Firmly Planted

Jeremiah Chapter 17 Verses 7 and 8

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord
And whose trust IS the Lord.
 “For he will be like a tree planted by the water,
That extends its roots by a stream
And will not fear when the heat comes;
But its leaves will be green,
And it will not be anxious in a year of drought
Nor cease to yield fruit.

Psalm 1 Verses 1-3

How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night

 He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers.

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. 

Rejoice Today

Psalm 118 Verse 24    This is the day which the Lord has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it.     (NASB)

The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief corner stone.  This is the LORD’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.  This is the day which the LORD has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it.   O LORD, do save, we beseech You; O LORD, we beseech You, do send prosperity!  Blessed is the One who comes in the Name of the LORD; We have blessed you from the house of the LORD.       Psalm 118 Verses 22-26

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. 

Psalm 100

Psalm 100       

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.

Serve the Lord with gladness: come before His presence with singing.

Know ye that the Lord He is God: it is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture.

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him, and bless His name.

 For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

No matter what is going on in this world, GOD is good, He is merciful, He is faithful, and He is Truth!   He  is the Creator of the universe; He is our Creator.  He is our Savior.   He is in control and we are not.   He is our shepherd and He takes care of His sheep.

We are to praise Him with joyful noise.  We are to serve Him with gladness (not only in church, but in our everyday lives);  we are to come before Him with singing, thanksgiving, praise, and blessing. I challenge you to read this Psalm out loud, and sing a song of blessing to our God.

In Christ,

Stephen and Mary

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More Than Conquerors

Romans Chapter 8 Verses 35-39     Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?

As is it written:     “FOR YOUR SAKE WE FACE DEATH ALL DAY LONG; WE ARE CONSIDERED AS SHEEP TO BE SLAUGHTERED.”

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loves us.  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.   (NIV)

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. 

The Everlasting God

Isaiah Chapter 40 Verses 28-31  

Do you not know?  Have you not heard?  The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired.  His understanding is inscrutable.  He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power.  Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.        (NASB)

If you cannot see the above video, Please click here to hear “Everlasting God” by Lincoln Brewster.

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. 

God’s Everlasting Word

Mark Chapter 13 Verse 31    Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.   (NIV)

While on the Mount of Olives, Jesus gave a detailed prophecy telling us what was to come in the future.   He ends this “Olivet Discourse” by stating our verse for today.   We tend to think that what we see and feel, the things that are tangible, are everlasting and are the things on which we should focus.  However, Jesus tells us that it is not the things which we see – like the earth and heavens – that we are to hold on to, it is the WORD that we need to hold on to.

In John 1:1 we are told that in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.   Literally, this verse tells us that JESUS is the WORD…the WORD which will never pass away.   People are always looking to hold on to the things of this life – money, possessions, position, power – but it is all going to pass away.   Instead, we should be holding on to JESUS and HIS word.  Taking a look at a few of the “I AM” promises that Jesus made should lift our spirits today.  Jesus said:

  • I am the light of the world (John 8:12) – we will not be in darkness!
  • I am the bread of life (John 6:35) – we will not be hungry!
  • I am the true vine (John 15:1) – we will bear fruit in HIM!
  • I am going there [to heaven] to prepare a place for you (John 14:2) – we will forever have a place with GOD!
  • I am the way and the truth and the life (John 14:6) – we know not just the destination (Heaven), but the ONLY way to get there!
  • I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls (Matthew 11:29) – we will have our burdens lifted and true rest in HIM!
  • I am the good shepherd (John 10:14) – we will be protected as the Shepherd protects His sheep!
  • I am with you always (Matthew 28:20) – we will never be alone!

What is it that you are holding on to today?   Is it your possessions, your job, your resources, your relationships?   Remember, that all of those things will pass away, but only the WORD is eternal.   Hold on to JESUS today and rejoice as you remember HIS promises…THEY WILL NEVER PASS AWAY!

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. 

Intercessory Prayer

2 Chronicles Chapter 7 Verse 14     If My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.   (NASB)

Daniel was a young boy when Jerusalem was besieged by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon.   He was a young man of integrity and he served the LORD faithfully, even though he was in captivity.   Even though Daniel was righteous, he understood the importance of repentance and seeking the face of God.   While in Persia, he prayed the following prayer:

Daniel Chapter 9 Verses 4-19    I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed and said, “Alas, O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and loving-kindness for those who love Him and keep His commandments, we have sinned, committed iniquity, acted wickedly and rebelled, even turning aside from Your commandments and ordinances.  Moreover, we have not listened to Your servants the prophets, who spoke in Your name to our kings, our princes, our fathers and all the people of the land.

Righteousness belongs to You, O Lord, but to us open shame, as it is this day—to the men of Judah, the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all Israel, those who are nearby and those who are far away in all the countries to which You have driven them, because of their unfaithful deeds which they have committed against You.  Open shame belongs to us, O Lord, to our kings, our princes and our fathers, because we have sinned against You.   To the Lord our God belong compassion and forgiveness, for we have rebelled against Him; nor have we obeyed the voice of the Lord our God, to walk in His teachings which He set before us through His servants the prophets.  Indeed all Israel has transgressed Your law and turned aside, not obeying Your voice; so the curse has been poured out on us, along with the oath which is written in the law of Moses the servant of God, for we have sinned against Him.  Thus He has confirmed His words which He had spoken against us and against our rulers who ruled us, to bring on us great calamity; for under the whole heaven there has not been done anything like what was done to Jerusalem.   As it is written in the law of Moses, all this calamity has come on us; yet we have not sought the favor of the Lord our God by turning from our iniquity and giving attention to Your truth.  Therefore the Lord has kept the calamity in store and brought it on us; for the Lord our God is righteous with respect to all His deeds which He has done, but we have not obeyed His voice.

And now, O Lord our God, who have brought Your people out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand and have made a name for Yourself, as it is this day—we have sinned, we have been wicked.  O Lord, in accordance with all Your righteous acts, let now Your anger and Your wrath turn away from Your city Jerusalem, Your holy mountain; for because of our sins and the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and Your people have become a reproach to all those around us.  So now, our God, listen to the prayer of Your servant and to his supplications, and for Your sake, O Lord, let Your face shine on Your desolate sanctuary.  O my God, incline Your ear and hear! Open Your eyes and see our desolations and the city which is called by Your name; for we are not presenting our supplications before You on account of any merits of our own, but on account of Your great compassion.  O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and take action! For Your own sake, O my God, do not delay, because Your city and Your people are called by Your name.”

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. 

Working Together For Good

Romans Chapter 8 Verse 28      And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.           (NASB) 

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. 

An Eyewitness

John Chapter 19 Verses 31-37      Then the Jews, because it was the day of preparation, so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for the Sabbath was a high day), asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.

So the soldiers came, and broke the legs of the first man and of the other who was crucified with Him; but coming to Jesus, when they saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs.    But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear and immediately blood and water came out.  And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you also may believe.

For these things came to pass to fulfill the Scripture,

“NOT A BONE OF HIM SHALL BE BROKEN.”   Psalm 34:20

And again another Scripture says,

“THEY SHALL LOOK ON HIM WHOM THEY PIERCED.”    Zechariah 12:10   

The Apostle John was an eyewitness of Jesus’ death on the cross, His burial, and His resurrection. He also was an eyewitness of Jesus’ ascension into Heaven.

An eyewitness – a person who actually sees some act, occurrence, or thing and can give a firsthand account of it.    To view with one’s own eyes.

We are each eyewitnesses of what Christ has done in our lives— how He has loved us, saved us, called us, changed us, restored us, healed us, helped us, empowered us, encouraged us, taught us, corrected us, etc..  As John shared his eyewitness accounts, pointing all hearers / readers to Jesus Christ the Son of God, we must share our eyewitness accounts with the expressed purpose to point all to Jesus Christ!

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. 

Grace, Salvation, Hope

Titus Chapter 2 Verses 11 – 14      For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensible, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purity for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.     (NASB)   

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. 

Grace, Peace, Blessing

Ephesians Chapter 1 Verses 2 – 4     Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him.     (NASB)   

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. 

The Judge

Acts Chapter 10 Verse 43     He is the One whom God appointed as Judge of the living and the dead.   

2 Timothy Chapter 4 Verse 1b   . . . Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead. . .

Revelation Chapter 19 Verse 11      And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war.

John Chapter 5 Verse 24    Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.

Below is an excerpt from 100 PORTRAITS OF CHRIST   by Henry Gariepy

The supreme sacrifice on Calvary requires a judgment.  The same cross that is a revelation of the love of God is also revelation of the wrath of God.   Nowhere do we see the judgment of God against sin as vividly as on Calvary.  The flaming sword at Eden’s entrance, the raging waters of the Deluge (flood), the blazing fires of Sodom—these and all God’s pronouncements do not as unmistakably proclaim God’s judgment against sin as does the Cross.  The One who died on the cross to save us from our sin will one day judge us for our response to His salvation and the life we have lived.

We will each someday appear before the judgment throne of God.  When we stand before Christ the Judge, may we be prepared by having known Him as Savior and Lord so that we will hear His words, “Come, you who are blessed by My Father; take your inheritance” (Matthew 25:34).       – end of excerpt

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. 

God is in Control

John Chapter 19 Verse 11      Jesus answered, “You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above . . .”      

 Matthew Chapter 26 Verses 53 and 54     Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels?  How then will the Scriptures be fulfilled, which say that it must happen this way?”     (NASB)

GOD IS IN CONTROL

John 19:11 is Jesus’ response to Pontius Pilate’s question to Him:  “Do You not know that I have authority to release You, and I have authority to crucify You?”  Jesus responded very clearly that this was all part of God’s plan and something that God was allowing.  Scripture is very clear in letting us know that there is a penalty required for sin.  Although Jesus had never sinned, he chose to take our place and pay the penalty for our sin.    The horrific punishment and death that Jesus endured on the cross had to happen.  Why?  Because of us!  Our sin caused His punishment and death – a penalty He willing took on for us!  Matthew 26 tells us that if it were just a matter of one man punishing another, Jesus could have asked God His Father to send angels to deliver Him.  However, Jesus willing bore the penalty that our sin demanded and willingly took the beating and willingly died on the cross for my sins.

Pontius Pilate, a government official, thought that he was in control.  NOT!

Here in 2015, we are on the other side of the cross, and we know the good news that three days later Jesus rose from the dead!    God sent His Son so that we who believe – believe that we are sinners in need of a Savior, believe that He took our punishment, believe in Him – will not perish, but have everlasting life.

Don’t be discouraged when you look around today.  We know that all these things must take place, so be of good courage because Jesus is coming back and He will rule and reign on the earth, just as HE said!

Click here to hear, The Old Rugged Cross.

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. 

Thanks, Tell, Sing

Psalm 9 Verses 1 and 2    I will give thanks to the LORD with all my heart; I will tell of all Your wonders.  I will be glad and exult in You; I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High.         (NASB)

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. 

Stand Firm

Daniel Chapter 3 Verses   16-18   Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to give you an answer concerning this matter.  If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire, and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king.  But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”      

Psalm 118 Verse 6   The LORD is for me; I will not fear; what can man do to me?   (NASB)

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were three Hebrew boys that were taken captive from Jerusalem during the reign of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon.    They followed the law of the land until it went against the law of God.    And when those in the crowd saw that the boys did not bow to the statue, they went and told the king.   The king had the boys called to him and he gave them another chance to bow.   The above verse is what the boys answered the king.     Nebuchadnezzar became so angry that he had the furnace turned up seven times hotter, and he had the boys tied up before he threw them in.    The furnace was so hot that the men who brought them up to the furnace were killed instantly.

God did deliver Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego that day — so much so that not a hair of their head had burned and neither did their clothes smell like smoke.   You see, Nebuchadnezzar not only saw the three boys loosed and walking around in the midst of the fire (Hallelujah), but he saw a fourth man in the midst of them that (Nebuchadnezzar said) had the appearance of the “son of a god”.

Those three boys put their trust in the LORD and He delivered them.   They did not worry ahead of time about what God would do or how He would do it, they just trusted Him!  We can take confidence today from these three Hebrew boys who stood for God.   We can trust that GOD is always faithful!   Be confident today and don’t bow to the compromises that face us.   Stand firm, even when confronted with your own “fiery furnace”, because Jesus the Son of GOD, told us He will never leave us or forsake us!

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. 

Anxious?

Philippians Chapter 4 Verse 6 and 7    Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.    (NASB)

There is a lot of turmoil in the world today which makes it really easy to become anxious.    Today’s verse reminds us that as Christians, we can have complete peace, just by trusting in GOD.   Instead of getting worried and stressed today over the cares of this world, take some time to pray and talk to your heavenly father.   He will replace that anxiety with the peace of 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. 

THE ONE TRUE GOD

2 Chronicles 14 Verse 11

Then Asa called to the LORD his God and said, “Lord, there is no one like You to help the powerless against the mighty.   Help us, O LORD our God, for we rely on You, and in Your name we have come against this vast army.  O LORD, You are our God; do not let man prevail against You.”    (NIV)

Today’s verse comes from a “pre-battle” prayer lifted up by King Asa as detailed in 2 Chronicles chapter 14.   King Asa was one of the (very) few “good” Kings of Judah.  He tore down the idols that had been put up by his predecessors and he turned the nation back to the ONE TRUE GOD.   After a time of peace, Zerah the Cushite came against King Asa in battle.   Now scripture tells us that King Asa had a sizeable army of about 580,000 men, however Zerah the Cushite had a “vast army” – literally an army of thousands upon thousands.   King Asa looked at the size of the enemy army and knew that in his own strength he could not win the battle, however he also knew that the ONE TRUE GOD was mightier than any attacking force.   It was at this point that Asa prayed the prayer in today’s verse.   [spoiler alert] Starting in verse 12, we are told how GOD struck down the Cushite army and gave Asa total victory!

Many Christians today seem to feel as overwhelmed by the battle in front of them as did King Asa.  We hear of the recent supreme court decision and see how the definition of everything we have held as foundational is being attacked.   We hear the news and see how Christians – even in the US – are now being sued and persecuted for standing up for what we believe in.   We see economies, countries failing all around us.   We can easily get that sense of feeling overwhelmed.  It is at this point that we must remember today’s verse which reminds us that the ONE TRUE GOD is our only hope and that the battle is HIS to win!

Today, if you are feeling overwhelmed, cry out to the ONE TRUE GOD and then trust HIM to bring the total victory to your life!   Remember that the LORD is our GOD and man cannot prevail against HIM!

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. 

God is Sovereign

Psalm 103 Verse 19     The LORD has established His throne in the heavens, And His sovereignty rules over all.    (NASB)

Sovereign – having supreme rank, power and authority.

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. 

Because He Lives

John Chapter 14 Verse 19b      Because I live, you will live also.    (NASB)

One of our favorite songs is “Because He Lives” written by Bill and Gloria Gaither.   They wrote the song many years ago after they had a child and things in the world were chaotic and bleak.    Sadly, things in our society today have gotten even worse than when this song was written in 1971.

The second verse of the song states, “How sweet to hold a newborn baby, and feel the pride and joy He gives; But greater still the calm assurance, this child can face uncertain days because He lives.”

These words are still so true today!   Even though things in our culture may be continually degrading, we still have the CALM ASSURANCE that we can carry on all because JESUS LIVES!

Keep your eyes on our TRUE HOPE – JESUS CHRIST.   Trust in the CALM ASSURANCE that HE is the same, yesterday, today and forever! (Hebrews 13:8)

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.