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Did you remember to read your Bible?

One Year Bible Reading Plan and Devotional

Today’s Bible Reading: January 19

Download the full one-year Bible reading plan here:

[Download not found]

Genesis 44-45

Matthew 14:1-21

God’s Provision in Unexpected Ways

Never stayed throwed

Life often gives us unexpected twists and turns and sometimes leave us feeling like the rug has been pulled out from under us. But when we trust God and continually look for his plan and how He is working in our lives, we can often find God’s provision in unexpected ways.

There is a story about Andrew Jackson and his childhood friends. His friends had a hard time understanding how Andy, as they called him, became a famous general and then the President of the United States. They each had known other people who had greater talent, who were smarter, who more better off financially – but never succeeded. As the friends were reminiscing and talking one day, one of the said, “Why Jim Brown, who lived right down the pike from Jackson, was not only smarter but he could throw Andy three times out of four in a wrestling match. But look where Andy is now.”

Another friend responded, “How did there happen to be a fourth time? Didn’t they usually say, ‘Three times and your out?'”

“Sure they were supposed to, but not Andy. He would never admit he was beat. He would never stay ‘throwed.’ Jim Brown would get tired, and on the fourth try Andy would throw him and be the winner.”

Things never changed for Andrew Jackson. No matter what he faced, he just wouldn’t stay ‘throwed’! It was that perseverance and determination that served him well throughout his life, including as a general and as the President.

Life will pull the rug out from under us

Life has a way of pulling the rug out from under us and knocking us off our feet over and over again. We’ve all experienced it. Some throw in the towel and give up but some of us just won’t stay ‘throwed.” We get up again. Dust ourselves off. And we go for it one more time. These are the people of courage – hope – faith – and they trust in the omnipotent Father to see them through and provide all they need – even when God’s provision comes in unexpected ways.

Lessons from Joseph

In the Bible, Joseph is a man that just wouldn’t stay “throwed.” Over and over again the rug was pulled out from under him, but he kept getting back up, never lost hope, and in the end, God used him to save his entire family from a famine. Since the nation of Israel came to be through Joseph and his brothers, God used Joseph to preserve the nation of Israel. But Joseph would get throwed over and over again before seeing what God had in store for him. Through it all, he continues to give God glory and acknowledges God’s provision.

In Joseph’s life:

  • Joseph was his father’s favored son, but hated by his brothers
  • He received a coat of many colors from his father, but received ridicule and jealousy from his brothers
  • His brothers plotted to kill him, but threw him in a dry cistern instead
  • He was sold by his brothers as a slave, taken into Egypt, sold again to Potiphar
  • In Potiphar’s house he was promoted to head of Potiphar’s household affairs but then  falsely accused by Mrs. Potiphar for attempted rape and thrown in prison
  • In prison, he was promoted to command of all the other prisoners, interpreted the dreams of two prisoners but was forgotten about in prison
  • Then at just the right moment in time he was remembered, brought out of the prison to interpret two dreams that Pharaoh had which resulted in Pharaoh making Joseph second in command in all of Egypt with only Pharaoh himself over Joseph.

Joseph’s troubles prepared Him for God’s plan

Joseph could have sulked, despaired, and sunk into a depression in the pit as he realized how much his own brothers hated him. He could have become angry and bitter when they sold him as a slave. He could have given up on God when he was falsely accused and thrown into prison. Joseph could have turned to Egyptian gods when he was forgotten and left in prison. But what we see is a young man who never forgot about the God of Israel. Joseph probably wondered more than once what God was doing with him and perhaps he couldn’t see that God was preparing him to save all of Egypt and beyond from a period of seven years of famine.

It’s easy for us to read the story of Joseph and get to the end and understand how all the events of Joseph’s life played out and see how God orchestrated things so that Joseph was at the exact place he needed to be for God to use him in saving millions of people from starving to death. But the story we read in about 30 minutes constitutes years of Joseph’s life. How many times must have Joseph laid in bed at night and asked God what he was doing. He must have prayed every night for God to get him out of prison and back home. But if God had answered those prayers, Joseph would not have been summoned to Pharaoh to interpret his dreams that warned of the coming famine.

God’s provision in unexpected ways

Yes. It was Joseph’s brothers who sold him with not even an ounce of remorse. In fact, they cared so little about Joseph that they turned and sat down to eat dinner. But they were not the ones who sent Joseph to Egypt. God was sending him there for a reason. All along God was providing for what was coming.

God also had to strategically place Joseph in places that would grow him and prepare him for what God had in mind for him. As the pampered, favorite son of Jacob, Joseph would have never ended up 2nd in command of Egypt. He would not have been trained to run a household or a country. But even in the bad circumstances, God was with him, working in his life to strategically put him where he needed to be so that when Pharaoh had disturbing dreams, Pharaoh’s cup bearer would remember the person who had interpreted his dreams and tell Pharaoh about him.

Joseph never forgot or blamed God

We know that Joseph never forgot God or blamed him because when he stands before Pharaoh he gives God the glory for interpreting the dream. When his brothers realize they are standing before their brother as the 2nd in command of Egypt they become afraid of how Joseph might retaliate against them. But in Genesis 50, Joseph says in verse 20, “But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.”  God’s purpose for all Joseph went through was revealed and Joseph saw how God provided for them all in a very unexpected way.

Will you stayed throwed?

Maybe you’ve been knocked off your feet. Maybe you’ve been asking God, “What are you doing?!” Or maybe your don’t understand right now, but will you stay ‘throwed,” or will you rise and give it your best? Will you trust that just as God was working in Joseph’s life, that He is also at work in yours? God is never surprised at the unexpected turn of events in our lives. He is always at work in every moment of or life, orchestrating, preparing, and moving us toward His divine plan – trust Him in the process. Get up. Dust yourself off. You’re heavenly Father who loves you with an everlasting love is with you in pit. Trust His plan.

#ReadYourBible #Genesis #Matthew

Now you can enhance your Bible Reading with the Verse Mapping Template

Our Verse Mapping download is FREE and includes 6 pages: 3 pages of instructions for using the template and the 2 page template, plus the cover page. If you’re looking to go deeper into God’s Word, learn more about God and develop a stronger spiritual life, Verse Mapping will help you dig into the scriptures. As you apply God’s Word to your life, you will develop a more intimate knowledge and relationship with God.

Click here to listen to our devotions on Spotify be sure to follow us.

Visit our three retail experiences:

Bible study and Self Care Resources
Christian Tees, Bags, Mugs & More
We are an affiliate of CBD. We earn a commission on any purchase you make when you enter the store through this link. However, your CBD price is the same. Visit CBD for Bibles, Bible studies, gifts & more

Tee of the Week: The Greatest Valentine’s Day

Be Still

On Valentine’s Day, we celebrate love and there’s no greater love than Christ who laid down His life so that we can have eternal life. From John 3:16, this design is on t-shirts, long-sleeved tees, kids tees, mugs, bags, tumblers and more. Click the link to see all the available products in this design.


Do you have an event on the calendar and need a speaker?

We’re offering 30% off our speaker fees as our gift to you if you book any 2022 event with us by December 31, 2021. Call today and use the discount code: CHRISTMAS2021.

We’re excited to be a part of your ministry and can’t wait to see you – no matter what size your event.

904.239.8937


Visit our YouTube Channels for Christian playlists and our short animated devotionals.

Animated Devotionals

Contemporary Christian Music Playlist

Southern Gospel Playlist

Just Hymns


God, Love, and Marshmallow Wars

by Julia M. Bruce

What’s Inside God, Love, and Marshmallow Wars?

This book includes 365 daily activities and takes you on a guided journey through Biblical principles about Godly marriage that you can then apply to your marriage, as well as helping you talk through concepts that can help you develop a solid relationship. Inside you will find simple, quick activities that include:

  • Scripture to memorize and meditate on
  • Conversation Starters
    • Concepts from the Bible on Godly marriages
    • Romance Builders
    • Relationship Builders
    • Personal reflections
    • Date ideas
    • Group date ideas for you and other Christian couples

Available in hardback, paperback and ebook from Westbow Press Bookstore, Christian Book Distributors, Amazon, and Barnes & Nobel. Click the icons below to purchase from your preferred bookstore. Now also available at WalMart online.

Westbow logo
Christian book logo
amazon logo
Barnes and Nobel logo
walmart logo


 Join the community of couples on Facebook who are committed to intentionally growing their marriage and learning how to have a marriage that honors God. Here you can post photos of the different activities as you do them, ask questions of other couples, share how God is using this book to strengthen your marriage, and grow with other Christian couples. We’ll see you in the community.


Bible Studies, Bibles, Books & More

Christianbook Distributors logo
Everything Christian for less!

Looking for a Bible Study, Bible, book or Christian gift? We are an affiliate with Christianbook Distributors and receive an 8% commission on any item purchased through one of our links. However, the commission never increases your cost of any item. View some of our favorite items by clicking on the logo and thank you for supporting our ministry.

Christianbook Distributors Search:
Christianbook.com

Wellspring Christian Ministries receives an 8% commission on any purchased made from Christian Book Distributors through any affiliate link on this site. Your price for any item is the same as purchasing from CBD directly.


See our other recent posts:

904.239.8937
A non-profit ministry located in Jacksonville, FL 
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God, Love, and Marshmallow Wars

God, Love, and Marshmallow Wars:
365 Daily Challenges to Grow Your Marriage
by Julia M. Bruce

God, Love and Marshmallow Wars book cover

It doesn’t matter if you have a great marriage, an “ok” marriage, one that is limping along trying to survive, or one that is headed for divorce. Through the guided activities, couple’s can develop stronger marriages as they apply God’s principles to their marriage, take an honest look at what they do and do not contribute to the marriage, and learn to never stop dating. God, Love and Marshmallow Wars is a great book for any couple. For pastors, counselors, and lay leaders working with or mentoring couples, this is a great book to recommend. 

There’s no doubt that marriage is hard work. Yet it can also be one of the most fulfilling relationships you can experience, outside of your relationship with God. However, many marriages leave God outside of the relationship. Godly marriages do not happen without cultivating it, investing in it, and putting God first in your individual lives and in your marriage. God, Love, and Marshmallow Wars will help couples develop stronger relationships while searching the Scriptures to understand God’s plan for marriage.

What’s Inside God, Love and Marshmallow Wars?

This book includes 365 daily activities and takes you on a guided journey through Biblical principles about Godly marriage that you can then apply to your marriage, as well as helping you talk through concepts that can help you develop a solid relationship. Inside you will find simple, quick activities that include:

  • Scripture to memorize and meditate on
  • Conversation Starters
  • Concepts from the Bible on Godly marriages
  • Romance Builders
  • Relationship Builders
  • Personal reflections
  • Date ideas
  • Group date ideas for you and other Christian couples

God, Love and Marshmallow Wars is available in hardback, paperback and ebook from Westbow Press Bookstore, Christian Book Distributors, Amazon, and Barnes & Nobel. Click the icons below to purchase from your preferred bookstore. Now also available at WalMart online.

Westbow logo
Christian book logo
amazon logo
Barnes and Nobel logo
walmart logo

Get the book and join the God, Love, and Marshmallow Wars community on Facebook

 Join the community of couples on Facebook who are committed to intentionally growing their marriage and learning how to have a marriage that honors God. Here you can post photos of the different activities as you do them, ask questions of other couples, share how God is using this book to strengthen your marriage, and grow with other Christian couples. We’ll see you in the community.

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Click here to listen to our all-new podcast and be sure to follow us.

You will find our new devotional podcast on seven platforms – Spotify, Apple Podcast AnchorFM, Google Podcast, Breaker, Pocket Cast, and Radio Public. Pick your favorite and start listening today – and be sure to follow us.


Do you have an event on the calendar and need a speaker?

We’re offering 30% off our speaker fees as our gift to you if you book any 2022 event with us by January 31, 2022. Call today and use the discount code: NY22.

We’re excited to be a part of your ministry and can’t wait to see you – no matter what size your event.

904.239.8937


Visit our three retail experiences:

Bible study and Self Care Resources
Christian Tees, Bags, Mugs & More
We are an affiliate of CBD. We earn a commission on any purchase you make when you enter the store through this link. However, your CBD price is the same. Visit CBD for Bibles, Bible studies, gifts & more

Tee of the Week: The Greatest Valentine’s Day

Be Still

On Valentine’s Day, we celebrate love and there’s no greater love than Christ who laid down His life so that we can have eternal life. From John 3:16, this design is on t-shirts, long-sleeved tees, kids tees, mugs, bags, tumblers and more. Click the link to see all the available products in this design.


Make a donation to help our ministry grow


Need some music to get you through the day? Check out one of our Playlists on YouTube

Click here for the Contemporary Christian Playlist
Click here for the Southern Gospel Playlist
Or Click here for the Hymns Playlist

You can also watch our animated devotionals on the YouTube Channel


What’s Inside God, Love and Marshmallow Wars?

God, Love and Marshmallow Wars is a book that includes 365 daily activities and takes you on a guided journey through Biblical principles about Godly marriage that you can then apply to your marriage, as well as helping you talk through concepts that can help you develop a solid relationship. Inside you will find simple, quick activities that include:

  • Scripture to memorize and meditate on.
  • Conversation Starters.
  • Concepts from the Bible on Godly marriages.
  • Romance Builders.
  • Relationship Builders.
  • Personal reflections.
  • Date ideas.
  • Group date ideas for you and other Christian couples.

Available in hardback, paperback and ebook from Westbow Press Bookstore, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. Click the icons below to purchase from your preferred bookstore. Now also available at WalMart online.

WestBow Press logo

Bible Studies, Bibles, Books & More

Christianbook Distributors logo
Everything Christian for less!

Looking for a Bible Study, Bible, book or Christian gift? We are an affiliate with Christianbook Distributors and receive an 8% commission on any item purchased through one of our links. However, the commission never increases your cost of any item. View some of our favorite items by clicking on the logo and thank you for supporting our ministry.

Christianbook Distributors Search:
Christianbook.com

Wellspring Christian Ministries receives an 8% commission on any purchased made from Christian Book Distributors through any affiliate link on this site. Your price for any item is the same as purchasing from CBD directly.


See our recent posts:

904.239.8937
A non-profit ministry located in Jacksonville, FL 
Follow us on:

book cover for God, Love and Marshmallow Wars
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God’s Provision in Unexpected Ways

One Year Bible Reading Plan and Devotional

Today’s Bible Reading: January 19

Download the full one-year Bible reading plan here:

[Download not found]

Genesis 44-45

Matthew 14:1-21

God’s Provision in Unexpected Ways

Never stayed throwed

Life often gives us unexpected twists and turns and sometimes leave us feeling like the rug has been pulled out from under us. But when we trust God and continually look for his plan and how He is working in our lives, we can often find God’s provision in unexpected ways.

There is a story about Andrew Jackson and his childhood friends. His friends had a hard time understanding how Andy, as they called him, became a famous general and then the President of the United States. They each had known other people who had greater talent, who were smarter, who more better off financially – but never succeeded. As the friends were reminiscing and talking one day, one of the said, “Why Jim Brown, who lived right down the pike from Jackson, was not only smarter but he could throw Andy three times out of four in a wrestling match. But look where Andy is now.”

Another friend responded, “How did there happen to be a fourth time? Didn’t they usually say, ‘Three times and your out?'”

“Sure they were supposed to, but not Andy. He would never admit he was beat. He would never stay ‘throwed.’ Jim Brown would get tired, and on the fourth try Andy would throw him and be the winner.”

Things never changed for Andrew Jackson. No matter what he faced, he just wouldn’t stay ‘throwed’! It was that perseverance and determination that served him well throughout his life, including as a general and as the President.

Life will pull the rug out from under us

Life has a way of pulling the rug out from under us and knocking us off our feet over and over again. We’ve all experienced it. Some throw in the towel and give up but some of us just won’t stay ‘throwed.” We get up again. Dust ourselves off. And we go for it one more time. These are the people of courage – hope – faith – and they trust in the omnipotent Father to see them through and provide all they need – even when God’s provision comes in unexpected ways.

Lessons from Joseph

In the Bible, Joseph is a man that just wouldn’t stay “throwed.” Over and over again the rug was pulled out from under him, but he kept getting back up, never lost hope, and in the end, God used him to save his entire family from a famine. Since the nation of Israel came to be through Joseph and his brothers, God used Joseph to preserve the nation of Israel. But Joseph would get throwed over and over again before seeing what God had in store for him. Through it all, he continues to give God glory and acknowledges God’s provision.

In Joseph’s life:

  • Joseph was his father’s favored son, but hated by his brothers
  • He received a coat of many colors from his father, but received ridicule and jealousy from his brothers
  • His brothers plotted to kill him, but threw him in a dry cistern instead
  • He was sold by his brothers as a slave, taken into Egypt, sold again to Potiphar
  • In Potiphar’s house he was promoted to head of Potiphar’s household affairs but then  falsely accused by Mrs. Potiphar for attempted rape and thrown in prison
  • In prison, he was promoted to command of all the other prisoners, interpreted the dreams of two prisoners but was forgotten about in prison
  • Then at just the right moment in time he was remembered, brought out of the prison to interpret two dreams that Pharaoh had which resulted in Pharaoh making Joseph second in command in all of Egypt with only Pharaoh himself over Joseph.

Joseph’s troubles prepared Him for God’s plan

Joseph could have sulked, despaired, and sunk into a depression in the pit as he realized how much his own brothers hated him. He could have become angry and bitter when they sold him as a slave. He could have given up on God when he was falsely accused and thrown into prison. Joseph could have turned to Egyptian gods when he was forgotten and left in prison. But what we see is a young man who never forgot about the God of Israel. Joseph probably wondered more than once what God was doing with him and perhaps he couldn’t see that God was preparing him to save all of Egypt and beyond from a period of seven years of famine.

It’s easy for us to read the story of Joseph and get to the end and understand how all the events of Joseph’s life played out and see how God orchestrated things so that Joseph was at the exact place he needed to be for God to use him in saving millions of people from starving to death. But the story we read in about 30 minutes constitutes years of Joseph’s life. How many times must have Joseph laid in bed at night and asked God what he was doing. He must have prayed every night for God to get him out of prison and back home. But if God had answered those prayers, Joseph would not have been summoned to Pharaoh to interpret his dreams that warned of the coming famine.

God’s provision in unexpected ways

Yes. It was Joseph’s brothers who sold him with not even an ounce of remorse. In fact, they cared so little about Joseph that they turned and sat down to eat dinner. But they were not the ones who sent Joseph to Egypt. God was sending him there for a reason. All along God was providing for what was coming.

God also had to strategically place Joseph in places that would grow him and prepare him for what God had in mind for him. As the pampered, favorite son of Jacob, Joseph would have never ended up 2nd in command of Egypt. He would not have been trained to run a household or a country. But even in the bad circumstances, God was with him, working in his life to strategically put him where he needed to be so that when Pharaoh had disturbing dreams, Pharaoh’s cup bearer would remember the person who had interpreted his dreams and tell Pharaoh about him.

Joseph never forgot or blamed God

We know that Joseph never forgot God or blamed him because when he stands before Pharaoh he gives God the glory for interpreting the dream. When his brothers realize they are standing before their brother as the 2nd in command of Egypt they become afraid of how Joseph might retaliate against them. But in Genesis 50, Joseph says in verse 20, “But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.”  God’s purpose for all Joseph went through was revealed and Joseph saw how God provided for them all in a very unexpected way.

Will you stayed throwed?

Maybe you’ve been knocked off your feet. Maybe you’ve been asking God, “What are you doing?!” Or maybe your don’t understand right now, but will you stay ‘throwed,” or will you rise and give it your best? Will you trust that just as God was working in Joseph’s life, that He is also at work in yours? God is never surprised at the unexpected turn of events in our lives. He is always at work in every moment of our life, orchestrating, preparing, and moving us toward His divine plan – trust Him in the process. Get up. Dust yourself off. You’re heavenly Father who loves you with an everlasting love is with you in the pit. Trust His plan.

#ReadYourBible #Genesis #Matthew

Now you can enhance your Bible Reading with the Verse Mapping Template

Our Verse Mapping download is FREE and includes 6 pages: 3 pages of instructions for using the template and the 2 page template, plus the cover page. If you’re looking to go deeper into God’s Word, learn more about God and develop a stronger spiritual life, Verse Mapping will help you dig into the scriptures. As you apply God’s Word to your life, you will develop a more intimate knowledge and relationship with God.

Click here to listen to our devotions on Spotify be sure to follow us.

Visit our three retail experiences:

Bible study and Self Care Resources
Christian Tees, Bags, Mugs & More
We are an affiliate of CBD. We earn a commission on any purchase you make when you enter the store through this link. However, your CBD price is the same. Visit CBD for Bibles, Bible studies, gifts & more

Tee of the Week: The Greatest Valentine’s Day

Be Still

On Valentine’s Day, we celebrate love and there’s no greater love than Christ who laid down His life so that we can have eternal life. From John 3:16, this design is on t-shirts, long-sleeved tees, kids tees, mugs, bags, tumblers and more. Click the link to see all the available products in this design.


Do you have an event on the calendar and need a speaker?

We’re offering 30% off our speaker fees as our gift to you if you book any 2022 event with us by December 31, 2021. Call today and use the discount code: CHRISTMAS2021.

We’re excited to be a part of your ministry and can’t wait to see you – no matter what size your event.

904.239.8937


Visit our YouTube Channels for Christian playlists and our short animated devotionals.

Animated Devotionals

Contemporary Christian Music Playlist

Southern Gospel Playlist

Just Hymns


God, Love, and Marshmallow Wars

by Julia M. Bruce

What’s Inside God, Love, and Marshmallow Wars?

This book includes 365 daily activities and takes you on a guided journey through Biblical principles about Godly marriage that you can then apply to your marriage, as well as helping you talk through concepts that can help you develop a solid relationship. Inside you will find simple, quick activities that include:

  • Scripture to memorize and meditate on
  • Conversation Starters
    • Concepts from the Bible on Godly marriages
    • Romance Builders
    • Relationship Builders
    • Personal reflections
    • Date ideas
    • Group date ideas for you and other Christian couples

Available in hardback, paperback and ebook from Westbow Press Bookstore, Christian Book Distributors, Amazon, and Barnes & Nobel. Click the icons below to purchase from your preferred bookstore. Now also available at WalMart online.

Westbow logo
Christian book logo
amazon logo
Barnes and Nobel logo
walmart logo


 Join the community of couples on Facebook who are committed to intentionally growing their marriage and learning how to have a marriage that honors God. Here you can post photos of the different activities as you do them, ask questions of other couples, share how God is using this book to strengthen your marriage, and grow with other Christian couples. We’ll see you in the community.


Bible Studies, Bibles, Books & More

Christianbook Distributors logo
Everything Christian for less!

Looking for a Bible Study, Bible, book or Christian gift? We are an affiliate with Christianbook Distributors and receive an 8% commission on any item purchased through one of our links. However, the commission never increases your cost of any item. View some of our favorite items by clicking on the logo and thank you for supporting our ministry.

Christianbook Distributors Search:
Christianbook.com

Wellspring Christian Ministries receives an 8% commission on any purchased made from Christian Book Distributors through any affiliate link on this site. Your price for any item is the same as purchasing from CBD directly.


See our other recent posts:

904.239.8937
A non-profit ministry located in Jacksonville, FL 
Follow us on:

facebook logo link on Bible reading post
LinkedIn logo link on Bible reading post
Twitter logo link on Bible reading post
Instagram logo link on Bible reading post
YouTub logo link on Bible reading post
Pintrest logo link on Bible reading post

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Did you remember to read your Bible?

One Year Bible Reading Plan and Devotional

Today’s Bible Reading: January 18

Download the full one-year Bible reading plan here:

[Download not found]

Genesis 42-43

Matthew 13:33-58

ISO: The People of God

Where are the people of God?

If you are a people of God, would you stand up right now? Or raise your hand, wave, hit the like button? Would you stand up? Hello there people of God! I’m so glad you’re here. It’s great to meet you!

Do you ever feel as if you’re the only “people of God” left in this world? I do! So, I’m so excited that I’m not the only people of God left. But I have a question for you – for all of you that stood up, raised your hand, waved, or hit the like button.

If all of us are people of God, then why is our nation and our world in the shape it’s in?

God is asking: “Where are my people?”

Sometimes, I wonder if God looks down on planet earth and says, “Where are my people?” If God chose to use social media today, He would put out an ISO post: “ISO my people!” (Now for those who are not versed in social media jargon, ISO means “in search of.”)

If we are all God’s people, then we have lost the Godly influence that Jesus commanded us to have in this world. You know that’s why you’re here… right? There is so much emphasis placed on knowing your purpose — or in the “church world” it’s known as knowing God’s will for your life. The answer is simple and we can find it in Matthew 5:13-16.

The Purpose of the People of God

13 “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.

14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that[b] they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

You are here to be salt and light to the world so that you will glorify God.

It’s that simple. But if that is our purpose, then what does it mean to be salt and light?

Who is “You”?

So, this passage starts out with the word “you.” Who is the “you” Jesus was talking to? To answer that, we need to go back up to verse one. Now Matthew Chapter 5 is the beginning of what we call “The Sermon on the Mount.” Verses 2-11 are the well known “Beatitudes.” But don’t overlook verse one. Because verse one tells us to whom Jesus is talking. Verse one says:

 “Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.”

Who came to Jesus on the mountain? His disciples came to him. The “you” Jesus is talking to are his disciples. So, then Jesus is saying “You disciples are the salt of the earth.” “You disciples are the light of the world.” But Jesus wasn’t talking to just the 12 disciples. He is speaking to every disciple throughout time – the people who are called by His name – He’s talking to those of you who stood up and said, “I’m a people of God!”

The People of God are failing in our mission

This is our purpose. This is God’s will for His people. We are to be salt and light so that God is glorified. Do you think God is glorified in our nation right now? No? Then we….God’s people….are failing in the mission God gave us. We are salt that has lost its saltiness. We are a light hidden under a basket.

So, let’s look at these two ideas of being salt and light in the world and the significance it has on the world.

Salt that has lost its Saltiness

Has anyone here had salt that wasn’t salty? I have never experienced unsalty salt. So, then I started asking how does salt lose its saltiness? Well, I did some very “scientific” research in the land of Google and learned that salt is an ionic compound with the chemical formula NaCl (Sodium Chloride). These two ions are great friends and they like being joined together. They are BFFs. They are very tight. Or in our “church world” we could say the “two became one” and they are very happy about becoming one. They are inseparable.

So, the only way for salt to lose its saltiness is for a chemical reaction to occur that would pull these ions apart. Its physical composition, then, would have to either be diluted in water because it is non-reactive in its crystalline form, or electricity would have to be introduced to force the sodium chloride into its separate ionic components and thereby change its chemical composition. Either way – it isn’t salt anymore and therefore it isn’t salty.

How God’s People lose their Saltiness

It’s important to understand the scientific way that salt loses its saltiness if we are going to understand how God’s people lose their saltiness. So, remember that the two ways salt loses its saltiness is by being diluted or shocked. We – God’s People – lose our saltiness when we dilute the gospel message or by being skeptics that acts like an electric shock to the gospel. First, we’ll look at 8 ways we dilute the gospel message.

1. God’s people lose their saltiness when we altar the Word of God

The Christian with diluted salt is the one who has diluted the Gospel in his or her life. We dilute the gospel when we alter any part of God’s Word. For example, the Bible says in Ephesians 2:8, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.” A gift ceases to be a gift if it is earned or bought.  If we try to earn our way to heaven or buy our way in – you’ll find yourself turned away at the gate and you’ll never gain entrance.

Salvation only occurs when we receive Christ’s free gift of salvation that He extends to us through His grace and turn away from sin and surrender our lives to the Lordship of Christ. That can only be done by faith. Without God’s grace and gift – there is no salvation. Without our faith in God’s grace and gift there is no salvation. To say that salvation occurs in any other way dilutes the gospel and we’ve lost our saltiness.

2. God’s people lose their saltiness when we mix in false doctrine

Another way we dilute the gospel is to mix in false doctrines. We don’t get to pick and choose what we like from all the myriad of doctrines, ideologies, and teachings in the world and come up with one that suits us. Jesus warned us that there would be false teachers that would try to deceive us. And if we are not in the Word of God, knowing what it says, we will never recognize when false teachers are creeping in to dilute the gospel. When we fall for these false teachings, we’ve lost our saltiness. If we preach or teach false doctrines to others, we demonstrate our loss of saltiness with a diluted gospel and we cause other Christians to lose their saltiness.

3. God’s people lose their saltiness when we create a rosy view of the gospel

We also dilute the gospel when we take one part of the Bible and ignore the rest so that we create a rosy view of the gospel. For example, the Bible tells us that God is love…and He is. He loves us so much that he doesn’t want anyone to perish, but that everyone would have everlasting life. But He is also a God that is holy and righteous. He is a God who abhors sin and the wages of sin is death. But even while we were His enemy as a sinner, He still loved us enough to send Jesus to die for our sin – to take our place and pay our sin debt for us.

We can’t stop the gospel message with “God is love.” We must also talk about the wages of sin. Creating a rosy view of the gospel dilutes it’s message and we lose our saltiness.

4. God’s people lose their saltiness when we refuse to repent.

The gospel also includes repentance. When salvation occurs, the result is repentance. Acts 3:19 tells us what repentance is: “Therefore repent and turn back, so that your sins may be wiped out, that seasons of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.” When we repent, we turn around and go a different direction. We don’t keep on going down the same path.

A biblical definition of repentance is to make a change of mind, heart, and action, by turning away from sin and self and returning to God. Jesus said in Luke 3:8, “Therefore produce fruit consistent with repentance.” What fruit are we to produce? We find it in Galatians 5:22-23: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control.” In summarizing his ministry, Paul declares, “I preached that they should repent and turn to God and demonstrate their repentance by their deeds” (Acts 26:20). 

Repentance, then, involves recognizing that you have thought wrongly in the past and determining to think rightly in the future. The repentant person has “second thoughts” about the mindset he formerly embraced. There is a change of disposition and a new way of thinking about God, about sin, about holiness, and about doing God’s will. True repentance is prompted by “godly sorrow,” and it “leads to salvation” (2 Corinthians 7:10).

If we try to say that a person can be saved without having repentance, then the gospel has been diluted and we lose our saltiness to the world.

5. God’s people lose their saltiness when we create alternate routes to salvation

Another way the gospel has been watered down is by creating alternate routes to salvation. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the father, but by me.” (John 14:6). He didn’t say he was one of the ways to get to the Father – He is the only way.

We create alternate routes to salvation when we believe that baptism will save you, or partaking of the Lord’s Supper will save you. You can be baptized so many times that every tadpole from sea to shining sea has friended you on social media, but you’ll still be lost in your sin if you have not come to Jesus by faith, acknowledging Him as God’s only Son who paid the price for you sin on the cross through his sacrificial death and then rose again and ask Him to forgive you of your sin and to be your Savior. Baptism is an outward statement of what you’ve already done in your heart. It is a testimony to the world that you have died to your sin and then rose to a new life in Christ. But baptism will not grant you entrance into heaven.

Likewise, the Lord’s Supper is an ordinance done as a reminder of what Christ did on the cross but the bread and grape juice (or wine, depending on your church) doesn’t save you. At the last Supper, Jesus said, “Do this in remembrance of me.” No where in the Bible does it say that the Lord’s Supper will get you into heaven, nor does it teach that partaking of the bread and wine become the life and blood of Jesus within you. To teach that these things will save you is diluting the gospel message and we lose our saltiness.

6. God’s people lose their saltiness when we make sin a lesser evil than it is in God’s eyes.

We can also dilute the message when we attempt to make sin less than it really is or give it a name other than sin. You can call it being “culturally sensitive” or “politically correct” or any other name you want – but God still calls it sin. It’s time we tell people about how God views sin and stop glossing it over! You can say you don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings but would you rather them spend eternity in hell because you couldn’t call sin, sin? We’re talking about their eternity and if you’re not salty with them, they may end up in hell for eternity. Can they afford for you to not be salty?

7. God’s people lose their saltiness when we become complacent in our mission

We also become diluted when we become complacent. It’s like we have our entrance ticket into heaven so all is good. We go to church on Sunday and get our 30-minute fill-up and we raise our hands in the worship songs and leave saying, “It was good to be in the house of the Lord.” But we never truly worshiped while we were there. Or we stay within the walls of our churches and pay no attention to the world outside that is on its way to hell. Then we stare in confusion and horror at the news and wonder how the world got so bad. People of God – go look in the mirror to find the answer. We’ve lost our saltiness in our complacency.

8. God’s people lose their saltiness when we dilute the consequences of sin

The last thing I thought about in diluting the gospel message occurs when we dilute the consequences of sin. God made it very clear that the wages of sin is death – eternal death, in the lake of fire where the worm never dies, and the flame is never quenched. The place of torment we call hell.

If we truly understood how horrible hell is, we would not have to beg people to share the gospel. We would want to make sure no one ended up there. Let me tell you – there is no working your way out of hell once you’re there. No one can pray you out once you’re there. If you end up in hell – you’re there for all eternity. The only way to not end up in hell is salvation through faith – and that must be done in this life. Once you breathe your last breath and wake up in eternity – it’s too late to decide. We can’t dilute the consequences of sin because to do so, dilutes the gospel message. The lost need the people of God to be salty.

Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 1:17-18:

For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

The People of God lose their saltiness when they become skeptics

So, we said that salt loses its saltiness by being diluted or shocked. When we talk about the gospel, skepticism is like an electric shock. The skeptic Christian will “split hairs” over doctrine – and often split churches in the process.

The skeptic Christian might acknowledge that Jesus is God’s Son, but they still want to keep living their life the way they want to, so they find reasons to say, “The Bible says…. But…..” For example, the Bible says that sex out of marriage is sin. The skeptic Christian would say, “But does that apply in 2021?”

The Skeptic Christian might acknowledge that the Bible says “Thou shalt not kill.” But then argue, “But a fetus isn’t human yet, so we’re not guilty of murder.”

The Bible says, “Thou shalt not lie.” The skeptic would say, “But it’s ok to lie on my taxes.” Or they might say, “It was just a ‘white’ lie.”

The Bible says that marriage is between a man and a woman. The skeptic would argue that same-sex marriage should be acceptable.

The Bible says that homosexuality is an abomination to God. The skeptic would say that God created them that way (which He did not create anyone to be an abomination to Him!).

Skepticism makes us lose our saltiness because instead of planting seeds of faith, it sows doubt that keeps us separated from God with a canyon as wide as the Grand Canyon. The less faith we have, the less salty we are.

The result of God’s People not being salty

So, we’ve looked at how we can be diluted or shocked into losing our saltiness. The result is that we are not shining the light of Christ to a dark world full of sin. The result of not being salty is we don’t bring people to Jesus. The ramifications on the world are grave. Not only do people die without knowing Jesus, but our world is lost in chaos and sin. It causes division, riots, murder, hate, racism, and all the things we see happening in our world.

The Son of God Had a Divine Appointment to be Salty

One of my favorite stories in the Bible is about the Samaritan woman at the well. We’ll find the story in John 4:1-42. In this story, we find that Jesus has a divine appointment with a Samaritan woman. To fully understand the significance of this, you have to understand the culture of the day. First, the Jews and the Samaritans did not get along. The Jews looked at the Samaritans as “unclean” and would have nothing to do with them. It was also not culturally correct for a man to speak to a woman that was not his wife or family. But these were culturally set boundaries – not Godly set boundaries and the Son of God knew this woman would be at the well and he was going to bring salt and light to not only her, but her whole village.

Jesus had to go through Samaria

Because of how the Jews felt about the Samaritans, they would walk miles out of their way so that they did not have to walk through Samaria. Jesus had been in Judea but left to go to Galilee and we find in John 4 that Jesus “had to pass through Samaria.” The King James says he “must” pass through Samaria. He had a divinely scheduled appointment at a well – so he had to go through Samaria. When he arrives, he sits by the well and as the Samaritan woman approaches, we find that it is about the sixth hour.

Timing is everything

The timing is important too. Naturally, if Jesus arrived later, he would have missed this woman at the well. But more importantly, the timing of the woman’s arrival at the well gives us our first glimpse about this woman who is coming to draw water at this time of day. It was typically the woman’s job to draw water, but usually all the women would go to the well at the cool of the day and they would go together. It was a time to catch up with one another and share time with friends. But this woman comes at a time when all the other women of the village would not be there. She comes alone. She’s an outcast. We find later in the story the reason. She’s had seven husbands and the man she is living with now is not her husband.

The woman at the well encounters Living Water

When she arrives at the well, Jesus asks her for a drink of water. Because of cultural rules, she is shocked and asks him why he, being a man and Jew, would speak to her. Jesus replies, “If you new the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water. Eventually, the woman leaves the well, goes back to the village and brings the entire village to Jesus. She met the Living Water and was changed. She became salty.

Salty Christians are distributors of Living Water

The thing about salt is it makes you thirsty. And when we are salt to the world, we bring the world to the Living Water. Jesus wants us to sprinkle salt wherever we go, making the world thirsty for the Living Water. Salty Christians are distributors of Living Water. How salty are you? Who are you bringing to the Living Water?

The People of God are the light of the world

Jesus said that we are the salt of the world. He also said we are the light of the world. How do we become light to the world? In John 8:12, Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” God’s people have the light of Christ living in them and we are to shine His light into the darkness of the world so that the world will see Jesus in us.  Wherever there is light, there can be no darkness. Light cancels out darkness. But when we hide our light under a basket, the world doesn’t see the light of Jesus. As a result, the people stay lost in darkness.

We Shine the Light of Jesus so that Jesus is Glorified

As children we used to sing, “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.” And we’re fine with shining our light at church, among other Christians. But we don’t want to let it shine in the world. Jesus wants our light to shine before men so that it will glorify God. Jesus wants our lights to shine before men so that mankind will come to know God.

If you are a People of God, will you please stand up?

So, as we look at our nation today and the world around us, are we shocked and amazed by what we see? Or have we become so numb to the grotesque, sinful state of the world that we aren’t even shocked anymore? If so, then where are the people of God? Where are the salt and light? We’ve lost our saltiness long enough! We’ve hidden our light for far too long. It’s time for God’s people – those called by His name – the Christians – to humbly bow before God acknowledging our fault in not being salt and light to the world. It’s time for God’s people to seek His face and turn from our sins. It is time for the people of God to stand up.

If you are a people of God, will you please stand up? Our nation desperately needs your salt and light.

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God, Love, and Marshmallow Wars

by Julia M. Bruce

What’s Inside God, Love, and Marshmallow Wars?

This book includes 365 daily activities and takes you on a guided journey through Biblical principles about Godly marriage that you can then apply to your marriage, as well as helping you talk through concepts that can help you develop a solid relationship. Inside you will find simple, quick activities that include:

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God, Love, and Marshmallow Wars

God, Love, and Marshmallow Wars:
365 Daily Challenges to Grow Your Marriage
by Julia M. Bruce

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It doesn’t matter if you have a great marriage, an “ok” marriage, one that is limping along trying to survive, or one that is headed for divorce. Through the guided activities, couple’s can develop stronger marriages as they apply God’s principles to their marriage, take an honest look at what they do and do not contribute to the marriage, and learn to never stop dating. God, Love and Marshmallow Wars is a great book for any couple. For pastors, counselors, and lay leaders working with or mentoring couples, this is a great book to recommend. 

There’s no doubt that marriage is hard work. Yet it can also be one of the most fulfilling relationships you can experience, outside of your relationship with God. However, many marriages leave God outside of the relationship. Godly marriages do not happen without cultivating it, investing in it, and putting God first in your individual lives and in your marriage. God, Love, and Marshmallow Wars will help couples develop stronger relationships while searching the Scriptures to understand God’s plan for marriage.

What’s Inside God, Love and Marshmallow Wars?

This book includes 365 daily activities and takes you on a guided journey through Biblical principles about Godly marriage that you can then apply to your marriage, as well as helping you talk through concepts that can help you develop a solid relationship. Inside you will find simple, quick activities that include:

  • Scripture to memorize and meditate on
  • Conversation Starters
  • Concepts from the Bible on Godly marriages
  • Romance Builders
  • Relationship Builders
  • Personal reflections
  • Date ideas
  • Group date ideas for you and other Christian couples

God, Love and Marshmallow Wars is available in hardback, paperback and ebook from Westbow Press Bookstore, Christian Book Distributors, Amazon, and Barnes & Nobel. Click the icons below to purchase from your preferred bookstore. Now also available at WalMart online.

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What’s Inside God, Love and Marshmallow Wars?

God, Love and Marshmallow Wars is a book that includes 365 daily activities and takes you on a guided journey through Biblical principles about Godly marriage that you can then apply to your marriage, as well as helping you talk through concepts that can help you develop a solid relationship. Inside you will find simple, quick activities that include:

  • Scripture to memorize and meditate on.
  • Conversation Starters.
  • Concepts from the Bible on Godly marriages.
  • Romance Builders.
  • Relationship Builders.
  • Personal reflections.
  • Date ideas.
  • Group date ideas for you and other Christian couples.

Available in hardback, paperback and ebook from Westbow Press Bookstore, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. Click the icons below to purchase from your preferred bookstore. Now also available at WalMart online.

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