“Woodman, Spare that Tree!” – The Third Sunday in Lent [March 24, 2019]

Today’s Passage:  Luke 13:1-9 – Repent or Perish

Opening Prayer:  Sometimes it seems like the hardships we face will never end.  We are beyond our limit to endure without faltering.  We do not understand why these things are happening to us.  The answers do not always come to us.  Believers often accept that there is a purpose for suffering.  We just are not able to see the big picture in the way God does.  Father God, help us in those times of suffering to be reassured of the hope we have in Christ.  If there be anything that we need to tend to, please point it out to us clearly so we might make any needed changes in our thoughts, attitudes, behaviors, actions, or beliefs.  Help us to be faithful followers of Jesus – to fully put our trust in the saving work He did for us upon the cross.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.

Opening Song: Crowder – Forgiven (Official Music Video)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u_ZWEO36jok

Message [used with permission from A Sermon for Every Sunday]: The Third Sunday in Lent called “Woodman, Spare that Tree!” by Jim Somerville, Pastor of First Baptist Church, Richmond, Virginia.
Why is probably a question we have all asked at some point. It is one that we often ask in the face of natural disasters such as the extreme weather the US has experienced recently. In the parable of the fig tree in Luke 13:1-9, people approach Jesus and ask the same question, “Why?” Jim Somerville points out that Jesus has a penchant for making things personal and pointed. The Galileans and those killed when the tower of Siloam fell on them – that could be you. The fig tree that the vineyard owner wants to cut down – that could be you. What can spare you from that fate? Listen and find out.

or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LooYjp13WXE&feature=youtu.be

Closing Song: Matthew West – Broken Things (Lyric Video)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WdUu6ZsdVfM

Closing Prayer:  Father God, thank you for sending your Son, Jesus, that we might be spared.  Such a debt we owe and are unable to repay.  May we reflect on what Jesus did for us during this season of Lent.  May we bear much fruit for You and Your kingdom in the days still before us.  I pray this in the name of Jesus.  Amen.

Epilogue: Kris Kristofferson – “Why Me Lord”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mtQOY-0sViQ

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Reflections… a Scripture verse and inspiration for daily living [3/24/19]

What did he mean when he said, ‘You will look for me, but you will not find me,’ and ‘Where I am, you cannot come’?” John 7:36 (NIV)

Passage: John 7:25-36

In this passage, Jesus was speaking to a group of Jews.  However, most of these Jews were not His friends.  Actually, many sought to kill Him because of His heavenly claims.  Many knew about Jesus’ earthy family and where Jesus was physically from, but they did not know or understand who had sent Jesus to them or where Jesus would go to after His earthy ministry was over.  Jesus knew His earthly fate and that He would soon be returning to the Father.  We know, as believers, that we will follow Christ to our heavenly home, but unbelievers will not have the same fate.  They cannot go where Jesus goes.  They will not know where to look or where to find Him.  May we, as believers, appreciate our position in Christ.  May we faithfully follow Him now and into eternity.  May we always seek to share the reasons for our faith in the One who saves us so that others might also be saved.  (inspired by Reflecting God – Devotions for Holy Living, WordAction Publishing Company)

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Prayer, Praise, & Promises Mar. 23, 2019

Father, help us to remind one another of the blessings you give us each day. Even in our darkest times you give us blessings of hope. Help us to help our fellow humans see the hope you give us all. Amen.

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Reflections… a Scripture verse and inspiration for daily living [3/23/19]

Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly. John 7:24 (NIV)

Passage: John 7:14-24

This verse might remind some of us of the old saying, “you can’t judge a book by its cover.”  However, it seems we judge much by outward appearances.  It isn’t just people we judge in this way.  We also judge things and circumstances just by how they look to us.  It is very possible we will judge wrongly when we judge by appearances.  Nothing is ever that simple.  We must look beneath the surface to see the truth.  In another portion of Scripture, Jesus accuses religious leaders of being whitewashed sepulchers [or tombs] full of dead bones and unclean things [Matthew 23:27].  May we learn to see things more clearly.  May we look below the surface and find the truth.  May we move beyond judgment toward improved understanding, compassion, and mercy toward others.  (inspired by Reflecting God – Devotions for Holy Living, WordAction Publishing Company)

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Prayer, Praise, & Promises Mar. 22, 2019

Numbers 6:24-26 (TLB)
May the Lord bless and protect you; may the Lord’s face radiate with joy because of you; may he be gracious to you, show you his favor, and give you his peace.

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Reflections… a Scripture verse and inspiration for daily living [3/22/19]

Therefore Jesus told them, “My time is not yet here; for you any time will do.  The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that its works are evil. John 7:6-7 (NIV)

Passage: John 7:1-13

Timing is important.  We tend to rush things and often want things to happen right now!  Jesus knew the political climate of His day and understood the circumstances He would soon be facing.  Sometimes we need to follow Jesus’ example; we need to step back, watch patiently, and plan our next moves carefully.  We may face situations that are similar to the one described in today’s Scripture verses.   If so, may we have sufficient discernment to be able to avoid unnecessary setbacks.  May we ask for and receive a sense of God’s timing for all things.  May we persevere… and in the end – stand. (inspired by Reflecting God – Devotions for Holy Living, WordAction Publishing Company)

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Prayer, Praise, & Promises Mar. 21, 2019

What seems to us as bitter trials are often blessings in disguise. Oscar Wilde

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