“Now that I am old and gray, do not abandon me, O God. Let me proclaim your power to this new generation, your mighty miracles to all who come after me.” – Psalm 71:18.

Our society holds on to youthfulness with a white-knuckled grip. We worship youth and dread the day when we are older. The 2024 presidential election is focused on age.  President Joe Biden, 81, and former president Donald Trump, 78, are the two oldest major party candidates for the US presidency. How productive can a person be when they grow old? The Bible has a perspective on this subject.  Proverbs 16:31 says, “Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained by living a godly life.” Titus 2 encourages both older men and women to be examples to younger people and to teach them God’s ways. Aging does not have to mean reducing our service to the Lord

All this begs the question: Is age relevant to God? The answer is no. Age is entirely irrelevant to God. Older people are assumed to be wise, and young people are less so. However, there are Christians who, despite their older age, are still immature. And there are young Christians who, despite their youth, are wise well beyond their years. That being said, as a general rule, older Christians still tend to be the most mature because they have spent many years learning and applying the truth of God’s word to their lives. Younger Christians are generally just beginning and haven’t had the time to learn as much. But it is not the age that matters; it is the knowledge and application of God’s word. It is God’s word that matures us and equips us: ”God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:17). You can be wise at any age.  James 1:5 does not give an age requirement, “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you…”

God calls people of all ages. The Bible seems to imply that there is no upper or lower age limit for service in the Kingdom. God calls the very young, like Samuel and Jeremiah, to be prophets when they are little more than boys. David was anointed for service when he was just a boy, tending sheep in the fields. Paul writes to Timothy, reminding him not to let others look down on him because he’s young (1 Timothy 4:12).

God also calls the elderly. Abraham was 75 when God called him to leave his place of birth and set out towards the land of Canaan. Moses was 80 when God appeared in the burning bush and gave him the task of returning to Egypt to lead his people to freedom.

God uses all kinds of people to accomplish His work. God knows your gifts and your circumstances, and He can use you right where you are, no matter how gray your hair may be.

Discussion Questions: 

  1. Do you believe God can use you regardless of your age? Why or why not?  
  2. What can we learn from older Christians this week? What can we learn from younger Christians this week? 


The apostle Paul wrote much of the New Testament, including the letters to the Galatians, Ephesians, and Philippians. Though these books are relatively short, they contain a wealth of wisdom for living as Christ-followers in a fallen world. Read through these three books in a row, and you’ll gain even more as you see a bigger picture emerge. Paul exhorts and encourages the early believers while clarifying central beliefs and practices. His words still resonate today.” – Life lessons from Paul.

The Apostle Paul was the very first missionary. He traveled around the ancient world declaring the Gospel of Christ. God set Paul apart to declare the hope of Christ to the Gentiles: “But the Lord said, “Go, for Saul is my chosen instrument to take my message to the Gentiles and to kings, as well as to the people of Israel” (Acts 9:15). Paul’s missionary journeys are much more than mere dotted lines on rough maps at the back of your Bible. His travels changed the world.

Paul traveled over 10,000 miles proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ before trains, planes, and automobiles. It was not a simple safari by any means; remember that back then, the roads were bumpy, and the oceans were wild. His journeys on land and sea took him primarily through present-day Israel, Syria, Turkey, and Greece. Paul walked the roads built by the Romans to facilitate their control over their Empire.

Why would Paul go so far? Why would he risk his life, time and time again? So many days, weeks, and months in hazardous conditions. In 2 Corinthians 11: 25 – 27, Paul describes some of the dangers of traveling: “Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea.  I have traveled on many long journeys. I have faced danger from rivers and from robbers. I have faced danger from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the Gentiles. I have faced danger in the cities, in the deserts, and on the seas. And I have faced danger from men who claim to be believers but are not.I have worked hard and long, enduring many sleepless nights. I have been hungry and thirsty and have often gone without food. I have shivered in the cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm.”

Paul’s journeys were hard not only because of the distance but also because of resistance to the gospel message of Jesus Christ. Though groups of believers gathered to hear him, there was often conflict with local political and religious leaders. And yet Paul pushed on. His goal was nothing less than to share in “the full measure of the blessing of Christ.”

Paul was willing to keep going on this journey, risk his life, do prison time, risk his reputation — because preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ and encouraging believers was worth it. We are people in need of encouraging words and words of affirmation. It’s part of who we are. We don’t need flattery — we need deep and meaningful connection and genuine encouragement. We need others to come alongside us on the hard days (and easy days!) and say, “You’ve got this. Keep going. You are doing amazing. You can make it. Your talents, contributions, and spiritual gifts are needed.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What can we learn from Paul’s travels?  
  2. What can we apply to our lives today from Paul’s travels?


“I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears.” – Psalm 34:4.

Have you ever felt God speaks more clearly to others than to you? Discerning God’s voice from all the other voices can be challenging in the noise of life. The good news is we can get better at recognizing God’s voice. One way to get better at understanding and recognizing God’s voice starts with understanding the role of the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is God on earth. He is the very presence of God within us, the One through whom God communicates His will, guidance, and love.

Have you ever been in a dark room and able only to make out vague shapes and outlines. It doesn’t look like much until the lights come on and then you see a room of beautiful furniture, impeccably decorated walls, and priceless artwork. Without the lights you cannot truly enjoy or appreciate the beauty without light to illuminate it for you. God’s truth is like that room.  We know it is there, but understanding and applying it require the light to be turned on.

1 Corinthians 2:10-13 tells us, “But it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets. No one can know a person’s thoughts except that person’s own spirit, and no one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own Spirit. And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us. When we tell you these things, we do not use words that come from human wisdom. Instead, we speak words given to us by the Spirit, using the Spirit’s words to explain spiritual truths.”

In other words, man cannot fully understand God’s truth without the Holy Spirit.  We don’t have to be intimated by scripture because the Holy Spirit guides us through it and makes it clear to us.  We all want tidy, black-and-white answers and step-by-step guidelines to differentiate God’s voice. But there is no rulebook for recognizing the voice of God, is there?

“But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.” (John 14:26). God can speak through other believers, His creation and His Word, and as our faith grows, He wants each of us to recognize the voice of His Spirit. God will show up in various ways to confirm that He is speaking to you.

God knows there will be times when we question His voice. The good news is that He keeps speaking in our uncertainty. Let’s take some time to get still and listen today. The more we do, the more we’ll recognize Him when He speaks.

Discussion Questions

  1. What assurance do you have from God’s Word that God intends us to hear His voice in very personal ways?
  2. What dangers might exist in seeking to hear God’s voice as described, and what safeguards are given so we won’t misread the voice of the Lord? 


Come to me with your ears wide open. Listen, and you will find life. I will make an everlasting covenant with you. I will give you all the unfailing love I promised to David.” – Isaiah 55:3.

You were created to know God in a deep and personal way. He never intended for your relationship with Him to be distant, formal, or mechanical. He knows you. He has a plan for you that is beautiful, adventurous, and meaningful. God created you to be in fellowship with Him.

1 Corinthians 1.9 says, “God will do this, for he is faithful to do what he says, and he has invited you into partnership with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” The word “partnership” means to share life together. Jesus always lived in close, loving fellowship with His Father. He listened to His Father and obeyed Him completely. On one occasion, Jesus said, “For the Father loves the Son and shows him everything he is doing…” (John 5.20). Jesus had unbroken fellowship with His Father and He invites us into that fellowship.

Now, the basis for any fellowship is communication. God wants you to hear His voice and follow Him. You may be thinking, “Does God speak today?”  He has always spoken to His people. God spoke to Noah about how to build a boat. God spoke to Joshua and told him to march around Jericho. God spoke to David and gave plans for the temple. God spoke to Daniel with prophecies of the future.  God speaks, but are we listening, or better yet, do we know how to listen? The Bible tells us that we must listen and obey God’s voice. Consider the following verses: “I listen carefully to what God the LORD is saying, for he speaks peace to his faithful people” (Psalm 85.8). “And the Lord came and called as before, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel replied, “Speak, your servant is listening” (1 Samuel 3.10). “Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand!” (Matthew 11.15). Hebrews 3:15 adds, “Today when you hear his voice, don’t harden your hearts as Israel did when they rebelled.”  God speaks, the question is, “Are we listening?”

Learning how to hear God is an even greater challenge. Though there are some instances in Scripture when God speaks with an audible voice, God speaks in less direct ways most often. We struggle with listening to God, often questioning the reality of His presence when we don’t feel like we’re hearing from God. But hearing God isn’t always as hard as you may think.

Hearing God doesn’t have to be a confusing or difficult experience. We can make a lot of false assumptions about hearing God. Have these thoughts ever come to mind when trying to listen to God? While there are many methods to try to hear from God, it’s likely He’s been speaking to you this whole time. The key is to tune your ear to Him.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Have you ever heard God’s voice, or wished you could? In what ways do you think God speaks to us?
  2. Why might it be hard to hear God? Could it be because we don’t expect it, or because we have trouble distinguishing between our thoughts and what God might be trying to say?
  3. How can we practice listening to God? Do you have a regular time to listen to God, or do you do things that you or others have assigned you to do? How can you grow in your listening this week?


“Our lives are to be characterized by patience, for it is important in developing the mature, stable character which God wants to produce in His people.” – Billy Graham.

We live in an impatient world created by a patient God. Webster’s dictionary defines patience as: “bearing pains for trials calmly or without complaint; not hasty or impetuous; steadfast despite opposition, difficulty, or adversity; able or willing to bear.” A cursory glance at the last days of Jesus’ life will give you the perfect picture of patience.

 A good example of patience in the Bible is the story of Abram and Sarai. It has been ten years since God promised Abram, “I will make you into a great nation…” (Gen 12:2). Abram is in his mid-eighties, and Sarai is in her mid-seventies—not exactly prime child-bearing years. Genesis chapter 16 begins with a simple statement that Sarai is barren and her patience is wearing thin. But we know how that ended.

God does things in His timing, for His purpose, and for His glory. The prophet Jeremiah reminds us, “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope”  (Jeremiah 29:11). Peter told his readers, “The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent” (2 Peter 3:9).

God has a plan for each of us, fulfilled in His timing. However, our patience is often lacking as we wait for the story to unfold. Paul reminded his readers, “But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently” (Romans 8:25).

Patience is talked about in the Bible because God is patient with us. Because God is patient with us, we need to be patient with our fellow human beings. And that’s not always easy. Many people we must deal with—and sometimes even live with—can be obstinate, frustrating, selfish, inconsiderate, and absolutely impossible to please. They say and do the wrong things at the wrong time. Sometimes, they unnerve us. Other people may see us in the same light.

Patience often flows from understanding. We are too quick to judge, and we are too prone to treat our fellows harshly. They, too, have troubles—bills to pay, sick children, spouses to please, bosses to impress, and headaches to bear. But let’s try to remember that God is patient and long-suffering. And we need to give one another a break.

As we mature in our Christian faith and learn to trust more and more that God is in charge of this world and our lives, we see that patience is the fruit that grows as a natural result of our relationship with God.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What does to mean to be intentional when it comes to patience?
  2. To what extent are you patient with yourself? How might you practice patience with you as Jesus’ does?
  3. Why is margin so important when it comes to patience?


“We proclaim to you what we ourselves have actually seen and heard so that you may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.” – 1 John 1:3.

It’s mind-boggling and overwhelming to think that God participates in our lives. Fellowship with Christ means that not only do we participate in Christ’s life, but Christ participates in ours, too.

When we see the word “fellowship” in the Bible, it’s not only the idea of relationship. The word relationship means the state of being connected. So, even though we are connected to Christ, we’re invited into something more profound: fellowship. We want to know and to be known. And the best place to get that desire filled is, first and foremost, in Christ.

The salvation of Jesus brings us into a relationship with Him. But fellowship with God is an invitation to intimacy with Him. It’s our continued connection with Him and our means of spending time with Him. When Jesus walked the earth, He referred to God as Father. While it shocked the “religious” people, it opened up the door to relationships, which is what Jesus is all about. He pulled them out of religion and into relationships. He participated in their lives and let them participate in His.

Not only are we in a relationship with Him, but we get to have fellowship with Him, where we walk in the light, as He is in the light: “So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin”  (1 John 1:6–7).

This is the avenue, or the means, by which we become more like Him and see His life in ours. When we fellowship with Jesus, we become more like Him and reflect Him. We share our life with Him, and He shares His life with us. In other words, experiencing Christ and letting Him experience us. That’s why Paul said, “My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).

Our starting point is in God’s word, the Bible. It is all we need for fellowship with Him. If we want to experience deeper fellowship with God, we must know what it says so that we can submit to His will and obey His commands.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What is your current level of fellowship and closeness with God? 
  2. How can you deepen your fellowship with God?


“I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of indepedence, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.” – John Adams.

Happy Fourth of July. This weekend, Americans from sea to shining sea will gather family, friends, and neighbors to celebrate their liberty with cookouts and local festivities. Fireworks will be painted overhead on a canvas of clear night sky. This favorite day of summer allows people from all backgrounds to celebrate the precious freedoms and opportunities we enjoy in this country.

And while it’s important to be with family and friends on this day, it’s also good to reflect on why we’re celebrating. Our early forebears left England for the unfamiliar shores of America mainly because they were unhappy under the tyranny of religious persecution. Since those dawning years of our country, many others have migrated for the same reason. They gave up everything for the right to freely worship God here.

It is important to remember that our American liberty is a blessing from God. Because of our freedom, we can express our faith and boldly share it with others. It is important to recognize that in many other parts of the world, this is not the case. The cost of following Christ is much greater for our brothers and sisters across the globe.

We should not lose sight of why we celebrate Independence Day. Take time to reflect on the ways God has blessed you in your life. As you spend this day with family and friends, celebrate the blessing of freedom given to us by Christ. This is something we should never take for granted; we should never stop thanking God for establishing this country with such freedoms.

This July 4th, as we celebrate fireworks and wave flags, may we also pause to reflect on our nation’s heritage. As the festivities end and the last trails of smoke glide across the summer night sky, take a moment to thank God for all our freedom allows solemnly.

May God help us to begin today, this 247th celebration of our independence.

Discussion Questions:

  1. How will a “blessed” nation look if it honors God?
  2. How does this play out in your home, job/school, and community?
  3. Pray for our nation and the nations around the world.


Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst.  The sun will not beat down on them, nor any scorching heat.  For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water.  And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” –  Revelation 7:16-17 (NIV).

“The Dog Days of Summer” is an expression one often hears in baseball. The phrase comes from the very challenging days of playing baseball in the heat of the summer. Not only are players contending with the heat, but they are also contending with the length of the baseball season. Added to this is the sad reality that some teams recognize that their championship hopes have been shattered. Championships are won or lost in these “dog days of summer.”

The Christian can experience the spiritual “dog days of summer.” We experience dog days not just in the summer season but also during difficult seasons of our lives. These times may be miserable days, weeks, months, or even years. Someone going through cancer treatments may not have a single day they feel good for several months. Someone working two jobs to put themselves through college may be exhausted and stressed for four or more years. Dog days of life may center around any number of circumstances.

The good news is the dog days will not last forever. Regarding the summer heat, we are comforted that cooler fall weather is coming even in Florida. Likewise, in life, the dog days do not last. The Scriptures tell us that though the sorrows may last for the night, joy comes in the morning: “For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime. Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning” (Psalms 30:5). Even if our dog days last into the fall or next year we know they are not forever.  One day, “He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever” (Revelation 21:4). And there will be a new heaven and a new earth (Revelation 21:1).

It is also important to remember that we do not have to go through our dog days alone. We have help for the journey. Jesus has promised, “He will neither fail you nor abandon you” (Deuteronomy 31:6). Further, we know God’s grace is all we need, and His power works best in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). We are not alone in our dog days, but instead, we have countless promises from God that He is with us in the midst of them.

 Lastly, we need to remember that nothing is wasted. The Scriptures tell us the afflictions of our dog days are not in vain: “For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever” (2 Corinthians 4:17). God will use our dog days for good in our lives as we trust Him.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Have you experienced spiritual dog days in your life?
  2. What did you do about them?


“Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.” So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” – Genesis 1:26-27.

On July 2, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law a sweeping civil rights bill passed by Congress. This act outlawed segregation in businesses such as theaters, restaurants, and hotels, discriminatory employment practices, and segregation in public places such as swimming pools, libraries, and public schools. But 60 years later, race and racism remain a hot topic.

As Christians, we believe this is a gospel issue. It is not just a social issue. Or a political or economic issue. This is an important issue for the church and all of us who are followers of Jesus. The Bible condemns all forms of racism and teaches that every human being is created with equal dignity and God-given worth.

If we take a few seconds to remember that every person was conceived by God before they were conceived by your parents. They were loved by God before they were known on earth. And every person is made in God’s image.

Genesis tells us that all people have been created in God’s image. When we say everyone is made in God’s image, everyone has great value, no matter who they are or what they’ve done. This belief, which is central to Christianity, helps us understand that every person has value regardless of ethnicity, nationality, creed, sexual orientation, or outward appearance.

People have been searching for the antidote to racism for years. The antidote is to love as Jesus does. You can’t love someone like Jesus does and harbor racism and prejudice in your heart toward another person. Jesus gets very specific about this in John 15:12: “This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.” Jesus loves every person unconditionally, freely, completely, and continually.

If God created every ethnicity, died for every ethnicity, and brought every ethnicity into His everlasting kingdom, then we need to get in line with God’s view of every ethnicity. We share the same beginning, the same problem of sin, the same solution at the cross of Christ, the same destiny of heaven if we are children of God. We have a whole lot more in common than sets us apart. The things that unite us are bigger and better than those that make us different.

Revelation 7:9-10 adds, ”After this I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes and held palm branches in their hands. And they were shouting with a great roar, “Salvation comes from our God who sits on the throne and from the Lamb!”

Discussion Questions:

  1. What does it mean to be created in the “image of God”?
  2. Do you find it difficult and/or scary to enter into the conversation about diversity and racial issues? If so why or why not?
  3. What kind of conversations do you think that Christians need to have that will lead to real change?


“In the same way, “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.”The real children of Abraham, then, are those who put their faith in God. What’s more, the Scriptures looked forward to this time when God would make the Gentiles right in his sight because of their faith. God proclaimed this good news to Abraham long ago when he said, “All nations will be blessed through you.”So all who put their faith in Christ share the same blessing Abraham received because of his faith.” – Galatians 3: 6-9

We are always told to have faith and to trust God. In certain situations, that is easier said than done. We sometimes think things will be easier if we take it into our own hands. Nobody ever said having faith would be easy. Whenever trusting God doesn’t seem all that easy, remember Abraham. We can learn much by observing Abraham’s life through the scriptures. The apostle Paul in Romans chapter 4 refers to Abraham several times as the father of faith. Abraham models a life lived to those who choose to walk by faith in God.

When told to go, he went. When promised, he believed. When commanded, he obeyed—even when it seemed to make no sense. He was given one of the greatest tests recorded in the Bible, yet he obeyed willingly and promptly. Abraham’s faith wasn’t because of his intellect, accomplishments, pedigree, or wealth. Abraham was “a friend of God “ (James 2:23) because of his faith. Abraham believed in and trusted God completely.

Fast forward 2,000 years. Trust can still seem like hoping against hope. Trust is rarely a suggestion. When someone says “trust me”, it is usually implied that you throw yourself into a situation and believe wholeheartedly that the situation will come to pass as they promise. In times of trouble, in out-of-my-control circumstances, and the I-don’t-get-it days, we will look to something or someone to trust.

Proverbs 3:5 gives us a direction for trust: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.” Trust is action is putting yourself in God’s hands as  Abraham did,

Why should we trust God completely? Because He is trustworthy. He is worthy of trust because trust requires a track record. You wouldn’t trust someone at their word if they had lied to you consistently in the past. But God’s track record is perfect. This does not mean it is perfectly understood, but it means His love, power, grace, and compassion are promised clearly in scripture and can be experienced in our lives.

Abraham is a living example of faith and hope in the promises of God (Hebrews 11:10). We need to do what Abraham did. We need to believe that God can do the impossible and that nothing is too hard for God. We need to believe in God’s power and promises without wavering.

Discussion Questions:

  1. If there are areas of your life where God is not “coming through” the way you would like, how can you learn to trust God in those situations?
  2. What can you do this week to realign your actions to reflect trust in God?
  3. Think of someone in your life that you see as an example for trusting God – what do they do really well that you can learn from?