Salvation by Grace Alone, Simple Family-Integrated Worship

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Articles, devotionals, study guides, and other writings from Pastor David Wise and other select writers.

The Will of God

For the sincere child of God, we want to follow and be obedient to God’s will. However, practically speaking, what actually is God’s will? how do I know and discern God’s will for my life? how does God guide His children in walking in His will? In this study guide on the subject, we consider the verses that address God’s will in scripture and try to consider some practical ways that we can know and walk in accordance with God’s will during our lives.

Click here to view and download the PDF outline of The Will of God Study Guide.

Click here to listen to the sermon series on The Will of God.

7 Simple Daily Goals for the New Year

As we begin a new year, it can be overwhelming to consider all the commands in scripture that we are to obey. Therefore, here are a few simple commands that we can focus on as we begin a new year.

Here are 7 simple commands to focus on as a goal each day in the new year:

  1. Love God with all your heart, soul, and mind 
  2. Love your neighbor as yourself
  3. Fear God
  4. Keep God’s commandments 
  5. Do justly 
  6. Love mercy
  7. Walk humbly with thy God

These commands come from 3 verses that describe all-encompassing themes that if we focus on then we will serve God in an acceptable way.

  • The greatest & second commandment (Matt. 22:36-40)
  • The whole duty of man (Eccl. 12:13)
  • What does the Lord require of thee (Micah 6:8)

Bible Reading for 2024

As we begin to make New Year’s Resolutions for the upcoming year in 2024, arguably no resolution is more important than a renewed commitment to the reading and study of God’s word. We hope you will embark with us on this one-year Bible reading plan designed to read your Bible all the way through in the next year.

Click here to view and download a PDF of the 2024 One Year Bible Reading Plan

To aid you in reading God’s word, you might consider downloading this Bible Timeline of the Old and New Testament to place each passage of scripture in the appropriate historical context.

Click here to view and download a PDF of the Biblical Timeline of the Old and New Testament

For This Child I Prayed: A Pastor’s Counsel to Couples Trying to Conceive

The struggle of couples trying to conceive and have children is one of the most difficult seasons of life and marriage. When we might see others around us conceiving much easier, it is hard to not let unfulfillment, jealousy, and bitterness creep into our mind. We know that we are supposed to be content in whatever state we are in, but contentment is a great challenge for the barren couple. We wonder why the Lord has not blessed us with the answer to our prayers, and most of the time we will never receive a perfect answer to that question. Scripture affirms the barren womb is never satisfied, and some women preferred death to barrenness. The struggle, grief, and burden of soul is deep. We hope to be able to consider this topic from the word of God and receive balm from the scriptures of both God’s sovereignty and his tender care towards his children struggling through this season of life and marriage.

Click here to view and download the PDF outline of For This Child I Prayed: A Pastor’s Counsel to Couples Trying to Conceive Study Guide.

In Every Thing Give Thanks

“In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (1 Thess. 5:18)

It seems each year as we arrive in late November approaching the Thanksgiving holiday, I am convicted of how much I have taken for granted and not given appropriate thanksgiving for God’s blessings in my life. Rather than an annual, once-a-year remembrance of God’s blessings and thanksgiving, the Lord commands his people to give thanks “always” (Eph. 3:20). Furthermore, God’s will for us is to give thanks “in every thing.” (1 Thess. 5:18) We certainly do not give thanks “for” everything in our lives. We don’t thank God “for” sin, temptations, sickness, death, the devil, and the evil of this world. However, in spite of any circumstance we encounter in this life, we can still give thanks to God “in” the midst of any trial.

Dealing with Discouragement, Depression & Suicide

Common to Man

It is inevitable that we will experience periods of discouragement in our lives. This world is fallen and cursed due to Adam’s sin and our further transgressions. Troubles and tribulations that can lead to discouragement are inevitable in our lives. In this world, we “shall have tribulation”, but in spite of that, we can still “be of good cheer” because Christ has “overcome the world” (John 16:33). Prolonged periods of discouragement can lead to depression. As the word implies, “depression” means a state of being “pressed down”. We feel the heavy weight of fears, doubts, our own sins, this world, and many other things. The heavy weight of this world’s burdens can press us down to remain in a low, depressed emotional and spiritual state. If prolonged depression is not addressed and corrected, we could even begin to have suicidal thoughts. We can feel that our life is not even worth living anymore. This natural progression from normal discouragement to prolonged depression to suicidal thoughts is not uncommon. Being so overwhelmed with the pressures of this world and desiring a permanent relief from that pressure is a common response for God’s children. There were times that Moses (Num. 11:15-23), Elijah (1 Kg. 19:4), Job (Job 3:11-22), and Jonah (Jonah 4:3-9) all requested for God to take their life. These men were all good, godly, righteous men, and bold in the faith at different times in their life. However, they reached a point where the weight of their trial was so great that they desired to die. These thoughts are truly common to man. Thankfully, the scriptures give us the remedy to rise from our depressed state to “renew our strength and mount up with wings as eagles” to soar over the trials of this world (Isaiah 40:28-31).

Parable of the Sower

One of the most important parables that Jesus delivered for us in his ministry is the Parable of the Sower (or the Parable of the Soils). Jesus delivered this parable in 3 of the 4 gospel accounts in Matt. 13:1-20, Mark 4:1-20, and Luke 8:4-15. Here we find the teaching of Jesus of multiple responses to the word by children of God. Some in the way side are deceived by Satan before they understand the word. Some in the stony ground shoot up very quickly, but don’t have strong roots or good moisture and fade away in tribulation. Some in the thorny ground bring forth fruit but then get distracted and consumed with the world and are choked out by thorns. Then, we find varying degrees of fruit in the good ground, some bringing forth 30, 60, or 100-fold. God is glorified when we “bear much fruit” (John 15:8). There are many obstacles that can diminish our abundant fruitfulness in the kingdom: Satan, tribulations, thorns, riches, lust, cares, and pleasures. Therefore, we must be vigilant to beat back these obstacles to bring forth abundant fruit to glorify Jesus Christ. We will find that the word of God is the remedy for all these obstacles restricting our fruit-bearing. We need to understand and keep the word of God to beat back Satan, discouragement, and thorns in our life to bring forth abundant fruit to glorify our Lord.

An Expected End

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” (Jer. 29:11)

This verse in Jeremiah 29:11 is used very often in Christianity today to teach that God has “a future and a hope” for all people in this world to encourage seeking the Lord’s will. Oftentimes, it is even used to promote guaranteed prosperity in this world, that we will only have peace in our lives if we are truly following God. Instead, the proper interpretation of this verse, and our life experiences as well, shows that this world is the opposite of peaceful and our path in life will rarely be easy. What is our response to the tribulation and challenges in this life? We faithfully endure suffering in bondage now looking forward in hope to our final “expected end” in heaven with our God. Jesus promised us tribulation in this world (John 16:33). The Old Testament Israelites in Babylon knew well the tribulation and suffering that bondage inflicts upon God’s people. However, in the midst of bondage, pain, and suffering, we are given hope. We are given hope of a better day; hope that after the suffering of this world, there will be a restoration of perfect peace in the promised land with our God. Let us serve God faithfully in bondage today, looking expectantly towards the everlasting peace we will receive in our eternal expected end in heaven.

Following Your Heart

“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” (Prov. 4:23)

The mantra of the world tells you to “follow your heart”. That can be very dangerous advice for the Christian to follow their heart if they are not aligned with God’s word. The heart of the natural man is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked (Jer. 17:9). Therefore, in the church, we are prone to make the bold, universal statement “DO NOT follow your heart”. While we certainly need to caution against “blindly” following your heart, I would say that is not entirely scripturally correct. We see that for the born-again child of God, the Lord has given you a new heart. This new heart from God is not deceitful and wicked but is pure and made in the image of God within us. We must certainly discern the thoughts and burdens of our hearts in prayer and by consulting God’s word to ensure that God is guiding our hearts and that Satan is not deceiving our hearts. God does guide his children by the burdens of our heart. Therefore, we don’t need to blindly follow our hearts, but instead, we need to discern our hearts and God’s will through prayer, faithful counsel, studying God’s word, and godly wisdom.  

Mosaic Law Summary Reference Guide

Reading through the four primary books of the law – Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy – can be an arduous task sometimes. It can be difficult to know what the whole law says on each individual subject since there are verses on each scattered throughout all four books. I attempted to compile a verse reference guide for the law by each topic. Hope this can be beneficial to you in the study of God’s word.

Click here to view and download a PDF copy of the Mosaic Law Summary Reference Guide

Click here to listen to sermon series on Jesus Christ in the Law

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