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There Is Room In Heaven For You

John 14

Jesus Comforts His Disciples

14 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God[a]; believe also in me. My 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 the way to the place where I am going.”

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In My Father’s House Are Many Rooms

Kristine, a vibrant 18-year-old, was involved in all the normal activities of a senior in high school when she became critically ill. She was admitted to the hospital and within a few days, she was diagnosed with a fatal disease.

Kristine’s parents were devastated when doctors said, “There’s nothing more we can do except keep her comfortable.” They asked for help from the hospital staff to break the news to their daughter.

A woman named Donna is part of a hospital team that works with critically and terminally ill patients and their families. “When Kristine heard the prognosis, she was naturally quite upset, but when I went to see her the next day, her demeanor was completely changed,” she said.

“Kristine had in her hand a collection of swatches from a paint store, those little strips of various shades of color,” Donna said. “She fanned them out like a deck of cards and said, ‘Pick a color.’”

“I didn’t know what was going on,” Donna said, “but I played along. I chose a bird’s egg blue. Then Kristine explained:  ‘Since I’m going to heaven before you, I want to paint your room your favorite color.’ Anytime a different person came into Kristine’s room after that, she had them choose a color for their room in heaven.”

Donna said, “I have worked with critically and terminally ill patients for years, but I was bowled over by the spiritual maturity of an 18-year-old who was so certain of her place in heaven. Kristine knew without a doubt that this world is just a ‘passing-through place.’ It’s not the final destination. She used those paint swatches as tools to witness about eternal life and also to help the people around her accept her physical death.”

Kristine was a living witness to the promise in John 14 as Jesus tried to prepare his disciples for his impending death:

Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. 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. John 14:1-3 NIV

When Kristine passed away, she continued to witness to people at the funeral because those paint swatches were in the casket with her. Kristine’s story was repeated to everyone who passed by.

“As Christians, we have the certainty of eternal life,” Donna said. “How wonderful it was for Kristine and her family to be able to frame death in such a beautiful way.”

Thank you, Lord, for the promise of eternal life. Help us to learn from Kristine’s example of faith in your Word.

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Devotional

By: Chris Brown.  first15.org

Pentecost marks the powerful beginning of a global movement of the power of God’s presence sweeping across the earth. As we read the account of what happened as the Spirit descended with power on God’s people, place yourself in their midst. Imagine what it would look like, sound like, and feel like to witness firsthand such a powerful movement of God’s Spirit:

When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “‘Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.” And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” But others mocking said, “They are filled with new wine” (Acts 2:1-13).

The Holy Spirit is our greatest gift. When the disciples received the Spirit they began living as Jesus did. They began speaking to, healing, and transforming a world that had known no restored relationship with their Creator since Adam and Eve. And Scripture makes it clear that our lives are to follow their example. We’ve been given the same Spirit as the disciples, who moved so powerfully in revealing our loving heavenly Father to a world in desperate need of relationship with their Creator. I feel that there are three areas in which the Spirit would anoint us more powerfully today as he did the disciples at Pentecost. Let’s boldly seek out all that the Spirit would do in our hearts and lives today.

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XIV.

(1) Let not your heart be troubled.—The division of chapters is unfortunate, as it breaks the close connection between these words and those which have gone immediately before. The prophecy of St. Peter’s denial had followed upon the indication of Judas as the traitor, and upon the announcement of the Lord’s departure. These thoughts may well have brought troubled hearts. The Lord had Himself been troubled as the darkness drew on (John 12:27John 13:21), and He calms the anxious thoughts that He reads in the souls of the disciples.

Ye believe in God, believe also in me.—It is more natural to take both these clauses as imperative—Believe in God, believe also in Me. Our English version reads the first and last clauses of the verse as imperative, and the second as an indicative, but there is no good reason for doing so; and a sense more in harmony with the context is got by reading them all as imperatives. As a matter of fact, the present trouble of the hearts of the disciples arose from a want of a true belief in God; and the command is to exercise a true belief, and to realise the presence of the Father, as manifested in the person of the Son. There was a sense in which every Jew believed in God. That belief lay at the very foundation of the theocracy; but like all the axioms of creeds, it was accepted as a matter of course, and too often had no real power on the life. What our Lord here teaches the disciples is the reality of the Fatherhood of God as a living power, ever present with them and in them; and He teaches them that the love of God is revealed in the person of the Word made flesh. This faith is the simplest article of the Christian’s creed. We teach children to say, we ourselves constantly say, “I believe in God the Father.” Did we but fully grasp the meaning of what we say, the troubles of our hearts would be hushed to silence; and our religion would be a real power over the whole life, and would be also, in a fulness in which it never has been, a real power over the life of the world.

We Are In God’s Hands Of Love

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In God’s Hands

APRIL 22, 2009

“When I am afraid, I will trust in you.” Psalm 56:3 (NIV)

As I aroused from sleep, my first thought was, “Uggg. It is going to be cold outside.” But to be honest, my anxiety wasn’t so much about the cold mountain weather, but about my teenage daughter’s safety that day.

We had been planning the trip for weeks and the girls were so excited that their snowboarding day had finally arrived. The wind was cold and the snow was slippery, but the sun was shining, the mountains were beautiful, and the enthusiasm of three teenage girls outweighed their shivers. We had arranged for them to take a one-hour snowboarding lesson that morning, as this was their first time on the slopes. Once we got them bundled up in their coats, scarves and protective gear, we parted ways as they walked off with the rest of the group to begin their lesson.

Suddenly, I felt this little rush of panic come over me. It was a familiar feeling, because for the past 15 years I have mastered the art of worrying about the safety of my children. When there is even the most remote possibility one of them could be hurt, my mind floods with irrational thoughts about what could happen in the worst of circumstances.

What if she has trouble getting onto the ski lift properly, and slips and hits her head? What if she can’t get off the lift quick enough at the top of the mountain, and falls off and gets hurt? What if she falls off the lift seat while hoisted five stories up in the air? What if she gets too close to the edge of the slope and falls off the side of the mountain? What if she gets separated from her friends and panics all alone? What if she breaks her arm/leg/neck? What if …

As I said, irrational thoughts. Unwarranted panic.

Since I could not run up the ski slope after her, looking like a crazed, over-protective mother, I headed back to the lodge. There I found myself praying a simple prayer something like this: Oh, Lord, I cannot be with her today. I cannot protect her. I cannot watch after her. She will be out of my sight, at the top of a mountain, far from my reach. Only You can see her. Only You can protect her now. Please keep her safe. Instantly I felt God’s reassurance, and heard Him quietly speak to my heart, “Put her in My arms Tracie. Entrust her to Me.”

Although I secretly preferred to hold her in my own arms and keep her safe, just like when she was a little girl, I knew I had to entrust her fully to God – just not on the ski slope, but every day of her life. I am a mere human, but God is a sovereign and powerful God. Any physical protection I could offer her pales in comparison to the spiritual protection given from our Savior.

As each of my children grow and live, I know they will face new dangers. Peer pressure will be heavy, temptations will prowl, people will hurt their feelings, dangers may cross their path and life may be hard. Our modern culture will cause them to face challenges and decisions that I did not have to deal with as a child. My comfort must come from believing that they will be in God’s hands, and that He will always be with them, no matter where they go. Not just on the top of a mountain, but every minute of every day in every circumstance.

Do you know that the word “children” appears over 450 times in the Bible? Our children matter to God, and He loves them, even more than we love them. Being a parent allows us a window to see God’s amazing perspective of that love.

Dear Lord, forgive me for forgetting how much You love my children and that You are always with them. Thank You for surrounding us with Your angels. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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God’s Hand in Your Life

Forget not all his benefits.

 Psalms 103:2

It is a delightful and profitable occupation to mark the hand of God in the lives of ancient saints and to observe His goodness in delivering them, His mercy in pardoning them, and His faithfulness in keeping His covenant with them. But would it not be even more interesting and profitable for us to observe the hand of God in our own lives? Should we not look upon our own history as being at least as full of God, as full of His goodness and of His truth, as much a proof of His faithfulness and veracity as the lives of any of the saints who have gone before?

We do our Lord an injustice when we suppose that He performed all His mighty acts and showed Himself strong for those in the early time but does not perform wonders or lay bare His arm for the saints who are now upon the earth. Let us review our own lives. Surely in these we may discover some happy incidents, refreshing to ourselves and glorifying to our God. Have you had no deliverances? Have you passed through no rivers, supported by the divine presence? Have you walked through no fires unharmed? Have you had no manifestations? Have you had no choice favors? The God who gave Solomon the desire of his heart, has He never listened to you and answered your requests? That God of lavish bounty of whom David sang, “who satisfies you with good,”1 has He never filled you up to overflowing? Have you never been made to lie down in green pastures? Have you never been led by the still waters?

Surely the goodness of God has been the same to us as to the saints of old. Let us, then, weave His mercies into a song. Let us take the pure gold of thankfulness and the jewels of praise and make them into another crown for the head of Jesus. Let our souls produce music as sweet and as exhilarating as came from David’s harp while we praise the Lord whose mercy endures forever.

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What’s That in Your Hand?

by Inspiration Ministries

I meet a lot of Believers who feel like they simply don’t have what it takes. They say they would do great things for God if they just had more money…more time…more energy…or more people to help them.

The mistake such people are making is that they’re focusing on what they DON’T have, when the Lord wants them to realize what they DO have. By simply shifting our focus, we can trade in our frustration and receive a life filled with miracles and abundance instead.

Look at God’s incredible question to Moses in Exodus 4:2:
“What’s that in your hand?”

When the Lord asked this question, the only thing in Moses’ hand was a crude shepherd’s rod. It wasn’t much. Just a piece of wood. An inanimate object. A tool of
Moses’ trade.

God was commissioning him for the daunting task of delivering over a million Israelites from slavery in Egypt. And all Moses had in his hand was the wooden staff he had used for 40 years to tend his flocks of sheep.

Do you see how powerful this message is for you and me? Like Moses, we’re being called to do great things…supernatural things…things much bigger than we could ever accomplish without divine assistance.

Yet too often we think our problem is that we lack some important ingredient or resource needed for success. “If only I had this or that…” we complain.

But notice that God wasn’t asking Moses to give Him something he didn’t already have. Instead, He asked Moses, as He is asking us today…

“What’s that in your hand?”

Moses had been carrying around that ordinary piece of wood for many years, and nothing dramatic had happened as a result. But after Moses surrendered the wooden rod to the Lord, it amazingly became “the rod of God” instead of merely the rod of Moses (Exodus 4:20). No longer a mere piece of wood, this rod enabled Moses to part the Red Sea, bring water out of a rock, and defeat enemy armies.

What is in YOUR hand, my friend? Money? Time? Possessions? Influence? Some kind of special God-given aptitude?

If you’re honest, the thing in your hand probably seems totally inadequate to meet the needs around you. However, you’ll be amazed by what can happen when you surrender it to the Lord.

Lawlessness

  • 2 Thessalonians 2:6-7
    And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. 
     
  • 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12
    The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. 

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THE SPIRIT OF LAWLESSNESS

David WilkersonJanuary 3, 2017

“For the mystery of iniquity doth already work” (2 Thessalonians 2:7).

The Greek word Paul uses for iniquity in this passage literally means lawlessness. Therefore, the mystery is one of lawlessness — acting without law or restraint.

Yet, this lawlessness is not simply a rebellion against the rule of man. It’s not about rebelling against civil authority or committing a violent crime. These things do provoke God’s wrath, but the mystery of lawlessness goes much deeper. It is an outright rejection of the truth that is in Christ — a casting aside of God’s Holy Word and His commands.

This spirit of lawlessness is rampant in our nation today. It is the very force behind the legislation that seeks to banish God from our society; the same spirit that Satan used to deceive Eve when he told her, in so many words, “God won’t punish you for disobeying. You can eat the fruit and you won’t have to pay for it!”

Satan is using the same lie on Christians today; day after day, he convinces masses of believers that they can sin without paying any penalty. It is a demonic scheme to pervert Christ’s gospel of grace.

Tragically, many lukewarm Christians are succumbing to this spirit of lawlessness. Paul says the Antichrist will rise to power because people will be blinded and deceived by their own sin (see 2 Thessalonians 2:9-10).

Satan will deceive masses of people, just as he did Eve, by convincing them of a subtle but powerful lie: “God doesn’t punish for sin!”

Paul says this deception will come “because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved” (verse 10). He then adds, “For this [reason], God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie” (verse 11).

The apostle is saying, “Those who refuse to obey or respect God’s Word will fall under a powerful delusion. At first they’ll wink at their sin, justify it. But soon they’ll actively seek out a message of easy grace. In fact, they will invent a grace that is far beyond what God intended. His grace never leads to license and always leads to repentance!”

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 How We Must Fight for Holiness

Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. (Hebrews 12:14)

There is a practical holiness without which we will not see the Lord. Many live as if this were not so.

There are professing Christians who live such unholy lives that they will hear Jesus’s dreadful words, “I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness” (Matthew 7:23). Paul says to professing believers, “If you live according to the flesh you will die” (Romans 8:13).

So, there is a holiness without which no one will see the Lord. And learning to fight for holiness by faith in future grace is supremely important.

There is another way to pursue holiness that backfires and leads to death. Paul warns us against serving God any other way than by faith in his enabling grace. God is not “served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything” (Acts 17:25). Any effort to serve God that does not, in that very act, depend on him as the reward of our hearts and the power of our service, will dishonor him as a needy pagan god.

Peter describes the alternative to such self-reliant service of God, “Whoever serves, [let him do so] as one who serves by the strength that God supplies — in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 4:11). And Paul says, “I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me” (Romans 15:18; see also 1 Corinthians 15:10).

Moment by moment, grace arrives to enable us to do “every good work” that God appoints for us. “God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:8).

The fight for good works is a fight to believe the promises of future grace.

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Lawlessness

by Inspiration Ministries

Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction. 2 Thessalonians 2:3 NASB

False teachings regarding the Second Coming of Jesus were causing Paul great concern. To correct these errors, he explained that this day couldn’t come unless “the man of lawlessness is revealed” (v. 3).

The word “lawlessness” reveals a central characteristic of this man, and the conditions that would exist when Jesus returned. This man would demonstrate his attitude by taking the place of God and even “displaying himself as being God “(v. 4).

The Bible clearly warns against this spirit of lawlessness. The Greek word was used 18 times in the New Testament! For example, Jesus used it to describe the coming judgment: “The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness” (Matthew 13:41). He also used it to describe those who tried to fool others with appearances but who were inwardly “full of hypocrisy and lawlessness” (Matthew 23:28).

Lawlessness is a characteristic of people who reject the Gospel, who don’t care about what God has said, and who refuse to consider His Word. They reject His plans, His principles, His influence, His standards, and His authority. Despising His rule, they elevate themselves to take His place in their lives.

The Bible reminds us that God always must be first. We must have “no other gods” before Him (Exodus 20:3), and His Word must provide our standard. Otherwise, we are guilty of lawlessness.

Seek God When All Seems Lost

 

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Finding Hope When All Seems Lost

Christine McWhorter – 700 Club Producer

CBN.com –Young Johnny Callicott always loved being with his father. So when his parents divorced years later, Johnny was crushed. “When an adolescent needs guidance from his father, he’s not there.”

Johnny lived with his mother but rarely saw his father after the divorce. Music brought him comfort. His love for music started as a child. “I started playing drums when I was about six. I got my first little toy kit and played the radio, and I would just play along with it. I could pick up what the drummer was doing.”

In his teens, Johnny started a garage band. His skill grew over the years, and he became a professional drummer. The attention was intoxicating. “I think I was seeking attention from everybody because of the situation that happened with my father. That’s when the cocaine came in the picture. I loved it. I loved the way it made me feel. It made me feel like I was six feet tall and I could open up conversations with everybody and anybody, and just be the life of the party.”

But the drugs and alcohol had a harrowing downside. “It was literally destroying me physically. Not only was it destroying me physically, but my mind as well. I couldn’t remember where I was in the song sometimes, like, ‘Is that the first chorus or the second chorus?’ ‘Is this the end?’ and I would be messing up. So inevitably, my ability was no longer needed.”

Eventually he lost his music career. The women, the fame, and the crowds all vanished. “(I was) Very disappointed in myself. Because I had worked so hard to get to that point and I was throwing it all away. And I knew I was, but I had become addicted to the alcohol and the drug and I couldn’t’ stop.”

Johnny’s addictions made even daily, routine tasks difficult. “I went from job to job to job to job. I never had a problem finding a job; I had a problem keeping them. I’d do good for about four or five days and I’d just, ‘I gotta go out.’ And I’d get drunk and I’d go get high.”

He often checked into faith based rehabs. At one clinic after seeing some of the progress of the former addicts, he decided to give his life to Christ. “I really started to look to God on a daily basis and pray to Him and ask Him to guide me through this day and give me the strength to not to want to leave this place and go use again, and get on this path.”

But the addiction was strong and he always ended up back on the street. “I wasn’t staying there long enough to let God do His work. I would say, ‘I’ve given You eight months God. I’m done here. I going to take the wheel now. Let me drive.’ And I’d drive myself right back into a hole.”

“When my father was on his deathbed – He’d battled cancer for about two or three years – and  I remember receiving a call from my uncle saying ‘Listen, they’ve given your father like two hours to live.’ And my addiction at that time was so severe and so selfish and so all about me that I didn’t even go. It’s a regret that I live with. I gave up. I gave up on ever being clean. I gave up on ever being the man God created me to be.”

One night his brother called. “He asked if I was ready to give God another chance. In my heart, in my mind, I thought, ‘No way.’ But out of my mouth said the word yes.”

His brother then helped Johnny contact Circle of Love, a faith based rehab center. “This place had a chapel and had a brand new set of drums in it and a piano. I would get in there and practice hour after hour. Every time I had an opportunity to get into that chapel and play the instruments, I would.”

Johnny began writing worship songs and spent time reading the Bible. “It was probably the most emotional time of my life ever, because I wept on a daily basis there. Not weeping in a sad way, but weeping of, what God is doing in my life and seeing what He’s doing in others around me. Yeah, God really filled me up there.”

He stayed at Circle of Love for two years. By the time he was released, Johnny was free from his addictions. “It was really an awesome experience. It was rough at times but God was stronger. God knew my heart for music. He knew that would keep me there.”

Today Johnny is married to Lisa. He says he has a renewed relationship with God, and a new sense of purpose. “He’s the one that is changing me and making me a better person. Without Him, I can’t do anything and that’s it. He understands me and He knows me. He always forgives me. And, He always gives me another chance to make it right.”

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What you need to know when all seems lost

From: newspring.cc

Many of us can relate to failure or defeat. In times when we feel our lives are spinning out of control, we may find it difficult to trust in the God who says He’s a God of power and love. The weight of our pain and disappointment can blind us to the lies of the enemy. Instead of leaning toward God, we turn away from God. We place blame on God and are even tempted to walk away from our faith. How can we trust and know that God is in control of our lives, especially when we are weighted with a sense of failure and defeat?

The Bible tells us in Revelation 11 that God sends two witnesses who make an enormous impact on the world. These witnesses are given power to do mighty works and are committed to telling people about Jesus. Despite their dedication and devotion, they are beaten and left for dead. What went wrong? Absolutely nothing! The Bible says that the bodies of the two witnesses lie dead in the street, but when all hope seemed lost, “they stood upon their feet” (Revelation 11:8-13)!

God is in control. He already knows the outcome, and, throughout the book of Revelation, He tells John what is going to happen each step of the way. In the same way, we can know today that we also will win. As believers in Christ, we may not fully understand the reason why we go through what we do, but we can be sure that we will always overcome! 1 John 5:4 says, “for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.”

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What Is God Doing? How to Find Hope When All Seems Lost

Inside: You know those moments in life when you feel like all hope is lost? They may be massively difficult circumstances or minor bumps that mess with your day. What is God doing? Two surprising things God might be doing that could turn your day and your life around.

 

I am bursting at the seams to share this devotion with you! Have you had those moments in life when you feel like all hope is lost? They may be massively difficult circumstances or minor bumps that mess with your day.

  • You’ve prayed and prayed (and prayed and prayed) and have yet to see an answer. What is God doing?
  • You are beside yourself at a decision your child or a loved one has made. How could this happen?
  • That coworker, friend, or relative grinds at your nerves day after day. Really, God?

How can we find hope when all seems lost?

Elijah, our fully surrendered prophet, had labored courageously for the Lord, and it seemed to him it was all for naught. Despite a resounding victory over the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel, the people had only temporarily turned to God.

Were all of Elijah’s efforts in vain?

Not only was he the only faithful believer left–or so he thought–but he was also a wanted man. Were he to be found by Queen Jezebel, he would be killed.

“I have been very jealous for the LORD, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.” (1 Kings 19:14 ESV)

Do you hear the “woe is me”? We’ve been there, right?

I find God’s reaction to Elijah’s downheartedness fascinating and very telling for our own lives.

God Gave Elijah Purpose

God did not give into Elijah’s “woe is me” mentality, but He also did not ignore it. In His divine care, He poured kingdom purpose into His worn-out faithful servant.

15 And the LORD said to him, “Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus. And when you arrive, you shall anoint Hazael to be king over Syria. 16 And Jehu the son of Nimshi you shall anoint to be king over Israel, and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah you shall anoint to be prophet in your place.

God gave Elijah purpose–jobs to do–and not just any ordinary tasks. Each task had specific purpose in God’s kingdom: God asked Elijah to anoint two kings and his very own apprentice.

When all hope seems lost, look for God’s purpose. Listen to hear what He is asking of you. Notice if He is putting a particular task in front of you to do, and especially listen to see if God has called you to a task that has kingdom purpose.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10 ESV)

 

 

Salvation Comes To Zacchaeus

Luke 19:1-10

Zacchaeus the Tax Collector

19 Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.

When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.”So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.

All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.”

But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”

Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

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Are You Scared of Loving Zacchaeus?

Are You Scared of Loving Zacchaeus?
by Laura MacCorkle

When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” Luke 19:5, NIV

I’m scared of some things—and some people—but I’m not too scared about spending time with those who don’t know Jesus. Never have been.

In fact, I enjoy people who are vastly different than me. I must say, though, that I am nowhere even close to the greatest friend-who-knew-no-stranger-of-all-time: Jesus. And so I admire his ability to walk toward those who might scare you and me … those who we might walk away from today.

Zacchaeus was one such character. He really was a despicable little man. As I’m sure you know, tax collectors in Bible times were not the sort of person you invited over for a potluck to your home on an early spring evening. No, they were viewed as the lowest of the low. The pond scum of society. The ones you wouldn’t even let in your front door.

Amazingly, though, Jesus didn’t adjust his course when he was walking through Jericho one fine day. With his eye on the tax collector, Jesus walked right to where Zacchaeus was perched in a sycamore tree. Because he was small in stature, Zacchaeus had climbed up this tree so that he could see who Jesus was when he passed by in the crowd of people. He had heard about him, and now he wanted to see for himself.

Had he heard how he’d performed miracles? How he’d attracted and fed large crowds of people? How he’d touched the untouchables and healed those with leprosy? How he’d stood up to the religious establishment and called them on their legalistic teachings?

Who knows for sure. But whatever he had heard, Zacchaeus wanted to see this man who defied everyone’s expectations of what the Messiah would be.

“Zacchaeus,” Jesus said as he addressed him by name. “Come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.”

Can you imagine what Zacchaeus must have thought? He knows me! Wait, HOW does he know me? And why is he coming to spend time with me? Doesn’t he know that everyone despises me because I take all of their money? Why would he want to spend time with ME?

But whatever Zaccheus may have thought didn’t stop him from scrambling down the tree and welcoming Jesus “gladly.” He was smitten with the love of the Savior. And he knew that this was the Christ.

“Look, Lord!” Zacchaeus said to him. “Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”

And Jesus said to him, “Today, salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.”

How amazing is that? Jesus didn’t shy away from someone who the rest of society was shunning. He also didn’t get up in Zacchaeus’ face, make him feel like dirt and then strike him down with the Law in his initial effort to love him. No, he just said, “Hey, I see you and I’m going to spend some time with you. Come on, let’s go!”

It’s the “great commission” in action. “Go ye into all the world.” Even to the parts of town that you usually avoid. Even to the societal groups that offend you. Even to the family member who has chosen to live a different lifestyle. He, she, they … any of these people can represent Zacchaeus in your life.

But don’t walk away from them. Walk toward them. And extend an invitation for a better way of living and the hope of a glorious eternity. Just like Jesus did for you.

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ZACCHAEUS IS SAVED

From: .davidservant.com

Luke 19:1-10

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You may remember that most Jews despised tax collectors in Jesus’ time. Not only did they work for the occupying foreign government, Rome, but they also made themselves very rich by overcharging their own countrymen. Zacchaeus was no different than any other tax collector of his day: selfish, greedy and dishonest.

However, he heard that Jesus was visiting his town of Jericho, and people were mobbing this well-known teacher and miracle worker as He walked through. Being short, Zacchaeus climbed a tree down the street so that when Jesus passed by, he could catch a glimpse of Him.

But God had more planned for Zacchaeus than just a glimpse of Jesus. He wanted Zacchaeus to know Jesus personally. And was Zacchaeus ever shocked when Jesus stopped, looked up at him, called his name and told him that He must be a guest at his house that day. Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and excitedly led Jesus to his house.

But finding himself in Jesus’ loving and holy presence, Zacchaeus became even more conscious of his own sinfulness, and he realized how uncomfortable he would be with pure and holy Jesus as his guest. What would he do? Unlike most wealthy people whose god is money, Zacchaeus decided to change, making Jesus his Lord. Because money would no longer be his god, he immediately changed his attitude and actions concerning it.

This story illustrates a very important point about salvation. Jesus said that salvation had come to Zacchaeus’s home that day after Zacchaeus repented. That is, Zacchaeus admitted his guilt and changed his ways. Beyond even that, he promised to make restitution to those he’d wronged.

Repentance is an essential part of salvation. In fact, there is no true salvation apart from repentance. Too many people think they’re saved because they’ve prayed a prayer for salvation, but they’ve never truly repented, but have continued living their same old sinful lives. How do you think Jesus would have responded if Zacchaeus had said, “Jesus, I accept you as my Lord and Savior. However, I’m going to continue being greedy and dishonest”?

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Climb a Tree!

By: Andy Taylor, seedsofthekingdom.org

If anyone had a dramatic encounter with Jesus in the Gospels it was Zacchaeus. His reputation went before him as someone who gained great wealth at everyone else’s expense. One day, however, Jesus passed through his home town of Jericho and to ensure he had a good view of the procession, he climbed a tree so that he could see above the gathering crowds. What happened next was a shock to everyone – especially Zacchaeus.

Jesus stopped in His tracks, looked up into the tree, called Zacchaeus by name and told him to come down quickly because He was going to be a guest in his house for the day. Zacchaeus was amazed and excited and hurried down while everyone else talked about how disgraceful it was that Jesus was mixing with sinners. During this encounter with Jesus, however, Zacchaeus made a dramatic life-change. He committed to give away half of his fortune to the poor and to repay those he’d cheated four times what they had paid. It was definitely a day of surprises!

The sequence of this special day was simply desperation, love and surrender. Firstly, Zacchaeus was desperate to see Jesus – desperate enough to climb a tree. Next, he was confronted with the unconditional love and acceptance of Jesus. The truth was that Zacchaeus was not popular. He was overlooked – not just because of his physical size, but because of who he was. But Jesus picked him out and this had such an impact on him that he surrendered to His Lord.

Money, which used to be his god, had become nothing in comparison to the treasure that he found that day. This is what Jesus is referring to in the verses above – that salvation had come to Zacchaeus that day because of his surrender.

Maybe today you need to ‘climb a tree’, in desperation, to meet with Jesus. Be sure that He will pick you out and show you unbelievable love and acceptance which will lead you further down the road of full surrender to your Lord.

Who Is On The Lord’s Side

Exodus 32:26    Moses Said these Words

So he stood at the entrance to the camp and said, “Whoever is for the LORD, come to me.” And all the Levites rallied to him.   ( Levites were member of the Hebrew tribe of Levi, especially of that part of it which provided assistants to the priests in the worship in the Jewish temple).

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Who Is On the Lord’s Side?

Reading for February 13th: Numbers 14-15

And all the people grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The whole congregation said to them, “Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! Why is the LORD bringing us into this land, to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become a prey. Would it not be better for us to go back to Egypt?” And they said to one another, “Let us choose a leader and go back to Egypt.”
Numbers 14:2-4

We’re living in difficult times. Enemies that were fought and defeated long ago are rising once again. Demons and dark powers and legions of evil forces are working their way into our communities, our schools, and our families.

And some of us are going over to the dark side. Some are rebelling against godly leaders who are fighting for truth and righteousness and calling for a return to Egypt. Some of these soldiers still bear the scars of battles fought long ago, but have decided they no longer want to fight against the devil. They are calling for change. They have abandoned the One who redeemed them to serve the wicked one.

In some places the defections are large. The grumbling and the complaints that began among a few have swelled into a mighty chorus. The call for change is drowning out the cry for the old paths. Unhappy and discontented, this cry for change is becoming violent in some places.

Thank God there are still heroes among us like Moses and Aaron who fall on their faces before the assembly. There are godly leaders who are not swayed by popular opinion but stand firmly on the Lord’s side.

Thank God there are still brave souls like Joshua and Caleb who stand with these godly leaders. Unafraid of those who are in opposition they cry out, “Do not rebel against the LORD!”

But the people are picking up stones. Indeed, these are difficult times.

My brothers and sisters, will you stand with Moses? Will you stand on the Lord’s side?

Father, grant us wisdom and courage for these days!

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On the Lord’s Side

by Inspiration Ministries

“Then Moses stood in the entrance of the camp, and said, ‘Whoever is on the Lord’s side—come to me.’ And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together to him.” Exodus 32:26 NKJV

In the midst of tragedies and turmoil, many mighty revivals broke out on both sides of the American Civil War. J.C. Granberry, one of the chaplains of the Southern army, recounted how “in the two confronting camps, often at the same hour, there rose with voice and heart the common strain, ‘All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name’!”

Granberry noted that, while war waged around them, pastors and chaplains in the Army of Northern Virginia focused on evangelism, and stressed “eternal things, the claims of God, the worth of the soul,” and the need for salvation. The concern was less about winning the war and more about the Kingdom of God.

Soldiers were subject to “severe temptations” and forced to deal with the constant presence of death. But Granberry found that “grace triumphed over all these disadvantages.”

In their camps and battlefields, soldiers were cut off from organized churches and Sunday schools. Because of the pressures of the war, they often did not have a “day of sacred rest.” Yet many made it a priority to seek spiritual growth.

Many openly talked about the things of God. Many carried Bibles on their marches (and even conducted Bible studies when possible). “They delighted in devotional meetings, and were not ashamed to witness for Christ.” Many were reminded of the words of Moses, that they were “on the Lord’s side.”

Today, the world can seem like a divided place, dominated by partisan issues. In your life, remember that you are on the Lord’s side. Focus on serving Him. Seek first His Kingdom. Do not allow yourself to be distracted by the things of this world. Instead, focus on God. Commit your time, talent, and treasure to Him.

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Study 2 WHO IS ON THE LORD’’S SIDE?

LIVING TRIUMPHANTLY
by Francis Dixon
Key Verse: ““We are yours, O David! We are with you…”…” (1 Chronicles 12:18)

In this chapter David is brought before us as a type of the Lord Jesus Christ, ‘‘great David’’s greater Son’’. David was God’’s appointed and anointed king, but initially only a few accepted him as such; the majority gave their allegiance to Saul, who was rejected by God. They thought they were on the winning side, but it was in reality the losing side. Our Lord Jesus Christ is the rightful king. God has appointed and anointed Him, “”and gave him the name that is above every name”” (Philippians 2:9) –- but only a few accept Him as such; the vast majority reject him.

During his rejection David needed men who would come out boldly and follow him. This is exactly what our King needs today. In this study we shall see the kind of men David needed, and the kind of men and women our Lord needs. What kind of people does our King need today?

1. He needs men who come to Him out of every tribe and nation.

Notice in verses 24-37 the description of the men who came to David out of many tribes. Today, while our King is rejected by the world, the Holy Spirit is calling out a people who belong to Him and are on His side. This is the divine plan –- look up Acts 15:14-16, and compare Luke 19:12. Just as the loyal subjects of King David came to him, so the Holy Spirit is calling out men and women today to be the loyal subjects of our Saviour-King –- look up Acts 2:47. Do you belong to this company of ‘’called out’’ ones who have been born again by the Holy Spirit (1 Peter 1:23) and redeemed by the precious blood of Christ (1 Peter 1:19)? Do you recognise the Lord Jesus as Saviour and King?

2. He needs men who are separated to Him.

Read verse 8. There can be nothing greater in the Lord’’s army than for His followers to be truly separated to Him. Our weakness so often is that we are mixed up with the world –- look up 2 Timothy 2:4, and compare 2 Corinthians 6:17; Hebrews 13:13. We live in solemn days, and it is a sad thing when Christians become entangled with the world and side with those who in their hearts reject the King. As you read this chapter you will discover that David required men of quality –- selected, separated men. Are you one of these?

3. He needs men who are fully trained and equipped for warfare.

Read verses 2, 8 and 38. How foolish to imagine that being a Christian is an easy-going life! The kind of men our Lord wants is indicated by these verses, which speak of soldiers:-

“…”…they were armed with bows and were able to shoot arrows or to sling stones right-handed or left-handed……brave warriors, ready for battle and able to handle the shield and spear……Their faces were the faces of lions, and they were as swift as gazelles……men who volunteered to serve in the ranks……fully determined to make David king!””

The warfare in which we are engaged is fierce, and our Enemy is very powerful (Ephesians 6:12), so if we are to be victorious in this spiritual warfare, we must be people who are trained, disciplined and properly equipped. We must know not only how to put on the whole armour of God (Ephesians 6:13-17), but also how to use the two weapons of our warfare:- (1) The Word of God (Hebrews 4:12); and (2) The Prayer of Faith (James 5:15,17,18). And notice, we must be men ““who understood the times” –- see verse 32.

Happy Mother’s Day

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A Mother’s Love

By: Martha Noebel, 1.cbn.com

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The first Mother’s Day was celebrated in West Virginia in 1912. Mothers were to be recognized as an important part of our culture and lives. The heart of a mother is like a rare jewel. They love their children during the worst and best of times.

Yet all mothers are not the same. Author and speaker Patsy Clairmont says, “Normal is just a setting on your clothes dryer.” We are all different. She shared that as women we may “struggle, fail, start over, and celebrate.” But we are mothers who can love unlike any other person.

A familiar mother’s day poem written in the early 1900’s is:

M is for the Many things she gave me,
O means only that she’s growing Old.
T is for the Tears she shed to save me,
H is for her Heart of purest gold.
E is for her Eyes with love light shining,
R means Right and Right she’ll always be.

Put them all together, they spell MOTHER.
A word that means the world to me.

God created families and gave mothers a unique place in that unit. We can love, give of ourselves, cook, clean, wash clothes, put Band-Aids on scrapes … be the first one up in the morning or the last one down at night. We juggle a lot of things including raising children, working at jobs, managing a home, and sometimes finding time for ourselves.

Each day is a new beginning of what lies before us. We have destiny, purpose, and the power to do and be all that we are called to be. Nothing can stop us except ourselves. As mothers, we need to find the strength to face each day knowing that God loves us.

This scripture seems to be written just for mothers.

“If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:1-4

Our children need that unselfish love of a mother. We as mothers need to love our mothers too. Long life is promised to all who show honor to them.

“Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do. “Honor your father and mother.” This is the first commandment with a promise: If you honor your father and mother, “things will go well for you, and you will have a long life on the earth.” Ephesians 6:1-3

Mothers make up a crucial part of our lives. So whether it is a Hallmark card, dinner out, hug, or a kiss on the cheek, we should show we care. It is so important to give our love to these dedicated women in our lives and don’t take them for granted.

“Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.” 1 John 3:18

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Under Pressure

By: Joe Stowell, Strength for the Journey

May
12
2019

“You know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.” James 1:3

When our kids were growing up, we loved having picnics in the backyard. No picnic was complete without a plate full of big, juicy watermelon slices! From my kids’ point of view, part of the fun was playing with the seeds. As soon as a wet seed hit the table, they couldn’t resist the urge to press it with their thumb to see how far they could make it fly across the table.

I can’t help but think we’re a lot like that when life presses down on us. When the pressure gets too intense, we start looking for ways to bail out from under the thumb of circumstances that seem too much to handle. And all too often we are tempted to bail in terms of our attitudes, feeling angry, bitter, or even mad at God—or anyone else we can blame our problems on. Or, we are tempted to bail in our actions by refusing to persevere in righteous ways.

Thankfully, James offers some great advice about why it’s so important to stay under the pressure. He reminds us that God has a purpose in mind when He allows trials to press down on us. Like turning coals into diamonds, some things only happen under a lot of pressure. Staying under the pressure is how God tests our faith in order to make us “mature and complete” (James 1:4). But, if we bail in our attitudes or actions under the burden, we interfere with the productive intentions that God has for our lives.

It’s interesting that the Greek word James uses in our text for “perseverance” (James 1:3) is hupomeno. It’s derived from two Greek words: hupo (under) and meno (remain). James is making the point that in order to achieve God’s refining goals for our lives, we need to be willing to cooperatively remain under the pressure.

It boils down to whether or not you want comfort or character. You may think that life should be a bed of roses, but if that’s your take on life, you’re in for a big surprise—trouble happens! The issue is not if you will face trials, it’s how you will respond to the inevitable pressure that the problems of life bring.

It may be that you face pressure at work. In the face of a seemingly insurmountable project, it’s easy to think, “If I just fudge a little bit I could get this job done faster.” Or, when the problems at home won’t go away, we find ourselves wondering, “Maybe I’ll just leave so I won’t have to deal with this anymore.” The sin of pride causes us to respond to problems with thoughts like, “I don’t deserve this.” And soon our attitudes are in the dumper and God’s work is derailed.

In fact, the next time you’re tempted to bail on God and squeeze out from under the trouble, think of Jesus, who “humbled himself and became obedient to death” (Philippians 2:8). He “remained under” great suffering for the purpose of making you better.

So embrace the process and permit God to do His work of making you more mature and usable, for your good and His glory. Believe me—the pain will be worth the gain!

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“A Mother’s Love”

by Deb McCoy, devotionsfromthebible

Mom, throughout my life you taught me by example every step of the way,
Though many times I stumbled and felt you continued to love me as I began to stray.
I remember your bravery when dad took his life,
I became angry and rebellious as it pierced through me like a knife.

Our lives changed forever at that moment in time,
But the choice you made was to keep going onward no matter how steep the climb.
I promised to take care of you the rest of your days,
Though it was your unconditional love for me that always paved the way.

No obstacle was insurmountable regardless of how hard,
Each one had a lesson though we struggled and were left scarred.
We poured out our hearts to one another during our time of grief,
Unanswered questions of why a husband and father could take his life and leave us in disbelief.

Mom, it was during those times that I saw the depths of your love,
Your inspiring example to set my sights up above.
Brokenness was upon us as a missing link in a chain,
But tragedy led to triumph through all the suffering and the pain.

I was miserable and in need of peace as everywhere I did search,
Then you asked me to consider my first ever visit to church.
It was then that God did tug at my heart,
Born again I became salvation to impart.

It wasn’t long after that we did learn of your cancer,
Looking to God in prayer for a miracle to answer.
Mom your strength and courage throughout your life left a godly legacy,
You taught me that dying to your own desires and pouring your life into someone else is how to live most blessedly.

It is through selflessness that we become truly fulfilled,
How blessed I was to care for you because helping others is the message you instilled.
My heart was broken to see you suffer in torment and anguish,
Seeing you deteriorate how I felt hopeless and did languish.

Though a burden you did not wish to be,
Love is deeper than any encumbrance you see.
You never complained and you fought to the end,
I miss you so much and each day together we did spend.

Mom, your inspiration will guide me all the days of my life on earth. I cannot wait to see you again.
I’m so thankful for Christ’s death on the cross, for saving me, and giving me a new birth.

Mom, I would like to think the doorway to Heaven would open for you to see this. How I wish you could have a glimpse into my heart as I have written this in dedication to you. Thank you for everything Mom.

Happy Mother’s Day, I love you always.

 

God Will Provide

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Image result for picture verses of God supplying all your needsImage result for picture verses of God supplying all your needs 

Scripture Reading: Genesis 22:14

Let us begin today’s reflection with the words of a Christ writer: “God will provide beyond what we imagine, so much more than we can fathom, He will supply. God will provide when we trust in Him completely and take each step believing as a child. God will provide, He will provide……I know my God – will provide.” Indeed, Jesus wants us to live an anxiety-free life. Our scriptural reference says, “Abraham named the place Yahweh-Jireh (which means “the LORD will provide”). To this day, people still use that name as a proverb: “On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.” (New Living Translation).  There are at least 169 verses in the Bible that refer to the ways God provides for us. Philippians 4:19 puts it simply: “My God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” We should take a closer look at what God desires to provide for us.

Beloved, God is concerned with every part of our being: spirit, soul, and body. As the facets of His character are infinite, so the ways God provides for us are beyond anything we can ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). We can trust His goodness, guidance, and shepherding care to do more for us than we could ever achieve on our own. God provides a way for us to develop an intimate, conversational, obedient relationship with Him so that we can lead ourselves and others into a “Psalm 23” quality of life. Those whose shepherd is the Lord can say, “I lack nothing” (Psalm 23:1). The scripture says in Proverbs 10:3, “The Lord does not let the righteous go hungry, but he thwarts the craving of the wicked.”

Dear friends, our scriptural reading today tells us how God provided miraculously a lamb of sacrifice for Abraham. This Lamb which God provided was a prefiguration of Jesus the Lamb of God that will take away the sins of the world for our salvation. With this, it is clear that the first need which God provides for is our need for salvation; therefore what we must seek is first, the salvation of our soul. As such, scripture will say “Seek first the Kingdom.” (Matt6:33) God knows you need water, clothes, food, a job, etc. He’ll never let the righteous go hungry. Continually pray to God and don’t doubt, but have faith that He will help. God is able to do more than we ask Him. God is able to accomplish, provide, help, save, keep, subdue… He is able to do what you can’t do for yourself.

Child of God, what do you need from God? Are you in need of deliverance, spiritual empowerment, for personal revival, financial and economic expansion, security and protection, educational excellence, employment, life partner, fruits of the womb, restoration of good health and healing, miraculously uplifting, long life, justice? What are your needs, not your wants? Are any of these keeping you awake on your bed? What is it that has taken away the peace of your mind?  Can you believe God for that provision? It does not matter how long the problem has lasted, what matters is your unwavering faith in divine providence, that is, faith that God will provide that miracle for you. He miraculously provided a lamb for Abraham; He abundantly provided the supply of a great catch of fish for Peter even after many hours of unfruitful labour. Peter had faith in him and obeyed. That same God will provide for your needs in the name of Jesus. Psalm 146:7 the scriptures says, “He gives justice to the oppressed and food to the hungry. The LORD frees the prisoners.” Luke 12:24 says, “Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest, they don’t have storerooms or barns, but God feeds them. And you are worth much more than birds.”

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God Provides: Like Manna in the Wilderness

God is the Great Provider.

I’d known that since childhood, but I didn’t truly recognize His personal provision for our every need until I was in my early thirties, with two young children and another one on the way, a husband who worked several extra jobs on the side, and an income that still didn’t cover all our expenses.

It was a desert season. We were frustrated by trying to make our money stretch, I was depressed, and our marriage was stuck in neutral. The tunnel looked dark, and I couldn’t see a way out.

On paper we were poor, yet I can look back now and see how I richly experienced God’s presence during that time. With a burgeoning belly, one toddler on my hip, and another wrapped around my knees, it wasn’t uncommon for me to open my near- empty refrigerator and whisper prayers of petition wrapped in thanksgiving: God, You will meet our every need. You have never failed us. You are in control. It was a “this is it” season. This, I would tell myself, is when our faith is proven real.

It wasn’t the first period in my life when I’d been forced to depend on God alone. A key example is the day my friend Courtney died tragically in a car wreck. I’d known Jesus as my personal Savior for ten years at that point, but at just nineteen, my faith was still mostly untested and immature. I felt empty, alone, and abandoned by God. The day I lost Courtney is still clear in my memory. Stifling tear-filled screams as I clenched and unclenched my fists, I crumpled to my dorm room floor and clasped my hands over my heart. “Where are You, Jesus?” I asked audibly, as I nearly hyperventilated. “Where are You now? Why can’t I feel You? Are You even real?”

Through heavy-hearted days during which sleep evaded me, God slowly, gently began to heal my grief. He soothed me through 1 Peter 1:6-9:

In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith — of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire — may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Jim and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Fast forward more than a decade, and the circumstances of this season were certainly different from that heartbreaking day in 1999. But in this trial, too, God was building our faith. Just as I personally had learned to trust Him as I walked through a season of grief, our family would learn to trust God during a season of need. It had been easy to trust Him when we weren’t in want. Now that we were, God was cultivating in us a deeper faith, a stronger trust in His provision.

I started looking at and crediting each and every incident as God’s provision for our family. Like manna in the wilderness, the Lord provided again and again and again. As time passed, I saw it more clearly than ever, and looking back, I realize He provided all along.

The manna or “bread” from heaven in Exodus 16 wasn’t what the Israelites wanted, but it was what they needed. It wasn’t extravagant, and in their shortsightedness, forgetting the turmoil the Egyptians inflicted upon them, they grumbled against God’s provision. Still, it met their needs.

Born in the United States to a semi-affluent family, I’d never experienced true want. I’d lived in abundance, as most of us in this country do. But now that my family was in need, God proved that we truly lacked nothing. Perhaps we desired more, but just as the Lord had provided for the Israelites in the desert, He covered our needs.

Whether it was through a playhouse at a garbage dump or fruit from a stranger, God has consistently provided for our family’s needs. The ways He can do this for you too are unlimited.

Good deals, great finds, and unexpected gifts

Have you ever opened your mailbox to find a higher tax return than you anticipated, a rebate from an item you purchased, or an unexpected check? None of these are random, my friend. When we cultivate a spirit of gratitude for God’s provision, we’ll see clearly how He cares for us in tangible ways. (And I argue that He gives to us so we can, in turn, give back to others as well.)

When our firstborn was three, her pediatrician diagnosed her with gluten intolerance. At the time, we were struggling to buy basic groceries. How would we rise to the overwhelming challenge of fitting expensive gluten-free foods into our budget? Not long after her diagnosis, I was poring over my weekly meal plan when I heard a knock on our front door. It was one of Will’s coworkers, Kathy. Kathy has celiac disease, which had forced her to go gluten-free several years earlier. She knew how expensive gluten-free foods cost, and she knew how little money we had. She took it upon herself to purchase some extra gluten-free groceries that day. Among them were gluten-free animal crackers for our little girl.

I held back tears as we accepted this surprise gift. It was enough food for the next few days, and it helped me realize we could trust the Lord to meet our future needs because He showed over and over that He met our present ones.

Another time, my college roommate’s parents offered our little family an entire week at their beach house. Our marriage was stuck in survival mode, I was expecting our second daughter, and we hadn’t had a real vacation in years. The tiny town of Edisto, South Carolina, provided a much-needed respite during that week. We thanked my friend’s parents for their generosity and told them how they were testaments to us of God’s provision, not only for our physical needs but also for our hearts during a turbulent time in our lives.

I believe that God provides for all of our needs; nothing is coincidental. The wild blackberries we foraged from my parents’ back yard? Those were from God. The packages of organic rolled oats that showed up at Big Lots? They were from God. The gluten-free cake mix that landed on the clearance shelf for a fraction of the retail price? Yes, from God as well.

When we choose to believe events like these are simply coincidences or somehow our own doing, we fail to credit the One who has orchestrated our entire lives (Psalm 139:16), the One who has promised to provide for all our needs (Philippians 4:19), the One who deserves glory in everything (1 Corinthians 10:31) since the beginning of time. God has promised to never leave us nor forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6), and sometimes His provision comes in the form of a Craigslist find or a great deal at the store.

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God’s Great Supply Promise

Introduction

We’re looking tonight at one of the grandest, most encouraging promises in all the Bible. But first, let’s briefly consider the background. The book of Philippians was written under divine inspiration as a letter probably while Paul was in prison at Rome, which means that it was written in approximately 61 A.D.

Here in chapter 4 Paul thanks his friends at Philippi for gifts they’ve sent to him recently and in the past and it is in that context that he, as God directs him, records the wonderful promise of Philippians 4:19. I call it “God’s Great “Supply” Promise.” Paul said, “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

In order to appreciate and apply that promise as we should, we need to understand the five key elements contained in it. Let’s look at them.

I. THE GIVER OF THE SUPPLIES

First, Paul points up THE GIVER OF THE SUPPLIES. He says, “My God shall supply all your need….” Paul was saying, in essence, “You treasured friends have been gracious to share what you have with me, and I want you to know that the Lord is going to supply all of your need.” Paul’s expression, “My God,” is indicative of his personal relationship with God, who has revealed himself ultimately in Christ.

Paul is making the point that regardless of the avenue by which they reach us, all good things whatever their nature come ultimately from the hand of God. In James 1:17 we read, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”

God uses human instrumentality, and we are to be grateful to those whom God uses to bless us and we should express our gratitude to them, although we give the glory to God. Also, you and I should always be available for God to use us to bless other people.

An elderly lady was praying, asking God for help. She prayed, “Oh, Lord, I desperately need a hundred dollars. Please send me a hundred dollars.” Her praying became very intense and loud, “Lord, I’m pleading with you please send me that hundred dollars.” Her window was slightly ajar, and a man passing by heard her and was deeply moved. He stopped on the sidewalk outside her house, and took out his billfold. All he had to his name was fifty dollars, but he determined to give that to her. He knocked on the door, and when she answered he said, “M’am, I’m a Christiana member of the local Baptist church and the Lord told me to give you this money.” She thanked him, he went his way, and she went back to her knees. She prayed, “Lord, thank you for answering my prayer, but next time please don’t send it by a Baptist he kept half of it!”

Well, maybe she just wished for a hundred dollars but actually needed only fifty. At any rate, God is the one who supplies our need.

II. THE RECIPIENTS OF THE SUPPLIES

Notice in the second place THE RECIPIENTS OF THE SUPPLIES. Paul said, “But my God shall supply all your need….”

Two things were true of those folks at Philippi to whom that promise was originally directedand, by virtue of the timelessness of the Bible, the promise can be claimed by people of all generations if they meet those same two criteria.

First of all, those to whom Paul wrote at Philippi were saved. Notice that in Philippians 1:1 Paul addresses the entire letter of Philippians “to the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons.” Some people have the mistaken idea that only the oldest, most mature, most spiritually discerning Christians are saints. But the fact is that in New Testament usage, a saint is any person who has been born again. Dr. Jim Smith says that there are just two kinds of people, “saints” and “ain’ts.” He says,

“Either you are a saint, or you ain’t!”

But not only were they saved, they were also givers. As we’ve already noted, they made it a point to share what they had with Paul and, that being true, it is reasonable to assume that they also shared with others, as well. Every

Christian should be a giver.

Go, break to the needy sweet charity’s bread,

For giving is living, the angel said.

“And must I be giving again and again?”

My peevish and pitiless answer ran.

“Oh, no,” said the angel, piercing me through,

“Just give til the Master stops giving to you!”

God blesses unselfish Christians. Galatians 6:10 says, “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” Proverbs 4:27 says, “Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it. Say not unto thy neighbor, Go, and come again, and tomorrow I will give; when thou hast it by thee.” Acts 20:35, “I have showed you all things, how that so laboring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

The Spiritual Life Of A Busy Mom

 

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The spiritual life of a busy mom: Carving out time with God when there’s no time to be had

Written by Julie Vaughan

It’s morning. I sit at my kitchen table, sipping a mug of coffee and smiling as the sun glints across my immaculate countertops. The only sounds I hear are the chirping birds outside my window and the flipping pages of my Bible. I breathe deeply and settle in for my daily devotions with God . . .

End scene.

The truth is, my mornings look nothing like this.

I usually start my day to the sound of a toddler belting out “Mommy! Mommy!” while impatiently rattling the bars of her crib. Before I can clear my sleep-bleary eyes, I’m tripping over toys, changing diapers, prepping food, laundering clothes, wiping chins and stacking dirty dishes. I’m lucky if I get a shower before 10 a.m., much less spend a quiet, meaningful hour in prayer and Bible study.

Increasingly I recognize that I need to be more purposeful about my devotions. After all, how can I expect to be an example of Christlikeness to my child (and others) when I’m hardly spending any one-on-one time with my Saviour? And yet, given how jam-packed my life is at this stage of early parenthood, it’s difficult to know how to improve my devotional times with God.

A common challenge

I recently took an informal poll of other young, believing moms to see if they had any tips to offer on this topic. I very quickly realized that we could all relate. We sincerely want to make time for devotions, and yet the realities of parenting young children, tending our marriages, taking care of our homes and, for some, juggling careers outside the home, seem to completely fill our day.

One young mother told me, “I often find myself longing for ‘the good old days’ when I had all the time I needed to curl up in a chair with my coffee and enjoy one-on-one time with the Lord. Now I’m lucky if I get 10 minutes to myself, and even luckier if I remember to spend any of those precious moments in prayer!”

Another mom said, “I think when I allow life to get in the way, God is the first thing to go. I always feel He’ll understand, or that skipping one or two days of Bible reading won’t hurt. But it does. I find myself more easily distressed when I haven’t spent time with Him, and my marriage is strained as well. Everything points to Him being our source, yet it’s so easy to push Him away and try to do things on our own.”

The truth is, whether we’re a parent struggling with the challenges of raising young children or a CEO trying to wring every last second out of the day, most of us are busy. It’s easy to push our spiritual life to the bottom of the priority list when our daily to-dos seem out of control. But we can do it! In fact, making devotional time a priority can help everything else in our day fall more smoothly into place – or at least give us the spiritual and mental resources we need to face whatever comes our way!

Real-mom solutions

Spending quality time with God may not always “look” the way you imagine it should, but it can happen. Even small chunks of time with the Lord here and there can add up to meaningful spiritual growth. Here are some practical solutions from other real-life moms:

  • One mother recently started spending devotional time with God during the first 20-30 minutes of her twin daughters’ nap time. She views this time as a spiritual act of worship in which she can literally trust God to help her accomplish everything she still needs to do that day. “I find that time alone with God is especially crucial to re-set my priorities and refresh my heart on the days when it feels like I don’t have time to be alone with God today. Those are the days when devotional time with God is most life-giving for me, my husband and my children.”
  • Another mom said, “I love to listen to the local Christian station or to Christian CDs in the car. Right now, my favourite is the CD my church’s choir put together last year. It’s full of the praise music we sing every Sunday, so I feel like I’m sitting in my regular worship service every time I listen to it.”
  • “I try to make time for Christian books occasionally. And, whenever possible, I look for a women’s Bible study at my church to join. That has always been a blessing, as I’m able to fellowship with other Christian women and moms while finding a quiet hour away from the kids and the constant needs at home.”
  • “I keep a weekly prayer journal that’s divided into three parts: thanks, confession and requests.”
  • “Surprisingly, I find that moments when I am simply sitting, watching and enjoying my daughter, are moments when I am more aware of God’s presence than ever. That’s when, in my heart, I thank Him for her, recognize how blessed I am and utter quick prayers (two-sentence pleas) to Him for her, for me as her mom, and for my husband.”
  • Pray while in the shower or when you’re getting ready for the day.
  • Write reminders and memory verses on sticky notes around the house.
  • Set a reminder on your phone or computer to remind you each day to fit in some quality time with God.
  • Read the Bible with your kids, even if they’re playing on the floor and don’t seem to really be listening. By doing so, you’re setting a good example – and they might even surprise you by how much they absorb!
  • Purchase an audio version of the Bible (some websites also offer these). Listen while you cook dinner, fold laundry or do other household tasks. Also great while in the carpool lane!
  • Set your children up with a craft project (something that needs minimal supervision) or institute an “alone time” each day when everyone plays or relaxes in their own room. Use this time to study Scripture, read a devotional book or simply pray.

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Mother

By: Gene Markland,  1.cbn.com

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Mother Just the name evokes a flood of thoughts and memories. Childhood memories of a loving hand to bandage a skinned knee, and a magical kiss upon that bandage that made the pain fade away. The big smile and wild applause from the third row in the audience of a second-grade school play, acknowledging my dramatic interpretation of a tree, a tree that spoke not a word. The bedtime stories and prayers where I learned that the Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.

Sometimes I look at her bloodstained Bible, which she took with her to dialysis treatments in her latter days. There she shared her faith and testimony with the other patients, being a blessing in her time of sickness. Though she is with the Lord, her life and love remain in my heart.

Mother.  I am doubly blessed that my child has the best one, a Mother whose child is the center of her world. She’s a Mother who loves, teaches, corrects shares, prays, plays, and focuses herself completely on the health, welfare, and happiness of her child. She’s a Mother who cries every year on the first day of school after we put our daughter on the school bus. So to cheer her up and get her mind off of it, I take her to breakfast at IHOP. It’s hard to cry in your pancakes.  She’s a role model our daughter will be hard-pressed to duplicate, though I know she will.

Mother There are many wonderful Mothers in all our lives and though we honor them every year, it seems inadequate considering what they really deserve.

MotherThere once was a Mother so unique, so precious, that our heavenly Father chose her to be the Mother of His only begotten Son. She was so trusted that even though she was young, inexperienced, and poor, she was chosen to Mother our Lord Jesus. Difficult circumstances were her lot in life, and yet through unspeakable adversity, such as the death threat against her son by the King, she poured herself into her son, who became the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.

It makes one wonder, what part of His determination; compassion, patience, longsuffering, and love came from her influence on Him. We assume that He received all of His attributes from His heavenly Father because He is the Son of God. But He is also the Son of man, so we must not forget to honor His Mother for being used of God the Father to instill many of those attributes.

MotherShe’s the one who pushed Jesus into His public ministry by making Him do His first public miracle. John 2:1-11 describes how He wasn’t prepared to turn the water into wine because He said that His time had not yet come.

“This miraculous sign at Cana in Galilee was the first time Jesus revealed his glory. And his disciples believed in him” (John 2:11 NLT).

Like us, He experienced that wonderful force of nature, a Mama who knows best!

He acknowledged her and provided for her even during His torture on the cross.

“When Jesus saw his mother standing there beside the disciple he loved, he said to her, “Dear woman, here is your son.” And he said to this disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from then on this disciple took her into his home” (John 19:26-27 NLT).

Their love and Devotion for each other didn’t end there. As she prayed with the others in the upper room on the day of Pentecost, He filled her with the Holy Spirit, and their relationship continues to this day. She is an example to Mothers, as He is an example to Sons and daughters.

Mother.  Love her. Cherish her. Honor her. She deserves it!

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A Tired Mom Can Be the Most Influential

By:  September McCarthy,  proverbs31.org

OCTOBER 25, 2017

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)

Raising daughters afforded me many opportunities to train my girls to be brave, bold, independent, strong, responsible women. As I continue in this daily investment, I’ve realized that my early motherhood was missing a key ingredient:

I had forgotten to teach my girls the value of rest and the gift of help.

For two years, I struggled with a chronic illness that required weekly medical intervention. This affected my energy, strength and motherhood. I didn’t tell my children the truth about my physical trials. I preserved my brave exterior, but I was unable to do all the things I once did, and motherhood took a necessary backseat to rest and healing.

I was tired and weak, and everything I did for my family had to be put on hold. This wrecked me to the core. I felt like I was abandoning my post.

I experienced feelings of guilt and anger over the things that made me feel weary and incapable. My children deserved to know, because I needed their help, and God wanted to use this. I was getting in the way of receiving His Grace and their help and understanding.

When our kids see us put on brave faces and give more to everyone around us while barely holding on to our sanity and strength, they see women without boundaries, void of peace. Motherhood does not have to be drudgery or a source of pride, where we carry the banner of independence and espouse a false message of “doing it all.” When we’re honest and truthful about our circumstances, we allow an infusion of hope and help into our world.

The weakest moments in motherhood can be the catalyst for my children to seek God’s strength and see His power. When we keep our needs hidden from our children, how will they know our true source of strength? We need to introduce them to the true Redeemer in all our pain and weakness. I came to realize these questions deserved answers:

  • If our children can’t see God at work in their own homes, how will they learn to lean on Him when they leave our safe spaces?
  • If our children don’t serve one another and bear burdens of those closest to them, how will they live out this biblical principle later in life?
  • If our children haven’t seen our reliance on God, will they grow up to be overwhelmed adults, forgetting Who can rescue them from their lowest moments?
  • If we pretend to have it all together, how will our children know Who really holds us together?

If there’s one thing I would have changed in my motherhood, it would be this — I would have shared my weaknesses and asked for help. I would have been honest with my kids when I was worn thin and could barely hang on.

Just as the Lord instructed the Apostle Paul, He reminds us in today’s key verse how God’s power comes alive in our weakness: “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

We never want our children to see us as “strong women” who don’t need anyone or anything, while we fall apart at the seams in our private spaces. A truly strong, grace-filled woman loves Jesus more than her pride and invites others to be a part of her journey. Everyday motherhood requires daily prayer and an urgency to know God more. This is the gift you will pass on to your children daily.

Mothers, let your children see you need Jesus!

Reborn Identity

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Reborn Identity

By: Joe Stowell, Strength For The Journey

May 9, 2019

“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17

One of my favorite movies is The Bourne Identity. The main character, Jason Bourne, suffers from a severe amnesia that leaves him haunted, frustrated, and confused.

A lot of us live like Jason Bourne. Our stories are not as dramatic but the issues are the same: Who am I, and does anyone care? We run from relationship to relationship, social event to social event, job to job, or even church to church, trying to “find ourselves.” And if we seek our sense of identity in our career, who will we be when we retire?

But there’s good news for “identity seekers.” We can have a significant and secure identity in a relationship with Jesus.

Although God made us in His image (Gen. 1:27), sin ravaged our souls and denied us the joy of a relationship with our Creator. Our identity as His prized and precious creation was damaged—until Jesus Christ came on the scene to rescue us and reclaim His created ones for His own (see Rom. 5:12-19). When we trust Christ for salvation, we gain the privileged status of being “in Him.” He takes all that is old and makes it new.

Once you realize that you are a new creation, your identity crisis will be over.

When we’re reborn—made new in Christ—
It should be plain for all to see
That God has changed us from within
And placed us in His family. —Sper

To resolve our identity crisis we must be identified with Christ.

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Alone with the Father

by Inspiration Ministries

The news about Him was spreading even farther, and large crowds were gathering to hear Him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray. Luke 5:15-16 NASB

Jesus ministry seemed to be taking off. His fame had grown. People were talking about Him and flocking to see Him in person. Yet, in the midst of this busy time, Jesus paused to do something that may have seemed illogical: He slipped away to pray. This was so important that He stopped whatever else He was doing.

Where did Jesus go to be alone with the Father? He went to the wilderness, where they could fellowship, interact, and listen to each other with no distractions.

This pattern was repeated throughout His life. Jesus consistently sought time alone with the Father after times of intense ministry (Luke 4:40-42), when He had major decisions to make (Luke 6:12-13), and when He was at the height of success (John 6:15).

Jesus was teaching us a habit we all need to develop. Yes, our schedules can be busy and demanding. We have much to do and can find many excuses. But we miss something vital when we don’t stop what we’re doing and seek God, alone and apart. If this was important to the Son of God, it is critical for us.

Today, the Father is ready to fellowship with you. He wants to renew you. Teach you. Refresh you. Guide you. Empower you. In fact, He is available right now! Don’t let anything distract you. Sit in His presence and talk to Him. Listen to Him. Spend time alone with Him.

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The world turned upside down

By: Charles Spurgeon

“These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also.” Acts 17:6

Suggested Further Reading: Matthew 5:1-12

“Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.” The merciful are not much respected in this world—at least if they are imprudently merciful; the man who forgives too much, or who is too generous, is not considered to be wise. But Christ declares that he who has been merciful—merciful to supply the wants of the poor, merciful to forgive his enemies and to pass by offences, shall obtain mercy. Here, again, is the world turned upside down. “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” The world says, “Blessed is the man who indulges in a carefree life.” If you ask the common run of mankind who is the happy man, they will tell you, “The happy man is he who has abundance of money, and spends it freely, and is freed from restraint—who leads a merry dance of life, who drinks deep of the cup of intoxication—who revels riotously, who, like the wild horse of the prairie, is not restrained by reason, but who dashes across the broad plains of sin, unharnessed, unguided, unrestrained.” This is the man whom the world calls happy: the proud man, the mighty man, the Nimrod, the man who can do just as he wishes, and who spurns to keep the narrow way of holiness. Now, the Scripture says, not so, for “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God”

“Blest is the man who shuns the place Where sinners love to meet;
Who fears to tread their wicked ways, And hates the scoffer’s seat….”

The man who cannot touch one thing because that would be lascivious, nor another because that would spoil his communion with his Master; a man who cannot frequent this place of amusement, because he could not pray there, and cannot go to another, because he could not hope to have his Master’s sanction upon an hour so spent—that man is blessed!