Devotional for Easter Sunday, April 12, 2020

Devotional for Easter Sunday, April 12, 2020
Youth Pastor Jeff Hughes, EBCWF

Today is Easter Sunday! Rejoice, for our Savior Jesus Christ has risen and is alive!

It seems a bit surreal not being in our church building celebrating as a family today, but, as we’ve said before, a building is just a building. We are the church! Our building doesn’t define who we are. Jesus Christ defines who we are! We do not need a building to spread the love, forgiveness, and salvation of Jesus. Think of it this way, and yes, it is a cheesy Elvis reference, but the church has left the building. God has placed us directly in the mission field where we are called to be! We may not have a cure for the coronavirus but what we have is better! We have the key to eternal life through the death and resurrection and Jesus Christ! So, I’ll say it again. Rejoice, for our Savior has risen and is alive!

Matthew 28:1-7 says this:

Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you.”

The stone was not rolled away so Jesus could get out, but so others could see that Jesus had indeed risen from the dead, just as he promised.

The angel who announced the good news of the Resurrection to the women gave them four messages:

• “Do not be afraid” – The Resurrection brings joy, not fear.

• “He is not here, for he has risen” – Jesus is not dead and is not to be looked for among the dead. He is alive, with his people.

• “Come, see” – The women could check the evidence themselves. The tomb was empty then and it is empty today! The Resurrection is a historical fact.

• “Go quickly and tell” – They were to spread the joy of the Resurrection. We, too, have been given that same command.

The Resurrection is the key to our faith! Just as he promised, Jesus rose from the dead. Therefore, we can be confident that he will accomplish and keep all of his other promises. Jesus’ bodily resurrection shows us that the living Christ is ruler of God’s eternal Kingdom, not a false prophet or idea. We can be certain of our resurrection because he was resurrected. Death is not the end – there is future life. The power that brought Jesus back to life is available to us through him. The Resurrection is the basis for our witness to the world. We do not merely tell lessons or stories from the life of a good teacher; we proclaim the reality of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ! He is more than just a human leader; he is the Son of God.

Jesus lived the life that we couldn’t live and died the death that we all deserved. Three days later, he overcame that death so that we may live. The Good News of the Resurrection is too important for us to keep it to ourselves. It means too much – souls are at stake. Let’s get to work in our mission fields!

If you are reading this and you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior, let today be the day. What a better day than Easter Sunday to ask him into your heart and accept his gifts of forgiveness and eternal life?

Rejoice, for our Savior Jesus Christ has risen and is alive!

Happy Easter!
Bro. Jeff

Devotional for April 7, 2020

Devotional for April 7, 2020
Pastor Bill Pursley, EBCWF

A dear friend and her husband have a motto. “Today is a good day to have a good day.” As I went out this morning I realized what a beautiful day it is. Everything may not be going my way, but, I am healthy, my family is healthy. I’ve got a roof over my head, food in my pantry and a God who loves me. I think of Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Right now might not be the brightest spot in our times but, we must cling to this promise that God made us. That all things will work out for the good.
Suffering can make us bitter but it can also make us better if we give it to God, asking him to use it for our good, for the good of those we love and for the kingdom work of the church.
Romans 8:28 is one of my favorite verses, because it gives Christians hope for the hardest times of life.
Most anybody who has been a Christian for a while can look back and see how God proved this verse in their life. We may not be able to come and go as we please, or see our families, we may be limited in our fellowship with our church families but, rest assured, God is in control, just as much today as He was the day He started creation.

Have faith by trusting in the one whose got the whole world in His hands and make this a good day.

Until next time,

Bro. Bill, Pastor

Devotional for April 5, 2020

Devotional for Palm Sunday April 5,
2020
Pastor Bill Pursley, EBCWF

Once again, good morning from Emmanuel Baptist Church. I hope this message finds you all doing well. I want to encourage you all to hang in there. I can’t wait until we turn on the news and hear, “The Corona virus has been beat.” But today finds us all still being urged to stay at home and, would you believe it, Palm Sunday has crept up on us.

This day is the day leading into Holy Week just before Easter. It’s sad that we can’t be together on this special day but in our hearts, we are together. This day that we celebrate is bittersweet. That’s because even though we celebrate Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, we know that Friday is coming. We know that with Friday comes the cross. We know that many of the ones in this crowd today will be exchanging their shouts of “Hosanna to the King” for the words “Crucify Him.” What we might not realize or remember is that Jesus knew what this week would bring as well.

Let’s pause just a moment and think about the crowd that day. Among them would be people Jesus had healed. Maybe some of the thousands that Jesus fed. Many had seen His miracles, and listened to Him speak and teach. They listened and their lives had been changed. Jesus must have seen the mixture of expressions on their faces.

And that brings us to today. Just like the people of Jerusalem, we find ourselves in the presence of Jesus. I wonder what He sees when He looks at us? Does He see people worried about so many things—this virus pandemic, about income taxes, about job security, about their health, or lack of it? Does He see people who are so busy doing things here and there—so busy that they never bother to consider those things that are eternally important?

Or does He see people who recognize Him for who He is—the Messiah, the Christ, the Son of God, our Savior. When He turns and looks into our lives, I wonder, will He weep once again because of what He sees? Or will we have the peace that passes all understanding as we respond to His outstretched arms and hear Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your Lord”?

At the heart of Palm Sunday is Jesus’ desire to bring peace into our lives and to be willing to carry whatever burdens in life that are weighing us down. But the only way Jesus can complete His desire is for us to allow Him to march in and take over without having to fight us all along the way.

Jesus wants to make a “Triumphant entry” into your heart this morning. This day can be either TRIUMPH or TRAGEDY. Tears of SORROW, or tears of JOY. But it’s up to you. You have a choice to make.

Love from your Pastor,
Bro Bill

Devotional for April 3, 2020

Devotional for April 4, 2020
Youth Pastor Jeff Hughes, EBCWF

During the past couple of weeks, most of my devotionals have focused on us being disciples to others and spreading the Good News during this dark time. After all, we, as Christians, can offer hope. But what happens when we struggle? Hopefully today’s Word will lift you up!

The book of Roman’s assures us that nothing can separate us from God’s love:

“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,

‘For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.’

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Romans 8:31-39 ESV

Do you ever think that because you aren’t good enough for God, He will not save you? Do you ever feel as if salvation is for everyone else but you? If so, then these verses are especially for you! If God gave His son for you, He isn’t going to hold back the gift of salvation. If Christ gave his life for you, He isn’t going to turn around and condemn you. He will not withhold anything you need to live for Him.

The final four verses above contain one of the comforting promises in all of scripture. Believers have always had to face hardships in many forms: persecution, illness, imprisonment, and even death. These sometimes cause us to fear that we have been abandoned by Christ. We cannot fall into Satan’s trap of doubt! Paul exclaims that it is IMPOSSIBLE to be separated from Christ. His death for us is proof of his unconquerable love. Nothing can separate us from Christ’s presence. God tells us how great His love is so that we will feel totally secure in Him. If we believe these overwhelming assurances, we will not be afraid.

So, when Satan starts causing you to have doubts, reflect on these verses and remember that you are secure in Christ! Satan may even go as far as to remind you of your “before Christ” past. When he does that, stand tall in the armor of God and remind him of his future!

Have a good weekend!
Bro. Jeff

Devotional for April 3, 2020

Devotional thoughts for April 3,2020
From Pastor Bill

I love watching birds. If you didn’t already know that. That is why we have so many feeders in our backyard. As I was looking out the kitchen window this morning watching the birds brave the cold brisk air and feed, out of the corner of my eye I see this large cat drop down from the fence and began stalking the birds. All of a sudden one of the doves notices the cat and with a loud ruffle of feathers, every bird in the yard takes flight. The cat looking defeated climbed back up on the fence and went down on the other side.
That brought to mind the scripture from I Peter 5:8 “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” That made me think how appropriate that is for our present day. Satan is on the prowl seeking whom he may devour spiritually.

We are much removed from those to whom Peter wrote, and yet many similarities remain. We too face challenges and struggles in life, especially in our current crisis. Like the saints of old, we are expected to remain steadfast in trials, portraying a positive witness for the Lord. So, all of this begs the question – how does one overcome adversity and remain influential in a culture that is opposed to everything we hold dear? There is only one way, and that is through the guidance and provision of Christ. Apart from Him, we will suffer defeat and discouragement.

Believers must be willing to humble themselves before the Lord, submitting fully to His will in order to overcome and enjoy victorious Christian life. We must realize our dependence upon the Lord – He is God, and we are not. He is omniscient and omnipotent, seeing and knowing all, while possessing the unrestrained power to move in our midst and secure victory in our lives.

Through being willing to humble ourselves before the Lord, we are promised that in His time, and according to His divine will, He will exalt us.

Let us hold strong to our faith and remain sober in our thoughts, not panic, but just like that that sharp dove, keep our eyes open for the prowess of the devil.

Stay safe and faithful

Bro. Bill Pursley

Devotional for April 2

Devotional for April 2, 2020
Youth Pastor Jeff Hughes, EBCWF

I tell our students this all the time, “You may be the only Bible anyone ever reads”. I truly believe that! We may be the only Jesus anyone ever sees. Those who do not believe in Jesus notice what we do. They make decisions about Christ by watching us. When we are kind and gracious, they assume Christ is kind and gracious. But if we are arrogant, self-centered, and pushy, what will they think about Jesus? When we are dishonest, what assumptions will an observer make about our King?

It’s no wonder that Paul said this:

“Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive[a] so that you will have the right response for everyone.” Colossians 4:5-6 NLT

Integrity and courteous conduct honors Christ. We should be wise in our contacts with non-Christians, making the most out of our opportunities to spread the Good News of Jesus. When we tell others about Christ, it is important to always be gracious in what we say and do. No matter how powerful the message is or how much sense it makes, we lose our effectiveness if we are not courteous. Just as we like to be respected, we must respect others if we want them to listen to what we have to say.

You can make the greatest speech ever about the love of Jesus, but if your actions do not show that love, your words alone will mean nothing.

Think about you behavior over the past week – have people seen Christ in you? If not, what changes can you make? Remember, people are watching!!!

Love you guys!
Bro. Jeff

Devotional for April 1, 2020

Devotional for April 1,2020

“Does Jesus Care”

As I sat out this morning, I watched as the sparrows patiently waited on the bigger birds to get out of the way and then they would come up to the feeders and get their share.

My mind turned to the little sparrow that Jesus speaks of in Luke 12:6.

“Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” Luke 12:6-7

Folks we are far from forgotten by our Lord.

A hymn that I often recall answers the question our devotion title asks. It is entitled “Does Jesus Care?” The words by Frank E. Graeff and the music was written by J. Lincoln Hall.

“Does Jesus care when my heart is pained

Too deeply for mirth or song,

As the burdens press, and the cares distress

And the way grows weary and long?

Does Jesus care when my way is dark

With a nameless dread and fear?

As the daylight fades into deep night shades,

Does He care enough to be near?

Oh yes, He cares, I know He cares,

His heart is touched with my grief;

When the days are weary, the long nights dreary,

I know my Savior cares.”

Indeed, if God is concerned about the well-being of the little sparrow, how much more is He concerned about our welfare. Jesus said to His disciples, “Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”

Can Christians expect the same loving concern today for the “little things” in our life?
Jesus said in Matthew 10:29 we can. “Yet not one sparrow will fall to the ground without your Father knowing.”

God also cares about the big things in our lives

Nothing can be considered bigger than our very life. The value of life causes all other things to pale in comparison. Does God care about the big things that we confront in our lives?

Can the Christian today expect the same wonderful protection from the forces of evil as the Egyptians experienced while in the desert? We find the answer in Romans 2:11: “For there is no partiality with God.”

The real proof that He cares for us in all things is shown by His son Jesus Christ dying on the cross for our sins.

Paul wrote, “What then shall we say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” Romans 8:31-32

Peter confirms our assurance that our Lord cares when he wrote, “Casting all your care upon Him; for He cares for you.” I Peter 5:7

God’s got this… Have faith.

Until next time, love in Christ,

Bro. Bill

Devotional for March 30, 2020

Devotional for March 30, 2020
Pastor Bill Pursley, EBCWF

We have had a sweet dousing of God’s nectar the last few days. In this time we are in, my mind wonders to Noah and his phenomenal faith.

Noah was a man of few words in the bible, but he preached a strong message of faith without words. It has been said, “preach the gospel and use words if you have to.”

As I read Noah’s story Genesis 9: 8-17, I discover the many promises that the Lord has given to us. We must stop and take note of a very special promise that the Lord made with Noah and is still active today.

It is important to know why God made such a promise.

Genesis 6:8 “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.”

We understand GRACE as undeserved favor from a Holy God.

And this is as true today as it was then with Noah.
We are told that Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations.

Just man in its root finds that a man must be made right
in order to be righteous. The work of salvation must take place within us. It is never in self it is in Christ and Christ alone!!

And when Christ is finished in us, in His salvation, we are perfect.

Did you know that the U.S. Patent Office will not allow a patent for a perpetual motor? They say there is no such thing. HMMMMM????

Looks to me God says there is such a thing as everlasting but it is not in a man made machine, but in the GRACE of an almighty GOD!

Just as a man made attempt of salvation will always end in dysfunction and destruction; God’s salvation always, always, ALWAYS leads through the cross of Christ and is forever.

Faith drove Noah through the terrible days of the flood just as faith will get us through this hard time we are in right now.

Keep the faith God’s got this.

Until next time, Love in Christ

Bro. Bill

Devotional for March 28, 2020

Devotional for March 28, 2020
Pastor Bill Pursley, EBCWF

Well, our power was out for several hours this morning and as I sat there in the dark waiting on the sun to rise or the electricity to come back on whichever came first. Which by the way was the sun. I realized God has given us another day to live. So I went and read the creation story.
Genesis 1:1-5 New International Version (NIV)

1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. 3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.

God was before time began. In fact He started time as we humans know it. He is still in charge of all things He created.

As we look down the barrel of the corona virus, we can’t forget who is mightier than this sickness. Let’s pray That His will be done, because we know what God’s great will is.

Jesus modeled a prayer that takes our mind’s eye off of the physical & the unknown, and He places our focus on what never changes & from where our hope comes.

Matthew 6:9-13
9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heave. 11 Give us this day our daily bread.12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.13 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.

The model prayer isn’t a magical formula to immediately give us victory, but it Instead puts the burden of our life on the shoulders of the One who created it,Jesus.

In the Lord’s prayer we also are praying for sustenance, mercy, & help. Jesus is taking all of our worldly views, & putting them on Father God.

Q- Who do we rely on for food?
I’m telling you, with all the restaurants closing up some fear for starvation But They’re not the one’s who feed us.
God is the One who made the way for us to eat.
If That way closes up, God will make another.

John 16:33
33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

  • For anyone who’s saved by Jesus, He will keep those in whom he has! He has never failed & never will!

So, let me close now with a memo from God.

From: God

To: All His Children

I am God.

Today, I will be handling all of your problems. Please remember that I do not need your help.

If life happens to deliver a situation to you that you cannot handle, do not attempt to resolve it. Kindly put it in the SFGTD (something for God to do) box. ALL situations will be resolved in My time, not yours.Once the matter is placed into the box, do not hold onto it by worrying about it. Instead, focus on all the wonderful things that are present in your life now.

Let’s put stress aside & let God carry us through.

Love in the name of Jesus

Pastor Bill

Devotional for March 26, 2020

Devotional for March 26, 2020

Do you know the story of Joshua and how the wall of Jericho fell down after the Israelite’s marched around it once a day for six days, then 7 times on the seventh day? Why not just walk around Jericho one time?

I think it was because God was testing their faith. God was teaching them that waiting time is not wasted time. Isaiah 28:16 says, “He that believes shall not make haste.”

God is never in a hurry like we are. We get upset when we miss an elevator door! God is also never late. He knows what He is doing. Do you know what our problem is? We’ve been around Jericho six times and we’re ready to quit.

We need to say what King David said in Psalm 62:5: “My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from Him.” Waiting time is not wasted time.”

God is still teaching us to wait on Him. That’s how He is working in our lives.Whether we’ve walked the wall once or six times we need to remain faithful that God will, in His time, complete what He has started.

You can trust Jesus to save you, strengthen you, and keep working in your life until He takes you home to Heaven.

Put your trust in Jesus Christ, and keep trusting the Lord through every struggle you face. This to shall pass.

Because He lives I serve,

Pastor Bill