A Quiet Yes to God

STP (Study, Trust, Pray) for September 16, 2021

A Quiet Yes to God

“Do you want to be counted wise, to build a reputation for wisdom? Here’s what you do: Live well, live wisely, live humbly. It’s the way you live, not the way you talk, that counts. Mean-spirited ambition isn’t wisdom. Boasting that you are wise isn’t wisdom. Twisting the truth to make yourselves sound wise isn’t wisdom. It’s the furthest thing from wisdom—it’s animal cunning, devilish plotting. Whenever you’re trying to look better than others or get the better of others, things fall apart and everyone ends up at the others’ throats. 17-18 Real wisdom, God’s wisdom, begins with a holy life and is characterized by getting along with others. It is gentle and reasonable, overflowing with mercy and blessings, not hot one day and cold the next, not two-faced. You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor. 1-2 Where do you think all these appalling wars and quarrels come from? Do you think they just happen? Think again. They come about because you want your own way, and fight for it deep inside yourselves. You lust for what you don’t have and are willing to kill to get it. You want what isn’t yours and will risk violence to get your hands on it. 2-3 You wouldn’t think of just asking God for it, would you? And why not? Because you know you’d be asking for what you have no right to. You’re spoiled children, each wanting your own way. 7-8a So let God work his will in you. Yell a loud no to the Devil and watch him make himself scarce. Say a quiet yes to God and he’ll be there in no time.”—James 3:13-4:3, 7-8a MSG

Today we have this week’s scripture from The Message Translation. The scripture begins by asking, “Do you want to be counted wise, to build a reputation for wisdom?” The scripture answers the question saying, “Here’s what you do: Live well, live wisely, live humbly.” It goes on to say that it isn’t the way you live or talk that’s important, it begins by living a holy life and it can be seen in how we get along with others. Getting along well with others is getting down to the basics of following God. When we say a quiet yes to God, we will love our neighbors as God loves us and we will get along with His other children in our world. We will learn about forgiveness and what it means to forgive and accept forgiveness.

Lord, help us to say yes to your word…Amen.

Vesta United Methodist Church Service; 9:00am Sunday; 8833 Highway 217, Charleston, AR…

Today’s Memory Verse: ““Do you want to be counted wise, to build a reputation for wisdom? Here’s what you do: Live well, live wisely, live humbly. It’s the way you live, not the way you talk, that counts.”—James 3:13 MSG

Be counted as wise, blessings and prayers…

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STP Study Guide for September 15, 2021

STP Study Guide for September 15, 2021

A Quiet Yes to God

“Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for bread, will give a stone? 10 Or if the child asks for a fish, will give a snake? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him!”—Matthew 7:7-11 NRSV

Our scripture this morning is a part of Jesus’ “Sermon on the Mount.” This was at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry in Galilee, and He taught the crowds who followed Him up the mountain many truths inspired by God. Our scripture tells us that if we sincerely ask, we will receive; if we search, we will find; and if we knock on God’s door, it will be open to us. With this assurance from God through Jesus we can see the importance of coming to God sincerely and asking for what we need. We need to remember to ask for what we need, not necessarily what we want.

Thank you, God, for meeting our needs…Amen.

Vesta United Methodist Church Service; 9:00am Sunday; 8833 Highway 217, Charleston, AR…

Today’s Memory Verse: “Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you.”—Matthew 7:7 NRSV

Blessings and prayers…

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STP Study Guide for September 14, 2021

STP Study Guide for September 14, 2021

A Quiet Yes to God

“At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, ‘Ask what I should give you.’ And Solomon said, ‘You have shown great and steadfast love to your servant my father David, because he walked before you in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart toward you; and you have kept for him this great and steadfast love, and have given him a son to sit on his throne today. And now, O Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David, although I am only a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. And your servant is in the midst of the people whom you have chosen, a great people, so numerous they cannot be numbered or counted. Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, able to discern between good and evil; for who can govern this your great people?’ 10 It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. 11 God said to him, ‘Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches, or for the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, 12 I now do according to your word. Indeed I give you a wise and discerning mind; no one like you has been before you and no one like you shall arise after you.’”—1 Kings 3:5-12 NRSV

When we have conversations with God, we often ask for things we really don’t need. Garth Brooks once sang a song a few years back that said we ought to ‘thank God for unanswered prayers.’ I believe all of us have made frivolous requests of God. They may not have seemed thoughtless to us at the time, but they weren’t things we needed as much as things we wanted. In our scripture this morning, Solomon doesn’t ask for riches or long life. He asked for the ability to rule God’s people properly, and to be able to discern between good and evil. We should all ask God to grant those same gifts for us.

Hear our prayers, dear Lord…Amen.

Vesta United Methodist Church Service; 9:00am Sunday; 8833 Highway 217, Charleston, AR…

Today’s Memory Verses: “Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, able to discern between good and evil; for who can govern this your great people?’ 10 It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this.”—1 Kings 9:5-10 NRSV

Blessings and prayers…

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STP (Study, Trust, Pray) for September 13, 2021

STP (Study, Trust, Pray) for September 13, 2021

A Quiet Yes to God

“Who is wise and understanding among you? Show by your good life that your works are done with gentleness born of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not be boastful and false to the truth. 15 Such wisdom does not come down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, devilish. 16 For where there is envy and selfish ambition, there will also be disorder and wickedness of every kind. 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy. 18 And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace for those who make peace. Those conflicts and disputes among you, where do they come from? Do they not come from your cravings that are at war within you? You want something and do not have it; so you commit murder. And you covet something and cannot obtain it; so you engage in disputes and conflicts. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, in order to spend what you get on your pleasures. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.”—James 3:13-4:3, 7-8a NRSV

This week as we continue our study of the Letter of James, we are looking at wisdom. I believe all of us desire wisdom, but we must understand that it makes a difference where we find our wisdom. We can look for worldly wisdom which is unfortunately, “unspiritual and devilish.” But if we look for wisdom from above it is, “first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy.” We must turn to God to receive the wisdom to be the kind of people God desires us to be.

Grant us wisdom, Lord…Amen

Vesta United Methodist Church Service; 9:00am Sunday; 8833 Highway 217, Charleston, AR…

Today’s Memory Verses: “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.”—James 4:7-8a NRSV

Draw near to God, blessings and prayers…

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STP (Study, Trust, Pray) for September 9, 2021

STP (Study, Trust, Pray) for September 9, 2021

A Restless Evil

“Don’t be in any rush to become a teacher, my friends. Teaching is highly responsible work. Teachers are held to the strictest standards. And none of us is perfectly qualified. We get it wrong nearly every time we open our mouths. If you could find someone whose speech was perfectly true, you’d have a perfect person, in perfect control of life. 3-5 A bit in the mouth of a horse controls the whole horse. A small rudder on a huge ship in the hands of a skilled captain sets a course in the face of the strongest winds. A word out of your mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything—or destroy it! 5-6 It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire. A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that. By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it, smoke right from the pit of hell. 7-10 This is scary: You can tame a tiger, but you can’t tame a tongue—it’s never been done. The tongue runs wild, a wanton killer. With our tongues we bless God our Father; with the same tongues we curse the very men and women he made in his image. Curses and blessings out of the same mouth!

10-12 My friends, this can’t go on. A spring doesn’t gush fresh water one day and brackish the next, does it? Apple trees don’t bear strawberries, do they? Raspberry bushes don’t bear apples, do they? You’re not going to dip into a polluted mud hole and get a cup of clear, cool water, are you?”—James 3:1-12 MSG

Today we have this week’s scripture from The Message Translation. Today I want us to focus on what James says about the misuse of the tongue. James talks about the way a small bit in horse’s mouth could control the large animal. Or, that a small rudder could control the movement of a huge ship. The tongue, although a small part of the human body controls the body for good or bad. Some people have problems controlling their tongues and I’m afraid that some folks don’t seem to try. An old adage says, “Loose tongues sink ships.” That is true in all aspects of life.

Lord, help us to turn to You before we engage our tongues…Amen.

Vesta United Methodist Church Service; 9:00am Sunday; 8833 Highway 217, Charleston, AR…

Today’s Memory Verses: “It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire. A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that. By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it, smoke right from the pit of hell.”—James 3:5-6 MSG

Watch your tongue, blessings and prayers…

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STP Study Guide for September 8, 2021

STP Study Guide for September 8, 2021

A Restless Evil

“In the same way, my friends, you have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead in order that we may bear fruit for God. While we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. But now we are discharged from the law, dead to that which held us captive, so that we are slaves not under the old written code but in the new life of the Spirit.”—Romans 7:4-6 NRSV

This week our scripture from James is about how we fail to follow Jesus’ teachings. Our scripture this morning is about how if we do not live in Christ, it is impossible to live the way He expects us to live. We all know people who refuse to believe in Him, who refuse to follow His teachings, and do not live the life of a Christian. We must wonder if a person can live a godly life without Christ in his or her life. Our scripture today says, NO. Without Christ we live for the flesh. Only through Christ can we live in the Holy Spirit.

Holy God, help us to live in Your Light…Amen.

Vesta United Methodist Church Service; 9:00am Sunday; 8833 Highway 217, Charleston, AR…

Today’s Memory Verses: “While we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. But now we are discharged from the law, dead to that which held us captive, so that we are slaves not under the old written code but in the new life of the Spirit.”—Romans 7:50-6 NRSV

Live in Christ, Blessings and prayers…

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STP (Study, Trust, Pray) for September 7, 2021

STP (Study, Trust, Pray) for September 7, 2021

A Restless Evil

“Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers and sisters, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. For all of us make many mistakes. Anyone who makes no mistakes in speaking is perfect, able to keep the whole body in check with a bridle. If we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we guide their whole bodies. Or look at ships: though they are so large that it takes strong winds to drive them, yet they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great exploits. How great a forest is set ablaze by a small fire! And the tongue is a fire. The tongue is placed among our members as a world of iniquity; it stains the whole body, sets on fire the cycle of nature, and is itself set on fire by hell. For every species of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by the human species, but no one can tame the tongue—a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse those who are made in the likeness of God. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and brackish water? 12 Can a fig tree, my brothers and sisters, yield olives, or a grapevine figs? No more can salt water yield fresh.”—James 3:1-12 NRSV

I have heard the phrase, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” all my life. But as I have gotten older, I realize that it is not true. Words may not hurt a person physically, but they can certainly hurt feelings, and hurt someone emotionally. Our scripture this week says that the tongue is a restless evil. The Message Translation, which you will read Thursday, says the tongue is a wanton killer. James says we should learn to bridle our tongues so as not to hurt people. And we really should.

Loving God, help us to bridle our tongues so that we don’t hurt others…Amen.

Vesta United Methodist Church Service; 9:00am Sunday; 8833 Highway 217, Charleston, AR…

Today’s Memory Verses: “For every species of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by the human species, but no one can tame the tongue—a restless evil, full of deadly poison.”—James 3:8-9 NRSV

Blessings and Prayers…

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STP (Study, Trust, Pray) for September 2, 2021

STP (Study, Trust, Pray) for September 2, 2021

Faith without Works is Dead Faith

“My dear friends, don’t let public opinion influence how you live out our glorious, Christ-originated faith. If a man enters your church wearing an expensive suit, and a street person wearing rags comes in right after him, and you say to the man in the suit, ‘Sit here, sir; this is the best seat in the house!’ and either ignore the street person or say, ‘Better sit here in the back row,’ haven’t you segregated God’s children and proved that you are judges who can’t be trusted? 5-7 Listen, dear friends. Isn’t it clear by now that God operates quite differently? He chose the world’s down-and-out as the kingdom’s first citizens, with full rights and privileges. This kingdom is promised to anyone who loves God. And here you are abusing these same citizens! Isn’t it the high and mighty who exploit you, who use the courts to rob you blind? Aren’t they the ones who scorn the new name—‘Christian’—used in your baptisms? 8-10 You do well when you complete the Royal Rule of the Scriptures: ‘Love others as you love yourself.’ But if you play up to these so-called important people, you go against the Rule and stand convicted by it. You can’t pick and choose in these things, specializing in keeping one or two things in God’s law and ignoring others. 14-17 Dear friends, do you think you’ll get anywhere in this if you learn all the right words but never do anything? Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really has it? For instance, you come upon an old friend dressed in rags and half-starved and say, “Good morning, friend! Be clothed in Christ! Be filled with the Holy Spirit!” and walk off without providing so much as a coat or a cup of soup—where does that get you? Isn’t it obvious that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense?”—James 2:1-10, 14-17 MSG

Today we have this week’s scripture from The Message Translation. Today I want to focus on the Verse 14 because it says so much about this week’s topic. James is telling us walk the walk and talk the talk. We must do more than read the Word; we also must live the Word. Talking about faith doesn’t mean that someone has faith. You must wear your faith like a badge showing people you meet about real faith. When you do that God will not only bless you but those you influence.

Help us, Lord, to share our faith with others…Amen.

Sunday Online Worship Service; 7:00pm; Vesta UMC FaceBook Page…

Today’s Memory Verse: “Dear friends, do you think you’ll get anywhere in this if you learn all the right words but never do anything? Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really has it?” —James 2:14 MSG

Do more than talk faith, blessings and prayers…

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STP Study Guide for September 1, 2021

STP Study Guide for September 1, 2021

Faith without Works is Dead Faith

“You shall not defraud your neighbor; you shall not steal; and you shall not keep for yourself the wages of a laborer until morning. 14 You shall not revile the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind; you shall fear your God: I am the Lord. 15 You shall not render an unjust judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great: with justice you shall judge your neighbor. 16 You shall not go around as a slanderer among your people, and you shall not profit by the blood of your neighbor: I am the Lord. 17 You shall not hate in your heart anyone of your kin; you shall reprove your neighbor, or you will incur guilt yourself. 18 You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.”—Leviticus 19:13-18 NRSV

Leviticus is the Book of the Law of Moses. Throughout the reading of the text Moses related various laws and commandments given to him by God. Following God’s commandments is always about having enough faith to do what God has asked you to do. Our reading today is concerning how we are to treat our neighbors. Anytime we talk about how we treat our neighbors we must remember that Jesus, in the Parable of the Good Samaritan, said that the neighbor was one who helped those in need. We are called to treat everyone as neighbor and assist them in any way we can.

Lord, help us to love our neighbor as You love us…Amen.

Sunday Online Worship Service; 9:00am; Vesta UMC FaceBook Page…

Today’s Memory Verse: “You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.”—Leviticus 19:18 NRSV

Love your neighbor as yourself, blessings and prayers…

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STP Study Guide for August 31, 2021

STP Study Guide for August 31, 2021

Faith without Works is Dead Faith

“For this is the message you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. 12 We must not be like Cain who was from the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. 13 Do not be astonished, brothers and sisters, that the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed from death to life because we love one another. Whoever does not love abides in death. 15 All who hate a brother or sister are murderers, and you know that murderers do not have eternal life abiding in them. 16 We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us—and we ought to lay down our lives for one another. 17 How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help? 18 Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action.”—1 John 3:11-18 NRSV

This week James is telling us that if we don’t do the works God expects from us, we have no faith at all. Today, in John’s First Letter, he asks how can we have God’s love and not help someone in need? When we hate one another, we are living in a lost world. When we are living as saved children of God, we understand that Jesus loved us so much that He sacrificed His life for us. When we see others in need, we should not hesitate to make a sacrifice in our lives to help others. We must show our love by our actions.

Lord, open our eyes that we may see those who need our help…Amen.

Sunday Online Worship Service; 9:00am; Vesta UMC FaceBook Page…

Today’s Memory Verse: “Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action.”—1 John 3:18 NRSV

Show God’s love, blessings and prayers…

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