Yet I Will Rejoice In The Lord
Yet I Will Rejoice In The Lord

Sam Snyder • May 12, 2021

I really appreciated Pastor Mishawn's encouraging word on Sunday on how to follow and trust God when life doesn't look how we think it "should" and it is instead marked by discomfort, discouragement, or disappointment.


This last week DEFINITELY did not look like I thought it "should." We had to make a bunch of changes for things that I was supposed to be leading on Sunday and Monday because our whole family was in quarantine since last week. Our planned moving day didn't look like it "should" and even turned into 3-4 days as we cleaned and rearranged rooms at the Snyder house (previously known as the White House) to be able to move everything back, emptied the Cortes house (aka the Gray House), and then cleaned it to prepare it for the Cortes family without any help...let me tell you that many hands really DO make light work and we missed all of the hands that had offered to help us on Saturday but couldn't do so because of Covid precautions. That didn't go how we thought it should go! 😂


But, we were able to navigate that ok. It was tiring, but we're all ok and so far doing fine as far as Covid goes (all tests negative on Monday and will retest tomorrow to confirm that we can end quarantine with a family of this size). But in the midst of that, there have been other things weighing on my heart and mind. Things like knowing that my brother Jessy is losing family and friends to covid back home in India and my brother Ivan lost family in Ecuador as the country is going through another wave of cases. I have also been thinking of friends and members of our church family who have been praying, hoping, and waiting and yet the answer to prayer seems too far away. I have been burdened by the sadness of seeing people cut short the work of God in their lives by choosing the broad way that leads to destruction rather than receiving correction to grow and mature. The sadness of seeing people compromise the truth and conform to the patterns and systems of this world. The sadness of seeing others facing persecution for their faith or for their ethnicity.


All of these things make me cry out with Habakkuk (1:2-3, 5):

How long, Lord, must I call for help,

    but you do not listen?

Or cry out to you, “Violence!”

    but you do not save?

Why do you make me look at injustice?

    Why do you tolerate wrongdoing?

Destruction and violence are before me;

    there is strife, and conflict abounds.


He had other things to be discouraged and distressed about but then GOD answers Him:

“Look at the nations and watch—

    and be utterly amazed.

For I am going to do something in your days

    that you would not believe, even if you were told.


How long oh Lord??? Whenever we find ourselves facing problems, pressures, persecution, pain, or perplexing circumstances it's tempting to quit, to be overwhelmed, to lose hope, to even walk away from God, but the invitation is to TRUST Him even when it hurts. To trust God even when, like the church in Revelation and much of the church around the world today, there is pain, persecution, and pressure to conform or to compromise!


Today I am making this passage from Habakkuk 3:17-18 my prayer of trusting and rejoicing and I invite you to make it yours too:

Though the fig tree does not bud

and there are no grapes on the vines,

though the olive crop fails

and the fields produce no food,

though there are no sheep in the pen

and no cattle in the stalls, 

yet I will rejoice in the Lord,

I will be joyful in God my Savior.


I encourage you to check out Mishawn's message if you haven't done so, or go back and listen again if you need to.

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Praying for Power
Praying for Power

Sam Snyder • May 06, 2021

I've been having a lot of problems with power lately. Not the kind of power you were thinking though, battery power. I don't know if you've found yourself running out of power lately, but I keep having my battery die on my phone, computer, and even on the van! It's not that I don't charge my laptop or phone, but I am going too long between charges and putting in a lot of work on them. There are certainly times that we lose power because we left something on that drains the battery, like happened with the dome lights with our van. It drained the battery so completely that it took a lot of extra work to get the battery to take a charge again.


We have a lot of things going on in our lives that can drain our energy, but I am so glad that I don't have to live on my own energy. In fact, I don't even have to live on outside energy that I store up in some sort of spiritual battery from Sunday to Sunday! God promises us POWER (dunamis = dynamite kind of power) when the Holy Spirit comes UPON us (Acts 1:8 and 2:1-4) and lives WITHIN us (John 14:16-18, Romans 8:11, 1 Corinthians 12:7-11). The power of the LIVING God dwelling in us and working through us. This is the same power that raised Jesus from the dead and enabled all of the apostles and prophets to do signs and wonders...that same power is available to each of us...every day...all day long! Wow! I don't know about you, but the fact that there is a personal God who not only allows us to know about Him and worship Him but in fact desires us to be WITH Him and HE IN US (John 14:23-27) is mind-blowing! The God who cannot be contained by all of creation desires to make His home IN us and do His work THROUGH us by His powerful personal presence (Philippians 2:13, 2 Peter 1:3)!


Like I mentioned on Sunday, there have been many times that the pure and undefiled work of God has been confused for the fake worldly power, priorities, politics, or spirituality, but what God has is SO MUCH BETTER! Like a lot of things, you don't know the difference until you've tried what's best. Like, imagine having a battery that would never run out of power or a cell phone that always had a signal...Once you had experienced such a supernatural thing you would never want to go back to having to plug in and recharge or wander around trying to find a signal!


It's that way with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. It's something that's so powerful that Jesus and the early church likened it to baptism because it was transformative and memorable, but they also talked about the indwelling element of this new relationship by talking about the Spirit being IN us and using pictures like wind, fire, and temple to describe this new relationship that the Spirit would have with the people of God.


We are less than 21 days away from Pentecost Sunday, which was the day that the Holy Spirit first came to be IN the people of God to fill them with His Power and Peace to live for HIS Purposes...As we look forward to celebrating that day I want to invite you to take time to ASK for more of the Spirit. Jesus said in Luke 11:9-13 that we are to ASK for the Holy Spirit (Ask, Seek, Knock). Maybe you haven't experienced that fullness before or maybe you've treated this more like plugging-in to recharge once or twice per week rather than an ongoing relationship of fullness and empowering...wherever you're at with that, I want to invite you to take some time to fast and pray for more of the Holy Spirit in YOU and in US between now and Sunday, May 23rd.


  • Maybe you join us in our weekly day of prayer and fasting on the next 3 Fridays or pick other times to get away and be in God's presence.
  • Maybe you join the Prayer call with the Amenumeys on Fridays at 7 PM.
  • Maybe you plan to linger in the presence of God after our worship times on Sundays or join us beforehand from 4:45-5:15 for prayer in the Fireside room.


Whatever you do, I invite you to be Intentional in ASKing for more of God's presence and power to be at work in and THROUGH your life! Another step of praying for power that I would like to invite you into is praying for the Muslim community of the Twin Cities, and around the world, who are coming to the end of Ramadan. Most will usually spend extra time in prayer during the last ten days seeking to have spiritual encounters, even having one night that is known as the Night of Power where they expect that their prayers are worth 1,000 times more. This year most are counting May 8th as that night, so I would invite you to be praying from May 7-9 for Jesus to reveal Himself to the Muslims in your life and community by the Power of the Holy Spirit! We know that prayers are not "works" that earn us the favor or forgiveness of God, as we just saw, He WANTS to be with us and in us! So, I would ask that you would join me in praying for God to water the seeds of His truth and to break bonds that keep people from the light of the knowledge, glory, and grace of God that is in Christ Jesus!


The world needs to see a church community that's filled with the living presence of God and is committed to living for the purposes of God...we can't do that without HIS power!

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Voice of God
Voice of God

Cross Culture Community Church • April 15, 2021

This week's post is from Brittany Bowles


What are some ways that the Lord speaks to you? Does he speak Audibly? Through visions and dreams? Or for some maybe through people around you? Through his creation and nature? These are just some of the ways that the Lord uses to speak to us. We hear throughout the Bible of times where God is speaking to His people and yet we wonder if He is still speaking today. The cool thing about this is that The God of the universe is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

~ Hebrews 13:8 “I am the Lord, I do not change.”

If he spoke to people in the past, He still does. 


My all-time favorite way that I hear the Lord speak to me is in His still small voice: God often speaks to us by the inner witness of the Holy Spirit to our spirit. Elijah was camping in a cave on Mount Sinai when God showed himself. Elijah saw a powerful wind, a mighty earthquake, and a fierce fire, but God wasn’t in any of them. Instead, God spoke to him in a “still small voice” also translated “a gentle whisper” (1 King 19:9-12, Romans 8:14-16).


Some of the other ways God speaks is...

Through His creation: The vastness of space and the complexity of nature testifies to God’s intelligent design.

Through people: God speaks through preachers, teachers, but he also speaks through Kids, friends, family, etc.


I want to challenge you this week to pray that bold prayer “Speak Lord for your servant is listening” and see what he has to say to you. God will speak to us more often as we learn to recognize what his voice sounds like, one of my favorite songs right now is "Voice of God" by Dante Bowe. There are lyrics in the song that say “I can hear it on the wind of an early morning, When the fog is getting thick and the birds are chirping. Oh, it's just something I can't explain, no, but it makes me wanna cry...” and it just makes me think about how we often expect God to only speak to us on Sundays, but God doesn’t only speak on Sundays, He wants to speak to us throughout the week even in the little things!

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A New Beginning
A New Beginning

Cross Culture Community Church • April 08, 2021

This week's encouraging word is from Elizabeth Dorsch:


Good Morning Cross Culture Church Family! 


Today is the day that the Lord has made! Rejoice and be glad! 

It is on my heart this morning to share an encouraging word with you reflecting back on this past Easter Sunday. 

I am rejoicing this morning while extending great joy, by celebrating Christ’s Resurrection from the grave, enduring the cross for our sins, overcoming death, and the evil of this world. 

He is a God of restoration, second chances, and new beginnings!

Jesus has the power to heal the broken hearted, He can heal those who are physically ill; diseased, epileptic, paralyzed, and even has the power to cast out evil spirits (Matthew 4:23-25). 

He can turn all things for our good and His Glory. 

God the Father raised His Son Christ Jesus from the grave! Christ overcame death, and through the grace of God we have the opportunity in this life to choose the power of Christ to be over our lives! 

We can choose to allow God to be the One who restores our lives and blesses us with a new beginning! 

And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true" (Revelation 21:5).


In Ephesians 4-21-24, Paul reminds the early church of a similar thing:

“…assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”


Question to Ponder: 

In what areas of your life is God inviting you to experience restoration, healing, and/or a new beginning? Are you willing to allow Christ to make all thing new? 


Prayer: 

Heavenly Father, we thank you for your Son Jesus for dying for our sins and defeating death on the cross. We lift praises to you that Christ is Risen from the grave! Lord help us to come humbly before you and give you the authority to bless, restore, and make all things new in our lives! 

In Jesus Might Name! 

Amen! 

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Pressing In & Pressing This Holy Week
Pressing In & Pressing This Holy Week

Cross Culture Community Church • April 01, 2021

Check out this week's encouraging word from PERRON and some of the other encouraging words and prayer requests shared throughout this last week on Faithlife, including TWO opportunities to join others in prayer today!


Here are a few opportunities to Press In & Press On TOGETHER this Holy Week and beyond that we shared during our last Sunday celebration...




Good Friday we are joining together with the All Nations Family of Churches and Merge Twin Cities at Bethel Christian Fellowship for our evening service on April 2nd at 7 PM. To join via Livestream: Youtube or Facebook.


Egg Your Neighbor: This Saturday, don't forget to egg your neighbor! Remember to post a pic or update about your experiences on Faithlife.



Join us Sunday, April 4th at 6:30 AM for our Sunrise Celebration as we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the reason for our hope and faith. Following the celebration, we will have breakfast following recommended COVID guidelines.

+ Remember that we WON'T be meeting for worship that night.

Cross Culture Coffee will not be open because of our Breakfast, but will be back again the second Sunday in April!


Share The Hope: Cross Culture Kids and families have been challenged to share the hope this Easter. You can do this by chalking your walk or your neighbors with a message of hope. Once completed, submit your favorite artwork via a post on Faithlife to be entered into a drawing for free ice cream for your family!

Posts must be in by Monday, April 5th at noon.



Saturday, April 17th from 9 AM-3 PM will be our Freedom retreat. This will be a time to walk in deeper freedom that God has for us as His holy and dearly loved children. Please RSVP to mishawn@crossculturemn.org. Childcare provided upon request. A light breakfast and lunch will be provided.

Cross Culture Connection is a time to come and hear more about how we as a church intentionally live out the culture of the cross and to share with you more about who we are as a church, why we do what we do and how you can get connected. Interested in attending a connection? Email mishawn@crossculturemn.org to find out when the next one will be.


See you all on Sunday MORNING!!!



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Stewarding Relationships
Stewarding Relationships

Cross Culture Community Church • March 05, 2021

This week's encouraging word is from Terrique Carl Registre:


Good day church fam!


I hope all is well and that the sun continues to shine bright throughout your days.


How do we steward people without idolizing them within our hearts? It's a random question; however, it's one that has consumed my thoughts recently. More accurately, how do we practice biblical stewardship without putting people on a pedestal within our hearts? A definition of stewardship found within the Holman Bible Dictionary defines stewardship as "utilizing and managing all resources God provides for the glory of God and the betterment of His creation."


God trusts us to use our gifting, both spiritual and physical, to look after and serve one another. 1 Peter 4:10 states, "As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace."


Being a good steward allows us the opportunity to display and share the love of God towards people. However, being a good steward should not lead to putting people we serve on pedestals.

Although in the bible, people-pleasing is not a word represented within the text, there is a word that does speak to it; idols.


In many ways, we can fall into the trap of idolizing people instead of stewarding them. Lecrae, a famous Christian rapper, states, "If you live for people's acceptance, you will die from their rejection." When you have placed a person as an idol in your life, you start putting them as a higher priority within your heart.


Guarding our hearts is the first step in breaking free from idolizing people within our lives. Speaking the truth of the Bible and refocusing our priorities helps in stewarding people with love.


Colossians 3:23 states, "Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men."


Let's choose to foster love with people and steward correctly while guarding our hearts from idolatry.

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Choices
Choices

Cross Culture Community Church • February 25, 2021

This week's encouraging post brought to you by Amanda Rodd


Choices. We all make choices. It is estimated that an average human makes around 35,000 choices every day. Everything from what we wear to what we eat to what we buy to our relationships to what new season of life we’re going into next. Choices impact the course of our days and in turn the course of our life. Knowing that makes us consider the weight our choices hold, not only for us but for others we’re around and who are impacted by our choices.


I don’t know about you, but I have always disliked making choices. I think the choices that are hardest to make are when our choices don’t reflect or make sense of our reality.


This morning I left in time to go to class… eventually over the next hour or so about 5 things went completely wrong and it resulted in me being late for class. The frustration of each one built upon each other to result in thoughts that this was just going to be a bad day. It was only 9:30 am and I had written the day off as a terrible day. But I had a choice…was I going to stay in that perspective or was I going to turn on worship music and embrace the potential that God had for me in the day?


Jesus said in John 10:10, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” If Jesus has come and we have accepted him into our lives as Lord, Savior, and Friend then the truth is that we have abundant life. I don’t know about you, but life doesn’t always feel abundant. Rather than overflowing with riches, we are struggling to make ends meet or we’ve recently been rejected by someone close to us rather than being accepted. I’m just going to say it… LIFE IS HARD. And yet, God has given us a greater reality to fix our perspective on and place our hope in. He has given us abundant life regardless of our circumstances!


Here are a few other examples of our higher heavenly realities that don’t always feel like they line up with our physical reality:

  • Life as a New Creation vs. Life Lived in the Flesh – 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
  • Joy vs. Sadness - Psalm 30:11 “You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness,”
  • Peace vs. Anxiety – Philippians 4:7 – “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”


God has made us a new creation, he’s given us joy and contentment regardless of circumstance, and peace that passes all understanding! These higher realities defy and outrank our flesh, depression, and anxiety.


I must be clear that I am not saying that we should ignore our negative feelings or feel shame for embracing them for a time. Ecclesiastes tells us there is a time for everything. Emotions were given to us by God and can be stewarded in a righteous way. God himself has emotions and displays them perfectly. When we acknowledge our emotions, we operate in being made in the image of God. God meets us in the negative emotions.

And then…once again we are given a choice to either sit in our negative emotions causing them to overwhelm us and blind us from God’s perspective or surrender them to the Lord and ask for God to give us a vision of HIS higher reality in the proper time.


I encourage you to give this song from Maverick City a listen. Listen to the words and identify the contrasts in the lyrics. I encourage you to lay down whatever you’re dealing with today, surrender it to Jesus and pick up his easy and light yoke (Matthew 11:28-30). Familiarize yourself with the truths of the higher reality that always out-rank our current physical circumstances so that the next time you’re faced with a choice in perspective you can choose to speak God’s truth over yourself, others, and circumstances.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MRkZj0UoK4A



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Loving Lament
Loving Lament

Cross Culture Community Church • February 11, 2021


In this season I have been focused on reading through the Psalms, specifically the Psalms of David when he was king over Israel. As a kid, I thought that the book of Psalms was the most boring book in the Bible. I remember being forced to memorize Psalms for my Bible courses at a particular school and rolling my eyes every time they told us we would be spending the semester memorizing another boring stanza.


Of course, now my thoughts have changed dramatically. Once I learned about how King David wrote most of the Psalms as his personal cries to the Lord I became more interested. Recently someone reminded me about lamenting to the Lord and how it’s healthy for us to lay down our hurts and struggles at His feet and ask for His help.


One of the Psalms that illustrates this well is Psalm 4:1-8


1 Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness!

You have given me relief when I was in distress.

Be gracious to me and hear my prayer!

2   O men, how long shall my honor be turned into shame?

How long will you love vain words and seek after lies? Selah

3   But know that the Lord has set apart the godly for himself;

the Lord hears when I call to him.

4   Be angry, and do not sin;

ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. Selah

5   Offer right sacrifices,

and put your trust in the Lord.

6   There are many who say, Who will show us some good?

Lift up the light of your face upon us, O Lord!”

7   You have put more joy in my heart

than they have when their grain and wine abound.

8   In peace I will both lie down and sleep;

for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.


If you noticed in the passage every time David brought up something that was hard He brought the attention back to God and His willingness to hear our cries. It’s important to remember as you’re going about telling the Lord about your struggles to not solely be complaining to the Lord. The difference between complaining and lamenting to the Lord is that you give Him the control over the situation and leave Him to fight on your behalf.


Passages like this help to remind me personally to daily lay everything at the feet of the Father and trust that He is working through the hard things in this life. No matter what we go through, whether it’s years like this past year has been, or normal everyday struggles that may seem insignificant, our Father wants to hear from us and talk to us about those things. There is nothing too little or too insignificant that He doesn’t want to hear about.


I encourage you today to cry out to the Lord (Psalm 18:6) and tell Him everything that is hurting you right not, because He cares. Not only do we have a picture of David crying out to the Lord but we have an entire book dedicated to Israel’s cries: Lamentations. I encourage you to take the time and to write down a lament to the Lord. Tell Him everything that’s going on, everything that’s hurting you and then give the situation over to Him and see what He does with it. Because, our God moves in mysterious and mighty ways, and He hears our every cry!

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How Do You Use Your Power?
How Do You Use Your Power?

Sam Snyder • February 04, 2021

I've been pondering power lately.


Our Leadership Team has been reading through "Becoming a Just Church" and last week I was re-reading the chapter on "Power" and I was reminded of the fact that we like to pretend that power doesn't exist...or at least WE don't have it. There's even the whole issue that that Bible talks about of "the powers" but that's a whole different post. Clearly, power dynamics do exist and all of us have some form of power...and some of us may have more power than others in some situations. So, the big question that I think comes out of this is, what is your relationship to power???


Are you seeking to get more of it? Enamored by it? Yesterday I read in the Connect the Testaments devotional that: "Grasping for power is one of the easiest sins to fall into. At first, it looks like ambition, then it looks like success, and then it quickly becomes about your success and your power. This can be costly—not just to you, but to all the people you hurt in the process. If anything is done for the purpose of power, it’s not worth achieving. And don’t let the snazzy word “influence” fool you; it’s just a synonym for the same empty desire."


Do you take the power that you've been given to serve others? Do you lay down your perceived rights for others? Do you focus more on fulfilling your responsibilities than on receiving your rights?


We see in Jesus the ultimate demonstration of leadership and what one should do with power in Philippians 2:6-7

Who, being in very nature God,

did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;

rather, he made himself nothing

by taking the very nature of a servant...


Jesus made Himself nothing! When was the last time that you made yourself nothing? When was the last time that you CHOSE to give up your perceived or actual rights? When was the last time that you laid down the power you had in a situation and used it to serve others?


There are a lot of things that could be said about power and what it really means to be a leader. There is a lot that could be said about what ministry is really about. There is a lot that could be said about power and how it impacts people differently and unjustly based on their ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds and I've written about that before, but I won't get into that today but I will come back to it soon because the issue of addressing how this impacts how those with power leverage that to "carry each other's burdens and in this way fulfill the law of Christ" (Galatians 6:2).

What's the Law of Christ? Love!


I want to encourage you to love and lead by laying down your life for others. I want to invite you into the deep fellowship of being united with Christ, even in His sufferings, by choosing to lay down your rights and pick up your responsibilities and serve others, not looking to your own needs but also to the needs of others (Philippians 2:3-4).

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Today Matters!
Today Matters!

Cross Culture Community Church • January 27, 2021

This week's encouraging word is brought to you by Rhema Abrams:


If you knew that TODAY was your last day, how would you spend it? 

Would you spend it in front of a screen? Would you spend it with loved ones? Would you make your wrongs right with others and with God? 

I have thought about these questions many times, but the truth is that most days seem very ordinary, and as a result, I started to form an ordinary mindset of how I live my life. Jesus is coming soon, but that day is not today. Jesus is coming soon but that day is not tomorrow. Jesus is coming soon, but it's not this year. Jesus is not coming back in our lifetime because we are planning our lives as if we know we will have tomorrow, next week, or even next year. We are never promised today so why do we live as though we are promised tomorrow? That is why TODAY matters because the reality is that we don’t know if we even have today to live. 

So, in light of that, how can we make TODAY matter?  We can find the answer by looking at how Jesus spent His last moments on the cross: 

 “Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, TODAY you will be with me in paradise" (Luke 23:43 ).


Jesus served His Father even with His last dying breath, and this should tell us something about how we should spend our time. Jesus had nails in His Hands, nails in His feet, beaten beyond recognition, and yet He looked at the criminal hanging next to Him with love, inviting Him into paradise with Him.  

The criminal that hung next to Him had the privilege of knowing his last day, and he used his last moments to stand up and boldly speak the truth about Jesus (Luke 23:40-41). Would we be willing to be as bold as the criminal who proclaimed the truth of Jesus Christ? 



I encourage you to: 

+ Live TODAY for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31). 

+ Listen to His voice TODAY (John 10:27). 

+ Lay down your life for your brother TODAY (John 15: 3). 

+ Mend broken relationships TODAY (James 3:18). 

+ Be ready TODAY with oil in your lamp awaiting Jesus’ return (Matthew 25:10). 

+ Love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength TODAY (Matthew 22:37). 

+ Set the captives free TODAY, bind up the brokenhearted TODAY, proclaim freedom over the prisoners bound in darkness TODAY (Isaiah 61). 

+ Proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ to the world TODAY (Isaiah 62:11). 




James 4:13-15  

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” 

 

Matthew 6:34  

“Therefore, do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."

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