Tuesday, January 15, 2019

This Blog is on hiatus through 2019. Join us at Today in the Word.

Our church family is following the 2019 daily Bible readings available at Today in the Word. 

That website effectively makes this blog unnecessary. We invite you to read the Bible and the accompanying daily devotional at Today in the Word.

You can read daily readings on the website (computer, tablet or cell phone). You can also have the daily devotional sent to your email or listen to it as a daily podcast.

link: www.todayintheword.com

Psalm 104 (read note)

Psalm 104 (NLT)
1Let all that I am praise the Lord. O Lord my God, how great you are! You are robed with honor and majesty.
2You are dressed in a robe of light. You stretch out the starry curtain of the heavens;
3you lay out the rafters of your home in the rain clouds. You make the clouds your chariot; you ride upon the wings of the wind.
4The winds are your messengers; flames of fire are your servants.
5You placed the world on its foundation so it would never be moved.
6You clothed the earth with floods of water, water that covered even the mountains.
7At your command, the water fled; at the sound of your thunder, it hurried away.
8Mountains rose and valleys sank to the levels you decreed.
9Then you set a firm boundary for the seas, so they would never again cover the earth.
10You make springs pour water into the ravines, so streams gush down from the mountains.
11They provide water for all the animals, and the wild donkeys quench their thirst.
12The birds nest beside the streams and sing among the branches of the trees.
13You send rain on the mountains from your heavenly home, and you fill the earth with the fruit of your labor.
14You cause grass to grow for the livestock and plants for people to use. You allow them to produce food from the earth—
15wine to make them glad, olive oil to soothe their skin, and bread to give them strength.
16The trees of the Lord are well cared for— the cedars of Lebanon that he planted.
17There the birds make their nests, and the storks make their homes in the cypresses.
18High in the mountains live the wild goats, and the rocks form a refuge for the hyraxes.
19You made the moon to mark the seasons, and the sun knows when to set.
20You send the darkness, and it becomes night, when all the forest animals prowl about.
21Then the young lions roar for their prey, stalking the food provided by God.
22At dawn they slink back into their dens to rest.
23Then people go off to their work, where they labor until evening.
24O Lord, what a variety of things you have made! In wisdom you have made them all. The earth is full of your creatures.
25Here is the ocean, vast and wide, teeming with life of every kind, both large and small.
26See the ships sailing along, and Leviathan, which you made to play in the sea.
27They all depend on you to give them food as they need it.
28When you supply it, they gather it. You open your hand to feed them, and they are richly satisfied.
29But if you turn away from them, they panic. When you take away their breath, they die and turn again to dust.
30When you give them your breath, life is created, and you renew the face of the earth.
31May the glory of the Lord continue forever! The Lord takes pleasure in all he has made!
32The earth trembles at his glance; the mountains smoke at his touch.
33I will sing to the Lord as long as I live. I will praise my God to my last breath!
34May all my thoughts be pleasing to him, for I rejoice in the Lord.
35Let all sinners vanish from the face of the earth; let the wicked disappear forever. Let all that I am praise the Lord. Praise the Lord!


Today in the Word reading (click here)


At the Today in the Word website, you can access the Bible passage and read the devotional guide. You can also listen to it to it as a podcast or have the daily devotions emailed to you.

It appears that for 2019, this blog is unnecessary. Unless I get a groundswell of requests, today will be the last post until further notice. Thanks for reading with the church family!

Tomorrow, I will post just the links to the Today in the Word site. Eventually, the sturtevantbible.com will be pointed to the TodayintheWord.com website.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Psalm 46:1-11

Today's reading...
Psalm 46:title–11 (NLT)

For the choir director: A song of the descendants of Korah, to be sung by soprano voices.
1God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.
2So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea.
3Let the oceans roar and foam. Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge! Interlude
4A river brings joy to the city of our God, the sacred home of the Most High.
5God dwells in that city; it cannot be destroyed. From the very break of day, God will protect it.
6The nations are in chaos, and their kingdoms crumble! God’s voice thunders, and the earth melts!
7The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is here among us; the God of Israel is our fortress. Interlude
8Come, see the glorious works of the Lord: See how he brings destruction upon the world.
9He causes wars to end throughout the earth. He breaks the bow and snaps the spear; he burns the shields with fire.
10“Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.”
11The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is here among us; the God of Israel is our fortress. Interlude


If you have a question about the passage, or would like to leave your thoughts please leave a comment or send me a note. :)

Saturday, January 12, 2019

1 Thessalonians 4

Today's reading...
1 Thessalonians 4:1–18 (NLT)
1Finally, dear brothers and sisters, we urge you in the name of the Lord Jesus to live in a way that pleases God, as we have taught you. You live this way already, and we encourage you to do so even more.
2For you remember what we taught you by the authority of the Lord Jesus.
3God’s will is for you to be holy, so stay away from all sexual sin.
4Then each of you will control his own body and live in holiness and honor—
5not in lustful passion like the pagans who do not know God and his ways.
6Never harm or cheat a fellow believer in this matter by violating his wife, for the Lord avenges all such sins, as we have solemnly warned you before.
7God has called us to live holy lives, not impure lives.
8Therefore, anyone who refuses to live by these rules is not disobeying human teaching but is rejecting God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.
9But we don’t need to write to you about the importance of loving each other, for God himself has taught you to love one another.
10Indeed, you already show your love for all the believers throughout Macedonia. Even so, dear brothers and sisters, we urge you to love them even more.
11Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before.
12Then people who are not believers will respect the way you live, and you will not need to depend on others.
13And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope.
14For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died.
15We tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who have died.
16For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the believers who have died will rise from their graves.
17Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever.

18So encourage each other with these words.


Thoughts...
“More and more” should be the desire of the dedicated Christian (vv. 1, 10).

More holiness (1–8). Your body belongs to God, and His will is that you use it for holy purposes. Christ purchased your body (1 Cor. 6:18–20), the Spirit dwells in your body (v. 8), and the Father has called you to holy living (v. 7). Disobey and the penalties are great!

More love (9–10). You are taught to love by the Father (1 John 4:19), the Son (John 13:34), and the Spirit (Rom. 5:5). Love is one mark of the true believer (1 John 3:14).

More quietness (11–12). Because they expected the Lord to return any day, some believers had quit their jobs and become idlers and meddlers (2 Thess. 3:6–15). What kind of testimony would this be to the lost?

More hope (13–18). Christians sorrow because God made us to weep; but it is not the hopeless sorrow of the world. Jesus is coming again, and that means reunion and eternal rejoicing!
--With the Word

If you have a question about the passage, or would like to leave your thoughts please leave a comment or send me a note. :)

Friday, January 11, 2019

1 Thessalonians 3

Today's reading...
1 Thessalonians 3 (NLT)
1Finally, when we could stand it no longer, we decided to stay alone in Athens,
2and we sent Timothy to visit you. He is our brother and God’s co-worker in proclaiming the Good News of Christ. We sent him to strengthen you, to encourage you in your faith,
3and to keep you from being shaken by the troubles you were going through. But you know that we are destined for such troubles.
4Even while we were with you, we warned you that troubles would soon come—and they did, as you well know.
5That is why, when I could bear it no longer, I sent Timothy to find out whether your faith was still strong. I was afraid that the tempter had gotten the best of you and that our work had been useless.
6But now Timothy has just returned, bringing us good news about your faith and love. He reports that you always remember our visit with joy and that you want to see us as much as we want to see you.
7So we have been greatly encouraged in the midst of our troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith.
8It gives us new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord.
9How we thank God for you! Because of you we have great joy as we enter God’s presence.
10Night and day we pray earnestly for you, asking God to let us see you again to fill the gaps in your faith.
11May God our Father and our Lord Jesus bring us to you very soon.
12And may the Lord make your love for one another and for all people grow and overflow, just as our love for you overflows.

13May he, as a result, make your hearts strong, blameless, and holy as you stand before God our Father when our Lord Jesus comes again with all his holy people. Amen.


Thoughts...
What should you do when people you love need your help, but you cannot go to them? The new believers in Thessalonica desperately needed Paul’s ministry, but he was not able to return to help them. So, he did what he could.

First, he sent Timothy to minister to the church. If you cannot go, try to get somebody qualified to go in your place.

Then, he prayed for them (v. 10) because prayer is not limited by time or place. Your prayers for your loved ones will do more good than you realize, so keep praying.

Paul encouraged them by writing them at least two letters. His great concern was not their comfort or safety but their faith (vv. 2, 5–7, 10), their love (v. 12), and their obedience to the Lord (v. 13). Perhaps today you could write a letter or send a card to someone who needs your encouragement.


If you have a question about the passage, or would like to leave your thoughts please leave a comment or send me a note. :)

Thursday, January 10, 2019

1 Thessalonians 2

Today's reading...
1 Thessalonians 2:1–20 (NLT)
1You yourselves know, dear brothers and sisters, that our visit to you was not a failure.
2You know how badly we had been treated at Philippi just before we came to you and how much we suffered there. Yet our God gave us the courage to declare his Good News to you boldly, in spite of great opposition.
3So you can see we were not preaching with any deceit or impure motives or trickery.
4For we speak as messengers approved by God to be entrusted with the Good News. Our purpose is to please God, not people. He alone examines the motives of our hearts.
5Never once did we try to win you with flattery, as you well know. And God is our witness that we were not pretending to be your friends just to get your money!
6As for human praise, we have never sought it from you or anyone else.
7As apostles of Christ we certainly had a right to make some demands of you, but instead we were like children among you. Or we were like a mother feeding and caring for her own children.
8We loved you so much that we shared with you not only God’s Good News but our own lives, too.
9Don’t you remember, dear brothers and sisters, how hard we worked among you? Night and day we toiled to earn a living so that we would not be a burden to any of you as we preached God’s Good News to you.
10You yourselves are our witnesses—and so is God—that we were devout and honest and faultless toward all of you believers.
11And you know that we treated each of you as a father treats his own children.
12We pleaded with you, encouraged you, and urged you to live your lives in a way that God would consider worthy. For he called you to share in his Kingdom and glory.
13Therefore, we never stop thanking God that when you received his message from us, you didn’t think of our words as mere human ideas. You accepted what we said as the very word of God—which, of course, it is. And this word continues to work in you who believe.
14And then, dear brothers and sisters, you suffered persecution from your own countrymen. In this way, you imitated the believers in God’s churches in Judea who, because of their belief in Christ Jesus, suffered from their own people, the Jews.
15For some of the Jews killed the prophets, and some even killed the Lord Jesus. Now they have persecuted us, too. They fail to please God and work against all humanity
16as they try to keep us from preaching the Good News of salvation to the Gentiles. By doing this, they continue to pile up their sins. But the anger of God has caught up with them at last.
17Dear brothers and sisters, after we were separated from you for a little while (though our hearts never left you), we tried very hard to come back because of our intense longing to see you again.
18We wanted very much to come to you, and I, Paul, tried again and again, but Satan prevented us.
19After all, what gives us hope and joy, and what will be our proud reward and crown as we stand before our Lord Jesus when he returns? It is you!

20Yes, you are our pride and joy.


Thoughts...
Faithfulness (1–6). Paul’s sufferings in Philippi might have made him hesitate to minister in Thessalonica, but he was a steward who wanted to be faithful to the Lord. His message and motive were pure, and God blessed his ministry. It is better to be approved by God and suffer than to be applauded by men and prosper. When you feel like quitting, keep going (1 Cor. 4:2).

Gentleness (7–9). Young believers need a spiritual parent to lovingly nurture them in the Lord. Paul’s ministry was motivated by love, not by pride or the desire for material gain.

Blamelessness (10–12). How important it is to be good examples before young believers! Children do what we do, not what we say. Does your example as a Christian make it easier for others to grow?

Eagerness (13–16). These people had an appetite for the Word of God, and that helped them to grow (Jer. 15:16; 1 Pet. 2:2). When they heard God’s Word, they eagerly welcomed it and put it to work immediately.

Hopefulness (17–20). Paul hoped to visit his beloved friends again; but even if they did not meet on earth, he would meet them at the coming of the Lord. When Jesus comes, will you rejoice in His presence because of people you have influenced for Christ?

--With the Word

If you have a question about the passage, or would like to leave your thoughts please leave a comment or send me a note. :)

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

1 Thessalonians 1

Today's reading...
(so you know... we ordered new devotional guides for the church family many weeks ago. They were shipped to arrive by Dec. 15. They got lost. When they arrive, we'll start on a new schedule. :)  )

1 Thessalonians 1:1–10 (NLT)
1This letter is from Paul, Silas, and Timothy. We are writing to the church in Thessalonica, to you who belong to God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. May God give you grace and peace.
2We always thank God for all of you and pray for you constantly.
3As we pray to our God and Father about you, we think of your faithful work, your loving deeds, and the enduring hope you have because of our Lord Jesus Christ.
4We know, dear brothers and sisters, that God loves you and has chosen you to be his own people.
5For when we brought you the Good News, it was not only with words but also with power, for the Holy Spirit gave you full assurance that what we said was true. And you know of our concern for you from the way we lived when we were with you.
6So you received the message with joy from the Holy Spirit in spite of the severe suffering it brought you. In this way, you imitated both us and the Lord.
7As a result, you have become an example to all the believers in Greece—throughout both Macedonia and Achaia.
8And now the word of the Lord is ringing out from you to people everywhere, even beyond Macedonia and Achaia, for wherever we go we find people telling us about your faith in God. We don’t need to tell them about it,
9for they keep talking about the wonderful welcome you gave us and how you turned away from idols to serve the living and true God.

10And they speak of how you are looking forward to the coming of God’s Son from heaven—Jesus, whom God raised from the dead. He is the one who has rescued us from the terrors of the coming judgment.


Thoughts...
Paul’s description of the believers in Thessalonica suggests that they typify an ideal congregation. Ask yourself these questions.

Are others thankful for me (1–4)? Paul was grateful for their faith, hope, and love, and that these Christian qualities revealed themselves in work, labor, and patience. Can others tell that we belong to God? Are they thankful for our spiritual growth?

Is God’s power seen in my life (5–7)? This comes when you receive the Word of God by faith and allow the Spirit of God to minister to your heart. It also involves suffering for the Lord and letting Him give you His joy.

Do I make it easier for others to talk about Jesus (8–10)? Some believers are such poor examples as Christians that their lives give unbelievers an excuse for rejecting Christ. But the Thessalonian Christians made it easy for Paul to preach the gospel! Their testimony had gone before him and met him wherever he went.
--With the Word

If you have a question about the passage, or would like to leave your thoughts please leave a comment or send me a note. :)

Monday, January 7, 2019

Psalm 1

Today's reading...
Psalm 1:1–6 (NLT)
1Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers.
2But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night.
3They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.
4But not the wicked! They are like worthless chaff, scattered by the wind.
5They will be condemned at the time of judgment. Sinners will have no place among the godly.

6For the Lord watches over the path of the godly, but the path of the wicked leads to destruction.


Thoughts...
Blessing (vv. 1–3). God enjoys blessing your life, but you must be “blessable.” That means having discernment (v. 1), avoiding the steps that lead to sin: considering sin (walking), contemplating sin (standing), being comfortable in sin (sitting). Watch that first step!

Blessing involves delight (v. 2). The Word guides your walk and rejoices your heart (Jer. 15:16). Meditation is to your inner person what digestion is to your body: you make the Word a part of your life and you grow.

Blessing involves dependence (v. 3). Your spiritual roots go deep into the resources of God’s grace, and you bear fruit because His life is at work in you.

Perishing (4–6). How tragic that anyone is perishing when Jesus offers abundant life! Contrast tree and chaff if you want to see the difference between the godly and the ungodly. The godly receive blessing but the ungodly receive judgment.

The psalm starts with “blessed” and ends with “perish.” The choice is yours.
--With the Word

If you have a question about the passage, or would like to leave your thoughts please leave a comment or send me a note. :)