royalty that went with the position he held, his prestige, and his power. However, at the age of forty, he killed a man, and the killing caused him to have to flee Egypt, sending him into the desert, where he lived as a shepherd. As we’ll see, God sought him, gave him freedom from his past, then used him to change his entire nation. Almost everyone has a past that holds us back from thinking we can be used for God’s purpose. Let us see how we can change that.

Think About, Write Down, or Discuss:

God doesn’t look at our past to determine if He wants to use us

  1. Read Exodus 3:1-4. When Moses was eighty years old, God appeared to him from a bush that was burning with fire, yet not extinguished. What had caused Moses to leave Egypt and how long ago had it been? How would his action have affected him? (Read Exodus 2:11-14 if you need to refresh your memory).

God’s Holiness trumps our messiness

  1. Read Ex. 3:5, 6. God had been quiet for almost 400 years. Try to imagine what Moses felt; what do you think went through his mind as he realized the Holy Creator God was speaking to him? If this had happened to you, how would you have reacted? Write down some of your thoughts.

God’s plans will always be greater than ours

  1. Read verses 7-10. After 400 years of slavery, the Israelites assumed God had forgotten them. Had He? Who had initiated this meeting between Moses and God? If God asked you to do something significant, how would your past hold you back?
  2. What do you think Moses felt his remaining years were going to be like before God called him? Do you think he would have wanted to go back to Egypt? Why or why not? Have you been in a period of “exile” because of something in the past? Can you change it in any way?

God’s power will always be enough

  1. Read verses 11, 12. God had a job for Moses. He (God) did not bring up the past, did not punish Moses for what he had done, but simply told him what He wanted him to do–deliver Israel out of the bondage of Egypt. Moses implored God to let someone else be the deliverer. Why do you think he “argued” with God? Over the next thirty verses Moses brings up reasons that he cannot lead Israel out of Egypt. Skim your eyes through the verses; what does he keep missing?
  2. When you feel that God wants you to witness, or minister, how do you respond to that inner prompting? Would you feel differently if you heard God say aloud, “I will be with you”? Write down your feelings.

The only way to overcome our past is to know our future

  1. Read verses 13-14. We cannot read Moses’ body language, so we do not know if he was agitated about his past, or failing in faith when he kept bringing up reasons he could not do as God asked. What is meant that you ‘can only overcome your past by knowing your future’?
  2. Can you think of an example of God bringing good out of your life even though you may have a past that you feel He could hold against you?
  3. In what ways does the life of Moses this week challenge you in your daily life?


Moses had had forty years to ponder the killing in Egypt, his flight, and his life as a shepherd. Possibly he no longer had hope that his life would ever be different. As you go through this week, ask yourself if any baggage from the past is holding you back when God is asking that you be available. Consider your repentance for past sins. If your confession was real, where are your sins now (Psalm 103:12)? Pray diligently, falling on your face before a Holy God, asking how He can use you as the day of His return draws nearer. Seek opportunities to tell someone of His great love and forgiveness.

Memory Verse: Exodus 3:12: “So He said, ‘I will certainly be with you. And this shall be a sign to you that I have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.’”

Focal Passage: Exodus 3:1-14

Home Study: Read Exodus 3 and 4, to see Moses’ reaction to God’s desire for his life.



Choosing to Live Victoriously!


 The loud clanging jarred the quiet night, waking us both from sound sleep. It took a moment to realize it was the telephone. Two a.m.! Only an emergency in the family or Protective Services would call at such an hour. Sure enough, it was Protective Services for our state.

We never knew when they called what was going to be the story, but it was never pretty. Normal children did not end up being taken from their homes in the middle of the night. This was no different.

A young set of twins had been removed from their home; one had a broken leg and broken arm, and the other was unharmed (physically speaking). We were used to the traumatized babies and toddlers, and along with our own pre-schoolers, lived a life full of stress. Being a home where Protective Services could come, day or night, with an abused child was something our own children experienced on a regular basis.

It took great endurance to get through the first few days as a new child settled in. Even though they were abused, the familiarity they had known was taken away, replaced with different voices, different routines, different food: their whole life was uprooted and crying was their major outlet.

Were we perfect at doing the chaotic lifestyle? By no means. Many days we got so tired of hearing little ones screaming, or toddlers breaking items for attention, or fighting, or a million other examples, that quitting seemed a good solution. Other days we felt we could make it! But looking back, there were so many times and so many situations we wish we could have handled differently. As in any care-giving, the books address the “norm” but seldom does one encounter it in real life. Thinking on those days, we wish we could do it all over, but with the wisdom and experience that we didn’t have at the time. I didn’t feel like an “Overcomer” at the time!

Being victorious as life throws curve balls is what we all wish for! It’s being an “Overcomer” and making choices that keep you from wishing you had done it differently. This is a good time to stop and watch the sermon from Thomas Road Baptist Church for Sunday, July 3, 2016, before going further with the Sermon Study below. Go to (or possibly click on) http://www.trbc.org/service-archive, and click on Select for the correct date. After watching, get your notebook, grab a coke, and start the study. If you have a friend who can watch and study with you, that’s great–or your family. Use it for the week, or do it in one sitting. Either way, enjoy the benefits of being an Overcomer for the Lord.

A common expression is “You’re either going in to, coming out of, or in the middle of a crisis at all times.” Life brings trials! We all want to come through in victory—no matter how small or great the test. Can you think of an example from your own life?

This week Thomas Road begins a new series, “What It Takes To Be an Overcomer,” examining the qualities we need to be victorious as we go through periods of trouble. We will focus on the life of Moses, a man who went through ordeals from his birth to his death, yet God called him to do great (and difficult) things, and later said he “was the most humble man on the earth.” Let’s look at what made Moses an overcomer, and what we can learn from him.

Think About or Discuss:

  1. Read Hebrews 11:23-29. In these few short verses, Moses took a stand several times that showed extreme courage. What were they? Keep your notebook handy to write in, and list these. Each was a huge choice.
  2. How would you label Moses’ character—was he more concerned about pleasing God or having people like him? Can you yourself be an overcomer if your goal is to please people?


  1. How did Moses determine his course of action each time? Why was that important? Is that important to you?
  2. Read Hebrews 11:1. The definition of faith (complete trust or confidence in someone or a strong belief in God) is described further here. What role did his faith play in Moses’ decisions? What about your decisions–are they based on faith?
  3. We do not know how Moses knew the God of his fathers, or how he knew he was Hebrew, but what were some of the things he gave up to do God’s will?

Looking to God for Significance

  1. Read verse 24b-25. It is so easy to get your support or “validation” from your friends. Who do you look to for approval? Have friends ever led you astray? How do you learn that only God’s promises can be relied on?
  2. In what ways does the faith of Moses challenge you in your daily life?

Recognition of What Matters

  1. Read verse 26. Can you think of something you have given up recently because you desire to honor God more than treasures on earth?
  2. How conscious are you of serving Christ as you go about your daily routine?


Moses was definitely an overcomer! Born of humble beginnings at a time when Pharaoh decreed all Hebrew boys be killed at birth, to leading the Israelites for forty years, he faithfully kept his eyes on God. As you think on his life, write down  times you’ve failed to be victorious because you looked to friends or acquaintances for help, rather than Christ. Pray for victory through the trials, as no one walks the Christian life without troubles, and all circumstances need prayer. Be alert to choices as challenges come your way, and make the decision beforehand to be an overcomer this week. Be conscious of the desire to be triumphant in your walk (2 Cor. 2:14).

Memory Verse: Exodus 2:24: “So God heard their groaning, and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.”

Focal Passage: Hebrews 11:23-29.


Looking back in someone’s album, I found the photograph I remembered. It was one I recognized, but now I was even more puzzled. I had known the Girls_old (1)parents and the two children, although the girls were a little younger than I remembered. They were definitely the two daughters we had known. However, the confusion lay in a picture that was posted sometime later in the album on social media. It was the same family, only now there was an additional child–not a younger sibling, but one who was slightly older than the other two. I knew these parents had had only the two girls. The similarity was so strong there was no getting around the fact that the child belonged to one of the parents, but how, when? I pondered the scenario that would add an additional child to a family unit, when that child was obviously the offspring of one of the two adults. All sorts of theories came to mind.

The reality was, the third child–a replica of the man we had known–was the child of the man’s sister, and (as is often the case), I was making a judgment based on insufficient knowledge!

Have you ever wondered what it would be like if you could have seen just ONE picture of someone’s current circumstances, perhaps several years before? Perhaps a sister married and had children, but a situation occurred and she left her home, and several years later married and had more children. Can you imagine what she would have thought had she seen a picture of herself with the second husband, with unknown children that resembled her, while she was still married the first time? Glimpses in time are not always able to be figured out!

This week Thomas Road Baptist Church is celebrating the 60th Anniversary of the church; a phenomenal representation of the vision of one man who dedicated his life to following Jesus Christ. Had Jerry Falwell, Sr., been able to see a recent photograph from the top of Liberty Mountain, of the University, Thomas Road Baptist Church, the Christian school, and the annex buildings that are off-campus but very much a part of the life of Liberty University, he would probably not be as shocked as those of us who knew Lynchburg many years ago. He never underestimated the power of his God to do great things, above and beyond more than one can ask or think.

Dr. Falwell devoted his being, from the time he was a young man, to fervent prayer for guidance, wisdom, and direction for God’s will in his life. The result is a mega-church, a Christian school, and one of the largest Christian universities in the nation. Now it is the responsibility of the members to continue to be committed to the mission he began, and carry the torch of the legacy left by Dr. Falwell.

Stop here to watch the service from Thomas Road Baptist Church for Sunday, June 26, 2016, before answering the questions below. As always, you may use this as a weekly devotional, doing a question or two each day in your quiet time, studying with a friend, or using it for a guide with a group in your home. Go to http://www.trbc.org/service-archive and click on the service dated for this week. Keep your notebook handy to jot answers down!

  1. Read Isaiah 51:1. Why is it beneficial to occasionally look back at the person you were before salvation? Has God ever left you on your own? Write down your testimony, in case you are able to share with someone who needs to hear your story!
  2. We look at the past in order to see how God worked in our lives, but not to “vacation” there. Why is it important that you don’t dwell too long on the life you once lived? Read Philippians 3:13. What does this verse tell you?
  3. Read Jeremiah 29:11. What feelings does this verse arouse in you? Do you consider this to be a promise? Write down how this verse brings meaning to your life.
  4. Having a goal, or hope for the future, is crucial to good mental health. Dr. Falwell was more than just a “dreamer”–he was a “visionary.” Read Romans 10:14. He so firmly believed God could do anything he asked, that he built his life with prayer as the foundation for what he desired God to accomplish through him.
  5. Read Acts 2:42. How do you think this verse played out as Dr. Falwell took thirty five adults in 1956, and grew a huge university and Bible-preaching church?
  6. Read Acts 20:18-21. From what you’ve seen, read or know of Jerry Falwell, how closely did he live his life as Paul had lived? What type of legacy did he leave his city?
  7. What are some visions you have for your own future growth as a Christian? Are you waiting for a “better day,” which will make it easier to witness? Write down what you would like to see in your own life.
  8. Examine your heart and ask yourself if you are currently a spectator, sitting passively by as others work, or are you taking an active part in seeing your church–or family–be all it can be for Christ? You are leaving a legacy for your family or friends: what is it going to look like?

In a small room in a Bible College, Jerry Falwell prayed by the hour that God would use him to further His kingdom on earth. It has become an incredible reality. If he could see that photograph, he would be overjoyed at what God has done. As you begin a new week, realize that God is not limited to do little or much with what you are offering Him. He can take your availability and make it into massive accomplishments if you are willing to be used. As Henry Blackaby once wrote, “don’t look for God to do a work in your life–look for where God is working, and join Him there!” (A very loose paraphrase). The early church was begun with twelve disciples; by the year 300 A.D., there were 10 MILLION Christians! Pray that He would use you to help someone escape Hell, by telling them of His love!

Photograph: Copyright Robert Day, III. Used by permission.

Who Are YOU Following??


The razor sharp barbed-wire ran the length of the pasture that divided our land from the neighbor, and ended at the Shenandoah River. The fence wasn’t very high–just the right height to hit a cow on her side and send a jolt of electricity through her, along with some pain from the barbs. The babes learned quickly to stay far away, but the moms seemed to think it a challenge to see if they could eat as much grass under the bottom wire without touching their noses to the shiny metal that would cause an immediate, very unpleasant, sensation.

On this particular day the electric was cut off. Of course the cows didn’t know this–like Pavlov’s dog, they had been conditioned by experience to avoid getting shocked. My son, a high-school weight lifter and Track & Field athlete, yelled, “I’m going to jump the wire!” as he ran toward the property fence line. The fact that he ran hurdles for his school, and was on his way to the State Championship, didn’t faze me. He was going to jump, therefore I would jump. I was going to show him I could follow him and do what he did despite our thirty-seven years age difference.

Five seconds later I writhed on the ground, my leg twisted in the barbed wire, blood pouring out of gashes from my knee down to my foot. He jumped it; I tried. Big difference. Following has to be accompanied by wisdom.

If you haven’t had time, stop for a half hour and watch the sermon from Thomas Road Baptist Church for Sunday, June 12. You will find it by clicking on http://www.trbc.org/service-archive. It would also be helpful to read Acts, chapters 1-7, and see how the early church learned to follow Christ and the principles He had given while shepherding His flock on earth.

The Following Church–What It Looked Like Then and Now

If you watched the sermon for June 5th, you saw that following Christ is a daily discipline. We looked at what a Christian really is, and asked ourselves, “Am I truly a Christian?” Hopefully, you said yes! We learned that following Christ means letting go of things in our lives that keep us from the closest possible relationship with Him. Do you have an idol in your life? Oh, it doesn’t have to LOOK like an idol: it can be a new boat, a set of golf clubs, horses to ride, a new motor home–anything that, as you get up on Sunday, you say, “Gee, this is my only day off! Let’s do ____ this week, instead of going to church.” Each time it gets easier to not congregate with other believers but live for yourself this one day of the week! That’s an idol. Something that takes the place of seeking God. Something that keeps you from doing life TOGETHER with other believers.

This week we are going to look at the church in the local community, see what the early church looked like, and decide if ours is still “following” the principles outlined by those first believers. A following church is one which is characterized by being a FAMILY of God (not blood born, but Blood-bought), living out the WORD of God, being under the AUTHORITY of God, and working together on a MISSION of God. Remember last week’s caution: What the world thinks of YOU is their view of the church.

  1. Have you studied much of the early church? As you read through the four Gospels and the first chapters of the book of Acts, you will get some ideas of the persecution the early Christians went through. List some of them on your notebook. Tacitus, a political figure in ancient Rome, wrote: “Rome is where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their center and become popular.” Sounds much like today, doesn’t it?
  2.  Despite the persecution, the early church grew by leaps and bounds. Beginning with the twelve, then adding daily, by the end of Acts there were about 200,000 Christians and 10 million by 300 AD.  They were able to have this impact on their communities because they were truly following Christ. Look up these passages and write down the characteristic of the believers in each verse that outsiders saw in their behavior: Acts 2:37; 2:47; 4:13; 4:13, 31; 4:21; 4:32; 4:33; 4:33. Did you write down “convicting; favored; amazing; bold; glorifying; generous; grace; and power”? Those are awesome testimonies that they showed to their world. How do you show those qualities as you go through your daily week?
  3. As time passed, people from other religious groups began to fear the Christians more and more. Why do you think this happened? Read Ephesians 6:12. As the church grew, Satan’s kingdom was coming under fire. He had not at that time read the end of John’s Revelation and perhaps didn’t know he was losing the battle! Anytime truth comes into the picture against lies, there will be a battle. How do you see this happening around you today?
  4. Read Acts 1:22, 4:13, 22. Why was the early church so powerful? Read Romans 5:5. Do we have this same power? How much of the Holy Spirit do we receive when we ask Jesus to be our Savior and Lord? If we have the same amount of the power of the Holy Spirit within us, why do we fail to tell the world?
  5. Read Acts 1:14. What was another characteristic of the early believers? How much time each day do you spend in prayer? Read Ephesians 6:18. What were Paul’s instructions? J. B. Johnston wrote: “A church is never more like the New Testament church than when it is praying.”

Think About:

If you are using this for a weekly Bible study, doing a question each day, think this week about the persecution the early church went through and liken it to today’s world. We must never forget that we have ALL of the power of the Holy Spirit within us, to help us as we face temptation, avoid evil and overcome trials. Think how your testimony reflects on the church you go to: is the world forming an opinion that your church is loving, serving, giving, and living as Christ gave Himself for her? What problems do you encounter daily, and examine if there is anything that keeps you from being bold in telling others how to find joy and peace. Pray daily for extra faith, extra vigilance, and remember to intercede for lost loved ones!

In AD 130, an Epistle written to a man name Diognetes was a beautiful tribute to the early church, and should be able to be said of us: “They [true believers] display to us their wonderful and confessedly striking method of life… They marry, as do all others, they beget children, but they do not destroy their offspring. They have a common table, but not a common bed. They are in the flesh, but they do not live after the flesh. They pass their days on earth, but they are citizens of heaven. They obey the prescribed laws, and at the same time surpass the laws by their lives. They love all men and are persecuted by all. They are unknown and condemned; they are put to death and restored to life. They are poor yet make many rich; they are in lack of all things and yet abound in all; they are dishonored and yet in their very dishonor are glorified. They are evil spoken of and yet are justified; they are reviled and bless; they are insulted and repay the insult with honor; they do good yet are punished as evildoers. When punished, they rejoice as if quickened into life; they are assailed by the Jews as foreigners and are persecuted by the Greeks, yet those who hate them are unable to assign any reason for their hatred. To sum it all up in one word–what the soul is to the body, that are Christians in the world.”

Would that those words could describe each of us!

Have a beautiful week!

© neil macleod | Dreamstime Stock Photos