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Saturday, November 30, 2013

Sandy Testimony

Three days before the “Frankenstorm” called Sandy hit the east coast we were given notice to take proper action. Even though most of the people near the ocean left their homes, and came inland, no one was ready for what unfolded. Once in lifetime type of devastation came upon the Jersey shore and points north and south. It took a week or more for most of us to start to come to grips with just how bad the damage was. My church FBC of Red Bank is located about 6 miles from the ocean. Our area did not have electricity for the next 2-4 weeks. Many homes were damaged by high winds and fallen trees. One of our church members lost their home completely and others had to seek shelter from severely damaged homes

Two areas close to us were very hard hit; Seabrite and Union Beach. In the days immediately following Sandy our church became a “warming station” offering warm drinks, a charging station for phones, dispersing information, food, prayer, and comfort. Many of our members worked tirelessly in their communities - clearing debris, sharing food, gas, batteries, and showing the love of Christ.

We held a special community Thanksgiving service encouraging people to give to local Christian charities that were working tirelessly in recovery efforts. A week before Christmas with the help of former members who live in Alabama we handed out over 300 presents to boys and girls in Union Beach. Over the next six months we joined in with many work groups that came in to our area from all over the country. We were blessed to host a group of 17 college students from the University of Cincinnati who volunteered during their Spring break, and we continue to help some of those families we met that week.

The work continues with many families who are faced with difficult decisions to rebuild or not. We offer them the greatest gift that God offers us, and that is hope. Hope found in Jesus Christ and lived out in His people. I am very proud how the church of God has comforted, aided, loved, and been there for so many families faced with rebuilding their lives after this terrible storm.

I praise God for the hope He offers to us through all the storms in our lives. Praise Him even during the storms - He will see you through.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Praying God's Word

Make God 's Word real and personal to you! Put yourself in to the Scripture by name. Look at this great Psalm and read it with your name in it.

Praying Psalm 121 

I lift up my eyes to the hills. Where does _______________’s help come from?
_______________’s help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.
God will not let _______________’s foot slip.
He who watches over ______________ will not slumber or sleep.
The Lord watches over _______________,
The Lord is his/her shade on his/her right hand.
The sun will not harm _______________ by day nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep me from all evil. He will preserve my soul.
The Lord will watch over _______________’s coming and going.
Both now and forevermore.

I pray this in the name of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen.
Be wise today and always - know you are on God's heart.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving poem

    Twas the Night of Thanksgiving






























Ten Were Healed – Only One Came Back

Have you ever heard, thankful is as thankful does ? It kind of like the old "proof is in the pudding" saying. A person who is really thankful shows it.

 How do we show Jesus our thankfulness?

Consider the story from Luke 17:11-19,
11 Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance 13 and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”
14 When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.
15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16 He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.
17 Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”

Only one broke the Levitical law about quarantine.
Only one understood what was happening to them in a deeper sense.
Only one went from lamenting to thanksgiving and praise.
Only one who came back was a Samaritan.

It wasn’t Suzy Sunday School or Deacon Doug who truly understood (got it). It was the Samaritan! The guy that had no business at Jesus feet (with the group because, misery loves company) but not in church!

Only one saw the difference between being healed and being whole. - Nine lepers were so intent on following the law, but the one, who turned around and came back, saw a significant difference in his mind and heart. and clearly in the mind of Jesus, between being healed and being made whole. 

 Do you want to know who you are and feel your purpose with a deep sense of conviction and peace?

Start by giving thanks, and living a life of gratitude.

 So, as we gather around the table, let us come together to give thanks. Healing is just one of the ways God has come and will come to our lives.  More than that, we are people who God is in the process of making whole . . . of completing and bringing together and finishing.

Be wise today and always this Thanksgiving - show you are thankful to God.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Listen to Know and to Grow

There are a number of things that stand out in our study of Jeremiah: Relationship, Obedience, Faithfulness, and Ongoing prayer. Prayer involves, listening, speaking, and applying.
 Prayer develops faith by encouraging reliance on God.
 Prayer is not difficult – but simple with everyday words like “please”, thank You”, and “praise You” at its heart.
Prayer brings us closer, bonding us as people of God.
Prayer often does not change the situation as much as it changes my heart, attitude, and response to that reality.
 Praying the words of Jesus is a strengthening spiritual practice.
Even in our fallen world we can have new hope through Jesus.
Be wise today and always - stay continually in communication (prayer) with God.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Unsearchable Things

"Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.'" Jeremiah 33:3

 In chapter 33 of Jeremiah God tells us some things we could never figure out on our own. Look along in your Bible at these six things.

vv. 1-6 The city will be rebuilt and re-established .

vv. 7-8 The captives, having their sins forgiven, will be restored.

v. 9 God is to receive the glory.

vv. 10-14 The country shall have both joy and abundance.

vv. 15-16 Messiah is coming!

vv. 17-26 Israel will flourish again, and be established, God will reign throughout eternity.

Be wise today and always - listen to God and learn.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Keep On Praying

To Have Hope We Must Keep On Praying. That’s called Persistency. Why be persistent?  Let’s be honest sometimes we ask ourselves the following questions. How come my answers sometimes don't come immediately?  Why should I keep on asking when God doesn’t seem to be answer?" 

Here are seven things to consider when we must keep on praying:

1. Keep praying because it will help you focus on God. God wants you to remember that He alone is the source of your answers to prayer. The Bible says in Philippians 4:19, "And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus."
2. Keep praying because God wants you to see Him alone as the source of your needs. When we have to pray about something over and over, who do we look to?  We look to the Lord.  Persistent prayer focuses our attention.  Have you discovered that we like to look to everybody else to solve our problem except the Lord?  We look to our friends, we look to our family, we look to counselors, we look to the government, we look to anybody -- except the Lord. God often delays an answer to force you to focus on Him. 
3. Keep praying because it clarifies your requests. A delayed answer a lot of times gives me time to clarify what I really want (or need). Time separates deep longings from mere whims.
3. Keep praying because God might delay the answer to test you. It's not that He doesn't want to give it to you; He wants to know if you really want it.  Do you want it enough to keep praying?  Jeremiah 29:13 "You will seek me and find me when you seek for me with all your heart."  Nothing worthwhile is accomplished with half-hearted prayers. 
4. Keep praying because it will prepare you for the answer. God usually wants to do more than you are praying for. Surprise! God wants to do it greater and He needs time to get you ready for it. There are changes God wants to make in you. Ephesians 3:20 "Now glory be to God, who by his mighty power at work within us, is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes." 
5. Keep praying because, "Prayer changes things."  It is God who does the changing, but prayer changes you.  God is more interested in you than He is in circumstances. Often as soon as you've made the change in your life the doors of heaven open and the answer comes.  Expect a miracle.
6. Keep praying because it will strengthen and develop your faith. A mark of maturity is how long can you wait.  Galatians 6:9 "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."  God’s saying, "Hang on!  Be patient!  Don't give up!  Look up!"
7. Keep praying because God wants to stay in an ongoing dialogue with you.  Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. -1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Be encourage to take time daily focusing on God, reading His word and talking to Him.  Spend time with God daily to know Him better. 
Be persistent in your relationship, conversation, and application with God and His Word. Share His hope with the world around you.
Be wise today and always - Be a Jeremiah in your world today!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

New Hope in a Fallen World

Jeremiah chapter 31 goes on with the good words and comfortable words which we had in the chapter before, for the encouragement of the captives, assuring them that God would in due time restore them or their children to their own land, and make them a great and happy nation again, especially by sending them the Messiah, in whose kingdom and grace many of these promises were to have their full accomplishment. - Matthew Henry

1. Read 31: 21-30 What is God promising His people?

Does He promise Christ followers the same today?

2. Read 31:31-34 God will renew his covenant with them. How will this effect their relationship?

How is our relationship effected through Jesus’ covenant with us (read Luke 22:20)?

3. Read 31: 35-37 God’s blessings are promised to Israel forever.

How does His promises look in our world today?

4. Read 31: 38-40  God promises that the city of Jerusalem will be rebuilt.

How is this a symbol of hope to the poor captives?

How can we apply God’s promise of hope to ourselves and how does faith work in this equation?
Be wise today and always - promised hope requires faith in the One who makes them.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

New Hope for All of Us

In the midst of their bondage and brokenness Israel finds New Hope is found in Jeremiah 31. Three promises and prophecies are given.

I. They shall be restored to peace, honor, joy, protection, and provision. (vv. 1-14).

II. Their sorrow for the loss of their children shall come to an end. (vv. 15-17).

III. The people will repent of their sins, and God will graciously forgive and accept them. (vv. 18-20).

What God promise do you need to be reminded of in the midst of a broken and fallen world?

Write it down and remember God's promise for you.

Be wise today and always - Ask God to give you new hope today.

Friday, November 22, 2013

New Hope

We have looked at many lessons for life from our study of the book of Jeremiah. Throughout all the unfaithfulness’, disobedience, and sinfulness we s saw that there is hope a fallen world. The lessons we learned:

 Your Hope (and Calling) - Chapter 1
Life Choices - Chapter 2                 
Truth or Consequences - Chapter 5
Recovery and Health - Chapters 6 & 8
Covenant- Chapters 10 & 11
Ongoing Dialogue - Chapters 14: & 15
 Heart Attack - Chapters 17 & 18
 Restoration - Chapters 23 & 29

Which leads us to our ninth and last week of the series - New Hope – found in chapters 31 & 33.

Do you recognize your need for God's hope?
We have used as a symbol of Judah and our world today by using a cracked pot. In chapter 19 Jeremiah is told by God to purchase a piece of pottery and gather all of Judah's leaders around him. The Lord then informs him in verse 10- 11, “Then break the jar while those who go with you are watching,  and say to them, ‘This is what the Lord Almighty says: I will smash this nation and this city just as this potter’s jar is smashed and cannot be repaired.

This is a pretty graphic demonstration of God's anger against disobedient people. Do you receive this? God does expect our obedience. We'll see that the people cannot repair it, but God will bring His people back to Israel in 70 years.

Be wise today and always - think of something to thank God for in your brokenness.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Driving Out Demons

There is a great story in the Gospel of Mark about restoration. Jesus had given His disciples power to heal, but could not help a demon-possessed boy. His father told Jesus He believed but needed help in his unbelief. Isn't this a lot like us? 

A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech.
Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.”
 “You unbelieving generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.” So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth.
 Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?”
“From childhood,” he answered.  “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the impure spirit. “You deaf and mute spirit,” he said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.”  But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up.After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”
He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer.” - Mark 9:17-29

Are we sometimes like the disciples who weren't "prayed up" or focused on Jesus? 

Be wise today and always - pray always focus on the Savior. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Health Restoration

The ultimate restoration is being in the right relationship with Jesus Christ. Being with Him in heaven for eternity is the reward for our salvation. The problem is until then we live in a fallen broken world where there is much hurt and pain. James writes to the Christ follower on how to handle life's brokenness.

 Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise.  Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord.  And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven.  Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.. - James 5:13-16

Keep praying the Lord hears you.

Be wise today and always - tap in to God's power and righteousness.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Slippery Slopes

The first sign of the deterioration, decline and self-destruction that signals disobedience is a loss of one’s intimate relationship with the Lord.

Regardless of how strong you think your walk with God might be, anyone may let it slip by not paying sufficient attention to God’s word daily. A wholehearted devotion to God is necessary, and we cannot divide our loyalties between God and other things.
Look at Jeremiah 23:11-12. Even people who consider themselves church leaders can get off track.

“Both prophet and priest are godless; even in my temple I find their wickedness,” declares the Lord. “Therefore their path will become slippery; they will be banished to darkness and there they will fall. I will bring disaster on them in the year they are punished,declares the Lord.

Be wise today and always - stay off those slippery slopes!

Monday, November 18, 2013

A Song (or Psalm) for Today

Let us meditate on Psalm 24 today. Consider what the Lord is saying to you. Listen with your eyes, ears, and heart.

 1 The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; 2 for he founded it on the seas and established it on the waters.

Who is able? Never forget that…
He is able to save.
He is able to protect.
He is able to preserve.
He is able to meet our needs.
He is able to ascend to heaven’s throne.
He is able to take you with Him. The Lord is Able

 3 Who may ascend the mountain of the LORD? Who may stand in his holy place? 4 The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god.

The Lord is Approachable

 5 They will receive blessing from the LORD and vindication from God their Savior.  6 Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, God of Jacob.

When we seek God and His righteousness, all other things are added unto us. We can join in the chorus and approach the hill. The Lord is Almighty.

Matt 6:33 “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”

 7 Lift up your heads, you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors,   that the King of glory may come in. 8 Who is this King of glory?  The LORD strong and mighty,  the LORD mighty in battle. 9 Lift up your heads, you gates;  lift them up, you ancient doors,  that the King of glory may come in. 10 Who is he, this King of glory?

   The LORD Almighty—  he is the King of glory. This Psalm has been lifted up on many occasions and will continue to remind and encourage us. Christ is returning to earth and we shall rise to meet Him in the air. The Lord is Awesome!

Be wise today and always - be ready, anticipate His coming- herald His coming .  The world needs to hear about it!         

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Restoration and Hope

The most famous two verses in Jeremiah are found in Chapter 29.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13
Chapter 29 contains two letters to the captives in Babylon:
1. The first letter recommends them to be patient and composed. (1-19)
2. In the second, judgments are denounced against the false prophets who deceived them. (20-32)

We do find Restoration and Hope in Jeremiah 29:10-14

God’s Word - 10 This is what the Lord says:

Completion of exile (consequence of sin) - “When seventy years are completed for Babylon,

God’s promise - I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place.

God’s plan - 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord,

God has our future in mind - “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Our response to God’s goodness - 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.

Cause and Effect - 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

Godly outcome -  14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”
Be wise today and always - accept all God has for you and apply it to your life.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Right Relationship

Four steps can we take in order to be restored in a right relation with God:

 1. Repent and Confess to God

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

To confess means to “agree” with God. I agree that I lied or cheated or was unkind or lost my temper. Be specific as you silently confess your sin to God. Sin takes us off God’s pathway to peace and joy. Confession puts us back on God’s pathway.

2. Determine to Forsake Any Known Sin in Your Life

 “He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy” (Proverbs 28:13).

3. Make Right Any Known Wrongs

It is important not only to confess and forsake sin, but also to make things right with anyone we may have wronged.

 “I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man” (Acts 24:16).

4. Renewed Fellowship Will Be the Result

 Your life life will change with God, and others will notice it.“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).

What steps do you need to take in the restoration process?
Be wise today and always - follow God's plan and you won't go wrong.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Seeking Restoration

Have you ever heard axioms about getting well? You know like don’t pick the scab, give it time, etc.? The same is true for Israel. They had to endure their punishment before they could be restored. God warns about three kinds of people who can lead you in to sin in Jeremiah 23.

1. The wicked priests and prophets. (Read verses 9-22).
How do you discern if someone is evil or good? 

2. The pretenders of what is not true. (Read verses 23-32)
How do you tell the difference between someone telling the truth or lie?

3. The scoffers at true prophecy. (Read verses 33-40)
How do we handle the Word of God?

Be wise today and always - always seek the God's way and truth.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Giving It to God

King David, a man after God's own heart was an expert in asking God for forgiveness and restoration. Look at the craving he had for the right relationship with God. As we enter in to this time focused on Thanksgiving remember to whom all thanks and praise is due.

Psalm 107: 1-9 - Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. Let the redeemed of the LORD say this-- those he redeemed from the hand of the foe, those he gathered from the lands, from east and west, from north and south  Some wandered in desert wastelands, finding no way to a city where they could settle. They were hungry and thirsty, and their lives ebbed away. Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He led them by a straight way to a city where they could settle. Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men, for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.

Psalm 34:8 - Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.  God doesn’t want us to just have knowledge of Him, but have intimate relationship with Him.

Psalm 27:1 -The LORD is my light and my salvation-- whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life-- of whom shall I be afraid?

What areas of your life need restoration?

Be wise today and always - be strong in the Lord.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Make God Famous

What are you the most proud of? Who does it bring glory to - God or someone else? The Bible says that we are to love God with all we have and  glory belongs to Him. Look at the Lord says in Jeremiah chapter nine.

Jeremiah 9:23-24 - This is what the LORD says:
"Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight," declares the LORD.
Boast in the Lord.
Be wise today and always - focus on the vertical with God it will make the horizontal stuff easy.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Seeking God

In order to be restored by God we must seek Him with all our hearts. Consider what the Word has to say about it.

 Psalm 27:4 - One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple. Our desire should be to be constantly in His presence.

Matthew 22:35-38 -One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus replied: “`Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 'This is the first and greatest commandment. The Greatest Commandment –   Love     God.

Micah 6:8 - He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. God calls us to spend time with Him.
Be wise today and always - seek God every day and in every way.

Monday, November 11, 2013


In Jeremiah 23:1-8 we see the restoration of the Jews to their own land through the Righteous Branch. Let's look at three things there will be at that time.
 (VV. 1-4) There will be Shepherd-Leaders. Here we have an example of the Ruthless vs. the Righteous 
“Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of my pasture!” declares the Lord. Therefore this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says to the shepherds who tend my people: “Because you have scattered my flock and driven them away and have not bestowed care on them, I will bestow punishment on you for the evil you have done,” declares the Lord. “I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and will bring them back to their pasture, where they will be fruitful and increase in number. I will place shepherds over them who will tend them, and they will no longer be afraid or terrified, nor will any be missing,” declares the Lord.

2.  (VV5-6) There will be a Savior. Righteous branch and Righteousness of the Lord.
“The days are coming,” declares the Lord, "when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land. In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which he will be called: The Lord Our Righteous Savior.
3. (VV7-8) There will be Salvation. The Lord rules as He regathers His people
“So then, the days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when people will no longer say, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, who brought the Israelites up out of Egypt,’ but they will say, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, who brought the descendants of Israel up out of the land of the north and out of all the countries where he had banished them.’ Then they will live in their own land.”

Be wise today and always praise God for His salvation.
















Sunday, November 10, 2013

Boast in God

This is what the Lord says: “Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches, but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the Lord. Jeremiah 9: 23-24

We see that our own wisdom, strength, and power will not save us. Only Christ alone can save us. God cares about what is inside of us not the exterior.

A person is not a Jew who is one only outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical.  No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person’s praise is not from other people, but from God. Romans 2:28-29

How does God want to use you? What is stopping Him?

Make this prayer/declaration personal as you read:

I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth,  a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him. - David Psalm 40:1-3

May you always place yourself in the Potter’s hands.

Be wise today and always - see and fear the Lord and put our trust in Him.