Encouragement & Knowledge From The Word Of God!
As you hold your bible in your hands, you hold “the things revealed.” You possess all the information you can handle, right in front of you, from the omniscient mind of God. But He has so much more, so much we do not know, secret things known only to the Creator of the universe.
Secrets make us uncomfortable. Especially if we’re not in on them. It could be enough to drive a person crazy unless the secret keeper is someone we trust. Yes, God is keeping secrets, but we can find great comfort in at least three assurances.
1)The secret things of God cannot be contrary to His character. His secrets are just like He is: merciful, loving, just, righteous, wonderful, and good. In His fairness, God made His requirements and judgments known; therefore, the secret things are glorious things. We need not fear His unknowns. God does not have a dark side for “God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). Can you think of a time when you thought God was unjust? How has the passage of time changed your perspective?
2)The secret things are too much for us. If He withholds information from us, it is because we cannot comprehend the information in our present form. Christ knew all things that were to come upon Him; He knew the secret things. Yes, He could see the suffering in advance, but He also could envision the ultimate glory. So “for the joy set before Him,” He endured (Hebrews 12:2). Knowing our plans in advance would be too much for us. Our human vision is so desperately nearsighted; we would never be able to see the glory for the pain. Have you been through an experience you thought you could never endure? Can you think of any reasons why God chose not to show you in advance what you were about to experience?
3)The secret things are a surprise. One day we will “know fully” even as we are “fully known” (1 Corinthians 13:12). We have the ultimate surprise coming, and God isn’t about to give it away. Until then He grants an occasional hint—like the sight of a majestic mountain that suggests, “If this is earth, what indeed must heaven be like?” We don’t need to feel spiritually immature because of how little we understand. We can be encouraged by knowing that anything beyond us falls in the category of glorious and wonderful. Until God shares His secrets, we hold enough in our hand to keep us challenged—we hold God’s Word.
PRAYER: Father God, we thank You, that You are the Keeper of all knowledge—the Omniscient One. Your Word tells us that Your thoughts are nothing like our thoughts and Your ways are far beyond anything we could imagine. We are grateful that You are in control of all that happens in our lives. We surrender our lives to You, Father remembering Your Word declares, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him.” Thank You for letting us sense Your presence in our lives daily. In Jesus’ name, we pray, thank you, love you and bless you, Amen.
JESUS' COMPASSION OVERRULES A PRAYER REQUEST
In our quest to become effective prayer warriors, we need to know God’s heart. As we become more aware of His priorities and objectives, we begin to understand a little more how He thinks; therefore, we are better equipped to pray in His will.
At first glance, the mother of James and John seemed to have unmitigated gall in her request. In reality she came to Christ in humility. She knelt before Him and made a request. This was not a disrespectful woman; she was a dedicated mother who wanted only the best for her sons. In her faith she believed that Christ’s kingdom was imminent, and she wanted her sons on each side of His throne.
Christ responded, “You don’t know what you are asking.” (If He granted her request, one of her boys was going to be sitting God’s lap—since Christ sits to the Father’s right.) ONE OF THE MOST COMPASSIONATE ACTIONS JESUS EVER TAKES IS TO OVERRULE A PRAYER REQUEST WHEN WE DON’T KNOW WHAT WE’RE ASKING. Christ knew a guarantee of grandeur would do nothing positive for James or John, but a life of selfless servanthood would guarantee them grandeur in the kingdom.
We want great things for those we love. We want only the best for them, but sometimes don’t realize that what we’re asking may not be best. We want them to “arrive” in life. Christ wants them on the way.
God often convicts me about things I request for my loved ones. Through my journal He pointed out my many requests for my daughters to avoid trials. Invariably my next prayer would be, “Make them mighty women of God.” I could almost hear Him saying, “Beth, make up your mind.” His words from 1 Peter 1:7 pierced my heart: Trails “come so that your faith…may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” More than anything I want my girls’ lives to prove genuine and to honor God. I’m learning now to pray that He simply be as gentle as possible as He continues working His glory in them.
I asked God to let my mother avoid all suffering in her struggle with cancer. Then His words struck me to the core: “I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown” (Rev. 3:11). I realized that I may have been inadvertently interfering with her crowns. God may have been preparing the “crown of life” for her, given to those who remain faithful through suffering (James 1:12).
I prayed for God to raise up a husband for a friend. Then I watched her develop a relationship with God and a personal ministry that required single-minded devotion.
NO, WE DON’T ALWAYS KNOW WHAT WE’RE ASKING. WE MUST CONTINUE TO LEARN WHAT GOD VALUES. THEN AS WE PRAY, ALLOW THE GREAT HIGH PRIEST TO OVERRULE WHEN OUR REQUEST FOR THOSE WE LOVE WOULD CHEAT THEM OF GOD’S BEST. *from "Whispers of Hope" by Beth Moore
Bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart"
If you have trouble being in God’s Word every day, here are just a few of the many reasons to read the Bible that should inspire you:
2) To have wisdom…….knowledge of God’s Word is where wisdom begins to grow in you.
3) To find success…….when you live according to the teachings of the Bible, life works.
4) To live in purity…….you must live a life of holiness and purity in order to enjoy more of the Lord’s presence, but you can’t be made pure without being cleansed through God’s Word.
5) To obey God…….if you don’t understand what God’s laws are, how can you obey them?
6) To have joy…….you cannot be free of anxiety and unrest without the Word of God in your heart.
7) To grow in faith…….you can’t grow in faith without reading and hearing the Word of God.
8) To find deliverance…….you won’t know what you need to be free of unless you study God’s Word to find out.
9) To have peace…….God will give you a peace that the world can’t give, but you must find it first in His Word.
10) To distinguish good from evil…….everything has become so relative today, how can you k now for sure what is right and wrong without God’s Word?
1) Accept your limitations.
One reason we often feel like a wimp is because we are painfully aware of our own limits. How can we be brave in this situation when we clearly can’t do this or that? Our limitations keep us from getting too far off course and sets us free to move into our calling with confidence. We have limited time, resources, and energy. We don’t have a limited God. God submitted himself to the greatest possible limitation when he came down to earth; harnessing the power of the Almighty Creator within the delicate confines of two lungs and capillaries and a digestive system! Don’t despise your limitations. Learn to work within them. Let them be guard rails for the way you spend your time and your energy.
Our personal processing time is a limitation, one we have to be honest about. But this can also be a strength. Knowing we need a long time to process means being intentional about getting that time. It forces us to slow down, to consider, to spend time thinking and praying about things. It keeps us dependent on Jesus.
2) Embrace your giftedness.
God gave the world the gift of Jesus, but He did it through a person.
Mary didn’t seem to feel embarrassed or ashamed about this gift, didn’t feel the need to explain herself or manufacture some kind of humility. Receiving the gift given to her by God was the most humble thing she could do. Accepting God’s favor of her was worship.
She didn’t hide out and question his call over her life. Her soul magnified the Lord and her spirit rejoiced. Then she went to Elizabeth’s house to share the news.
Let’s do as Mary did: Receive the gift from the hand of God; Worship; Share the gift with others.
Mary’s willingness to cooperate with God was a choice that ushered life into the world for the rest of us. Jesus was literally within Mary and came out into the world. And the Spirit of Jesus now lives in you.
It’s true, we have limits. But it is also true that we have abilities. They aren’t from us, but they have our fingerprints. And now Jesus wants to touch the world through the filter of our personality, our desire, our passions, and our ideas.
Stop waiting for perfect motives and a feeling of adequacy. Move anyway. Offer the gift anyway. Be who you are anyway.
3) Give yourself permission to stay in your corner of the pool.
Brave doesn’t necessarily mean big. Sometimes it means small and specific (this day, this child, this sickness, this meal). It also means trusting other people with their tasks, with their corner of the pool.
Are you waiting to feel ready? If so, you might be waiting for a long time. Sometimes there is no ready. There is only belief.
GOD CREATED ALL, DID HE CREATE EVIL?
Did God create everything that exists? Does evil exist? Dis God create evil? A University professor at a well-known institution of higher learning challenged his students with this question. “Did God create everything that exists?” A student bravely replied, “Yes He did!” “God created everything?” The professor asked. “Yes sir, He certainly did.” the student replied. The professor answered, “If God created everything; then God created evil. And, since evil exists, and according to the principal that our works define who we are, than we can assume God is evil.” The student became quiet and did not answer the professor’s hypothetical definition. The professor, quite pleased with himself, boasted to the students that he had proven once more that the Christian faith was a myth. Another student raised has hand and said, “May I ask you a question, professor?” “Of course,” replied the professor. The student stood up and asked, “Professor, does cold exist?” “What kind of question is this? Of course it exists. Have you never been cold?” The students snickered at the young man’s question. The young man replied, “In fact sir, cold does not exist. According to the laws of physics, what we consider cold is in reality the absence of heat. Every body or object is susceptible to study when it has or transmits energy, and heat is what makes a body or matter have or transmit energy. Absolute zero (-460 F) is the total absence of heat; and all matter becomes inert and incapable of reaction at that temperature. Cold does not exist. We have created this word to describe how we feel if we have not heat.” The student continued, “Professor, does darkness exist?” The professor responded, “Of course it does.” The student replied, “Once again you are wrong sir, darkness does not exist either. Darkness is in reality the absence of light. Light we can study, but not darkness. In fact, we can use Newton’s prism to break white light into many colors and study the various wavelengths of each color. You cannot measure darkness. A simple ray of light can break into a world of darkness and illuminate it. How can you know how dark a certain space is? You measure the amount of light present. Isn’t this correct? Darkness is a term used by man to describe what happens when there is no light present.” Finally the young man asked the professor, “Sir, does evil exit?” Now uncertain, the professor responded, “Of course, as I have already said. We see it every day. It is in the daily examples of man’s inhumanity to man. It is in the multitude of crime and violence everywhere in the world. These manifestations are nothing else but evil. To this the student replied, “Evil does not exist, sir, or at least it does not exist unto itself. Evil is simply the absence of God. It is just like darkness and cold, a word that man has created to describe the absence of God. God did not create evil. Evil is the result of what happens when man does not have God’s love present in his heart. It’s like the cold that comes when there is no heat, or the darkness that comes when there is not light.” The professor sat down.
THE YOUNG MAN’S NAME—ALBERT EINSTEIN
God's Agenda For ALL Christians:
Share the heart of God with the heart of another.
Bring edification and encouragement.
Help strengthen fellowship.
Help give someone an eternal hope.
Give someone a blessing.
Help change someone's life.
Show God cares.
Express thanks to God.
The first is spoken prayer with a prepared text, such as the Lord's Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13)…
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the
and other special prayers. It is useful to say these vocal prayers as sincere as possible. Never say them carelessly or grudgingly. Such prayers can lift you up to God.
The second kind of prayer is spoken, but without prepared text. This is when a man or a woman feels sincere and speaks to God as though they were standing together. The words match an inward stirring and reflect the various concerns of the moment. This kind of prayer pleases God. Because it comes from the heart, it never goes away without some of God’s grace.
The third type of prayer is only in the heart. It is silent and brings with it great rest of body and soul. Some can pray in the heart continually, glorifying and praising God. *courtesy of “A Daybook of Prayer”
Matt. 12:22-32 says, "Then there was brought to Him a demon-possessed man who was blind and dumb, and He healed him, so that the dumb man spoke and saw. 23And all the multitudes were amazed, and began to say, "This man cannot be the Son of David, can he?" 24But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, "This man casts out demons only by Beelzebub the ruler of the demons." 25And knowing their thoughts He said to them, "Any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste; and any city or house divided against itself shall not stand. 26"And if Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself; how then shall his kingdom stand? 27"And if I by Beelzebub cast out demons, by whom do your sons cast them out? Consequently they shall be your judges. 28"But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. 29"Or how can anyone enter the strong man's house and carry off his property, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house. 30"He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me scatters. 31"Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven men, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven. 32"And whoever shall speak a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever shall speak against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age, or in the age to come,"
In verse 22, Jesus healed a blind and dumb man. The Pharisees accuse Jesus of casting out demons by the power of "Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons" (v. 24). Jesus responds by saying that a kingdom divided will fall (vs. 25-28), and how the devil must first be bound before you can plunder his house (v. 29). In verses 31-32, He states that blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven in this age or the age to come.
By simply looking at the context it becomes apparent that blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is saying that Jesus did His miracles by the power of the devil. This is unforgivable. But why? We can find a clue by looking at the point when Jesus began His ministry.
Jesus stated that His baptism was to "fulfill all righteousness," (Matt. 3:15). The word "fulfill" should cause us to think of the Old Testament. Basically, Jesus was baptized because He had to fulfill the Old Testament requirements for entering into the priesthood. He was a priest after the order of Melchizedek (Psalm 110:4; Heb. 5:8-10; 6:20). Priests offered sacrifice to God on behalf of the people. Jesus became a sacrifice for our sin (1 Pet. 2:21; 2 Cor. 5:21) in His role as priest. According to the Old Testament, in order for a priest to be consecrated he had to be washed with water (Lev. 8:6; Exodus 29:4, Matt. 3:13-15) and anointed with oil (Lev. 8:12; Exodus 29:7; Matt. 3:16). Both of these were bestowed upon Jesus at His baptism. Additionally, He may have needed to be 30 years old (Num. 4:3).
The oil is representative of the Holy Spirit who descended upon Jesus at His baptism (Matt. 3:16). It was after His baptism that He began His ministry and started performing miracles. He did His miracles by the power of the Holy Spirit who had come upon Him at His baptism. The Pharisees - who knew that Jesus' miracles validated His words and ministry (see John 11:45-48) - were attempting to discredit Jesus' Messiahship by saying His works were by the devil and not by the Holy Spirit. Therefore, when the Pharisees accused Jesus of casting out demons by the power of Satan, they were blaspheming the Holy Spirit by whom Jesus performed His miracles. This is unforgivable because it struck at the very heart of the redemptive work of God in Christ. It struck at the very nature of Jesus' ministry of redemption, testimony, and teaching. Jesus was ministering in the power of the Holy Spirit Himself, fulfilling the divine plan of God to provide a sacrifice for our sins (John 3:16; 1 John 4:10). The Pharisees were attributing this to demonic activity. This is a great blasphemy.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,
neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth,
nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from
the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans8:37-39)
What Saves the Believer?
Some denominations and some Christians believe that once you are saved it is possible to lose their salvation. But what is salvation in the first place? We can believe what the Bible says above what people or churches say. Review some of the scriptures that talk about salvation:
John 3:16... "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and Only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish bur have eternal life."
Acts 16:30-31... "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" They replied, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved-- you and your household."
Acts 4:13... "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved."
John 3:18... "Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son."
The factor in our salvation is that we must believe that Jesus Christ is Who He says He is and is not tied in any way to what the believer does. We do not initiate our salvation nor do we do anything to achieve it. No one seeks after God (Romans 3:11) but it is God who seeks after us and calls us (Galatians 1:15-16). We are in no position to save ourselves. It is not about lettings Jesus "come into our hearts" or thinking that "God has a wonderful plan for your life" but it is about believing in Jesus Christ. Whoever believes in Him walks in faith and accepts Him in faith. You are saved only by the grace of God. (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Jesus Plus Works Equals Nothing:
If anyone believes that their works can save them remember that God calls even the best of good works filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). No one is saved by works...we are saved for works. God would not give us the gift of grace (Ephesians 2:8) only to take is again.
God Saves Completely:
John 6:37 and John 10:28-29 both testify that once God calls you and saves you, He will not ever cast you away or you can never be snatched from Jesus' hand or the Father's hand. Philippians 1:6 says, "being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." 1 Corinthians 1:8 states, "He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ." God does not call the qualified but He qualifies the called. Holiness is not the way to Jesus; Jesus is the way to holiness. Your own salvation is not all of your responsibility; it is your response to His ability.
First: "Those who were once enlightened" refers to a saved person or one who has seen "the light" of the Lord Jesus Christ. Enlightened is translated "illuminated" in Hebrews 10:32 and speaks of a saved individual.
Second: "tasted of the heavenly gift" refers to salvation. Romans 6:23 says, "the gift of God is eternal life." Ephesians 2:8 says that salvation "is the gift of God." The word "tasted" is used in Hebrews 2:9 saying Christ "tasted death for every man." We tasted of the heavenly gift in the same way Christ tasted death---fully and completely.
Third: "we're made partakers of the Holy Spirit" The bible teaches in Romans 8:9, "now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His." If you don't have the Holy Spirit you are not saved. The moment a person believes in Christ as Savior he/she partakes of the Holy Spirit. If you do not have the Holy Spirit, you are unsaved.
Fourth: "tasted the good Word of God" The bible tells us in 1 Corinthians 2:14, " But the natural man(unsaved) does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. " Only the saved man can taste the Word of God.
Fifth: "the powers of the world to come" Only a born-again (saved) man has experienced the power of God. Romans 1:16 says, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes." Only a saved person has experienced the power of God.
"if they shall fall away" is not referring to salvation but to the "Christian life!" Hebrews 6:1 refers to the things that accompany salvation and about maturity in the Christian life. Hebrews 6:6 is stating to Hebrew (Jewish) believers who were used to a yearly sacrifice that it was impossible for them to be saved again because "by ONE offering He has perfected forever them that are sanctified (the believers in Christ) Romans 10:14. Hebrews 6:1 tells us that we cannot "lay again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God." If a believer falls away
from serving the Lord, the procedure is not to become saved again. That is impossible. If you try to become saved again all you do is crucify Jesus Christ afresh to yourself, thereby shaming Jesus Christ.
The Bible does not teach that one must be born again and again. You can only be born-again once, never to be cast out (John 6:37) or lost (John 6:39). Salvation is complete and final (John 5:24). The solution for a believer fallen away from service to the Lord is to start serving again. Hebrews 6:10 says, "God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labor of love." God will reward faithful service to Him (1 Corinthians 15:58).
God wants us to grow in knowledge of Him, to serve Him and to mature. Lack in these areas does not mean we have lost our salvation. That is why it is impossible to get saved again (Hebrews 6:6), because it is impossible to lose salvation (Hebrews 13:5). To try to become saved again (impossible) shames Jesus Christ who has saved us forever (John 6:47); Hebrews 9:12; 10:10. To serve Him again brings glory and honor to Him (John 12:24), and His blessing and reward is upon us (1 Corinthians 15:58).
Going Directly To God
"So Moses went back and summoned the elders of the
people and set before them all the words the Lord
had commanded him to speak" (Exodus 19:7)
An intermediary is someone who acts as an agent between two different parties: a go-between, a mediator. As this passage reveals, mediation in the form of intercession was clearly a big part of Moses' role as leader of the nation of Israel. God specifically told him what to say to the people of Israel, and in turn, Moses brought their answer back to the Lord.
Throughout history, various religions have taught that people can only approach God through the intervention of a human mediator. This was also true for the Jewish people during the times recorded in the Old Testament. The people could not approach God directly. Prophets such as Elijah and Elisha arose to speak for the Lord. Kings wouldn't go off to war without consulting a prophet, who also functioned as a mediator or intercessor. This veil between God and humanity was symbolized by the thick, heavy curtain that hung in the Most Holy Place in the tabernacle and later in the temple---a barrier between a holy God and sinful human beings that only priests especially anointed for the task could pass through.
With the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, however, all that changed.. At the moment of Christ's death, the curtain in the temple was torn in two (Mark 15:38), representing the dramatic reality that there was no longer any obstruction between God and mankind. When we fully grasp this truth, it will change our lives. We do not need the presence of a human intermediary to take our prayers and concerns to our heavenly Father. Instead, the book of Hebrews tells us that we can "approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need" (Hebrews 4:16).
Jesus is our great High Priest---the only mediator we will ever need. "For there is one God and on mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all mankind."
(1 Timothy 2:5-6).
Nothing is wrong with asking other to pray for and with you, but don't hesitate to take the concerns of your heart directly to God. He is waiting!
*from book "Praying Through the Bible" by Stormie O'Martian
We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son,
who came from the Father, full of grace and truth."
that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life."
Jesus rose from the grave on the third day:
1 Corinthians 15:4..."that He was buried, that He was
raised on the third day according to the Scriptures."
The Holy Spirit is within us:
2 Timothy 1:14..."through the power of the Holy Spirit who lives within us,
guard the precious truth that has been entrusted to you."
Believers will be in heaven with Jesus:
John 14:1-4..."Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.
May Father's house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you
that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place
for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.
You know they way to the place where I am going."
The Lord's Prayer Tells Us About:
Our Father..................................................................................................................................Reveals who God is.
which art in heaven,........................................................................................................Tells us where God dwells.
hallowed be Thy name................................................................................Shows us how God is to be approached.
Thy kingdom come.....................................................................................................Explains what God is building.
They will be done....................................................................................Informs us what God wants accomplished.
on earth as it is in he...................................................................................Unveils how God's will is to be enacted.
Give us this day...............................................................................Reveals that we should ask only for the present.
our daily bread........................................................................................Tells us we should first ask for basic things.
Forgive us our trespasses...........................................................Shows that we make mistakes and need forgiveness.
as we forgive those who trespass against us,.............Explains that others make mistakes and need forgiveness, too.
And lead us not into temptation,...............................................................Informs us that our desires can deceive us.
but deliver us from evil............................................................................................Unveils that God will retrieve us.
For Thine is the kingdom,...........................................................................Reveals that the universe belongs to God.
and the power,................................................................................Tells us that God has sufficient energy to help us.
and the glory............................................................................................................Explains our joy in serving Him.
forever, Amen....................................................................Shows that God's kingdom is the only thing that will last.
"The words of a gossip are like choice morsels;
they go down to a man's inmost parts."
Most of us readily agree that gossip is wrong, yet we love it. We crave it. We nearly fall out of our chairs leaning to hear it. We know God wants us to avoid gossip, but it pulls us like wild horses pull a wagon. What drives up to gossip? Let's identify some of these wild horses.
*Boredom...Nothing appeals to the senses like a soap opera. Our personal lives are often in a rut. We need a little excitement and someone else's life temporarily delivers.
*Curiosity...God created us to be curious so we would seek knowledge and grow. Listening to gossip is a counterfeit of the God-given desire for knowledge.
*Jealousy...We especially enjoy gossip if it concerns someone we envy. When we allow the flesh to control us, we are more likely to enjoy hearing that someone we envy looks worse than we do. The news may even make us feel better about ourselves.
*Companionship...Misery loves company. "Well, at least I'm not the only one whose family is in a mess!"
*Importance...We sometimes enjoy being considered a person in the know. We may attempt to impress others with how much we know.
*Misdirected "concern"...Sometimes we share confidential information in the name of "concern." We all have experienced, perhaps even participated in, situations where gossip was dressed up with a hat and gloves and called a "prayer request."
Review the list and determine what fuels your gossip. Stop right now and ask God to forgive you for the times you've gossiped and to keep you alert to possible gossip traps. We've all been guilty of gossip, but what do we do about our wild tongues? We can let God tame them.
*Boredom can be remolded into a passion for Christ.
*Curiosity can drive us to know Christ.
*Transformed jealousy can fuel a passion "for" others' highest good.
*Our quest for miserable companionship can become our expression for mercy.
*Craving importance can push us to learn our true identity in Christ.
*Misdirected "concern" can become compassion tempered with discretion.
Does it sound too idealistic to try? Don't believe the enemy's lies! Ask God which of these are driving you to gossip and allow Him to tame them. The next time you are tempted to repeat something you've heard to an eager listener, share a blessing from God instead!
*from "Whispers of Hope" by Beth Moore
Christian Twelve Days Of Christmas!
On the 1st day of Christmas my true love sent to me...
A Partridge in a Pear Tree
The partridge in a pear tree is Jesus Christ, the Son of God. In the song, Christ is symbolically
presented as a mother partridge that feigns injury to decoy predators from her helpless nestlings,
much in memory of the expression of Christ's sadness over the fate of Jerusalem: "Jerusalem!
Jerusalem! How often would I have sheltered you under my wings, as a hen does her chicks, but
you would not have it so..." (Luke 13:34)
On the 2nd day of Christmas my true love sent to me...
Two Turtle Doves
The Old and New Testaments, which together bear witness to God's self-revelation in history and
the creation of a people to tell the Story of God to the world.
On the 3rd day of Christmas my true love sent to me...
Three French Hens
The Three Theological Virtues: Faith...Hope...Love
(1 Corinthians 13:13)
On the 4th day of Christmas my true love sent to me...
Four Calling Birds
The Four Gospels: Matthew...Mark...Luke...John, which proclaim the Good News of
God's reconciliation of the world to Himself in Jesus Christ.
On the 5th day of Christmas my true love sent to me...
Five Gold Rings
The first Five Books of the Old Testament, known as the Pentateuch: Genesis...Exodus...
Leviticus...Numbers...Deuteronomy, which gives the history of humanity's sinful failure
and God's response of grace in the creation of a people to be a light to the world.
On the 6th day of Christmas my true love sent to me...
Six Geese A-laying
The six day of creation that confesses God as Creator and Sustainer of the world. (Genesis 1)
On the 7th day of Christmas my true love sent to me...
Seven Swans A-swimming
The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit: wisdom...understanding...counsel...knowledge...
fortitude...piety...fear of the Lord (wonder & awe). (1 Corinthians 12:8-11)
On the 8th day of Christmas my true love sent to me...
Eight Maids A-milking
The eight Beatitudes: Blessed are---the poor in spirit...those who mourn...the meek...those
who hunger and thirst for righteousness...the merciful...the pure in heart...the peacemakers...
those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake. (Matthew 5:3:10)
On the 9th day of Christmas my true love sent to me...
Nine Ladies Dancing
The nine Fruit of the Holy Spirit: love...joy...peace...patience...kindness...generosity...
faithfulness...gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22)
On the 10th day of Christmas my true love sent to me...
Ten Lords A-leaping
The ten commandments: 1) You shall not have no other gods before me; 2) Do not make an idol;
3) Do not take God's name in vain; 4) Remember the Sabbath Day; 5) Honor your father and mother;
6) Do not murder; 7) Do not commit adultery; 8) Do not steal; 9) Do not bear false witness;
10) Do not covet. (Exodus 20:1-17)
On the 11th day of Christmas my true love sent to me...
Eleven Pipers Piping
The eleven Faithful Apostles: Simon Peter...Andrew...James...John...Philip...Bartholomew...Matthew...
Thomas...James bar Alphacus...Simon the Zealot...Judas bar James. (Luke 6:14-16)
This list does not include the twelfth disciple, Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus to the Romans.
On the 12th day of Christmas my true love sent to me...
Twelve Drummers Drumming
The Twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle's Creed: 1) I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
creator of heaven and earth. 2) I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord. 3) He was
conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. 4) He suffered under
Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell (the grave).
5) On the third day He rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand
of the Father. 6) He will come again to judge the living and the dead. 7) I believe in the Holy Spirit,
8) the holy Church, 9) the fellowship of saints, 10) the forgiveness of sins, 11) the resurrection
of the body, 12) and life everlasting.
2) What? You can be tempted by anything: sex, money, power or desire. The enemy will tempt yo in the way you are most vulnerable. Whatever you flesh lusts after, as God to give you the strength to resist it. Guard your vulnerable areas with prayer.
3) When? Temptation can happen anytime and often when you least expect it and are most vulnerable. The danger is in thinking you can handle it alone. Take it to God and confess it immediately and find a trustworthy friend to pray with you about it.
4) Where? Temptation can happen anywhere: in church, at work, at home, on a bus or plane. It will happen when you least expect it. Wherever it is, separate yourself from the temptation and ask God to kill that lust in you.
5) Why? The reason the enemy tempts you is because he knows of the great things God wants to do in your life, and he thinks you are dumb enough to give it all up for a few moments of pleasure. He knows that not only do you stand to lose from it, but other people will be hurt by your sin as well.
6) How? You have to remember that no matter how you re being tempted, it is a set-up by the enemy intended to bring you down. He will find your weakness, need, or insecurity and tempt you with whatever you are most easily tempted.
***The best time to pray about temptation is before you fall into it. After the lure presents itself, resisting temptation becomes much more difficult. The model prayer Jesus taught us to pray is a good place to start. "Do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one" (Matthew 6:13). We can also do as Jesus did and rebuke the enemy with God's Word. We can call
on the name of the Lord "for in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted" (Hebrews 2:18).
***Don't ever think you are immune to temptation. Be ready for it. And remember that no matter how great the temptation is you face, "He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world" (John 4:4). You have the power to overcome it!
Prayer: Dear Lord, help me to be strong in my mind and spirit so I don't fall into any traps of the enemy. Do not allow me to be led into temptation, but deliver me from the evil one and his plans for my downfall. In the name of Jesus,break the hold and remove from me the temptation to (name the temptation). Keep me strong and able to resist anything that would tempt me away from all You have for me. Thank You, Lord, that You are near to all who call upon You, and You will fulfill the desire to those who fear You. Thank You that You hear my cries and will save me from my weaknesses. In Jesus name, I pray, thank you, love you and bless you, Amen.
God created each of us with a free will. This gives us the ability to make our own decisions apart from outside influence. Satan tries to force us to do things by placing outside pressure on us, but God attempts to lead us by His Holy Spirit. Jesus is not demanding or harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing. He is humble, gentle, meek and lowly. We are indeed complex creatures. Our mind can think one thing, while our emotions want something else and our will certainly seems to have a mind of its own. Once a person’s willpower is renewed by God’s Word and they know enough to choose good over evil, they become very dangerous to Satan and his kingdom of darkness. The renewed person can override all the negative things Satan has planned by exercising their willpower to agree with God and His Word. We need to realize that doubt is a thought planted in our heads by the devil. He uses it to keep us from enjoying life and making progress in God’s good plan for us.
Prayer: “Lord, thank You for the power of Your Work to renew my mind. I choose to stand with Your truth and overcome the darkness that surrounds me. In Jesus name, I pray, thank you, love you and bless you, Amen.”
*from “The Confident Woman” by Joyce Meyer—365 daily inspirations & prayers*
The LORD Who Heals.......YAHWEH ROPHE*
The Name: The Hebrew word rophe means “heal,” “cure,” “restore,” or “make whole.” Shortly after his people left Egypt for the Promised Land, God revealed Himself as Yahweh Rophe, “the LORD who heals.” The Hebrew Scriptures indicate that God is the source of all healing. As you pray to Yahweh Rophe, ask Him to search your heart. Take time to let Him show you what it contains. If He uncovers any sin, ask for His forgiveness and then pray for healing. The New Testament reveals Jesus as the Great Physician, the healer of body and soul, whose miracles point to the kingdom of God.
Key Scripture: "If you diligently heed the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statues, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the LORD who heals you." (Exodus 15:26).
Prayer: Yahweh Rophe, I bow before you today to acknowledge that you are not only my Creator but the Lord who heals me. Please heal me today, body and soul, and do the same for those who mistreat others. I pray that you will heal whatever is bitter in our lives, transforming us in ways that glorify you. In Jesus name, I pray, thank you, love you and bless you, Amen. *from book “Praying the Names of God” by Ann Spangler
Bitterness is resentful cynicism that results in an intense antagonism or hostility towards others. The Bible teaches us to “get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.” It then goes on to tell us how to deal with such bitterness and its fruits by being “kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:31-32)
God's Description of Beauty
1 Peter 3:3-5 …..Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves.
1 Samuel 16:6-7 …. "When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed stands here before the Lord.” But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
Matthew 5:11-12 …“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you."
GOD’S UNCHANGING WORD
Genesis 2:24; Mathew 19:5; Mark 10:7-8; Ephesians 5:31
“For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh; so then they are no longer two, but one flesh.”
“You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination.”
“If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them.”
“A woman shall not wear anything that pertains to a man, nor shall a man put on a woman’s garment, for all who do so are an abomination to the LORD your God.”
“He who justifies the wicked, and he who condemns the just,
Both of them alike are an abomination to the LORD.”
Skin color has long divided people. The prejudice of racism is world-wide, even today. Thus, this question is of great importance. In America, as we continue to see the influx of people from all different cultures, who have all different colors of skin, it is imperative that we search the Scriptures so see how we should live.
Some people believe that interracial marriages are prohibited in the Scriptures. Often they will argue that marriage with foreigners (implying people both of different culture and color) was prohibited throughout the Old Testament.
Actually, the prohibitions were not strictly against Jewish-Gentile marriages as racial mixture, but against believer-unbeliever marriages (Deuteronomy 7:3)
Solomon was judged for marrying, not simply foreign women, but foreign women who believed in false gods. In fact, in the Old Testament provisions were made for Gentiles to convert to Judaism ( Exodus 12:48, 49).
One should also remember both Rahab and Ruth, Gentile women of faith; they were both accepted into the community of believers (they are even in the genealogical line of Jesus! (Matthew 1:5).
“But,” someone may say, "the New Testament prohibits being unequally yoked. Therefore, people of different races shouldn't marry."
The passage being referred to here is 2 Corinthians 6:14. This is where the apostle Paul rhetorically asks, "What fellowship hath light with darkness?" In accordance with the Old Testament teaching, Paul is simply prohibiting believers from intimate fellowship with unbelievers. The context speaks nothing of skin color.
There are absolutely no grounds in either the Old Testament or the New Testament to prohibit interracial marriages.
Thankfully, God does not judge humans by mere external appearances. Though humans have a tendency to judge people by how they look, including their skin color, God does not judge us by color; He judges the heart. The beauty of God's judgment is that he is "no respecter of persons" (Acts 10:34), and thus we are to judge the same way
(1 Timothy 5:21; James 3:17).
You see, God has created all things, including the color of our skin (Genesis 1-2). We all come from the first man and woman, Adam and Eve. The apostle Paul taught the same when he declared that God created all things, that He is the Lord of heaven and earth, and that He made all nations from one man, Adam (Acts 17:24-26).
The Lord My Banner
The Name: Ancient armies carried standards or banners that served as marks of identification and as symbols that embodied the ideals of a people. A banner, like a flag, was something that could be seen from afar, serving as a rallying point for troops before a battle. Though banners were first used in Egypt, Babylonia, Assyria, and Persia, the Israelites carried them on their march through the desert. When you pray to Yahweh Nissi, you are praying to the God who is powerful enough to overcome any foe.
Key Scripture: Moses built an altar and called it The Lord is my Banner. He said, "For hands were lifted up to the throne of the Lord. The Lord will be as war against the Amalekites from generation to generation."
Understanding the Name: Unlike fabric flags, ancient banners were usually made out of wood or metal and shaped into various figures or emblems that could be fastened to a bare staff or a long pole. Depicting birds, animals, or god, they often glistened brightly in the sun so that they could be seen from far off. A banner carried at the head of an army or planted on a high hill served as a rallying point for troops before battle or as an announcement of a victory already won. Because they embodied the ideals and aspirations of whoever carried them, banners aroused devotion to a nation, a cause, or a leader. When Moses held up the staff of God in the battle with the Amalekites, he was holding it like a banner, appealing to God's power. By building an altar and naming it Yahweh Nissi, "The Lord is my Banner," he created a memorial of God's protection and power during the Israelites' first battle after leaving Egypt.
Prayer: Lord, I thank you for raising your standard over me. Today, as I face spiritual battles of many kinds, help me to be confident of your protection, to fight with your power, to prevail in your strength. Yahweh Nissi, may your victory be total and complete, destroying whatever stands in the way of your plans and purposes. In Jesus name, I pray, thank you, love you and bless you, Amen.
*from "Praying the Names of God" by Ann Spangler
2. Jesus faced every temptation known to humanity so He could identify with us.
3. God the Father provided a door of escape for every temptation.
4. Only Christ was in a position to unlock the door of escape by facing every temptation as a man without sin.
5. Christ not only unlocked the door of escape from every temptation but also became the Door: "I am the door, If anyone enters by me, he will be saved" (John 10:9).
6. Any who have walked through the door of salvation from the sin of unbelief are also invited to walk through the door of salvation from daily temptation.
7. Because Christ has faced our every temptation without sin, we never face a temptation that has no door of escape.
8. Any door Christ has opened cannot be closed: "I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut" (Revelation 3:8). Neither satan nor anyone else can make us fall to temptation. The door always remains open for our escape.
9. Although the door is open for our victory over sin and God's blessing flows only from our willingness to walk through it, a provision is already in place for the sin of failing to choose it. The consequences of our lack of obedience are left to help train us to walk through that door next time!
10. He who walked through the door of escape, thus becoming our means of escape as well, leads us through every door of escape and prays for us as we follow.
Every provision has been made for us to be victorious over temptation! This will not be the one day, or the one moment, or the one circumstance from which there is no way out. Every door of escape has be unlocked. Christ made absolutely sure of it by unlocking it personally!
Two things about a believer's temptation never vary: (1) We always have an open door, a way out. (2) Every door we refuse to walk through makes the next one even harder to enter.
Remember, being tempted is not sin; refusing to take the way out is sin. Either way, it is a matter of resistance. We resist either sin or the Holy Spirit. The key to victory is walking through the first door of escape. Every time we refuse another door, we lose more sensitivity to the Holy Spirit. He never goes ways, but the less sensitivity we have to Him, The less power we have until, finally, we find ourselves fighting the battle on our own, absolutely powerless against temptation. In the flesh we always do what comes naturally, and what come most naturally to every one of us is sin. *from "A Woman's Heart--God's Dwelling Place" Beth Moore Bible Study
All of God's Promises in Christ are Yes!
Since Calvary, God stands before us 100 percent in the affirmative. He died to say Yes! You may be asking yourself, Is she God never says no? He certainly does, but His no is given only so that He can say yes to something better. God's no is a street sign to direct you to an oncoming yes. He says no to premarital sex so that He can say yes to the blessed intimacy of marriage. He says no to addiction so that He can say yes to freedom. If He has been forced to say no to you lately, rejoice! He is directing you to a point at which He can extend to you a resounding yes! Keep driving in His direction. A better yes is just around the corner. May this be the generation that seizes every opportunity to attest to a God who says yes---yes to salvation, yes to forgiveness, yes to abundant life, and yes to a mansion in glory. Christ is God's Yes!
*from "A Woman's Heart--God's Dwelling Place" Beth Moore Bible Study
"As for me, it matters very little how I might be evaluated by you or by any human authority. I don’t even trust my own judgment on this point. My conscience is clear, but that doesn’t prove I’m right. It is the Lord himself who will examine me and decide." (1 Corinthians 4:3-4)
No matter what you do in life you will be criticized by someone, so you must learn to cope with it and not let it bother you. Criticism is very difficult for most of us, and a person's self-image can be damaged by one critical remark. But it is possible to learn how not to be affected at all by criticism. Every great man or woman has had to learn how to cope with criticism. We must know our own hearts and not allow others to judge us.
The apostle Paul experienced criticism about many things. People love you when you are doing everything they want you to do and are quick to criticize when just one little thing goes wrong. Paul said that he was not in the least bit concerned about the judgments of others. He said that he did not even judge himself. He knew he was in God's hands and that in the end he would stand before God and give an account of himself and his life. We should only be concerned with God's judgment, not others'.
Prayer: Lord, when criticism comes, help me to remember that You are my only true judge. Rather than let it hurt me, I bring it to You and leave it in Your hands. In Jesus name, I pray, thank you, love you and bless you, Amen.
*from "The Confident Women" by Joyce Meyer
You can know Jesus simply by believing in Him and seeking to have a personal relationship with Him.
BELIEVE IN JESUS
"For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son,
that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life." (John 3:16)
"From one man He made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth;
and He determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.
God did this so that men would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him,
though He is not far from each one of us. For in Him we live and move and have our being."
GET TO KNOW JESUS
"I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business.
Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you."
CHANGE YOUR ATTITUDE
"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--His good, pleasing and perfect will."
There's work to do, deadlines to meet;
You've got no time to spare.
But as you hurry and scurry--
ASAP: ALWAYS SAY A PRAYER
In the midst of family chaos,
'Quality time' is rare.
Do your best; let God do the rest--
ASAP: ALWAYS SAYS A PRAYER
It may seem like your worries
are more than you can bear.
Slow down and take a breath--
ASAP: ALWAYS SAY A PRAYER
God knows how stressful life is.
He wants to ease our cares,
and He'll respond ASAP.
If we ALWAYS SAY A PRAYER!
"Come to Me, all who are weary and
heavy laden, and I will give you rest."
There's work to do, deadlines to meet;
You've got no time to spare.
But as you hurry and scurry--
ASAP: ALWAYS SAY A PRAYER
In the midst of family chaos,
'Quality time' is rare.
Do your best; let God do the rest--
ASAP: ALWAYS SAYS A PRAYER
It may seem like your worries
are more than you can bear.
Slow down and take a breath--
ASAP: ALWAYS SAY A PRAYER
God knows how stressful life is.
He wants to ease our cares,
and He'll respond ASAP.
If we ALWAYS SAY A PRAYER!