Monthly Archives: April 2021

Give Your Heart To God

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Top 39 Bible Verses-What God Sees In Our Hearts81 Bible verses about Holiness, As Set Apart For God

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81 Bible verses about Holiness, As Set Apart For GodTop 39 Bible Verses-What God Sees In Our Hearts

 

A Heart That Is Set Apart for God

From: CBN.com, Martha Noebel

The Lord impressed upon me to consider writing an article on being “set apart for God.” I asked a few of my co-workers what they thought it meant and here are a few of their thoughts on the meaning of being set apart for God:

  • God has His hand on you for a specific purpose. He’ll use other people, dreams, visions, and that “still small voice” of God to get you on track.
  • To be marked by God for a particular purpose. He guides our lives differently than it might have been had we not submitted to His call. And even though it may appear that we are not in ministry, we are marked by God to minister in day to day living. Because He has set us apart, we are already walking into our destinies.
  • We will feel a pull away from people and things that distract us. Even though we may feel as if we are put on a shelf and forgotten, we have been set apart for the call of God on our lives. It is during these times that we will find ourselves spending quality time with God as He molds and makes us into His image. He will build character in us so that when it is time to go on the frontlines, He knows we will be ready. He will be able to trust us with what has been appointed for us to do. Jesus said, “Come out from among them and be ye separate.” II Corinthians 6:17
  • It is as if we can picture Jesus standing in the middle of a very busy, dusty, Middle East marketplace, not even aware of all the disruption going on around Him. Instead He is intently holding up and examining select pieces of fruit. Matthew 22:14 says, “For many are called, but few are chosen.” After deciding on His choice, He gently places them one by one in a basket cradled in the crook of His arm, close to His side.
  • God has chosen us to do a work for Him and we need to be “set apart”, chosen to do a work for the King. He has anointed us and equipped us to be used for the advancement of His kingdom. Once, I began cutting a beautiful, crimson-colored nectarine I brought in with my lunch. To my surprise, it was totally rotten on the inside. The Holy Spirit led me to know that this fruit is symbolic of what some Christians are like —beautiful on the outside but the inside tells a different story. I felt a check to make sure I was clean before the Lord.
  • It means to be made holy, consecrated to Him. Christians are given a special role in life to serve Him. We are transferred from the domain of darkness to the Kingdom of Light. We are strangers to this world’s system. Instead of thinking and acting like the world, we are set apart from this more common way of viewing and living life and are given a different purpose, which is to serve God and become more like Jesus. You could say that we are separated from worldliness and given new purpose in Jesus to be used by God.

Personally, I agree with all of the above. In my 50 years of living on this earth, I have spent 43 years as a Christian. From the very beginning, I have felt called to be separated unto God. My desires were to please God. I did not always succeed, but my heart was for God.

If I get off track, God always gently guides me back onto the path He has chosen for me. In 1 Thessalonians 4, Paul tells us that we should live a life pleasing to the Lord. In verse one, Paul encourages us to live it even more than before. A few verses later, 1 Thessalonians 4:9 instructs us to love our Christian families and Christians around us. He exhorts us to love them even more.

In 1 Thessalonians 5:6,8 Paul says,

“So we should not be like other people who are sleeping, but we should be alert and have self-control. … We should wear faith and love to protect us, and the hope of salvation should be our helmet.”

Later, in 1 Thessalonians 5:13-22, we get these insights: Live in peace with each other, warn those who do not work, and encourage the people who are afraid. Help those who are weak, be patient with everyone, be sure that no one pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to do what is good for each other.

Further instructions are to always be joyful, pray continually, give thanks for whatever happens, do not hold back the work of the Holy Spirit, do not treat prophecy as if it were unimportant, but test everything. Keep what is good and stay away from everything that is evil.

If we are set apart to do the work of the Lord, then we will not have time to get into trouble; especially if our hearts are set on pleasing God. We should be working on being full of the fruit of the Spirit and telling people about the message of the Gospel of peace. That alone is a full-time job.

And, as Paul ends his letters in 2 Thessalonians 3:16,

“Now may the Lord of peace give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.”

 

It’s Not Good Luck – It’s a Good God

8 Bible verses about Heart, Known To God

“May the LORD reward you for your work. May full pay be given to you from the LORD, the God of Israel. It is under His wings that you have come to be safe.” Ruth 2:12 (NLV)

When life gets messed up, it is only natural to feel like God is overlooking our sufferings and not at work in our lives. But believing God doesn’t care can blind us to where He is working, or we can attribute His goodness to nothing more than good luck.

I don’t believe in good luck. I believe in a good God.

In the book of Ruth, we read how Naomi struggled to see God at work in her life due to the onslaught of losses and disappointments she had endured. She had to leave her home due to a famine and move to another city. Then, she lost her husband, two sons, friends, wealth and financial security. Her heart became bitter and her faith, shaken. She believed her life was permanently void of good things and felt all she had was bad luck. Yet, despite her negativity and lack of faith, God had awesome plans for her life.

When good things finally did start happening after a long season of suffering, I can’t help but wonder if Naomi chalked them up to happenstance rather than giving credit where credit was due. It would have been easy because her heart was heavy, her faith weak and her spirit crushed. Yet, as you read her story, it’s obvious there was a good God orchestrating a divine plan.

We read in chapter one that Naomi and her daughter-in-law Ruth arrived back in Bethlehem just in time for the beginning of the barley harvest. Good luck? No, a good God with perfect timing. The harvest was God’s plan for meeting their physical needs for food and protection from harm.

In Ruth 2:1, we find Naomi had a wealthy and influential relative named Boaz. Good luck? No, generations of planning by a good God to open doors of opportunity and provision for them. In Ruth 2:2-3, Ruth goes to pick up leftover grain in the fields, and “As it turned out, she was working in a field belonging to Boaz” (NIV). Was it just good luck she ended up in Boaz’s field, of all fields? No, it was a good God going before her and guiding her steps.

Then in Ruth 2:4, the story continues, “Just then Boaz arrived …” (NIV). Good luck? No, a good God with perfectly orchestrated timing. And who does Boaz just happen to notice? Ruth. Good luck? No, a good God working on a man’s heart to prepare His plans to be carried out.

Ruth 2:12 reminds us of God’s goodness: “May the LORD reward you for your work. May full pay be given to you from the Lord, the God of Israel. It is under His wings that you have come to be safe” (NLV). And the rest is history.

Boaz later married Ruth, and they have a son together, giving Naomi a new son-in-law and a precious grand-bundle of joy. He purchased Naomi’s land and secured her financial well-being. These were all divinely planned gifts from God, not just good luck. Gifts of restoration and blessing, in His perfect timing, according to His perfect plans.

As for me, I have seen God at work, and His restoration plans for my life play out day by day. I can look back at so many good things that have happened over the past few years and can’t help but smile … because I see God’s miracles, not just streaks of good luck.

Although many areas of my circumstances are not yet restored, and life is often still hard, I now realize God did something even better than I could have imagined. He’s healed my heart and restored my strength, peace, hope, faith and joy — just as He did for Naomi and Ruth, and just as He wants to do for each of His children.

There’s no such thing as chance-happenings, my friend, only God-happenings, because Scripture reminds us God has His hand in all matters under the sun. Remember: God is always in control, working behind the scenes to orchestrate good plans for our lives. This not only gives us great hope, but also equips us to live with joy — despite whatever life throws at us.

Counting Provisions, Not Problems

Song: Dwell In Your House Verse 1: You set me apart Gave me a new heart  Filled with compassion To share Your great love. - ppt download

“The LORD spoke to Moses in the tent of meeting in the Desert of Sinai on the first day of the second month of the second year after the Israelites came out of Egypt. He said: ‘Take a census of the whole Israelite community by their clans and families, listing every man by name, one by one.’” Numbers 1:1-2 (NIV)

One of my college summer jobs was at a retail clothing store. There were many fun parts about it, but my least favorite task was taking inventory.

When the manager told the employees it was time to do inventory, my internal groan was loud because we had to count everything in the store and record it. The store sold baby clothes, so counting socks, onesies and tiny outfits became tedious. Though menial and boring, taking stock of inventory was necessary in order to assess losses and prepare for a new line of clothing.

There are many tedious but necessary tasks in our adult lives as well. For instance, before making a weekly grocery list, we check our fridge and pantry to see what we already have and what we need; otherwise, we might end up with more gallons of milk than we have room for. And it’s necessary to closely assess our finances before making an expensive purchase.

Sometimes, the tasks that seem the most menial are the most important in preparing us, giving us knowledge and — as we see in today’s Bible story — filling our hearts with hope.

In the first chapter of the book of Numbers, we find God asking Israel to take a census of the people who had come out of slavery in Egypt: “The LORD spoke to Moses in the tent of meeting in the Desert of Sinai on the first day of the second month of the second year after the Israelites came out of Egypt. He said: ‘Take a census of the whole Israelite community by their clans and families, listing every man by name, one by one. You and Aaron are to count according to their divisions all the men in Israel who are twenty years old or more and able to serve in the army’” (Numbers 1:1-3).

God didn’t ask His people to crunch the numbers regarding how much clothing, gold or food they possessed. Instead, He told them to count the people. The Lord was preparing Israel to take the land He had promised them (Canaan). He wanted them to know their military strength and have everyone organized. And as they faced this next step that would require great faith, maybe God also wanted them to remember just how many of them He rescued from Egypt.

While I still believe God cares about relationships more than anything else, I am learning He uses numbers for His purposes. After all, He counted His people (Numbers 1:46), knows the number of hairs on our heads (Matthew 10:30) and records the number of our tears (Psalm 56:8).

While God asked Israel to count to bolster their faith, I tend to crunch numbers on my problems, which often has the opposite effect. I add up the number of people bringing me frustration, the number of times I have to nag family members to follow through or the number of items on my to-do list I don’t have time to accomplish. Do you, like me, struggle with counting problems rather than provisions?

Having the people of Israel take stock of their resources was one way God prepared them to appreciate what they had rather than focus on what they didn’t have. It also served as an exercise to grow their faith in Him as He led them into the promised land. We, too, can crunch the numbers and realize God has placed people in our lives to help us fight our battles, and He’s with us through every battle as well. Let’s take stock today, praising Him for not only what He’s given us, but also who He is to us.

Worship The Lord With Gladness

K-LOVE's Encouraging Word. Worship the Lord with gladness. Come before him,  singing with joy. Psalm 100:2 NLT | Worship the lord, Psalms, Words of  encouragement17 Bible verses about Joy In Worship
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Bible Verses about 'Joy'Bible Verses About Joy: 25 Scriptures on Happiness - FaithGateway

 

A Stubborn Intolerance for Joyless Christianity

17 Bible verses about Joy In Worship

by Alex Crain, crosswalk.com

“Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.” – Habakkuk 3:17

Should one’s relationship with the infinite and personal living God be joyless? Francis Schaeffer didn’t think so. Yet there he was, a joyless man. Technically, he was theologically sound, but there was no denying that he had become a completely joyless Christian man. If that had continued, no one would be speaking of Schaeffer or his writings, or his legacy today. Thankfully, he was stubbornly intolerant of joyless Christianity.

In True Spirituality, Schaeffer tells how the spiritual reality, which would become the hallmark of his life, came about only after a time of great personal crisis. It was 1952. Schaeffer had become a Christian from agnosticism years before. After that, he had been a pastor for ten years in the U.S. and was now a missionary in Switzerland living with his wife and young children. Over a period lasting several months, Francis worked through the disturbing gap that he saw between the large amount of Bible data he claimed to believe and the lack of genuine spiritual joy in his life.

One significant and challenging question that caused Francis to ponder long and hard is recounted by his wife, Edith, in her book, The Tapestry, p. 356 ff.)…/p>

“I wonder what would happen to most of our churches and Christian work if we woke up tomorrow morning and everything concerning the reality and work of the Holy Spirit, and everything concerning prayer were removed from the Bible? I don’t mean just ignored, but actually cut out—disappeared. I wonder how much difference it would make?”

Apparently, during that period, it was making no difference in Schaeffer’s life. His doubts had cut the nerve of faith. And over those months as he walked in the mountains, Francis re-thought the doctrines of the Bible, the reality of the Holy Spirit, and each of his reasons for being a Christian.

At last, he declared…

“Gradually the sun came out and the song came… I saw again that there were totally sufficient reasons to know that the infinite-personal God does exist and that Christianity is true.

“In going further, I saw something else which made a profound difference in my life. I searched through what the Bible said concerning reality as a Christian. Gradually, I saw that the problem was that with all the teaching I had received after I was a Christian, I had heard little about what the Bible says about the meaning of the finished work of Christ for our present lives.

“Interestingly enough, although I had written no poetry for many years, in that time of joy and song I found poetry beginning to flow again—poetry of certainty, an affirmation of life, thanksgiving, and praise. Admittedly, as poetry it is very poor, but it expressed a song in my heart which was wonderful to me.” (from True Spirituality, p. 196 in The Complete Works of Francis Schaeffervol. 3 © 1982 Crossway Books, Wheaton, Illinois).

That time of crisis—and more importantly, his rediscovery of the meaning of the finished work of Christ for his present life—settled the crucial issue of spiritual reality for Schaeffer. Francis saw and believed that the finished work of Christ really is the source of the Christian’s life. Rather than pursue the trappings of Christian leadership while personally being a joyless Christian, he determined to wait for a greater reality of knowing God. With such a solid spiritual basis for his own life, he went on to become a great source of help for countless others.

 

Through The Bible Devotions

Bible Verses about 'Worship'

Joshua 21:44-45 (NIV) 44The LORD gave them rest on every side, just as he had sworn to their forefathers. Not one of their enemies withstood them; the LORD handed all their enemies over to them. 45Not one of all the Lord’s good promises to the house of Israel failed; every one was fulfilled.

In the eyes of the people God had provided everything He had promised. He had given them rest from their enemies. He fought for them and gave them victory. Is it any different for us today? Will the LORD fight your battles for you and keep all His promises to you? Absolutely! You can count on it. It may not always be in the way you imagine or be easy. Battles are good for us.

In the history of Israel, this period seems to be their most faithful period. These years of battles and victories seem to have the least amount of compromise and murmuring. Does that tell us anything? We wonder why life seems to be so full of struggle. Perhaps we would be worse off if we had no battles before us to keep us on our knees, asking for God’s help.

We often wonder if we will ever see the end of conflict, a time when the battles are over, and we can rest. Yes, it is coming. The LORD will give us rest, but not in this life. Oh, you will have breaks between battles, but we need the battles to grow and move forward. We need to keep taking the land as long as we are here. When there was no outer enemy to fight, Israel’s history showed that they turned inward and lost the battles with idolatry and discontentment. Thank God for battles. Keep taking the land. In God’s time you will have rest.

Prayer: Lord, help me appreciate the battles, knowing they are for my eternal good.

Christ’s people—imitators of him

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“Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.” Acts 4:13

Suggested Further Reading: Ephesians 4:11-16

I will ever maintain—that by grace we are saved, and not by ourselves; but equally must I testify, that where the grace of God is, it will produce fitting deeds. To these I am ever bound to exhort you, while you are ever expected to have good works for necessary purposes. Again, I do not, when I say that a believer should be a striking likeness of Jesus, suppose that any one Christian will perfectly exhibit all the features of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; yet my brethren, the fact that perfection is beyond our reach, should not diminish the ardour of our desire after it. The artist, when he paints, knows right well that he shall not be able to excel Apelles; but that does not discourage him; he uses his brush with all the greater pains, that he may at least in some humble measure resemble the great master. So the sculptor; though persuaded that he will not rival Praxiteles, will hew out the marble still, and seek to be as near the model as possible. Just so the Christian man; though he feels he never can mount to the height of complete excellence, and perceives that he never can on earth become the exact image of Christ, still holds it up before him, and measures his own deficiencies by the distance between himself and Jesus. This will he do, forgetting all he has attained, he will press forward, crying, Excelsior! Going upwards still, desiring to be conformed more and more to the image of Christ Jesus.

For meditation: Christians are fellow-pupils in the masterclass of the supreme Master (John 13:12-15).

Revive Us Again Oh! Lord

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Revival Begins with You

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By: Greg Laurie, crosswalk.com

Then we will not turn back from You; revive us, and we will call upon Your name. (Psalm 80:18 NKJV)

Charles Finney, who was known to be a part of a great revival, said, “The experience of revival is nothing more than a new beginning of obedience to God.”

Any genuine revival that has ever happened in human history has brought about repentance in the lives of the people, a change in the community, and evangelism en masse.

We need a real revival today—not just an emotional experience and not just a tingle down the backbone. We need to see God work, because our nation needs it as never before. We don’t need some new thing. We don’t even need a “fresh word from the Lord.” Rather, we need to get back to the old things, to the very standards that God gave us, and we need to practice those.

I like what Jeremiah said: “Thus says the Lord: ‘Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way isand walk in it; then you will find rest for your souls’” (Jeremiah 6:16 NKJV).

The early church, the one that Jesus started, turned their world upside down. They set the world on fire. But the church of today is much larger than the early church and has considerable resources, with incredible technology to utilize. Yet it seems as though the world is turning us upside down. Why aren’t we setting our world on fire? Because we need a revival. We need an awakening.

We talk about the need for revival in our country and about the need for change in the church. But we must each ask ourselves these questions: Am I personally revived? Am I living as a committed, on-fire follower of Jesus Christ?

If you are not, then you are part of the problem, not part of the solution.

 

Revivable?

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When I think about a spiritual revival, my mind goes back to the days when it meant a traveling evangelist came to town, set up a large tent, covered the ground in sawdust, and posted flyers on telephone poles. For the most part, that has become an event relegated to a bygone era, uncommon in this day and time.

Revivals moved into church buildings and for a couple of weeks, people received a fresh gospel message and an opportunity to renew their faith and their excitement for God. Eventually, two weeks became one until now most church “Revivals” run from Sunday through Wednesday. In some Churches, revivals have become a short burst of life in an otherwise predictable series of routine services.

Young people are hungry for spiritual awakening, the reality of the gospel, but when they don’t find it they lose interest altogether. Some say revivals have died due to a lack of interest. I hope that is not true, for revival is what we need more than anything. We need to recapture our first love, turn back to the God of power and might, the God of love who changes lives and heals broken hearts.

But one question remains. Are we revivable? Are we? If so, then how does it happen? What should we do? First, we must understand that revival begins with us, as individuals. The greatest revivals began with one concerned person who went to their knees and prayed for God to bring revival as a sovereign act.

We have God’s promise in the Bible that says, “Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me.” (Psalms 138:7 KJV)

From this and other scriptures, we know that the heart of God is to draw us close to Him and to have pure Holy fellowship together. No matter what we have done, or how far we have strayed from Him, His loving arms are outstretched to His children. When our relationship is right, there is so much peace that floods our soul that we must ask ourselves, why? Why do we stray and allow ourselves to become cold and distant from God?

A cold, indifferent world of sin will drag us away if we let it, but is it ever worth it? No. A relationship with our Loving Father is priceless and should be our first priority. Yet we take Him for granted because He is always there.

It’s time we turn back to God, repent, and ask for revival, for our families, our Nation, and ourselves. Yet the question remains, are we revivable? The same question is asked in the Bible as the Psalmist wrote,

“Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You?” (Psalms 85:6 KJV)

Yes, we are revivable! God will breathe new life into us when we ask. It’s His will to forgive us, bless us, and welcome us back to our first love. He is so wonderful and His grace is unfathomable. He will not only bring us back to where we were, but He will take us to new places in Him.

If we humble ourselves in the sight of the Lord He will lift us up.

“For thus says the High and Lofty One Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, with him who has a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.”” (Isaiah 57:15 NKJV)

Pray for revival. History shows that God has sent revival to countries in times of national crisis, war and economic stress. His word describes how He will look throughout the earth for those whose heart is toward Him. And to those loyal to Him, He will prove Himself strong on their behalf, and will actually fight their battles.

The Bible is replete with examples and proof that He wants to bless His people because He cares about each one. So, since we are revivable, pray for revival as if it all depends on you. It very well may.

Revival Conditions

Bible Verses About Revival (Page 1) - Line.17QQ.com

By: A. W. Tozer

Our mistake is that we want God to send revival on our terms. We want to get the power of God into our hands, to call it to us that it may work for us in promoting and furthering our kind of Christianity. We want still to be in charge, guiding the chariot through the religious sky in the direction we want it to go, shouting “Glory to God,” it is true, but modestly accepting a share of the glory for ourselves in a nice inoffensive sort of way. We are calling on God to send fire on our altars, completely ignoring the fact that they are our altars and not God’s. And like the prophets of Baal we are working ourselves into a frenzy as if we could by violence command the arm of the Almighty.

The whole error results from a confused notion of revival and a failure to recognize the moral laws that underlie the kingdom of God. God never moves whimsically; His ways are never impulsive or erratic. He never sends judgment unless there has been a violation of His laws, nor does He send blessing apart from obedience to those laws. So precise are His movements both in justice and in mercy that an intelligent observer, aware of the circumstances, could predict with complete accuracy any visitation of judgment or grace God might send to a nation, a church or an individual.

Of this we may be certain: We cannot continue to ignore God’s will as expressed in the Scriptures and expect to secure the aid of God’s Spirit. God has given us a complete blueprint for the Church and He requires that we adhere to it 100 percent. Message, morals and methods are there, and we are under strict obligation to be faithful to all three. Today we have the strange phenomenon of a company of Christians solemnly protesting to heaven and earth the purity of their Bible creed, and at the same time following the unregenerate world in their methods and managing only with difficulty to keep their moral standards from sinking out of sight. Coldness, worldliness, pride, boasting, lying, misrepresenting, love of money, exhibitionism — all these things are practiced by professedly orthodox Christians, not in secret but in plain sight and often as a necessary part of the whole religious show.

A Mother’s Heart

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The Original Mother’s Heart

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For as long as I can remember I wanted to be an archaeologist. The whole idea of finding something buried and unseen by others appealed to me. When younger, I could be found digging in some corner of the yard. Best thing I ever found was an old spark plug calibrator. And then, I encountered Christ. My whole life changed, but my love for a good dig didn’t. It was simply redirected.

God placed a treasure trove of priceless jewels within reach when I was handed a Bible. Miner’s hat? Check. Pickaxe and shovel? Check. Burning passion to discover God? Check, check.

In my search for God’s nature, I stumbled across something stunning: His handiwork in fashioning mothers’ hearts. It’s easy to miss God weaving Himself into mothers and their hearts. A deep well, failing definition. Greeting cards offer armies of categories addressing it. Hollywood’s spent millions depicting it onscreen. Yet the wellspring of a mother’s heart remains mysterious.

Our Creator takes care to knit Himself into who we are and will become. In examining His love for us, His mothering nature is quickly apparent:

“…How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings…” (Matthew 23:37 NASB)

How could God reference Himself as a protective mother, lest He’d poured His compassionate nature into the mother’s heart? His maternal temperament continues:

“…He will rejoice over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.” (Zephaniah 3:17b NASB)

“Quiet in His love,” duplicates the tenderest moments between mother and child, referencing the child being fully contented and simply enjoying the closeness of its mother. The child wants nothing more than its mother’s presence. It’s a time of quiet love. Drawing powerful strength from her proximity alone. Again we see His mothering side:

“Can a woman forget her nursing child and have no compassion on the son of her womb?” (Isaiah 49:15a NASB)

Who better than the Designer of mothers could explain this nurturing side of Himself? The nourishing definition of Jehovah Jireh. Our Provider. His provision in limitless care was famously spoken to Moses. Asking a yet unnamed God His name, He replied, “I Am.” A statement begging to fill in the blank. “I AM everything. I AM infinite. I AM all powerful.”

Until my mother’s passing, I took full advantage of my family membership and went straight to her for comfort. Dad understood my running past him to reach her arms. With advancing years, hurts changed, but the source of my consolation didn’t. I still went to Mom for comfort. For through her kindness, forgiveness, and never-ending compassion, I came to wholly trust God. He was easily recognizable in her and I deeply valued God’s mothering heart woven tightly into hers.

The birthing process is God’s idea. He’s maternally given birth to the universe, birth to our planet, and birth to us. Most importantly He’s given us re-birth, calling us into reconciliatory relationships with Him. Nicodemus needed clarification. He knew it impossible to reenter a mother’s womb a second time. God’s way was easier with no gestational period. Being born-again in the Spirit granted restoration with the Father; enjoying unbroken intimacy.

Our Father in heaven is solidly our Father. His maternal nature guarantees attendance at every bird’s funeral. Keeps track of 7.2 billion heads of hair. Tallies innumerable thoughts about us exceeding grains of sand. Stills our storms, heals our diseases, binds our broken hearts. The most potent attribute of His mother’s heart is His lavish forgiveness of our sins. Black sins, washed in red blood, producing robes of white righteousness. Like the mother that deliberately forgets her child’s shortcomings, He casts our sins directionally as far as the east is from the west, until sinking to the floor of the Sea of Forgetfulness.

Simply stated, He is Father God with a mother’s heart. Waiting to wipe every tear; sitting up with us through the night; and listening to our troubles—solving them while we are yet speaking.

The mother’s heart is best defined by her unselfish generosity in ongoing, unconditional giving. Thank you, Mom, for letting me feel God’s love radiate through you.

 

Bursting the Bubble

by Meghan Kleppinger, crosswalk.com

“…We are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.”- 2 Peter 3:13

Washington D.C. is a politically powerful city and it’s easy for young professionals working there to get carried away by all of its bells and whistles. As a recent college graduate who experienced this firsthand, I found that it doesn’t take long to adapt to the culture. It’s an exciting place to be, but the problem with becoming a full-blown Washingtonian is that too often, people forget why they are there to begin with.

Most people move to Washington to support a cause or to work for a politician representing a state. I, for example, worked for a non-profit that worked to preserve family values, and many of my peers worked for their state senators or representatives.

To help pop the D.C. bubble we were living in, several of us developed the discipline of reading our hometown papers online each morning. By reading the Richmond Times-Dispatch every day, I was reminded of my roots, culture, where I was from, and for whom I was really working. This practice, along with repeating our mantra, “this isn’t the real world,” enabled many of us to start each day in Washington as Virginians, Pennsylvanians, Texans, etc., representing the states we called home.

Sometimes life gets tough, circumstances cause confusion and doubt, purpose becomes unclear, and faith seems irrelevant and far removed from everyday struggles. It doesn’t take much for the line between the world we currently live in, and the promise of our eternal home, to become blurry – it’s those times when “home” with Christ sometimes seems so far away.

For me, these bleak moments almost always coincide with periods of times that I’ve stepped away from praying and spending time in God’s Word each day.

It’s not that prayer and study act like a magic formula changing my circumstances, though sometimes God does change them; usually, it is simply this set-aside time that causes me to regroup and change my perspective of the circumstances.

God is greater than man. He’s our creator, sustainer, and He’s in control of everything. He loves us, gives us purpose, and promises us a future with Him. This life is temporal and is nothing in comparison to spending eternity with Christ. How do I know these things? It’s all in God’s Word.

Revisiting scripture and praying on a daily basis acts as a needle bursting the bubble I live in. Like reading my hometown paper each day, scripture reminds me that this world doesn’t own me. No matter how long I’m on earth, it’s not my home and I’m not here to represent it – instead, I need to be an ambassador for my Father until it’s time to go home to Him.

 

Streams in the Desert

Times have changed, but life’s hard times haven’t

And the one who lives! I was dead, but look, now I am alive – forever and ever – and I hold the keys of death and of Hades! (Rev 1:18)

Flower! Easter lilies! Speak to me this morning the same dear old lesson of immortality which you have been speaking to so many sorrowing souls.

Wise old Book! let me read again in your pages of firm assurance that to die is gain.

Poets! recite to me your verses which repeat in every line the Gospel of eternal life.

Singers! break forth once more into songs of joy; let me hear again the well-known resurrection psalms.

Tree and blossom and bird and sea and sky and wind whisper it, sound it afresh, warble it, echo it, let it throb and pulsate through every atom and particle; let the air be filled with it.

Let it be told and retold and still retold until hope rises to conviction, and conviction to certitude of knowledge; until we, like Paul, even though going to our death, go with triumphant mien, with assured faith, and with serene and shining face.

O sad-faced mourners, who each day are wending
Through churchyard paths of cypress and of yew,
Leave for today the low graves you are tending,
And lift your eyes to God’s eternal blue!

It is no time for bitterness or sadness;
Twine Easter lilies, not pale asphodels;
Let your souls thrill to the caress of gladness,
And answer the sweet chime of Easter bells.

If Christ were still within the grave’s low prison,
A captive of the enemy we dread;
If from that moldering cell He had not risen,
Who then could chide the gloomy tears you shed?

If Christ were dead there would be need to sorrow,
But He has risen and vanquished death for aye;
Hush, then your sighs, if only till the morrow,
At Easter give your grief a holiday.
—May Riley Smith

A well-known minister was in his study writing an Easter sermon when the thought gripped him that his Lord was living. He jumped up excitedly and paced the floor repeating to himself, “Why Christ is alive, His ashes are warm, He is not the great ’I was,’ He is the great ’I am.’” He is not only a fact, but a living fact. Glorious truth of Easter Day!

We believe that out of every grave there blooms an Easter lily, and in every tomb there sits an angel. We believe in a risen Lord. Turn not your faces to the past that we may worship only at His grave, but above and within that we may worship the Christ that lives. And because He lives, we shall live also.
—Abbott

Seek God With All Your Heart

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Unexpected Company

illustration of Jesus telling Zacchaeus to come down from the tree

 

Forty years later, I can still hear my daughter singing about a “wee little man.”  Complete with motions, climbing up a sycamore tree, and Jesus looking up to see him, she knew the story by heart.

Luke 19:1-10 tells us Zacchaeus, a tax collector, was a short-statured man determined to see Jesus. Can’t you see him, weaving through rows of people, trying to get a glimpse of the famous teacher? Frustrated and unsuccessful, he chose another route. The man had spunk. He climbed a tree and disregarded the potential of splinters from rough branches, bird droppings, and pieces of bark clinging to his robe. Curiosity and tenacity ruled.

Then it happened. Jesus stopped. He noticed Zacchaeus.

“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).

Jesus even called him by name and said he must go to his house. Could it be? Unexpected company and life-changing results were in store for Zacchaeus, who was regarded by the crowd, and Jesus, as a sinner.

Every morning we have that same invitation. Jesus says, ‘I’m coming to your house today.’ Perhaps we meet Jesus reading online devotions, or our personal quiet time with our Bible, and in prayer. Though we may be Christians, we are sinners, saved by His grace. Jesus never stops seeking our attention. He wants to come. He delights in our company.

Are we delighted or in a hurry? Jesus said, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” Not “I’d like to,” but He must come. He knows what He has for us:

  • The One with perfect wisdom desires to offer insight into our decisions. Do you want to miss out on hearing Him say, ‘I have a word for you about managing that relationship, difficult co-worker, finances, …’?
  • The One who has purposes in mind for us offers to reveal His plans for our day. He’s just waiting to hear from you as if He is saying, ‘Pray and ask me for wisdom and direction. I have a storehouse. Listen for my voice.’
  • The One who loves us with unfailing love wants to comfort us in disappointments and heartache. ‘I know you’re hurting but feel my comfort and love.’

We don’t need to climb a tree and get splinters. While we’re still dressed in pajamas with a coffee cup in hand, Jesus wants to come to our house and meet us at the start of our day. Luke 19:6 tells us Zacchaeus’ response was to welcome Him gladly. Zacchaeus looked and it was life-changing. Are you willing to do the same and take the time to listen?

Transformation From the Inside Out

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 By: Lloyd Wicker

Scripture Reading — Luke 19:1-10

Today salvation has come to this house. . . . For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost. — Luke 19:9-10

The story of Zacchaeus beautifully captures the message of the gospel and the transforming power of God’s grace. Zacchaeus wasn’t a popular person at all. As a chief tax collector, his job was to gather taxes for the Roman government. This profession was notorious for corruption. Not only was he a man of great wealth based on the job he had, but he may well have been lonely—generally rejected by his own people.

Zacchaeus was small in stature as well as being small in character. But he wanted to see Jesus, so he climbed a tree to see over the crowd. As Jesus approached, he picked out Zacchaeus and invited himself to the man’s home. Certainly this would have upset the townspeople, but Jesus saw something in Zacchaeus that only God can see in a person. He saw the man he could be. And Zacchaeus’s transformation was dramatic. His salvation came not because he returned a large part of his riches, but because he received the grace and mercy of Jesus—and it changed the way he lived. His transformation was public and personal and urgently important.

From sinner to seeker to ­follower, Zacchaeus became an example of the change that takes place in our lives because of Christ. Yes, the same happens in our lives too, because a change of heart leads to a change of character and ­behavior.

Prayer

Thank you, Jesus, for your transforming grace and mercy. Change us from the inside out so that our words and actions rightly reflect your ongoing work in our lives. Amen.

The Perverse Generation

22 Bible Verses about Seeking - DailyVerses.net

Sarah Phillips, crosswalk.com

“O unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you and put up with you?” Luke 9:41

There is much written today about how the world has lost touch with God and morality. It’s easy to view the past with rose-tinted glasses, to believe in “the good old days” or reminisce about a golden era.  We do this in the Church all the time, often pointing to one practice that, if resurrected, would surely turn this generation around.

“If only the women still wore head coverings in church… ”

“If only we sang ancient hymns… ”

“If only young men and women got married earlier… ”

Don’t read me wrong here… these issues are important. But the stark reality is, every generation has fallen short of God’s glory. Every generation has sinned. Does this sound familiar?

“The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers.”

How often have I been tempted to mutter these words when encountering today’s teenagers? But this quote is attributed to Socrates by Plato. Apparently, teens weren’t doing so well in the ancient world either. The fallen nature of man has followed us through the ages, plaguing the youth and old alike. Our broken nature manifests itself in so many ways… from the darkest sins to our lack of basic manners and courtesy.

Jesus himself seemed to grow weary of the sins of his own day. I imagine the opening scripture was expressed with a mix of sadness and righteous anger.

But what is the rest of the story? Even as his sinful followers surrounded him, Jesus healed the spiritual and physical afflictions of a possessed boy. We see here that going back to the “good old days” doesn’t have the power to save us. It’s the person of Jesus Christ who saves. This is the miracle of Easter: The incredible mercy of a God who would be justified in staying angry forever after the golden era of Eden went terribly wrong. He hears our cries for redemption – weak though they may be – and saves us.

Is the world worse today than it was yesterday? Does it matter? God’s patience and mercy for our “perverse and unbelieving generation” reveal the depths of his divine love. And those forgiven the most sins have the greatest number of reasons to rejoice.

God Hears You

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God Hears You

God Hears You | The Consecrated Woman

In my distress I called to the Lord; I called out to my God. From his templee heard my voice; my cry came to his ears. (2 Samuel 22:7 NIV)

The cries that awaken a mother in the middle of the night are many and varied.

There’s the cry that says, I’m feeling a little lonely; it would be nice to see your face. Another cry says, Something disturbed me. I don’t like it, and I think you ought to know about it. My diaper’s wet or my tummy’s hungry.

And then there’s the cry that could raise the dead. You know, the one that jerks you upright and on your feet even before your eyes are open.

A weekend with my granddaughter, Lauren, allowed me to experience all three of these cries. I was visiting for the weekend and offered to babysit so my daughter and son-in-law could have an evening out.

Following their usual bedtime ritual, I bathed Lauren, read her a bedtime story, and tucked her into bed. An hour or so later, I heard her whimper. Tiptoeing to her room, I peeked in to check on her. Apparently she had lost her pacifier and was rustling around in search of it. I watched her find it in the semi-darkness, slide it into her mouth, and drift off to sleep again.

Later that night, after I had gone to bed, I again heard a cry from her room. I tiptoed to the door to check on her. Although her cries were louder than before, she settled down in a few minutes with no intervention from me.

At 5 a.m., however, it was a different story. Shrill screams pierced the air, causing me to sit straight up in bed. My daughter, now home and asleep, responded instantly, but it took several minutes before Lauren’s cries subsided.

Wise parents learn to distinguish between the cries that warrant immediate attention, the ones that need monitoring, and those that are best ignored.

But regardless of the reason, mothers hear every cry. Their ears are attuned to the sound of their babies’ voices, and their hearts are knit together.

God the Father is the same way. David describes God’s responsiveness in 2 Samuel 22:7:

“In my distress I called to the Lord; I called out to my God. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came to his ears.”

God also responds to our cries for help. Psalm 91:14 reads,

“‘Because he loves me,’ says the Lord, ‘I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.’”

At times, however, in his infinite wisdom, God chooses not to respond to our requests immediately. Perhaps He knows we need to learn lessons or develop skills. Maybe He knows our faith muscles need strengthening or that waiting for His response will help develop our character. He knows that persevering in faith, even when we can’t see God at work, makes us stronger.

Uncommon Thought
If you’re crying out today, be comforted and encouraged by the knowledge that God hears every cry and always responds in a timely manner in the way that is best—because He loves you.

Unusual Faith
Has there been a time when God seemed deaf to your cries, but later you saw how He was working on your behalf? You can trust God for the present situation based on His faithfulness in the past. Cry out to Him, tell Him your needs, and watch to see how He responds.

God Sees and Hears You

El Shama: A God who hears, He is a God who listens – The End Time

“I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry.” Psalm 40:1 (NIV)

Sitting on the bathroom floor with mascara-streaked cheeks, I sobbed. “Lorddo You even care about my problems?”

As soon as the words left my lips, guilt overcame me. Women who want children suffer from infertility, people who need paychecks lose their jobs, and the homeless who need beds sleep on the streets. Meanwhile, I bemoaned a child who wouldn’t sleep through the night, a husband who worked late into the evening, and a messy house that seemed impossible to keep organized and tidy.

No doubt my moments of distress pale compared to that of most people, but does that mean God cares less about them or about me? Does He view me as whiny and selfish because I express discontentment or cry out for solace in circumstances that cause me angst?

When I find myself discouraged and disheartened, I open the book of Psalms. Over 70% of the book depicts woe and lament, a passionate expression of grief or sorrow. Centuries before the famous blues musician B.B. King lived, there was David, a veritable “King of the Blues.” Reading through the Psalms feels like reading David’s diary. It reveals David’s unedited, unfiltered relationship with God, riddled with the highest of highs to the lowest of lows.

Psalm 40 provides an intimate look at David’s beseeching the Lord to save him and God’s loving and compassionate response: “I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry” (Psalm 40:1). David further states that God lifted him out of a “pit of destruction” and “miry bog” and set his feet upon a rock, making his steps safe and secure (ESV).

Instead of simply thanking the Lord and moving on, David praised God for His faithfulness, righteousness and love in the next 14 verses. David hadn’t just asked God to deliver him on that one occasion; he had implored Him not to withhold mercy and to rescue him time and time again, which God did.

Motherhood had landed me on the bathroom floor, exhausted, depleted and desperate for a break. Feeling trapped, I prayed God would somehow make a way for me to have a few hours to recharge. Alas, the day passed, night fell, and a new morning dawned with the familiar wails of my baby girl.

Except on that morning, my baby was not the only one demanding my attention — my phone was dinging. A lady from church called to invite my daughters over for the afternoon. A few hours later, a friend called to tell me she thought I would benefit from a night that did not involve cooking or cleaning. Then, just minutes later, my husband sent a text saying his afternoon meeting had been canceled, followed by the suggestion I go out with a friend and “take the night off.”

Instantly, I thought, Wow! I can’t believe this is all working out today. What luck! It wasn’t luck. It was a gracious heavenly Father who heard my cries and orchestrated a way to lift me out of my “miry bog.”

Friend, I don’t know what weighs on your heart, but I am confident in this: God knows you, and He cares about you, including all of your burdens, heavy or light.

Our heavenly Father created us for fellowship. He loves us and desires an intimate relationship with us. He delights in our singing, praising and shouting thanksgiving to Him, but He also wants us to go to Him when we are hurting, upset and dismayed by life. Call on the Lord; He sees and hears you.

God hears our prayers

God Hears You - Do you believe that's true?

From Newspring.com

We’ve all done it. A call drops, but we keep talking. Sometimes it takes a few seconds and sometimes it takes a few minutes, but eventually, we realize no one is listening.

Few things can be as frustrating or make us feel as foolish as recognizing we aren’t being heard. It’s the reason we cringe when customer service transfers us for the sixth time, and it’s the reason many of us struggle with prayer. We pour our hearts out to God, but we wonder:

Is God listening?
How do I know He heard me? 

Daniel can relate. When Daniel found himself in a difficult situation, he humbled himself and prayed. When Daniel didn’t get an immediate answer, he fasted and prayed some more. It wasn’t easy, but Daniel kept calling out to God the same way we keep calling back when an important call gets dropped.

The difference between calling God and calling another person is that God never loses touch with us. God’s messenger reassured Daniel that God heard every word and started working in Daniel’s life the moment he cried out (Daniel 10:12-13).

God always hears our prayer.  Fighting through the frustration and persevering in prayer is not about getting God’s attention; it’s about Him getting ours. With each prayer, we remember where our help comes from and we make space to hear from the Lord.

God is working and we can trust Him, even when it seems like nothing is happening. Take heart in knowing God hears you and is working all things, even the hard things, together for your good (Romans 8:28).

God’s Chosen Leaders

Daily Bible Verse and Devotion - Hebrews 4:16 | Student Devos - Youth and  Teenage Devotions and Discipleship Tools
by Inspiration Ministries

“Get from them a staff for each father’s household … for there is to be one staff for the head of each of their fathers’ households.” – Numbers 17:1-2 NASB

Life for the Israelites in the wilderness was difficult with a constant series of challenges. Certainly, many opinions became public and caused divisions.

One dispute took place when many grumbled after hearing the spies’ report about the Promised Land. They grumbled again after God declared that, because they lacked faith, they would not enter the land. They even decided to appoint a new leader and suffered a tragic defeat.

Later, Korah and other leaders rejected the leadership of Moses and Aaron. But God judged these men and the earth swallowed them and their families. Once again, some complained, resulting in a deadly plague.

As one final demonstration of God’s authority, each tribe was to bring a rod with its name. All twelve rods were placed in the tent of meeting. God decreed that “the staff of the man whom I choose will sprout” (v. 5). The next day, Aaron’s rod sprouted. Clearly Moses and Aaron were His chosen vessels.

Through His Word, God continually demonstrates that each person has a special calling, including leaders. We are like a body. Each person has a different function, each of which is important. Our task is to fulfill the role to which we are called and work together as a body (1 Corinthians 12:14-20).

Ask God to confirm your role in the body. Seek to fulfill His call on your life. Support others and help them fulfill God’s call on their lives.

Know God And Make Him Known

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I Keep Asking

7 Bible Verses about God Knowing the Human Heart

“I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better.” Ephesians 1:17 (NIV)

My father raised me to never, never give up. In fact, recently he asserted, “Down two runs with two outs in the home half of the ninth is no time to quit. Many games have been won under greater deficits. Persistence pays.”

No doubt he regretted his teaching when we were on vacation and within range of a gift shop.

Let the whining begin. “Daddy, can I puhleasse get a souvenir?” Never mind that he’d already blessed me with one. I’d convinced myself I needed another.

My husband and I have a son who we’ve affectionately referred to as our “persistent widow.” Why? Because, even at 20, he’s the one who keeps asking and asking and asking, hopeful he’ll get what he’s after. In matters of righteousness, this has been a blessing and demonstrated good character and courage. But on several occasions, we’ve had to say, “Enough.” And he’d stop asking.

Until a more opportune time.

To those in our sphere of influence, it’s wise to teach and enforce the biblical principle to let your “Yes” be yes, and your “No” be no (James 5:12). Otherwise, we’ll do nothing but perpetuate an already self-indulgent culture and lose the respect of those we hope to influence. Yet, there are situations when God invites – and even urges – us to keep asking.

“Then Jesus told His disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.” Luke 18:1 (NIV) A persistent widow sought justice against her adversary, albeit from a judge who was not a God-fearing man. If for no other reason than to get her to hush up so her begging wouldn’t wear him out, the judge granted her request. Luke 18:5 (Paraphrase mine)

If we carry a particular burden, desire justice, or need salvation, provision, or healing, we must keep asking. Because, unlike the unjust and godless judge referenced in Luke 18, our God loves us perfectly. He is wholly just and promises to deliver answers in His good and perfect timing.

But be warned. Satan will mock our persistent prayers with a wicked chuckle and will take advantage of moments of discouragement. During those days and seasons when the answers we desire haven’t yet arrived, the enemy is determined to silence our persistent prayers. If we let him.

The prophet Isaiah understood the directive to keep asking.

“You who call on the Lord, give yourselves no rest, and give Him no rest till He establishes Jerusalem and makes her the praise of the earth.” Isaiah 62:6b-7

Where the will of God is concerned, not only are we to keep asking, we’re charged with giving God no rest about a matter. Doesn’t sound anything like a flustered, eye-rolling judge. Quite the contrary.

So long as we maintain an unwavering faith in God when we petition Him, there is great purpose and power in persistent prayer. Let’s not quit when weariness sets in at the 25-mile mark of a marathon or, as my father has taught, when we’re down two runs with two outs in the home half of the ninth. Not only will persistence change our hearts to be more like Jesus, but the recipient of our prayers will be forever grateful.

Enough Already – Crosswalk the Devotional – April 24

And to wake up knowing God is on my side is enough! | Faith quotes, Quotes  about god, Knowing god

by John UpChurch, crosswalk.com

“The man from whom the demons had gone out begged to go with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, ‘Return home and tell how much God has done for you.’ So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him.” Luke 8:38-39

I knew I’d feel inadequate, but once they slapped the Journeyman mic on me and the congregation sauntered in, the word inadequate became inadequate. Over my head, crazy, off my rocker—those shot through my mind a time or two.

Yes, I had notes. Yes, I’d practiced. Yes, I’d taken public speaking courses. But none of those really prepares you to face a congregation on Sunday morning. Nothing gets you ready to reach into Scripture and yank out the good stuff. You’re dealing with potent material here, the kind of thing you don’t want to get wrong. And out there are the faces of those who may never come back through the door of a church again.

No pressure.

And that’s how my first sermon started. Actually, I don’t remember much of it. It just kind of started and then ended. If there weren’t a recording, I don’t think I’d even know what I said. But, alas, said recording does exist (no chance of being linked here), and the final verdict is… let’s just say mixed. At least no one left, and given the size of the church, I would have noticed.

In many ways, I felt like that formerly demon-possessed man whom Jesus told to go tell it on the mountain. Jesus didn’t give him much in the way of lessons or practice. He just sent the man home to talk about God healing him. And as far as we know, the man went and did just that. Since it made it into the gospel accounts, I’m chalking that up as a success. All the man needed to know was that Jesus healed him, and—boom—he started sharing the good news.

Too many times, I’ve been shut down by the notion that I need to know more before I can say more. I can’t tell this person about Christ because I haven’t finished my study on Galatians. I can’t share how God changed me because I only spent 15 minutes in prayer this morning. I can’t start a small group in my house because I’m not the perfect husband or dad.

It’s hard for me to say, “Enough already.” I know enough already to preach a sermon, even if I’ll keep learning and growing for years. I know enough already to share that God wrenched me out of depression, even if I don’t know how to answer every question about the Bible. I know enough already to share my home, even if I’m still working on keeping my smartphone off during family time.

After all, I know enough to know that Christ is the one who does the saving, not my faulty words.

Remain

Importance Of Knowing God

Scripture Reading — John 15:1-17

“Remain in me, as I also remain in you. . . .” — John 15:4

We have grapevines in our backyard, and we often need to cut back the tendrils—threadlike spirals that help the plant attach to supports while it climbs. When we have cut the tendrils, we notice two things: moisture steadily drips from the vine where we made the cut, and the cut-off tendrils begin to wilt right away.

In our reading for today, Jesus describes something similar. He describes himself as a vine, and he says we are like the vine’s branches. This is a way of communicating the intimate connection between us and Christ. He is the source, and whoever remains in him will bear the fruit of his love. But if we do not remain in him, we will be like a branch cut off by the gardener, and we will quickly wither and die.

Jesus gives us this illustration while he is talking about our top priority in living for God in this world—that is, to love one another as he has loved us, and to share his love with everyone around us. As we do that, we bear good fruit for the world to enjoy—and all of this is for God’s glory. Jesus also says that in this world we will face troubles, but because we remain in him, we need not be afraid. The message is clear: we cannot control the outcome of anything, but God is in control—so we don’t need to live in fear about what might happen. We can simply remain in him, and we can see what he will do in and through us.

Prayer

Loving Lord, where would we be without your presence? Thank you for every breath and for every good thing we receive through you. Help us to remain in you. In your name, Amen

 

Ready to Follow God

I will lie down and sleep peacefully, for you, Lord, make me safe and  secure. Psalm 4:8 NET Rest tonight knowing God n… | Healing verses, Knowing  god, Prayer verses
by Inspiration Ministries

“If sometimes the cloud remained a few days … they remained camped … When the cloud was lifted in the morning, they would move out; or if it remained in the daytime and at night, whenever the cloud was lifted, they would set out.” – Numbers 9:20-21 NASB

Like many people today, some Israelites must have wanted their lives to be more predictable. They probably wanted to know what to expect from day to day. How long would they stay in each place? When would they leave? Where would they go?

But God wanted to teach them that He would not tell them what was going to happen in advance. They had to be ready to move “when the cloud was lifted.” That could be in the morning or evening. They might stay in a place “two days or a month or a year” (v. 22). They could not predict what would happen in the future. Every day was a new day, and every situation was fresh.

This same principle applies to you. You might want to know more about what will happen in the future, especially with the uncertainties created by recent political and health crises. You may want to plan your life and know when your prayers will be answered or when things will change. All God promises is that He will lead you every day. Each day is a new experience with Him.

Be ready to obey Him and follow Him today, no matter where He leads. He may have directed you in some ways in the past, but this does not mean that He will lead you in the same way in the future. Seek Him every day for His fresh Word for you.

Love God With All Your Soul, Mind, and Strength

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. | Bible apps, Love the lord, Daily scriptureMark 12:30 - Love God With All Your Heart

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Matthew 22:37 - Love the Lord Your God With All Your Heart - Today's Bible VerseLove God with all your Heart-"Love the Lord your God with all your ... | Love the lord, Mark 12 30, God
Luke 10:27 - Latter-day Saint Scripture of the DayBible Quote Love God with All Your Heart (Page 1) - Line.17QQ.com

 

Finite Minds

Bible Verse to Share - What is the most important? LORD Jesus revealed a secret... and told us what is most important. Jesus replied: “'Love the Lord your God with all your
Beth Patch – Senior Producer, cbn.com

The plagues God used to convince Pharaoh to “Let His people go!” amazed both Egyptians and Israelites. The Egyptians, because they felt the brunt of God’s might. And the Israelites, because they received protection from the horrible plagues.

God parted the water ahead of the Israelites when their escape route dead-ended at a huge sea. They walked across the seabed on dry land with two large sea-walls beside them. The Egyptian army barreled in behind them. And the Israelites watched as God crashed the sea waters overtop their enemies.

Wow! Whoever saw such things could never doubt God’s power or provision for “His people.” Except, these very people.

They were thirsty. Several days had passed without water. They told Moses they would rather die in Egypt (as slaves) than suffer through God’s plan (Exodus 14:11-12).

What? How could they not see that God is good, that He is for them? He had freed them from slavery. He had turned a raging sea into a dry pathway. He had done the impossible FOR THEM. But, they were thirsty.

Their present circumstances caused them to forget how much God had done for them in the past. Their human nature provoked them to doubt God’s goodness.

Sound like you and me sometimes?

Oh, how wonderful it would be to have unwavering faith — always certain of God’s goodness. No matter what our current situation.

But life brings a mixed bag of experiences. Our childlike faith in those we trust dwindles. And so it is with our faith in God. We prayed for financial help and ended up losing a house. We asked for healing and the person died. We don’t understand and we lose faith. We become doubters.

Deuteronomy 6:5 says,

“And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength.” (NLT)

Jesus says it is the most important commandment (Mark 12:29-30).

Loving God with all our heart, soul, and strength is key to overcoming doubt. It cements our faith and abolishes doubt.

Isaiah 55:8 says,

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.” (NLT)

Trying to understand God with our human logic wastes time. It’s not a faith-builder. When we walk the dry seabed with water-walls one day and question God’s goodness the next, it shows our faith depends on our circumstances. They change. God does not.

Instead, through faith, when the foreclosure happens, we choose to love God. When our friend dies, we love God. We accept His answer to our prayers and use all that heart, soul and strength to love Him. Especially when we don’t understand.

We must remember it is not this life on earth we live for. Our time here is brief compared to eternity.

“If you cling to your life, you will lose it, and if you let your life go, you will save it.” Luke 17:33 (NLT)

What are you clinging to today? Can you put your trust in God and let it go?

Heavenly Father, thank you for your promises. Thank you that we have yesterday, today, tomorrow, and eternity with you. Thank you for loving us despite our fickle hearts. Please teach us to love you like little children, trusting you in all things and with each moment.

 

Jesus’ Encouragement to Our Troubled World

50 Bible Verses About Love - From God's Heart to Yours!

By Debbie McDaniel, crosswalk.com

“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

In John 16 we find Jesus speaking to his disciples of events that would soon unfold. They needed to hear His words of encouragement and Truth more than ever, for He knew the darkness of the hour still to come. He taught them about the power of praying in His name. He told them how they would soon be scattered, but that those who belong to Him would never be alone. For God is always there, close. He reminded them that they should not be surprised at the tension they would feel in an unbelieving world.

“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace (security, safety, undisturbed, blessed state). In the world you have tribulation (trouble, oppression, pressure, affliction), but take courage (be of good cheer, take heart), I have overcome (carried off the victory, conquered) the world.” John 16:33

Words that have such meaning, that hold such power still today. These were some of the last words Jesus spoke to His disciples before his journey to the cross.

Last words always contain rich meaning. These are important for us to hold onto today.

He reminds us that only in Him can true peace be found.

He reminds us that in spite of the struggles we will face in this life, we never walk alone, for He is with us. He will never abandon us in our trials or leave us to work it all out on our own.

He reminds us to take courage.

He reminds us He has overcome. He has won the victory, and through Christ, we too are more than conquerors.

Jesus never called us to embrace the world and all it offers. But He calls us to follow Him, to be salt and light, and to walk in love.

It’s a whole new day ahead. And He has plans for you, for me, to make a difference in these days, in the life of another soul, for His purposes.

To be a friend.

To encourage.

To offer care and show compassion in a world that is broken.

Praying that His huge grace, wisdom, and strength cover us today. And that in Him, we will find freedom from worry, letting go of the stress that clings too tightly, the pressing needs of tomorrow, and struggles we battle today, and fully embrace His peace.

Take courage my friends…

For He’s the Overcomer. And we are never alone.

Peace.

Looking For Fruit

100 Bible Verses about 'All' - DailyVerses.net

 

Scripture Reading — Mark 11:12-25

Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. — Mark 11:13

This story is baffling, isn’t it? It seems that Jesus, who is known for showing love and compassion, gets upset and just destroys an innocent fig tree. And this happens just before Jesus turns over the tables of corrupt moneychangers in the temple. There must be a connection.

In the Old Testament, the imagery of people being able to sit in the shade of their own fig tree was a common symbol of peace (1 Kings 4:25Micah 4:4Zechariah 3:10). Fruit-bearing fig trees were also a symbol of blessing for God’s people.

But when the people ignored God, the prophets compared them to fig trees that were not bearing good fruit. God’s people were supposed to be reaching out, caring for others, and helping with others’ needs, but instead they were being selfish, growing rich off the work of others, and taking advantage of systems that were intended to help others.

When a fig tree was in leaf, that usually meant it had fruit already. But Jesus found none. So he cursed it as a sign that God would also bring judgment on his corrupt people. The leaders of God’s people had let corruption creep in. They charged high exchange rates and outrageous prices for travelers and needy people who were at the temple to celebrate the Passover holiday.

Jesus was saying to the leaders, “You are only putting on a show. You are nothing but leaves, and you have no fruit!” He wanted the people to provide not only shady leaves but also the sweet, abundant fruit of compassion and justice.

Prayer

Lord, call us to account when our lives don’t bear the fruit of your Spirit. Guide us to live in step with Jesus. Amen.

Be Happy With What You Have

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When What God Gives Isn’t Enough … Or Is It?

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“One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, “Praise God!” Luke 17:15 (NLT)

Luke 17: 11-19 tells the time Jesus was traveling and entered a village when ten lepers approached him. They begged Jesus to have mercy on them.

“Jesus looked at them and said, ‘Go, show yourselves to the priests.’” Luke 17: 14 NLT.

 As they went on their way, the Bible tells us they were cleansed.

While it is interesting to note they were not immediately healed upon their first petition, it is clear healing began the minute they encountered Jesus. Ultimately, all ten were healed, however only one of the men came back to thank Jesus. Not only did one come back, but the passage tells us he shouted his thanks and fell on his face at Jesus’ feet.

What happened to the other nine? Were they upset the healing wasn’t instant? Were they disappointed they had to go and show themselves to the priests? Maybe being cleansed wasn’t enough. They wanted more! Perhaps they, like many of us, simply forgot they asked Jesus for help, therefore forgot to thank Him. How many times have your prayers been answered, and you forgot to circle back and thank God?

We don’t know for sure, but we do know Jesus was not thanked for healing the nine. It is hard to condemn the nine lepers when I think of the many times I have forgotten to thank God when He promptly answered prayers and the many times I am not satisfied with His provision and want more!

I pray for healing for myself or others. I beseech God to help me or a friend or family member out of a situation. I beg for grace or cleansing. Time goes by, and sometimes I forget I asked. Sometimes when the answer doesn’t come immediately or the way I expect, it is out of my head. Not only do I forget to thank God, often, I find myself asking for more!

I remember a time when our third daughter, Riley, was just learning to talk. Her vocabulary was still limited, but she could convey her needs quite clearly. One morning I had to help with a project at our older daughters’ school. Riley had to come with me, and in my rush to get all of us to the school she missed a complete breakfast. My meetings went longer than expected, and I neglected to pack snacks to hold her over until lunch. Over and over she said, “Eat!” “Eat!” Unfortunately, I didn’t have my purse so I didn’t have cash.

I remembered my sentimental silver 50-cent piece. Years before, my father had given it to me, and I kept it tucked away in a special compartment in my car. As I vacillated between parting with my beloved possession and my beloved daughter’s wellbeing, I reluctantly decided I had no choice but to spend my 50-cent piece on a package of crackers!

Riley was satisfied and while she didn’t quite have the words to thank me, I knew she was grateful. That is until half way through her first cracker, the next word came out of her full mouth, “Juice!” “Juice!”

Like my daughter, why am I always asking for more? Why do I forget to be thankful? Why can’t I be satisfied and grateful for the abundant blessings God has provided?

My desire is to be like the man who shouts my thanks and falls on my face at Jesus’ feet! I pray I will be mindful of the psalmist’s words,

“Acknowledge that the Lord is God! He made us, and we are His. We are His people, the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving; go into His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him and praise His name.” Psalm 100: 3-4 NLT

 

The Corinthian Man-Creed

15 Bible Verses About Trust — Religious Verses About Trust

by Shawn McEvoy, crosswalk.com

Be on your guard, stand firm in faith, be men of courage, be strong; do everything in love. – 1 Corinthians 16:13-14

Today’s verse hangs on a board on the wall of my son. But years ago, long before my son was even an inkling, I came across that verse as I was sending my own father one of many letters I composed over the years to share with him the importance of salvation, and the value of life in Christ. My sister, mother, and I came to know the Lord in 1980, but it took another 17 years, seven months, and 26 days worth of praying, heart softening, and brokenness for Dan McEvoy to surrender.

And it wasn’t this letter or the above verse that pushed him into it. No, this letter I was writing simply to tell him how blessed I was to have begun dating a woman (who eventually became my wife) for whom faith came first, and I was giving God all the glory and credit and all that good stuff, and probably telling him how God delights in blessing those who trust in Him.

With the letter I enclosed a quick-and-dirty page of graphic art involving the aforementioned verse from Corinthians in some fancy font, with a clip-art picture of a sailboat, kind of as a visual aid to my letter, indicating, I suppose, what it was like for the man of God to live in this world under the Captaincy of Christ.

Well, so. After he died in 2001, I found that letter and piece of “art” in my father’s desk, looking as if it had been read and glanced at often. Something in me knew then that if I were ever to have a son, I’d commit to raising him to manhood under these same five principles:

  • Be on your guard. Be ready, be alert. Expect God to be involved, expect Satan to attack. Let the wonder of creation still catch your eye.
  • Stand firm in faith. Be unmoved because you know intimately that of which you believe in. Become biblically literate.
  • Be a man of courage. Fear is not from God (2 Timothy 1:7), so go your way boldly. The worst that can happen – even death – still ends in victory and glory for the Christian.
  • Be strong. Physically, yes, let’s take care of ourselves, and present our bodies as holy. But remember that the Lord is the strength of the strong (Ephesians 6:10), and that “when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10).
  • Do everything in love. Here’s your motivation, because he that doesn’t love doesn’t know God (1 John 4:8), and the world shall know you by your love (John 13:35).

So when Jordan was born, and we had the dedication service at our church, that’s the verse we selected to have read. When he was about two-and-a-half, he started reciting it by memory and making up arm/hand motions to go with it. We call it our “Man-Creed.”

But here’s the secret: these couple verses from the closing of Paul’s first letter to Corinth aren’t first-and-foremost for Jordan… they’re for me.

When I first realized that, it caught me, ironically enough, “off my guard.” I had been more than happy to tell my own father how to “be a man,” and was perfectly willing to raise my son to be one according to the Word. How, I wonder, did I intend to do so without living out the credo, making it my own?

 

Streams in the Desert

Times have changed, but life’s hard times haven’t

He knoweth the way that I take (Job 23:10).

Believer! What a glorious assurance! This way of thine–this, it may be, a crooked, mysterious, tangled way–this way of trial and tears. “He knoweth it.” The furnace seven times heated–He lighted it. There is an Almighty Guide knowing and directing our footsteps, whether it be to the bitter Marah pool, or to the joy and refreshment of Elim.

That way, dark to the Egyptians, has its pillar of cloud and fire for His own Israel. The furnace is hot; but not only can we trust the hand that kindles it, but we have the assurance that the fires are lighted not to consume, but to refine; and that when the refining process is completed (no sooner–no later) He brings His people forth as gold.

When they think Him least near, He is often nearest. “When my spirit was overwhelmed, then thou knewest my path.” Do we know of ONE brighter than the brightest radiance of the visible sun, visiting our chamber with the first waking beam of the morning; an eye of infinite tenderness and compassion following us throughout the day, knowing the way that we take?

The world, in its cold vocabulary in the hour of adversity, speaks of “Providence”–“the will of Providence”–“the strokes of Providence.” PROVIDENCE! what is that? Why dethrone a living, directing God from the sovereignty of His own earth? Why substitute an inanimate, death-like abstraction, in place of an acting, controlling, personal Jehovah?

How it would take the sting from many a goading trial, to see what Job saw (in his hour of aggravated woe, when every earthly hope lay prostrate at his feet)–no hand but the Divine. He saw that hand behind the gleaming swords of the Sabeans–he saw it behind the lightning flash–he saw it giving wings to the careening tempest–he saw it in the awful silence of his rifled home.

“The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord!” Thus seeing God in everything, his faith reached its climax when this once powerful prince of the desert, seated on his bed of ashes, could say, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust him.”
–Macduff

Your Testimony

by Inspiration Ministries

God be merciful to us and bless us … That Your way may be known on earth … Let all the peoples praise You. Oh, let the nations be glad and sing for joy! For You shall judge the people righteously, and govern the nations on earth.” – Psalm 67:1-4 NKJV

The psalmist was honest. He asked God to be merciful, bless His people, and cause His face to shine upon them. They depended on Him to bless them, provide for them, and meet their needs.

But there was another perspective. His actions provided a testimony and a witness. Through His mercy and blessings, God became known throughout the world. His actions demonstrated that His ways are true. He showed that He really could provide salvation. Regardless of how things appeared on the surface, God will provide justice and righteous judgment. He ultimately will “govern the nations on earth.”

The realization of God’s presence and sovereignty should fill us with praise. Knowing that He is in control should relieve our burdens and encourage all of us to praise Him, to “be glad and sing for joy!”

Praise for His mercy and blessing is a central part of our testimony. Yes, we desire God to meet our needs, but we also are to become testimonies for others, so through our lives, others would see the wonderful things that He has done. Others need to see the truth of His promises, why we can trust Him, why we don’t need to carry our burdens or live in fear, and why we truly can shout for joy.

May the way we live show others why they should commit their lives to Him to know Him and serve Him.