8247546922_3f36bd0056Thanksgiving and Prayer

Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love which you have for all the saints;

because of the hope laid up for you in heaven, of which you previously heard in the Word of Truth, the Gospel which has come to you, just as in all the world also it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing, even as it has been doing in you also since the day you heard of it and understood the Grace of God in Truth

And you also were included in Christ when you heard the Message of Truth, the Gospel of your Salvation.

When you believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit.

He set His seal of ownership on us, and put His Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles,

because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged.

Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!  (Colossians 1:4-6; Ephesians 1:13; 2 Corinthians 1:22; Romans 5:3-5)

To the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory.

In Him, you also, after listening to the Message of Truth, the Gospel of your Salvation– having also believed,

you were Sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance,

with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.

A remnant will return, a remnant of Jacob will return to the Mighty God.  (Isaiah 10:21)

“For My own name’s sake I delay My wrath; for the sake of My praise I hold it back from you, so as not to destroy you completely.”

(Isaiah 48:9)

“As soon as the grain is ripe, He puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.”

“Swing the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Come, trample the grapes, for the winepress is full and the vats overflow– so great is their wickedness!”

(Mark 4:29; Joel 3:13)

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Judgments and Promises

Both their own iniquities and the iniquities of their fathers together,” says the LORD.

“Because they have burned incense on the mountains And scorned Me on the hills,

Therefore I will measure their former work into their bosom.”

Thus says the LORD, “As the new wine is found in the cluster, And one says, ‘Do not destroy it, for there is benefit in it,’

So I will act on behalf of My servants In order not to destroy all of them.

“I will bring forth offspring from Jacob, And an heir of My mountains from Judah; Even My chosen ones shall inherit it,

And My servants will dwell there.  (Isaiah 65:7-9)

 Every word you give me is a miracle word—     how could I help but obey? Break open your words, let the light shine out,     let ordinary people see the meaning. Mouth open and panting,     I wanted your commands more than anything. Turn my way, look kindly on me,     as you always do to those who personally love you. Steady my steps with your Word of promise     so nothing malign gets the better of me. Rescue me from the grip of bad men and women     so I can live life your way. Smile on me, your servant;     teach me the right way to live. I cry rivers of tears     because nobody’s living by your book!

Every word you give me is a miracle word—
how could I help but obey?
Break open your words, let the light shine out,
let ordinary people see the meaning.
Mouth open and panting,
I wanted your commands more than anything.
Turn my way, look kindly on me,
as you always do to those who personally love you.
Steady my steps with your Word of promise
so nothing malign gets the better of me.
Rescue me from the grip of bad men and women
so I can live life your way.
Smile on me, your servant;
teach me the right way to live.
I cry rivers of tears
because nobody’s living by your book!

“In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into His presence.”  (Daniel 7:13)

I, Paul, am under God’s plan as an apostle, a special agent of Christ Jesus, writing to you faithful believers in Ephesus. I greet you with the grace and peace poured into our lives by God our Father and our Master, Jesus Christ.

The God of Glory

How blessed is God! And what a blessing He is! He’s the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in Him. Long before He laid down earth’s foundations, He had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of His love, to be made whole and holy by His love. Long, long ago He decided to adopt us into His family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure He took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of His lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.

Because of the sacrifice of the Messiah, His blood poured out on the altar of the Cross, we’re a free people—free of penalties and punishments chalked up by all our misdeeds. And not just barely free, either. Abundantly free! He thought of everything, provided for everything we could possibly need, letting us in on the plans He took such delight in making. He set it all out before us in Christ, a long-range plan in which everything would be brought together and summed up in Him, everything in deepest heaven, everything on planet earth.

 It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for.

Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, He had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose He is working out in everything and everyone.

It’s in Christ that you, once you heard the truth and believed it (this Message of your salvation),

found yourselves home free—signed, sealed, and delivered by the Holy Spirit.

This signet from God is the first installment on what’s coming, a reminder that we’ll get everything God has planned for us, a praising and glorious life.

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 That’s why, when I heard of the solid trust you have in the Master Jesus and your outpouring of love to all the followers of Jesus, I couldn’t stop thanking God for you—every time I prayed, I’d think of you and give thanks. But I do more than thank. I ask—ask the God of our Master, Jesus Christ, the God of glory—to make you intelligent and discerning in knowing Him personally, your eyes focused and clear, so that you can see exactly what it is He is calling you to do, grasp the immensity of this glorious way of life He has for his followers, oh, the utter extravagance of His work in us who trust Him—endless energy, boundless strength!

 All this energy issues from Christ: God raised Him from death and set Him on a throne in deep heaven,

in charge of running the universe, everything from galaxies to governments, no name and no power exempt from His rule.

And not just for the time being, but forever. He is in charge of it all, has the final word on everything.

At the center of all this, Christ rules the church. The church, you see, is not peripheral to the world; the world is peripheral to the church.

The church is Christ’s body, in which He speaks and acts, by which He fills everything with His presence.

(Ephesians 1)

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True peace begins with knowing God. Those who listen and live by His teachings find that wholeness and goodness flood into their lives. The wicked, however, face a different reality; they live with constant danger and problems.

 Listen to this, everyone—near and far:
    The Eternal One singled me out, even before I was born.
He called me and named me when I was still in my mother’s belly.
 Even then, God was preparing my mouth to speak like a sharp sword.
    He kept my purpose quiet, kept me safe in the shadow of His hand,
He crafted me into a sharp-tipped arrow and tucked me away in His quiver;
 God said to me, “You are My servant, Israel.
    Through you, I will be glorified.”
  I said, “I’ve worked hard for nothing.
    I spent my strength, and what have I accomplished—nothing,
Yet my justice and reward are secure with my God, the Eternal One.”
 And now the Eternal who watched, shaped, and made me His own servant
    from the womb has determined to restore Jacob’s family;
Israel will be made right with the Eternal again.
    For God has counted me worthy and He has been my strength right along.

  Eternal One: As My servant you will do even more than this,
        even more than restoring Jacob’s family to Me
    And making Israel right with Me again.
        I will make you a light for the nations,
    And You will illumine them until My salvation reaches to the ends of the earth.[a]

 This is what the Eternal One, the Redeemer and Holy One of Israel,
    told to the one who is despised and loathed by the nation,
To the servant of national leaders.

Eternal One: At the sight of you, kings will rise and princes will bow down,
        for I, the Eternal, faithful and true, the Holy One of Israel, have chosen you.

The Eternal has this to say:

 Eternal One: When the time was right, I answered you;
        on the day you were delivered, I was your help.
    I will watch over you, and give you
        as a promise, a binding covenant to the people.
    Through you, My gift to the people, the land of promise will recover.
        Ancestral ground, once deserted, will be entrusted to them.
 Through you, My gift to the people, I will declare to the prisoners,
        “Come out. Now you are free”;
    To those who are held in darkness, “Come out into the light.
        They will find sustenance wherever they are
    Along the roads or in the open hills—
        with peace of mind, in comfort and security.
 Wherever they are, they will be fine, never hungry nor thirsty.
        They will be protected from oppressive heat and the burning sun
    Because the One who loves them—as a mother loves her child—will be their guide.
        God will lead them to restful places, rejuvenating springs of water.
   I will make their going easy, level the mountain road
        and smooth the path that leads them home.
 Look! Even now, they are coming from lands far away,
        some from the north, others from the west, these from the land of Sinim.[c]

  Oh joy! Be glad—sky! Take joy—earth! Burst into song—mountains!
    For the Eternal, moved to compassion, has comforted and consoled His people.

There are many kinds of love—and not enough words to tell the differences.

Hebrew has a word for “love” that is related to its word for a woman’s womb. English has no such word.

It is too bad, for it is difficult to describe womb-love, the bearing-and-birthing love of a mother, the kind of love that the Lord has for the people of God’s promise, Jacob’s children.

God shaped this people as His own and bound them with no ordinary promise.

God loves them in the same way a mother loves the child growing in her womb.

It can’t be said so neatly and completely with one “love” word, but that is the idea that threads its way through this text.

  Zion: The Eternal One has abandoned me. God has walked out the door;
        my Lord left me alone. He has forgotten all about me.

 Eternal One: Is it possible for a mother, however disappointed,
        however hurt, to forget her nursing child?
    Can she feel nothing for the baby she carried and birthed?
        Even if she could, I, God, will never forget you.
 Look here. I have made you a part of Me, written you on the palms of My hands.
        Your city walls are always on My mind, always My concern.
 Now sweet Zion your children are running pell-mell back to you
    Just as fast as those who destroyed you are leaving.
 Raise your head, lift up your eyes,
        and watch your heart’s desire come
    All your children, gathered and returning to you. As I live, so I promise.
        You will wear them with pride all like shining ornaments;
        you will put them on as a bride on her wedding day.
 Because of all of your destroyed land—the barren fields and abandoned farms—
        you are now too small, too cramped for all your citizens;
    And those who tried to swallow you whole will be far, far away.
 The children you mourned, those born in exile, will return and say,
        “It is too cramped and crowded for us;
    We’re going to need more room if we are to live here.”
 You’ll say to yourself, “Where in the world did all these people come from?
        Could these really be mine?
    I thought I’d been desolated, left empty.
        Where have you all been? Where did you come from?”

This is what the Lord, the Eternal, has to say:

Eternal One: I will lift My hand and signal every nation that holds your people
    And they will bring your children back again:
        boys bundled in their arms, girls riding on their shoulders.
 Kings will tend the children of Zion, and their queens will nurse and nurture them.
        These greats will humble themselves before you.
    They will bow and lick the dust off your feet,
        and in the course of it all, you will remember that I am the Eternal.
    Whoever trusts in Me will never be put to shame.

Jerusalem: Can the spoil of war be taken from the mighty?
        Can the captives be freed from the hand of a tyrant?

Eternal One: Hard to believe, but it shall be so.
        The captives will be taken from the hand of the mighty,
    And the spoil of war will be rescued from the tyrant.
        I will liberate them from their captors and contend with your enemies.
    I will save your children.
I will turn your enemies’ violence back on themselves,
        and they will suffer their own atrocities:
    They will feed on their own flesh and drink their own blood like wine.
        Then every person on earth will know for certain that I, the Eternal, am your Savior.
    I am your hero, the strong One of Jacob from whom you come.
        I will rescue you, whatever the price.

(Isaiah 49)

Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription:

The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.”  (2 Timothy 2:19)

Everyone on earth whose name was not written from the world’s foundation in the slaughtered Lamb’s Book of Life will worship the Beast.

Are you listening to this? They’ve made their bed; now they must lie in it.

Anyone marked for prison goes straight to prison; anyone pulling a sword goes down by the sword.

Meanwhile, God’s holy people passionately and faithfully stand their ground.

 The endurance and faithfulness of the saints will be tested here.

(Revelation 13:8-10)

Even the dust of your town we wipe from our feet as a warning to you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God has come near.'

Even the dust of your town we wipe from our feet as a warning to you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God has come near.’

The Woman, Her Son, and the Dragon

 A great Sign appeared in Heaven: a Woman dressed all in sunlight, standing on the moon, and crowned with Twelve Stars. She was giving birth to a Child and cried out in the pain of childbirth.

And then another Sign alongside the first: a huge and fiery Dragon! It had seven heads and ten horns, a crown on each of the seven heads. With one flick of its tail it knocked a third of the Stars from the sky and dumped them on earth. The Dragon crouched before the Woman in childbirth, poised to eat up the Child when it came.

The Woman gave birth to a Son who will shepherd all nations with an iron rod. Her Son was seized and placed safely before God on his Throne. The Woman herself escaped to the desert to a place of safety prepared by God, all comforts provided her for 1,260 days.

 War broke out in Heaven. Michael and his Angels fought the Dragon. The Dragon and his Angels fought back, but were no match for Michael. They were cleared out of Heaven, not a sign of them left. The great Dragon—ancient Serpent, the one called Devil and Satan, the one who led the whole earth astray—thrown out, and all his Angels thrown out with him, thrown down to earth. Then I heard a strong voice out of Heaven saying,

Salvation and power are established!
    Kingdom of our God, authority of his Messiah!
The Accuser of our brothers and sisters thrown out,
    who accused them day and night before God.
They defeated him through the blood of the Lamb
    and the bold word of their witness.
They weren’t in love with themselves;
    they were willing to die for Christ.
So rejoice, O Heavens, and all who live there,
    but doom to earth and sea,
For the Devil’s come down on you with both feet;
    he’s had a great fall;
He’s wild and raging with anger;
    he hasn’t much time and he knows it.

When the Dragon saw he’d been thrown to earth, he went after the Woman who had given birth to the Man-Child.

The Woman was given wings of a great eagle to fly to a place in the desert to be kept in safety and comfort for a time and times and half a time, safe and sound from the Serpent.

The Serpent vomited a river of water to swamp and drown her, but earth came to her help, swallowing the water the Dragon spewed from its mouth. Helpless with rage, the Dragon raged at the Woman, then went off to make war with the rest of her children, the children who keep God’s commands and hold firm to the witness of Jesus.

(Revelation 12)

The Servants of God

Immediately I saw Four Angels standing at the four corners of earth, standing steady with a firm grip on the four winds so no wind would blow on earth or sea, not even rustle a tree.

Then I saw another Angel rising from where the sun rose, carrying the seal of the Living God. He thundered to the Four Angels assigned the task of hurting earth and sea, “Don’t hurt the earth! Don’t hurt the sea! Don’t so much as hurt a tree until I’ve sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads!”

 I heard the count of those who were sealed: 144,000! They were sealed out of every Tribe of Israel: 12,000 sealed from Judah, 12,000 from Reuben, 12,000 from Gad, 12,000 from Asher, 12,000 from Naphtali, 12,000 from Manasseh, 12,000 from Simeon, 12,000 from Levi, 12,000 from Issachar, 12,000 from Zebulun, 12,000 from Joseph, 12,000 sealed from Benjamin.

 I looked again. I saw a huge crowd, too huge to count. Everyone was there—all nations and tribes, all races and languages. And they were standing, dressed in white robes and waving palm branches, standing before the Throne and the Lamb and heartily singing:

Salvation to our God on his Throne!
Salvation to the Lamb!

All who were standing around the Throne—Angels, Elders, Animals—fell on their faces before the Throne and worshiped God, singing:

Oh, Yes!
The blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving,
The honor and power and strength,
To our God forever and ever and ever!
Oh, Yes!

 Just then one of the Elders addressed me: “Who are these dressed in white robes, and where did they come from?” Taken aback, I said, “O Sir, I have no idea—but you must know.”

Then he told me, “These are those who come from the great tribulation, and they’ve washed their robes, scrubbed them clean in the blood of the Lamb. That’s why they’re standing before God’s Throne. They serve him day and night in his Temple. The One on the Throne will pitch his tent there for them: no more hunger, no more thirst, no more scorching heat. The Lamb on the Throne will shepherd them, will lead them to spring waters of Life. And God will wipe every last tear from their eyes.”

(Revelation 7)

He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all He created.  (James 1:18)

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The Harvest of the Earth

Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and sitting on the cloud was one like a son of man,

having a golden crown on His head and a sharp sickle in His hand.

And another angel came out of the temple, crying out with a loud voice to Him who sat on the cloud,

“Put in your sickle and reap, for the hour to reap has come, because the harvest of the earth is ripe.”

Still another angel, who had charge of the fire, came from the altar and called in a loud voice to him who had the sharp sickle,

“Take your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of grapes from the earth’s vine, because its grapes are ripe.”

 

(Revelation 14:14-15; 18)
Revelation 14:20
They were trampled in the winepress outside the city, and blood flowed out of the press, rising as high as the horses’ bridles for a distance of 1,600 stadia.

Revelation 19:15
Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty.

Genesis 18:20
Then the LORD said, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous

Isaiah 17:5
It will be as when reapers harvest the standing grain, gathering the grain in their arms– as when someone gleans heads of grain in the Valley of Rephaim.

Isaiah 63:3
“I have trodden the winepress alone; from the nations no one was with me. I trampled them in my anger and trod them down in my wrath; their blood spattered my garments, and I stained all my clothing.

Jeremiah 51:33
This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “Daughter Babylon is like a threshing floor at the time it is trampled; the time to harvest her will soon come.”

Lamentations 1:15
“The Lord has rejected all the warriors in my midst; he has summoned an army against me to crush my young men. In his winepress the Lord has trampled Virgin Daughter Judah.

Hosea 6:11
“Also for you, Judah, a harvest is appointed. “Whenever I would restore the fortunes of my people,

Unless the LORD Almighty had left us some survivors,

we would have become like Sodom, we would have been like Gomorrah.  (Isaiah 1:9)

 “The One who comes from above is head and shoulders over other messengers from God.

The earthborn is earthbound and speaks earth language; the heavenborn is in a league of His own.

He sets out the evidence of what He saw and heard in heaven. No one wants to deal with these facts.

But anyone who examines this evidence will come to stake his life on this: that God Himself is the Truth.

 “The One that God sent speaks God’s words. And don’t think He rations out the Spirit in bits and pieces.

The Father loves the Son extravagantly. He turned everything over to Him so He could give it away—a lavish distribution of gifts.

That is why whoever accepts and trusts the Son gets in on everything, life complete and forever!

And that is also why the person who avoids and distrusts the Son is in the dark and doesn’t see life.

All he experiences of God is darkness, and an angry darkness at that.”  (John 3:31-36)

 

 

“Whatever He tells you, do it.”

“Whatever He tells you, do it.”

 

A True Leader

We know that God makes all things work together for the good of those who love Him

and are chosen to be a part of His plan. 

God knew from the beginning who would put their trust in Him.

So He chose them and made them to be like His Son.

Christ was first and all those who belong to God are His brothers. 

He called to Himself also those He chose. Those He called, He made right with Himself.

Then He shared His shining-greatness with those He made right with Himself

(Romans 8:28-30)

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The Meaning of the Lord’s Supper

I have given you the teaching I received from the Lord.

The night Jesus was handed over to the soldiers, He took bread.

When He had given thanks, He broke it and said,

Take this bread and eat it. This is My body which is broken for you. Do this to remember Me.”

 In the same way after supper, He took the cup.

He said,

This cup is the New Way of Worship made between God and you by My blood.

Whenever you drink it, do it to remember Me.”

Every time you eat this bread and drink from this cup you are telling of the Lord’s death until He comes again.

Anyone who eats the bread or drinks from the cup,

if his spirit is not right with the Lord, will be guilty of sinning against the body and the blood of the Lord. 

This is why a man should look into his own heart and life before eating the bread and drinking from the cup. 

Anyone who eats the bread and drinks from the cup,

if his spirit is not right with the Lord, will be guilty as he eats and drinks.

He does not understand the meaning of the Lord’s body

This is why some of you are sick and weak, and some have died. 

But if we would look into our own lives and see if we are guilty, then God would not have to say we are guilty. 

When we are guilty, we are punished by the Lord so we will not be told we are guilty with the rest of the world.

Christian brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for each other. 

If anyone is hungry, he should eat at home. Then he will not be guilty as you meet together.

 

(1 Corinthians 11:23-33)

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Do not work hard to be rich. Stop trying to get things for yourself.

When you set your eyes upon it, it is gone.

For sure, riches make themselves wings like an eagle that flies toward the heavens.

(Proverbs 23:4-5)

The Picture-Story of the Three Servants and the Money

 “For the holy nation of heaven is like a man who was going to a country far away.

He called together the servants he owned and gave them his money to use.

He gave to one servant five pieces of money worth much. He gave to another servant two pieces of money worth much.

He gave to another servant one piece of money worth much.

He gave to each one as he was able to use it. Then he went on his trip.

The servant who had the five pieces of money went out to the stores and traded until he made five more pieces. 

The servant who had two pieces of money did the same thing. He made two more pieces. 

The servant who had received the one piece of money went and hid the money in a hole in the ground.

He hid his owner’s money.

 “After a long time the owner of those servants came back. He wanted to know what had been done with his money. 

The one who had received the five pieces of money worth much came and handed him five pieces more.

He said, ‘Sir, you gave me five pieces of money. See! I used it and made five more pieces.’ 

His owner said to him, ‘You have done well. You are a good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a few things.

I will put many things in your care. Come and share my joy.’ 

The one who received two pieces of money worth much came also.

He said, ‘Sir, you gave me two pieces of money. See! I used it and made two more pieces.’ 

His owner said to him, ‘You have done well. You are a good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a few things.

I will put many things in your care. Come and share my joy.’ 

The one who had received one piece of money worth much came.

He said, ‘Sir, I know that you are a hard man. You gather grain where you have not planted.

You take up where you have not spread out. I was afraid and I hid your money in the ground. See! Here is your money.

His owner said to him, ‘You bad and lazy servant. You knew that I gather grain where I have not planted.

You knew that I take up where I have not spread out. 

You should have taken my money to the bank.

When I came back, I could have had my own money and what the bank paid for using it. 

Take the one piece of money from him. Give it to the one who has ten pieces of money.’ 

For the man who has will have more given to him. He will have more than enough.

The man who has nothing, even what he has will be taken away.

Throw the bad servant out into the darkness. There will be loud crying and grinding of teeth.

(Matthew 25:14-30)

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God blesses those who hunger and thirst for His justice (His righteousness), for they will be satisfied. (Matthew 5:6)
 

Those Who Trust in God Are Happy

I will honor the Lord at all times. His praise will always be in my mouth.

My soul will be proud to tell about the Lord. Let those who suffer hear it and be filled with joy. 

Give great honor to the Lord with me. Let us praise His name together.

I looked for the Lord, and He answered me. And He took away all my fears.

They looked to Him and their faces shined with joy. Their faces will never be ashamed.

This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him. And He saved him out of all his troubles.

The angel of the Lord stays close around those who fear Him, and He takes them out of trouble.

O taste and see that the Lord is good. How happy is the man who trusts in Him!

O fear the Lord, all you who belong to Him. For those who fear Him never want for anything.

The young lions suffer want and hunger. But they who look for the Lord will not be without any good thing.

Come, you children, listen to me. I will teach you the fear of the Lord. 

Who is the man who has a desire for life, and wants to live long so that he may see good things?

Keep your tongue from sin and your lips from speaking lies. 

Turn away from what is sinful. Do what is good. Look for peace and follow it.

The eyes of the Lord are on those who do what is right and good. His ears are open to their cry. 

The face of the Lord is against those who sin. He will keep the people of the earth from remembering them. 

Those who are right with the Lord cry, and He hears them. And He takes them from all their troubles. 

The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart. And He saves those who are broken in spirit.

A man who does what is right and good may have many troubles. But the Lord takes him out of them all. 

He keeps all his bones safe. Not one of them is broken.

Sin will kill the sinful. And those who hate God’s people will be held guilty and punished forever.

The Lord saves the soul of those who work for Him. None of those who trust in Him will be held guilty.

(Psalm 34)

True leadership is showing others the way the truth and the life

Do they see Jesus in you?

He will come to be seen in His children.

Choose to consistently be a light in a dark place!

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For the worship leader. A song of David.

The celestial realms announce God’s glory;
    the skies testify of His hands’ great work.
 Each day pours out more of their sayings;
    each night, more to hear and more to learn.
Inaudible words are their manner of speech,
    and silence, their means to convey.
Yet from here to the ends of the earth, their voices  have gone out;
    the whole world can hear what they say. 

God stretched out in these heavens a tent for the sun,
And the sun is like a groom
    who, after leaving his room, arrives at the wedding in splendor;
He is the strong runner
    who, favored to win in his race, is eager to face his challenge.
 He rises at one end of the skies
    and runs in an arc overhead;
    nothing can hide from his heat, from the swelter of his daily tread.

The Eternal’s law is perfect,
    turning lives around.
His words are reliable and true,
    instilling wisdom to open minds.
The Eternal’s directions are correct,
    giving satisfaction to the heart.
God’s commandments are clear,
    lending clarity to the eyes.
The awe of the Eternal is clean,
    sustaining for all of eternity.
The Eternal’s decisions are sound;
    they are right through and through.
They are worth more than gold—
    even more than abundant, pure gold.
They are sweeter to the tongue than honey
    or the drippings of the honeycomb.

 In addition to all that has been said,
    Your servant will find, hidden in Your commandments, both a strong warning
    and a great reward for keeping them.
Who could possibly know all that he has done wrong?
    Forgive my hidden and unknown faults.
As I am Your servant, protect me from my bent toward pride,
    and keep sin from ruling my life.
If You do this, I will be without blame,
    innocent of the great breach.

May the words that come out of my mouth and the musings of my heart
    meet with Your gracious approval,
    O Eternal, my Rock,
    O Eternal, my Redeemer.

(Psalm 19)

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Open the eyes of my heart, Lord
Open the eyes of my heart
I want to see You
I want to see You

To see You high and lifted up
Shinin’ in the light of Your glory
Pour out Your power and love
As we sing holy, holy, holy

(Michael W. Smith~Open the Eyes of My Heart)

True Fasts and Sabbaths
…”Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry And bring the homeless poor into the house;

When you see the naked, to cover him; And not to hide yourself from your own flesh?

“Then your light will break out like the dawn, And your recovery will speedily spring forth;

And your righteousness will go before you; The glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.

“Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; You will cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’

If you remove the yoke from your midst, The pointing of the finger and speaking wickedness,…

(Isaiah 58:7-9)

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So watch! You do not know what day or what hour the Son of Man is coming!  (Matthew 25:13)

until finally we all believe alike about our salvation and about our Savior, God’s Son,

and all become full-grown in the Lord—yes, to the point of being filled full with Christ.

Then we will no longer be like children, forever changing our minds about what we believe because someone has told us something different or has cleverly lied to us and made the lie sound like the truth. 

Instead, we will lovingly follow the truth at all times

—speaking truly, dealing truly, living truly—

and so become more and more in every way like Christ who is the Head of his body, the Church.

Under his direction, the whole body is fitted together perfectly,

and each part in its own special way helps the other parts, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.  (Ephesians 4:13-15)

Footnotes:  speaking truly, dealing truly, living truly, Amplified New Testament.  (Ephesians 4:15)

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God’s plan to restore the world disfigured by sin and death reaches its climax with the resurrection of Jesus.

When the King enters, all the prophecies, all the hopes, all the longings find in Him their true fulfillment.

There may have been earlier fulfillments; but these are only partial fulfillments, signposts along the way to God’s true goal. The goal has been the restoration of people to a holy God.

With Jesus, we find the only perfect man with right standing before God.

He comes to blaze a path defined by God’s justice, not by our own sense of right and wrong.

All men, women, and children who commit their lives to Him will be made right with God

and will begin new lives defined by faith and God’s new covenant.

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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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Oh, thank God—He’s so good!His love never runs out.
All of you set free by God, tell the world!Tell how He freed you from oppression,  (Psalm 107:3)

Some of you wandered for years in the desert,looking but not finding a good place to live,
Half-starved and parched with thirst,staggering and stumbling, on the brink of exhaustion.
Then, in your desperate condition, you called out to God.He got you out in the nick of time;
He put your feet on a wonderful roadthat took you straight to a good place to live.
So thank God for His marvelous love,for His miracle mercy to the children He loves.

(Psalm 107:4-8)

Some of you were locked in a dark cell,cruelly confined behind bars,
Punished for defying God’s Word,for turning your back on the High God’s counsel—
A hard sentence, and your hearts so heavy,and not a soul in sight to help.
Then you called out to God in your desperate condition; He got you out in the nick of time.
He led you out of your dark, dark cell,broke open the jail and led you out.
So thank God for His marvelous love,for His miracle mercy to the children He loves;
He shattered the heavy jailhouse doors, He snapped the prison bars like matchsticks!

(Psalm 107:10-16)

Some of you were sick because you’d lived a bad life,your bodies feeling the effects of your sin;
You couldn’t stand the sight of food,so miserable you thought you’d be better off dead.
Then you called out to God in your desperate condition; He got you out in the nick of time.
He spoke the word that healed you,that pulled you back from the brink of death.
So thank God for His marvelous love,for His miracle mercy to the children He loves;
Offer thanksgiving sacrifices,tell the world what He’s done—sing it out!

(Psalm 107:17-22)

If you are really wise, you’ll think this over—
    it’s time you appreciated God’s deep love.

(Psalm 107:43)

God Keeps His Own

I did not give up waiting for the Lord. And He turned to me and heard my cry.

He brought me up out of the hole of danger, out of the mud and clay. He set my feet on a rock, making my feet sure

He put a new song in my mouth,

a song of praise to our God.

Many will see and fear and will put their trust in the Lord.  (Psalm 40:1-3)

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Faith is not something we do. It is a response to what God has done already on our behalf,

the response of a spirit restless in a fragmented world.

The Holy Spirit and the Bride say, “Come!” Let the one who hears, say, “Come!

Let the one who is thirsty, come. Let the one who wants to drink of the water of life, drink it. It is a free gift.

(Revelation 22:17)

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Love so deeply, purely, and sacrificially that we can understand it only when we compare it to the love the Anointed One has

for His bride, the church.

We know He gave Himself up completely to make her His own, washing her clean of all her impurity with water

and the powerful presence of His word.

 

Developing Patience

By entering through faith into what God has always wanted to do for us—set us right with Him, make us fit for Him—

we have it all together with God because of our Master Jesus.

And that’s not all:

We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that He has already thrown open His door to us.

We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand

out in the wide open spaces of God’s grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise.  (Romans 5:1-2)

It is Good to Sing Praises to Our God

He does not delight in the strength of the horse; He does not take pleasure in the legs of a man.

The LORD favors those who fear Him, Those who wait for His loving kindness.

Praise the LORD, O Jerusalem! Praise your God, O Zion!

(Psalm 147:10-12)

Sing to the Lord a New Song!

Let them praise His name with dancing; Let them sing praises to Him with timbrel and lyre.

For the LORD takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the afflicted ones with salvation.

Let the godly ones exult in glory; Let them sing for joy on their beds.  (Psalm 149:3-5)

Song of Thanks for Being Kept Safe

I love You, O Lord, my strength.   The Lord is my rock, and my safe place, and the One Who takes me out of trouble.

My God is my rock, in Whom I am safe. He is my safe-covering, my saving strength, and my strong tower. 

I call to the Lord, Who has the right to be praised. And I am saved from those who hate me.  (Psalm 18:1-3)

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As for God, His way is perfect. The Word of the Lord has stood the test. He is a covering for all who go to Him for a safe place. For Who is God, but the Lord? And who is a rock except our God? 

It is God Who covers me with strength and makes my way perfect.

He makes my feet like the feet of a deer.

And He sets me on my high places. 

He teaches me how to fight, so that I can use a bow of brass. 

You have also given me the covering that saves me. Your right hand holds me up. And Your care has made me great. 

You make the road wide for my steps, and my feet have not tripped.  (Psalm 18:30-36)

How beautiful on the mountains
    are the feet of the messenger bringing good news,
Breaking the news that all’s well,
    proclaiming good times, announcing salvation,
    telling Zion, “Your God reigns!
Voices! Listen! Your scouts are shouting, thunderclap shouts,
    shouting in joyful unison.
They see with their own eyes
    God coming back to Zion.
Break into song! Boom it out, ruins of Jerusalem:
    God has comforted His people!
    He’s redeemed Jerusalem!
God has rolled up His sleeves.
    All the nations can see His holy, muscled arm.
Everyone, from one end of the earth to the other,
    sees Him at work, doing His salvation work.

(Isaiah 52:7-10)

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You make known to me the path of life;

You will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand.  (Psalm 16:11)

The LORD delights in those who fear Him, who put their hope in His unfailing love.  (Psalm 147:11)

Things God Gives the Christian to Fight With

This is the last thing I want to say: Be strong with the Lord’s strength. Put on the things God gives you to fight with.

Then you will not fall into the traps of the devil. 

Our fight is not with people. It is against the leaders and the powers and the spirits of darkness in this world.

It is against the demon world that works in the heavens. Because of this, put on all the things God gives you to fight with. Then you will be able to stand in that sinful day. When it is all over, you will still be standing.

So stand up and do not be moved.

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

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

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

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

Take the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God.  (Ephesians 6:10-17)

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Man proposes, but God disposes.

LORD, I know that people’s lives are not their own; it is not for them to direct their steps.  (Jeremiah 10:23)

People might make many plans, but what the Lord says is what will happen.  (Proverbs 19:21)

But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of His heart through all generations.
(Psalm 33:11)

The steps of good men are directed by the Lord. He delights in each step they take.  (Psalm 37:23)

He will guard the feet of His faithful servants, but the wicked will be silenced in the place of darkness.

“It is not by strength that one prevails.”  (1 Samuel 2:9)

Who, then, are those who fear the LORD? He will instruct them in the ways they should choose.  (Psalm 25:12)

The teachings of his God are in his heart.
    His feet do not slip.  (Psalm 37:31)

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He preserves our lives
and keeps our feet from stumbling.  (Psalm 66:9)

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

(Psalm 119:1-8)

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He who Shared My Bread Lifts his Heel 

But You, O Lord, be gracious to me and raise me up.  That I may repay them.

By this I know that You are pleased with me, Because my enemy does not shout in triumph over me.

As for me, You uphold me in my integrity.  And you set me in Your presence forever.

(Psalm 41:10-12)

Then my enemies will turn back when I call for help.

By this I will know that God is for me.  (Psalm 56:9)

Now this I know: The LORD gives victory to His anointed.

He answers him from His heavenly sanctuary with the victorious power of His right hand.  (Psalm 20:6)
 

I went after those who fight against me, and caught them. And I did not return until they were destroyed. 

I hit them so they were not able to rise.

They fell under my feet. 

You have given me strength for war. You have put under me those who have fought against me. 

You have made them turn their backs to me also. And I destroyed those who hated me. 

They cried for help, but there was no one to save. They cried to the Lord, but He did not answer them. 

Then I beat them as small as the dust in the wind. I emptied them out like mud in the streets.  (Psalm 18:37-42)

The Great Day of the Lord

See, the day is coming. It is burning like a hot fire. And all those who are proud and those who do wrong will be like dry grass. The day that is coming will set them on fire,” says the Lord of All. “Not a root or branch will be left to them.

But for you who fear My name, the sun of what is right and good will rise with healing in its wings.

And you will go out and dance like calves from the cattle-house. 

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 4:1-3)

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The Lord lives! How great is my Rock! Praise be to the God Who saves me! 

He is the God Who punishes those who have done wrong to me. He puts nations under my rule. 

He saves me from those who hate me. Yes, You lift me above those who rise up against me.

You save me from those who want to hurt me. 

So I will give thanks to You among the nations, O Lord. And I will sing praises to Your name. 

He gives His king great power over trouble.

And He shows loving-kindness to His chosen one, to David, and to his children after him forever.  (Psalm 18:46-50)


 

You’re Missing God in All This

Jesus once again addressed them: “I am the world’s Light. No one who follows me stumbles around in the darkness.

I provide plenty of light to live in.”

The Pharisees objected, “All we have is your word on this. We need more than this to go on.”

Jesus replied, “You’re right that you only have my word. But you can depend on it being true.

I know where I’ve come from and where I go next. You don’t know where I’m from or where I’m headed.

You decide according to what you can see and touch.

I don’t make judgments like that.

But even if I did, my judgment would be true

because I wouldn’t make it out of the narrowness of my experience

but in the largeness of the One who sent me, the Father.

That fulfills the conditions set down in God’s Law: that you can count on the testimony of two witnesses.

And that is what you have: You have my word and you have the word of the Father who sent me.”

They said, “Where is this so-called Father of yours?

Jesus said, “You’re looking right at me and you don’t see me. How do you expect to see the Father? If you knew me, you would at the same time know the Father.”

(John 8:12-19)

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You Have Everything Backward

 What you’ve been shown here is somewhat like a letter in a sealed envelope.

If you give it to someone who can read and tell her, “Read this,” she’ll say, “I can’t. The envelope is sealed.

And if you give it to someone who can’t read and tell him, “Read this,” he’ll say, “I can’t read.”

The Master said:

“These people make a big show of saying the right thing,but their hearts aren’t in it.
Because they act like they’re worshiping Mebut don’t mean it,
I’m going to step in and shock them awake,astonish them, stand them on their ears.
The wise ones who had it all figured outwill be exposed as fools.
The smart people who thought they knew everythingwill turn out to know nothing.”

Doom to you! You pretend to have the inside track.
    You shut God out and work behind the scenes,

Plotting the future as if you knew everything,acting mysterious, never showing your hand.
You have everything backward!
    You treat the potter as a lump of clay.
Does a book say to its author,
    He didn’t write a word of me”?
Does a meal say to the woman who cooked it,
    She had nothing to do with this”?

And then before you know it,and without you having anything to do with it,
Wasted Lebanon will be transformed into lush gardens,and Mount Carmel reforested.
At that time the deaf will hearword-for-word what’s been written.
After a lifetime in the dark,the blind will see.
The castoffs of society will be laughing and dancing in God,the down-and-outs shouting praise to The Holy of Israel.
For there’ll be no more gangs on the street.Cynical scoffers will be an extinct species.
Those who never missed a chance to hurt or demeanwill never be heard of again:
Gone the people who corrupted the courts,gone the people who cheated the poor,
    Gone the people who victimized the innocent.

And finally this, God’s Message for the family of Jacob,
    the same God who redeemed Abraham:
“No longer will Jacob hang his head in shame,no longer grow gaunt and pale with waiting.
For he’s going to see his children, My personal gift to him—lots of children.
And these children will honor Meby living holy lives.
In holy worship they’ll honor the Holy One of Jacoband stand in holy awe of the God of Israel.
Those who got off-track will get back on-track,and complainers and whiners learn gratitude.”

(Isaiah 29:11-24)

Blessed are those whose thoughts are pure. They will see God.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

(Matthew 5:8)

I am the True God, the God of your father, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

A feeling of dread and awe rushed over Moses; he hid his face because he was afraid he might catch a glimpse of the True God.

(Exodus 3:6)

Surely the righteous will praise Your name, and the upright will live in Your presence.

(Psalm 140:13)

The LORD loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of His unfailing love.

For the LORD loves the just and will not forsake His faithful ones.

Wrongdoers will be completely destroyed; the offspring of the wicked will perish.
(Psalm 33:5; 37:28)

The Earth is the LORD’S

Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? And who may stand in His holy place?

He who has clean hands and a pure heart, Who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood And has not sworn deceitfully. 

He shall receive a blessing from the LORD And righteousness from the God of his salvation.

(Psalm 24:3-5)

The LORD gives sight to the blind, the LORD lifts up those who are bowed down, the LORD loves the righteous.

(Psalm 146:8)

God spoke: “Let us MAKE human beings in our IMAGE,

MAKE them
        REFLECTING our nature
    So they can be RESPONSIBLE for the fish in the sea,
        the birds in the air, the cattle,
    And, yes, Earth itself,
        and every animal that moves on the face of Earth.”
    God CREATED human beings;
        He CREATED them godlike,
    REFLECTING God’s nature.
        He CREATED them male and female.
    God blessed them:
        “Prosper! Reproduce! Fill Earth! Take charge!
    Be RESPONSIBLE for fish in the sea and birds in the air,
        for every living thing that moves on the face of Earth.”

(Genesis 1:26-28)

Out of nowhere, time, space, and all the living whirl forth as God speaks the universe into existence.

With the utterance of His voice, creation takes form, chaos yields to order, light eclipses darkness, and emptiness fills with life. Not long after God creates the first man, Adam, and the first woman, Eve, the story takes a tragic turn when the first couple disobeys the CLEAR instruction from God not to eat the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. As a result, humanity falls from God’s intended perfection. The disastrous consequences of this decisive act are demonstrated in Cain’s murder of Abel, Noah’s flood, and the Tower of Babel.

It happened just as God said. God made earth-creatures in a vast variety of species: wild animals, domesticated animals of all sizes, and small creeping creatures, each able to reproduce its own kind. God saw that His new creation was beautiful and good. And God paused.

God:   Now let Us conceive a new creation—humanity—made in Our image, fashioned according to Our likeness. And let Us grant them authority over all the earth—the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, the domesticated animals and the small creeping creatures on the earth.

  So God did just that. He created humanity in His image, created them male and female.   Then God blessed them and gave them this directive: “Be fruitful and multiply. Populate the earth. I make you trustees of My estate, so care for My creation and rule over the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and every creature that roams across the earth.”  (Genesis 1:25-28)

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

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

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

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

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

The Beginning

In the beginning God made from nothing the heavens and the earth. The earth was an empty waste and darkness was over the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was moving over the top of the waters.   Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.   God saw that the light was good. He divided the light from the darkness.  Then God called the light day, and He called the darkness night. There was evening and there was morning, one day.  (Genesis 1:1-5)

And God wanted good to come to them, saying, “Give birth to many. Grow in number. Fill the earth and rule over it. Rule over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

  Then God said,See, I have given you every plant that gives seeds that is on the earth, and every tree that has fruit that gives seeds. They will be food for you.   I have given every green plant for food to every animal of the earth, and to every bird of the sky, and to every thing that moves on the earth that has life.And it was so.   God saw all that He had made and it was very good. There was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. (Genesis 1:28-31)

This is the written account of Adam’s family line. When God created mankind, He made them in the likeness of God.

  (Genesis 5:1)

Dear friends, I have been trying to write to you about what God did for us when He saved us from the punishment of sin.

Now I must write to you and tell you to fight hard for the faith which was once and for all given to the holy people of God. Some sinful men have come into your church without anyone knowing it.

They are living in sin and they speak of the loving-favor of God to cover up their sins.

They have turned against our only Leader and Lord, Jesus Christ.

Long ago it was written that these people would die in their sins.

You already know all this, but think about it again. The Lord saved His people out of the land of Egypt.

Later He destroyed all those who did not put their trust in Him. 

Angels who did not stay in their place of power, but left the place where they were given to stay, are chained in a dark place. They will be there until the day they stand before God to be judged. 

Do you remember about the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah and the towns around them?

The people in those cities did the same things. They were full of sex sins and strong desires for sinful acts of the body.

Those cities were destroyed by fire. They still speak to us of the fire of hell that lasts forever.

What False Teachers Are Like

In the same way, these men go on dreaming and sinning against their bodies. They respect no leaders.

They speak bad against those who live in the heavens. 

Michael was one of the head angels. He argued with the devil about the body of Moses.

But Michael would not speak sharp words to the devil, saying he was guilty.

He said, “The Lord speaks sharp words to you.” 

But these men speak against things they do not understand.

They are like animals in the way they act.

By these things they destroy themselves.

It is bad for them! They have followed the way of Cain who killed his brother.

They have chosen the way of Balaam and think only about making money.

They were destroyed as Korah was destroyed who would not show respect to leaders. 

When you come together to eat the Christians’ love suppers, these people are like hidden rocks that wreck a ship.

They only think of themselves.

They are like clouds without rain carried along by the wind and like trees without fruit in the fall of the year.

They are pulled out by the roots and are dead now and never can live again. 

They are like the waves of a wild sea. Their sins are like the dirty water along the shore.

They look like stars moving here and there. But the darkest place has been kept for them forever.

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Enoch was the head of the seventh family born after Adam. He said this about such people,

The Lord comes with many thousands of His holy ones.  

He comes to say that all are guilty for all the sin they have done and all the sinful things these sinners have spoken against God.”  

These men complain and are never happy with anything. They let their desires lead them into sin.

When they talk about themselves, they make it sound as if they are great people.

They show respect to people only to get something out of them.

Dear friends, you must remember the words spoken by the missionaries of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

They said, “In the last days there will be men who will laugh at the truth and will be led by their own sinful desires.” 

They are men who will make trouble by dividing people into groups against each other.

Their minds are on the things of the world because they do not have the Holy Spirit.

Dear friends, you must become strong in your most holy faith. Let the Holy Spirit lead you as you pray. 

Keep yourselves in the love of God. Wait for life that lasts forever through the loving-kindness of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

Have loving-kindness for those who doubt. Save some by pulling them out of the fire.

Have loving-kindness for others but also fear them.

Be afraid of being led into doing their sins.

Hate even the clothes that have touched sinful bodies.

There is One Who can keep you from falling and can bring you before Himself free from all sin.

He can give you great joy as you stand before Him in His shining-greatness. He is the only God.

He is the One Who saves from the punishment of sin through Jesus Christ our Lord.

May He have shining-greatness and honor and power and the right to do all things.

He had this before the world began, He has it now, and He will have this forever. Let it be so. (Jude)

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Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing. (1 Timothy 2:8) 
I wash my hands in innocence, and go about your altar, LORD.  (Psalm 26:6)

 DO NOT LET THE SUN SET ON YOUR ANGER

This is what the Lord Who made the heavens, the God Who planned and made the earth, and everything in it and did not make it a waste place, but made it a place for people to live in, says,

“I am the Lord, and there is no other.  

I have not spoken in secret in some dark land. I did not say to the children of Jacob, ‘Look for Me for nothing.’

I the Lord speak the truth. I say what is right.

“Gather together and come. Come near together, you who are left of the nations.

They have no learning, who carry around their false god made of wood and pray to a god who cannot save. 

Make your need known. Yes, let them talk it over together.

Who said this would happen from long ago? Who has been saying it for a long time? Is it not I, the Lord?

There is no other God besides Me, a God Who is right and good, a God Who saves. There is none except Me.

Look to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth. For I am God, and there is no other. 

By Myself I have sworn. The Word has gone out from My mouth in truth, and will not turn back:

‘Every knee will bow down before Me. And every tongue will say that I am God.’ 

They will say of Me, ‘Strength and what is right and good are only found in the Lord.’

Men will come to Him, and all who were angry at Him will be put to shame. 

In the Lord all the children of Israel will be made right, and will give praise.”

(Isaiah 45:18-25)

 
Whoever sheds human blood, by humans shall their blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made mankind. 

(Genesis 9:6)

A recurring theme in the psalms is the dwelling place of God and its importance in worship.

This Davidic psalm considers the moral qualities of the person who wishes to approach God.

 Eternal One, who is invited to stay in Your dwelling?  Who is granted passage to Your holy mountain?

Here is the answer:

The one who lives with integrity, does what is right, and speaks honestly with truth from the heart.
The one who doesn’t speak evil against others or wrong his neighbor, or slander his friends.
The one who loathes the loathsome,  honors those who fear the Eternal, And keeps all promises no matter the cost.
The one who does not lend money with gain in mind and cannot be bought to harm an innocent name.

If you live this way, you will not be shaken and will live together with the Lord.

(Psalm 15)

RAINBOWS ARE NOT *LOCATED* AT A SPECIFIC DISTANCE BUT RATHER: 

RAINBOWS ARE *RELATIVE* TO A LIGHT SOURCE

RAINBOWS ARE CAUSED BY BOTH

REFLECTION AND REFRACTION OF LIGHT

IN WATER DROPLETS IN EARTH’S ATMOSPHERE

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The Covenant of the Rainbow

“Surely I will require your lifeblood; from every beast I will require it.

And from every man, from every man’s brother I will require the life of man.

“Whoever sheds man’s blood, By man his blood shall be shed, For in the image of God He made man.

“As for you, be fruitful and multiply; Populate the earth abundantly and multiply in it.”  (Genesis 9)

NEW CREATION IN CHRIST JESUS

You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor.

You made them rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their feet:  (Psalm 8:5-6)

In fact under the Law almost everything is purified by means of blood, and without the shedding of blood there is neither release from sin and its guilt nor the remission of the due and merited punishment for sins.

 By such means, therefore, it was necessary for the earthly copies of the heavenly things to be purified,

but the actual heavenly things themselves required far better and nobler sacrifices than these.

For Christ (the Messiah) has not entered into a sanctuary made with human hands,

only a copy and pattern and type of the true one,

but He has entered into heaven itself,

now to appear in the very presence of God on our behalf.

Nor did He enter into the heavenly sanctuary to offer Himself regularly again and again,

as the high priest enters the Holy of Holies every year with blood not his own.

For then would He often have had to suffer over and over again since the foundation of the world.

But as it now is,

He has once for all at the consummation and close of the ages appeared to put away and abolish sin by His sacrifice

of Himself.

And just as it is appointed for all men once to die, and after that the certain judgment,

 Even so it is that Christ, having been offered to take upon Himself and bear as a burden the sins of many once

and once for all, will appear a second time, not to carry any burden of sin nor to deal with sin,

but to bring to full salvation those who are eagerly, constantly, and patiently waiting for and expecting Him.

(Hebrews 9)

He who finds a true wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.

(Proverbs 18:22)

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For a man ought not to wear anything on his head in church, for he is the image and  reflected  glory of God 

his function of government reflects the majesty of the divine Rule ;

but woman is the expression of man’s glory (majesty, preeminence).

For man was not created from woman, but woman from man;

Neither was man created on account of or for the benefit of woman, but woman on account of and for the benefit of man.

Therefore she should be subject to his authority and should have a covering on her head as a token, a symbol, of her submission to authority, that she may show reverence as do the angels and not displease them.

Nevertheless, in the plan of the Lord and from His point of view woman is not apart from and independent of man,

nor is man aloof from and independent of woman;

 For as woman was made from man, even so man is also born of woman;

and all whether male or female go forth from God as their Author.  (1 Corinthians 11)

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  A capable, intelligent, and ]virtuous woman—who is he who can find her?

She is far more precious than jewels and her value is far above rubies or pearls.

  The heart of her husband trusts in her confidently and relies on and believes in her securely,

so that he has no lack of  honest  gain or need of  dishonest  spoil.

 She comforts, encourages, and does him only good as long as there is life within her.  (Proverbs 31:10-12)

 

 Every good gift and every perfect ( free, large, full) gift is from above;

it comes down from the Father of all that gives light,
in the shining of Whom there can be no variation [rising or setting] or shadow cast by His turning [as in an eclipse].

(James 1:17)

Jesus:   You know neither God’s Scriptures nor God’s power—and so your assumptions are all wrong. 

At the resurrection, people will neither marry nor be given in marriage. They will be like the messengers of heaven.

In heaven all will be devoting themselves to praise. It will not be a simple continuation of life on earth.

A key to this resurrected life can be found in the words of Moses, which you do claim to read: 

I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.

 Our God is not the God of the dead. He is the God of the living.

(Matthew 22)

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My dearly loved brothers and sisters, don’t be misled. 

Every good gift bestowed, every perfect gift received comes to us from above, courtesy of the Father of lights. He is consistent. He won’t change His mind or play tricks in the shadows.

We have a special key role in His plan.

He calls us to life by His message of truth so that we will show the rest of His creatures His goodness and love.

Listen, open your ears, harness your desire to speak, and don’t get worked up into a rage so easily, my brothers and sisters. Human anger is a futile exercise that will never produce God’s kind of justice in this world.

So walk out on your corrupt liaison with smut and depraved living, and humbly welcome the word of truth that will blossom like the seed of salvation planted in your souls.

 Put the word into action. If you think hearing is what matters most, you are going to find you have been deceived.

God the Father is the giver of all things and is looking for every opportunity to bless us. But many people have difficulty trusting and receiving good things, even when those things come from God. The problem is that we not only have trouble trusting God’s work in our lives, but we also don’t always respond to God’s voice. People often hear the Scriptures but don’t really listen. People store truths in their brains but never put them to use. For James, the only good religion is religion lived out every day.

 If some fail to do what God requires, it’s as if they forget the word as soon as they hear it.

One minute they look in the mirror, and the next they forget who they are and what they look like.

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However, it is possible to open your eyes and take in the beautiful, perfect truth found in God’s law of liberty and live by it.

If you pursue that path and actually do what God has commanded, then you will avoid the many distractions that lead to an amnesia of all true things and you will be blessed.

If you put yourself on a pedestal, thinking you have become a role model in all things religious, but you can’t control your mouth, then think again. Your mouth exposes your heart, and your religion is useless. 

Real, true religion from God the Father’s perspective is about caring for the orphans and widows who suffer needlessly and resisting the evil influence of the world.

(James 1)

Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it.

Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God.

When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!

 In this all-out match against sin, others have suffered far worse than you, to say nothing of what Jesus went through—all that bloodshed! So don’t feel sorry for yourselves. Or have you forgotten how good parents treat children, and that God regards you as His children?

My dear child, don’t shrug off God’s discipline, but don’t be crushed by it either.
It’s the child He loves that He disciplines; the child He embraces, He also corrects.

God is educating you; that’s why you must never drop out. He’s treating you as dear children.

This trouble you’re in isn’t punishment; it’s training, the normal experience of children.

Only irresponsible parents leave children to fend for themselves. Would you prefer an irresponsible God?

We respect our own parents for training and not spoiling us, so why not embrace God’s training so we can truly live?

While we were children, our parents did what seemed best to them.

But God is doing what is best for us, training us to live God’s holy best.

At the time, discipline isn’t much fun. It always feels like it’s going against the grain.

Later, of course, it pays off handsomely, for it’s the well-trained who find themselves mature in their relationship with God.

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So don’t sit around on your hands! No more dragging your feet!

Clear the path for long-distance runners so no one will trip and fall, so no one will step in a hole and sprain an ankle. Help each other out. And run for it!

 Work at getting along with each other and with God. Otherwise you’ll never get so much as a glimpse of God.

(Hebrews 12)

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)

But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it–not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it–they will be blessed in what they do.  (James 1:25)

Everything New

I saw Heaven and earth new-created.

Gone the first Heaven, gone the first earth, gone the sea.

I saw Holy Jerusalem, new-created, descending resplendent out of Heaven,

as ready for God as a bride for her husband.

 I heard a voice thunder from the Throne:

“Look! Look! God has moved into the neighborhood, making His home with men and women!

They’re His people, He’s their God. He’ll wipe every tear from their eyes.

Death is gone for good—tears gone, crying gone, pain gone—all the first order of things gone.

The Enthroned continued, “Look! I’m making everything new. Write it all down—each word dependable and accurate.”

 Then He said,

It’s happened. I’m A to Z. I’m the Beginning, I’m the Conclusion.

From Water-of-Life Well I give freely to the thirsty. Conquerors inherit all this.

I’ll be God to them, they’ll be sons and daughters to Me.

But for the rest—

the feckless and faithless, degenerates and murderers, sex peddlers and sorcerers, idolaters and all liars—

for them it’s Lake Fire and Brimstone. Second death!

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The City of Light

One of the Seven Angels who had carried the bowls filled with the seven final disasters spoke to me:

Come here. I’ll show you the Bride, the Wife of the Lamb.”

He took me away in the Spirit to an enormous, high mountain and showed me Holy Jerusalem descending out of Heaven from God, resplendent in the bright glory of God.

 The City shimmered like a precious gem, light-filled, pulsing light. She had a wall majestic and high with twelve gates.

At each gate stood an Angel, and on the gates were inscribed the names of the Twelve Tribes of the sons of Israel:

three gates on the east, three gates on the north, three gates on the south, three gates on the west.

The wall was set on twelve foundations, the names of the Twelve Apostles of the Lamb inscribed on them.

The Angel speaking with me had a gold measuring stick to measure the City, its gates, and its wall.

The City was laid out in a perfect square.

He measured the City with the measuring stick: twelve thousand stadia, its length, width, and height all equal.

Using the standard measure, the Angel measured the thickness of its wall: 144 cubits.

The wall was jasper, the color of Glory, and the City was pure gold, translucent as glass.

The foundations of the City walls were garnished with every precious gem imaginable:

the first foundation jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst.

The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate a single pearl.

The main street of the City was pure gold, translucent as glass.

But there was no sign of a Temple, for the Lord God—the Sovereign-Strong—and the Lamb are the Temple.

The City doesn’t need sun or moon for light.

God’s Glory is its light, the Lamb its lamp!

The nations will walk in its light and earth’s kings bring in their splendor.

Its gates will never be shut by day, and there won’t be any night.

They’ll bring the glory and honor of the nations into the City.

Nothing dirty or defiled will get into the City, and no one who defiles or deceives.

Only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life will get in.  (Revelation 21)

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For now, we can only see a dim and blurry picture of things, as when we stare into polished metal.

I realize that everything I know is only part of the big picture.

But one day, when Jesus arrives, we will see clearly, face-to-face.

In that day, I will fully know just as I have been wholly known by God 

But now faith, hope, and love remain; these three virtues must characterize our lives.

The greatest of these is love.  (1 Corinthians 13:12-13)

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

(Psalm 51:10)

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Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.

 
Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known.

But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.

 
They will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads.

(Hebrews 12:14, 1 John 3:2, Revelation 22:4)

 But as for me, my hope is to see Your face.
    When I am vindicated, I will look upon the holy face of God,
    and when I awake, the longing of my soul will be satisfied in the glow of Your presence.  (Psalm 17:15)

 

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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)

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