A New Year…A New Us Each New Day

A New Year…A New Us Each New Day.  Each day we are blessed with the grace to begin each day with new beginnings.  What matters is this present day and our outlook for this day.  As a Christian, we are able to start over each morning, no matter what happened the previous day or what may happen the next day.  We are forgiven.  We are overcomers.  We are more than conquerors.  We are becoming more and more like Jesus each day!  As brothers and sisters in Christ, we have the opportunity to begin afresh as we arise.  We have the ability to grow with each opportunity that presents itself throughout the day.  We are graciously given the Holy Spirit to direct, guide, and teach us each new day and to help us grow, to learn, and become more like Jesus.

“When someone becomes a Christian, he becomes a brand new person inside.  He is not the same anymore.  A new life has begun!” 2 Cor. 5:17 (TLB)  When we accept Jesus as our Savior, we automatically become a new person.  Instantly, all of our sins are washed away.  We immediately are made new.  All this is true, so believe, because God’s Word says so and He is the Almighty powerful One.

“Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history.  Be alert, be present.  I’m about to do something brand-new.  It’s bursting out!  Don’t you see it?…” Isaiah 43:18-19 (MSG)  Many times our past, guilt, and unforgiveness gets in the way of our new focus on the new thing that God is doing.  Forget the past, forget what happened yesterday and live this new day we are blessed with.  Making mistakes and bad choices are all part of life for everyone and all part of the growing process for each one of us.  It is how we react to those decisions and what we learn from them and whether we apply our new knowledge to help us with today that matters.  We are free in Jesus.  Our past sins no longer hold any guilt, bondage, or shame within us.  If we know and believe God is doing a new thing in each of us each new day, then we ought to know He is working with us and for us and will help us each day to become more like Him, righteous and holy.

that, regarding your previous way of life, you put off your old self [completely discard your former nature], which is being corrupted through deceitful desires, and be continually renewed in the spirit of your mind [having a fresh, untarnished mental and spiritual attitude], and put on the new self [the regenerated and renewed nature], created in God’s image, [godlike] in the righteousness and holiness of the truth [living in a way that expresses to God your gratitude for your salvation]. Eph. 4:22-24 (AMP)

When are hearts are changed by the acknowledgment of Jesus being our Lord, our actions, thoughts, and behavior also will change.  Sometimes it is gradually done and at times these changes will quickly be noticed.  All these changes and reformation of our beings is in God’s hands and His timing.  These changes will manifest and continue to do so until we are reunited with our Father in heaven.  Be patient.  Renewing takes time.  We need to trust God and His timing.  “Be still before the Lord; wait patiently for Him and entrust yourself to Him…” Psalm37:7 (AMP)  Sometimes while we wait on God for changes, it is tempting to give up or try to fix ourselves or others on our own.  Many times we exhaust ourselves and get frustrated.  While we wait, He will strengthen us.  He will refuel us.  He will refill our joy and patience – all while we await.  But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] will gain new strength and renew their power;  they will lift up their wings [and rise up close to God] like eagles [rising toward the sun]; they will run and not become weary, they will walk and not grow tired. Isaiah 40:31 (AMP)

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.  Then you will learn to know Gods will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12:2 (NLT)

We are all renewed in Christ every new day.  Let us be patient and understanding with our brothers and sisters.  We are all a work in progress.  God is working with each one of us and knows what is best for us.  “Don’t tell lies to each other; it was your old life with all its wickedness that did that sort of thing; now it is dead and gone.  You are living a brand new kind of life that is continually learning more and more of what is right, and trying constantly to be more and more like Christ who created this new life within you.  In this new life one’s nationality or race or education or social position is unimportant; such things mean nothing.  Whether a person has Christ is what matters, and he is equally available to all.” Col. 3:9-11 (TLB)

An important way we can display our acceptance and love for our Lord and that we are anew is by obeying God’s command to love one another.  I am giving you a new commandment, that you love one another.  Just as I have loved you, so you too are to love one another.  By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you have love and unselfish concern for one another. John 13:34-35 (AMP)  “Now I ask you, lady, not as if I were writing to you a new commandment, but [simply reminding you of] the one which we have had from the beginning, that we love and unselfishly seek the best for one another.  And this is love:  that we walk in accordance with His commandments and are guided continually by His precepts.  This is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, that you should [always] walk in love.” 1 John 1:5-6 (AMP)

Dear Lord,

Thank you for a new year.  Thank you for a new us each new day.  Thank you for the opportunity to become more like you each moment we live by your grace.  Thank you Lord for each morning we awaken and are alive and can display your love.  Thank you for the rest and restoration in you and the patience to wait on you Lord.  You know what is best and thank you for the trust, hope, and faith we have in you.  You are almighty and wonderful and love us so much.  Thank you for caring for and loving each one of us as much as you do.  Amen.

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Jesus Desires for All of Us to Be Saved

We all need saving by Jesus because He is the only one who can wash away our sins.  Sin separates us from God.  Jesus Christ is the only one who can open the door for us to have fellowship with God.  He is the only one that truly understands everything we endure on earth and can comfort us, encourage us, strengthen us, and give us hope, peace, and joy.  Jesus, our Savior, is the only one who can ensure eternal life with Him.  If we reject accepting Jesus as our Savior, unfortunately, we will not be saved from spiritual death, which is eternal life in hell.

“For the Son of Man came to look for and to save from the punishment of sin those who are lost.” Luke 19:10 (NLV)

“Jesus is the missing essence of your existence,” John Eldred.

Jesus is not religion.  He is the only one who can save each and every one of us if we call upon Him to do so.  There are no other names, gods, idols, or religions that can save us.  Only one name who is above all other names is Jesus.  When we call upon Him, when we accept Him into our hearts and believe in His saving grace and the sacrifice He provided to save all humanity on earth, we are a changed person and will experience eternal life with our Savior and Creator.  When we call upon Jesus Christ, He will not reject us no matter what we have done, no matter what we have experienced, and no matter where we are at.  He will embrace us with open arms and welcome us into His family with the most unconditional love and acceptance we will ever experience.

And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among people by which we must be saved [for God has provided the world no alternative for salvation]. Acts 4:12 (AMP)  “There is salvation in no one else!  Under all heaven there is no other name for men to call upon to save them.” (TLB)  There is no way to be saved from the punishment of sin through anyone else.  For there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we can be saved. (NLV)  “There is no one else who can rescue us, and there is no other name under heaven given to any human by whom we may be rescued.” (VOICE)  Salvation comes no other way; no other name has been or will be given to us by which we can be saved, only this one. (MSG)

For it is by grace [God’s remarkable compassion and favor drawing you to Christ] that you have been saved [actually delivered from judgment and given eternal life] through faith.  And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [not through your own effort], but it is the [undeserved, gracious] gift of God; not as a result of [your] works [nor your attempts to keep the Law], so that no one will [be able to] boast or take credit in any way [for his salvation]. Ephesians 2:8-9 (AMP)

“I am the path, the truth, and the energy of life.  No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6 (VOICE)  Jesus said to him, “I am the [only] Way [to God] and the [real] Truth and the [real] Life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. (AMP)

And we [have seen and] know [by personal experience] that the Son of God has [actually] come [to this world], and has given us understanding and insight so that we may [progressively and personally] know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true – in His Son Jesus Christ.  This is the true God and eternal life. 1 John 5:20 (AMP)  “And we know that Christ, God’s Son, has come to help us understand and find the true God.  And now we are in God because we are in Jesus Christ his Son, who is the only true God; and he is eternal life.” (TLB)  “And we know that the Son of God came so we could recognize and understand the truth of God – what a gift! – and we are living in the Truth itself, in God’s Son, Jesus Christ.  This Jesus is both True God and Real Life.” (MSG)

“All that My Father gives Me will come to Me; and the one who comes to Me I will most certainly not cast out [I will never, never reject anyone who follows Me].” John 6:37 (AMP)  “…I will receive everyone; I will not send away anyone who comes to Me.” (VOICE)  …And once that person is with me, I hold on and don’t let go. (MSG)

“For Jesus is not some high priest who has no sympathy for our weaknesses and flaws.  He has already been tested in every way that we are tested; but He emerged victorious, without failing God.  So let us step boldly to the throne of grace, where we can find mercy and grace to help when we need it most.” Hebrews 4:15-16 (VOICE)  We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality.  He’s been through weaknesses and testing, experienced it all – all but the sin.  So let’s walk right to him and get what he is so ready to give.  Take the mercy, accept the help. (MSG)

 

 

God wouldn’t have needed to send His Son to die on the cross if people were generally good, Pastor Rick’s Daily Hope.

God is Kind, but Not Soft

Those people are on a dark spiral downward. But if you think that leaves you on the high ground where you can point your finger at others, think again. Every time you criticize someone, you condemn yourself. It takes one to know one. Judgmental criticism of others is a well-known way of escaping detection in your own crimes and misdemeanors. But God isn’t so easily diverted. He sees right through all such smoke screens and holds you to what you’ve done.  You didn’t think, did you, that just by pointing your finger at others you would distract God from seeing all your misdoings and from coming down on you hard? Or did you think that because he’s such a nice God, he’d let you off the hook? Better think this one through from the beginning. God is kind, but he’s not soft. In kindness he takes us firmly by the hand and leads us into a radical life-change.  You’re not getting by with anything. Every refusal and avoidance of God adds fuel to the fire. The day is coming when it’s going to blaze hot and high, God’s fiery and righteous judgment. Make no mistake: In the end you get what’s coming to you—Real Life for those who work on God’s side, but to those who insist on getting their own way and take the path of least resistance, Fire!  If you go against the grain, you get splinters, regardless of which neighborhood you’re from, what your parents taught you, what schools you attended. But if you embrace the way God does things, there are wonderful payoffs, again without regard to where you are from or how you were brought up. Being a Jew won’t give you an automatic stamp of approval. God pays no attention to what others say (or what you think) about you. He makes up his own mind.  If you sin without knowing what you’re doing, God takes that into account. But if you sin knowing full well what you’re doing, that’s a different story entirely. Merely hearing God’s law is a waste of your time if you don’t do what he commands. Doing, not hearing, is what makes the difference with God.  When outsiders who have never heard of God’s law follow it more or less by instinct, they confirm its truth by their obedience. They show that God’s law is not something alien, imposed on us from without, but woven into the very fabric of our creation. There is something deep within them that echoes God’s yes and no, right and wrong. Their response to God’s yes and no will become public knowledge on the day God makes his final decision about every man and woman. The Message from God that I proclaim through Jesus Christ takes into account all these differences. Romans 2:1-16 (MSG)

A quote from “jesusisalifestyle” website: “Who is this Jesus?  His love is unquestionable, His power is unconquerable, His impact unmistakable, His meaning undeniable, His mystery unexplainable, His sacrifice incomparable, His price unimaginable, His depth immeasurable, His absence unthinkable!”

And He [that same Jesus] is the propitiation for our sins [the atoning sacrifice that holds back the wrath of God that would otherwise be directed at us because of our sinful nature – our worldliness, our lifestyle]; and not for ours alone, but also for [the sins of all believers throughout] the whole world. 1 John 2:2 (AMP)  “He is the one who took God’s wrath against our sins upon himself and brought us into fellowship with God; and he is the forgiveness of our sins, and not only but all the world’s.” (TLB)

Dear sweet Jesus, thank you so much for fulfilling your purpose on earth, to provide a way, the only way, to be free of sin and to have eternal life with you.  Thank you for accepting each one of us as we are with wide open arms and full of love.  Thank you for salvation, by believing in you and for drawing us to you.  Thank you for your light in us to draw others to you.  Thank you for being patient and waiting for humanity to open our hearts to you.  Thank you for an abundant, blessed life with you.  Thank you for what you endured on the cross, the suffering you went through on our behalf so that we may experience true freedom in you.  We love you and praise you, Amen.

We are Created for His Praise!

We are created for His praise!  We are alive to:  P.R.A.I.S.E.  – Pray, Respect, Admire, Invite, Share, and Exalt Him.

There are so many ways to praise our Father.  We can sing, shout, and dance before Him.  We can kneel down out of respect and in awe to all He has done.  We can pray and admire in gratitude all His wondrous works.  We can invite Him to be involved in our lives, whether it’s driving to work, cooking a new recipe, or out walking.  God desires to be with us, to be in our company; that is why He created us.  We can exalt His magnificence!  Share of all the wonderful things He has done, is doing, and will do.  We can exalt Him for His master plan in sending Jesus and saving all His children, all those who choose to believe Jesus died for us.

We were made to glorify God.  Is. 43:7 (NLT) – “Bring all who claim me as their God, for I have made them for my glory.  It was I who created them.  The VOICE reads, “…the ones I made, shaped, and created for My profound glory.”  Col. 1:16 (VOICE)It was by Him that everything was created:  the heavens, the earth, all things within and upon them, all things seen and unseen, thrones and dominions, spiritual powers and authorities.  Every detail was crafted through His design, by His own hands, and for His purposes.  “…Everything was created through Him and for Him.” (NLT)  “…all were made by Christ for His own use and glory.” (TLB)  When we learn and acknowledge this, we praise Him.  Therefore, we are created for His praise!

“Praise fulfills your primary purpose as a created being…His primal for creation to praise the Creator.  If you don’t, you’ll worship something else,” Chris Heinz, 7 Benefits of Praising God, January 2, 2013.

“Praise discharges strength in faith, which causes God to move on our behalf,” allaboutgod.com, Praising God.

“When you praise God, that’s the quickest way to change the atmosphere,” Unknown.

“When you enter His presence with praise, He enters your circumstances with power,” TheIntentionalLife.com.

Praise changes things.  Praise moves God to act on your behalf.  When we show faith by praise and trust in Him, it enables Him to change our situation and activate His power.  Praise by faith and obedience releases God to move on our behalf.  Our hearts of faith, trust, obedience, and heartfelt praise and admiration acknowledges His power to do magnificent wonders, in which He deserves all the glory.  Acts 16:25-26 (VOICE)Picture this:  It’s midnight.  In the darkness of their cell, Paul and Silas – after surviving the severe beating – aren’t moaning and groaning; they’re praying and singing hymns to God.  The prisoners in adjoining cells are wide awake, listening to them pray and sing.  Suddenly the ground begins to shake, and the prison foundations begin to crack.  You can hear the sound of jangling chains and the squeak of cell doors opening.  Every prisoner realizes that his chains have come unfastened.

Praise releases power.  “There’s power in our acknowledgement that He is worthy above all else, of our worship and praise,” Unknown.  Praise shakes things up – our problems, our feelings, our sin.  Praise invites God to where we are, what we are going through, in our lives, in our hearts.  When our Heavenly Father is invited, He is involved and we are refreshed and restored through His presence.

Praise is expressing admiration, an act of worship offering gratefulness.  Praise means to applause, appreciate, celebrate, cheer, compliment, exalt, glorify, recognize, and thank.

Worship is to honor, adore, revere God.  Worship means to adore, be in awe of, exalt, honor, love, praise, and respect.  “Worship is to acknowledge the presence of God.  Praise is a response of worship.” David Lange, 09/20/13, Sermoncentral.com, I am Created to Praise.

“Praise” is listed in the Bible over 330 times.  The Latin word means value.  Psalms means praises.  There are 150 psalms in the Bible!  The Hebrew root word of praise is Hallelujah which means praise the Lord.  Ps. 113:1-3 (MSG)Hallelujah!  You who serve God, praise God!  Just to speak His name is praise!  Just to remember God is a blessing-now and tomorrow and always.  From east to west, from dawn to dusk, keep lifting all your praises to God!

Why praise God?  We can find several reasons in the book of Psalms.  We praise our Maker to focus on all His amazing attributes!  (1)  He is glorious and majestic.  Ps. 138:5 (AMP) – “Yes, thy will sing of the ways of the Lord [joyfully celebrating His wonderful acts], for great is the glory and majesty of the Lord.”  (2)  God is magnificent!  Ps. 145:3 (MSG) – “God is magnificent; He can never be praised enough.  There are no boundaries to his greatness.”  The NLV states, “The Lord is great and our praise to Him should be great.  He is too Great for anyone to understand.”  (3)  Our Father is great, faithful and has unfailing love!  Ps. 107:8 (AMP) – “Let them give thanks to the Lord for His lovingkindness, and for His wonderful acts to the children of men!”  The NLT says, “Let them praise the Lord for His great love and for the wonderful things He has done for them.”  Ps. 89:1 (NLT) – “I will sing of the Lord’s unfailing love forever!” The MSG version reads, “Your love, God, is my song, and I’ll sing it!  I’m forever telling everyone how faithful your are.  Young and old will hear of your faithfulness.”  (4)  God forgives and heals us!  Ps. 103:1-3 (AMP)Bless and affectionately praise the Lord, O my soul, and all that is [deep] within me, bless His holy name.  Bless and affectionately praise the Lord, O my soul, and do not forget any of His benefits; Who forgives all your sins, who heals all your diseases.  “O my soul, come, praise the Eternal with all that is in me – body, emotions, mind, and will – every part of who I am – praise His holy name.  O my soul, come, praise the Eternal; sing a song from a grateful heart; sing and never forget all the good He has done.  Despite all your many offenses, He forgives and releases you.  More than any doctor, He heals your disease.” (VOICE)

Everything on earth praises God.  The birds chirp, cats purr, grasshoppers hum, trees sway, flowers release fragrance, bees buzz, the wind whistles, snowflakes dance and so much more.

The Whole World Should Praise the Lord:

Praise the Lord!  Praise the Lord from the heavens!  Praise Him on high!  Praise Him, all His angels!  Praise Him, all His army!  Praise Him, sun and moon!  Praise Him, all you shining stars!  Praise Him, you highest heavens, and you waters above the heavens!  Let them praise the name of the Lord!  For He spoke and they came into being.  He has made them last forever and ever.  He has set a Law which will not pass away.  Praise the Lord from the earth, you large sea animals and all seas, fire and hail, snow and clouds, and wind storms, obeying His Word.  Praise the Lord, you mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all tall trees, wild animals and all cattle, small animals that move on the ground and birds that fly, kings of the earth and all people, princes and all leaders of the earth, both young men and women who have never had men, and old men and children.  Let them praise the name of the Lord.  For His name alone is honored.  His shining-greatness is above earth and heaven.  He has raised up a horn for His people, praise for all who belong to Him, for the people of Israel, who are near to Him.  Praise the Lord!

“The Weapon of Praise – consider this:  When your heart is heaviest your hurts are the deepest the tears sting worse than ever that is the time when your praise should be the loudest”, SatisfactionThroughChrist.com.

2 Cor. 4:15 (NLT) – “…And as God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory.”

Deut. 10:21 (AMP) – “He is your praise and glory; He is your God, who has done for you these great and awesome things which you have seen with your own eyes.”  He alone is your God, the only one who is worthy of your praise, the one who has done these mighty miracles that you have seen with your own eyes. (NLT)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let us close with the following prayer in Col. 3:16-17 (VOICE):

Let the word of the Anointed One richly inhabit your lives.  With all wisdom teach, counsel, and instruct one another.  Sing the psalms, compose hymns and songs inspired by the Spirit, and keep on singing – sing to God from hearts full and spilling over with thankfulness.  Surely, no matter what you are doing (speaking, writing, or working), do it all in the name of Jesus our Master, sending thanks through Him to God our Father.  Amen.

 

In Him, We are Safe and Secure – War Room for Peace and Protection

In Him, we are safe and secure.  In Him, we have peace and protection.

There is so much uncertainty and many occasions to worry and be fearful going on here on earth.  However, as Believers, brothers and sisters in Christ, we have the best opportunity to succumb these worries and fears and receive the peace and courage of our Savior.  When we look to God in the midst of storms, chaos, and uncertainty, we renew our mind, we calm our fleshly anxiety, and we are given God’s strength, peace, wisdom, and protection.

Here on earth, we are still in our fleshly bodies.  However, as sons and daughters of the King, we have our spirit bodies that are within us.  At times of stressful occasions, our heartbeat may increase, we may feel fear and that is okay, but what we do with that feeling will determine how we manage to get through a storm – we can choose to feed the anxiety and unhealthy fleshly thoughts or choose to live in the spirit with courage, determination to renew our minds, our hearts, and experience life, joy, and praise through disarray.  Each time we are given this opportunity, our faith builds and we are reminded of each faithful time God got us through a scary situation, unharmed.  Each time, we are reminded to seek God, to read His Word, His promises, we learn of His consistency in helping us, growing us, and teaching us in each opportunity.

When faced with a hurricane, uncertainty in your marriage, raising children, wildfires, loss of a loved one or a job, whatever type of predicament we are in, we can choose to look at it as an opportunity to focus our eyes, trust, hope, and hearts on our Father and look at each circumstance for God to comfort us, shield us, and fight on our behalf.  As opposed to looking at trying situations fearfully or dreadfully, commit to Him, His Word, and give Him our anxieties, our worries, and talk with Him and share with Him what we are afraid of and let Him take care of us.  As long as we choose to go to Him during these times, He will show His presence and He will comfort us and He will give us His supernatural peace that is indescribable and unexplainable, which makes it awesome and amazing.

There are three things we can do when faced with a challenging, trivial situation to be in His safety, security, peace, and protection:  (1)  turn to God’s promises in the Bible and meditate on them; (2)  sing praises to our Father and worship Him; and (3)  pray, talk with Him.

God’s Promises

The following verses are a compilation of His promises to read, to meditate on, to believe, and to have hope in whenever we are faced with a situation here on earth that we may not want to go through, but will grow and learn tremendously while depending on our Father.  These verses will speak peace, hope, confidence, and trust to our hearts and minds.  These Words from our Father are just for us so that we may overcome our fleshly fears, worries, and anxieties and be filled with something way better – peace, hope, and joy.

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity or cowardice or fear, but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of sound judgment and personal discipline [abilities that result in a calm, well-balanced mind and self-control]. 2 Timothy 1:7 (AMP)

“God is our safe place and our strength.  He is always our help when we are in trouble.” Psalm 46:1 (NLV)  God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. (NLT)

Don’t panic.  I’m with you.  There’s no need to fear for I’m your God.  I’ll give you strength.  I’ll help you.  I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you. Isaiah 41: 10 (MSG)

Be gracious to me, O God, be gracious and merciful to me, for my soul finds shelter and safety in You, and in the shadow of Your wings I will take refuge and be confidently secure until destruction passes by. Psalm 57:1 (AMP)  “Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy!  I look to you for protection.  I will hide beneath the shadow of your wings until the danger passes by.” (NLT)  “Be good to me, God-and now!  I’ve run to you for dear life.  I’m hiding out under your wings until the hurricane blows over.” (MSG)

“You are my refuge and my shield, and your promises are my only source of hope.” Psalm 119:114 (TLB)  “You are my refuge and my shield; your word is my source of hope” (NLT)

What a God he is!  How perfect in every way!  All his promises prove true.  He is a shield for everyone who hides behind him. Psalm 18:30 (TLB)  “…He is a shield for all who look to him for protection.” (NLT)

“In peace [and with a tranquil heart] I will both lie down and sleep, for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety and confident trust.” Psalm 4:8 (AMP)  Tonight I will sleep securely on a bed of peace because I trust You, You alone, O Eternal One, will keep me safe. (VOICE)

“…He is a shield to those who trust and take refuge in Him.” Prov. 30:5 (AMP)  Every word of God proves true.  He defends all who come to him for protection. (TLB)  “…He is a safe-covering to those who trust in Him.” (NLV)

“But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen you [setting you on a firm foundation] and will protect and guard you from the evil one.” 2 Thess. 3:3 (AMP)

“So be strong and courageous!  Do not be afraid and do not panic before them.  For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you.  He will neither fail you nor abandon you.” Deut. 31:6 (NLT)

“Cling to wisdom-she will protect you.  Love her-she will guard you. Prov. 4:6 (TLB)

“But let all who put their trust in You be glad.  Let them sing with joy forever.  You make a covering for them, that all who love Your name may be glad in You. Psalm 5:11 (NLV)  But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them sing joyful praises forever.  Spread your protection over them, that all who love your name may be filled with joy. (NLT)

We are pressed on every side by troubles, but not crushed and broken.  We are perplexed because we don’t know why things happens as they do, but we don’t give up and quit.  We are hunted down, but God never abandons us.  We get knocked down, but we get up again and keep going. 2 Cor. 4:8-9 (TLB)

“He is my God, my rock, where I go to be safe.  He is my covering and the horn that saves me, my strong place where I go to be safe.  You save me from being hurt.” 2 Samuel 22:3 (NLV)

“For you are my hiding place; you protect me from trouble.  You surround me with songs of victory.” Psalm 32:7 (NLT)

“I know the Lord is always with me.  I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me. ” Psalm 16:8 (NLT)

“The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous runs to it and is safe and set on high [far above evil].” Prov. 18:10 (AMP)  “The Lord is a strong fortress.  The godly run to him and are safe.” (TLB)

“God’s angel sets up a circle of protection around us while we pray.” Psalm 34:7 (MSG)

“I can be content in any and every situation through the Anointed One who is my power and strength.” Phil. 4:13 (VOICE)  I can do all things [which He has called me to do] through Him who strengthens and empowers me [to fulfill His purpose – I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency; I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses me with inner strength and confident peace]. (AMP)

“The Lord is good, a safe place in times of trouble.  And He knows those who come to Him to be safe.” Nahum 1:7 (NLV)  The Eternal One is good, a safe shelter in times of trouble.  He cares for those who search for protection in Him. (VOICE)

When facing trials, the best place to be is in God’s presence.  An excellent way to draw near to Him is to sing praises to Him; let Him hear our voice.  The following are a few songs to sing, rejoice, and open your heart to Him and feel His embrace; feel is love, grace, tenderness overcome you and comfort you.  God knows His children do not like to go through uncertain situations in life, but when we learn to turn to Him and allow Him to direct us and help us, He will.  Let worshipping God turn our worries into peace and joy.

Praise and Worship Him

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prayer

In Him, we are safe, secure, peaceful, and protected.  In prayer, we draw near to Him.  We are in a relationship with our God; we are communicating with our Father.

Psalm 91 is a prayer for protection.  When there is potential danger, or we feel uneasy, or just want to reach out to God and feel Him and trust His protection, read aloud the following Psalm boldly and confidently:

Security of the One Who Trusts in the Lord:

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will remain secure and rest in the shadow of the Almighty [whose power no enemy can withstand].  I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust [with great confidence, and on whom I rely]!”  For He will save you from the trap of the fowler, and from the deadly pestilence.  He will cover you and completely protect you with His pinions, and under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and a wall.  You will not be afraid of the terror of night, nor of the arrow that flies by day, nor of the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor of the destruction (sudden death) that lays waste at noon.  A thousand may fall at your side and ten thousand at your right hand, but danger will not come near you.  You will only [be a spectator as you] look on with your eyes and witness the [divine] repayment of the wicked [as you watch safely from the shelter of the Most High].  Because you have made the Lord, [who is] my refuge, even the Most High, your dwelling place, no evil will befall you, nor will any plague come near your tent.  For He will command His angels in regard to you, to protect and defend and guard you in all your ways [of obedience and service].  They will lift you up in their hands, so that you do not [even] strike your foot against a stone.  You will tread upon the lion and cobra; the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.  “Because he set his love on Me, therefore I will save him; I will set him [securely] on high, because he knows My name [he confidently trusts and relies on Me, knowing I will never abandon him, no, never].  He will call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him.  With a long life I will satisfy him and I will let him see My salvation.” (AMP)

“You’re safe not because of the absence of danger, but because of the presence of God,” Unknown.

“A God wise enough to create me and the world I live in is wise enough to watch out for me,” Philip Yancey.

If the Lord be with us, we have no cause of fear.  His eye is upon us, His arm over us, His ear open to our prayer – His grace sufficient, His promise unchangeable, John Newton.

“The safest place in all the world is in the will of God, and the safest protection in all the world is the name of God,” Warren Wiersbe.

Let us close with the following prayer from Daughters of the King Daily Devotionals, You Will Walk in Divine Protection, September 18, 2017:

Thank you Lord for your divine protection over me and every person in my life.  Thank you that you have given your angels charge over me to keep me everywhere I go.  Thank you that I am covered with the precious blood of Jesus.  Thank you that as I abide in you, you cover me under your wings.  You are my shield and you are my safety.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

Contemplate and Exaggerate Him

We can exaggerate God, what He has done for us, what He is doing, who He is, and all He created.  We can contemplate all these wonders and can exclaim all He is and we yet still cannot exaggerate Him enough.  We cannot exaggerate enough and exemplify His glory enough to compare to His amazing grace, beauty, Creation, and love.  His beautiful sunsets are awe defining, mesmerizing, and indescribable.  To contemplate and exaggerate Him is to be embraced in His glory that changes ever so wonderously within minutes, which is absolutely amazing.  To think of and to ponder on the vastness and unlimited capabilities our Father has is tremendous, soothing, hopeful, and inspiring!  To explain in words, to try and illustrate His full glory cannot even be exaggerated.


“Tell of His shining-greatness among the nations.  Tell of His wonderful works among all the people.” Psalm 96:3, NLV

Credit Him with glory, honor, and strength!  Credit Him with the glory worthy of His magnificent name… Psalm 96:8, VOICE


“I’m asking God for one thing, only one thing:  To live with Him in His house my whole life long.  I’ll contemplate His beauty; I’ll study at His feet.” Psalm 27:4, MSG  …living in His presence every day of my life, delighting in His incomparable perfections and glory. (TLB)  “…To gaze upon the beauty [the delightful loveliness and majestic grandeur] of the Lord… (AMP)


To contemplate is to look at with continued attention; think deeply about; intended, profound thinking about something.

“And we all…contemplate the Lord’s glory…” 2 Cor. 3:18, NIV


That pleasure which is at once the most pure, the most elevating and the most intense is derived, I maintain, from the contemplation of the beautiful, Edgar Allan Poe.


“What a man takes in by contemplation, that he pours out in love,” Meister Eckhart.

“We become what we contemplate,” Plato.


Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts, Rachel Carson.


To exaggerate is to magnify, amplify, emphasize, and exalt. 

Charles Spurgeon stated, “You will never exaggerate when you speak good things of God.  It is not possible to do so.  Try, dear brethren, and boast in the Lord.”


In reference to Psalm 96:3, 8, the Baptist Bible Hour Devotion of July 25, 2017 shared the following:

…the psalmist reminds us, the motivation is not the worthiness of people, but the worth-it-ness of Christ.  Declare the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ among the heathen!  Exalt His name where it has never even been heard!  Tell of His surpassing majesty wherever you go.  Why?  Because He is worth it!  Because He is due all the praise of all people everywhere.  No matter how well you speak of Him, you cannot exaggerate God’s glory or worthiness.  No matter how far you go, or who you speak with, around the globe no one is exempted from this command:  Give unto the Lord the glory due unto His name!  He created the earth and heaven.  He breathes life into people, sustains our existence, and even came and died for the sins of His creatures.  This Lord, this Savior is due the worship of all His creation.


“It is impossible to exaggerate the goodness of God,” Unknown.

“We don’t have the capacity to exaggerate God’s goodness,” Bill Johnson of Bethel.


Worship is the proper response of all moral, sentient beings to God, ascribing all honor and worth to their Creator-God precisely because He is worthy, delightfully so, D. A. Carson.

Thank you Lord for all of your blessings, for all of the opportunities to contemplate and exaggerate you, your Creation, your miracles, your wisdom, your salvation, your love, your grace, your forgiveness, and your guidance.  Thank you Lord for your breath of life in each one of us.  Thank you Lord for embracing us with your glory, with your love, with your beauty.  Thank you Lord for speaking with us through your Word, through nature and your Creation.  We thank you humbly for leaving us in awe of your endless mercies, love, grace, and blessings and the inability to be able to exaggerate you as you deserve.  Amen.

 

The Three P’s of Faith

To have faith, we must practice:  (1)  Patience; (2)  Perseverance; and (3)  Persistence.  No matter what we are being faithful for, whether it is for healing, for direction, or for provision, it is necessary to exercise The Three P’s of Faith.

Patience

In order to be patient, we must persevere; and in order to persevere, we must be persistent.

To practice patience, we bear without complaint; we suppress restlessness; and we endure long-suffering.  Being patient consists of being content and at peace.  No matter what is going on around us, we have God’s promise that He is with us, He is behind us, He is along side us, and He has gone before us.  While waiting, imagine God holding our hand, comforting us, encouraging us to wait, to wait on Him, to trust Him, and to endure with a smile.

By putting our trust in God, He has given us His loving-favor and has received us.  We are happy for the hope we have of sharing the shining-greatness of God.  We are glad for our troubles also.  We know that troubles help us learn not to give up.  When we have learned not to give up, it shows we have stood the test.  When we have stood the test, it gives us hope. Rom. 5:2-4, NLV

“Be glad for all God is planning for you.  Be patient in trouble, and prayerful always.” Rom. 12:12, TLB

Adele Bestavros stated that, “Patience with others is love.  Patience with self is hope.  Patience with God is faith.”

The strength of patience hangs on our capacity to believe that God is up to something good for us in all our delays and detours,” John Piper.

Joyce Meyer shared, “Patience is not the ability to wait but the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting.”

Perseverance

To persevere, we have steady persistence despite difficulties; we do not give up; and we live in a state of grace. Perseverance is steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success. (English Stack Exchange)

When we persevere, we stay focused on God.  We know that with Him we can overcome and will be triumphant.  Perseverance is an award within itself; it is a relentless hope and knowing the truth…that with God, all things are possible!

“We pray that you’ll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul-not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives.  It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that He has for us.” Col. 1:11-12, MSG

“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” James 1:12, NIV

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4, NIV

John Quincy Adams said, “Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.”

“Great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance,” Samuel Johnson.

“Your level of success is determined by your level of discipline and perseverance,” Unknown.

Persistence

To be persistent, we are dedicated, determined, and endure with tenacity.  Persistence is a firm or obstinate continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition. (English Stack Exchange)

When we are persistent, we are on a mission to obtain the goal, the positive outcome.  We are on a disciplined road to accomplish and overcome whatever trial life has in store for us.  We are able to be persistent because of our patience, our hope in God, and also because of our perseverance, knowing God’s strength is in us and He will get us onward and through.

“May we never tire of doing what is good and right before our Lord because in His season we shall bring in a great harvest if we can just persist.” Gal. 6:9, VOICE

“So I say to you, ask and keep on asking, and it will be given to you; seek and keep on seeking, and you will find; knock and keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who keeps on asking [persistently], receives; and he who keeps on seeking [persistently], finds; and to him who keeps on knocking [persistently], the door will be opened.” Luke 11:9-10, AMP

“So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable.  Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.” 1 Cor. 15:58, NLT  My dear brothers and sisters, stay firmly planted-be unshakable-do many good works in the name of God, and know that all your labor is not for nothing when it is for God. (VOICE)

“Good things come to those who believe; better things come to those who are patient and the best things come to those who don’t give up,” Unknown.

Norman Vincent Peale shared:

Through persistence, self-knowledge, prayer, commitment, optimism; a resolute trust in God and the building of your own personal moral strength, you can enjoy the blessings of a deeper faith and face the difficulties of life with courage and confidence.

“By being persistent, you’re demonstrating faith.  Persistence is simply another word for faith.  If you didn’t have faith, you’d never persist,” Earl Nightingale.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for teaching us patience.  Thank you for giving us hope for perseverance.  Thank you for giving us strength to be persistent.  We look forward to the opportunities to practice The Three P’s of Faith and experience all that you have in store for each one of us.  Amen.

Wait for the Lord and Be Strengthened!

Waiting for God to answer, help, and deliver us takes several stages to attain a breakthrough.  The A’s of waiting:  (1)  Ask; (2)  Acknowledge; (3)  Accept; and (4)  Await.  Firstly, we are in a situation in which only God can help and/or deliver us.  We acknowledge that and ask Him for His help.  When we do, our flesh expects an immediate response or resolution.  As we walk and experience God more and more throughout our lives, we come to a realization that a response or deliverance is usually not immediate!  Why?  We have to develop faith and trust in and with God.  We have to truly hand over our problems to Him and let Him fix them.  As impatient human beings, we tend to meddle, give things to God but then become impatient because we want something yesterday and try to fix it ourselves.  As we wait upon the Lord for resolutions, we have to learn it is best to wait, no matter how hard and trying it may be, but to wait for His timing and to have complete faith and hope knowing that He is working on things and orchestrating a breakthrough for our problems.  God stands on His Word, His promises, and for those who wait on Him will be strengthened in more ways than one.

“But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] will gain new strength and renew their power; they will lift up their wings [and rise up close to God] like eagles [rising toward the sun]; they will run and not become weary, they will walk and not grow tired.” Isaiah 40:31 (AMP)  But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.  They will soar high on wings like eagles.  They will run and not grow weary.  They will walk and not faint. (NLT)

Per an article written by Evie Megginson at Sermon Central, we will be strengthened internally, physically, upwardly, and onwardly.  Our heart, spirit, and soul, our faith, our hope, our trust in Him, will be strengthened.  We will be strengthened physically.  As we wait upon the Lord, we learn to physically depend on Him each day to get through the day.  To spend time with Him, talking, reading His promises, meditating, disciplining ourselves to wait; to wait with gratitude, to wait with peace, to wait with expectancy.  We will be strengthened upwardly.  We will soar like eagles.  We are not of this world.  We are to be heavenly.  Therefore, while we wait here on earth, our eyes and hearts are focused and aiming upwards.  We are looking up to soar with strength.  We have God in us, God is beside us, and God strengthens and carries us.  Our strength comes from Him.  Those days when we lack hope and patience, we stay focused and ask God for physical strength to wait with grace and He provides!  While waiting, that is when we become more like Him, we are developing better character, and are being transformed and learning that God is in control and that He is taking care of us and strengthening us and developing our trust, our hope, our expectancy, and our need of Him.  Lastly, we are strengthened onwardly.  When we go forth one day at a time, we are strengthened knowing that God is there.  He has been there, is by our side, and will always be there.  When we learn to wait and gain trust in waiting on the Lord, we are able to apply those times waiting to future times when we will have to wait.  There will be future waiting times!  To wait is to expect with hope.

“Wait for and confidently expect the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for and confidently expect the Lord.” Psalm 27:14 (AMP) Don’t be impatient.  Wait for the Lord, and He will come and save you!  Be brave, stouthearted, and courageous.  Yes, wait and He will help you. (TLB)  “Stay with God!  Take heart.  Don’t quit.  I’ll say it again:  Stay with God.” (MSG)

“Our waiting on God will depend greatly on our faith of what He is,” Andrew Murray, Waiting on God:  The Almighty One, CBN.

There are so many facets of God’s strength that He provides for us; that is instilled in us.  At times it is so tempting to give up and take things back into our own hands because we think we can fix it quicker or better, but this just prolongs God’s best for us; His resolution for us.  Some days will be great, full of expecting and knowing God is working on things.  Other days our hope and confidence may be tested and low.  Doubt tries to creep in, but we stay focused upon the Lord and remember each day to keep our eyes on Him and choose to believe that our Father is taking care of things.  He knows all.  Yes, waiting is hard.  Yes, waiting is challenging.  Yes, waiting is character building.  However, waiting is a prime opportunity to get to know God more, on a very intimate level; to spend even more time with Him; to search Him; to depend on Him.  In times of waiting, there is a special opportunity to feel His comfort, His love and know His heart.  If it were not for times of waiting, we would not develop into stronger children of God.  If we did not have times of waiting, then we would not rely on or need or depend on God.  Waiting, more ways than one, derives and develops strength, a God-given strength, a feeling as if you can soar like an eagle.

…He’s Creator of all you can see or imagine.  He doesn’t get tired out, doesn’t pause to catch His breath.  And He knows everything, inside and out.  He energizes those who get tired, gives fresh strength to dropouts.  For even young people tire and drop out, young folk in their prime stumble and fall.  But those who wait upon God get fresh strength.  They spread their wings and soar like eagles, they run and don’t get tired, they walk and don’t lag behind. Isaiah 40:28-31 (MSG)

‘Do not fear [anything], for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you, be assured I will help you; I will certainly take hold of you with My righteous right hand [a hand of justice, of power, of victory, of salvation].’ Isaiah 41:10 (AMP)  “…I will give you strength, and for sure I will help you…” (NLV)  “…I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you.” (MSG)

“Still, the Lord is true to His promises; He will hold you up and guard you against the evil one.” 2 Thessalonians 3:3 (VOICE)  But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen you [setting you on a firm foundation]… (AMP)  “…He will make you strong…” (TLB)

The following are lyrics to a song by Fred Hammond, called “They That Wait”:

They that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength.  They shall mount up on wings just like an eagle at soar.  They shall run and not be weary.  They shall walk and never faint they that wait on the Lord.  And I say wait on the Lord.

Hold on a little while longer.  Here’s what you got to do.  Trust and believe my friend.  He’ll work it our for you.  One thing you must remember, my God is able and He cares for you.  He cares for you.

Wait on the Lord and He will come through.  Wait on the Lord He will answer you.  Wait on the Lord and He won’t be long.  Wait on the Lord…

Joyce Meyer shared, “Any time you become frustrated and start trying to make things happen on your own, it is a sure sign you are not being patient with God.  You need to practice waiting on God and let Him do what He wants to do, in His way and time.  The best definition of patience I have ever heard is ‘to be constant or to be the same all the time, no matter what is going on.’  Patience is not merely waiting; it is how you act while you are waiting.”

Mrs. Meyers further stated, “The hardest thing most of us will ever have to do as Christians is wait on the Lord.  You will undoubtedly have to wait on many things during your lifetime.  Waiting is not optional.  But it is during the waiting periods of life that the most powerful things will happen within you.”

“I waited patiently and expectantly for the Lord; and He inclined to me and heard my cry.” Psalm 40:1 (AMP)

 

 

 

 

Dear Lord, Thank you for opportunities to wait on you.  Thank you for these times you so graciously strengthen us.  Thank you Lord for the faith, hope, and confidence knowing you are working on things and you will continue to strengthen us physically, inwardly, upwardly, and onwardly as we wait for our deliverance, our breakthrough, our resolution.  Thank you Lord for taking caring of us and for causing our growth in hope, faith, and trust in you.  Thank you for knowing all and what is best for each one of us.  Amen.

 

God Directs Animals to Help Fulfill His Purpose

Animals belong to God and He directs them to help fulfill His purpose here on earth.  “The earth and all that’s upon it belong to the Eternal.  The world is His, with every living creature on it.” Psalm 24:1 (VOICE)  The earth belongs to God! Everything in all the world is his! (TLB)  “For every beast of the forest is Mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills.  I know every bird of the mountains, and everything that moves in the field is Mine.” Psalm 50:10-11 (AMP)

God is sovereign over all the animals.  “…His spiritual purpose always overrides everything and He is sovereign over all,” John W. Ritenbaugh, The Sovereignty of God Part Four.

In the story of Noah’s Ark (Genesis 6), God directs the animals to Noah.  The animals migrated to Noah.  Noah did not have to go out and round up the animals and bring them to the Ark.  God drew them to the Ark.  Imagine two animals of every species of birds, mammals, and reptiles to preserve life (Gen. 6:19, MSG) just showing up at Noah’s Ark!  How amazing is that?!  There is no other explanation of how that phenomenon happened other than God’s hand being in it to help fulfill His purpose of preserving life, to bring about His purpose.

There are many current instances where God directs animals to help bring about His purpose.  The stories you read and hear about, on many occasions, where the family dog awakens a family member to notify them of a fire or a burglar.  God directed these family pets to help save their lives.

Another modern day instance where God directed animals to fulfill His purpose happened this year on Easter Sunday in the Middle East.  Lions saved Christians from Islamic extremists.  Pastor Paul Ciniraj was leading a worship service when the extremists approached them holding weapons.  The Christians were not sure what to do and assumed that they all were going to die.  Then all of a sudden, a lion came out of the jungle and attacked the Islamic extremists who were about to kill the Pastor and Christians.  When the one lion attacked, two other extremists tried to fight the lion off and then two more lions appeared and the extremists ran away in fear.  The lions left the Christians alone.  Pastor Paul said that, “records show no lions are supposed to live in that forest.” ChristianHeadlines.com, April 21, 2017, Veronica Neffinger.

Wild boars attacked Isis militants who targeted Christians in northern Iraq the following week of the aforementioned story.  God directed the boars to carry out His purpose.  Three militants were killed and the Christians were protected and lived.  This was part of God’s plan. ChristianHeadlines.com, April 25, 2017.

There are numerous stories in the Bible in which God has used animals to help fulfill His purpose.  The story of Balaam and his donkey in Numbers 22:21-41, where Balaam was not listening to what God was wanting him to do.  When Balaam left on his donkey, God revealed an angel to the donkey three times, causing the donkey to:  (1)  go off the path and into the field; (2)  to crush Balaam’s foot while trying to go through a narrow path with walls close on both sides; and (3)  to lay down because it was unable to turn around or move left or right due to a narrow path in which the angel was standing.  Each time the donkey saw the angel of the Lord and went off course, Balaam would beat the donkey.  Finally, the donkey just lay down and God caused the donkey to speak to Balaam!  After a short conversation, God opened Balaam’s eyes to see the angel.  This obviously got his attention!  Balaam realized he sinned and that God was displeased.

Another interesting story in the Old Testament is in the book of Jonah.  God wanted Jonah to go to Ninevah and preach against the wickedness that was going on there.  Jonah did not want to and actually tried to run away from God!  When Jonah was trying to flee aboard a ship, God caused a great storm which lead Jonah to be thrown overboard.  When he was thrown, God provided/directed a large whale-like fish to swallow Jonah and be kept in its belly for three days and three nights.  Jonah realized that he cannot run away from God and needed to do what God asked of him.  God directed the large fish to spit up Jonah onto dry land.  God again told Jonah to go to Ninevah & he obeyed and went.  What an amazing story of how God will use and direct animals to help fulfill His purpose here on earth.

In the story of Daniel in the den of lions, a decree was issued that anyone who prayed to any god or human being the next thirty days other than the king would be thrown into the lions’ den.  Daniel learned of the decree and went to his room and continued to pray and give thanks to God three times a day, as he usually did.  The king was informed of this and became distressed because there was no repeal of this decree and he wanted to save Daniel.  He followed the order and threw Daniel into the den and said, “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!” (Daniel 6:16, NIV)  The next morning, the king went to check on Daniel and Daniel revealed that God sent his angel and shut the mouths of the lions.  Daniel was lifted out of the den without any wounds because he trusted God.

In Kings 17:24 (NIV), God instructed Elijah, “Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan.  You will drink from the brook, and I have directed the ravens to supply you with food there.”  God told birds to feed Elijah until it was time for him to leave this place.

In the New Testament, an amazing story where God used an animal to fulfill His purpose is in Matthew 17:24-27 where Peter and Jesus needed to pay taxes.  Jesus told Peter to go to the lake and cast a line and knowing he was going to catch a fish instructed him to open the mouth of the first fish and in its mouth would be a coin to pay the taxes!

Another example of God ordering animals is:

A large school of fish miraculously appears alongside Peter’s boat just when Jesus says, “Let down your nets.”  Some may not view this by itself as a miracle.  Yet, David writes:  “You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen – even…the fish of the sea that pass through the paths of the seas” (Psalm 8:6-8).  As Creator, Jesus knows where the fish are in the Lake of Gennesaret, a power Peter obviously lacks.  Christ, as the sovereign Lord of the earth and its seas, could have commanded thousands of fish to leap onto shore, but He directs them into the man’s net.  The combination of the precise place, time, and mass of fish following Jesus’ instructions qualifies this as a genuine miracle, one witnessed by many. Martin G. Collins, The Miracles of Jesus Christ:  The Great Catch of Fish

As you can see, there are numerous instances God utilizes animals to help fulfill His purpose.  There were so many in history, ongoing today, and will be more in the future.  It is so exciting and amazing how everything in God’s Creation belongs to Him and He can and will direct any part of it to help fulfill His purpose.

Thank you Lord for taking care of us through and by your Creation.  How amazing you are!  Amen.

Jesus Died For…Everyone!

Jesus died for…everyone!  He succumbed to the cross for all of us, each and every one.  Jesus loves every single human being that was created by His Father.  He died so that everyone can have Eternal Life.  Every single person is loved so much that God sent His Son to earth to provide Life for each person.  It does not matter how old you are; it does not matter what you have done or are doing or will do – He died for you!  It does not matter what ethnicity or family you were born into or what country you live in, Jesus died for you!  What matters is that you choose to believe you are loved and that God provided Eternal Life for you through acceptance of His Son.  What matters is that we share this glorious news to others so that they too can know that Jesus died for them.

Our firm decision is to work from this focused center:  One man died for everyone.  That puts everyone in the same boat.  He included everyone in His death so that everyone could also be included in His life, a resurrection life, a far better life than people ever lived on their own.  Because of this decision we don’t evaluate people by what they have or how they look…2 Cor. 5:14-16 (MSG)

“If you’re a Christian, you can’t have an ‘I’m better than’ attitude toward anyone because everybody is somebody for who Jesus died,” Andy Stanley.

“But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while [by taking on the limitations of humanity], crowned with glory and honor because of His suffering of death, so that by the grace of God [extended to sinners] He might experience death for [the sins of] everyone.” Hebrews 2:9 (AMP)  “…Yes, because of God’s great kindness, Jesus tasted death for everyone in all the world.” (TLB)  “…God has loving-favor for everyone…” (NLV)

The only way to go to heaven when our earthly bodies die is to accept and believe that Jesus died for you; that He died to forgive our sins so that we can be made more like Him and have Eternal Life.  When our earthly suits die, our spirits continue to live and we will be reunited with all our other Christian family in Heaven.  The only one capable of providing this path from earth to heaven is Jesus.  When Jesus died on the cross for you and for me, He also died to include everyone that will believe in Him.  He did not select a few people to be saved.  He did not die for a certain tribe, ethnicity group, or type of religious people.  When He died, He died for all, for everyone, not just a select few.

Since we believe that Christ died for all of us, we should also believe that we have died to the old life we used to live.  He died for all so that all who live – having received eternal life from him – might live no longer for themselves, to please themselves, but to spend their lives pleasing Christ who died and rose again for them. 2 Cor. 5:14-15 (TLB)  “…And our confession is this:  One died for all…He died for us so that we will all live…” (VOICE)  “…We are sure that Christ died for everyone…Christ died for everyone so that they would live for Him…” (NLV)

We are all sinners and will be until we die.  The difference that makes some sinners go to heaven and those that do not is the heart of the person; whether someone has accepted Jesus in their heart and knows that they are forgiven and knows that Jesus died for them.  When we accept Christ as our Savior we begin to transform each day to be more like Him.  We are forgiven for all past, present, and future sins.  No matter what you have done, including lying, cheating, murder, and rape, if you have asked Jesus into your heart, your sins are washed away, forgiven, and made pure.  No matter what you are currently doing, whether it is partaking in porn, drug use, or alcohol addiction, if you believe in Jesus, He can and will help you and you will be forgiven.  That is what the cross is about.  That is what it means when Jesus died for everyone.  No matter what we do in the future, if we become bitter, unforgiving, or have hatred in our hearts, Jesus will forgive us.  All we have to do is repent and accept and believe that He died on the cross for each one of us.

“…He died for the sins of the whole world.” 1 John 2;2 (VOICE)

What an exciting life to have when Jesus is involved.  Often times it is hard to grasp the love He has for us, the grace and forgiveness He has provided, but it is real and it is there.  We just have to accept it, believe it and know God is there.  He will help us get through life.  He will help us overcome.  He will provide His strength, His direction, His comfort, His love whenever we need it.  He cares so much for each one of us that He patiently waits for all to come to Him, to accept the best gift on Earth, His Son, so that all may go to heaven and live with Him than perish in hell.  That is love.

“You don’t have to wait for the End.  I am, right now, Resurrection and Life.  The one who believes in me, even though he or she dies, will live.  And everyone who lives believing in me does not ultimately die at all.  Do you believe this?” John 11:25-26 (MSG)

“He isn’t really being slow about his promised return, even though it sometimes seems that way.  But He is waiting, for the good reason that He is not willing that any should perish, and He is giving more time for sinners to repent.” 2 Peter 3:9 (TLB)  “…Instead He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish…” (NIV)  Now the Lord is not slow about enacting His promise – slow is how some people want to characterize it – no, He is not slow but patient and merciful to you, not wanting anyone to be destroyed, but wanting everyone to turn away from following his own path and to turn toward God’s. (VOICE)  “…He is restraining himself on account of you, holding back the End because he doesn’t want anyone lost.  He’s giving everyone space and time to change.” (MSG)

If you have heard about Jesus and know Him, then share this glorious gift with others when God provides an opportunity.  If you have not heard of Jesus or have and for whatever reason have chosen not to accept and believe in Him, please reconsider and pray about it.  He can do so much for you here on earth and in heaven.  Not only can He help you but He can do so much through you to help others.  Each one of us has a path that God has created to benefit you and others.  If you have accepted Jesus, but may be angry with God or do not understand why some things in life have happened, you can rekindle your relationship with Him and faithfully God will restore your relationship and pick up right where you left off because He is amazing like that!

“For this is how God loved the world:  He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.  God sent His Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through Him.” John 3:16-17 (NLT)

“Jesus didn’t only die for you.  He died for everyone you know.  Share Him often,” god-still-speaks.com.

“Something revolutionary happens in the heart when you recognize that every single person you will ever meet is made in the image of God,” Jackie Hill Perry.

Thank you Lord for your love, for your forgiveness, for your grace, your mercy and patience and mostly for sending Jesus to save…everyone.  You made each one of us articulately and with unconditional love.  May we realize how special every one of us are to you and how much we are loved by you and cared for by you dear Heavenly Father.  May whoever is lost, please provide an opportunity through us to lead them to you Lord; may they find you where there is hope, love, peace, salvation, healing, strength, and joy.  Thank you.  Thank you for everything and for Jesus dying for…everyone.  Amen.

 

Shine Like Stars

How do we Shine Like Stars?  Let us look at Phil. 2:14-15 (VOICE), “Do all things without complaining or bickering with each other, so you will be found innocent and blameless; you are God’s children called to live without a single stain on your reputations among this perverted and crooked generation.  Shine like stars across the land.”  The Amplified Version states to “do everything without murmuring or questioning [the providence of God]…among whom you are seen as bright lights [beacons shining out clearly] in the world [of darkness].”  Do everything readily and cheerfully-no bickering, no second-guessing allowed!  Go out into the world uncorrupted, a breath of fresh air in this squalid and polluted society.  Provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the living God.  Carry the light-giving Message into the night so I’ll have good cause to be proud of you on the day that Christ returns.  You’ll be living proof that I didn’t go to all this work for nothing. (TLB)

In this world, we are to glisten like beautiful diamonds.  We are to glow like fireflies in the darkened sky.  We are to illuminate the darkness like a candle flame.  When we all shine like stars, we bring so much light into this world, there is no room for darkness!

Why are we to shine like stars?

“The apostle Paul used the stars to describe our mission as believers in Jesus…God calls us to shine brightly for Christ so that the world living in darkness, will see it and be drawn to the ‘word of life’,” Unknown.

“We are called ‘to shine as beacons of hope and life for the sake of a dark and dying world'”, Jeff Olson, Our Daily Journey.

“Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever,” Daniel 12:3 (NIV)  “And those who are wise-the people of God-shall shine as brightly as the sun’s brilliance, and those who turn many to righteousness will glitter like stars forever.” (TLB)  Men and women who have lived wisely and well will shine brilliantly, like the cloudless, star-strewn night skies.  And those who put others on the right path to life will glow like stars forever. (MSG)

“…God calls you to let the beauty of Christ’s light shine through you,” Ray Fowler.

“When you shine as bright as a star, two things happen:  you attract other stars and you light the way for those in darkness,” Iva Ursano.

“The brightest stars are those who shine for the benefit of others,” Unknown.

There are many ways we can shine like stars.  We can consciously look out for others, whether it is providing a meal for someone in need, hold the door open, allow someone your parking spot, smile, and so much more.  We shine like stars when we walk in obedience to God’s Word.  Within in this obedience, we cannot help but glisten!  When we opt out of an argument or hold back a harsh word, we are shining.  When we willingly think of others and put their needs before ours, when we show this unselfishness, we are bringing light into the darkness.  When we are humble and not prideful and give God the glory for the amazing work He has done in us, we are illuminating.

Here’s another way to put it:  You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world.  God is not a secret to be kept.  We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill.  If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you?  I’m putting you on a light stand.  Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand – shine!  Keep open house; be generous with your lives.  By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16 (MSG)

Thank you Lord for the opportunity to shine like stars for you.  Thank you for showing us each day new ways and opportunities to let your light shine.  Thank you for this life to shine brighter each day and give you the glory.  For you are the Maker, Creator, and Ultimate Light of all the earth, heavens, and universe!