The Things We Hold Dear # 1 -- Prayer. February 3rd 2019

by Andrew Downes

2 Chronicles 14:1-12

Abijah slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the city of David. And Asa his son reigned in his place. In his days the land had rest for ten years. And Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God. He took away the foreign altars and the high places and broke down the pillars and cut down the Asherim and commanded Judah to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, and to keep the law and the commandment. He also took out of all the cities of Judah the high places and the incense altars. And the kingdom had rest under him. He built fortified cities in Judah, for the land had rest. He had no war in those years, for the Lord gave him peace. And he said to Judah, “Let us build these cities and surround them with walls and towers, gates and bars. The land is still ours, because we have sought the Lord our God. We have sought him, and he has given us peace on every side.” So they built and prospered. And Asa had an army of 300,000 from Judah, armed with large shields and spears, and 280,000 men from Benjamin that carried shields and drew bows. All these were mighty men of valor. 

Zerah the Ethiopian came out against them with an army of a million men and 300 chariots, and came as far as Mareshah. 10 And Asa went out to meet him, and they drew up their lines of battle in the Valley of Zephathah at Mareshah. 11 And Asa cried to the Lord his God, “O Lord, there is none like you to help, between the mighty and the weak. Help us, O Lord our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this multitude. O Lord, you are our God; let not man prevail against you.” 12 So the Lord defeated the Ethiopians before Asa and before Judah, and the Ethiopians fled.

 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (2 Ch 14:1–12). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

The Things We Hold Dear # 2 -- Scripture. February 10th 2019

by Nathan Randall

2 Timothy 3:16-4:4

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. 

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.

 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (2 Ti 3:16–4:4). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

The Things We Hold Dear # 3 -- Mission. 17th February

by Andrew Downes

Psalm 96

Oh sing to the Lord a new song; 

sing to the Lord, all the earth! 

Sing to the Lord, bless his name; 

tell of his salvation from day to day. 

Declare his glory among the nations, 

his marvelous works among all the peoples! 

For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; 

he is to be feared above all gods. 

For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols, 

but the Lord made the heavens. 

Splendor and majesty are before him; 

strength and beauty are in his sanctuary. 

Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples, 

ascribe to the Lord glory and strength! 

Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; 

bring an offering, and come into his courts! 

Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness; 

tremble before him, all the earth! 

10  Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns! 

Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved; 

he will judge the peoples with equity.” 

11  Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; 

let the sea roar, and all that fills it; 

12  let the field exult, and everything in it! 

Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy 

13  before the Lord, for he comes, 

for he comes to judge the earth. 

He will judge the world in righteousness, 

and the peoples in his faithfulness. 

 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ps 96:1–13). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

The Things We Hold Dear # 4 - Generosity. February 24th 2019

by Nathan Randall

2 Corinthians 8:1-9

We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints— and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us. Accordingly, we urged Titus that as he had started, so he should complete among you this act of grace. But as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you—see that you excel in this act of grace also. 

I say this not as a command, but to prove by the earnestness of others that your love also is genuine. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.

 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (2 Co 8:1–9). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

The Things We Hold Dear # 5 -- Community. March 3rd 2019

by Andrew Downes

John 17:20-26

I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. 24 Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. 26 I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.” 

 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Jn 17:20–26). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

The Things We Hold Dear # 6 -- Discipleship. March 10th 2019

by Andrew Downes

Luke 14:25-33

Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. 27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. 28 For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31 Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. 33 So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple. 

 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Lk 14:25–33). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

The Things We Hold Dear # 7 -- March 17th 2019

by Nathan Randall

Psalm 95

Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; 

let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! 

Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; 

let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! 

For the Lord is a great God, 

and a great King above all gods. 

In his hand are the depths of the earth; 

the heights of the mountains are his also. 

The sea is his, for he made it, 

and his hands formed the dry land. 

Oh come, let us worship and bow down; 

let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker! 

For he is our God, 

and we are the people of his pasture, 

and the sheep of his hand. 

Today, if you hear his voice, 

do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah, 

as on the day at Massah in the wilderness, 

when your fathers put me to the test 

and put me to the proof, though they had seen my work. 

10  For forty years I loathed that generation 

and said, “They are a people who go astray in their heart, 

and they have not known my ways.” 

11  Therefore I swore in my wrath, 

“They shall not enter my rest.” 

 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ps 95:1–11). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.