Emmaus Baptist Church
Thursday, June 13, 2024
God's Witness on Emmaus Church Road for over 130 Years!

Daily (almost) Devotional

 

 

 

 

 

14 September 2023

Jonah 1:12 (NASB 95)

12 He said to them, “Pick me up and throw me into the sea. Then the sea will become calm for you, for I know that on account of me this great storm has come upon you.”

The beginning of repentance is the recognition of our own responsibility.  As human beings we have a tendency to want to blame others for our problems many times knowing already that we have brought these things on ourselves.  McDonald’s made me fat, the car dealer sold me a car I couldn’t afford, my friends, family, boss, etc. made me do it.

At some point we must say, “It is my fault.”  Once we have done this we can sincerely ask for forgiveness and God is quick to show mercy and grace.  He loves us and wants to bless us, but we must put ourselves in the right position for blessing.  On our knees in repentance and acceptance of His lordship.

Whatever we have done, if we own it and confess it He is faithful and just to forgive us.

Love you all,

PJ

 
 
 
16 May 2023

Morning Devotion:

Acts 2:8 (NASB) “And how is it that we each hear them in our own language to which we were born?

             We are always so concerned about saying it right.  One of the greatest fears mentioned to me about sharing the gospel is that people don’t want to say the wrong thing.  They don’t want to “mess it up.”

            Well, there is no messing it up if we are in Christ.  The key to getting it right is getting right in your relationship with Christ.  When our hearts are aligned with His, our words will be His words.  He can direct our paths and our interactions.  When we speak people will hear.

            This verse is not about us speaking in new and strange languages.  This is about God opening the ears of the listeners to hear.  We speak and then we trust God to open the hearts and minds of the people that He has put us in touch with.

            Be sensitive to the Spirit in you and then be bold.  If we speak, they will hear.

Love you all,

PJ

 

 

1 May 2023

John 21:22 (NASB) Jesus *said to him, “If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!”

 We all follow our own road.  This has been made very clear on this latest trip home.  My father traveled a different road than his father and each of my father’s sons have followed their own paths.  We have seen successes, failures, sorrows and joys.  We have all built families in our own ways, all a little different.

God did not call us to do what the guy next to us is doing.  He called us to walk a specific road that has been designed for us.  If we get to caught up with what God has planned for our brothers, good or bad, we are focused on the wrong thing.  We need to focus on Christ and His leadership in our lives. 

Are you walking the path Christ has set for you? Are you focused on your service to Him?

That is my goal.  I pray that I might be found faithful when Jesus says, “You, follow me.”

Love you all,

PJ

 

 

 

28 April 2023

1 Corinthians 1:18 (NASB) For the word of the cross is to those who are perishing foolishness, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

 Sometimes I get tired.  Sometimes the heaviness of life gets to be almost more than I can carry.  You too?  Well, I have an exercise and rebuild program.  The heaviness of life is good training.  The more times we complete the walk under the weight of the world, the stronger we become.

This is true only if we are taking time to rebuild.  Just like weightlifting, I used to be really into that, you have to refuel to rebuild.  During rebuild days it seems like you cannot possibly eat or drink enough to replenish what you have expended.  It is the same for our spiritual walk.  We have to spend time eating and drinking up the word of God to give us the power to go on.

Isn’t that what the word for today says.  It, the word of the cross, is the power of God.  That power is in us and we need to fall back on it.  We need to do this even more when the days are heavy and when we are just too tired, that is when we need it most. “Just when I need Him more…”

Love you all,

PJ

 

 

26 April 2023

Ecclesiastes 5:2 (NASB)

2 Do not be hasty in word or impulsive in thought to bring up a matter in the presence of God. For God is in heaven and you are on the earth; therefore, let your words be few.

  What a tough word for a preacher.  One of my constant struggles is to make sure that what comes from the pulpit exhorts, encourages, instructs and convicts.  I strive to do this with fulness in the shortest amount of time, seeking not to drag things out.

I was always taught by my father, who was a faithful preacher for over 60 years, that if one could keep their message under 30 minutes, preferably 15, they would be more impactful and people would leave wanting more rather than complaining about how it went on and on and on…..

I generally do fairly well but then feel guilty if it doesn’t seem long enough.  This verse echoes my father, or rather, my father lived by this verse.  My prayer is that whatever I say, especially from the pulpit, would be true and to the point.

Perhaps it would be good to make this our goal, not just in church, but in all of our daily conversations.

Love you all,

PJ

 

 

 

 April 25th, 2023

2 Timothy 4:7 (NASB) I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith;

 What a wonderful reminder for what I am walking through today.  This verse can easily and joyfully be applied to my father.  He fought a good fight, faithfully leading small western churches for over 60 years.  He completed the work God had called him to and he never lost his faith.

I pray that this can be applied to me one day.  My father has set the example for us all.  It is not always easy and sometimes it can be long, but it will always be worth anything we go through in this world to hear, “Well done my good and faithful servant.”

My father will hear that soon and though I will mourn for my loss, I will celebrate his victory in Christ.

Love you all,

PJ

April 17th, 2023

 

Acts 1:8 (NASB)

8 but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”

 Do you feel “empowered?”  I look at some of the apostles and the early saints and sometimes I wonder if I could face the same trials.  They endured trials and persecutions that most of us cannot even imagine yet they remained faithful.

Not just faithful, but engaged and dynamic.  They continued to spread the gospel no matter the cost.  They went from town to town living meager lives at best and took Christ to their world.

We have an opportunity to be like them but it doesn’t start in us, it starts with Him.  It starts with being empowered by the Holy Spirit and then allowing Him to lead us.

Pray that we can be faithful and dynamic witnesses to Christ who has saved, delivered and empowered us.

Love you all,

PJ

PS Don’t forget to share a testimony today as we prep for revival meetings.

 

 

April 14th, 2023

Proverbs 1:2 (NASB)

2 To know wisdom and instruction,

To discern the sayings of understanding,

 

Because it’s what’s on my mind today.  Wisdom can be an elusive thing.  We want to do right.  We want to do best. We want to follow Christ and be His servants.  Sometimes, the details can be fuzzy.

Do we go to this place today? Do we seek this job? Do we give to this charity? Do we help with this project? Every time we choose to do one thing. we have to choose not to do something else.  Many times, one choice will affect not just ourselves, but our families, our friends and our churches.

No, I am not looking at going anywhere, I pray that God sees fit to leave me where I am for a good long time.  My decision is about the moment.  Do I travel now or do I wait.  Both have good, rational reasons for being best.  That is the most difficult type of decision, when both options are themselves good.

God helps us to separated best from good, to choose His will is to choose best.  I believe sometimes His will is to allow us to choose and either choice is still, then, His will.

Pray with me as I ponder best from good.

Love you all,

PJ

 

 

April 13, 2023

Matthew 28:18–20 (NASB)18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

 The last word, words.  Sometimes we feel alone.  Some days it seems like we have to trudge through this world in isolation because no one could understand, no one could relate.  We think that no one else has had to go through what we are dealing with.  None of these things are true.

Satan would love for us to get despondent and depressed.  Our enemy would like to see us cave and give up because we feel rejected and discarded.

Good news!  We are not alone.  Jesus stated He would always be with us.  We are not the first to go through what we are dealing with.  Jesus has walked through the trials of this world with all the saints that have gone before us and now he walks with us.  Who better to lend us comfort and counsel?

Whenever we feel alone, remember it is a feeling and not a reality.  The reality is God is with us and feelings can be deceiving.  Hold on to the truth of God’s presence and take heart!

Love you all,

PJ

 

 

April 12, 2023

Matthew 28:19–20 (NASB)

19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

 We have gone and reached people for Christ.  Now what?  What do we do with them? We baptize and we teach.  There is order in all things and once they become Christians we are commanded to baptize them.  Again, not a suggestion, a command.  Then we teach.  This may be the most difficult part.  Evangelism, the spreading of the gospel, is like casting seed in a garden.  It is quick and you can walk away.  The baptizing and teaching are tedious. They take time and commitment beyond the initial casting.  We are not called just to cast seed but to tend the young believers as they grow in Christ.

What do we teach?  All He has commanded.  If we fully taught the two new commandments, loving God and loving others, we could spend all of our lives learning and teaching them.

My prayer is that I will be found faithful, that I will not grow weary in doing the tedious work of teaching for a lifetime.  Join me in the work and see what God can do.

Love you all,

PJ

 

 

 

 April 11th, 2023

Matthew 28:19a (NASB) “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…”

 Continuing with Jesus’ last words in Matthew.  We are commanded to go.  This is not a suggestion.  This is an integral part of being a Christian, a follower of, and believer in, Christ.  Where do we go?

In this passage the disciples were a people without a safe harbour.  They were going to have to go somewhere just to survive.  They were responsible for an amazing revival that began in Jerusalem and then spread through the known world.

We, like them, need to go.  The problem with us now is that we are way too comfortable.  We need to hear this message and then find a way to be missionaries where we are and abroad.

Where do we go?  The word says everywhere.  We have to disciple “all nations.”  Here in the US, the nations have come to us.  It may only require a walk across the street or through town in order to reach some other nations.  We have been called to love and reach all people for Christ.  No matter what they look like, the language they speak, or how they got here.

Take a moment and pray about how you, I, can make this word come alive in us.

Love you all,

PJ

 

 

 

April 10th, 2023

Matthew 28:18 (NASB)
18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.

 As we wake up the day after resurrection Sunday we may feel a sense of “what now?”  After all of the wonderful services and the reminders of what Christ did for us and how He changed our world and our lives we wake up and we are still in a fallen and troublesome world.

We need a reminder that that resurrection Sunday was not just an event in time, but a moment that changed all of creation and opened the door for our salvation.  It was not an ending, it was a beginning.  It is the moment that guaranteed our adoption, our future transport.

This morning we have a reminder that no matter what it looks, or feels, like, Jesus is large and in charge.  All things are under His control and authority.  We can wake up today and walk in His power and under His care.

Take heart today and know that the God of all creation is actively seeking your good.

Love you all,

PJ

 

April 7th, 2023

Matthew 27:46 (NASB)

46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?”

 It hurts to read, to hear, these words.  As Jesus hangs on the cross for my sin, He is separated, even if only for a short time, from the love He came to share with us.

At this moment He literally gives His life for us and all of creation groaned.  There is no way for us to imagine the pain, the heartbreak or the sense of rejection.  He was rejected by man and for the moment, even by the Father.

If we ever feel like no one cares, or that the troubles we are facing are too much, we need to go back and read this verse again.  There is no greater pain or rejection.  How can we ever say that what we face is too much, is too great to bear?

I pray that I might be able to put my issues in perspective so that I never get to the point where I believe that what I am going through is worse than what my Saviour endured for me.

He gave all for me, what have I given for Him. (Can you hear the song in your head?0

Love you all,

PJ

 

 

 

 

April 6, 2023

 Matthew 26:64 (NASB)

64 Jesus *said to him, “You have said it yourself; nevertheless I tell you, hereafter you shall see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

 When questioned by the religious elites as to whether He was the Christ, His response was, “You said it…” We see this repeated with the military rulers as well. 

 The world today is asking the same question.  “Is this the Christ?”  Our response must be similar.  As soon as someone asks this question, they already know.  They know this is the Christ and then they must either accept Him and His forgiveness, or reject the love God has for them and be condemned.

Unfortunately, many choose the latter.  We need to be praying that people will see Christ in us and realize our motivation is to show Him to our world.

 When we are questioned, we need to declare, “It is as you ask, Jesus is the Christ.”

Love you all,

PJ

 

 

 

April 5th, 2023

Matthew 26:53 (NASB)

53 “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?

Sometimes I worry too much.  I look for ways to fix things.  I mean, someone has to do it, right?

Wrong.  Sometimes, only God can do it.  When we try to take God’s work into our own hands and try to accomplish His purposes in our own power, we always fall short.

It was Christ’s purpose to go to the cross.  It wasn’t that he was afraid of the soldiers.  They were simply pawns being used to accomplish what must occur.  Jesus could have called 10 thousand angels. But, He didn’t.  He chose to go to the cross and to make that final sacrifice for you and I.

He did something only He could do to accomplish something for all of humanity.  I pray that I can be aware of where I need to be as I simply follow Him as He accomplish His will.  It really is all about Him.

Love you all,

PJ

 

 

 

April 4th, 2023

Matthew 26:39–40 (NASB)

39 And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as Thou wilt.”

 Do we ever seek to avoid the pain and troubles in this world?  Of course, we do.  No one wants to hurt or to face abuse.  It would have been more difficult if Jesus had not prayed this prayer.  It shows His humanity alongside His divinity.

He asked one last time if perhaps there was another way.  This was going to be more painful and humiliating than anything He had yet encountered.  He was heartbroken.  But He was also committed to doing the will of the Father.

He concludes with those famous words, “Not as I will, but as Thou wilt.”  I hope this can be our refrain, no matter what comes.  In every part of my life, no matter the consequences, let it be His will.

Love you all,

PJ

 
 
April 3rd, 2023

Matthew 26:38 (NASB)

38 Then He *said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me.”

             How does this speak to me?  Is my savior still grieved?  This, most agree, applies to His duty to walk to and die on the cross.  But, does He still grieve over the condition of those whom He came to save?  I believe it still breaks His heart that so many are still unwilling to receive the forgiveness He offers.

            Can I at least keep watch with Him?  We need to apply ourselves to the task of praying for those who need to be saved.  We need to pray for the saints seeking to reach them.  We need to keep watch for opportunities to serve and for trials that may creep into our lives.

            I pray that I/we can keep watch as we seek to be the people He called us to be.  This is the week leading up to Resurrection Sunday.  Keep watch.  Keep your focus on Christ and His mission.

Love you all,

PJ

 

 

March 31st, 2023

 John 14:7 (NASB) “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.”

 

Do you know Him?  You see there can only be one.  There was a cheesy Sci-Fi movie series in which this was the catch phrase, “There can be only one.”

Jesus is the only one.  He is the only Son of the Father and if we know Him we know the Father.  If we reject Him we reject the Father.  If we reject Jesus Christ as the only one, we reject God himself.  This is the root of nearly all heresies and cults.  They either reject Christ outright or just count Him as one of many.

It doesn’t work that way.  He must be the only one.  He must be first in our lives and His will must be our joy.  When we do this, we are brought into a relationship with God that can only be known through Him.

So, do you know Him?  He must be the only Lord of your life.  Pray that we can eliminate anything from our lives that seeks to infringe on His supremacy.

Love you all,

PJ

 

 

March 30th, 2023

 Judges 7:2 (NASB) And the Lord said to Gideon, “The people who are with you are too many for Me to give Midian into their hands, lest Israel become boastful, saying, ‘My own power has delivered me.’

Not usually how we feel.  Not many of us wake up and say, “I’m too strong, rich, intelligent…” We always want to be more prepared, better funded and informed.  We want to know that we have the ability to do what God wants us to do.  This is the problem.

It can’t be us.  If it is God’s direction, God will empower us to get it done.  If we have too much power and ability within ourselves we will have the temptation to declare to the world what we have done.

We need to fall back and rely on God for the small things and the big things.  Yes, we must work and strive to become useful members of the Kingdom of God, but we must have a constant dependance on Him.

Let’s pray that we can seek to do only what God can accomplish and then give Him the glory for it.  Let’s resist the temptation to have pride in our own accomplishments rather than God’s deliverance, providence and ultimate victory.

Love you all,

PJ

 

 

 

 

March 29th, 2023

 2 Peter 3:8–9 (NASB) But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

 How long O Lord?  How long do we have to witness all the corruption in our world?  How long do I need to pray for those who are wandering and lost?  How long do I have to work and barely get by?  How long before you come and make all things new?  How long must I grieve for those who have already gone to you?

     That is a lot of how longs.  I don’t know.  God has declared that He has set a time for all things.  How long?  We continue on until He returns, no matter how long that is.  We cannot possibly judge God’s timing with the world’s calendar.  These are two completely different systems.  God resides in eternity and we reside in a world set on God’s clock.

            So, we trust Him, and we continue.  It is not for us know when He will return and our work will be finished.  We just carry on knowing that what He promised us will come in His time.  We just trust Him and look forward to that day.

Love you all,

PJ

 

 

 

March 28th, 2023

Luke 17:24–25 (NASB) “For just as the lightning, when it flashes out of one part of the sky, shines to the other part of the sky, so will the Son of Man be in His day. 25 “But first He must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.

Jesus continues to teach.  He is trying to bring the disciples up to speed on what is about to happen.  He says that there is going to be a great coming day that will be unstoppable and undeniable.  It is going to be amazing when Jesus returns in power. But…

But there is work left to be done.  He must suffer and be rejected first.  He came for this purpose but it is hard to accept.  The disciples were longing for the coming in power, but first must come the trials and troubles.  Perhaps the reason the crucifixion is such a stumbling block for so many is that Jesus also stated that we are His servants and will necessarily follow in the same path.  You know, troubles before victories.  We don’t like troubles.  They are, you know, troublesome.

Where are you today?  Are you in a time of comfort with rapt anticipation for your coming King?  Are you in the midst of a trial of your faith?  Most of us are somewhere on a plane between the two.  If your are in comfort, expect trials to come, they are part of our walk.  If you are in trials, expect deliverance, it is part of the promise.

Where ever you are, glorify God in Christ Jesus.  Remember, He walked this road before us and He will be with us, “Even to the end of the age.”

Love you all,

PJ

 

 

 

March 27th, 2023

Exodus 4:15 (NASB)

15 “And you are to speak to him and put the words in his mouth; and I, even I, will be with your mouth and his mouth, and I will teach you what you are to do.

 

Sometimes we feel alone in our work.  We get discouraged and wonder where our help is.  God knows.  He knows our limitations and He knows our fears.  He has the ability to bring into the work those who can, and are willing, to help and to see the work done.

Moses was not a speaker, he didn’t want that job, so God moved his brother Aaron to be his voice.  God spoke to two brothers, separated by miles and years and brought them together to deliver His people.

If God can do this, he can bring whatever help you, or I, need.  We need to trust Him and seek Him when things seem too hard.  Nothing is too hard for Him and He knows where to bring our help from.

Pray for each other and ask God to open our eyes so that we might see and accept the help when it comes.

 Love you all,

PJ

 

 

 

March 24th, 2023

John 6:15 (NASB) Jesus therefore perceiving that they were intending to come and take Him by force, to make Him king, withdrew again to the mountain by Himself alone.

What do we do when we are faced with trials and great temptations?  How do we instinctively react to difficulties.  Psychologists talk about our fight or flight tendencies.  When we face things that threaten us we either run away or fight.  We need to think differently.  We no longer run away.  We run to Christ.  We run to prayer.  We run to peace and security in Him.

When Christ faced this trial, he went away alone.  He went to pray.  There is strength in this private communion with God.  Don’t let the troubles of this world overwhelm you.  Whatever it is we can step away from the world and draw close to God and let Him comfort, strengthen and direct us.

Let us pray for each other as we seek to be more like Jesus.  Not just in what we teach, but more importantly, how we act in times of trouble.

Love you all,

PJ

 

 

 

March 23, 2023

Ezra 1:5 (NASB) Then the heads of fathers’ households of Judah and Benjamin and the priests and the Levites arose, even everyone whose spirit God had stirred to go up and rebuild the house of the Lord which is in Jerusalem.

 When was the last time your heart was stirred by the Spirit of God? We spend a lot of time just going through life.  We lack passion and commitment.  We just get by.  We may even believe that this is how things have to be.  We can’t do any better.  We can’t overcome this latest obstacle.  The enemy is too strong for us.  We are just captives in an evil and godless world.

It cannot be any worse for us than for Ezra’s people, yet they were moved by God and they moved.

I pray that we can allow our hearts to become more sensitive to the whispers of God in our lives and that when we hear, we will act.  I don’t know what battle you are fighting or what obstacle is between you and God’s best life for you, but I do know that God is greater.

If we will listen and then trust God when He speaks, we will be moved and we may even move mountains.

Love you all,

PJ

 

 

 

 

March 22nd, 2023

2 Thessalonians 3:1 (NASB) Finally, brethren, pray for us that the word of the Lord may spread rapidly and be glorified, just as it did also with you;

 Something positive this morning.  Pray for us. Pray for everyone that is busy in the work of reaching our world for Christ.  We pray that the Word would spread.  We pray that others will hear and respond.  We pray that in the process of this that the Lord would be glorified.  As we lift up the gospel message, God is glorified.  As people come to Christ, God is glorified.  As believers become more holy and devoted, God is glorified. As we become more united in our worship and work, God is glorified.

            It really is all about Him.  Everything we do should point the world to the Word and in turn to the saving knowledge it brings.  There is a reminder here that the readers of this verse have been the recipients of this amazing gift of God.  We have been given this gift, let us pray, as Paul asks, that others in turn my receive it too and glorify God with us.

Love you all,

PJ

 

 

 

March 21st, 2023

Lamentations 1:1 (NASB)

1:1 How lonely sits the city

That was full of people!

She has become like a widow

Who was once great among the nations!

She who was a princess among the provinces

Has become a forced laborer!

 

This is a bit of a sad reflection this morning.  The United States was once referred to as the New Camelot.  We were the source of good and providence for the world.  Up until recently our farmers literally fed the world.  Russia, Europe and Africa were dependent on American grain.  We built amazing buildings, cars and technology.  We were the world leaders in nearly all categories.

Something changed.  Maybe we got lazy, or maybe just distracted.  No, we are not the country we once were.

But God.

I love that phrase.  But God still desires to bless you.  He still desires to see you prosper in this world.  He can still take whatever situation you, or I, or our country is in and turn it around and cause us to be that light on a hill to our world again.

God sees where we are and the lamentation of Jeremiah is heard by Him.  If we continue to lift our voices to Him, if we turn our hearts back to Him.  He will hear us and He will come to our aid.

Take heart then and realize that no matter how it looks, God is fully in control and He loves you.

Love you all,

PJ

 

 

 

March 20th, 2023

Luke 11:39 (NASB):  39 But the Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and of the platter; but inside of you, you are full of robbery and wickedness.

 

Thinking on how we take care of ourselves.  We have a tendency to stress over our outward appearance. We want to look good for others. We want to be seen as acceptable to those around us both in the church and in the world. It reminds me, I like to keep coffee in a thermos. Funny thing, I don’t really care what the outside looks like so long as it keeps coffee fresh and hot. If I don’t clean the inside it will mold and get bitter and unhealthy.  Our lives are like that. I am not saying to skip the shower and dress poorly, but if we haven’t taken the time to care for what really matters, our heart, mind and soul, we are just putting on airs.

Focus on what matters and make sure your heart is turned to, and aligned with, the mind of Christ.

Love you all,

PJ