He Bore Our Sins

1 Peter Chapter 2 Verses 21-25

For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, WHO COMMITTED NO SIN, NOR WAS ANY DECEIT FOUND IN HIS MOUTH; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who Judges righteously; and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.

For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.    (NASB)

In Christ,

Stephen and Mary

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He is Risen

Matthew Chapter 28 Verse 6 – He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said.  Come, see the place where He was lying.         

1 Corinthians Chapter 15 Verse 6   After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep.    (NASB)     

Did you know that Jesus’ appeared to over 500 people after He rose from the dead!  500 people saw the risen Savior!

In Christ,

Stephen and Mary

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NOTICE: The advertisements on this and referred to sites are neither published by nor subject to True Hope Ministries and as such the content expressed does not necessarily reflect the beliefs of True Hope Ministries.  Thank you.

No Good Thing

Psalm 84 Verses  11-12

For the LORD God is a sun and shield;  The LORD gives grace and glory;  No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.   O LORD of hosts, how blessed is the man who trusts in You!         (NASB)     

In Christ,

Stephen and Mary

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A Heart Issue

Matthew 18 Verse 31-35   So when his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were deeply grieved and came and reported to their lord all that had happened.  Then summoning him, his lord said to him, ‘You wicked slave, I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me.  Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave, in the same way that I had mercy on you?’

And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him. 

My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart.”                  (NASB)     

What does Jesus tell us here?   We must forgive from our heart.   When we realize how much we have been forgiven of by our LORD, we in turn should forgive those around us.   We should not hold grudges, no matter how good it may feel at first, as that only leads to torment.

Remember Jesus’ words when He was hanging on the cross, “Father, forgive them because they do not know what they do.”   – Luke 23:34

How merciful our LORD is!

Remember the words He taught us to pray, “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.”   – Matthew 6:12

Remember . . . nothing is impossible with GOD and He can and will help us to forgive from our heart.

Dear Lord, please have mercy on us.  Thank you for dying on the cross for our sins.  Thank you for forgiving us of all our sins and casting them into the depths of the sea.   Help us to forgive those who sinned against us, and may those we have sinned against forgive us.  You are a merciful and just Judge.   Amen

In Christ,

Stephen and Mary

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How Absurd!

Matthew 18 Verse 28-30   But that slave went out and found one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and he seized him and began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay back what you owe.’ 

So his fellow slave fell to the ground and began to plead with him, saying, ‘Have patience with me and I will repay you.’

The first slave mentioned above is the one we discussed yesterday who had just been forgiven 10,000 talents and now he purposely went after another one of his fellow slaves for 100 denarii!?!?    Remember from yesterday that 1 talent = 15 years wages for a slave, so the first slaves debt was astronomical – a debt he could never pay.   This second servant owed only 100 denarii.   The value of 1 denarii is equivalent to 1 days wages for a servant, so in total the second slave owed 100 days wages to the first slave.   The servant who had just been forgiven an unfathomable amount was now unwilling to extend the same forgiveness to his fellow servant.

Seems ridiculous, doesn’t it?   Yet, how many times do we do the same exact same thing?

Remember this is a parable that Jesus was using to illustrate the importance of Forgiveness.   The King represents the Lord, both slaves represent Christians.   We see a Christian who was forgiven by the LORD of a debt he could never pay (our sin) who was then unwilling to forgive someone else of something far less significant.   Jesus used this illustration to point out the absurdity of an unforgiving heart.

Are you harboring any unforgiveness today?   If so, forgive from your heart and release that burden to the LORD.  Forgive so that you too can live in the freedom and peace that comes from forgiveness!

In Christ,

Stephen and Mary

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But he was unwilling and went and threw his fellow slave in prison until he should pay back what was owed.           (NASB

Ten Thousand Talents

Matthew 18 Verse 23-27   For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves.  When he had begun to settle them, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. 

But since he did not have the means to repay, his lord commanded him to be sold, along with his wife and children and all that he had, and repayment to be made.

 So the slave fell to the ground and prostrated himself before him, saying, ‘Have patience with me and I will repay you everything.’  And the lord of that slave felt compassion and released him and forgave him the debt.   (NASB)     

This past Sunday our Pastor continued with the “Forgiveness” theme in the Gospel of Matthew.    Did you know . . . One talent was 15 years of wages for a servant?   Did you know . . . The tabernacle was overlaid with 39 talents of gold?   Did you know . . . Solomon’s temple was overlaid with 3,000 talents of gold?   10,000 talents  was astronomical!   In today’s terms it would be “zillions of dollars!”  That slave could never repay the debt that he owed even though he asked the king to have patience with him so he could repay it.

The king had compassion on him, released him, and forgave him the debt, even though the slave did not deserve it. Wow!  What a burden to be lifted off of that slave.  Released from paying a debt that was impossible to pay!

Keep this parable in your mind and we will continue with it tomorrow.

In Christ,

Stephen and Mary

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NOTICE: The advertisements on this and referred to sites are neither published by nor subject to True Hope Ministries and as such the content expressed does not necessarily reflect the beliefs of True Hope Ministries.  Thank you.

Forgiveness

Matthew 18 Verses 21-22    Then Peter came to Him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me?  Seven times?”

“No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven!”  (NLT)

Last week our pastor taught from the above scriptures.   Did you know that Peter thought he was being very gracious when he asked the Lord if he should forgive seven times because  of an old rabbi tradition?  The rabbis based that tradition from the book of Amos.   So when Jesus said, “No, seventy times seven,” I am sure it took Peter by surprise.

Jesus was telling Peter and us that forgiveness is to be a continual thing.   Wow! And some people think that Christianity is for wimps. One of the hardest things to do as a Christian is to forgive. And as we will see tomorrow, the Lord requires us to forgive from our hearts.

But don’t be discouraged because even though we cannot forgive in our own strength, we can through Christ – Who gives us strength!   Jesus tells us to ask anything in His Name according to His will and He will do it.  Forgiveness is God’s will for all of us, so all we have to do is ask for His help.

Please click here if you cannot see the video of Matthew West’s “Forgiveness”.

In Christ,

Stephen and Mary

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NOTICE: The advertisements on this and referred to sites are neither published by nor subject to True Hope Ministries and as such the content expressed does not necessarily reflect the beliefs of True Hope Ministries.  Thank you.

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Reverent Fear

1 Peter Chapter 1 Verse 17And remember that the heavenly Father to whom you pray has no favorites.  He will judge or reward you according to what you do.  So you must live in reverent fear of Him during your time here as “temporary residents.”      (NLT)

When you hear the word fear, what do you think of?   Do you think about those things that you are most afraid of?   Do you think about fear as something you need to overcome?   Do you think – as most people do – that it is a bad thing?

Did you know that there is one type of fear that Bible tells us is actually a good fear?   That fear is the fear of GOD.   In today’s verse we are reminded that the fear of GOD does not mean that we are to be afraid of GOD, it speaks of a reverential fear or awe of who GOD is and how HOLY HE is.  As Christians, we are to have a HOLY fear of GOD as we come to see HIM for who HE is and what we are not.   Remember, HE alone is HOLY, AWESOME, and THE PERFECT GOD.   HE is the One who WAS and who IS and who IS TO COME!    He has high expectations for us and wants us to be a holy and perfect people, yet HE loves us when we fall short of HIS standards.

We encourage you to come to GOD today with a reverential fear out of respect for who HE is.   Be in awe of HIS Power, HIS Might, HIS Love, HIS Grace and HIS Mercy.    Get close to HIM today…you will never regret it!

In Christ,

Stephen and Mary

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NOTICE: The advertisements on this and referred to sites are neither published by nor subject to True Hope Ministries and as such the content expressed does not necessarily reflect the beliefs of True Hope Ministries.  Thank you.

The Gift of God

Ephesians Chapter 2 Verse 8 & 9For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:  Not of works, lest any man should boast.  (KJV)

Ephesians Chapter 2 opens with Paul acknowledging that the town of Ephesus (and all of us for that matter) is driven by the lusts of the flesh (Eph 2:3), serving the enemy.  He refers to them/us as children of disobedience.  You would think this leaves us in an eternity of damnation.  After all, how can WE be righteous (blameless) in the eyes of the Lord?  Does a minute of the day go by where we don’t sin or are not attracted by sin?

GOD LOVES US ANYWAY.   He waits with open arms to show “the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus (v7).”

Why would our Lord accept our sinful nature?  Why would He allow US to be part of His kingdom in heaven?  Or perhaps I should ask what grants us entrance into His kingdom?  If I am a sinner and have a sinful nature, can my deeds allow me to erase those sins?  Absolutely NOT.

It could not be any clearer.  Ephesians 2:8-9 spells it out: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:  Not of works, lest any man should boast.”  Grace is our gift from our heavenly Father.   We need to have faith in this gift and not in our own works.  (See Romans 3:20 & 2Timothy 1:9)

Dear Lord, we thank You for Your grace and mercy.  We thank You that despite our sinful nature, we are justified in You.  We are not worthy of Your riches.  Take us as we are, dear Lord, and cleanse us of all impurities.  Forgive our arrogance when we believe that our works have any bearing on our passage into your kingdom.  Wash away our sin with Your precious blood and draw us closer to you this day.  Amen.

Romans 3:20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”

2 Timothy 1:9 “ Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.”

In Christ,

Carrie

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NOTICE: The advertisements on this and referred to sites are neither published by nor subject to True Hope Ministries and as such the content expressed does not necessarily reflect the beliefs of True Hope Ministries.  Thank you.

Sing With Joy

John Chapter 3 Verses 16  – For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him, shall not perish but have everlasting life.

 Psalm 96 Verse 2 – Sing to the LORD, bless His name; proclaim good tidings of His salvation from day to day.

Monday we read in our Verse of the Day that we are adopted into the family of God because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.    Yesterday we read that we have an inheritance; a hope of eternal life with Him.  Not because of any good deeds that we have done, but all because of JESUS CHRIST.  He paid a debt He did not owe.  I had a debt I could not pay.

That is the good news of the gospel!   That is the joy of our salvation!

If you cannot see this vide, please click here to hear Chris Tomlin’s  “How Can I Keep From Singing Your Praise”.

In Christ,

Stephen and Mary

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NOTICE: The advertisements on this and referred to sites are neither published by nor subject to True Hope Ministries and as such the content expressed does not necessarily reflect the beliefs of True Hope Ministries.  Thank you.

Inheritance

Ephesians Chapter 1 Verses 17-18 – “. . . that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him:  the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.”

Yesterday’s verse focused on being an adopted child of God through Christ Jesus.  Not only are we adopted to our heavenly Father through Christ’s sacrifice but we are “accepted in the beloved.”  Acceptance.  Unconditional.  Love-driven.  Arms-wide-open.  Acceptance.

Paul mentions the word inheritance three times in the first chapter and again in chapter five.  We are adopted, we are beloved, AND we receive His inheritance.  This inheritance is the kingdom of heaven, my friends.  The eyes of our understanding are enlightened to see the hope of eternal life.  We are the saints that Paul is referring to, but it is not because we are perfect, sinless, or blameless, For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” (Romans 3:23).  Rather, we are the saints because we meet the requirement for passage into heaven, we believe that Christ died while we were yet sinners and we accept that He alone is our savior (John 3:16).

Dear Lord, please create in us a desire to study Your word.  We thank You and praise You for adopting us into Your family and calling us Your beloved.  We thank You for our inheritance and pray for boldness to tell others about the kingdom that awaits us in heaven!  Sustain us this day and always.  Amen.

In Christ,

Carrie

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NOTICE: The advertisements on this and referred to sites are neither published by nor subject to True Hope Ministries and as such the content expressed does not necessarily reflect the beliefs of True Hope Ministries.  Thank you.

Adoption

Ephesians Chapter 1 Verses 5-6 – “Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the beloved.”   (KJV)

When Paul was imprisoned in Rome,  I am sure it would have been easy for him to be bitter.  (And we think we have it hard?)  Instead, he wrote letter  upon letter, completing much of the New Testament we read today.  Many of his letters read like love letters to God’s people.  This week I have been studying the book of Ephesians and over the next few days I want to share some things that God has spoken to me through the Apostle Paul.

Did you know you were adopted?  Some of us are blessed with wonderful parents here on earth and others are not so fortunate.  Adoption is an intentional action to welcome a new child into your family.  Regardless of our earthly parents, God was intentional about adopting YOU into His family.  How?  Through the “adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself”  (Eph 1:5).  He sent his only Son to the cross for YOU.  The Good News is that He paid YOUR debt and officially  adopted YOU into HIS kingdom.  He waits with open arms every minute of every day.  He loves you unconditionally and is ready to forgive all your sins and bear all your burdens!

Friends, I pray today you see yourself as the chosen, beloved child you are.

Lord, help us to come to You this day.  Help us to fully believe that You are waiting with open arms.  Help us to set aside our busyness, hurt, fears, and anything else that keeps us from You.  Draw us near to You and help us feel Your holy presence.  Amen.

 In Christ,

Carrie

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NOTICE: The advertisements on this and referred to sites are neither published by nor subject to True Hope Ministries and as such the content expressed does not necessarily reflect the beliefs of True Hope Ministries.  Thank you.

The Ten Commandments

Exodus Chapter 20 Verses 13-17 –  “You shall not murder.   You shall not commit adultery.   You shall not steal.  You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.  You shall not covet your neighbor’s house wife, servants, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”    

Matthew Chapter 22 Verses 37-40 – And Jesus said to him, “ ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’  This is the great and foremost commandment.  The second is like it.  ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’  On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”

In Christ,

Stephen and Mary

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NOTICE: The advertisements on this and referred to sites are neither published by nor subject to True Hope Ministries and as such the content expressed does not necessarily reflect the beliefs of True Hope Ministries.  Thank you.

Exodus Chapter 20 Verse 12 

“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the LORD your God gives you.”   (NASB)

 The Fifth Commandment 

In Christ,

Stephen and Mary

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The Fourth Commandment

Exodus Chapter 20 Verse 8

 “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.”   (NASB)

The Fourth Commandment

In Christ,

Stephen and Mary

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NOTICE: The advertisements on this and referred to sites are neither published by nor subject to True Hope Ministries and as such the content expressed does not necessarily reflect the beliefs of True Hope Ministries.  Thank you.

BLESSED BE THE NAME OF THE LORD

Exodus Chapter 20 Verse 7 – The Third Commandment

“You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain.”  (NASB)

May we reverence and honor the Name of  our LORD.  Blessed be the Name of the LORD.

 In Christ,

Stephen and Mary

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NOTICE: The advertisements on this and referred to sites are neither published by nor subject to True Hope Ministries and as such the content expressed does not necessarily reflect the beliefs of True Hope Ministries.  Thank you.

Worship GOD

Exodus Chapter 20 Verses 4-6 – “You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth.   You shall not worship them or serve them; for I , the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers  on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing loving-kindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

Matthew Chapter 4 Verse 10 (When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness by Satan and Satan wanted Jesus to bow down and worship him) – Then Jesus said to him, “Go, Satan!  For it is written, YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD AND SERVE HIM ONLY.”  (NASB)

The Second Commandment – Worship God Only.

Please click here if you cannot see the video “I Worship You Almighty God”.

In Christ,

Stephen and Mary 

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NOTICE: The advertisements on this and referred to sites are neither published by nor subject to True Hope Ministries and as such the content expressed does not necessarily reflect the beliefs of True Hope Ministries.  Thank you.

The First Commandment

Exodus Chapter 20 Verses 2-3

“I am the LORD your GOD, Who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.  You shall have no other gods before Me.”

Romans 6 Verse 6

 . . . knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him (Jesus), in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin.  (NASB)

The First Commandment – Put GOD first.

 

If you cannot see the video of Lincoln Brewster, please click here.

In Christ,

Stephen and Mary

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NOTICE: The advertisements on this and referred to sites are neither published by nor subject to True Hope Ministries and as such the content expressed does not necessarily reflect the beliefs of True Hope Ministries.  Thank you.

A Glorious Hope

Revelation Chapter 21 Verses 3-4

And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”     (NASB)

Thank God for the Blood of the Lamb that was shed upon Calvary for us!   We have a glorious hope!

If you cannot see the video of Brian Free and Assurance singing “What A Day That Will Be”, please click here.

In Christ,

Stephen and Mary

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NOTICE: The advertisements on this and referred to sites are neither published by nor subject to True Hope Ministries and as such the content expressed does not necessarily reflect the beliefs of True Hope Ministries.  Thank you.

BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO DWELL IN YOUR HOUSE

Psalm 84 Verses 1-5

How lovely are Your dwelling places, O LORD of hosts!  My soul longed and even yearned for the courts of the LORD;  My heart and my  flesh sing for joy to the living God. 

The bird also has found a house and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even Your altars, O LORD of hosts —  My King and my GOD.    How blessed are those who dwell in Your house!  They are ever praising You! 

Selah 

How blessed is the man whose strength is in You.   In whose heart are the highways to Zion!     (NASB)

What are we yearning for in this life?    A new house; new car; more money; a vacation; peace; rest;  you fill in the blank.  Are we hungering for the living GOD?  Are our hearts really yearning for HIM?

Dear Lord, Please help us, Your children, to come back to our first love – the love we had when we first met You.  Please forgive us because we have allowed the things of this life to distract and burden us.  Help us to put You first in our lives.

If you cannot see the video, please click here to see “Hillsong Kids” sing.

In Christ,

Stephen and Mary _____________________________________________________

NOTICE: The advertisements on this and referred to sites are neither published by nor subject to True Hope Ministries and as such the content expressed does not necessarily reflect the beliefs of True Hope Ministries.  Thank you.