Lenten Season 2023 – Mar. 27th

Lord, we know that we are all busy with the tasks of life and often forget that we need to spend time with you. Please help us to slow down so that we don’t lose sight of You because of all the busyness.

Help us to cast aside our pride and become more willing to let You cleanse our minds, hearts, and souls. Teach us how to more freely give You access to our hearts and minds. Show us that when we do this it will help us to be changed a little more each time.

Fill us more with Your mercy and love so that we might become Your loving and humble servants for all the world to see. Amen.


Daily Scripture Series – Mar. 27th

“‘For whom am I toiling,’ he asked, ‘and why am I depriving myself of enjoyment?'” (Ecclesiastes 4:8)

For many around the world, life is getting lonelier. The number of Americans who have no friends has quadrupled since 1990. Certain European countries have up to 20 percent of their population feeling lonely, while in Japan, some elderly folks have resorted to crime so they can have the companionship of inmates in jail.

Entrepreneurs have come up with a “solution” to this loneliness epidemic-rent-a-friend. Hired by the hour, these people will meet you in a cafe to talk or accompany you to a party. One such “friend” was asked who her clientele was. “Lonely, 30-to-40 year old professionals,” she said, “who work long hours and don’t have time to make many friends.”

Ecclesiastes 4 describes a person who is all alone, without “son nor brother”. There’s “no end” to this worker’s toil, yet his success isn’t fulfilling. “For whom am I toiling…”” he asks, waking up to his plight. Far better to invest in relationships, which will make his workload lighter and provide help in trouble. Because, ultimately, success without friendship is “meaningless”.

Ecclesiastes tells us that a cord of three strands isn’t quickly broken. but neither is it quickly woven. Since true friends can’t be rented, let’s invest the time needed to form them, with God as our third strand, weaving us tightly together.

Daily Questions

  1. How are you investing time and effort into your friendships?
  2. Who could you welcome into your friendship group now?

Ecclesiastes 4:7-12

again I saw something meaningless under the sun: There was a man all alone; he had neither son nor brother. There was no end to his toil, yet his eyes were not content with his wealth. “For whom am I toiling,” he asked, “and why am I depriving myself of enjoyment?” This too is meaningless-a miserable business! Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor; if either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”

Bonus Information

Most Bible scholars attribute the book of Ecclesiastes to King Solomon. The book begins: “The words of the Teacher, son of David, king in Jerusalem”. Those scholars who support Solomon as author date the book to his final years as king (around 940 BC), during waht the Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible says was the ‘golden era of Israelite wisdom.” The book demonstrates the meaninglessness or vanity of a worldview that doesn’t include God. The author concludes his book: “Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind for God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil” including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil”. Loving and obeying God is the goal and purpose of life. And as today’s passage demonstrates, when we have Him as our third strand in the cord that binds all our friendships and relationships, we can stand strong.


Look No Further Than Your Own Heart

“…and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh, you are in the Spirit, if the Spirit of God really dwells in you. Any one who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although your bodies are dead because of sin, your spirits are alive because of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit who dwells in you.” (Romans 8:8-11)

Paul reminds the believers in Rome as well as all of us who believe today, that because of God’s love for us, He resurrected His Son as proof that if we truly believe in the gift of His Spirit that we can still remain on this earth in our bodies yet still be able to survive the onslaught of damage that sin can do to the “flesh”. Even though we are weak and are of a sinful nature, we can overcome this flaw in our characters, if we truly believe that His Spirit resides within the human heart.

Ancient man who believed in God, also believed in His Holy Spirit. However, back then, prior to the arrival of Jesus onto the scene, the Holy Spirit didn’t reside within the hearts of man. It wasn’t until Jesus was resurrected that man was given this gift. Christ wanted to give us something that would remain with us even after He left this earth because He understood that man was weak and if left to his own devices would fall victim to his sinful nature and because His love for all of us is so strong He wanted everyone to have the opportunity to follow Him on the path to eternity. He therefore proceeded to plant His Spirit in each and every one of our hearts.

His Holy Spirit is known by many different names and each name serves a different purpose to help us get through the muck that’s been created by the dark side of society:

  • Author of Scripture – The Bible is inspired, literally “God-breathed,” by the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Trinity. The Spirit moved the authors of all 66 books to record exactly what He breathed into their hearts and minds. As a ship is moved through the water by wind in its sails, we too can be moved by the Scripture inspired by the Spirit.
  • Comforter-Counselor-Advocate – When Jesus went away, His disciples were greatly distressed because they had lost His comforting presence. But He promised to send the Spirit to comfort, console, and guide those who belong to Christ. The Spirit also “bears witness” with our spirits that we belong to Him and thereby assures us of salvation.
  • Convicter of Sin – The Spirit applies the truths of God to men’s own minds in order to convince them by fair and sufficient arguments that they are sinners. He does this through the conviction in our hearts that we are not worthy to stand before a holy God, that we need His righteousness, and that judgment is certain and will come to all men one day. Those who deny these truths rebel against the conviction of the Spirit.
  • Deposit – Seal – Earnest – The Holy Spirit is God’s seal on His people, His claim on us as His very own. The gift of the Spirit to believers is a down payment on our heavenly inheritance, which Christ has promised us and secured for us at the cross. It is because the Spirit has sealed us that we are assured of our salvation. No one can break the seal of God. This is why the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is the only unforgiveable sin. So, for those who refuse to believe in or accept the gift of the Spirit will be lost forever in darkness.
  • Guide – Just as the Spirit guided the writers of Scripture to record truth, so does He promise to guide believers to know and understand that truth. God’s truth is “foolishness” to the world, because it is “spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14). Those who belong to Christ have the indwelling Spirit who guides us into all we need to know in regard to spiritual matters. Those who do not belong to Christ have no “interpreter” to guide them to know and understand God’s Word. Sadly, when you look around today we can all clearly see just why our nation and the entire world are stumbling into a dark abyss of nothingness because they refuse to allow the Spirit to guide them in all that they do.
  • Indweller of Believers – (Romans 8:9-11; Ephesians 2:21-22; 1 Corinthians 6:19) The Holy Spirit resides in the hearts of God’s people, and that indwelling is the distinguishing characteristic of the regenerated person. From within believers, He directs, guides, comforts, and influences us, as well as producing in us the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). He provides the intimate connection between God and His children. All true believers in Christ have the Spirit residing in their hearts.
  • Intercessor – One of the most encouraging and comforting aspects of the Holy Spirit is His ministry of intercession on behalf of those He inhabits. Because we often don’t know what or how to pray when we approach God, the Spirit intercedes and prays for us. He intercedes for us “with wordless groans,” so that when we are oppressed and overwhelmed by trials and the cares of life, He comes alongside to lend assistance as He sustains us before the throne of grace.
  • Revealer – Spirit of Truth –  (John 14:17; 16:13; 1 Corinthians 2:12-16) Jesus promised that, after the resurrection, the Holy Spirit would come to “guide you into all truth.” Because of the Spirit in our hearts, we are able to understand truth, especially in spiritual matters, in a way that non-Christians cannot. In fact, the truth the Spirit reveals to us is “foolishness” to them, and they cannot understand it. But we have the mind of Christ in the Person of His Spirit within us. This is why so often when we confront people who do not believe as we do, with the truth, their reactions are very often total meltdowns.
  • Spirit of God/the Lord/of Christ – (Matthew 3:16; 2 Corinthians 3:17; 1 Peter 1:11) These names remind us that the Spirit of God is indeed part of the triune godhead and that He is just as much God as the Father and the Son. He is first revealed to us at the creation, when He was “hovering over the waters,” denoting His part in creation, along with that of Jesus who “made all things” (John 1:1-3). We see this same Trinity of God again at Jesus’ baptism, when the Spirit descends on Jesus and the voice of the Father is heard.
  • Spirit of Life – The phrase “Spirit of life” means the Holy Spirit is the one who produces or gives life, not that He initiates salvation, but rather that He imparts newness of life. When we receive eternal life through Christ, the Spirit provides the spiritual food that is the sustenance of the spiritual life. Here again, we see the triune God at work. We are saved by the Father through the work of the Son, and that salvation is sustained by the Holy Spirit.
  • Teacher –  (John 14:26; 1 Corinthians 2:13) Jesus promised that the Spirit would teach His disciples “all things” and bring to their remembrance the things He said while He was with them. The writers of the New Testament were moved by the Spirit to remember and understand the instructions Jesus gave for the building and organizing of the Church, the doctrines regarding Himself, the directives for holy living, and the revelation of things to come.
  • Witness – (Romans 8:16; Hebrews 2:4; 10:15) The Spirit is called “witness” because He verifies and testifies to the fact that we are children of God, that Jesus and the disciples who performed miracles were sent by God, and that the books of the Bible are divinely inspired. Further, by giving the gifts of the Spirit to believers, He witnesses to us and the world that we belong to God.

After reading the above, those of us who are true believers should be in awe of such a gracious and glorious gift of the Holy Spirit. However, it can also sadden the heart at the same time, when we come to realize that each and every person is given this gift from God the moment they take their first breath, but somewhere down the line they decided to lock it away in some dark corner of their hearts where Satan hides gleefully laughing as they commit the unforgiveable sin.

Let us not fall into Satan’s trap, instead, let us hold on tight to the gift of the Spirit so that we will have the strength to stand by God’s side and fight for what we know is right.

Lenten Season 2023 – Mar. 26th

Lord, we thank You now for Your sacrifice of shedding Your Holy Blood for us and for giving all of us the gift of salvation. Please teach us to be filled with more compassion, more mercy, and more love for all people, like You continually do.

Help us to see more clearly what You see. Help us to stop holding grudges, stop judging, stop turning our backs on those we have ignored. Show us how to grow closer to those we know and don’t know.

Give us the humility we need to be able to stand together so that we all can live as one for You and in You. Let us together all say “Amen!”