just a FLESH wound

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But when He, Who had chosen and set me apart even before I was born and had called me by His grace

(His undeserved favor and blessing), saw fit and was pleased

To reveal (unveil, disclose) His Son within me so that I might proclaim Him among the Gentiles (the non-Jewish world) as the glad tidings (Gospel), immediately I did not confer with flesh and blood [did not consult or counsel with any frail human being or communicate with anyone].  Galatians 1:15-16

   
For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.  (Romans 8:13) 

So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.  (Romans 6:11)

For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. (Colossians 3:3)

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”—   
This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: “He took our illnesses and bore our diseases.”
(Galatians 3:13; Matthew 8:17)

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This is what the LORD says:Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans, who rely on human strength and turn their hearts away from the LORD.”
(Jeremiah 17:5)

With him is only an arm of flesh, but with us is the LORD our God to help us and to fight our battles.    (2 Chronicles 32:8)  
When you go to war against your enemies and see horses and chariots and an army greater than yours, do not be afraid of them, because the LORD your God, who brought you up out of Egypt, will be with you. (Deuteronomy 20:1)
                     
It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in humans.  ( Psalm 118:8)
 
Stop trusting in mere humans, who have but a breath in their nostrils. Why hold them in esteem?   (Isaiah 2:22)

But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.  (Romans 6:22)

Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?  (Romans 6:16)

For one who has died has been set free from sin  (Romans 6:7)
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You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you.’       
 (2 Chronicles 20:17)

Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as He is righteous.            (1 John 3:7)

God told the serpent:

Because you’ve done this, you’re cursed,
    cursed beyond all cattle and wild animals,
Cursed to slink on your belly
    and eat dirt all your life.
I’m declaring war between you and the Woman,
    between your offspring and hers.
He’ll wound your head,
    you’ll wound his heel.”  (Genesis 3:14-15)
         
Who has gone up to heaven and come down? Whose hands have gathered up the wind? Who has wrapped up the waters in a cloak? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is His name, and what is the name of His son? Surely you know!        (Proverbs 30:4)

Worldly wisdom may promise the good life, but it leads to chaos and destruction every time. Ultimately true wisdom comes from God.   

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For it was Adam (MAN) who was first created, and then Eve. (WOMAN)
And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. But women will be preserved through the bearing of children if they continue in faith and love and sanctity with self-restraint.
     
And having disarmed the powers and authorities, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.  (Colossians 2:15)

And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me.    (John 12:32)   
                        

But I am afraid that just as EVE was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.  (2 Corinthians 11:3)

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On Earth As It Is In Heaven

As I looked, a great sign appeared in heaven:
A woman came into view clothed in the radiance of the sun, standing with the moon under her feet, and she was crowned with a wreath of twelve stars on her head.
She was painfully pregnant and was crying out in the agony of labor.
 Then a second sign appeared in heaven, ominous, foreboding:
A great red dragon, with seven crowned heads and ten horns. 
The dragon’s tail brushed one-third of the stars from the sky and hurled them down to the earth. The dragon crouched in front of the laboring woman, waiting to devour her child the moment it was born.

She gave birth to a male child, who is destined to rule the nations with an iron scepter.
Before the dragon could bite and devour her son, the child was whisked away and brought to God and His throne.
The woman fled into the wilderness, where God had prepared a place of refuge and safety where she could find sustenance for 1,260 days.

While the great red dragon does his best to destroy and devour Him, God has another plan.
Since then, the dragon and his minions have done their best to harangue and persecute the woman’s children. But again he does not have the final word.

A battle broke out in heaven. Michael, along with his heavenly messengers, clashed against the dragon. The dragon and his messengers returned the fight, but they did not prevail and were defeated.
As a result, there was no place left for them in heaven.
So the great dragon, that ancient serpent who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world, was cast down to the earth along with his messengers.

Then I heard a great voice in heaven.

A Voice: Now the salvation and the power
        and the kingdom of our God
        and the authority of His Anointed One have come.
    For the accuser of our brothers and sisters,
        who relentlessly accuses them day and night before our God,
        has been cast down and silenced.
     By the blood of the Lamb
        and the word of their witnesses,
        they have become victorious over him,
    For they did not hold on to their lives, even under threat of death.
   Therefore, rejoice, all you heavens;
        celebrate, all you who live in them.
    But disaster will befall the earth and the sea,
        for the devil has come down to your spheres,
    And he is incredibly angry
        because he knows his time is nearly over.

 When the dragon realized he had been cast down to the earth,
he pursued the mother of the male infant.  
In order to escape the serpent,
she was given the two wings of the great eagle to fly deeper into the wilderness to her own special place where she would find sustenance for a time, and times, and half a time. 
Then from his mouth the serpent spewed water like a raging river that chased after the woman, trying to sweep her away in the flood. But the earth came to her rescue.
It opened its gaping mouth and swallowed the river that spewed from the dragon’s mouth.
 As a result, the dragon was enraged at the woman and went away to make war on the rest of her children—those who keep the commandments of God and hold fast to the testimony of Jesus.

And [the dragon] stood waiting on the sand of the seashore. 
(Revelation 12)

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Remember this! He led His people out singing for joy;
    His chosen people marched, singing their hearts out!
He made them a gift of the country they entered,
    helped them seize the wealth of the nations
So they could do everything He told them—
    could follow His instructions to the letter.

Hallelujah!
(Psalm 105:43-45)

 O remnant of Judah: The Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, has plainly told you, you leftovers from Judah, ‘Don’t go to Egypt.’ Could anything be plainer? I warn you this day that you are living out a fantasy. You’re making a fatal mistake.       

(Jeremiah 42)

My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness
There is no other foundation that can be laid.
All other ground is sinking sand.
The Lord is my Rock and my Salvation, I shall not be moved!
Blessed be the Lord my Rock who trains my hands for war and my fingers for battle!
For the battle belongs to the Lord!       

Without Good Direction, People Lose Their Way

Take your stand with God’s loyal community and live,
    or chase after phantoms of evil and die.

God can’t stand deceivers,
    but oh how He relishes integrity. You can be very sure the evil man will not go unpunished forever.

And you can also be very sure God will rescue the children of the godly. 

(Proverbs 11-21)

To learn, you must want to be taught. To refuse reproof is stupid.

The Lord blesses good men and condemns the wicked.

Wickedness never brings real success; only the godly have that. (Proverbs 12:1-3)

 The wrongdoers are overthrown—no one is left!
    But the house of the right-living remains strong.  (Proverbs 12:7)

UNLESS THE LORD BUILDS THE HOUSE THEY LABOR IN VAIN THAT BUILD IT.

Everything that has been fathered by God overcomes the corrupt world. This is the victory that has conquered the world: Our faith.    (1 John 5:4)

God said to Moses: “Why cry out to Me? Speak to the Israelites. Order them to get moving. Hold your staff high and stretch your hand out over the sea: Split the sea! The Israelites will walk through the sea on dry ground.” (Exodus 14:15-16)

  For it is IN HIM that we live we move and have our being!
 
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LIKE HANNAH OF OLD I HAVE PRAYED FOR THIS CHILD

RESTORE TO MY CHILDREN THE JOY OF THEIR SALVATION
Prayer is living out God’s words.  It is putting faith into action.  Faith works by love. 
We love because God first loved us so much that He was not willing to leave us abandoned. 
He sent His Son that whosoever believes shall not perish but have everlasting life.

For this purpose Jesus was sent to destroy the works of the devil.

Where do you think your fighting and endless conflict come from?

Don’t you think that they originate in the constant pursuit of gratification that rages inside each of you like an uncontrolled militia?  You crave something that you do not possess, so you murder to get it.

You desire the things you cannot earn, so you sue others and fight for what you want.

You do not have because you have chosen not to ask.  

And when you do ask, you still do not get what you want because your motives are all wrong—because you continually focus on self-indulgence.   You are adulterers.

Don’t you know that making friends with this corrupt world order is open aggression toward God?

So anyone who aligns with this bogus world system is declaring war against the one true God. 
 Do you think it is empty rhetoric when the Scriptures say, “The spirit that lives in us is addicted to envy and jealousy”?

 You may think that the situation is hopeless, but God gives us more grace when we turn away from our own interests. That’s why Scripture says,

God opposes the proud,
 BUT POURS OUT GRACE ON THE HUMBLE.
 
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 Let your adornment be what’s inside—the REAL you, the LASTING beauty of a gracious and quiet spirit,

in which God delights.  This is how, long ago, holy women who put their hope in God made themselves beautiful:

by respecting the authority of their husbands. 

Consider how Sarah, our mother, obeyed her husband, Abraham, and called him “lord,”

and you will be her daughters as long as you boldly do what is right without fear and without anxiety.

In the same way, husbands, as you live with your wives, understand the situations women face as the weaker vessel.

Each of you should respect your wife and value her as an EQUAL HEIR in the gracious gift of life.

Do this so that nothing will get in the way of your prayers.

Finally, all of you, be like-minded and show sympathy, love, compassion, and humility to and for each other— not paying back evil with evil or insult with insult, but repaying the bad with a blessing. It was this you were called to do, so that you might inherit a blessing.

 It is written in the psalms,

If you love life and want to live a good, long time,
Then be careful what you say.
    Don’t tell lies or spread gossip or talk about improper things.
Walk away from the evil things in the world—just leave them behind, and do what is right,
    and always seek peace and pursue it.
For the Lord watches over the righteous,
    and His ears are attuned to their prayers.
But His face is set against His enemies;
    He will punish evildoers.

Why would anyone harm you if you eagerly do good?
Even if you should suffer for doing what is right, you will receive a blessing.
Don’t let them frighten you. Don’t be intimidated, but exalt Him as Lord in your heart.
Always be ready to offer a defense, humbly and respectfully, when someone asks why you live in hope. Keep your conscience clear so that those who ridicule your good conduct in the Anointed and say bad things about you will be put to shame.  (1 Peter 3)

So that the Word of God will not be dishonored.

A woman should learn in quietness and full submission.  (1 Timothy 2:11)
 
But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.

    Warnings about the Adulteress

She is unruly and defiant, her feet never stay at home

 
So Christ Himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ;
(Ephesians 4:7; 11-12)
   
Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing.
(1 Timothy 2:8)

So submit yourselves to the one true God and fight against the devil and his schemes. If you do, he will run away in failure.
Come close to the one true God, and He will draw close to you.
Wash your hands; you have dirtied them in sin.
 Cleanse your heart, because your mind is split down the middle,
your love for God on one side and selfish pursuits on the other.

Since the beginning, our loving Creator has been pursuing us, drawing us closer to Him.

He invites us to move closer to Him so we can be fully His.

Now is the time to lament, to grieve, and to cry. Dissolve your laughter into sobbing, and exchange your joy for depression.  Lay yourself bare, facedown to the ground, in humility before the Lord; and He will lift your head so you can stand tall.

My brothers and sisters, do not assault each other with criticism. If you decide your job is to accuse and judge another believer, then you are a self-appointed critic and judge of the law; if so, then you are no longer a doer of the law and subject to its rule; you stand over it as a judge.  

Know this—there is One who stands supreme as Judge and Lawgiver. He alone is able to save and to destroy, so who are you to step in and try to judge another?

Listen carefully, those of you who make your plans and say, “We are traveling to this city in the next few days. We’ll stay there for one year while our business explodes and revenue is up.”   The reality is you have no idea where your life will take you tomorrow. You are like a mist that appears one moment and then vanishes another.  It would be best to say, “If it is the Lord’s will and we live long enough, we hope to do this project or pursue that dream.”   But your current speech indicates an arrogance that does not acknowledge the One who controls the universe, and this kind of big talking is the epitome of evil.   So if you know the right way to live and ignore it, it is sin—plain and simple.

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This is the Message from God, the God of Israel, to whom you sent me to present your prayer. He says,

If you are ready to stick it out in this land, I will build you up and not drag you down,

I will plant you and not pull you up like a weed. I feel deep compassion on account of the doom I have visited on you.

You don’t have to fear the king of Babylon. Your fears are for nothing.

I’m on your side, ready to save and deliver you from anything he might do. I’ll pour mercy on you.

What’s more, he will show you mercy! He’ll let you come back to your very own land.’  (Jeremiah 42)

Blessed is He who Fears the Lord

Praise the LORD! How blessed is the man who fears the LORD, Who greatly delights in His commandments. 

His descendants will be mighty on earth; The generation of the upright will be blessed. Wealth and riches are in his house, And his righteousness endures forever.  (Psalm 112:1-3)

Because God staked His claim in me and my family on the execution stake in Christ Jesus we are freed in body soul and spirit to be made right with God the Father through the blood of Jesus the Son.  We are no longer beggarly orphans adrift to wander this world but we are true born again sons and daughters of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, who is the Prince of Peace–not the so-called “peace” of this passing world’s system but the SHALOM, the whole man the whole salvation for ever in Jesus Christ!  We are co-heirs in Christ Jesus!

My love won’t walk away from you,
    My covenant commitment of peace won’t fall apart.”
    The God who has compassion on you says so.”

For your Maker is your bridegroom,
    His name, God-of-the-Angel-Armies!
Your Redeemer is The Holy of Israel,
    known as God of the whole earth.
You were like an abandoned wife, devastated with grief,
    and God welcomed you back,
 Even if the mountains heave up from their anchors,
        and the hills quiver and shake, I will not desert you.
    You can rely on My enduring love;
        My covenant of peace will stand forever.

So says the Eternal One, Whose love won’t give up on you.

This promise stands to God’s covenant people: nothing can happen to them unless God wills it and makes it so.

Only if they invite it will destruction come.

Throughout this time of rebellion and punishment God makes it clear that they hold their fate in their own hands.

And if they haven’t understood the message, God tells them who will do the nation-building—an unworldly restoration.

He says that He provides the raw materials; He creates the tools and provides the skills with which the builders build.

He alone is responsible for restoring the nation.

And no matter what charges the adversary may concoct, God will not be put off.

Even though Israel rebelled and was unfaithful at one time, that is in the past.

The future is sure: God’s faithfulness to His covenant, His enduring love for His people, will stand for all time.

So the challenge goes out from the prophet to God’s people—speaking on God’s authority—to align themselves with God, accept Him as God, and they will surely win.

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Every one of your children, the people who call you home,
        will be students of the Eternal; oh, they’ll be so happy and live in peace!
 This time, you will be founded and grounded
        on right thought, speech, and action.
    And no one will trouble you, abuse or oppress you;
        you will know no fear and have no worries.

(Isaiah 54)   

 Eternal One: Hard to believe, but it shall be so.
        The captives will be taken from the hand of the mighty,
    And the spoil of war will be rescued from the tyrant.
        I will liberate them from their captors and contend with your enemies.
    I will save your children.  (Isaiah 49:25)
   

Teach Your Children!

But there they are, overwhelmed with dread, for God is present in the company of the righteous.

The children of your servants will live in your presence; their descendants will be established before you.”

Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth.

Yes, this will be the blessing for the man who fears the LORD.

The righteous lead blameless lives; blessed are their children after them.

(Image14:5, 102:28; 127:4; 128:4; Proverbs 20:7)

Pray for the SHALOM (peace) of Jerusalem
for Jerusalem above is our home
They will prosper that love her.
Beloved I desire above all things that you prosper and be in good health even as your soul prospers.   

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 Are you so foolish? Do you think you can perfect something God’s Spirit started with any human effort?  

Have you suffered so greatly for nothing—if it was indeed for nothing? 

You have experienced the Spirit He gave you in powerful ways.

Miracle after miracle has occurred right before your eyes in this community, so tell me: did all this happen because you have kept certain provisions of God’s law, or was it because you heard the gospel and accepted it by faith?

Paul primarily focuses on the efficacy of the death and resurrection of Jesus as the foundation of the church and of a right relationship with God, but he also correlates this with the presence of the Spirit. If the Spirit is working among the outsiders, it shows that they aren’t really “outsiders” when it comes to membership in the people of God. Paul supports this by showing how the presence of the Spirit is none other than the fulfillment of the promises to Abraham. However, the Spirit only came through Abraham’s descendant, that is, the new covenant with God is mediated by Jesus and the Spirit, not the law.

You remember Abraham. Scripture tells us,Abraham believed God and trusted in His promises, so God counted it to his favor as righteousness.” Know this: people who trust in God are the true sons and daughters of Abraham. For it was foretold to us in the Scriptures that God would set the Gentile nations right by faith when He told Abraham, “I will bless all nations through you.” So those who have faith in Him are blessed along with Abraham, our faithful ancestor.

Listen, whoever seeks to be righteous by following certain works of the law actually falls under the law’s curse.

I’m giving it to you straight from Scripture because it is as true now as when it was written:

Cursed is everyone who doesn’t live by and do all that is written in the law.

Now it is absolutely clear that no one is made right with God through the law because the prophet Habakkuk told us,

“By faith the just will obtain life.” The law is not the same thing as life formed by faith.

In fact, you are warned against this when God says, “The one who observes My laws will live by them.

I am trying to tell you that  the Anointed One, the Liberating King, has redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us. It was stated in the Scriptures, “Everyone who hangs on a tree is cursed by God.”  This is what God had in mind all along: the blessing He gave to Abraham might extend to all nations through the Anointed One, Jesus; and we are the beneficiaries of this promise of the Spirit that comes only through faith.

My dear brothers and sisters, here’s a real-life example I can give you:

With a last will and testament, when all the property is accounted for, the document is signed, witnessed, and notarized; and afterward no one can make changes to it.  In a similar way, God’s promises established a binding agreement with Abraham and his offspring. In the Scriptures, it is carefully stated, “and to your descendant” (meaning one), not “and to your descendants”  (meaning many). Therefore, in these covenant promises, God was not referring to every son and daughter born into Abraham’s family but to the Anointed One to come.   What this all means is that the law given to Israel comes along some 430 years after the promise made to Abraham; so it does not invalidate the covenant God previously agreed to or in any way do away with His promise.  You see, if the law became the sole basis for the inheritance, then it would put God in the position of breaking a covenant because He had promised it to Abraham.

Throughout this argument, one critical question remains: why would God give the law if it would not bring His people into a right standing with Him? Couldn’t God have found a better way of doing this? It isn’t as if the law is a bad thing or a mistake that God needs to correct. It has a good purpose, but a limited one. It never supplants God’s promise to Abraham. Rather, the law keeps sin in check until the time is right for the saving justice that comes through faith in Jesus. The law serves as a tutor or a schoolmaster, revealing our great need for salvation and pointing everyone toward Jesus.

Now you’re asking yourselves, “So why did God give us the law?” God commanded His heavenly messengers to deliver it into the hand of a mediator for this reason: to help us rein in our sins until the Offspring, about whom the promise was made in the first place, would come. A mediator represents more than one, but God is only one. “So,” you ask, “does the law contradict God’s promise?” Absolutely not! Never was there written a law that could lead to resurrection and life; if there had been, then surely we could have experienced saving righteousness through keeping the law. But we haven’t. Scripture has subjected the whole world to sin’s power so that the faithful obedience of Jesus the Anointed might extend God’s promises to everyone who has faith. Before faith came on the scene, the law did its best to keep us in line, restraining us until the faith that was to come was fully revealed. So then, the law was like a tutor, assigned to train us and point us to the Anointed, so that we will be acquitted of all wrong and made right by faith. But now that true faith has come, we have no need for a tutor. It is your faith in the Anointed Jesus that makes all of you children of God because all of you who have been initiated into the Anointed One through the ceremonial washing of baptism  have put Him on.   It makes no difference whether you are a Jew or a Greek, a slave or a freeman, a man or a woman, because in Jesus the Anointed, the Liberating King, you are all one. 

Since you belong to Him and are now subject to His power, you are the descendant of Abraham and the heir of God’s glory according to the promise.  (Galatians 3)
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Satan’s battle plan against believers is just the opposite of his battle plan for nonbelievers.
With nonbelievers, Satan is on the DEFENSIVE, trying to keep them in his kingdom.
But Satan is attacking believers to attempt to make them ineffective in their battle to get those lost souls out of his dark domain into the kingdom of God’s light.

Jesus tells us in Matthew 4:19, “…Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

As we follow Jesus we are not made ineffective but are made fishers of men for Jesus is the
Way, the Truth and the Life; no man comes to the Father but through Him!

He sent His Word to heal and deliver from destruction.
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     Hallelujah!

Thank God! Pray to Him by name!
    Tell everyone you meet what He has done!
Sing Him songs, belt out hymns,
    translate His wonders into music!
Honor his holy name with Hallelujahs,
    you who seek God. Live a happy life!
Keep your eyes open for God, watch for His works;
    be alert for signs of His presence.
Remember the world of wonders He has made,
    His miracles, and the verdicts He’s rendered—
        O seed of Abraham, His servant,
        O child of Jacob, His chosen.

He’s God, our God,
    in charge of the whole earth.
And He remembers, remembers His Covenant—
    for a thousand generations He’s been as good as His word.
It’s the Covenant He made with Abraham,
    the same oath He swore to Isaac,
The very statute He established with Jacob,
    the eternal Covenant with Israel,
Namely, “I give you the land.
    Canaan is your hill-country inheritance.
When they didn’t count for much,
    a mere handful, and strangers at that,
Wandering from country to country,
    drifting from pillar to post,
He permitted no one to abuse them.
    He told kings to keep their hands off:
Don’t you dare lay a hand on my anointed,
    don’t hurt a hair on the heads of my prophets.”
(Psalm 105)

It’s just a flesh wound
 
And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her Offspring;

He will bruise and tread your head underfoot, and you will lie in wait and bruise His heel.  (Genesis 3:15)

Footnotes:

Christ fulfills through his victory over Satan the wonderful promise here spoken.
See also Isaiah 9:6; Matt. 1:23; Luke 1:31; Rom. 16:20; Gal. 4:4; Rev. 12:17.
   

The story of humanity’s sin begins with a tree and ends on a tree:

first, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; and finally, the cross on which Jesus dies.

The first tree offers fruit that leads to death, but the second offers a death that leads to eternal life.   

In God’s plan to restore a fallen and disfigured world, Abraham became the father of all of us, the agent of blessing to everyone. Jesus completes what God started centuries before when He established Abraham’s covenant family.

Those who put faith in Jesus and call Him “Lord” become part of Abraham’s faith family.

Because God is gracious, loving, and merciful, men and women from every corner of the earth are not only declared right, but ultimately are made right as well. It happens through God’s actions—not our efforts—in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus who was crucified for our misdeeds and raised to repair what has been wrong all along. So the promises of God made long years ago are being realized in men and women who hear the call of faith and answer “yes” to it.

Since we have been acquitted and made right through faith, we are able to experience true and lasting peace with God through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One, the Liberating King. Jesus leads us into a place of radical grace where we are able to celebrate the hope of experiencing God’s glory. And that’s not all. We also celebrate in seasons of suffering because we know that when we suffer we develop endurance, which shapes our characters. When our characters are refined, we learn what it means to hope and anticipate God’s goodness. And hope will never fail to satisfy our deepest need because the Holy Spirit that was given to us has flooded our hearts with God’s love.

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When the time was right, the Anointed One died for all of us who were far from God, powerless, and weak.  

Now it is rare to find someone willing to die for an upright person, although it’s possible that someone may give up his life for one who is truly good.   But think about this: while we were wasting our lives in sin, God revealed His powerful love to us in a tangible display—the Anointed One died for us.   As a result, the blood of Jesus has made us right with God now, and certainly we will be rescued by Him from God’s wrath in the future.   If we were in the heat of combat with God when His Son reconciled us by laying down His life, then how much more will we be saved by Jesus’ resurrection life? 

  In fact, we stand now reconciled and at peace with God. That’s why we celebrate in God through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed.

 Consider this: sin entered our world through one man, Adam; and through sin, death followed in hot pursuit.

Death spread rapidly to infect all people on the earth as they engaged in sin.

God’s gift of grace and salvation is amazing. Paul struggles to find the words to describe it. He looks everywhere around him to find a metaphor, an image, a word to put into language one aspect of this awesome gift. One of those is “reconciliation.” There is hardly anything more beautiful than to see two people who have been enemies or estranged or separated coming back together. When Paul reflects on what God has done through Jesus, he thinks about reconciliation. Before we receive God’s blessing through His Son, we are enemies of God, sinners of the worst sort. But God makes the first move to restore us to a right relationship with Him.

Before God gave the law, sin existed, but there was no way to account for it. Outside the law, how could anyone be charged and found guilty of sin?   Still, death plagued all humanity from Adam to Moses, even those whose sin was of a different sort than Adam’s. You see, in God’s plan, Adam was a prototype of the One who comes to usher in a new day.    But the free gift of grace bears no resemblance to Adam’s crime that brings a death sentence to all of humanity; in fact, it is quite the opposite. For if the one man’s sin brings death to so many, how much more does the gift of God’s radical grace extend to humanity since Jesus the Anointed offered His generous gift. His free gift is nothing like the scourge of the first man’s sin. The judgment that fell because of one false step brought condemnation, but the free gift following countless offenses results in a favorable verdict—not guilty. If one man’s sin brought a reign of death—that’s Adam’s legacy—how much more will those who receive grace in abundance and the free gift of redeeming justice reign in life by means of one other man—Jesus the Anointed.

So here is the result: as one man’s sin brought about condemnation and punishment for all people, so one man’s act of faithfulness makes all of us right with God and brings us to new life. Just as through one man’s defiant disobedience every one of us were made sinners, so through the willing obedience of the one man many of us will be made right.

When the law came into the picture, sin grew and grew; but wherever sin grew and spread, God’s grace was there in fuller, greater measure. No matter how much sin crept in, there was always more grace. In the same way that sin reigned in the sphere of death, now grace reigns through God’s restorative justice, eclipsing death and leading to eternal life through the Anointed One, Jesus our Lord, the Liberating King.  (Romans 5)

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When You ascended on high, You took many captives; You received gifts from people, even from the rebellious– that You, LORD God, might dwell there. (Psalm 68:18)

Unity in the Body
But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.
Therefore it says,
WHEN HE ASCENDED ON HIGH, HE LED CAPTIVE A HOST OF CAPTIVES, AND HE GAVE GIFTS TO MEN.”
(Now this expression, “He ascended,” what does it mean except that He also had descended into the lower parts of the earth? (Ephesians 4)

Therefore, now no condemnation awaits those who are living in Jesus the Anointed, the Liberating King, because when you live in the Anointed One, Jesus, a new law takes effect. The law of the Spirit of life breathes into you and liberates you from the law of sin and death. God did something the law could never do. You see, human flesh took its toll on God’s law. In and of itself, the law is not weak; but the flesh weakens it. So to condemn the sin that was ruling in the flesh, God sent His own Son, bearing the likeness of sinful flesh, as a sin offering. Now we are able to live up to the justice demanded by the law. But that ability has not come from living by our fallen human nature; it has come because we walk according to the movement of the Spirit in our lives.

If you live your life animated by the flesh—namely, your fallen, corrupt nature—then your mind is focused on the matters of the flesh. But if you live your life animated by the Spirit—namely, God’s indwelling presence—then your focus is on the work of the Spirit. A mind focused on the flesh is doomed to death, but a mind focused on the Spirit will find full life and complete peace. You see, a mind focused on the flesh is declaring war against God; it defies the authority of God’s law and is incapable of following His path. So it is clear that God takes no pleasure in those who live oriented to the flesh.

The power of sin and death has been eclipsed by the power of the Spirit. The Spirit breathes life into our mortal, sin-infested bodies—thanks to what Jesus has done for us. By sending His Son in “the likeness of sinful flesh,” God judges sin finally and completely. The sins of the world are concentrated and condemned in the flesh of Jesus as He hangs on the cross. So now there is no condemnation remaining for those who’ve entered into the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
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But you do not live in the flesh. You live in the Spirit, assuming, of course, that the Spirit of God lives inside of you. The truth is that anyone who does not have the Spirit of the Anointed living within does not belong to God. If the Anointed One lives within you, even though the body is as good as dead because of the effects of sin, the Spirit is infusing you with life now that you are right with God. If the Spirit of the One who resurrected Jesus from the dead lives inside of you, then you can be sure that He who raised Him will cast the light of life into your mortal bodies through the life-giving power of the Spirit residing in you.

As Paul ponders the story of redemption, he finds in the family unit a beautiful image of what salvation means. Those who enter into God’s salvation are adopted into God’s family. Before we receive the gift of God’s grace, we are homeless orphans searching for some place to belong. But now all that has changed. The Father reaches out through His Son to all those orphaned by sin and death, and He brings them into His family. We are adopted into His forever family and fully enfranchised as His heirs.

So, my brothers and sisters, you owe the flesh nothing!
You do not need to live according to its ways, so abandon its oppressive regime. For if your life is just about satisfying the impulses of your sinful nature, then prepare to die. But if you have invited the Spirit to destroy these selfish desires, you will experience life. If the Spirit of God is leading you, then take comfort in knowing you are His children. You see, you have not received a spirit that returns you to slavery, so you have nothing to fear. The Spirit you have received adopts you and welcomes you into God’s own family. That’s why we call out to Him, “Abba! Father!” as we would address a loving daddy. Through that prayer, God’s Spirit confirms in our spirits that we are His children. If we are God’s children, that means we are His heirs along with the Anointed, set to inherit everything that is His. If we share His sufferings, we know that we will ultimately share in His glory.

Now I’m sure of this:
the sufferings we endure now are not even worth comparing to the glory that is coming and will be revealed in us. For all of creation is waiting, yearning for the time when the children of God will be revealed. You see, all of creation has collapsed into emptiness, not by its own choosing, but by God’s. Still He placed within it a deep and abiding hope that creation would one day be liberated from its slavery to corruption and experience the glorious freedom of the children of God. For we know that all creation groans in unison with birthing pains up until now. And there is more; it’s not just creation—all of us are groaning together too. Though we have already tasted the firstfruits of the Spirit, we are longing for the total redemption of our bodies that comes when our adoption as children of God is complete— for we have been saved in this hope and for this future. But hope does not involve what we already have or see. For who goes around hoping for what he already has? But if we wait expectantly for things we have never seen, then we hope with true perseverance and eager anticipation.

A similar thing happens when we pray. We are weak and do not know how to pray, so the Spirit steps in and articulates prayers for us with groaning too profound for words. Don’t you know that He who pursues and explores the human heart intimately knows the Spirit’s mind because He pleads to God for His saints to align their lives with the will of God? We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan. From the distant past, His eternal love reached into the future. You see, He knew those who would be His one day, and He chose them beforehand to be conformed to the image of His Son so that Jesus would be the firstborn of a new family of believers, all brothers and sisters. As for those He chose beforehand, He called them to a different destiny so that they would experience what it means to be made right with God and share in His glory.

So what should we say about all of this? If God is on our side, then tell me: whom should we fear? If He did not spare His own Son, but handed Him over on our account, then don’t you think that He will graciously give us all things with Him? Can anyone be so bold as to level a charge against God’s chosen? Especially since God’s “not guilty” verdict is already declared. Who has the authority to condemn? Jesus the Anointed who died, but more importantly, conquered death when He was raised to sit at the right hand of God where He pleads on our behalf. So who can separate us? What can come between us and the love of God’s Anointed? Can troubles, hardships, persecution, hunger, poverty, danger, or even death? The answer is, absolutely nothing. As the psalm says,

On Your behalf, our lives are endangered constantly;
we are like sheep awaiting slaughter.


But no matter what comes, we will always taste victory through Him who loved us
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For I have every confidence that nothing—not death, life, heavenly messengers, dark spirits, the present, the future, spiritual powers, height, depth, nor any created thing—can come between us and the love of God revealed in the Anointed, Jesus our Lord.
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Your BREAKthrough is LIFEthrough the Spirit

It’s All About His Love–

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.

The one who fears is not made perfect in love (1 John 4:18)

Praise the Lord for His mercy endures forever; Praise the Lord for His love never fails!

The Eternal One’s reach is not so short that He cannot save you.
His ear is not so deaf that He cannot hear you.  (Isaiah 59:1)

And you know that God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power.
Then Jesus went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil,
for God was with Him.  (Acts 10:38)
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For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit.
But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth.
(John 3:34; 1 John 2:20)
   
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
(1 Peter 4:8)  
His banner over me is love.   
May we shout for joy over your victory and lift up our banners in the name of our God. May the LORD grant all your requests. 
(SoS 2:4;Psalm 20:5)

I Break Hard Rocks With PATIENCE

But you prophets who have a message from Me—
    tell it truly and faithfully.
What does straw have in common with wheat?
    Nothing else is like God’s Decree.
Isn’t my Message like fire?” God’s Decree.
    “Isn’t it like a sledgehammer busting a rock?

(Jeremiah 23:28-29)

“For I am ready to set things right, not in the distant future, but right now!  I am ready to save Jerusalem and show My glory to Israel.”  (Isaiah 46:13)

Today is the Day of Salvation!

Today if you hear My voice, harden not your heart!

    Wisdom—or the Way to Hell

 A wise son listens when his father tells him the right way, but one who laughs at the truth does not listen when strong words are spoken to him.   Fighting comes only from pride, but wisdom is with those who listen when told what they should do.   (Proverbs 13:1; 10)

Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered.
(Proverbs 28:26)   
Turn from your foolish way, and live. Walk in the way of understanding. (Proverbs 9:6)
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            For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.   (Titus 3:3)
                The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever!   (Psalm 111:10)

I am the Lord All-Powerful. So don’t depend on your own power or strength, but on My Spirit.”
(Zechariah 4:6)

Eternal One: The Redeemer will come to make Zion right again,
        to rescue those of Jacob’s holy line who turn their backs on wrongdoing.

This is what the Eternal One declares.

Eternal One:   This is My covenant promise to them:  My Spirit, which rests on and moves in you, and My words, which I have placed within you, will continue to be spoken among you and move you to action. And not only you, but so it will be for your children and their children too. And so on through the generations for all time.  (Isaiah 59:20-21)
   
A Good Name More Desirable than Riches           

The wise will inherit honor, but fools get disgrace. (Proverbs 3:35)

Good Comes to the Person Who Honors the Lord

Praise the Lord! How happy is the man who honors the Lord with fear and finds joy in His Law!

His children will be powerful in the land. Each family who is right will be happy.
Riches and well-being are in his house. And his right-standing with God will last forever.
Light rises even in darkness for the one who is right. He is kind and has loving-pity and does what is right.

Good will come to the man who is ready to give much, and fair in what he does.  

He will never be shaken. The man who is right and good will be remembered forever.
He will not be afraid of bad news. His heart is strong because he trusts in the Lord.
His heart will not be shaken.
He will not be afraid and will watch those lose who fight against him.
He has given much to the poor.
His right-standing with God lasts forever. His horn will be lifted high in honor.

The sinful man will see it and be troubled and angry. He will grind his teeth and waste away. The desire of the sinful will come to nothing.  (Psalm 112)

The mouth of an adulteress is a deep pit; He who is cursed of the LORD will fall into it. Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of discipline will remove it far from him. He who oppresses the poor to make more for himself Or who gives to the rich, will only come to poverty.  (Proverbs 22:14-16)   
                       
Folly is a joy to him who lacks sense, but a man of understanding walks straight ahead.
(Proverbs 15:21)

   What the wicked construct finally falls into ruin,
    While the roots of the righteous give life, and more life.  (Proverbs 12:12)

One who is wise is cautious and turns away from evil, but a fool is reckless and careless.
(Proverbs 14:16)        Image

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.  (2 Timothy 3:16)

If you love learning, you love the discipline that goes with it
    how shortsighted to refuse correction!  (Proverbs 12:1)

Point your kids in the right direction—
    when they’re old they won’t be lost.

The Lord disciplines everyone He loves.
    He severely disciplines everyone he accepts as His child.  (Hebrews 12:6)
   
God is educating you; that’s why you must never drop out.

While we were children, our parents did what seemed best to them.
But God is doing what is best for us, training us to live God’s holy best.
At the time, discipline isn’t much fun. It always feels like it’s going against the grain.
Later, of course, it pays off handsomely,
for it’s the well-trained who find themselves mature in their relationship with God.

So don’t sit around on your hands! No more dragging your feet!
Clear the path for long-distance runners so no one will trip and fall,

So no one will step in a hole and sprain an ankle. Help each other out. And run for it!

Work at getting along with each other and with God.
Otherwise you’ll never get so much as a glimpse of God.
Make sure no one gets left out of God’s generosity.
Keep a sharp eye out for weeds of bitter discontent.
A thistle or two gone to seed can ruin a whole garden in no time.
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Watch out for the Esau syndrome:
 trading away God’s lifelong gift in order to satisfy a short-term appetite.
You well know how Esau later regretted that impulsive act and wanted God’s blessing—
but by then it was too late, tears or no tears.  (Hebrews 12:10-17)

A rod and a reprimand impart wisdom, but a child left undisciplined disgraces its mother.
(Proverbs 29:15) Discipline your children, for in that there is hope; do not be a willing party to their death. (Proverbs 19:18)

Teach a child how to follow the right way;
    even when he is old, he will stay on course.   

The Eternal is my shepherd, He cares for me always.
He provides me rest in rich, green fields beside streams of refreshing water.
    He soothes my fears; He makes me whole again,
    steering me off worn, hard paths to roads where truth and righteousness echo His name.
(Psalm 23:1-3)

Because You are with me, I fear no harm.
        Your rod and your staff give me courage.  (Psalm 23:4)

MAY anyone who fears the Eternal be shown the path he should choose.       

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His soul will NOT only live in goodness, but his children will inherit the land.

 God also says:

When the time’s ripe, I answer you. When victory’s due, I help you.
I form you and use you to reconnect the people with Me,
To put the land in order, to resettle families on the ruined properties.
I tell prisoners, ‘Come on out. You’re free!’ and those huddled in fear,
‘It’s all right. It’s safe now.’
There’ll be foodstands along all the roads, picnics on all the hills—
Nobody hungry, nobody thirsty, shade from the sun, shelter from the wind,
For the Compassionate One guides them, takes them to the best springs.
I’ll make all my mountains into roads, turn them into a superhighway.
Look: These coming from far countries, and those, out of the north,
These streaming in from the west,  and those from all the way down the Nile!

 I will liberate them from their captors and contend with your enemies.
    I will save your children.
 I will turn your enemies’ violence back on themselves,
        and they will suffer their own atrocities:
    They will feed on their own flesh and drink their own blood like wine.
        Then every person on earth will know for certain that I, the Eternal, am your Savior.
    I am your hero, the strong One of Jacob from whom you come.
        I will rescue you, whatever the price.

Look up, look around, look well!  See them all gathering, coming to you?
As sure as I am the living God”—God’s Decree—
    “you’re going to put them on like so much jewelry,
    you’re going to use them to dress up like a bride.

You’ll know then that I am God.  No one who hopes in Me ever regrets it
(from Isaiah 49)
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The Picture-Story of the Foolish Son Who Spent All His Money

And Jesus said, “There was a man who had two sons.  

The younger son said to his father, ‘Father, let me have the part of the family riches that will be coming to me.’

Then the father divided all that he owned between his two sons.   Soon after that the younger son took all that had been given to him and went to another country far away. There he spent all he had on wild and foolish living.   When all his money was spent, he was hungry. There was no food in the land.   He went to work for a man in this far away country. His work was to feed pigs.  He was so hungry he was ready to eat the outside part of the ears of the corn the pigs ate because no one gave him anything.

 “He began to think about what he had done. He said to himself, ‘My father pays many men who work for him. They have all the food they want and more than enough. I am about dead because I am so hungry.  I will get up and go to my father. I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.  I am not good enough to be called your son. But may I be as one of the workmen you pay to work?”’

 “The son got up and went to his father. While he was yet a long way off, his father saw him. The father was full of loving-pity for him. He ran and threw his arms around him and kissed him.  

The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am not good enough to be called your son.’

But the father said to the workmen he owned, ‘Hurry! Get the best coat and put it on him. Put a ring on his hand and shoes on his feet.  Bring the calf that is fat and kill it. Let us eat and be glad.  For my son was dead and now he is alive again. He was lost and now he is found. Let us eat and have a good time.’

 “The older son was out in the field. As he was coming near the house, he heard music and dancing. 

He called one of the servants and asked what was happening.

The servant answered, ‘Your brother has come back and your father has killed the fat calf. Your brother is in the house and is well.’ The older brother was angry and would not go into the house. His father went outside and asked him to come in. 

The older son said to his father, ‘All these many years I have served you. I have always obeyed what you said. But you never gave me a young goat so I could have a supper and a good time with my friends.   But as soon as this son of yours came back, you killed the fat calf. And yet he wasted your money with bad women.’

 “The father said to him, ‘My son, you are with me all the time. All that I have is yours.  It is right and good that we should have a good time and be glad. Your brother was dead and now he is alive again. He was lost and now he is found.’” (Luke 15:11-32)

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ONLY those who stand in awe of the Eternal will have intimacy with Him,
    and He will reveal His covenant to them.
PERPETUALLY my focus takes me to the Eternal because He will set me free from the traps laid for me.
(Psalm 25:12-15)       

May the Eternal’s answer find you, come to rescue you,
When you desperately cling to the end of your rope.
May the name of the True God of Jacob be your shelter.
May He extend hope and help to you from His holy sanctuary
    and support you from His sacred city of Zion.
(Psalm 20:1-2)

The Solution Is Life on God’s Terms

Those who think they can do it on their own end up obsessed with measuring their own moral muscle but never get around to exercising it in real life.

Those who trust God’s action in them find that God’s Spirit is in them—living and breathing God!

Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life. Focusing on the self is the opposite of focusing on God.
Anyone completely absorbed in self ignores God, ends up thinking more about self than God. That person ignores who God is and what He is doing. And God isn’t pleased at being ignored.  (Romans 8:5-8)

Open your eyes, you will see God at work in your life.
Open your ears, you will hear God’s voice.

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All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs.

But it’s not only around us; it’s within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We’re also feeling the birth pangs.

These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance.

That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother.

We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.

Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along.

If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter.

He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans.

He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God.

That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.
(Romans 8:22-28)

Lord I pray that I may have a listening ear so that I shall hear You.
Lord I pray that I will have a waiting heart so that You may come to me and show me new avenues of love through the power of Your Holy Spirit who leads and guides me into all truth every step of the way in life Amen.
   

Cause me to hear Your loving-kindness in the morning, for in You do I trust;
Cause me to know the way in which I should walk, for I lift up my soul to You.  (Psalm 143:8)
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Psalm 25
A song of David.

ALWAYS I will lift up my soul to You, Eternal One,
BECAUSE You are my God and I put my trust in You.
    Do not let me be humiliated.
    Do not let my enemies celebrate at my expense.
CERTAINLY none of the people who rely on You will be shamed,
    but those who are unfaithful, who intentionally deceive,
    they are the ones who will be disgraced.
DEMONSTRATE Your ways, O Eternal One.
    Teach me to understand so I can follow.
 EASE me down the path of Your truth.
    FEED me Your word
    because You are the True God who has saved me.
    I wait all day long, hoping, trusting in You.

GRACIOUS Eternal One, remember Your compassion; rekindle Your concern and love,
    which have always been part of Your actions toward those who are Yours.
 Do not HOLD against me the sins I committed when I was young;
    instead, deal with me according to Your mercy and love.
    Then Your goodness may be demonstrated in all the world, Eternal One.

IMMENSELY good and honorable is the Eternal;
    that’s why He teaches sinners the way.
 With JUSTICE, He directs the humble in all that is right,
    and He shows them His way.
 KIND and true are all the ways of the Eternal
    to the people who keep His covenant and His words.

 O LORD, the Eternal, bring glory to Your name,
    and forgive my sins because they are beyond number.
MAY anyone who fears the Eternal
    be shown the path he should choose.

His soul will NOT only live in goodness,
    but his children will inherit the land.
ONLY those who stand in awe of the Eternal will have intimacy with Him,
    and He will reveal His covenant to them.
 PERPETUALLY my focus takes me to the Eternal
    because He will set me free from the traps laid for me.

QUIETLY turn Your eyes to me and be compassionate toward me
    because I am lonely and persecuted.
RAPIDLY my heart beats as troubles build on the horizon.
    Come relieve me from these threats.
SEE my troubles and my misery,
    and forgive all my sins.
TAKE notice of my enemies.
    See how there are so many of them
    who hate me and would seek my violent destruction.
Watch over my soul,
    and let me face shame and defeat
UNASHAMED because You are my refuge.
May honor and strong character keep me safe.
    VIGILANTLY I wait for You, hoping, trusting.

Save Israel from all its troubles,
    O True God.
(Psalm 25)

In Matthew 25:14-28

Jesus provides a picture of the coming reality of the kingdom of heaven.

As they approach the time of His sacrifice, Jesus makes sure the disciples know that soon it will be too late; the door of opportunity will close, and for many the door will remain shut.

He gives them another image of the same reality to bring the picture into focus.

Once they were bridesmaids waiting for their bridegroom; now they are slaves waiting for their Master.

This time they are given responsibilities that will be rewarded.

The blessings of the Kingdom bring risks along with the benefits.

Jesus:  This is how it will be. It will be like a landowner who is going on a trip. He instructed his slaves about caring for his property.  He gave five talents to one slave, two to the next, and then one talent to the last slave—each according to his ability. Then the man left.

Promptly the man who had been given five talents went out and bartered and sold and turned his five talents into ten. 

And the one who had received two talents went to the market and turned his two into four.

And the slave who had received just one talent? He dug a hole in the ground and buried his master’s money there.

Eventually the master came back from his travels, found his slaves, and settled up with them.  The slave who had been given five talents came forward and told his master how he’d turned five into ten; then he handed the whole lot over to his master.

Master:   Excellent. You’ve proved yourself not only clever but loyal. You’ve executed a rather small task masterfully, so now I am going to put you in charge of something larger. But before you go back to work, come join my great feast and celebration.

Then the slave who had been given two talents came forward and told his master how he’d turned two into four, and he handed all four talents to his master.

Master:   Excellent. You’ve proved yourself not only clever but loyal. You’ve executed a rather small task masterfully, so now I am going to put you in charge of something larger. But before you go back to work, come join my great feast and celebration.

Finally the man who had been given one talent came forward.

Servant: Master, I know you are a hard man, difficult in every way. You can make a healthy sum when others would fail. You profit when other people are doing the work. You grow rich on the backs of others.   So I was afraid, dug a hole, and hid the talent in the ground. Here it is. You can have it.

The master was furious.

Master: You are a pathetic excuse for a servant! You have disproved my trust in you and squandered my generosity. You know I always make a profit!   You could have at least put this talent in the bank; then I could have earned a little interest on it!   Take that one talent away, and give it to the servant who doubled my money from five to ten.
(Matthew 25:14-28)

So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose?

If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us?

And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God’s chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger?

The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way!

Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture:

They kill us in cold blood because they hate you.
We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one.

None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.  (Romans 8:31-39)
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Lord Jesus, today I seek to work with You in our Father’s business. 

Holy Spirit fill me to overflowing as I seek to give and not withhold the blessing You pour forth.
May I be a faithful steward of the sacred gifts You have entrusted so that others may come to see and know You are the Way, the Truth and the Life; that no man comes to the Father but through You.  Amen.

We want you all to continue working until the end so that you’ll realize the certainty that comes with hope  and not grow lazy. We want you to walk in the footsteps of the faithful who came before you, from whom you can learn to be steadfast in pursuing the promises of God.
(Hebrews 6:11-12)

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The Cardinal Rule

The Cardinal Rule   
       
Many claim to have unfailing love, but a faithful person who can find?  (Proverbs 20:6)   

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life,

which God has promised to those who love Him.

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Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil,

and He Himself tempts no one.

But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.
Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin,
 and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers.  (James 1:12-18)

For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.  

(Hebrews 10:36) 

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
(James 1:2-4)           

May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.
(2 Thessalonians 3:5)

The Coming of the Kingdom

“But first He must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation. And just as it happened in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: they were eating, they were drinking, they were marrying, they were being given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.  (Luke 17:25-27)

But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.   

As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. (Genesis 6:8, Matthew 24:37)
                       
To those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, He will give eternal life.  (Romans 2:7)

Parable of the Persistent Widow

“Now, will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them?

“I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly.

However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?”  (Luke 18:7-8)

And He comes to the disciples, and finds them asleep, and said to Peter, “What, could you not watch with me one hour?”             

The Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to hold the unrighteous for punishment on the day of judgment.

And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come (2 Peter 2:9, Matthew 24:14)

           
Cardinal:  Of foremost importance; paramount: a cardinal rule.  Dark to deep or vivid red.

Cardinal,        
    “chief, pivotal,” from cardo (genitive cardinis) “that on which something turns or depends; pole of the sky,”

originally “door hinge,” of unknown origin.

 A New and Living Way

Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus,  by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh,  and since we have a great priest over the house of God,  let us draw near with a  sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.  Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful;   and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds,   not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.  (Hebrews 10:19-25)

I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.”  (John 10:9)  

       “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”  (John 14:6)

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
(John 1:1) 

The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you–they are full of the Spirit and life. 

(John 6:63)   

I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept My word and have not denied My name.”
(Revelation 3:8)

 But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation:

Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.  (1 Corinthians 13:13)
   
The cardinal is symbolic of the spirit’s awakening to truth and life through the blood of Jesus Christ, as He used the wine as representation of His blood during the last supper. When one sees a cardinal, one is reminded of life and hope that one will live on in eternity. The cardinal reminds people that there is hope.

    This is a prayer for knowledge and insight that only can come from God.

Father, may they clearly know Your will and achieve the height and depth of spiritual wisdom and understanding. 

May their lives be a credit to You, Lord; and what’s more, may they continue to delight You by doing every good work and growing in the true knowledge that comes from being close to You.  Strengthen them with Your infinite power, according to Your glorious might, so that they will have everything they need to hold on and endure hardship patiently and joyfully. 

Thank You, Father, as You have made us eligible to receive our portion of the inheritance given to all those set apart by the light. You have rescued us from dark powers and brought us safely into the kingdom of Your Son, whom You love  and in whom we are redeemed and forgiven of our sins [through His blood].

He is the exact image of the invisible God, the firstborn of creation, the eternal.  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.

  He has always been!

It is His hand that holds everything together.  He is the head of this body, the church. He is the beginning, the first of those to be reborn from the dead, so that in every aspect, at every view, in everything—

  He is first.

God was pleased that all His fullness should forever dwell in the Son  who, as predetermined by God,

bled peace into the world by His death on the cross as God’s means of reconciling to Himself the whole creation—

all things in heaven and all things on earth.
(Colossians 1:-10-20)

But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing (James 1:25)    May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.   (Romans 15:13)

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 “Only insofar as you eat and drink flesh and blood, the flesh and blood of the Son of Man, do you have life within you.The one who brings a hearty appetite to this eating and drinking has eternal life and will be fit and ready for the Final Day.

My flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. By eating my flesh and drinking my blood you enter into me and I into you.

In the same way that the fully alive Father sent me here and I live because of Him, so the one who makes a meal of Me lives because of Me. This is the Bread from heaven. Your ancestors ate bread and later died. Whoever eats this Bread will live always.”  (John 6:53-58)

Jesus the Bread of Life

Jesus answered and said to them, “Do not grumble among yourselves.”
No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.”

It is written in the prophets, ‘AND THEY SHALL ALL BE TAUGHT OF GOD.’

Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me.  (John 6:43-45)

And this is the will of Him who sent me,

that I shall lose none of all those He has given Me, but raise them up at the last day.”(John 6:39)

For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in Him shall have eternal life,

and I will raise them up at the last day.”        (John 6:40)

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Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.” (Matthew 26:41)

Then He said to them,
My soul is very sad and deeply grieved, so that I am almost dying of sorrow.
Stay here and keep awake and keep watch with Me.”  (Matthew 26:38)

Jesus Prays at Gethsemane

And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying,
My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.”

And He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter,
So, you men could not keep watch with Me for one hour?
“Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation;
the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”  (Matthew 26:39-41)

No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face.

All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; He’ll never let you be pushed past your limit;

He’ll always be there to help you come through it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)   

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Yield not to temptation, for yielding is sin;
Each victory will help you some other to win;
Fight manfully onward, dark passions subdue,
Look ever to Jesus, He’ll carry you through.

Ask the Savior to help you,
Comfort, strengthen and keep you;
He is willing to aid you,
He will carry you through.

Shun evil companions, bad language disdain,
God’s Name hold in reverence, nor take it in vain;
Be thoughtful and earnest, kindhearted and true,
Look ever to Jesus, He’ll carry you through.

To him that o’ercometh, God giveth a crown;
Through faith we shall conquer, though often cast down;
He Who is our Savior our strength will renew;
Look ever to Jesus, He’ll carry you through.
~Horatio R. Palmer, 1868

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There is powerful consistency in Jesus’ life. Again and again, He withdraws from the crowds to pray in solitude. Now, at this dramatic moment, Jesus again withdraws to pray—in a solitude made more intense by the fact that He has asked His disciples to pray, too, but they have fallen asleep. And in this moment of anguished emotion, Jesus mouths a prayer that resonates with His consistent message of the Kingdom. He has taught His disciples to pray, “May Your kingdom come,” which is a request for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. Now, drenched in sweat, Jesus Himself prays simply for God’s will to be done, even if it means He must drink the cup of suffering that awaits Him in the hours ahead.

We often speak of having faith in Jesus; but we seldom speak of the faith of Jesus, a faith He demonstrated consistently throughout His life and especially at its end. In a moment of agony, Jesus still trusted God, still yielded His will to God, and still approached God as “Father,” placing Himself in the position of a child, in trust—profound, tested, sincere.

Going a little farther, He fell with His face to the ground and prayed,

My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from Me. Yet not as I will, but as You will.”  (Matthew 26:39)
 
He went away a second time and prayed,

My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may Your will be done.”   (Matthew 26:42)
 
When He came back, He again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy.    (Matthew 26:43)       

Awake to righteousness and sin not for some have not the knowledge of God and I speak this to your shame.

Those who look to Him are radiant and their faces are never shrouded with same.

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Consider the kind of extravagant love the Father has lavished on us—He calls us children of God!

It’s true; we are His beloved children.

And in the same way the world didn’t recognize Him, the world does not recognize us either.

When we feel like we are not good enough to be loved by God,

we should remember that God’s love is greater than our doubts.

We must silence the sounds of condemnation so we can hear the voice of God’s loving assurance and remember that He has selected us to be part of His family.

My loved ones, we have been adopted into God’s family; and we are officially His children now.

The full picture of our destiny is not yet clear, but we know this much: when Jesus appears, we will be like Him because we will see Him just as He is.

 

All those who focus their hopes on Him and His coming seek to purify themselves just as He is pure.

Everyone who lives a life of habitual sin is living in moral anarchy. That’s what sin is.

You realize that He came to eradicate sins, that there is not the slightest bit of sin in Him.

The ones who live in an intimate relationship with Him do not persist in sin, but anyone who persists in sin has not seen and does not know the real Jesus.

Children, don’t let anyone pull one over on you. The one doing the right thing is just imitating Jesus, the Righteous One.

If you are wondering if your faith is authentic, take a look at your life. Are you doing what is right?

The one persisting in sin belongs to the diabolical one, who has been all about sin from the beginning. That is why the Son of God came into our world: to destroy the plague of destruction inflicted on the world by the diabolical one.

Everyone who has been born into God’s family avoids sin as a lifestyle because the genes of God’s children come from God Himself. Therefore, a child of God can’t live a life of persistent sin.  So it is not hard to figure out who are the children of God and who are the children of the diabolical one: those who lack right standing and those who don’t show love for one another do not belong to God.

The central truth—the one you have heard since the beginning of your faith—is that we must love one another.

Please do not act like Cain, who was of the evil one. He brutally murdered his own brother.

Why would he do something so despicable? Because his life was devoted to evil and selfishness, and his brother chose to do what is right.

Brothers and sisters, don’t be shocked if the corrupt world despises you. We know that we have crossed over from death to real life because we are devoted to true love for our brothers and sisters.

Anyone who does not love lives among corpses.

Do you ever wonder if you are just silently sleeping through days, months, and years? There is one indicator of real life: true love for others.

Everyone who hates other members of God’s family is a murderer. Does a murderer possess the beautiful life that never ends? No.  We know what true love looks like because of Jesus. He gave His life for us, and He calls us to give our lives for our brothers and sisters.

If a person owns the kinds of things we need to make it in the world but refuses to share with those in need, is it even possible that God’s love lives in him?  My little children, don’t just talk about love as an idea or a theory. Make it your true way of life, and live in the pattern of gracious love.

There is a sure way for us to know that we belong to the truth. Even though our inner thoughts may condemn us with storms of guilt and constant reminders of our failures, we can know in our hearts that in His presence God Himself is greater than any accusation. He knows all things.  My loved ones, if our hearts cannot condemn us, then we can stand with confidence before God.  Whatever we may ask, we receive it from Him because we follow His commands and take the path that pleases Him.  His command is clear: believe in the name of His Son, Jesus the Anointed, and love one another as He commanded.  

The one who follows His teaching and walks this path lives in an intimate relationship with God.

How do we know that He lives in us? By the gift of His Spirit.  (1 John 3)
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And He comes to the disciples, and finds them asleep, and said to Peter, “What, could you not watch with Me one hour?

Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord.

See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.  (James 5:7-8)
   
Behold, I am coming like a thief!

Blessed is the one who stays awake, keeping his garments on, that he may not go about naked and be seen exposed!

(Revelation 15:16)

Jesus teaches union with Himself

“I am the real vine, my Father is the vine-dresser. He removes any of my branches which are not bearing fruit and he prunes every branch that does bear fruit to increase its yield. Now, you have already been pruned by my words. You must go on growing in Me and I will grow in you. For just as the branch cannot bear any fruit unless it shares the life of the vine, so you can produce nothing unless you go on growing in Me. I am the vine itself, you are the branches. It is the man who shares My life and whose life I share who proves fruitful. For the plain fact is that apart from Me you can do nothing at all. The man who does not share My life is like a branch that is broken off and withers away. He becomes just like the dry sticks that men pick up and use for the firewood. But if you live your life in Me, and My words live in your hearts, you can ask for whatever you like and it will come true for you. This is how My Father will be glorified—in your becoming fruitful and being My disciples. 

(John 15:1-8)

Message to the Church in Philadelphia

Behold, I will cause those of the synagogue of Satan, who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie– I will make them come and bow down at your feet, and make them know that I have loved you.

Because you have kept the Word of My perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. ‘I am coming quickly; hold fast what you have, so that no one will take your crown.  (Revelation 3:9-11)

The Test

Next Jesus was taken into the wild by the Spirit for the Test. The Devil was ready to give it. Jesus prepared for the Test by fasting forty days and forty nights. That left him, of course, in a state of extreme hunger, which the Devil took advantage of in the first test:Since you are God’s Son, speak the word that will turn these stones into loaves of bread.”

 Jesus answered by quoting Deuteronomy:It takes more than bread to stay alive. It takes a steady stream of words from God’s mouth.”

 For the second test the Devil took him to the Holy City. He sat him on top of the Temple and said, “Since you are God’s Son, jump.” “The Devil goaded him by quoting Psalm 91: He has placed you in the care of angels. They will catch you so that you won’t so much as stub your toe on a stone.

 Jesus countered with another citation from Deuteronomy:Don’t you dare test the Lord your God.”

 For the third test, the Devil took him to the peak of a huge mountain. He gestured expansively, pointing out all the earth’s kingdoms, how glorious they all were. Then he said, “They’re yours—lock, stock, and barrel. Just go down on your knees and worship me, and they’re yours.”

 Jesus’ refusal was curt: “Beat it, Satan!” He backed his rebuke with a third quotation from Deuteronomy:Worship the Lord your God, and only him. Serve him with absolute single-heartedness.”

 The Test was over. The Devil left. And in his place, angels! Angels came and took care of Jesus’ needs.  (Matthew 4:1-11)

               
Cause me to hear Your loving kindness in the morning, for in You do I trust;
Cause me to know the way in which I should walk, for I lift up my soul to You.
(Psalm 143:8)

Open your eyes.  You will see God at work in your life.
Open your ears.  You will hear God’s Voice.

Jesus said, “Don’t bicker among yourselves over Me. You’re not in charge here. The Father who sent Me is in charge.

He draws people to Me—that’s the only way you’ll ever come.

Only then do I do My work, putting people together, setting them on their feet, ready for the End.

This is what the prophets meant when they wrote, ‘And then they will all be personally taught by God.’

Anyone who has spent any time at all listening to the Father, really listening and therefore learning, comes to Me to be taught personally—to see it with his own eyes, hear it with his own ears, from Me, since I have it firsthand from the Father. No one has seen the Father except the One who has his Being alongside the Father—and you can see Me.

“I’m telling you the most solemn and sober truth now: Whoever believes in Me has real life, eternal life. I am the Bread of Life. Your ancestors ate the manna bread in the desert and died. But now here is Bread that truly comes down out of heaven. Anyone eating this Bread will not die, ever. I am the Bread—living Bread!—who came down out of heaven. Anyone who eats this Bread will live—and forever! The Bread that I present to the world so that it can eat and live is Myself, this flesh-and-blood self.”  (John 6:43-51)       

Lord, I pray that I may have a listening ear so that I shall hear You.
I pray that I will have a waiting heart so that You may come to me and show me new avenues of love. Amen.

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But friends, you’re not in the dark, so how could you be taken off guard by any of this?
You’re sons of Light, daughters of Day.

We live under wide open skies and know where we stand.

So let’s not sleepwalk through life like those others. Let’s keep our eyes open and be smart. People sleep at night and get drunk at night. But not us!

Since we’re creatures of Day, let’s act like it.
Walk out into the daylight sober, dressed up in faith, love, and the hope of salvation.
(1 Thessalonians 5:4-8)

God had need of Jesus’ prayers on behalf of others.
Jesus only did what the Father showed Him so this is the process God uses and expects, when others have needs, for us to enter inter in with Christ in prayer for His followers.
                                               
Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. (Ephesians 6:11)

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This is like the time when Noah lived.
        I promised that I would never again destroy the world by a flood.
    So now I am promising never again to be so angry
        and punishing as I was when I sent you away.
 Even if the mountains heave up from their anchors,
        and the hills quiver and shake, I will not desert you.
    You can rely on My enduring love;
        My covenant of peace will stand forever.

So says the Eternal One, whose love won’t give up on you.

This promise stands to God’s covenant people: nothing can happen to them unless God wills it and makes it so.

Only if they invite it will destruction come.

Throughout this time of rebellion and punishment God makes it clear that they hold their fate in their own hands.

And if they haven’t understood the message, God tells them who will do the nation-building—an unworldly restoration.

He says that He provides the raw materials; He creates the tools and provides the skills with which the builders build.

He alone is responsible for restoring the nation.

And no matter what charges the adversary may concoct, God will not be put off.

Even though Israel rebelled and was unfaithful at one time, that is in the past.

The future is sure: God’s faithfulness to His covenant, His enduring love for His people, will stand for all time.

So the challenge goes out from the prophet to God’s people—speaking on God’s authority—to align themselves with God, accept Him as God, and they will surely win.

 Eternal One: Ah, Jerusalem, so miserable and distressed! I will rebuild you
        with floors of shimmering mosaics, set sapphires in your foundations.
 I will decorate your towers with rubies,
        and your gates will sparkle with all manner of precious gems.
    Costly jewels will adorn the entire wall that circles your precincts.
 Every one of your children, the people who call you home,
        will be students of the Eternal; oh, they’ll be so happy and live in peace!
 This time, you will be founded and grounded
        on right thought, speech, and action.
    And no one will trouble you, abuse or oppress you;
        you will know no fear and have no worries.
 If a nation marches against you,
        know that I am not behind it.
    Anyone foolish enough to challenge you will fall to you.
 I have created the blacksmith
        who readies the fire and forges weapons for wars;
    And I have created the destroyer to ravage and ruin.
 But no instrument forged against you will be allowed to hurt you,
        and no voice raised to condemn you will successfully prosecute you.
    It’s that simple; this is how it will be for the servants of the Eternal;
        I will vindicate them.
(Isaiah 54:10-17)   

Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that’s where life starts.
Don’t talk out of both sides of your mouth; avoid careless banter, white lies, and gossip.
Keep your eyes straight ahead; ignore all sideshow distractions.
Watch your step,  and the road will stretch out smooth before you.
Look neither right nor left;  leave evil in the dust.
(Proverbs 4:23-27)
                       

So since we stand surrounded by all those who have gone before, an enormous cloud of witnesses, let us drop every extra weight, every sin that clings to us and slackens our pace, and let us run with endurance the long race set before us.

We may feel alone, but we aren’t. We are surrounded by an army of witnesses. They have run the race of faith and finished well. It is now our turn.

Now stay focused on Jesus, who designed and perfected our faith. He endured the cross and ignored the shame of that death because He focused on the joy that was set before Him; and now He is seated beside God on the throne, a place of honor.

 Consider the life of the One who endured such personal attacks and hostility from sinners so that you will not grow weary or lose heart. Among you, in your striving against sin, none has resisted the pressure to the point of death, as He did.

God “disciplines” His “disciples.”

God is training us not just to live here and now, but to have life in the age to come, to share His life and holiness.

Indeed, you seem to have forgotten the proverb directed to you as children:

My child, do not ignore the instruction that comes from the Lord,
    or lose heart when He steps in to correct you;
For the Lord disciplines those He loves,
    and He corrects each one He takes as His own.

Endure hardship as God’s discipline and rejoice that He is treating you as His children, for what child doesn’t experience discipline from a parent?  But if you are not experiencing the correction that all true children receive, then it may be that you are not His children after all.  Remember, when our human parents disciplined us, we respected them. If that was true, shouldn’t we respect and live under the correction of the Father of all spirits even more?  Our parents corrected us for a time as seemed good to them, but God only corrects us to our good so that we may share in His holiness.

When punishment is happening, it never seems pleasant, only painful. Later, though, it yields the peaceful fruit called righteousness to everyone who has been trained by it.  So lift up your hands that are dangling and brace your weakened knees.  Make straight paths for your feet so that what is lame in you won’t be put out of joint, but will heal.

Pursue peace with everyone, and holiness, since no one will see God without it.
Watch carefully that no one falls short of God’s favor, that no well of bitterness springs up to trouble you and throw many others off the path. 
Watch that no one becomes wicked and vile like Esau, the son of Isaac, who for a single meal sold his invaluable birthright.  You know from the stories of the patriarchs that later, when he wished to claim his blessing, he was turned away. He could not reverse his action even though he shed bitter tears over it.

The Bible is a brutally honest book. It contains stories of liars, murderers, and adulterers; and these are the good guys. If we read the Bible looking only for positive role models, we’ll be quickly disappointed. But if we are honest with ourselves and confess our own faults, we will find in Scripture, particularly in the First Testament, that we have much in common with many broken saints of the past. But we must not stay broken. We must follow their path to transformation through repentance and faith. Repentance means a change of heart, a change of mind, and ultimately a change of how we live. God’s grace comes to us and enables us to turn away from sin and to turn back to Him.

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You have not come to the place that can be touched (as Israel did at Mount Sinai)—to a mountain crowned with blazing fire, darkness, gloom, and a windstorm— or to the blast of a trumpet and the sound of a voice—a voice and message so harsh that the people begged not to hear another word. (They could not bear the command that was given: that if even a beast touches the mountain, it must be stoned. The sight was so terrible that even Moses said, “I am trembling with fear.”)

No, instead you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, to the heavenly Jerusalem, to heavenly messengers unnumbered, to a joyful feast,  to the assembly of the firstborn registered as heaven’s citizens, to God the righteous Judge of all, and to the spirits of all the righteous who have been perfected. You have come to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant between God and humanity, and to His sprinkled blood, which speaks a greater word than the blood of Abel crying out from the earth.

See that you don’t turn away from the One who is speaking; for if the ones who heard and refused the One who spoke on earth faced punishment, then how much more will we suffer if we turn away from the One speaking from heaven— the One whose voice in earlier times shook the earth now makes another promise: “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the heavens”? The phrase, “Yet once more,” means that those things that can be shaken will be removed and taken away, namely, the first creation. As a result, those things that remain cannot be shaken. Therefore, let us all be thankful that we are a part of an unshakable Kingdom and offer to God worship that pleases Him and reflects the awe and reverence we have toward Him,  for He is like a fierce fire that consumes everything.
(Hebrews 12)

 

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If you find yourself between a rock and a hard place, remember that god does not give us what we want but what we need in order to grow and develop into a whole, full and complete life in jesus christ, the anointed one.

We need those challenging places to remind us that the Source of strength and hope is Christ alone not the works of mere flesh and blood.  For flesh and blood can not inherit the Kingdom of God.  We must be born again of incorruptible, imperishable Seed which is the Word of God who is Jesus the Christ the Son of the Living God, who is the Father Almighty.

It is in the hard places that we are given opportunity to learn and grow from adversity and affliction

so that we can say as did Joseph of old, “the LORD has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction!” 

It is in the LORD that we make our boast not in puny natural man but in the Eternal Almighty Sovereign Lord.

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Stories of faith and faithfulness are central to the First Testament.

The writer of Hebrews recalls some of the most memorable examples of how people of faith lived their lives.

But what is faith?

Faith is more than belief; it is trust, assurance, and firm conviction.

Ironically most of those who lived by faith never fully realized the promises God had made.

Like us they journeyed as strangers and exiles, longing for another country.

We should remember their patient faith when we face prolonged hardships and allow the trials we face to strengthen our faith rather than destroy it.

If we are comfortable here and don’t face suffering for our faith, perhaps we aren’t fully living by faith and looking forward to a future hope.

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God took the first step to rescue us from this corrupt world. He has granted us His power, revealed to us true knowledge, and spoken to us great promises. He has done all this for a reason: that we might participate in His own nature and reflect His own life. But we are not passive observers of God’s saving actions. We must receive His grace, grow in knowledge, and join Him in this work of redemption.

walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers.

They never primp or shop, but have you ever seen color and design quite like it?

The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them.

“If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think He’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do His best for you?

What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way He works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how He works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.

 “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.   (Matthew 6:29-34)

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During the time of Jesus, John the Baptist wanders around Israel in the tradition of the Hebrew prophets warning the people that they need to correct their attitudes and behaviors, to bring them better in line with what God expects and desires. He declares (warns, actually) that God is coming and will set things right.

During the circumstances of exile, the people don’t fully understand who or what this voice in the wilderness will be; centuries later, as the early Christian community looks back over the life of Jesus and John, they recognize the anonymous voice.

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A voice says, “Declare!
    But what shall I declare?
    All life is like the grass.
All of its grace and beauty fades like the wild flowers in a field.

The grass withers, the flower fades
    as the breath of the Eternal One blows away.
People are no different from grass.
The grass withers, the flower fades;
    nothing lasts except the Word of our God.
It will stand forever.

(Isaiah 40:6-8)

Bloom in the Midst of Doom and Gloom!

The message is not just doom and gloom. God determines that His people may return home to rebuild their lives! 

He makes the deserts between the present place of exile and their home burst with sweet water and bloom with beauty and good things to eat. Treacherous roads and threatening beasts yield to God’s desire that they return safely.

The message is one of comfort and encouragement to God’s downtrodden and discouraged people.

Why, then, do you, Jacob, inheritors of God’s promise,you, Israel, chosen of God—
Why do you say, “My troubled path is hidden from the Eternal;God has lost all interest in My cause”?
Don’t you know? Haven’t you heard? The Eternal, the Everlasting God,
The Creator of the whole world, never gets tired or weary.His wisdom is beyond understanding.
God strengthens the wearyand gives vitality to those worn down by age and care.
Young people will get tired;strapping young men will stumble and fall.
But those who trust in the Eternal One will regain their strength.
    They will soar on wings as eagles.
They will run—never winded, never weary.They will walk—never tired, never faint.

(Isaiah 40:27-31)

My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth.

I ask Him to strengthen you by His Spirit—not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength—that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite Him in. And I ask Him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.  (Ephesians 3:14-19)

 For though we walk in the world, we do not fight according to this world’s rules of warfare. 

The weapons of the war we’re fighting are not of this world but are powered by God and effective at tearing down the strongholds erected against His truth.   We are demolishing arguments and ideas, every high-and-mighty philosophy that pits itself against the knowledge of the one true God. We are taking prisoners of every thought, every emotion, and subduing them into obedience to the Anointed One.   As soon as you choose obedience, we stand ready to punish every act of disobedience.  (2 Corinthians 10:3-6)

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Faith is the assurance of things you have hoped for, the absolute conviction that there are realities you’ve never seen. It was by faith that our forebears were approved

Through faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God;

everything we now see was fashioned from that which is invisible.  

(Hebrews 11:1-3)

Faith begins as hope and indeed is unseen; so many doubt that it is real.

What follows is the proof that faith is a reality that can be trusted.

Faith does not rest upon cleverly devised fables invented by creative minds;

it rests upon the testimonies of eyewitnesses

who faithfully pass down what they see and hear to others.

There Were Many More Who Had Faith in God

What more should I say? There is not enough time to tell of Gideon and of Barak and of Samson and of Jephthah and of David and of Samuel and of the early preachers.   It was because these people had faith that they won wars over other countries. They were good leaders. They received what God promised to them. They closed the mouths of lions and stopped fire that was burning. They got away from being killed with swords. They were made strong again after they had been weak and sick. They were strong in war. They made fighting men from other countries run home. It was because some women had faith that they received their dead back to life.

Others chose to be beaten instead of being set free, because they would not turn against God.

In this way, they would be raised to a better life.  

Others were talked against. Some were beaten. Some were put in chains and in prison.

They were killed by stones being thrown at them. People were cut in pieces. They were tested. They were killed with swords. They wore skins of sheep and goats and had nothing they could call their own. They were hungry and sick.

Everyone was bad to them.  

They walked around in deserts and in mountains. They looked for caves and holes in the earth to live in.

They were too good for this world.  

It was because of their faith that God was pleased with them. But they did not receive what God had promised. 

God had planned something better for us. These men could not be made perfect without us.  (Hebrews 11:32-40)

All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised. 

For God had something better in mind for us, so that they would not reach perfection without us.  (Hebrews 11:39-40)

Because God had us in mind and had something better and greater in view for us, so that they [these heroes and heroines of faith] should not come to perfection apart from us [before we could join them].  (Hebrews 11:40)

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It is said that when an eagle molts, it is exchanging its old feathers for new ones. 

The way to a new and much more fulfilling life–

the everlasting abundance of life that Christ offers is the way of the cross where our selfish prideful meaning-less

natural lives are exchanged for Christ’s freedom to really live in God’s forever family!  The battle has already been won,

Jesus Victorious Christ was manifest for this purpose–to destroy the works of the devil.  God sent His Word (Jesus) to

heal and deliver from destruction.  He takes our cares when we take and give ourselves to Him and what He gives in return is much more than a sum of all the parts and parcels.  He takes ownership again of all that we are as we continually turn to Him confessing our great need of Him.  This is the victory that overcomes the world–trust in and obedience to God’s Word no matter what we endure to the end for we know that the end of the world, there’s a new beginning for those who are Christ’s seed. 

In 2 Chronicles 20 and throughout the Holy Scriptures we are told not to worry or become seized with panic because the battle is not ours but belongs to the LORD.  He will fight for us if we are standing steadfast fully reliant on His Word.

And this is why you need to be head-to-toe in the full armor of God: so you can resist during these evil days and be fully prepared to hold your ground.  (Ephesians 6:13)

 Finally, brothers and sisters, draw your strength and might from God.   Put on the full armor of God to protect yourselves from the devil and his evil schemes.   We’re not waging war against enemies of flesh and blood alone. No, this fight is against tyrants, against authorities, against supernatural powers and demon princes that slither in the darkness of this world, and against wicked spiritual armies that lurk about in heavenly places.

And this is why you need to be head-to-toe in the full armor of God: so you can resist during these evil days and be fully prepared to hold your ground.   Yes, stand—truth banded around your waist, righteousness as your chest plate,  and feet protected in preparation to proclaim the good news of peace. Don’t forget to raise the shield of faith above all else, so you will be able to extinguish flaming spears hurled at you from the wicked one.   Take also the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.  (Ephesians 6: -17)

Paul knows that the real battles and dangers we face are not against flesh and blood.

The enemies we see are real enough, but they are animated by spiritual forces of darkness that stay strategically hidden from view. These powers often reveal themselves in institutional evils—genocide, terror, tyranny, and oppression—but the weapons needed to combat them are not earthly weapons at all. What is needed, Paul advises, is to stand firm in God’s power and to suit up in the full armor of God. Although the devil and his demon armies are destined for destruction, they are serious threats now and must be resisted and beaten back. For Paul, the best offensive weapons we have are the Word of God and prayer.

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“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

–Aristotle

 
In Acts 17, we see Paul and Silas are keeping a low profile in order to advance the cause of Jesus. Paul’s first miracle in the area is to cast out an evil spirit from a girl. This sets off an unexpected chain of events bringing the men into the city court to be beaten before the crowds. This sounds like the start of a very bad day. Silas must wonder, “Paul, what were you doing? Is your aggravation with this wandering girl worth all this trouble?But they neither fight nor despair; instead, they sing, pray to God, and love their captors. Paul and Silas demonstrate that believers are not easily distracted or depressed as long as serving God is their priority.
The normal, natural state of humanity is discontent and quiet desperation.
It takes a powerful, spiritual presence to transform anxiety into joyous satisfaction.
Ironically, it may be the shackles more than his freedom that schools Paul in the art of contentment.
Despite the chains, Paul discovers this beautiful state of inner peace through the power of Jesus residing in him.

 So Paul found himself alone for some time in Athens. He would walk through the city, feeling deeply frustrated about the abundance of idols there.   As in the previous cities, he went to the synagogue. Once again, he engaged in debate about Jesus with both ethnic Jews and devout Greek-born converts to Judaism. He would even wander around in the marketplace, speaking with anyone he happened to meet.   Eventually he got into a debate with some Epicurean and Stoic philosophers. Some were dismissive from the start.

Philosophers: What’s this fast-talker trying to pitch?

Others: He seems to be advocating the gods of distant lands.

They said this because of what Paul had been preaching about Jesus and the resurrection.

The philosophers misunderstand Paul’s message. They think he is talking about two deities: Jesus and Anastasis (the Greek word for “resurrection”).

This stirred their curiosity, because the favorite pastime of Athenians (including foreigners who had settled there) was conversation about new and unusual ideas. So they brought him to the rock outcropping known as the Areopagus, where Athens’ intellectuals regularly gathered for debate, and they invited him to speak.

Athenians: May we understand this new teaching of yours? It is intriguingly unusual. We would love to know its meaning.

Paul:   Athenians, as I have walked your streets, I have observed your strong and diverse religious ethos. You truly are a religious people.   I have stopped again and again to examine carefully the religious statues and inscriptions that fill your city. On one such altar, I read this inscription: “TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.” I am not here to tell you about a strange foreign deity, but about this One whom you already worship, though without full knowledge.   This is the God who made the universe and all it contains, the God who is the King of all heaven and all earth. It would be illogical to assume that a God of this magnitude could possibly be contained in any man-made structure, no matter how majestic.   Nor would it be logical to think that this God would need human beings to provide Him with food and shelter—after all, He Himself would have given to humans everything they need—life, breath, food, shelter, and so on.

This is the only universal God, the One who makes all people whatever their nationality or culture or religion.

This God made us in all our diversity from one original person, allowing each culture to have its own time to develop, giving each its own place to live and thrive in its distinct ways.  His purpose in all this was that people of every culture and religion would search for this ultimate God, grope for Him in the darkness, as it were, hoping to find Him. Yet, in truth, God is not far from any of us.  For you know the saying, “We live in God; we move in God; we exist in God.” And still another said, “We are indeed God’s children.”   Since this is true, since we are indeed offspring of God’s creative act, we shouldn’t think of the Deity as our own artifact, something made by our own hands—as if this great, universal, ultimate Creator were simply a combination of elements like gold, silver, and stone.   No, God has patiently tolerated this kind of ignorance in the past, but now God says it is time to rethink our lives and reject these unenlightened assumptions.  

He has fixed a day of accountability, when the whole world will be justly evaluated by a new, higher standard: not by a statue, but by a living man. God selected this man and made Him credible to all by raising Him from the dead.

When they heard that last phrase about resurrection from the dead, some shook their heads and scoffed, but others were even more curious.  (Acts 17: -32)

Recently, the Lord led me to speak His Word to a rather religious minded yet dead wrong person.  In obedient trust to

the One who sent me, I simply sowed and watered His Seed.  That man was wandering away from the beautiful simplicity of the Gospel, thinking that seeing is believing.  Yet Jesus Christ had to reprimand and rebuke His inner circle of disciples

and even after His resurrection, had this to say to Thomas, “…do not be unbelieving, be believing.”  Doubt, unbelief

fear and worry inhibit and hinder the life of God seeking to abort its growth in your heart.  When you see a weed choking

the life from a plant, you remove it.  You don’t want them to cohabit because the weed robs the plant of vital nutrition

and blocks the plant from receiving the sunlight it needs in order to grow healthy and strong.  Likewise with falsehood
and untruth.  It is a greater kindness to speak the Truth for this is real love. 
 
Brothers and sisters, in light of all I have shared with you about God’s mercies, I urge you to offer your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice to God, a sacred offering that brings Him pleasure; this is your reasonable, essential worship.  Do not allow this world to mold you in its own image. Instead, be transformed from the inside out by renewing your mind. As a result, you will be able to discern what God wills and whatever God finds good, pleasing, and complete.  (Romans 12:1-2)
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Here’s His objective: through the church, He intends now to make known His infinite and boundless wisdom to all rulers and authorities in heavenly realms.   This has been His plan from the beginning, one that He has now accomplished through the Anointed One, Jesus our Lord. His faithfulness  to God has made it possible for us to have the courage we need and the ability to approach the Father confidentlySo I ask you not to become discouraged because I am jailed for speaking out on your behalf. In fact, my suffering is something that brings you glory.

It is for this reason that I bow my knees before the Father,   after whom all families in heaven above and on earth below receive their names, and pray:

 Father, out of Your honorable and glorious riches, strengthen Your people. Fill their souls with the power of Your Spirit   so that through faith the Anointed One will reside in their hearts. May love be the rich soil where their lives take root.

May it be the bedrock where their lives are founded so that together   with all of Your people they will have the power to understand that the love of the Anointed is infinitely long, wide, high, and deep, surpassing everything anyone previously experienced. God, may Your fullness flood through their entire beings.

This is a doxology of praise to the One with power that is beyond understanding.

 Now to the God who can do so many awe-inspiring things, immeasurable things, things greater than we ever could ask or imagine through the power at work in us,   to Him be all glory in the church and in Jesus the Anointed from this generation to the next, forever and ever. Amen.  (Ephesians 3:10-21)

 

The Lord—a Safe Place                           
In the Lord I am safe.  (Psalm 11:1)   

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The PLACE where I worship is the wide open spaces
Then the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground.

He breathed the breath of life into the man’s nostrils, and the man became a living person.           

For the earth is the LORD’s and everything in it.
To Him alone belong glory, honor and praise!
 
Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from Your presence?  (Psalm 139:7)

Even in the wilderness for that is the PLACE the devil confronted Jesus to test Him.  Devil defeated; Jesus Victorious Christ!
Even in the wilderness for that is the PLACE the woman in Revelation 12 has PREPARED for her nourishment, shelter and sustenance.
Even in the wilderness for that is the PLACE God had Moses lead His people out to worship Him.

Surely the presence of the Lord is in this PLACE and we failed to discern it.

I can never be lost to Your Spirit! I can never get away from my God!  If I go up to heaven, You are there;

if I go down to the place of the dead, You are there.  

If I ride the morning winds to the farthest oceans, even there Your hand will guide me,

Your strength will support me. 

If I try to hide in the darkness, the night becomes light around me.  

For even darkness cannot hide from God; to You the night shines as bright as day. Darkness and light are both alike to You.
(Psalm 139:7-12)           
 
I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land.

I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”  (Genesis 28:15)

Miracles “happen” to those who believe for those that come to God must believe He is and that He rewards those who

diligently seek Him.

As Jacob when he was fleeing the wrath of his wronged brother and “happened” to spend the night in the desert

and in that PLACE where rocks were his pillow, the ground his bed, in that PLACE God rolled back the curtain, opening the windows of heaven and lowered a stairway!  A highway between the holy on earth as in heaven as He desires us to be one with Him as Jesus was one with the Father by the eternal Spirit.
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How GOD’S Children Must Live

As God was with Jacob

As God was with Moses

As God was with Joshua

When we take off ‘our‘ shoes, we come to the PLACE of perceiving that the earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof, this is standing righteous in Christ Jesus who gave Himself for us to break the curse over the dry, barren natural hard-hearts of sinful man to pour out His everlasting abundantly full life transforming hearts into holy ground. 

Everywhere you then place your foot, you take God’s Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. 

Jacob’s Ladder
Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”  Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I did not know it.”  He was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.” 

(Genesis 28:15-17)

Do you really THINK it matters where you are, whether in the palace or wilderness when you KNOW that God is GOD, you WORSHIP Him!

Consider the prophet Elijah confronting  50 prophets of Baal and  400 prophets of Asherah who are supported by Jezebel.

in the wilderness.  Devil defeated; Jesus Victorious Christ!

Consider Queen Esther who God PLACED in the enemy’s palace, you have come to God’s Kingdom for such a time as this!       

Have you come to the PLACE where nothing can distract you from the only One who alone is Faithful and True? 

No one and nothing can compare.  We move beyond comparisons

For it is in Him we live, move and have our being!  

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Who have we on earth or in heaven but the LORD and He alone. 

He is all we need.

Don’t be frustrated, distracted, discouraged but be transformed by the renewing of your mind

so that you may prove for yourselves what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God,

even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect  in His sight for you .

The times of refreshing that come only from abiding (living) in the presence of the Lord. 

Dwelling in His tabernacle. 

For it is in His presence that there is fulness (completeness, wholeness) of joy, joy unspeakable and full of His glory!

My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in Christ Jesus in glory!

For a day in Your courts is better than 1000 elsewhere!

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No matter what if your heart is turned toward the Lord;

He will keep bringing you back to the PLACE where nothing else really matters. 

Where all else pales but His light of life residing within your heart.

IN THIS PLACE

When I was beleaguered and bitter,           totally consumed by envy,
I was totally ignorant, a dumb ox            in Your very presence.
I’m still in Your presence,            but You’ve taken my hand.
You wisely and tenderly lead me,     and then You bless me.

You’re all I want in heaven!     You’re all I want on earth!
When my skin sags and my bones get brittle,     God is rock-firm and faithful.
Look! Those who left You are falling apart!     Deserters, they’ll never be heard from again.
But I’m in the very presence of God—     oh, how refreshing it is!
I’ve made Lord God my home.     God, I’m telling the world what You do!
(Psalm 73:21-28)
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    God’s business is putting things right

When all around you seems to becoming unraveled and falling apart, turn and look to God

for He is the Lord and He changes not. 

As He says in Malachi chapter 3—

 These are the words of the Eternal, Commander of heavenly armies:

Eternal One: Pay attention! I am sending My messenger, and he will clear the road ahead for Me.
    The Lord you seek will suddenly arrive at His temple.
        And the Messenger of God’s covenant, your soul’s delight,  Watch, because He, too, is coming.

God declares His Anointed One will come, and the way will be prepared. Notice has been given: be ready.

Can anyone live through the day when He arrives?     Will anyone be left standing when He appears?
He is a purifying fire;     He is like lye soap.
Like a refiner of silver,     He will purify the descendants of Levi—Until they are pure, unalloyed gold and silver.
    Then they will draw near to the Eternal One, Presenting offerings with righteous, clean hands.

Then the Eternal One will unequivocally accept the sweet offering of Judah and Jerusalem as He did in the days of old,

as in the former years when the covenant was new.

Eternal One: Then I will approach you for judgment, and I will be a swift witness against the constant sorcerers;

the chronic adulterers; the habitual liars; those who continue cheating wages from their hired laborer, a widow, or an orphan; and those who always reject the immigrant, not fearing Me, the Eternal, Commander of heavenly armies. 

Because I am the Eternal One, I never change; as a result, you children of Jacob have not been destroyed though your blessing may have been delayed.

From the days when your ancestors served Me, you have turned from and ignored My statutes.

Return to Me and I, the Eternal, Commander of heavenly armies, will return to you.

But you shameless people ask, “How will we return?   Will someone steal from God?” Yet you are always stealing from Me!

But you self-centered people still ask, “How have we stolen from You?” In the tithes and the offerings you have not given Me as the law requires!   You are cursed with a curse, for as an entire nation you are stealing from Me. 

To rectify this situation, you must bring the entire tithe into the storage house in the temple so that there may be food for Me and for the Levites in My house.

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Feel free to test Me now in this. See whether or not I, the Eternal, Commander of heavenly armies, will open the windows of heaven to you and pour a blessing down upon you until all needs are satisfied. 

I will rebuke the swarm of locusts devouring your crops, and the devourer will not cause the produce you have grown in the earth to decay or the vines in the field to drop their grapes. 

And all the nations will call you blessed, for you will be a land of delight. I, the Eternal, Commander of heavenly armies, promise you this.

Your words of rebellion against Me have been strong. Yet you ask, “What have we said against You?” 

You have said, “Serving God is a waste of time,” and, “What benefits have we received by following Him as we mourned on our journey before the Eternal, Commander of heavenly armies?  Now we believe the bluster of the arrogant and agree they are blessed; we encourage the wicked who also test God and escape.

Then those who fear the Eternal One consulted each other about God’s charges, each one to his neighbor,

and the Eternal One paid attention and heard.

A book of remembrance was written before Him for those who honored the Eternal One and valued His name and the good reputation.

Eternal One:   And they will be Mine on that day when I, the Eternal, Commander of heavenly armies, make My unique treasure—which is the kingdom of Israel. I will have pity on them as a man has pity on his son who serves him.

And you will return and notice the difference between the righteous and the wicked,

between those serving God and those not serving Him. 
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If My people who are called by My name put away their pride and pray, and look for My face, and turn from their sinful ways, then I will hear from heaven. I will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.  

Now My eyes will be open. And My ears will hear the prayer that is made in this PLACE. 

For I have chosen this house and have made it holy, that My name may be there forever.

My eyes and My heart will always be there.  (2 Chronicles 7:14-16)

There’s more to sex than mere skin on skin. Sex is as much spiritual mystery as physical fact.

As written in Scripture, “The two become one.”

Since we want to become spiritually one with the Master, we must not pursue the kind of sex that avoids commitment and intimacy, leaving us more lonely than ever—the kind of sex that can never “become one.”

There is a sense in which sexual sins are different from all others. In sexual sin we violate the sacredness of our own bodies, these bodies that were made for God-given and God-modeled love, for “becoming one” with another.

Or didn’t you realize that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit?

Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for?

The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you.

God owns the whole works. So let people see God in and through your body.
(1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

Let no man divide what God has put together.”  (Mark 10:9)

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Is there room in your life for God?
Have you come to the PLACE where nothing else really matters?
Everything changes when He walks into view.

Make room for God even as there was no PLACE found in the Inn

yet the Lord came to be born in a lowly, humble station, a manger in a PLACE where animals rest.

Miracles happen to those who believe

Everything changes but the Truth endures forever
His Love never runs out.

Have you finally come to the PLACE in your life where you realize that there is none faithful and true but God alone?
   
In the Lord I am safe.  (Psalm 11:1)

Content Whatever the Circumstances

I’m glad in God, far happier than you would ever guess—

I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances.

I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little.

I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty.

Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.   (Philippians 4)

This is the second time in a week that God took me to both of these raising from the dead and even Jairus’ daughter. 

God is speaking about the PLACE the PLACE of being in His will. 

His PLACE is the mercy seat for mercy triumphs over judgment. 

Christ is seated in the highest PLACE of honor by the throne of God

and those who overcome are promised to sit in thrones too. 

Have you come to the PLACE where you are seated and your enemies have become His footstool? 

For it is in that PLACE of worship in spirit and in truth where every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God the Father.

This is the victory that overcomes the world even our faith.
Who is is that overcomes but he who believes that Jesus is who He says.
This is faith taking God at His Word.

Do not be unbelieving, be believing!  (John 20:27)

Have you come to the PLACE where you say, “Lord, not my will but Yours be done?
No matter how much it hurts
How difficult the task
Or how it seems
No matter how high the mountain
This faith grows even as a tiny mustard seed to provide nurture and encouragement planted in the PLACE sent.
This faith is the substance that moves mountains for it moves the heart of God the Father by honoring the Son. 

It does not grieve God’s Holy Spirit but actively cooperates with His leading and guiding into all truth.

Be willing.       
The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God, (Mark 1:1)
Before the coming of Jesus, John preached repentance and baptism to all the people of Israel.
(Acts 13:24) 

As it is written in Isaiah the prophet:I will send my messenger ahead of You, who will prepare Your way”   (Mark 1:2)
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me.”
(Matthew 28:18)
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The Leper’s Prayer
While He was in one of the cities, behold, there was a man covered with leprosy; and when he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and implored Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.”  And He stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” And immediately the leprosy left him.  (Luke 5:12-13)

The Leper’s Prayer
When Jesus came down from the mountain, large crowds followed Him.  And a leper came to Him and bowed down before Him, and said, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.”  Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, saying,

I am willing; be cleansed.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.  (Matthew 8:1-3)       

The Leper’s Prayer
And a leper came to Jesus, beseeching Him and falling on his knees before Him, and saying, “If You are willing, You can make me clean.”  Moved with compassion, Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him,

I am willing; be cleansed.”  (Mark 1:40-41)

How We Must Live

You must love them as Christ loved the church. He gave His life for it. 

Christ did this so He could set the church apart for Himself.

He made it clean by the washing of water with the Word. 

Christ did this so the church might stand before Him in shining-greatness.

There is to be no sin of any kind in it. It is to be holy and without blame.   (Ephesians 5:24-27)

 Do as God would do. Much-loved children want to do as their fathers do. 

Live with love as Christ loved you. He gave Himself for us, a gift on the altar to God which was as a sweet smell to God.

Do not let sex sins or anything sinful be even talked about among those who belong to Christ.

Do not always want everything. Do not be guilty of telling bad stories and of foolish talk. These things are not for you to do. Instead, you are to give thanks for what God has done for you. 

Be sure of this! No person who does sex sins or who is not pure will have any part in the holy nation of Christ and of God.

The same is true for the person who always wants what other people have. This becomes a god to him.  

Do not let anyone lead you in the wrong way with foolish talk. The anger of God comes on such people because they choose to not obey Him. Have nothing to do with them. At one time you lived in darkness. Now you are living in the light that comes from the Lord. Live as children who have the light of the Lord in them. This light gives us truth. It makes us right with God and makes us good. Learn how to please the Lord. Have nothing to do with the bad things done in darkness. Instead, show that these things are wrong. It is a shame even to talk about these things done in secret.   All things can be seen when they are in the light. Everything that can be seen is in the light. 

The Holy Writings say, “Wake up, you who are sleeping. Rise from the dead and Christ will give you light.”

Be Filled With the Spirit of God

 So be careful how you live. Live as men who are wise and not foolish. Make the best use of your time. These are sinful days. Do not be foolish. Understand what the Lord wants you to do.  (Ephesians 5:1-16)

Good people, cheer God!     Right-living people sound best when praising.
Use guitars to reinforce your Hallelujahs!     Play His praise on a grand piano!
Invent your own new song to Him;    give Him a trumpet fanfare.

For God’s Word is solid to the core;  everything He makes is sound inside and out.
He loves it when everything fits,   when His world is in plumb-line true.
Earth is drenched  in God’s affectionate satisfaction.

The skies were made by God’s command; He breathed the word and the stars popped out.
He scooped Sea into his jug, put Ocean in His keg.
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Earth-creatures, bow before God;  world-dwellers—down on your knees!
Here’s why: He spoke and there it was,  in PLACE the moment He said so.

God takes the wind out of Babel pretense, He shoots down the world’s power-schemes.
God’s plan for the world stands up,  all His designs are made to last.
Blessed is the country with God for God; Blessed are the people He’s put in His will.

From high in the skies God looks around, He sees all Adam’s brood.
From where He sits He overlooks all us earth-dwellers.
He has shaped each person in turn; now He watches everything we do.

No king succeeds with a big army alone, No warrior wins by brute strength.
Horsepower is not the answer; No one gets by on muscle alone.

Watch this: God’s eye is on those who respect Him,  the ones who are looking for His love.
He’s ready to come to their rescue in bad times;  in lean times He keeps body and soul together.

We’re depending on God; He’s everything we need.
What’s more, our hearts brim with joy  since we’ve taken for our own His holy name.
Love us, God, with all You’ve got—that’s what we’re depending on.
(Psalm 33)

            In the Lord I am safe.  (Psalm 11:1)

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Following are the two accounts the LORD keeps returning me to in addition to the woman with issue of blood and Jairus’ daughter BOTH miracles occurred after the legion of demons evacuated the territory on the other side of the river.

In one PLACE recorded in 2 Kings 4–
 The wife of one of the prophets’ disciples pleaded with Elisha.

Woman: My husband who served you is now dead. He greatly feared the Eternal. You yourself know this to be true. The creditor is now trying to take away my only two children and make them into slaves.

Elisha:   What is it that you want me to do? Do you have anything of worth in your house?

Woman: I don’t really have much of anything. The only thing I have in my house that might be of any worth is a jar of oil.

Elisha:   Borrow as many large empty containers as you can. Ask neighbors for anything they can give to you. Be sure to collect a lot of them.   Then enclose yourself in a room with only you and your sons. Pour oil into as many of the containers as you can. Set aside the full ones.

The widow went away from Elisha and enclosed herself in a room with her sons. One at a time, her sons held a container before her, and she poured.   Soon all of the containers were filled.

Woman: Bring me another container.

Son: There aren’t any left.

It was then that the oil ran out.  The widow then went back to Elisha, the man of God.

Elisha: Now go sell the oil, and pay the creditor what you owe. Then your children won’t be made into slaves, and you and your sons can live on the remaining money.
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One day, Elisha traveled to Shunem. There was a well-known woman who lived there, and she convinced him to eat something. So whenever he walked by her house, he went in and ate.

Shunammite Woman (to her husband):   This man, who comes by here frequently to eat, is a holy man of God.   Can we please make a little room for him—just a simple setting: a bed, a lamp, a table, and a chair. That way, whenever he comes here, he can rest in his own room and have his privacy.

Elisha went by their house to eat one day, and he went and lay down in the upper room. He spoke to his servant, Gehazi.

Elisha: Tell the Shunammite woman to come here.

So Gehazi called out her name, and she came to him.

Elisha (to Gehazi):   Tell her, “You have been fearfully attentive to us. We thank you for all of your care. Now what can I do to repay you? Would you like for me to speak to the king or the military commander on your behalf?”

Shunammite Woman: No, that’s OK. I dwell with my own people.

Elisha (to Gehazi):   Is there anything at all that I can do for her?

Gehazi: Actually, her husband is an old man, and she doesn’t have a son.

Elisha:   Tell her to come here.

Gehazi called out her name, and she came and stood at the entrance to the room.

Elisha:   This time next year, when spring is full of new life, you will hold a son of your own in your arms.

Shunammite Woman: That’s impossible, my lord! You are a man of great integrity, a man of God, so please do not deceive me, your servant.

But that time next year, the Shunammite woman did conceive and deliver a son, just as Elisha said she would.  When the child was older, he walked out to his father, who was harvesting the fields with the reapers.

Son (to his father):  My head hurts! My head hurts!

Father (to his servant): Take the child inside to his mother.

The servant brought the child inside to his mother; and about noon, while the boy was sitting in his mother’s lap, he died.  She took his lifeless body and laid him down on Elisha’s bed. She then closed the door and went away.

Shunammite Woman (to her husband):   I beg you to send me a servant and a donkey so that I can go find Elisha, the man of God. As soon as I do, I will come back here.

Father:  Why is it that you are so anxious to find him today? Today is not a holy day—a new moon or a Sabbath.

Shunammite Woman: Don’t worry; all will be well.

She prepared the donkey and gave instructions to her servant.

Shunammite Woman: Go quickly! Don’t slow down unless I tell you to.

She rode quickly toward the man of God who was staying about a day away on Mount Carmel. As she approached, Elisha saw her at a distance.

Elisha (to Gehazi): Look! It’s the Shunammite woman.   Go quickly to see what she wants. Ask her, “Is everything fine? Is your husband well? Is your son well?”

Shunammite Woman: Everything is fine.

When she approached the man of God at the mountain, she fell to the ground and hugged his feet. Gehazi approached to pull her away, but the man of God stopped him.

Elisha: Leave her be. Her very soul is distressed, but the Eternal has kept her troubles hidden from me.

Shunammite Woman:   Was it I who asked for a son? I told you not to mislead me!

Elisha (to Gehazi):   Prepare yourself, and carry my staff to where the boy is now. Do not acknowledge any blessing to anyone on your way there. If someone speaks a blessing to you, do not respond. When you get there, lay my staff on the boy’s face.

Shunammite Woman (to Elisha):  As certain as the life of the Eternal and your own life, I will not leave without you.

Elisha then stood up and followed her to her house.   Gehazi went ahead of them and laid the staff on the boy’s face, but nothing happened. The boy did not move or make a sound. Gehazi went back to Elisha and reported this to him: “The boy did not wake up.”

Elisha arrived at the house and saw the lifeless body of the boy lying on Elisha’s bed.  

He went into the room, closed the door behind both of them, and prayed to the Eternal.

Elisha approached the boy and lay down, placing his mouth on the boy’s mouth, his eyes on the boy’s eyes, and his hands on the boy’s hands. He covered the boy with his own body, and warmth returned to the boy’s body.

Elisha turned around and paced back and forth in the house, then he went back into the room and covered the boy’s body with his own body. The boy sneezed seven times, and then he opened his eyes.

Elisha (to Gehazi): Tell the Shunammite woman to come here.

Gehazi told the Shunammite woman to go inside the room, and she did.

Elisha: Lift up your son, for he is alive.

She fell to the floor before Elisha’s feet, bowing to the ground, and she wept with happiness. She picked up her son and left the room with him.
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 “The days are coming,” says the Lord God, “when I will send a time upon the land when the people will be very hungry.

They will not be hungry for bread or thirsty for water, but they will be hungry to hear the Words of the Lord. 

People will go from sea to sea, and from the north to the east. They will go from place to place to look for the Word of the Lord, but they will not find it. On that day the beautiful, pure, young women and the young men will lose their strength and fall because of thirst.   As for those who swear by the false gods of Samaria, saying, ‘As your god lives, O Dan,’ and ‘As the way of Beersheba lives,’ they will fall and never rise again.”  (Amos 8:11-14)

God blesses you who are hungry now, for you will be satisfied.

God blesses you who weep now, for in due time you will laugh.

(Luke 6:21)

Let the Name of the LORD be lifted high now in the PLACE for we have come to His Kingdom for such a TIME as this!

And in Acts chapter 9 is recorded these accounts:

Peter hadn’t been idle during all this time.

He was having a number of amazing experiences of his own, traveling from group to group and visiting the various communities of believers.

Once he came to a town called Lydda, a border town between Samaria and Judea, and met with God’s special people there.   He visited a man named Aeneas. This poor fellow had been paralyzed for eight years, unable to leave his bed.

Peter:  Aeneas, Jesus the Anointed heals you. Get up! Now you can make your own bed!

And immediately—he got up!  All the local residents—both of Lydda and nearby Sharon—saw Aeneas healthy and strong again, so they turned to the Lord.

 In a nearby coastal city, Joppa, there lived a disciple whose Aramaic name was Tabitha, or Dorcas in Greek. She was a good woman—devotedly doing good and giving to the poor.

While Peter was in Lydda, she fell sick and died. Her fellow disciples washed her body and laid her in an upstairs room. 

They had heard Peter was nearby, so two of them went with an urgent message, “Please come to Joppa as soon as possible.”

Peter went with them and immediately entered the room where the corpse had been PLACED.

It was quite a scene—the widows of the community were crowded in the room, weeping, showing the various items of clothing that Dorcas had made for them.

Peter asked them to leave the room; then he got on his knees. He prayed for a while and then turned to her body.

Peter: Tabitha, get up!

She opened her eyes, saw Peter, and sat up.  Giving her his hand, Peter lifted her up.

Then he called in the other disciples—including the widows—and reintroduced them to their beloved friend. 

The news of this miracle spread throughout the city, and many believed in the Lord

Peter stayed in Joppa for some time as the guest of Simon, a tanner by profession.
                                               
All that is within me bless Your holy name

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So stand up and do not be moved.

Wear a belt of truth around your body. Wear a piece of iron over your chest which is being right with God. 

Wear shoes on your feet which are the Good News of peace. 

Most important of all, you need a covering of faith in front of you. This is to put out the fire-arrows of the devil.

The covering for your head is that you have been saved from the punishment of sin.

Take the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God.

How and What to Pray For

You must pray at all times as the Holy Spirit leads you to pray. Pray for the things that are needed.

You must watch and keep on praying. Remember to pray for all Christians. 

Pray for me also. Pray that I might open my mouth without fear.

Pray that I will use the right words to preach that which is hard to understand in the Good News. 

This is the reason I was sent out.  (Ephesians 6:14-20)

“Because he holds fast to Me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows My name.”  (Psalm 91:14)Image

Arrested Development

I’m talking to you

 You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’

I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst.

When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives His best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.

 “In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity.

Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.”  (Matthew 5:43-48)

 Who the Son of God sets free is free to give just as he has received.  At some point we were all arrested in development.

Start speaking freedom and release the captivated ones from the enemy’s devices.  See them as Christ sees them–

Snared in the devil’s traps, unable to stand, let alone move.  Remember,  man does not live by bread alone but by every Word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.  For it is in Him that we live, move and have our being. 

Freely you have RECEIVED

Now

Freely GIVE!

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 So let’s go outside, where Jesus is, where the action is—not trying to be privileged insiders, but taking our share in the abuse of Jesus. This “insider world” is not our home. We have our eyes peeled for the City about to come. Let’s take our place outside with Jesus, no longer pouring out the sacrificial blood of animals but pouring out sacrificial praises from our lips to God in Jesus’ name.  (Hebrews 13:13-15)

 “You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and His rule.

“You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.

 “You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.

 “You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.

 “You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for.

 “You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.

 “You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.

 “You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom.

 “Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.  (Matthew 5:3-12)

The Sovereign LORD has opened my ears; I have not been rebellious, I have not turned away.  (Isaiah 50:5)

Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  (Hebrews 12:2)

Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” He said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow Me.”  (Mark 10:21)

The Attitude of Christ

…but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.

Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death,

even death on a cross. (For it is written in the Scriptures, “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.”

(Galatians 3:13) 

So that you do not defile your land which the LORD your God gives you as an inheritance.

(Deuteronomy 21:23)

Christ Redeemed Us

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us– for it is written,

CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE “–

in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles,

so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.  (Galatians 3:13-14)

For when God made a promise to Abraham, since He had no one greater by whom to swear, He swore by Himself, saying, “Surely I will bless you and multiply you.”  (Hebrews 6:13-14)

For this reason* also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name.  (Philippians 2:7-9)

A desire fulfilled is a tree of life. 

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Christ’s bride reflects the desire of his heart,

I delight to do your will, O my God; Your law is within my heart.” (Psalm 40:8)

The crown of God’s creation is a new creature, a creature that can sound the heartbeat of its Creator.

That creature, made male and female, reflects God’s own relational richness.

The human family is to join God in the ongoing work of creation.

The earth below and the sky above with all their inhabitants are too beautiful and too good to be left alone.

They need the tender care and close attention that only God’s favored creature can give.

God’s intention for the world is this: “I will be your God, and you will be My people.”

This is fulfilled by those who are faithful to Him.

 “Let the person who is able to hear, listen to and follow what the Spirit proclaims to all the churches.”  (Revelation 3:13)

Eternal One: Tell My people about their wrongdoing;shout with a voice like a trumpet;
    Hold nothing back: say this people of Jacob’s line and heritagehave failed to do what is right.

And yet they look for Me every day.They pretend to want to learn what I teach,

As if they are indeed a nation good and true, as if they hadn’t really turned their backs on My directives.
    They even ask Me, as though they care,about what I want them to be and do, as if they really want Me in their lives.

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People: Why didn’t You notice how diligently we fasted before You?
        We humbled ourselves with pious practices and You paid no attention.

Eternal One: I have to tell you, on those fasting days,all you were really seeking was your own pleasure;
    Besides you were busy defrauding people and abusing your workers.
 Your kind of fasting is pointless, for it only leads to bitter quarrels,contentious backbiting, and vicious fighting.
    You are not fasting today because you want Me to hear your voice.
 What kind of a fast do I choose? Is a true fast simply
        some religious exercise for making a person feel miserable and woeful?
    Is it about how you bow your head (like a bent reed), how you dress (in sackcloth), and where you sit (in a bed of ashes)?
        Is this what you call a fast, a day the Eternal One finds good and proper?
 No, what I want in a fast is this:
        to liberate those tied down and held back by injustice,
        to lighten the load of those heavily burdened,
        to free the oppressed and shatter every type of oppression.
 A fast for Me involves sharing your food with people who have none,
        giving those who are homeless a space in your home,
    Giving clothes to those who need them, and not neglecting your own family.

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 Then, oh then, your light will break out like the warm, golden rays of a rising sun;
    in an instant, you will be healed.
Your rightness will precede and protect you;
    the glory of the Eternal will follow and defend you.
 Then when you do call out, “My God, Where are You?”
    The Eternal One will answer, “I am here, I am here.
If you remove the yoke of oppression from the downtrodden among you,
    stop accusing others, and do away with mean and inflammatory speech,
  If you make sure that the hungry and oppressed have all that they need,
    then your light will shine in the darkness,
And even your bleakest moments will be bright as a clear day.
  The Eternal One will never leave you;
    He will lead you in the way that you should go.
When you feel dried up and worthless,
    God will nourish you and give you strength.
And you will grow like a garden lovingly tended;
    you will be like a spring whose water never runs out.
 You will discover there are people among your own
    who can rebuild this broken-down city out of the ancient ruins;
You will firm up its ancient foundations.
    And all around, others will call you
“Repairer of Broken Down Walls” and “Rebuilder of Livable Streets.”

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Eternal One: If because of the Sabbath you set aside your own pursuits and pleasure,
        and you honor the Sabbath and sanctify that day by leaving it to and for the Eternal—
    If you speak of Sabbath-delight but avoid speaking idle words,
        and refuse to get caught up and busy with your interests and concerns
Then you will discover joy such as only the Eternal can give.
        And I will raise you high and make your reach as wide as the earth,
    And you will live on all that I promised to Jacob, your ancestor, the heart of Israel.

The Eternal One said these very things.

(Isaiah 58)

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 “And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you.   Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.”  (John 16:23-24)

Jesus Christ Has Overcome the World

 “These things I have spoken to you in figurative language; but the time is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figurative language, but I will tell you plainly about the Father. In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I shall pray the Father for you; for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from God.   I came forth from the Father and have come into the world. Again, I leave the world and go to the Father.”

 

His disciples said to Him, “See, now You are speaking plainly, and using no figure of speech! Now we are sure that You know all things, and have no need that anyone should question You. By this we believe that You came forth from God.”

 

 Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe?  Indeed the hour is coming, yes, has now come, that you will be scattered, each to his own, and will leave Me alone. And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me.   These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” 

(John 16:25-33)

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Like the dearly beloved disciple who lay his head on Jesus’ breast–

“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life”  (John 5:24)

Like Mary who sat at Jesus’ feet–

I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in Me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5) 

Not like Martha (the sister of Mary) caught up in the distraction of busyness rather than being about the Father’s business–

The Master said, “Martha, dear Martha, you’re fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing. One thing only is essential, and Mary has chosen it—it’s the main course, and won’t be taken from her.”  (Luke 10:41-42)

Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work.

“Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, and then comes the harvest ‘?

Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest.”  (John 4:34-35)

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Like the woman who knelt in washing Jesus’ feet with her tears, wiping them with her hair–

Pride brings a person low, but the lowly in spirit gain honor.  (Proverbs 29:23)

But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.”

(James 4:6)

Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal.

(Matthew 6:20)

Like the woman who broke and poured out all she was relying on in order to release her from reliance on things that are perishable subject to corruption or theft to place her reliance in the only One who is Faithful and True in Christ Jesus who is our Source and Supply!

Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow Me.”  (Matthew 19:21)

“Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.”  (Matthew 6:21)

“So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be My disciple.”  (Luke 14:33)

Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.  (Proverbs 4:23)

Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him, and He will act—

Like Ruth lying down in humbleness of heart trusting in Naomi’s counsel at Boaz’ feet.

Ruth lay down to signal her availability for marriage
What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate. (Mark 10:9)
Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.  (Revelation 19:7)

[“When you see him slipping off to sleep, watch where he lies down and then go there. Lie at his feet to let him know that you are available to him for marriage. Then wait and see what he says. He’ll tell you what to do.” 

Ruth said, “If you say so, I’ll do it, just as you’ve told me.”
(Ruth 3:4b-5)]

She (Ruth) said, “I am Ruth, your maiden; take me under your protecting wing. You’re my close relative, you know, in the circle of covenant redeemers—you do have the right to marry me.”

 He (Boaz) said, God bless you, my dear daughter! What a splendid expression of love!” 

[“Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.

“You are My friends if you do what I command you.” (John 15:13-14)]

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 Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you’ll have it forever, real and eternal.  (John 12:24-25)

Like Gideon who heeded the Word of the LORD doing as He said breaking open the jars

releasing the shining flames as arrows! 

Don’t you see that children are God’s best gift?    the fruit of the womb His generous legacy?
Like a warrior’s fistful of arrows are the children of a vigorous youth.
Oh, how blessed are you parents, with your quivers full of children!
Your enemies don’t stand a chance against you; you’ll sweep them right off your doorstep.  (Psalm 127:3-5)

[God said to him, “I’ll be with you. Believe Me, you’ll defeat Midian as one man.” (Judges 6:16)]

[That night, God told Gideon:Get up and go down to the camp. I’ve given it to you. If you have any doubts about going down, go down with Purah your armor bearer; when you hear what they’re saying, you’ll be bold and confident.”  (Judges 7:9a)]

Your wife will bear children as a vine bears grapes,  your household lush as a vineyard,
The children around your table as fresh and promising as young olive shoots.
Stand in awe of God’s Yes.    Oh, how He blesses the one who fears God!

(Psalm 128:3-4)

You’re blessed when you stay on course,walking steadily on the road revealed by God.
You’re blessed when you follow His directions,doing your best to find Him.
That’s right—you don’t go off on your own;  you walk straight along the road He set.
You, God, prescribed the right way to live;now You expect us to live it.
Oh, that my steps might be steady,keeping to the course You set;
Then I’d never have any regretsin comparing my life with Your counsel.
I thank You for speaking straight from your heart;I learn the pattern of Your righteous ways.
I’m going to do what You tell me to do;don’t ever walk off and leave me.

(Psalm 119:1-8)

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“I’ll take her as my wife and keep the name of the deceased alive along with his inheritance.

The memory and reputation of the deceased is not going to disappear out of this family

or from his hometown. To all this you are witnesses this very day.”  (Ruth 4:10)

Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.”

(Matthew 16:28-29)  For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels,

and WILL THEN REPAY EVERY MAN ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS. 

Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.” (Matthew 24:34)

ImageThus says the Lord:

“Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the Lord.

He is like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see any good come.

He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land.

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord.

He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” (Jeremiah 17:5-8)

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God’s blessings follow you and await you at every turn:
    when you don’t follow the advice of those who delight in wicked schemes,
When you avoid sin’s highway,
    when judgment and sarcasm beckon you, but you refuse.
For you, the Eternal’s Word is your happiness.
    It is your focus—from dusk to dawn.
You are like a tree,
    planted by flowing, cool streams of water that never run dry.
Your fruit ripens in its time;
    your leaves never fade or curl in the summer sun.
No matter what you do, you prosper.

For those who focus on sin, the story is different.
    They are like the fallen husk of wheat, tossed by an open wind, left deserted and alone.
In the end, the wicked will fall in judgment;
    the guilty will be separated from the innocent.
Their road suddenly will end in death,
    yet the journey of the righteous has been charted by the Eternal.

(Psalm 1)

then complete my joy by having a common purpose and a common love, by being one in heart and mind.

Do nothing out of rivalry or vanity; but, in humility, regard each other as better than yourselves — 

look out for each other’s interests and not just for your own.  (Philippians 2:2-4)

My joy completed in them

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Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,

to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

(Ephesians 3:20-21)

 

The Silence of Expectation = A Song of Trust in God’s ProVision
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Our dead will live; Their corpses will rise. You who lie in the dust, awake and shout for joy,
For your dew is as the dew of the dawn, And the earth will give birth to the departed spirits.

Come, M people, enter into your rooms And close your doors behind you;
Hide for a little while Until indignation runs its course. 
Behold, the LORD is about to come out from His place
To punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity;
And the earth will reveal her bloodshed And will no longer cover her slain.  (Isaiah 26:19-21)

Your dead will live. Their corpses will rise. Those who lie dead in the dust will wake up and shout for joy,

Because Your dew is a refreshing dew, and the earth will revive the spirits of the dead.

Elisha…went in, shut the door on the tow of them, and prayed to the Lord.  (2 Kings 4:32-33)

PUSH (Pray Until Something Happens)

From Transition to Pushing Stages ~ Birthing the Will of God

Usually birth is a private time
It’s messy business and we aren’t in the mood for chit chat, small talk or being sociable. 

Sometimes women get downright onery (ugly and unpleasant in disposition or temper)
and the old saying, “you always hurt the one you love” comes to mind as
they pour out their pain and discomfort on the support people present.

And so it is with God.

May the fevers of resentment, worry, fear and envy melt into NOTHING in the presence of Almighty God.  For flesh and blood can not inherit the kingdom of God so must all works of the flesh lay down in His presence in order to receive.

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.
(2 Corinthians 4:17)

Child-Like Trust in the Lord

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Jesus Victorious Christ is all Glorious, in Him is resident all authority, all fulness, all we need.

Elisha Raises the Shunammite’s Son

When Elisha came into the house, behold the lad was dead and laid on his bed.
So he entered and shut the door behind them both and prayed to the LORD.
And he went up and lay on the child, and put his mouth on his mouth and his eyes on his eyes and his hands on his hands, and he stretched himself on him; and the flesh of the child became warm. (2 Kings 4:32-34)       

Beyond Your Ability

Spending Time With God Puts Everything Else Into Perspective       

God is God and I’m not. 
               
But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
(Matthew 6:6)       
           
Enter In Through His Side Where Blood and Water Flows

Take a bunch of hyssop, dip it into the blood in the basin and put some of the blood on the top and on both sides of the doorframe. None of you shall go out of the door of your house until morning.
(Exodus 12:22)

Keys to the Kingdom

Tabitha

Peter went off on a mission to visit all the churches.
In the course of his travels he arrived in Lydda and met with the believers there.
He came across a man—his name was Aeneas—who had been in bed eight years paralyzed.

Peter said, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you. Get up and make your bed!
And he did it—jumped right out of bed.
Everybody who lived in Lydda and Sharon saw him walking around and WOKE UP
to the fact that God was alive and active among them.

Down the road a way in Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha, “Gazelle” in our language.

She was well-known for doing good and helping out.
During the time Peter was in the area she became sick and died.
Her friends prepared her body for burial and put her in a cool room.

Some of the disciples had heard that Peter was visiting in nearby Lydda and sent two men to ask if he would be so kind as to come over. Peter got right up and went with them.
They took him into the room where Tabitha’s body was laid out.
 Her old friends, most of them widows, were in the room mourning.
They showed Peter pieces of clothing the Gazelle had made while she was with them.

Peter put the widows all out of the room. He knelt and prayed.
Then he spoke directly to the body: “Tabitha, get up.”

She opened her eyes. When she saw Peter, she sat up.
He took her hand and helped her up.
Then he called in the believers and widows, and presented her to them alive.

When this became known all over Joppa, many put their trust in the Master.
Peter stayed on a long time in Joppa as a guest of Simon the Tanner.  (Acts 9:32-43)
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 TWO Were Healed through Faith

Then Jesus went by boat over to the other side of the sea. Many people gathered around Him.
He stayed by the sea-shore.

Jairus was one of the leaders of the Jewish place of worship.
As Jairus came to Jesus, he got down at His feet.
He cried out to Jesus and said,
My little daughter is almost dead.
Come and put Your hand on her that she may be healed and live.”
Jesus went with him. Many people followed and pushed around Jesus.

A woman had been sick for twelve years with a flow of blood.
She had suffered much because of having many doctors. She had spent all the money she had. She had received no help, but became worse.
She heard about Jesus and went among the people who were following Him.
She touched His coat.  or she said to herself, “If I can only touch His coat, I will be healed.” 
At once the flow of blood stopped. She felt in her body that she was healed of her sickness.

At the same time Jesus knew that power had gone from Him.
He turned and said to the people following Him, “Who touched My coat?
His followers said to Him, “You see the many people pushing on every side. Why do You ask, ‘Who touched My coat?’”
He looked around to see who had done it.
The woman was filled with fear when she knew what had happened to her.
She came and got down before Jesus and told Him the truth.
He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be free from your sickness.
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While Jesus spoke, men came from the house of the leader of the place of worship.
 They said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher anymore?
Jesus heard this.
He said to the leader of the Jewish place of worship, “Do not be afraid, just believe.”
He allowed no one to go with Him but Peter and James and John, the brother of James.
They came to the house where the leader of the place of worship lived.
Jesus found many people making much noise and crying.
He went in and asked them, “Why is there so much noise and crying? The girl is not dead. She is sleeping.

They laughed at Jesus. But He sent them all out of the room.
Then He took the girl’s father and mother and those who were with Him.
They went into the room where the girl was.
He took the girl by the hand and said, “Little girl, I say to you, get up!
At once the girl got up and walked. She was twelve years old.
They were very much surprised and wondered about it.
He spoke sharp words to them that they should not tell anyone.
He told them to give her something to eat. 
(Mark 5:21-43)

    God has glorified His servant, Jesus

It is His name—that is, by faith in His name—He is the author of life, who nailed our sin to the cross and laid its dead body and works in the grave from which He arose with healing in His wings.  The grave could not keep Him for He was sinless and He paid the price for our iniquity but God raised Him from the dead. We are witnesses of this.

Jesus Victorious Christ officiates as our Intercessor, which He now performs with deep sympathy.
As we connect with Him in prayers of faith, we know He hears and accepts our prayers. 
Christ covers our imperfections with the love of God which covers a multitude of sins.    
These prayers, in turn, produce  great changes upon earth.

All those who expect the Law to save them from the punishment of sin will be punished.
Because it is written,
Everyone who does not keep on doing all the things written in the Book of the Law will be punished.”
No one is made right with God by doing what the Law says.
For, “The man right with God will live by faith.” The Law does not use faith.
It says, “You must obey all the Law or you will die.”
Christ bought us with His blood and made us free from the Law.
In that way, the Law could not punish us. Christ did this by carrying the load and by being punished instead of us.

It is written, “Anyone who hangs on a cross is hated and punished.” 

Because of the price Christ Jesus paid, the good things that came to Abraham might come to the people who are not Jews. And by putting our trust in Christ, we receive the Holy Spirit He has promised.  (Galatians 3:10-14)

Those who would convey spiritual life to dead souls, must feel deeply for their case, and labor fervently in prayer for them. ~Matthew Henry~ …the  most powerful intercessions are those which are made with groanings that cannot be uttered. Let us well study what is shown of the frame of mind in which our prayers should be offered, and learn daily from Christ how to pray.
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This is what ought to be the normal practice of each of His followers.

Observe that the widow of one of the sons of the prophets so acted

when she was about to receive the miraculous supply of oil (2 Kings 4:4, 5).

Tap into prayer for God’s miracle working power.   
                  
When He arrived at the house of Jairus, He did not let anyone go in with Him except Peter, John and James, and the child’s father and mother.
(Luke 8:51)
           
            Trust in Christ, Not the Law

You crazy Galatians! Did someone put a hex on you? Have you taken leave of your senses? Something crazy has happened, for it’s obvious that you no longer have the crucified Jesus in clear focus in your lives. His sacrifice on the cross was certainly set before you clearly enough.

Let me put this question to you: How did your new life begin?
Was it by working your heads off to please God?
Or was it by responding to God’s Message to you? Are you going to continue this craziness?
For only crazy people would think they could complete by their own efforts what was begun by God. If you weren’t smart enough or strong enough to begin it, how do you suppose you could perfect it? Did you go through this whole painful learning process for nothing?
It is not yet a total loss, but it certainly will be if you keep this up!

Answer this question: Does the God who lavishly provides you with His own presence, His Holy Spirit, working things in your lives you could never do for yourselves, does he do these things because of your strenuous moral striving or because you trust him to do them in you? Don’t these things happen among you just as they happened with Abraham? He believed God, and that act of belief was turned into a life that was right with God.

Is it not obvious to you that persons who put their trust in Christ (not persons who put their trust in the law!) are like Abraham: children of faith? It was all laid out beforehand in Scripture that God would set things right with non-Jews by faith. Scripture anticipated this in the promise to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed in you.

So those now who live by faith are blessed along with Abraham, who lived by faith—this is no new doctrine! And that means that anyone who tries to live by his own effort, independent of God, is doomed to failure.

Scripture backs this up: “Utterly cursed is every person who fails to carry out every detail written in the Book of the law.”

The obvious impossibility of carrying out such a moral program should make it plain that no one can sustain a relationship with God that way. The person who lives in right relationship with God does it by embracing what God arranges for him. Doing things for God is the opposite of entering into what God does for you.

Habakkuk had it right:The person who believes God, is set right by God—and that’s the real life.”

Rule-keeping does not naturally evolve into living by faith, but only perpetuates itself in more and more rule-keeping, a fact observed in Scripture: “The one who does these things [rule-keeping] continues to live by them.”

Christ redeemed us from that self-defeating, cursed life by absorbing it completely into Himself.

Do you remember the Scripture that says, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”?

That is what happened when Jesus was nailed to the cross: He became a curse, and at the same time dissolved the curse. And now, because of that, the air is cleared and we can see that Abraham’s blessing is present and available for non-Jews, too. We are all able to receive God’s life, His Spirit, in and with us by believing—just the way Abraham received it.

Can’t Hide Behind a Religious Mask

Steep Yourself in God-Reality

Steep yourself in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.

Don’t be afraid of missing out. You’re my dearest friends! The Father wants to give you the very kingdom itself.  (Luke 12:32)

The World Is Not a Stage

Pray with Simplicity

“And when you come before God, don’t turn that into a theatrical production either. All these people making a regular show out of their prayers, hoping for stardom! Do you think God sits in a box seat?

Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God.

Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage.

The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense His grace.

“The world is full of so-called prayer warriors who are prayer-ignorant. They’re full of formulas and programs and advice, peddling techniques for getting what you want from God. Don’t fall for that nonsense.

This is your Father you are dealing with, and He knows better than you what you need.

With a God like this loving you, you can pray very simply. Like this:

Our Father in heaven,
Reveal who you are.
Set the world right;
Do what’s best—
    as above, so below.
Keep us alive with three square meals.
Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others.
Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil.
You’re in charge!
You can do anything you want!
You’re ablaze in beauty!
    Yes. Yes. Yes.

“In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God’s part.

“When you practice some appetite-denying discipline to better concentrate on God, don’t make a production out of it. It might turn you into a small-time celebrity but it won’t make you a saint. If you ‘go into training’ inwardly, act normal outwardly. Shampoo and comb your hair, brush your teeth, wash your face. God doesn’t require attention-getting devices. He won’t overlook what you are doing; he’ll reward you well.  (Matthew 6)

A Life of God-Worship, Or–

Where There’s A Will, There’s A Will

—God’s Will, His Way

The Spirit is given to lead and guide us into all truth as we walk in agreement with the Lord every step of the way home in alignment with His will. 

How can we escape if we neglect so great a Salvation?  He is made unto us all wisdom and as His children we are welcome for it is the Father’s good pleasure to give us the Kingdom.  It is as a child comes in reliance and perseverance that we receive what we need.  We know that our Father knows best. 

This is the heart of David; not as Saul who when he was king forgot what it was to be small.
David knew his place was appointed by God and we have come to His kingdom for such a time as this. 
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People need the Lord for without a vision, people perish.
Faith comes by hearing; and hearing by the Word of God.
Man does not live by bread alone but by every Word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.
When there is no vision, people cast off restraint but where sin abounds, grace super-abounds.
God is pouring out His Spirit on His servants the prophets delivering the Good News of the Ministry of His Son, Jesus the Christ who was manifest to destroy the works of the devil.

Pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
(1 Thessalonians 5:17-18)

We must rely completely on God and persevere knowing He is our Source for all we truly ever really need.  We use whatever He places in our hands for His name’s sake and glory.  What is in your hand but the authority to speak in His name!
All of life is given as an invitation to grow closer to the Lord.

The power is on to receive and transmit LIFE.   
We plug into God through Communion in order to Communicate TRUTH.
Speak the Word that they may be healed and delivered.

Don’t run ahead of God – Where’s the power in that?

The Creator of All You Can See or Imagine

Don’t you know anything? Haven’t you been listening?
God doesn’t come and go. God lasts.
    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)

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He who takes refuge in the shelter of the Most High
    will be safe in the shadow of the Almighty.
He will say to the Eternal, “My shelter, my mighty fortress,
    my God, I place all my trust in You.”
For He will rescue you from the snares set by your enemies who entrap you
    and from deadly plagues.
Like a bird protecting its young, God will cover you with His feathers,
    will protect you under His great wings;
    His faithfulness will form a shield around you, a rock-solid wall to protect you.

Psalm 91 is a beautiful psalm of trust in God. But how does God take care of all His people, all at the same time? Well, keep reading because Psalm 91 is one of just a few places in Scripture that describe what we might call “guardian angels” (Exodus 23:20; Psalm 43:3). Though rare, these passages teach that God is not alone in maintaining and protecting His creation and His people. He has made a host of heavenly messengers ready to do His bidding, and His bidding is often to guard His people throughout their lives and protect them—sometimes from dangers they are not even aware of.

 You will not dread the terrors that haunt the night
    or enemy arrows that fly in the day
Or the plagues that lurk in darkness
    or the disasters that wreak havoc at noon.

A thousand may fall on your left,
    ten thousand may die on your right,
    but these horrors won’t come near you.
Only your eyes will witness
    the punishment that awaits the evil,
    but you will not suffer because of it.

For you made the Eternal your refuge,
    the Most High your only home.
No evil will come to you;
    plagues will be turned away at your door.

He will command His heavenly messengers to guard you,
    to keep you safe in every way.
They will hold you up in their hands
    so that you will not crash, or fall, or even graze your foot on a stone.[b]
You will walk on the lion and the cobra;
    you will trample the lion and the serpent underfoot.

“Because he clings to Me in love,
    I will rescue him from harm;
    I will set him above danger.
Because he has known Me by name,
He will call on Me, and I will answer.
    I’ll be with him through hard times;
    I’ll rescue him and grant him honor.
I’ll reward him with many good years on this earth
    and let him witness My salvation.”
(Psalm 91)
                        
Mercy Is God’s Glorious Triumphant Battle Cry!

Come, my people… into thy chambers. As when a storm comes, prudence counsels men to seek shelter (Exodus 9:19), so now the prophet advises his people to put themselves under cover during the coming tempest. His meaning, probably, is that they should retire into the privacy of communion with God, withdrawing from public affairs and the distractions of a worldly life. Shut thy doors about thee (comp. 2 Kings 4:33; Matthew 6:6).
For a little moment
(so in Isaiah 10:25; and again in Isaiah 54:7, 8).
God’s estimate of time, we must remember, is not as man’s
 (Psalm 90:4; 2 Peter 3:8).        ~Pulpit Commentary

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God’s place is the mercy-seat; there He delights to be: when He punishes, He comes out of His place, for He has no pleasure in the death of sinners. But there is hardly any truth more frequently repeated in Scripture, than God’s determined purpose to punish the workers of iniquity. Let us keep close to the Lord, and separate from the world; and let us seek comfort in secret prayer. A day of vengeance is coming on the world, and before it comes we are to expect tribulation and suffering. But because the Christian looks for these things, shall he be restless and dismayed? No, let him repose himself in his God. Abiding in Him, the believer is safe. And let us wait patiently the fulfilling of God’s promises.
(Matthew Henry)           
   
A Promise of God’s Blessing

I will heal their apostasy, I will love them freely, For My anger has turned away from them.
I will be like the dew to Israel; He will blossom like the lily, And he will take root like the cedars of Lebanon.  is shoots will sprout, And his beauty will be like the olive tree And his fragrance like the cedars of Lebanon.  (Hosea 14:4-6)

For His anger lasts only a moment, but His favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.
(Psalm 30:5)               

This is why it is said: “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”
(Ephesians 5:14)   

The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done. (Revelation 20:13)  “The LORD brings death and makes alive; he brings down to the grave and raises up.    (1 Samuel 2:6)
 
All the rich of the earth will feast and worship; all who go down to the dust will kneel before Him–

those who cannot keep themselves alive.        (Psalm 22:29)

This is what the LORD says to me:

“I will remain quiet and will look on from My dwelling place, like shimmering heat in the sunshine, like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest.” (Isaiah 18:4)

He will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; He will remove His people’s disgrace from all the earth. The LORD has spoken.  (Isaiah 25:8)

A Time of Travail   
   
Do not hand over the life of Your dove to wild beasts; do not forget the lives of Your afflicted people forever.
(Psalm 74:19)
           
Even the stork in the sky knows her appointed seasons, and the dove, the swift and the thrush observe the time of their migration. But My people do not know the requirements of the LORD.      (Jeremiah 8:7)
 
My beloved spoke and said to me, “Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, come with Me.”
 
My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag. Look! There he stands behind our wall, gazing through the windows, peering through the lattice.  (SoS 2:10; 9)

The Bride’s Adoration

Behold, the winter is past, The rain is over and gone.  The flowers have already appeared in the land;

The time has arrived for pruning the vines, And the voice of the turtledove has been heard in our land. 

The fig tree has ripened its figs, And the vines in blossom have given forth their fragrance.

Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, And come along!’
(SoS 1:11-13)

Your weeping shall suddenly be turned to wonderful joy when you see Me again.
It will be the same joy as that of a woman in labor when her child is born—

her anguish gives place to rapturous joy and the pain is forgotten.
You have sorrow now, but I will see you again and then you will rejoice; and no one can rob you of that joy.

At that time you won’t need to ask Me for anything, for you can go directly to the Father and ask Him, and He will give you what you ask for because you use My name.  You haven’t tried this before, but begin now. Ask, using My name, and you will receive, and your cup of joy will overflow.    (Zephaniah 3:21-24)   

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Song of Trust in God’s ProVision

We  were pregnant, we writhed in labor, We gave birth, as it seems, only to wind.
We could not accomplish deliverance for the earth, Nor were inhabitants of the world born. 
Our dead will live; Their corpses will rise. You who lie in the dust, awake and shout for joy,
For your dew is as the dew of the dawn, And the earth will give birth to the departed spirits.

Come, my people, enter into your rooms And close your doors behind you; Hide for a little while Until indignation runs its course.  (Isaiah 26:18-20)

Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven.  (Matthew 5:12)
                                               
And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.  (Matthew 6:28)
My roots will reach to the water, and the dew will lie all night on my branches.    (Job 29:19)

You cleared the ground for it, and it took root and filled the land.  (Psalm 80:9)  The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon. 
(Psalm 92:12)

It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the LORD bestows His blessing,

even life forevermore.    (Psalm 133:3)

A king’s rage is like the roar of a lion, but his favor is like dew on the grass.  (Proverbs 19:12)

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I am a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys.  (SoS 2:1)

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