The Cardinal Rule

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

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

which God has promised to those who love Him.

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

and He Himself tempts no one.

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

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

(Hebrews 10:36) 

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

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

The Coming of the Kingdom

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

But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.   

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

Parable of the Persistent Widow

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

originally “door hinge,” of unknown origin.

 A New and Living Way

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

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

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

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

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

(John 6:63)   

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He is the exact image of the invisible God, the firstborn of creation, the eternal.  It was by Him that everything was created: the heavens, the earth, all things within and upon them, all things seen and unseen, thrones and dominions, spiritual powers and authorities. Every detail was crafted through His design, by His own hands, and for His purposes.

  He has always been!

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

  He is first.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jesus the Bread of Life

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

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

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

And this is the will of Him who sent me,

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

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

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

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

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

Jesus Prays at Gethsemane

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s true; we are His beloved children.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anyone who does not love lives among corpses.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Revelation 15:16)

Jesus teaches union with Himself

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

(John 15:1-8)

Message to the Church in Philadelphia

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

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

The Test

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Only if they invite it will destruction come.

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

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

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

He alone is responsible for restoring the nation.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

God “disciplines” His “disciples.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But what is faith?

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

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

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

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

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

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

walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Isaiah 40:6-8)

Bloom in the Midst of Doom and Gloom!

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

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

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

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

(Isaiah 40:27-31)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Hebrews 11:1-3)

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

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

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

it rests upon the testimonies of eyewitnesses

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

There Were Many More Who Had Faith in God

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

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

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

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

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

Everyone was bad to them.  

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

They were too good for this world.  

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

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

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

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

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

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

The way to a new and much more fulfilling life–

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

–Aristotle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Your strength will support me. 

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

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

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

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

diligently seek Him.

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

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

As God was with Jacob

As God was with Moses

As God was with Joshua

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

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

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

(Genesis 28:15-17)

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

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

in the wilderness.  Devil defeated; Jesus Victorious Christ!

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

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

No one and nothing can compare.  We move beyond comparisons

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

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

He is all we need.

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

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

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

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

Dwelling in His tabernacle. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

IN THIS PLACE

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

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

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

for He is the Lord and He changes not. 

As He says in Malachi chapter 3—

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

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

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

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

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

as in the former years when the covenant was new.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

and the Eternal One paid attention and heard.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Miracles happen to those who believe

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

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

Content Whatever the Circumstances

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How We Must Live

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be Filled With the Spirit of God

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Woman: Bring me another container.

Son: There aren’t any left.

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

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

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

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

Elisha: Tell the Shunammite woman to come here.

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

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

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

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

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

Elisha:   Tell her to come here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

She prepared the donkey and gave instructions to her servant.

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

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

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

Shunammite Woman: Everything is fine.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Luke 6:21)

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

And in Acts chapter 9 is recorded these accounts:

Peter hadn’t been idle during all this time.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Peter: Tabitha, get up!

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

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

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

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

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So stand up and do not be moved.

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

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

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

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

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

How and What to Pray For

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

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

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

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

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

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

Arrested Development

I’m talking to you

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Freely you have RECEIVED

Now

Freely GIVE!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Attitude of Christ

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

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

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

(Galatians 3:13) 

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

(Deuteronomy 21:23)

Christ Redeemed Us

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

CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE “–

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

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

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

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

A desire fulfilled is a tree of life. 

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Christ’s bride reflects the desire of his heart,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is fulfilled by those who are faithful to Him.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Eternal One said these very things.

(Isaiah 58)

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

Jesus Christ Has Overcome the World

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

 

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

 

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

(John 16:25-33)

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

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

Like Mary who sat at Jesus’ feet–

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(James 4:6)

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

(Matthew 6:20)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

releasing the shining flames as arrows! 

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

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

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

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

(Psalm 128:3-4)

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

(Psalm 119:1-8)

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

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

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

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

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

and WILL THEN REPAY EVERY MAN ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS. 

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

ImageThus says the Lord:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Psalm 1)

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

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

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

My joy completed in them

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

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

(Ephesians 3:20-21)

 

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

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

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

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

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

PUSH (Pray Until Something Happens)

From Transition to Pushing Stages ~ Birthing the Will of God

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

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

And so it is with God.

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

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

Child-Like Trust in the Lord

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

Elisha Raises the Shunammite’s Son

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

Beyond Your Ability

Spending Time With God Puts Everything Else Into Perspective       

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

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

Keys to the Kingdom

Tabitha

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    God has glorified His servant, Jesus

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

Jesus Victorious Christ officiates as our Intercessor, which He now performs with deep sympathy.
As we connect with Him in prayers of faith, we know He hears and accepts our prayers. 
Christ covers our imperfections with the love of God which covers a multitude of sins.    
These prayers, in turn, produce  great changes upon earth.

All those who expect the Law to save them from the punishment of sin will be punished.
Because it is written,
Everyone who does not keep on doing all the things written in the Book of the Law will be punished.”
No one is made right with God by doing what the Law says.
For, “The man right with God will live by faith.” The Law does not use faith.
It says, “You must obey all the Law or you will die.”
Christ bought us with His blood and made us free from the Law.
In that way, the Law could not punish us. Christ did this by carrying the load and by being punished instead of us.

It is written, “Anyone who hangs on a cross is hated and punished.” 

Because of the price Christ Jesus paid, the good things that came to Abraham might come to the people who are not Jews. And by putting our trust in Christ, we receive the Holy Spirit He has promised.  (Galatians 3:10-14)

Those who would convey spiritual life to dead souls, must feel deeply for their case, and labor fervently in prayer for them. ~Matthew Henry~ …the  most powerful intercessions are those which are made with groanings that cannot be uttered. Let us well study what is shown of the frame of mind in which our prayers should be offered, and learn daily from Christ how to pray.
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This is what ought to be the normal practice of each of His followers.

Observe that the widow of one of the sons of the prophets so acted

when she was about to receive the miraculous supply of oil (2 Kings 4:4, 5).

Tap into prayer for God’s miracle working power.   
                  
When He arrived at the house of Jairus, He did not let anyone go in with Him except Peter, John and James, and the child’s father and mother.
(Luke 8:51)
           
            Trust in Christ, Not the Law

You crazy Galatians! Did someone put a hex on you? Have you taken leave of your senses? Something crazy has happened, for it’s obvious that you no longer have the crucified Jesus in clear focus in your lives. His sacrifice on the cross was certainly set before you clearly enough.

Let me put this question to you: How did your new life begin?
Was it by working your heads off to please God?
Or was it by responding to God’s Message to you? Are you going to continue this craziness?
For only crazy people would think they could complete by their own efforts what was begun by God. If you weren’t smart enough or strong enough to begin it, how do you suppose you could perfect it? Did you go through this whole painful learning process for nothing?
It is not yet a total loss, but it certainly will be if you keep this up!

Answer this question: Does the God who lavishly provides you with His own presence, His Holy Spirit, working things in your lives you could never do for yourselves, does he do these things because of your strenuous moral striving or because you trust him to do them in you? Don’t these things happen among you just as they happened with Abraham? He believed God, and that act of belief was turned into a life that was right with God.

Is it not obvious to you that persons who put their trust in Christ (not persons who put their trust in the law!) are like Abraham: children of faith? It was all laid out beforehand in Scripture that God would set things right with non-Jews by faith. Scripture anticipated this in the promise to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed in you.

So those now who live by faith are blessed along with Abraham, who lived by faith—this is no new doctrine! And that means that anyone who tries to live by his own effort, independent of God, is doomed to failure.

Scripture backs this up: “Utterly cursed is every person who fails to carry out every detail written in the Book of the law.”

The obvious impossibility of carrying out such a moral program should make it plain that no one can sustain a relationship with God that way. The person who lives in right relationship with God does it by embracing what God arranges for him. Doing things for God is the opposite of entering into what God does for you.

Habakkuk had it right:The person who believes God, is set right by God—and that’s the real life.”

Rule-keeping does not naturally evolve into living by faith, but only perpetuates itself in more and more rule-keeping, a fact observed in Scripture: “The one who does these things [rule-keeping] continues to live by them.”

Christ redeemed us from that self-defeating, cursed life by absorbing it completely into Himself.

Do you remember the Scripture that says, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”?

That is what happened when Jesus was nailed to the cross: He became a curse, and at the same time dissolved the curse. And now, because of that, the air is cleared and we can see that Abraham’s blessing is present and available for non-Jews, too. We are all able to receive God’s life, His Spirit, in and with us by believing—just the way Abraham received it.

Can’t Hide Behind a Religious Mask

Steep Yourself in God-Reality

Steep yourself in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.

Don’t be afraid of missing out. You’re my dearest friends! The Father wants to give you the very kingdom itself.  (Luke 12:32)

The World Is Not a Stage

Pray with Simplicity

“And when you come before God, don’t turn that into a theatrical production either. All these people making a regular show out of their prayers, hoping for stardom! Do you think God sits in a box seat?

Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God.

Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage.

The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense His grace.

“The world is full of so-called prayer warriors who are prayer-ignorant. They’re full of formulas and programs and advice, peddling techniques for getting what you want from God. Don’t fall for that nonsense.

This is your Father you are dealing with, and He knows better than you what you need.

With a God like this loving you, you can pray very simply. Like this:

Our Father in heaven,
Reveal who you are.
Set the world right;
Do what’s best—
    as above, so below.
Keep us alive with three square meals.
Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others.
Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil.
You’re in charge!
You can do anything you want!
You’re ablaze in beauty!
    Yes. Yes. Yes.

“In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God’s part.

“When you practice some appetite-denying discipline to better concentrate on God, don’t make a production out of it. It might turn you into a small-time celebrity but it won’t make you a saint. If you ‘go into training’ inwardly, act normal outwardly. Shampoo and comb your hair, brush your teeth, wash your face. God doesn’t require attention-getting devices. He won’t overlook what you are doing; he’ll reward you well.  (Matthew 6)

A Life of God-Worship, Or–

Where There’s A Will, There’s A Will

—God’s Will, His Way

The Spirit is given to lead and guide us into all truth as we walk in agreement with the Lord every step of the way home in alignment with His will. 

How can we escape if we neglect so great a Salvation?  He is made unto us all wisdom and as His children we are welcome for it is the Father’s good pleasure to give us the Kingdom.  It is as a child comes in reliance and perseverance that we receive what we need.  We know that our Father knows best. 

This is the heart of David; not as Saul who when he was king forgot what it was to be small.
David knew his place was appointed by God and we have come to His kingdom for such a time as this. 
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People need the Lord for without a vision, people perish.
Faith comes by hearing; and hearing by the Word of God.
Man does not live by bread alone but by every Word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.
When there is no vision, people cast off restraint but where sin abounds, grace super-abounds.
God is pouring out His Spirit on His servants the prophets delivering the Good News of the Ministry of His Son, Jesus the Christ who was manifest to destroy the works of the devil.

Pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
(1 Thessalonians 5:17-18)

We must rely completely on God and persevere knowing He is our Source for all we truly ever really need.  We use whatever He places in our hands for His name’s sake and glory.  What is in your hand but the authority to speak in His name!
All of life is given as an invitation to grow closer to the Lord.

The power is on to receive and transmit LIFE.   
We plug into God through Communion in order to Communicate TRUTH.
Speak the Word that they may be healed and delivered.

Don’t run ahead of God – Where’s the power in that?

The Creator of All You Can See or Imagine

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

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He who takes refuge in the shelter of the Most High
    will be safe in the shadow of the Almighty.
He will say to the Eternal, “My shelter, my mighty fortress,
    my God, I place all my trust in You.”
For He will rescue you from the snares set by your enemies who entrap you
    and from deadly plagues.
Like a bird protecting its young, God will cover you with His feathers,
    will protect you under His great wings;
    His faithfulness will form a shield around you, a rock-solid wall to protect you.

Psalm 91 is a beautiful psalm of trust in God. But how does God take care of all His people, all at the same time? Well, keep reading because Psalm 91 is one of just a few places in Scripture that describe what we might call “guardian angels” (Exodus 23:20; Psalm 43:3). Though rare, these passages teach that God is not alone in maintaining and protecting His creation and His people. He has made a host of heavenly messengers ready to do His bidding, and His bidding is often to guard His people throughout their lives and protect them—sometimes from dangers they are not even aware of.

 You will not dread the terrors that haunt the night
    or enemy arrows that fly in the day
Or the plagues that lurk in darkness
    or the disasters that wreak havoc at noon.

A thousand may fall on your left,
    ten thousand may die on your right,
    but these horrors won’t come near you.
Only your eyes will witness
    the punishment that awaits the evil,
    but you will not suffer because of it.

For you made the Eternal your refuge,
    the Most High your only home.
No evil will come to you;
    plagues will be turned away at your door.

He will command His heavenly messengers to guard you,
    to keep you safe in every way.
They will hold you up in their hands
    so that you will not crash, or fall, or even graze your foot on a stone.[b]
You will walk on the lion and the cobra;
    you will trample the lion and the serpent underfoot.

“Because he clings to Me in love,
    I will rescue him from harm;
    I will set him above danger.
Because he has known Me by name,
He will call on Me, and I will answer.
    I’ll be with him through hard times;
    I’ll rescue him and grant him honor.
I’ll reward him with many good years on this earth
    and let him witness My salvation.”
(Psalm 91)
                        
Mercy Is God’s Glorious Triumphant Battle Cry!

Come, my people… into thy chambers. As when a storm comes, prudence counsels men to seek shelter (Exodus 9:19), so now the prophet advises his people to put themselves under cover during the coming tempest. His meaning, probably, is that they should retire into the privacy of communion with God, withdrawing from public affairs and the distractions of a worldly life. Shut thy doors about thee (comp. 2 Kings 4:33; Matthew 6:6).
For a little moment
(so in Isaiah 10:25; and again in Isaiah 54:7, 8).
God’s estimate of time, we must remember, is not as man’s
 (Psalm 90:4; 2 Peter 3:8).        ~Pulpit Commentary

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God’s place is the mercy-seat; there He delights to be: when He punishes, He comes out of His place, for He has no pleasure in the death of sinners. But there is hardly any truth more frequently repeated in Scripture, than God’s determined purpose to punish the workers of iniquity. Let us keep close to the Lord, and separate from the world; and let us seek comfort in secret prayer. A day of vengeance is coming on the world, and before it comes we are to expect tribulation and suffering. But because the Christian looks for these things, shall he be restless and dismayed? No, let him repose himself in his God. Abiding in Him, the believer is safe. And let us wait patiently the fulfilling of God’s promises.
(Matthew Henry)           
   
A Promise of God’s Blessing

I will heal their apostasy, I will love them freely, For My anger has turned away from them.
I will be like the dew to Israel; He will blossom like the lily, And he will take root like the cedars of Lebanon.  is shoots will sprout, And his beauty will be like the olive tree And his fragrance like the cedars of Lebanon.  (Hosea 14:4-6)

For His anger lasts only a moment, but His favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.
(Psalm 30:5)               

This is why it is said: “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”
(Ephesians 5:14)   

The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done. (Revelation 20:13)  “The LORD brings death and makes alive; he brings down to the grave and raises up.    (1 Samuel 2:6)
 
All the rich of the earth will feast and worship; all who go down to the dust will kneel before Him–

those who cannot keep themselves alive.        (Psalm 22:29)

This is what the LORD says to me:

“I will remain quiet and will look on from My dwelling place, like shimmering heat in the sunshine, like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest.” (Isaiah 18:4)

He will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; He will remove His people’s disgrace from all the earth. The LORD has spoken.  (Isaiah 25:8)

A Time of Travail   
   
Do not hand over the life of Your dove to wild beasts; do not forget the lives of Your afflicted people forever.
(Psalm 74:19)
           
Even the stork in the sky knows her appointed seasons, and the dove, the swift and the thrush observe the time of their migration. But My people do not know the requirements of the LORD.      (Jeremiah 8:7)
 
My beloved spoke and said to me, “Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, come with Me.”
 
My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag. Look! There he stands behind our wall, gazing through the windows, peering through the lattice.  (SoS 2:10; 9)

The Bride’s Adoration

Behold, the winter is past, The rain is over and gone.  The flowers have already appeared in the land;

The time has arrived for pruning the vines, And the voice of the turtledove has been heard in our land. 

The fig tree has ripened its figs, And the vines in blossom have given forth their fragrance.

Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, And come along!’
(SoS 1:11-13)

Your weeping shall suddenly be turned to wonderful joy when you see Me again.
It will be the same joy as that of a woman in labor when her child is born—

her anguish gives place to rapturous joy and the pain is forgotten.
You have sorrow now, but I will see you again and then you will rejoice; and no one can rob you of that joy.

At that time you won’t need to ask Me for anything, for you can go directly to the Father and ask Him, and He will give you what you ask for because you use My name.  You haven’t tried this before, but begin now. Ask, using My name, and you will receive, and your cup of joy will overflow.    (Zephaniah 3:21-24)   

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Song of Trust in God’s ProVision

We  were pregnant, we writhed in labor, We gave birth, as it seems, only to wind.
We could not accomplish deliverance for the earth, Nor were inhabitants of the world born. 
Our dead will live; Their corpses will rise. You who lie in the dust, awake and shout for joy,
For your dew is as the dew of the dawn, And the earth will give birth to the departed spirits.

Come, my people, enter into your rooms And close your doors behind you; Hide for a little while Until indignation runs its course.  (Isaiah 26:18-20)

Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven.  (Matthew 5:12)
                                               
And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.  (Matthew 6:28)
My roots will reach to the water, and the dew will lie all night on my branches.    (Job 29:19)

You cleared the ground for it, and it took root and filled the land.  (Psalm 80:9)  The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon. 
(Psalm 92:12)

It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the LORD bestows His blessing,

even life forevermore.    (Psalm 133:3)

A king’s rage is like the roar of a lion, but his favor is like dew on the grass.  (Proverbs 19:12)

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I am a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys.  (SoS 2:1)

This Beautiful Place

Break forth together into singing, you waste places of Jerusalem, for the Lord has comforted His people;

He has redeemed Jerusalem. The Lord has bared His holy arm before the eyes of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.  (Isaiah 52:9-10)

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This is what the LORD says:

“Let My people go, so that they may worship Me.”  (Exodus 8:1)

                          This Beautiful PLACE                                            A PLACE to Worship   
 
                                                                     Wherever You Are    

The PLACE prepared for her in the wilderness.

                                                                              A Spillway

           Poured Out Worship                                     The Set Apart Ones                                Set me as a SEAL on your HEART

 

A love song. 

My heart overflows with a pleasing theme;

I address my verses to the king; my tongue is like the pen of a ready scribe.  (Psalm 45:1)

The voice of One crying in the wilderness,

Prepare the way of the Lord

Behold, a king will reign in righteousness, and princes will rule in justice. Each will be like a hiding place from the wind, a shelter from the storm, like streams of water in a dry place, like the shade of a great rock in a weary land.  (Isaiah 32:1-2)

For Behold the King is Coming!

Sing aloud, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem!

The Lord has taken away the judgments against you; He has cleared away your enemies.

The King of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst; you shall never again fear evil.  (Zephaniah 3:14-15)

 

I will never leave you; I will always be by your side.” 

Because of this promise, we may boldly say,

The Lord is my help—I won’t be afraid of anything.
How can anyone harm me?

(Hebrews 13:6)

Protect me, God, for the only safety I know is found in the moments I seek You.  (Psalm 16:1)seal.Stay focused; do not lose sight of mercy and truth;
engrave them on a pendant, and hang it around your neck;
meditate on them so they are written upon your heart. (Proverbs 3:3) What you learn from them will crown you with grace and be a chain of honor around your neck.
(Proverbs 1:9) Proverbs 3:22
they will be life for you, an ornament to grace your neck.
Proverbs 4:9
She will give you a garland to grace your head and present you with a glorious crown.”

“Don’t quit, even if it costs you your life. Stay there believing. I have a Life-Crown sized and ready for you.”    (Revelation 2:10) 

Stay focused; do not lose sight of mercy and truth;
    Engrave them on a pendant, and hang it around your neck;
    Meditate on them so they are written upon your heart. (Proverbs 3:3) 

What you learn from them will crown you with grace and be a chain of honor around your neck.
(Proverbs 1:9)                 
They will be life for you, an ornament to grace your neck.  (Proverbs 3:22)

She will give you a garland to grace your head and present you with a glorious crown.  (Proverbs 4:9)

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The woman fled into  the wilderness, where God had prepared a place of refuge and safety where she could find sustenance.(Revelation 12:6)

When the dragon realized he had been cast down to the earth, he pursued the mother of the male infant. 

In order to escape the serpent, she was given the two wings of the great eagle to fly deeper into the wilderness to her own special place where she would find sustenance for a time, and times, and half a time. 

Then from his mouth the serpent spewed water like a raging river that chased after the woman, trying to sweep her away in the flood. But the earth came to her rescue. It opened its gaping mouth and swallowed the river that spewed from the dragon’s mouth. As a result, the dragon was enraged at the woman and went away to make war on the rest of her children—those who keep the commandments of God and hold fast to the testimony of Jesus.

And the dragon stood waiting on the sand of the seashore.  (Revelation 12: 13-18)

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Mercy TRIUMPHS over Justice (Judgment!)

The Scripture gives as a law, to love our neighbor as ourselves. This law is a royal law, it comes from the King of kings; and if Christians act unjustly, they are convicted by the law as transgressors.

So let us step boldly to the throne of grace, where we can find mercy and grace to help when we need it most.
(Hebrews 4:16)For the LORD God is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory. The LORD will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right. (Psalm 84:11)

A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense. (Proverbs 19:11)

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,

But God deems it His glory and joy, to pardon and bless those who might justly be condemned at His tribunal; and His grace teaches those who partake of His mercy, to copy it in their conduct.

Mercy GLORIES against Judgement! It is a victory cry!

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You have TURNED my mourning into JOY.
Given me beauty for ashes…a garment of praise for a spirit of heaviness.

You have stolen my heart, my sister, my bride; you have stolen my heart with one glance of your eyes, with one jewel of your necklace. (SoS 4:9)

Hungry and Thirsty for the King’s Love

How delightful is your love, my sister, my bride! How much more pleasing is your love than wine, and the fragrance of your perfume more than any spice! (SOS 4:10

Some trust in horses Some trust in chariots I will TRUST in the NAME of the Lord God of Israel
See the NAME is His Authority for us to speak and act and represent Him on earth as it is in heaven. We are His.

Deep Calls Unto Deep

You are a garden locked up, my sister, my bride; you are a spring enclosed, a sealed fountain.
(SoS 4:12)

I have come into my garden, my sister, my bride; I have gathered my myrrh with my spice. I have eaten my honeycomb and my honey; I have drunk my wine and my milk. Friends Eat, friends, and drink; drink your fill of love. (SoS 5:1)

I slept but my heart was awake. Listen! My beloved is knocking: “Open to me, my sister, my darling, my dove, my flawless one. My head is drenched with dew, my hair with the dampness of the night.” (SoS 5:2)

I adorned you with jewelry: I put bracelets on your arms and a necklace around your neck/
(Ezekiel 16:11)
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Your song is with me ALL through the night

Still You command Your loving-kindness in the morning.

For He Alone Is Worthy

Those who cling to worthLESS idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs. ~Jonah 2:8
The Lord knows those who belong to Him,” and “
Whoever worships the Lord must give up doing wrong.”

In a large house there are not only objects made of gold and silver,
but also those made of wood and clay.
Some objects are honored when they are used; others aren’t.
Those who stop associating with dishonorable people will be honored.
They will be set apart for the master’s use, prepared to do good things. (2 Tim 2:19-21)

Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever.
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. ~John 8:35-36

Repent and believe that anything is possible when we cling to Christ.
Call on His name Jesus Christ and find refuge in His armb2919fd7ee757a5fa70c4e2dd9805178

As Ruth who left behind her home, family and nation
to follow the Holy One of Israel clinging to her mother in law.
Love the Lord your God and love your neighbor as yourself.

As the woman with the alabaster box.
As David’s three mighty men who risked their lives
to fetch him water from the well in Bethlehem.
As Elisha who slew his team of twelve oxen and broke up their yoke
to use as kindling for a feast to follow the Holy One of Israel with Elijah the Prophet.

Surely His salvation is near to those who fear Him, that glory may dwell in our land.
Steadfast love and faithfulness meet; righteousness and peace kiss each other.
Faithfulness springs up from the ground, and righteousness looks down from the sky.
Yes, the Lord will give what is good, and our land will yield its increase. (Psalm 85:9-12)

 The Spirit and the Bride:  Come. And let everyone who hears these words say, “Come.” And let those who thirst come. All who desire to drink, let them take and drink freely from the water of life.


The Spirit and the Bride: Come.
And let everyone who hears these words say, “Come.”
And let those who thirst come.
All who desire to drink, let them take and drink freely from the water of life.

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Rabbi, we know it is from God that you have come as a teacher;

for no one can do these miracles you perform unless God is with him.”  (John 3:2)

God’s Mercies

O people in Zion, inhabitant in Jerusalem, you will weep no longer.

He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry; when He hears it, He will answer you.

Although the Lord has given you bread of privation and water of oppression,

He, your Teacher will no longer hide Himself, but your eyes will behold your Teacher.

Your ears will hear a word behind you, “This is the way, walk in it,” whenever you turn to the right or to the left. 

(Isaiah 30:19-21) 

Yeshua said to him, “I AM THE LIVING GOD, The Way and The Truth and The Life;

no man comes to My Father but by Me alone.”  (John 4:6)

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And He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father– to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

BEHOLD, HE IS COMING WITH THE CLOUDS,

and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. So it is to be. Amen.

I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”  (Revelation 1:6-8)

 

 

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

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

 

Don’t quit, even if it costs you your life. Stay there believing. I have a Life-Crown sized and ready for you.”

(Revelation 2:10) 

See, a king will reign in righteousness and rulers will rule with justice.  (Isaiah 32:1)

Before Me no god was formed, nor will there be one after Me. I, even I, am the LORD, and apart from Me there is no Savior.

I have Revealed and Saved and Proclaimed–I, and not some foreign god among you (Isa. 43:10-11).

Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice, of all deceit, hypocrisy and envy, and of all the ways there are of speaking against people;  

And be like newborn babies, thirsty for the pure milk of the Word;

So that by It, you may grow up into deliverance. For you have tasted that Adonai is good. 

As you come to Him, the Living Stone, rejected by people but chosen by God and precious to Him, 

you yourselves, as living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be cohanim set apart for God to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to Him through Yeshua the Messiah.

This is why the Tanakh says,

Look! I am laying in Tziyon a stone,
a chosen and precious cornerstone;
and whoever rests his trust on it
will certainly not be humiliated. 

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Now to you who keep trusting, He is precious. But to those who are not trusting,

“The very stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone”; 

also He is

a stone that will make people stumble,
a rock over which they will trip.

They are stumbling at the Word, disobeying it — as had been planned. 

But you are a chosen people,the King’s cohanim,  a holy nation, a people for God to possess!

Why? In order for you to declare the praises of the One who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 

Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people;

before, you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

Dear friends, I urge you as aliens and temporary residentsnot to give in to the desires of your old nature, which keep warring against you;  but to live such good lives among the pagans that even though they now speak against you as evil-doers, they will, as a result of seeing your good actions, give glory to God on the Day of His coming. For the sake of the Lord, submit yourselves to every human authority — whether to the emperor as being supreme, or to governors as being sent by Him to punish wrongdoers and praise those who do what is good.  

For it is God’s will that your doing good should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. 

Submit as people who are free, but not letting your freedom serve as an excuse for evil; rather, submit as God’s slaves. 

Be respectful to all — keep loving the brotherhood, fearing God and honoring the emperor.

 Household servants, submit yourselves to your masters, showing them full respect —

and not only those who are kind and considerate, but also those who are harsh.  

For it is a grace when someone, because he is mindful of God, bears up under the pain of undeserved punishment. 

For what credit is there in bearing up under a beating you deserve for doing something wrong?

But if you bear up under punishment, even though you have done what is right, God looks on it with favor. 

Indeed, this is what you were called to; because the Messiah too suffered, on your behalf, leaving an example so that you should follow in His steps.

He committed no sin, nor was any deceit found on His lips.” 

When He was insulted, He didn’t retaliate with insults;

when He suffered, He didn’t threaten, but handed them over to Him who judges justly.

 He Himself bore our sinsin His body on the stake,so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness

by His wounds you were healed. 

For you used to be like sheep gone astray, but now you have turned to  the Shepherd, who watches over you.  (1 Peter 2)

For the LORD is our Judge, the LORD is our Lawgiver, the LORD is our King; it is He who will Save us.  (Isaiah 33:22)

Thus says the LORD:

Heaven is my throne, and the earth is My footstool;

what is the house that you would build for Me, and what is the place of My rest?”  (Isaiah 66:1)

And in Mercy shall the Throne be Established: and He shall Sit on it in Truth in the Tabernacle of David, Judging, and Seeking Judgment, and Hastening Righteousness.  (Isaiah 16:5)  Behold, I have given Him for a Witness to the peoples, a Captain and Teacher to the peoples.  (Isaiah 55:4) 

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These are indeed difficult days for the New Jerusalem’s key citizens; their captured loved ones tore the nation apart.

But God has not forgotten those in exile. It is during this period of separation that God writes a love letter to those who were taken to this foreign land.

It is through His servants, the prophets that God is able to communicate with those still held captive in Babylon.

God’s message to them is the same as to those remaining in His Word: do not revolt against Babylon, for this season of judgment will be longer than others are telling you.

In the midst of the struggle, He calls those who are far from home to trust God and His timing

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God’s Word is No Empty Promise

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,
Then rounded you up from all over the place,
    from the four winds, from the seven seas.

 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 road
    that 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.
He poured great draughts of water down parched throats;
    the starved and hungry got plenty to eat.

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!

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!

Some of you set sail in big ships;
    you put to sea to do business in faraway ports.
Out at sea you saw God in action,
    saw His breathtaking ways with the ocean:
With a word He called up the wind—
    an ocean storm, towering waves!
You shot high in the sky, then the bottom dropped out;
    your hearts were stuck in your throats.
You were spun like a top, you reeled like a drunk,
    you didn’t know which end was up.
Then you called out to God in your desperate condition;
    He got you out in the nick of time.
He quieted the wind down to a whisper,
    put a muzzle on all the big waves.
And you were so glad when the storm died down,
    and He led you safely back to harbor.
So thank God for His marvelous love,
    for His miracle mercy to the children He loves.
Lift high your praises when the people assemble,
    shout Hallelujah when the elders meet!

God turned rivers into wasteland,
    springs of water into sunbaked mud;
Luscious orchards became alkali flats
    because of the evil of the people who lived there.
Then He changed wasteland into fresh pools of water,
    arid earth into springs of water,
Brought in the hungry and settled them there;
    they moved in—what a great place to live!
They sowed the fields, they planted vineyards,
    they reaped a bountiful harvest.
He blessed them and they prospered greatly;
    their herds of cattle never decreased.
But abuse and evil and trouble declined
    as He heaped scorn on princes and sent them away.
He gave the poor a safe place to live,
    treated their clans like well-cared-for sheep.

Good people see this and are glad;
    bad people are speechless, stopped in their tracks.
If you are really wise, you’ll think this over—
    it’s time you appreciated God’s deep love.

(Psalm 107)

The Songs for the Journey to Worship (Psalm 120–134) are composed for use by God’s people as they traveled from their homes up to Zion to worship God at the temple. Representing their time in exile are songs of lament, heartbreaking testimonies to individuals’ pain when they are crushed by their enemies and separated from God’s blessings.

Finally, Book Five concludes the collection by offering praise and thanks to God, for the story of Israel does not end with its exile and separation; rather, it ends in restoration and hope. Those who edited and compiled the Book of Psalms were relieved to be back in the land of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—rebuilding their temple and reestablishing their connection with God.

The Messiah has made things up between us so that we’re now together on this,

both non-Jewish outsiders and Jewish insiders.

He tore down the wall we used to keep each other at a distance.

He repealed the law code that had become so clogged with fine print and footnotes that it hindered more than it helped.

Then He started over.

Instead of continuing with two groups of people separated by centuries of animosity and suspicion,

He created a new kind of human being, a fresh start for everybody.

Christ brought us together through His death on the cross.

The Cross got us to embrace, and that was the end of the hostility.

Christ came and preached peace to you outsiders and peace to us insiders.

He treated us as equals, and so made us equals.

Through Him we both share the same Spirit and have equal access to the Father.

That’s plain enough, isn’t it?

You’re no longer wandering exiles. This kingdom of faith is now your home country.

You’re no longer strangers or outsiders. You belong here, with as much right to the name Christian as anyone.

Listen to His Name Echoing in the Halls of your Heart!

ImageThe creation the prophet sees—the new earth—is radically different from the one everyone knows. At some deep level, everyone recognizes that the everyday world is not the world as God intends it; things are not the way they are supposed to be. But God will make everything new again. In that day, the painful past will recede and vanish. Unbridled joy and celebration will eclipse grief and sorrow. Jerusalem, the holy city, will become the center of the world. Long lives will be the norm. Peace will be secure without exception. God’s blessing will settle over all creation. Creation itself, with all its complexities, will be made new. No predator. No prey. Just peace and harmony throughout. This is a world only God can create when He creates it anew.

God is building a home. He’s using us all—irrespective of how we got here—in what He is building.

He used the apostles and prophets for the foundation.

Now He’s using you, fitting you in brick by brick, stone by stone, with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone that holds all the parts together. We see it taking shape day after day—a holy temple built by God, all of us built into it, a temple in which God is quite at home.  (Ephesians 2:14-22)

Or, to put it another way, you are God’s house.

Using the gift God gave me as a good architect, I designed blueprints; Apollos is putting up the walls.
Let each carpenter who comes on the job take care to build on the foundation!
Remember, there is only one foundation, the one already laid: Jesus Christ.
Take particular care in picking out your building materials.
Eventually there is going to be an inspection. If you use cheap or inferior materials, you’ll be found out.
The inspection will be thorough and rigorous. You won’t get by with a thing.
If your work passes inspection, fine; if it doesn’t, your part of the building will be torn out and started over.
But you won’t be torn out; you’ll survive—but just barely.  (1 Corinthians 3:9-15)

ImageI’ll give him the key of the Davidic heritage. He’ll have the run of the place—open any door and keep it open, lock any door and keep it locked. I’ll pound him like a nail into a solid wall. He’ll secure the Davidic tradition. Everything will hang on him—not only the fate of Davidic descendants but also the detailed daily operations of the house, including cups and cutlery.

And then the Day will come,” says God-of-the-Angel-Armies, “when that nail will come loose and fall out, break loose from that solid wall—and everything hanging on it will go with it.That’s what will happen. God says so.  (Isaiah 22:21:25)

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.

And again the crowd was amazed. They were astonished at His teaching.

Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, a group of Pharisees met to consider new questions that might trip up Jesus

A legal expert thought of one that would certainly stump Him.

Pharisees:   Teacher, of all the laws, which commandment is the greatest?

Jesus said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’

This is the most important, the first on any list.

But there is a second to set alongside it:

‘Love others as well as you love yourself.

These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them.”

(Matthew 22:29-40)

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Completing God’s Law

 “Don’t suppose for a minute that I have come to demolish the Scriptures—either God’s Law or the Prophets.

I’m not here to demolish but to complete.

I am going to put it all together, pull it all together in a vast panorama.

God’s Law is more real and lasting than the stars in the sky and the ground at your feet.

Long after stars burn out and earth wears out, God’s Law will be alive and working.

 “Trivialize even the smallest item in God’s Law and you will only have trivialized yourself.

But take it seriously, show the way for others, and you will find honor in the kingdom.

Unless you do far better than the Pharisees in the matters of right living, you won’t know the first thing about entering the kingdom.”

(Matthew 5:17-20)

 Jesus said,

“I tell you most solemnly that anyone who chooses a life of sin is trapped in a dead-end life and is, in fact, a slave.
A slave is a transient, who can’t come and go at will.
 
The Son, though, has an established position, the run of the house.
 
So if the Son sets you free, you are free through and through.
 
I know you are Abraham’s descendants.
 
But I also know that you are trying to kill Me because My message hasn’t yet penetrated your thick skulls.
 
I’m talking about things I have seen while keeping company with the Father,
and you just go on doing what you have heard from your father.”  (John 8:34-38)
 

A Son Sees With the Eyes of Faith

 
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 Because of this decision we don’t evaluate people by what they have or how they look.

We looked at the Messiah that way once and got it all wrong, as you know.

We certainly don’t look at Him that way anymore.

Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new.

The old life is gone; a new life burgeons!

Look at it!

All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and Him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. God put the world square with Himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. God has given us the task of telling everyone what He is doing. We’re Christ’s representatives.

God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences

and enter into God’s work of making things right between them.

We’re speaking for Christ Himself now: Become friends with God; He’s already a friend with you

(2 Corinthians 5:16-20)

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Faith Translates Us To Being a God-Pleaser!

 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.

(Revelation 12:7-12)

Keep on trusting even until death 

All these people kept on trusting until they died, without receiving what had been promised.

They had only seen it and welcomed it from a distance,

while acknowledging that they were aliens and temporary residents on the earth. 

For people who speak this way make it clear that they are looking for a fatherland. 

Now if they were to keep recalling the one they left, they would have an opportunity to return; 

but as it is, they aspire to a better fatherland, a heavenly one.

This is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared for them a city.  (Hebrews 11:13-16)

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To Philadelphia

 Write this to Philadelphia, to the Angel of the church. The Holy, the True—David’s key in his hand, opening doors no one can lock, locking doors no one can open—speaks:

 “I see what you’ve done. Now see what I’ve done. I’ve opened a door before you that no one can slam shut. You don’t have much strength, I know that; you used what you had to keep my Word. You didn’t deny me when times were rough.

 “And watch as I take those who call themselves true believers but are nothing of the kind, pretenders whose true membership is in the club of Satan—watch as I strip off their pretensions and they’re forced to acknowledge it’s you that I’ve loved.

 “Because you kept my Word in passionate patience, I’ll keep you safe in the time of testing that will be here soon, and all over the earth, every man, woman, and child put to the test.

 “I’m on my way; I’ll be there soon. Keep a tight grip on what you have so no one distracts you and steals your crown.

 “I’ll make each conqueror a pillar in the sanctuary of my God, a permanent position of honor. Then I’ll write names on you, the pillars: the Name of my God, the Name of God’s City—the new Jerusalem coming down out of Heaven—and my new Name.

 “Are your ears awake? Listen. Listen to the Wind Words, the Spirit blowing through the churches.”

(Revelation 3:7 -13)

Judgment and HopeThis is what the LORD says:

“Heaven is My throne, and the earth is My footstool. Where is the house you will build for Me?”

  What man-made space could provide Me a resting place?
Everything is the product of My hand—My being and My doing—
        that’s how all you see came to be; I made it all.
    Nevertheless, I am interested in and concerned about even just one person
        who is humble and downhearted and trembles at My Word.

(Isaiah 66:1-2)

If we could see things as they truly are, we’d see the universe as one giant temple founded and perfected by God’s hand.

But even the universe with its staggering dimensions—dimensions that stretch the imagination—cannot contain its Maker.

God is greater still.

So how could some house made for Him on earth ever be grand enough, glorious enough, great enough?

It could not; but with all His greatness and power, God still has His eye on us.

What does God want from us if not the best building we can build,

and also the most and best sacrifices and rituals that we can possibly perform?

Simply put, God is looking for people who are humble, broken, and ready to follow what He says. 

Jesus is the All-Sufficient Sacrifice So Freely Given–Christ is the Altar and the Sacrifice that Forever Alters IF we Accept!

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The Wilderness is My Classroom

Look at My Son, study how He did it.  He gave it all for you to be with Me and He gave you His Promised Holy Spirit

as a Seal of My Endorsement, ensuring that I will never leave or forsake you.  The Spirit is given to lead and guide

you into all Truth every step of the Way back Home to me in His Love.  This is my Word to you.  Do not merely listen

to the Word and fail to do it–but do as He says and it will be well with you.  Your obedience is living worship, a

sweet-smelling fragrant offering that is well-pleasing in My sight. 

God desires to bring people like these close and make them safe, but He cannot if they refuse.

His loving purpose is for them to live well, to be well, but He cannot make it so if they choose badly and do what He hates.

So, if you are one who trembles at His word,listen closely to what the Eternal One has to say:

Eternal One: I know that some people, even your own family,
        reject you because you accept Me,
    And they’re saying, “Let the Eternal receive the honor He deserves,
        so that we, too, can know your joy.” But they’ll only know sorrow and shame.
Can you hear it? There’s a commotion in the city,
        great rumbling coming from the temple area!
    Ah, it is the Eternal thundering in to take on His foes.

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Have you ever heard of a woman who gave birth before she went into labor?
        Have you ever seen a woman who delivered a son without feeling a thing?
    Do you think it’s possible for the land to go through labor in an instant,
        or to bear a nation, to be new and strong, in a single day?
    Nevertheless, Zion suffered only a moment
        before she gave birth to her children!
Will I open the womb and not deliver?
        I have made this place labor in terrible pain,
    But do you think I won’t help it give birth?
        That is what I, the Eternal One have to say.

The prophet reflects on the mystery of birth.

Jerusalem, the mother, is about to give birth to a new nation.

God, the midwife, is there to make sure the birth goes well.

Throughout Isaiah’s prophecy it is clear that God has initiated all the things that have happened to Israel and Judah.

The destruction of Jerusalem and her glorious temple,

the decades of exile in a foreign land, and now the return and restoration of Jerusalem are God’s work, pure and simple.

Now all of these events and judgments point to a single moment when Jerusalem will resume its place as God’s chosen city and will open its gates to believing pilgrims. The prophet asks: will God prevent this new birth from happening?

After having brought His people this far, it is unthinkable that God would turn back now.

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Eternal One: So be happy for Jerusalem;
        give her hearty congratulations, whoever holds her dear.
    Take part in this joyous celebration, especially if you remember her grief.
For you are her children, and she is giving you the milk of comfort and peace.
        Drink at her comforting breasts with satisfaction that all will be well.
I will rain down prosperity on Jerusalem, peace abundant on Zion,
        and flood her with wealth from all over the world.
    Like a thundering river, the riches will come down.
        Like a toddler, you’ll be held, carried, nourished, and comforted.
As a mother soothes her child, so I will comfort you.
        And Jerusalem will be so nice, feel so good and safe to you.
When you see what I have in store, it will ease your mind and lift your heart;
        you will flourish like the grass!

Now is the time for Jerusalem to rejoice.

Mourning the fate of Israel and Judah has been a Jewish preoccupation for a long time.

Ever since Assyria came down and took the northern territory captive, the people have been grief-stricken.

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But now that God has announced the Good News,

Mourning is no longer appropriate; it indicates a lack of faith in His plans.

After enduring so many years of grief and desolation,

can God’s covenant people now turn and trust Him to deliver this baby overnight?

Trust and joy belong together.

Zion is like a fertile young woman; she will have all the children that God wills and she desires.

Be happy, the prophet says, and let the celebrations begin.

The Eternal’s power will be clearly evident to His servants;
    but His rage will be unleashed against His enemies.

Look now, the Eternal is coming with a vengeance
    that scorches all His foes with flames of fire;
Whooshing like a whirlwind, His chariots rush with punishing fury.
God comes with fiery anger and flashing sword.
    The Eternal One will execute His judgment,
And many people will die on that day.

Eternal One: Those who perform sanctifying and purifying rituals to serve false gods in gardens, and then proceed to do whatever they see the leader do—eating impure things such as pigs, snakes, and rats—won’t live to do it again.

This is My word to you.

Because I know what and why they do what they do,

The time is coming when I will bring people together from all over the world.

Everyone will come here and have a chance to see and know who I am, in all My weighty significance and splendor. 

I will put a sign among them and send the survivors of My people to Tarshish, Put, and Lud (where those great archers live), from Tubal east of Lud, and Javan, which is near it.

I’ll bring them here from places so far away that they’ve never heard My name, much less had a chance to see My glory.

But they’ll hear about Me, far and wide among the nations. 

And they will bring the surviving members of your family back as if they are a grain offering from all the nations.

They’ll come by every conceivable means—on horse, camel, donkey, or mule, in wagons or litters—they’ll come to Jerusalem,

My holy mountain.

They will be delivered just as the Israelites bring their grain offerings to Me in a clean container at the temple. 

And out of those who return, I will make priests and Levites.

This is My word to you.

 Because just as the new heavens and the new earth that I am making
        will go on by My enduring will,
    So your name and the people
        who come from you will go on as well.
 From one month to the next, on Sabbath after Sabbath,
        everyone, every living thing, will come to this holy place
    To honor Me as God of all.
        This is My word to you.
They’ll visit the site where the people who rejected Me lie rotting on the ground,
        crawling with worms that never die on a fire that just keeps smoldering.
    All who see it will recoil at the horrible sight.

(Isaiah 66:3-24)

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 “For when I give the order,
I will shake the house of Isra’el,
there among all the Goyim,
as one shakes with a sieve,
letting no grain fall to the ground.
 All the sinners among my people
who say, ‘Disaster will never overtake us
or confront us,’ will die by the sword.

 “When that day comes, I will raise up
the fallen sukkah of David.
I will close up its gaps, raise up its ruins
and rebuild it as it used to be,

(Amos 9:9-11)

And He will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; His kingdom will never end.  (Luke 1:33)

Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary

9:1-10 The prophet, in vision, saw the Lord standing upon the idolatrous altar at Bethel. Wherever sinners flee from God’s justice, it will overtake them. Those whom God brings to heaven by his grace, shall never be cast down; but those who seek to climb thither by vain confidence in themselves, will be cast down and filled with shame. That which makes escape impossible and ruin sure, is, that God will set his eyes upon them for evil, not for good. Wretched must those be on whom the Lord looks for evil, and not for good. The Lord would scatter the Jews, and visit them with calamities, as the corn is shaken in a sieve; but he would save some from among them. The astonishing preservation of the Jews as a distinct people, seems here foretold. If professors make themselves like the world, God will level them with the world. The sinners who thus flatter themselves, shall find that their profession will not protect them.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 9.For, lo! He explains how and why the whole nation is not destroyed. I will sift. Israel is to be dispersed among the nations, tried and winnowed among them by affliction and persecution, that the evil may fall to the ground and perish, and the good be preserved. The word rendered “sift” implies “to shake to and fro;” and this shaking shall show who are the true Israelites and who are the false, who retain their faith and cleave to the Lord under all difficulties, and who lose their hold of true religion and assimilate themselves to the heathen among whom they dwell. These last shall not return from captivity. The least grain; Hebrew, tseror, “pebble;” so the Vulgate, lapillus; Septuagint, σύντριμμα,” fragment.” It is used in 2 Samuel 17:13 of small stones in a building; here as hard grain in distinction from loose chaff (Keil). The solid grain, the good wheat, are the righteous, who, when the chaff and dust are cast away, are stored in the heavenly garner, prove themselves of the election, and inherit the promises (comp. Isaiah 6:13; Ezekiel 20:38; Matthew 3:12). Fall upon the earth; i.e. perish, be lost (1 Samuel 26:20).

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