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Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.

Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done

Then you will experience God’s peace,

which exceeds anything we can understand.

His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.  (Philippians 4:6-7)

But how can people call for help if they don’t know who to trust?

And how can they know who to trust if they haven’t heard of the One who can be trusted?

And how can they hear if nobody tells them? And how is anyone going to tell them, unless someone is sent to do it?

That’s why Scripture exclaims,

A sight to take your breath away! Grand processions of people  telling all the good things of God!

But not everybody is ready for this, ready to see and hear and act.

Isaiah asked what we all ask at one time or another:

Does anyone care, God? Is anyone listening and believing a word of it?

The point is: Before you trust, you have to listen. But unless Christ’s Word is preached, there’s nothing to listen to.

(Romans 10:14-17)

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The New Way of Worship Has a Better Gift

But Christ came as the Head Religious Leader of the good things God promised. He made the way for man to go to God.

He was a greater and more perfect tent. He was not made by human hands and was not a part of this earth. 

Christ went into the Holiest Place of All one time for all people.

He did not take the blood of goats and young cows to give to God as a gift in worship.

He gave His own blood. By doing this, He bought us with His own blood and made us free from sin forever. 

With the Old Way of Worship, the blood and ashes of animals could make men clean after they had sinned. 

How much more the blood of Christ will do! He gave Himself as a perfect gift to God through the Spirit that lives forever.

Now your heart can be free from the guilty feeling of doing work that is worth nothing. Now you can work for the living God.

Christ is the One Who gave us this New Way of Worship.

All those who have been called by God may receive life that lasts forever just as He promised them.

Christ bought us with His blood when He died for us.

This made us free from our sins which we did under the Old Way of Worship.

 When a man wants to give his money to someone after he dies, he writes it all down on paper.

But that paper is worth nothing until the man is dead. That piece of paper means nothing as long as he is alive.

It is good only when he dies.The Old Way of Worship had to have a death to make it good.

The blood of an animal was used. Moses told the people all the things they had to obey in the Law.

Then he took the blood of animals together with water and put it on the Book of the Law and on all the people.

He used special branches and red wool as he put it on them. 

Moses said, “This is the blood of the Way of Worship which God said you must obey.” 

In the same way, Moses put the blood on the tent and on all the things used in worship. 

The Law says that almost everything is made clean by blood. Sins are not forgiven unless blood is given.

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One Perfect Gift

The tent to worship in and the things inside to worship with were like the things in heaven.

They were made clean by putting blood on them. But the things in heaven were made clean by a much better gift of worship. For Christ did not go into the Holiest Place of All that was made by men, even if it was like the true one in heaven.

He went to heaven itself and He is before God for us. 

Christ has not given Himself many times, as the head religious leader here on earth went into the Holiest Place of All each year with blood that was not his own. For then Christ would have had to die many times since the world began.

But He came once at the end of the Old Way of Worship. He gave Himself once for all time. He gave Himself to destroy sin. 

It is in the plan that all men die once. After that, they will stand before God and be judged. 

It is the same with Christ. He gave Himself once to take away the sins of many.

When He comes the second time, He will not need to give Himself again for sin.

He will save all those who are waiting for Him.  (Hebrews 9:11-29)

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I will grant him the key to David’s royal house and

        no one can shut what He opens;
        no one can open what He shuts.

(Isaiah 22:22)

  

Letter to Philadelphia

 Write down My words, and send them to the messenger of the church in Philadelphia.

“These are the words of the holy One, the true One, and the One who possesses the key of David, which opens the possibilities so that no one can shut them. The One who closes all options so that no one can open.  (Revelation 3:7)

 

They were looking intently up into the sky as He was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them.

(Acts 1:10)

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Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.  (Genesis 5:24)

 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)

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

For God so loved the world that he gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.

“Very truly I tell you, whoever obeys My word will never see death.”

(Matthew 16:28; John 3:16; John 8:51)

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 “My advice to you is to buy pure gold from Me, gold purified by fire—only then will you truly be rich. And to purchase from Me white garments, clean and pure, so you won’t be naked and ashamed; and to get medicine from Me to heal your eyes and give you back your sight.

(Revelation 3:18)

For we preach Christ Jesus made flesh, crucified for our sin, risen again with healing in His wings!

…Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 

And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 

I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.…

(Matthew 16:16-18)

“Anyone who does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother!” (Matthew 12:50)

Jesus Made Like His Brothers

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“…YOU HAVE PUT ALL THINGS IN SUBJECTION UNDER HIS FEET.”

For in subjecting all things to Him, He left nothing that is not subject to Him.

But now we do not yet see all things subjected to Him. 

But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone. 

For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory,

to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings.…(Hebrews 2:8-10)

Since the children have flesh and blood, He too shared in their humanity so that by His death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death–that is, the devil–

(Hebrews 2:14)

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Therefore He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them.  (Hebrews 7:25)

By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death:

He could not be found, because God had taken him away.”

For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God.

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.

Through Him you believe in God, who raised im from the dead and glorified im, and so your faith and hope are in God.

(Hebrews 11:5; Hebrews 12:2; 1 Peter 1:21)

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Faith in What We Don’t See

The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see. The act of faith is what distinguished our ancestors, set them above the crowd.

By faith, we see the world called into existence by God’s word, what we see created by what we don’t see.

By an act of faith, Abel brought a better sacrifice to God than Cain.

It was what he believed, not what he brought, that made the difference.

That’s what God noticed and approved as righteous. After all these centuries, that belief continues to catch our notice.

 By an act of faith, Enoch skipped death completely. “They looked all over and couldn’t find him because God had taken him.” We know on the basis of reliable testimony that before he was taken “he pleased God.”

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It’s impossible to please God apart from faith. And why?

Because anyone who wants to approach God must believe both that He exists and that He cares enough to respond to those who seek Him.

By faith, Noah built a ship in the middle of dry land.

He was warned about something he couldn’t see, and acted on what he was told. The result? His family was saved.

His act of faith drew a sharp line between the evil of the unbelieving world and the rightness of the believing world.

As a result, Noah became intimate with God.

By an act of faith, Abraham said yes to God’s call to travel to an unknown place that would become his home.

When he left he had no idea where he was going.

By an act of faith he lived in the country promised him, lived as a stranger camping in tents.

Isaac and Jacob did the same, living under the same promise.

Abraham did it by keeping his eye on an unseen city with real, eternal foundations—the City designed and built by God.

By faith, barren Sarah was able to become pregnant, old woman as she was at the time,

because she believed the One who made a promise would do what he said.

That’s how it happened that from one man’s dead and shriveled loins there are now people numbering into the millions.

Each one of these people of faith died not yet having in hand what was promised, but still believing.

How did they do it? They saw it way off in the distance, waved their greeting, and accepted the fact that they were transients in this world. People who live this way make it plain that they are looking for their true home.

If they were homesick for the old country, they could have gone back any time they wanted.

But they were after a far better country than that—heaven country.

You can see why God is so proud of them, and has a City waiting for them.

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 By faith, Abraham, at the time of testing, offered Isaac back to God.

Acting in faith, he was as ready to return the promised son, his only son, as he had been to receive him—and this after he had already been told, “Your descendants shall come from Isaac.” Abraham figured that if God wanted to, he could raise the dead.

In a sense, that’s what happened when he received Isaac back, alive from off the altar.

 By an act of faith, Isaac reached into the future as he blessed Jacob and Esau.

 By an act of faith, Jacob on his deathbed blessed each of Joseph’s sons in turn, blessing them with God’s blessing, not his own—as he bowed worshipfully upon his staff.

By an act of faith, Joseph, while dying, prophesied the exodus of Israel, and made arrangements for his own burial.

By an act of faith, Moses’ parents hid him away for three months after his birth. They saw the child’s beauty, and they braved the king’s decree.

By faith, Moses, when grown, refused the privileges of the Egyptian royal house.

He chose a hard life with God’s people rather than an opportunistic soft life of sin with the oppressors.

He valued suffering in the Messiah’s camp far greater than Egyptian wealth

because he was looking ahead, anticipating the payoff.

By an act of faith, he turned his heel on Egypt,

indifferent to the king’s blind rage. 

He had his eye on the One no eye can see, and kept right on going. 

By an act of faith, he kept the Passover Feast and sprinkled Passover blood on each house so that the destroyer of the firstborn wouldn’t touch them.

By an act of faith, Israel walked through the Red Sea on dry ground. The Egyptians tried it and drowned.

By faith, the Israelites marched around the walls of Jericho for seven days, and the walls fell flat.

 By an act of faith, Rahab, the Jericho harlot,

welcomed the spies and escaped the destruction that came on those who refused to trust God.

 I could go on and on, but I’ve run out of time.

There are so many more—Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, the prophets. . . .

Through acts of faith, they toppled kingdoms, made justice work, took the promises for themselves.

They were protected from lions, fires, and sword thrusts, turned disadvantage to advantage, won battles, routed alien armies. Women received their loved ones back from the dead.

There were those who, under torture, refused to give in and go free, preferring something better: resurrection.

Others braved abuse and whips, and, yes, chains and dungeons. We have stories of those who were stoned, sawed in two, murdered in cold blood; stories of vagrants wandering the earth in animal skins, homeless, friendless, powerless—the world didn’t deserve them!—making their way as best they could on the cruel edges of the world.

Not one of these people, even though their lives of faith were exemplary, got their hands on what was promised.

God had a better plan for us:

that their faith and our faith would come together to make one completed whole, their lives of faith not complete apart from ours.

(Hebrews 11)

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“You heard Me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved Me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.”

(John 14:28)

Exalted to the right hand of God,

He has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit

and has poured out what you now see and hear.

(Acts 2:33)

“…and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. 

“My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.

“I and the Father are one.”  (John 10:28-30)

 Know now  that there are better things waiting for you that will last forever.

So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! 

Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will.

Then you will receive all that He has promised.

 For in just a little while,
    the Coming One will come and not delay.
 And My righteous ones will live by faith.
    But I will take no pleasure in anyone who turns away. 

But we are not like those who turn away from God to their own destruction.

We are the faithful ones, whose souls will be saved.

(Hebrews 10:35-39)

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Fight for the Faith

Live your lives as the Good News of Christ says you should. If I come to you or not, I want to hear that you are standing true as one. I want to hear that you are working together as one, preaching the Good News. 

Do not be afraid of those who hate you.

Their hate for you proves they will be destroyed.

 I have created the blacksmith
    who fans the coals beneath the forge
and makes the weapons of destruction.
    And I have created the armies that destroy.
 But in that coming day
    no weapon turned against you will succeed.
You will silence every voice
    raised up to accuse you.
These benefits are enjoyed by the servants of the Lord;
    their vindication will come from Me.
    I, the Lord, have spoken!”

(Isaiah 54:16-17)

Faith and Wisdom

 My brothers and sisters, you will have many kinds of trouble. But this gives you a reason to be very happy. 

You know that when your faith is tested, you learn to be patient in suffering.

If you let that patience work in you, the end result will be good.

You will be mature and complete.

You will be all that God wants you to be.

Do any of you need wisdom? Ask God for it. He is generous and enjoys giving to everyone. So He will give you wisdom.

But when you ask God, you must believe. Don’t doubt Him.
Whoever doubts is like a wave in the sea that is blown up and down by the wind.
People like that are thinking two different things at the same time.
They can never decide what to do. So they should not think they will receive anything from the Lord.
(James 1:2-8)
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Men forget that all things are ordained in heaven; they see but the human force, and the carnal passion, but the unseen Lord is more real far than these. He is at work behind and within the cloud. The foolish dream that He is not, but He is near even now, (The Treasury of David)

But Elisha replied as before, “I swear to God that I won’t leave you.

So they went on together and stood beside the Jordan River as fifty of the young prophets watched from a distance.  

Then Elijah folded his cloak together and struck the water with it; and the river divided and they went across on dry ground!

 When they arrived on the other side Elijah said to Elisha, “What wish shall I grant you before I am taken away?”

And Elisha replied, “Please grant me twice as much prophetic power as you have had.”

  You have asked a hard thing,” Elijah replied. “If you see me when I am taken from you, then you will get your request. But if not, then you won’t.”

 As they were walking along, talking, suddenly a chariot of fire, drawn by horses of fire, appeared and drove between them, separating them, and Elijah was carried by a whirlwind into heaven.

  Elisha saw it and cried out,My father! My father! The chariot of Israel and the charioteers!

As they disappeared from sight he tore his robe.   Then he picked up Elijah’s cloak and returned to the bank of the Jordan River, and struck the water with it.

Where is the Lord God of Elijah?he cried out. And the water parted and Elisha went across!

(2 Kings 2:6-14)

 

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We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist.

But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright!

We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing Him directly just as He knows us!

 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 13:12-13)

God alone is the only right Judge.

It is in the secret place; and from the secret of God’s counsel that promotion comes. From God alone all must receive their reward.

For those that come to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder

of those that diligently seek Him.

    Likewise, when you pray, do not be as hypocrites who love to pray loudly at synagogue or on street corners—

their concern is to be seen by men. They have already earned their reward
  When you pray, go into a private room, close the door,
and pray unseen to your Father who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees in secret, will reward you.

Matthew 6:5-6

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Don’t run from tests and hardships, brothers and sisters.

As difficult as they are, you will ultimately find joy in them; if you embrace them, your faith will blossom under pressure and teach you true patience as you endure. And true patience brought on by endurance will equip you to complete the long journey and cross the finish line—mature, complete, and wanting nothing. If you don’t have all the wisdom needed for this journey, then all you have to do is ask God for it; and God will grant all that you need. He gives lavishly and never scolds you for asking.

Wisdom, as James understands it, is the ability to live life well and make good decisions. Wisdom doesn’t come from old age or hard knocks. Wisdom begins with knowing and depending absolutely on God, who is never stingy when it comes to wisdom for those who seek it. He supplies all the wisdom we need when we ask. But when we try to go it alone—without God—trouble is around the corner.

 The key is that your request be anchored by your single-minded commitment to God.

Those who depend only on their own judgment are like those lost on the seas, carried away by any wave or picked up by any wind. Those adrift on their own wisdom shouldn’t assume the Lord will rescue them or bring them anything.

The splinter of divided loyalty shatters your compass and leaves you dizzy and confused.

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Nothing can separate us from His love that is in Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior

The King’s Place of Power in Heaven

 After this, I looked and saw a door standing open in heaven.

The first voice I heard was like the loud sound of a horn.

It said, “Come up here. I will show you what must happen after these things.”  (Revelation 4:1)

IN VIEW OF ALL THIS, WHAT CAN WE SAY?

IF GOD IS FOR US, WHO CAN BE AGAINST US?

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Those who now scoff His feast of love; these shall be dragged to His table of justice, and made to drink their due deserts. 

My eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the LORD

He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored.

 

Nothing Can Separate Us from God’s Love

What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? 

Since He did not spare even His own Son but gave Him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else?  

Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for His own? No one—for God Himself has given us right standing with Himself.   Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and He is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.

Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love?

Does it mean He no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? 

(As the Scriptures say, “For Your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.

No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, Who loved us.

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,  neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.  

No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

(Romans 8:31-39)

 Now may the God of peace—
    Who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus,
the great Shepherd of the sheep,
    and ratified an eternal covenant with His blood—
may He equip you with all you need
    for doing His will.
May He produce in you,
    through the power of Jesus Christ,
every good thing that is pleasing to Him.
    All glory to Him forever and ever! Amen.

(Hebrews 13:20-21)

It proves you have life from God that lasts forever. 

You are not only to put your trust in Him, but you are to suffer for Him also.

 You know what the fight is like.

Now it is time for you to have a part in it as I have.  (Philippians 1:27-30)

Amen (Let It BE)

TAKE MY LIFE AND LET IT BE

 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.

Speaking Words of Wisdom — Let It BE

I went for a little visit of five days (to Areley House). There were ten persons in the house, some un-converted and long prayed for, some converted, but not re-joicing Christians. He gave me the prayer, “Lord, give me all in this house!” And He just did. Before I left the house every one had got a blessing. The last night of my visit after I had re-tired, the governess asked me to go to the two daughters. They were crying and crying, and then and there both of them trusted and re-joiced; it was nearly midnight. I was too happy to sleep, and passed most of the night in praise and re-newal of my own con-secration; and these little couplets formed themselves, and chimed in my heart one after another till they finished with “Ever, Only, ALL for Thee!”

    Havergal Manuscripts 

Take my life, and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
Take my moments and my days; let them flow in ceaseless praise.
Take my hands, and let them move at the impulse of Thy love.
Take my feet, and let them be swift and beautiful for Thee.

Take my voice, and let me sing always, only, for my King.
Take my lips, and let them be filled with messages from Thee.
Take my silver and my gold; not a mite would I withhold.
Take my intellect, and use every power as Thou shalt choose.

Take my will, and make it Thine; it shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart, it is Thine own; it shall be Thy royal throne.
Take my love, my Lord, I pour at Thy feet its treasure store.
Take myself, and I will be ever, only, all for Thee.
(Words: Frances R. Havergal, February 1874)

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.

Paul urges those who read and hear his letter to respond to the good news by offering their bodies—eyes, ears, mouths, hands, feet—to God as a “living sacrifice.” Paul knows well enough that sacrifices end in death, not life. But the sacrifice of Jesus changes everything. His resurrection steals life from death and makes it possible for those who trust in Him to become a sacrifice and yet live. But how do we live? We do not live as before, wrapping ourselves in the world and its bankrupt values. We live in constant renewal and transformation of our minds.

Because of the grace allotted to me, I can respectfully tell you not to think of yourselves as being more important than you are; devote your minds to sound judgment since God has assigned to each of us a measure of faith. For in the same way that one body has so many different parts, each with different functions; we, too—the many—are different parts that form one body in the Anointed One. Each one of us is joined with one another, and we become together what we could not be alone. Since our gifts vary depending on the grace poured out on each of us, it is important that we exercise the gifts we have been given. If prophecy is your gift, then speak as a prophet according to your proportion of faith. If service is your gift, then serve well. If teaching is your gift, then teach well. If you have been given a voice of encouragement, then use it often. If giving is your gift, then be generous. If leading, then be eager to get started. If sharing God’s mercy, then be cheerful in sharing it.

Love others well, and don’t hide behind a mask; love authentically. Despise evil; pursue what is good as if your life depends on it. Live in true devotion to one another, loving each other as sisters and brothers. Be first to honor others by putting them first. Do not slack in your faithfulness and hard work. Let your spirit be on fire, bubbling up and boiling over, as you serve the Lord. Do not forget to rejoice, for hope is always just around the corner. Hold up through the hard times that are coming, and devote yourselves to prayer. Share what you have with the saints, so they lack nothing; take every opportunity to open your life and home to others.

If people mistreat or malign you, bless them. Always speak blessings, not curses. If some have cause to celebrate, join in the celebration. And if others are weeping, join in that as well. Work toward unity, and live in harmony with one another. Avoid thinking you are better than others or wiser than the rest; instead, embrace common people and ordinary tasks. Do not retaliate with evil, regardless of the evil brought against you. Try to do what is good and right and honorable as agreed upon by all people. If it is within your power, make peace with all people. Again, my loved ones, do not seek revenge; instead, allow God’s wrath to make sure justice is served. Turn it over to Him. For the Scriptures say, “Revenge is Mine. I will settle all scores.” But consider this bit of wisdom: “If your enemy is hungry, give him something to eat. If he is thirsty, give him something to drink; because if you treat him kindly, it will be like heaping hot coals on top of his head.”  Never let evil get the best of you; instead, overpower evil with the good.

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Walk in the Light

 This, in essence, is the message we heard from Christ and are passing on to you: God is light, pure light; there’s not a trace of darkness in Him.

If we claim that we experience a shared life with Him and continue to stumble around in the dark, we’re obviously lying through our teeth—we’re not living what we claim.

But if we walk in the light, God Himself being the light, we also experience a shared life with one another, as the sacrificed blood of Jesus, God’s Son, purges all our sin.

  If we claim that we’re free of sin, we’re only fooling ourselves.

A claim like that is errant nonsense.

On the other hand, if we admit our sins—make a clean breast of them—He won’t let us down; He’ll be true to Himself. He’ll forgive our sins and purge us of all wrongdoing.

If we claim that we’ve never sinned, we out-and-out contradict God—make a liar out of Him. A claim like that only shows off our ignorance of God.

(1 John 1:5-10)

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No prolonged infancies among us, please.

We’ll not tolerate babes in the woods, small children who are an easy mark for impostors.

God wants us to grow up, to know the whole truth and tell it in love—like Christ in everything.

We take our lead from Christ, who is the source of everything we do. He keeps us in step with each other.

His very breath and blood flow through us, nourishing us so that we will grow up healthy in God, robust in love. 

(Ephesians 4:14-16)

 
 
Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.
 (Hebrews 3:12)  
 
Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.  (Colossians 2:8)

Christ’s Example–of Suffering

For you have been called for this purpose,
since Christ also suffered for you,

leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps,
WHO COMMITTED NO SIN, NOR WAS ANY DECEIT FOUND IN HIS MOUTH;
and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats,
but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously.  (1 Peter 2:21-23)

God Hears
God is Judge
God is Seeing to it.

Never betray My trust; get over “it” and keep walking in My will.
This is how we overcome by going through the “valley” of the “shadow” of death

knowing He is with us.

Jesus went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil
for the Father was with Him.

We know that God doesn’t listen to sinners, but He is ready to hear those who worship Him and do His will.

 (John 9:31)

If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him!  (Matthew 7:11)

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Fear the LORD, you His holy people, for those who fear Him lack nothing.  (Psalm 34:9)


The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing. ( Psalm 34:10)

Surely His salvation is near those who fear Him, that His glory may dwell in our land.  (Psalm 85:9)


The LORD will indeed give what is good, and our land will yield its harvest.  (Psalm 85:12)


He holds success in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless,  (Proverbs 2:7)


Every word of God is flawless; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.  (Proverbs 30:5)

What are you, mighty mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become level ground. Then he will bring out the capstone to shouts of ‘God bless it! God bless it!‘”  (Zechariah 4:7)

“But for you who revere My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its rays. And you will go out and frolic like well-fed calves. You will crush the sinful under foot. They will be ashes under your feet on the day when I do these things,” says the Lord of All. (Malachi 4:2-3)
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For what hope have the godless when they are cut off, when God takes away their life?  (Job 27:8)

Indeed, God does not listen to their empty plea; the Almighty pays no attention to it.  (Job 35:13)


The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and His ears are attentive to their cry.  (Psalm 34:15)

If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.  (Psalm 66:18)

He fulfills the desires of those who fear Him; He hears their cry and saves them.  (Psalm 145:19)

The LORD is far from the wicked, but He hears the prayer of the righteous.  (Proverbs 15:29)

If anyone turns a deaf ear to My instruction, even their prayers are detestable.”  (Proverbs 28:9)

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Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.

The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.  (James 5:16)


–and receive from Him anything we ask, because we keep His commands and do what pleases Him.  (1 John 3:22)

keep your tongue from evil and your lips from telling lies.  (Psalm 34:13)
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The Spirit can make life. Sheer muscle and willpower don’t make anything happen.
Every word I’ve spoken to you is a Spirit-word, and so it is life-making. But some of you are resisting, refusing to have any part in this.
(Jesus knew from the start that some weren’t going to risk themselves with Him. He knew also who would betray Him.)
He went on to say,
This is why I told you earlier that no one is capable of coming to Me on his own. You get to Me only as a gift from the Father.”

After this a lot of His disciples left. They no longer wanted to be associated with Him.

Then Jesus gave the Twelve their chance: “Do you also want to leave?

Peter replied, “Master, to whom would we go? You have the words of real life, eternal life. We’ve already committed ourselves, confident that you are the Holy One of God.”  (John 6:63-69)

 

The number “666” stands in contrast to the perfection of the Lamb and the Spirit.

Because this number is “the number of a person,” readers have tried to pin down the identity of this person throughout history. In John’s day, the name and title “Nero Caesar” was a likely candidate for the beast because Nero persecuted and executed believers, demanding obedience and even worship.

Every era seems to have its Neros, those beastly characters who occupy seats of power and yet use their power to oppress God’s people.

The speculation continues as to this person’s identity, but what has not changed is the message of hope in the midst of extreme persecution; that is the beauty proclaimed in this vision given to John.

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 The scene changed. I looked and saw the Lamb standing on top of Mount Zion, and with Him were the 144,000 who had His name and His Father’s name inscribed on their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven roaring like a waterfall and clapping like thunder. The voice I heard was like a symphony of harpists playing their instruments.

 
As I watched, they began to sing a new song before the throne, the four living creatures, and the twenty-four elders.
The only ones with the ability to learn this song were the 144,000 who had been rescued from the earth,
They were bought from earth, lived without compromise, virgin-fresh before God.
Wherever the Lamb went, they followed.
They were bought from humankind, firstfruits of the harvest for God and the Lamb.
Not a false word in their mouths. A perfect offering.  (Revelation 14:1-5)
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Blessed is the one whose sin the LORD does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit.  (Psalm 32:2)

They will do no wrong; they will tell no lies. A deceitful tongue will not be found in their mouths.
They will eat and lie down and no one will make them afraid.  (Zephaniah 3:13)

Now to Him who is able to establish you in accordance with my gospel, the message I proclaim about Jesus Christ,

in keeping with the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past.  (Romans 16:25)

He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in ACCORDANCE with God’s will.  (Romans 8:27)

Prayer is co-operation between God and the believer. 

Those that come to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those that diligently seek Him. 

God has made us acceptable in the Beloved Son’s name

so that we may boldly come before the throne of grace to find strength and help in time of need. 
Our times are in His hands. 
The Holy Spirit inspires our hearts to come into AGREEMENT with the Living Word–Christ Jesus
as the Spirit is given to lead and guide us into all TRUTH every step of the Way and this is Real and Everlasting Life. 
We are on a journey through the wilderness learning how to worship the Lord in the simplicity of
a humble, heart of contrition–it is the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.


See that ye refuse not Him that speaks For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from Him that speaks from heaven.  (Hebrews 12:25)
 

So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.  (Hebrews 3:11)

Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways.

Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said,

It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known My ways.  (Hebrews 3:10; Psalm 95:10)

When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years.  (Hebrews 3:9)

Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness.  (Hebrews 3:8)


Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.  (Hebrews 3:12)

But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
(Hebrews 3:13)

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The Centerpiece of All We Believe

So, my dear Christian friends, companions in following this call to the heights, take a good hard look at Jesus.

He’s the centerpiece of everything we believe, faithful in everything God gave Him to do.

Moses was also faithful, but Jesus gets far more honor. A builder is more valuable than a building any day.

Every house has a builder, but the Builder behind them all is God.

Moses did a good job in God’s house, but it was all servant work, getting things ready for what was to come.

Christ as Son is in charge of the house.

Now, if we can only keep a firm grip on this bold confidence, we’re the house! That’s why the Holy Spirit says,

Today, please listen;
    don’t turn a deaf ear as in “the bitter uprising,”
    that time of wilderness testing!
Even though they watched Me at work for forty years,
    your ancestors refused to let Me do it my way;
    over and over they tried My patience.
And I was provoked, oh, so provoked!
    I said, “They’ll never keep their minds on God;
    they refuse to walk down My road.”
Exasperated, I vowed,
    “They’ll never get where they’re going,
    never be able to sit down and rest.”

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So watch your step, friends.

Make sure there’s no evil unbelief lying around that will trip you up and throw you off course, diverting you from the living God. For as long as it’s still God’s Today, keep each other on your toes so sin doesn’t slow down your reflexes.

If we can only keep our grip on the sure thing we started out with, we’re in this with Christ for the long haul.

These words keep ringing in our ears:

Today, please listen;
    don’t turn a deaf ear as in the bitter uprising.

For who were the people who turned a deaf ear? Weren’t they the very ones Moses led out of Egypt?

And who was God provoked with for forty years?

Wasn’t it those who turned a deaf ear and ended up corpses in the wilderness?

And when He swore that they’d never get where they were going, wasn’t He talking to the ones who turned a deaf ear?

They never got there because they never listened, never believed.


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because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to Himself.  (2 Corinthians 4:14)

For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.  (James 2:10)

But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed.
(1 Peter 4:13)

Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election.
For if you do these things, you will never stumble,  (2 Peter 1;10)

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 Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy,  to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.  (Jude 1:24-25)

God of grace and God of glory,
On Thy people pour Thy power.
Crown Thine ancient church’s story,
Bring her bud to glorious flower.
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage,
For the facing of this hour,
For the facing of this hour.

Lo! the hosts of evil ’round us,
Scorn Thy Christ, assail His ways.
From the fears that long have bound us,
Free our hearts to faith and praise.
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage,
For the living of these days,
For the living of these days.

Cure Thy children’s warring madness,
Bend our pride to Thy control.
Shame our wanton selfish gladness,
Rich in things and poor in soul.
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage,
Lest we miss Thy kingdom’s goal,
Lest we miss Thy kingdom’s goal.

Set our feet on lofty places,
Gird our lives that they may be,
Armored with all Christ-like graces,
In the fight to set men free.
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage,
That we fail not man nor Thee,
That we fail not man nor Thee.

Save us from weak resignation,
To the evils we deplore.
Let the search for Thy salvation,
Be our glory evermore.
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage,
Serving Thee Whom we adore,
Serving Thee Whom we adore.

Words:  Harry E. Fosdick, 1930. The ti­tle of Fos­dick’s 1956 au­to­bi­o­gra­phy The Liv­ing of These Days echoes the lyr­ics.

Again Isaiah says,
THERE SHALL COME THE ROOT OF JESSE, AND HE WHO ARISES TO RULE OVER THE GENTILES, IN HIM SHALL THE GENTILES HOPE.” 
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.  (Romans 15:12-13)
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The Year of the Lord’s Favor

To proclaim the favorable year of the LORD And the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn,

To grant those who mourn in Zion, Giving them a garland instead of ashes, The oil of gladness instead of mourning,

The mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting. So they will be called oaks of righteousness, The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.

Then they will rebuild the ancient ruins, They will raise up the former devastations; And they will repair the ruined cities, The desolations of many generations.  (Isaiah 61:2-4)

He replied, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots.” 

(Matthew 15:13)

For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.   (1 Corinthians 3:9)

 You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.  (Hebrews 1:9)

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

(Psalm 23:5)

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You love righteousness and hate wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.  (Psalm 45:7)


Wine that gladdens human hearts, oil to make their faces shine, and bread that sustains their hearts.  (Psalm 104:15)

For the LORD takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with victory.  (Psalm 149:4)

Open the gates that the righteous nation may enter, the nation that keeps faith.  (Isaiah 26:2)
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Sing for joy, you heavens, for the LORD has done this; shout aloud, you earth beneath.

Burst into song, you mountains, you forests and all your trees, for the LORD has redeemed Jacob,

He displays His glory in Israel.  (Isaiah 44:23)


I am bringing my righteousness near, it is not far away; and My salvation will not be delayed. I will grant salvation to Zion, My splendor to Israel.  (Isaiah 46:13)

Awake, awake, Zion, clothe yourself with strength! Put on your garments of splendor, Jerusalem, the holy city.

The uncircumcised and defiled will not enter you again.  (Isaiah 52:1)


Your sun will never set again, and your moon will wane no more; the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your days of sorrow will end.  (Isaiah 60:20)

Then all your people will be righteous and they will possess the land forever.

They are the shoot I have planted, the work of My hands, for the display of My splendor.  (Isaiah 60:21)


But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in Him.  (Jeremiah 17:7)


They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes;

its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.  (Jeremiah 17:8)
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Then young women will dance and be glad, young men and old as well. I will turn their mourning into gladness;

I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.  (Jeremiah 31:13)

I will provide for them a land renowned for its crops, and they will no longer be victims of famine in the land or bear the scorn of the nations.  (Ezekiel 34:29

When I arrived there, I saw a great number of trees on each side of the river.  (Ezekiel 47:7)

You dis-own Him, He’ll dis-own you. Period.

(Isaiah 65)

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The various psalms reflect nearly every human emotion:

unbridled joy, deep-seated jealousy, seething anger, hope, and depression.

These are only a few of the emotions behind the poetry we hear expressed in individual psalms.

Feelings and emotions are central to what it means to be human.

We cannot escape them nor should we. Psalms invites us to take the emotions we feel and bring them before God.

This book models how to come before God in times of sadness, brokenness, and joy.

Psalm 5 is a cry for help and a plea for guidance by a person who suffered at the hands of an enemy.

It talks about the morning as the time to pray and listen for God to answer.

Like many laments, it begins with a cry but ends in confidence.

 Bend Your ear to me and listen to my words, O Eternal One;
    hear the deep cry of my heart.
 Listen to my call for help,
    my King, my True God;
    to You alone I pray.
 In the morning, O Eternal One, listen for my voice;
    in the day’s first light, I will offer my prayer to You and watch expectantly for Your answer.

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Opening up in true intimate moments in relationship makes us vulnerable but

also paves the way for real help to enter in.  Being honest renders us vulnerable

 

but it is in the very act of being open and honest in true humility before God that

He gives grace.  God opposes the proud, the arrogant and prayerless. 

Prayerlessness is actually saying you don’t need help, or God.

Are you waiting on God or is He waiting on you?

He who says, “before they call I will answer” in Isaiah 65:25 and “I too watch over My Word to bring it to pass” in Jeremiah 1:12, waits with longsuffering merciful kindness for His errant children to turn to Him (in repentance and rest).

 

Why are we so afraid of having our weakness exposed

when the truth is that there is nothing hidden that won’t be revealed

For the darkness is as light before the Lord our Maker. 

He sees you right where you are and longs for you to come into His presence.

 

Return to your First Love.  We love because He First Loved us!

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For days, an older Vineyard praise song as been resounding in my spirit–

 

More faith, more passion
More of You in my life
More faith, more passion
More of You in my life

I will worship You with all of my heart
And I will worship You with all of my mind
And I will worship You with all of my strength
For You are my Lord
You are my Lord.

MANIFEST YOURSELF IN ME

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Jesus:  Trust in God.   If you do, honestly, you can say to this mountain, “Mountain, uproot yourself and throw yourself into the sea.” If you don’t doubt, but trust that what you say will take place, then it will happen.   So listen to what I’m saying: Whatever you pray for or ask from God, believe that you’ll receive it and you will.  When you pray, if you remember anyone who has wronged you, forgive him so that God above can also forgive you.”  (Mark 11:22-25)

 

Jesus the True Vine

“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 

“My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. 

“Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love.”  (John 15:7-9)

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Father, increase my expectancy in all earnestness as I wait on You to work.  We reach out our hands to You for healing;

give us a “green thumb” that all we touch in Your name blooms and grows up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. 

Here I am Lord I delight to do Your will.  Help me to see the good things You have given

as seeds that grow with the watering of the inspiration of Your Holy Spirit and the encouragement of my faithful

prayers, praise and preaching.  Be near me Lord Jesus as I ask you to stay close by me forever and help me

to reach out to others as You desire to bring forth Your Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven this day. 

May all that I think, say and do bring all glory, honor and praise to Your name.  I love You Lord Jesus, Amen.

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Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in Him!

Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you’re on their side, working with them and not against them.

Help them see that the Master is about to arrive.

He could show up any minute!

 

 Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray.

Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns.

Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down.

It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

 

 Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.

Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized.

Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into His most excellent harmonies.

(Philippians 4:4-9)

 

Content Whatever the Circumstances

 Silence is praise to You,
    Zion-dwelling God,
And also obedience.
    You hear the prayer in it all.

(Psalm 65:1-2)
 

petition supplication—
 

Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed. The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with.

Elijah, for instance, human just like us, prayed hard that it wouldn’t rain, and it didn’t—not a drop for three and a half years. Then he prayed that it would rain, and it did. The showers came and everything started growing again.  (James 5:16-18)

“I will send you rain in its season, and the ground will yield its crops and the trees their fruit.”  (Leviticus 26:4)

 earnest expectation–

That’s why I don’t think there’s any comparison between the present hard times and the coming good times.

The created world itself can hardly wait for what’s coming next. Everything in creation is being more or less held back.

God reins it in until both creation and all the creatures are ready and can be released at the same moment into the glorious times ahead. Meanwhile, the joyful anticipation deepens.

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.   (Romans 8:19-25)

 requests–a cry for help–a call for courage

Strength arises as we wait upon the Lord
The joy of he Lord is your strength
In His presence is fullness of joy.
Joy, unspeakable and full of glory!

Child-Like Trust in the Lord

O Lord, my heart is not proud. My eyes are not filled with pride. And I do not trouble myself with important things or in things too great for me. For sure I have made my soul quiet like a child who no longer nurses while he is with his mother.

My soul within me is like a child who no longer nurses.   O Israel, hope in the Lord, now and forever.

(Psalm 131:1-3)

 

The Seventh Lock—No Sound in Heaven

 

When the Lamb broke the seventh lock, there was not a sound in heaven for about one-half hour.

 

Then I saw the seven angels standing before God. They were given seven horns.

 

Another angel came and stood at the altar. He held a cup made of gold full of special perfume. He was given much perfume so he could mix it in with the prayers of those who belonged to God. Their prayers were put on the altar made of gold before the throne. Smoke from burning the special perfume and the prayers of those who belong to God went up before God out of the angel’s hand. Then the angel took the cup of gold. He filled it with fire from the altar and threw it down on the earth. There was thunder and noise and lightning and the earth shook.

 

The seven angels that had the seven horns got ready to blow them.

(Revelation 8:1-6)

 

Prayer for Help in Time of Trouble

Hear what is right, O Lord. Listen to my cry. Hear my prayer, for it does not come from lying lips. 

May You decide in my favor. May Your eyes see what is right.

You have tested my heart. You have visited me during the night. You have tested me and have found nothing wrong.

I have decided that my mouth will not sin.

As for the actions of men, by the word of Your lips, I have kept myself from the paths of those who want to hurt others. 

My steps have followed Your paths. My feet have not turned from them.

 

I have called to You, O God, for You will answer me. Listen to me and hear my words. Show Your great loving-kindness.

You save by Your right hand the people that come to You for help from those who hate them.

Keep me safe as You would Your own eye.

Hide me in the shadow of Your wings, from the sinful who fight against me, those who would kill me and are all around me. They have closed their fat hearts to pity. And their mouths speak with pride. 

They have followed our every step and are all around us. They are watching for a way to bring us down to the ground. 

He is like a hungry lion, like a young lion hiding and waiting.

 

Rise up, O Lord. Stand against him. Bring him down. Save me from the sinful with Your sword. 

O Lord, save me by Your hand from such men. Their riches are in this life.

Their stomach is filled with what You have stored for them. Their children are filled. Let them leave some for their babies. 

As for me, I will see Your face in what is right and good. I will be happy to see You when I awake.

 

(Psalm 17:1-15)

You’re not a God who smiles at sin;
    You cannot abide with evil.
The proud wither in Your presence;
    You hate all who pervert and destroy what is good.
You destroy those with lying lips;
    the Eternal detests those who murder and deceive.

 

Yet I, by Your loving grace,
    am welcomed into Your house;
I will turn my face toward Your holy place
    and fall on my knees in reverence before You.
O Eternal One, lead me in the path of Your righteousness
    amidst those who wish me harm;
    make Your way clear to me.

 

Their words cannot be trusted;
    they are destructive to their cores.
What comes out of their mouths is as foul as a rotting corpse;
    their words stink of flattery.
 Find them guilty, O True God;
    let their own devices bring them ruin.
Throw them out, and let them drown in the deluge of their sin,
    for in revolt they brazenly spit in Your face.

 

But let those who run to You for safety be glad they did;
    let them break out in joyful song.
May You keep them safe—
    their love for You resounding in their hearts.
You, O Eternal, are the One who lays all good things in the laps of the right-hearted.
    Your blessings surround them like a shield.

(Psalm 5:4-12)

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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. 

(Acts 17:24-31)

 

 

That’s why, as long as that promise of entering God’s rest remains open to us, we should be careful that none of us seem to fall short ourselves.   Those people in the wilderness heard God’s good news, just as we have heard it, but the message they heard didn’t do them any good since it wasn’t combined with faith.   We who believe are entering into salvation’s rest, as He said,

 

That is why I swore in anger
    they would never enter salvation’s rest, 

even though God’s works were finished from the very creation of the world.  

(For didn’t God say that on the seventh day of creation He rested from all His works?

And doesn’t God say in the psalm that they would never enter into salvation’s rest?)

 

There is much discussion of “rest” in what we are calling the First Testament of Scripture. God rests on the seventh day after creation. In the Ten Commandments God commands His people to remember the Sabbath day, keep it holy, and do no work. By letting go of daily work, they declared their absolute dependence on God to meet their needs.

We do not live by the work of our hands, but by the bread and Word that God supplies.

But a greater rest is yet to come when we will be released from all suffering, and when we will inherit the earth.

Jesus embodies this greater rest that still awaits the people of God, a people fashioned through obedience and faith.

If some of us fail to enter that rest, it is because we fail to answer the call.

So if God prepared a place of rest, and those who were given the good news didn’t enter because they chose disobedience over faith, then it remains open for us to enter. Once again, God has fixed a day; and that day is “today,” as David said so much later when he wrote in the psalm quoted earlier:

 

Today, if you listen to His voice,
Don’t harden your hearts. 

 

Now if Joshua had been able to lead those who followed him into God’s rest, would God then have spoken this way?

There still remains a place of rest, a true Sabbath, for the people of God

because those who enter into salvation’s rest lay down their labors in the same way that God entered into a Sabbath rest from His.

 

So let us move forward to enter this rest, so that none of us fall into the kind of faithless disobedience that prevented them from entering.   The word of God, you see, is alive and moving; sharper than a double-edged sword; piercing the divide between soul and spirit, joints and marrow; able to judge the thoughts and will of the heart. 

No creature can hide from God: God sees all. Everyone and everything is exposed, opened for His inspection; and He’s the One we will have to explain ourselves to.

 

By God’s word, everything finds a rhythm, a place. It fills, empowers, enlivens, and redeems us.

But it also divides and destroys. It pierces and exposes our disobedience and unfaithfulness.

Since we have a great High Priest, Jesus, the Son of God who has passed through the heavens from death into new life with God, let us hold tightly to our faith. For Jesus is not some high priest who has no sympathy for our weaknesses and flaws.

He has already been tested in every way that we are tested; but He emerged victorious, without failing God.

So let us step boldly to the throne of grace, where we can find mercy and grace to help when we need it most.

 

(Hebrews 4)

 

 Through faith, God’s power is standing watch, protecting you for a salvation that you will see completely at the end of things. You should greatly rejoice in what is waiting for you, even if now for a little while you have to suffer various trials.  

Suffering tests your faith which is more valuable than gold (remember that gold, although it is perishable, is tested by fire) so that if it is found genuine, you can receive praise, honor, and glory when Jesus the Anointed, our Liberating King, is revealed at last.

Early Christians stand apart from the culture and suffer social stigmas and physical persecution at times.

Peter challenges them to remain faithful to Jesus who also suffered for not conforming.

 Although you haven’t seen Jesus, you still love Him.

Although you don’t yet see Him, you do believe in Him and celebrate with a joy that is glorious and beyond words.

(1 Peter 1:5-8)

Above all, be sure to remember that in the last days mockers will come, following their own desires and taunting you, saying, “So what happened to the promised second coming of Jesus? For everything keeps going just the way it has since our ancestors fell asleep in death; since the beginning of creation, nothing’s changed.”

 

These believers face persecution every day and eagerly await the day when Jesus will return and judge their enemies.

But what is taking so long?

When they make fun of you, it’s as if the scoffers are deliberately forgetting that long ago when God spoke the word, the heavens came into existence and the earth formed from water and by water. 

The waters later flooded and destroyed that world. 

By that same word, the heavens and earth we see now are being reserved for destruction by fire,

preserved until the time comes for the godless on the day of judgment.

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Don’t imagine, dear friends, that God’s timetable is the same as ours; as the psalm says, for with the Lord, one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years is like one day. 

 

Scoffers use the delay in His second coming to question if He is going to return at all.

Peter responds by saying that God’s perspective on time is not like ours.

What seems long from a finite, human perspective is incredibly short from an eternal one.

Peter also describes how God is not slow, but patient.

God wants to allow the time needed for as many sinners as possible to turn from their sinful ways.

Unlike some depictions of God as vindictive and enjoying inflicting punishment on people, the God we see here desires that all be saved and not destroyed.

If we had true spiritual insight, we would not be amazed by the severity of eternal judgment but by the intensity of God’s mercy.

Now the Lord is not slow about enacting His promise—slow is how some people want to characterize it—

no, He is not slow but patient and merciful to you, not wanting anyone to be destroyed, but wanting everyone to turn away from following his own path and to turn toward God’s. 

 

The day of the Lord will come unexpectedly like a thief in the night; and on that day, the sky will vanish with a roar, the elements will melt with intense heat, and the earth and all the works done on it will be seen as they truly are. 

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Knowing that one day all this will come to pass, think what sort of people you ought to be—

how you should be living faithful and godly lives,  waiting hopefully for and hastening the coming of God’s day when the heavens will vanish in flames and the elements melt away with intense heat. 

What will happen next, and what we hope for, is what God promised: a new heaven and a new earth where justice reigns.

 

So, my friends, while we wait for the day of the Lord, work hard to live in peace, without flaw or blemish;

and look at the patience of the Lord as your salvation.

Our dearly loved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, has written about this. 

He says essentially the same in all of his letters, although uneducated and unstable readers misinterpret the difficult passages, just as they always misread Scripture, to their spiritual ruin.

 

So hear my final words, my friends.

Now that I have warned you about what’s ahead, keep up your guard and don’t let unprincipled people pull you away from the sure ground of the truth with their lies and misunderstandings.   Instead, grow in grace and in the true knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus, the Anointed, to whom be glory, now and until the coming of the new age. Amen

 

(2 Peter 3)

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Once again the scene shifts. The exile is receding in the past and the remnant of Israel—

those who survived God’s judgment and Babylon’s cruelty—are working hard to rebuild their lives and communities.

But life back in Jerusalem under Persian rule is not faring as well as they hoped.

So once again a prophetic voice breaks the silence to address a discouraged population.

Most people are facing terrific difficulties.

Despite what their prophets have spoken, Jerusalem is a mere shadow of the great city their parents and grandparents knew. People doubt whether God is really alive, or really all that powerful, or really even cares.

But the faithful know that God is powerful and does care; they are determined to convince their countrymen that He has their well-being in mind. He can make this people and this place great again, if they just trust and follow Him.

Soon the whole world will be caught up in this brand new thing God is doing.

Arise, shine, for your light has broken through!
    The Eternal One’s brilliance has dawned upon you.
 See truly; look carefully—darkness blankets the earth;
    people all over are cloaked in darkness.
But God will rise and shine on you;
    the Eternal’s bright glory will shine on you, a light for all to see.
  Nations north and south, peoples east and west, will be drawn to your light,
    will find purpose and direction by your light.
In the radiance of your rising, you will enlighten the leaders of nations.

 

 Don’t be shy; don’t be doubtful; lift up your eyes and look around.
    They have gathered all around you, eager to come and be close to you.
And your children will come back to this land:
    your sons from the farthest places of wandering,
    and your daughters gently carried home.
 And when you see it, your face will glow;
    your heart will race and be filled with joy;
For great ships will arrive with gifts from across the sea,
    and the wealth of nations will make their way to you.

(Isaiah 60:1-5)

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.  (Matthew 5:16)


Allow God to have complete liberty in your life when you speak.

Before God’s message can liberate other people, His liberation must first be real in you.

Gather your material carefully, and then allow God to “set your words on fire” for His glory.  (My Utmost For His Highest)

Part of imitating the perfection of God is acting charitably and generously, doing good deeds, working for justice, and praying.

Your prayers, rather, should be simple, like this:    

Our Father in heaven,
        let Your name remain holy.
Bring about Your kingdom.
    Manifest Your will here on earth,
        as it is manifest in heaven.
Give us each day that day’s bread—no more, no less—
And forgive us our debts
        as we forgive those who owe us something.
Lead us not into temptation,
        but deliver us from evil.
But let Your kingdom be,
        and let it be powerful
        and glorious forever. Amen.
(Matthew 6:9-13)

“I will send you rain in its season, and the ground will yield its crops and the trees their fruit.”  (Leviticus 26:4)

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Walk THIS Way

Let me Walk with You

A highway will be there, a roadway. It will be called the Holy Road. Sinners won’t travel on it. It will be for those who walk on it. Godless fools won’t wander onto it.
(Isaiah 35:8)       

It’s never wrong to do right
 
The highway of the upright avoids evil; those who guard their ways preserve their lives.   
(Proverbs 35:8)

 
Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”
(Isaiah 30:21)
       
 
The highways are deserted, no travelers are on the roads. The treaty is broken, its witnesses are despised, no one is respected.

 
A voice of one calling: “In the wilderness prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

 
I will turn all my mountains into roads, and my highways will be raised up.

 
Was it not You who dried up the sea, the waters of the great deep, Who made a road in the depths of the sea so that the redeemed might cross over?
(Isaiah 33:8; 40:3; 49:11; 51:10)
                           
 
Awake, awake, Zion, clothe yourself with strength! Put on your garments of splendor, Jerusalem, the holy city. The uncircumcised and defiled will not enter you again.

 
Pass through, pass through the gates! Prepare the way for the people. Build up, build up the highway! Remove the stones. Raise a banner for the nations.

 
They will ask the way to Zion and turn their faces toward it. They will come and bind themselves to the LORD in an everlasting covenant that will not be forgotten.
(Isaiah 52:1; 62:10; 50:5)

 
Those who are left in Zion, who remain in Jerusalem, will be called holy, all who are recorded among the living in Jerusalem.  (Isaiah 4;3)

 
There will be a highway for the remnant of his people that is left from Assyria, as there was for Israel when they came up from Egypt.    (Isaiah 11:16)

       
 
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.  But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

(Matthew 7:13-14)
 
But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written:
“Be holy, because I am holy.”
(1 Peter 1:15-16)

This is the gate of the LORD through which the righteous may enter.
(Psalm 118:20)

Out of this World
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A blind man sees with his heart.
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:21)

The undiminished radiance, which is the result of abundant joy, is not built on anything passing, but on the love of God that nothing can change. And the experiences of life, whether they are everyday events or terrifying ones, are powerless to “separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:39).—My Utmost For His Highest
THY

Perg

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ePH

Phila

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My kingdom,” said Jesus, “doesn’t consist of what you see around you. If it did, my followers would fight so that I wouldn’t be handed over to the Jews. But I’m not that kind of king, not the world’s kind of king.” (John 18:36)

This Davidic psalm based on Genesis 1 celebrates not only God’s majesty as Creator but also the unique place of human beings in His creation.

O Eternal, our Lord,
Your majestic name is heard throughout the earth;
Your magnificent glory shines far above the skies.
From the mouths and souls of infants and toddlers, the most innocent,
You have decreed power to stop Your adversaries
and quash those who seek revenge.

When I gaze to the skies and meditate on Your creation—
on the moon, stars, and all You have made,
I can’t help but wonder why You care about mortals—
sons and daughters of men—
specks of dust floating about the cosmos.

But You placed the son of man just beneath God
and honored him like royalty, crowning him with glory and honor.
You ordained him to govern the works of Your hands,
to nurture the offspring of Your divine imagination;
You placed everything on earth beneath his feet:
All kinds of domesticated animals,
even the wild animals in the fields and forests,
The birds of the sky and the fish of the sea,
all the multitudes of living things that travel the currents of the oceans.

O Eternal, our Lord,
Your majestic name is heard throughout the earth.
(Psalm 8)

The Coming of the Kingdom

Now having been questioned by the Pharisees as to when the kingdom of God was coming, He answered them and said,
The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’
For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst.
” And He said to the disciples,
The days will come when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it.” (Luke 17:20-22)

People will tell you, ‘There he is!’ or ‘Here he is!Do not go running off after them.
(Luke 17:23)

He replied:Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not follow them. (Luke 21:8)

“It will seem like all hell has broken loose—sun, moon, stars, earth, sea, in an uproar
and everyone all over the world in a panic,
the wind knocked out of them by the threat of doom, the powers-that-be quaking.” (Luke 21:25-26)

There will be earth-shattering events—the heavens themselves will seem to be shaken with signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars. And across the earth the outsider nations will feel powerless and terrified in the face of a roaring flood of fear and foreboding, crashing like tidal waves upon them. “What’s happening to the world?” people will wonder.
The cosmic order will be destabilized.
And then, at that point, they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and blazing glory.
So when the troubles begin, don’t be afraid.
Look up—raise your head high, because the truth is that your liberation is fast approaching.

(Luke 21:25-28)

For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels,
and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.
(Matthew 16:27)

The Vine and the Branches

“I am the Real Vine and my Father is the Farmer. He cuts off every branch of me that doesn’t bear grapes. And every branch that is grape-bearing he prunes back so it will bear even more. You are already pruned back by the message I have spoken.

Live in me. Make your home in me just as I do in you. In the same way that a branch can’t bear grapes by itself but only by being joined to the vine, you can’t bear fruit unless you are joined with me.

I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing. Anyone who separates from me is deadwood, gathered up and thrown on the bonfire. But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon. This is how my Father shows who he is—when you produce grapes, when you mature as my disciples.

I’ve loved you the way my Father has loved me. Make yourselves at home in my love. If you keep my commands, you’ll remain intimately at home in my love. That’s what I’ve done—kept my Father’s commands and made myself at home in his love.

I’ve told you these things for a purpose: that my joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature. This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends. You are my friends when you do the things I command you. I’m no longer calling you servants because servants don’t understand what their master is thinking and planning. No, I’ve named you friends because I’ve let you in on everything I’ve heard from the Father.

You didn’t choose me, remember; I chose you, and put you in the world to bear fruit, fruit that won’t spoil. As fruit bearers, whatever you ask the Father in relation to me, he gives you.

“But remember the root command: Love one another.
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And since Abraham and the other patriarchs were holy, their descendants will also be holy—just as the entire batch of dough is holy because the portion given as an offering is holy.
For if the roots of the tree are holy, the branches will be, too.

The Lord spoke, saying:By those who come nar Me I must be regarded as holy.”
(Leviticus 10:3)

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—
(Hebrews 12:25)

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

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 He pours out grace on the humble
.

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.

(James 4)

Our Kingdom Cannot Be Shaken

Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel.
See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking.
For if those did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth,
much less will we escape who turn away from Him who warns from heaven.
And His voice shook the earth then, but now He has promised, saying,
“YET ONCE MORE I WILL SHAKE NOT ONLY THE EARTH, BUT ALSO THE HEAVEN.

(Hebrews 12:24-26)

How shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation?
This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him.

See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God.
(Hebrews 2:3; 12)

But some of these branches from Abraham’s tree—some of the people of Israel—have been broken off.
And you Gentiles, who were branches from a wild olive tree, have been grafted in.
So now you also receive the blessing God has promised Abraham and his children, sharing in the rich nourishment from the root of God’s special olive tree. But you must not brag about being grafted in to replace the branches that were broken off. You are just a branch, not the root.
(Romans 11:16-18)

Oneness and Peace in Christ

Don’t forget that you Gentiles used to be outsiders. You were called “uncircumcised heathens” by the Jews, who were proud of their circumcision, even though it affected only their bodies and not their hearts.
In those days you were living apart from Christ. You were excluded from citizenship among the people of Israel, and you did not know the covenant promises God had made to them. You lived in this world without God and without hope. But now you have been united with Christ Jesus.
Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ.

For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us. He did this by ending the system of law with its commandments and regulations. He made peace between Jews and Gentiles by creating in himself one new people from the two groups. Together as one body, Christ reconciled both groups to God by means of his death on the cross, and our hostility toward each other was put to death.

He brought this Good News of peace to you Gentiles who were far away from him, and peace to the Jews who were near.
Now all of us can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us.

A Temple for the Lord

So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people.
You are members of God’s family.
Together, we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets.
And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself.
We are carefully joined together in him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord.
Through him you Gentiles are also being made part of this dwelling where God lives by his Spirit
.
(Ephesians 2:11-22)

All the trees of the forest will know that I the LORD bring down the tall tree and make the low tree grow tall. I dry up the green tree and make the dry tree flourish. “‘I the LORD have spoken, and I will do it.‘”

Without holiness, no one will see the Lord
Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God!

“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self,
which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;
to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self,
created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:22–24)

But on Mount Zion will be deliverance; it will be holy, and Jacob will possess his inheritance.
(Ezekiel 17:24: Obadiah 1:17)

Tell him this is what the LORD Almighty says:Here is the man whose name is the Branch, and he will branch out from his place and build the temple of the LORD.
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“The LORD will save the dwellings of Judah first, so that the honor of the house of David and of Jerusalem’s inhabitants may not be greater than that of Judah. (Zechariah 6:12; 12:7)

Shepherd your people with your staff, the flock of your inheritance,
which lives by itself in a forest, in fertile pasture lands. Let them feed in Bashan and Gilead as in days long ago.
(Micah 7:14)

I will bring forth descendants from Jacob, and from Judah those who will possess my mountains;
my chosen people will inherit them, and there will my servants live.

In love a throne will be established; in faithfulness a man will sit on it– one from the house of David–
one who in judging seeks justice and speeds the cause of righteousness.

Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations;
you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.
(Isaiah 65:9; 16:5; 58:12)

The Restoration of Israel

“In that day I will raise up the fallen booth of David, And wall up its breaches;
I will also raise up its ruins And rebuild it as in the days of old;
That they may possess the remnant of Edom And all the nations who are called by My name,” Declares the LORD who does this.
(Amos 9:11-12)

Hated by the World

“If you find the godless world is hating you, remember it got its start hating me.
If you lived on the world’s terms, the world would love you as one of its own.
But since I picked you to live on God’s terms and no longer on the world’s terms, the world is going to hate you.

When that happens, remember this: Servants don’t get better treatment than their masters.
If they beat on me, they will certainly beat on you. If they did what I told them, they will do what you tell them.

“They are going to do all these things to you because of the way they treated me,
because they don’t know the One who sent me.
If I hadn’t come and told them all this in plain language, it wouldn’t be so bad.
As it is, they have no excuse.
Hate me, hate my Father—it’s all the same.
If I hadn’t done what I have done among them, works no one has ever done, they wouldn’t be to blame.
But they saw the God-signs and hated anyway, both me and my Father.
Interesting—they have verified the truth of their own Scriptures where it is written, ‘They hated me for no good reason.’

When the Friend I plan to send you from the Father comes—the Spirit of Truth issuing from the Father—
he will confirm everything about me.
You, too, from your side must give your confirming evidence, since you are in this with me from the start
.”
(John 15)

Keep your eyes on Jesus, the Pioneer and Perfecter of Faith!

“‘In those days and at that time I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David’s line; he will do what is just and right in the land.

“The days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch,
a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land.

(Jeremiah 33:15; 23:5)

For it is clear that our Lord descended from Judah, and in regard to that tribe Moses said nothing about priests.
(Hebrews 7:14)

In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him,
and his resting place will be glorious.
(Isaiah 11:10)

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah,
out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”

“‘Listen, High Priest Joshua, you and your associates seated before you, who are men symbolic of things to come: I am going to bring my servant, the Branch.

Tell him this is what the LORD Almighty says:
Here is the man whose name is the Branch, and he will branch out from his place and build the temple of the LORD.”
(Micah 5:2; Zechariah 3:8; 6:12)

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this. (Isaiah 9:6-7)

He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
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This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham


From this man’s descendants God has brought to Israel the Savior Jesus, as he promised.

(Matthew 1:1; Acts 13:23)

In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples;
the nations will rally to him, and his resting place will be glorious. (Isaiah 11:10)

“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—
the fruit of lips that openly profess His name.” (Hebrews 13:15)

In that day the Branch of the LORD will be beautiful and glorious,
and the fruit of the land will be the pride and glory of the survivors in Israel.
(Isaiah 4:2)

“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches.
I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.”
(Revelation 22:16)

The Return of the Son of Man

“Then they will see THE SON OF MAN COMING IN A CLOUD with power and great glory.
(Luke 21:27)

The Root of Jesse

Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, And a branch from his roots will bear fruit.
The Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him, The spirit of wisdom and understanding,
The spirit of counsel and strength, The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.
(Isaiah 1:1-2)

Behind and underneath all this there is a holy, God-planted, God-tended root.
If the primary root of the tree is holy, there’s bound to be some holy fruit.

Some of the tree’s branches were pruned and you wild olive shoots were grafted in.
Yet the fact that you are now fed by that rich and holy root gives you no cause to crow over the pruned branches. Remember, you aren’t feeding the root; the root is feeding you. (Romans 11:16-18)

To be “holy” means to be perfect, blameless in every way, totally beyond the created realm or human condition’s temporal limited comprehension. Out of sight is Out of mind.
The saying, “to err is human but to forgive, Divine” and “I’m only human” regards
the experience of natural man apart from God as fallen short of His glory. Prayerlessness
actually is arrogantly saying that we do not need God. Bloated egos puffed up with powerless
prideful sinful SELF, with no room for the supernatural life-giving, fruit-bearing power of the Eternal Almighty.

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.

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)
threshing
Don’t you know, haven’t you heard or even been told
from your earliest memories how the earth came to be?
Who else could have done it except God, enthroned high above the earth?
From such a vantage people seem like grasshoppers to Him.
Who else but God could stretch out the skies as if they were a curtain,
draw them tight, suspend them over our heads like the roof of a tent?
God reduces the rulers and judges,
the rich and powerful of the earth, to nothing;

They scarcely are planted, take root and start growing,
before God blows a withering breath,
And storm winds carry them away like chaff.

(Isaiah 40:21-24)

Acknowledge and take to heart this day that the LORD is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other.

Yours, LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all.

Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things.
In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all.
(Deuteronomy 4:39; 1 Chronicles 29:11-12)

Only God has the power to help or to overthrow

The God Who lives forever is your safe place. His arms are always under you.
He drove away from in front of you those who hate you, and said, ‘Destroy!’ (Deuteronomy 33:27)

There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots.

(continuing with a parable) Look over there at that fig tree—and all the trees surrounding it.
When the leaves break out of their buds, nobody has to tell you that summer is approaching; it’s obvious to you.
It’s the same in the larger scheme of things.
When you see all these things happening, you can be confident that the kingdom of God is approaching.
I’m telling you the truth: this generation will not pass from the scene before everything I’m telling you has occurred. Heaven and earth will cease to exist before My words ever fail.

Psalms 113–118 comprise an important unit called the Hallel, which in Hebrew means “praise.”
Composed after the exile, these six psalms are recited together by observant Jews during some of the major holidays on the Jewish calendar. The Gospel writers tell us that Jesus and His disciples sang a song following their last meal together, which was the Passover (Matthew 26:30; Mark 14:26). That may have been the Hallel.


Praise the Eternal!

All of you who call yourselves the children of the Eternal, come and praise His name.
Lift Him high to the high place in your hearts.

At this moment, and for all the moments yet to come,
may the Eternal’s name ascend in the hearts of His people.
At every time and in every place—
from the moment the sun rises to the moment the sun sets—
may the name of the Eternal be high in the hearts of His people.

The Eternal is seated high above every nation.
His glory fills the skies.

To whom should we compare the Eternal, our God?
No one.
From His seat, high above,
He deigns to observe the earth and her thin skies,
stooping even to see her goings on, far beneath His feet.
He gathers up the poor from their dirt floors,
pulls the needy from the trash heap
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And places them among heads of state,
seated next to the rulers of His people where they cannot be ignored.
Into the home of the childless bride,
He sends children who are, for her, a cause of happiness beyond measure.
Praise the Eternal!
(Psalm 113:1-9)

So be careful. Guard your hearts.
They can be made heavy with moral laxity, with drunkenness, with the hassles of daily life.
Then the day I’ve been telling you about might catch you unaware and trap you.
Because it’s coming—nobody on earth will escape it.
So you have to stay alert,
praying that you’ll be able to escape the coming trials so you can stand tall in the presence of the Son of Man.
(Luke 21:29-36)

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. (Ephesians 3:14-19)
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Evidence that Demands a Verdict
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Do not fear, O land. You have been revived.
    Celebrate and rejoice, for the Eternal One has done great things!
Do not fear, you wild beasts: You will eat again,
    for the desert pastures are green again!
And so will we: the trees bear their fruit;
    the fig trees and the vines produce their bounty once again.

 People of Zion, shout with joy
    and happiness in the Eternal, your God;
The drought is over; He has sent the early autumn rain as a sign of His faithfulness.
    He has poured down heavy rain, autumn and spring, as before.
 The threshing floors will be covered in grain;
    the vats will spill over with new wine and fresh oil.

 Eternal One: I will compensate you for the years
        that the locusts have eaten—the swarming locusts,
    The creeping locusts, the stripping locusts, and the cutting locusts—
        My great army that I unleashed against you.

 In that day, you will eat plenty of food and always have enough,
        so you will praise My name,
    The Eternal One, your God who is merciful to you.
        Never again will My people be shamed among the nations.
  Return to Me and you will know that I live among My people Israel
        and that I, the Eternal One, am your God and there is no other.
    Never again will My people be shamed among the nations.

 Then in those days I will pour My Spirit to all humanity;
        your children will boldly and prophetically speak the word of God.
    Your elders will dream dreams;
        your young warriors will see visions.
 No one will be left out. In those days I will offer My spirit
        to all servants, both male and female.

  In the heaven above and on the earth below,
        I will give signs of My intervention: blood, fire, and clouds of smoke.
 The sun will become a void of darkness, and the moon will become blood
        just before the great and dreadful day of the Eternal One arrives.
(Joel 2:21-31)       
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“Every grain offering you bring to the LORD must be made without yeast, for you are not to burn any yeast or honey in a food offering presented to the LORD. You may bring them to the LORD as an offering of the firstfruits, but they are not to be offered on the altar as a pleasing aroma. Season all your grain offerings with salt. Do not leave the salt of the covenant of your God out of your grain offerings; add salt to all your offerings.”
(Leviticus 2:11–13)

Living Sacrifices

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.  And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
(Romans 12:1-2)

The Great Day of the Lord

“Remember the law of Moses My servant, even the statutes and ordinances which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel.”Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the LORD. 

“He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse.”  (Malachi 4:4-6)

And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous–

to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”  (Luke 1:17)

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A voice of one calling:
 “In the wilderness prepare the way for the LORD;
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.         
The great day of the LORD is near– near and coming quickly.
The cry on the day of the LORD is bitter; the Mighty Warrior shouts his battle cry.   

(Isaiah 40:3; Zephaniah 1:14)

What advantage, then, is there in being a Jew, or what value is there in circumcision?
(Romans 3:1)           

 
Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing. Keeping God’s commands is what counts.  (1 Corinthians 7:19)

The one who is not circumcised physically and yet obeys the law will condemn you who, even though you have the written code and circumcision, are a lawbreaker.
(Romans 2:27)  But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.
(Romans 7:6)

Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God.               
(1 Corinthians 4:5)
           
 
He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant–not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

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Eternal, Complete, All-sufficient
 
For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.

It is the outworking of God’s plan to redeem and restore His scattered people.
It was God who sent His disobedient covenant partners into exile;
it will be God who brings them back home.
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Eternal One: But you, My servant, Israel,
        Jacob whom I have chosen and descendant of My friend, Abraham,
I have reached to wherever you are in the farthest corners of earth,
        and the most hidden places therein.
    I have called to you and said, “You are my servant.
        I have chosen you, not thrown you away!”
So don’t be afraid. I am here, with you;
        don’t be dismayed, for I am your God.
    I will strengthen you, help you.
        I am here with My right hand to make right and to hold you up.
Look, everyone who hated you and sought to do you wrong
        will be embarrassed and confused.
    Whoever challenged you with hot-headed bluster
        will become as if they never were, and nevermore will be.
You may go looking for them, but you won’t find them;
        because those who tried to fight with you will become as if they never were.
After all, it is I, the Eternal One your God,
        who has hold of your right hand,
    Who whispers in your ear, “Don’t be afraid. I will help you.”

So don’t be afraid, Jacob, though you are nothing but a worm.
    People of Israel, you little bug, you have nothing to fear.

Eternal One: I will help you. I am One who saves you,
        the Holy One of Israel.
 I will turn you into a formidable threshing sledge
        with brand new sharp blades that will mow down entire mountains
        and turn the hills into chaff.
You will separate value from waste, and a great wind
        and a strong storm will take away what is useless and unimportant.
    You will take joy in the Eternal.
        You will glow with pride in the Holy One of Israel.
And when people thirst, when those poor souls with parched tongues
        look in vain for something to drink,
    I, the Eternal, the God of Israel, won’t leave them to suffer. I will respond
 By making the hard, brown hills sparkle with streams of fresh water
        and causing valleys to come alive with springs.
    I will see that gentle pools wait on the desert floor for the weary traveler,
        and great fountains bubble up from dry ground;
In the desert, I will plant cedars, woody acacias,
        myrtles, and olive trees.
    I will establish great cypresses to flourish in the desert places,
        plant oaks and pine trees side by side.
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They’ll see all this and understand. They’ll ponder together
    and come to know that it is the power of the Eternal One that produced this.
They will know that the Holy One of Israel created it.

Eternal One: Present your case. Lay out your arguments
        and call your witnesses to appear before the King of Jacob.

God and Israel now become judge and jury as the nations bring their idols and make the case that their handmade gods can indeed predict the future.

Come on and bring your idols. Now tell us what is to come,
    and while you’re at it, tell us what happened before.
Can you explain to us so that we, too, may understand?
    Go ahead, tell us what the future holds.
Surely you can, if you are truly gods. Do good, or do bad.
    Just do something—anything—to amaze or frighten us.
Sure enough, you are not gods; you are nothing at all.
    You have nothing to show for your work or yourselves.
Fools! Only fools would choose you to be their god. Detestable.

Eternal One: I, the Lord, I have called up for service
        one from the north, and he comes from the rising sun
        and he will invoke My name.
    He will render rulers like mud under his shoes,
        trampling them down like so much clay.
Did any of you gods tell us about this long ago, so we would know?
        Did any of you indicate to us that we might agree, “He is right”?
    No, no one told us. No one made an announcement, and no one hears what you say.
I was the first to say to Zion, “Look, here they are!
        I sent a messenger to announce the good news to Jerusalem.
 But I am looking, and there isn’t anyone.
        I have asked around, and no one knows, no one can tell Me.
 See here, all of these so-called gods are false;
        their works are nothing;
    These cast-metal images are like wind, sheer emptiness.
(Isaiah 41:8-29)       

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Your Rod and Your Staff Comfort me.

I am comforted because I know that at the End of all this You are waiting for me, Lord.
And I persevere through these times because I know Your grace and glory await me.  Amen.

 God’s invisible qualities–His Eternal power and Divine nature–have been CLEARLY SEEN!
(Romans 1:20a)

Being UNDERSTOOD from what has been MADE so that men are WITHOUT excuse!
(Romans 1:20b)

Your Throne is Forever

A Song of Love.

My heart overflows with a good theme; I address my verses to the King;
My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.
You are fairer than the sons of men;
Grace is poured upon Your lips;
Therefore God has blessed You forever.
(Psalm 45:1-2)

 
For it is we who are the circumcision, we who serve God by his Spirit, who boast in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh–

 
In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands.

Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ,
(2 Corinthians 3:6; 10:18; Philippians 3:3; Colossians 2:11)

In the Beginning was the Word
Jesus is the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End.
He is the Living Word of God the Father Almighty
The Word is Alive and Full of Authority
The Final Word

God’s Word  revealed  has all power and authority over all circumstances.

God’s Word  obeyed brings forth fruit that is perpetual.

God’s Final Judgments against the Wicked       
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Hell-Bent

(Wicked, Prideful, Perverse, On the Broad Road that leads via sin and destruction to death and eternal damnation.

Separation from God’s Way seeking to find fulfillment, belonging, gratifying the lusts of the flesh, the pride of life and the desires of the sin-sick soul and yet never completely satisfied when those urges and cravings are met. )

A Call to Be Holy

But like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior;

because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.”

If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work,

conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth.  (1 Peter 1:15-17)

   

John 10:10       

Matthew 4:4

Isaiah 55:11

As in the First Exodus, THIS  exodus requires a radical change in lifestyle

Depart, depart, go out from there! Touch no unclean thing!
 from it and be pure, you who carry the articles of the LORD’s house.        (Isaiah 52:11)

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him,

and He will make your paths straight.        (Proverbs 3:5-6)

That we would walk worthy of Him!

And now I have a word for you who brashly announce,

Today—at the latest, tomorrow—we’re off to such and such a city for the year.

We’re going to start a business and make a lot of money.You don’t know the first thing about tomorrow.

You’re nothing but a wisp of fog, catching a brief bit of sun before disappearing.

Instead, make it a habit to say, “If the Master wills it and we’re still alive, we’ll do this or that.

As it is, you are full of your grandiose selves. All such vaunting self-importance is evil.

In fact, if you know the right thing to do and don’t do it, that, for you, is evil.
(James 4:13-17)   
               
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But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all truth.
For He will not speak on His own authority, but will speak whatever He hears, and will tell you what is to come. 

He will glorify Me, because He will receive from Me what is Mine and will tell it to you.  

Everything that the Father has is Mine; that is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what is Mine and will tell it to you.

 Set them apart in the Truth; Your Word is Truth.
(John 16:13-15; 17:17 )   

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Treasures in Jars of Clay

So death works in us, but life in you.
But having the same spirit of faith, according to what is written,
 “I BELIEVED, THEREFORE I SPOKE,” we also believe, therefore we also speak,
knowing that He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and will present us with you. (2 Corinthians 4:12-14)

THE WORD IS ALIVE; HIS NAME IS GLORIOUS
YOU WILL KNOW THE TRUTH AND THE TRUTH WILL MAKE YOU FREE
WHO THE SON SETS FREE IS REALLY FREE!

The Eternal will finish what He started in me.
    Your faithful love, O Eternal One, lasts forever;
    do not give up on what Your hands have made.
(Psalm 138:8)

No one can separate me from His love!

His love never fails.

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The Call to Holiness

To them I will give within My temple and its walls a memorial and a name better than sons and daughters;

I will give them an everlasting name that will endure forever.
(Isaiah 56:5)

These I will bring to My holy mountain and give them joy in My house of prayer.

Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on My altar;

for My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.”        (Isaiah 56:7)

Message to the Church in Philadelphia

‘I am coming quickly; hold fast what you have, so that no one will take your crown.
‘He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore;

and I will write on him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God,

the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, and My new name.
‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’   (Revelation 3:11-13)

“Lift up your eyes and look about you: All assemble and come to you;

your sons come from afar, and your daughters are carried on the hip.  (Isaiah 60:4)

“But as for you who forsake the LORD and forget my holy mountain,

who spread a table for Fortune and fill bowls of mixed wine for Destiny,  (Isaiah 65:11)

Will find yourselves a bit unlucky and your destiny an early death.
        You’ll bow down and be killed like sheep brought to the slaughter
    Because when I called you, you did not answer;
        when I spoke, you refused to listen.
    Instead you did all the wrong things and made terrible choices—
        what I expressly said that I hate.  (v.12)

So this is what the Lord, the Eternal, has to say:

Eternal One: My servants will eat and eat well, while you go hungry;
        My servants will drink and be satisfied, while you are parched with thirst;
    My servants will celebrate with joy, while you are put to shame.
My servants will sing with gladness in their hearts,
    While you cry out in anguish and despair and bemoan your brokenness.

And when you are gone, your name will become a curse—
    a repugnant byword—to My chosen people;
The Eternal God will put you to death
    and call His servants by a new name altogether.
 Whoever speaks a blessing in this special land
    will invoke the God of truth;
Whoever takes a vow in the land of promise
    will make his pledge by the God of truth.
For the bitterness and pain of earlier times will nevermore come to mind;
    they’ll be hidden even from My eyes, God says.

 Eternal One: Now look here!
        I am creating new heavens and a new earth.
    The weary and painful past will be as if it never happened.
        No one will talk or even think about it anymore.
 So take joy and celebrate with unending gladness
        on account of what I am creating.
    Look carefully! I am making this place I’ve chosen, this Jerusalem, a city of joy.
        I’m making her citizens, My people, a people of gladness.
This Jerusalem, My pride and joy, and her people will be a delight to Me.
        Though you listen at every corner,
    You will never hear crying, never hear despair or grief.

(vv. 13-19)

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They will neither harm nor destroy on all My holy mountain,

for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.
(Isaiah 11:9) 
I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!‘ and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.

Bring My sons from afar and My daughters from the ends of the earth–
(Isaiah 43:6)

This is what the Sovereign LORD says:See, I will beckon to the nations, I will lift up my banner to the peoples;

they will bring your sons in their arms and carry your daughters on their hips.
(Isaiah 49:22)

“I will set a sign among them and will send survivors from them to the nations:
Tarshish, Put, Lud, Meshech, Rosh, Tubal and Javan,
to the distant coastlands that have neither heard My fame nor seen My glory.
 And they will declare My glory among the nations.
“Then they shall bring all your brethren from all the nations as a grain offering to the LORD,

on horses, in chariots, in litters, on mules and on camels, to My holy mountain Jerusalem,”

says the LORD, “just as the sons of Israel bring their GRAIN OFFERING IN A CLEAN VESSEL to the house of the LORD. 

“I will also take some of them for priests and for Levites,” says the LORD
(Isaiah 66:19-21)

Unbelief testifies against the Truth of God; it seeks to suppress the Truth of God in a lie even as the Serpent beguiled

through deceit the woman in the garden.  Even as the Israelites got what they SAID and DIED in the wilderness

Yet God brought their children into His PROMISED land along with Joshua and Caleb, the two witnesses to His being

Faithful and True to all generations.

Faith knows that there is no lack in Him

On earth as it is in heaven, REVEALED for all to SEE

The father has enough faith to bring his son to Jesus for healing, but he asks hesitantly whether there is anything Jesus can do. In his desperation, the father recognizes the limits of his faith. Perhaps that very desperation is enough because Jesus immediately heals his son.

Having successfully healed many demon-possessed people when Jesus sent them out earlier, the disciples are at a loss to know why they are completely unable to heal this little boy. Jesus’ reply is cryptic and surprising: “That sort of powerful spirit is only conquered with much prayer [and fasting].” It seems that although the disciples have faith that they can heal the boy, they are spiritually unprepared for the depth of evil residing in the world.

They need to be saturated in the presence of God to face the challenge.      

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When the One thing you need becomes the Only thing then you will have all you need!

Today I have made you a fortified city, an iron pillar and a bronze wall to stand against the whole land–against the kings of Judah, its officials, its priests and the people of the land.   
(Jeremiah 1:18)

Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who is victorious will not be hurt at all by the second death.
(Revelation 2:11)            Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it.
(Revelation 2:17)

Then He said it a third time: “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?”

Peter was upset that He asked for the third time, “Do you love Me?” so he answered, “Master, you know everything there is to know. You’ve got to know that I love You.

Jesus said,Feed My sheep. I’m telling you the very truth now: When you were young you dressed yourself and went wherever you wished, but when you get old you’ll have to stretch out your hands while someone else dresses you and takes you where you don’t want to go.” He said this to hint at the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God.
And then he commanded, “Follow Me.”  (John 21;17-19)       
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In the desert, water is a precious commodity which is not needlessly wasted.
Not as in the West where we use it to flush our toilets, wash our eating utensils, vehicles,
bodies, pets, clothing, etc.
In the desert, water is the difference between life and death; it is a sacred trust.
Water replenishes the earth.  It transforms a dry, barren wasteland into a fertile field.
The potential for fruitfulness was inherent but it takes the water to draw it forth.

When we take something so precious and offer it unto the Lord, it is an act of worship.

Everyone who believes that Yeshua is the Messiah has God as his father,

and everyone who loves a father loves his offspring too.  

Here is how we know that we love God’s children: when we love God, we also do what He commands. 

For loving God means obeying His commands.

Moreover, His commands are not burdensome,   because everything which has God as its Father overcomes the world.

And this is what victoriously overcomes the world: our trust.  

Who does overcome the world if not the person who believes that Yeshua is the Son of God?
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He is the one who came by means of water and blood, Yeshua the Messiah —

not with water only, but with the water and the blood. And the Spirit bears witness, because the Spirit is the truth.  

There are three witnesses —   the Spirit, the water and the blood — and these three are in agreement. 

If we accept human witness, God’s witness is stronger, because it is the witness which God has given about his Son.  

Those who keep trusting in the Son of God have this witness in them.

Those who do not keep trusting God have made him out to be a liar,

because they have not trusted in the witness which God has given about his Son.  

And this is the witness: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.  

Those who have the Son have the life; those who do not have the Son of God do not have the life.  

I have written you these things so that you may know that you have eternal life —

you who keep trusting in the person and power of the Son of God.

This is the confidence we have in his presence: if we ask anything that accords with His will, He hears us.

And if we know that He hears us — whatever we ask — then we know that we have what we have asked from Him.
(1 John 5)       

 In the King James Version of the Bible, it is interesting to note that the term  for “ grain offerings” is “meat offerings.”

The word “meat,”  did not mean “meat” as we now use the term, but rather, simply referred to food.   
   
The Grain Offering was, like the Burnt Offering, an offering by fire.
Both required the highest quality sacrifice.
Both often carried out together; Burnt Offering for atonement; Grain Offering pure worship.

God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.  (John 4:24)
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Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth,

for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.  (John 4:23)

The Messiah has made things up between us so that we’re now together on this, both non-Jewish outsiders and Jewish insiders. He tore down the wall we used to keep each other at a distance. He repealed the law code that had become so clogged with fine print and footnotes that it hindered more than it helped. Then He started over. Instead of continuing with two groups of people separated by centuries of animosity and suspicion, He created a new kind of human being, a fresh start for everybody.

Christ brought us together through his death on the cross. The Cross got us to embrace, and that was the end of the hostility. Christ came and preached peace to you outsiders and peace to us insiders. He treated us as equals, and so made us equals. Through Him we both share the same Spirit and have equal access to the Father.  (Ephesians 2:14-18)

The LORD your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live.
(Deuteronomy 30:6)
                    
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Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, circumcise your hearts, you people of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem, or my wrath will flare up and burn like fire because of the evil you have done– burn with no one to quench it.

The days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will punish all who are circumcised only in the flesh-

How can you believe since you accept glory from one another but do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?

John 12:43
for they loved human praise more than praise from God.
(Jeremiah 4:4; 9:25; John 5:44; 12:43)

For it is we who are the circumcision, we who serve God by his Spirit, who boast in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh–(Philippians 3:3)

Only the Burnt, Grain, and Peace Offerings produced a “soothing aroma to the Lord.”

    God Works In All Things

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.  For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;  and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.
(Romans 8:28-30)

FOR GOD SO LOVE THE WORLD THAT HE GAVE…
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It is God Who gives seed to the man to plant. He also gives the bread to eat.
Then we know He will give you more seed to plant and make it grow so you will have more to give away.        

(2 Corinthians 9:10)

The Calling of the Gentiles

What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known,

endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction?

And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles.
(Romans 9:22-24)           

We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.        (Hebrews 6:12)
   
To sacrifice their seed to God was indeed an act of faith.

 The portion that was offered was called the “memorial portion
Do this in Remembrance of Me.
The other portion was called “a thing most holy” 

A Living Hope
In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials,

so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable,

even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;

and though you have not seen Him, you love Him,

and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,       

(1 Peter 1:6-8)

Rejoicing in Trials

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials,

knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.

And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.  (James 1:2-4)

But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold.
For You, God, tested us; You refined us like silver.
(Job 23:10; Psalm 66:10)       

To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality,
He will give eternal life.
(Romans 2:27)

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O God, remember us and bless us,
    bless the families of Israel and Aaron.
And let God bless all who fear God—
    bless the small, bless the great.
Oh, let God enlarge your families—
    giving growth to you, growth to your children.
May you be blessed by God,
    by God, who made heaven and earth.
The heaven of heavens is for God,
    but He put us in charge of the earth.
(Psalm 115:12-16)

Place Your Life Before God

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you:
Take your everyday, ordinary life
—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—
And place it before God as an offering.

Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for Him.
Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking.
Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out.
Readily recognize what He wants from you, and quickly respond to it.
Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity,
God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
(Romans 12:1-2)

Origin of KILN
Middle English kilne, from Old English cyln, from Latin culina kitchen, from coquere to cook — 
Oven for firing, drying, baking, hardening, or burning a substance, particularly clay products but originally also grain and meal. 
                        
Whoever isn’t against us is for us.  I can guarantee this truth:

Whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ will certainly not lose his reward.

Causing Others to Lose Faith

 “These little ones believe in Me. It would be best for the person who causes one of them to lose faith to be thrown into the sea with a large stone hung around his neck.”  (Mark 9:40-42)

And anyone who has given so much as a cup of cold water to one of the little ones, because he is My disciple,

I tell you, that person will be well rewarded.  (Matthew 10:42)   

An offering of grain to God would mean more to these people than to us.
It is more than merely a tasty tidbit, or morsel to satisfy a craving;

it is the staff of life; the difference between life or death.

 Soon the stream became dry because of the drought.

 The Eternal One gave him this message:

Eternal One:  Get up, and travel to Zarephath. It is in the possession of Sidon, which is outside Israel.

Remain there, and do not leave for any reason. There is a widow in Zarephath whom I have told to take care of you.

 Elijah got up and immediately traveled to Zarephath. He arrived at the city gate, and at that moment, a widow was picking up sticks nearby.

Elijah: Please bring me some water in a jar to quench my thirst.

 (as she fetched the water) Also, could you please bring me a piece of bread?

Woman:  As certain as the Eternal One, your True God lives, I don’t have any bread. In fact, I am starving. I don’t have anything except for a bit of flour in a bowl and a few drops of oil in a jar. I was gathering sticks when you arrived to make a fire so that my son and I could eat one last bite of food and then die. It’s all over for us.

Elijah:  I assure you that it’s not over for you yet. Don’t be afraid. Continue what you were doing, but make a small bread cake for me first, and bring it here to me. Then you and your son may eat your own bread cakes.   This is the message of the Eternal God of Israel: “The flour and the oil will not run out until the moment when the Eternal showers the earth with rain.”

 She did exactly as Elijah had instructed her to do, and everyone who lived in her house had food for days.   The bowl of flour and the jar of oil did not run out, just as the Eternal had said through Elijah.

IT’S NOT OVER FOR YOU YET

HOLD FAST TO GOD’S WORD FOR HE IS FAITHFUL AND TRUE

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