Sunday School 9:00 AM
Morning Worship 10:15 AM
Kid's Church (5 yrs-5th) 10:15 AM
Celebrate Recovery 6:30 PM
Bible Study & Prayer 6:00 PM
Kids on Mission (1st-5th) 6:00 PM
Youth (6th-12th) 6:00 PM


Devotional Prayer Guide Contributors:
The Holy Spirit of God through the pen of Lyndal Corbitt, Bonnie Campbell, Bro. Bob Orgeron and Lana Orgeron. Thanks to each! God bless you!
Sunday, June 1, 2008 
Luke 19:37-40   Then, as He was now drawing near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen, saying:
" 'Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the LORD!’ Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” 
And some of the Pharisees called to Him from the crowd, "Teacher, rebuke Your disciples” But He answered and said to them, "I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out”
Our God deserves our worship and our praise! How fitting to begin this June devotional and prayer journal rejoicing and praising God for all the mighty works we have seen Him do as He has brought our mission team and our church to this time of readiness for departure and implementation of His plan! Today, give yourself to rehearsing all that you have witnessed in the past weeks as we have prayed. We have already listed in the praise report crucial answers that we know God took care of and provided for, but what has He said to you as you have prayed these past weeks? 
In verse 40, Jesus told the Pharisees that if His disciples kept silent the stones would immediately cry out! I once heard Beth Moore state: “If we don’t praise Him, the rocks will, and ain’t no rock praising Him in my place!”   On my way home from that Beth Moore seminar, we ate at a Cracker Barrel and on the shelf my friend and I found imitation rocks molded in the shape of a face and the face appears to be laughing. Neither of us could resist bringing one home with us to remind us that “ain’t no rock praising Him in my place!” I smile every time I look at that rock...AND I PRAISE HIM! 
Oh God, we rejoice and praise You for all the mighty works we have seen You do to bring this mission trip to pass. We cannot keep silent Lord! We thank You! Father, Cheryl, Don, Gigi, Raymond, Hanna, Jessica, Bro. Bob and Reba are your disciples taking Your Name into the cities of Likasi, Lubumbashi, Brazzaville, Luila Village and stops along the way. They go rejoicing and praising You to tell of all the mighty works You have done. Lord, we pray that You will prepare the way, provide all they have need of, that even the Pharisees they encounter will be saved and the disciples that are already there in these cities and churches will be challenged, encouraged and strengthened in their faith as You reveal more and more of Yourself to them through the teaching, preaching and the love of Christ that our team will show to them. Lord, turn hearts of stone into hearts of flesh willing to receive You and to worship You and You alone. In the blessed Name of Jesus, we pray.
Monday, June 2, 2008
Deuteronomy 4:6-9
6: “So keep these statues and do them, for that is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the people who will hear all theses statues and say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people’
7: “For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as is the LORD our God whenever we call on Him?
8: “Or what great nation is there that has statutes and judgments as righteous as this whole law which I am setting before you today?
9: “Only give heed to yourself and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things which your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life; but make them known to your sons and your grandsons.”
In Deuteronomy chapter 4, God is telling His people that not only are they blessed by their obedience to Him, but their obedience is one of His primary methods of revealing Himself to others that do not know Him. God is saying that the relationship His people have to Him will be a testimony to other nations. These other nations will consider God’s people great because no other god is as close as our God is. This is a very interesting thought because all the gods of the other nations were idols and were tangible, that means they could see them and touch them, they made them for themselves. Our God is the Invisible God; He must be worshiped in spirit and in truth.  The problem with having an intangible God is that we are tempted at times to worship the created rather than the Creator. We love what He has provided for us more than we love Him. Verse 7 tells us that it is God Himself that is near to us and that hears whenever we call on Him; there is no other god that can do this. Verse 9 warns us to pay attention to these teachings and to not let them leave our hearts. We are to teach them to our children and grandchildren.
Father, we pray that our mission trip is one that will be full of life-changing stories that we can share with our children and grandchildren. We pray that the people we minister to will know that our God is great because of the word of our testimony and our obedience to You. Lord, we pray all this because we know You are near us in all that we do, and we know You hear us whenever we call on You.
Tuesday, June 3, 2008  
Amos 8:11   "Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord GOD, “That I will send a famine on the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD.”
I heard a woodpecker early on this sunny day deep in the woods making his jabs at another helpless tree. I do not know what tree of choice was his, but I do realize that no matter its size or strength, it is no match for the relentless pecks of the woodpecker. Soon, disease will set in, and depending upon the severity of the woodpecker’s attack, the tree will die.
For years, I have heard woodpeckers on the hillside behind our house but that never gave me much cause for concern until recently. I was in the backyard and noticed my 10-year-old Bradford pear tree had hosted one such bird. I gasped in horror as I gazed upon thousands of holes he had left behind. Shortly thereafter, I actually saw the redheaded culprit revisit my tree and realized the tree had no defense unless I intervened!
Upon hearing the woodpecker again today, I thought about Africa. I thought about how we read much that goes on in that country, and about the testimony of the Kinzounzas. I thought about the souls of the people and the need for the gospel to be given to them. I thought about how far away Africa is from Nashville, Tennessee. I thought about how faint the cries are of the victims of war, the lack of safe drinking water, the famine, the spiritually starving souls there, and just lots of other needs. I thought about the woodpecker’s sound, distant, faint.....I thought about the huge, red headed woodpecker that visited my ornamental Bradford pear tree in my own backyard, and how unaffected and uninterested I was in the harm the woodpecker causes to even taller, more mature, strong trees growing enmasse on the wooded hillside. 
Africa is a big country; my back yard is but a grain of sand. Disease affecting millions of people there; only one little tree diseased in my back yard; souls hungering and thirsting for the Word of God; my soul indifferent to the faint cries of the people as I feast upon the Word, always taking it in but rarely giving it out!
Where are you Park Avenue church member? Are you listening? What do you hear? Are you watching? What do you see? What action will you take?
Lord, You have called 8 people affiliated with our church to take ‘The Word of the Lord’ to the people in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the Republic of Congo to address the famine of the Word of God that is in that land. Lord, there is definitely a famine of Your Word in America! We hear the faint, distant cries of lost souls of men and women all around us. Help us to take the Bread of Life, the Living Water to our world even if it’s just down the street! We ask that You open the ears of the people to hear and to respond. Be glorified Lord.
Wednesday, June 4, 2008 
A Psalm of Thanksgiving
Shout triumphantly to the Lord, all the earth, Serve the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs. – Psalm 100:1-2 Holman CSB
The above psalm reminds us that the whole earth should “Shout to the Lord.” We are blessed beyond measure, but sometimes we are so busy from this demanding world, we are slow to count our gifts and even slower to give thanks to the Giver. 
Our blessings include life and heath, family, friends, freedom and also possessions. These gifts are multiplied when we share them. I am sure that the team will have a different perspective on all of these gifts when they return. We are to always give thanks to God for His blessings, and always demonstrate our gratitude by sharing with others. As our Mission Team returns home, may we give God the thanksgiving He so deserves for the lives that are changed by the work they have done and the blessing that they have received.
Precious Jesus, the heavens show us Your handiwork, and the stars in Your sky show us power. You sent Your Son to die for my sins; gave me eternal life, and for this I am so unworthy. But, thank You Lord for giving Him! Make me always mindful of how glorious that gift is. Lord, we pray that the work that has been accomplished in the Congo will bring many people to accompany us into eternity. We celebrate You today and Your gift of love for us. May I use this gift to Your glory. Amen.
Psalm 5: 1-4, 7-8, 11-12 (selected verses)
Give ear to my words, O LORD, Consider mymeditation. Give heed to the voice of my cry, my King and my God, for to You Iwill pray. My voice You shall hear in themorning, O LORD; in the morning I will direct it to You, and I will look up.
But as for me, I will come into Your house in themultitude of Your mercy; in fear of You I will worship toward Your holy temple. Lead me, O LORD, in Your righteousness because of my enemies; make Your way straight before my face.
But let all those rejoice who put theirtrust in You; let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them; let those also who love Your name be joyful in You. For You, O LORD, will bless the righteous; with favor You will surround him as with a shield.
Much lies ahead of our mission team this day. After months of planning and preparation, they leave American soil taking with them the Holy Spirit of God, the Word of God that is hidden in their hearts, the fruit of the Spirit and their spiritual gifts!
Like the Psalmist, our team’s mission is hopeless and they are helpless without God’s direction and His mercy. They are getting on those planes today in faith, trusting their Lord and their God to protect them from the enemy of their faith. They go depending on His tender mercies to enable them to walk in His ways, and to be obedient to His direction, yet fully dependent upon His grace for responsible progress.
Father, May they rejoice as they trust in You Lord. May they shout for joy because You defend them. May they be joyful in You Lord as You surround these righteous ones as with a shield of favor! Father, We cannot ask for anything more for Cheryl, Don, Gigi, Raymond, Hanna, Jessica, Bro. Bob and Reba than the Psalmist so eloquently prayed in Psalm 5! We trust You have established a hedge of protection around them, the airplanes they travel in and the airports they track through. We know they are safe in the center of Your will! Thank You Lord! In the Name of Jesus we pray with grateful hearts.
jFriday, June 6, 2008   ARRIVAL IN PARIS & BRAZZAVILLE
Psalm 6:1, 2a, 4, 8b, 9
O LORD, do not rebuke me in Your anger, nor chasten me in Your hot displeasure. Have mercy on me, O LORD, for I am weak.....Return O Lord, deliver me! Oh, save me for Your mercies’ sake!....For the LORD has heard the voice of my weeping. The LORD has heard my supplication; the LORD will receive my prayer.
Distress will take us to our knees! Pain, anxiety, sorrow, any kind of trouble has a way of turning us to seek the mercy of God. Weak and troubled, David sought the Lord too in a prayer of faith.
Today, our mission team will be weary from the long flight from Nashville to Brazzaville. In addition, there may be some apprehension and trepidation as they fly, as well as when they reach their long anticipated destination. Only the Kinzounzas have knowledge and familiarity with the land to which they have taken this long voyage. Yet, even for them, there are guarded concerns as they return to the country from which they fled many years ago in order to save their lives. Using David’s psalm as a guide to pray, we too are seeking the Lord for mercy and for deliverance for His mercies’ sake! We offer this prayer in faith!
Father, today is a big day for our mission team. David asked You to deliver him, to save him for Your mercies’ sake; Lord, we ask that of You for our team. David went on to say in vs. 5: for in death there is no remembrance of You; in the grave who will give You thanks? Therefore, Lord, we ask Your protection for team.
Psalm 7:1, 2, 6-17
O LORD my God, in You I put my trust; save me from all those who persecute me; and deliver me, lest they tear me like a lion, rending me in pieces, while there is none to deliver.  
Arise, O LORD, in Your anger; lift Yourself up because of the rage of my enemies; rise up for me to the judgment You have commanded! So the congregation of the peoples shall surround You; for their sakes, therefore, return on high. The LORD shall judge the peoples; judge me, O LORD, according to my righteousness, and according to my integrity within me.
Oh, let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end, but establish the just; for the righteous God tests the hearts and minds. My defense is of God, Who saves the upright in heart
God is a just judge, and God is angry with the wicked every day. If he does not turn back, He will sharpen His sword; He bends His bow and makes it ready. He also prepares for Himself instruments of death; He makes His arrows into fiery shafts.
Behold, the wicked brings forth iniquity; yes, he conceives trouble and brings forth falsehood. He made a pit and dug it out, and has fallen into the ditch which he made. His trouble shall return upon his own head, and his violent dealing shall come down on his own crown.
I will praise the LORD according to His righteousness, and will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High.
Lord, this Psalm includes many prayer requests we have for our team and the people they will meet and minister to today in their travels from Brazzaville by boat to Kinshasa and the plane ride from Kinshasa to Lubumbashi then by car to Likasi. We pray for the boat operators and the pilots who navigate those vessels. We lift up Bishop Jonas Majila, who they will be working alongside of for the next few days. We pray that El Elyon, our Most High God will be honored and glorified. Lord, give strength to our team. Rest them at the end of this day and renew and refresh them for the work that is at hand. Use Cheryl, Hanna, Jessica and Reba, through the interpretation skills of Gigi, to minister to the children and women. Likewise Lord, use Bro. Bob, through the diligent interpretation of Raymond, to teach and preach, and use Don to encourage and help pastor and Raymond. In our Savior’s name we pray, believing You are going to save the souls of men and edify the saints for Your kingdom’s sake, Lord Jesus.                                             
Psalm 8
O LORD, our Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth, who set Your glory above the heavens! Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have ordained strength, because of Your enemies, that You may silence the enemy and the avenger. When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained, what is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels, and You have crowned him with glory and honor. You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen—even the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea that pass through the paths of the seas. O LORD, our Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth!
Oh heavenly Father, when I read this Psalm I just praised Your Name for how perfectly it fit for our scripture lesson today, Sunday, the day of worship! Lord, according to the schedule of events, preaching and teaching and worship will fill this day in Likasi. We thank You for the Sabbath Day and for commanding us to keep it holy. Thank You Lord, while our team is worshiping You there that we will also be students of the Word on this Lord’s Day as well as worshippers of The Word who became flesh and dwelt among us! Oh Lord, truly, how excellent indeed is Your Name in all the Likasi, in West Nashville, around the world! We worship You on this day that You have ordained for us to celebrate You Lord God, Jesus Christ our Savior, Holy Spirit our indwelling Comforter! Glorious Amen.
Psalm 9
I will praise You, O LORD, with my whole heart; I will tell of all Your marvelous works. I will be glad and rejoice in You; I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High. When my enemies turn back, they shall fall and perish at Your presence. For You have maintained my right and my cause; You sat on the throne judging in righteousness. You have rebuked the nations, You have destroyed the wicked; You have blotted out their name forever and ever. O enemy, destructions are finished forever! And you have destroyed cities; even their memory has perished. But the LORD shall endure forever; He has prepared His throne for judgment. He shall judge the world in righteousness, and He shall administer judgment for the peoples in uprightness. The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; for You, LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You. Sing praises to the LORD, who dwells in Zion! Declare His deeds among the people. When He avenges blood, He remembers them; He does not forget the cry of the humble. Have mercy on me, O LORD! Consider my trouble from those who hate me, You who lift me up from the gates of death, that I may tell of all Your praise In the gates of the daughter of Zion. I will rejoice in Your salvation. The nations have sunk down in the pit which they made; in the net which they hid, their own foot is caught. The LORD is known by the judgment He executes; the wicked is snared in the work of his own hands. Meditation. Selah.                    The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God. For the needy shall not always be forgotten; the expectation of the poor shall not perish forever. Arise, O LORD, do not let man prevail; let the nations be judged in Your sight. Put them in fear, O LORD that the nations may know themselves to be but men. Selah
Praise should always be prominent in the life of a believer! Our God is worthy of our praise, in both the good and the bad times. Rehearsing His goodness to us enables us to face the future. Praise Him, tell of His marvelous works, be glad and rejoice in Him. Sing praises to His name: El Elyon-Most High God! 
When facing the giants in our lives, we can know from past experience that when we cry out to Him in prayer He hears us. We can ask for His mercy and to consider our trouble! He is a refuge for the oppressed and a refuge in time of trouble. He does not forget the cry of the humble. He is in control of nations and He will judge the world in righteousness. 
O Lord, Our hearts praise You and we thank You that our mission team is in the Congo telling of all Your marvelous works! They are so glad to be there rejoicing in You, their Most High God who judges in righteousness. Lord, it is You who rebukes nations. It is You who destroys the wicked and blots out their names forever. It is You who shall endure forever. You have prepared Your throne for judgment. You have not forsaken those who seek You. You do not forget the cry of the humble. We pray for those men and women, boys and girls in the Congo who are needy and poor. We know Lord God that You are their refuge! Strengthen the mission team, the pastors and their families, the couples and their families today as they open up Your word together. Thank You for Your mercy and love.
Psalm 10:1, 12-18
Why do You stand afar off, O LORD? Why do You hide Yourself in times of trouble?..........Arise, O LORD! O God, lift up Your hand! Do not forget the humble. Why do the wicked renounce God? He has said in his heart, “You will not require an account.” But You have seen, for You observe trouble and grief, to repay it by Your hand. The helpless commits himself to You; You are the helper of the fatherless. Break the arm of the wicked and the evil man; seek out his wickedness until You find none. The LORD is King forever and ever; the nations have perished out of His land. LORD, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will prepare their heart; You will cause Your ear to hear, to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, that the man of the earth may oppress no more.
Do you sometimes wonder why God is taking so long to answer your prayers? The psalmist certainly felt that God was aloof and indifferent to his pleas concerning wickedness and evil. We live in such a world today. We observe the rich vs. the poor and we are perplexed. It seems that God is allowing sin and evil to prevail. Christians are sneered at, ridiculed, belittled, and the Jesus we profess is rejected. While the psalmist began this chapter with trying to speed the Lord up to respond to the situation at hand, his intercession evolved into a confident mood of peace and praise.
May our times of intercessory prayer, no matter how demanding and panic-stricken they begin, conclude with conviction and quiet confidence that our El Roi sees our trouble and our grief. The Lord is King forever! He hears the desire of the humble. He prepares hearts. He will cause the ear to hear. He will do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed. Our great God listens!
Lord, our world is in a sinful mess. Evil is called good, wrong is now right, and right is wrong, it just seems that is it raining upside down these days.   Nonetheless, You do see it all and You will repay the wicked. You are King forever and ever and we know that You hear the desire of the humble and You are just. So Father, we rest knowing that our mission team is in Your loving care. We know that You have gone before and behind them. We know that the Word of God is going to be shared for many days to come and that which has been shared is going to change hearts and sinners are going to be converted and You are going to be glorified. We bless our God and our King, in the blessed Name of Jesus Christ we pray with grateful and anticipating hearts.
?oWednesday, June 11, 2008 CAR FROM KINSHASA TO LUILA VILLAGE-GIVE OUT SUPPLIES;                               TO BRAZZAVILLE BY BOAT
Psalm11:1a, 3: In the LORD I put my trust.....3 If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?
 The psalmist begins with confirmation that he puts his trust in the Lord. Yet, he states in vs. 3 that “if the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” 
Have you ever felt that way? When hard things come into your life, you know to trust in the Lord, but you just cannot understand how you can make a difference. You get discouraged and you want to throw up your hands and quit. DON’T! Continue to have faith in the Lord’s righteousness, in His Sovereignty, as He has a divine purpose for you, for His church. Trust in the Lord, because.......
4a The LORD is in His holy temple, the LORD’s throne is in heaven; 5a The LORD tests the righteous...7 For the LORD is righteous, He loves righteousness; His countenance beholds the upright.  
Father, we at Park Avenue have been guilty of saying “if the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do.” You have shown us that You can take a remnant of righteous men and women, and from that remnant fashion a mission team. You have used the righteous remnant to supply and support this team by donating items for a successful rummage sale, with generous monetary donations, with educational and medical supplies to take with them to the Congo, with effective, fervent prayers, and with words of encouragement. Bless our team today we pray Lord God! We thank You for showing us what You can do with a righteous remnant! Glory to Your Name!
& Thursday, June 12, 2008 BRAZZAVILLE –         DOING MINISTRY
Psalm 12
Help, LORD, for the godly man ceases! For the faithful disappear from among the sons of men. They speak idly everyone with his neighbor; with flattering lips and a double heart they speak. May the LORD cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that speaks proud things, who have said, “With our tongue we will prevail; our lips are our own; who is lord over us?” “For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, now I will arise,” says the LORD; “I will set him in the safety for which he yearns.” The words of the LORD are pure words, like silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. You shall keep them, O LORD, You shall preserve them from this generation forever. The wicked prowl on every side, when vileness is exalted among the sons of men.
I heard it said recently, that the tongue is the “best part” and the “worst part” of mankind. The tongue can build up or tear down. Some good questions to ask yourself before you speak: 1) Is it kind? 2) Is it true? 3) Is it necessary? 4) Does it improve on the silence?
Speak forth the words of the Lord, pure words, like refined silver; keep them, preserve them from this generation to the next, forever! The hostile realities of verse 8 call for the heavenly resources of verse 7. Men’s words hurt, but the Lord’s words heal!
Dear God, Place exactly the right words in the mouths of our mission team today as they teach and preach and share the gospel with the Congolese people. Also, give them words to speak forth that will encourage one another. Use Your word to heal those who have been hurt by the unkind words of others.   We thank You for Your Word.
& Friday, June 13, 2008 BRAZZAVILLE –                DOING MINISTRY
Psalm 13
How long, O LORD? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me? How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? How long will my enemy be exalted over me? Consider and hear me, O LORD my God; enlighten my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death; lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed against him”; lest those who trouble me rejoice when I am moved. But I have trusted in Your mercy; my heart shall rejoice in Your salvation. I will sing to the LORD, because He has dealt bountifully with me.
Praise God, He can never develop Alzheimer’s! He can never-ever forget His children! While our life circumstances may overwhelm us, Our God is hearing the intercession His Son Jesus is making for us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Jesus never grows weary in His intercession for us and He will never quit interceding for us. Glory to the Name of Jesus.
Rejoice today in the Lord! Hold fast to His promises! He will never leave you nor forsake you if You are one of His. 
O Father, Thank You for our salvation and the salvation that the Congolese people are realizing now! Thank You that we can call You Father, our Lord, our God! Thank You for the testimony of the psalmist and all he endured so that we can have an account, recorded in Your Word, that gives us hope as we face uncertain days. Today, our mission team is midway in their missionary journey. Remind them that they can trust in Your mercy and rejoice in Your salvation. Put a song in their hearts today because You have dealt with them bountifully thus far. Lord, protect them from the enemy of our faith that they may continue in the strength and joy of the Lord our God. Bless Hannah and Jessica as they lead children with their wonderful ability to sing and use sign language to teach others the songs that will praise You. Thank You Lord for using Bro. Bob as Your anointed messenger to preach and teach the Word of God. Thank You Lord for Cheryl and Reba who are seasoned missionaries and have the love of Christ in them to share with other women. Thank You for Don and the encouragement that he is to the team and the love of Jesus Christ that he will show all the people he meets. Thank You, Lord for Raymond and Gigi, for their witness, for their faith, for the ability to interpret the Word of God and the interactive conversations in which they will participate. Glory, glory, glory to Your Name, we pray rejoicing in You Father, in Your Son, all prompted by the indwelling Holy Spirit who guides and directs us daily.
& Saturday, June 14, 2008 BRAZZAVILLE –          DOING MINISTRY
Psalm 14:1-3 The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none who does good. The LORD looks down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there are any who understand, who seek God. They have all turned aside, they have together become corrupt; there is none who does good, no, not one.
Paul, in Romans 3:10-12, included several O.T. quotations, including Ps. 14:1-3, that sums up the universality of human sin and rebellion: There is none righteous, no not one....none who understands...none who seeks after God...all have turned aside...none who does good, no not one.
Human beings cannot comprehend the truth of God or grasp His standard of righteousness. We are depraved and rebellious. Our natural tendency is to seek our own interests. Scripture makes it clear: Our only hope is for God to seek us. It is only God’s work in the heart of man that anyone seeks Him. The hymn writer Josiah Conder summarized it so well:
“My Lord, I Did Not Choose You”
My Lord, I did not choose You, for that could never be;      my heart would still refuse You, had You not chosen me. You took the sin that stained me, You cleansed me,         made me new; of old You have ordained me,                      that I should live in You.
Unless Your grace had called me,                                       and taught my op’ning mind, the world would have enthralled me, to heavn’ly glories blind.                             My heart knows none above You;                                         for Your rich grace I thirst.                                                                                        I know that if I love You, You must have loved me first.
Thank You Lord for seeking us! While we were yet sinners, living in total depravity, Your grace delivered us from corruption and abominable works. Now Lord, we can be called righteous because You have made us righteous. We pray that today You will seek lost souls through the ministry of our mission team in Brazzaville as they deliver Your plan of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, understanding that both grace and faith are given to us by You dear Lord. Thank You!
& Sunday, June 15, 2008 BRAZZAVILLE –              DOING MINISTRY
Psalms 15
 LORD, who may abide in Your tabernacle? Who may dwell in Your holy hill? He who walks uprightly, and works righteousness, and speaks the truth in his heart; he who does not backbite with his tongue, nor does evil to his neighbor, nor does he take up a reproach against his friend; In whose eyes a vile person is despised, but he honors those who fear the LORD; he who swears to his own hurt and does not change; he who does not put out his money at usury, nor does he take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things shall never be moved.
This Sunday, our pastor will be preaching and Raymond will be interpreting all day and into the night. Please pray diligently for both of them and for the rest of the team as they will be sharing too. 
Psalm 15 is very instructional for anyone seeking an answer to this two-part question: (1) “Lord, who may abide in Your tabernacle?” (2) Who may dwell in Your Holy Hill?” Perhaps we need to do a “spiritual checkup” and examine our character comparing it to the ethical integrity of a saved sinner: 
1.      Lifestyle of integrity
2.      Deeds exhibit justice
3.      Speech exhibits reliability
4.      Tongue does not tread over people
5.      Does not harm fellow man
6.      Does not dump reproach upon family or friend
7.      Views the reprobate as rejected
8.      Respects the people of God
9.      Holds himself accountable (unheard of in 2008)
10. Is not fickle
11. Is not greedy
12. Cannot be bought
Here’s the one-time guarantee: He who does these things shall never be moved. 
How did you score on your spiritual checkup? Make the necessary changes to be spiritually healthy...start today!
Father, this is the Sabbath Day and You command us to keep it holy! How often we forget that commandment Lord! Forgive us! Lord, apply Psalm 15 to the hearts of worshippers today at ParkAve.BaptistChurch and to those worshipping in Brazzaville. Father, if we have wandered away from Your Tabernacle, from Your Holy Hill, we pray for confession that leads to repentance, we pray for changed hearts that will make us spiritually fit for Your kingdom Lord. You guarantee that if we do these things we shall never be moved away from You! We worship and adore You Father God and Your Son Jesus Christ in Whose Name we pray.
&Monday, June 16, 2008 BRAZZAVILLE –           DOING MINISTRY
Psalm 16
Preserve me, O God, for in You I put my trust. O my soul, you have said to the LORD, “You are my Lord, my goodness is nothing apart from You.” As for the saints who are on the earth, they are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight.” Their sorrows shall be multiplied who hasten after another god; their drink offerings of blood I will not offer, nor take up their names on my lips. O LORD, You are the portion of my inheritance and my cup; You maintain my lot. The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Yes, I have a good inheritance. I will bless the LORD who has given me counsel; my heart also instructs me in the night seasons. I have set the LORD always before me; because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved. Therefore, my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; my flesh also will rest in hope. For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption. You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
The Psalmist has only one prayer request in this chapter: “PRESERVE ME”. The psalmist often asked God for protection because his enemies constantly pursued him. After verse one, however, he gave a testimony of communion with his God, followed by a testimony of confidence in Him! COMMUNION: His soul acknowledged the Lord as “You are my Lord” and confessed that “my goodness is nothing apart from You.” Then he expressed his delight in the saints who are on the earth, but also shared his distress over those who hasten after another god. CONFIDENCE: Past and present blessings from the Lord gave the psalmist confidence to trust Him for the future!
“Because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved”, the psalmist said. We can follow his example of communion with God, and share in his confidence in God, when we set the Lord always before us.
Oh God, in You we put our trust! Today, we pray You will preserve our mission team. We pray that they are both exercising for themselves and teaching the Congolese people about communion with You and confidence in You. Lord, show them the path of life that leads to You through Jesus Christ, Your Son, and the fullness of joy found in Your presence. We testify with the psalmist, “At Your hand are pleasures forevermore!” We bless You Father and we thank You!
& Tuesday, June 17, 2008 BRAZZAVILLE –           DOING MINISTRY
Psalms 17
Hear a just cause, O LORD, attend to my cry; give ear to my prayer which is not from deceitful lips. Let my vindication come from Your presence; let Your eyes look on the things that are upright. 
You have tested my heart; You have visited me in the night; You have tried me and have found nothing; I have purposed that my mouth shall not transgress. Concerning the works of men, by the word of Your lips, I have kept away from the paths of the destroyer. Upholdmy steps in Your paths, that my footsteps may not slip.
I have called upon You, for You will hear me, O God; Incline Your ear to me, and hear my speech. Show Your marvelous loving kindness by Your right hand, O You who save those who trust in You From those who rise up against them. Keep me as the apple of Your eye; hide me under the shadow of Your wings, from the wicked who oppress me, from my deadly enemies who surround me. 
They have closed up their fat hearts; with their mouths they speak proudly. They have now surrounded us in our steps; they have set their eyes, crouching down to the earth, as a lion is eager to tear his prey, and like a young lion lurking in secret places.
Arise, O LORD, confront him, cast him down; deliver my life from the wicked with Your sword, with Your hand from men, O LORD, from men of the world who have their portion in this life, and whose belly You fill with Your hidden treasure. They are satisfied with children and leave the rest of their possession for their babes.
As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness.
What an encouragement this Psalm is to those of us who have turned to it in times of trouble. When we knew that God was our only refuge, our only source of help, we called upon Him like David did, beseeching Him to hear, attend, give ear to our cry, to our speech.
By God’s grace, David developed integrity through the testing of his heart. David’s statements, “I have purposed that my mouth shall not transgress” and “By the word of Your lips, I have kept away from the paths of the destroyer” are exemplary for us. A clean conscience certainly makes it easier and also prompts us to seek the Lord.
While the world around us is satisfied with the temporal things in this life, we must do as our example did: “As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness.” Only our relationship with God our Father and Jesus His Son has earthly good and eternal value. We too can be confident in our final salvation!
Hear a just cause, O Lord, attend to our cry; give ear to our prayer. We pray that our brothers and sisters in the Congo today are experiencing Your loving-kindness, Your salvation, Your protection, Your deliverance. We pray that You are and will continue to keep them as the apple of Your eye, hiding them under the shadow of Your wings, from oppression, and from their enemies. Lord, satisfy them with righteousness and Your likeness. Thank You for Psalm 17. In the Name of Jesus we pray.
& Wednesday, June 18, 2008 BRAZZAVILLE –      DOING MINISTRY
Psalm 18:1-6
I will love You, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised; so shall I be saved from my enemies. The pangs of death surrounded me, and the floods of ungodliness made me afraid. The sorrows of Sheol surrounded me; the snares of death confronted me. In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried out to my God; He heard my voice from His temple, and my cry came before Him, even to His ears.
They confronted me in the day of my calamity, but the LORD was my support. He also brought me out into a broad place; He delivered me because He delighted in me. The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands He has recompensed me. For I have kept the ways of the LORD, and have not wickedly departed from my God. For all His judgments were before me, and I did not put away His statutes from me. I was also blameless before Him, and I kept myself from my iniquity. Therefore the LORD has recompensed me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in His sight. With the merciful You will show Yourself merciful; with a blameless man You will show Yourself blameless; with the pure You will show Yourself pure; and with the devious You will show Yourself shrewd. For You will save the humble people, but will bring down haughty looks. For You will light my lamp; The LORD my God will enlighten my darkness. For by You I can run against a troop, by my God I can leap over a wall. As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the LORD is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him. For who is God, except the LORD? And who is a rock, except our God? It is God who arms me with strength, and makes my way perfect. He makes my feet like the feet of deer, and sets me on my high places. He teaches my hands to make war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You have also given me the shield of Your salvation; Your right hand has held me up, Your gentleness has made me great. You enlarged my path under me; so my feet did not slip.
The LORD lives! Blessed be my Rock! Let the God of my salvation be exalted. ........He delivers me from my enemies. You also lift me up above those who rise against me; You have delivered me from the violent man. Therefore, I will give thanks to You, O LORD, among the Gentiles, and sing praises to Your name. 
O Lord, remind our mission team today that you are their strength. You are their rock and their fortress, their deliverer, their shield, the horn of their salvation, their stronghold! You are their support. You delight in them! Lord, Your way is perfect and Your Word is proven. Your right hand will hold them up. Lord, we give thanks to You on their behalf and we sing praises to our God--our Sovereign Savior!
Psalm 19
The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech and night unto night reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard. Their line has gone out through all the earth and their words to the end of the world. In them He has set a tabernacle for the sun, which is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoices like a strong man to run its race. Its rising is from one end of heaven, and its circuit to the other end; and there is nothing hidden from its heat. The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; the statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them Your servant is warned, and in keeping them there is great reward. Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from secret faults. Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me. Then I shall be blameless, and I shall be innocent of great transgression. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer. 
The psalmist has showed us in this writing that God, as Creator, is revealing Himself through His creation. This revelation cannot convert sinners, but does make them highly accountable! What does convert sinners is His Word, through divine revelation, as it is effectually applied by the Spirit of God! The psalmist shares with us the attributes of the Word, an appreciation for the Word and the application of the Word.
Read Psalm 19 again and think about this: Around the world, in the Congo and in West Nashville, this day, we are living under the same heavens, on the same earth, in the same world, under the same sun all to the glory of the same God! His Word is the same Word speaking the same message to each of us through His Law that is perfect; through His testimony that is sure; through His statutes that are right; through His commandment that is pure. By them, God’s servants are warned and there is great reward for those who keep them.
Having verses 1-13 saturate our minds, verses 14 and 15 are a natural prayer to offer the Lord: Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.
Father, Thank You for this instructive, inspiring Word from the Psalmist. It has reminded us today that You are the same in the Congo among the Congolese people and our mission team as well as in our church and our neighborhood. Thank You for revealing Yourself to us through Your creation, and for Your Wordthat convicts and saves us. Thank You Lord that in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth! Thank You for using our mission team as they share Your Word today in the Congo
j Friday, June 20, 2008 BRAZZAVILLE TO PARIS
Psalms 20
May the LORD answer you in the day of trouble; may the name of the God of Jacob defend you; may He send you help from the sanctuary, and strengthen you out of Zion; may He remember all your offerings, and accept your burnt sacrifice. Selah
May He grant you according to your heart’s desire, and fulfill all your purpose. We will rejoice in your salvation, and in the name of our God we will set up our banners!May the LORD fulfill all your petitions. Now I know that the LORD saves His anointed; He will answer him from His holy heaven with the saving strength of His right hand. Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; but we will remember the name of the LORD our God. They have bowed down and fallen; but we have risen and stand upright. Save, LORD!
May the King answer us when we call.
Wow Lord, how appropriate that You would call us to Psalm 20 today as our team leaves the wonderful mission field in Congo. This Psalm shall be our devotional and our prayer today. What more could anyone add to summarize the purpose of our mission team, our prayer warriors, and our church? 
Oh Lord, tears stream from my eyes as I read and re-read this Psalm! You seem to have written it just for us, just to say “job well done; it began with Me and I will finish it.” You did send us help and strength. You remembered all of our offerings and You have accepted our sacrifice. Oh how sweet of You Lord to tell us this! I can hardly see for the tears as I am humbled and overjoyed from Your word. You have known our hearts desire concerning this mission field, the mission team, all that this means to the spiritual growth of our church, and You will fulfill all to Your divine purpose. Some trust in chariots, and some in horses but we have and we will remember the name of the Lord our God! Thank You Lord for going before and behind our mission team into this spiritual battle. Thank You Lord for the victory is sure.
Psalm 21
The king shall have joy in Your strength, O LORD; And in Your salvation how greatly shall he rejoice! You have given him his heart’s desire, and have not withheld the request of his lips. Selah
For You meet him with the blessings of goodness; You set a crown of pure gold upon his head. He asked life from You, and You gave it to him—length of days forever and ever. His glory is great in Your salvation; honor and majesty You have placed upon him. For You have made him most blessed forever; You have made him exceedingly glad with Your presence. For the king trusts in the LORD, and through the mercy of the Most High he shall not be moved. Your hand will find all Your enemies; Your right hand will find those who hate You. You shall make them as a fiery oven in the time of Your anger; the LORD shall swallow them up in His wrath, and the fire shall devour them. Their offspring You shall destroy from the earth, and their descendants from among the sons of men. For they intended evil against You; they devised a plot which they are not able to perform. Therefore You will make them turn their back; You will make ready Your arrows on Your string toward their faces. Be exalted, O LORD, in Your own strength! We will sing and praise Your power.
The first part of Psalm 21 is a thanksgiving to the Lord for victory. That is what we are doing today, thanking our God for all that He has accomplished through Cheryl, Don, Gigi, Raymond, Hanna, Jessica, Bro. Bob and Reba and Park Ave. these past 16 days! 
While some victories were realized during the team’s stay in the Congo, some may not be realized until we get to heaven. The last part of this Psalm is an anticipation of future victories in the Lord. Just as the King trusts in the Lord, and through the mercy of the Most High, neither shall we be moved! We too anticipate victories to come forth from the mission teams work in the Congo.
Be exalted, O Lord, in Your own strength! We will sing and praise Your power.
We praise You, O God! We have been on our knees petitioning, supplicating, calling on You Lord to glorify Your Name in the Congo and all along our mission team’s route. We have interceded for the team, for their safety, their health, for opportunities to give others their personal testimony of faith in Christ Jesus. We have prayed for the lost to be saved, for believers to be edified. We have asked that You be gloried Lord God. We have prayed and You have heard our prayers; You have attended Your ear to us just like You did the Psalmist.
Lord, it has been a wonderful journey for those of us who have been with the Psalmist since June 5th when our mission team left, until today when we conclude our time in Psalm 21. We began with “A Prayer for Guidance” and conclude this period of our devotional prayer journal with “Joy in the Salvation of the Lord”. We’ve run a gamut of emotions as we offered prayers for our team in times of distress, asking for and receiving deliverance, glorying in the Lord in creation. We prayed and praised You for Your righteous judgments, and sang a song of confidence in Your triumph over evil. Lord, we have considered our faith in Your righteousness and man’s treachery and Your constancy. We’ve expressed trust in Your salvation declaring that none are righteous and examined the character of those who may dwell with the Lord.   We spent some time in the hope of the faithful and the Messiah’s victory. We shared in prayer with confidence in our final salvation. We’ve acknowledge our God, the Sovereign Savior, the perfect revelation of the Lord, the assurance of God’s saving work and joy in the salvation of the Lord. We have prayed without ceasing.
It’s hard to say Lord, which team has had the most interesting trip: those who traveled or those who knelt! We have basked in His Son-Light; we have been sustained by His Living Water; we have dined at His table; we have eaten the King’s food; we have exchanged the ordinary for the extraordinary! We ask, dear Lord, that the shekinah glory that we bask in today will not quickly fade. We have been abundantly blessed, both as a mission team and as a church on mission--as vessels through which His glory is revealed in West Nashville and throughout the world. Amen and Amen. 
Sunday, June 22, 2008
What is Satan promising you if you will fall down and worship him? In Matthew 4:8 Satan took Jesus to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them. Satan promised to give Jesus all these things if He would bow down and worship him. Our Lord Jesus said unto Satan a verse that could mean the difference between spiritual life and death: “Get thee hence Satan for it is written, thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve.” Matthew 4:10. Were these kingdoms Satan’s to give? Yes, because Adam and Eve had signed the deed over to him when they disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden. What have we given Satan that belongs to God? To whom are we bowing down and worshiping? “As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue confess to God.” Romans 14:11. The final time we bow our knee, it will indeed be to the Lord of lords and the King of kings! Let’s get it right on this side of eternity! Bow down right now and worship the Lord thy God.
Father, Help us to remain faithful to worship You and You alone. May our worship be acceptable and pleasing in Thy sight. Forgive us where we have failed You.   
Pray today the words of this song that so adequately express the kind of worship God our Father desires from us: “We humbly bow before You now, we lift our lives up to You. On our knees we bring our humble offering of worship and honor and praise. Boldly we come to Your throne O Father, but only by grace can we come. We’ve been bought by the precious blood of the Lamb. We lay down our lives before You Jesus, we willingly give You all, as humbly at Your feet we fall. For it’s the highest place of all, O Lord.”  (Ron Kenoly, Worship Leader, Integrity’s Hosanna! Music/Ascap)
Monday, June 23, 2008
For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 NIV
Now God has us where He wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all His idea, and all His work. All we do is trust Him enough to let Him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. Ephesians 2:8-9 The Message
We have received countless gifts from God, but none compare with the gift of salvation. When we accept Christ into our hearts, we are saved by God’s grace -isn’t that just a beautiful word! I can say it over and over and it gets more beautiful each time. God’s grace is the ultimate gift, and we owe Him the ultimate in thanksgiving! The familiar words in Ephesians 2:8 make God’s promise perfectly clear: we are saved, not by any of our own actions, but by God’s mercy. We are saved because of our faith in Christ.
Grace is our priceless gift from Christ. We must share the good news with all who cross our paths. We return His love by accepting His grace and sharing His message and His love. For that we are blessed on earth and for all eternity.
Lord, You have saved me by Your grace. Keep me mindful that grace is a gift that I can accept but cannot earn. I praise You for that priceless gift today and forever. May I share the good news of grace with a world that desperately needs it. Grace.......Amen.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
“As for me and my family, we’ll worship God.” –         Joshua 24:15 The Message
In the life of every family, there are moments of frustration and disappointment—lots of them. But, for those of us who are blessed to live in a close-knit, caring clan, the rewards outweigh the frustration. 
No family is perfect, not even yours. But, despite the inevitable challenges and hurt feelings of family life, your clan is God’s gift to you. That little band of men, women, kids, and babies is a priceless treasure on temporary loan from our heavenly Father. We are responsible for showing them Jesus. Give thanks to the Giver for the gift of family.
Dear Lord, I am blessed to be part of the family of God where I find love and acceptance. You have blessed me with a wonderful earthly family. I pray for my family and for families throughout the world. Protect us and guide us. Father, as I reach out to my own family may I show them the same love and care that You have shown me.    Amen.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Happy is he...whose hope is in the Lord his God.            Psalm 146:5
Few things in life are more sad, or for that matter, more absurd, than a grumpy Christian. Those words just don’t go together. Christ promises us lives of abundance and joy, but He does not impose His joy upon us. We must claim His joy ourselves, and when we do, Jesus fills our spirits with His power and His love.
We can only receive that joy from Christ if we give Him what is rightfully His: our hearts and souls.
When we commit ourselves to the Savior, when we place Jesus at the center of our lives and trust Him as our personal Savior, He will transform us---not just for today, but for all eternity! Then we can share His joy and message with a world that needs both!
Dear Lord, You have given me so many reasons to celebrate. Today let me choose an attitude of cheerfulness. Help me be a joyful Christian, quick to laugh and slow to anger. Help me praise You and give You thanksgiving for my blessings. Let me celebrate today, Your creation. Amen.
?Write down the ‘state of your heart’ today. Do you have cause to celebrate?
Thursday, June 26, 2008
I Peter 1:3, 6-9
3: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
6: In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials,
7: that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
8: and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,
9: obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.
Have you ever lost hope? Have you ever thought a situation was just hopeless? Well, the Bible brings good new to those who have no hope. According to I Peter, hope is something we can receive from God. It is a gift given to us through His mercy, it is living, we are birthed into it, and it is because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ that we have hope. This should cause us to greatly rejoice. However, our circumstances may be preventing us from having hope. Verse 6 and 7 explain that there are reasons for these hopeless circumstances. They are given to us to test our faith. It is by going through difficulties that we discover we really do have saving faith. This assurance is more valuable than gold.
Here is what hope does for us in distressing trials; hope always looks beyond our troubles to a time when they don’t exist anymore. Hope reminds us not to focus on the temporary, but the eternal. Our hope is not hollow, it is not something we manufacture for ourselves; it is based on the faithfulness of God Himself to His own word.  
Father, we live in a hopeless world. Our prayer is that we as believers share our source of hope with a lost and dying world. Not only are there hopeless people in the Congo but also in Nashville, Tennessee. We are surrounded by them everywhere we go. Our prayer is that people are drawn to the hope that you have birthed in us as we share the hope that is in us through Christ Jesus Your Son, our Savior.
Friday, June 27, 2008
Ephesians 2:8-9
8: For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourself, it is the gift of God;
9: not of works lest any man should boast.
“Here I stand. I can do no other, God help me.” 
These are the words spoken by Martin Luther, the Father of the Reformation, as he stood before authorities during his trial in Germany, in 1521. He was facing torture, imprisonment, and possibly death if he did not recant his teachings. Martin Luther believed and taught that God justifies a person by grace through faith in Christ alone. He denied that the church has power to save people or that people are saved by their good works. This is nothing new, fifteen centuries earlier the first church council had to face this same issue. Some Jewish believers demanded that Gentiles must obey the Jewish law, a law they were unfamiliar with, in order to be saved. Sometimes it’s really hard to truly embrace salvation by grace with nothing added. We have many customs and traditions today that people think are necessary for salvation, yet God’s word says it’s all by grace through faith. It’s His gift to us.
Father, as we come to you today we sing these words, “grace, grace, God’s grace, grace that will pardon and cleanse within. Grace, grace, God’s grace, grace that is greater than all our sin.” Thank You for Your grace, that unmerited favor that makes us righteous before You.   Thank You for faith to believe that it is all that is necessary for us to be saved.
Saturday, June 28, 2008
James 4.17; “Therefore, to one who knows {the} right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.” (NASB)
To know God’s will and not do God’s will according to
verse 17 is sin. 
q       Have you ever thought of the excuses we use? Have you ever considered that our standard excuses may very well be sin? “I’ll do it later,” “I can’t do that,” “I don’t think it will make a difference,” “I’m not ready to do that,” “I can’t afford to!”
q       Have you ever considered the rationalization, and or procrastination we use often unconsciously is for the most part nothing more than disobedience?
q       What about good intentions? One might ask the question; Don’t good intentions equal obedience? No, good intentions do not equal obedience. In other words, it is not obedience because you meant to but lost track of time.
Henry Blackaby writes in his devotional book Experiencing
God Day By Day; “. . . good intention without corresponding
activity is disobedience.”
He reminds the reader: “When we encounter God and He gives us a direction, it is not enough to write down the date in our spiritual journal, or even to tell our friends, . . . of our decision.” “God’s call is not to ‘make a decision’ but to obey!’ ”
q       Deciding to obey is not equal to obeying (Matthew 21.28-31;).
q       Loudly affirming the necessity of obedience is not the same as obeying (Luke 6.46;).
q       Making commitments, even publicly, is not the same as obeying our Lord.
q       Substituting our own good works is not the same as obeying. [Doing things our way rather than God’s way.][1]
A good example of doing things our way and attempting to substitute what we want to do for what God is commanding that we do is found in 1 Samuel 13.9-14;
King Saul was instructed to wait until the prophet Samuel arrived to offer a sacrifice prior to the battle against the Philistines. Instead of waiting, Saul took matters into his own hands and offered a sacrifice. From this action
Saul discovered to his deep dismay, that other acts of supposed piety do not take the place of obeying a clear command from God. (1 Samuel 15.22;).
As with Saul, God expects you and me to obey everything exactly as He tells us. Only obedience satisfies God’s desire for obedience.
We come before You Lord asking You to deal with our hearts, with us corporately as a church, to surrender and ask You to forgive us for allowing our good intentions to falsely convince us that we are obeying You. Lord, shake us up; put a sincere desire within us to obey You.

Sunday, June 29, 2008
Forced To Disobey The Lord
1 Samuel 8.12; “I said to myself, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not asked the favor of the LORD.’ So I forced myself and offered the burnt offering.’ ” (NASB)
As a follow-up devotional to yesterday’s devotion, I call this devotional “Forced to disobey the Lord.” But what was it that pressured Saul into disobedience? You will find the whole story in 1 Samuel 10.8; and 13.8-14;
Saul was instructed by Samuel, following his being anointed the first King of Israel in chapter 10.8, to go down to Gilgal and wait there until Samuel came to sacrifice peace offerings. Samuel said; “You shall wait seven days until I come to you and show you what you should do.” 
The People, the Prophet and the Philistines
Saul became concerned that the people were loosing courage and starting to scatter, so Saul assumed the role of Prophet and Priest and offered the burnt offering himself. With this action, Saul tragically disobeyed both the law of Moses and the instructions of God’s prophet.
Samuel’s delay may have been intended as a test of Saul’s obedience, of his faith, of his character and a test of Saul’s leadership. Saul cited four justifications for his disobedience:
q       The soldiers of Israel were scattering, they were deserting.
q       Samuel had not come in seven days as he promised,
q       The Philistines were gathering their forces at Michmash;
q       And there was imminent danger of Philistine attack.
Saul’s principal sin was failing to keep the commandment God had given through Samuel in 1 Samuel 10.8.
v. 8; “. . . go down before me to Gilgal; and behold, I will come down to you to offer burnt offerings and sacrifice peace offerings. You shall wait seven days until I come to you and show you what you should do.”
Consider what led to Saul’s sinful action.
q       The soldiers were scattering. 
q       (Saul was looking at men instead of seeking the LORD).
q       Samuel had not come as promised.
q       (Saul wavered on his last word of instruction).
q       The Philistines were gathering their forces at Michmash.
q       (Saul was looking at the problem instead of seeking the LORD).
q       Saul was comparing his forces with the forces of
the Philistines. (We are out numbered. This is an impossible situation.)
q       And there was imminent danger of Philistine attack.
q       (Saul had forgotten who it was that sent Him to this battle). 
According to Saul, his circumstances, the loss of confidence in the people, and the failure of the Prophet “forced him to offer the sacrifice.” 
Before you become critical of Saul and his decisions, get before the Lord and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal times when you forced yourself to disobey God because time was running out and something had to be done!
Father, When we get caught up in our circumstances looking to men to deliver us instead of our Lord, we sin. When we fail to obey Your Word, we sin. When we look at the problem instead of seeking You Lord, we sin. When we compare our situation to that of others, we sin. When danger surrounds us and we forget Who has allowed us to be faced with difficulty, we sin. Father God, deliver us from “forcing” ourselves to disobey You because of our lack of faith and trust in You. Forgive us Lord we pray in the Name of Jesus our Lord and Savior.
Monday, June 30, 2008
(Write your own)
In your words......................
Truly, this devotional has been a labor of of Jesus Christ, love for His kingdom, love for His Word, love for His church, love for His world, love for those whom He came to seek and to save: THE LOST. 

[1] “God instructed King Saul to utterly destroy the Amalekites. Instead Saul and his army captured King Agag and spared the best of the sheep, the oxen, the fatlings, the lambs, and all that was good, and were not willing to destroy them utterly; . . .” In short he disobeyed the command of the Lord. And excused his disobedience in verse 21; “But the people took some of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the choicest of the things devoted to destruction, to sacrifice to the LORD your God at Gilgal.” 
Samuel replies in verse 22; “Has the LORD as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams.” 

 Acts 8:40 (NAS)
But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he passed through he kept preaching the gospel to all the cities until he came to Caesarea.
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