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April 2024 Devotions

April 1 - Matthew 28

Easter!  What thoughts does that word stir in your mind and in your heart?  Somehow in my mind, I always equated Easter with the first day of spring, even though it wasn't according to the calendar.  Lynn says that Easter was the first day her mother allowed her to go bare-footed outside when she was growing up.  What thoughts do you imagine were stirred in the hearts of the disciples of our Lord every year after that first Easter morning?  The morning started off with fear, confusion, and a host of unanswered questions.  After that morning, at least most of the questions would be answered, the confusion straightened out and the fear removed.  What a difference that morning made!

What a difference that morning makes to us today!  Because of the resurrection, we have hope, peace and joy.  We have hope because death no longer has a dreadful sting.  "Oh death, where is thy sting?"  By His resurrection from the dead, and by becoming the "firstfruits of them that slept," (1Corinthians 15:20) Jesus Christ has given hope that goes far beyond the grave for all who have placed faith in Him.  Peace has been given us who know Him as Savior; the peace that come through justification and an imputed righteousness.  With our sins nailed to His body on the tree, and His righteousness imputed to us through faith, we have been declared justified, right with God.  Our joy is reflective of that joy felt by the women that came to the empty tomb and heard the message, "He is not hear, He is risen!"  We serve a risen Savior, One Who conquered death and has promised us life eternal through Him.

Worship the risen Savior, Your Savior, Your Lord.  Praise Him today for the blessings of the resurrection that have been given you by His grace.

Lord Jesus, I worship You as the conqueror of sin and death.  Amen!   

April 2 - Luke 24

33  And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them,

34  Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon.

In Verse 34, we read that Jesus "appeared to Simon."  There is one other reference to this found in 1 Corinthians 15:5 where Paul was providing proofs of the resurrection of Christ.  Here he says that the Lord "was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve."  We do not know when this post-resurrection appearance took place.  It was a private meeting with Peter that the Holy Spirit drew a veil over, refusing to allow us to know what took place between the Lord and His disciple.  While we do not know all of the particulars of this meeting, the implications of it are most touching.  The Apostle Peter had denied the Lord while standing outside the quarters of the High Priest, and he did so vehemently.  After the third denial, the Lord Jesus turned and looked at Peter with all-seeing eyes that penetrated into the depths of his soul.  When Peter made eye contact with the Lord, his heart was smitten with deep remorse and conviction.  He "went out and wept bitterly." (Luke 22:62)  One can only imagine the thoughts that went through Peter's mind.  He probably remembered his bold claim of being willing to die with his Lord rather than denying Him.  There were surely thoughts of shame and of failure as a disciple, and as a man.  He was a terribly wounded sheep, one that had gotten himself lost deeply in the wilderness.  But Jesus, being the Good Shepherd, went looking for that sheep that had gone astray.  There needed to be a gentle confrontation, a healing and a restoration, and only He could do that.  How many times do you suppose the Good Shepherd has thus gone searching for wounded, scared and discouraged sheep?  How many times has He done this for you and me?  How precious it is that the Holy Spirit added these words, "The Lord...hath appeared to Simon!"

Thank You, Lord, for Your unspeakable grace and mercy.  Amen!

April 3 - John 20:1-18

John 20:16 Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.

John's Gospel alone records this meeting between Mary Magdalene and the risen Lord.  This "Mary" was one of the women that traveled with the Lord and His disciples, ministering to them "of their substance," which means that they contributed financially to the ministry of the Lord Jesus.  She had been given a great deliverance by the Lord, for Scripture says that it was this Mary "out of whom he had cast seven devils." (Mark 16:9)  Her love for her Savior drew her with the other women early to the sepulchre to anoint His lifeless form.  Of course, there was no lifeless form to anoint, for He had risen from the dead.  After the women heard the proclamation from the angels of the resurrection, they made hast back to the disciples with the news.  Obviously Mary had returned to the sepulchre, and remained nearby after Peter and John departed.  That is when the Lord appeared to her.  The record of this appearance is a most touching example of the tenderness of Christ and His love for His own.  When Mary first saw Him, she did not recognize Him, supposing Him to be a gardener.  Even after the Lord spoke to her, she still did not recognize Him until He called her by name: "Mary."  Immediately, she knew that this was no gardener, it was Her resurrected Lord.  The response was immediate, and was reflective of her love, devotion and submission to Jesus.  When we read this, we are reminded of what Jesus said about His relationship with His sheep. "...the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out." (John 10:3)  The instant this confused sheep heard her name called by the Good Shepherd, "Mary," she knew beyond question it was the voice and call of her Lord.  Every true sheep knows the voice of the Good Shepherd!

Lord Jesus, I praise You for calling me to Yourself, making me your sheep through that call.  I worship You for this grace.  Amen!

April 4 - John 20:19-31

John 20:29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

Doubting Thomas; that's what he has been called for the past two thousand years.  Of course, all of the disciples doubted, he was just the most vocal.  We really owe Thomas a debt of gratitude.  Had this event not happened, there could have been more reason for some to have continued to claim that the resurrection of Christ was only spiritual.  It was not!  His was a literal, physical resurrection.  In Luke we read, "Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have." (Luke 24:39)

It was grace that brought Jesus back to the disciples when Thomas was present.  Thomas had flatly refused to believe in the resurrection when he was told of His appearance when he was absent.  Jesus returned to the disciples and dealt directly with Thomas' doubts, and He did so in tenderness, not in rebuke.  These men had been through so much, and the Lord knew that well.  He dealt with Thomas in grace and love, removing his doubts once and for all.  And, while He was doing this, He removed the doubts of all who would read this account honestly and earnestly from that time forward.  Jesus Christ did rise from the dead.  Have you believed in His resurrection?  Jesus pronounced a blessing on all who would believe without actually seeing Him.  "That if thou shalt confess with the mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." (Romans 10:9)  No greater blessing could be given to those who believe, for through that faith we are saved!

Lord Jesus, I believe in Your death, burial and resurrection.  I am so thankful that I serve a risen Savior!  In Your Name, Amen!

April 5 - Mark 16

Mark 16:14  Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.

When Mary Magdalene told the disciples that Jesus had risen from the dead and that she had personally seen and talked with Him, they did not believe her.  Then, when the two that met Jesus on the road to Emmaus gave their report to the disciples, they did not believe them.  In the above verse, Jesus "upbraided them" because of their unbelief in the report that had been given by three different eye witnesses.  We read these words and wonder why there was such unbelief.  Jesus had told them on several occasions before the fact that He was going to be crucified, but that He would rise again from the dead, yet they still did not believe.  There is a lesson in this for us.  The disciples had gone through a tremendously traumatic experience.  They had witnessed the brutal scourging and crucifixion of their Lord.  The sound of the angry mob crying, "Crucify Him, Crucify Him," was still ringing in their ears.  The mocking and cruelty of the Roman soldiers was as real then as it had been several days earlier.  Fear still enveloped these men and women.  There was still hatred in the air for Jesus and anyone that associated with Him, and an angry mob and a weak political leader like Pilate made for an especially dangerous situation.  All of this made for an incredible test of faith, and the result was unbelief.  What is the lesson in this for us?  Right now faith may be strong and unflinching, but place it the crucible of severe testing and it may not be so strong.  When tested severely, even the strongest faith can falter, as did John the Baptist when he was in prison facing death.  Don't be too hard on the doubting and fearful disciples.  Pray that you enter not into the temptation of doubt when faith is tried by circumstances beyond your control.  Thankfully, He has promised to keep us, and He does!

Father, help my unbelief in times of testing.  In Jesus' Name, Amen!

April 6 - 1 Corinthians 15:1-34

1Corinthians 15:20  But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.

We continue our thoughts on the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.  This is certainly worthy of our attention, for there is nothing more important to the follower of Jesus Christ than the fact of His conquering death in glorious resurrection.  In Corinth, in the early days of Christianity, some were teaching that Jesus did not actually physically rise from the dead and that there would be no resurrection for the followers of Christ.  This was only one of many doctrinal and practical issues that had to be addressed in this letter.  The Church at Corinth was under attack, and the brunt of the attack was launched against cardinal, essential doctrines of the Christian faith.  The resurrection of Jesus Christ, one of the single most important articles of our faith, has continually been attacked since the beginning.  Paul provides an excellent argument for the resurrection of Christ, citing over five hundred eye witnesses of the Lord alive after that glorious morning.  Christ's resurrection is actually one of the most provable events in the history of the world.

We are told that in His resurrection, Jesus became the "firstfruit" of "them that slept," or had died.  The thought of the firstfruit in Scripture is that many will follow.  Death had reigned from Adam to Jesus, but He conquered death in His resurrection.  While people still die, there is now hope beyond death through the Lord Jesus Christ, our living Savior.  He did conquer death, becoming the "firstfruit of them that slept," thereby guaranteeing those who place faith in Him as Savior to also share in His wonderful resurrection.  Because of this, rather than being of all men most miserable, we are of all men most blessed.  Praise God for the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead!

Lord, I worship You as my Risen Savior.  In Your Name, Amen!

April 7 - 1 Corinthians 15:35-58

We that have placed faith in the risen Christ have "hope."  Paul put it this way in Titus 2:13, "Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ...."  This past week, we have been looking at the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.  Beloved, we have so many blessings and so much "hope" because of this glorious fact.  Not the least of these is the hope we have as Christians in the "glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ" to take us out of this sin-cursed world into His presence.  He told His disciple that He would "come again and receive" them unto Himself, saying, "that where I am, there ye may be also." (John 14:1-3)  Blessed hope!  And, we have that hope today because Jesus is alive!

In the final verses of 1 Corinthians 15, Paul gives us some of the particulars of Christ's coming for His Church.  It will be sudden, quick and unexpected.  Jesus had said, "In such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh." (Matthew 24:44)  The "trump" will sound and those that have been saved will "be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye."  In our current state, we could not be ushered into heaven, there must be a change.  These mortal bodies are yet to be redeemed (Romans 8:23).  When the Lord comes for us, we will be changed, mortal becoming immortal, corruption becoming incorruption.  Because of this, "death" will be "swallowed up in victory."  O glorious day!  At that day, we will be gathered together with all who have gone before us; all of those loved ones we have missed since their departure.  The most blessed thing, however, is that we will be gathered to the One that loved us and gave Himself for us.  We will see the Lord!  We will be with Him!  Thank God for the resurrection of our Lord Jesus, for this makes our future so bright in Him.!

Lord Jesus, I praise You for the resurrection; for Your defeating death and for giving me hope that reaches beyond the grave.  Amen!

April 8 - Acts 1

All last week we looked at the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.  We learn in this first chapter of Acts that Jesus was actually seen for forty days after His resurrection.  While He was not continually with His disciples for that forty days, His appearances were Divinely appointed and designed to strengthen and encourage His followers and to prepare them for the great ministry to which they had been called.  Can you imagine the questions they must have asked Him?  These were days that would live with them for the rest of their lives, days that each would reflect on often until they would see Him again some day.

Before His crucifixion, Jesus had told His disciples that it was expedient for them that He depart, for after this they would be given the Comforter, the Holy Spirit.  He taught them that the Holy Spirit would be with them, and that He would be in them.  Through the Holy Spirit they would be given the power they would need to accomplish their work of preaching the gospel and establishing His Church.  Here in Acts 1, He instructed His disciples to "tarry in Jerusalem" until that promise was fulfilled.  At the end of the forty days, the Lord Jesus ascended back to the Father's side and the disciples returned to Jerusalem awaiting the condescension of the Holy Spirit.  Now, when a person places faith in Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit births them into God's family (John 3:5-6), and indwells them, making their bodies His Temple. (1 Corinthians 6:19)  This is a fulfillment of the promise Jesus gave when He said that the Spirit would "dwell in" the saved.  The disciples needed His guidance and power to complete their tasks for Christ.  So do we!  We need His wisdom, direction, power and His blessed comfort.  How blessed we are to have the Holy Spirit as our ever present companion and guide.  Let's be sensitive to Him as He leads us to do His will.

Holy Spirit, lead me to day and give me wisdom to follow.  Amen!

April 9 - The Holy Spirit

In our last devotion, we were introduced to the ministry of the Holy Spirit in reading the first chapter of the Book of Acts.  Jesus had given His disciples some much needed information on the person and work of the Holy Spirit on the evening of His arrest.  This information was vitally important to them, as it is to us today.  Here, please read John 14:15-31.  There are several things that the Lord Jesus said about the Holy Spirit that we need to understand.  First, Jesus told the disciples that the Holy Spirit would be sent from the Father as a "Comforter" to them.  Incidentally, Jesus always spoke of Himself as being sent from the Father.  The word translated "Comforter" carries the idea of "One called to another's side to help or to act as an interceder.  The word was also translated "advocate" in 1 John 2:1.  This "Comforter" would not merely be an influence, as some claim, but a Person.  Jesus said that the Holy Spirit was sent that "he may abide with you for ever."  "He" abides with believers forever as their "Comforter," their infinitely powerful source of help, strength and advocacy.  The disciples would definitely need the "Comforter" in the days facing them, and so do we.

Jesus told His disciples that the Holy Spirit, being invisible to the natural eye, would be rejected by the world.  Indeed, the world has not received or believed in the Person of the Holy Spirit, but it was the Spirit Who was active in the creation of the world.  "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  And the earth was without form and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.  And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters." (Genesis 1:1-2)  "By His Spirit He has garnished the heavens...." (Job 26:13)  The Holy Spirit, Who was with God the Father and God the Son from eternity past, now is the Divine Comforter that has come along side to help us who have trusted in Christ.  Blessed Comforter!

Father, teach me truth concerning the Holy Spirit.  I praise You, Holy Spirit, my ever abiding "Comforter."  In Jesus' Name, Amen!

April 10 - John 14:15-31;  1 Corinthians 6:19;  2 Corinthians 6:16

One precious truth about the Holy Spirit is His indwelling of the believer.  Jesus said, "...but ye know Him; for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you."  This is one of the reasons that Jesus told His disciples that it was expedient for them that He return to the Father's side, after which the Spirit would be sent to them.  Jesus had walked with His disciples for over three years, teaching them and guiding them, but He was not always physically by their sides.  He was at times out of their sight, as when they left Him by the well when they entered the city to buy their needed supplies.  The Holy Spirit would never be away from His own, but would indwell them; a closer relationship than the disciples had ever been able to enjoy with their Lord.  Here, please read the following passages:  Matthew 10:20; Romans 8:10; Galatians 4:6; 1 John 4:4.  These are just a few of the passages in Scripture that speak of the blessedness of the indwelling Holy Spirit.

It was the Holy Spirit that convicted you of sin and your need for the Savior. (John 16:8)  He regenerated you by His power, birthing you into God's family and making you a child of God. (Titus 3:5)  He sealed you, securing your salvation in Christ forever! (Ephesians 1:13)  Because of His indwelling, "He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I (Christ) have said unto you." (John 14:26)  We were told that the Holy Spirit would "guide us unto all truth," and that from within. (John 16:13)  Think about that, child of God.  You have within you an All-knowing, All-Powerful heavenly GPS to guide you through life!  We need to be sensitive to His direction, for He will keep us from error and lead us in a path that is joyful and fulfilling.  Perhaps this gives a better understanding of Jesus' words to His own when he said, " is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you." (John 16:7)

Thank You, Holy Spirit, for Your work in my life and heart.  Amen!

April 11 - John 15

We continue to examine Jesus' teachings about the ministry of the Holy Spirit.  He informed His disciples, "But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: And ye also shall bear witness of me, because ye have been with me from the beginning." (John 15:26-27)  Notice carefully the connection between His coming and their witnessing.  This would be emphasized just prior to the ascension of the Lord Jesus back into heaven.  In Acts 1:8 we read, "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth."  Their calling was to be witnesses of Christ, to tell of the salvation that He has made available to all who will believe.  For this they would need "power," Divine enabling to fulfill their duty.  They could not do this in their own strength.  They were told to "tarry" in Jerusalem until that promised power and comfort came through the Holy Spirit.  On the Day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit condescended, the disciples were filled with His power and went out testifying of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Three thousand souls were saved!  Reading on through the Book of Acts reveals the work of the Holy Spirit in even greater detail.

Beloved, the work of the Church today is the same work that was entrusted to the disciples of Christ after His ascension.  We have been called to be witnesses, telling the world around us of the salvation that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  The Church must have the fullness and power of the Holy Spirit to accomplish this task.  We must never try to substitute gimmicks, programs or schemes of man to fulfill this duty.  May God make this truth a reality in our hearts so that we might reach souls for Christ.

Fill us, Holy Spirit, and use us as witness for Thee.  In Christ, Amen!

April 12 - John 16

Keep in mind that Jesus was speaking these words in Chapters 13-16 to His disciples on the evening before His arrest in the Garden.  While they were oblivious of what was ahead, He fully knew all that they would be facing in the coming hours and over the next days.  That puts even more significance on these final teachings.  Through this discourse with the disciples, much was said about the Holy Spirit.  In this chapter we learned that the Holy Spirit would convince and convict the unsaved concerning sin and accountability to God.  We are saved today because the Holy Spirit brought to our hearts the reality of our sin, the coming judgment we were facing and the love of God through our Lord Jesus Christ.  As believers, we should ever pray that the Holy Spirit have perfect liberty in dealing with hearts during our church services and during times when we are sharing our faith with the unsaved.

Another truth Jesus revealed about the work of the Holy Spirit is found in His words, "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come." (John 16:13)  In his later writings, John would speak of the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.  The "spirit of error" is working tirelessly in our world today, and we truly need to be led by the "Spirit of truth."  What a blessing to have Him indwelling us Who guides "unto all truth."  In Chapter 17, the Lord Jesus prayed, "Sanctify them with Thy truth, Thy Word is truth."  Therefore, the Holy Spirit, Who inspired men in the writing of the Word of God (2 Peter 1:21), will guide us in the understanding and application of the truths found in the Bible.  With error being so prevalent in our world, what a blessing it is to have the very Author of truth committed to guiding us unto all truth!

Holy Spirit, continue to "guide me unto all truth."  In Christ, Amen!

April 13 - Acts 1:1-8;  2:1-47

"But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you...."

The disciples had been trained in the greatest school of all time, and that by the greatest teacher that had ever lived.  Still, they were not ready for the great task that lay before them.  It would be their lot to "go unto all the world and preach the gospel to every creature...."  They were called to preach the gospel, lead souls to the Savior and establish His Church in the world.  They would face an incredibly difficult work, and in the process face a formidable foe.  Although these were special men, they were not capable of accomplishing this work in their own strength and wisdom.  For this cause, Jesus would not allow them to begin this great work until they had the necessary "power" to do so.  That power was only available through the Holy Spirit.  Their first responsibility was to "wait for the promise of the Father" of His coming.  In your reading today, you read of that coming in Chapter 2, the account of the beginning of the ministry of the Holy Spirit in this present dispensation.  The disciples were given the power that had been promised, with the result being three thousand souls saved.

The work of Christ in the world is an intensely spiritual one and, as noted earlier, there is a formidable foe constantly battling against that work.  As Peter said, the church faces "an adversary the devil, as a roaring lion," who is walking "about, seeking whom he may devour." (1 Peter 5:8)  Souls we are endeavoring to reach with the Gospel have had their minds blinded "by the god of this world," as he endeavors to keep them from believing "lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ...should shine unto them." (2 Corinthians 4:4)  None are naturally endowed with talents and strength sufficient to accomplish this work of Christ in such a hostile environment.  We need Divine power!  We need the power of the Holy Spirit!

Lord, endue us with power of the Holy Spirit.  In Jesus' Name, Amen!

April 14 - Ephesians 4:20-32; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-28

So far, we have noted that the Holy Spirit guides the believer in all truth, and that He empowers those who are endeavoring to serve the Lord obediently.  There are two things said in the passages we read today about the believer's relationship with the Spirit that are very important.  We are instructed not to "grieve" or to "quench" Him.  The word "quench" means to extinguish, to suppress or to stifle.  Remember that one of the ministries of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer is guidance, leading them in a path of righteousness and directing their path in service.  We see that vividly in the Book of Acts as He directs the Apostles in their service for Christ.  To "quench" the Holy Spirit is to suppress His guidance and inspiration, to stifle His empowering us and using us for His purposes.  If the Spirit leads a believer in a specific course of action, and that believer refuses to obey and follow, the Holy Spirit is being "quenched."  The word "grieve" means to make sorrowful, to sadden and to offend.  In the context of the use of this word, Paul was speaking of things that should avoided in the believer's life, things like corrupt communication, bitterness, wrath and other actions and attitudes that "grieve" the Holy Spirit.  We should be sensitive toward the Spirit to avoid those things that cause Him sorrow and that offend Him.  Attitudes that are not Christ-like cause Him sorrow.  I remember how the thought of disappointing my parents bothered me, because I loved them and wanted them to be pleased with me.  How much more should we have that desire toward the Lord, and how much more should we be concerned to always do those things that please Him?  The Holy Spirit regenerated us, birthed us into God's family, secures our salvation by His indwelling presence and leads us through this life to victory.  Should we not avoid those things that "grieve" Him and seek to ever follow His leadership in our lives, that we not "quench" Him?

Holy Spirit, I do not want to "quench" or to "grieve" You in my life.  Keep me sensitive to Your presence and will for my life.  Amen!    

April 15 - Ephesians 5:1-20, Acts 2:4; 4:8,31; 9:17; 13:9,52

Encouraging and admonishing the believers at Ephesus, Paul issued an imperative to them that they should be "filled with the Spirit."  In the verses we read in Acts, we saw where various people were filled with the Spirit in the early days of the church.  You will recall that phrase being used several times surrounding the birth of Christ.  It was said that John the Baptist would be filled with the Holy Ghost from his mother's womb.  We also read that Elisabeth and Zacharias, the parents of John the Baptist, were "filled with the Holy Ghost."  With the command given to believers in Ephesians, and in seeing the great success of the early church as they were filled and led by the Spirit of God, we need to consider this command ourselves and seek this blessing from God for the benefit of the work of Christ today.  Before going further, it should be noted that this "filling of the Holy Spirit" was never done and never sought in order that the church might have some joyful or meaningful experience.  This was always associated with their service for Christ in the world.  This fact should cause us evermore to seek this blessing, that the work of Christ might prosper and souls be brought into His family.  The best way to understand the filling of the Holy Spirit is to note the comparison that Paul used in Ephesians.  When a person is "drunk with wine," it effects everything about that person; his walk, his appearance, his speech, his reactions, etc.  He is under the control of the alcohol he has consumed.  Paul tells us not to be thus "drunk with wine," but be "filled with the Spirit."  When a believer is filled with God's Spirit, he will find himself under the control of the Spirit, and that will effect every aspect of his person; his actions and reactions, his speech and especially his efforts of service for Christ.  A Christian cannot be "filled with the Spirit" when his life is grieving the Spirit, or if he is continually "quenching" the Spirit; both topics dealt with in our last devotion.  In our next study, we will examine further this command to be "filled with the Spirit."

Lord, make this command a reality in my life.  In Jesus' Name, Amen!

April 16 - Acts 13:52; Romans 14:17; 15:13; Galatians 5:22-23

In our last study, we noted that the "filling with the Spirit" was never done or sought by the church for some meaningful or joyful experience.  However, there was often joy witnessed in the believers who were thus filled by God's Spirit.  It was the joy of a surrendered and committed life, the joy that Christ promised to His own. (John 15:11; 16:24)  What does it mean to be "filled with the Spirit," and how are we to obey this command we are given as followers of Christ?  First, there needs to be a desire in the heart of the believer to obey this command given us by our Lord.  If our hearts are more concerned with things that have to do with this world than in the things that concern our Lord and our faith, we will not be seeking this blessing or obeying this command.  Obedience, concern and desire are key factors in being filled with God's Spirit. (See Luke 11:1-13)  The thought of being thus filled is not that we have more of Him, but that He has more of us; more of our devotion, commitment, obedience and the focus of our lives.  If there is a genuine desire in our hearts to see this imperative fulfilled, then we will seek our Lord's face in prayer that we might thus be "filled."  Rather than being controlled by something other than the Lord, like "wine" as we saw in our previous devotion, the Christian who is filled with God's Spirit is controlled and directed by Him.  We see that throughout the Book of Acts in the days of the early church.

God has commanded us to be "filled the the Spirit" because we need Him to be victorious as Christians.  The Church needs to be filled with His Spirit in order to accomplish His work in the world.  May God burden our hearts to seek this great blessing and Divine favor of being filled with the Holy Ghost.

Lord Jesus, You gave us great teachings on the Person and work of the Holy Spirit, and commanded us to be "filled with the Spirit."  Please help us in this.  Give us wisdom and understanding, and fill us with the Person and power of the Holy Ghost.  In Your Name, Amen!     

April 17 - Galatians 5

In this chapter, Paul gives us some very important teachings that we need to know, truths that we need to apply to our lives as Christians.  Notice the two opposite thoughts that are expressed concerning the "flesh" and the "Spirit."  He speaks of the "lust of the flesh" in verse 16, and the "works of the flesh" in verses 19-21.  These "works" come naturally.  They don't have to be learned.  The flesh speaks of our natural tendencies, our natural appetites as sons and daughters of Adam.  The list given here in this chapter of flesh works contains some really bad things.  There are, however, tendencies of our flesh that may not be so dark and loathsome, but are counterproductive just the same; things like those actions and attitudes that Paul mentioned in Ephesians 4.  Simple acts of disobedience to God's will for our lives as expressed in His Word are "works of the flesh."  We need to seek to overcome these if we are to be pleasing to God and to live lives that are more joyful and fulfilling.  In order to do this, we have to allow the Holy Spirit to work in and through us for it is only through His power that we can overcome our own flesh.

Paul instructs us to "walk in the Spirit" in order to keep from fulfilling the "lusts of the flesh."  Over the next few devotions, we will be discussing principles of "walking in the Spirit," a duty that is clearly God's will for our lives and one that is possible for all believers.  As we master this practice of "walking in the Spirit" we will experience and display more and more of those "fruits of the Spirit" that are listed in verses 22 and 23.  In John 15, Jesus taught us that the Father is glorified when we produce "much fruit" as His followers.  That "much fruit" in our lives is only possible through the Holy Spirit, and the more we know about Him and the more we follow His leading in our lives, the more "fruit" we will be able to bear for the glory of our God.  Let's pray that He will teach us and empower us to "walk in the Spirit."

Lord Jesus, teach me this walk for my good and Your glory.  Amen!

April 18 - Galatian 5:16; Ephesians 4-5

Walking in the Holy Ghost is not some mystical experience, some other-worldly phenomenon that is only reserved for a select few.  In fact, it is intended by our Lord for all His followers and is most practical to attain.  For instance, in Ephesians 4 and 5, several things are said about the believer's walk.  There are both negative and positive things concerning our walk that are given.  We are admonished not to "walk as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, having the understanding darkened...."  This is the walk of the "natural man," a walk that we are to overcome through the power of the Holy Spirit.  Admittedly, this is a challenge because this walk comes naturally and it is all around us.

We are told in Chapter 5, verse 8 to "walk as children of light."  John wrote of this in 1 John 1:7, "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin."  The "other Gentiles" walk in darkness, but we that are saved are "children of light."  Jesus is the "light of the world." (John 8:12; 9:5; 12:46) "In Him was life, and the life was the light of men." (John 1:4)  As we walk with the Lord Jesus, we are walking in His light.  We walk with Him by maintaining fellowship with Him through the day, with Him on our minds and in our hearts.  Also, we read in Ps 119:130, "The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple."  Walking with the Lord Jesus in the light of His blessed Word is the first step of "walking in the Spirit" and overcoming those natural tendencies of our flesh.  Just like the lights on your vehicle show you the way to steer on a dark night, the light of God's Word shows you the way to walk through life in victory, and it shows you all those pesky pot holes to avoid that can really trip you up.

Father, lead us in the paths of light and peace.  Help us as we are endeavoring to "walk in the Spirit."  In Jesus' Name, Amen!

April 19 - Galatians 5:16; Ephesians 5:1-2; 1 John 4

Walking in the Holy Ghost involves walking in the light of God's Word.  It also includes walking in "love," love for God and love for one another.  The word "walk" speaks of the overall conduct of life, the demeanor, the attitude, the mindset of our lives as believers.  We read yesterday that we are not to "walk as other Gentiles," speaking of their lives being more concerned with things that are contrary to God and His will as revealed in His Word.  As the Shepherd leads us, we are to walk the way He walks, endeavoring to have His conduct, demeanor, attitude and mindset and so on.  As Paul said, "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 2:5)  Jesus constantly walked in the love of the Father and in the love He had for those that belonged to Him and, in fact, in the love He had for all the world.  His words were filled with His love.  His actions were reflections of His love.  When He saw need, His heart was moved with love.  When confronted with hurting souls, His love compelled Him to action.  The whole purpose of His coming to be our Redeemer was motivated by His love, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son...." (John 3:16)  As His disciples, His followers, we are instructed to "...walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour." (Ephesians 5:20)  There are many different "walks" we could choose for our lives.  We could choose to walk in anger all the time; mad at the world and everyone in it.  Greed could be the motivation of all we do.  Fear could be the driving force of our lives.  Or, we could fall in behind our Savior, following Him as the Good Shepherd, and walk in His love.  It is a choice, a conscientious decision that we have to make as to how we are going to "walk" through this life.  To "walk in the Spirit" in order that we not "fulfill the lusts of the flesh" demands that we "walk in love" as children of God, Who "is love." (1 John 4:8)            

Father, help me to walk in Your love today.  In Jesus' Name, Amen!

April 20 - Psalms 23

Our focus over the past few days has been walking in the Holy Spirit in order that we might overcome those tendencies in our "flesh" that are not pleasing to God and that are detrimental to our own spiritual, emotional and physical well-being.  The scene in Psalms 23 is a peaceful one; sheep following their caring shepherd, finding plenty of fresh, cool water and plush, green grass.  Feeling peaceful and contented as they know the shepherd's care, the sheep of the 23rd Psalm is in the perfect situation.  David fully understood this picturesque scene he described, for he had been a shepherd.  He had cared for his father's sheep, watching over them and protecting them from danger.

Jesus said, "I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep...." (John 10:14)  As the Good Shepherd, Jesus loves and cares for the sheep, loving them enough to give Himself for them.  They that have been saved are considered the sheep of His fold.  As His sheep, we are to trust in His care completely, and we are to follow Him wherever He leads us.  Thus, walking in the Holy Spirit is the walk of a trusting sheep following the faithful Shepherd.  "He leadeth me beside the still waters...."  Those plush green pastures and cool still waters are for those sheep that simply follow their Shepherd's lead.  He never leads astray.  By following Him, His sheep enjoy the reality of knowing that they are never alone, and all their fears are removed for His is near and His eyes are ever upon them.  Back when Lynn and I had sheep, I would often lead them out from our house to a field that joined our property.  They would graze in that field, stopping occasionally to see if I was still near.  As long as they could see me, they were happy and content.  If they got a little too far away from me, I would call them back and they would start grazing outward from me again.  They liked their shepherd being close by, and so do we.  Just keep following Him, dear Shepherd's lamb, and rest in His tender care.

Lead me, my Shepherd, and give me faith to follow.  In Christ, Amen!

April 21 - Matthew 16:18; Acts 2

In those final hours of the evening of Christ's betrayal, He taught His disciples some very important lessons on the Holy Spirit, teachings that have been the emphasis of our devotions for several days now.  He talked about the things that would become a reality when the Spirit of God began His ministry during the dispensation of grace.  On the Day of Pentecost, a Jewish feast day, that promised coming of the Holy Spirit became a reality.  Peter declared that this was a fulfillment of a prophecy that was given in Joel 2.  This was a most important day, for it was the day of the birth of the Church of the Lord Jesus.  He had spoken of "building His Church," and this great work began on that day through the workings of the Holy Spirit.  The last statement made in Acts 2 is, "And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved."  The Book of Acts records the birth and early development of the Church that Jesus had died for and had promised to build for His Name's sake.  The Church of the Lord Jesus was what the Bible called a "mystery."  Paul wrote, "This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church." (Ephesians 5:32)  Although the Old Testament prophets and saints could not see the Church, it was God's plan from eternity past. (2 Timothy1:9)  In Ephesians 3 we read, "And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord...."  The Church was in the eternal purpose of God, His plan that would be realized through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and through the power of the Blessed Holy Spirit.  Over the next days in our devotions, we will be examining the Church, God's plan through the ages.

Lord, thank You for the Church for which our Savior died.  In His Name, Amen!

April 22 - 1 Corinthians 12

In the year 1965, when I was twelve years old, my grandfather came to live in our home.  He faithfully attended Welcome Hill Baptist Church, and served the church as a custodian.  He offered me a job working with him cleaning the church, so one evening each week I went with him and would dust or sweep, straighten up the furniture in the classrooms and empty the trash cans.  I remember vividly looking at the flannel boards in the classrooms and wondering about the characters that had been left from the previous week's lessons.  Papaw would invite me to go to church with him each week, and after a few months of doing so, I walked forward during an invitation and gave my heart to Christ.  Many wonderful things happened to me that day.  Through faith, I became a child of God.  Sins were all forgiven; all sins, and that forever!  One of the wonderful things that happened that day was that I was made an inseparable part of the body of Christ on earth, His Church.  Paul spoke of this in today's Scripture reading, "For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit." (1 Corinthians 12:13)  The Church of the Lord Jesus, therefore, is that body of believers who have placed faith in Christ's death, burial and resurrection.  For me, this happened at the age of 12 in a small Baptist church.  For you, it may have happened at home, or in the home of a relative or friend.  The important thing is that you gave your heart to the Lord Jesus, and the Holy Spirit placed you in the Lord's Church.  His Church is made up of young and old, of men and women, of boys and girls, of all nationalities.  They are not members of His Church because they attend a local church, but because they have been saved by placing their faith in the Lord.  Paul wrote, "Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his...."  If you have been saved, you are His, part of His body, the Church for which He died.

Lord Jesus, thank You for making me part of Your Church.  Amen!

April 23 - Acts 13:1-3; 14:13,27; 15:3,4,22; 18:22; 20:17-18,28

In our last devotion, we looked at the Church of the Lord Jesus, the "called out" followers of Christ that are referred to as His "body."  In the passages we read today, these references have to do with local churches, like the Church at Antioch and the Church at Jerusalem.  These were local assemblies of believers that met together regularly; worshiping, fellowshipping and serving their Lord collectively.  Most of the references in the New Testament to "church" is concerned with a local assembly of believers.  While it is impossible to see and identify all those who have placed faith in the Lord Jesus which constitute His "Church," we can see and know local assemblies of believers, local churches throughout the world.

Is the local church ordained of God?  Absolutely!  Jesus referred to the local assembly in Matthew 18 when dealing with the subject of discipline in the future assembly of believers.  In Acts 2, when we read that the Lord added to the church, this is referring to the Church which was at Jerusalem.  When Paul and Barnabas were sent forth on the first official missionary endeavor, they were sent out of the Church which was at Antioch.  As they traveled on this journey, they established local churches.  This does not mean that they built church facilities, but that they formed assemblies of believers and taught them the need of coming together regularly and faithfully.  They taught the churches their responsibility toward their Lord, toward one another and toward the lost world around them.  These early followers of Christ were taught the necessity of "assembling together," (Hebrews 10:25) of caring for one another, (John 13:34; Romans 12:10; Hebrews 10:24) and other responsibilities that we will try to discuss in later devotions.  Suffice to say, the Lord Jesus had local assemblies, local churches in mind when He said, "...I will build my church...."

Jesus, teach me the Scriptural importance of the local church, Your plan for the church and my part in that plan.  In Your Name, Amen!      

April 24 - Revelation 2-3

The seven churches listed in Revelation 2 and 3 were actual churches, local assemblies of believers in the first century of Christianity.  They met together on "The Lord's Day," they worshipped, sang hymns, studied the Scripture and encouraged one another in their faith.  Offerings were taken when they gathered in order to pay for whatever expenses were incurred, for the support of gospel endeavors such as Paul and others that were carrying the message of Christ to unreached regions, and for the support of other Christians with needs in other cities.  These churches had officers that had been appointed, like that of pastors and deacons.  Such local assemblies were vital for the nurturing and developing of followers of Christ, and also for the reaching of the unsaved with the message of the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus.  God's plan for "church" has never changed and, accordingly, His requirements for His own concerning their responsibilities to the church have never changed.  We are told in Hebrews 10:25, "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching."  From the beginning, one of the requirements for followers of Christ was that they gather regularly with other believers for worship and fellowship.  The Lord knew that His followers would need this "assembling together."  They would need it for their mutual strength, their combined opportunities of service and for their collective worship.  Church, with all of its privileges and opportunities, is a necessity for the spiritual well-being of Christ's own.  And, this really goes without saying, Christ's Church on earth needs the faithful attendance and service of those who have been saved by grace through faith.  As Paul said in his charge concerning church attendance, it is an opportunity for us to "exhort one another" in our faith.  You need your church and your church needs you.

Father, teach us faithfulness to Your house.  In Jesus' Name, Amen!

April 25 - Acts 15; 1 Timothy 3:15

"...the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."

In my reading yesterday, I was reminded again of John's warnings concerning truth and error in 1 John 4:1-6.  Truth is so vitally important.  Jesus said, "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (John 8:32)  It is through the truth of God's Word that souls are saved from sin and given the promise of eternal life through Christ.  The Church has been entrusted with the guarding of truth as well as its proclamation in the world.  When Paul was writing to Timothy, the pastor of the Church at Ephesus, he called the Church the "pillar and ground of the truth."  That is the reason that in his writings Paul was constantly emphasizing the need for "sound doctrine."  Jesus said that His believers were to be the "light of the world," and one of the ways this is accomplished is through the holding forth the truth of God's Word.  Unfortunately, one of the prophecies of the last days has to do with a departure from the truth.  Jude instructed his readers to, "earnestly contend for the faith that was once delivered unto the saints." (Jude 1:3)  In his second letter to the Thessalonian Church, Paul said that the last days would witness a "falling away" in the body of professing Christianity.  This phrase comes from the Greek word, "apostasia" which speaks of a defection or a departing from truth.  This prophesied "falling away" has been witnessed in Christianity over the past couple of centuries, and has increased exponentially in recent decades.  Doctrines that were held dear by the professing Christian world since the inception of the Church have been cast aside; doctrines such as the impeccability (sinlessness) of Christ, His virgin birth and His bodily resurrection from the dead.  Many churches no longer emphasize the necessity of the "new birth," or of eternal damnation for those who do not know the Lord Jesus as Savior.  The Bible, which was once held universally by Christians as the infallible, inerrant, inspired Word of God has been denigrated to a mere work of fallible men.  Beloved, we are living in the days that had been prophesied to come, the "days of apostasy."

The Church is still commanded to be the bastion of the truth that delivers souls from sin and hell.  While many in the body of professing Christendom have abdicated this sacred duty, individual Christians and local churches do not have to, and must not depart from holding the truth, defending the truth and declaring the truth in a lost world.  May God help us to "earnestly contend for the faith that was once delivered unto the saints."

Father, in a day when truth has become the object of doubt and scorn, help us to hold it in our hearts, guard it in our church and proclaim it to a lost world that is dying for the truth.  In Jesus' Name, Amen!

April 26 - 1 Corinthians 3

The Church at Corinth was a divided church, a spiritually immature church.  One of the divisions was caused by people feeling that their Christianity was superior because of who had led them to Christ.  Paul pointed out that one man might have sown the seed of God's Word and another had "watered" it through prayer and faithfulness, but God alone had given the increase.  Salvation is of the Lord.  Human instruments are used of God to proclaim and share the truth of His Word, but He "gives the increase," drawing souls to Himself and quickening them by the power of the Holy Spirit.  The church, therefore, has the responsibility to proclaim truth as we discussed in the last devotion, and then to bath that in prayer that God might use it to bring souls to Himself.  Beloved, we need God to "give the increase," for souls desperately need the salvation that we have been called to proclaim.  Let's pray that God would move through our area in Holy Spirit conviction, bringing souls to the Savior.  Will you pray concerning this?

Father, bring souls to Christ.  Give us souls, dear Lord!  Amen!

April 27 - Revelation 19

7  Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.

8  And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.

When Paul was teaching on the sanctity and responsibilities concerning marriage, he wrote, "This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church." (Ephesians 5:32)  John referred to the Church as the "wife" of the "Lamb," the Bride of Christ.  The Church has been united to Christ in such a precious way through His sacrifice for her sins.  She is the object of His great love, a love that compelled Him to endure the shame and suffering of the Cross so that she might be "cleansed" and clothed in the white raiment of His righteousness.  The day will come when the Church will be presented to the Lamb in spotless white raiments.  Think about that, child of God. All the sins and errors of our lives will be gone.  We will stand before Him in the garments of His own righteousness, as though we had never sinned.  Justified!  Clean!  Pure!  And none of this blessedness will be of our own doing.  It is all by His "amazing grace!"

Our marriages are to be reflections of this great relationship between Christ and His Church.  That's the reason that great emphasis is placed on the duties of husbands and wives, and the admonition to have our homes filled with love and purity.  It is for this cause that it is written, "For this cause shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife; and they shall be one flesh." (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:5)  May our homes ever reflect this blessed relationship, and may our lives as Christians ever bring honor and glory to our Bridegroom, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Lord Jesus, bring honor and glory unto Yourself through the Church, and through our lives as Your followers.  In Your Name, Amen!

April 28 - Ephesians 1 - 2

The emphasis of the past devotional thoughts has been the Church, with a particular stressing of the importance of the local church.  As stated earlier, the local church is the visible church on earth, and most of the references in the New Testament to "church" is to the local assembly of believers that came together through their faith in Christ.

Your local church is so very important!  As we stated earlier, it is to be the bastion of truth in a world groping in darkness.  Local churches that are true to the Savior and to the Word of God are lights set on a hill, shining the way to the truth of Christ's salvation.  They are places where the saved can be nurtured, edified and places where they can use their talents to serve the Lord Jesus.  We learn in Scripture that the members of the church are like members of your body; your fingers, eyes, nose, etc.  This shows the beauty of our connectedness, and the importance of each member fulfilling its part and responsibility in the body.  Lynn and I recently watched on television some of the winter Olympics in South Korea.  The athletes competing in these games were specimens of health and vitality.  Their physical condition was a reflection of their training, but also of their natural, God-given abilities.  The Church, as the body of Christ on earth, has been provided all we need to run well for our Savior. (1 Corinthian 9:24)  A course has been set before us that our Lord will enable us to finish for His glory. (Hebrews 12:1-2)  However, the church needs all of its "members" to get in the game, to find themselves on the course and to "run that they might obtain the prize."

Child of God, see your church as that place where you belong; as the body of believers that God has made you part of that you might be spiritually strengthened and where you might be used for His glory.  Love your church.  He does!

Lord, lead me to have the right relationship with your Church.  Amen!

April 29 - Acts 2:1-4, 42-47; 4:23-33

The early church was an excited, Spirit-filled powerhouse for God.  Even though they were persecuted and hated, the church was filled with the Holy Spirit and their faith was contagious.  Souls were being saved and the Lord was adding to the church.  They faced opposition and hatred from the world, but they never lost their joy or excitement.  These early Christians did not withdraw from the world's hatred, they just kept preaching Jesus.  It would be said later of them that they had turned the world upside down.  Actually, they were turning it right side up, for they were pointing lost souls to the Lord Jesus.

We sing the song, "Trust and obey, for there's no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey."  That is exactly what the early church was doing.  They were trusting the One that had died for them, and they were obeying His call and command to be witnesses of His death, burial and resurrection.  The important key was that they were doing this in power and leadership of the Holy Spirit.

What a challenge this is to me!  How about you?  How excited are you about church?  About being filled and controlled by the Holy Spirit?  About seeing souls being saved?  Beloved, nothing is more important in all the world that the Lord and His work on this earth.  We will know that for sure when we have been ushered into His presence.  Jesus came to this sin-cursed earth to provide eternal salvation to all that would believe in Him.  He came to "build His Church," that through that Church the glorious message of grace could be proclaimed in Holy Ghost power.  The early Christians were unstoppable as long as they kept their eyes on their Savior, their hearts filled with His Word and their work anointed by the Holy Spirit.  Does the prospects of that for today interest you?  O, let's pray for the Lord to work in our hearts and church for His glory!

Lord, stir in Your work today for Christ, and for souls.  Amen!

April 30

Ps 85:6 Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?

Isa 57:15 For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.

Hab 3:2 O LORD, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: O LORD, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy.

Lynn and I have a woodstove in our basement to help with the heating bill.  The other day, I had let the fire go too long without wood and when I went to "chunk" it up, there was mostly cold embers.  I didn't have any kindling wood, so I raked all the cold embers together, lit a propane torch and held the flame on those embers.  (I know, your thinking, "What?")  It worked!  In less than a minute, those cold embers were glowing red.  I stacked some wood on them and in no time I had a hot fire warming up the basement.

That is kind of what revival is.  We get "cold" on God, sort of lifeless to the things of Christ.  It is easy to do, and it doesn't take long.  We get like those cold embers in my stove.  When that happens, we need the fire of heaven to blow upon our souls to liven up the fire of the Lord in our hearts.  The Lord wants His Church, His children to ever be on fire for Him, ablaze with His love and zealous for His glory.  Let's sincerely pray that He will stir up the cold embers of our faith!  Let's seek Him for revival in our hearts and in our church!

Lord Jesus, forgive my spiritual coldness.  Revive my heart and fill Your church with fire from heaven.  In Your Name, Amen!


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