Week 17 – 1 Peter 4:8

1 Peter 4:8
Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, for love covers a multitude of sins.

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Happy Valentines Day! This week’s verse, 1 Peter 4:8, is joined by a special guest – Jerry ‘Hot Rod’ DeMink. Thank you for all your help! This is a wonderful verse that I find myself singing quite often because it really showcases the redemptive power of love over sin.

  1. God’s love covers all of our sins.
  2. When we love the LORD, we love others.
  3. When we are loved by others, our sins are covered.

God’s love covers all of our sins.

No matter how many times we stumble, this verse reminds us that His grace is enough. His love is poured out abundantly over us and it covers all of our sins. I am so thankful for that because I am prone to wander. It is His love that draws me back to Him. May we be comforted, find rest, and dwell in peace by His love.

Romans 5:20
God’s law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. But as people sinned more and more, God’s wonderful grace became more abundant.

Psalm 85:2
You forgave the iniquity of your people and covered all their sins.

When we love the LORD, we love others.

Through our gratitude for God’s love and His forgiveness, His love begins to overflow into the people in our lives. We cannot contain it! We love because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). That same grace is naturally bestowed onto others. When we are wronged, we’re not overlooking the sin, rather, it is no longer the emphasis. Our love for the person is what matters. God’s grace allows us to forgive others in the same way that God forgives us. Rather than seeing the sin and harboring animosity, we see the person for who they really are. This includes their shortcomings and faults, but by his grace we are more patient and understanding.

Colossians 3:12-14
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

When we are loved by others, our sins are covered.

It brings such comfort to know that our sins are covered by love, through grace, from those that love us. We constantly hurt those that we love most because we are most comfortable around them and our guard is down. Forgiveness and restoration in our closest relationships can only happen through love.

Proverbs 10:12
Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.

What are some practical applications of loving one another?

1 Peter 4:9-10
Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.

Peter wrote this with the backdrop that the end of all things is near (1 Peter 4:7). As such, we should be active and alert, living for the will of God. With the Lord a day is like a thousand years (2 Peter 3:8; see also Psalm 90:4) and his words are no less true today than the day they were written.

In a world that is full of sin and chaos, we can see the brokenness behind it all. We know that God’s love has conquered sin and death. We get to share that story! What better way to do that than by using the gifts that God has given us to serve others, in love.

From where does our love come?

1 John 4:7-8
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.

May you be blessed this week as you love one another earnestly. May you forgive one another in the same manner that Christ has forgiven you. And may you receive the same forgiveness, abundantly from those around you.

By His Grace Alone,


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Week 16 – Matthew 7:12

Matthew 7:12
So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

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Dear brothers and sisters, I’m excited to be memorizing our verse this week, Matthew 7:12, which you may know as “the golden rule”. This is another famous verse that continues our theme of True Love as revealed by God.

These are words spoken by Jesus in his Sermon on the Mount. They immediately follow His explanation of who our Heavenly Father is:

Matthew 7:7-11
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”

God is good. He is your heavenly Father, abounding in love for you. He wants the very best for us and he desires an intimate relationship with us. He desires that we extend that same love to others. He leads us in this by offering us grace, mercy, and forgiveness of our sins. His examples are seen time and time again throughout the old testament laws, prophets, and ultimately on the cross where he laid down the life of His son so that we may live in Him.

We are all made in the image of God and have an innate desire within us to be united with Him. With death conquered and the price of our sin paid, we are free to live; expressing God’s love to everyone we meet.

Colossians 3:12-14
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

If you do to others as you would have them do to you, you are honoring that person, treating them with dignity and respect. You are not lying, stealing, coveting, hurting, or violating that person. You are loving them. But what if someone hurts us? Even if you are violated, the golden rule reveals the same response. With the shoe on the other foot, we’d likely desire a response that includes compassion, mercy, and grace. While it is true that all transgressions have a consequence, justice is the Lord’s. We must remember that. Our one command is to Love one another, even when they sin against us. We must trust the Lord and leave justice in His hands. This frees us to love as he loves us.

Romans 15: 1-3
We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up. For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.”

Romans 13:8-10
Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

The golden rule invites unity. Consider Matthew 7:7 as the backdrop: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” When we admit that we are sinful and in need of a savior and accept Jesus as our Lord and King, we are adopted into his family as children of God. Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the father except through him (John 14:6). After this act of faith, our relationship with God begins. As our thoughts, desires, and goals become aligned with HIS and as we seek to know, understand, and petition Him, we begin to develop relationships with one another that are founded upon this selfless love that Christ models. Our love for God and unity with Him is the means by which we have unconditional love for each other.

Psalm 133:1
How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!

Treating others in this way is in exact opposition to our earthly flesh and sinful nature. It is through Christ that we can treat others the way we would like to be treated. What a wonderful way to turn hearts towards Him! This love is how God reveals Himself to those who do not know Him.

This prayer from Paul to the church in Ephesus is rich with encouragement. Paul wants us to truly grasp the depth of God’s love, which cannot remain hidden. It must be expressed and shared.

Ephesians 3:16-19
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

May you be blessed this week as you humbly approach each person with dignity, treating them how you’d want to be treated. A friend once told me, “you don’t need to pray for patience, selflessness, gentleness; just ask that you love the way Christ loves.” My prayer for you is that as your relationship with our heavenly Father grows, His love would be revealed through you and that others would respond by accepting Christ as their savior and king.

By His Grace Alone,


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Week 15 – 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.

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Dear friends, as we continue our focus on love this week, we are memorizing a beautiful passage, 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, an excerpt from what is commonly called “the love chapter”. As I read this description of love, I am reminded of the fruit of the Spirit and the work performed in us by the Holy Spirit that produces this kind of love.

Galatians 5:22-23
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

Love is the first fruit listed, which is expanded upon in 1 Corinthians 13 – what does love look like in action? Love is patient, kind, rejoices with the truth, protects, trusts, hopes, and perseveres. Love never ends, it never fails. This is love in it’s pure form, as seen in Christ.

In contrast to the fruit of the Spirit, Paul outlines the desires of the flesh in Galatians 5 which are opposed to and work against the Spirit: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these (v19-21).

Similarly, 1 Corinthians 13 contrasts love with envy, boasting, arrogance, dishonoring others, selfishness, irritable & resentful attitudes, and delighting in evil. These are all the natural inclinations of our earthly flesh before Christ.

In order for us to bear the fruit of the Spirit and love others as Christ loves us, we are to crucify the flesh with its passions and desires and keep in step with the Spirit (Galatians 5:24-25). This is the same analogy used by Jesus when he says we are to take up our cross and follow him.

So how do we do this and why would he demand that of us?

Matthew 16:24-26
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?”

The key to this new life is not “What” but “Who.” Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6). We find our life in Him. In doing so, our selfish desires of the flesh are transformed by the Spirit.

Ephesians 4:22-24
You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

The more we seek Him, the more we feel that the flesh truly is in opposition. It can sometimes feel like a battle. In those times, we fall back on the gospel message and remember why we are “putting off our old self”. We are sinners, consumed by selfishness and vain conceit. In our own strength, we cannot shake this. We will always fall short of the glory of God. But His love and mercy and grace offer us unity with Him. What a good Father we have, who looks upon us with such compassion. And yet our sins must be dealt with; He is certainly a God of justice – through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, our debt has been paid!

Praise the Lord!! At this we can fall on our knees with eternal gratitude, serving Him with our whole hearts. Our desires change into the desires of the Spirit, who dwells in us. What a blessing! Remember friends that this is not a sudden transformation, it is a lifelong journey of the heart through Christ.

2 Corinthians 5: 14-15
For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

This reminder is essential as we live in this world that is full of sin. We live in a world that is attempting to redefine love. We live in a world that uses violence as a means of justice. We live in a world that rejects God and puts man on the throne. All around us, we see chaos.

How, then, do we live in this world, for Him?

Matthew 25:34-40
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

By loving Him and loving others – loving them as He loves them – putting them first and ourselves last. God loves people. He made us in His image! Regardless of how we are treated or whether or not our needs are met, we are to look at our fellow man as image bearers of God. We are to look at their sin with compassion, expressing God’s love so that they may be saved.

May you be blessed this week as you rest in the arms of your heavenly Father and with the confidence that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus (Phil. 1:6). Trust that through loving Him, his grace is sufficient to transform your heart. Love is beautiful. It’s life changing. It unites. May the fruit of the Spirit pour out of you in a way that brings healing to this world, through Christ.

By His Grace Alone,


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Week 14 – Mark 12:30-31

Mark 12:30-31
“And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

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Hello friends, as we memorize Mark 12:30-31 this week, I am humbled by the depth of the love that is commanded of us. How do I begin to love the Lord with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength? The starting point naturally begins – again – with 1 John 4:19; we love because He first loved us. The sacrifice that Jesus made for us shapes our every step, our every action, our every thought. The more we understand the depth of His love, the more our lives will become an expression of this love.

Mark 12:28
One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”

To Jesus, the greatest commandment has two components: love for God and love for others. Jesus commands a perfect love with our Lord that will naturally overflow into the world. This is how we change the world. This is how the gospel comes alive and can be received across the world. Without love, we are just noise, a clanging cymbal – 1 Corinthians 13:1.

So what does Jesus mean by loving the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength? He is taking the first of the ten commandments, “You shall have no other gods before me,” (Exodus 20:3) and bringing it to life by loving God completely:

  1. our whole heart – seeking Him with affection, praying to Him, singing to Him, and bringing our troubles to Him;
  2. our soul – a devotion to Him that is only satisfied in what pleases Him;
  3. our mind – seeking wisdom through prayer and study of the scriptures;
  4. our strength – love in action through the use of our time, talents, and abilities.

The world is constantly distracting us from who God is and His love for us. When one of these four components is compromised, sin creeps in and crumbles the whole infrastructure. We lose sight of our love for God and we start putting our “needs” and desires ahead of others; effectively losing sight of our love for others.

1 John 4:7-12
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

If God is love and He showed his love among us while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8), it’s natural that we’d express that same love towards others. Who then, specifically? Who is our neighbor?

Luke 10:30-35
In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.”

In this example, our neighbor is a complete stranger. Moreover, Samaritans were looked down upon as inferior. Jesus makes the point that we are all God’s children, sinners that fall short of the glory of God – Romans 3:23. Since we are saved by God’s grace alone, our hearts should be overflowing with compassion and love for our fellow man. Every single person on this earth is our neighbor and should receive our expression of God’s love.

1 John 3:16
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.

A commandment so simple and yet so profound; impossible to perfect this side of the grave: love God and love others. It will be a lifelong journey and I am thankful for all of you that are joining me in it and dedicating time to memorizing God’s word. Your relationship with God comes alive through discipline and devotion.

May you be blessed this week as you seek to deepen your relationship with God. May your love for Him overflow into the world in ways that transform lives through Christ.

1 Corinthians 13:13
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

In Christ’s Strength Alone,


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Week 13 – Ephesians 4:32

Ephesians 4:32
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

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Hello friends, this week we are memorizing Ephesians 4:32 where Paul gives us guidance on how we should act as followers of Christ. Earlier in Ephesians 4, he speaks of our unity in the body of Christ, each designed for a purpose with special gifts given by God. Together, when each part is working properly, we are built up in love as one body with Christ as the head.

1 Corinthians 12:12
For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.

We are the body of Christ and our bond – our unity – is the gospel message. As we learned in 1 John 4:19: We love because he first loved us. If our love is not a direct response to His love for us, that unity breaks down and our self seeking desires begin to take over.

God’s love in action is seen through forgiveness. We do not deserve His forgiveness and we cannot earn His forgiveness.

Written into our DNA is the desire for justice. When we are wronged or someone we love is hurt, we demand justice. And yet each one of us needs unconditional love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness by our Heavenly Father. A holy and perfect God who cannot leave any sin unpunished has graciously given us the forgiveness we need to be made right in his sight.

So as Paul reminds us of who we are in Christ, we remember that our kindness to another, our forgiveness for each other, is a natural response to the forgiveness that God has given us.

The price God paid to pardon our sins is substantial and we are instructed by Jesus to take it very seriously.

Matthew 5:11-12 (The Lord’s Prayer)
Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.

Matthew 5:14-15
For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Do you notice that forgiveness is the only part of the Lord’s Prayer that is directly tied to something that we do? Jesus further clarifies this point in the verses immediately following the prayer. We have an obligation to forgive others. This is in direct conflict with our desire for justice. It is easy to forgive those who are repentant or make right their wrongs – who give you justice. But Jesus, on the cross, asked for God’s forgiveness to those who put Him there.

Luke 23:33-34
And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

The same is true of Stephen, the Christian church’s first recorded martyr. While standing on trial before the religious leaders, Stephen walks through the Israelite history and all the ways God provided for a nation that consistently rejected Him.

Acts 7:51-60
“You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you. Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered, you who received the law as delivered by angels and did not keep it.” Now when they heard these things they were enraged, and they ground their teeth at him.

But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together at him. Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul.

And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

This forgiveness can only be given through the supernatural power of the cross. With a compassion and a desire that none should perish but have eternal life.

Since this forgiveness is not natural, we need God’s help. We take our burdens to Him, our anger, our confusion, and lay them at His feet. We remember that our justice is found at the cross. We remember that we are enemies of God without the cross. In light of this, our view of our own enemies will change.

We are promised eternal life with Him. We know that He loves us and will take care of us. We place our faith and trust in Him during our conflicts, trials, and hardships. And for those that inflict those troubles on us, we are able to see them as children of God who need saving and forgiveness. Our hearts are naturally filled with compassion.

Matthew 18:21-22
Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.”

Many times, this supernatural forgiveness is the greatest testimony of God’s heart. May you bless each other this week as you express kindness and forgiveness, that can only come from God, during times of conflict.

In Christ’s Strength Alone,


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Week 12 – 1 John 4:19

1 John 4:19
We love because he first loved us.

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Hello everyone, for the past couple verses we have examined God’s love for humanity and His grace that saves us from our sin and separation – such Good News! We can rest in this truth knowing that God’s plan for our restoration (and that of the world) does not cost us anything, nor does it require any work on our part. Jesus has paid our debt and we are set free.

Romans 5:8
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

What is our response to God’s love for us?

1 John 4:19 gives us that response: We love because he first loved us! Since there is nothing that we can do to earn His love, the playing field is leveled. All of humanity is in the same boat, which is humbling. We are now free to see every single person as a child of God that is loved and in need of a savior. Once we are able to see people through the lens of God, we cannot help but be filled with love and compassion, desiring that each person understands His love and free gift of everlasting life.

In other words, it is impossible to know God and not love others. Once we receive God’s love and believe in the work that was done on the cross, this love pours out of us. It’s a light shining in the darkness.

1 John 4:20-21
Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.

These verses that follow 1 John 4:19 illustrate our love in a practical way. John is reminding us that it is easy to say that we “love God” but then continue living in the world selfishly (without love for our neighbor). But just as 1 John 4:19 explains, our love is a response to God’s love for us. That response should be seen in the world.

His love shines through us in ways that make us notably different to the world. This “difference” creates curiosity and stimulates conversation as others seek to learn what makes you different.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

This description of love brings peace to my soul. I am overwhelmed with JOY when I reflect on how God’s love for us shapes our lives and the lives around us. May you be blessed this week as you bless others through the love of God that is pouring out from you.

My prayer is that you would lean into His love in everything you do and encounter. We are constantly distracted by the world and prone to wander, leaning on our own strength to carry us through the day. But remember, God is with you!

1 John 4:10
This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

In Christ’s Strength Alone,


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Week 11 – Ephesians 2:8

Ephesians 2:8
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God

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Hi friends, I’m excited to be memorizing Ephesians 2:8 with you this week because it is jam packed with the truth of the gospel. It also does a great job of picking up where we left off in John 3:16 by reminding us that salvation cannot be obtained though good works. It is a gift of God given freely to those who place their faith in Him.

Why is this gift so important? Why do we need salvation?

Psalm 19:1
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

No matter where we turn, we see God’s glory. We see his goodness. He is holy and perfect in His love. Humans, on the other hand, are bent towards selfishness and pride. We are constantly putting ourselves on the throne rather than submitting our lives to our Creator. It is in our nature to be sinful. No matter how many rules, laws, or disciplines we implement, we mess up. We fall short of God’s holiness.

What are we being saved from?

Romans 6:23
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Our sin results in both physical death and spiritual death, an eternal separation from God. The pain, disorder, chaos, disease, and fear that we experience here on earth are direct consequences of sin. The world says that we just need to work harder, be better people, create better laws and harsher penalties. Every other world religion follows this same model, attributing salvation with good works and religious disciplines. But this only brings the mirror closer to the darkness lurking inside us.

Romans 3:20
Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.

Only through Christ are we given freedom from the bondage of sin. The penalty was paid, our sins have been forgiven, and death was conquered so that we may enjoy eternal life with God in heaven. Rather than trying to chase away our darkness, we can rest in this wonderful gift, which brings light into the darkness.

How do I know I am saved?

Romans 10:9
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

John 1:12-13
But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

We long for the day when Christ returns, the earth is restored, and we are no longer bound by our sinful nature. Even as believers in Christ, we still continue to sin. We still experience pain, suffering, and death. We still feel the separation of God.

As such, we live by faith; knowing that our debt has been paid and that we are heirs to His kingdom. We look forward to the day when Christ returns, restoring the world with freedom from sin. This anticipation brings us joy through our trials and gives us strength to live our lives in service to Christ, who bore our sins on the cross.

1 Peter 1:3-6
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.

I cannot help but express this joy by sharing the gospel message! Because He has been raised, WE will be raised.

Hebrews 11:1
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

John 5:24
“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” (Jesus)

Join me in celebrating this amazing truth: there is nothing you can do to earn God’s favor. Through his love and grace alone, He has provided redemption.

We live in a world that has rejected this gift. May you be a light to those around you as you share this gospel message to those that desperately need hope.

In Christ’s Strength Alone,


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Week 10 – John 3:16

John 3:16
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

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Hello everyone, I pray you all had a wonderful Christmas celebrating the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ! He is our most precious gift, given by our Father above, and the focus of our verse this week: John 3:16.

This passage, which is part of a conversation between Jesus and a Pharisee named Nicodemus (a member of the Jewish ruling council), beautifully and succinctly explains the extent of God’s love for us and Jesus’ purpose for coming into the world.

While we were created in the image of God, our sin has separated us from Him through our rebellion and rejection of His goodness in favor of our selfish desires. The consequence for this behavior is death and eternal separation from God. But God, in his love, gave us a gift of restoration through the sacrifice of his Son.

2 Corinthians 5:21
For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.

Jesus lived a perfect life and died a sinners death so that we may live eternally in the presence of God. He paid our debt and conquered death so that we, whoever believes in Him, may live!

As we move into 2021, the whole world has changed in a year. Our priorities have changed, the way we interact with others has changed, and how we love others has been redefined. As Christians, our job – the Great Commission – still stands. I’d argue that our job should feel more important than ever. The entire world is reacting to a fear of sickness and death – while we hold the key to eternal life. We are called to share that message of hope, which is available to everyone who believes.

Matthew 28:18-20
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

This life on earth is short. As the days slip away, each bringing its own challenges and worries, we can trust that all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Jesus, our Lord and Savior. As such, we shouldn’t worry about viruses, sickness, or death; rather we trust in His authority and respond by asking God how He would have us bring healing to the world. Jesus modeled this by loving the poor and marginalized, healing the sick, feeding the hungry, teaching about the Kingdom of God, and many other ways before his ultimate sacrifice on the cross. To “go and make disciples” demands both action and words, in a posture of Love.

Philippians 1:21
For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

God has placed you on this earth in a specific place and time for a specific purpose. A purpose not fully understood this side of the grave but I sure do find joy in living for Christ and trusting Him. I can cast all my anxieties on Him because he cares for me! This gives me strength that surpasses understanding during this time of uncertainty that we are all experiencing.

1 Peter 5:6-7
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

John 3:17-18
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

What does it mean to “believe”? If I am hungry and believe that food will nourish my hunger, I eat. When I am tired and believe that rest will revive me, I sleep. When I believe that Jesus is the Son of God, I respond by placing my trust in Christ and living for Him rather than myself, which is corrupted by sin.

Romans 10:10
For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.

My prayer this week is that you may be empowered through the Word of God to speak boldly of the truth found in Jesus. That your fears and anxiety are laid at the cross as you trust in Him. That this trust will give you strength and perseverance to overcome the many hurdles and uncertainties that you are sure to encounter as you carry out the good works that God has planned for you in this new year: 2021!

May this Christmas gift be a blessing to you as you anticipate the plans God has in store for you. May if overflow into the world around you through the proclamation of His wonderful promise of eternal life!

In Christ’s Strength Alone,


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Week 9 – Isaiah 9:6

Isaiah 9:6
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

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Merry Christmas my dear friends! What a special time of the year where we can pause, rest, gather as family, share the love of Christ to those in our lives and those in need, exchange gifts, and celebrate the gift of restoration that God promised and provided through Jesus Christ. Join me in memorizing this wonderful verse, Isaiah 9:6, that was prophesied several hundred years before the birth of Christ.

For to us a child is born, a son is given. The gift that we celebrate each Christmas was given to US, to bring light into this dark world.

Isaiah 9:2
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.

When you wake up early in the morning during the winter, how do you get rid of the darkness? Do you run around trying to chase it away? Of course not! We turn on the lights and there is simply no more room for darkness. Jesus is the light that this world needs. He is the light that our hearts need. When we feel the darkness creeping into our lives, we MUST remember to turn to our Wonderful Counselor. No matter how hard we try, we cannot bring light in the darkness by our own strength.

The same can be said culturally & corporately. Our world is full of injustice, corruption, anger, division, and political strife. Many believe that the answer can be found through reformed laws, social policies, and other types of human intervention driven mainly from technological development and scientific progress. If we all do our part, we can make the world a better place. Not only is this never found in history, but its in contrast to our human nature that we feel in our heart. We know that those in power are extraordinarily tempted which is further fueled by pride, greed, and selfishness. Yet the world turns to a sovereign government because there is no other hope.

King David is probably our closest example of successful servant leadership. He was constantly checking his heart and turning to the Lord for his strength. He owned his mistakes when he failed and humbly repented. The verse below is a portion of David’s prayer to God as Solomon is anointed as the next king.

1 Chronicles 29:12-13
Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name.

God gave humans dominion over the earth and we have fallen. Our hope rests in Jesus Christ for restoration, in whom we are promised that the government will be upon his shoulders. The names of God that we are given are spectacular: Wonderful Counselor, counseling us through the toughest times; Mighty God, with the strength to carry us through the greatest tribulations; Everlasting Father, ever present and always by our side; and Prince of Peace, where His perfect love undoubtedly brings peace on earth.

Isaiah 9:7
Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.

We have seen God’s promise of restoration through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We look forward to His return when all things will be made new, darkness will be crushed, and His light forever shining over all the earth.

May you be blessed this Christmas by His love in such an extraordinary way that it pours out into the lives of everyone you meet.

Revelation 21: 22-26
I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it.

In Christ’s Strength Alone,


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Week 8 – Philippians 4:6-7

Philippians 4:6-7
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Artwork courtesy of Alicia Rasmussen @ hertearshisfeet.art
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Hello dear ones, this week we are memorizing Philippians 4:6-7 together. May this verse bring you the peace of God that surpasses all understanding during a time of immense confusion and anxiety. We can trust in God that He will provide for your every need, that He loves you and considers you valuable.

Matthew 6:25-27, 33-34
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?…But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Let’s remember that our fears do not come from the Lord. Rather, we are supposed to bring all our anxiety, troubles, and requests to God. We can lay them at his feet and rest in Him.

Matthew 11:28-30
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

This does not come naturally as life has a way of beating us up and wearing us down. But in EVERYTHING we humbly call to God for help (supplication) in prayer. We are promised that the peace of God will guard our hearts and minds. He will deliver us from all our fears.

Psalm 34:4
I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.

Romans 8:28
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

The covid virus has changed our behaviors and interactions with others. It has generated a lot of fear and anxiety. My prayer for you this week is that this enormous distraction will not keep you from rejoicing in Him this Christmas season. That you will celebrate the gift of life that God has given us through His son Jesus. God loves this world and he is renewing it each and every day. We do not always see the big picture but we have a sovereign God that invites us to come to him with all our troubles and fears.

When we put our faith and trust in Him, we are adopted into His family and promised eternal life. May God bless you this week as you lean on him for strength through life’s constant challenges.

In Christ’s Strength Alone,


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