10/11/2020

How to Pray
When You Don’t Have a Prayer
(Psalm 77)
Pastor Jerry Rice
October 11, 2020

“I cry to the Lord; I call and call to Him.
Oh, that He would listen.
I am in deep trouble and I need His help so much.
All night long I pray, lifting my hands to heaven, pleading.
There can be no joy for me until He acts.
I think of God and moan,
overwhelmed with longing for His help.
I cannot sleep until You act.
I am too distressed even to pray”(vs. 1-4, LB)!

 
I. You can’t ___________ life ______________ backwards.
“I keep thinking of the good old days of the past, long since ended. Then my nights were filled with joyous songs. I search my soul and meditate upon the difference now”(vs. 5-6, LB).
 
II. The _____________ of God _________________ forever.
“Has the Lord rejected me forever? Will He never again be favorable? Is His loving-kindness gone forever? Has His promise failed? Has He forgotten to be kind to one so undeserving? Has He slammed the door in anger on His love”(vs. 7-9, LB)?
 
III. God’s ____________ for you will ____________ change.
“And I said: This is my fate, that the blessings of God have changed to hate. I recall the many miracles He did for me so long ago. Those wonderful deeds are constantly in my thoughts. I cannot stop thinking about them”(vs. 10-12, LB).
IV. Let your ________________ turn to ________________.
“O God, Your ways are holy. Where is there any other as mighty as You? You are the God of miracles and wonders! You still demonstrate Your awesome power”(vs. 13-14, LB).
 
V. God ____________ shows up in ______________ times.
“You have redeemed us who are the sons of Jacob and of Joseph by Your might. When the Red Sea saw You, how it feared! It trembled to its depths! The clouds poured down their rain, the thunder rolled and crackled in the sky. Your lightning flashed. There was thunder in the whirlwind; the lightning lighted up the world! The earth trembled and shook”(vs. 15-18, LB).
 
VI. Be willing to _______________ God ________________.
“Your road led by a pathway through the sea—a pathway no one knew was there! You led Your people along that road like a flock of sheep, with Moses and Aaron as their shepherds”(vs. 19-20, LB)
 
Three Steps to Recovering Prayer & Praise
1.___________________________!
“In this world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer,
I have overcome the world”(John 16:33, NKJV).
2.___________________________!
“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author
and perfecter of our faith”(Hebrews 12:2, NIV).
3.___________________________!
“We know that God is always at work for the good
of everyone who loves Him”(Romans 8:28, CEV).


9/20/2020

Whole Lotta Shakin Goin On
“How to Stand Out & Stand Up for God!”
(Daniel 6)

Pastor Jerry Rice September 20, 2020

Belshazzar did what he had promised. He robed Daniel in purple, draped the great gold chain around his neck, and promoted him to third-in-charge in the kingdom.
That same night the Babylonian king Belshazzar was murdered. Darius the Mede was sixty-two years old when he succeeded him as king (Daniel 5:29-31, MSG).
Darius divided the kingdom into 120 provinces, each under a governor. The governors were accountable to three presidents (Daniel was one of them) so the king could administer the kingdom efficiently.
Daniel soon proved himself more capable than all the other presidents and governors, for he had great ability, and the king began to think of placing him over the entire empire as his administrative officer (Daniel 6:1-3, LB).
What Made Daniel Stand Out?
1. His P__________________ C__________________!
2. His P__________________ C__________________!
3. His P__________________ C__________________!
This made the other presidents and governors very jealous, and they began searching for some fault in the way Daniel was handling his affairs so that they could complain to the king about him. But they couldn’t find anything to criticize! He was faithful and honest and made no mistakes. So they concluded, “Our only chance is his religion!”
They decided to go to the king and say, “King Darius, live forever! We presidents, governors, counselors, and deputies have unanimously decided that you should make a law, irrevocable under any circumstance, that for the next thirty days anyone who asks a favor of God or man—except from you, Your Majesty—shall be thrown to the lions. Your Majesty, we request your signature on this law; sign it so that it cannot be canceled or changed; it will be a ‘law of the Medes and Persians’ that cannot be revoked.”
So King Darius signed the law (Daniel 6:4-9, LB).
When Daniel learned that the decree had been signed and posted, he continued to pray just as he had always done. His house had windows in the upstairs that opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he knelt there in prayer, thanking and praising his God.
The conspirators came and found him praying, asking God for help. They went straight to the king and reminded him of the royal decree that he had signed. “Did you not,” they said, “sign a decree forbidding anyone to pray to any god or man except you for the next thirty days? And anyone caught doing it would be thrown into the lions’ den?”
“Absolutely,” said the king. “Written in stone, like all the laws of the Medes and Persians”(Daniel 6:10-12, MSG).
 
What Made Daniel Stand Up for God?
1. He remembered that __________ was _______________ in past test!
2. He had a __________________ with ___________ three times a day!
3. He knew the ______________ were _______________ than the risk!
Ways You Benefits When Standing Up for God
I. Standing up for God is a ________________ over ______________!
II. Standing up for God builds ______________ & _______________!
III. Standing up for God give ______________ for _______________!
IV. Standing up for God ______________ others to _______________!
V. Standing up for God gives _____________ to God’s ____________!
 
Afterward King Darius wrote this message addressed to everyone in his empire:
“Greetings! I decree that everyone shall tremble and fear before the God of Daniel in every part of my kingdom. For his God is the living, unchanging God whose kingdom shall never be destroyed and whose power shall never end. He delivers his people, preserving them from harm; he does great miracles in heaven and earth; it is he who delivered Daniel from the power of the lions.”
So Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian (Daniel 6:25-28, LB).


9/13/2020

Whole Lotta Shakin Goin On
“The Day of Judgment!”
(Daniel 5, LB)

Pastor Jerry Rice September 13, 2020

The Eruption of Krakatoa
(August 26, 1883)

“I am writing this blind in pitch darkness. We are under continual rain of pumice-stone and dust. So violent are the explosions that the ear-drums of over half my crew have been shattered. I am convinced that The Day of Judgment has come”(Written in the log book of a British ship Captain).
I. THE ____________________ (vs. 1-4).
Belshazzar the king invited a thousand of his officers to a great feast where the wine flowed freely. While Belshazzar was drinking, he was reminded of the gold and silver cups taken long before from the Temple in Jerusalem during Nebuchadnezzar’s reign and brought to Babylon. Belshazzar ordered that these sacred cups be brought in to the feast, and when they arrived, he and his princes, wives, and concubines drank toasts from them to their idols made of gold and silver, brass and iron, wood and stone.
II. THE ____________________ (vs. 5-6).
Suddenly, as they were drinking from these cups, they saw the fingers of a man’s hand writing on the plaster of the wall opposite the lampstand. The king himself saw the fingers as they wrote. His face blanched with fear, and such terror gripped him that his knees knocked together and his legs gave way beneath him.
Three Times God Writes A Message

1. A Message of God’s _______________ (Exodus 20:1-17).

2. A Message of God’s _______________ (Daniel 5:24-30).
3. A Message of God’s _______________ (John 8:2-11).
III. THE ____________________ (vs. 10-12).
“When the queen mother heard what was happening, she rushed to the banquet hall and said to Belshazzar, “Calm yourself, Your Majesty, don’t be so pale and frightened over this. For there is a man in your kingdom who has within him the spirit of the holy gods. In the days of your father this man was found to be as full of wisdom and understanding as though he were himself a god. And in the reign of King Nebuchadnezzar, he was made chief of all the magicians, astrologers, Chaldeans, and soothsayers of Babylon. Call for this man, Daniel—or Belteshazzar, as the king called him—for his mind is filled with divine knowledge and understanding. He can interpret dreams, explain riddles, and solve knotty problems. He will tell you what the writing means.”
IV. THE ____________________ (v. 13).
So Daniel was rushed in to see the king. The king asked him, “Are you the Daniel brought from Israel as a captive by King Nebuchadnezzar?
V. THE ____________________ (vs. 18-21).
DANIEL RECOUNTS THE STORY OF NEBUCHADNEZZAR!
VI. THE ____________________ (vs. 22-31).
“And you, his successor, O Belshazzar—you knew all this, yet you have not been humble. For you have defied the Lord of Heaven and brought here these cups from his Temple; and you and your officers and wives and concubines have been drinking wine from them while praising gods of silver, gold, brass, iron, wood, and stone—gods that neither see nor hear nor know anything at all. But you have not praised the God who gives you the breath of life and controls your destiny! And so God sent those fingers to write this message: ‘Mene,’ ‘Mene,’ ‘Tekel,’ ‘Parsin.’
“This is what it means: Mene means ‘numbered’—God has numbered the days of your reign, and they are ended.
“Tekel means ‘weighed’—you have been weighed in God’s balances and have failed the test.
“Parsin means ‘divided’—your kingdom will be divided and given to the Medes and Persians.”
Then at Belshazzar’s command, Daniel was robed in purple, a gold chain was hung around his neck, and he was proclaimed third ruler in the kingdom.
That very night Belshazzar, the Chaldean king, was killed, and Darius the Mede entered the city and began reigning at the age of sixty-two.


9/6/2020

Whole Lotta Shakin Goin On
Learning How to Honor God in Success
(Daniel 4.1-9, LB)

Pastor Jerry Rice September 6, 2020

This is the proclamation of Nebuchadnezzar the king, which he sent to people of every language in every nation of the world:
Greetings! I want you all to know about the strange thing that the Most High God did to me. It was incredible—a mighty miracle! And now I know for sure that his kingdom is everlasting; he reigns forever and ever.
I, Nebuchadnezzar, was living in peace and prosperity, when one night I had a dream that greatly frightened me. I called in all the wise men of Babylon to tell me the meaning of my dream, but when they came—the magicians, astrologers, fortune-tellers, and wizards—and I told them the dream, they couldn’t interpret it. At last Daniel came in—the man I named Belteshazzar after my god—the man in whom is the spirit of the holy gods, and I told him the dream.
“O Belteshazzar, master magician,” I said, “I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in you and no mystery is too great for you to solve. Tell me what my dream means…

Three Lessons Learned
I. Success has been the _____________ of many ______________!
“I tell everyone among you not to think of himself
more highly than he ought to think”(Romans 12:3, ESV).
II. Few can _________________ the _________________ of man!
“A hot furnace test silver and gold, but people are tested
by the praise they receive”(Proverbs 27:21, NCV).
III. Before every _______________ there is a ________________!
“The one who manages the little he has been given with faithfulness
and integrity will be promoted and trusted with greater responsibilities. But those who cheat with the little they have been given will not be considered trustworthy to receive more”(Luke 16:10, TPT).
Three Things got Nebuchadnezzar in Trouble
1. He got ________________ & ________________ in his success!
“I Nebuchadnezzar, was living in peace and prosperity…I was taking it easy, without a care in the world”(Daniel 4:4 LB/MB).
2. He did not pay ______________ to the _______________ signs!
“So then, Your Majesty, follow my advice. Stop sinning, do what is right, and be merciful to the poor. Then you will continue to be prosperous”(Daniel 4:27, GNT).
3. He got _______________ and _______________ in his success!
“Twelve months after this dream, I was walking on the flat roof of my royal palace and admiring the beautiful city of Babylon, these things started happening to me. I was saying to myself, ‘Look how great Babylon is! I built it as my capital city to display my power and might, my glory and majesty.’”(Daniel 4:29-30, CEV/GNT).
Three Steps to Nebuchadnezzar’s Recovery
1. HE _______________________ UP!
“At the end of seven years I, Nebuchadnezzar, looked up to heaven, and my sanity returned”(Daniel 4:34a, LB).
2. HE _______________________ UP!
“My sanity returned, and I praised and worshiped the Most High God and honored him who lives forever, whose rule is everlasting, his kingdom evermore”(Daniel 4:34b, LB).
3. HE _______________________ UP!
This is the proclamation of Nebuchadnezzar the king, which he sent to people of every language in every nation of the world:
“Greetings! I want you all to know about the strange thing that the Most High God did to me. It was incredible—a mighty miracle! And now I know for sure that his kingdom is everlasting; he reigns forever and ever”(Daniel 4:1-2, LB).


8/30/2020

Whole Lotta Shakin Goin On
Learning to Be a Stand-up Person
(Daniel 3:1-15, LB)

Pastor Jerry Rice August 30, 2020

King Nebuchadnezzar made a gold statue ninety feet high and nine feet wide and set it up on the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon; then he sent messages to all the princes, governors, captains, judges, treasurers, counselors, sheriffs, and rulers of all the provinces of his empire, to come to the dedication of his statue. When they had all arrived and were standing before the monument, a herald shouted out, “O people of all nations and languages, this is the king’s command: “When the band strikes up, you are to fall flat on the ground to worship King Nebuchadnezzar’s gold statue; anyone who refuses to obey will immediately be thrown into a flaming furnace.”
So when the band began to play, everyone—whatever his nation, language, or religion—fell to the ground and worshiped the statue.
But some officials went to the king and accused some of the Jews of refusing to worship!
“O King, live for ever,” they said to him, “you made a law that everyone must fall down and worship the gold statue when the band begins to play, and that anyone who refuses will be thrown into a flaming furnace. But there are some Jews out there—Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, whom you have put in charge of Babylonian affairs—who have defied you, refusing to serve your gods or to worship the gold statue you set up.”
Then Nebuchadnezzar, in a terrible rage, ordered Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to be brought in before him. “Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego,” he demanded, “that you are refusing to serve my gods or to worship the gold statue I set up? I’ll give you one more chance. When the music plays, if you fall down and worship the statue, all will be well. But if you refuse, you will be thrown into a flaming furnace within the hour. And what god can deliver you out of my hands then?”

Three Types of People in the World
 
1.______________________ – Ups!
King Nebuchadnezzar made a gold statue ninety feet high and nine feet wide and set it up on the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon”(Daniel 3:1, LB).
2.______________________ – Ups!
Some officials went to the king and accused some of the Jews of refusing to worship! “O King, live for ever”(Daniel 3:8, LB).
 
3.______________________ – Ups!
“Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, whom you have put in charge of Babylonian affairs—who have defied you, refusing to serve your gods or to worship the gold statue you set up”(Daniel 3:12, LB).
 
Qualities of Stand-Up People
I. Stand-Up People put ___________________________ in God!
“Without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believer that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him”(Hebrews 11:6, KJV).
“O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not worried about what will happen to us. If we are thrown into the flaming furnace, our God is able to deliver us; and He will deliver us out of your hand”(Daniel 3:16-17, LB).
II. Stand-Up People never __________________________ alone!

“When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee”(Isaiah 43:2, BRG).

Nebuchadnezzar shouted, “I see four men, unbound, walking around in the fire, and they aren’t even hurt by the flames! And the fourth looks like a god”((Daniel 3:25, LB).

III. Stand-Up People bring ________________________ to God!

“Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God. Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because THERE IS NO OTHER GOD THAT CAN deliver after this sort”(Daniel 3:28-29, KJV).


#16 Moments of Hope with Pastor Jerry Rice

A Coronavirus Prayer
We pray for health care workers, many of whom are risking their lives to save others. May you protect them from infection and weariness.
We pray for teachers who are trying to teach our children through unconventional methods. May you give them direction in how best to educate their students.
We pray for high school and college seniors who are disappointed their graduation has been cancelled. May you give them peace of mind and assurance that their hard work through the years has not gone unnoticed.
We pray for women and children in abusive homes. May you guard their bodies and give them a way out of their situation.
We pray for women who will go into labor during this season. May you calm the mother’s heart and protect both mother and baby from the disease.
We pray for all our political leaders in the country. May you give them wisdom to protect citizens from further spread.
We pray for pastors who seek to minister to their congregation in the midst of unprecedented circumstances. May you give them the anointing to speak even across physical barriers.
We pray for senior citizens who are in nursing homes or living alone. May they feel the comfort of your presence even though they may not see their loved ones during this time.
We pray for business owners and workers who have had to shut down and lose jobs, May you give them rest from worry and peace that you will provide their needs.
We pray for those who have lost loved ones. May you give them the peace that passes understanding and hope in the life of the world to come.
We pray for our children who may not understand why life has so suddenly changed. May you give them patience and understanding that surpasses their age.
We pray for workers in essential businesses who are still having to go out in public on a daily basis. May you protect them and give them energy.
We pray for people who have had to cancel major life events. May you give them hope that one day all things can be fulfilled.
We pray for all those in need during this time. For the homeless. For the poor. For the imprisoned. For the hungry. May their needs be provided and their hearts mended.
We pray for those searching for a cure or vaccination. May you guide the work of their hands.
We pray for those making medical supplies and protective gear. May you give them supernatural productivity.
There are so many other needs that we do not even know, but we believe that you are aware of them all. We believe that the same God who parted the Red Sea can deliver us, too. We believe that the same God who fed 5,000 can provide for our needs. We pray that the same God who rose Lazarus from the dead can restore our brokenness. You are good. You are loving. You are faithful. We know that you can do all things so we ask that you will bring healing to our land.
In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.


#15 Moments of Hope with Pastor Jerry Rice

Most of us like to be in control. Millions of calendars and planners are sold each year. We buy these calendars because we like to make plans about where we will be and what we will do on any given day. But what happens when things don’t go according to our picture-perfect calendars? A month or two ago so many of us were sure of our plans. Weddings were planned. Business trips were arranged. Senior prom and graduation was on the calendar. Plane tickets were booked. We knew exactly what we were going to do and when we were going to do it…or maybe we just thought we knew.
The Bible tells us not to be too sure of our own plans. James 4:13-14 says, “Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow.”
We don’t know what tomorrow will bring?!That’s not something we like to hear. We like to think that we are in complete command of our own lives. But we are told in scripture that God should always be part of our plans. James 4:15 says, “Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.’”
“If it is the Lord’s will”…imagine if we actually added that phrase to our thought process when planning out our lives. By daily submitting our lives and plans to God, we confess by our actions that He is Lord of every area of our lives. Planning and preparing are good things, but they can become idols if God is not always in our hearts and minds as we make our plans.
Tomorrow will be Palm Sunday. On this day over two thousand years ago, Jesus rode into Jerusalem to the voices of people saying, “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.” Matthew 21:10 says that as he entered Jerusalem, “the whole city was stirred and asked, ‘Who is this?’” People we’re taken off guard by the entrance of this King. “Who is he?” Jesus’ entrance into town and the events that would take place in the coming weeks were about to turn a lot of people’s lives upside down.
Bonhoeffer, a Christian man who found himself in prison because of his efforts to end Hitler’s reign said, “We must be ready to allow ourselves to be interrupted by God.” As we enter into Holy Week, let’s make sure we leave room for Christ to “interrupt” our plans. His plans are better than any plans we could make anyway!


#14 Moments of Hope with Pastor Jerry Rice

The praises of God’s children are powerful. We do not sing praises into the abyss. We do not sing praises to perform. We sing praises because God is worthy at every moment of every day. But have you ever been so discouraged that you just didn’t feel like praising God? The Israelites once felt the same way.
When the Israelites were captives in Babylon, they grieved as they remembered their former dwelling place. In their despair, they decided that they were finished singing. Psalms 137:2 says that they hung their harps on the willow trees. This was a public sign of their discouragement. Those who had captured them mockingly asked them to sing their songs of joy. But the Israelites responded with “How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?” This response may seem reasonable from a human perspective. They were far from home. They were captives. They felt defeated. Why would they sing? And why would they share the songs of their homeland with their captors? But from the perspective of God, why would they not sing? The Israelites had seen the power and grace of God time and time again. They were not unaware of what God was able to do. Fast forward to the New Testament. Paul and Silas sat in prison because of their ministry. Around midnight, these two men of God began praying and singing hymns of praise to God. The prisoners around them began to listen. In the midst of their singing, the Bible says that “the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains come loose” (Acts 16:26). Because of their praise, other people in the prison heard about God. Because of their praise, other people’s chains also came off. Because of their praise, a jailer and his entire family were saved. Through their willingness to praise at all times and in all circumstances, God brought about a revival in a jailhouse.
We find ourselves in our own sort of strange land right now. This new reality is not easy. But the world is watching. Will they find that Christians hang up their harps or will they find that Christians lift up the mighty name of Jesus? Our praise, perseverance, and public response during this time could make a difference in people’s lives.
“I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.” -Psalm 134:1


#13 Moments of Hope with Pastor Jerry Rice

Jesus taught us we should always pray and not lose heart (Luke 18:1). Prayer has been a source of strength for Christians throughout the centuries. Through prayer, we can ask God for help. Through prayer, we can ask God to give us hope. Through prayer, we can pray for those around us. Through prayer, God can change our own hearts. Through prayer, mountain can be moved. Through prayer, God forgives our sins. Through prayer, God can heal our land. Through prayer, we can thank God for all that he has done in our lives.
Isaiah 62 contains this strange suggestion, that we should give God no rest, that we “nag” Him in prayer, pleading with such dogged tenacity that God is compelled to respond to our request. The prophet Isaiah told those who guarded the city of Jerusalem to pray with untiring persistence until God’s promises for the city were fulfilled. Notice Isaiah’s words in verses 6 and 7: “I have set intercessors on your walls who shall cry to God all day and all night for the fulfillment of His promises. Take no rest, all you who pray, and give God no rest until he establishes Jerusalem and makes her respected and admired throughout the earth.”
Acts 12 tells of the Apostle Peter being thrown in jail, “But prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for Him”(v. 5). The end result was that God heard the prayers of His people and Peter was miraculously delivered.
Prayer is not *an* answer to our problems, it is *the* answer to our problems. James 5:16 says, “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”
Just this morning I saw this newspaper article posted on Facebook: “Someone has said that if Christians really understood the full extent of the power we have available through prayer, we might be speechless. Did you know that during World War II there was an advisor to Churchill who organized a group of people who dropped what they were doing every day at the prescribed hour for ONE MINUTE to collectively pray for the safety of England, its people, and peace?
“There is now a group of people organizing the same thing here in America. If you would like to participate: Every evening at 8 PM, stop what you are doing and spend ONE MINUTE praying for the safety of the United States, our troops, our citizens, and for a return to a Godly nation. If you have a smartphone – set an alarm to pray from 8-8:01 PM. Please pass this along to your prayerful family and friends. Our prayers are the most powerful asset we have.”
Let us join this effort in praying for America and the world. If God can speak this world into existence, create man from the dust of the earth, open the Red Sea, crumble the walls of Jericho, heal blinded eyes, cleanse leprosy, and raise the dead, HE CAN AND WILL BRING THIS CRISIS TO AN END. “If you believe, all things are possible”(Mark 9:23).


#12 Moments of Hope with Pastor Jerry Rice

There is not a single person on earth that God doesn’t want to be saved. The Bible says in 2 Peter 3:9 that the Lord “is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
Years ago, the Men and Women of Action (a group of people who volunteer their time and skills to build buildings such as churches) went to Germany to work on a retreat center. While they were there, a Muslim man volunteered to work with them. Bob Pace, the person leading the group, told him that they would be happy to have him help. Every day the group would have a devotion. During the devotion, the Muslim man would isolate himself from the group. When the group of men completed their work on the retreat center, the Muslim man presented Bob with an interesting drawing. It depicted a man who was in the process of coming out of a cave. In the distance, a light was shining from outside the cave. He told Bob that he had never met anyone like him and that working with the men had impacted his life. He said that the drawing was an indication of where he was: he was coming out of the cave, but he had not arrived yet. When Bob returned to America, he made a copy of this picture and gave it to my father, Gene Rice. On the back the man had labeled his picture “Coming out of the Darkness.”
A few weeks later, my father was in Germany leading convocation for the European Bible School. This particular year they were holding convocation at various churches in the area. When Dad held the altar call the first night after he preached, a lady and her two children came to the altar and committed their lives to the Lord. On the final night, there was a service at another church about two hours away. During a meal that the church had prepared, a man approached my Dad and said, “I came tonight to meet the man that introduced my wife and children to Jesus.” After Dad preached that night, this man gave his life to the Lord. While he talked with this man, he came to realize that this was the same Muslim man who had worked with the Men of Action and had drawn the picture of the man coming out of the cave.
Isn’t it incredible that God would orchestrate all of these events to lead one family to Christ? I Peter 2:9 says “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”
Chances are that you know someone in your life that does not know Christ. Continue praying for them, knowing that God does not want anyone to perish. As the Bible says in Colossians 4:6, “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”
May our words and actions be always full of grace.


#11 Moments of Hope with Pastor Jerry Rice

Many years ago a scientist did an experiment on rats by placing some rats directly in water. As you might expect, they soon drowned. With other rats, however, he would take them out of the water before they actually died. Because this set of rats realized that they could possibly be pulled out of the water, they were willing to swim longer than rats who were never given any hope of being taken out of the water. This small sliver of hope that they could be rescued gave the second set of rats the will to continue swimming. This is much different than the first set of rats that had no reason to believe that they could be rescued.
Hope is a powerful thing. Chuck Swindoll says in his book Hope Again, “Webster defines hope as: Desire accompanied by expectation of or belief in fulfillment…to desire with expectation of obtainment…to expect with confidence. How vital is that expectation! Without it, prisoners of war languish and die. Without it, students get discouraged and drop out of school. Without it, athletic teams fall into a slump and continue to lose…fledgling writers, longing to be published, run out of determination…addicts return to their habits…marriage partners decide to divorce…inventors, artists, entertainers, entrepreneurs, even preachers, lose their creativity.
• When we are trapped in a tunnel of misery, hope points to the light at the end of the tunnel.
• When we are discouraged, hope lifts our spirits.
• When we are tempted to quit, hope keeps us going.
• When we struggle with a crippling disease or a lingering illness, hope helps us persevere beyond the pain.
• When we find ourselves unemployed, hope tells us we still have a future.
• When we feel rejected and abandoned, hope reminds us we’re not alone…we’ll make it.
• When we say our final farewell to someone we love, hope in the life beyond gets us through our grief.
Put simply, when life hurts and dreams fade, nothing helps like hope.”
Hope gives us reason to believe that there is joy ahead. As Romans, 15:13 says, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
May Calhoun Community Church overflow with HOPE.


#10 Moments of Hope with Pastor Jerry Rice

When I was pastoring in South Carolina, I had a weekly play date on Thursday with my young daughter. One particular week as we pulled up to the park we noticed that there was a lady with a small group of children singing children’s worship music, doing a puppet show, and giving out sweets to all the kids at the playground. As we were leaving, I noticed that she was packing up. I asked her if she was with a church, and she said she was not with a church. Her church had recently had VBS and she had personally decided to minister to the kids at the local park by coming out every week to do a small ministry at the playground. As I watched this lady minister to these kids, God spoke to me and said, “She will never be on the cover of charisma magazine. She will never stand before the general assembly and receive the praises of man. But one day she will stand before my throne and hear the words: well done my good and faithful servant.”
As Christians, we are all part of one body: the body of Christ. 1 Corinthians 12:12 says, “There is one body, but it has many parts.” We are all part of this body, but each of us represents a different part. Every single person has a role to play in the kingdom of God. The world might make you think you have to be an “important person” to make a difference. But you don’t have to be important by the world’s standards to be an important part of God’s kingdom. A schoolteacher who is the only kind voice a child ever hears is a good and faithful servant. A parent who raises their children to know Christ is a good and faithful servant. A single mother who chooses to keep an unexpected child is a good and faithful servant. A person who shows up every week to teach a Sunday school class is a good and faithful servant. A choir member who shows up to every practice is a good and faithful servant. A waiter who does his job with joy is a good and faithful servant. A cashier who keeps a positive attitude with her customers is a good and faithful servant. You don’t have to do it all. You don’t have to be the best singer. You don’t have to speak eloquently. You don’t have to write a book. You don’t have to have a position of authority. You don’t have to preach to millions. You don’t have to travel the world. You just have to be faithful. And if you are faithful to God’s call, you also will one day hear the words “well done, my good and faithful servant.”


#9 Moments of Hope with Pastor Jerry Rice

“And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love” -I Corinthians 13:13
It’s amazing how little you are left with when everything unnecessary is taken away. We live in a world with corrupt desires. Wealth has become an obsession. Entertainment has been sexualized. Athletes and movie stars have become our idols. We have lost sight of what really matters. What would we be left with if all of the “unnecessary” was gone? The answer is that we would be left with faith, hope, and love. Simple yet profound things that will never pass away. Jesus said in Luke 21:33, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away.” Many things are changing and may continue to change, but we can be sure that every promise of God will come to pass. This means that our source of comfort, our firm foundation, our constant hope, and our undying strength at all times should be God’s word.
As you watch the news and process this pandemic never fail to remember this one important truth: God has not changed and God will not change.
Other faithful Christians before us have held fast to this eternal truth. In the 19th century, there was a young man named Russell Carter who was both an athlete and musician. When he was 15 years old, he became a Christian. As he grew up, he became a military instructor, preacher, and doctor. When he was 30, however, he faced death because of a critical heart condition. During this time, he promised God that he would consecrate the rest of his life to God. He would end up living an additional 49 years during which time he studied the Scripture and held on tight to the promises of God. He wrote this song that you may have grown up singing:
“Standing on the promises that cannot fail
When the howling storms of doubt and fear assail
By the Living Word of God I shall prevail
Standing in the promises of God.”


#8 Moments of Hope with Pastor Jerry Rice

Imagine Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego being thrown into the fiery furnace. How excited must they have been when God miraculously delivered them from death? An incredible story. Now imagine Stephen being stoned to death because he followed Christ. There was no miraculous rescue as Stephen died, becoming the first Christian martyr. Did the three Hebrew men have more faith than Stephen because they were rescued and he was not? Of course not. Your faith is not determined by your life circumstances. As the Bible says in Hebrews 11:1 , “Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”
We live in a fallen world. Sin. Disease. Violence. Hatred. Suffering. But Christians are a people of faith. Yet faith does not mean that bad things never happen. As of now, over 25,000 people have died due to the Coronavirus. Some of these people may have been faithful Christians. Jesus makes it very clear that those living on earth will face difficulties. John 16:33 tells us “in this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Jesus lets us know that we may have problems, but he also encourages us by reminding us that Christ has the final victory over every evil.
Many heroes of the Bible knew how it felt to struggle. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and Moses are a few examples of people who kept the faith even though they had not yet received everything God had promised. Hebrews 11:13 says of these men that “All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth.”
We, too, may see some difficult times, but we will not respond in despair, even if the world around us is in despair, because we know how this story ends. The world may not understand our faith in the midst of suffering. 1 Corinthians 1:18 says, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” What sets Christians apart from the world is that we have faith in God despite our circumstances. Our faith may seem foolish. Our hope may seem foolish. But we know that our faith and hope are centered on Christ.
Reality forces us to recognize that bad things are happening in our world: war, conflict, a global pandemic. But in order to have faith, we cannot focus only on what is happening here and now, because we know that our final home will be in a heavenly kingdom. We are strangers on this earth. We should certainly pray about current events and for all those serving in our government, but we should also always keep in mind that this world is not our final destination. Until that day when we return home, may we be faithful stewards of the message of the cross, anticipating the glorious day we enter through Heaven’s gates.
“What a day that will be when my Jesus I shall see….what a day, glorious day that will be!”


#7 Moments of Hope with Pastor Jerry Rice

Communication is part of everyday life. We speak to people one-on-one. We send emails. We send text messages. We make calls. We send postcards.
I went to Aldi yesterday with my son-in-law Josiah who is both an American and Bulgarian citizen. As we were checking out, Josiah told the cash register that he recognized her accent. She said, “My husband and I are from Bulgaria.” Josiah immediately began speaking to her in Bulgarian, and her face brightened up with excitement as she had the unexpected opportunity to converse with another human being in her native tongue.
How would it feel if you could not communicate with those around you? Muaharrem, a deaf man in Istanbul, could not communicate with many people because only a few people knew his language. One day, however, his life drastically changed. Samsung had provided those in his neighborhood the opportunity to learn sign language as part of the company’s promotion for an upcoming call center for the deaf. As Muaharrem’s sister began leading him through the streets, his neighbors began to speak to him by signing. He must have been so overjoyed that his neighbors took the time to learn how to communicate with him.
Jesus taught us to communicate with God in the Lord’s Prayer, “After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.” (Matthew 6:9-13, KJV)
God wants us to communicate with others, and God wants us to communicate with him. 2 Chronicles 7:14 says, “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” Communicate with God today and every day.


#6 Moments of Hope with Pastor Jerry Rice

Churches across the country are unable to meet together physically right now. We are so thankful for our beautiful sanctuary where we gather on a weekly basis, and we believe that having a place to come together for worship is important. But even though we can’t gather in our building right now, we can still be the Church. And what is the Church if not the body of Christ, a fellowship of believers who pray, worship, and serve together. God is the God of the masses, but he is also the God of the individual. Jesus spoke to thousands of people at one time, but he also went out of his way to speak to people on a one-on-one basis like when he talked to the woman at the well. Psalms 139:17 says “How precious it is, Lord, to realize that you are thinking about me constantly! I can’t even count how many times a day your thoughts turn toward me.” If it means so much to us that God is thinking about us as individuals, it would also mean a lot for others to know that we are thinking about them. How can we be the Church in a time like this when our normal way of ministry has been changed? Here are a few practical suggestions:
1. Pray for yourself. Pray for others. Pray for the country. Pray for the world.
2. Call someone who lives alone to see how they are doing.
3. Pick up groceries for an elderly or immunosuppressed person so that they do not have to leave their home and risk infection.
4. Send someone a note that you are thinking about them.
5. Send teachers, grocery workers, healthcare workers, or others a thank you note for the work they are doing.
6. Support local businesses that are struggling by ordering online.
7. Send an expecting mother a gift since she is unlikely to have a normal shower right now.
8. Have a nightly prayer and Bible reading time with your family.
9. Watch an online service on Sunday morning.
10. Make the most of the extra time you have with your family.
Let’s show the world the unsurpassable love of Christ, even if it has to be from a distance. If you have any prayer requests, feel free to write them in the comments so that we can pray for each other’s needs even though we are physically separated. Don’t underestimate what God can do in the midst of an unusual situation.


#5 Moments of Hope with Pastor Jerry Rice

God is never caught off guard. We, however, are often caught off guard. In a very short time period, the situation with the Coronavirus has drastically changed many people’s lives. Know that as a child of God He is thinking of you at all times. He always has a plan of taking care of His children even in the midst of suffering.
In John 6, we read where a large crowd was following Jesus. He knew the people were hungry, so He turned to Philip and asked, “Philip, where can we buy bread to feed all these people? ‘ He was testing Philip, for He already knew what He was going to do’”(John 6:5-6, LB). Philip was worried because he could only see things from his limited perspective. Jesus, however, was not worried because he already had a plan in mind to feed the people.
I have personally questioned how my own needs would be met in the past. When I was an evangelist in the early 80s, I traveled from church to church to preach revivals. I provided for my family through the offerings from these churches. At one point, a pastor from a Church that I would be speaking at had to suddenly cancel the engagement. I was worried because my work as an evangelist was both my calling and our only source of income. I walked into the kitchen and told my wife that I was worried about the situation. She said, “You preach on faith! Act like you have a little!” Walking back into my office, I prayed and thanked the Lord that my needs had always been met. When I finished praying, the phone rang and a man from Buford, Georgia who had attended a revival service weeks before called to say “The Lord spoke to me last Sunday in church and said I was to sell my truck and send you the profit. I have sold the truck and am sending you the check. It should arrive Monday.” It was not a large sum of money, but it met my family’s needs.
Before I even knew about my need, God had already made a plan to provide for my family. We learned a new song recently at Church that says, “Even when I don’t see it, you’re working. Even when I don’t feel it, you’re working. You never stop, you never stop working.” Many people are in a difficult place right now, but always remember that God has not forsaken you. It may take time for this all to pass over, but in the end, God will make all things new.


#4 Moments of Hope with Pastor Jerry Rice

In 1 Samuel 30 we read the story of David and his men returning from battle only to discover that their home base of Ziklag had been burned to the ground by the Amalekites. David’s men began to weep because they did not know if they would ever see their wives and children again. In their grief, the men turned against King David and spoke of stoning him because of their bitterness. They were looking for someone to blame. It would be easy for us to do the same right now. People throughout the country are suffering. Some are dying. Some are losing jobs. Healthcare workers are working overtime. People at nursery homes are lonely. Women are giving birth without any family to support them. People are having to cancel birthday parties, weddings, and conferences. It’s not an easy time. Bitterness and the propensity to cast blame on others is perhaps stronger than ever when we are suffering the most.
David was also grieving because his family was among those missing. But instead of trying to blame others, David’s inclination was to pray and ask God if he should pursue the Amalekites. God told David to pursue “for thou shalt surely overtake them, and without fail recover all.” Therefore, David and his men went to find their families. After a long battle, the Bible says that “David recovered everything the Amalekites had taken.”
So many people have already lost so much. But as Christians we believe that we can call on God to help us recover what we have lost. Only God will be able to heal, restore, and recover what has been lost during this pandemic.
The same God that David inquired of is available to us today. Let us not seek to blame. Let us not attack our fellow man. Let us instead pray that God will help us as individuals, America, and the whole world so that, like David, we may recover it all.


#3 Moments of Hope with Pastor Jerry Rice

Life has changed since the novel coronavirus spread worldwide. “People are reporting an increase in anxiety and fears related to uncertainty,” says Dr. Julie Kolzet, PH.D., a therapist in New York City who specializes in sleep disorders. “Those feelings often translate to sleep disturbances. Stress or anxiety can cause a serious night without sleep.”
In a Mayo Clinic FAQ about sleep and illness, Eric J. Olson, M.D. emphasizes that a lack of sleep can adversely affect your immune system. According to Dr. Olson, “studies show that people who don’t get quality sleep or enough sleep are more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus. Lack of sleep can also affect how fast you recover if you do get sick.”
A few years ago a man in our congregation had open-heart surgery. After he had been home a couple of days I called to check on him and to say that I was coming over to have prayer. His wife proceeded to tell me that he had little or no sleep since coming home from the hospital. On the way to their home, I was reminded of a passage found in Psalm 3, “I CRIED unto the Lord with my voice, and HE HEARD me out of his holy hill. I laid me down and SLEPT; I awaked; for the Lord sustained me”(vs. 4-5, KJV). When I arrived I asked how he was feeling and that I had a scripture for him. I quoted these two verses and then shared that my dad, Dr. Gene D. Rice had summarized these two verses with six words: I CRIED…HE HEARD…I SLEPT! At that point, the man began to weep. Through his tears, he said he had been afraid to go to sleep. I had a terrible fear that I would never wake up. As I was leaving, he took out his Bible and with pen in hand he was underlining those six simple words in Psalm 3: I CRIED…HE HEARD…I SLEPT! The next day his wife called and said that after I left he slept for hours. Please, don’t let fear, anxiety, stress, and worry keep you from getting much-needed sleep. David said: “I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety”(Psalm 4:8, KJV).


#2 Moments of Hope with Pastor Jerry Rice

In the summer of 1876, grasshoppers decimated crops all across Minnesota. Desperate farmers worked day and night to keep their fields from ruin. As the crisis mounted, Governor John Pillsbury proclaimed April 26, 1877 as a statewide day of prayer and fasting. All the schools and businesses closed as people gathered in churches to pray and fast.
The next day the temperature soared abnormally. For three days horrified farmers watched billions of grasshopper larvae wiggle into life. Could it be that God had not heard the cries of His people. Many questioned if God even cared about their situation. But then, on the fourth day, the temperature suddenly dropped, and the frost killed the larvae. People were astounded. Shortly thereafter, the remaining grasshoppers disappeared into the horizon.
On Sunday, March 15th President Trump called for a National Day of Prayer. This morning I read a statement by Andrea Jones, a member of Calhoun Community Church posted on Facebook. Andrea said: Encouraging to hear of a possible drug to help with Corona. Could this be due to the National Day of Prayer? I believe, I believe! Feeling a little more hopeful. #callingongod
I am so thankful for everything that is being done to stop the spread of this terrible virus. We have incredibly smart and capable men and women working overtime to bring this crisis to an end, but I remind you again that our hope and our answer is found in God. Jeremiah 33:3 says, “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know!” There’s an old song that says, He has the answer to every problem…look to Him, He’s the answer for it all! #keepcallingongod


#1 Moments of Hope with Pastor Jerry Rice

On December 17, 1927, a USS S-4 (SS-109) submarine was accidentally rammed by a Coast Guard destroyer and sank to the ocean floor off Cape Cod near Provincetown, Massachusetts. Rescue and salvage operations were immediately commenced lead by Admiral Frank Brumby, Captain Ernest King, Lieutenant Henry Hartley, and Commander Edward Ellsberg, but the rescue operation was hindered by severe weather. Heroic efforts were made to rescue six known survivors trapped in the forward torpedo room, who had exchanged a series of signals with the rescue force divers, by tapping on the hull. As the trapped men used the last available oxygen in the sub, they sent a morse-coded message, “IS THERE ANY HOPE?”
We live in a day of great uncertainty. We have been hit hard by a destroyer called Corona. Rescue and salvage operations have been put in place by our government, the medical field, and local officials to protect us and save us from this deadly virus. The question that many ask is the same as those trapped in the sunken submarine, “IS THERE ANY HOPE?” David answers that question in Psalm 42. He was facing devastating circumstances, but instead of panicking he remembers where salvation comes from, GOD! Hear the words of David, “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God”(vs. 5-6a, NIV).
David was simply saying, I refuse to look down, I will lookup. I refuse to live in fear, I will live in faith. I will not live in despair, I will live in hope. As I put my hope in God, I know that things will begin to change. I will live to praise Him for His salvation over my circumstances. “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning”(Psalm 30:5, KJV). PUT YOUR HOPE IN GOD!


Day 21 – Beginning!

2020 VISION | Day 21 | Beginning!

“Behold, the former things are come to pass,

and new things do I declare”(Isaiah 42:9, KJV).

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.

See, I am doing a new thing”(Isaiah 43:18, KJV).

“If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: 

old things are passed away; behold, all things 

are become new”(II Corinthians 5:17, KJV).

We started with “It Is Finished.” We fasted. We prayed for Victory,  Vision, Validity, Visitation, and Vigilance. Now, we begin. As a person, and as a church, let’s put these concepts, and this new 2020 VISION on the road. Let’s get busy for the kingdom of God. We came to this fast like we were. Let’s begin on a new path. It isn’t hard to find. The path may be new to us, but it is old to Adam, Moses, Abraham, Isaac, David, Daniel, Isaiah, Micah, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and Paul. The new path is a walk in the sweet grace of God. It was forged on a lonely walk up a hill by His son but worn smooth by those who have gone before us in the way of the cross. Let’s join the body of believers in our community and around the world. We have more to he happy about, more to be excited about than any other people on earth. In this fast, we have been sustained and strengthened, enlightened and excited,  provided for and proven – every day – that God’s mercy really is new every morning. Let’s begin sharing this truth with others. Let’s begin the work God has for us. 

Prayer: Father, we honor You alone for all the mercy and love you show us. Give us Daniel’s confidence, David’s reliance, Paul’s certainty, Elijah’s vision, and the humbleness of the disciples who left all their seeming security behind to discover eternity through Your Son. Give us peace, provision, and a path to serving your kingdom. Bless our church to be a light that shines brighter than the darkest night. Give us work and willing workers. Give us a mission and a mandate from You that we can truly be more than conquerors because we love You. Father, be the center of our lives and center us in Your will. In Jesus’ name, Amen!



Day 20 – Help!

2020 VISION | Day 20 | Help!

“Fear not, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed. 

I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you;

I will uphold you with My victorious right hand”

(Isaiah 41:10, TLB).

With six grandchildren – Caleb, Noah, Allie, Callie, Lydia, & Symeon – there is not a day that goes by that I do not realize that they can’t make it without someone helping them. That was never more obvious to me than on a warm summer day this past summer. I was swimming with Callie (3 years of age) in the shallow end of their pool. She is barely tall enough to stand on her tiptoes and keep her head above water. On this particular day as she had gained confidence in swimming back and forth from one person to another, she turned and headed to the deep end. Out loud I said, “Where does she think she’s going?” Without hesitation, she stopped, stood on her tiptoes, and with her face barely above water she said, “I tink (think) I’m going to the deep end.” She then turned and headed for deep waters. I followed close behind. Within seconds she began to struggle. I swam up beside her and held her up with my right hand. There is a great lesson here to be learned by God’s children. At times we feel over confident and find ourselves in deep waters of temptation, bitterness, fear, loneliness, anger, thinking we can handle things on our own. Don’t be ashamed to cry out for help. David said, “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord”(Psalm 121:1-2, KJV). You are never beyond His reach. Just as a mother hears the cries of her baby, His ear is always turned toward you. What a privilege to know that we are children of God. John said, “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the children of God”(I John 3:1, KJV). Rest in His love and don’t forget to cry out for His help when you find yourself in deep waters. He will Hear and Help!

Prayer: Dear Father, I thank you for loving me and for being near me today. Forgive me for thinking that I could ever do anything without Your help. I rest today in the strength of Your victorious right hand.



Day 19 – Brave!

2020 VISION | Day 19 | Brave!

“Thou, O Lord, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up 

of mine head. I cried unto the Lord with my voice, 

and he heard me out of his holy hill.

I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the Lord sustained me.

I will not be afraid…”(Psalm 3:3-6, KJV).

“I do not fear bad news, my heart is steadfast, 

trusting in the Lord”(Psalm 112:7).

Many years ago, when my son Jason was around 5 years old, I had come home from preaching several weeks of revival. As I sat in the den relaxing, Jason bolted through the back door, breathing hard, and with a wild look of fear in his little eyes, he slammed the door and blocked it shut with all his might. I remember asking, “What happening?” He described the horror that was facing him: the neighbor’s basset hound, Freckles, was after him and he was scared to death. I knew that the worst consequence that could come from this encounter was a really good licking from an aggravating puppy. I reassured him that Freckles would not hurt him in any way. For about 10 minutes I watched him turn and look through the blinds to see if Freckles was still there. Suddenly, I watched as Jason stood tall, squared his shoulders and said, I will trust and not be afraid. I found later that he had learned this verse the week before in VBS. He then turned, opened the door and stepped out to face his fear. It works! God’s Word, His Spirit within us, His Son who will one day return to earth to rule and reign have all assured us of how our story will end. We do not need to be afraid of anything if we are truly in Christ. Of all people, we are to live with certainty of a bright future filled with “things ears haven’t heard, eyes haven’t seen, and our hearts haven’t dreamed. Because we know this we can lift our hearts in praise and live a brave life in Christ. For us, there is no bad news! 

Father: Help me never fear any bad news. I rejoice that my heart is steadfast because I trust in You. Let me live filled with Your Spirit. In Jesus’ name, Amen!



Day 18 – Greater!

2020 VISION | Day 18 | Greater!

“The glory of this present house 

will be greater than the glory of the former house,” 

says the Lord Almighty. “

And in this place I will grant peace,” 

declares the Lord Almighty

(Haggai 2:9, NIV).

You know the feeling when you’re the one responsible for making good on a promise? It could be as simple as delivering a pizza in 30 minutes or less or meeting deadlines or quality expectations at work. When we make promises, people are depending on us to deliver.  In Haggai 2:9 God said that the glory of the temple that they were to build was going to be greater than Solomon’s temple. Solomon had all resources afforded to a ruling king undertaking a grand project. In Haggai’s time, this ragtag group of returning exiles didn’t have many  ne things with which to rebuild the temple. But God made good on his promise. Some 400 years later, we can read about a greater glory in this rebuilt temple. Time and time again the gospels inform us of Jesus’ ministry and visitation in and around this temple in Jerusalem. The glory of the temple to come wasn’t greater because of building materials, it was greater because of the very presence of God himself. That is exactly what we’re praying for in this fast as we look forward to our own church (temple) refurbishment project. Pray fervently that the glory will be greater. Pray that He will move in even greater and more powerful ways to save those who are lost, heal those who are sick, bring freedom to those who are oppressed, and bring hope to those without hope.

Prayer: Father, awaken my faith to long for your presence and your glory in an even greater way. Open my eyes to see that in your kingdom, the best is yet to come. Let your coming glory transform us into your likeness and send us forth to carry your gospel into the community and world around us. In Christ’s name, Amen!