Whatever You Ask . . .

~~ a devotional ~~

by tkbrown

12 — “‘Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do, because I go unto My Father.'”

13 — “‘And whatsoever ye shall ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.'”

14 — “‘If ye shall ask any thing in My name, I will do it.'”

15 — “‘If ye love Me, keep My commandments.'”

John 14:12-15 — Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)

How many times have you heard it said, “If we ask it in His name, He will do it. . . . ” Well, maybe. That depends what we ask, but there are some other things it is dependent upon too.

Notice, in verse 12 above, Jesus said, “If you believe on me, the works that I do, you will be able to do also — and greater works as well — because I go to My Father in Heaven.” So, He is explaining to them the importance of believing He is God’s Son and of doing good works, just as He did.

Then, in verse 13, He tells us to ask all in His name and He will do it that the Father in heaven might be glorified. He is NOT telling us we can ask for a million dollars and He will give it. He is telling us, “If you believe in me and want to carry on the works I do, ask Me and I will do it for you — these things I have done and more will be done for you — if you ask it in My name.” So, we must be wanting to emulate Christ and His life here on this earth in order to be able to ask of Him and receive. Our requests should be for something He did or would have done. Then, He will do it for us.

Verse 14 stresses the importance of asking all in His name. By saying it a second time, He is telling us, “If you have faith in me, ask and you shall receive.” Then He follows these statements with the qualifier in verse 15. “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” Don’t pick and choose the ones you like and discard those you don’t care for. Do all that He commanded; then, He will know you love Him. If you meet this requirement, you can ask in His name, and He will do as you ask. Because, if we love Him and keep His commandments, our heart will be in the right place. So, we will not ask for things we should not want.

Do you love Him enough to keep His commandments? If you do, then He will do for you — when you ask it in His name. Finally, when I pray, I say — ‘If it be Thy will. . . .’ — as He did when asking the Father in heaven to allow His cup to pass from him ‘if the Father willed it.”

“And He went a little further and fell on His face and prayed, saying: ‘O My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me: nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt.'”

Matthew 26:39 — Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)

Then I complete my request by letting Him know I believe:

“In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.”

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Photo Above: by Alexis Foto @pixabay.com.

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Sources:

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). John 14:12-15. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV).” U.S. Congress. (19 February 2022). https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/John-Chapter-14/.

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). Matthew 26:39. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV).” U.S. Congress. (19 February 2022). https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Matthew-26-39/.

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God’s Righteousness

~~ a devotional ~~

by tkbrown

“‘Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.'”

Matthew 5:6 — Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)

In His “Sermon on the Mount, Jesus presented a series of “Blessed are . . . ” statements which modern-day theologians reference as “The Beatitudes.” The problem with grouping them together is it tends to discourage the study of each statement individually. If we look at them as separate indicators of desirable characteristics in those who follow Christ, they take on much more meaning.

With the indicator noted above in Matthew 5:6, Christ emphasized the importance of “hungering and thirsting for righteousness” as personal descriptors of a devoted Christian. He also noted: those seeking righteousness to this extent will be filled. In other words, if a follower truly hungers and thirsts for righteousness, time and energy will be spent trying to emulate the example Christ gave us when He was on earth, since everything He did was done in a manner well-pleasing unto God. We see this in Matthew 3, verses 16 and 17:

16 — “And Jesus, when He was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, low, the heavens were opened unto Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon Him.”

17 — “And lo a voice from heaven, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.'”

Matthew 3:16-17 — Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)

Thus, one must first “hunger and thirst after righteousness” in order to be filled. This hungering and thirsting will increase our “searching of the scriptures” which will allow God to “fill our desire for righteousness.” The more we learn from the scriptures, the more we understand of what God wants from those of us who follow Jesus’ commandments.

As newborn Christians, we are to “desire the sincere milk of the word, that we may grow” in likeness to Christ. This growth is how we are filled with God’s righteousness.

1 — “Wherefore, laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,”

2 — “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:”

1 Peter 2:1-2 — Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)

Peter goes on to say that those who believe and follow Jesus are “the chosen ones;” thus, they shall be filled with righteousness if it is searched and applied. He goes to great lengths in this chapter to describe the differences between those who believe and those who do not believe Jesus Christ is God’s Son.

“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people: that ye should shew forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light:”

1 Peter 2:9 — Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)

In searching the scriptures, if we hunger and thirst after God’s righteousness, we will learn how emulating Christ’s actions and attitudes, while He was on earth, will satiate us and increase those behaviors in us. Thus, we “shall be filled,” and we shall become more like Christ as we continue to grow and live for Him.

Jesus Christ is the perfect example of God’s righteousness.

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Photo Above: by permission from Benjamin South @facebook.com.

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Sources:

Eds. Bible Gateway. (1993). Matthew 5:6. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV).” biblegateway.com. (15 February 2022). https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%205%3A6&version=KJV.

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). Matthew 3:16-17. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV).” U.S. Congress. (15 February 2022). https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Matthew-Chapter-3/.

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). 1 Peter 2:1-2; 2:9. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV).” U.S. Congress. (15 February 2022). https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/1-Peter-Chapter-2/.

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Havoc and Destruction

~~ a devotional ~~

by tkbrown

29 — “But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom, it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all.”

30 — “Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.”

Luke 17:29-30 — Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)

Christian Living is not just a part-time endeavor. We cannot look back with longing to our way of life before becoming a child of God. We cannot give a half-hearted effort to living according to Jesus’ commandments. We are expected to give our all. No, He does not expect perfection, but He does expect us to look toward eternity with Him while having no regrets for leaving our past sinful selves behind.

“Remember Lot’s wife.”

Luke 17:32 — Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)

When God’s angel saved Lot and his family from the wrath God wrought upon Sodom and Gomorrah for the sinful ways of those who abode there, they were warned to leave and never look back. However, as they were making their way to safety, when the sounds of havoc and destruction brought down upon the two cities fell upon Lot’s wife’s hearing, she turned and looked back. Immediately, she was turned to a pillar of salt to serve as a reminder to God’s people as to what happens when we disobey God.

15 — “And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying, ‘Arise, take thy wife and thy two daughters which are here lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city.”

16 — “And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters, the Lord being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth and set him without the city.”

17 — “And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad that he said, ‘Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, . . . “

Genesis 19:15-17 — Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version (KJV)

God had already made many concessions to Lot’s efforts to save Sodom and/or Gomorrah from the total destruction of God’s wrath. In doing so, He proved to Lot there were no others in the two cities who cared about or wanted to enlist God’s love for them. The entirety of the two communities served Satan in their sinful ways. God’s patience had worn thin. As Lot and his family were ushered from the two cities by angels sent from God, they were told to head for the mountains, not to settle in the plains. Lot once again begged God to allow them to settle in the small plains community of Zoar rather than go up into the mountains. Once again, God conceded.

23 — “The sun was risen upon the earth when Lot entered into Zoar.”

24 — “Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven;”

25 — “And He overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground.”

26 — “But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.”

Genesis 19:23-26 — Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version (KJV)

In the book of Luke, Chapter 17, verses 29-32, Jesus discusses the escort of Lot and his family from the destruction that was about to be rained down upon the two cities of Sodom and Gomorrah because of their sinful and unremorseful ways. He likens this to the day He returns to take His people up to heaven. The destruction of the unrepentant, unbelieving, Satan serving multitudes will be swift, unannounced, and complete.

Are you ready for that day?

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32 — “Remember Lot’s wife.”

Luke 17:32 — Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)

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Sources:

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). Genesis 19:15-17. “Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version (KJV).” U.S. Congress. (6 February 2022). https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/1611_Genesis-Chapter-19/.

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). Luke 17:29-32. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV).” U.S. Congress. (6 February 2022). https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/1611_Luke-Chapter-17/.

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Out of Your Mouth

~~ a devotional ~~

by tkbrown

“Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.”

Ephesians 4:29 — Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)

Do we even think before we speak? Have we ever contemplated the perception others hold of our vulgar language? It seems in this day and time, every other word out of the mouths of some is a vulgarity of some sort: MF this, OMG that! Where did it all come from?

When I was young, I remember fearing retribution if I even thought a vulgarity. Such words were not typically uttered in the hearing of mixed company. As a general rule, men respected the presence of a woman and omitted such words from conversation. The impact of language on children was also considered. “Children Learn What They Live” (Nolte, 1954). Today, many women have language as atrocious as that of most men. This is sad. Even before birth, children hear these words as a part of everyday communication.

In verse 29 of Ephesians chapter 4, the apostle Paul exhorts the Christians at Ephesus to keep corrupt communication out of their mouths altogether. He told them every spoken word should be considered carefully and have a purpose. It should instruct, lift-up, praise, and exhort. Idle vulgarities were not to be voiced because of the negative influence and effect they have on others.

Do you think before your speak? Do you stop, think, and rephrase before you say words that impact others negatively? This is one area of living to which Christians are to pay special heed. Your spoken word reveals more to others than you might think. Do the words you speak reveal Christ in your life?

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Photo Above: by bekky bekks @Unsplash.com.

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Sources:

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). Ephesians 4:29. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV).” U.S. Congress. (31 January 2022). https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Ephesians-4-29/.

Nolte, Dorothy Law. (1954). “Children Learn What They Live.” childrenlearnwhattheylive.com. (31 January 2022). https://childrenlearnwhattheylive.com/.

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My Brother’s Keeper?

~~ a devotional ~~

by tkbrown

Genesis 4:1-17:

  • 1 — “And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain and said, ‘I have gotten a man from the Lord.'”
  • 2 — “And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.”
  • 3 — “And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord.”
  • 4 — “And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering.”
  • 5 — “But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.”
  • 6 — “And the Lord said unto Cain, ‘Why art thou wroth? And why is thy countenance fallen?'”
  • 7 — “‘If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? And if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.'”
  • 8 — “And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.”
  • 9 — “And the Lord said unto Cain, ‘Where is Abel thy brother?’ And he said, ‘I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper?'”
  • 10 — “And He said, ‘What hast thou done? The voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground.‘”
  • 11 — “‘And now art thou cursed from the earth which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand;'”
  • 12 — “‘When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth.'”
  • 13 — “And Cain said unto the Lord, ‘My punishment is greater than I can bear.'”
  • 14 — “‘Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that everyone that findeth me shall slay me.'”
  • 15 — “And the Lord said unto him, ‘Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.’ And the Lord set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.”
  • 16 — “And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden.”
  • 17 — “And Cain knew his wife, and she conceived, and bare Enoch: and he builded a city, and called the name of the city after the name of his son, Enoch.”

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Genesis 4:1-17 — Notes

God evicted Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden because they defied His command in choosing to eat of the Tree of Knowledge. Thus, their eyes were opened and they understood the difference between good and evil. Fearing they might also partake from the fruit of the Tree of Life, God found it necessary to send them out of the Garden.

Setting up a household out in the great big world, Adam and Eve began to live the life of a hunting and gathering family–hunting for meat and tilling the soil to grow fruits and vegetables for the family. Soon Eve was expecting their first child. When he was born, Adam and Eve named the child Cain. A short time later, Eve bore a second son whom they named Abel. Cain and Abel grew strong and capable in their worldly home as their individual areas of interest and expertise diverged. Cain was good at tilling the soil and growing a bountiful harvest from it. Abel, on the other hand, preferred to tend the sheep and expand his flock.

Cain was thankful and appreciative of the bountiful, abundant harvest he reaped from his tilling of the ground. He proceeded to gather some and present it in beautiful form to the Lord as a sacrifice. Abel, seeing Cain sacrifice to the Lord a portion of his harvest, offered to the Lord some of the firstlings from his flock and the fat thereof.

The Lord had much respect for the sacrifice Abel presented, but He was not pleased with the produce presented as Cain’s sacrifice. This upset Cain very much. The more he thought on it, the angrier he became. His attitude became downcast and sulky. God asked him why he was being so belligerent and told him if he presented a satisfactory sacrifice, it too would be accepted. He further explained the consequences of continued unacceptable behavior and not doing well in His sight would be to have sin lying at the entrance to his home. Sin would ensnare his every desire and present it to Cain until he ruled over sinful desires and cared not about pleasing God.

Henceforth, when the two brothers were toiling in the field, Cain talked to Abel. However, he was not pleased with Abel’s responses. As his attitude became increasingly sullen, he became extremely opposed to Abel’s beliefs. Finally, his ire was roused to such a point, he rose up and killed Abel–spilling Abel’s blood into the soil.

When God came to talk to Cain, He asked about Abel. Cain said he did not know the whereabouts of Abel. He said to God, “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

God was angry and chastised Cain. He said, “The voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground. And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand; when thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth.”

Cain bowed his head, shook it and said, “My punishment is greater than I can bear. Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth, and from Thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass that every one that findeth me shall slay me.”

God said, “Not so, Cain! Whoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall reap upon him sevenfold.” Then the Lord placed a mark upon Cain so all would know who he was. Knowing the curse set upon anyone who killed Cain, they would be deterred, go on their way, and leave Cain alive.

Then, Cain went out to the land of Nod on the east of Eden and dwelt there with his wife. When she bore him a son, they named the boy Enoch. Cain built a city in his son’s honor and named it Enoch–after his son.

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Comments

So, the moral of this story in Genesis 4 is fourfold:

1.) One of the ten commandments later given to Moses for governing the Israeli people as they wandered in the wilderness forty years was: Thou shalt not kill. Here, Cain killed Abel. Then, he denied this fact to God. God knew he had killed Abel, and He tried to give him a chance to tell the truth–come clean about his sin, but Cain denied any knowledge regarding Abel’s whereabouts.

2.) We are our brothers’ keepers to some degree. We should always try to have some knowledge of our brothers’ whereabouts and status–even when they do not communicate with us. We should try to acquaint ourselves with information about them, whether they are biological or other familial brothers. This also applies to our brothers and sisters in Christ.

3.) Anger, uncontrolled and unbridled leads us to action with unacceptable consequences. Cain’s anger led to despondent mood, self-pity, and finger-pointing. These “sins,” in turn, led to Cain killing Abel and trying to hide that fact. He did not consider the magnanimous nature of his offense. Maybe we can equate this as the reason humans today consider small, minor, “more acceptable” offenses to be less important–and to the human belief of God viewing them the same.

4.) God makes no difference in “degree of sin.” Sin is sin, and if not forgiven via cleansing by Christ’s blood, it is punishable by an eternity in hell just as Cain was eternally banished from God’s presence.

It is our choice where we spend eternity. God drove Cain from his homeland–even out of His presence–meaning Cain then had no chance of ever redeeming himself with God. This shows us, in like manner, how sins continually committed today–without atonement–can cause our hearts to harden to the point we do not care what we do to self or others. When this level of hardness develops, we have no chance of ever heeding the message of God and His Son, Jesus Christ. As a result, we choose to spend eternity in hell with other sinners–eternally apart from God in heaven. All sin has consequences. Therefore, when we choose to enact any sin, we choose those consequences along with “it.”

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Source:

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). Genesis 4. “Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version” (KJV). U.S. Congress. (14 November 2021). https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Genesis-Chapter-4/.

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Photo above: Ugo Mendes Donelli @Unsplash.com.

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My Morning Prayer

by tkbrown
Thank You, Jesus
for bringing me through this night to another day.
Show me the things you would have me do and say.
Give me opportunity to help another along the way.
Be my sunshine when skies look dreary and grey.
Touch your healing hand to ailments producing fray.
Whisper love to family and friends when troubles weigh
upon their lives, seeming to unbearably lash and flay.
Allow me to touch someone as I bow my head and pray.
In Jesus name,
Amen.

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As I begin each morning, I thank God and Jesus for the restful night and a brand new day. As the Apostle Paul instructed the New Testament Christians in Thessalonica:

“Pray without ceasing.”

1 Thessalonians 5:17 — “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV).”

I try to continually engage a prayerful attitude about all that I do, think, and, say. I am far from perfect, and I need His help every step of the way. There is no sweeter way to progress through life than in prayerful supplication of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

The Apostle Paul traveled much, taught God and Christ daily, wrote epistles to a number of New Testament churches, and edified Christians in every possible way. He enjoined the followers at Philippi to:

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”

Philippians 4:6 — “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV).”

Here, he offered encouragement to not worry regarding the needs of this life, but rather to let God know what we need every hour of every day.

God will provide if we but heed His command as Jesus–in His Sermon on the Mount–instructed:

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.”

Matthew 6:33 — “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version” (KJV).

If our thoughts are centered upon God and His kingdom, if we focus on these things — we will not have time to look at the world and those in it. We will be given more than our feeble minds could ever conjure.

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Sources:

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). 1 Thessalonians 5:17. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version” (KJV). U.S. Congress. (13 November 2021). 1 THESSALONIANS 5:17 KJV “Pray without ceasing.” (kingjamesbibleonline.org).

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). Philippians 4:6. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version” (KJV). U.S. Congress. (13 November 2021). PHILIPPIANS 4:6 KJV “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests…” (kingjamesbibleonline.org).

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). Matthew 6:33. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version” (KJV). U.S. Congress. (13 November 2021). MATTHEW 6:33 KJV “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (kingjamesbibleonline.org).

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Picture above: reene black @pixabay.com.

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Social Distancing

~~ a devotional ~~

by tkbrown

“‘For where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them.'”

Matthew 18:20 — Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)

These are trying times for people of the faith as well as for those not of the faith. People who are accustomed to attending worship services on Sundays are longing for those days to return. Those who violate the guidelines of no more than 10 in a gathering are frequently penalized by law enforcement. How do we balance our obligation to attend church services?

I encourage you to remember the words of Jesus Christ in Matthew 18:20 (above). Here, Jesus knew there would be trying times when large gatherings could not meet. In fact, the disciples went through some of those times. Christians were despised by many during the first century AD. They usually met–either in the catacombs beneath the city, or they would meet house to house. This allowed them to meet in smaller groups–making them less conspicuous. The Emperor Nero was among the Roman rulers who persecuted the Christians. The apostle Peter died during Nero’s heinous rule.

So, take heart during these troubled times, and meet in small groups. Worship house to house like they did after Christ’s death. Just be very careful to ensure that social distancing is practiced. Even with these precautions, you still may contaminate others. If you are an asymptomatic carrier, you may not even know you are infecting others. If you are comfortable with the online, media worship, this is the safest procedure. If not, then please practice social distancing, and meet in small groups. This can be done under the direction of church leadership. I have seen it done. It can work.

I pray that Christians everywhere abide by the restrictions COVID-19 is placing upon us. I ask that God allow us to meet in small groups practicing social distancing in order not to infect others. I pray that God give us strength to learn the lessons intended by these troubling times and make us stronger Christians in better servitude to each other as we serve Him after these times are over. May God Bless and Keep all who practice the faith in Christ Jesus according to Christ’s teachings. I ask all in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

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Image above: by Hannah Busing on Unsplash.com

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Source:

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). Matthew 18:20. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV).” U.S. Congress. (15 February 2022). https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Matthew-18-20/.

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