Daily Devotions

May 27th, 2020

Dear St Mark Family and Friends,

Here is the reading for today and a musical version of the same reading.
Is. 43:1-5

Your brother in Christ
Pastor Jay

May 26th, 2020

Good morning St. Mark Family and Friends,

Thank you to  those who prayed for my mother, Anna May Larsen  who contracted the virus.  She passed into the kingdom of heaven yesterday.

The Bible verse for today is:

webassets/052620devotion.jpg 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RSbJPZLNIuc 

Your brother in Christ,

Pastor Jay

May 25th, 2020

Good morning St Mark family and friends,

Here is the verse for the day.   In fact it is a good verse for the entire millennium as well.

 2 Chronicles 7:14


(the above link is to Celtic Woman singing this song that was written shortly after 9/11
It sounds as if it  is a song sung to America by God.)Here are the lyrics.

O, America you're calling,
I can hear you calling me,
You are calling me to be true to thee,
True to thee I will be.
O, America no weeping,
Let me heal your wounded heart.
I will keep you in my keeping,
Till there be, a new start.
And I will answer you, and I will take your hand,
And lead you to the sun
And I will stand by you, do all that I can do,
And we will be as one.
O, America I hear you,
From your prairies to the sea,
From your mountains grand, and all through this land,
You are beautiful to me.
And, O, America you're calling,
I can hear you calling me,
You are…
And, O, America you're calling,
I can hear you calling me,
You are calling me to be true to thee,
True to thee, I will be.
And I will answer you, and I will take your hand,
And lead you, to the sun
And I will stand by you, do all that I can do,
And we will be, as one

--

Your brother in Christ,
Pastor Jay

May 23rd, 2020

John  17: 9-11, and 20-23 (These are the Gospel reading for tomorrow.)

 

Plagues and Triumph:
Pandemics and the Growth of Christianity by the Church Doctor

 Years ago, I read Rodney Starks’ The Triumph of Christianity. As Christ-followers, we can learn a lot from the two plagues that hit the Roman Empire in the second century AD.

The Romans who were wealthy were experts in social distancing! When the plagues arrived, they fled to the remote countryside. They left the masses of poor people behind to suffer and to die.

The Christians had a different worldview:

  • Life is sacred.
  • Mercy is the way of life.
  • Sacrifice is the platform for mercy.


This is what believers do. This is who Christians are.

So, as the wealthy fled for the hills, the Roman masses suffered from disease. Christians, with a resurrection mindset and eternal perspective, stayed behind to care for those who were sick.

Calamity Clarifies

It’s so easy for comfortable humans to ignore their Creator, much easier to ignore their Redeemer—and even easier to take no notice of His followers—and their churches.

When the Roman plagues ended, the wealthy people returned to the cities. They were astonished to discover what was undeniable: The Christians had stayed and prayed, cared and comforted, blessed the sick, and buried the dead. Like the popular contemporary song says, "You’re the God who stays…when the whole world walks away" (
The God Who Stays by Matthew West).

The result? The wealthy, influential Romans discovered that Christians are heroes. Many discovered the real Hero, the One who beat death once and for all. The Christian Movement was greatly advanced throughout the Roman Empire.

Persecution

Does it feel like a form of 
persecution that you cannot physically gather with friends at church for worship? Is that your focus, your worldview? Look, it’s easy for all of us to drift into the "‘poor me’ spiritual consumer mode." I get that. It’s a real temptation.

Consider this: In Acts 8:1, there is a news report about some bad times for the followers of Jesus. "There was a 
great persecution of the church in Jerusalem."

I don’t know about you, but I don’t think persecution is "great" at all! Yeah, I know, "great" means huge, right? Hold on: it was really "great"—awesome—as well.

Read on in Acts 8. What was the result? "The believers were all scattered." Does that sound like your life, your church, today? What is great about that?

Yet, look at what Scripture adds: "The believers were all scattered, preaching the Word."

 

Spiritual Worldview

1.     If your church is streaming worship on the Internet, are you inviting your unchurched friends to tune in?  

2.     If you have invited friends to   join you for church, (eithr on line  or in the parking lot)are you following up, providing them the opportunity to discuss the message with you? Are you following up by texts, email, or phone?

3.     Are you focused on the scattered opportunity to reach unchurched friends who have never felt comfortable entering a church building? Right now, you are looking through that window of opportunity! Can you just say, "I’m praying for you?"

4.     As unbelievers in your social network watch the same news reports about the unbelievable number of deaths, has it led you to connect virtually with those who show no signs of faith—to talk about life, death, and eternity?

5.     Are you simply a Christian consumer in this perfect storm to share your faith? Are you taking Jesus’ invitation, "You will be my witnesses…"?

6.     As you deal with the plague, are you focused on the spiritual doughnut, or the hole? For each of us, Jesus might be challenging us: "problem or opportunity?"

 

Your brother in Christ,

Pastor Jay

May 21st, 2020


The reading for today in Psalm 107.

Sabrina Wurmbrand was imprisoned in a Romanian  slave labor camp. Years later she went back to that prison to try and encourage the women prisoners. She writes "It was very hard.
Many women in tears said, "If ever I will be free again, never will I complain that it is too hard. I will never speak with my husband or my children the way I did."  There were so many tears of repentance. ...

Among us was a young Christian girl who was richer than all the rest because she had gathered God's word in her heart.
Her little group asked God, "How can we  stand it? We are in hell. What should we do?"
The young woman said, "We have a program for all Christians no matter where they are. Psalm 107.
When many tears are on our faces do we say, How can I solve this problem?
It is then that we see how small and weak we are. You could never solve it in your strength. Instead, as the psalms begins, "Give thanks to the Lord,  for his mercy endures forever.
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so!.
Look at his kindness. You are his, and He is yours. He will not throw you away.
Sometimes it is like we are in hell. We suffer. We forget who we are. We belong to Him, we are His. HIS NAME IS WRITTEN ON OUR FOREHEADS. 'May God bless you and shine his glory over you, in order that His name should be easily read by those around you."

May 16th, 2020


Verse of the day, Romans 10:9-13

This is my daughter Julie and some of her co-workers at Faith Community Church in Prague. And yes we are very proud of her.

May 15th, 2020


Dear St. Mark Family and friends,

The verse for the day is Gospel of John 6:35, 48-58.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xeDoUE4_D2U 

May 14th, 2020


Dear St. Mark Family and friends,

The verse for the day is from the Gospel of Luke.

 Some Christians take a verse in John 14 out of context  

Jesus says, “Whatever you ask in my name I will give to you.”  They misinterpret it to mean I can ask for whatever I   want, and if I tack on the  phrase “In Jesus name amen” God is legally  obligated to give me whatever my heart desires. Some of them even call it the “Prayer of Faith.” That is not the prayer of faith!

 Luke 22:41-2 is the prayer of faith.  I encourage you, let this be the prayer of your heart today.

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sj62hX119vs

 webassets/prayerofabandonment.jpg

May 11th, 2020

Dear St. Mark family and friends,
 
The verse for today is Romans 4:8.
I came across this picture the other day. I think the council that goes with it offers some pretty good advice.
 
Your brother in Christ
 
Pastor Jay
 
 webassets/27003336456376.jpegwebassets/27003336465732.jpeg 

May 8th, 2020

-The verse for today is  Hebrews10:23-25


The  song for today is one my daughter Anika who wrote down 8 years ago. 
She put it in a letter and then lost the letter.  We just received it this week , so I share it with you now, 8 years later. Maybe that's God timing?�� 


Your brother in Christ,
Pastor Jay
 
webassets/devotion050820.jpg 

May 7th, 2020

Dear St Mark family and friends,
 
In honor (belatedly) of St. Hilarius day, here is the verse for the day. Enjoy!
 
Your brother in Christ, Pastor Jay

Proverbs 17:22
--

Click here for funny cartoons.

May 6th, 2020

Dear St. Mark family,

 Verse for the day is the gospel of John 14:27.

Someone shared this press release with me the other day. It sounds very promising.  I sent it to Snopes to try and verify but haven’t heard back yet.

 The Migal Research Institute, based in northern Israel, held a press conference to reveal that they have developed a coronavirus vaccine. "It's totally game-changing," Migal CEO David Zigdon told From The Grapevine  mostly focuses its research on agriculture and animals. And it was that specialty which gave it a leg up in the race to find this new vaccine. For the past four years, they have been working on developing a vaccine for coronavirus in chickens. When the human outbreak of the disease accelerated a few months ago, they soon realized there was only a few genetic tweaks needed to have the poultry version work in humans as well. "It was an issue of timing that we were already working on this project. We were here at the right time." Zigdon told us that Migal will now repeat the pre-clinical trial. "Hopefully, in a few months we'll have the final version that we can go to humans." The vaccine will then have to go through several regulatory approvals which might be fast-tracked because of the outbreak  Migal is not alone in this race to find a cure. Other groups are also frantically working on a vaccine. U.S.-based Gilead Sciences, for example, announced this week that it is launching two Phase III clinical trials for a drug to treat covid-19,  s for the new vaccine, And hopefully, no one will use it because the disease will pass. This would be the best thing." Source: From the Grapevine

Here is the last segment of the musical we did a few yars ago called “Rebound for Glory.” Hope you enjoy.

https://vimeo.com/82748085

                                                          Your brother in Christ,

                                                                   Pastor Jay

11007 S. 76th Avenue, Worth, IL 60482  (708) 448-6555

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