Prayer for 2017

Dear Heavenly Father,

We worship you and thank you for a new year. We thank you for the new mercies, greater grace, and fuller life that it will bring. May it be a year full of your favor in our lives. Keep your hand of blessing on us so that we can bless others. Open up doors that have been closed in the past. Lead us beside still water so that our souls are refreshed this year. Bring restoration to the parts of our lives that have been shattered and broken.

You alone are our strong foundation. You are the One we build our lives on. May we see growth and progress spiritually, financially, and emotionally in 2017. We know that you are good, and that you have good things for us. We give you the freedom to move and work in our lives this year as you see fit. Your plan for our lives is better than any plan we could ever come up with. We submit to you, your plans, and your goals for our lives.

Help us to have enough oil in our lamps to do the work you’ve called us to. Put the right people in our lives to stir up your gifts inside us, to move us in the direction you would have us go, and to maximize our potential. Help us to add value to our friends, family, and those who cross our path this year. Give us God ideas on how to build others up so they are rightfully restored to the people you created them to be.

Give us greater wisdom in all areas of our life so we make better choices this year. Give us discernment so we can know your voice, your path, and your direction in our lives. May this be a year of tremendous growth, productivity, and expansion for us and your Kingdom. Use us to spread your light, your life, and your compassion so that you will be lifted up and people will be drawn to you. Thank you for all you’re going to do, and we give you all the honor and glory as we dedicate this year to you.

In Jesus name we pray,


January Scripture Writing Plan

The Case for Kindness

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32

A story I heard in the news a few years ago caught my attention. It was about an 85-year-old man who used to eat breakfast in a Kroger supermarket every morning. He was bossy, very particular, and even remarked that the female employees could stand to lose weight. A few weeks after the old man died of cancer, several of the shocked clerks received checks for $10,000 from his estate. Why? Even when the old man had been cranky and insulting, the staff waiting on him had treated him pleasantly and tried to cheer him up with a little tender care! They even went beyond the call of duty by taking turns to visit him in the hospital! Clearly, none of them expected anything in return.

There’s a word for what the Kroger staff extended to him—kindness. What a refreshing story in a world where kindness has become a lost commodity. But if you are a follower of Jesus, then kindness has to be what you dish out on a regular basis. After all, Paul wrote, “Be kind to one to another, tenderhearted” (Ephesians 4:32). And, it needs to be noted, kindness makes the list as a fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22. Kindness is about thinking of others and extending our love and resources to meet their needs and concerns.

But, in case you’re thinking, Right, but what about me? Proverbs 11:17 offers a fascinating twist on kindness. It says, “A kind man benefits himself”—which means that there is something in kindness for you!

Treating people with kindness keeps our hearts and attitudes running in the right direction. If we’re not careful, we can easily fall prey to selfishness and indifference in our dealings with people. Planning to be kind gets you out of the what will they do for me world and gets your heart in tune with what can I do for them? Intentional acts of kindness train our hearts to be loving and helpful, which is really a big benefit!

Acts of kindness to friends, spouses, and our children bless us with the privilege of better friendships and more fulfilling relationships. And, most importantly, kindness will make you a lot like Jesus, who was kind to you all the way to His death! Believe me, becoming like Jesus is a huge return on the investment.

Before you get concerned that you don’t have time to be kind, remember that kindness doesn’t always have to be a major event. It doesn’t take a lot of time to hold the door open for the mom with her arms full, or to smile at a senior citizen as you pass by on the sidewalk. Even if you only see the donut guy for 60 seconds each morning, if it’s your intention to bless him with an encouraging word or two or even a tip in the jar, he’ll remember you as friendly and generous. Maybe he’ll sense that you are different from his other customers and may even want to know what it is that makes you different—a wide open door to let him know that Jesus taught you to be kind!

And if you object because no one is ever kind to you, keep in mind that it may just be that they have never been blessed by you being kind to them! When you are kind, people usually look for ways to return the favor. It’s the boomerang effect. As Jesus taught, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you” (Matthew 7:12).

Be kind, and watch the blessings flow!


  • Have you ever withheld kindness from someone? What happened? Is that really the way you want your life to be?
  • Perform an experiment. Commit one act of kindness each day for a week. In your journal, record each act. What was the outcome? How do you think it made the other person feel?
  • Pray and ask the Lord to show you a person in your life who needs your kindness. Follow up by reaching out to that person.


A Great Bible Study for the New Year

Here’s a great Proverbs Bible study you can do all together as a family, or assign to your older children to do as an independent study, during the new year.

Step 1: Pick a topic that the book of Proverbs addresses.

Some good possibilities include friends, parents and children, our speech, a fool versus a wise person, pride and humility, money, our relationship with God, food and drink, self-control, handling temptation.

Step 2: Read a chapter of Proverbs each day for a month and look for verses about your selected topic.

An easy way to keep track of which chapter to read is to look at the date. On the 1st of the month, read chapter 1; on the 2nd, read chapter 2; and so on. Since most months have 31 days, you’ll be able to get through all 31 chapters quite simply.

Step 3: Write down what you find out about your selected topic.

Whenever you see a verse that relates to your topic, write down what it says about that topic. And be sure to note the reference (chapter and verse).

Step 4: At the end of the month, look back through all your findings and summarize them.

Read through the truths that you have found during the month. If you are doing this study as a family, discuss your topic and try to state your findings as general guidelines for life. If your older children are doing the study on their own, they can write their summaries.

Step 5: Select another topic for the next month and repeat Steps 1 to 4.

This Bible study is a great way to get the wisdom from Proverbs into your hearts and minds, as well as develop a habit of daily Bible reading. It’s a simple study that can bring profound results.

You can easily make a notebook in which to keep track of your topics and record your findings and summaries.

Let’s make 2017 a year of getting God’s wisdom into our hearts and minds—and our children’s.

New Year’s Eve

New Year’s Eve is a great time for Christian believers to get together and rejoice, either in homes or in churches. Food, fun and fellowship are a healthy alternative to all-night excessive drinking of alcoholic beverages.

Traditionally, many people in the world get inebriated on New Year’s Eve, only to wake up sometime the next day not knowing what they might have said, what happened, or with whom. But God’s people can unite in prayer for God’s will to be done, and for His Kingdom to come. Although this may perhaps sound too religious, it is a safe and sane alternative to the typical New Year’s celebrations that dominate cultures around the world.

Gathering together with music, food, games, good conversation, and perhaps an inspirational message right before midnight, along with prayer, make for a blessed New Year’s Eve celebration. Then go home, go to bed, and enjoy the next day without a smashing headache or an upset stomach.

One of the traditions associated with New Year’s observances is the making of resolutions, promises to stop or start something in the new year. On the average, about half of American adults make one or more New Year’s resolutions each year, which commonly include weight loss, exercise, quitting smoking and better money management.

Typically, about 75 percent of people who make resolutions maintain their commitment past the first week, and less than half keep their word to themselves after six months. Numbers vary, of course, and some people actually make the desired changes in their lives. But for the most part, it’s another disappointment and another failure, and it comes up again at the next New Year’s time.

The Bible does not speak for or against the concept of New Year’s resolutions. Every day is the day the Lord has made, as Psalm 118:24 states, and “we will rejoice and be glad in it.” One can make a resolution or promise to oneself any day of the year, and keeping it or breaking it is in their hands. One thing the Bible does say in Ecclesiastes 5:2,4 and 5 is that if one makes promises or vows to God, it shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Setting a goal or several goals at the beginning of the new year can be stimulating, but it’s the motivation to keep the resolution that is important. One can determine to pray more, read the Bible more, go to church regularly, or volunteer more, but these resolutions can fail without correct motivation. The incentive must come from within with purpose and a plan. Even though there might be a setback at times, the best thing to do is to immediately start again.

Jesus is Born

Jesus is Born – Luke 2:1-20 (King James Version)

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them,

Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

IBC Christmas Banquet, December 11th

IBC Christmas Banquet, December 11th. @ 6PM. Everything is provided, please come and invite a guest.

An Evening of Music

Join as at 6:00pm on December 25th for an evening of music with Chad Muncy.

Your mistakes are not your parents’ fault

If you mess up, it’s not your parents’ fault. Adults have a hard time with this idea so I won’t press the issue much with you. It’s a “stretch goal” for all of us to get to the place where we don’t whine about the mistakes we make.

Complaining is a form of anger so the best place to go to get God’s mind on whining is James 4:1 where he asked, “What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you?”

The “why question” to your anger is an obvious one but I do wonder how obvious the answer is to you. James answered his own question when he asked,

Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. – James 4:1-2 (ESV)

He used the word “cause” twice in his first question to you. And like his half-brother, Jesus, he practiced the skill of redundancy to drive home his points (Luke 6:43-45). He really wants you to dial-in on the source of your anger.

He says if you are angry, it is not because the devil made you do it or because of your parents. James says your anger comes from your passions, desires, and coveting, a threefold circularity problem of the heart. Those words are synonyms with the word idol. An idol is something you want so badly that you sin (choose anger) to get it.

Then the angry person responds, “But they did wrong!!” And he is probably right. That is why I said in the first teen tip that our world is not a fair place. It’s a fallen place.

Then the angry person comes back with, “But I prayed. I asked God to take my problem away. It never goes away. God does not listen to me.” James had an answer for that too, and you might not like what he said next:

You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. – James 4:2-3 (ESV)

God is always listening. He’s omnipresent (everywhere) and omniscient (knows all things), so it’s not possible for Him to be deaf to your pleas. The good news about God is that He not just hears you but He knows the thoughts and intentions of your heart to boot (Hebrews 4:13). Imagine living with someone who hears you and knows the exact motive that is behind your requests. But there is more.

  1. He hears you.
  2. He perceives your motives underneath your requests.
  3. He knows exactly what you need. All the time.

God’s silence does not mean He’s inattentive to you. He’s all up in your life like nobody could be. Rather than looking outward as an explanation for what is going wrong in your life, the bigger question is what does your anger reveal about you. Sometimes not getting what you want is the perfect thing to shape you into the person you need to be.

Jesus ran into this “I’m not getting what I want” idea in the garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:42). He was struggling with dying but finally submitted His life to His Father. And that is your best play. You may or may not get what you want out of life but there is one thing you must do: submit your life to God.

I say this because there is one opponent you do not want to resist. James said it this way further down.

God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. – James 4:6

Call to action

  1. What does your anger reveal about you?
  2. What lesson should you learn when you don’t get what you want?
  3. Will you write our a specific and practical plan of how you will change? Will you share it with a trusted mentor?

Operation Hope

Immanuel Baptist Church is partnering with Sandy Grove Baptist Church in Lumberton to aid those affected by Hurricane Matthew.  We are collecting items for residents in shelters and to help with the clean up in Lumberton.
We will be collecting items Saturday, November 12 from 11am-1pm and Saturday, November 19 from 11am-1pm at the IBC activity building.  Also, a box is placed at the IBC daycare and in the IBC foyer.
Items Needed
Body Wash
Body Powder
Shaving Cream
Toilet Paper
Bottled Water
Sleeping Bags
Plastic Gloves
Trash Bags