Scripture for the week of December 18, 2022 By JoBeth Kested
God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. 1 John 4:9-10 (NLT)
Haven’t we all been captivated by stories of courage and bravery when we hear about someone giving their life to save a child, a friend or even a stranger? No matter how hard we try, we are never able to work hard enough, to be good enough or to love God enough to deserve the sacrifice Jesus made for us. This time of year we remember that God sent Jesus, His only son, into the world as an extravagant demonstration of His great love for us. He came as the baby in a manger, destined for the cross, to die in our place and to save us from our sins. He not only forgives us of our sins, but also gives us His comfort, peace, love and joys in this life as well as the hope for all eternity with Him. In this Christmas season of shopping, parties and family gatherings for sharing gifts, let us not forget the reason for the season and the greatest gift of God’s love for us in Jesus; born to be our savior. Glory to God in the highest!
Scripture for the week of December 11, 2022 By JoBeth Kested
“Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder things of the past. Behold, I will do something new, now it will spring forth; will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:18-19 (NASB)
Have you ever watched high flying acrobats swinging back and forth in a circus? It is so breathtaking to watch them release one swing in order to fly toward the next swing and safety. It seems in these verses that God is telling us that we must let go of the former and past things we are clinging onto, so we can be free to reach for the new things He is preparing for us that we can’t even see yet! He is able to do sudden things like showing us the way when we feel lost and to even provide what we need in desperate places. Lord, help us let go of anything we are holding on to that keeps us from reaching for the new and blessed things you have prepared for us. Help us to find your roadway in our wilderness and Your river of life in the desert. Yes, Amen.
Scripture for the week of December 4, 2022 By JoBeth Kested
“You are My witnesses,” says the Lord, “and My servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, nor shall there be after Me. Isaiah 43:10 NKJV
Have you ever considered that there is a big difference between “believing in God” verses “believing God”? Believing in God allows us to believe what we want to believe about God as we attempt to fit Him into the box of our own preferences and understanding. Believing God means we have chosen to acknowledge the absolute sovereignty of the Bible, believing God is Who He says He is and also believing that He will do what He says He will do. God declares in this verse that He has chosen us even before we choose Him! He invites us to “know” Him in an intimate personal relationship that opens the eyes of our understanding with the ability to BELIEVE that He Is The One and Only True GOD that always was, always is and always will be! Let your light so shine that others also see and believe. Praise the Lord!
Scripture for the week of November 27, 2022 By JoBeth Kested
Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of gods. His love endures forever. Give thanks to the Lord of lords: His love endures forever. To him who alone does great wonders, His love endures forever. Psalm 136:1-4 (NIV)
What would you answer if you were asked what is your greatest desire? If we are honest and willing to be completely transparent most of us would acknowledge the deepest longing of our hearts is to be loved. We all long for and cherish the loving relationships of family and friends. We are encouraged in these scriptures to give thanks to The Lord, God above all other gods, and Lord of lords because His love endures forever. In this Psalm, there are twenty-six declarations that His love endures forever following verses extolling the majesty of God’s creation, His awesome wonders, His mighty power and extravagant mercy. During this season of Thanksgiving it is good to remember the many things we are thankful for. It is also important to be thankful that The Lord God Almighty is good, He does great wonders and His steadfast love for us endures forever!
Scripture for the week of November 20, 2022 By JoBeth Kested
Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet My unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor My covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you. Isaiah 54:10 (NIV)
Have you ever experienced or seen the devastation of an earthquake? Massive buildings and bridges can crumble as the earth shifts and buckles causing great fear and death with the destruction. Even majestic mountains can suddenly disappear in earth shattering volcanic eruptions causing all to tremble in fear. Sometimes the instability and uncertainty of our jobs, relationships and life circumstances can shake the very foundations of our souls. What an awesome comfort and assurance to know that the Lord promises that His love for us can never be shaken, nor will His steadfast peace ever be removed from us. Because of our Father God’s endless compassion for us, may you always dwell in the unshakable assurance of His unfailing unshakable love and His immovable peace both now and forever. Yes, amen!
Scripture for the week of November 6, 2022 By JoBeth Kested
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the Lord… Jeremiah 29:11-14a (NKJV)
Have you ever felt like you messed up so bad that you are beyond forgiveness and undeserving of God’s love? Sometimes it feels like God is playing Hide and Seek and nowhere to be found. But, these verses assure us that God is listening and really does hear our prayers when we cry out to Him. Listening implies that He is waiting and anticipating to hear our voice so He can reveal Himself and the good plans He has prepared for us. Though it may be hard to fathom, the truth is, God harbors no thoughts of evil against us. He is always thinking of how to show us His plans for our future that includes renewing our dashed hopes and bestowing His peace that passes our understanding. Be encouraged in this promise to you today, that you will find the Lord when you pray and seek Him with all your heart. Praise the Lord!
Scripture for the week of October 23, 2022 By JoBeth Kested
But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” Lamentations 3:20-24 (ESV)
Do you ever struggle to find the faith to trust God in the midst of overwhelming situations especially when it feels like the cries of your prayers bounce off the ceiling and He seems to be silent? In the scriptures before these verses the prophet Jeremiah describes in great detail his sufferings and that he feels like God caused it all. He was not afraid to talk to God about his disillusionment, frustrations and anguish. Then he reminds himself of God’s love, mercies and faithfulness in times past. How amazing that even though the circumstances have not changed, Jeremiah is able to declare with renewed hope that the Lord is all he needs. Take your list of problems to God today and pour out your hurts, doubts and fears. Then be encouraged with new hope remembering the Lord’s unshakeable love, unending mercies and great faithfulness to you always. Selah, amen.
Scripture for the week of October 9, 2022 By JoBeth Kested
Praise the Lord, all you nations. Praise him, all you people of the earth. For he loves us with unfailing love; the Lord’s faithfulness endures forever. Praise the Lord! Psalm 117:1-2 (NLT)
Everyone at one time or another suffers the wounds of failed relationships whether it is family, a spouse, best friend or a boss. The hurt, grief, betrayal, injustice and anger can be extremely difficult to deal with or overcome. We can spin our mental and emotional wheels endlessly asking the questions “Why me?”, “How did this happen?”, and “What if…?” yet never finding the answers to soothe our hurting souls. This scripture reminds us that God’s love for ALL nations and ALL people never ends and never fails. No matter our color or culture we will always find His arms open to receive and restore us in His love that will never end! No matter our faults or failures our circumstances or sorrows the promise and healing hope of the Lord’s steadfast unfailing love knows no barriers nor boundaries. Therefore, let us ALL lift our voices and praise the Lord for His endless loving kindness!
Scripture for the week of October 2, 2022 By JoBeth Kested
I will glory in the Lord; let the afflicted hear and rejoice. Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt His name together. I sought the Lord, and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears. Psalm 34:2-4 (NIV)
Have you ever struggled with afflicting fear of failure, fear of the future, fear of abandonment or rejection? No matter how much we try to minimize or ignore it, sometimes life difficulties can cast us into the agonizing grip of our deepest fears with seemingly no hope of finding any way out. With great joy, this Psalmist instructs us to seek or call upon the Lord; declaring that God answered him and rescued him from ALL his fears. The afflicted are invited to join the celebration of worship and to glorify the Lord with the good news that God will also answer our cry for freedom from all our fears. In 1 John 4:18 we learn that the perfect love of Jesus casts out all fear. May you know the healing, restoring power of the love of Jesus that will also free you from every fear. Selah–ponder and focus on that!
Scripture for the week of September 25, 2022 By JoBeth Kested
For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. 2 Corinthians 4:6 (NIV)
Have you ever tried to find your way in the dark without a light? In Genesis chapter one God said, “Let there be light” and He created light out of the darkness. Our verse for this week declares that God is able to make His light shine into the darkness of our hearts that gives us knowledge of God’s glory. If light travels at the speed of 186,000 miles a second, then we know that darkness has to flee that fast from every ray of light, especially the light of His presence. His glory is the perfection, beauty and power of His extravagant love we can each find in our personal relationship with Jesus face to face. Jesus proclaimed in John 8:12 “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (NIV) Let the light of Jesus’ love for you breakthrough any encroaching darkness against you and through you as you follow Him.