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2 Timothy 2:6

The hardworking farmer must be first to partake of the crops.

2 Timothy 2:6

From the above verse, we learn the farmer must labor at his task but then he is also to receive priority of its reward.

For the farmer, there is no such thing as quick fruit. He is in it for the long haul and it requires lots of labor: early morning to late evening. He must constantly toil in the soil: plow, sow, tend, weed, reap, store, and start over. He must have patience and fight the elements, pests, and diseases. It’s hard work with an eye on the reward, the prize, the fruit of his labor.

He does so because he has tasted of the reward, knows it is worth the wait, and it will all pay off in the end! (1Corinthians 15:58). Though the glamour may wear off, the diligence of the task will be fully compensated in the long run (James 5:7).

Remember this illustrative example as you set off to serve the Lord. It will be hard work. There will be days when it looks like you are losing ground, and face setbacks and disappointments. But press on, the fruit awaits and it is glorious!

Learning from the farmer,

Pastor Jack Abeelen

Psalm 97:1

The LORD reigns, let the earth rejoice; let the many coastlands be glad!

Psalm 97:1

Many years ago, I heard a man make the statement that Christianity would be almost nonexistent by the year 2000. And while it’s true that there has been a decline of people who call themselves believers in many areas of the world, the church is also growing rapidly in other parts.

In China, for example, it’s estimated that 20,000 people every day are trusting Jesus as Savior. In Africa, the church is growing dramatically, as it is in South America and across parts of Asia. These areas, commonly called the “Global South,” are seeing an intense and passionate response to the Gospel.

So what does that tell us? I think those of us in the Western world have a duty to support and encourage the spreading of the Christian message in these parts of the world. Also, we need to open our hearts to learning from our faithful brothers and sisters around the globe and not think that we hold all the answers here.

It’s good to thank God for your country this season. But let’s never forget that our God is a global God. So get involved in what He’s doing around the world by praying, giving, and going to make His name known among all nations!

Pastor William Del Casale

Romans 4:19-20a

And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief.

Romans 4:19-20a

Chapter 4 of Romans describes how Abraham was accounted righteous solely because of faith — by believing that God would provide him and Sarah with a child even though they were very advanced in age. These verses paint a picture of a godly man firmly rooted in a strong faith who did not waver with unbelief. He was not a perfect person, but he strove to have a walk of faith and to maintain hope in the promise that God made to him.

We may not all measure up to the strength of Abraham’s faith, but thankfully it is not the strength of our faith that saves us; we are saved by the object of our faith: God who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead (Romans 4:24). The work is all God’s, through Christ Jesus, so that we have nothing of which to boast (Romans 4:2). Praise God that He loved us even while we were sinners, and sent Jesus to die for us (Romans 5:8). He promises to us eternal life if we simply place our faith in Christ Jesus. Then, like Abraham, we will be accounted righteous, simply by believing God’s promise.

Jeff Mericle

Ephesians 2:10

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

Ephesians 2:10

After writing we are saved by God’s grace and not by works, Paul now says that there should definitely be good works. Here we are told to work, but that it is God who is at work. This truth is the mystery of the Christian life in a sentence.

Our verse today sheds even more light on Paul’s statement in Philippians. We are God’s workmanship—His masterpiece or work of art. We have been saved by grace and given the gift of salvation for a reason, that good works be done to the glory of God. We are His work, created by Him to bless others in good works. Furthermore, God has ordained the good works for us.

Life is most satisfying when we discover and do those good deeds for which we were created. Joy is the byproduct of fulfilling our mission. It is the path to greatest happiness in life to complete our purpose by doing the deeds God prepared for us. God gave us our personality, our gifts, and our talents to equip us for the works He planned for us.

So, today, let us all be on the alert to do these deeds ordained for us in a way that does not bring glory to ourselves, but brings glory to the One who created us.

Tom Day

Exodus 20:15

You shall not steal.

Exodus 20:15

Why should we not take what isn’t ours if we need it? Why should it be okay to own something that someone else is excluded from? Why is there such a system in place that doesn’t free us to have whatever we need? Why do some people get to have more than others; how is that fair? Those are good questions, questions that have been raised for a long time that philosophers and governments have pondered.

For God to command all men not to steal is to insinuate the right to personal property — the right to own or possess something that is solely yours to own and use where no one else has access to it unless you, the owner, permits. God saw it fit to order a world where hard work is rewarded.

This system is designed to free a man or woman to enjoy the fruits of their labors and it is built into man to delight in their work. My wife loves making desserts and she works hard to make some more complicated stuff. The harder the dessert to make, the greater the reward when it is completed. There is then an even greater blessing or reward when she voluntarily chooses to share that dessert with others, so they can delight in it.

Without the ability to possess or be rewarded, there would be little desire to achieve. With no desire to achieve, there would be little to possess. With nothing to possess, we then lose the ability to bless by giving. Stealing robs us from the freedom to achieve, possess, and give in a way that satisfies the soul. Therefore, work hard, enjoy the fruit of your labor, and bless others as you have the opportunity.

Pastor Jason Witt

Joshua 9:14

Then the men of Israel took some of their provisions; but they did not ask counsel of the Lord.

Joshua 9:14

The children of Israel once again took matters into their own hands in the verse above. In Chapter 7, they failed to go before the Lord when it came to attacking Ai because they figured they could easily conquer the small city. Here the inhabitants of Gibeon heard all that Joshua had done and acted craftily. They convinced the children of Israel to make a covenant without taking it to the Lord in prayer. Because of that, they ended up having to go to war for them.

I learned in my walk with the Lord that if I don’t have time to pray then the answer is probably no. We often times take only the “big” things to the Lord — like when we lose our dog, when we lose our jobs, or when we are in a financial or marital crisis. But with every other area of our life, we exclude the Lord — things like buying a car, or even praying for our children and for their future spouse or careers. We somehow think those things don’t matter to the Lord, but the Word clearly tell us “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Seeking the Lord’s counsel in all things.

Joshua Navarro

Matthew 23:11-12

But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.

Matthew 23:11-12

Isn’t the above verse great? I love it! It takes all of the pressure off of me. It’s not about how great I am or how religious I can be, because I don’t have to strive to be the greatest. We just have to simply seek to serve one another as we allow God to lift us up.

It takes title, position, and pride off of the table and puts us all on the same playing field. Just seek to serve one another as Jesus did and leave the honoring to the One who really sees things clearly. Don’t seek to be exalted or to exalt others in our eyes, leave that to the Lord. He isn’t fooled by man’s religious works.

Pastor Doug Hardin

Galatians 6:2

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

Galatians 6:2

How great is it to have a friend who will bear your burdens with you? Paul tells us as brothers and sisters in Christ, we are to bear one another’s burdens. Just as Christ is there for us in our day of trouble, we are also to be there for one another. This is what will separate us from the world. When things get tough, the world will turn its back on you.

As Christians, we are to move into that space and extend the love of Christ. You may not know what to say, but sometimes all we need in our trials is someone to just sit there and listen. Always be looking for opportunities to bear the burdens of others.

For the King,

Pastor Daniel Batistelli

Philippians 3:17

Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern.

Philippians 3:17

How often do you read your Bible then say, “Well I could never do that. I’m not Paul. I’m not Joseph.” With this verse, we get two great applications. The first is a challenge to us to be able to say what Paul is saying, “Follow my example in my walk with Jesus.” Does that scare you a little bit? It does for me, but it should! It should make us really think about what we do and what we say.

The second is the question of whom are you following? Who is your example because we know the same Spirit that empowers them to walk rightly, can do the same for us if we are willing to surrender and see the people the Lord has given us as an example. Look around saints! You are called to not only be the example, but look for examples as well.

In Christ,

Pastor Sean Boehm

Jude 20-21

But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

Jude 20-21

The Apostle Paul in Galatians 5:22 lists the fruits of the Spirit and the entry point of that list is love. All the rest falls on that foundation. In our verse today, Jude is encouraging us to keep building on our faith everyday. He acknowledges that this cannot be done without the help of the Holy Spirit but then, in agreement with Paul’s list of the gifts of the Spirit, Jude emphasized the importance of our love for God. This really simplifies things for me. I’m to lean into the Holy Spirit as a means to keep myself in the love of God.

And what should be the focus of our love? The incredible mercy we receive from our Lord Jesus Christ, through His sacrifice, that has afforded us eternal life. Just that fact should make our hearts melt with affection, adoration, and thanksgiving.

Keeping and being kept,

Pastor Gerard Deleeuw

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